Sunday, May 31, 2009

Simple Sunday - Weekenders

~ thankful for the visits we've enjoyed from "old" friends during the past two weekends...first, from Steve and Claire, whom we knew during our San Diego days when they were single and we only had one child...
...and now we're on the verge of having four children, and they're married and have a handsome son James and a beautiful daughter Brielle...time marches on, bringing changes galore!

~ this weekend, we've had the privilege of hosting our friend Bernhard whom we knew in Israel but who is from and now lives in Austria...he is in the States for a biotech conference of some sort (when he described it, I heard the word "optics" but the rest of it went right over my head!), and we're so glad that he was able to come a few days early and stay with us...our only regret is that his wife and daughters couldn't come, too
It's GOOD to reconnect with old friends, to remember together the places we've been and the people we were and to see how God is blessing us and them now and moving us into the future.

With this trend of weekend visitors, I wonder who will be coming next weekend?  ;)

Technical note: Mister Linky is no longer available like it used to be--specifically, it's no longer available to those of us cheapskates who don't want to spend a dime on our blogs.  We'll spend hours of our time, but not a cent of our money.  :)  Supposedly, this is a "temporarily unavailable" kind of situation; but we'll see how that goes.  If, in the future, I can get Mister Linky for free, I'll certainly include it for those who like to link to it.  For now, however, if you do a Simple Sunday post, feel free to leave a comment; and I'll be happy to click over to your post and check it out!  :)

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Inevitable Question

Sooner or later, the moment had to come.  The moment that makes otherwise intelligent moms and dads suddenly start to stammer and stutter and blush and laugh nervously.  The "where do babies come from?" question.

I thought I was ready for this.  After all, I have the first two books of the God's Design for Sex series, and I've read the first one to Josiah without any trouble.  The second one is in the top of our homeschool closet, waiting for the right time, the time when Josiah himself would show his curiosity and signal us that it was time to dive more deeply into the subject with him.  I know one mistake parents often make is to wait too long, thinking that their child isn't ready yet, when in reality, the child is indeed learning about the topic but from unreliable sources.  I didn't want to make that mistake, but with seemingly no interest on Josiah's part, I was hesitant to just whip out the book and jump into the topic already.  So I waited...

...until tonight when he made it clear that he'd like to know more.  Groan.  How am I supposed to do this anyway?  Oh, I know, make Jeff deal with it!  Ah, the pleasure of having sons and letting the daddy be the one to have "the talk" with them!  :)  (I did read in a parenting book, however, that it's very important for the mother to be involved in some conversations of this sort with the son and not just leave it up to the father.  Something about sons needing to hear from a woman's perspective how God made girls and how to treat them and stuff like that...)  :)

The context of Josiah's question was interesting:  he accompanied me to the wedding rehearsal of my niece who is getting married tomorrow; I am playing the piano for her wedding.  She is marrying her long-time live-in boyfriend, who is the father of her son--this son is older than Josiah and was born while my niece was still in high school.  During the course of the evening, Josiah asked me whether my niece had ever been divorced (another recent topic of questioning around here), because he thought she must have been married before in order to have a son.  I told him that she had not been married before--or divorced--and that the man she was marrying was her son's daddy.  I could tell that the wheels were turning in his sweet little head; and when we got out to our vehicle after the rehearsal, he asked me how it could be that she already had a child?  I said that the best way is for a couple to get married first, and then to have a child, but sometimes people make mistakes and don't do it that way.  He pressed further:  But what do they do to have a baby?  

"Uh...well...laughter...they...pause...umm...giggles...well, we really don't have time to talk about it now because we're almost to the restaurant, but let's talk about it more later, OK?" was all I could get out of my mouth.  Not a very mature, graceful way to handle it!  I'd better get busy and lay out that book--for Jeff to read to Josiah!!  :)

Oh, Josiah, you're one step closer to becoming a man; and although I rejoice in your growth and wouldn't have it any other way, my heartstrings get tugged as I watch you mature.  Can I always call you "Josiah my-uh, my sweetie pie-uh," even when you're 50?  Will you always be my little boy, my indescribably precious firstborn, even when you're grown?
~ picture taken by Jeff last Saturday at Wildwood Park

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Babies on Sylvan Drive

No, not human babies.  These little darlings are the four-legged kind.
On Sunday, thanks to the generosity of our very kind and helpful friend Jim Mumaw, these cute lambs became the newest inhabitants of our farmette.  Jeff put up an electric fence to divide the pasture so the lambs can have one side and the dogs can have the other.  In the pictures, it's hard to determine how big they are because there's nothing to compare them to; but they are actually smaller than our dogs and probably wouldn't have much of a chance if they were in an area that the dogs could reach.  That electric fence has done the job though; it didn't take the dogs too long at all to figure out that they'd better stay away!

The lambs' primary job is to be lawnmowers and keep the grass in their part of the pasture down--best-looking lawnmowers we've ever had.  The calves we've had in previous years were sort of cute, but these black beauties beat them hands down.  Their secondary job is to grow big and fat so that (though I don't like to think about it yet) they can be slaughtered for meat.  I hope by then they've lost some of their cuteness so that my sentimental side doesn't get all teary.  Maybe I'll find a convenient excuse to be gone the day that Jim and Jeff do what farmers and hunters have done for centuries so I don't make a fool of myself.  ;)

In the meantime...isn't that the most lovable face?!  :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

31 Weeks...32 Weeks...

32 weeks and "really sticking out there," to quote my dad :) ...photo taken Saturday evening at Wildwood Park

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens," or "these are a few of my (current) favorite things:"
~ sleeveless maternity shirts
~ maternity capris
~ cool showers (I always start with warm water, but as the shower progresses, I make the water cooler and cooler, and it's so refreshing)
~ anyone who will paint my toenails for me (like my friend Claire did while they were here this past weekend) :)
~ fresh fruit with milk (actually, this is a constant favorite of mine, but we are entering the season of some of my very favorite fruits, and that's exciting...last weekend, for the first time this year, we got fresh strawberries from our neighbor-across-the-way, and they were delightful!)
~ watching my belly move as the baby kicks and squirms (this is an active baby!)
~ turning the calendar to June and then July and seeing the writing on it decrease drastically as I gradually clear my schedule to make way for the arrival of our newest Fisher (I love the focus that comes to me as a birth approaches...it's the easiest time of life to say no to obligations and requests...I can lay it all aside and simply be a new mother...well, a new mother and an "old" mother to three other children and a wife to an incredible man, but not all the other hats that I usually wear...I'll have to pick them up again eventually, but for a short window of time, I'm mostly an expectant mom, then a woman giving birth, then a new mom with a precious brand new baby who needs me in ways that the whole world understands and respects)

Fun stuff aside, here is what is not my favorite thing right now: deciding on a boy's name. I'm agonizing so much over this that I actually wish we had found out whether we're having a son or a daughter, just so I would know for sure whether I even have to think about this or not!!! The girl's name is easy, of course; we've had it picked for about 7 years. :) The boy's name is another story. I don't know why it's so hard for me to decide. Jeff is much more easy-going about it all, so I take all the blame for the hardship of this choice. Basically, it comes down to a choice between a Hebrew word that no one in our American circle of friends and family would ever have heard of before but which appeals to me because of the sound and the meaning and uniqueness of it...OR a much more common name which also appeals to me because of the sound and the meaning, especially the Bible story that it comes from. Which one to choose? Unique or common? Strange or normal? Stand out from the crowd or blend in? Deal with questions his whole life about his name or never have to explain anything about it? Take a risk or go the easy route?

