Friday, August 31, 2007

Home Alone

My husband and Phil left me on Monday, Aug. 27, to go up to the UP with a bunch of middle schoolers and a few other adults. So, what do most people do when they have the house to themselves? PARTY!!! Right? Well, not me.:(

I've been working with an 11 yr. old autistic girl since Jan. of this year. This was to be my last week with her - I had her Mon, Wed, and Fri, for 5 hours each day. She became a hand full the beginning of the summer, just as I start working with her more, as well as getting more pregnant! She went from this sweet little girl who's biggest issues were anxiety which resulted in a lack of breathing normal - she'd either breath real heavy or hold her breath - to this demon child who would run away from me, turn over chairs, throw anything in sight, pee on my carpet, and kick, hit and pinch me! It was a rough summer with many moments of wondering whether or not I'd make it to the end of August! But just these past couple weeks, she started getting better...then there was today... my last day, and I didn't feel sad at all! I love the girl, but I just don't have the energy to deal with being assaulted constantly! So that was Mon, Wed, and Fri.

On Tuesday, I decided to paint all day. I have some friends who painted for me while I was in Mexico, but were not able to finish; and there wasn't a good break from the living room to the hallway that looked my hallway needed done. I'd been hoping someone would do it for me; I hate to paint, plus I'm pregnant - fumes, exhaustion... I really wanted it done before baby comes, so I decided to do it myself! I painted the hallway and 6 doors. Started at 9:30a.m. and with many breaks in between, finished at 6p.m. Whew! I was exhausted!

On Thursday, I cleaned my house all day! I'm much less of a clean freak than I used to be! Truly! I actually let my house go for months sometimes without cleaning - aggghhh!! Yuck! But there always comes a breaking point. During the school year I just don't have the time, and this summer, cleaning was a huge undertaking for me! But, it had to get done!

Tomorrow, Sat., I plan to clean my room! When I say I cleaned the house, that only ever entails my kitchen, bathroom, and living room. My room rarely gets touched. But I plan on keeping baby in there with us for awhile and I need to get it clean and ready.

My mindset this week - make this my last week to get all the big projects done, my last week with my special needs girl, and no one around to distract me. And after this week, I'll relax till baby comes. I'm not sure anyone believes this will happen, but my body needs it to happen and I haven't done a very good job listening!:/

Home alone....PARTY!!! NOT!The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My Girls

You'd have to know my background to know that "fitting in" has never been easy for me. I grew up in an ultra conservative, legalistic Baptist church. I wore split skirts (culottes - they looked like the gouchos we wear today, but much looser and uglier!) to my ankles and a dress for a bathing suit (made out of bathing suit material of course - whew! that thing was dangerous!). And through my entire college career, I wore a skirt every day. My mentor finally convinced me to wear jeans on the last Friday of my internship - I wore jean overalls two sizes too big.

The process of change has been a slow one for me. I was still wearing culottes when I met Corey, although, at that point they were only knee-length.:)

I've always found it frustrating that in conservative circles, most of the time, you'd never know the difference between the men in those circles compared to any other guy; but the woman... just 'cause God made our bodies beautiful and attractive to men means we have to dress frumpy??!!

Now, through most of my childhood, I didn't feel odd. I believed with all my heart that what we did, how we dressed, was the right way - what God wanted. I'm not even sure when I started feeling slightly uncomfortable and out of place. Perhaps it started in college, when I met one of my best friends, who was one of the strongest Christians I'd ever known...and completely "normal." She didn't have to dress weird to live out her faith.

Like I said, the change was VERY slow, VERY gradual for me. And even after I stopped wearing culottes, my jeans were huge, and I still had no style. Now, I may not be trendy, but I think I've finally acquired something close to style. :)

But, I think being a youth leader has been the most helpful, not in my changing, but in feeling like I belong; that I'm not an outsider anymore. As far as youth leaders go, there's only two females right now. So, the girls don't have a whole lot of choice in who they pick to hang out with, but without trying to sound conceited, I at some point became well liked among the girls. And being liked by a bunch of teenage girls has been a huge self-esteem booster for me! The age group that cares most about clothing and coolness and fitting in...and they like and hang out with me!

Phil (he's the guy that rooms with us) told me the other day that I must be pretty cool to get a group of girls to hang out with me on a Friday night. We spent last Friday eating and watching movies - well, I watched one movie and then went to bed; but they had fun without me. So maybe it's not that I'm so cool, but they just enjoy hanging out together...

Anyway, I doubt my girls have any idea how they've helped me- and as selfish as this may be, I'm truly grateful!

My Husband and Kids

I found out tonight just how popular my husband is with the teens at church.

When Corey stepped into ministry at our current church, he came in with the title of Associate Pastor. He knew he'd have to work with the youth, but he didn't want to be a youth pastor. Well...that's basically what his position became. Now, anyone who knows Corey understand me when I say, he's not the youth pastor type! We all know the stereotypical youth pastor type, and Corey doesn't fit this mold at all! But, he has done an excellent job from the beginning! He's never been buddy buddy with the kids - basically does his "job", but with the passion that I've always loved about him!

