Monday, March 31, 2014

Currently . . .

Linking up for the first time with A Mama Collective and Anna Kate for their "Currently" series. I love the opportunity for simple reflection. It might be just what the doctor ordered.

Thinking about: I'm trying soooooo hard not to obsessively ponder each movement, squeeze, ache, contraction, and sensation in my abdomen. I'm failing miserably. I've made it no secret that I feel impatient for labor and delivery and meeting my little man. I'm trying to trust God's timing for his arrival. I'm trying to trust my own ability to know and listen to and understand my own body. I'm trying to trust my body to do what it needs to when it needs to do it. It has before. I'm trying to trust the truth that I have time, in spite of my impatience. Mostly, though, I'm thinking about the new baby, what it means for me, for our family, and how excited I am for that stage of our lives to finally be here! (And how tiny and cute he'll look in his tiny cute wardrobe.)

Reading: The Diary of St. Maria Faustina. I'm working through it slowly, because my attention span is short (and my sustained reading time is shorter) these days. However, each entry gives me the chance to ponder and marvel at her ability to hear and trust God (even when she doesn't practice perfect obedience). I mean, I'm far from a mystic, and I'm not called to a contemplative vocation, but still, there is much to ponder. And I haven't even touched the Divine Mercy yet. Talk about food for thought.

Listening to: The sweet silence of nap time. And some distant birds on a glorious Arizona spring day.

Watching: More TV than I would like. I know that along side L&D, Survival Mode (aka the newborn haze phase) is right around the corner, and I know that cartoons (for Clare) are going to be a real part of it while we establish a routine with the little one, but still, I find myself flipping on the ol' tube in the late afternoons: for background noise, for distraction, for the heck of it. I've been on an HGTV kick (probably fueled in part by the endless loop of a conversation about our housing plans (still a work in progress) for the move to Wichita).

Thankful for: I am so thankful for my health and the health of this little man that allows him to take his sweet time making an appearance. And I am thankful for my sweet little girl who keeps me so busy and makes my heart so full every time she, well, does anything, really, but when she bares her little soul and gives me a hug or a snuggle or rubs my belly, I feel so thankful for the gift that is Clare. And for my loving, supportive husband who is as excited and happy to meet the baby as I am.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 60

One of these days, I'll do something other than nap during Clare's naps. Or have something to say that's not about me impatiently waiting for a baby.

In the meantime, I'm linking up with Jen, 'cause FRIDAY.

1. It is birthday week around here. Charles' was on Sunday and we had two yesterday: my grandma (96!!), and Charles' mom (29 again). Clare is good at saying, "Happy Birthday," but not on command, of course. She was already pretty good at eating cake, but is always willing to practice her skillz.

2. As a result, I fully expected that Mr. Man would join the crowd. He still has a couple of days left to get in on the action before he's far enough removed to just plain have his own birthday. Clare was born in Week 39, so here's hoping he's born before he sinks alllllllllll the way into my pelvis.

3. Please remind me of how impatient I was to have this baby in a week or two when I'm complaining about how exhausted and sleep-deprived I am. Thanks in advance.

4. At least I will have pictures of two cute babies to litter my posts with. These are all I have of my girly girl this week.

Tea party with Daddy
Star Struck with Grandma -- Photo courtesy of Uncle Zak

5. The actual big news, of course, was the Match last week. We're simultaneously excited to be heading to Wichita and terrified, since neither of us has really lived outside of Arizona for more than a couple of months. (Charles' two toddler years in New Jersey notwithstanding since he doesn't really remember it. At all.) So, we're in the midst of a whirlwind of figuring out moving plans and housing and all that jazz. Crazy!!

6. March Madness is killing me. Killing. Me. Last night's win over SDSU was a leeeeettle too close for comfort, but a win is a win and we're on to the Elite 8. Go Cats!!! Bear Down!!

7. 39 Weeks. Here's photographic evidence that I'm gestating a whale, not a baby. Doctor thinks its a baby. I think Clare might still be holding out for a puppy. Regardless, everything's good and healthy.

Have a lovely weekend.

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sing With Me Now: Happy Birthday tooooooooooooo Yoooooooooou!

Using my public forum to wish a happy, happy, happy birthday to Charles!!!

I'm so blessed to be married to my best friend, who just so happens to be the best husband and father I can imagine.

