Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tim's bday part 2

This picture says it all...Tim playing with the Fridge Farm his mom sent (gift for both him and baby) while wearing the chef's hat she made. At least I think she made it. Anyway, the Fridge Farm is the Best! It has sound, and you match different animal halves (the front of a pig and also the back, for example), and it sings you a song!
If you put together two animal halves that don't go together, it sings you a silly song...You put a pig in front, you put a duck behind, put them together and what do you find? A duck-pig! A duck-pig? That's silly!

Needless to say, we love it, and don't mind playing without baby. It stayed on our fridge for a couple of days and then I scooped the pieces into a bag for when baby's 12 months, like the package says. No need to wear out the batteries!

Memorial Day = a grill, 3 great walks, and an early bedtime

Happy belated Memorial Day!

This was a glorious weekend, full of sun, good food, and three delicious walks in the lovely weather around our neighborhood!
Since we declared a moratorium on our TV the days have felt so long and full. We've played a bunch of backgammon and Scrabble, enjoyed the outdoors, and had truly relaxing evenings watching the sun go down instead of missing it. A lot of these things we were able to do when the TV was in our lives, but the day is just so much more relaxed without it.
Also, Tim discovered a new bedtime: 8pm. He literally went to bed around 8:15 on Friday and Saturday nights and slept 10-12 hours each night! I wasn't quite able to do that...but I'm not staying up past 10. This has been great because I have been more tired lately, and going to bed so early makes it possible to do one of my favorite things: get up early! This morning I was up at 5:30...not just because of an earlier bedtime, but a combo of the sun coming through our window and my wonderful pregnancy discomforts as well. At least I feel like I can get things done!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

27 weeks

Yesterday marked 27 weeks. Just 13 to go! Baby weighs about 2 pounds now and is "as hefty as a head of cauliflower," says my BabyCenter email. I think the time in my life when I ate the most cauliflower was in Spain, when our house mom made califlor by basically cooking it up with garlic, paprika and lots of oil. Yuck. It was gross. (Remember that, Krista?)

Baby is also about 14.5 inches long. It's really fun to imagine how baby must be all curled up, and crazy to think that he/she will get only about 6 inches longer but 3 to 4 times bigger!

Friday, May 22, 2009

That third family member known as the TV

Tim and I are thinking about getting rid of TV.

Not the TV as an object, just TV as an outlet for entertainment. Take a look at our typical TV schedule before all the network shows ended last week, and you'll see why:

Monday: Gossip Girl

Wednesday: CSI:NY

Thursday: The Office, 30 Rock

Saturday: often a baseball game for Tim

Sunday: Celebrity Apprentice

That's right, we were committed to 5 shows in any given week. None of which, I might add, contribute anything of value besides pure entertainment to our lives. Particularly Gossip Girl, which I am thoroughly embarrassed to have gotten hooked on after swearing it off as morally disgusting and completely implausible when it premiered last season. The others were funny, dramatic, and engrossing, but what we've realized is that we are starting to forget how to have fun without being entertained by something on the TV screen.

We played Scrabble for the first time last night in months. Not that I really like Scrabble; I never win anyway; but we used to play at lot more games when we didn't sacrifice our evenings to TV. I find myself rushing home from being out to make sure I get to see my show, and we've stopped having people over during the week (not that this is always feasible).

In short, it's not something we want to give our time to anymore, and we're thinking of quitting cold turkey. As in, not even watching the news. The funny thing is that it was cheaper for us to get basic cable when we had our internet installed than just subscribing to the internet alone, so we have more options on TV than we've had since living in Seattle more than a year ago. But even when we were just using an antenna, we could always find some junk to watch.

Tim didn't grow up with TV; his family rented a set for a week at a time and took out the library's whole section of movies. I grew up watching plenty of TV, and never really thought it was a problem because I had good grades, played a sport, and was always involved in other activities. And neither of us really watched much in college...unless you count Tim's senior year when he became a slave to Project Runway. That's another story!

At any rate, we're considering the fact that we wouldn't want our kids to watch anything we entertain ourselves with now, and don't want to be parents who stick the kid in front of the TV when we just "need a break." I think watching so much TV has actually made us less interesting people, despite the cultural currency that comes with it.

