Sunday, October 26, 2008

Christmas in October

So, we're already listening to Christmas music. A little early, I know, but we started this week and now we can't stop. I think we're already anticipating that this Christmas season is going to be anything but normal, so we're enjoying the calm, quiet days at home listening to nice, instrumental, yule-tide tunes while we can.

I highly recommend Chris Rice's Living Room Sessions Christmas album. Totally addicted.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Day of Answers

After a summer and almost fall of semi-patient waiting, we got two big answers yesterday. First and foremost, our precious little baby is a girl! The ultrasound technician went through what felt like an eternity of looking at her bones and organs (which was pretty cool) before looking a little closer and telling us that she's in fact a she. And her name is not a big secret, but we haven't discussed internet security for her yet, so just ask me personally and I'll tell you, but I'm not going to put it up here yet. It's pretty though, we love it. During the ultrasound she was moving all around. We got to see her sucking on her hand and even yawning. She's got a pretty round head and full little lips from what we could see too. It just makes me want to see her in person that much worse. The wait is getting shorter all the time, though. I can hardly believe that we're over halfway through this pregnancy now.

Also, in less than two months we will be leaving the chilly VA 'burbs for the lovely SC Lowcountry. We are more than pumped about this, but we are discovering today that the task of looking for and purchasing a house in a place we've never been is daunting. B is currently on the phone getting financial advice and I've been online most of the day looking at house after house. Here goes nothing, I guess. The goal is to have a house to bring our little girl home to in March. I feel confident, albeit picky.

So, there you go. Tom Petty was right, the waiting is [definitely] the hardest part. But it pays off.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Favorite Things

Or, maybe just a few. I've been thinking that several different products have come into my life lately, well, within the last year, that are so amazing, I just really don't know what I did without them. So, if I were Oprah and you were my lucky audience on one particular day, the following are the things that I would give you.

1-A Neti Pot - Now, if you're like me and a religious viewer of The Office, you may remember the Christmas Party in Season 2 where Dwight ended up with the teapot that Jim had meant for Pam and what he planned to do with it. Kind of disturbing, right? Well, not as much as you may think. They actually make little plastic teapot-looking things that you use to drain your sinuses using a mixture of basically salt and water. And, can I just say, don't knock it 'til you've tried it friends. It's the only reason this pregnant lady is breathing right now.

2-Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cleanser - I love face and hair products. I am always looking for the best in both and I wash my face every morning and night without fail. This, although a little pricey, is the absolute best face wash that I've found. It makes my face feel so soft and I have not had a zit since I began to use it a couple of months ago.

3 - Sandra McCracken's new album, Red Balloon - As always, this lady puts out new, refreshing, beautifully written, and heartfelt music. She is one of my all time favorites. On this album she has a couple of songs about being a new mother that express her feelings better than any I've ever heard. Also, she re-does a song that she wrote, but was originally recorded by Caedmon's Call, entitled High Countries. It is about C. S. Lewis's The Great Divorce and is beautifully haunting. This is a must listen.

4 - Palladium "Palau" shoes - I stumbled upon these little gems in the clearance section of a huge shoe store in Asheville last month. They are cute, and oh-so comfortable. I had never heard of this brand before, but I imagine that all the rest of their shoes have got to be incredibly comfortable as well. This particular pair just happened to be green and mary jane-like, both qualities for which I'm a huge sucker.

5 - J.Crew Tenley low-heel boots - Okay, so I love shoes and I'm on the constant look-out for good ones because I'm 26 and I have arthritis in one toe due to an injury, so not just any cute pair will do anymore. (How's that for an excuse?) These were quite a find. Not only do I have arthritis from running, I also have large calf muscles which do not permit me to wear just any tall boots. However, these boots come in, wait for it, extended-calf sizes. So, I can wear them without passing out due to loss of blood circulation, not to mention that they are made from buttery Italian leather. As you can imagine, these were all I got from Santa last year. I was a good girl.

6 - Cook's Illustrated Magazine - Some dear friends gave me a subscription to this magazine for my birthday this year, and I love it. The recipes are so well researched and written. I have not made a thing from any of the issues that is not simply divine. I would especially reccommend the Enchiladas Verdes from the July/August 2008 issue. Not to mention that each issue has ingenious kitchen ideas and great product reviews. (Oh, and there are no ads in the whole thing.)

7 - The "This American Life" podcast - I look forward to every Monday, because I know that it will automatically download on my itunes. These are amazing stories from all over the U. S. that are cleverly told and often informative. I love listening to Ira while I cook! The best part is that you can subscribe for free on itunes.

Seven is a good number, so I'll stop there for now. I hope that you have enjoyed this little trip around the internet with me to see a few of my favorite things. Also, I love hearing about other people's "can't live without" products, that's usually how I find mine, so let me know some of yours.

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and brown woolen mittens. Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings, these are a few of my favorite things."