Obviously, my name is unique; and I've always gotten questions about it. "What did you say your name is? How do you spell that? How do you pronounce it? Where did that come from? Your dad's name is Dave, right? (It's not.) He must have wanted you to be a boy!" My name has been misspelled, mispronounced, misunderstood more times than I can count. Once, when I was being introduced as part of the starting line-up in a high school basketball game, the announcer even messed up my name and introduced me as "Divine." :) But all of that doesn't bother me, and I wouldn't trade my name for any other. I've always loved it, especially the uniqueness of it. So why am I so reluctant now to put my son in that position?

I must be driving Jeff crazy with the way I change my mind every single day about the name. One day I'll be content with the "normal" name, the next I'll be willing to step out on a limb and use the uncommon one. And then, the following day, I'll be determined to find a different name, something that's the perfect blend of unique but not too weird. I'll beg Jeff to suggest some names; and when he does, I'll shoot them all down. (Last night he suggested "Seth," and Josiah and David jumped on the bandwagon for that one because it sounds like "Sith" from Star Wars. The Siths were bad guys in Star Wars, for pete's sake, but they still wanted that name! It's a great name, despite the mental connection to Star Wars; but I just can't go for it.) Then I'll say, "Can't you come up with some names?" And he'll say, "I did, but you vetoed them all!" And I'll say, "You did? What were they?" He must think I'm nuts. He just might be right. ;)

Coming up with Tobin's name was difficult, too; but Jeff was the one who found "Tobin" (the perfect blend, in my opinion, of unique but not weird); and by 30 weeks, we had a solid decision. Here we are at 32 and 1/2 weeks, still deliberating. What are we going to do??? If I knew that it's a boy, I would know that we have to decide soon. If I knew it's a girl, I wouldn't give it a second thought. Why, oh why, didn't we find out? :)

Actually, despite all my mental anguish, I'm still quite happy that we didn't find out. I love how this is God's secret. I love how the anticipation is building. I love imagining that moment when the baby is born, and the identity is finally revealed. I don't think there will be anything like it--each birth is special beyond words, of course, but each in its own way--this one, however, has an even greater amount of excitement built into it. I can hardly wait. ;)

Some technical stuff: at my appointment last Wednesday, my weight had bounced up to 171 pounds (I'll attribute that to the way Jeff's mom stuffed us with all kinds of delicious goodies while we were in California), my blood pressure was a little higher than it had been (138 over something), the uterus measurement was only 30 (I think it was 30...it "should have" been 31 and 1/2 to correspond with the week of pregnancy), and the baby's heartbeat was about 135. Barbara was the midwife that I saw, and she said that all week she had been seeing girl babies with low heartbeats and boy babies with high heartbeats so she didn't have any confidence in the heart rate as an indicator of gender. When she checked the heartbeat, the baby kicked and squirmed; and she explained that the baby actually "hears" the signals that are being sent from her little machine. It stimulates the baby--maybe by "tickling" the sensitive parts of the ear (or something like that, I can't remember exactly what she said)--and although it's not harmful at all to the baby, it kind of annoys him/her, resulting in extra kicks and punches to get that machine to go away! That was new info to me.

I have been so grateful for how good I continue to feel. In general, I have energy, zest, enthusiasm for life. My aches and pains are minimal. I feel so blessed! Ironically, not two minutes before my knee suddenly and painfully went crazy on me last Thursday, I was thinking about how glad--and surprised--I am to still be feeling good since I actually expected to have hit the "I wish this was over" stage already. And then--boom!--there went my knee! I know the Bible says that pride goes before a fall; but I really thought I was feeling grateful, not prideful! Maybe there was secret pride in my heart, and I needed to be humbled. I was humbled, all right. It reminded me of how, in an instance, so much can change.

Last, but not least tonight, here is a video that I first saw on Crystal's blog. I found it very inspiring as I contemplate taking a step backward and doing the night feeding/newborn crying/hundreds more diapers/spit-up on me routine yet again. I do this, not only because of the deep love I already feel for this tiny one; but even more, I do it for the Lord. This is worship. Messy worship, yes. But true worship nevertheless.



One final note: David has an appointment with Dr. Alexiou next Thursday afternoon to check the lump in his neck. THANK YOU to those of you who are praying for him. Your support means the world to me!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Praising and Petitioning...

...and celebrating!

Let's talk about the celebration first.   Dad turned 69 years old yesterday; and although he said we could just forget about his birthday, we didn't listen very well.  :)  Our low-key celebration included lunch here after our church service with our out-of-town guests Steve, Claire, James, and Brielle, plus some in-town guests, Richard and Virginia Weaver and Gordon Zook (from our church).  It was a fun time of being together, enjoying each other's company, and honoring Dad.  Last year, I wrote a special top ten for him; and this year, I went back and read through that post.  All of those ten things are still true!  :)

In honor of the birthday boy, here's a picture of him and his family when he really was a boy.  He's the handsome one on the far left.  :)

On to the praise...  Last Thursday, while I was vacuuming, I had crouched down to reach the baseboards; and either while I was still fully crouched or just when I started to stand up, something happened to my left knee--the inside of it twisted, knotted, tore, or something terrible like that--and I had the worst knee pain of my life.  I literally dropped the vacuum and half-stood, half-fell against the wall, trying desperately for it (whatever it was) to release and ease the pain.  I just knew I had done something awful to it; and besides the pain (which was gradually lessening but was still present), I felt a lot of fear about what would need to be done to fix my knee.  My thoughts jumped to doctors' appointments and surgery and recuperation and therapy, but I thought, "This isn't really a good time for all of that!!"  My mother has had surgery on both of her knees--one knee when I was in college and the other one when I was pregnant with Tobin--and although I love to imitate her example in many ways, this isn't one of them!  

As it turns out, Dad came up the hill from the office to check my knee, he advised wearing a knee brace and giving it some time to see how things went with it, I started wearing an old knee brace that I had hung on to since high school days (when I wore it while playing basketball), I wore it the rest of that day but not that night (and had quite a bit of pain during the night), I wore it the next day, but then decided to stop wearing it because it was so tight that it was hindering the circulation in that leg and my ankle was starting to swell and hurt.  

