Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Joys

What should you give a cat for Christmas?  A box to sit in.

Sam and I had a surprisingly great Christmas this year.  I say surprisingly because we were both sad that we couldn't be with our families, so we were expecting to have a more subdued, melancholy day.  (Well, at least that's what I was expecting.)  We're not the type of people who dread holidays spent with family; we actually really like the people we're related to.  And since we don't get to spend enough time with them in general, holidays are usually the guaranteed hang-out times, so missing out was a bummer for both of us.

Thankfully, we got to video chat with both of our families after having a breakfast of yummy apple crisp (with lots of whipped cream).  After that, to avoid sitting home all day with the holiday blues, we headed to the movie theater to see Les Mis, the movie I'd been anxiously awaiting for about a year.  I was not disappointed; it was incredible.  I've basically obsessed over this play since I was eight or nine.  I remember playing the CD over and over, throwing bits of red and black construction paper into the air while singing "Red and Black", switching between playing Javert and Jean Valjean during "The Confrontation", and singing all the parts to "One Day More".  To finally have a musical version made into a movie was something of a dream come true, although in my dream I'm cast as Eponine or Fantine, of course.  Still, the cast did an amazing job, and the movie, though based on the play, actually had bits from the book that aren't included in the play, which made it even better.  I highly recommend seeing it!

We had planned on seeing The Hobbit immediately after Les Mis, but as we exited the theater, we were greeted by crowds and crowds of people who had apparently finished opening their presents.  So we decided to head home instead, because Sam doesn't like crowds and I was starving.  On our way home we drove past another, smaller movie theater, one that didn't have any lines and happened to be showing The Hobbit about twenty minutes from that time.  We also happily realized that it was $5 Tuesday, so we got some pretty cheap tickets.  The best part, according to this pregnant pig, is that this movie theater is also sort of a restaurant, so you can order food throughout the movie and eat it while enjoying the show.  And it's not just typical movie theater food, it's yummy stuff.  So Sam quickly ordered a Blue Velvet burger with fries and a beer, and I enjoyed a basket of fries and a vanilla milkshake - delish!

A few minutes before the movie was scheduled to start, I was happily shoveling fries into my mouth when an attendant announced that due to technical issues, they'd be showing us the 3D version of the movie instead of the normal, cheaper one we'd paid for.  They passed out our 3D glasses, and Sam smiled like a litttle boy on Christmas, as he'd been wanting to see it in 3D and it was a very pleasant surprise.  We agreed that the day just kept getting better and better!  To top it off, a fellow movie-goer made quite a scene about the switch, because she hated 3D movies, and her utter ridiculousness was quite entertaining for us.  As she was leaving, some other patrons filed into her vacated seats, and she instructed them that the food she was leaving behind was "not for touching, it's for them to pick up because I'm leaving."  Sam and I are rather entertained by nonsensical, absurd people, so we found this little outburst rather comical.  Who complains about a free upgrade, and on Christmas?  Oh, people.

So a day that I anticipated being somewhat sad turned out to be a great day.  Both movies were fantastic, and Sam and I had a fun day together, minus families and presents.  It was a great reminder that the materialism isn't necessary for a great Christmas, and that Sam and I could enjoy the day even though we really wished we could be with family.  As much as everyone wants to believe Christmas is about presents and family, the real reason we celebrate is because of a little baby that was born a very long time ago.  (And yes, I know Jesus wasn't actually born December 25th, but since that's the day we've chosen to celebrate, that's when we do it.)  Speaking of babies, it seems like it was an appropriate way to spend our last Christmas as a family of two, just enjoying each other and some movies.  (I highly doubt we'll be seeing many movies once baby comes.)

Plus, it helped that we got to be with my family for Thanksgiving, and that we knew we'd be spending time with Sam's family a few days after Christmas.

Here's a picture of a rapidly-growing me, at (I think) about 17.5 weeks:

And my two favorite cute guys.

I hope that everyone who's reading this had a wonderful Christmas, wherever you were and whatever you were doing!

