It's been a little while since I posted a "bump" picture, so here you go. Sorry to give you a shot with so much of the ceiling, but that's how it goes when you are doing a self portrait. And when you aren't a good photographer. And when you just don't care enough to photoshop anything out. She's most definitely growing, eh?
I'd say our Christmas Vacation was a complete success. Here are a few of my favorite things:
Being able to see everyone. This included both of our immediate families, all grandparents, both of our extended families (aunts, uncles, and cousins), my old roommates, Clark's old roommates, my friends from high school (and the Murray girls), and Clark's friend from high school. Unfortunately we missed the Porters, but hopefully we'll catch them soon!
Eating lots of good food.
Getting lots of presents for Wombsly.
Enjoying excellent music.
Watching it snow.
Eating some more food.
Playing Dance Dance Revolution for the first time ever (and I rocked!).
Seeing the progress on my parents' new house.
Drinking hot cocoa from 7-11.
Coming home with a few days left to relax.
All in all, it was excellent. We stayed the perfect amount of time, if you ask me. Big thank yous to Jessica for letting us sleep on her bed, and Kim and Patrick for letting us sleep on their floor. I wish I had taken more pictures, but I at least took more than 1, so that's something. Here are a few for your enjoyment.
Lauren, our niece, methodically spreading the newspaper out all over the floor.
Clark being a weirdo.
The new house! I can't believe they'll be all moved in 3 months from now.
And today I'm thankful for: Warm St George weather!
To me, it feels like this year I have heard more people complaining about the disappearance of the word "Christmas" from the commercial world (Holiday catalogs, wishing everyone a Happy Holiday, etc). Here's an example. I have a hard time understanding why everyone gets so worked up about it. Sure, a business is going to try to include everyone in their ad campaign, and yes, it's so they can get more money. They are a business. That's what a business does. It just seems a little over the top to me, to complain so much about something that's been going on for years now, and really isn't offensive.
Last night, I heard on the radio about some Canadian elementary school who decided to change the lyrics of Silver Bells (by substituting the word "Christmas" with "festive") for their Christmas concert. Now, I think that is somewhat over the top (yes, I believe I would even call it ridiculous), and I might even complain about it. But I wouldn't be irate. I wouldn't leave a nasty message on the school's answering machine. Come on, folks, it's the Christmas season! If you care that much that the word "Christmas" stays in our vocabulary, then I'm assuming that you're Christian, and that's no way to act!
As a side note, they also aired a comment sent in by a Muslim woman who thinks that they should just leave the word Christmas where it is. She's not offended by it. To her, Christmas is a time when her husband has the day off work, and they can spend time together as a family. And there is nothing wrong with that. I thought that was interesting. So there is a point for the protesters. But a calmly made one.
For the past 8 years (wow, I just did the math, it's really been 8 years), I've been somewhat of a Holocaust enthusiast. OK, that sounds bad. I enjoy reading memoirs and learning about the Holocaust, as well as the events of WWII surrounding it. That sounds better. And yet I haven't read the diary of Anne Frank, the most popular piece of literature to come out of the Holocaust, since I was in the 7th grade. I even own the book, for crying out loud. So I decided it was high time that I re-read it.
In the 7th grade, I was 12 years old. Anne Frank's diary chronicles her life from ages 13 to 15. I think my English teacher (and probably many other Jr. High English teachers) decided that the book was written by someone who was so close in age to her students, so we would probably relate very well to her. But this was not the case. It turns out that a 12 year old girl living her cozy life in Utah doesn't have a lot in common with a 14 year old girl living in hiding in Nazi occupied Holland. Because of the war, Anne had to grow up pretty fast, and a lot of her entires were just over my head. I did not enjoy reading this book back then, in fact I don't think I ever finished it.
But this time around, I loved this book. Having an adult perspective makes all the difference in the world. It probably helps that I can look back on the rest of my teenage years now, and I can remember what it was like to be so upset with your parents one day and so happy to have them around the next. I can remember how it feels to like a boy and wonder if he likes you back. I can remember the "infatuation" stage of a relationship, and what it feels like when that wears off. And I can remember how it is possible to be around people all the time, and yet feel so alone because you have no one to confide in. But I hadn't had these experiences yet at the age of 12. It all is so much more familiar to me now.
