Monday, August 31, 2009

Vote Now: Boy or Girl?!

I've added a poll to the left hand sidebar--vote now whether you think Baby Buena is a boy or a girl! The poll will be open until Wednesday morning. The "big" ultrasound is tomorrow, but I probably won't post on the Blog until my weekly pregnancy post, which will likely be on Wednesday instead of Thursday.

For the record, I've pretty consistently thought that this little one is a boy. But I'm not gonna lie, that could be because I'd kind of like a boy first. Of course, we will be completely happy and blessed with EITHER sex...really, the baby being healthy is the main concern. But, if I had to pick one or the other, I'd pick a boy.

Grace in the Small Stuff

Psalm 118:24- This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Salmos 118:24- Hagamos fiesta en este día, porque en un dia como éste Dios actuó en nuestro favor!

I'm thinking Mondays are a good day to take a minute to remind myself all the little things that I have to be thankful for. The little blessings.

-It's the end of the month--Justin gets paid today--but even if he didn't, we still actually have money leftover that isn't earmarked for anything (though after he gets paid, it WILL be earmarked for savings!)

-The fact that I can still paint my own toes.

-I'm becoming more and more convinced that the little "bubbles popping" that I'm feeling are the baby. What a blessing that is!

-It sounds like the band is going to start recording in a professional studio! This is also great because it gives me something to be occupied with tonight rather than stressing about my doctor's appointment tomorrow.

-My Monday morning treat of a half-caf caramel latte.

-The first football game of the season this Friday! I can't wait to see how my little bro does!

-My sweet husband who wakes me up every morning before he leaves to tell me to have a good day.

What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fair Pictures

I have had a SERIOUS photography bug lately. Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to do much photography lately. To tide me over, I edited a couple of pictures from when J's band played at a county fair recently. I was running the merch table for the band, so I didn't really have the opportunity to shoot much, but I did snap just a few pictures while the table was slow.

I'm not sure how the picture below happened. It came out a little blurry, but it gives an effect that I sort of like...

Pregnancy Post: Week 20

Another blurry self-portrait. D'oh. Isn't it funny how I can take pretty darn good pictures of other people, but I SUCK at taking pictures of myself?!

This week, Baby Buena weighs about 10 oz, and is developing the layers of his skin. He is also practicing swallowing, and is digesting, which is producing the lovely meconium that we will experience along with the first diaper change.

Most women are feeling their babies kick away by this point--I wish that I were! Every once in awhile, I feel something like a bubble popping in my abdomen, but I'm still not entirely convinced that it's the bambino. I'm certainly not feeling any definite "kicks", and consequently, neither is Justin. I'm getting seriously impatient about that too.

In terms of new symptoms for me, I've got a bunch, including:

-Eczema. I am almost positive that my hand and foot rash is eczema. Unprompted, several nurses that I know have commented that they didn't know that I had eczema.
-Bloody noses. Just about every morning, which I'm told is fairly normal.
-Seriously sore ribs, especially on my right side. It's reminiscent of when I had a broken rib.
-Leg cramps, especially in the middle of the night
-Constant lower back pain
-Headaches. Again.

This hasn't been an easy pregnancy for me symptom wise, but I'm trying to remind myself daily about what a blessing this is! I am truly, truly, blessed, and I know that as soon as I hold this little one in my arms, all the difficult symptoms will seem like nothing. Today, I am pregnant, and I am thankful for that--as much as we don't talk about it, or think that once we're out of the first trimester we're "safe", I've been hearing lots and lots of stories within the past week about late pregnancy loss (some of women right around 20-24 weeks), and that really puts things into perspective. This pregnancy, despite its crazy symptoms, is an absolute gift, and I don't want to forget that.

We think that we have a name picked out for each gender. We're pretty traditional in our names, so you won't see any funky spellings from us! We're solid on the boy's name, which would be Caleb Ryan. That's the name of the son that we've had in almost every single pregnancy dream that I've had. After I told Justin about my dreams, he said that he really liked the name Caleb ("It's a good, strong, baseball-player name") and changed his boy preference from Nolan Ryan to Caleb Ryan (I really couldn't name a kid Nolan Ryan, even though by the time he grows up, most kids probably won't know who that is).

For a girl, I think we've settled on Elizabeth Grace. Neither one of us can really think of many girl's names...but we both seem to like that combo. In the one dream I've had where we've had a girl, we named her Elizabeth. Plus, I like that the name Elizabeth has similar nicknames to the name Isabella, which was a favorite name of mine for years, but I didn't want to go with it (a) it is just so popular now, and (b) the only middle name I like with Isabella is Marie, and I can't bring myself to give my child a middle name that means "sea of bitterness".

And I'm already incredibly nervous, anxious, and excited about our "Big" ultrasound in less than a week!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wedded Wednesday

Last night at our Young Married's Bible Study, we did a little personality test, identifying adjectives that we thought described us. Then, we filled out a test describing our spouse, and visa versa.

Apparently, in the book The Two Sides of Love by Gary Smalley, he uses this personality test to discuss whether you tend to use the "hard side" or "soft side" of love in your interactions, especially with those you love.

If you'd like to take the test, you can do so here (in pdf form).

Lions and Beavers are considered the "hard side" of love, where as Otters and Golden Retrievers are considered to be the "soft side" of love. Neither is positive or negative--they both have their own advantages and disadvantages. You could also think of it as "head" compared to "heart". We discussed how with the couples at the table, almost all of us had one spouse in the "Hard" category, and one spouse in the "Soft" category--which is a nice balance. But the key for us, was being able to recognize which category our spouse falls into, which then can help us be more effective in communicating with them and also with showing love that actually makes them FEEL loved (similar to the premise behind the 5 Love Languages).

