Tuesday, February 28, 2012

40 Weeks Today!!!




Today is my estimated due date. I decided since I made it to 40 weeks I deserved a cupcake. The baby's birthday most likely isn't today, but who knows maybe that cupcake will induce labor. Believe it or not I have heard crazier suggestions. I think my favorite so far is pork and beans. I am hanging in there. We have an appointment on Thursday morning so hopefully there will good tidings of dilation.

Friday, February 24, 2012

39 weeks

I am 39 weeks and waiting. I think the baby is going to wait until the last possible moment to make its appearance. The bean is the size of a mini watermelon and continues to have good movement. I have become increasingly uncomfortable and antsy. We saw the doctor this morning and he told me that there had been no change. I am holding strong at 1 centimeter. If anyone wants to have lunch or look at a wall with me I have a clear calendar. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Lenten Season

The thought of Lent typically leads me to the ideas of repentance and introspection. My constant temptation is to quickly descend into self-loathing and despair. I am quick to pick out a few glaring sins that don’t bring much brokenness. These usually consist of me apathetically confessing speeding, gossiping, or jealousy.  Rarely do I take time to look at the root of these sins or ask myself questions like: Why do I delight in someone else’s misfortune or why do I want ill for someone because they pose a threat to me? Other times my confession leads me on a downward spiral into self-hatred and contempt. This kind of confession serves only to pull me further from God and others. When my self-contempt is high for several days, I usually just punt the schedule and goals that I have set, like praying more or reading my Bible regularly, based simply on the conclusions I have drawn about myself.

This year I find myself in a different place.  Now I don’t want to see my sin because I am actually happy where I am. Will and I have had an amazing year, and soon (please Lord, soon) we are expecting our first child. What could be better? Life is going along so well I don’t want to be disturbed by this idea - that maybe everything isn’t as great as I would like to think.  I still want to resist the call to engage what lurks below like: my loneliness, my failures, my misunderstandings, and my losses.

Yesterday we attended an Ash Wednesday service. I entered the dimly lit sanctuary that smelled of caged air. I slid into the pew as my hands skimmed the cool bench. I couldn’t help but notice how hollow the space felt. It was as though it had been shut up since last Lent. As the service started, the pastor read the words of the liturgy to which we all responded in our appropriate places. The words felt as heavy as bricks. Our flow of reading and response was interrupted ever so often to sing a most solemn song of our mortality. “Out of my bondage, sorrow and strife Jesus I come.”  We return to our rhythm only to be interrupted again by the sober chorus-“Out of my bondage, sorrow and strife Jesus I come.”  The recurring sequence paused for a moment as we filed in line to receive the sign of the cross. I moved slowly taking the smallest steps I could as I waited to make my way before the pastor. As he pasted the ashes on my head he recited, “Rachel, from dust you came and to dust you will return.”  It was depressing. I didn’t want to think about the fact that my time on this earth really is limited. My gut reaction was, "No! I want to stay here! I want my home to be here! I have a husband I love, and a child on the way. I don't want to go anywhere. I need this life to last for eternity!"  My thoughts startled me. I had become so consumed in my world that I had completely lost sight of eternity. I had forgotten that redemption, reconciliation, justice, love, healing, and equality are all held in the arms of a new heaven and a new earth - a coming place where we dine with one another without hatred, greed, pride, jealousy, failure, loneliness, abuse, or unmet longing. It is a place far better than my best day here on earth.

But the real problem with both of those approaches is that they keep my Lenten focus on myself, or, at best, myself and God.  We often use these private confessionals as a time to focus on petty sins so we don’t have to deal with the sin that is rooted in our relationships. We can stay comfortable while still feeling a sense of spiritual accomplishment about our time of repentance.

But in reality, it is in these times of acknowledgment and confession that we are able to invite others into our grief, suffering and sin.  This is the call of community, especially in the Lenten season. In community, we are able to experience the power of reconciliation and forgiveness, a power that will hopefully lead us to a more eternal perspective.

I don’t mean to imply this is easy or even happens often, but I do believe this is the way in which we engage the suffering, loss, and failure that are highlighted in Lent.  How do I mend a broken relationship that fell apart 3 years ago? How do I reconcile with a parent that refuses to examine the harm he has contributed to the breakdown of the relationship? How do I continue to examine my own faults and shortcomings in these situations? Lent is frightening because it demands that we deal with the realities of sin, both personal and general, that keeps us from relationship. Here we must have the courage to change the areas of our life that have fallen deep to darkness.

As I continue to question and figure out the importance of Lent I have realized that there are two important aspects I have learned so far. First, I need to take the time to sit and evaluate my relationships and the part I play in bearing death instead of life. Secondly, that I need these communal moments with other to be reminded of the hope I have in Jesus that one day all will be made right. Maybe Lent isn’t so much about me confessing my sin but being aware that sin is all around me threatening to separate me from communion with God, others, and myself.   

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Fat Tuesday

About a year or so ago I decided I wanted to be intentional in celebrating yearly events which included the Christian calendar as well as other American holidays. I read a book by Gertrud Mueller Nelson called To Dance with God and another one by Jennifer Trainer Thompson called The Joy of Family Traditions.  I wasn't at this point so much doing this in preparation of having my own family as much as wanting to celebrate with those that make up my community. It is already February and with all the transitions it has been hard to start this year with these new traditions. 

Will and I got the chance to go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras last year and fell in love with the city. I think people move to New Orleans because they love to celebrate, sing, and dance. If you have ever been to any kind of Mardi Gras celebration then you have probably had a king cake. People usually eat king cake starting from Epiphany up until Ash Wednesday which is known as the Carnival season. It is the cake with a baby or a bean buried in it. I have read two different accounts of the reward of winning the baby or bean. One is that the winner gets to be king/queen for the day. They get to choose the meal and make the rules for the next 24 hours. The second review is that they are the host of the following year's Fat Tuesday Feast.  