At some point, these kids started getting under his skin, in the best of ways! They completely grew on him and it was fun for me to watch the gradual transformation in him. He's now going to school to get a Family Life Education degree and his internship is working with youth.

A couple weeks ago, after taking off most of the summer with youth group, we finally came back together, and as he's dismissing, he says, "love you guys." I don't even think he realized he said it -but I caught it and it just made my heart swell. I think his paternal instincts are starting to kick in.:)

Last week at youth group, he mentions as he's dismissing that he'll be gone next week (tonight) but still come. Now, our youth, probably like all youth, rarely hear anything. No matter what you do to let them know events that will be coming up, they never seem to know anything. But at youth group tonight, nobody showed up. We had 6 kids, and one of them said, 'it's not going to be any fun tonight without Corey here.'

Corey's grown to love the kids and the kids have come to love him as well!:) And it makes me smile. He's going to be a great dad!

Oh, the picture...taken after some youth dressed him up.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Here's my nursery! I was sooo excited to finally be able to put it all together! The walls are a soft sage green and the curtains are a soft yellow. We're trying for gender-neutral. We found wood floors under the old carpet and Corey did such a great job sanding and staining and varnishing!

I did laundry for a couple days, washing all the blankets and bedding and clothing. I haven't had a single shower yet, but we're pretty much all set to bring baby home, thanks to my aunt who gave me everything she had that her daughter no longer needs. We are so blessed!

My church plans to give me a shower after baby is born so we know the gender and can be more specific with clothing and such.

This is the most mellow room in my house - I like bright colors and lots of different colors, which you can tell by the blanket on the crib. I found that cute fleece and couldn't pass it up. One of my adopted mothers sewed the silk edging around it for me. The blanket on the end of the crib was crocheted by a young friend from church - she did a beautiful job!

Anyway, this is my nursery, and my favorite room in the house right now.:) I'm sure there will be a few more changes, but I can rest easy now knowing that it's put together!

Stop the Clock!

I've been feeling kind of frustrated lately and here's why. Birth seems a little like death to me in that life goes on no matter what! If you've ever had someone close to you die, I'm sure you just want time to stop. Everyone around you goes on about their lives, continuing to work and make future plans and you just want to crawl into a ball and stay there awhile, grieving and reliving the memories.

So, I'm sure you're wondering how birth can be anything like death.

Well, for me right now, my whole life revolves around the little one inside me. All my thoughts, everything I do these days seem to focus in on baby. For me, everything points to that momentous time of birth and life with baby afterwards. But for everyone else, life still goes on.

I was sitting in a youth leader meeting a few weeks back and felt utterly frustrated that we could be discussing activities we needed to plan for for the next few months. I kept thinking, "But I might go into labor," or "I'll have an infant and I won't be able to participate." I think it's especially frustrating that Corey is in charge of the youth events and so he pretty much has to be involved. And I guess this leaves me feeling kind of alone.

This is probably pretty selfish, but I fear being left out of everything. I remember talking about this with my mother a long time ago and she related her own experience with this. It was after I was born and a group of young adults went to Cedar Point or Great America (can't remember which one) and she had to stay home with me. She said she kind of resented me for it, but realized how selfish she was. I'm not sure I believe she was that selfish. I mean, who wants to be left out?! And this is my fear - stuck at home taking care of baby while Corey goes out and has all the fun.

Perhaps I'll just tag along anyway, with baby on my hip!:)

Don't get me wrong! I love this baby inside of me with all that I am and I'm so excited to have this new little addition to our family! It's just that at times the reality of my life about to change is kind of daunting.

Life does and will go on! Baby will come, hopefully Corey will be close in range, and life will go on... with a few changes.

Dolphin Birth

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.I've been reading a book called Creating Your Birth Plan: The Definitive Guide to a Safe and Empowering Birth by Marsden Wagner, M.D.,M.S. The book has been very informative about all the variations of birth and hospital routines and when an intervention is absolutely necessary and when it is not. This Dr. is very liberal in his views as he believes that birth is a natural process and not medical.

In the chapter about a support and advocacy team during birth, he described the support of a dolphin mother about to give birth. The whole pod is involved. The mother is central and swimming in a circle around the mother is a group of female dolphins. The rest of the female dolphins in the pod swim in a circle around the first circle slightly further away. Then, last but not least, all the males swim in a third circle still further away. The pod pulls together to protect the birthing mother from intrusion and harm. And I quote: "A woman giving birth to a baby thrives when she's at the center of a circle of love."

Just thought it was a really cool picture. I don't think enough can be said for the support a woman has during birth - I truly believe it must make all the difference!

Thursday, August 16, 2007


I've had a lot of trouble coming up with the "perfect" person to have with me during labor and delivery, other than Corey of course. Perhaps I'm being really weird about this, but the whole process seems like a very vulnerable time! Especially for me, being my first and having no idea how I'm going to react to pain and exposure. Who can I be absolutely comfortable with no matter what I say or do? Who will have a calm personality and completely support me in my desire to do it all naturally. (I'm not even sure if Corey's with me on this - his philosophy is, 'if it hurts, take something.')

