Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Anything like her.

As my friends and family know, my maternal grandmother, Leora, and I were very close. I consider her to be one of my very best friends in this life, and was completely devastated with her passing in 2007.

My sisters tell me from time to time that they don't really remember much about grandma Leora, because they didn't have the experiences with her that I had. It always makes me sad to know that they didn't really know her like I did, and they were unable to spend as much time with her, growing up with her, learning from her, and having her help shape who they were as individuals. Yes, they had some time, but I really had the most.

This weekend, I received a manila envelop filled with old pictures, from my dad's sister, my aunt Jan. In it were various shots of my dad growing up, mostly as a baby or toddler, but there were also other family photos, including those of my dad's parents, grandpa Edwin and grandma Edna.

My dad's parents died when I was younger. I remember bits and pieces about my grandpa, like how he'd always have candy on him, because he was diabetic, and we'd get a piece. I feel very disheartened at times, knowing I don't remember much more than that. Sometimes, I wonder if that's even a memory, or something I made up in my mind from what others have said. He died in 1988.

When it comes to my grandma Edna, though, I can more than relate to my sisters. She died when I was just over 2, in 1986, just days before my first brother was born. Sadly, I remember nothing of my time with her. I know that she had time with me, but to me, there really was none.
I sit and wonder, as I look at the pictures of this tall, beautiful woman who helped give me life... Am I anything like her? Would she be proud of me? How did she shape who I am as an individual?

I know her through stories, but I haven't really heard that many of them. The one I remember most vividly is how she waited to pass on until my dad could be there, so he could say good-bye. What I have been told beyond that, I'm ashamed to say, I do not remember much of.

While I'm blessed to know that I'm much like my grandma Leora in many ways, I feel sad to know that I am unable to see the ways in which I may be like my grandma Edna. I know there are others out there who probably feel the same way about their family members influencing them, so I know I'm not alone. I also realize there are other who never met their grandparents, or even their parents, and I hope that there is someone out there who can help them discover them as well.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I'll give them the best of my life.

This afternoon, I received a text message from my husband, Jake, saying "Lead Me by Sanctus Real." I locked it in my phone, knowing I would come home from work later and look it up. I hadn't a clue what the song was, but I figured it must be a good one if he took the time to send the message.

He called this evening, before I had a chance to make my way for home, and asked me if I had received his message. I told him that I had. He went on to explain that one his way to one of the little towns he has his route in on Friday, he heard that song and it completely overwhelmed him. He said "It is how I feel sometimes."

Needless to say, as soon as I got home, I had to look it up.
Here are the lyrics.
Here is the music video.

I would summarize the song as a prayer to God, from a husband and a father, who feels like he has wasted time away from home, chasing things that didn't matter nearly as much as he being a role model and guidance for his family, and he asks God to help him to change that.

A few weeks ago at church, the pastor was talking about marriage, and how God calls men to be the spiritual leader for the family. He talked about how rare it is to see a man bring his family to church, as it is usually the wife bringing her family along. It's rare to see a man alone as his wife sits at home, or goes off with her friends, instead of going to church, but you see women alone and their husbands off playing golf, for example.

After church, I made a point to tell my husband how much I appreciate him, especially in regard to being a spiritual leader. Yes, I'm Christian, and I believe, and I pray, and I try to live my life the best I can to be a role for others, but for example, it was Jake's idea to find a church to go to together, and actually keep going to it. Yes, now we share in the leading and following, but really, Jake has always been a guide to me in my faith journey. Truly. He helped me years ago when I was starting to question what it was I really believed.

I also thanked him for being who he is to me. He isn't the kind of man who just shoves his family aside, or doesn't stop to pray, or who ignores things at home.

When I heard the song tonight, I broke down in tears. I can understand how Jake feels that way sometimes. We've been married for four years, and in those four years, it really does feel that we haven't really seen each other much, or spent a ton of time together. We have, but we haven't. He works so hard for our family, providing the main income and stability, 12-16 hours a day each day he works for Schwan's. He works so hard for us that he even works on his days off sometimes. I used to hound on him, truthfully, for "avoiding being at home" or "avoiding me" or "neglecting me." The argument was always the same, I felt I valued time and he valued money, and that was that. I realize, especially as of this past year and a half, that's not the case, and we haven't really had an issue with it.