I'd encourage you all to take the test, and talk about it with your spouse! What animal best describes you? I think I'm definitely a Beaver, but Justin thinks I'm a Golden Retriever! We both think Justin is absolutely, without a doubt, an Otter!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Meal Plan Tuesday

Since some of you guys were interested in the meal plan I've worked out, I thought I'd post it. Already, there are a few changes to the plan--for example, I had planned to do pork tacos with leftover shredded pork from the weekend, but then last night at the birthday party for Justin's parents, we ended up having Mexican, so that may be changed a bit...for me, the ONLY way the meal plan works is if I'm a little flexible! Especially now that I'm pregnant...some nights, what I have planned just does NOT sound appealing! Plus, we typically have commitments Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights by if one of us ends up working late, sometimes there can be some serious re-arranging going on!

Also, for the weekends, I don't usually plan the entire weekend because I never really know where we'll be or what we'll be up to. I try to make sure I've got dinner for at least one night covered, but other than that, it tends to be by the fly.

I also typically only plan out the main course. We always have plenty of bagged salad, frozen veggies, and fresh fruit, so I just do some slicing and/or steaming and I'm good to go.

-Mon 9/24: Tacos with Justin's parents
-Tues 9/25: Black beans, brown rice, pork, and Yumm Sauce. J can have cereal if he won't eat it.
-Wed 9/26: Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplings
-Thurs 9/27: Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup OR Salads
-Friday 9/28: Leftovers/ Scrounge Around
-Sat 9/29: J's company summer party...we'll probably have at least one meal there.
-Sun 9/30: Lasagna

-Mon 8/31: Grilled Chicken
-Tuesday 9/1: Dinner Out after big ultrasound!
-Wed 9/2: Leftovers
-Thursday 9/3: Crock Pot Taco Soup
-Friday 9/4: Kev's football game...maybe Brown Sugar Chicken (new recipe!), maybe leftovers.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Over the weekend....

-We went grocery shopping and stocked up on food. I actually did a meal plan through the second week in September, and I know this is a no-brainer, but it was AMAZING how much less we spent when we actually knew what we were planning to make! And it is AMAZING to have home-cooked meals! I'll post up a meal plan in the next couple of days if anyone is interested.

-The fair was a great time! It was hot, but not as hot as last year when it was 112 degrees, so I'm not complaining! I do need to clean up my eating after the fair-food, fast food, and ice cream filled weekend though!

-I think I have self-diagnosed my rash as being eczema. I've had little itchy bumps just like this before, but just one or two, not my entire hands, feet, armpits, and stomach! Seriously though, I almost cried at about 2am last night. I've been using both Cortizone and the non-steroid Sarna lotions coupled with Benadryl, but I'm still hardly sleeping at night...last night, I slept with ice-packs on my hands and feet.

-I also had my first "it's a girl" ultrasound dream last night. It was a bizarre dream--first, they had somehow done the ultrasound without me being actually present, and had told my brother in law the sex of the baby. He then told me congrats without realizing that I didn't actually know the sex yet. I was pretty ticked. And then the dream turned into a nightmare when I discovered that the baby's skin was on inside out.

- I had no desire to see GI Joe, but we went with my dad and sister yesterday, and it was actually pretty good! Sienna Miller looks totally different, and much hotter as a brunette!

-We made the recipe for Auntie Anne's soft pretzels from The Long Haul over the weekend. Actually, Justin pretty much made them after I blacked out. Nice. Aparently, it had been too long since I had eaten. Anyway, J did a great job! I've never had an actual Auntie Anne's pretzel, so I can't attest to the authenticity, they were pretty darn good!

-We got our glider, which Justin assembled in the living room and then determined that it doesn't fit through the door to the bedroom while assembled. I think it may have to go out in the garage for awhile since we still have to rip up the carpets, paint, etc in the nursery-to-be.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Kinkos Guy just made my day....

I was at Kinkos this morning dropping off a graphic about the band to have it mounted to some foam board for the concert tonight. It's just a basic design with the band's name, photo, mission statement, etc. People seem to really enjoy reading it at the concerts. The following conversation occurred between me and the Kinkos guy:

Kinkos Guy: Let me take a look at the graphic and see what we can do.
[I hand him the CD with the pdf file]
Kinkos Guy: Oh, wow....this looks great! Can I ask who does your graphics?
Me: I do them.
Kinkos Guy: Really, YOU did this? It's not a downloaded layout? Did you do the photography too?
Me: Yeah, I did the photography, and no, it's not a downloaded layout.
Kinkos Guy: Did you go to design school?
Me: No...I'm just kind of a nerd and I like playing around with Photoshop.
Kinkos Guy: Well, this is much better than the self-designed stuff I usually see.

Ha! I'm finally kind of figuring out Photoshop!

Burning Question of the Day: Can men and women just be friends?

So the other day at work, we were discussing whether or not it's possible for men and women to be "just friends", and whether or not those relationships should change once you're married/in a committed relationship. The general consensus was that while most everybody had co-ed "couple" friends, most didn't have any male friends who weren't friends with their husbands first. Most also expressed discomfort at having one-to-one level of intimacy with a friend of the opposite sex during marriage.

I realized later that I was the exception in this situation, being that I do have a few male friends that I was friends with first. While J may know and like them, they were definitely my friends first and still primarily my friends. For example, in college, our dorm was co-ed. And not the usual alternating floors co-ed--my neighbors were boys. Our floor was pretty tight in college, and I had a lot of friends that were both male and female. And I STILL keep in touch with at least one of the male friends (hi Ethan!). And if Ethan were in the area, I'd have no problem meeting him for a meal to catch up. I would invite Justin to come along with us, as I have before, but if Justin couldn't make it, I'd definitely have lunch with Ethan alone. And Justin would WANT me to do just that.

