On babes and pictures.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Little Daniel - nephew.

Second cousin - Sarah
Second cousin - Rocco

Nephew - Wyatt


Friday, December 26, 2008

(Overlay of 11w pic)

There's definite baby growth going on! Baby bless is at a remarkable 7.6 inches {or there abouts} from crown to rump this week and getting ever closer to breaking the pound division.

His digestive system now functions in a rudimentary manner, with undigested amniotic fluid passing into his bowel which he will eventually excrete after birth {oh joy!}. He's also busy sucking and swallow, and is probably deciding whether or not he will be a thumb sucker.

Baby blesses senses are developing as well, especially his sense of touch. He can feel his face and stroke his arms and legs. So . . . maybe he's too busy feeling himself to be punching/kicking his surroundings?

Now, you might be wondering how Mom's doing? And that answer would be fine/okay. Two words that Tony is beyond sick of hearing. I'm never great anymore, but that is more mental than physical. Please refer to my previous post about finally realizing {again} how blessed we are. I really want this knowledge to sink in, because I've been enjoying a bit of a pity party. In all reality, I've been robbing Tony of his joy and excitement regarding the baby and pregnancy these past few weeks, as I would rather pretend that I'm not. I've been focusing too much on how I need to fix this and have been very scared how it will be accomplished since everything that my body is doing right now seems to negatively impact finding a solution. I have not been a joy to be around and yet he still loves me, a fact that always amazes me.

So, I'm trying to let go and let God, as the saying goes, because at this point, I need a definite miracle. And I'll let you in on a little secret, I'm not much of a miracle maker, I'm pretty sure I'm 0 for infinity. :)

Baby bless is near 7.6 inches! Pretty soon I'll be measuring with the width of a sheet of paper!
He's very occupied touching himself.
I've been a bia.
I have back fat.
I'm realizing I can't fix this.


Despite what I wrote regarding Christmas traditions and how our days are filled with multiple families, this year was surprisingly laid back, almost even relaxing due to forgoing Christmas Eve night at Mom’s and all together not visiting with Tony’s family.

We started with celebrating my Mom’s birthday with a Christmas Eve brunch, before leisurely making our way over to my Dad’s around 5:00ish to celebrate Christmas with the family before one of Shirley’s sister’s made their way over with all of my cousins. I was looking forward to my little 2nd (step) cousin’s arrival. Little Rocco and I had never met before . . . and I was armed with my camera, determined to show my worth as a photographer. I’m very excited to report that I think I succeeded, but there will have to be more on that later.

Yesterday we then went to my Grandma’s and were delighted to hear that my cousin and his wife are expecting again. Sheena had suffered a miscarriage earlier in the spring, but is now due in August ’09! Following my Grandma’s we made a pit stop to visit with all of my step-Mom’s family, before making it back to my Mom’s for the evening.

Tony and I, in agreement with our parents decided to skip presents this year, although, when it really came down to it, Tony and I were the only ones who abided. If you remember, my Mom blessed us with our Christmas present early . . . seconds after we finished running our ½ marathon, a shiny 2nd hand oven! :) She’s a beaut. The blessings from my Mom did not end there. This year she has been a huge source of support to Tony and I. I’ve failed to mention that we haven’t really been scraping by on one vehicle. Don’t get me wrong, 80% of the time we’re using one vehicle, because our schedules allow it or we force a bit of flexibility {like my visiting with my in-laws for a few hours while Tony refs a hockey game}, but on those days when we just can’t make it work? We’ve been blessed by the availability of my step-Dad’s vehicle since he is out of state for prolonged periods of time. Now it may not seem like that much of a sacrifice for my parents to allow us the use of a vehicle that was just sitting in their driveway, but considering that they fixed it so that it was operable for our use would definitely qualify. And . . . it wasn’t cheap, but my Mom saw the need and without our asking she and my step-Dad decided to go ahead with the repairs.

My Dad and brother also failed to heed our agreement. I was the recipient of a fabulous gift card to a local mall from my Dad and a sturdy camera bag from my brother {based on Tony’s great suggestion}. These gifts are so very timely as I honestly couldn’t find anything to wear on Christmas Eve. I think a pair of maternity pants is in my near future. Additionally the camera bag works quite a lot better than my purse! :)

We have also been blessed by my opportunity and ability to waitress. Kaitlyn had written in response to my post about serving that God would be faithful even if it’s not the way we think we want. I immediately had a negative reaction to that response. And really, I should have nipped my attitude in the bud a long time ago, but I’ve been a bit of bad news bears lately. I don’t want it to be God’s plan for us to get through this by my serving, which is a very different outlook than I thought I had. I thought I was praying for God’s will, but instead, I have very established expectations on how He’s supposed to go about this.

