Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"you're pregnant?! well, here's the one thing i'll tell you..."

Though other people noticing I'm pregnant and asking about my pregnancy is usually fun, there's always that comment that I just smile and nod at. Here are a few:

Awesome advice:
  • Don't sleep during the night at all the week before the baby's born, only during the day
  • Put your child in your bed; it's the only way she'll sleep
  • Don't ever let your child sleep in your bed; you'll never get her out
  • Pretend to have weird cravings even if you don't actually have them because it's the only time in your life you can get away with it
  • "The only thing that prevents stretch marks is [vitamin E, cocoa butter, tons of water, massages]"
Comments about the size of my belly:
  • "You're so tiny, I didn't even realize you were pregnant!"
  • "I knew someone who had twins who was smaller than you."
  • "You're finally really pregnant!" (from someone at church, once I started showing)
Assumptions about how I must be feeling:
  • "Judging by your size, you must just be getting to that really easy part of pregnancy."
  • "...of course, you're so healthy and little, that must be no problem for you." (from someone telling me they felt fat during pregnancy)
  • To Sam: "Been making a lot of late-night-craving runs lately?"
Things I'm assumed to know, but really have no clue about:
  • Braxton-Hicks contractions
  • What happens during the whole labor process
  • How and when to breast-feed
  • The "first" time I felt the baby move (more like it took a couple weeks to figure out Feeling A is gas, Feeling B is baby moving)
Comments from students where I'm substitute teaching:
  • "You've got a little pudge!" --7th grader
  • "My mom just had a baby. She was huge and mad, all the time." --9th grader
  • "You're six months pregnant?! When I had my baby, I was that big at four months. She's almost two now!" --10th grader
  • "Are you growing a baby in your tummy?" --1st grader

Saturday, February 16, 2008

"we're so in love, it's ridiculous"

This is what Sam told me after I suggested we go to Panera for dinner a few weeks ago and he said he'd been thinking the exact same thing.

Sam and I both really like to eat, but we like it even more when we're eating together. So you shouldn't be surprised that our Valentine's Day this year revolved around food. Sam showed up after work with these:

Aren't they beautiful? (I was having fun with our new camera this morning)

But he also had a baguette, gruyere, havarti, and a long thin box. I eagerly opened my present to find a cheese knife!!! I've been wanting one since we used my sister-in-law, Marcelle's, very nice one. And since cheese is Sam's favorite food (especially the melted variety) we use our not-so-great cheese slicer every day. Needless to say, we immediately broke out the raclette and enjoyed a yummy appetizer of super melty cheese on chewy, crusty bread.

Next it was my turn, and I presented Sam with a box wrapped in a red blanket topped with a few of these:

Not surprising since my favorite food is chocolate.

Inside Sam's box was a fondue pot. We'd been talking about fondue a few weeks earlier, found some recipes, and searched online for good sources of cheese in Katy. Now we can enjoy all the melty cheese and chocolate we want! The first party is already in the works.

So it's true. We are so ridiculously in love with each other that we unknowingly coordinated Valentine's Day gifts and food. Life is good.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

month of loves?

Well, clearly I'm not cut out for the daily blog post. I wrote in my journal nearly every day during junior high, and I remember people seemed to be impressed by that. At the time, I didn't see why, but I certainly came to understand. Too bad junior high wasn't more interesting; I've got a very detailed record of it.

Anyway, I gave up on completing the "month of loves" posts formally, but my 3/4 of a month of loves inspired me to post more often and include more memories and thoughts in my blog. I'll try to keep up that habit.

In the mean time, here's a little update since this month of loves started. I'm just over 24 weeks pregnant. I'm feeling great most of the time with just a few achy back moments and the occasional mid-sleep leg cramp. I feel the baby move often and Sam is able to feel her now, too. We've bought a car seat, stroller, and pack n' play, so we'll be allowed to take the baby home from the hospital and we have somewhere for her to sleep. I know it's a little early to have those things, but I like not thinking about them anymore.

I've started substitute teaching. For all the hassle of dealing with students who are trying to take advantage of you, I think the flexibility is very worth it. I also appreciate that our school system lets you arrange your whole schedule online and up to 10 days in advance. No early morning phone calls for me!

Marriage has just gotten better and better and Sam and I love doing things together. We've gone on lots of walks, bike rides, and shopping trips together. Two weekends ago we went to see Lucy at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. It really was amazing to see how complete the skeleton was, and I liked learning how she related to other homonids that have been found. The exhibit also included a large section on the country of Ethiopia, where Lucy was found, and I was especially fascinated to see depth of religious history there. We finished our date with a trip to a newly opened Panera. I forgot how much I love their baguettes.