We also have maybe two sets of couple friends (one set is friends that happen to be family), that I'd be okay with either Justin or I being alone with the friend of the opposite sex. For example, Kaitlin, Jesse, Justin, and I usually do things together as a big group when Jesse is here. If we were all meeting at our place for dinner, and we're coming from different places, I'd have no problem with Justin and Kaitlin hanging out at the house together until Jesse and I got there, and visa versa. While Jesse is gone, I'd have no problem with Justin stopping at the house to say hi to Kaitlin if he happened to be in the area.

On the other hand, I have no problem with the member of the opposite sex preferring to wait to come in or come over until their spouse arrives. There have been a few times when Ryan and Renee have met us at our house, again with all of us coming from separate places, and even though Ryan will arrive first, he'll wait in the car until Renee arrives before coming in. And I understand and respect that too. And it doesn't mean that I think we're just "better friends" with Jesse and Kait. Each spousal set has to set those expectations and boundaries for each other based on what works for THEM.

I think for Justin and I both, we trust each other to be in situations with members of the opposite sex that are strictly platonic. Neither one of us has much experience with a significant other cheating on us, so maybe we're a little naive in that way. Though, would I be so easy going about Justin hanging out with an ex-girlfriend? No way José. But in terms of being "just friends", I think the line of concern for both of us would be if we started sharing with or confiding in that person of the opposite sex things that we wouldn't share with our spouse. If that started to occur, then I think we'd definitely need to change our expectations about what sorts of one-on-one situations were okay.

What do YOU think? Can men and women just be friends? Should you have friendships of that nature when you're married or in a committed relationship? What are the boundaries?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pregnancy Post: Week 19

-19 weeks pregnant. I can now feel my uterus right around my belly button. I'm hoping when it pushes above the belly button, I'll lose this "two-bump" business.

-I've developed a rash all over my hands and feet that the doctor thinks is pregnancy related. I actually thought it was scabies since it's mostly on my hands and feet, but the doctor doesn't think so because the bumps aren't red, and doesn't want to see me until Sept 1st. Even Hydrocortisone cream doesn't really give me any relief, so I may end up calling again. I was up pretty much all night because of it. Benadryl helps, but totally knocks me out.

-According to "How Big Is Baby for Dads--the fruit free guide", the baby is about the size of a softball, or 10 inches long including the legs. Baby is now also swallowing and digesting amniotic fluid.

-I'm having serious round ligament pain.

-I ordered Belly Laughs and the La Leche League books off of Paperback Swap. I'm interested to see how I like those!

-Still no movement.

ETA: I think we're going to take most of your advice and seriously buckle down and try to live on J's income alone, or at least to save as much of my income as possible. I guess in my rambling I wasn't totally isn't necessarily that we can't afford to live on J's income alone. In terms of the budget itself, we're very close. We just haven't successfully made it happen yet, which I think is partially because we don't have to yet. In my experience, when we have more money available, we "need" more things. When we know that we don't have any money available, what we "need" becomes totally different.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wedded Wednesday

Ms. Leah Maria of Marital-Bless has started a GREAT new blogging feature called "Wedded Wednesdays", which are basically an opportunity to share a devotion, thought, or piece of encouragement about marriage.

Today, I'd like to share a devotion about marriage from Worth Devotions.

"Phillipians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Recently my wife and I sat charmed at an outdoor performance by young Suzuki violin students. After the concert, an instructor spoke briefly on how children as young as two, three and four years old are taught to play violin. The first thing the children learn, he said, is a proper stance. And the second thing the children learn–even before they pick up the violin–is how to take a bow. “If the children just play the violin and stop, people may forget to show their appreciation,” the instructor said. “But when the children bow, the audience invariably applauds. And applause is the best motivator we’ve found to make children feel good about performing and want to do it well."

Adults love applause too. Being affirmed makes us feel wonderful. If you want to rekindle or keep the flame of love glowing in your marriage [or other important relationships] through the years, try showing and expressing your appreciation for your mate. Add some applause and watch the love grow.

What more can I say? We are all victims and we’re all guilty. Let’s start appreciating one another. There’s so much work to be done!"

I am so guilty of this in my marriage sometimes. Occasionally, Justin will say to me, "Am I doing ANYTHING right?!" And I just have to take a big gulp and realize that I have to make just as much of an effort to praise him and thank him for the wonderful things he does as I do nagging him about the soda cans left all over our house! My word of encouragement today is simple--make it an intentional part of your day to thank your spouse and show them appreciation!

Work--To go back, or not?

So, this post has been a long time coming...and even though it's baby post week around here, I am going to talk about it anyway. Work. Some things about maternity leave, and how things would operate if I returned have changed, or were different than what I expected based on the employee manual (which used lots of tricky language like "could" and "may" would have thought the lawyer in me would have caught that!). Basically, here's the situation:

-I can only roll over 90 hours of vacation into the new year
-I will get 6 weeks maternity leave rather than 3 months. While on leave, I will have to pay my health insurance premiums, which is about $350/month.
-When I return, I will have to bump up to full-time, rather than the 30-35 hours per week that I currently work, and there really isn't any capability to have a flex-schedule, or work from home.

So essentially, the baby would be in daycare from 8-6 every day of the work week. I priced out daycares in this area, and most are $3.95/hour for a newborn. For Justin this all means something simple: don't go back to work. Working for a non-profit isn't profitable enough to put a child in daycare all day, and even if it were, he doesn't want someone else raising our child on a full-time basis.

I understand, and tend to agree with him. And in this situation, I really DO need to let someone at work know whether I plan to come back before I leave for maternity leave (if I am coming back, others will carry my caseload while I'm gone; if I'm not coming back, they'll need to hire a new person, who I'd need to train before I left), so I know we need to make a decision. However, there are several issues that are still at play:

1- Can we actually survive on one income?
2-What will we do about health insurance for me?

