Sunday, December 25, 2011

My Three Favorite Christmas Gifts

Paul.  Nathan.  Jacob.
All I need to make me happy.

(Although I did get a sweetest-ever thank-you hug from Nathan - so did Paul.  Completely melted.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Crunch Time. (Literally.)

After we left Chateau Avalon, after a wonderful night away, we thought we'd head to the mall.  We really didn't have anything to get, we just hadn't been there in a long time, so thought we'd browse a little bit, and maybe pick up one more thing for the boys (they only have 2 presents each, and they both know what one of them are).
Well.... We never made it to the mall.
As we merged onto the Interstate in the rain, as Paul was trying to switch lanes, all the sudden the car in front of us swerved over and slammed on their brakes.  Immediately in front of us were two stopped cars.  There was no way to avoid it, and the wet pavement gave no traction.  We were going probably about 50 mph.
There were 5 cars involved, and a rumor that a sixth (the one that caused the whole thing) fled the scene.  There was a lady in the car in front of us that went to the hospital in an ambulance.  I think she had hurt her leg, and was having trouble breathing.  (Pretty sure they had hit someone, and then we rear-ended them.)  As near as I can tell, there was a fender-bender as someone was merging onto the Interstate, and they stopped in traffic.  Since we were coming around a curve, and it had just happened, we didn't see it until we were right on it.
We went in to see my doctor, just to be sure everything was okay.  I know that sometimes it's not trauma to the belly (which there wasn't), but the sudden stop that can cause the placenta to tear.  There was no evidence of that, but even so, she had me go over to the hospital and be monitored for four hours.  Baby was NOT cooperating, squirming away from the sensor and kicking it the whole time.  Obviously everything's fine. :)
It turns out the truck is NOT totaled.  I knew it would be borderline.  It was - about $500 short of being totaled.  I have mixed feelings.  I'm glad we don't have to make the decision of picking out a new vehicle (although it would have answered some prayers about what to do about a vehicle when Baby comes).  But we do have to cough up our share, the $500 deductible, and things were really tight already.  (But God has provided most of that money - more on that in a later post.)  Also, we're both a little worried that the engine block may be tweaked enough that it will have some problems later down the road.  (The radiator and battery we know moved.)
All in all, we know God has a reason He let it happen.  We decided to take the truck, even though the car gets better mileage.  (Although the car wouldn't have fared as well in an accident.)  We decided to take the Interstate, rather than cutting across on 95th Street.  We wanted to go to the mall, even though there was no need to go.  I'm not sure what He wants us to learn, but I trust His ways are higher than mine.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Getaway!

I'm getting so excited for our Getaway.  Last year, instead of exchanging gifts, Paul and I bought tickets to see his favorite musician and planned an overnight getaway.  Even though circumstances were nothing like we imagined they would be, we still had a good time and really enjoyed it.  So much better than "because I had to" or "because you need this" presents.  This is more of a "I can remember there is more to being a woman than being a mommy" and a "my husband gets my undivided attention (and I get his!)" gift.  So we both win.
So we decided to do it again this year.  Trans Siberian Orchestra is playing in Kansas City this weekend, and Paul wanted to go as soon as he heard about it.  So we bought tickets.  We were going to stay at a downtown hotel, just to try something different, but it turns out they were more expensive than the lower-end rooms at our favorite place, Chateau Avalon (and there you get a hot tub and a free breakfast!).  And then I got an AWESOME deal on a room.  (Sometimes it does pay to procrastinate!)  They had a limited-time special of $129 for any room, excluding their two biggest.  Boo-yah!  We got their third-most-expensive room, the Camelot, which is normally $389, for $129.  So. Excited.
The only thing that's up in the air is where to eat.  We wanted to go back to a restaurant Paul took me to when we were dating (the Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant), but we got to thinking about logistics.... It is on the Plaza, so we'd have to park and walk, then go to the Power and Light District (while one concert is letting out, and people are trying to park for the second), and park and walk again.  So we decided to go over early and eat somewhere in the Power and Light District.  It turns out some good friends of ours are also going to the concert, so we're going to try to meet up with them for dinner beforehand.
Anyhow.  I'll shut up.
Merry Christmas, to me!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Baby with Attitude?

