Saturday, September 25, 2010

on pregnancy cravings and other myths

summer picnic

I think one of the most common questions to ask a pregnant woman is, “so have you had any crazy pregnancy cravings yet?”
Even hearing this question prior to getting pregnant made me roll my eyes.

I think it’s all a big load of crap.

(hold your guns and your judgment and hear me out)

Everyone has cravings.
Pregnant women, non-pregnant women, men, kids.
There is a time in everyone’s life when you want something and you want it bad.

Now, I’m a weird eater to begin with.

My mom denies it but my sister is around to attest to the fact that we were made to eat peanut butter, mayonnaise and lettuce sandwiches as children. We snarl at the thought of it now but we don’t remember hating them back then.

My tastes are about the same as my fascination with the travel channels food shows. Bizarre Foods, No Reservations, Man vs. Food.

I have no problem eating most things (sans ketchup or any kind of cake)

So when it comes to pregnancy cravings I become wary.

See, I think “pregnancy cravings” are just women who aren’t ashamed to say out loud what they’ve wanted all along.
Freedom to eat.
And eat weird.

So when people ask me if I’ve had any cravings I tell them that I always have and it’s no different now.
Like most people, when I get something in my mind, it doesn’t leave until it’s been satisfied.
Some people are like this with stuff, some with food, some with other things that may go unmentioned.

Pregnant women just happen to be hungry.
all the time.

Right now, the only things I really want, of course, are the things I can’t have
which I’d call less of a craving and more just plain mind games
psychology 101

Hot dogs
Raw fish sushi (we went out for sushi one night and I had to made due with the cooked variations)
Lots of caffeine

I wouldn’t call these cravings,
I would call these desires based on denial

We always want what we can’t have don’t we?

But hey, I’m open-minded…what did you “crave” during your pregnancy???

Friday, September 24, 2010

the size of my palm


Curtis has started talking to my belly.
He/she (I think he, but we’ll see in two weeks) is now the size of my open palm and can now hear sounds outside of my body.

Last week, right before waking, I had a dream.

I was taking a walk with a friend.
We stopped at some sort of outdoor shop and were browsing
When all of a sudden
Not a flutter but a kick
I can still feel it so distinctly
The first movements

In my dream I wished Curtis was there for this momentous occasion

In those waking moments before wakefulness I remember thinking
Now I know what to expect when it actually does happen.

When my mind was finally awake and aware that morning
I laid in bed
Curtis was already off to work
I remember him kissing my face and my foot (my foot?) before leaving the room.
I don’t like him leaving before the sun comes up
It was 6 am when I woke up
Already alone in bed
I lay there
Hoping for flutters
Hoping that the dream was foreshadowing
Of the morning

of course it wasn't

I’ve started to feel my heartbeat
In my stomach
That steady pulse from the extra blood flow
A slow rhythm
A reminder of the life inside

But no flutters

I know it’s early.
17 weeks on Saturday
But I’m anxious

Some days I wake up and forget for a millisecond
Before rising with a full bladder
That this is really my life.

For so long
I mulled over the idea of being pregnant
Watched friends and strangers grow and
Wondering if that would ever be me
Eventually melting into a calm resolve that it was okay if it never was

Slowly I got over the notion that to become a mother
Had to come with a growing belly
And slowly that became okay

And now, I am in the shoes of all that I’ve wanted to become for so long.
And without knowing it I am overwhelmingly grateful for this chance
The growing
The steady thud of my heart in my stomach

I thought I had given up the desire, but now that it is here
I know now
That it was never really gone

And as much as I would have been okay not experiencing this miracle firsthand
I am inexplicably grateful for the chance to walk this road that so many others have traveled before

And I’m glad the journey started how it did.
And I’m so glad it has led to this.