I'm nervous about question 1. Right now, we couldn't put away my check in its entirety and survive. Then again, we don't HAVE to, so we definitely end up spending more on eating out and entertainment. Then again, so much of Justin's work depends on the economy, which is obviously variable. I don't know what it will be like in December. I know that Justin will do whatever needs to be done to make things work, but I don't WANT him to have to work so much that he's never home! I'd be willing to get a part-time job somewhere like Starbucks (they have great insurance too), but I have no experience, and who knows if I'll even be able to find a job like that.

As I've previously mentioned, it seems I'm unable to qualify for private insurance due to my allergies, and because of the economy, through J's work, we would have to pay for insurance for both of us....and it's a really terrible plan (we pay monthly, AND pay 50% of everything). I don't think I could afford a COBRA payment, and I'm not sure I'm even eligible if I just leave my job rather than be laid off.

Plus, there's the whole mental side of staying home....why did I spend all that money on college only to stay at home? Plus, I really love my job most days, and feel like I'm doing something meaningful. What if I don't like staying home?

In the meantime, I'm torn about what to I use our excess money to pay down debt so that when the baby comes we'll have fewer bills, or do I use it to build up our savings for the baby expenses that I'm sure we don't even realize we will have yet and give us more of a cushion? Oye Vey.

So, lately I've been doing a LOT of thinking and praying over Matthew 6:25-34:

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Exciting Things this Week

This week, particularly Wed-Sat are going to be jam packed full of things. Maybe that's why Monday felt like the

-Wednesday is the premiere of Top Chef Las Vegas!!! I am seriously addicted to Top Chef, so this is wonderful! And I love that it airs on Wednesday, because it gives me a little mid-week pick me up.

-Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, the band is playing at one of the county fairs here in Oregon. It's not the county we live in, so it's a bit of a drive, but it should be fun. Except for the fact that it's supposed to be over 100 degrees every day.

-I have some birthday money from my grandma. I think I've decided that I could use a haircut, so I'm going to try to get in at the beauty school to get that done.

Holy COW, I cannot believe it's almost the end of August!

Monday, August 17, 2009

More Colors added--Vote!

I added three more color options for the room--the top two have a little bit of a green undertone in real life, but otherwise they're all pretty much true-to-shade. So, which do you think is the perfect aqua/turquoise for the nursery?!

Remember, a description of what we're going for is below!

Trouble with Blogger?

I'm willing to bet that most of you don't see my nursery decorating post below in your blog readers. Or if you do, it will have appeared just now, once this post has posted. I keep hearing that a batch of my posts hit the Google Readers at once, sometimes days after I've actually posted. Boo.

Anyone else?

Decorating the Nursery...

So, I'm finally starting to pull together what I want our nursery to look like. First of all, regardless of whether we're having a girl or boy, I want to do turquoise/aqua walls. It's my absolute favorite color, and I've always wanted to do a turquoise or aqua room--and I figure that I can make it either girl or boy appropriate with the right accessories. We also plan to do a tree mural (with the tree being a white silhouette of a tree) on the wall you'll see below along with the crib (which will also be white) I got a couple of Behr paint samples today, and whipped up some color swatches on the wall. I think I'm slightly favoring the middle color, though it isn't exactly what I had in mind...I can't seem to FIND what's in my head. The middle color seems almost too neon, and the right color seems almost too dull to me. Justin likes the right-most color the best. What do you think?

(L to R: Behr Mermaid Treasure, Gem Turquoise, and Embellished Blue)

As far as the tree murals go, these are the type of tree that I can get Justin to agree to--he likes the wind-blown look. The only trick is that we'd be working with a much smaller wall than the two in the picture, so I'm just not quite sure how that would work. We'd definitely have to scale it down a bit. Both of these trees are from Dali Decals, but we would need to paint something similar, because a decal won't work with the texture on our walls.

Our flooring will be the leftover Costco laminate that we installed in the rest of the house (assuming they still have it in stock and we can get two more boxes), which looks like this:

So, in order to balance out the dark floors and bold walls, pretty much all of our other furniture would be white or white with tan accents. I've made my first official baby/nursery purchase today (I have been really superstitious about buying any baby things...part of me is convinced that the second I do, something will go horribly wrong) in the form of a glider for $169. Talk about a steal! It's from Wal-Mart, and it's actually un-upholstered...I debated buying it because the slipcovers that accompany it have been discontinued. But it's a pretty standard size chair...I'm sure I can find a slipcover somewhere! Any suggestions you guys? I didn't get the ottoman, but may purchase it eventually. We'll see.

As far as bedding and linens go, I'm really excited that my mom is going to make the fitted sheets and bed skirt for the crib for us! I'm not stressing too much about having a quilt, because I've heard most people don't end up using the quilt that came with the sheet set anyway. And I'm not doing a bumper, because those are now no-nos due to the suffocation concern and the decreased air-flow with them. If it's a girl, I'm thinking I may go with a white fabric with small light pink flowers. If it's a boy, I'm thinking chocolate brown polka-dots.

And yeah...that's all I have in mind so far! Any suggestions or tips?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday Song

It's been quite awhile since I've done a Sunday Song, hasn't it? Well, the funny thing about music is that Justin is just getting into some of the bands that I listened to a LOT in high school, like Audioslave, Dispatch, Soundgarden, Shinedown, and Blues Travleler. The great thing about it is that I'm finding new favorites in a lot of these groups.