We decided at the last minute to try and make our very first king cake to celebrate Fat Tuesday with our roomies. The history of the king cake has been that everyone would gather all their sweet and decadent foods right before Lent and indulge one last time before fasting and introspection. 

Ingredients to make our colored sugar sprinkles.

A little green.

A little shaking.

All the ingredients you will need to make a simply King cake.

Our bean.

Unroll the cinnamon rolls, fold them in half, and twist.
Ymmm! Our King Cake

Will found the bean and is king for the next 24 hours. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

38 Weeks

Making colored sugar for our king cake. More to
come on Fat Tuesday.

I have officially hit the state of being uncomfortable. It has become even harder to get around and it often feels like my vagina might fall off. I have tried all the recommended tricks to get this baby out, but I think he/she may be in for the full 40. On last Friday I went to the doctor and I have not progressed any from the week before, a comforting statement for a woman that sleeps one night out of three. According to my weekly email updates the baby is as long as a leek, but not nearly as tasty. These updates have really begun to be useless. I read them because I can't help myself.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Things in My Head

Do you ever wish you could pull off the things you think in your head like: bursting into song and dance on a bus or saying something off color with a straight face?

We went to the doctor today for our check up and she always asks if I have any questions. Usually I have a few that I have gathered since my last visit. Will and I were waiting to be called back and he asked if I remembered all my questions. I turned to him and said what if when the doctor asked if I had any questions I said:

Me: yes,I have 3 questions (using my fingers to let her know what number belongs to each question)
1. Can my husband be naked during labor?
2. Can we have sex in the water birthingtub?
3. Can someone feed me grapes?

(all this while keeping a straight face as I wait on her to answer)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I Heart Iron-Ons

I had so much fun today playing with these iron-ons. I had some money leftover from the gift card from our amazing friends in Lusaka.  I decided to get these adorable iron-ons. I am so glad I did the onesizes turned out so cute. I had to stop myself so I didn't do them all in one day. Don't be surprised if you come to visit and find irons-ons on trash cans and toilet lids.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pillow Talk

Decorating has been a little tricky since we don't know what we are having. I have tried to stay with a range of colors. I have never noticed how gender divided everything is since we went looking for baby stuff. I am not much on splattering pink or blue all over a room so I wasn't that bothered that we didn't have a gender color scheme. It gave me a chance to be creative. I tried to use what I had for the most part and was successful. I decided the rocking chair that I picked up from Goodwill several months ago needed a pillow. I used the felt star to incorporate a little more green into the room. Here is what I made.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

37 Weeks

I am now considered full term. We went to the doctor last week and I was almost dilated one centimeter and 80 percent effaced.  We also had an ultrasound and the bean weighs around 6 and 1/2 pounds. He/She is no performer on command. The bean had his/her arm resting over its face. The ultrasound tech tried her hardest to get that arm to move, but he/she was not participating one bit. I think this baby is going to be fiesty and maybe even a little stubborn.

I am feeling pretty good. I have a day here and there where my stomach is tight and I am uncomfortable, but other than that I really can't complain. I am starting to get really excited about meeting this little guy or girl.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Maternity Shoot

My dear friend Lindsay came up two weekends ago and took some maternity shots. She is so talented and never let's me down. Here is the link to her blog if you want to see more.

Making Non Disposable Baby Wipes

I have been working overtime to get ready for the baby to come. We (really I) wanted to try nondisposable wipes. I have a friend that uses them and seems to like them.  I am new to the whole baby world and I am willing to give most anything a go. If it is a bust at least I know. I found two recipes online for wipes. I had most of the ingredients to both so I combined the recipes and made my own.

2 cups hot water
2 tsp baby oil
2 tsp baby wash
2 drops lavender oil
2 drops tea tree oil

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Making a Mobile

Cutting the pedals and stitching them together. I don't
know the correct term but I call it an up/down stitch.
This allows for there to be a drawstring so the flower
will gather together.
Time to choose a button.

I am thinking of adding white lights to the mobile.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Birthing Candle

A few months ago I came across this idea that includes people that you know won't be able to be present for the birth of a baby. I have some dear friends from Seattle and other places that I miss so much. I wanted to feel connected to them in this time. I bought several candles each a little different like all of them. Will or I will text them to light their candle when labor starts. These candles serve as a symbol of strength and comfort from these long distance friends as I begin the laboring process.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Birth Book

I have talked to several people and asked them different things that worked for them during labor. One of the answers I got was words of encouragement. I have been saving quotes, verses, and encouraging emails from friends. I combined all these and made a book to take to the hospital when I go into labor. I have a few more things to add but for the most part this is the finished product.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Decorating Details

Ok get ready because I told you I have been very busy these last two weeks. I am very proud of myself because with a baby coming I knew I was going to be on a limited budget. When totaled up my cost for decorating the house was only 41.00 dollars. I really enjoyed the hunt for these great finds. I could be a flea market junkie easy. Here is a quick tour of our new home.

The Living Room
Breakfast area, that was my family's table when I was a kid.
I am really pleased with how this turned out.
Most of these pieces were given to me or left over from our wedding.
A lot of these were flea market or thrift store finds.
A closer look
Bottle I collected over time.
Our Bedroom
First attempt at a framed photo collage.
flea market finds and a great wedding gift
A collection of pieces from our travels.
Will's office space. Who doesn't need a luchador mask to keep them motivated?
My craft area which still needs to TLC.
The bean's room.

That is mine and my brother's old jack in the box from childhood.

All these prints were gifts and the Etch A Sketch is mine from childhood.