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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

April Fools!

I think that this year's April Fools joke is that Spring has arrived in Utah. (Even though it's not quite April 1st) Judging by today's weather (in the 30's, gray, snowing) one would think that we were still in the dead of winter.

Each day I walk by my neighbor's garden and admire the cheerful new flowers that are blooming daily. But today they all have a fresh dusting of snow! It's such a contrast. I hope they survive because they make me so happy!

I've been writing a lot about the weather here lately, you might be growing weary of my musings. It's just that this idea of spring still being a cold, snowy time is a conundrum for those of us who were reared in the land of eternal summer!

So, here is a change of subject. I get a dictionary.com word of the day in my in box everyday. Last week one of the words was super fun, I thought. The word was matutinal.

I'll use it in a sentence: The thought of murdering Theodore crossed my mind one day last week when he was interrupting my matutinal slumber.
Theodore is nearly the perfect cat. But he has one flaw. And at times even that flaw is cute. He likes attention and likes to be around us. It's not so endearing, however, when he decides between the hours of 3 am and 7 am that he just can't stand to be outside of our room any longer. He begins meowing pitifully and clawing desperately at the door to get in.

Last week on my day off I was attempting to sleep in and he began to whine at the door. I was hoping he would eventually go away but he is one persistent feline! With each pitiful meow I grew angrier. Do I interrupt his long hours of sleep with my constant meowing?! Okay, sometimes, yes (not necessarily with constant meowing per say but occasionally I do have to interrupt his sleep. For example, when I must remove him from my pillow so that I can go to bed...) . BUT I have a full time job! He lives a life of leisure sometimes sleeping 18 hours a day! This behavior was so unjust. I did contemplate murder but then I simply decided to try to scare him away.

I hauled myself out of bed. (Not an easy feat these days with 20 extra pounds of progeny centered directly on my "getting out of bed" muscles.) I flung open the door and with wild gesticulations began yelling at him to go away. I saw a flash of fear in his eyes and then he scurried off down the hall. I slammed the door shut and crawled back into bed thinking that he would find something else to do in another part of the duplex.

No sooner than my head had nestled into the pillow than he was back at the door whining and pawing. Oy vey. So that pretty much finished my matutinal slumber.

Really, who could murder these two?!

Here's the definition of matutinal. You should use it in front of your friends and colleagues! They'll either think that you're very smart or a complete snob. Perhaps both. But no doubt a few of them will smile and nod having no idea what you just said.

P.S. For April Fools' Day we talked about telling people that we're going to name our baby Barack if it's a boy. But I didn't think we could pull it off. We're pretty terrible liars.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

34 weeks


34 Weeks- or "Heaven to Betsy, what have I gotten myself into?" 34 sounds so close to 40! But 40 weeks can't be approaching, it was just yesterday that I was peeing on a stick!

I'm still feeling really good. No complaints. Though today I'm tired because I spent nearly all of yesterday packing. So, I feel a nap is in order. Plus at church this morning we had a Palm Sunday brunch and I am suffering from a rather debilitating food coma.

The weather here is so gorgeous today! But it changes frequently. Friday was a slushy mess. Have a lovely Sunday!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Who keeps touching my tuchas?

I haven't been to see my midwife in over a month. I was supposed to be seeing her every two weeks (which I don't think is necessary anyways at this time) but she was sick a few times and with my work schedule it's been 5 weeks.

So for the last month I've been trying to discern whether the baby is head up or down. Of course I have been hoping for the latter. I have consistently felt a hard sphere under my right ribs. And smaller parts like feet or arms flitting around on my left. I was a little concerned that what I felt on my right was the head since it is so firm. But I assumed it could just as easily be a bottom because right now the bottom probably doesn't have much padding.

I had a midwife at my church palpate may belly last week and she thought the baby was head down. And today my midwife said definitely head down.