This baby has really started asserting himself (herself).  Any time I sit for an extended period of time wearing pants with a snug waistband, he will start kicking at it.  Earlier this week, he even kicked where my laptop was resting against my belly.  It is a usual occurrence lately for him to kick against the side of my belly that is laying on the bed.  Two nights ago, this baby was apparently stretched vertical, simultaneously pressing against my bladder and my lungs - not comfortable when you need to have a cold and need to pee.  It actually is reminding me a lot of Nathan when he was in my womb.
Speaking of coughing....
Whenever I start to get over a cold, I start coughing.  A lot of dry, hacking coughing.  And with each pregnancy it requires more muscles to not pee myself when I cough.  And add to that this hernia that I have above my belly button.....  I told Paul, there is a specific order of things that have to be done prior to coughing - squeeze everything, press my hand firmly over my hernia, then cough.  If any of this is not accomplished before the coughing fit begins.... Not cool.
But the good news is, today I finally feel like the coughing is taming down.  My head feels clear, and I only had one bad coughing fit today (of course, right in the middle of a store!).  I really hope it's fully gone by the time Paul and I go on our Getaway on Sunday!  Talk about a romance killer!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Overheard: (Thanks so much, Dear.)

Me:  Seriously, with all this hair, I look like one of those Samoan NFL players.
Paul:  Yeah, you do kind of look like Troy Polamalu.

Thanks, dear.
But in Paul's defense, this is what my hair looked like that day.  

That's all natural, with no curl-enhancing products.  This hair situation is getting ridiculous.

Hello, Baby!

We had a sonogram this week, and finally got to see this baby that's been asserting his (her) opinion of me wearing any clothes that have a waistband.
At first, Baby was not cooperating - he was facing backwards, toward my spine, away from the sonogram sensor.  But with enough pushing and prodding, he finally turned around, and then hid behind the placenta (you're welcome, male readers), which is right up front with this one (which the nurse said that may be the reason it took so long to feel kicks).
 Hello, Baby!

  Something about this one reminds me of Nathan.... I think it's the lack of chin.

 One of three 3D shots that we actually got....  She had to go from way on the side to get under the placenta. You can clearly see a face and hand/arm.

This one takes a bit more concentration and imagination..... The baby's face again, except it's got it's hand up there right in front of its face (you can kind of see the tiny fingers).  It was definitely trying to get away from that sensor!

Everything looks good - he was definitely wiggling around the whole time.  We even got to watch the baby swallow!  You could see his tiny tongue come out and his mouth and neck muscles move - so neat!  Since we had it done at LifeCare, instead of the hospital, their focus is on you getting to see and celebrate the life inside of you, not just measurements and data.  So it made it really special - not to mention we got a TON of pictures!  Also, they let the boys come in to watch, so it was really neat for them, too.
Based on the measurements of the head, I am measuring a few days earlier than my estimated due date - that put me closer to the 12th (rather than the 17th).  But my doctor said they don't change the due date after 20 weeks, I'm assuming because babies come in all shapes and sizes.  So we just need to be prepared for a baby any time in the middle of April!
And no, we did not find out, or even get a hint of what this baby might be!  We're going to be thrilled either way, because it's going to be a beautiful, healthy baby!

Am I Weird?

