Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dressing the Bump Week 29

Last night we had week 2 of prenatal classes through Douglas College. We meet at Richmond General Hospital and our teacher is Sandy Lopez. She really is fabulous. Each class I have left feeling more prepared for this whole labour thing. So much of my thoughts usually resolve around baby, that it's helpful to have a guide for how to think and what to think about. Last night we talked about labour and I'm feeling nervous, of course, but also reassured that I can do it. That millions of women have done it before me, and many more will afterwards. That is a certainty that feels reassuring. 

I've been doing a lot of nursery dreaming and planning, I'll be writing up a post with my ideas. We can decorate the room as of March - currently we have a student in there. The student in that room is actually now staying through March, but she'll move to Paul's office for the month so that we can set up the Nursery. Since baby girl Morgan could come anytime from midMarch onwards (or even before, who knows!) having the room set up as soon as possible seems super helpful. Already we've been given or lent tons of stuff, and it's just sitting in Paul's office for now. I look forward to putting it all in it's home! My goal is to have the room fully set up by the end of the first week of March, and to have my hospital bag ready (with a list of last minute things to grab) by the end of February. My baby shower is February 21st, so that means I'll have most things I need for the room and for her arrival by then! 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mexican Baby Shower: Nacho Libre

I love throwing baby showers for friends - it is so fun and so exciting to get to bless someone and throw a party that is excellent and shows you something of their personality. One of my best friends, Ana, had a baby yesterday (He's totally perfect) and in early December we threw her a shower to celebrate his coming. What a wonderful time it was to bless Ana who loves others so well, and to bring her different friends together - from church and family, to her past and present colleagues. It was a really fun and diverse group. 

Ana is my party planning bestie - we throw parties together for other people so I knew this party had to be just as fabulous. Thankfully her other close friends are awesome: her mom and sister joined our team, as well as Rebecca, Sarah, Irene, Lindsay and Hanne. AND on top of that 4 of her coworkers showed up 2 hours early to help us set up, and I don't know what we would have done without them. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Menu Plan Monday, January 19th

Menu Plan Monday with Laura at Org Junkie

I have been out sick for the past week+. I mean OUT. I missed every day of work last week except for 1, and even then I could have easily slept through that entire day also. I have tried to do a whole lot of nothing - my students and Paul made dinners and lunches all week and I rested, trying to keep myself and baby happy. I was pretty miserable all week - it wasn't a regular kind of cold, but a kick you while you're down sort of sickness so it mostly took everything in me to keep going each day. I had some weepy moments as I wasn't able to sleep more than an hour at time for the entire week - whether it was the sore throat of the early sickness, or the congested head of the latter. I felt like a wimp, but man it was bad. When I finally made it (hacking and coughing) into work on Thursday I learned that half of my office had been out with the same thing, so that made me feel less pathetic. It wasn't just me that found it bad, but it was bad for everyone. So there's that. Finally I'm back to 80% so I'm at work and doing life, with just a mild cold now. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Dressing the Bump & further pregnant thoughts

Blogging while pregnant has been interesting to me. I find myself less motivated. Once I get through all the things I have to do in life at home and work, it's hard to have much steam left for one more thing, even if it is one of the things that I love doing. BUT today I was feeling inspired, so here we are!

I have so enjoyed getting dressed while pregnant. Even at the beginning when I wasn't showing at all, it felt extra special for some reason knowing I was getting dressed to cover myself and another human! For the first 3-4 months I wasn't showing at all. It's only really been since early/mid November that a bump has been emerging (which was around the 19/20 week mark), though even at that stage it was pretty easy to hide if I had wanted to. I'm currently at 27 weeks and 4 days (woot) and there is now not really any hiding it, though in person, if I'm wearing all black and you see me head on, there's no real certainty that there is a bump there. 

I am finding that I made a few errors in my Maternity clothes shopping. I've somehow ended up with mostly sweaters and sweater dresses which is hilarious as I rarely wear sweaters in regular life as I'm usually too hot as it is, let alone when growing a tiny heat producing human. So I'm boiling at work most days. I'll most likely need to add some work appropriate tops soonish especially as we march on towards spring! 