I'm looking forward to everything the next year holds: a new baby boy, a move to Wichita (who'd have dreamed that a year ago?), love, family, surprises, adventure.

Happy Birthday! I love you!

P.S. Rock Chalk?! Go Shockers?! All I know is that Charles matched in Wichita. Midwest, here we come (come June)!

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Friday, March 21, 2014

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 59

FRIDAY?!?!?!! Linking up with Jen.

1. Today's the day!!!!!! Aaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!! 4 years of med school, 3 away rotations, lots of travel, lots of interviews, a good news email on Monday, and we're down to this. 1 of 8 geographical locations for residency. It could be as close as down the street or it could be across the country or plenty of places in between. Charles gets the news at 10am. Needless to say, we're freaking out just a little. It's an odd combination of peace and anxiety. More than anything, though, I'll be glad to have this stage behind us. I'll be glad to start making plans and organizing for a foreseeable life, instead of just waiting and trying my darndest to trust God and relinquish control to Him.

2. Between that and a birthday, odds are that I'll do some extra posting this weekend. It will make up for the distracted not-posting I've done all of this week. The upside of not posting all week (again) is that it makes writing 7QT that much easier. :)

3. This viral article about Super Mom-ing the holidays has been floating around, and it really resonates with me. Don't get me wrong, I love celebrating, but I think that only a few things need to be Big, Grand Celebrations. I also don't think there is a right or wrong way to do a celebration, necessarily, but I'm not going to go over-the-top for most holidays. My St. Patrick's Day (sans photographic evidence) is a good example. We wore green. We ate corned beef and cabbage with Charles' family. The end. If Clare were older, we might have talked more about St. Patrick or read a book or done a coloring page/craft, or made dessert, but, at the end of the day, I think we did plenty.  {Caveat: I get that we all have different charisms, passions, and gifts -- if going all out for holidays is yours, more power to you! I'm just envisioning myself, and lots of other moms, trying to out-holiday one another because of some sad social media peer pressure. If it isn't fun and doesn't feed you, it is just not a celebration at all. It's a chore. End rant.}

4. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, yesterday, Clare and I went with my cousin and her kids (Clare's "cuzzinz!!!!") to a local train park -- big playground, picnic, chance to "ride train" (as Clare excitedly told us). It was a great day, even if we were both exhausted by the end of it!

Ready for fun in the sun!

5. The absolute highlight of her day, though, was the carousel. She'd never really seen one before, but once it caught her eye, she was all about it, every time she saw it. We took her first ride, and I wasn't sure what she thought about it as it was happening (I think the up and down motion surprised her), but the tears getting off said plenty. She's still talking about "ride howses" (sometimes, "like pwincess") today. There is nothing better than experiencing something for the first time through the eyes of a child. Watching it brought me as much joy -- perhaps more -- than experiencing it brought her.


6. Today is Arizona's first NCAA tourney game. Bear Down and beat Weber State!!

Yes, Wildcats say, "Bear Down!!"

7.  38 weeks pregnant today!! My not-novel guess is that I"ll have this guy before 40 weeks (due date), but moms have certainly been wrong on the ol' guessing game before. He just needs to wait until after we find out final news about the Match, because I've always said that we would know where we were going before he was born. We're close enough that I'd prefer to stick to that. The picture of my gigantic, resting-on-my-pelvis belly is from Wednesday, but there needn't be more pictures of this enormous mess than necessary. I mean, it's always bad when your biggest maternity clothes are starting to fit awkwardly.

Have a lovely weekend!!

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Friday, March 14, 2014

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 58

It's Friday, so you know what that means . . . 7QT with Jen (author extraordinaire), of course!! Book tour? Yes please. I'm so there if you are anywhere near wherever we are when you're there.

1. Last weekend was so amazing -- busy, fun, full of friends and family and love and life! Once I get some more pictures tracked down (I am so terrible at taking my own pictures at these things!), I will put together a longer post. Suffice to say I am terribly, terribly blessed.

Clare and her Auntie at Auntie's shower

2. I would like to say that we've spent this week recovering, and we have, but I've also been doing my fair share of keeping busy, catching up on chores, getting baby stuff in order, and stocking up on odds and ends. Hopefully, the last of it will get done this weekend and the beginning of next week so that I can rest.

