Friday, December 31, 2010

happy new year to you


in typical blogger fashion today
i just wanted to jump on here quickly and wish you all
a happy new year

i am almost speechlessly overwhelmed by 2010
and have too many thoughts and feelings 
for a year in review post like most do

so i won't even try
and will enjoy tonight with friends 
and will wake up tomorrow morning
with a fresh journal on my nightstand
ready to be opened and started

ready for 2011
which i know will be a year to remember

Saturday, December 25, 2010

merry christmas to all, and to all a good night


today was my first christmas away from my family.

even on years when i lived in england and africa
i always left just days after the 25th and was home the next year before the holidays rolled around again

it was kind of sad
heading out of town knowing i wouldn't be in my bed on christmas eve
eating my mom's homemade breakfast and opening gifts with my siblings on christmas morning
or splitting the holiday between our two families like we've done for the last eight years.

but i must say, this not splitting christmas thing has been so relaxing.
yeah, i miss my fam, but having time to read {john 1}, crochet more granny squares and relax today was something i think i could get used to.

yesterday we spent christmas eve frolicking around downtown chicago. we walked around macy's on state street, wandered through the german market, shared a brautwurst with sauerkraut, strolled through navy pier than took the long way back to the in-laws home to snack on finger foods and lounge.

this morning we woke up early, got ready, scarfed cinnamon rolls and then opened an obscene amount of presents before bumming around the house (and video chatting with my family) until the prime rib was ready for lunch.

now we're sitting in the glow of the christmas tree watching The Other Guys and digesting.

it's been a good day.

but i can't help but wonder how different next christmas will be.
spent at home with a baby that will be closer to a year old than a newborn by then.

and oh, i can't wait.

Friday, December 17, 2010

a sad day, but you gotta do what you gotta do

Today was a sad day (aside from the fact that it was my last workday for the next 16 days!)

I had to take off my wedding rings.
It’s not that I’ve gotten so fat that they were stopping my circulation
It was just that, when I had a hot flash (which is often) or get overheated all the blood (and extra fluid) flows to my fingers (and feet) and it just started to get uncomfortably tight.

When I’m cold I can slip them on and off with no problem, but this morning, while sitting at work, I was drinking coffee and started to get warm from the caffeine which led to a hot flash and I had this moment of panic,
“I’m not going to be able to get my ring off!”

So tonight I took them off.
And it made me sad – I love my engagement and wedding rings.
And my next thought after now much I’m going to miss looking at them on my left hand every day, was,
“Now everyone’s going to think I’m an unwed mother.”

Then, thought #3:
“And now everyone’s going to see the crappy (I mean, romantic) tattoo I keep so well hidden under my rings.”

So I got one of my funky big rings and slipped it on my wedding ring finger instead of the same finger on my right hand.
A little better but it’s no replacement.

I guess I knew this day would probably come as I’ve seen a lot of my friends put aside their wedding rings during their last couple months of pregnancy, but still, it hurts my heart to give them up, even for 2 or 3 short months.

A couple of days ago, during a moment of distraction at work, I googled “pregnancy weigh gain breakdown” to see why exactly a woman gains (or is supposed to gain) 25-35 pounds.

To my surprise, this is what I found:

If  your baby weights around 7-8 pounds, below is the breakdown of where your pregnancy weight is coming from :

* Baby = 7-8 pounds
* Increased breast size = 1-3 pounds
* Increase in uterus = 2 pounds
* Placenta = 1-2 pounds
* Fluid surrounding baby = 2 pounds
* Increase in blood supply = 3+ pounds
* Fluid buildup = 2-3 pounds
* Storage of fat = 6-8 pounds

I read this and was shocked. I guess I knew some of it – but seriously…
3 lbs more of blood!
3 lbs more boobies!

It all adds up, so I’m not beating myself up over having to take off my rings.
I mean, I still fit into my pre-maternity clothes (sans zipper at the waist)
I haven’t outgrown my maternity jeans

So what if my fingers are getting fatter!? And the elastic of my socks leaves a mark in my legs at the end of the day?

If it means my boy is floating around safe and secure in a 2 lb uterus the size of a basketball, surrounded by 2 lbs of fluid with a nice little padding of chub keeping it all cozy and warm, then so be it!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

the end of an era


If you've read this blog for any amount of time
you'd know that tonight marks an important night in our little family.

As of this evening
my husband is no longer a college student.
The last final of his senior year has now been completed
and he's on his way to graduation on Sunday.

Man, am I proud of my guy!

Congrats Curtis,
I love you more than you know and can't wait to start spending my evenings and weekends with you!!!