I'm usually torn between wanting to get wear out of my maternity clothes, and stretch my regular clothes wardrobe to last. I don't want to actually stretch out my regular clothes though, since I like them and want them to fit afterwards. Often I'll do a mix of the two types of clothes in the week. I can get away with some lace tops as they don't seem to stretch out, and am trying to be creative with my choices. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Menu Plan Monday, January 5th

Menu Plan Monday with Laura at Org Junkie

Upcoming week: 
Monday: Costco Easy Deli Option
Monday is back to the grind day. We are swinging by Costco on our way home from work and hopefully I will be in bed by 9pm tonight! We'll see if that happens.

Tuesday: Spaghetti & Meatballs

Tuesday is Lifegroup and Spaghetti & Meatballs are easy to make! I will do Spaghetti Squash for those of us with food issues (one non wheat, one no gluten and one needing healthy choices due to pregnancy). 

Wednesday: Crockpot Honey Sesame Chicken
Wednesday is our student Xiao's birthday so I'll be making an asian dish in honor of her! and Crockpot is a necessity during the week days! Over the evening I will have Trader Joes Italian Meatball Soup cooking in preparation to give some to a friend with a new baby and to serve on Saturday.

Thursday: Crockpot Cheesy Potato Soup
Thursday we're visiting a friend and her new baby, so this crockpot soup will help get us out the door on time. We'll be taking a portion of the soup to give the most likely, tired parents!

Friday: Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops, roasted vegetables & potatoes

Friday we will have people over, I think, still nailing down the details. So I've planned a nice meal in case.

Saturday: Trader Joes Italian Meatball Soup
Saturday is a friends 60th birthday, so I'll be pulling this soup out in the late afternoon to help tide people over.

Sunday: Melt in your Mouth Chicken with baked rice & veggies

Sunday we have church at 5:30. This meal cooks in an hour and a half which means it's perfect to put in the oven right before we leave and eat afterwards!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thoughts about my Mom

I'm blasting Christmas music in the hopes that it will wake me up - I even picked the Songza playlist that featured Christmas Pop since I need something loud and fun. I'm feeling kinda blah at work lately and that's not a feeling that I want to experience at work! I want to honor this company and my employer well by being super awake and on it. Hopefully between the cup of tea in front of me and the music my mind will wake up!

My mom & I, fall 2013

Mom & I, fall of 1986

Last night we celebrated my mom's 61st birthday. I wrote about her 60th birthday here. As I wrote in her birthday card I got to thinking about the sort of mom she's been. My mom grew up in a pretty dysfunctional family. My grandpa was a travelling salesman and was away much of the time - which was probably preferable since he was a pretty mean, abusive man. My granny raised my Mom and my Auntie Leslie - and she did the best she could. She wasn't one of those mom's that had a natural maternal instinct - she didn't cook (they ate out most of the time, which at that time was very rare!), or nurture. She loved learning and music though, and passed those values on to her girls, especially to my Mom. My mom was raised with some neat advantages (travel, education, music training) and some really hard circumstances (cold parents, an angry marriage, an abusive father). She left home at 18 after to pursue education and music. While in college she met a woman named Anne who told her about Jesus, and showed her friendship and love. Mom decided to follow God, and mirrored her life to be about him. This was the start of a life that changed for the better, that had room for hope and for functionality. She moved to a small town (Port Alberni) to teach right out of college - once she settled into a church (Arrowsmith) she met my Dad. The simple end to the story is that they fell in love, got married, had two daughters and built their family in Port, but the reality is much less simple. 
The first shot of us as a family of 4, May of 1985.
Clearly I'm stoked about this.

The four us in Victoria, probably summer of 1991 (?)

With my mom's background she was afraid to fail in marriage -  when my parents were married my Granny was divorced and single, and my Grandpa was on marriage number 2 (Praise the Lord, it was to a most fabulous, gift-of-a-woman). She didn't know how she could stand in front of people and declare that she would love my Dad - that terrified her. Love is very vulnerable. More than that she didn't think marriages could last. She told my Dad she would marry him, but that she didn't think it would last more than 5 years. 30+ years later they're still going strong, a fact that would have floored her if she could have known it at the time. They made a commitment to stay together, and they stayed. Through hard times and good times, and now hard and good times again. They are very much together. And over the years it's been pure joy to watch their love grow and strengthen.