Today's Sunday Song comes from Blues Traveler--not only did they have a lot of really catchy songs, but they are EXCELLENT musicians. John Popper solos like crazy on the harmonica, then goes right into the verse like it's no biggie at all. The song is one of their more popular songs, called "Hook". It cracks me up, because I listened to this song A LOT...but I always thought the lyrics were "the heart brings you back". It wasn't til I heard Justin sing it that I realized it's actually, "the hook brings you back." Gotta love those misheard lyrics!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Obama, Palin, Euthenasia, Oh My!

So, you may have noticed that I don't usually talk politics on this blog, but since you guys aren't too interested in breakfast today ;) , I've decided to go for it, mainly because there's a political issue lately that has really been burning my butt. Now, I'm pretty middle of the road politically, but the one thing about politics and the media that I really, really hate is when parties and their affiliated media sources continue to purport rumors about another candidate, party, or legislation with seemingly no care to check the facts. Case in point: the recent media firestorm that Obama and his new health plan are pro-euthenasia.

As many of you may know, the NY Times published an article today explaining that these rumors are false, and have been advanced by the Republican party and conservative media sources (and to be clear, I'm not just talking about Fox News here). The Huffington Post also does a great job fact-checking this myth.

As far as I can tell, one of the major catalysts behind these headlines that seem to be all over the media (in fact, I think Justin and his brother were even discussing this last night at band practice) was Sarah Palin's Facebook post that said, in reference to Obama's health care plan currently before congress,

"The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil."

Essentially, Palin and other conservative media sources have purported that under Obama's new plan, those who are sick, would have to go before a panel that would decide whether or not they were a productive member of society and worthy of medical care.

Obama himself recently addressed these rumors saying,

“Let me just be specific about some things that I’ve been hearing lately that we just need to dispose of here. The rumor that’s been circulating a lot lately is this idea that somehow the House of Representatives voted for death panels that will basically pull the plug on grandma because we’ve decided that we don’t, it’s too expensive to let her live anymore....It turns out that I guess this arose out of a provision in one of the House bills that allowed Medicare to reimburse people for consultations about end-of-life care, setting up living wills, the availability of hospice, etc. So the intention of the members of Congress was to give people more information so that they could handle issues of end-of-life care when they’re ready on their own terms. It wasn’t forcing anybody to do anything.”

Interestingly enough, this is something that Sarah Palin herself endorsed as Governor of Alaska. Still, Palin continues to misguidedly imply on her Facebook page that Obama's Health Care Reform would surely mean the death of thousands of unwilling seniors, despite the fact that it's simply not true. And I can personally testify that many, many, people I've spoken to recently believe what she's been saying, and really haven't checked into the facts of it at all.

The message today from me is clear: when it comes to politics, fact-checking is essential. Getting your news from one source--whether that be ABC News, FOX, or Jon Stewart--is a bad idea. If you want to know a political figure's opinion on an issue, research their voting record (On The Issues is a great website for this), don't rely on what an opposing political figure says about it. And don't believe everything you hear on TV. Duh.

Burning Question of the Day: Favorite Breakfast

Today's Burning Question of the Day is: What is your absolute favorite breakfast?

Since I'm allergic to eggs, my breakfast choices can be pretty limited sometimes. And really, I'm pretty much a bowl-of-cereal or piece-of-fruit girl during the work week. But on weekends, my ideal breakfast would look like this:

-Whole wheat waffle with peanut butter and a smidge of maple syrup
-Half a grapefruit with brown sugar sprinkled on top
-A couple pieces of bacon
-A half glass of skim milk

What about you?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pregnancy Post: Week 18

Today, I am either 18 weeks (LMP) or 18 weeks, 6 days (early ultrasound) OR 18 weeks, 2 days (most recent ultrasound). Whew!

So, as most of you know, I had a bit of a pregnancy scare the other day. This resulted in an additional doctor's appointment, and ultrasound. This time, the baby's heart rate was about 168, which is higher than we've seen before, but still within normal limits. We didn't really get any good ultrasound pictures (dangit!), but we did get to see the entire spinal cord this time, which is definitely interesting. I had actually lost two pounds from my appointment on the 4th, which is absolutely incredible after the food-filled weekend I had, which included more Dairy Queen ice-cream cake than anyone should consume in a month. Any weight that I DO gain, seems to go more to my love handles than anything else, but oh well!

I also learned at the appointment that I have an anterior placenta, which means that rather than being back towards my back, the placenta is actually between the baby and my stomach. This explains why I haven't been feeling any movement, even though the u/s tech said we have a very active little baby. They said it could be more like 20-24 weeks before I'm feeling movement opposed to the usual 16-20. least I don't need to worry.

This week, the baby is about the size of a large sweet potato, or about 5-6 inches and 6-7 oz (though, I think the u/s tech said that our little guy or gal is already about 8oz). If this baby is in fact a girl, she will have developed a uterus and other female anatomy by the end of the week!

I really have NO nursery plans as of yet--I think I'm sort of waiting for the ultrasound on Sept. 1st. Not only will we know the baby's gender, but we'll also know the baby's NAME (we pretty quickly had it narrowed down to one name for each gender), which for me, makes picking things out for him or her more real. I'm still working on knitting the dang baby blanket.

I'm trying to be good and take it easy, but I'm having a hard time of it. I need to do laundry, and go grocery shopping, and do all the other million things you usually do when you get back from a vacation, but I'm trying to take it easy and listen to my body (how earth-mothery) about how much I can handle, and when I can start exerting more energy again.

And my big pillow is here! Here's to hoping that I have a fantastic week of sleep!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


So, I paid my credit card bill late this month, which I HATE HATE HATE. I recognize that no matter what, it's ultimately my fault. But it wasn't even that I didn't have money to pay the credit's just that the dang due date for Citi Bank's Credit Cards changes so often and I lost track of when it was due this month! It's never a set date, though it's usually between the 10-15 of the month (though I've had at least one payment randomly due on the 28th, and another randomly due on the 25th). This month, I checked my account on the 7th, and the payment was already due on the 4th. I know it's my fault for not checking into it sooner, but it is really frustrating not to have a fixed payment date.