3. Ha! The day I went into labor with Clare, I was in desperate need of a grocery store run, and had big plans to run some errands before things got going. None of it ever happened, but now I feel a (somewhat) paranoid need to keep up with laundry and keep basics in the kitchen (cereal, milk, dry goods, etc.), so that I don't put myself through that again when this one arrives, especially since the time is ticking away on this pregnancy. (See also, #7.)

4. On top of that, there is some pesky pollen out there that has hit every single member of this household (all 3 of us ex utero people!), so we're collectively a sneezy, sniffly, allergic mess. The whole thing has left me exhausted. I even took a long nap Tuesday afternoon, and if you know me, you know that that just doesn't happen. It's a real testament to my exhaustion.

5. Meanwhile, we're gearing up for Match Week. And by "gearing up" I mean "anxiously, nerve wrackingly chomping at the bit." There is a preliminary Big News email that will come out on Monday. It tells residency candidates whether they matched or whether they have to pray super extra hard and work their butts off finding an unfilled position, which no one wants to do. Then comes the Big, Big News on Friday, which is the identity of the program where you matched. One piece of information that will disclose our fate for the next 3 years (and more for many residencies): where we'll live, what Charles will do, etc. Gah! The anticipation is crazy and mounting. Some schools have a big to-do on Match Day (Friday), but because of the spread out nature of everyone in Charles' school, they don't do anything special, so we'll have to have our own little celebration. :)

6. This is how Clare played for a good chunk of Tuesday morning after discovering her hat in the sock drawer. Crazy kid. You can't quite tell in the picture, but those are, indeed, ruffle socks.

7. I am now 37 weeks pregnant. People, that puts me in the "any time now" club. *deep breath* I don't think anything is imminent, but then, no one ever really knows. I have told Mr. Man that he needs to stay put through the end of Match Week, and if I were a betting person, I'd guess he'll come at the end of week 38 or beginning of week 39 (Clare was born at 39 weeks), but again, you never know. I'm trying not to get too caught up in the idea of going early, just in case it doesn't happen. But, oh!, how happy my hips would be!! I had my first weekly appointment on Monday, and everything is still good. Just a matter of letting him cook cook cook.

I have also joined the gigantic belly club.

Have a lovely weekend!

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Friday, March 7, 2014

7 Quick Takes, Vol. 47

Linking up for Friday Fun with Jen.

1. 2 weeks 'til Match. With the hullabaloo to look forward to this weekend (see #5 below) and plenty to keep me busy the last few days, this week has flown! Hopefully, next week's promise of nesting opportunities will make that one go by quickly, too! We'll see how I'm feeling a week from now. :)

2. We welcomed a new member into our family a couple of weeks ago. My sedan had hit that point of whether to sink money into repairs or do a trade-in while we could still get some value out of the ol' gal. With our growing family, we opted for the early upgrade (and official membership in Soccer Moms in Training):

This picture totally reminds me of the carport at my Nanny's growing up.

3. I'm sure most of Jen's readers heard the big news, but I was absolutely tickled when I saw Bonnie's big news (and Archbishop Sheen's as well) on FB without any reference to Bonnie at all: a big step forward in the process of having her son's now almost-for-sure-miracle approved for FJS's cause for beatification/canonization.

4. I know there has been a little chatter online about when/what to share/not share about pregnancy. I totally get that there are any number of people who might be sensitive to such talk. I have a family history, if not a personal history, of fertility struggles, and cannot imagine how many people suffer in silence with their own struggles. I totally get it. Heck, that's one reason I rarely post about my pregnancy on FB and the like. That said, I generally post about my life around these parts, and pregnancy is a big part of my life. I try not to go overboard, but it permeates all aspects of life these days. That's a very, very long way of saying that if you don't want to read about my pregnant self, best skip the rest of this post. :)

5. I am so, so, so (x 1,000,000) excited for this weekend. It is going to be a lovely weekend celebrating new life! My sister is going to be in town with her beautiful bump, which would be celebration enough, but on Saturday, my aunt and cousin are having a "sprinkle" luncheon with a couple of dear friends and some family to celebrate Mr. Man. Then, we get to travel up to Prescott on Sunday to shower my sister and her Lil Miss with love, love, and more love (and probably some baby stuff as well). Since she has the biggest heart, it is going to be the loveliest of parties.