We're trying to decide between simply unplugging the cable and using the TV for the odd movie we rent about once a month, or going wholesale and putting it in a closet. That would make room for something else in our living room...but I think it's pretty drastic. I mean, we have a decently nice flat screen that's under 2 years old, and when I look at I still see money. Tim also just bought a bunch of cables and stuff to hook his old PC up to the TV so we can watch Hulu on there--ironically, it's come most in handy when we've missed the sermon at church and need to play catch up.

Ideally we'd have a low-traffic TV room where the TV can live and be used now and then, but not be the focal point of our living room. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen until we have a house. No matter what we do with the physical TV set, it will be an adjustment, but I'm thinking now is the time: with all the great sun we've been having and the fact that all "our shows" are over, anyway, I'm hoping we can wean ourselves easily!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Leadership changes at church

Many of you know we've been attending Mars Hill Church since we first moved to Seattle nearly 2 years ago. (Can't believe it's been that long! It really feels like home here now.)

Early on Tim had wanted to get involved in worship, having led at our previous church, but as our schedules and commitments have changed over the seasons it just hasn't worked out. I'm not completely sure how I feel about it, because I do believe Tim is gifted in this area and would serve our church body well by leading them in worship. However, I do know that different seasons call for different forms of service, and right as Tim was really getting his ducks in a row to pursue this (they asked for a demo cd, of all things...not quite the "sign me up" attitude of our last church), our community group leaders were looking for someone to replace them.

Community group on Tuesday nights is where the bulk of "church" happens for us. Mars Hill is a multi-campus church, meaning that there are several (7 right now) neighborhood campuses that hold services. Most churches are satellite campuses--our preaching pastor, Mark Driscoll, preaches live from one location and his sermons are transmitted via live satellite feed to the others. To be honest, we've been watching a "video sermon" for a year now, so it's not weird for us--especially as the real fellowship that comes from being part of a body of believers happens on Tuesday nights.

Tuesdays are when we can share a meal with people who live near us and discuss the Bible. We have made a bunch of great friends in the 2-3 groups we've been a part of. It's sometimes hard to define because groups grow and replicate often, and it was around this time last year that we started thinking seriously about attending a new group in Bellevue, where we had just moved, instead of continuing to drive across Lake Washington to our old group in Queen Anne.

God has really blessed us with amazing people we can connect with out here, really since that first night at our first community group with our friends Johnathan and Jenny. Now that our current group's leaders have been living further south for nearly a year, and have just welcomed their second child, Tim has assumed leadership of the group.

His responsibility is mostly to facilitate conversation around the sermon and Bible passage for the week. It puts me in an interesting place, having facilitated Bible studies in college and for high schoolers--I'm almost too sensitive to the pauses in conversation and often want to jump in, just to keep things going when I'm afraid of too much silence. But I'm praying that as Tim grows in his role, I will grow as his helper, and be able to keep my mouth shut more often than not. It changes the dynamic of the group for us, but I need to allow it to be God's group and not something I want to control.

Not only that, but I'm also winding down my service with the Bellevue campus youth group. Next week will be my last. It's bittersweet; I feel like I've learned from experiencing a different model from what I was used to in Ithaca, but also that I wasn't prepared for how different it truly would be. To be honest, it wasn't a perfect fit. The irony is that now they're changing the model to focus more on small groups, which is much more in my area of gifting than the large group programming part. But baby will be here in just 13 weeks, so it's important for me to really consider which commitments I can keep and which I can't.

It's my nature to immediately look for my next area of service, but I'm trying to hold off on that a bit. I continue to write here and there for the Mars Hill Blog, and I think it will be bits and pieces like that--which don't require me to drive somewhere and give up a three-hour chunk of my time weekly--that I'll gravitate to. And I'm about to get the biggest serving opportunity of my life: taking care of our precious new baby!

Monday, May 18, 2009


We had a great weekend visiting with Jenny, Matt and Cara in Vancouver, BC--and we might go up there more often, if not for the 1.5 hour customs line on the way back (in the middle of which our car would not restart...and just as the nice man in the car behind us offered a jump, it came back to life...not a very nice event!).