...and just so you know, i'm taking you hostage for the next two weeks that we're off together for the holidays...
Be afraid, be very afraid!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

i want to be a mom who


I want to be a mom who reads to her kids

I want to be a mom who prays with her kids

I want to be a mom who has a life outside of her kids

I want to be a mom who demonstrates creativity for her kids

I want to be a mom who sings with her kids

I want to be a mom who doesn’t stress over her kids

I want to be a mom who really talks to her kids

I want to be a mom who shows her kids that she loves their dad

I want to be a mom who continues to write

I want to be a mom who maintains her style

I want to be a mom who makes time for herself

I want to be a mom who has other mom friends

I want to be a mom who also has friends that aren’t moms

I want to be a mom who doesn’t mind bringing a baby into non-kid-friendly places

I want to be a mom who wakes up before her kids

I want to be a mom who makes her marriage a priority

I want to be a mom who is in love with motherhood

I want to be a mom who thinks of creative ways to do boring things

I want to be a mom who instills a love of books into her kids

I want to be a mom who is slow to anger and quick to forgive

I want to be a mom who has spur-of-the-moment fun with her kids

I want to be a mom who colors with her kids instead of just watching

I want to be a mom who doesn’t turn on the television as a babysitter

I want to be a mom who takes her role as homemaker seriously

I want to be a mom who uses every opportunity as a moment to teach

I want to be a mom who plays dress up

I want to be a mom who takes full advantage of naptime

I want to be a mom who is not ruled by her children

I want to be a mom who is thoughtful when making decisions

I want to be a mom who teaches her kids to care for others, by doing this herself

I want to be a mom who demonstrates compassion

I want to be a mom who makes time to read grown up books

I want to be a mom who cooks breakfast not just on special occasions

I want to be a mom who gets messy with her kids

I want to be a mom who does not act out of anger or fear

I want to be a mom who does not let kid stuff take over her house

I want to be a mom who would rather put her kid to bed at someone else’s house then leaving early
I want to be a mom who can say I’m sorry to a toddler

I want to be a mom who doesn’t cringe at the idea of pulling every pot and pan out to play

I want to be a mom who cooks with her kids

I want to be a mom who isn’t afraid to get dirty

I want to be a mom who documents everything

I want to be a mom who takes lots of pictures

I want to be a mom who is humble enough to take advice from others

I want to be a mom who has respectful children

I want to be a mom who isn’t always tired and frazzled

I want to be a mom who enjoys a quiet cup of coffee in the morning

I want to be a mom who teaches her children it’s okay to ask questions

I want to be a mom who instills a love for other cultures to her children

I want to be a mom who is a parent to kids of various nationalities

I want to be a mom who has kids who have friends of all different colors

I want to be a mom who still wears high heels

I want to be a mom who carries a purse and not just a diaper bag

I want to be a mom who is proud of her aging body

I want to be a mom who doesn’t always feel guilty spending money on herself

I want to be a mom who is okay saying no to her children

I want to be a mom who can laugh at herself
I want to be a mom who would do it all over again when it's over

*photo: my mom, pregnant with me in 1982. ignore the date, the camera must have been a month or two off because i was born at the end of May.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

a shakespearian reminder to myself during the christmas season

Happy thou art not;

For what thou hast not,

still thou strivest to get,

And what thou hast, forget'st.

-William Shakespeare

from Measure for Measure

Monday, December 13, 2010

the last christmas without you...

not only did i get a text from my grandmother this morning that read:

"you are my angel and you married an angel"

i got an email from one of my {best girlfriends} with a link to this song:

she said that she was listening to it this morning and thought i would like it {which i did}

she said,

"it's about Jesus (and it's beautiful in that context), but i always think about how i felt when i was pregnant with h* and knowing it would be my last Christmas without her here."

so i listened to it with both contexts in mind and my eyes filled with emotion as both touched me in a particular {but different} way.

here are the lyrics if you don't feel like listening

{but oh, you really should, her voice is like the angel my grandmother thinks i am!}

The Last Christmas
-Sixpence None the Richer

I feel your heart beating
Inside my own skin
And I think of Mary
In Bethlehem

That night in a stable
Our Saviour was born
Yes, we have so much
To be thankful for

On the last Christmas
The last Christmas
The last Christmas
Without you

They're choosing the colors
Preparing your room
For one day; Midsummer
The advent of you

Together we wait for
A heavenly gift
Is winter a wonder?
Enchanted that this is

The last Christmas
The last Christmas
The last Christmas
Without you

See the stars shining for above
Hear the singing
Praise to the Giver of Life and Love
Maker of Beautiful things..
I feel you heart beating
Inside my own skin
And I think of Mary
In Bethlehem

When darkness was shattered
The dawn of God's grace
And the journey'd begun
To the first Easter day

On the this Christmas
The last Christmas
The last Christmas
The very last Christmas
The last Christmas (x 3)
Without you

Sunday, December 12, 2010

not regret, just a little bit of sadness

photo 2

It just hit me.
A few months after baby M* is born in March will be the one year mark of when we first started our adoption process last May.