I think it also helped that I know a lot more about WWII now, and so I have a little better idea of what was going on in the world surrounding the Secret Annex. A lot of her comments about the pending invasion made a lot more sense to me, and by looking at the date, I knew how the war was going, when D-Day was coming, etc.
It was a much more enjoyable reading experience this time around. I feel a lot more connected to Anne than I did before, and I have a lot more sympathy/empathy for what she went through. It made me think a lot about how it would be to live in fear of discovery every day, to have to eat rotten vegetables (and to be grateful that you have them!), and to be so confined for such a long time. And it made me remember how it feels to be a teenager, and what it's like to transition from a child to an adult. All in all, an excellent book.
This weekend we went to Zion and did a little bit of hiking. It had been a while since we'd been out there, and I'm not in as great of shape as I once was (3 months of basically bed rest will do that to you), but I've been feeling so good lately, and we decided that we could always just hike for as long as we wanted to and then turn back. And so we did. We went on the Angel's Landing trail, but we turned around after about an hour, maybe a little less. But it was still quite fun. Here are some photos to document the event:
"Now ye hear of endless bliss. Joy! Joy! Jesus Christ was born for this. He hath opened heaven's door and man is blessed forevermore. Christ was born for this. Christ was born for this." Yes, this is from "Good Christian Men, Rejoice." I'm loving the weekly quotes this month - Christmas is just such a wonderful season! New quote up.
Today I got to go to Megan's house for a little crocheting and conversation. We used to get together a couple times a week over the summer and go swimming, but then pregnancy hit me hard, and I was out of commission for a few months. Now I'm back in the game, and I go over there once a week. I really look forward to seeing her, and just having someone to talk to during the day. And her girls are a lot of fun, too.
So this morning, I was all set to head on over there at 10:00. I often walk over there, because she doesn't live very far away, but today I had a doctor's appointment at noon, so I opted to drive. I don't drive my car very often, these days. And we live in St George. So I didn't even think about the fact that it was cold last night, and there might be ice on my car. Particularly at 10am on a sunny day. So I headed on out, to find that my car was most definitely covered in ice. Don't worry, it was the only car in the parking lot that had ice still, compliments of my shady spot. So I turned on the car, got the defrost going, and went to scrape some ice off. But dagummit, we seem to have taken all ice scrapers out of my car and put them in Clark's. So what did I do? I sat in my car for a while until the back window was defrosted. Then I kicked it into reverse and backed up into the sunshine. Then I sat in the sun for a few minutes until the ice melted on the windshield and most of the other windows. But there was one lousy window that just wouldn't give it up. In the end, I rolled it down, and drove on my merry way. Problem solved. It only took 5-10 minutes. About the time it would have taken me to walk over there. But oh well, I needed the car for the way home anyway.
The Beating of My Heart
The doctor of the day was my cardiologist. I see him once a trimester, just to get his input on how things are going. So here's how the appointment went: Show up at noon (right on schedule), and pay a co-pay of $25. Sit in the waiting room for 20 minutes. Head on back with the Medical Assistant, who weighs me, takes my blood pressure and pulse, and updates the list of all my medications. Then I waited for maybe one minute before the doctor came in (they get kudos for that one). He asks how I'm feeling (fine), takes a little listen to my heart, and says that I seem to be doing really well. He asks if I have any questions (I had one, which he answered), and then says he'd like to see me in about 10 weeks. And there you go. That was it. I'm glad to have the news that I'm doing well, it's good peace of mind. And I like my cardiologist, he's a good guy. It's just funny to me that it probably took longer for me to set up my next appointment than it did for him to tell me I was doing well. But the end result is still the same: I'm not in heart failure. And that is a good thing.
The Box Saga
I had to mail a package today (I am really sorry to the Lowes if it doesn't get there before Christmas; it should, it really should!), but I didn't have a box. So I decided to bip on over to the UPS store and purchase one. They are very close to home, and I figured that they would most definitely have a box. However, I decided to go there right after my visit to the cardiologist, so I didn't know what size of box I needed. I went in and picked out a box, and the guy said that I could always come back and exchange it for a different size if I needed to. Turns out I needed to. I grossly overestimated how large this box needed to be. I needed a 12x12x12 box. I got a 18x16x12 box. Whoops! But I figured, hey, no big deal, I'll just take it back and exchange it. And I did. Now here is the weird part of this story: the smaller box cost $0.10 more than the larger box. Does this make sense to anyone else? The guy was actually really cool, and said not to worry about the difference. I just thought it was odd. Smaller box = more money. Go figure.