Vancouver skyline from the seawall walk in Stanley Park

Jenny, Cara and me in front of the totem poles

The Sears family! Jenny, Matt and Cara

Happy girl

The rabid (we think) raccoon out in daylight

Cara's favorite kind of ride

In the carseat. Love those cheeks!

Granville Island Public Market


Tim's gross fried clam at lunch at the market. Check out the size of that thing! (He did not eat it).

Tim was obsessed with taking photos of these clouds...


Group shot

Friday, May 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Timmy!

Happy 24th Birthday to Tim!

Now he'll know how old he is, at least for the next few months until I turn 25, and then he'll be all confused again about who is how old. He can remember his siblings' ages but not his own!

We had a great day so far with cinnamon rolls for breakfast and lunch together at the Microsoft cafeteria (don't knock it till you try it...their food is good!). I've been rushing around like a crazy person trying to get everything ready for his birthday and also for going out of town tomorrow. We're driving up to Vancouver to see our friends the Sears who are at a conference with their little girl, who we haven't seen since Christmas!

When I have time I'll post some pictures of his new toys and also of our trip. Happy weekend!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Would you watch a childbirth video?

Do you want to see another woman screaming and grunting through childbirth, on video?

I was pretty sure I didn't, having a good imagination and the unfortunate ability to fixate on things. So when I got a BabyCenter email recently with links to natural and water birth videos, I filed it away with a "Thanks but no thanks." I don't need to freak myself out when I still have 3 months to go, do I?

Then I heard that I'd be watching a birth video anyway in my childbirth class that Tim and I will start taking in July. And I started getting curious. So I queued up the videos and watched them both. Thankfully they were edited to about 4 1/2 minutes long, and I have to say that, rather than freaking me out, they kind of pumped me up!

My philosophy on childbirth, unformed and basic as it is, is that I'll go without medication as long as I'm able to do so. Both my mom and Tim's mom gave birth naturally every time, and I would love to be able to do that--if I can handle it. Something I don't want to do to myself is to be so set on delivering naturally, and then feel guilty getting an epidural if I just can't handle the pain. I know that childbirth is different from every mom, and there's no way to know how I'll handle it or what will happen. So I am open to those pain relief methods that are deemed safe for me and my baby.

I have to say, though, I didn't know that once you receive an epidural you're not really allowed to walk around, because it can numb your legs. Not a real problem, I suppose, if you have a short labor, but being able to walk around and change positions frequently seems more appealing to me, rather than being stuck in bed on a bunch of monitors.

We are so excited to meet our little baby, and having watched those videos I still get apprehensive sometimes, but almost feel more psyched to take on the challenge--and also just get it over with! It's like watching someone muscle their way through a thigh-burning race and then having three more events till your own at a track meet. The tension just builds. Hopefully I can stay calm and wait for my time, and then still be up to the challenge when it does come!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fierce Mamas!

Did anyone watch Project Runway a couple of seasons ago when the "fiercest" contestant, Christian Siriano, was the winner?

That was the last season we watched (it was killer, by the way), and guess what Tim just found?

Fierce Mamas, a maternity line by Christian Siriano! The prices are pretty reasonable (I suppose he's not that big a name), and the pieces are cute! Don't know if I'm fierce enough to join the ranks, but it's fun to look, at least.

141 pages, 44,371 words, and a long way to go

I printed out my whole manuscript of book #2 yesterday to begin my first round of edits!

The good news is that the skeleton of the story is there. The bad news is that the ms is about 100 pages and 30,000 words too short to be called a novel. When I was at the editing stage last year, I had a lot of work to do, but at least my word count was up to par. Now I have to figure out what I've missed and how I can stretch my novel to almost twice its current length while adding substance, not fluff.

I'm a big believer in not dictating when I'm finished with a writing project by how long it is (you just need the number of words or pages to tell your story, nothing more nor less), but in the publishing world there are some basic standards I have to adhere to. It's kind of funny that I've ended up under word count, because my struggle has forever been going too long, both in freelance work and in college--yes, I was the one handing in an 11-page paper when the requirement was only 5. Usually my professors told me I'd earned my length, so that was okay, but it's a different story for magazines! Maybe I've gotten too good at being brief.