Friday, December 14, 2012

realizations and trust

I mentioned in my last post that I struggled a lot with fear and worry in my first trimester.  I still have moments of anxiety, simply because my baby isn't big enough for me to feel it moving yet, and I'm just hoping and assuming he or she is still growing and developing properly.  It is the ultimate lesson in trust!  I started writing the following blog back in my first trimester, when I was still overwhelmed with worry, and I've continued to add to it.  I thought I'd share it now.

It just hit me that my baby is never "safe".  We'll never be out of the "danger zone".  Yes, I'm anxiously awaiting hitting 14 weeks so I can be past the miscarriage stage, but I've also known others who have lost their baby past that stage.  There's always the chance of a still-birth.  And once I have the baby, once I've met him or her, there's never a guarantee that something won't happen and take the baby away.

The day we found out we were pregnant we also found out my cousin had leukemia.  It was an odd mix of emotions, being excited about being a mom, and being devastated for my aunt, uncle, and cousin.  Being worried about my baby and worried about Trevor, and feeling sorrow for my aunt and uncle and the anguish they were experiencing.  It also brought on a very unwelcome, familiar feeling of when we found out about Sara.  Noreen and Woody lost their baby when she was twenty-two, and now my aunt and uncle were told their child, their thirteen year-old son, had a very serious disease.  The more I thought about it, I realized we're never safe from harm.  We're never safe from pain, and even if I have a perfect pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby, there's no guarantee I won't one day lose the baby.  We were promised that in this world we would have trouble; this was simply a reminder.

I don't know why, but this realization brought relief.  Maybe it was because I finally accepted that I truly have no control over any of it.  I still take the best care of my body as possible, and try to do everything "right" with my pregnancy.  But there are plenty of women who do everything right, and still their baby doesn't develop or something uncontrollable goes wrong.  There's nothing a mother can do.  It's frustrating, knowing that I cannot do anything to guarantee my baby's safety or health.  There's no pill I can take, no one I can pay off to be sure I get to meet my baby.  But at the same time, it takes away the burden of worrying, because worrying certainly won't prevent me from losing this baby.  Ultimately, it's God's child anyway.  He's the one creating and forming this little one.  I'm just the vessel he chose to develop this little bean in.  And even when I'm a mom, all my children won't be "mine", they'll belong to God.  This baby's life is being prepared by God.  He already knows if this baby will live to be 1 year old or 100 years old.  He's the one planning it out, and so who am I to try to take control over this child's life?

It seems like good training for when I do become a mother.  I'll do everything I can to protect my child from harm, but I can only do so much.  Today's shooting in the Connecticut classroom was a harsh reminder that this world is often ugly and evil, and unfair, horrific things happen, things that can't always be prevented or controlled.  I'm learning that becoming a parent is a very brave decision, that it takes strength and courage to let go of that control and even be okay with not being able to always protect them.  I hope I can keep remembering to surrender control to God and let go of the worry and anxiety that will continue to present itself throughout my life.  I'm sure it will be a constant battle for me, but I'm counting on God to give me that strength.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Things I Wish I Knew

These are the things I wish I knew before being pregnant.  Now, to be fair, even though I have lots of friends and family with babies, I never really asked much about pregnancy because it terrified me.  I didn't want to know what happened.  So I really knew very little about pregnancy before actually getting pregnant myself.  This is what I've learned...

I wish I knew that once you find out you're pregnant, God seems to pour molasses into the giant clock of life that immediately slows time wayyy down.  Seriously, from the moment I found out I was pregnant at about 5 weeks, until my first doctor appointment a month later, time seemed to move at a snail's pace.  And not to mention how long it takes to get through the first trimester - those weeks were the longest of my life!  I thought time went by slowly when I was engaged, but I had no idea how slowly time could move.  And from what I hear, time will move even slower if I'm overdue.

I also wish I knew that upon discovering a pregnancy, there is a huge blob of worry and fear that suddenly settles over your head.  So far I haven't been scared at all of actually being a mom, but in the beginning, I constantly worried about the health and safety of the baby, and feared that something might happen to this little one before I got to meet him/her.  I've finally found a peace about it all, but it took lots and lots of prayer and reassurance, and constant reminders that I have absolutely no control over it.  It didn't help that I'm one of those people that assumes bad things will happen to me if I hear stories from someone else.  (When I was little, if I heard about a little girl being kidnapped, I automatically assumed I'd be kidnapped as well.)  So if you have any stories of miscarriage, still births, preterm births, or any very tragic, sad stories about babies, do me a favor and don't share them with me right now.  (You'll also be doing yourself a favor, because I might punch you.  Don't blame me, it's the hormones.)