So, it seems that it is a little bottom that keeps jostling up against my ribs and liver and little legs doing some sort of can-can routine on my left. I'm happy to hear that because the baby is not likely to turn back around now. But the s/he might be wondering who keeps pushing on his (her) behind. It's me! (Your mom!) And also sometimes your dad. And occasionally people at my work who want to feel the baby move.

I'm questioning whether this baby is a boy, a conviction (based on pure guess, admittedly) that I've had since the beginning. Almost everyone else also thinks it's a boy (again, based on nothing substantive). But everyone I know who has had a baby recently has had a boy. I know of five baby boys born in March. And two others who are expecting boys. Someone has to have a girl, right? I have a friend and a sister-in-law who are expecting girls. But a two to eight ratio doesn't seem right.

Though I only have knowledge of a small sample. I'm sure if I kept tabs of every baby born that it would be closer to 50%/50%. I'm doubting whether I'll have a boy yet I think I'll still be shocked if it's a girl. It has to be one or the other, right? But right now I'm doubting both! I'm a little concerned because I've been thinking boy so long that I've made myself hope for a boy (at first I didn't have a preference either way). However, last weekend I held an adorable, delectable little baby girl all frilled out in pink and sparkles with these long luxurious eyelashes and huge doe eyes. I found myself thinking that I would be just as happy with a girl. What am I saying? Of course I'll be happy with whatever baby I get! It's just right now with the theoretical baby that I've convinced myself that I'd be better with boys.

I realize I could've avoided all of this speculation if I had just found out the sex at one of our ultrasounds. But this is much more fun! I have truly enjoyed not knowing. Sometimes I feel like we live in a world saturated with too much information. I don't know if that makes sense but it's kind of nice to not know something for certain. Plus, I prefer all of the "neutral" colors to the hackneyed blue/pink routine.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Packing, packing, packing

I have been dutifully (sometimes not as dutifully as I ought, I'll admit) packing up the duplex. I don't enjoy packing but at times it can really draw me in like a game of tetris. I'm not necessarily having fun but I'm obsessive enough that I just can't stop trying to make things fit.

The cats, on the other hand, are having the time of their lives. They love boxes. And they also love the nooks and crannies that have been made available to them now that some of our stuff has been packed.


Penelope can fit on those shelves. But Theodore makes the entire bookcase teeter. One of those shelves can barely contain him but he insists on squeezing himself in anyways. He also enjoys turning around several times before he finally settles in. We think it's only a matter of time before they topple it. We keep meaning to move it, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

Hopefully soon I'll post news of our house hunting. And maybe some pictures if it looks like it will go through. We're in the option period now and waiting to hear about the inspections.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Happy Spring!


March 20th marked the first day of spring and that makes me very happy. The weather has been so nice. Granted, it did snow on Friday. But today the temperature got into the 60's!

Growing up in Texas I had never considered the proximity of spring to winter. In San Antonio spring is when the bluebonnets bloom. There might be a few cool days before the oppressive heat sets in but the frosts have long since thawed.

Here you can still see winter rearing it's frosty head through April, I am told. In fact in the mountains it can snow any day of the year. Yet all the renewals that spring brings are beginning to reveal themselves.

For example, the flowers above. I've noticed all week that our neighbors had buds blooming in front of their house. And today as I walked by I saw those fully bloomed daffodils! Those have got to be some of the most cheerful flowers! So naturally, Peter and I went lurking in their yard to take pictures.

Also, the light, oh my goodness all the daylight! The days are getting longer and with the help of the daylight savings time change it is still light at 7:15 pm!! For nearly the entire winter I went to work at 6:30 am in the dark and I came home at 5:30 pm in the dark. That dim existence didn't seem to bother me while I was in the midst of it. But my mood lifted noticeably when I began to occasionally see the light of day.

As a consequence of not frequently being in the sun, and also wearing long sleeves all winter, I am the whitest I have ever been. I am a rather pale girl in the first place but this is a new level of pale only reached by vampires and Casper the friendly ghost. But that's okay. Better white than melanoma, am I right? (You all know I love my sun protection!)

