Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Mary, Did You Know?

{"Mary, Did You Know?" performed by Pentatonix}

This is not my favorite Christmas song. 

It just never appealed to me. It's dark, it's really dramatic, and it talks a lot about the grown up Jesus at a time of year that I just want to think happy thoughts about the adorable baby Jesus in the manger. 

But this year, it means something different to me.

Instead of the dark song I heard in the past, I hear a couple powerful reminders that have made me stop and reflect throughout the Advent season.

The first is of the amazing potential each child has. Mary knew she was going to give birth to the son of God, but did she really understand all that he would do? Could she have ever fathomed that we would still worship him and follow his teachings more than two thousand years after she gave birth to him? I find myself wondering what my own son, due in April, might accomplish with his life. The possibilities are endless. Trevor and I have no way of knowing what he might grow up to be, but we hope we can support our son, no matter what he chooses to do with his life.

The second reminder is of Mary's incredible sacrifice. I'm learning with each aching joint, each stretching pain in my growing belly that pregnancy is no easy thing. It hurts! And I'm not even close to giving birth yet. Mary went through all this because God asked. Did she understand what those those nine months would entail? Does any woman really understand what she is getting into before she's pregnant? Going through a pregnancy I was more than ready for, a pregnancy I very much wanted, has not been easy for me. I cannot imagine what it would be like to go through this not because I wanted to, but because God wanted me to. Was it easier for Mary because she knew she was doing God's will, or was it a struggle because she hadn't asked for a child yet?

Christmas is very different for me this year, and I'm so glad I've had these chances to stop and pause throughout the past month to reflect on what that first Christmas might have really meant for Mary --and for what it truly means for us as followers of Christ. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

20 week update

Sorry this ended up so long! I realized I hadn't really updated since I announced our pregnancy on the blog in October! Since so much happens in the second trimester, I had a lot to say today! I'll try to update a little more regularly from here on out!

I'm nearly seven weeks into the second trimester and I'm feeling great. The nausea is gone, the fatigue is pretty much gone, and my food aversions are mostly gone. We drove past a barbecue restaurant a month ago, and the smokey smell actually appealed to me for the first time since I found out about the pregnancy. I actually shed a couple tears! Chicken and anything grilled turned my stomach so badly until I finished the first trimester. Those first ten weeks of pregnancy symptoms were the worst!

At 15 weeks, we paid a visit to Baby Dimensions, an ultrasound boutique in Newnan. They are able to discern gender at 15 weeks in most cases. Since we couldn't wait to find out and start prepping the baby's nursery, we went in as soon as we hit 15 weeks. Our baby was quite obviously a boy! Apparently, that part of the anatomy is a bit, um, out of proportion at that stage, so it's quite easy to see on an ultrasound!

The 16 week appointment went quite well. The midwife was able to find the heartbeat with no problem. Because my ten week ultrasound (an emergency one due to major pain) showed an anterior placenta, it had been tough to hear the heartbeat at all our previous appointments.

Around 17 weeks, I started feeling the little guy wiggling around a little bit, especially when I was excited or had just eaten. Since hitting 19 weeks last week, he has been noticeably wiggly each evening. On Black Friday night, he started wiggling as soon as I laid down to go to bed, and each time I woke in the night, I felt him wiggling. When the alarm went off on Saturday morning, he was wiggling again! I guess this means that he is, unfortunately, a night owl like his parents!

Feeling movement was a huge milestone for me. I am a worrier. I have been looking forward to feeling movement since the moment I found out our baby was on the way. I craved the reassurance that he was still there, and still doing well. Knowing that he's going to be active sometime in the evening definitely helps keep me calm (babies are most active between 9PM and 3AM, on average).

We have made a lot of preparations for his arrival lately. Trevor fixed the drywall tape and nail pops in the room that is about to be his nursery. Trevor also started painting the room and his dresser (the cheap Ikea dresser I used when we first moved to Georgia and soon found wasn't able to hold adult denim without bowing the drawers). We have his crib and mattress, and they will be assembled as soon as we're rid of the futon that fills his future room. We've also purchased some clothes, some cloth diapers, and his crib comforter (which we know he won't use until he's a toddler, but we wanted to use it to choose paint colors). And of course, we completed our baby registries so our families could use those to shop from this Christmas.

Our 20 week appointment included the big anatomy scan, where they check to see that the internal organs are there and that the limbs look normal. Our little guy is perfect, they said. I was warned that I would feel a lot more movement after the anatomy scan. I was surprised that it took just a couple days for me to feel the first movement that really caught me off guard! Baby boy is definitely growing big and strong. Movement still isn't consistent, but it's getting more frequent and stronger.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday Five: 5 Ways We're Celebrating Advent

1. I printed these cute cards to add to our advent calendar. We have a box with little drawers that we refill with chocolate each year. Since our baby will be on solid food by this time next year, I'm starting to think about what kind of treat we can put away for him!