This moment
When I sit and ponder the path
That has led to this moment
Waiting for a flutter or a kick

This moment of my husband laying his scruffy, overgrown jaw
On my belly
As he whispers and I laugh as he tells secrets to our child and tells me to
“C my way out”
Tells me that the vibrations of his jaw on my belly are better for the baby to hear
than his moving lips on my skin
As he talks and promises the world to this little one
As I laugh and shake with giggles at my ticklish skin
Skin on skin

It is just this moment

This is all we have

The three of us

Even with one being only 
the size of my palm

Thursday, September 23, 2010

there is no sadness in the end of summer

summer nights

By all these lovely tokens September days are here,
With summer's best of weather
And autumn's best of cheer.
-Helen Hunt Jackson

I love Summer,
I look forward to Summer all through Winter and Spring
The warmth on my face
The shedding of bulky coats and dry skin
Chapped from snow and wind and hibernation

But once July rolls to August
I’m ready for Fall.

Autumn feels like home.

Especially this Autumn
When the heat was as stale as the crackers by my bed.
the nausea as familiar as the smell of sprinklers and cut summer grass

Last week was absolutely lovely.
Mid 70’s and sunny.
This week has been balmy again
And stubborn jackets and layers have made hot flashes a familiar
Part of my everyday

Last Sunday, as Curtis and my dad were working on our house
I took off my sweater, and sat in the front yard
Amidst power tools and saw dust
And tipped my chin up to face the sun
Closed my eyes
Took a deep breath and sat
To the hum of the drill, the saw, the cars driving by
looking at my posture in the midst of construction

then I got up and pulled out my perennials to much chagrin
who was I kidding,
they’d been dead for weeks
maybe more

I quit watering
Mere weeks after planting them
When I started getting sick
They became neglected

Just another reminder that summer was over

Our last summer as a family of two
Beginning our last Autumn as a dynamic duo

But there is no sadness in this

I am ready.

So ready.

And eager.

And anxious.

There is no sadness in the end of summer
Or the end of an era of just the two of us.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

a week in the life of...well, me.


  • I am loving {Liberté Méditerranée Coconut Yogurt} (have you heard of it? if you love coconut, like I do, you’ll love this stuff)

    • I am using a rubber band on my jeans (although I can still zip most of my pants, this really does make it much more comfortable, especially while sitting at a desk all day -- makes me laugh every time I use it though)

    • I bought Target’s version of the Bella Band (I’ve worn it once and am not convinced it will really help my pants stay up while unbuttoned and unzipped)

    • I have gotten to the point that I can’t sleep on my stomach anymore (makes me kind of happy that I’m starting to show – luckily I’m not a belly sleeper anyways…not sure what I’m going to do when I can’t sleep on my back anymore)

    • I am learning to deal with the rare migraine sans migraine medicine (and let me tell you, it sucks and yes there usually are tears involved)

    • My new best friend in an anti-nausea drug called Zofran (it’s also used to treat the nausea in chemo patients and it’s like a little magic pill of love)

    • With the urging of my mom, I started my first baby sweater (the yarn and pattern were a gift from my aunt when she thought we were still adopting – and because we are, eventually, I am making it with that little one in mind)

    • As of Sunday, we now have new back steps and a lovely hard wood floor in our entry hall and coat closet thanks to my talented father and helper husband (they both have been projects on our list for at least a year and makes me so happy to be able to cross them off my house to do list)

    • I made a delicious (if I do say so myself) eggplant parmesan a few days ago (of which we just enjoyed the last  bit of leftovers)

    • I also made brownies (of which I have proudly only eaten one)

    • I weighed myself tonight, and still weigh two pounds less than I did pre-pregnancy, I really don't under how this is possible after not using the bathroom for almost two weeks, I was sure I gained at least a few.

    • On Saturday I will have reached the end of my fourth month of pregnancy and enter into month number five with the hope that it's all uphill from here. (the last few months have been hard. very, very hard)

    • I have again slid into slacker blogger status (something I am planning on changing)

    Sunday, September 5, 2010

    book review: Love & War

    We must love one another or die.

    I am not typically a fan of marriage books. I've read a few and more often than not have never made it to the end of any of them. So when my friend Judy (my read-through-the-Bible buddy) told me how the authors John & Stasi Eldredge offered to give away their most recent book on marriage to anyone who was willing to blog about it and write a review on Amazon, i swallowed that bad taste in my mouth and signed up. 