Here is the praise part: my knee is getting better!  I was so convinced that I had ruined something inside my knee that I was sure I would need outside assistance to heal, but I prayed a lot about it and amazingly, it's getting better on its own without further medical consultation.  I am SO GRATEFUL for this!  It's still a little sore; and if I bend it too far too fast, it hurts; but overall, it's a hundred times better than it was.  I'm really hopeful that it will fully recover; and for that, I give glory to God, the maker and healer of knees!!!

Now for the petition...  Last Wednesday, the day before the knee incident, David came to me and said, "Mommy, there's a lump on my neck."  I felt where he was showing me; and sure enough, there is a lump on the left side of the back of his neck.  On Thursday, Dad felt it and was a bit puzzled because it's not a normal place for a lymph node (which was my first thought, that maybe it was just a swollen lymph node from David's recent cold or some other infection).  We decided to wait out the weekend and then decide this week what to do about it, so yesterday Dad said that we should take David to Dr. Alexiou, one of our local Ear/Nose/Throat doctors for further consultation.  Because today is a holiday, we haven't gotten that appointment scheduled yet; but I'm quite eager to get David seen and to know what the next step is.  Any time the word "lump" comes up in conjunction with a human body, the "c" word isn't far behind.  I'm not really worried (yet) that it's cancer, but I'll rest easier when we know some solid information.

Right now, I'm petitioning heaven that, if it's His will, the lump will disappear...or we will find out that it's something completely benign...or, if a harder path awaits us, that we will walk forward, full of faith and covered by His mercy.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Simple Sunday - Three-Generational Living

~ thankful (again!) for the privilege of living so close to my parents and having our lives be so intertwined...my children don't yet realize it, but they are receiving a TREASURE by the love and affection that are poured into their little lives daily by their grandparents...this particular Sunday, I'm grateful for the fun outing we had last evening to beautiful Wildwood Park...we took along our out-of-town guests as well as my parents and enjoyed the chance to soak in the lovely scenery and watch our children run and play...when Mother asked me if I'd like for her to hold Tobin for a while, it didn't take me long to say yes  :)...Jeff captured this sweet moment between them

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Trip in Pictures, Part One

One of the things that Josiah remembered (and David probably thought he remembered, too, since Josiah talked about it so much) from our last trip to California (February 2007) was the Star Wars video game that his cousin Sebastian had.  At the time, Josiah didn't even know what Star Wars was; regardless, he thought the video game was really cool and eagerly looked forward to being able to play it this time.  He wasn't disappointed.  Sebastian had lots of Star Wars video games and cheerfully shared the controls, giving both Josiah and David plenty of opportunities to play.  This is how Josiah spent hours of his vacation...
...perched on the comfy couch, controls in hand, intently playing the game, determined to learn everything, capture all the gold, and succeed!

David spent quite a bit of time trying to play the game, too, and did fairly well, although he would get frustrated when he couldn't do something as skillfully as the big boys or when they got all the gold before he even got a chance at it.
After a while though, even if Josiah was still determined to press on in the game, David's interest would wane; and he would look for something more physical to do.  He didn't have to go far...

...just to Sebastian's bedroom, which apparently looked like the best bedroom ever to my boys.  To me, however, it seemed more an unbelievable toy store than a place to sleep.  :)  Every toy weapon currently on the market (and lots of non-weapon toys) were in his room, I believe; and Josiah and David must have thought they had found paradise!  :)  The laundry hamper to the left in this picture was chock full of nerf guns of every variety; and even better to young Star Wars fans, Sebastian must have had at least 20 light sabers.  I didn't even know they made so many different kinds.  
The boys would go pick out their weapons and then begin to fight.  All kinds of duels and battles were won and lost during our week of vacation.  Injuries, both minor and serious, were inflicted and miraculously healed.  Lives were taken and new lives given.  These warriors were serious!

Besides the Star Wars video games and weapons, there were also Star Wars movies...and the costumes, of course.  I didn't get a picture of anyone in the Darth Vader outfit, but it was truly impressive.  David liked this Obi-Wan Kenobi outfit just as much (I had to look up Obi-Wan Kenobi just now to see how to spell it!).  I think Sebastian wore Star Wars t-shirts the whole time we were there.  :)
And then, of course, there's the Storm Trooper helmet.  Jeff put it on Tobin; and although I thought it was hysterical to see him in that, he didn't think too highly of it so before I could snap a better picture, Jeff had mercy on him and released him from it.  :)
By the time we visit again, he'll probably be old enough to follow his big brothers' and cousins' example and be enthusiastic about all things Star Wars!

Vacations are all about a change of pace and, to some extent, indulging in items or activities normally limited, right?  In this case, we let the boys indulge themselves freely in Star Wars, knowing that when we returned home, they'd have to go through a minor withdrawal to recover from their obsession.  :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It Seems Like Paradise to Me...

...this little corner of Virginia that we call home.

Because we drove home from the airport after dark on Tuesday night (getting home around 12:30 AM), I wasn't confronted with the beauty all around us until the next morning when I woke up with sunshine splashing through my window and onto my face (the best wake-up call ever) and then got ready to drive into town for a midwife appointment, preregistration at the hospital, and a few other errands.  As I looked outside our windows and then as I drove through the countryside, I couldn't believe how GREEN everything is here.  Apparently they had some days of rain while we were gone, and everything looks fresh and lush and gorgeous.   It's amazing how quickly nature changes during this season of the year:  we were only gone a week, and in that time, leaves of trees sprang forth abundantly, new varieties of flowers started to bloom, dandelions mostly stopped blooming and left behind beautiful green expanses of lawns.  May might win the prize for the most gorgeous month around here.  Don't hold me to that statement though; after all, June is coming, and it's beautiful, too...and then after a while, the fall months come with their glorious show of colorful leaves and crisp air...there's a lot of beauty around here, and I can't narrow it down to one month!

In the mountains of Southern California that we visited this past week, the tops are covered with rocks (sometimes huge boulders that look almost unreal) and, at this season, a green fuzz as some vegetation shoots forth.  But it's mostly brown.  Here, the hills are covered with trees and pastures and GREEN.  I wouldn't be so astonished by it, except for the perspective-widening vacation we just took.

Every time we get to visit family and friends who live away from here, I rejoice to see the ways God has blessed them since we last saw them.  New houses, new cars, new children, new jobs, new swimming pools, etc.  :)  It's wonderful to see that.  However, I always come back to this: I love my life.  Even if I could, which I can't, I wouldn't want to trade my life for anyone else's.  I wouldn't want to exchange my joys for theirs--or my heartaches for theirs.  I feel so completely and lavishly blessed that I hardly know how to express it.

And so today, as I scurry around getting suitcases unpacked and the house put back in order and cleaned in preparation for some weekend guests that are arriving tomorrow and a grocery list made and some loads of laundry done, I think again of these words that have resounded within me for the past few days...