2. Elf on the Shelf. Our elf is named Hermione (yes, another Harry Potter name, just like the cats). My mom, sister, and grandmother also have elves, and we try to trade pictures of the elves regularly during the season. We tend to go for funny and cute, but Nicole goes for diabolical. She draws her inspiration from Silence of the Lambs and Saw.

3. I'm creating a December scrapbook mini album. I did one the first year Trevor and I were married to document that first Christmas, and I'm coming back to this project five years later to document our last Christmas before baby. I'll share more about that album as I get further into it. Being pregnant means it's hard to plan anything, or guarantee that anything will be done!

4. We're giving to an Angel Tree family. Our community group chose to help a family of six children between the ages of 4 and 12 this year. Trevor and I aren't able to give a lot this year, but I've raided my stash of new-in-package Thirty-One items and we caught a good sale at Carter's, so we were able to provide some nice gifts to three of the children without spending a lot. If you want to do the same, your local Salvation Army can help you find a family in need of help this holiday season.

5. I'm reading a couple different devotionals right now. I'm doing a YouVersion 14 day reading plan on prayer, as well as The Purpose Driven Life 40 Day edition. I'm also reading through the New Testament Epistles and Acts on YouVersion, but because that is an 85 day plan, I'll barely make a dent before Advent is over!

Monday, December 1, 2014

One of those weekends...

It's been one of those weekends around here. Seriously. If you're married to a pilot, you know that the number one rule is that if something is going wrong, your spouse is out of town. Rule number two is that if it's a holiday, he will almost definitely be working.

On Thanksgiving Day, Trevor had to leave the house at 1 p.m. to commute to Fort Lauderdale for work. So, at noon, he said, "Let's call my parents quick." He called, and I stepped towards the phone to say hello only to realize it's not on speaker, it's on Facetime -- and I am a mess! I was still in my pajamas, bathrobe, and glasses. My hair hadn't been brushed yet, either. Truly, a mess. I squeaked out "Happy Thanksgiving! I'm not Facetime ready!" and ducked out of the camera's sight for the rest of the conversation.

We quickly scarfed down our meager Thanksgiving dinner of mashed potatoes, turkey breast, stuffing, cranberries, and apple pie before getting Trevor on the road in a hurry. Of course, as I'm sitting here in a total state of mess, Crookshanks started heaving...a lot. I thought for sure he was going to blow chunks, but he didn't. I gave him a ton of hairball treats and prayed that he would start to feel better. Instead, I found a pile of foamy cat saliva on the floor next to the Christmas tree. Fantastic...

Fast forward to the next morning. I was - once again - a total mess. Because it was Black Friday and I do not shop on Black Friday, I had no intention of going anywhere. Before I finished my morning cup of coffee, I heard a shrill beep from downstairs. It took a few minutes of careful listening to determine it was the carbon monoxide detector in the kitchen. I pulled out the step stool and pressed the reset button, hoping to buy myself some time. The beeping ended, but not without causing me some serious worry. Where could I go for safety with two cats on a holiday weekend? 

I hopped in the shower because I desperately needed to clean up (pregnancy will do that to you). I pondered the huge list of things I would need to pack if the beeping started again, and wondered how I would handle the litter boxes, which I am not allowed to touch while pregnant. I started to think I wouldn't be able to get out of the house with even the basic necessities if it came down to it. I started to worry that if we went to someone's house, Crookshanks would be barfing all over their house from his treats finally working.

And then it struck me - why was I worrying? Worrying would not help me control this situation. What could help, though, would be appealing to the one who IS in control. I spent the rest of my shower praying over our house, our baby, and the cats.

Shortly after I got out of the shower, Trevor called and let me know that our house isn't hooked up for gas. The only thing that would set off the carbon monoxide detector would be if a car had been left running with a closed garage door! Since my car was definitely not running and his car was gone, I was able to breathe a huge sigh of relief. He suggested I change the batteries, though, if the beeping began again.

On Saturday afternoon, I decided it was finally time to venture out and do some shopping. I got showered and dressed. I was all set. However, I couldn't find my keys. Trevor was the last one to drive my car, so I checked the kitchen, the living room, his desk in the office, his night stand, and his dresser. No luck. I checked my purse just in case pregnancy brain made me forget they were in my purse. Again, no luck.

So, I did a second round of the house, just to be sure, but this time praying the prayer I learned in our marriage prep classes with Father Tom: Tony, Tony, Come around. Something's lost and can't be found. Something told me to check the car. They weren't in the ignition or the cupholder. I checked the backseat. I looked up from the backseat and saw something on the trunk of the car. My keys were sitting atop the mail that had come on Wednesday while we were out!

Yep, it was definitely one of those weekends...but both of the big potential catastrophes were averted by taking the time to pray. God spoke to me in a big way by answering my prayers this weekend, and I hope I won't forget the lesson God was teaching me: prayer really does change things!

Edited to add: It's Sunday afternoon as I write this, and Crookshanks still hasn't passed his hairball, but it sounds like it will be coming out soon. He's making more, um, productive noises now that he has had three sets of hairball control treats in the maximum dosage!