    Within weeks we had both received the book:

    Love & War: Finding the Marriage You've Dreamed Of

    Even the title kind of rubbed me the wrong way. But I opened the front cover and started to read.

    They had a very casual tone about them. Lots of stories from their marriage and the marriages of their friends but a theme began to emerge. Marriage is hard. But it's worth fighting for.

    Love is worth fighting for.

    To be honest, it was a difficult book to get through. But because of this "agreement" to blog about it for a free copy, i felt compelled to finish it.

    I finished it last Thursday morning, while sitting in Pheonix Coffee, waiting for my weekly coffee date with Judy. I got there a half hour early, knowing i only had one chapter left. i was ready to be done. So as i sipped my small portion of alotted caffeine for the day, and read these words by Ruth Bell Graham: 

    A happy marriage is the union of two forgivers.

    I stopped. I thought about how true that statement was, and how bad we are (i am) at it most of the time.

    Since becoming pregnant i have thought a lot about the fact that marriage only gets harder with the addition of children. It, of course, is not a deal-breaker, but the antie goes up and the stakes get that much higher.

    And as excited as i am to enter into this new stage of our marriage, i know it will be a whole new level of "Love & War."

    So, now, in the next six-ish months of preparation for parenthood, i have entered a time where our marriage has become my priority. Because, as one friend so graciously reminded me, i will never be less busy than i am right now, and the habits i want in motherhood, especially in early motherhood, are the habits i must form right now, before becoming a parent.

    so i am committed to putting my husband first, loving him even when he is unloveable (which is seldom) and when i don't feel like loving (which is much more often) and forgiving him without exception.

    If a happy marriage is the union of two forgivers, then i want to make sure that i hold up my end of the deal.

    Auden said, We must love one another or die, and i believe that. Maybe not physically, but spiritually, mentally and emotionally we will shrivel up and stop being, when we stop loving. 

    i want my children to grow up knowing that their mom loves their dad more than herself. i'm not there yet, but it's my goal.

    I've got six months -- and if this book has done anything for me, it has opened up my eyes wider to my need of grace in order to love.

    C.S. Lewis wrote:

    To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.

    Saturday, September 4, 2010

    nursery project: how's it coming?

    we live in a modest {ie. little} three bedroom home in a great cleveland suburb. we bought the house before i even had a "real" job. it was a forclosure. it was cheap at the time {about a year or so before the housing crash} for what we paid, we could now afford a house double the size -- but we won't go there, it's just too depressing. All this to say that we love our house and love the fact that it has always given us just enough room.

    when we moved in we picked the biggest bedroom for the master, then we each chose the other rooms as our respective closets/ offices. See, our house was built in 1937 and the closets are the size of a refrigerator. I was in charge of the paint selection for all rooms, and based on the bedding we already had for the guest bed, i selected a vibrant brick red/orange for Curtis' office.

    On a good day, this is what the room looked like:


    When we decided to adopt, i began a huge reorganizing project to clear out this room and share "my room" with the man in order to start on a nursery for our little Ethiopian boy. You may remember me blogging about cleaning the basement and moving half of my stuff down there to make room for Curtis' stuff.

    By the time the "red room" was cleared and cleaned we found out we were pregnant.

    Still, we needed a nursery, and probably in less time at that, so i got to work, mulling over paint samples and beginning to envision "baby's room."

    People made fun of me for wanting to start on this room so soon, but here was my justification.
    In late August, Curtis would start his last semester of classes up. He would be gone four nights a week and with studying on the weekends, i wanted to take the big task of painting off his plate to worry about. Plus, i didn't want to wait until he was graduated in December to begin the nursery. So naysayers were silenced and i picked the paint and we got stared.