So I just bought a new editing binder for the big stack of paper on my desk, and a notebook for tracking inconsistencies and making notes on issues. I actually really love this part of the novel-writing process, because I can get out my highlighters and colored pens and just be so nerdy with categorizing things. It's fun to read back through the whole ms and see if things hang together, get surprised by scenes and passages that just work, and get a flurry of new ideas to add in and make it all better. Sometimes I don't know how to fix a particular situation or mediocre word choice, and that's when I call on friends for their advice. Hopefully I can be diligent about adding the material I need to make it long enough, because I'm pretty sure a novella doesn't sell, unless you're Stephen King.

Please bear with me

This absentmindedness is getting harder to deal with.

This week I've just been feeling like an idiot. Here is a sampling of my pregnancy brain situations...which are really bordering on mentally-impaired:

  • Filled up the Brita at community group dinner and put the top back on backwards. Didn't notice until the hostess fixed it for me.

  • Sent out our women's prayer posting to the entire group, not just the ladies. Usually I have the actual requests on there, but this week it was just something general, so nobody's secrets were revealed! Still, oops.

  • Started talking in various conversations and was unable to remember my point about 4 words in.

  • And the worst was this morning, when I ran a solid red light after getting all flustered trying to figure out which lane to be in to get on the highway. There was a cop sitting right on the other side of the intersection, but somehow his attention was diverted elsewhere and he didn't see me. I flew through the huge intersection with my hand over my mouth, thanking God that baby and I didn't get hit by another car, and then proceeded to get in the carpool lane (wrong), swerve into the correct lane, and basically shake and pray all the way home. Got home in one piece, thank God, but I'm starting to feel that this is just going too far!

I hate not being in charge of my mind like I used to be. I have always tried actively to be thoughtful, and make a special effort to tell someone if I appreciate something about them or even just like their shirt. Now I have to concentrate extra hard when driving and use both hands with dishes in the kitchen, like a child.

So please bear with me if I offer to do something and then forget, or just appear thoughtless and spacey, or break something of yours, or look confused when we're having a conversation! I guess the silver lining in all this is that I'm learning more compassion for people who just "mess up," and that is a good crack in my normally critical and high-strung personality. I have to allow myself some mistakes, but I don't want to hurt myself, the baby, or others! Yikes!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

24 week photos

We finally got a camera...but I'm only posting one shot!

Last Friday marked 24 weeks, which means that in just 2 days I'll be at 25! Once again, I read differing annoucements from websites and in my books on when the third trimester begins--some say 24 weeks, some 28. So I think I'll just consider myself there, and the third trimester can be extra long (to get to 40). Whatever.

Last week baby was as long as an ear of corn...

...which is probably why I'm feeling so many kicks now! It's really fun!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Walking...and cheating

It was so nice most of last week that I had a double excuse to avoid the gym (the first being the swine flu! ick!), and I really enjoyed exploring more of our neighborhood on foot. The hilly areas are quite beautiful, with views of Lake Washington and Seattle. The houses are great to look at, too, with a lot of newer Craftsmans, some crazy modern mansions, and even some older ones with plaques stating 1899 (not exactly old compared with the East Coast, but oh well!).

I couldn't help but take a picture of this little "Walker's Rest Stop" someone had set up:

The little sign says, "Mini Park for Weary Walkers." Notice that besides the bench it has a tiny drinking fountain, and even a PVC pipe leading to a doggie dish! Seattleites are very conscientious about caring for their canines! (Sorry, I'm a big nerd).

And on Friday, when I completed my 24th week (baby was as long as an ear of corn...more on that to come), I just couldn't help myself. I went for a little jog.