I understand why he works so hard. I appreciate him for that. Yes, I hate that he's gone and I am guilty as charged for telling him how much I hate his job and how I hate that he's gone, and how I hate being lonely at home "all the time," but I know it's for a good reason, or one that is at least valid.

I've often told him I'd rather be dirt poor than be without him. It's true. But we've found a way to make it work that we don't have to make that the reality.

He really is an amazing man.

I know he loves me.

I just don't want him to miss out on us, on our home, on our lives, and on the love that I have to give, and that his son will have to give.

It amazes me how he can work such long days, almost every day of the week, and yet, he still comes home and the first thing he wants to do is wrap his arms around me and hug me as tight as he can... giving me what I need, and what he needs, despite physical and mental exhaustion. He even takes the dog out for a walk most nights, even in the cold, even at midnight, just so that I can rest. He takes out the trash when I ask him to, or brings the laundry basket up the stairs because I can't carry it and see where I'm going. He even makes a late-night snack if I need it. I find that he would give me anything and everything I need before he even sits down to take time for himself, most nights. It's an awe inspiring thing, his devotion and love for me. I hope the world knows that of him. I'm not sure that they do.

I feel like a cruddy wife sometimes, when I think about all those small, but intensely meaningful gestures he makes so that I feel and know I'm important to him. I sit and question if I do the same in return. I try, but I too feel like I fail.

In a way, I feel that song was written for me, too.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I just came upstairs from the basement.

While in the basement, I moved a basket full of newborn baby items, blankets, and bath-time necessities from the washing machine to the dryer...

for the first time.

Well, maybe not the first time ever, as I probably did some baby laundry for my younger sisters when I was growing up (though, I didn't really do laundry back then, so maybe not after all).

As I was dumping items from one appliance to the other, I had this sense of overwhelming excitement. I literally wanted to cry, to laugh, to jump up and down, and to pee my pants, all at the same time.

The official due date is November 2, 2010. But, since I'm 38 weeks pregnant now, our baby could, really, be born any day between now and four weeks from now. Hopefully, it won't be after the due date, though of course, there's a pretty good chance that it could be, statistically.

I know I've talked so many times about my dream of becoming a mommy, ever since I was younger, but as I did this menial task that I have grown to hate (doing laundry) tonight, it hit me like a fly-swatter, quick and snappy, that I'm going to be a mommy, and soon.

That, for lack of a more glitzy term, is simply amazing.

Knowing that the chore is part of a miracle dream coming true makes it much less a nuisance tonight.

Hopefully, that feeling will not fade too far away in the hundreds or thousands of loads of laundry that I will end up washing, drying, folding, and putting away for my son that I will do in the future as well.

Baby Shower, Birthday, Blah, blah, blah!

This will hopefully not be too long, but I mean it to be an all-encompassing update post about the last few days!

Saturday, my best friend, Michelle, and my dear cousin, Tarah, hosted a baby shower for Jake, Spencer, and I, at cute little house at Tuthill Park, here in Sioux Falls.

(M, J, N, T)
There was a very good turnout, in my opinion, and despite my fears of feeling awkward and stared at the entire time, it was a blast! We are truly grateful to those who attended in celebration of Spencer's upcoming birth! Of course, we are also very grateful for the variety of gifts that we received, all of which will be put to good use, soon!

I really wish my grandmother could have been there, though.

My favorite part of the shower was the fact that Jake came. I know that generally, guys don't do baby showers, but Jake was more than willing and excited to be a part of it, which I appreciated greatly. He helped open gifts, and made it even more fun!

Following the shower, Jake, Michelle, and I came back to the house and relaxed a bit, before going out to supper, and then to a movie. It was wonderful to have her around for the evening, especially since my birthday was on Sunday!

I am 27! Jake is 27! We'll be 27 when our child enters the world! That's pretty exciting stuff, right there.