I love all the seasons, thank goodness they keep coming back around. Even in Texas, subtle as they may be.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Deep Thoughts by Leslie

It seems that 3D is the new 2D in the film industry. That seems to be the way the new blockbusters are going anyways. I'm just curious, why are 3D movies not considered 4D movies? If the 3 dimensions are represented by the X,Y and Z axes (like in one of those ridiculous graphs I had to fruitlessly grapple with in high school calculus) and the 4th dimension is time then don't "3D" movies encompass all 4 dimensions? Or perhaps my entire understanding of the nature of the universe is flawed.

You might think that a post like this indicates that I have too much time on my hands. Au contraire! I actually have too little time on my hands to do everything I feel like I need to do before baby's birthday.(32 weeks this weekend! Time is closing in on me!). And sometimes at the end of a particularly tiring day my mind is sufficiently dulled that only the most trifling thoughts find a ledge on which to dwell. Everything more substantial sinks into the mire of my spent brain cells and drains out my ears.

And on that note, I'm going to take a nap!

Have a lovely Sunday!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fickleness, thy name is Leslie

Last summer when we were In Yellowstone with Peter’s family one of my little siblings in law (who shall remain nameless) committed an enthusiastic display of dishonoring one’s parents. Peter and I have often used the incident as a case study to discuss how we might have handled it. We never came up with any concrete answers. Of late we’ve been talking about children and behavior quite a bit since it won’t be long before we have a little angel who is testing boundaries on every side.

It was a hot day and we had been out and about under the sun so we decided to walk to an eatery to get some cold ice cream. One child was not satisfied with this plan and wanted to drive to the restaurant. So, to show the depth of his/her unhappiness, s/he stomped on his/her mother’s foot. That’s right. We were on vacation in one of the most gorgeous places on earth, we were on our way to get ice cream. Yet s/he was upset enough about having to walk a short distance that s/he stomped on her mother’s foot- the same mother who had arranged said vacation and was preparing to pay for said ice cream!

I’m sure I did a million (perhaps a billion or kajillion) things that rivaled and surpassed that incident in my childhood. But doesn’t such blatant brattiness just make you mad?! Yet I found myself thinking last weekend that I am not much different than that child sometimes. At least in my heart; I haven’t resorted to any physical foot stomping that I can recall.

We were in Houston from Saturday evening until Tuesday afternoon searching for a place to live. We started looking at townhouses on Sunday afternoon. The first one we looked at was charming and our favorite of the day. In fact nothing else that we saw came close to matching its charm or price. It boasted a very low price which we didn’t know the reason for at first. The next day we found out that it is a short sale. I still don’t fully know what a short sale is. From what I was able to gather, I know that it has been repossessed by the bank and now they are trying to get it off of their hands. Even though it’s a good deal, short sales are apparently difficult to deal with and can take a longtime to close.

Monday we spent all day at the realtor’s office working on paper work. We put an offer down on the short sale but as the day dragged on it became clear that it might be a difficult road. The selling agent was nearly impossible to get in touch with and has a reputation for being a wheeler/dealer. This day was exhausting for me even though I was sitting on my behind the entire time and was rarely required to exert even a muscle. Mentally, however, I had to exert more that I am accustomed to! I was struggling to understand the terminology and some of the seemingly basic concepts of the real estate business. I felt nearly brain dead at the end of the day. As I got more tired and became less certain about the possibility of this short sale going through, I got discouraged and in my mind and heart there was quite a bit of grumbling and complaining.

I reminded myself of my sibling-in-law. I was stomping on God’s foot when it appeared I might not get what I wanted. I mean, we’re able to buy a house. We’re having a baby. I have my health. I have water to drink and food to eat. I have a super-awesome, fluffy cat. Yet I’m upset that I can’t necessarily get the most charming townhouse?!? Oh dear. Once I reflected on my attitude and prayed for a change of heart, I told Peter that I would be content if I have to live in a cave. (Though frankly I hope it doesn’t come to that.)