Friday, October 17, 2008

Heads Carolina, Tails California

I'm on pins and needles, as they say. Any day now we will find out our next duty station. (As an aside, I think that the Jo Dee Messina song from which this post borrows its title was secretly written about how the military decides where to send people.) As the title indicates it could be anywhere from sunny Southern Cal to charming southern South Carolina (not to mention anywhere there's a Marine base in between. And we're not even going to talk about Japan or Hawaii yet). This revelation is of the utmost importance to our little family because of three things. First, it will be the place that our first child is born. Running a close second is that it will likely be the site of our first home purchase. This gal is TOTALLY OVER renting. Over it. And last, it's where we'll spend the next three or so years of our life. Pretty important. Did I mention that we'll more than likely be moving to mystery location number one in December? And we're already over half done with October.

So, yes, on the surface I'm a big ball of worry about this, but underneath I'm trying to come to grips with the fact that I truly believe that God is going to put us where we're supposed to be and nowhere else. I know deep down inside that we are going to be perfectly happy wherever we end up. We'll be together and at least gas is getting cheaper...

"We pack our bags, we board the train for a tour of Saturn's fields;
And we don't know what lies ahead, visions of comfort safe in our heads."
-Sandra McCracken

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

No one ever told me

There are some things about pregnancy that you sort of assume will come with the territory. I'm gaining weight, getting rounder, have to use the bathroom a lot more frequently, etc... But there are some things about carrying this child that I would never have guessed would happen. First, sinus headaches. My sinuses have been out of whack basically since day one of this pregnancy. At first I assumed that it was allergies but now I have a serious sinus headache at least once a week. Then came nosebleeds. I haven't had a nosebleed since elementary school, but I have woken up several times in the last couple of weeks with that awful feeling of blood draining down my throat. Also, breathlessness. Although I've never been an elite athlete, I've pretty much been in good shape since the beginning of high school. When I was first pregnant and didn't know it yet, I was still pushing myself hard of the trails and hills around where we live. I've slowed down considerably since then, but I still exercise a good bit. The weird thing is that I get out of breath sometimes just climbing the stairs. It has something to do with increased blood volume and circulation I think.

Other than that, I am not experiencing any stereotypical strange cravings. During my first trimester when I felt sick a lot, there was a lot that I didn't want to eat, but that's just because I was nauseated all the time. Now I feel pretty normal, which for me means that I will eat most anything. I'm not picky. Now, I do crave turkey sandwiches, but I think only because I can't have deli meats.

Well, enough about that. In all honesty, I love being pregnant, especially now that I can feel the baby moving inside me several times a day. It feels like tiny pokes from the inside and I get so excited every time. I love telling B that it's happening and watching his face light up as he says, "Really?" I look forward to the day when he can feel them too from the outside.

Only 10 days until we find out if it's a boy or girl! (I'm such a nerd, I got excited when I saw that October 24th was on the 10-day outlook on finally this morning!)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

See the Art in Me

We all do it. Don't even try to deny it. I do, you do, even my sweet Grandmother *probably* does. We label each other. The good girl, the bad guy, the handy man, the mommy type, etc. You get where I'm headed. I've been doing a lot of thinking about these labels over the past week and I wish I could say it was because I'm feeling convicted about labeling people, putting them in little boxes. No. It's because I'm feeling very labeled myself these days.

It's a very devaluing feeling when you think about it. You just put someone in a category in your mind before or despite getting to know them, so you don't have to think about who they really are. Instead of seeing someone as a person, we can conveniently see them as a member of a group, real or made-up, therefore assigning them the identity that we want them to have in order to fit into our social frameworks. For example, I find myself at gatherings of my husband's co-workers labeling their wives as "military wives," and, for me, that means a certain set of traits. And, to be quite honest, traits that I feel I do not possess so I must not fit in and I must be different (read: better) than them. Does that make sense? I want to distance myself, feel special in a group that I clearly fit in well with, and therefore I label these women before I even know them. It's sad, I know.

If it makes it any better, I hate labels because they totally get in the way of relationships. When we put each other in boxes, it is convenient but we fail to see one another as fellow human beings with struggles, victories, and needs. Some of the greatest friends I have in this world have lives on the outside that could not look anything less like mine. And this is because we've gotten beyond who we think each other are to who we really are. So I'm no longer a housewife and my friend is no longer a single in the city girl, we're Kels and Bran, and we can talk for hours because we see past all of the divisions of life and really relate to each other as people.

Mostly this is my round-about way of telling you that just because I am not currently working and am expecting a baby, I have not hung up all of my hopes, dreams, talents, and individualism. Life has put me into a joyous position that I could have never dreamed up for myself. I thank God for the blessings that I have, but I have not lost my identity in them. I have the sneaking suspicion that He knows my hopes and dreams better than I and that my life probably won't even resemble something that I could have planned. And I'm guessing that yours won't either.

"Sculpting every move, you compose a symphony, And you plead to everyone, "See the art in me." - Jars of Clay