So, as my title reflects, I think I finally figured out that while our situation sucks, we’re still blessed beyond words. A reality check that you would think one with the blog title marital bless would have figured out by now.

Picture tags and poll results.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Well the results are in and while I steeled myself for the inevitable votes at the top ranges, I definitely wasn't prepared to see them! lol.

That being said, majority rules. I say that because when I first posted the poll, I was safely 11.5 or less, but yesterday and today I've consistently stopped at 12 lbs. So there you have it, I'd take either of the bottom two answers as correct. :)

The lovely Erin tagged me {as have a few of you, but I've always been at work and unable to participate!} with the 4th picture tag.

Rules being: 1) Choose the 4th folder where you store your pictures on your computer. 2) Select the 4th picture in the folder. 3) Explain the picture.

That would be my hubs wake boarding, summer of '07 at our friends family cabin in WI.

The second version, just as fun came from AJ: 1) Choose the 5th folder where you store your pictures on your computer. 2) Select the 5th picture in the folder. 3) Explain the picture.

This would be Beth and I putting our muscles together for the great fence party of '08.

I'm sorry, I'm totally coping out, I think this is such a fun tag that anyone who reads should do it!

Up to speed.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I failed to mention the reason I withheld the surprise . . . I was pretty bummed out following my phone interview. I felt as though I answered reasonably well, but my attempts at humor {what can I say, it's who I am} seemed to fall on deaf ears and I did not feel as though I ever connected with my interviewer. That may seem to be a high aspiration, seeing as how it's her job to weed out candidates and remain stoic, yet cheerful, but for some reason that was how I guaged the success of the interview. And then to hear from Erin that the in-person interview should have been scheduled while still on the phone if I were to be granted one per corporate "standards," well, I just wasn't in the celebrating mood, you know?

On Friday though, I received just about the only news that would enable me to head into a weekend of serving without feeling despondent. My interviewer called back to schedule my in person interview!!! Due to the holidays, it's further out than I would have hoped, but I'm scheduled for 9:30, Wednesday January 7th. I'm hoping the new year brings a new job!

As for the weekend of serving? Friday and Saturday went just about as well as I could hope. We had a bit of blizzardish conditions on Saturday, our first day of full operations, so I didn't expect much . . . but at dinner hour every seat was filled! I was quite worried about our business, seeing as how the powers that be decided to do a quiet opening. We'll be doing a Grand Opening when management decides that the staff is ready, which I don't blame them! In all honesty, I felt like more of a bar back than a server Saturday as I was preparing and running drinks for 4 of the new girls. Yikes.

So, anywho, back to the interview. I'm worried about my bump at that point. That's putting me at 23 1/2 weeks ladies. That's nothing to sneeze at, trust me I do a lot of bump analyzing and I know what I should look like at that point. These girls are not the greatest sampling, but they fairly well depict why I'm worried.

Christmas Traditions

Kim tagged me in her self-started tag that I think is pure genius, regarding Christmas traditions . . . and yet, I'd been toying with the idea of ignoring the tagging {as I seem to be so good at roughly 60% of the time! I'm sorry!}. See, I couldn't seem to find a positive spin on Christmas traditions, being as I've been shuttled to 5 Christmas' almost every year since I was 8. Additionally, I really wanted to lay down solid Christmas traditions of our own last year . . . and I'm pretty sure I failed. So, this post is off to a depressing start.

Here's what we've got though:

- Christmas decor up the day after Thanksgiving (2 for 2 on this one).
- Tony places the star topper.
- My Mom's birthday is Christmas Eve. My parent's had a bitter drawn out horrible divorce (is there really any other kind?) and my Dad claimed that his family celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve, when in reality it was my Mom's family tradition . . . and as mentioned her birthday. Unfortunately, custody was given to my Dad for Christmas Eve, so my tradition has been to celebrate my Mom's birthday early Christmas Eve morning, heading out the door to my Dad's around 3:00 to celebrate Christmas with my step family and Dad, only to trek it back to my Mom's around 9:30ish to celebrate Christmas with my Mom while it was still Christmas Eve.
- Christmas day is reserved for stockings, as our presents had already been opened the night before.
- Then began the whirlwind of family, starting with my stepgrandparents, followed by my Mom's parents and finally my stepmom's family.
- Now that we have to factor in my in-laws, to say that it's tricky is an understatement.