And then, even though I made a payment as soon as I saw it was late, I've been getting calls from their freaking collections department at all hours. Hello, I already made a payment, and even if I hadn't, I wasn't even a week late when they started calling. And I'm sure they'll raise my APR too. Bah.

Like I said, I KNOW it's my fault, but it's just frustrating for me to be late, especially since we had been doing so well with snowballing our debt!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back from the doctor...

Warning...this post may definitely be's all about a pregnancy scare from yesterday/today, and the associated anatomy. And blood.

So, last night after I started having the spotting, we came home and I put my feet up, Justin put on Big Fish, I fell asleep praying, and I actually had the best night's sleep I'd had in a LONG time. I knew that brown spotting, especially without cramping, typically isn't too concerning, and I was feeling really positive about the whole situation.

By morning, the spotting had stopped altogether...which made me feel even better. Until I went to the bathroom one more time before I left for work, and things had definitely escalated from spotting to full on bleeding bright red blood. Lots of blood. I still wasn't having any cramping, but the amount of blood was pretty alarming.

I called the doctor's office, and they fit me in within the hour. J came with me for the ultrasound (seriously...his bosses get SO MANY props from me for letting him come along to all my appointments!), where they quickly found the heartbeat, which was a bit higher than what we normally see for this baby, but still within normal limits. The u/s tech did a quick anatomy survey, and said that from what she could see, everything looked fine--growth of the body, skull, arm, and thigh were all right at 18 weeks (measuring a few days ahead as I have been almost the entire time), and the baby was moving all of its limbs.

She checked for placenta previa, which can cause painless bleeding. I actually have an anterior placenta, which means that the placenta is right in between the baby and my stomach, and also explains why I haven't felt any movement yet.

They checked my cervix through an ultrasound and exam, and said that it is closed, and the appropriate width/length/thickness, but that it's clearly irritated from the outside and still bleeding.

Basically, they can rule out any of the reasons that would cause them to be concerned about the bleeding, but they weren't able to identify a cause. So, the doctor sent me home and said that I'm to be on bed rest for at least a day...possibly longer. I told him that Wednesday at work, I'm supposed to be at a conference all day, which would basically entail sitting around from 8am-5pm. He said that should be fine as long as the bleeding stays the same or decreases.

So, looks good, no major concerns from the doctor, bed rest for the day. I have to say though, when I mentioned that I could use a few more days of vacation, this wasn't exactly what I meant!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

I could use some prayers...

This evening, I started having some brown spotting. It isn't a lot, but it's there. So I called my doctor. He said that brown spotting, especially without cramping, isn't typically concerning, and that there's no reason for me to rush off to the ER tonight unless things get much worse, but to take it easy tonight and to call in to the office in the morning for an ultrasound and exam.

I've had two other instances of spotting in this pregnancy, and both times things have turned out to be fine. But I still can't help but be seriously freaked out and a basket case. Doubting that I'll sleep at all tonight...ugh.

So yes, I would LOVE some prayers tonight!

We're baaaack!

Vacations are never long enough, are they? Even though we had a good 5 days of absolutely nothing on the schedule, I am absolutely confident that I could have used another 5, or 10! Anyway, overall it was a great trip. Here's a few snippets:

-My birthday was great, and I do think that I received just about everything on my wishlist an THEN some, including a set of awesome plastic Disney glasses (I think they were from Burger King back in the early 90's), which I think are the perfect size glasses, and routinely steal from my parent's house. And a gorgeous pair of earrings from J.

-Julie & Julia was FANTASTIC. Loved it.

-I read The Time Traveler's Wife, which I did enjoy, but I've decided that I'll be waiting until I'm not pregnant to see the movie. I actually wish I had done the same for the book...I really had no idea that pregnancy loss would be such a prominent underlying theme in the book. Anyway, after I finished that, I raided the cabin library for a book that I hadn't read before, and ended up picking up Love Walked In by Maria De Los Santos. It wasn't til the books were next to each other that I realized how similar the covers are:

And they both have main characters named Clare. And both include disappearing main characters. Weird. Anyway, here's a shot of the house/cabin that we stayed in. Don't mind J showing you his belly. I don't know why...

As much as it pains me to see pictures of myself right now because I feel like a blob, here's a shot of Justin and I on the deck that I don't absolutely despise with every fiber of my being. I know...I need to be easier on myself, because I'm doing pretty well for being almost half way through, but these body changes are a mind trip, and I really do feel like a blob!
And here's Justin being the BBQ master of the burgers that I made. I stole Renee's burger recipe, made a couple of changes based on what we had available in the house, and cooked away. I'm telling you, these burgers could have been contenders in last week's Top Chef Masters episode!
-We dropped my brother and his friends off, and hit up my favorite pizza place. The owner was there, and came out and told me that he was just thinking the other morning that he hadn't seen me in awhile. We joked about how their pizza is my only pregnancy craving. I love that place... where else can you get a huge piece of pizza and a drink for $1.31 if you're in high school and only $2.36 if you're an adult?! Seriously, I could already eat another piece after just typing about it.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Year of Pleasures

I picked up Elizabeth Berg's The Year of Pleasures off of Paperback Swap (which I LOVE by the way). I remember picking up some of Ms. Berg's other books, but I can't remember the plots to any of them, or even specifically which one's I've read, which isn't usually a good sign for me.

Still, the premise of this book sounded interesting--recently widowed Betta sells her house and moves to a small town, fulfilling her dying husband's last request. Along the way, she finds that her husband has left behind a collection of words scribbled on a piece of paper that at first seem like incoherent ramblings. Eventually, Betta realizes the meaning behind many of the words that her husband left behind for her. His words, coupled with advice from a friend to intentionally do one small thing every day that would bring Betta pleasure, help Betta to grieve and start again.