I LOVE MY LIFE!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Trip in Words, Part One

During and after a trip like this, I'm always left grasping for an effective way to capture the moments we enjoyed together and the memories we made.  I can't seem to do it.  There is so much that is left unwritten, unrecorded, lost in the abyss of human experience.  Here, then, is my weak attempt to hold onto some of what we did and saw and lived during the past week.

Monday, May 11
This was a busy day of preparation for the trip.  I had thought I would have plenty of time at the end of the previous week to get most of the packing done; but the cold that the boys and I passed around took up most of my time, between caring for little ones who weren't feeling well and being exhausted myself.  On Saturday morning, two days before the trip, I literally couldn't stand up without feeling like I was going to fall over.  There went my grand ideas of being ready far ahead of time!

On Monday, my mother helped a lot, with folding laundry, watching the boys, etc.  I was so grateful for her help that made it possible for me to be basically ready to go when Jeff got home from work.  

We loaded the van, grabbed some fast food for supper on the way, headed up to Baltimore, and traveled through rain off and on (mostly on).  It reminded me that the last time we made that trek to BWI to fly to California (in February 2007), it was snowing and we had that weather issue to deal with.

I was so concerned that, due to our colds, the boys and I would have a terrible time on the airplane with painful ear pressure and possible burst eardrums.  As we drove closer to Baltimore, I felt worse and worse.  My ears were so clogged that I felt like I was hearing everything with that head-under-water feeling--not very comforting with a flight in less than 12 hours.  I just knew that, apart from a miracle, my left eardrum would burst on the flight.  Needless to say, I was doing a lot of praying!

When we finally got to the hotel, Jeff suggested that I take a nice hot shower to try to loosen up some of the pressure.  The shower was nice, but it didn't open my ears very much!  I was grateful, however, that we had not driven directly to the airport and taken off on our flight; at least, there was a little time that night to lie down and rest and let my ears adjust.

By 11:00 PM, we were all asleep, Josiah and David in one bed (they sleep in the same bed so rarely that I always have to pause and watch them when they're together because they're so cute!) and Tobin in a pack-and-play from the hotel.

Tuesday, May 12
We got up around 3:15 AM to catch a shuttle from the hotel to the airport.  Josiah and David were excited, and I was thankful to have had at least a few hours of sleep that night.  I was still quite nervous about the flights and our ears though.

Everything went smoothly with checking-in, the security check, etc...and even the waiting to board the plane was manageable, despite the lack of sleep.  When we boarded, we realized that we were in the very back row of the plane; and by one window, we put Tobin in his car seat/plane seat/stroller combo, I sat next to him, with Josiah next to me, then Jeff across the aisle, and David in the middle seat next to him.  At this point, Tobin was desperate for some sleep and needed me to entertain him so he could stay happy and quiet.  I was sure he would fall asleep when we took off; and sure enough, he did.  The only problem was that our flight was delayed for 45 minutes or an hour because of an electrical problem with the battery overcharging, according to our pilot who did a fairly good job of letting us know what was delaying our departure.  After maintenance came and checked it and gave us the all-clear, we were off, Tobin to the land of Nod, and me to the land of pain as, not surprisingly, my ears began to hurt quite a bit.  I kept praying, for relief for myself certainly, but even more I prayed that the boys would not be affected and that if some pain was coming their way, God would give it to me instead.  I found out later that Jeff was praying that same prayer.  :)  Apparently, though, God decided to answer my prayer, not Jeff's, because his ears didn't hurt him a bit the whole day, and mine certainly did.  :)  But, most importantly, none of the boys had a hard time with their ears, and that was a huge relief to me.

The flight from BWI to Houston was about 3 hours long--enough time for Tobin to sleep some and eat some, Josiah to eat some and look at books some (especially a new Where's Waldo? book that I had gotten for this trip), and David to eat some, look at books some, and sleep some.  Towards the end of the flight, Jeff and I traded seats; and he did the more-demanding task of keeping Tobin entertained until the end of the flight while I had the easier job of letting David rest his sleeping head on my lap.  :)  Actually, my real task during that time was dealing with ear pain and praying for God's protection...and--amazingly--my eardrums didn't burst!  The pain during descent was worse than when we took off, but at just the right time, my ears popped (in a good way), relieving some pressure and reassuring me that there was a blanket of protection over my ears.

Because of our late departure from Baltimore, we got into Houston with very little time to make our connecting flight.  However, as soon as we got off the first plane, Jeff talked to the driver of one of those carts that zips around the airport, taking slow movers to their flights, and we were able to catch a ride right away to our next gate.  Without that, I'm not sure we would have made it.  However, the worst was to come...

The seats we had been assigned for this next flight were--crazily--all middle seats, all in different rows, all five of us scattered throughout the plane from front to back.  Well, as freeing as it might have been for us to make the strangers who happened to get Tobin (or David or Josiah) in their row look after him for the flight, we knew it just wouldn't work out!  ;)  Something had to be done, and one of the flight attendants got the unhappy job of asking people to switch seats so that we could be together.  Frankly, I was shocked by how apathetic and unhelpful most of the passengers were.  I know how it is to be sitting on a plane, settled in, ready to leave, when more people show up and delay things even more...that's frustrating for everyone, and I realize that.  But we couldn't help the fact that our first flight was delayed, and we certainly weren't trying to cause problems for anyone.  I am convinced that if I am ever in the situation where I can help someone out by switching seats, I will hastily volunteer.  So what if I wanted a window seat and have to move to a middle seat!  So what if I have to make myself a little bit uncomfortable for a few hours so that I can make someone else's life easier!  Especially if they're traveling with children!!!

Anyway...my rant is over...eventually, the flight attendant arranged it so that Tobin and I could sit together, Josiah and David could sit together two rows behind us, and Jeff had to sit by himself in the very back row of the plane (20+ rows behind us).  Fortunately, the lady who was sitting in the row with Josiah and David warmed up to them and turned out to be immensely helpful all during the flight.  It could have been so much worse if Josiah and David had been in a row with a less-nurturing person, especially because I couldn't get out to check on them very much because crawling over the person in the aisle seat next to me wasn't the easy thing in the world.  

Air travel!  What a headache sometimes!  But what a marvelous thing to be able to cross an entire continent in a matter of hours!  If the pioneers who travelled west by covered wagons could see us now, what would they think?!

On this second flight, Tobin did even better than the first.  He did have some times of needing to be entertained, but that's to be expected when you're 16 months old and not able to comprehend the need to be cooped up for so long.  When he got tired, I told him it was time to go to sleep; but he kept looking at me to see if I was awake so I had to pretend to be asleep so he would go to sleep and...you guessed it...I really did fall asleep.  :)  I woke up with increased pain in my ears, knowing even before the flight attendant announced it, that we had begun our descent into San Diego.  That descent sure lasted a long time!  But again, God took care of my ears and they didn't burst!  