6. Clare is so in love with her baby brother in his current bump form, it's going to be interesting to see how/if she responds to her little cousin, since last time we saw Auntie her bump was still in the early first-time-mom phase. I'd vaguely like to fast forward a few years, just to see Clare bossing Mr. Man and Lil Miss around. Given her personality and being the oldest, it will happen. Mark my words.

7. And . . . 36 weeks it is! Someone should probably preemptively get the paper bag out for next week's shock wave/fainting spell/whatever. In the meantime, we're trucking on through. I'm in cookie eating mode major, and Mr. Man is in kick-everything mode major. Two-for-one pictures this week. When I say I'm going to update later, that apparently means, "will post two pictures next week!"

This sweater used to be much longer.
I swear I grew yesterday, though this shirt really shows off the belly anyway.

 Have a lovely weekend.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Some Random Musings on Ash Wednesday

Just some odds and ends on Ash Wednesday:

Ash Wednesday looks so different with a toddler, especially one who is too young to understand what is going on. I generally try to wear more somber clothes on days like today. I'm a person for whom outward appearance really reflect my inward reality. And certainly the Church as packed up the "Gloria" along with the "Alleluia." Let's just say that, after wrestling Little Miss Energy through Mass, I had the chance to be moved by her pink "dwess" as she proclaimed over and over at lunch, "Gwowy to God in da Highst! Amen!" It might be a penitential season, but it is not to be emptied of all joy. Indeed, God is so good, and He is so every day of the year.

I'm sure others have had this experience, but the Holy Spirit has a funny way of working sometimes. I've been pondering for some time what I wanted to do as a personal fast/penance this Lent. Because of the timing of Mr. Man's arrival midway through Lent, I knew that anything too restrictive in the food/caffeine/leisure sense might be personally beneficial, but that my family needs me to be taking in plenty calories/alert/conscious enough to nurse a newborn safely, which is exactly what those things provide me in the early days. Anyway, yesterday, I had a silly epiphany. I say it is silly because it's one of those things that I could have intellectually told you, but didn't have heart/soul understanding of. Lent is not a competition. Not with yourself. Not with others. A personal fast/penance is not the chance to prove how Catholic you are by doing/giving up All the Things. It's a chance for you to make a personal sacrifice that will help you grow closer to God. With that firmly rooted in my heart, I easily identified a small, silly sacrifice I would make for this Lent. It was something that I would think about at least daily, but would not exactly rock the boat of my life at a time when I don't need more rocking than I have. I was content.

Charles and I share our Lenten plans with one another for the sake of accountability. When I told him about the little sacrifice I had chosen, he felt like it was a huge one. Perhaps I have to let go of even more than I realized. It's amazing how God works in us when we let Him.

In the vein of the Holy Spirit getting through to me, this morning, I was able to put a name ("pride") on particular struggles I have on Ash Wednesday (and Good Friday). I don't need to details my thoughts or struggles here, but putting a name on the demon is a good first step to exorcising it.

Mamas who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and anyone with other health concerns, I've heard too many stories about post-fasting problems (supply issues/headaches/dizziness/etc.) this week. Please take the Church at Her word when she says your duty to fast is lifted. Abstain from meat if you are able. Fast from junk food or snacks or media or something, but you have nothing to prove by doing a normal fast. This is from someone who has had to eat a little something on too many Ash Wednesday and Good Friday afternoons. (See above) This year, I'm skipping the junk food and keeping my meals simple, but I'm eating as my hunger dictates. I have two of us to worry about, and not eating isn't going to cut it.

I pray that this is a spiritually fruitful Lent. At the very least, I know I will be giving up being pregnant sometime in the next month or so, and taking on the joy and responsibility of raising another soul for Christ in its stead.

Peace be with you all this Lent.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hurry Up and Wait (Medical Monday)

So much for 7 in 7, day 7. This was the intended post, and it clearly did not happen. C'est la vie. Because genuinely, life happened (getting home at 4 pm instead of noon, as expected, does that to a person, especially when they also have an evening commitment).


We have entered the great season of Hurry up and Wait. It is a real season of life for me right now. Everywhere I look, there is a deadline or a milestone, followed by a waiting period.

Doctor's appointment? Rush out the door and down the road, only to wait to be called back. Only to wait for the doc. (And in my OB's defense, I've rarely done much waiting . . . and I get that OB schedules are never predictable. Clare's doctors on the other hand . . . )

Unrelated but cute

Cookies Dinner in the oven? Wait.