This last weekend we got to go on the youth temple trip and had an adult Valentine's Day dinner and dance. We had lots of fun talking with other couples from our ward and then dancing to all the slow songs. I'll admit it's a tiny bit awkward to step forward to dance together and having my belly reach Sam first, but that wasn't enough to keep us off the dance floor. We're celebrating our 1.5 year anniversary today, and we're glad there'll be another one in the family by the time year 2 comes around.

I don't know how to wrap this post up, so I'll just end with a picture of how we're teaching our baby, in utero, to be green.

Friday, February 08, 2008

month of loves: books

I've been making my baby registries online this week and have been thinking about what books I feel are essential to have around. Here's a starter list I came up with. I'd love to get more suggestions for great books for very young children.

Very Hungry Caterpillar (my mom has some uber-cute onesies and sleepers set aside for me with embroidered pictures from this book on them. I can't wait!)

Where the Wild Things Are

Harold and the Purple Crayon

Plenty of Dr. Seuss

Animalia (I'd never hear of it, but Sam really liked them)

Winnie the Pooh

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

Are you my mother?

month of loves: ice cream

We went to TCBY last night with a buy-one-get-one-free coupon for a regular cone. I wasn't very impressed with their flavor selection. There wasn't anything very interesting. The weirdest thing there was something called rainbow cream which looked like a mess of bright colored frozen yogurt swirled together and tasted like vanilla. Weird.

I ended up getting rocky road. It's not a flavor I get very often and I liked the almonds and chocolate chips in it. Also, a regular cone is really big, so I certainly got my ice cream fix for the day. I didn't feel so bad eating such a huge helping knowing that it has a lot less fat and calories than ice cream. Too bad it just doesn't taste as good.

In the end, I'd probably have been just as satisfied with a few spoonfuls of Haagen-Dasz.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

month of loves: life with sam

The other day, I was thinking about how great Sam is (I think that pretty often, but it was especially on my mind that day). He works so hard for our family. He's patient and talented. He works hard on his callings. He makes me laugh and helps out around the house. And people always tell me how kind or funny or easy-going or talented he is. Best of all, he loves me a lot and is always considerate and gentle. So, on this day, I was trying to think of something to get to thank him or surprise him, but nothing seemed appropriate.

When he came home that day, I told him how I'd thought about him all day long and tried to think of something to get him, but couldn't, so decided just to tell him how much I appreciated him instead.

Fast forward a couple days, and Sam walked into the apartment after work with a big box in his hand. It was a new garbage can! That may not sound so great, but I didn't like our old one very much and had been wanting a new one for some time. He said he too wanted to let me know how much he appreciated me, saw the trash can in the store, remembered I wanted one, and got it for me. He's so wonderful.

And so is our new garbage can-- which, as I've already mentioned, Sam is very diligent about emptying.

Monday, February 04, 2008

month of loves: places

This one's for all you people who think about Washington or Oregon the way Texans think about Texas.

Sam and I took a long vacation after we graduated last April. We spent the first week in Ohio with my family and spent the second week with our dear friends Allison and Ben (and daughter, Adele) in Washington, and my brother David and his wife and son, Marcelle and Jonas, in Oregon. And, we loved it.

Neither of us had been to either state and we were excited to be able to go. Some of my favorite days were the ones we spent enjoying the great outdoors.

In Washington, we hiked up to Wallace Falls. It was a nice, easy hike with two or three (Sam and I can't remember) waterfalls on the way up. The day was perfect and sunny. The trees-- and everything else-- dripped with moss. The air was fresh and earthy. It was heavenly...marvelous ...soul-healing in the way that only being in unadulterated nature can be. It's the type of place I could go to every day and always leave feeling satisfied.

In Oregon, Sam and I wanted to head to the coast. We got there via a scenic drive through evergreen forests. Then we just drove along the coast, stopping at little beaches and coves whenever we wanted enjoying a delicious meal provided by Marcelle (including a homemade baguette-- mmmm!) Every time we'd round another bend, I just wanted to laugh. The beauty of it made me so happy! Just thinking about our trip has got me grinning.

So thank you again to Allison, Ben, Adele, Marcelle, Jonas, and Dave for giving up your homes and beds to us so we could enjoy your company and God's great creation.

month of loves: scripture

Zechariah 7:9

9 Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Execute true ajudgment, and shew bmercy and ccompassions every man to his brother:

Doctrine and Covenants 82:23

23 Leave judgment alone with me, for it is mine and I will arepay. Peace be with you; my blessings continue with you.

I found these scriptures when I was studying compassion in the scriptures about a year ago. It was a wonderful topic to study, especially while working in a residential treatment center. That was a job where nothing makes you more successful than kindness.