Tuesday in a stunning display of fickleness, my attitude changed completely. We went out to look at four more properties and we found one that we loved even more than the short sale. This other property also happens to be a good value. Monday I was so disappointed that the short sale might not work out. Tuesday I was so excited about the other property that I would be disappointed if the short sale did work out in place of the second one. (Though I still really like the short sale property.) Is there any end to the vacillating of human emotions? (Or is it just me?)

Luckily God is infinitely wiser and less fickle than I. He knows our needs and wants. We trust that He will provide a place for us. Thank goodness I have very little control over all of this because on my own I’m pretty certain that I am capable of botching almost any decision no matter how great or small.

Our realtor is getting in touch with the realtor representing the second property that we really liked, and we still have the offer down on the short sale. And now all we can do is wait. Waiting is a faith-building experience which it appears that I am sorely in need of! We would appreciate your prayers.

If nothing works out we’ll take it as a cue to start looking for a cave. Though in Houston I don’t know if we could even afford a cave. The flood insurance would probably be too high. We’ll keep hoping for a townhouse.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

March Madness

Spring is just around the corner. And apparently it's going to be a sharp turn because based on these pictures you definitely can't see Spring waiting just around the bend. These were taken last Friday when the weather was very winter wonderland-ish, as you can see. Saturday we left for Houston to look for a place to live. It (Saturday) was a spectacularly gorgeous day in SLC. Sunny, cool but not cold. The weekend in Houston was pretty rather wet but the temperatures were relatively cool. At least humidity is supposed to be better for your skin, right? We're currently in the airport in Houston on our way back to SLC where they're having another snow storm according to weather reports. March! You're a crazy son of a gun!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Reflections

I recently found out some very sad news concerning a couple that I knew at A&M. We weren't close friends, more like acquaintances, but I've kept up with them through their blog. They were expecting their third baby girl this month. At a 9 month US it was determined that the baby would probably be born with a genetic disorder. This was the first they'd suspected that something might be wrong as an earlier US showed things to be perfectly normal. She ended up having the baby who lived one week in the NICU.

This has shocked me so much. Partially because I am expecting a baby. "Expecting" is a fitting word because there are so many expectations and hopes surrounding having a child and to see them all crumble has to be so heart-rending. But even if I wasn't pregnant, it's shocking to hear this happen to someone since we are so blessed to live in a time and a place where babies dying is not common.

Hearing their story reminded me of something I thought about a lot early in the pregnancy. For several weeks I read psalm 139 every day. For those of you who know it, it is probably first familiar for its references to God "knitting" each of us together in the womb and knowing us intimately before we were even born. You can see why that would appeal to a pregnant woman to read. But those aren't the verses that comforted me. The reason I kept reading that psalm every day was because of these verses:

"If I say, 'Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,' even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you." Ps. 139:11-12

I thought about why darkness is bright as the day for God. I think part of the reason has to be that he knows all. He's not surprised or thrown off by anything that occurs in our lives whether happy or tragic. I, on the other hand, don't even know for sure what will happen in 30 minutes.

When I got pregnant I felt like whole new worlds of hopes and fears opened before me. And I'm sure I don't even know the half of that feeling. First there was the knowledge that the pregnancy might not even last until term. Then there is the knowledge that even if the baby is born healthy there are endless things that can happen to a person in his/her life for better or worse. And of course I want and hope for the best for the baby but I have little control over any of this. I don't want to give the impression that I'm constantly worrying. That's not it at all. But it is staggering to know that there is a person almost completely dependent upon me (at least for a time) but yet I can only give him/her so much. I can't control everything and there's so much I don't know.