Submit Rank Order List? Wait.

Monday of Match week? Pray for good news, then wait for the real news on Friday. {For those who don't know, on Monday, March 17 (this year), 4th year med students will find out if, in fact, they matched successfully. If so, they will find out where on Friday, March 21. If not, they move into a whole secondary process for finding a position. And really, no one wants to go there.}

Match? Wait until graduation. Wait until summer to start.

(Have a mentioned a time or 50 how annoyingly long and drawn out I find the residency application/Match process?!?)

Baby inching ever closer to his due date? Wait. Wait. Wait. And even when he does decide the time for his Grand Entrance has come? More waiting. (Through labor and delivery. For that epidural I'm not even pretending I don't plan on. For time to push. For the chance to hold that little wiggle worm in my arms.)

I'm trying to use the incessant waiting this month to practice patience. That was, after all, my word for 2014. I'm blessed to have lots of busy-ness coming up this month to make it more bearable, but I'm trying to wait patiently in the mean time. Trying being the key word.

Because really, March, let's just get on with it.

{Linking up with Your Doctor's Wife, From a Doctor's Wife, D-Isis, and LuLu's Big Adventure for Medical Mondays.}

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

WIWS - March 2

I had big plans for this WIWS post. I'm not a big fashion/outfit linker, but I've wanted to write a little bit about self-care for awhile (still do, actually), and it seemed like the right venue. And since I'm forcing myself to write this weekend just to complete the off-cycle 7 in 7 challenge . . . a plan was born!

Thennnnnnnn . . . my WiFi decided to get wonky, so I spent most of my down time messing with the WiFi (which is back up, but I'm not an IT person, so it was a fun fixing process) instead of writing this post!

Anyway, my maternity wardrobe is getting to the point where fewer and fewer things fit and even fewer look quite right. This was probably the last weekend in Phoenix that we could pull off tights and boots, and since I was running late, I pulled this standby together. I think I wore this same combo to about half of the residency interview dinners I got to accompany Charles to this fall!

Closet mirror selfie, accentuating ever-growing baby

Dress: Old Navy
Cardigan: Target
Belt: Old Navy (??)
Tights: Old
Boots: Famous Footwear

Linking with Fine Linen and Purple and other fashionistas.

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Why I Blog

Totally unrelated, rediscovered gem

I really got onto the blog bandwagon while breastfeeding Clare. Lots of hours to fill, and blogs turned into the perfect thing to fill them. I had read some blogs here and there over the years. I had even had a blog or two (including the first incarnation of this one), but I had never seriously gotten into it. After the newborn craziness, I decided that I needed a hobby. I've always like writing, so the blog was (re)born.

I wrote for my high school newspaper all four years. Yes, I was that brand of geek. Anyway, I wasn't particularly good at reporting. I was high-school good at page layout and design. I was, to be honest, a pretty darn good columnist. Occasionally, I'd have a writer's block month where I published drivel, but I published a lot of things I can honestly say I'm still proud of, too.

When I started to blog again, I didn't have a particular "theme" or "plan" in mind. I just wanted to write. I did have an audience in mind: myself.

I've relished having a place to write. Most of the time, I write drivel. I cast of little ditties about my day or week or I participate in a fun link-up. All of those things are well and good. I know that the substantial portion of my family-followers enjoy and appreciate it. Honestly, if you want to know what's going on in my life, this is the place to be. I have created a record of my life in a medium that is more rewarding (for me) than a baby book or scrapbook or whatever.

Occasionally, though, I find the real writer itching to get out. I love that having the blog gives me a place to placate that part of me. Occasionally, I even turn out interesting pieces, like this one, or this one, or this one, or this one.

Every few months it seems, the mommy wars turn into mom-blog wars, which is silly. No matter how big your audience is (or isn't), blogging, for most of us, is (or started out as) something fun. Regardless of what I choose to document or what someone else chooses, at the end of the day, our lives probably aren't so different. We're moms trying to raise our kids right (and for the Catholic mom blog subculture, get them to Heaven; and let them get us there in the process). We all have strengths and weaknesses and hectic moments and stresses and fears and worries and problems.

I blog because it is my voice. My memories. My reflections. But it is me. And of that, I am proud.

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