These scriptures, however, didn't immediately make me consider how I treat others. As I read them, I thought about how I judge myself. The Lord commands us to show mercy to others, to forgive everyone, and to leave judgment to Him, including when we judge ourselves.

Of course we should try to be obedient and we need to recognize when we need to repent, but the Lord doesn't want us to be critical of, degrade, or belittle ourselves anymore than he wants us to do it to someone else.

I know this isn't a new idea, but reading my thoughts about it in my journal reminded me of how much it meant to me at the time, and hopefully, it will mean something to someone else.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

month of loves: art

Laocoon and his sons

Compare this to other works of the period --mostly very static-- and you can see why this piece with all its movement and emotion is so far ahead of everything else and why it was so influential for the Renaissance artists alive when it was unearthed.

And don't you love how the snake is just about to bite?

month of loves: books & people

Well, I've missed two days of my little project, so I'll do a double-header here to make it up.

My people for today are my parents. You can't really say enough about such wonderful parents, and if I tried, this post would never end, so I'll just write about how my concept of "parents" intersects with my concept of "books."

Our home is filled with books. I know a lot of people say that, but I don't think I've ever been in another house that has anywhere near the sheer volume of books that inhabits our house. Thankfully, an awful lot of reading also went on in our house so I knew the books weren't for show but because my family valued what was inside the books. I have many fond memories of stories and reading in our home.

I loved it when my dad would tell us stories. He made up stories about us children where each of us had a corresponding animal character. As animals we did things like escape from zoos, play tricks, and cheer up sick children in a hospital when the adults weren't looking. We called them Mischief and Ugg stories since those were the names of my two oldest brothers' (Michael and Doug) characters. Mine was a bird named Feather McGee.

Daddy also had great voices when he would tell or read stories to us. His voice for the troll under the bridge in The Billy Goats Gruff was terrifyingly low and growly and I'd always squeal when it came roaring up in the story. It didn't help that Daddy would tickle and bounce us through books-- reading with him was always a very physical experience. I loved how he could read Dr. Seuss so fast! I now realize that by the time child number six came along, he had read those books thousands of times, but I thought it was more because he just had an amazing talent for tongue twisters. We also had a wonderful game that went along with The Gingerbread Man which could be another post in itself, but the point is, Dad made reading and stories so much fun.

Daddy being his usual silly self

Mom after a trip to the British Library

Of course, Dad wasn't the only one who read to us. One of my favorite parts of our road trips across America from Ohio to Utah or California was reading aloud. In our old vans, you could turn the passenger-side captains chair all the way around so it faced the back. Mom would sit there and read to us, and we'd each take turns reading, too. I vividly remember sobbing into the driveway at Grandma's house as we finished up Watership Down. Even once I was a teenager, we still read together. I have a firm conviction that Harry Potter is much better read aloud and shared with family than read alone.

I also remember countless hours of my own reading to my mom. I loved the American Girl dolls-- I still do-- and they had wonderful books to go along with the dolls. I don't think I would have enjoyed the dolls nearly as much had I not read every single book written about them. I loved that I learned about history through them, and I loved that the girls were nice-- something I didn't see much of in late elementary school. For me, the best way to read the books was to sit on the floor in Mom's sewing room and read them out loud to her while she sewed. Often, she was making clothes for my dolls. Either I had chosen a dress from the catalog and Mom created a pattern for it and made it for me, or I designed the dress. But she would sew and I would read and in between, we'd talk. It was a marvelous way to bond.

Later on, in high school, when I was assigned Shakespeare to read, Mom and I would sit down together and read the plays out loud, each taking several parts. As we went along, we'd talk about the play so I could be sure I had the storyline right. I'm sure that many of the points I made in essays about the plays came from our discussions, so I can credit Mom with my good grades. And it kept Shakespeare from being scary. I ended up taking two classes on Shakespeare in college, just for the fun of it, and my brother Steve would organize Shakespeare readings on Sunday afternoons at BYU. (One of those resulted in a wedding where Steve met his own fiance, so kudos to Steve and Mr. William Shakespeare!)

As I currently ponder my future motherhood, I've thought a lot about the kind of parent I want to be. Books, stories, fun, and imagination were so central to my childhood that I can't imagine being a good parent without them. My collection of children's books is small at the moment, but I imagine it will grow as my children do. And I am great supporter of libraries.

So, here's my plug for the day: if you're one of the few people who read this, take a minute today to read! Even better, call your grandchild, niece, mom and read to them. I'd love to hear your reports!