Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My Pregnant Head.

"How are you feeling?"
"Oh, I'm awesome!"

"Any nasty pregnancy symptoms?"
"Nope! Feeling great!"

I sort of lie sometimes.  Because if I told people about my weird symptoms, I'm pretty sure they'd think I'm nuts.

I didn't have any of the dreaded morning sickness, so I feel like I really can't complain about anything.  But my mouth! My face! My head! You guys, it's been rough.

Thankfully, I've been seeing an amazing chiropractor who has helped me with my jaw issues.  That's all fixed up, and I'm so relieved.  But my mouth! My head! What the what?!

I'm not sure if I should blame hormones, or expanding blood vessels, or stress, or who-knows-what.  But some days, I don't even want to open my mouth to say words.

So I take Tylenol when I can.  And I use ice packs.  And every single morning at 2:30a when the Tylenol wears off, I whine my way to the bathroom to take another dose before I wake up too much.  Sometimes I take a shower and brush my teeth, because it helps.  Which is psychological, I know.  Then I come back to bed and lay there for hours.  And I think about things like wiggly teeth and sight words and nursery decor and why is this Tylenol not kicking in? And should I just get up and start my day?

So that's fun.

There's so much I want to be doing right now.  Cleaning out the office, which will soon be a nursery.  Finishing odd jobs around the house before baby arrives (or before I get too enormous to do odd jobs).  But I just can't do those things when I'm massaging my temples all day and laying with ice packs on my face.

At this point, you're probably all ready to send me meals and offer to clean.  Don't!  Really.  If you're going to feel sorry for someone, feel sorry for Jake.  He asks me a question, and sometimes my answer is "Ijusswantsomeorangejuice...".

And he's like "What did you just say?".  So I repeat myself - because, how can you not understand me?!

And he's like "Are you mad at me about something?" and I'm like "Nomyfacehuurrrts....".

He's the best.  He rubs my temples until his fingers are sore and almost bleedy (not really).  He asks if I want anything from the store before he comes home (just cherry 7up, please!).  He calls to check on me.  He tells me that he wishes there was something he could do, and he really means it.  You guys, I got a good one.  

So the next time you see me, and you ask "How are you, pregnant mama?!" - I will probably say "I'm doing great...couldn't be better!".  And it might be the truth....or it might not be :) 


When are you due?!
March 9th! Which means I'm 20 weeks pregnant - halfway-ish there! My maternity clothes are getting lots of use these days :) If I wear regular clothes, I still just look extra-pudgy.  Or like I just gobbled up a whole pizza.  But in maternity clothes, it's pretty obvious :) In fact, one of Carter's nurses at the doctors office told me I looked 'tiny' for being this far along.  In my entire life, I've never - ever - ever - ever been called 'tiny' :)

Will you find out the gender?!
YES! In one week! Yes, we'll share it. This is the first tiny-baby on both sides of our family, so we know people are eager to buy cutsie blankets and things :) And I'm eager to set up the nursery and do all those fun nest-y things!

Are you doing any fun baby projects?!
I've got a couple easy sewing projects once we find out the gender.  And I'm working on a baby book (through iPhoto) every couple weeks.  I add things like names that we've been talking about, belly pictures, what/how the baby is growing during that week, and other pregnancy facts & stories. I'm also taking a few belly shots every so often.  Not, like, shots of liquor off my belly. But photos of my growing belly.  Which doesn't seem to be growing that much to me.

13 weeks vs. 19 weeks

I had a hard time choosing how I would take these belly shots.  I know myself.  I know that I'm not going to get dolled up every week to take a photo of adorable (or frumptastic) me, in front of a chalkboard.  I'm just not.  So I saw this silhouette picture somewhere, and thought it was perfect.  I don't have to do my hair or makeup - I can wear leggings and a tshirt - and I can do it whenever I feel like doing it.  So there.  Take that, Pinterest.  

Will you share the name?!
Nope! We are horrible, aren't we :)  So far, the names we like aren't all that common.  We just hate the idea of sharing our names, and having people say "That's HORRIBLE!" or "WHY would you name your baby that?!?".  It would probably sway our decision, and I want to pick a name that WE love.  We also know that if people see our baby in the hospital or sometime after birth, they will probably have the decency to keep their lips zipped about their opinion of our baby's name.  So the name will be a secret.  Which is kind of fun.  We (and everyone else) knew everything there was to know about Carter.  We even had a picture!  There were no surprises.  This time, we'd like to do things a little differently.

What does Carter think?!
It's hard to say.  He definitely talks about the baby.  Whether he actually understands that there is a baby in my belly is debatable :) I sometimes wonder if IIIII even understand what's going on! HA!  He will touch my belly, though, and say "Babyyyy!" or he'll say "Mom, dad, baby!".  Eventually we'll start preparing him for baby's arrival by using a dolly.  Honestly, we think Carter will be an awesome big brother.  He loves to help us, and I'm sure he'll love to help us with the baby.  