Paul helped me clean the kitchen last night (again-he is so great!), because it was pushing a week and I still hadn't managed to fully clean it.  (I keep putting dishes through the dishwasher and putting them away, but don't get to the big pans or wiping the counters, sweeping, etc.)  (And huge, major, I'll-owe-him-for-3-years bonus points for him..... He cleaned the fan blades.  They were SICK - like dust curling around the edges.  But not just wipe it with a Swiffer and it's gone - it's the sticky greasy dirt that you get in the kitchen that takes cleaner, paper towels and scrubbing to get off!)
Am I weird, or does everyone feel so much better when their house has a clean kitchen?  It's like I feel like a better wife.  Like there's hope for the rest of the house.  I woke up today and walked into the clean kitchen, and I just know I'll be able to tackle the pile on the dining room table (more accurately:  the pile that has a dining room table under there somewhere......), and vacuum and finish cleaning the living room.  I feel like it's going to be a productive day.
Although, that could be in part to the fact that I also feel like I'm on the downhill side of this cold, even though it's only day 3.  That would be a blessing straight from God.

Monday, December 5, 2011

My Christmas Mantle

First off, I have to apologize for my mediocre (at best) pictures.  I blame it on the new-to-us camera.  Our old one got dropped by a little someone and the lens refuses to operate, and so we bought an identical one off of eBay (awesome deal, too!).  But it took me 3 years to get all the presets where I wanted them on our old one, and I haven't gotten everything tweaked on the new one just yet.
That's my story, anyhow.  Because it couldn't possibly be that I'm just bad at photography.

I don't decorate our mantel generally.  Unless you call the thin layer of ash and stacks of unused picture frames "decor."  I just haven't came up with something that says YES at me yet.  But at Christmas, I do try to do a little something.  Generally, it's a swag of greenery, and any of our decorations that are breakable and need to stay out of the way of little fingers.
As I was browsing the internet, I found this entry at one of my favorite blogs.  I saw it and said YES!  
So, not yes exactly.  Because it's not for our stairs (I'd have to clean the piles of junk I've been successfully avoiding).  (Plus, can you imagine the quick work my size 12 hoofs could do to one of those?)  
And it was definitely not the mice.  
But it was the jars that caught my attention.  I have jars.  Lots of jars.  I do home canning, folks.  I've inherited jars from several people who were getting rid of theirs.  You should see our shop.
I bookmarked the page several months ago, and I knew what I needed to get.  Fake snow, and electric tea lights.  I struck out at the dollar store several times on the tea lights, so finally this weekend, we went to WalMart to see if we could find what I needed there.
Bingo!  They actually had everything.

I LOVE how it turned out.  It is probably my favorite Christmas decorating I have ever done.  The sparkly snowflakes are something Paul suggested.  I wasn't really sold on them, but I try to be open to his ideas.  And I'm glad he thought it it, because I really like the pop of color and dimension they add.  I added red ribbons to the tops of the jars to make them stand out a little more. 

(Just pretend you don't notice the cord.)

 Having a wood stove, instead of a traditional fireplace, does present some decorating challenges.  Hello, stovepipe!  You see here I do have a little something hidden behind the stovepipe that you don't really get to see from straight on.  It was a gift from Paul's grandfather, and I do love it.  I thought it kind of went with the "country" feel of using jars for decorations.

The electric tea lights are a little more orangey than I would like, especially compared to the white lights that are in the greenery.  But the good thing is, the jars still look really pretty even without the "candles" on.  Which is how they will be the majority of the time around here, because I'm a cheapskate and don't want to wear them out, and also because I'm lazy and don't want to fish lights out of 13 jars to turn them off and on.
Anyhow.  I just wanted to show off my latest creativity.  I have a couple more projects that I was planning before we found out I was pregnant, but they involve sanding and spray-painting, which I shouldn't do currently.  Plus, it's too cold for spray-painting right now.  Someday......


We should name our baby "Marais des Cygnes."

Say what?
We drove over the river that goes through town, and Nathan asked what "that water" was called.  I told him the name of the river was the Marais des Cygnes, and he told me we should name the new baby that.  (It means "Marsh of the Swans."  And no, I have no idea why.)