For my birthday, we went to church, then out to Hu Hot (my favorite restaurant), for lunch. After Michelle left town, Jake and I put away baby gifts, and I watched Jake assemble the baby swing. I was overwhelmed with excitement and started crying to myself realizing that we're so close to meeting him! Later that afternoon, we met up with an old friend from a former job (Western Community Action, 2007-2008) and her husband, mother-in-law, and 3 month old daughter. They surprised us with a diaper cake that she made, given to us by her, and two more of my former colleagues, whom I miss very much! Then, we went to another friends' house, where I cuddled on the couch with their 4-month old son while she made birthday supper. Jake and I went to a movie together that night.

Yesterday, I worked a really long shift, and felt like I might never wake up again after I got home and started falling asleep on the couch, of course, after meeting up with a friend to help choose paint colors for her basement.

This morning, I had my 38 week (holy moly!) doctor's appointment. Turns out, I'm at least 1.5 centimeters dilated, close to 2 she said, and 60% effaced! He's also at -3 station, which means he's moving lower, though he hasn't "dropped," according to what most people would call it. But he's getting closer. As I was going to leave, she said, "See you next week, if not sooner!"

Unfortunately, today is the day my husband guessed his son would be born, and I don't think he's going to win.

Post-doctor's visit, Jake and I met up with his dad and step-mom for belated birthday breakfast and coffee. As I was on my way home to prepare for work, I received a phonecall from an anonymous number. I answered, and was informed that Mr. Wendell (who was the star of my last post), went on an attempted "shopping trip" at the 12th street Ace Hardware! His leash appears to be cut, though it could be a nice clean tear? Who knows. The guy who caught him made sure to tell me he watched Wendell use the crosswalk properly, and at the correct time, as he ventured to the Ace Parking lot! I got a good laugh out of that.

Alright, now, I must head to work. Until next time...

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Easter Bunny was Bombed.

I just left the computer room from replying to a facebook message from a friend, to find what appears to be... the remains of the Easter bunny (assuming he's aqua colored inside) exploded all over the living room, hallway, and kitchen.

Gee, I wonder who did that?

Mr. Wendell, of course.
Wendell Rupert, our "darling" 4 year-old beagle, has been somewhat of a terror this past week.

Monday: I came home and he had destroyed the garbage, and pooped on the floor.

Tuesday: He knocked over the garbage again.

Wednesday: He was pretty well behaved, but he chewed up a corn-dog stick (I have no idea where he got it) and left it in the hallway.

Thursday: He was IN THE GARBAGE CAN when I got home.

Friday: He was sleeping soundly in his chair, and there wasn't a mess... until after I took him for a walk and let him do his business, then fed him, watered him, and went on Facebook.

Now, he has his moments where he's pretty naughty, and has since we got him (when he was a puppy, he ate The Complete Works of Shakespeare while I was in class. I was not amused. Another time, he ate an entire bar of Special K bars while my friend Matt and I went to rent a movie. We didn't know he was capable of jumping on the table when he was so small.

Sometimes, I find it hard to be mad at him, like, when we leave him and didn't take him out first. Or when we forget to pick up something and it's something he'd obviously tear apart. But the other times, I just am furious. Luckily, he's cut down on those majorly since last winter...

until lately.

I've heard a few theories: He knows that we're having a baby and wants his attention. He is mad at me for being so exhausted and not spending as much time with him lately. He is upset with all the changes (losing his "wife," children, and "boyfriend") when we moved again.

Whatever the reason, it's not cool.

And now, I have to go clean up the fluffy blue remains.

(Although my mom won't read this, because she doesn't have the internet, it's her birthday, and I love her!)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I'll just wash the poop away!

Baby poop doesn't bother me. Adult poop... disgusts me. Dog poop... makes me want to lose my lunch. But baby/toddler poop, I can deal with.

Before Jake and I even conceived our child, we decided (many thanks to our dear friend Randi, for helping make this decision) that we were going to use cloth diapers for our children. A lot of the time, when I would tell people that, especially those who are older than me (like, my parents age), they would look at me like I was crazy. Sometimes, we'd find a gem here or there that would support us and ask questions, but generally, people assumed that the only kind of cloth diapers there were are the fold and pin and try not to skew your infant style ones that existed so long ago.

Boy, were they wrong. Cloth diapers today are much more awesome. I told someone recently they're a cross between regular disposable diapers and underwear, at least in terms of function. They're even pretty cute!