And I wish I knew that the pregnancy "glow" is just code for a speckled face of red spots.  My face hasn't looked like this since I was a teenager.  Thanks, hormones.

Another thing I didn't know is how great Sam would be as a partner through it all.  He's very caring and helpful and is always asking what I need from him.  Unfortunately, he doesn't think pregnancy equals my being right all the time, or that hormones give me the right to be a brat.  Whenever we get into a disagreement, I just want him to say, "You're right honey, can I get you some ice cream?"  Instead he reminds me that I need to eat broccoli and stuff.  Still, he's been pretty amazing.

And here's a random story for you, to make this post even longer.  Well over a year ago, I had asked Sam if we could name any future daughter Cosette or Eponine.  He said he didn't like Eponine and Cosette sounded like a French whore's name.  (That was before I took him to see Les Mis and he learned that it's actually Fantine who is the working girl.)  Anyway, now that we're having a baby, I brought up the name idea again, and Sam again denied me.  (Who says no to a pregnant lady?)  He said, "Plus, since the movie is coming out, there will probably be a ton of people that name their kid Cosette now, and that's exactly what you don't want."  And it's true - I don't want my kid to have a very popular or trendy name.  When I realized he was right and the dream I'd had since third grade was dead, I was mad at all the people who will name their daughters Cosette because of the movie, and I said, "I will hate all those baby Cosettes." temper and irrational thinking isn't helped by pregnancy hormones, either.

And, for funsies, here's me at 16 weeks and at 16.5 weeks. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Why I Haven't Blogged in 2 Months

Here I am, back from my long hiatus from blogging.  It's not that I didn't want to write, or didn't have anything to write about.

It's just that I've been a little busy growing a human. 

Basically, for the past nine weeks, I've been sleeping, eating, trying not to throw up, trying to keep my eyes open while working on homework, and trying not to worry about my little growing baby.  I've had a ton of thoughts about pregnancy, but didn't quite feel ready to share my thoughts with the world, so my writing has been of the private sort as of late.  But here are some answers to the basic questions we've been getting.

Was baby a surprise?  Baby was a major surprise.  Sam and I had talked about starting a family sometime next year, and when I took the pregnancy test I didn't actually think I was pregnant.  I took the test to just prove that I wasn't pregnant, so when I saw a second, faint pink line, I freaked out a bit.  But it was a good freak out.  We are both extremely excited about baby Swenson.

When are you due?  May 25th.

Are you going to find out the sex?  Yes.  And no, we don't have a preference.  I change my mind daily as to whether or not I'd prefer a girl or boy.  Sometimes I think it would be way easier to raise a mini-Kimberly, sometimes I think it would be easier to raise a mini-Sam.  (But I think I'm just kidding myself because any offspring of ours will be extremely stubborn, so either way it probably will be something of a challenge...)

What will you name him/her?  No idea.  Sam wants to wait until we know if we're naming our daughter or son before we discuss name ideas.  (But yes, I already have several boy and girl names picked out that I just have to convince Sam to agree to when the time comes.)

Morning sickness?  Not a lot of morning sickness, just nausea.  Unfortunately, my former diet staples now make me sick.  The thought of coffee grosses me out completely.  Also, I used to have a banana spinach shake every morning for breakfast, which I couldn't possibly keep down now.  And I used to eat a lot of steamed kale with brown rice and soy sauce, but even typing that makes me feel yucky.  Apparently baby doesn't want it's leafy greens quite yet.  (Thank God for prenatal vitamins!)