I thought about that out of the blue today and it gave me pause.
A moment of sadness really.
Sadness mixed with complete joy.
I know all things happen for a reason, and we wouldn’t change how it all worked out for the world,
but still there is just a little bit of sadness. 

Not regret, just a heaviness in my heart.

Typically an Ethiopia adoption (especially of an infant boy) takes about a year.
That means, that this May/June, if we wouldn’t have gotten pregnant with this little guy, we’d have become parents at right around the same time.
Now M* will be about three months old then, and we’ll still be parents, just not in the way in which we originally thought.

It’s overwhelming to think about really.

His hands will be white instead of the brown we were at first expecting.
I will have endured the tidal waves of pregnancy instead of two trips overseas.

Now, the reality hits me.

We make plans but the Lord directs our steps.
and they are good steps,
great steps really.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

now entering: the third trimester


Today I hit the 28 week mark
Seven months by some counts (on the 10 month scale)
6 ½ by others (on the 9 month scale)
But however you count it in months
I have just finished my 28th week and
have reached the third trimester.

The THIRD trimester – that’s 3 out of 3!
Man, it seems like such an accomplishment
This is the home stretch
Albeit a long 12 week stretch, but the final leg nonetheless

Still, I can hardly believe that he will be here in 12 short weeks
Less if he’s early
(I don’t even want to think about him being late)

And boy, even in the last week or so I can tell things are changing (and i don't just mean my rotund circumference):

  • I am peeing more
  • I am sleeping poorly
  • My belly button is half innie – half outie
  • I get winded going up the stairs
  • I am hot all the time (not glowing, but nasty sweaty hot)
  • I cannot see my feet unless I slightly bend over
  • I am getting tired earlier and earlier in the day
But you won't hear any complaints from me (well, maybe Curtis will, but that's about it).
This is a great stage and i'm trying to relish every minute of it.

Friday, December 10, 2010

a dangerous concoction


I feel M* kick and I am aware of the fact that I am a mother to this child.
Already a mother.

Motherhood doesn’t come when they’re in your arms, but in your belly.
I am connected to him in such a significant way right now
literally joined
and it is both a remarkable and terrifying thing
producing awe and wonder
delight and fear.

There is so much as stake
so much can go wrong
so I pray for grace as I read stories about
and handicaps
and still births by women who never expected to walk in those shoes.

That is the reality
of procreation in a fallen world
and some days that fact grips me to the core
and shakes me
but in order to move forward
and live in a moment of anticipation and excitement
I have to release the worst case scenarios and less than ideal senarios
and let go

Let go of the control I do not possess anyways
But let go nonetheless
of the fear that grips in the middle of the night
when wakefulness and sleep intermix

A dangerous concoction

There are no guarantees
but for this moment
there is grace

I think {I wrote about that} on this blog a few weeks ago.
grace enough for today.
there is no grace for my imagination.
just grace for today.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

the times, they are a’changing…


Have I mentioned that we’ve got some BIG stuff going on around the Penick abode over the next few months?
However, if you think it’s a rarity that so many big things are happening to us all at once, then you’d be mistaken.

About four and a half/ five years ago I was finishing up my last semester of college.
We were engaged and I was simultaneously planning a wedding as I read about a book a day for my senior thesis class.
Then I wrote a paper that was over 30 pages and thus graduated.
Less than a month later, we were married.
Less than two weeks later, Curtis began working at Nestle.
Less than a year later we got a dog,
Then I got an internship
Right as we were buying our first house
And literally the week of the closing, my internship offered me a full-time position
And so our life together began.
In a whirlwind of change.

The last couple years have had their ups and downs –
House renovations
Getting out of debt
Curtis in school while he works full-time
You name it,
But it’s been nothing if it hasn’t been pretty consistently busy, 
busy but steady

Until now.

In a mere week and a half Curtis will (finally) graduate from CSU.
Now, I don’t say finally because I think it took him too long (although he may disagree)
I say finally because he has worked so hard for so long, balancing work and school
And I'm just so ready for him to be done because i just miss him.

Last night when he called me on his way home from class he told me – “in a week and a half, you get your husband back.”

