Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"Is it just me...

... or are you carrying lower than you were before?"

These are the words my husband spoke to me earlier today.  And all day long I had been thinking the same thing about my pregnant belly.  I have also noticed how noticeable my belly is from the front lately- for at least a couple of days.

And because today is picture day, we decided to compare and contrast just to see if we were imagining things...

The verdict?  You tell me!

(These are in order from the last 4 weeks, today's being the last one.)

Week 20

Week 20

Week 21

Week 21

Week 22

Week 22

Week 23

Week 23

I know that these are not all at exactly the same distance, but it is fairly obvious to me that the most recent belly picture shows a more pronounced belly and a slightly lower belly.  The strange part is that I have only gained about a half pound in the last week or so.

On top of all this, the baby is moving like crazy today.  Whether I am still or moving, Spare is going nuts in there!  There's movement high and low.  One of my youth got to feel the baby kick/hit on Sunday.  That was really cool for me and for her.  She was pretty weirded out by me saying, "The baby is really kicking around today."  And when I asked if she wanted to feel it, after she'd expressed how strange it would be to feel that, she said yes.  So, next time Spare started kicking, Helen got to feel it!

All of these changes in my body are really cool to feel.  And now that we have moved into our new house, I am really ready to get the nursery figured out!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Advent 2011

Here's a quick run down on our Advent activities so far, as well as what's to come before the end of the calendar year...

First Sunday in Advent: We were in Cuba, specifically Havana.  That Sunday morning, my dad, step mom, two older brothers, husband, and I woke to have breakfast at our hotel before getting on the tour bus and heading to the Episcopal Cathedral in Havana.  The church was very nice- very quaint and kind of small for a Cathedral, but probably a good sized church for Cuban standards.  The service was also very nice.  Bishop Leo Frade, with whom we were traveling, asked all of the clergy to come forward and introduce themselves.  My dad went up and said all that he wanted to (in Spanish).  And then the Bishop asked him to repeat (in English).  During his recount of what he had already said, my dad used the phrase, "This is my home."  And it was at this point that he got choked up (in English); and it was also at this point that the rest of us got choked up. 

After the church service, the 6 of us left in a taxi.  The Cathedral was located a few blocks away from my dad's old houses.  He and his family left Cuba in 1960 and this was his first time back.  After 51 years, he still recalled all of the details of daily life.  The first house we stopped at was where he lived for a short period of time, but it was near a park and a movie theater.  The second house we stopped at was where he lived for a longer period of time, and it was the house they lived in right before they left the country.  It was so interesting to hear all of the stories that he told about his experiences, especially after Fidel Castro took power.

After our tour, we headed back to the hotel to rest up for the National Ballet of Cuba, as well as a visit to the Tropicana (famous night club) later that night.  The next day, we traveled back to the US; then on home on Tuesday.  Once we arrived back in BR, we spent the next several days packing for our big move into our new house!

Second Sunday of Advent: Jared and I both had to preach that Sunday, so we were both fairly tired from that.  However, the tired we felt was nothing compared to how we would feel the following Friday (the 9th) after we moved and unpacked all day!  We have been exhausted ever since.  Our new house is awesome, though.  It's quite large and there's so much more space than we've ever had before.  Other than a couple of rough nights with the dogs (getting used to being in a new place with a new routine), it's been a fairly smooth transition.  We are unpacking like maniacs, but it's difficult to feel like you're accomplishing much when you're also working full time and doing other things (see Third Sunday of Advent).  But we are definitely making progress.

Third Sunday of Advent: After church services, a fundraiser, and my regular high school program, I also held a confirmation meeting for parents of youth who will be confirmed this spring.  I headed home and Jared and I did a little more unpacking and setting up.  I had planned on watching the Sunday Night Football game... but I fell asleep before halftime.  I was so tired in fact, that I woke up during the 4th quarter with about 5 minutes left in the game.

Today I have been very tired, still, and I am trying very hard to fight off a head cold.  All the dry weather in LA is making it hard to breathe through my nose.  After all, it's only 72% humidity right now... and I am used to so much more.

Later this week, several folks in the family and I will be traveling to New Orleans for my ordination to the transitional diaconate.  In layman's terms, I am getting ordained as a clergy person!  Saturday morning, the Bishop of the Diocese of Louisiana will lay hands on me and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I will become a deacon.  This is a huge moment in life for me.  I have struggled for a long time with my call to ordination- wrestled with God, family, friends, and enemies about it; and now it is coming to fruition.  It's a big day.

It's also a big day because many of my youth will be making their way down to NO, too; they will come to my ordination and then will spend the rest of the day in NO doing Angel Tree shopping and a youth event called Bowling with the Bishop!  So, it's going to be a full day in NOLA for me. 

Fourth Sunday in Advent: The day after ordination, I will serve my first Sunday as a clergy person.  This includes: reading the Gospel and preaching at 3 services, setting the table for the Lord's Supper, and giving the dismissal at the end of the service.

But wait... there's more!  This will also be the day that we have our youth group Christmas Party!  So, once I finish with all my regular duties, I will have to make sure everything is set up for the party. On Monday, Jared and I will go to the doctor for our 24 week appointment.  This week will end with three Christmas Eve services, including one children's pageant!

All in all, it's been a very busy Advent and will continue to be.

Come Christmas Day, though, it will all settle down a bit.  I am thoroughly looking forward to the 3 and 1/2 months or so after Christmas and before Spare arrives.  I am thinking this will be a short time of rest (at least in comparison to the past few months) before the baby shakes everything up again!

Friday, December 2, 2011

We're Back!

I realize it has been far too long since my last post... And sadly, this one will not satisfy any kind of update; however, for the purpose of accountability, I wanted to let you know some of the ideas for posts that I've been thinking of and making note of.  This way, once life calms a bit, I will remember what I wanted to post about!


- The smell of holiness- what smell comes to mind when you think of church or spirituality?  I have one that I will share with you!

- Our last bowling outing, just before we left for Cuba.

- Our trip to Cuba over Thanksgiving.

- Our most recent ultrasound/doctor's appointment.

- Why is it that just as Advent arrives (a time intended for meditation, reflection, preparation, etc.) life becomes so insane that we often forget what the purpose of Advent is?

So, that's what I've come up with so far.  I am sure that by the time I actually post something, I'll have some more ideas.  But we are moving in exactly one week; so please be patient with me... It may be a little while.