Cravings?  Um, yes.  Any Friends fans remember when vegetarian Phoebe was pregnant with her triplets?   The baby wants meat!  I hadn't eaten meat since December of 2011, and never once missed it.  Well, this little baby seems to love meat, so we're getting lots of protein!  Also, I have never in my life liked hamburgers.  If I ever went to In-N-Out or McDonalds, I only ever got fries or a salad.  Suddenly, I love hamburgers.  The worst part is I can't even eat the bun because of the gluten, so I'd just eat the hamburger meat!  And I normally hate hamburger meat!  Aside from that, I've only made Sam go to the store once to get me something I was craving, and that was for chocolate milk.  Yummmmmy.

Here's my official 14-week picture.

There is a slight shadow on the wall behind me, but yes, I am that big.  I basically started showing immediately.  People say it usually takes awhile with the first pregnancy because the baby has to push through your ab muscles...well, I've never had any ab muscles to speak of, so apparently baby had no problem making itself known.  I think my stomach is just remembering what it was like when I was chubby, and has immediately reverted back to that.  I've never deluded myself into thinking I'd be one of those cute pregnant women who doesn't look pregnant from behind and her weight is all in her belly.  I'm fairly certain I will balloon up rather quickly.  That's fine by me, as long as baby is healthy.

And here's just a fun picture with my sister, who is due in January.  (She is one of those cute pregnant women whose weight is all in her belly.)

Monday, October 1, 2012

September blogs

It's October 1st.  Did anyone else notice if I reached my goal of nineteen blogs in the month of September?  How many times did I manage to blog?


Eight times in a month...which is not even close to my goal.  But here's the thing - that's just the way it's going to be.

Truth is, life has been a little busy. Last week I worked full time at the office, in addition to having school full time online. Last weekend my friend Bree came to visit from Seattle, and the weekend before that we spent four glorious days on a houseboat on Lake Shasta.  It was awesome seeing so many old friends, but it just meant my weekends were full.  That meant homework, grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, and all that good "weekend stuff" all had to be done at night when I got home from work.  Unfortunately, with very little extra time, blogging falls to the backburner.  (Um, also, all the shows that we missed over the summer are back, so I had to catch up on those, naturally...)

A few times I was tempted to just post a picture, or short anecdote, or just something so that I would have a blog posted.  But I've decided I don't want to forsake quality for quantity, so if I don't have time to post anything good, I won't post anything at all.

Soon I hope to post some pictures from the past couple weekends.  But for now, I must go do the homework that was due yesterday that I didn't finish...

Monday, September 17, 2012

happy birthday, marci

Today is Marci's birthday, so I wanted to dedicate a post to her.  I don't think I could accurately describe our friendship in words, so instead I'll let some pictures do the talking.  But basically we met in kindergarten, became inseparable in seventh grade, and for the past fifteen years have been there for each other through everything.  I love her, and I'll never let her stop being my friend.

A production of Oliver! in seventh grade. (No, I never had short blond hair, that is a wig.)

In eighth grade we performed Guys and Dolls - Marci was Adelaide, I was Sister Sarah.  We're singing Marry the Man Today here, a duet.  (Oh yeah, she has a beautiful voice and can act.)

I don't know what we're doing here but I love this picture.

  At Hume Lake.

Here we are in the basketball trophy case in high school.  Why?  I don't know...because we were that cool, apparently.

This picture is from Marci's 16th birthday.  I arranged a surprise trip to take her to see Les Miserables in a limo.  Don't you wish you were my friend in high school?  I don't do cool stuff like that anymore.

Unfortunately I couldn't find any pictures from when Marci was homecoming queen.  Yes, she was homecoming queen and class president.  (Marci was the cool kid and I just tagged along, and usually people were like, hey Marci, who's that girl you're with?)

I also don't have any pictures of us from her wedding (hmmm, Marc, maybe send me some of your wedding pictures), but she was a stunning bride.  Like, indescribably stunning.  I cried a lot on her wedding day.

I do have this one from my wedding day.

...maybe this one's a little better, but the above picture is most "us".

I love this girl a lot.  She's put up with me for a really long time, and still laughs at my stupid jokes.  What a friend, right?  She's beautiful, talented, intelligent, kind, loves Jesus, and she's basically just really great.  Marcela, if I could I'd take you to Les Mis again...or to the mall, and then we'd drive by the Scranton house and scare ourselves...

Happy Birthday to one of the best friends a girl could ask for.
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