I paused for a moment and then laughed as i responded, “back? I feel like I’m getting you for the first time all to myself. You’ve been in school since we’ve been dating. I’m not getting you back, I’m just getting you!”

So, on December 19th, Curtis will graduate.
Then it’s Christmas and by the end of the year we will officially be debt-free.
Then in January we will officially be in the black, as we’ll get back Curtis’ last CSU school reimbursement from good ole’ Nestle, which will hopefully pay off the rest of my car.

Curtis keeps saying, “I think I’m going to be bored once I graduate.” And my response has been (and continues to be) a hearty laugh.

“You have no idea, Curtis! You don’t even realize what you’re in for come March! Boredom will be a forgotten word to you – to us!”

So Curtis will have just enough time to be “bored” without classes as part of his nightlife before we are due to have this baby boy and our lives will change FOREVER.

Oh, the times, they are a’changing!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

making spirits bright


on a day when i'm feeling a bit droopy and down,
here are just a few things
that are making my spirits bright tonight:

the warmth of our fireplace
our twinkly tree
sipping coffee late in the day for a second wind
soup in the fridge for a quick bite tonight
kicks from a certain little boy that remind me what really matters
red nail polish making matching fingers and toes pretty
taking time to read a chapter of {this book}
a white puppy curled tight at my elbow
shoveling snow under the glow of kitchen lights
lingering in the snowy dark a little longer than usual watching snowflakes float and drop
sealing christmas cards in silence
pondering the season for more than a moment

what's making your spirits bright tonight?

in the grand scheme of things


Sometimes you just need a good cry to

sweep away the clutter and gain a fresh perspective

I guess I’m still in the sweeping away the clutter part of that.

But I did have a good cry this morning

brought on by disappointment, frustration and pure hormones I’m sure

but all is well, and life really couldn’t be better when I look at the big picture,

it’s just sometimes i forget to look at the bigger picture and focus on the daily minuta

which unfortunately isn’t so shiny and bright sometimes.

As curtis texted to me later, after I called him in tears:

“Luckily {it} doesn’t affect you in the grand scheme of things.”

And he’s so right.

I will look back, not in years, but probably in months, even weeks perhaps and think

boy, was that dumb to waste tears over.

Oh, I sure hope that’s the case.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

last night

Last night after work, I ran an errand for Curtis that took way longer than it should’ve (but I did score a free Kit Kat out of the deal from our favorite pharmacist for waiting in the CVS drive-through a bit too long!)
Then I walked the dog, put on some sweats, unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, folded three loads of laundry,
ate leftover pulled turkey enchiladas that I made on Sunday and then finally sat down with my laptop to catch up on some blogs via my Google Reader.

I had just read the first post and instead of hitting “mark as read,” I accidentally hit “mark ALL as read” leaving me with a Google Reader that said I had zero unread posts, instead of the couple hundred it has said just a moment before.

I was immediately bummed that I had such a slip of the finger on a night that I all I wanted to do was be lazy on the couch and browse other’s words and photos, as I had no more energy to provide the blogosphere with some of my own.

But after the first few moments of blog-withdrawal, it was actually kind of nice - starting Google Reader over with a fresh start, a clean slate. I took the pressure off to catch up.

I think I should do that every few months, when it’s been a while since I caught up and the “unread” number gets too high. Give myself a break, throw myself a bone and just take the pressure off.

Something I could learn in other parts of my life as well.

As the Christmas cards I normally love to write stare at me with blank pages from my desk in the dining room.
I hope they will get out before New Year’s this year.

As the granny square quilt has been neglected this week for earlier bedtimes and cooking instead of crafting.
This third trimester is stealing my energy.

As my Christmas shopping has barely been started and I have only two full weeks until we travel out of state.
I know I’ll get it done, but first I must find my motivation to brave the crowds with tired legs.

So, last night, instead of working on any of these things, I spent some time on facebook.

I watched {this}
again and peed my pants, again.

Then when Curtis got home, I shared my Kit Kat bar with him and made him watch the video with me, again.

Then, when he was downstairs practicing for a big presentation, I took a little 7 month photo shoot in the bathroom; which led to me posting one of these “beauties” on Facebook to show my belly progress since I hadn’t done that in at least two or three months…

Here’s what I came up with:

7 months pregnant

There's no denying that i'm pregnant now is there. I look at these pictures and almost don't recognize myself. I feel like i was barely showing then BAM -- there he is! it's craziness really.

So, after my little photo shoot, I turned on our electric blanket and scooted into bed…and for once i didn’t fall asleep before Curtis got into bed.