I knew I would pay for it, and paying I am, with a bit of knee pain that has lasted since then, but it was SO beautiful and SO perfect out for running that I couldn't resist. In two spurts over my 4 mile walk I jogged nearly a mile and a half. It was so fun! I can't help but think I looked hilarious trotting down the sidewalk with my six months' worth of baby belly, in long workout pants with my huge fleece tied around my waist, but I didn't care! I went nice and slowly and thoroughly enjoyed myself, even though I felt a little guilty about the pain I might be bringing on myself for later and a slightly elevated heartrate for baby. But it felt so good. I haven't run or even jogged for a few months now, as the extra weight in front, concerns about my heartrate (which I really don't pay attention to that much, I just try not to do things that are strenuous), and the loosening of my joints that is happening in preparation for delivery have all just made it too much of a hassle. But maybe I can work in one short jog per week...that is if I get back into my physical therapy exercises and actually ice like I'm supposed to!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tap dancing in my belly

Baby is totally moving around now for me to feel, and it is strange and really fun!

Last weekend when we were in Victoria, I felt baby squirming around. Not kicking, but maybe doing steamrollers or swimmming laps. It was also weird to feel, for the first time, as if I was suddenly very full, I supposed because of the baby's position. We walked to breakfast on Saturday and I remember having an appetite, and then it suddenly vanished! I'd heard this can happen but it was my first experience.

And then this past Friday, Tim and I decided to go see X-Men Origins: Wolverine as part of our date. The movie was good, but there were a lot of loud fighting scenes. One in particular involved helicopters, and baby just went nuts! Once again, it wasn't kicking that I felt, but some serious squirming, as if baby were trying to get away from the noise. I can't say whether it really was in reaction to the noise, but it was pretty scary sounding, and I wrapped both my arms around my middle to try to keep things a little quieter in there.

Both Tim and I felt really bad when we left the theater. What if we scared our baby? Could baby develop fears in utero, or even hearing loss? I did look it up a little when we got home, and the 24th week is supposed to be when babies' ears are fully developed, but the opinion on when babies can hear and respond to noise outside the womb is mixed. Some say it's possible at 16 weeks, others not until 27 to 30. At any rate, a movie doesn't have damaging levels of sound. I'd have to work at a construction site for that. As to developing fears, I think that's mostly a guessing game, too. I know that as a baby I became afraid of loud noises because a burglar alarm in our house (I think it might have been in my room, even) often went off at night due to the wind, and I did go through elementary and middle school absolutely petrified of the fire alarm drills. But as far as developing fears before birth, I think baby's probably pretty safe.

And then last night: I was lying on my left side like I'm supposed to, trying to fall asleep, and what did I feel jabbing down toward my rib? Baby feet! Or fists. It was a quick 1-2-3, like a little tap dance. This happened many times and even Tim could feel it! I couldn't help giggling every time baby kicked. It was actually really fun! Didn't hurt, and although I had no idea what it might feel like before I actually experienced it, it really is simple: it just feels like someone kicking you from the inside. To be honest I am so glad that this has finally happened, because it reassures me that our little one is doing fine (and maybe angry! hehe who knows) and active. But after several minutes I did want to sleep, so I rolled over to my other side and baby quieted down. Haven't felt the same kicking since, but who knows, maybe this baby is a night owl! Just perfect for me, being the opposite!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Getting harder all the time

Ah, the newfound difficulties one has being pregnant! I am at 24 weeks, and sailing out of the second trimester! There's no mistaking this baby moving around now--feels like little squirmy swishes or bubbles bursting inside my belly--and no mistaking the everyday things that are getting harder...

1. Putting on socks, shoes, pants, or anything that requires me to bend down or pull up my knee.

2. Washing dishes at the sink. Baby is definitely getting in my way there!

3. Getting into and out of the car. I've talked with friends who haven't been pregnant yet about the pregnant lady pose of one (or both) hands on the belly, whether sitting or standing, or even just relaxing. Part of it is definitely for bonding with baby, but the other part is to help stabilize yourself. I often feel the urge to say "oof!" like a sweet old grandma when I lower myself into the bucket seats of our lovely '95 Corolla.

Fortunately for me, I am able to continue with most of the rest of my life as normal. I still get to exercise and since the first trimester have had no food aversions (remember that homemade Hawaiian pizza? I still wrinkle my nose just thinking about it!). I am getting up early and still have plenty of energy. Don't know how long that will last, but maybe if I choose to ignore all the warnings of general exhaustion and discomfort I hear about the third trimester, I can put mind over matter and escape them!