Since Tobin was still asleep, I tried to distract myself by looking out the window.  I was reminded of how incredibly different the terrain of southern California is compared to Virginia's scenery.  Both beautiful, but vastly different.  Compared to the lush green growth that covers my home area, the deserts of California look to my eyes like they belong on another planet.  I was also reminded of how much I grew to love Southern California and how good it is to be back and to remember our years here.  In a way, it represents a triumph in my life: country girl survives and thrives in the city...from passing horse & buggies on back roads to driving on 10-lane highways...from feeling completely lost and homesick the first time we drove into San Diego to truly reaching the point of calling it home.  I'm so grateful for each stage of our life, and this California one holds particularly special memories for me.  I guess that's true of all of them though...  ;)

I thought this post would include a quick summary of each day's activities, but I forgot how very difficult I find to be concise!  Oh, well, someday I'll be glad I took the time to record all of this.  :)

After we landed, we got our luggage with no problem and took a shuttle to the rental car office where we picked up our rental minivan...except they didn't have a minivan for us so they upgraded us to something else.  I'm not sure what it is, but it's white and it's big and it's nice.  :)

We headed east to Alpine, up 2,000 feet in elevation from the coast, and my ears bothered me more.  I won't write about it any more (I think), but for the first four or five days of our vacation, every single time we went up and down the "mountain" (from Alpine to anywhere else we traveled), my ears hurt a little and felt all plugged.  Oh, well, it wasn't really a big deal.

Then came the best part: arriving!  There's always a huge sense of relief that comes from finally pulling into the driveway at Mike & Kim's house (Jeff's sister and brother-in-law), knowing that Jeff's mom was there to greet us warmly and the cousins were there to get started playing!

The rest of Tuesday, we spent relaxing around the house.  There's nothing like a long plane ride to make taking a shower, putting on clean clothes, and napping in a horizontal position feel like indescribable luxury!  ;)

I didn't get very far into my record of our vacation, but I'll go ahead and post this now.  We fly home tomorrow; and as always, it's wonderful to go somewhere and it's wonderful to come home again.  I'm looking forward to pulling into our very own Sylvan Drive tomorrow night.  :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Around the House

Two of the beautiful things I've noticed recently...
~ rhododendron in the front flowerbed (planted when my parents lived here, subsequently ignored by me after we moved in, but still managing to bloom gorgeously!)
~ a perky cardinal, our flashy state bird

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I'm Daddy's Littlest Buddy

Sometimes I just hang out with my daddy.
Sometimes he reaches out and tickles me, and I have to laugh and scoot fast to get away from him.  He has long arms!
Sometimes I have to scoot back to him and make sure he hasn't fallen asleep or something silly like that.  Why would he want to sleep when he could watch me?
Sometimes he wipes my runny nose.  I don't mind the stream running down my face; but it must bother him because when I get close enough, he pulls out a tissue and grabs me and wipes it away.  Yuck!  I don't like that, Daddy!
But sometimes we just snuggle, and that's the best of all!
My daddy and I love each other a whole bunch!!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Even Though He Had a Cold... *Updated*

...Tobin happily scooted around the park on Mother's Day, blessing me by his cheerful spirit and innate curiosity about all the things he discovered along the way.
Little blue-eyed sweetheart, I love you!

A quick update from California: Tobin, for the first time, pulled up to a standing position today!!!  He was near a circular toy chest full of his cousins' toys, and I had been helping him stand up beside it.  And then, he grabbed hold of the rim and did it ALL BY HIMSELF!  I'm so proud!  :)  I've noticed that his legs have gotten a lot stronger, and twice he's been able to balance by himself for a few seconds after I get him in a standing position.  He LOVES to stand, but today was the first time he's gotten himself in that position.  He's not breaking any world records for being the fastest baby to learn new physical skills, but he's right on schedule for his own timetable!  :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Little Becoming Big

Little boys becoming big boys love to tell things to Daddy who leans close to listen to them.
They also love to walk with him, learning so much by simply being together and absorbing unspoken lessons about what it means to be a man of God, a husband who's tender and faithful, and a dad who's devoted.
I couldn't ask for a better role model for these precious little/big boys of mine!

(Pictures taken at the park on Mother's Day, of course)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Kisses

After almost 46 years of marriage, they're still going strong.
I asked them to look at each other, and they did...but then!  
Before I knew it, they were kissing!  Those lovebirds!
(Pictures taken at the park on Mother's Day...and Dad and Mom, you know this already, but if you do something like this in front of me when I've got a camera in my hands, you KNOW it will end up on the blog!!!)  :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hugs

~ Josiah and David at the park on Mother's Day

There's a story behind this pose (of course! doesn't every picture have a story behind it?).  :)  On Mother's Day, my mother and I played several duets for the prelude at our church; and because Jeff stayed home with Tobin that day (who had a little cold), Josiah and David were left without a parent in the pew to supervise them.  I had told them that I was going to be at the piano for a little bit and that I expected them to behave properly, stay in the pew, and be quiet...and they did.  When I returned to the pew, they were sitting with their arms around each other like this.  :)  Such sweetness!  Later at the park, I asked them to duplicate the pose...and that's the story behind this picture!

Monday, May 11, 2009

30 Weeks...

Jeff looked at me today and put his hands on my tummy and said, "Yep, you're really pregnant," which made me think of one of the first things he said when we got a positive pregnancy test, "Well, you're hormonally pregnant." It's nice to have progressed to the "really pregnant" stage, which also means the "there's no way you could possible hide it" stage; and as I look at this picture, I realize again that it's true: this little butterball is growing and becoming more like a beachball (fully inflated, of course) inside of me!
A note about this picture: Jeff took this at the park today (actually, yesterday, since it's after midnight now) where we had a picnic lunch (with subs from Subway-yum!) in honor of Mother's Day. It was a perfect way to relax on that special day, without either Mother or I needing to cook, but without being in a crowded, noisy restaurant, and all the while getting outside to enjoy a beautiful sunny day. But speaking of the sun, I need to figure out how to adjust my camera settings because a lot of the pictures we took were way too bright and washed-out. This picture, for example, was taken in the shade, but it was so light that I had to darken it considerably with Picasa...and it still looks too bright. Hmmm...what to do? I bet it actually talks about this problem in my camera manual! That means that, in about 5 years, when I get to that page, I'll know what to do to fix it! :)

Back to the pregnancy update...

I feel like a momentous turn-over has occurred, as I've crossed from the week 20s to the 30s. In all of my pregnancies, I have never gotten to week 40, so the 30s is a very exciting period for me, filled with lots of growth and anticipation and--hopefully somewhere in the late 30s--a birth!!!