I liked the premise, and overall, I liked the book. It was a very quick read, which was nice. It was odd though that barely ANY of the book was devoted to this "Year of Pleasures." I would have enjoyed more discussion about those small intentional things that brought Betta healing. Overall though, according to the Amazon reviews, it seems that people either loved this book or hated it--the fact that Betta "moved on" so quickly after her husband's death will probably be controversial for some readers, and from what I can tell, those on Amazon who didn't like the book disliked it for that reason.

Still, not a bad waste of an afternoon, especially if you're getting the book for free!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pregnancy Post: Week 17

Sorry y'all...the picture this week is pretty fuzzy, but I am just too tired to take another one, lol!

Overall, I'm in pretty good spirits this week. We went to the doctor, and got to hear the baby's heartbeat, which was awesome, and definitely calmed me down. It ranged from 150-158, and my parents have cast their vote for Team Boy after hearing that. I think I remember my mom saying that's about what my brother's heartbeat was, but we'll fins out for sure (hopefully!) on Sept. 1st. I also discovered that I can continue sleeping on my back, and that I picked up poison ivy while camping. I told the nurse that it's hard for me not to have symptoms, but also not to be feeling the baby. She told me to call anytime I'm feeling anxious or nervous, and she'll do a quick check for the heartbeat with the doppler. I about kissed her.

I did forget to ask the doctor about round ligament pain, which I think I'm starting to have a bit of. I tend to get a sharp pain on my right side, about 4 or 5 inches diagonally down from my belly button. The pain only last for a few seconds, and mostly happens when I get up quickly from sitting down. If it's not that, my scar tissue from my appendectomy is also on my right side, so I'm sure it's one or the other. I figure that pain that only lasts a few seconds probably isn't anything to be too worried about, right?

In terms of weight gain, I can't remember where I started--before pregnancy, I always varied between about 5 pounds. I'm still within the top end of those 5 pounds with a full bladder, so I think I'm doing pretty good here, even though the "baby body blahs" are starting to settle in a little bit and I feel huge already.

The baby is now about the size of an onion, and its skeleton is turning from cartilage to bone (which means I'm supposed to be drinking my milk). Some people believe that the baby can now hear what's going on outside the womb, so they recommend talking to the belly, reading to it, or playing music. The doctor told me to be prepared to "pop", because my uterus is apparently just about ready to push completely over the pubic bone. You mean to tell me that I haven't popped already?! Seriously though, the doctor said that my fundal height was measuring a little low, but he didn't seem concerned about it at all. I've heard that if you're tall, which I definitely am, fundal heights can be off anyway.

Justin has already taken to calling me "Kanga", of Winnie The Poo fame, because he says that I look like Kanga did with Roo in her pouch. I guess it's better than the lady at church who has already started calling me "Little Fattie"!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Big Answers

Ethan asked: "Favorite album/book/movie/TV show (all of them, not either or)."

My favorite album is The American Graffiti Soundtrack. I bet that came as a surprise, didn't it? I've come to the conclusion that it's one album that I'm always in the mood for, and it always makes me so happy and nostalgic. My favorite book...whoo boy. I read a lot of books. I love a lot of books. But I think my all-time favorite is To Kill A Mockingbird. It's just a timeless classic. My favorite movie should not surprise Ethan in the slightest since I watched it probably 100 times in the year we lived down the hall from each's still Moulin Rouge. The cinematography as absolutely gorgeous, and I do love the music. And Ewan McGreggor. My favorite TV show is Bones, hence the cat named Bones.

Ethan also asked: "If you were a fish, what kind of fish would you be and why?"

I'd be the Humuhumunukunukuapuaʻa because I'd like to live in Hawaii, and it would also be pretty rad to have blue teeth.

Ethan was REALLY curious, and decided that he also wanted to know: "Under what circumstances, if any, is violence, on a personal and/or national level, justified?"

On a personal level, I'd be pretty unlikely to use violence against another unless the circumstances fit the capacity to use lethal force under the concealed carry statutes--in other words, my life or the life of another would pretty much have to be under immediate attack, and I'd have to be unable to flee.

As far as on the national level, I'm a big fan of James Madison's quote, "War should only be declared by the authority of the people, whose toils and treasures are to support its burdens, instead of the government which is to reap its fruits."

Emily asked, "What's the one big, gigantic thing that you worry most about in life?"

Most of my worries track back to death--what if I end up alone? How would I be able to cope? What would I do for money? What if I get cancer and die? Overall, my fears and worry about death are pretty silly given my religious beliefs, but I can't stop thinking about it ALL. THE. TIME.

Emily also asked, "Favorite holiday?"

Well, it's actually Christmas Eve. Not Christmas Day, but Christmas Eve, when my whole family gets dressed up to the nines and goes out to this nice dinner at a fancy restaurant. We've done it for the past 10 years, and it's just so nice to have everyone sitting around one big table eating, laughing, and talking. Plus, it always seems like the air is charged with hope and anticipation.

She also wanted to know, "When was the last time that you looked at a day and said "That was the perfect day". What did that day consist of?"

The last perfect day I can remember was not this past Saturday, but the Saturday before. The day didn't really consist of much...we pretty much just laid around in bed all day reading, snuggling, and smooching. When we finally had to get up and run some errands, J could tell that the heat was getting to me, so we made a detour to the mall and split and Orange Julius and a soft pretzel. We headed back home, put on a movie, and snuggled up on the couch, where we both fell asleep. It was just so nice not to really have anything we HAD to do, and I just remember it felt like one of those days where everything just clicked.

And "Are you still thinking Boy for Baby La Buena Vida?"