In my reading and in my childbirth education class, I've recently come across the word "doula." Doula is a Greek word meaning "a female birth companion." Basically, any female you have in the room with you could be considered a doula. But it's actually a profession that woman are trained in. A doula is "a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during, and just after childbirth."(Klaus, Kennell, and Klaus, in Mothering the Mother)

My first thought was why would you pay someone you hardly know to attend the birth of your baby?! But as I continued to struggle with who to ask, and as Corey listened to the issues I was having, he encouraged me to look in to this doula thing.

There's a website,, that has a list of doulas you can find in your area. I contacted one and then himhawed around, still trying to decide what to do. I finally met with a doula Tuesday night, and now I'm really excited about the prospect of having her at my birth!

I'm sold on the idea of having someone there who's experienced in childbirth and trained in how to best encourage and comfort and help in the whole process! The lady I met with had a bag full of stuff to help comfort and aid in the process: blow up birthing ball, snacks, sour candy (I hear this might be desirable), powder, lotion, massage oil, a knobby massaging device - I love the last items; massage sounds wonderful! They're also there to support dad and help him in how to best assist his wife. I think Corey's probably feeling somewhat hesitant and unsure - he's never done this either - and I don't want him to feel sole responsibility for supporting and caring for me in a completely unknown and intense situation!

And perhaps I'll enjoy the fact that I don't know this lady very well - she should have no expectations of me.

So I believe I've made up my mind on who to have with me during labor and delivery. I guess that means I can cross one thing off my list of things to worry about!:)

Jumbled Thoughts

So I've done a fairly good job all summer of letting stress go and not thinking about the future. I'm not doing such a good job of that anymore... Where does time go??? I am 34 weeks along, which means that if baby comes "on time," I have 6 weeks left; if baby is "early," I have 4 weeks left. Yikes!! I'm stuck between excitement to meet this little one and having my body somewhat back to normal, and terror at the idea that I will soon have to take care of this little one outside of my tummy! And my assumption that "motherly instinct" will kick in after birth is starting to fly out the window. I'm not sure I have a clue what I'm doing! I grew up with a plethora of cousins! I started babysitting at a very young age and I always had a baby on my hip...but I wasn't mom taking care of an infant! My confidence is lacking these days!

Then there's labor! I'm all about doing this naturally, but the unknown is scary. And who in the world should I ask to assist me in the labor room, other than Corey? Perhaps ridiculous, but this is the stuff that fills my thoughts and causes stress.

Next there's finances! I wish I were as laid back as Corey! But school's about to start and I don't have a job. I received my first unemployment check today, and although I'm grateful, it's a huge cut from what I actually made. Back to the drawing board where our budget is concerned and we don't even have a baby to add to the mix yet.

And as I write this, I realize I've forgotten that God is in this mess somewhere. He knows my life, my needs, my concerns. I'm not very good at trusting and waiting. But I'm pretty sure He'll work everything out, even though, from my point of view, He has a crazy way of doing things.

I need to focus; focus on my beautiful gift that's about to enter the world. My little baby who has no idea that there are such issues to even be concerned about. My little bundle who's going to come into this world completely relying on me for care and love. And I think that I can handle at least that!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Favorite Pastime

This is an indigo bunting. What a gorgeous bird!

So Corey and I love to watch the birds! We have four different feeders, 2 in the front yard and 2 in the back. Corey even created a little "oasis" around my feeders in back.

We laugh about feeling old - we have two rocking chairs in our living room that at times we rock in side by side, and we enjoy watching the birds! This sounds like a scene you'd see at your grandparents house! But hey, some need the big city life with a plethora of activities to choose from - I just need my bird feeders kept full.

When I consider where I see God most, nature - His creation usually comes to mind. Such intricacy in the birds, such grandeur in the mountains and oceans!

8 Months and Counting

Here I am, 8 months (32 weeks) pregnant. I can't believe how time is flying! I only have 8 weeks or so to go! Whoa!!

Corey and I have started childbirth education classes. I'm loving them - they're so informative and I'm feeling like I'll be able to go into this process with a little bit of confidence. Confidence only in knowing at least what to expect...somewhat. I just don't want to be a mother who let's the doctors, nurses, hospital in general do whatever they want because I don't have a clue!

So, Tuesday night we had class and at the end, we (I mostly) had to do a visualization. Our instructor took us through the labor process step by step, with me breathing, relaxing and picturing what she said. I don't have the best of imaginations, so this was a little difficult for me, until...

Until it came time to visualize baby coming out and being placed on my chest. At this point, I had no problem visualizing and I got all teary-eyed! Wow! I'm about to have a BABY! This fact still awes me at times!

The process of labor is daunting - kind of scary. But I'm trying to get into a mindset that my body knows what to do, the pain is for a purpose, and I get to meet my son or daughter at the end of it! That last part is very exciting!

I went to the doctor today and got a good report. I was able to feel baby's head - he/she is in position!

What a miracle life is!