I think that's about it, there aren't really any funny anedotes, time honored traditions or the like.

But I want there to be. I really do want there to be.

The delayed surprise reveal.

In what may prove to be the worst money management decision that we have made to date . . . I succumbed to my husbands persuading. :)

On December 12th, we received our Christmas bonuses, $200 each. I immediately chalked it up to savings. I mean is there really anything else we could even entertain doing with that money in our position? Apparently so, as I listened to Tony, with tears in his eyes and a choked up throat, decisively tell me that we were going to purchase my camera with our bonus dollars. Honestly, no joke, I've seen the man cry more in the 5 months I've been pregnant than the entire time I've known him! Which I find incredibly sweet. So the hunt was on, what could I purchase where to get the most for our money. The answer surprisingly was a lot, thanks to this store.

I honestly doubt you will believe me when I tell you that I was able to secure the Canon Rebel XS with 10.1 mp, a 18-55mm IS Lens and a 75-300mm III Lens for $500, including free shipping, if it weren't for the remarkable proof. That's right, it's still available and by my research still currently beating all others by $100. To top it off, when I told my Mom what we were considering she hastily offered to help by giving us our birthday '09 presents. So there was no additional cost to us!

It's been a few years since I've shot with my 35mm Rebel, so there's been a definite learning curve as I fight my way out of auto mode . . . but I couldn't be happier. It's the most illogical decision we've ever made, but I think that the results will far outweigh the cost!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Just for fun this week, I included a comparison pic of me sucking in. Hah! I was asked last night at our small group by a guy, whether or not I could make it disappear . . . the answer is quite ademantly, no!

Baby bless weighs about 10.5 ounces and is measuring about 7.2 inches from crown to rump, but he still moves about freely in amniotic fluid. I've started reading the Bible to baby bless, as I'm finally convinced he can respond to external sounds, such as the music I'm listening to or my voice. Kind of funny, all of the books and websites encourage soon to be mothers to try to get the fathers to be to speak to the baby . . . yeah, does it surprise anyone that I did not have to suggest it to Tony?! I can't get him away from my stomach. :)

Additionally, the babe has developed some red blood cells already and the white blood cells that he needs to fight infections are being manufactured. Plus, he is developing taste buds on his tongue {he better love my cooking!}. Baby bless's eyes are still sealed shut though.

And supposedly he continues to grow and develop and his kicking is getting stronger, but why can't I freaking feel it?! :(

In the next ten weeks I'm supposed to be prepared for rapid weight gain, as the baby grows and develops layers of fat. I hear the next 10 weeks will be when I gain about half of your total pregnancy weight. Good thing this is in alignment with Christmas huh? Oh and that brings me to my poll, how much do you think I've gained? Reference here, for pictoral support. Or don't, it makes me want to cry.

On a related note, I'm wearing a pair of athletic black C9 pants to work today . . . and no one's the wiser. Ahh, comfort. I can fit into all but one pair of my jeans yet because of the cut . . . but work pants? Not a chance. I've decided that I'll also be serving in these pants. Yay for delaying maternity purchases even still!

I can only suck in the top portion of my stomach, but look ridiculous when attempting. :)
Baby bless is getting closer and closer to a full pound.
He's supposedly grown a full inch in the past week!
Tony talks to my stomach like he's on the phone.
Baby bless has blood cells, taste buds and his eyes are still sealed shut.
His kicking is supposedly getting stronger, but I still can't feel him.
I'm supposed to gain half of my pregnancy weight in the next 10 weeks. Joy.
Black athletic pants are serving as work pants, don't judge.

Oooh boy, hold on.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My thoughts are not going to be coherently arranged, so please just hold on and go with me.

Phone interview: The phone interview this morning happened, but I'm very unsure how to feel regarding it. The interviewer was extremely pleasant in the unshakeable way that recruiters are over the phone and gave me no indication as to how she felt the interview was progressing. I definitely knew that I had prayer support when a few concise answers seemed to just form on my lips without the necessary thought. I was told to expect a phone call on Friday or Monday following the phone interviews wrapping up. Unfortunately, I have been told that the fact the inperson interview was not scheduled while still on the phone flies directly in the face of the recruiters standard practice. So, that's not very encouraging.