Recently, Jake and I started looking into our actual options for cloth diapers. I was quickly overwhelmed with the variety that are available.

I won't bore everyone with all of the details, but after visiting a local store and getting a quick "seminar" on options, we left feeling even more excited and confident in our decision.

People wonder why we decided to go with cloth diapers. Part of it (and Jake really appreciates this decision, seeing as he's more finance-minded than I), is that you save a lot of money using cloth. Upfront, it sounds and looks pretty scary, when you can spend around $20 PER diaper, and you need, from what we've learned, around 20-30 if you don't want to do laundry every day. So, potentially, that's $400 in diapers. But then, you actually research and compare costs, and you realize, you're saving around... $1,000 - $2,000 just by using cloth. More, if you have multiple children I researched this online, as well as with some of the hand-outs we received with our lesson. And, the resources used for washing are pretty minimal, compared to my next point...

I also like how cloth diapers are much more eco-friendly than disposables. It can take up to 500 years for one diaper to break down! That is CRAZY. According to the handout received from Thirsties (a company/brand of diapers), 25 million trees are made into disposable diapers yearly. That's just not cool.

Cloth diapers are also "chemical-free," unlike disposables that contain gel-like agents and various toxins that absorb into a baby's bottom.

There's also found to be less instances of diaper rash with cloth diapers if you launder them correctly!

So yeah, sure, we're going to have to scrape poop off the diapers into the toilet, and do some extra laundry. Big deal.

Really, most diaper brands have fine print on them that say you're supposed to scrape the poop off into the toilet anyway and most people just don't follow it. Instead, there's a crap-ton (haha) of poop in landfills that seeps into our water supply and breeds viruses and bacteria. Stellar.

Anyway, as luck would have it, the other evening I realized I still had some cash left in my paypal account from when I used to sell photography on etsy, and after being directed to a "lesser known brand" of cloth diapers, called Nubunz (which are basically the same thing as the ever popular Fuzzibunz), I was able to purchase two. They arrived yesterday! I won't lie, I was beyond excited to receive the package, open them, see how they work, and put them on the shelf for our little Ninja to use once he's born and big enough!

Here they are, because I obviously was so excited I needed to photo document the occasion.

We put together a cloth diaper online registry, thinking maybe people would be interested in helping us get to our 20-30 goal, but we'll see how much support we really receive. Most people are more interested in buying outfits and toys, I figure (not that we don't appreciate or need those things, too).

Monday, October 4, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Memories

Jake and I attended a new church yesterday, Falls Church. We hadn't been to church, truthfully, in quite a few months, but recently decided we should start attending again, and find one that we could call "ours." I enjoyed this church immensely, although, I will be honest, the music was ridiculously loud.

After church, I was completely exhausted. I nearly fell asleep on the car ride home. I had a headache as well, which didn't aid in my staying alert and awake, so when we finally were home, Jake suggested that I take a nap.

We laid next to each other a while, as he felt the baby move, and I drifted in and out of sleep.

At one point, shortly before I finally crashed, he asked me what I was thinking.

"I was thinking about when my grandmother owned the Lamberton Cafe and she would let me have a piece of warm apple pie with cinnamon ice cream."

It was a very random thought, and though I wasn't sure where it originated, it became an all encompassing memory in just seconds.

"On Sundays?" he asked.

"Any time really." I replied. The tears started to flow, and he asked what was wrong. "I just... miss her."

I broke into sobs. I couldn't stop crying. I kept thinking about the scent of warm apple pie and cinnamon ice cream, how it had been so long since I had the delicious combination (I had it after she sold the cafe so many years ago, but it has still been quite a while). I kept thinking about the baking we would do together, the enticing, welcoming, comforting aroma that would flood her kitchen and the entire house as she created some of the most delicious baked goods.

And, of course, I could not stop thinking about spending that time with her, learning from her, helping her, hoping to grow up and be like her.

Then, the overwhelming sadness flooded through me, in that she had been so excited for Jake and I to be dating, then engaged, then married, and then hoping for and trying to start a family... and... she is missing out on the pregnancy, and will miss out on the birth, and seeing our family actually grow. The pain is truly raw, when I think that she will not be visiting us at the hospital with the rest of the family. She will not hold our baby boy. I will not hear her say his name.