Because I’m a good wife like that.

Friday, December 3, 2010

27 week nausea


Lately, when people have been asking me how I feel I’ve been able to smile and say, “Fantastic! I feel like I could do this forever!”

Well, i spoke too soon.

Is it common for nausea to return in your third-ish trimester?

Because Wednesday I woke up with that first trimester feeling all over again.
Queasy, dizzy, hot and sweaty. ugh, i was just starting to forget those four wretched months ever happened.

I sat up in bed and knew I wasn’t going to be able to make it into work.

That all too familiar feeling kept me flat in bed, and i fell asleep for another hour or so.
Then, when I knew I’d be able to sit up without running to put my head in the toilet I went downstairs and ate some cheerios
The comfort food of all comfort foods if you ask me
And it helped a bit, but not entirely.

And then yesterday it happened again.
I woke up feeling fine, but at around 9am, while sitting at my desk a wave of nausea came over me again
I took long steady breaths, pretending to work until it passed.
I don’t know how I did that for four months. It’s a miserable feeling.

Then it passed, and M* continued to kick and flip.

I actually think that’s part of where the nausea was coming from.
The bigger he gets, not only do his kicks get stronger, but I can feel when his whole body shifts, turns and flips
I think it’s actually making me kind of motion sick…
It’s a feeling akin to seasickness –

But it’s worth it – I won’t complain. and now it's gone, just like that.

I’d rather have this seasickness than on the most beautiful yacht in the middle of the ocean.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

i hope i never lose the wonder

photo 2

I sit at work and try to be indiscrete as I pause from work and watch my stomach ebb and flow like the ocean

I can see his movements from under my striped shirt like a tide
I can feel him press through my belly onto my arm that is lightly resting on it
Draped over my protruding abdomen as my hands type on my laptop like a bridge

This is the weirdest sensation and never gets old.
I want to tell the girl that sits next to me
Tell her to watch this craziness as it overtakes my body
I want her to be as fascinated as I am
But like I was with othersI doubt she’d get it, or care.

I never did

I’d see pregnant bellies, even feel the kicks through another’s stomach to my hand
And it would not affect me in the slightest
Now the mere sight of another round circumference on the street
Strangers passing by
Makes me want to run up and grab her hands
Ask her if she’s as in awe as I am
Speak of shared sensations and feelings
Wondering if a bored face means this is old hat for her
Wondering if with each pregnancy comes less fascination

I hope I never lose the wonder

In bed last night I felt my belly move in slow tidal waves
So I pulled back the sheets and blankets
and pulled up my shirt and watched
Then I made curtis watch.
It must be crazy watching a being take over someone else’s body
Without feeling it yourself
And we both watched
Mesmerized until he slowed his roll
And settled in for the evening

Like our puppy
Nesting, spinning in obsessive circles on a couch cushion
Until she’s perfectly ready to curl into a ball for the night
Then still
Eyes close and nothing.

This is how he must be too
Busy and moving and stretching and curling
And then still
Must be sleep

This never gets old.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

an update: granny square quilt






Well, I’ve come a long way (if I do say so myself) in my granny square progress.

Looking back on my {original granny square post}
I’m embarrassed that I ever thought any of those square looked good.
They didn’t, and now that I know what I’m doing, I know that.

Since that post I have started on the real thing and I must admit, I’m pretty proud of myself
And excited to see the finished product.

To date I’ve made over 60 squares – each one different and quite adorable

It didn’t hurt that I had four days off last week – when I wasn’t hosting thanksgiving dinner, I was a little crocheting machine.

When I originally told my mom I was going to make a granny square quilt, she laughed at me and told me I couldn’t do it.
my mom is usually much more encouraging so I was a little taken aback.
I don’t think she understood the fact that I had been online trying to teach myself how to do it.
I think she thought I was just going to make it up as I went.
but either way, for someone who virtually taught themselves how to be a master knitter, I was a little taken aback.

What do you mean I can’t do it?
Her subtle discouragement only made me want to do it more.
So last night, after inviting myself over for dinner at their house while Curtis was at class, i brought over my ziplock bags of granny square loot. And she was impressed as i knew she would be. and i think now she wants to learn - i told you it's an addicting craft once you get the hang of it.

then icing on the cake last night was that she felt the boy kick for the first time.

*I was too lazy to take the stacks of squares out of the ziploc bags i've been storing them in.
each stack is a stack of six and each stack of six is a variation of the three different colors in the square on top.
the little crocheted circles are how each square starts. the white of the outer edge is what gives each one their corners and turns it into a cute little granny square.

and how'd you like our skinny little tree this year? we love it!

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