Speaking of growth, I've definitely hit the stage of discovering that some of my maternity clothes just don't fit anymore. Either they're too tight and uncomfortable (a certain pair of jeans that I'm thinking of) or they're too short to cover my increasing girth (several shirts that I was hoping to get more use out of). Maybe this growth has something to do with the fact that I've been SO HUNGRY recently. I can't seem to make it from one meal to the next without a snack in between. The only thing that I don't have much of an appetite for is meat. Here's a typical dinner conversation (this really happened Friday evening)...

Jeff: Would you like me to pass you the chicken?
Me: No, thanks, I think I'll just have some frozen blueberries with milk on them instead. :)

I think I could easily become a vegetarian during this pregnancy!

As I'm typing this, I'm seeing, out of the corner of my eye, my belly changing shape as the little one within does his/her daily (hourly?) exercises. :) One thing that I haven't had to worry about is whether this baby is OK. The amount of movement I feel reassures me constantly that he/she is alive and kicking (literally) in there, and I love that!

At my appointment with the midwife last Wednesday, the baby's heartbeat was in the 140s, but it kept changing because the baby was moving. Ann, the midwife, commented on how active he/she was, and it was funny to hear him/her kicking and punching the thing she uses to listen to the heartbeat (would that be called a fetal stethoscope? I have no idea!). Along with the steady gallop of the heartbeat would come these big "galumps" as the baby moved and banged against the "thingy." :)

Other tidbits from that appointment:
~ Ann thought she could feel that the baby's head was down, and she confirmed what I guessed that the legs are probably on the right side where I feel the most movement.
~ I had only gained one pound since the previous appointment, so my weight gain to date is 18 pounds (150 to 168 pounds).
~ My blood pressure was good which it has been this whole pregnancy, unlike Tobin's pregnancy when it was a little high a time or two, alarming me but not seeming to bother anyone else.
~ I got to have the lovely rhogam shot because my blood type is negative. I've had that shot so many times, counting all the times during pregnancies and after births and after miscarriage and after early bleeding in pregnancy, etc. I used to really dread shots, but I must be used to them by now because it doesn't even phase me to get one.
~ My midwife's office is really doing a tremendous job with eliminating long wait times. The last few appointments, I have breezed in and breezed out, with hardly enough time to read a few pages of the book I always take with me.

More than in any other pregnancy, I'm able to visualize this little one inside me, and it boggles my mind. Not that I can "see" a face clearly or sense whether it's a boy or a girl or anything "magical" like that! :) But maybe because of the pregnancy ticker on this blog that is so good at reminding me of what's really going on in my womb or maybe just because I've done this a few times now, whatever the reason, I feel so aware of the fact that there's a BABY inside me, a baby that in a few months we'll be able to meet and know face to face. I look at my belly and think, "All that's separating us is a few layers of skin and muscle and--yes--fat! That's it! That's all that's between us!" That barrier seems so impenetrable right now, and really I wouldn't want to break through that layer of protection now because I know it's exactly what my baby needs to thrive. But in past pregnancies, it almost seemed like I went through pregnancy as a separate event from the actual process of getting a child. The pregnancy was one thing; and then after the birth, here was the baby and I was amazed, almost thinking, "Where did you come from???" But this time, there is much more mental connection between what's growing inside of me and the real baby that I'll someday, Lord willing, hold and clothe and bathe and sing to and nurse and rock in this glider rocking chair where I now sit. Even though I don't know the gender, I feel like I KNOW my child.

I don't think that previous paragraph makes much sense as I read over it. It makes sense in my mind though, so that's good enough for me. :)

In other news...today is the day that we head west on our vacation, although this evening we begin by heading north to a hotel by the airport so that we'll be able to catch our 5:30 AM flight tomorrow morning. We are not going to get much sleep tonight, and that's an understatement. On the very long flights tomorrow, I'll just keep repeating, "This too shall pass. This too shall pass." :) I don't know how much email/blog access I'll have (or desire) while I'm gone, but I do plan to have a few posts (just some pictures I want to share) lined up during my absence, thanks to Blogger's very cool "post options" feature. For all of you who read this, I hope you have a fantastic week, and I'll be eager to connect again when we return!!! :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Simple Sunday - My Own Dear Mother

~ how could I choose anything else on this oh-so-special day, but to say that I'm thankful for my wonderful mother!...it's mind-stretching to think about all the life that she's lived, from the days of being this adorable little toddler... 
...to the woman that she is today...I can never thank her enough for all the ways she's loved and cared for me, from the day she gave birth to me 33 years ago all the way to yesterday when she responded to my cry for help by saying, "sure, I'll take Tobin for an hour or two so you can get some things done!" and "of course, I'll play the piano for that unfamiliar hymn you want to lead in the church service tomorrow"...I can't fathom where I would be today without her gentle guidance and sacrificial love...I love you, Mother, with all my heart!

In honor of the occasion, here's another poem by Elizabeth Laing Thompson from the book The Tender Years: Parenting Preschoolers.

I'm Still Here

Michelin-Man legs kicking and flailing,
with a mighty grunt
you heave your roly-poly belly over,
then crane your weeble-wobble head around
to see where I went, though I have not moved--
I smile.
"I'm still here."

Breakfast time, your pancakes wait;
you clamber up to gobble, squealing, "Cake-cakes!"
I sip my coffee on the couch behind you;
you cast glances over your shoulder to find me--
twinkle-eyed, you flash that syrupy heart-stopping grin.
I laugh.
"I'm still here."

First day.
Your thin fingers squeeze mine in a death grip,
but soon you scamper off, hand-in-hand with a new friend;
every so often you pause to take sly peeks
at the pack of chatting Mommies--
I wave.
"I'm still here."

"Here is fine, Mom."
I brake, a dozen yards from the swarm of 
bookbag-burdened pre-people.
I turn to hug you, but the door is already shut,
your back melting into the mob, disappearing.
I sigh.
"I'm still here."

A shrill ring jangles me from a noontime armchair nap.
Little shouts and babbles tumble in the background
as we laugh across the miles.
A squeaky lisp interrupts, the line crackles; you chuckle.
"Are you there, Mom?"
I nod.
"I'm still here."

A rattling disturbs my dreamy haze--
my own ragged breath.
A soft hand brushes cool against my forehead,
a lilting voice, warm as honeyed memories, sings lullabies--old friends.
"Don't stop," I say, even as I drift.
I smile.
You whisper, "I'm still here."



Thursday, May 7, 2009

Lots of Links...

...and some lilacs, too!  