Oh goodness...I guess I've always though Boy for Baby Buena, but I haven't had many dreams or feelings either way lately. I will say that after my most recent doctor's appointment, my mom officially cast her vote as "boy" based on the heart rate. More about that later!

Leslie asked, "How many pairs of shoes do you own (including flip flops!)?"

Oh gosh. I have a bad reputation for having too many shoes, but really I don't think that I actually have THAT many. The problem was that I never threw out my shoes, even when they were broken or worn out. I finally did most of that when we moved in. I keep meaning to do an official inventory of my shoes, and Leslie gave me the reason to do it! To be honest, I haven't organized them since February, when the cat knocked over my shoe tower. Leslie gave me a reason to actually do it!

I have 31 pairs of shoes. Plus a pair of steel-toed boots in the garage, and probably 3 other pairs of flip flops that I couldn't find at the moment. So that brings me right around 35, including flip flops and slippers. I would estimate that of those, probably 8-10 pairs really should be tossed out and replaced at the end of the season. I wear the heck out of my shoes, and I buy cheap shoes--I think there's only one pair in there over $30--because I like to shake things up each season. Plus, I bought one pair of expensive black boots, and they've traumatized me. They are by far the worst pair of shoes I own. The Target brand was way better, even if they only last for a season or two.

I had no idea how many pairs of red/pink shoes I owned until I saw this picture though!

She also wanted to know "I'm sure you want a healthy baby, but do you have a sex preference? And does Justin want the same?"

I would like to have a boy first (I ALWAYS wanted an older brother growing up). I think J would like to have a girl first. But really, it's just a slight preference for both of us, and I think we'll both be happy either way. Though I must admit, I will probably feel a little out of my league with a girl...just because I am so not a pink and purple girl, and I honestly think all the pink and purple gifts and girlie girl stuff and such would overwhelm me a little bit.

Leslie asked, "What is your favorite thing to do where you live? "

Wakeboard, or White Water Rafting. The lakes and rivers here are so gorgeous, and we're really fortunate that we're so close to them all. I was a big fat grump this past weekend when J got to wakeboard and kept talking about how wonderful it was. Seriously, I think we'd both rather buy a boat than another larger house.

And, "You get 2 plane tickets (for you and J) to ANYWHERE in the world. Where are you going and why?"

Tahiti. Hawaii. Cabo. The Bahamas. I don't care where we would go, so long as we went somewhere with an ocean that's at least 70 degrees and a beach. I always joke that Oregon does NOT have beaches. We have the cold, rainy coast, but no beach in sight! Swimming in the ocean is one of my favorite things in the world, and I cannot WAIT to do it again! Are y'all picking up on the fact that I'm kind of a water baby?

Lyr asked, "What about blogging do you love? What made you start blogging? What is your goal when you blog? Do you network, if so how?!"

I actually had a blog through DeadJournal through high school and college that two or three people read. I ended up stopping that because I think I got paranoid about having so much of my life out there on my blog. Plus, I wasn't proud of some of the things that I said about family members and friends on the blog. I exported it all in Word to keep as a "journal", though I'm not sure I'd even remember the password. I started blogging again this past year just because it seemed like an interesting way to keep in touch with friends and keep everyone updated.

I continue to blog because it's a great outlet for me...often, once I put my thoughts down on "paper", I'm finally able to let go of them. I've always been someone that rambles, and the blog is a good place for me to do that. My goal when I blog is basically, to be real and honest. I hope that there are others out there who read my blog, and say to themselves, "I feel exactly the same way." And I hope that knowing someone out there feels the same helps them to feel part of a community. Part of a whole.

I don't really network anywhere...although I am a member of BlogHer. To be honest, I would LOVE IT if someday I were able to make a little side money from blogging. I haven't really made any money from BlogHer yet, and that's fine because blogging is theraputic for me. Still, who wouldn't love to get paid for doing something they enjoy anyway?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Ask Me Anything...

Yep, you heard that right. I babble a lot about myself on this blog, but probably not about the things you REALLY want to know. Any burning questions about me or my life? Ask away! No subject is off limits, and I promise to be brutally honest with my responses.

I'll post the answers to any and all asked questions this Wednesday or Thursday morning before taking off for my vacation extraordinare.


-The wedding this weekend was beautiful. I haven't talked much about Justin's sister Karla on this blog, because her story is pretty personal, and isn't really my place to share. Suffice to say, she's been through a hell of a lot these past two years, and I'm so excited for her--this is a great blessing! She and James have a great partnership, and I love watching the two of them with their daughter Shelby. I also can't WAIT to see the pictures that Jon, Bev, and Kait took at the wedding. From the few that Kaitlin showed me, they did a fantastic job taking pictures in a pretty hard location. The bride and groom left the wedding on inner tubes behind the boat (in their wedding clothes!), and I know those pictures are going to be hilarious as well.

-Later that night however, it started pouring down rain. I have NO desire to camp in the rain, and it was cold, wet, and pretty miserable for me. I really didn't sleep much either, even though Jon & Bev had lent me a foam pad to sleep on. But, I'm hardly sleeping at home on my bed, so I didn't expect that I'd sleep on the ground much anyway. I kept waking up on my back, which is annoying since I'm really supposed to be on my side. I always used to sleep on my side, I don't know why I can't now!

-Next doctor's appointment is this Tuesday. I am incredibly nervous. I'm always afraid they're going to give me terrible news.

-Justin had a GREAT paycheck from last month when he was working out of town. We're talking almost double what we normally receive. It almost makes him being gone worth it. Now we just need to try and be smart about our money this month, and pay down some debt!

-My momma picked up a copy of The Time Traveler's Wife for me at the used book store. I'm excited to have something to read next week!

-WOOO! Two-day work week for me!
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