I truthfully haven't baked much since she past in 2007. It's an unconscious thing mostly, as well as the fact that I'm alone often and don't see the point in making something fresh and not being able to share it right out of the oven. Perhaps, I should start.

I'm hoping, though, one of these days, Jake and I will be out and about, and we'll come upon a place where they sell warm apple pie and cinnamon ice cream... either that, or maybe, just maybe, we'll have it at home. I cannot wait for the aroma that I will always associate with those warm, happy, grandmother-granddaughter memories.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

One Month Left.

One month from today is the "official" due date that we were given back in February. Now, granted, that doesn't mean a whole lot, as the baby could be born any time between next Tuesday and six weeks from now.

But, it's a pretty momentous day for our little family. I know that I was always doubting that I'd EVER see a due date, let alone be this close to reaching it. Yes, I was pretty pessimistic about the possibility of being a mother. I just figured that since my body was working against me all those years, and it wasn't very likely to change.

Luckily, I had my wonderful husband, an amazing family, and exceptional friends who helped me to find the positive, stay focused on the goal, and support us as we attempted to conceive a child.

And it happened.

We did it. We conceived.

We made it past the first trimester, where the threat of a miscarriage was highest.

We made it the 27 weeks or so that is considered the "point of viability" in which the baby could survive if born early.

We made it within a month of the due date.

On Tuesday of this upcoming week, I'll be considered "full-term" in this pregnancy.

Then, it's just a matter of waiting for that day to arrive in which our little miracle decides he's ready to come on out and face the world. I'm nervous, a little scared, but excited beyond belief.

It's truly a miracle!

Friday, October 1, 2010

I'm having Michael Jackson's baby... and other things.

Last night, I had a bizarre dream. I was in a hotel room, with my brother, and we were just spending the night for fun, because Jake was on an overnight route and couldn't be home with me.

While I was sleeping, I had my baby. And my baby was a very dark, chocolate brown color. My brother and I were a little confused, but didn't think much of it, as we packed up and walked to the hospital to check in and make sure the baby was okay.

We called Jake from the hospital and told him he needed to be there right away, so he came as fast as he could. And, while we sat there in the waiting room, Jake met his son. He said, "That's not mine."

"Yes it is, you're the only guy I've ever slept with." (This is a true fact, I am very proud to say.)

So, Jake demanded a DNA test. The test proved the child was in fact his.

We asked the doctors how that could possibly be correct, and their explanation was either
A: the fertility treatments we went through altered the baby's genetic make-up so that he was born resembling an African-American baby,
B: my husband was born African-American, but his parents didn't want him to know that, so they bleached him white.

I woke up laughing, thinking to myself, "I married Michael Jackson."

Obviously, that's NOT what happened to Michael Jackson, but I mean, come on. Haha.

In other news, I decided tonight that I wanted to catch up on my hand-written journals, despite the fact that I had been typing them up on my laptop months ago, and the laptop screen is broken, so I couldn't see them. I was going to find the journal I had been writing my typed entries in so I could see where I left off with that at least, and then do a "briefing" of the last four months or so (I figure, it's hard to say exactly where I stopped typing them up thinking I'd get my screen fixed), and then continue with my thoughts.

Well, I can't find the journal I was using. I have dug through quite a few boxes and places and can't find it anywhere. I'm feeling a little defeated and it's actually prohibiting me from just starting in the new journal like I had decided I would for part two of my plan. That's just lame. I should not make excuses.

Tomorrow, my step-mother-in-law is coming to town, and she's bringing us a crib she found at a thrift store! It's pretty cute. I thought at first I might feel strange having a used crib, but it feels... perfectly fine. It makes more sense financially, and since it's in tip-top shape, why not? And it's not like the baby is going to care.

I'm pretty excited that the soon-to-be grandmother is so excited for the arrival of our son.

The other night, I was sitting writing a thank-you (okay, last night) and got completely overwhelmed knowing there are SO MANY people out there who prayed for us to finally conceive a child, and have been praying for us and for his health ever since we found out we were having a child. I don't even know HALF of the people. I've never met them.

We're truly blessed.

Alright, time for some supper, and then attempting to start this new journal. At least begin it...