We are blessed to have two varieties of lilacs in our backyard: a lighter kind that blooms first and, according to Josiah and David, has a nicer, stronger scent, and a darker kind that originally came from my mother's Aunt Ruth (I think).  I always look forward to our lilacs blooming and always cut some to bring into the house for bouquets.  This year, however, their season almost got away from me.  Because of the rain we've been having, I had not gotten out to the bushes to cut any until today.  When the sun peeked through, Josiah and David and I eagerly went outside; and as they raced around the yard and played all kinds of imaginary games, I examined the lilac bushes.  To my dismay, all the lighter ones were well past their peak, and the darker ones were almost too far gone, too.  Regardless, I did cut two bouquets of the darker kind
 (which are my favorite anyway) and brought them indoors to beautify our kitchen and living room and to continue one of my springtime traditions.  :)

**********

Every so often, I run across something on someone else's blog that I want to remember--a post to return to in the future as the subject comes up again or as my mind revolves around the theme another time--something that makes me think.

Mostly for my own benefit, I'm going to list some of these links here, just so I can find them the next time I'm scratching my head wondering where in the world I read, for example, that insightful article on birth control culture!

Facebook - Kate's blog included this post in which she linked to some others' writings on the subject.  Jo Ann wrote this list of reasons she doesn't do Facebook, many of which I feel like I could have written myself.  I'm not anti-Facebook; I think it has a valid place in society and can be a tool for good and--face it--it's a part of life for the younger culture, a part that we'll never totally get rid of.  Jeff is on it, and occasionally he emails things to me that people have written to him there, and I'm happy about that.  But I'm also happy that I'm not on it because if there's anything in life I don't need, it's yet another time-waster having to do with the computer!  :)

Family issues - So much interesting stuff I've read recently!  Where to start?  Let's see... Crystal linked to this post from Jess which quotes Alistair Begg (a preacher I first heard--and quickly grew to respect--when I worked on staff at Camp of the Woods) discussing the topic of caring for our parents as they age, specifically addressing the expectations of parents that their children will care for them in their older age, but those same parents put their children in childcare at a very young age and weren't able/willing to make the sacrifice to care for them at home during the early years.  I agree with Alistair's point, but wouldn't have expressed it quite like he did!  Anyway--food for thought!  Kristal posted this letter, "Dear Fruitful Vines," :) originally written by Jeff Pollard, and subsequently posted by Doug Phillips on his Vision Forum blog.  I was especially encouraged by this line: "Waddling, as your body bears the children God gave you, is holy."  Although I haven't hit the full-on waddling stage of this pregnancy, I know it's coming, so I plan to keep this quote in mind to encourage myself that I'm engaging in God's beautiful plan as I waddle through the last weeks of pregnancy!  :)  Relating to pregnancy, this short video on Muslim population demographics was a sobering look at how the birth rate has declined--beyond recovery--in Europe, and the same trend is happening in America as well.  This directly affects the world in which our children and grandchildren will live, a world in which Islam will almost certainly be the major world power.

Latest favorite quote - Amy B.'s comment in this post from Margie.  From a book called Little Boy by Alison McGhee and Peter Reynolds comes this gem:  "Little boy, you remind me how so much depends on days made of now."  I haven't read the book, but I like this quote!  "Days made of now..."  Yes, that's what I want to keep in mind as I go through each day.  Each once-in-a-lifetime, irreplaceable day in the lives of my precious, no-one-like-them-in-the-whole-world sons.

**********

Lastly for tonight, before I turn my attention to other things (like sleep!), I was honored recently by Kristen who gave me this blog award! :)  Thank you, Kristen!!
This is an award for gratitude, and it honestly took me a little while to figure out what the graphic had to do with anything.  Finally I realized that it must be referring to the whole make-lemonade-out-of-lemons thing.  I'm quick like that.  ;)

One thing that truly helps my level of gratitude is this blog!  First, as I write about the events, big and small, of my daily life, I find myself much more able to process them and gain a healthy perspective about them, even about the hard stuff.  Second, as I read back through former posts, from recent days or from several years ago, I find my gratitude rising as I am reminded of the multitude of joys I've experienced...and sometimes my level of thankfulness increases simply from reading about difficulties that I previously endured but no longer am confronted by (for example, one of the boys being in a hard stage, but now he's matured out of it).  :)  Third, the community aspect of blogging helps me to be grateful as I'm constantly reminded of the other women out there, often in similar positions.  I feel like my arms are lifted daily by the encouragement I receive from those who read and comment on my blog, as well as the inspiration I gain from reading others' blogs .

Ah, there is so much more to say about gratitude!  Ultimately, it comes back to my relationship with God, and I often think of the verse (Nehemiah 8:10), "The joy of the Lord is your strength."  I would add to that: the joy of the Lord is my gratitude!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Not So Bad After All

I was going to write about how long and tiring and up-and-down emotionally and at times just plain tough...how difficult my day was, despite some really good moments in it.  However, when I checked my email tonight, there was one with this link in it: to Noah's Road.  This is a new blog about a little baby boy who was shaken by his daycare provider and is in very serious condition; his parents and the medical team don't know if he'll even survive and, if he does, what the long-term effects will be.  My heart breaks for them.  I cannot fathom what Noah's parents must be going through.  I have been so indescribably blessed to never find myself in a similar situation.  To say, "thank You, God!" for the life and health of my children seems grossly inadequate; but say it, I do--over and over again.

I've decided my day wasn't so bad after all, and I end this day with a fervent prayer in my heart for God to do a miracle in little Noah's body and raise him up to be restored to his parents.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mother's Week

I'm a big fan of stretching out holidays to make them last longer. BirthDAY? Nah, birthWEEK! Just December 25 for Christmas? No way, let's have several celebrations on different days with various people and thus extend the joy!

So let's do that with Mother's Day...I mean, Mother's Week. :)

In honor of that quickly-approaching holiday, here are some random mother-related items.

First, I had to take some pictures of these cheery pansies this evening, even though a light rain was falling. I thought the raindrops on the flowers made them look even better. When I see pansies, I think of my Grandma Winters who used to call them "monkey faces." And when I see these particular pansies which beautify my front flowerbed, I think of Jeff's mother who planted them last fall during her most recent visit with us; they wintered over and sprang back to life this spring, and I'm so glad and grateful for her gift to us.

Second, I had to post a video clip of the entertainment of the evening, found in our very own living room. After supper, Mother and the boys started playing a little "b-ball" as Josiah calls it: balloon ball. I was finishing my supper in the kitchen, but the hilarity drew me into the living room to see what exactly was going on. After I took this video, I decided to just sit down and enjoy the fun, too...the dishes could wait. So I did, and ended up laughing and laughing and laughing. All of us were in silly moods, I guess; but we laughed until we cried, and I delighted in the simple, pure, unquenchable laughter of my children. At the very end of this video, it actually looks like my mother got hit (which she did, but only by a balloon) and possibly injured...but trust me, she was fine. Her laughter burst forth, and all the rest of us joined in. :)
video
Third, I received an email a few days ago with this touching poem, excerpted from a new (to be released in July) book by Geri Laing and her daughter Elizabeth Laing Thompson. The book is called The Tender Years: Parenting Preschoolers and is available here. This is the poem...