What gender are you hoping for?
We couldn't care less.  A boy would be so fun - two little boys.  Brothers.  I love the idea of brothers.  They would have a special bond, for sure.  And a girl would be so precious.  A boy and a girl.  Every little girl needs a big brother to look out for her.  I've always wanted to have a boy and a girl.  Truly, we don't care.  We're just thrilled to find out! 

Any other cravings or symptoms?
Well, my chin hairs are growing like weeds.  I just can't even.  If you want to really feel bad for me about something, feel bad for me about my chin hairs.  I haven't had any true I-need-this-right-now cravings.  But I do eat lots of cereal and orange juice.  I am also into peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  And pears.  Lots of pears.  Thankfully, a friend brought over a whole bag just this last Wednesday!  My usual desires for things like creamy pasta and comfort foods have only gotten stronger.  But I think I do a good job of balancing everything with lots of fruits and veggies (raw green beans!).  If my Grannie is reading this, and would like to make me the orange/grapefruit citrus salad, I'd be very grateful :) I've had a hankering for it several times over the past few weeks, but I hate the mess I make peeling & separating all those citrus fruits! I've had a few nights of nighttime leg cramps - but now they seem to have stopped.  Let's all hope that's the end of that! 

Have you felt any kicking?!
I felt the first kicks around 17 weeks, just one time.  Then a little over a week later, I felt it again during church.  And I haven't really felt it since.  But I've been a little crampy/achy (from all the stretching and growing going on), so I'm wondering if I'm just feeling that so much and not really feeling the kicks.  

So.  That's that.  You now know everything there is to know.


I've got to say - I wrote most of this post over a week ago.  A few days ago, my mouth pain and headaches totally eased up and I feel like a million bucks.  I'm really, really, really hoping that I'm finally entering into the 'honeymoon' period of pregnancy where things are totally peachy, and I'm still not too big or too tired to feel good.

Bring on the second half!

One Thing I Know For Sure: Omigosh - I'm pregnant!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Down syndrome Awareness Month

October is Down syndrome Awareness Month.

I can honestly say that I celebrate Down syndrome almost every single day.  From Carter's beautifully perfect almond eyes, to his sweet turned-up nose, all the way down to his wide feet and big adorable gap between his first two toes, his inquisitive nature, his sunny disposition (spattered with bouts of stubbornness and defiance) - I love Down syndrome.

Because I love Carter.  And Carter's Down syndrome can't be separated from who Carter is.

If the two things could be separated, I would keep them together.

In fact, Carter's Down syndrome is what brought him to our family.  If he was born with 46 chromosomes instead of 47 - he'd be living with his first mom & dad in Kyiv, Ukraine.

I'm grateful for Down syndrome.

It's no secret that Carter has some unique needs.  Lots of things have made Carter who he is - over three years of orphanage life, hyperactivity and impulsivity that are currently through the flippin' roof, life on the spectrum...and Down syndrome.

Of all the things I listed, Down syndrome is the least of our concerns and the easiest of his special needs.

In fact, I think Down syndrome is pretty beautiful.


Let's just cut to the chase (because my brain is tired from two surgical procedures for our little buddy on Monday, limited sleep from being a concerned mommy, and having a busy bee at home every day this week).  During Down syndrome Awareness Month - here's what I want you to know:

+Different is good.  Yes, Carter is different.  You will see he is 'different' the moment you lay eyes on him at the grocery store, or while he's walking down the school hallway.  And that's okay.  Actually, it's good.  Different is good, and we need those people in our circles who think differently - learn differently - play differently - grow differently - and approach things differently.

+Don't be afraid.  When you see someone with a special need, just treat them like you would treat anyone else.  Smile, genuinely.  Say hi, if it's appropriate.  Or ask how their day is going.  If they can't answer you, it's okay.  They'll be glad that you took the time to ask.

+Educate yourself.  I'm not going to take the time to go through myths and facts about Down syndrome because you can find them all over the internet.  Here are a few sites that I like:
Down syndrome Facts from the NDSS
Down syndrome Myths from DsA-OC
Here's a fact - people with Down syndrome are people.  Here's another one - they deserve to be treated with fairness and dignity.  Pretty simple, isn't it?

That's it.  If you can grasp those three simple things, then I'd say this month will be a success.


In honor of Down syndrome Awareness Month my girl Juli, and I, put together this video.  We asked the principal at our boys' elementary school if they would show it to the students sometime this month. I half expected them to say that while the video is a great idea, there are only 3 boys in the elementary school with Down syndrome...and you want us to show the video to all the students?!

I was so wrong.  Our efforts were applauded, and they sent the video out to each elementary teacher, asking them to show it when it's convenient for their particular class.

Oh yeah, they are showing it to the school board, as well.

We're awfully grateful.

Different is good!

That's all I have to say.  So reach out.  Don't be afraid.

Down syndrome is beautiful.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Their ability is stronger than their disability!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

This is 30.

So, I'm thirty.  As in, 30.  Like, thirty years old.  