Current position: I've been pretty glum at work and nonexistant in the blogging world due to my traveling 8 hours a day and delivering Christmas gifts on behalf of our company the past 4 days. Today I was informed that I will be paid hourly over my 20 hours and that they basically expect that I will be working 40 hours a week the next two weeks due to some RFP's coming in. Great news! I like being paid for the job that I have and do, however, I will not be working a full 40 since I took one day serving shift.

Fun: My life hasn't been very fun lately, but Monday night I was able to see a few friends and tomorrow night, we've been invited to dine over at the blogger previously known at living and learning's house.

Blessings: No words can express how moved Tony and I were to receive a Christmas card from Ashely and her husband Kurt. She emailed me a bit back to request my address and I thought it would be fantastic to receive a card from them. There's just something about crossing the lines of this electronic world into the one that we actually live in. However, the card was not alone. Ashley also included a gift card and a thoughtful message regarding their knowledge of times of struggle. To say that I cried is a given, obviously, but the reasons for the tears varied so much.

Ashley, thank you for taking the time to mail me. I didn't know how badly I needed the support and your act of faith meant well, more than words can convey. My heart needed the thoughtfulness.

Drama, because I just need more.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Right? You disagree, I shouldn't have more drama? Well, that's too bad for you and me, because I do.

Today, we were informed that the company made a cost cutting decision to change our insurance plan to a high deductible plan . . . so that manageable $3,000 that Tony and I thought we would have covered between hockey and my waitressing? Yeah, it's now $6,000.

This needs to be avoided. I'm praying to be guided in the right direction in my job search, and trying to remain faithful, but I'm slipping. The littlest things are causing mini-breakdowns. I'm making up for all of the tears I didn't cry in the first trimester. Like keeping the car lights on and draining the battery, even though there was no pressing errand and fully accesible jumper cables. Didn't matter, I was a blubbering mess. Or Angeli calling me today to give me the most reassuring conversation that I've had since this whole mess began. Two sentences in I was running to the bathroom to cry.

I just don't see any good coming out of this, and I know that's half of the point, I will never know the mind of God. Right now though, a little bit of peace would do my body so well.

The silver lining, all though not one of my top two positions that I've applied for, I have a phone interview scheduled for Wednesday. Please pray. I haven't had to do this for a while and it's for a position that I'm overqualified for and the same time have no experience with, in my opinion making it even more difficult to reassure that I would be happy in this position.

Little updates

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tony went on his first pregnancy induced trip for me. This morning I woke up severely desiring a bagel. Last Sunday it was pancakes, which were no problem as I could make them, but bagels?No matter my frugal bone, I just didn't think I could bake myself some bagels lol. So off he went this morning to fetch some bagels from Panera. Honestly, I think he was happy to do it, as I've basically gotten through this so far without any assistance {okay fine, he's stepped up in helping with housework!}. But truly, I think he was glad to be doing something for me. I definitely could tell it was a craving, because I can not remember the last time I ate a blueberry bagel when I had a choice, let alone seeking it out!

YUM! Love the melted cream cheese.
(Is anyone else anal about applying whatever the topping
immediately after the toasted item leaves the toaster?)

We ran to Target to some dog shampoo . . . which of course resulted in some gandering at the baby section. As it turned out, we made our first baby purchase today! Yes, I'm serious, the very first item that we have purchased for the baby! It happened today. Almost 5 months in (20 weeks tomorrow people, that equals halfway!) Can't beat the clearance section.

Look at the cute little tiger and soccer balls! Although, Tony and I have noticed that there is a severe over sight in hockey related apparel. We're going to be making some phone calls. :)

Oh um, unrelated to the job front, I have something huge to announce . . . say around Wednesday. I'll leave you in suspense, but will take guesses.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Goodness sake's people, there's a lot of growth going on! I had to include a portion of my butt, just to equal out the proportion of my stomach and in my life, I've never done that! lol. Tony was very disappointed in my choice to forgo jammies, in order to save a few minutes this morning . . . on the way out the door to our BIG ULTRASOUND! So we have a sojourn in my being clothed this week. But you didn't want to read all that, you want to find out what's going on with baby bless, or at least I think you do! :)

This week, I don't need any generalized information on length . . . as baby bless was measured before our eye's at a nice 6.1 inches! That's right in line with the expected 5.6 to 6.4 inches.

Apparently, I can expect baby bless's skin to be thickening and developing multiple layers- the epidermis and the dermis, the deeper layer where it will form fat, this week. Baby bless is now also developing a waxy protective coating for her skin called vernix caseosa. The vernix protects the skin which is continuously submersed in amniotic fluid. Vernix, which is particularly thick around the eyebrows is held in place by tiny downy hairs called lanugo.