I hit the jackpot last night! One of my St George friends, Celeste, has so kindly allowed me to borrow her maternity clothes. Melissa has let me borrow hers as well, which has been great; the only problem is a lot of the clothes are for when you are really quite pregnant, and I'm still pretty small in the belly area. So I've pulled out a few things from those boxes, but a lot of the stuff has been put in reserve until we hit February or March. But Celeste's box of clothes - they fit me now! This is likely due to the fact that Celeste is a smaller person than I, but I'll take it! It gives me a lot of clothes to wear. In fact, I'm probably going to have to go purchase some hangers so I can hang all this stuff up. Now I have clothes that actually make me look pregnant, rather than the T-shirts I have been wearing! I'll have to take a picture later today and post it for you. A big shout-out thank you goes to Celeste and Melissa, for lending me a wardrobe.
Ah, Christmastime. A season for singing fun songs, eating excellent food, and of course, shopping! (As a side note, I'm really not a big shopper. I only like to shop when I have a specific idea of what I want - window shopping is right out. But that is not what this post is about. So let's get back to it.) When the time comes that you've finally decided what you want to purchase for those lucky souls on your list, where is the first place you think to go in search of said items? That's right - the mall! And so Clark and I went to the mall last night to get some Christmas shopping done. I can't go into too many details of what we were looking for, but we had 3 things on our list, and we felt that the chances were fairly good that we'd find at least 1 of those things. But no. We found zero.
I will say that one of the things we were looking for was a book. Let me tell you a little thing about St George. There are 3 bookstores. The first is Deseret Book, which is a fine store, if you are looking for a church book. And don't go thinking that our Deseret Book is like the ones in SLC, it's rather small. At least the section of non-LDS books is rather small. Next we have B Dalton Booksellers, which is in the mall, and thus is VERY small. We took a quick peek around the store, and soon discovered that there was simply no way that we would find the book we were looking for. The final bookstore is Little Professor Books. I actually really like this bookstore, but again, it's pretty small. They are very helpful, though, and very willing to order in books for you. I just called them - they don't have the book either. They are building a new Barnes and Noble at the mall, but it won't be done for quite a while.
And so, we are stuck. Needless to say, we were rather underwhelmed with the options in the mall. And strangely enough, we had similar results with the mall last Christmas. And we were just talking with some folks in the ward about how St George has every store you need. I guess we'll have to do a bit of last minute shopping once we get up to Salt Lake.
We finally went maternity clothes shopping last night. We headed on over to our local Target, partially because I had a gift card, and partially because we had to pick up some other things as well. Now, I've never been shopping in the maternity section before, but I've seen the sign. Maybe it's because I so desperately wanted to be pregnant for quite a while, but it always seemed. . . well, bigger than it is. Whereas before it was a giant reminder that I wasn't expecting, now it's just a teeny tiny section of the store. Interesting how perspective changes. In any event, I purchased a pair of jeans that I really like, and a new shirt. Clark pointed out that I don't need a whole new wardrobe because I'll only be pregnant for another 18 weeks. Why is it that when you say "18 weeks" it seems a lot shorter than "126 days?" So I guess I'll be wearing my new jeans for about 42 of the next 126 days. But I should have more than 3 shirts I can wear, so at least I'll have a little more variety up top, right?
As I wrote how grateful I was for new slippers, I realized that I never blogged about my near-death experience. OK, let's not be dramatic, it was more like a near-injury experience. I woke up one morning (this was probably a little over a week ago), and put on my cozy old slippers to go downstairs. One step, two step, slip! THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD THUD! CRASH! BOOM! I'm not even kidding, these were the noises. Turns out my old slippers are, in fact, slippery, and so rather than my feet gripping the stairs as I was going down them, I slid down on my butt. I was actually just fine, lots of padding on my butt I suppose. But somewhere in the course of my fall, I must have hit the wall, which caused the clock to fall off, which hit a picture frame on the way down, which fell on the floor. That was the crash and boom. Clark had just gotten out of the shower. Imagine his dismay when he hears such a clatter! (And he knows it's not reindeer on the roof!) I immediately started crying. Let me remind you, I was absolutely fine, I don't think I even got a bruise from it, but it startled me quite a bit. Especially the crash and the boom. In the end, the picture frame didn't even break, everything was fine and dandy. And a few days later I got a Christmas package in the mail from my mom - 2 new pairs of slippers, with plenty of traction. All's well that ends well.