I Like You Best
Elizabeth Laing Thompson
After dark, I like you best:
Day fades to gray,
Moonlit fingers paint stripes across your bed, your face.
I tiptoe in and rest a palm across your back
to feel you breathe--
up and down, the rise and fall;
I lean in close to breathe the sweet clean milk of you,
to feel the warmth of life
flowing in and out, in and out as you dream.
You sigh.
And I smile--serene, content--
This is my sunset.
When you're asleep, I like you best.
At day's first light, I like you best:
Dawn brings a gentle scratching,
the swish-swish of chubby elbows and knees and button nose
scrabbling against the sheets.
Then one little grunt, and soon another;
soft coos and squeals crescendo to a chorus
of joyful babbles to salute the day--
my alarm clock.
I shuffle in,
eyes bleary, all-over weary, heart warming--
and peek around the doorframe.
Two bright chipmunk eyes, two black buttons
peer up at me between the slats.
Eyes twinkle, cheeks crinkle, nose wrinkles;
rosebud lips send fireworks sparkling across the morning--
This is my sunrise.
When you're awake, I like you best.
From my good-morning sunrise to my lullaby sunset
and my every hour in between;
from your first cry to my last breath,
until the echo of us fades, our souls' footprints blow away--
That's when I like you best.

Monday, May 4, 2009

29 Weeks...

Today has not been a normal Monday for me.  My usual abundance of beginning-of-the-week energy and enthusiasm did not materialize this week, so I dragged my way through the day, sitting and lying down whenever I could, even taking two(!) naps--an hour or so this morning while Tobin napped and Josiah and David watched a movie, and an afternoon nap during the boys' quiet time (and nap for Tobin).  Despite all the sleep, I still feel tired!  

The other thing I had today was cramping/discomfort/even an easily recognizable contraction or two--NOT the kind of contraction that leads to labor, but good ol' Braxton Hicks.  I even woke up from my afternoon nap with a contraction.  All of this is no big deal, except for the fact that, for the first time, I'm nervous about our trip to California next week.  I've had thoughts today about what would happen if my water broke there, and I had to be hospitalized to stop preterm labor, and I had to stay there until the baby was born, and Jeff would have to come back here with the boys, and I would be alone (at least I'd have his family) out there, and the baby might be born early and have to stay in the hospital for a while, and I wouldn't be able to travel back home until he/she was older and stronger, etc.  Completely rational thoughts, right?!  :)

Actually, the thing I'm most nervous about, when I consider the upcoming trip, is how in the world we'll keep Tobin happy and quiet on the plane.  Today was not his best day; and when he's antsy and discontented and hard to please, I magnify that by 10 and imagine it happening in a crowded airplane.  Yikes!  

Tonight when I was praying with Josiah and David before they went to sleep, I asked God to forgive me for my sins.  Afterwards, Josiah asked, "What sins?"  Apparently, he doesn't think I sin very much!!!  Obviously, I need to be more real with him and let him know some of my struggles and how God helps me so he can be encouraged in his own faith journey...but anyway, tonight it was easy to think of how my anxiety has illustrated a lack of trust in God, and I shared that with him.

On to happier things...

Here is my picture from yesterday - 29 weeks, 1 day pregnant.  Interestingly, I wore this exact same outfit in my week 29 picture with Tobin's pregnancy, too!  I didn't plan it that way, but earlier in the week I had decided that I would wear these clothes for Sunday...and only later did I glance back in this blog and realize that it was the same outfit!  Yesterday afternoon when Jeff was asking me where I wanted to be for this picture, I thought it only fitting that it be in the same place as that other picture.  :)
I'm getting to the point of feeling big--really BIG.  I caught myself thinking recently about how much better I liked my winter maternity clothes than my summer ones this time around, but then I realized that what I really liked better was my 5- or 6-month pregnant body than this almost 7-month one!  The relief of an obviously pregnant body so people don't have to worry about sticking their foot in their mouth by asking when I'm due has given way to the heaviness of a body that just feels huge...and will only get larger.  I'm not overly sensitive about my figure, and I realize that it is such a good thing for it to get bigger because that means the baby is thriving.  I also realize that I can't blame my summer maternity clothes for my size!  :)

All through April, I felt like the birth was something fairly far away in the future.  Now that it's May, however, I realize that there are only 2 more months (and some days, probably) until the birth; and that suddenly makes it a whole lot more real to me!

Speaking of real (and unreal)...  Yesterday morning, I had this dream--a very vivid dream.  I was going to have the baby so I went to a hospital, but was largely ignored there.  I was by myself, but then decided to go to Margie's house which is a number of states away from here so that makes no sense (and I don't even know her in real life, only through blogging, so I can't imagine what she would think if I showed up on her doorstep in the middle of labor!); but in the dream, it seemed like a good idea to go there.  While I was there, she got me a towel and maybe some other supplies, but then she was called away.  The time came for the baby to be born, and I simply reached down and pulled her out.  Yes, her.  In the dream, I didn't know the gender until she was born; but first thing after I delivered her, I quickly checked and realized it was a girl!  I was so happy, not so much because she was a girl, but because labor was so quick and easy; in fact, I remember thinking, "Wow, that was my easiest labor yet!!"  :)  But I was delighted with the baby and noticed that she had a lot of dark hair.  She was the sweetest thing!

When I told the women in the nursery at church yesterday about the dream, one of them remarked that she had heard that you usually dream about the opposite gender of what you're really having, so maybe I'll get my fourth son after all!  :)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Simple Sunday - Belly Love

 ~ thankful for this magical time in a woman's life when her belly is bigger than ever, but also more beautiful than ever, when more attention gets lavished on it than at any other time in her life, when simply watching its contortions as the baby inside kicks and punches becomes the best entertainment around!...this isn't my belly, by the way, nor do the hands belong to Jeff and I...instead, this is a picture I took this afternoon of our friends Mark and Sarah, who came over for lunch and were consequently trapped into letting me take pictures of them :)...this will be their first child, and Sarah is due the middle of this month...they are the other expectant couple at our church who chose to not find out what they're having so it's extra suspenseful to wait until the birth...it could be any day!!!
I usually get my Simple Sunday posted earlier, but my original plans for a picture to use in this post were deterred by the lovely rain we've been having...which is no problem, since I was glad to use Mark & Sarah as my Plan B.  Besides that, my day was full with our church service this morning, friends here for lunch, my customary Sunday afternoon nap :), preparation for a meeting tonight, and the meeting itself.  In any case, I guess I'll go ahead and do Mister Linky, although it's probably too late to expect anyone else to participate since Sunday is almost gone!  I do know, however, that Margie already did a post for Simple Sunday so check out her blog if you're interested.  Oddly enough, I've been thinking about Margie all day today, ever since I woke up from a strange dream in which she played a significant role.  Hopefully I'll post about that tomorrow.  ;)