But I do know that when my little world descends into darkness God is my light because he does know and control everything. Even if things are painful for a time and there are things I'll never understand, I know the outcome will be as bright as day. God has already "showed his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom 5:8) So, I know that I need not ever fear what the future will bring because I am in good hands. They very hands that "knitted me together in my mother's womb" (ps. 139:13).

If you want to read more about the couple I've mentioned their blog is here.

Psalm 139

139:1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.

13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. [1]
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.

19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!
20 They speak against you with malicious intent;
your enemies take your name in vain! [2]
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with complete hatred;
I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts! [3]
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting! [4]

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Funny

I feel like I'm posting stories about my husband on here like other people do about their children. Not that Peter is acting like a child but he has been making me laugh so much lately. I have no idea if anyone else thinks he's as funny as I do. Probably not. But anyways, the other day he was lounging on the bed in his pajamas on his laptop. I commented that I would like to have more pictures of us around the house. To which he replied seriously "Take a picture of me right now."

I had to clarify by "around the house" I meant on the walls and in picture frames, not pictures of us sitting around with our hair unkempt in our pajamas. He he.

Something else very random that I thought was funny: last night we were talking to our neighbors and I complemented their 3 year-old daughter on her lovely Ariel the Little Mermaid pajamas. She abruptly ran off saying she had something to show me. She came back with a Jasmine pajama top saying "This is Princess Jasmine and she's immodest." It was so cute! Jasmine is indeed immodest especially given traditional Arab garments like the burka and the veil. But a burka would make Jasmine look quite out of place amongst all of the other Disney princesses, wouldn't it? Can you picture that? Ariel in her shell bikini top, Cinderall in her ball gown and Jasmine in a burka. Maybe if the burka was pink they could make it work.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Which Crib Set Should I Register For?

We are planning on buying a condo in Houston if we can get a loan in time- which is proving difficult because mortgage companies are requiring two pay stubbs before approval. What happened to the good old days when they would approve man, woman, child, or cat as long as they had a pulse?!? If we waited until Peter had two pay stubbs we wouldn't be able to get a loan until August which would mean we would have to find temporary housing for the summer and move twice in 3 months with a newborn and 2 cats. Which is not my idea of fun. Because I am not a masochist. I also value my sanity and the lives of the people who have to live with me. So, we'll see what happens.

But the idea of having our own place that I can paint and decorate is very exciting to me! My mind is constantly buzzing with ideas and my fingers are regularly scouring Martha Stewart magazines to find fun things to do.

When I saw this picture from this website, I immediately wanted to put the tree and birdhouses in the baby's room.

I love it! It's whimsical imaginative. I have no idea if that is a reasonable goal for a person like me who is not an artist (but who likes to be creative). The lady who designed the room also claims that she is not a painter. So, I thought I might as well try. I also love that particular designer's motto "creativity before consumption." And also that when she does have to buy things she favors garage sales and thrift stores (my fave!). She says she can't have anything too precious because she has 4 animals and 2 kids. I understand that perfectly. In fact, my cats threw up on the sofa last night. Oh the joy of house pets.

Anyways, I digress. I don't know which crib bedding to register for at Target which would work with the "tree and birdhouses" vision. So, I thought I would solicit some opinions. Here is what I've narrowed it down to:

Alphabet
This is probably my favorite. But is it too "boy" since there is so much blue? I think there are enough other colors to make it neutral. And I love all the animals.

Here are two others we really liked:

Giraffe

I just can't choose because they're all so cute!

I also liked this hippo set. But I didn't think it went as well with the tree and birdhouses. Though, if I'm going for whimsical, I don't know that you can get much more so than hippos and birdhouses.
I'm fully aware that my child might never get that tree painted on his/her wall. Because by the time we get to Houston I might just decide to spend the next four years recovering from the move. In which case white walls would have to do. But I hope not! It will be a lot of work to get the house in order with a newborn but my motto is going to be "If that ice dancer can compete in the Olympics 4 months after having a baby than I can....(insert whatever challenge is before me)!"