If getting married was scary to my Mom, then parenting was even more foreign and intimidating! She had no idea what it looked like to raise children to follow God and to  love them well, and she so desperately wanted to get it right. My mom didn't have a strong maternal, nurturing instinct. She has a strong, loving, generous heart but that's not a language she knows how to communicate in. Dad always tells us about how when he was away for 3 months on a missions trip in their dating time, rather than receiving love letters penned by my mom, he received letters that were basically an itinerary - comings and goings, not a lot of feeling. It's just not how she communicates. As a Mom she did the things she knew to set us up well - she married a good godly man (she still brings this up often), she valued time with us, she put high stock in education and extra-curriculars, and she made sure we saw family often. She wasn't the sort of mom you curled up with on the couch to talk about feelings, but she made sure we had people around we could do that with, and to be fair, our Dad was great for feelings talks. He speaks the heart language. 

I look at what she overcame to raise us and I'm amazed by what she accomplished. She had no idea what she was doing! She poured her heart out for us though - she loved with sacrifice and generosity. She raised us to love others - so much of our lives was spent thinking of ways to bless others, to serve others, to love others. I have so many "Robin-isms" that had shaped how I love people. I quote her all the time! She was always looking out for outsiders, so they could be included. We had a constant stream of people in and out of our home - Mom believed hosting was super important to create community and friendship. We were raised to help and participate, and engage the kids of people visiting. just hit me how amazing this is. My mom was raised in a home that rarely had guests in it - I mean when my Mom and Dad first started dating my Dad wasn't allowed in their house, and it took a year for him to be allowed to come into the entryway of the home only. And here is my Mom, who gets the value of a welcoming home, learning to cook and host so that people can feel loved! I mean that's some initiative! 

I love the stories of how she learned to cook. I mean my mom had no idea how to cook - in college she lived on apples, peanut butter and crackers. When she moved out she started to learn to cook but when she got married she really tried to learn. Everything she made had a name - since she only knew how to cook recipes. For her cooking wasn't instinctual, it was learned and done with a lot of intention and effort. Over the years she really grew in her ability to cook - growing up we ate healthy, well rounded meals. 

She tackled this food problem like she tackled parenting and marriage. Lots of books, lots of questions, and a huge amount of effort and belief in the important of the outcome. I love this reminder from her life - with effort, the willingness to learn, the willingness to ask any, and everyone questions, and a belief in the outcome, you can accomplish most things. My mom's strategy made us giggle at times - if you asked a question, the next day she'd be home with a book on the topic so she'd know how to talk you through it. When we hit puberty, she went out and got Dr. Dobsons book "Preparing for Adolescents" and took us away for a weekend to work through the book and have a special time with us, while talking about that next season. While we teased her about it, her heart was always obvious. She wanted to get it right, she wanted us to have the best information possible, and she wanted to love us well. 

When I was in grade 4 they were doing sex talks in our class. My mom wanted me to hear it from her first. She took time out of her work day (also a teacher) to take me out for lunch at this time. We sat in a restaurant near the school, had a lunch (I felt so grown up) and we had the sex talk. Of course she'd talked to nurse friends, and read books before this conversation. She must have been so nervous! She talked me through it all though, including some drawings of penis' and cervix's on the napkins - I'm so curious what the waitstaff thought! 

When my Mom saw a need she acted. I remember countless times where she would hear of a need (big or small) and then she would come home and talk to us all about it, to see what could be done. In high school they were short on teachers for what would be our Sunday School class - so she figured out some curriculum and volunteered to teach our girls Sunday School class. When she'd hear about someone who didn't have enough money to feed their family, she'd send my Dad out to get them groceries. She believed in loving action. 

Last night we sat around to tell funny stories about her, to her. Paul pointed out, it felt a bit like a roast. My mom wasn't a naturally silly person, most of the times the funny stories were mostly at her expense since she could be quite ridiculous. But oh, she made us laugh...and as time went on she learned to laugh at herself too. An important lesson I'm learning much earlier, in thanks to my husband. 

Basically, this long rambly post comes down to the very important realization that my Mom was amazing. She wasn't a classic Mom, by any means. But she was my Mom. She was a fabulous Mom. She took what she was given in life and coupled with faith and knowledge gave us everything she could to give us the best chance in life. She loved us completely, in her own way. She loved those around her, in her own way. With her as my Mom, I feel set up well to love a daughter of my own; and I took her advice in yet another area and found my own good godly man to love and to build a family with (she approved of Paul heartily!). My mom didn't do things normally, but she did them well with intention and faith, and that's all any of us can hope for in our own lives.

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