Thirty looks so much different than I thought it would.  Not that I sat around and dreamt about being 30 when I was a kid....but we all have an expectation of what we'll be like when we're older.  

Hear me: thirty is better than I ever imagined it would be.  I have the sweetest little sunshine-boy to wake up each morning.  I live in a community that I love, with people that I love.  I've got a sweet baby on the way, and couldn't be more excited.

And my husband.  Guys, he's the best.  Don't believe me?  Let me tell you a little story.

About a week ago, Jake told me he was taking me out for my birthday.  On Sunday night.  Huh? A Sunday night date? That's weird.  Oh, and none of our family is available to watch Carter, so we're hiring a sitter.  Huh? Weird!

So Sunday night: I got ready, the sitter came, and off we went.  We arrived at one of our favorite restaurants, walked through the parking lot, and went up stairs to the second floor.  Huh?  We've never eaten on the second floor! Weird.


Huh? For me?

Remember - that's a baby belly.
Keep this in mind as you look at these pictures, please :)
I couldn't believe that all these people were here for my birthday.  On a Sunday night, too! (Because who does anything exciting on Sunday nights?!)

So I greeted my family, and then I saw my friends.


Guess what I'm saying here.
"Haaayyyy!!!" :)

Do you ever wonder if people really like you?  I do.  All the time.  If this sounds crazy to you, we'll call it an 'adoption/abandonment' thing (because I'm adopted, too).  But when I saw all these precious people, I felt so loved.  And I later told Jake that I was surprised that "so many people really like me.".


My awesome husband then said all kinds of nice things about me.
"She deals with Carter with such grace and love." - HA.
"She takes such good care of me and makes me fee so special." - I do?!
"She's such a good pregnant mama (notice the coke I'm drinking) and doesn't complain about her nasty jaw pain." - Well, yes I do.
And he pretty much went on like this.  Have I convinced you yet?  He's the best.

My face here says exactly what I'm thinking.
"I'll pretend he's talking about me, but he HAS to be talking about someone else."
And then I heard music.

Yes, my husband hired a mariachi band.


As I looked around the room, I was reminded of our wedding day.  Everyone was smiling and laughing.  Everyone was having a good time.  People who don't clap and sing were clapping and singing.  And they weren't even under the influence of alcohol!

"Guantanamera, guajira Guantanameeerrrraaaaaaa!"

"Ay, yai, yai, yaaaii, canta y no llores!"

Then they sang Happy Birthday and I cried.  So there was that.

We ate tacos.  I drank non-alcoholic pina coladas.  We laughed.  We sang.  I cried.  My baby belly was patted.  We talked.  We laughed more.  I blew out candes.  We gave hugs.

There was so much love in the room, I could collapse under the weight of it.  How did this happen?

Hey Ben - how many pictures do we have exactly like this? Twenty? Ninety?  Now I'm curious.
Also, this hat looks so studly on you! You should wear it more often.

My mom made the awesome cake.  She's the family cake lady.  Carter knows this well - all we have to say is 'birthday', and Carter is saying "NaNa! Birthday cake!" :)

I have always loved 'The Wizard of Oz'.  It's easily my favorite movie. Because, Dorothy! How can you not love her?  And when she sings 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' and is secretly wishing to be somewhere else, someone else...and then it really happens.  But it's scary, and she has to be brave and strong and independent - but, her friends! They already have everything they think they need! The tin man is already loving! The scarecrow is so smart! And the cowardly lion is no coward, at all! But they just didn't realize, until someone told them.

And maybe that's a little bit like life.

We think we need more of this or less of this.  Or we wonder if people really - actually - truly like us.  And then someone tells us it's so - and we can believe it.  Someone shows us they care, and we know it's true.  And everything we need more of is right there - we just need to grab it and believe it.

I'm believing big things for my thirties.  And I know that everything I need - joy, love, peace, patience, understanding, kindness - it's all right there.  It's within me.

Raise your coffee or tea or non-alcoholic pina colada or Coke or whatever.  Here's to 30.  And because I've said enough words - let's let someone else talk.

May I always remember "There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still." - Corrie ten Boom, says.

Thomas Edison said "When you exhaust all possibilities remember this: You Haven't."

Elisabeth Elliot want's to tell me "Don't dig up in doubt what you planted in faith."

May I always "Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.".  Thanks, Kid President.

Some dude named John Gottman once said "Admit when you're wrong. Shut up when you're right." Words to live by.

A.W Tozer reminds us to live big for God - "God is looking for people through whom He can do the impossible.  What a pity we plan to do only the things that we can do by ourselves."

Even Audrey Hepburn has something decent to say - "Nothing is impossible.  The word itself says I'm possible."  Hmm.

And finally - "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It's not.".  We can thank Dr. Seuss for that one.

Three cheers for Thirty.  Three cheers for family.  Three cheers for friends.  Three cheers for love, love, love, love, love.

One Thing I Know For Sure: I'm thirty!

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