Monday, August 31, 2009

Ho, ho, ho!

This past weekend, Daniel and I were in a wedding for two lovely (former) members of our singles group at church. This was baby Ben's third time to be a bridesmaid -- always a bridesmaid, never a bride (please, Ben, never be a bride!).

Doesn't look too terrible here, but a full-body picture would reveal that Daniel wore house-shoes with his tux (thanks to a back-of-the-ankle injury that refuses to heal), and I bore an uncanny resemblance to a certain fictional Christmas character:

For some reason I also look like I don't have legs in that picture? Maybe it's the angle? This one captures the beauty of the dress/pregnant figure combo a little better:

Note how I don't so much look pregnant -- more just really huge. I think the white sash at the "natural waist" (please identify that part of my body right now) is really the icing on the cake. And here I am laughing/making my belly shake like a bowl full of jelly:

Ho, ho, ho! And finally, a proper belly shot (35 weeks, 1 day):

Here's to my final month of pregnancy, which will involve no more formalwear!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Nesting or neurosis? Tough to tell.

Several months ago, I made a month-by-month list of what I wanted to do to get our house ready for Benjamin's arrival. Basic stuff, like painting the nursery and reorganizing our closets so the one in nursery was actually available for baby paraphenalia. I did very well, thank you, at keeping pace with my list -- until sometime two weeks ago, when I suddenly couldn't stand the thought of having unfinished baby-preparedness projects and started working like a madwoman to finish the list a month ahead of schedule. I'm still not sure if I just haven't experienced much third-trimester fatigue or if my nesting instinct is a force my fatigue can't reckon with. Either way, the result is a nursery that is pretty much finished. Until I decide something else needs to be changed/rearranged and go on another psychotic frenzy.

What you see here involved:

-painting the nursery walls

-replacing the blinds

-recovering the lamp, after searching for all the necessary parts and eventually giving up and ghetto-rigging it (the harp is Duck-taped to the base, so I had to add fringe to cover that)

-purchasing absurd amounts of organization products from Target

-starting to make a cool quilt from scraps of fabrics used elsewhere in Ben's room (along with scraps I have from other projects), then cleverly folding said quilt so you can't tell in these pictures that it's not finished yet

-sewing the crib bedding (which really merits about 10 bullet points), with a LOT of help from a nice lady at church

-washing and organizing the billions of articles of clothing and blankets we have for this child (That open drawer? That would be his newborn to 3 month clothes only. I could probably get by with doing laundry about twice during his first months of post-womb life.)

-making some of the wall art you see here and just hanging the rest of it (Did you notice the Big Ben picture by the window? Get it??)

Okay, that's two pictureful posts in two days (by the way, you can click on any of the pictures to see more detail in them). Now get to commenting, people!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hiking with my honey

Today was the perfect day for a hike -- beautiful, cloudless sky and nothing pressing on the agenda for my baby daddy or me. We've wanted to hike Mt. Cutler for several weeks because we were told it's a nice, easy hike with good views, and it did not disappoint. Central Arkansas dwellers, it's probably easier than hiking Pinnacle Mountain (I think the elevation gain might even be smaller). Though it was difficult enough to make my round shape move pretty slowly and fuss at Daniel for not being conservative enough with our water rations :)

The views weren't too shabby, either. There were several nice overlooks like the one above, along with a couple of places where you could see parts of the city (that would be Colorado Springs) and the over-priced tourist attraction Seven Falls.

Brings out my inner supermodel. That's totally a supermodel pose, right? I think I'll submit this one to the Visitors' Bureau for their promotional material.

We didn't take a picture of ourselves at the top because we were eager to move away from the two women pictured here, who were doing some sort of weird Buddhist-type chanting. It was also Happy Hour at Sonic, so we had to hurry along before we missed that. Any guesses what color Daniel's drink was?

Check back soon for pictures of the nursery -- it's dangerously close to being finished!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Look! A post that indicates brain activity! And a belly picture!

Since I have become visibly pregnant, I've started getting more fun comments and questions from strangers (including a lady at the Sonic drive-through window). Most of the time, I enjoy that because people tend to be generally excited about the idea of babies. So they just say nice, congratulatory things, and I get to feel happy all over again about my sweet little boy.

But impending parenthood also brings lots of annoying comments and advice. A baby bump makes you a target for all the wisdom/"wisdom" everyone else has gleaned from their years of child-rearing/knowing of the existence of children -- and unfortunately, these well-meaning/smug individuals are rarely helpful.

Lately, though, one particular breed of comment has been getting under my skin more than normal. Everyone is aware that children are different from adults, and children don't always do things that are convenient or logical. Sometimes, they even make their parents' lives more difficult. You're with me so far, I'm sure. And sometimes when situations like this occur in front of me, the lady with the protruding belly, wise adults feel the need to make comments like, "See what you have to look forward to?" And, "Are you sure you want one of these?"

I know they're just trying to be funny, and I'm well aware that I make lots of intending-to-be-funny awkward conversation myself, but these comments have really been bothering me. And it's not because I've tricked myself into thinking my children will be perfect. I know they will get on my nerves, too, and they will embarrass me in public and make my life more complicated.

But I also believe that God is sovereign over my family and that he is growing inside of me a human who is perfectly designed by a perfect Creator to be under my care. And I believe that baby Ben and any other children we have are exactly suited to who Daniel and I are, who God wants us to be, and how He wants to challenge and grow us. I have a lot of flaws (some of which are revealed by the tone of this post), and I am both thrilled and terrified to see how God uses parenthood to refine me. But I'm just thrilled to see how He uses parenthood to teach me about Himself.

So yes, well-intentioned advice-givers, I see what I have to look forward to. And yes, I am sure I want one of those.

Now your reward for reading all that. Behold the great belly (taken at 32 weeks, 1 day):