1) I am almost out of lotion. This is quite the feat for me, actually. Normally I have all kinds of lotion, and by the time I'm halfway through a bottle, I get more. It's the classic gift idea. But somehow I've used it all up. And normally I at least have my bottle of unscented lotion to rely on as a back up, but no. That is almost out as well. It only took 3 1/2 years to use, but we finally did it. I guess I'll have to go out and buy some more. Or just wait until Christmas in hopes that St Nick wants me to moisturize!
2) The other day it became rather apparent that I can't wear my regular pants for much longer. I'm actually rather pleased that I've lasted this long (5 months in). And some of my pants will fit for a little while longer. But we're going to have to break down tonight and go maternity clothes shopping. I'll let you know how it goes.
3) We had another ultrasound yesterday, and it went well. I'd post a pic, but none of them are nearly as cute as the pictures we got last time. They are all pretty fuzzy, and not very good. But Wombsly is a cute kid, and most definitely a girl. And we got a pretty good live action shot of her opening her mouth and sticking out her tongue. Cute :)
4) So I've decided to educate myself, it's a great thing, I'm excited about it. And I even mentioned that it could be good to have some sort of online discussions about the things I'm learning. But alas! I have no idea how to actually go about having an online forum! I'll have to think about it. Stay tuned. This might take a while.
Doesn't it seem like when you are in school all you want to do is graduate? That you can't wait for the day when you don't have homework and classes and tests? But almost immediately after I graduated (well, maybe a few months after), I missed it. I didn't miss the tests, and there were certain classes that I never want to think about again (think O-chem), but I missed the learning. And I still do. It's been a sort of quest of mine to keep myself somewhat educated, but I've been sadly lacking lately. Mostly I have just tried to read good books and listen to more informative podcasts. But I want to do something more.
Yesterday I finally told Clark of my desire, and he asked me, "What do you want to learn?" That is a key question. That might be the worst part of school, having to take classes that you just don't care about. So I decided that I'd like to know more about art history. He suggested I try to find a textbook from the library. I was a bit wary, the Washington County library system doesn't exactly have the largest collection. But they have the textbook he suggested, Gardner's Art Through the Ages. So I'm on my way!
The only thing I'll be missing out on is the social interaction that a class would facilitate - the lecture and discussion. So if anyone wants to join me on my quest, I'm open to learning just about anything. We could have an online forum of sorts to discuss what we learn. It would be like a book club, but online. Of course, no one has the free-time that I have, so I don't expect anyone to jump at the chance to add more to their hectic lifestyle. But know that the offer is out there.
And to go along with all this, today I'm thankful for my degree. I might not use it much, but the fact that I have it says something.
Today (and every day) I'm thankful that I'm not sick anymore. But today I'm particularly grateful that I feel well enough to clean our house again. I've been slowly getting back into the swing of things around here, the dishes are getting done every day now, and the bathrooms are being cleaned about once a week (give or take a day or 2). However today was the day that we vanquished the "piles of stuff." You know how it goes. You'll have some piece of paper, and you know you want to keep said piece of paper, you just don't know where to put it exactly. So you put it on the floor by your bed, just for a place to put it, and you think to yourself, "I'll figure something out later. I'm too busy right now." Then you have a book that doesn't have a place on the bookshelf yet, and rather than trying to squeeze it in, you put it on the floor by your bed, on top of the piece of paper. "That way I'll remember to find places for them both," you say. Pretty soon, there is this pile of random stuff that has accumulated, and you don't even want to touch it because you know you'll have to find places for it all, and that's a lot of stuff to find places for. It grows, collects dust, and generally annoys your spouse. Well, today I pulled myself together, moved all the stuff from the floor to the bed, and made Clark help me find places for it all. My room is CLEAN! It's such a happy feeling.