    Unfortunately we were so on a roll one weekend that i got no pictures of the progress. But here is what it looked like all painted and fresh. (note: when we decided to adopt, we began to receive many generous gifts of used furniture and baby items...the crib was a gift from my in-laws, given sooner than we needed because they were moving)



    The paint color was called Burnished Metal by Behr. It was between that and a color called Dolphin and so in the end, we (ie. I) went with the brighter of the two although they were extremely similar.

    My goal was a very neutral backdrop to a bright nursery. I love the look of crisp white walls, but that just wasn't for me, so i chose what i thought was my version of a white wall. pale, pale grey. Curtis was unsure, some made fun of me for choosing grey in a baby's room. But i love it.

    The following pictures are of the room as of a week ago. I placed all the toys we have on top of the dresser (from our guest room set) and placed my favorite Anthropologie pillow in the crib. It's sparse but clean and the perfect backdrop for some inspiration.




    Then my sister declared that she had a gift for baby P. I wondered what it would be. When i finally saw her, before i opened the bag she told me that she saw this and knew she had to get it. Then i saw it and i knew why...


    We now have our first item of baby clothes...I have promised to buy not an item until we find out the sex (on October 8th!) And although i have been tempted upon seeing a few things, i have restrained. Other than a few garage sale purchases (a baby bjorn snuggly, a swing and running stroller) in the last couple months that totaled only about $50, i have purchased nothing until i spotted this rug on


    I had been browsing rugs for a few weeks and everything was either pink, blue or very very beige and neutral. i really wanted something bright and fun and not my style at all. i got it in my mind and everything was falling significantly short of what i had in mind. until i thought to go on their rugs are inexpensive (some of them) and fun. When i spotted this one, i fell in love. it was just unisex enough, just bright enough, and only $39!

    So i texted my mother-in-law who lives 10 minutes from an ikea near Chicago and asked her if she wouldn't mind picking it up for me on her next trip out there. she said she'd go the following day. And better yet, they were coming to cleveland the following week and offered to bring it with them.


    Everyone i've showed it to has the same reaction: wow, that's bright. definitely a statement. funky. fun.
    Curtis was again, unsure about it, but i loved it. It wasn't as big as i thought it would be, but for 40 bucks i'd make it work.

    I want a nursery that is unlike any of the other "earthy" rooms in my home. No brown, no camel, no green or gold...

    This is so not my style and i think that's why i like it so much. I've never been a primary color kind of girl, but i think the colors of this rug give us so much potential. I just keep telling curtis, the rug is the statement piece of the room, the whole room will not be this loud!

    He just replies by saying, "okay Jess, whatever you say, i trust you, you haven't done me wrong yet."

    And that is why (or just one of the reasons) i love that man and am so glad that out of all the men in the world, he will be the father of my children!

    He gives me free reign and humors my style!

    encountering the unexpected

    The only place I can be is right here, encountering the unexpected with joy.

    I read this {here}
    today and thought it was apropos to my life right now {and maybe yours too}
    I just had to share.
    Plus, I haven’t features any of Christina’s writing in a while, but it’s still just as raw and chilling as ever.

    Friday, September 3, 2010

    changing body

    It won’t be long.

    yesterday I wore a dress to work with a big leather high-waisted belt
    Bad idea

    I was in pain all day

    Last week this outfit would have been fine.

    But my body’s changing in rapid progression

    I can tell

    Yesterday was the first day that I actually felt pregnant

    I don’t mean nausea and vomiting and fatigue

    But my actual body felt different

    I can not suck in my stomach for the life of me

    And even when I do, I can’t see my ribs and hip bones like I used to

    Especially after I eat

    even the simplest meal or tiniest snack makes me feel like I swallowed a canteloupe

    The food takes its place next the baby and they fight for space

    I can imagine this conflict only gets worse the further along I get

    I can feel the muscles loosening and shifting (do they shift or does it just feel that way?)

    The muscles near where my legs meet my pelvis ache

    My legs felt crampy at my desk

    I have to take my shoes off and stretch them every so often

    My chest aches

    And I’ve been thinking about slipping into sweats all day

    My ugly pink ones from the gap

    With paint stains and a hole in the butt
    This is going to be fun.

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