Addionally, baby bless can now grip with his fists and his toenails and scalp hair are growing.

Before the ultrasound, I completely forgot to mention the wonder that is our rented heart doppler. I also forgot to detail how much of a fuss Tony made about my wanting to get it! He just did not see the need, mainly because there wasn't one, but I made my case and finally won his approval for my peace of mind. It arrived on our front step, the day I found out about the paycut. It could not have come on a more needed day. I literally gasped in the middle of dinner when I remembered it was to have been delivered and ran to the front door, ripping the package apart to get to the lovely machine. For all of his negativity towards renting it, Tony was just a shade under as excited as I was, and within 20 seconds we were listening to baby bless's heart beat fill the room. It was amazing. It is the best $22 I've spent all year. Now if only we can keep it down to one month, so that it only costs us $22 and not more! C'mon baby, work with me, give me a few recognizable kicks!!!

Okay, now onto the fun part! :) You can see in the upper right corner the length. All of baby bless's measurements {femur, rib cage (area), brain} were within a day or two of where they should be. All fingers, toes and major organs are accounted for, including being able to see all 4 chambers of the heart.
Cute little profile, upper and lower lips were accounted for, ensuring no cleft palate. Although baby bless was not too cooperative, as he continually had his left hand up and over his face {the shadow behind the profile}.

Annnnnnnd, YES! HE is still a BOY! :)

Holy crap, I need to start interviewing! My stomach has a mind of it's own!
Baby bless is 6.1 inches. :)
Renting a heart monitor was the best decision ever.
Baby bless is healthy! Thank you Lord!
Baby bless is still a boy! Again, thank you Lord! :)

It's a long list folks.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I can't ensure that this will be entertaining, but I haven't been doing much of that lately anyways.

My long list details what we are out of:

Peanut butter
Vegetables (frozen or fresh)
Fruit (of any kind)
Meat, besides frozen chicken
Rice (of any kind)
Coffee sweetner
Raspberry lemonade powder juice mix

Body wash (using Tony's soap)
Deoderant (using Tony's deoderant)
Face wash (see above)
Face cream (break out city!)
Laundry detergent

Cat food

Dog shampoo

A 2nd vehicle, so even if we had the money to purchase all of the above, I couldn't go to the store to get it.

Granted, this hysteria is self-imposed, we won't feel the pay cut for another two weeks, but as we are adjusting to the new budget now I'm getting used to the feeling of going without.

If I am going to experience cravings, I think that my completely rational and budget centered self will squelch them.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

I woke up with this song in my head.

Particularly the chorus:

Majesty, Majesty.
Your grace has found me just as I am,
Empty handed but alive in Your hands.

It couldn't describe how I feel at this time any better.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Soo . . . life has undoubtedly been interesting of late. Since boss b delivered the news, boss A(ss) has upped his antics to make it sufficiently clear he would much rather they had cut my entire salary and been rid of me. It's to the point that Tony contacted a few lawyers to see if we had merit in a hostile work environment case {without proof at this point, although plenty of witnesses who would love to help, we do not}. I saw my husband cry for the 4th time in my life yesterday, as he broke down explaining how much it tears him up to witness/hear how I am treated by boss A.

After reviewing our budget and bills, Tony and I came to the realization that with some tweaks and adjustments we will be okay. We were paying additional amounts on our mortgage, student loans and vehicle loan, so after contacting the necessary instituations and lowering our payments in conjunction with cutting the cell phone plan and reprogramming our thermostat . . . we're in a little better place than the dread of Tuesday.

That said, we would only be okay, not in a position to save for our deductible and known costs of having a baby, let alone the unknown! So, for the time being, I'm going back to serving. I called up one of my old managers and will be picking up 3-4 shifts a week. In the end, it is the most convinent way for me to suppliment our income while screwing the least amount of people if/when I am successful in finding a new full time job. Additionally, while I expected a great deal of flexibility from boss b, since we are expected to accomodate this 50% cut at a drop of a hat . . . I'm not getting it to the extent that I previously assumed. That sucks, basically that means I will be giving up weekends.

It is literally killing Tony that I am going back to serving for two reason. First, I'm pregnant and he knows the toll it will take {the dude knows I'm strong, he just doesn't want me to have to be right now} and secondly, because he knew how important it was for me to reach a point in my life where I finally put serving behind me. I threw away my Shoes for Crews people, it was more than clearing the stink from the closet, it was an act of liberation. Finally knowing that I would not have to rely on tips for income. Serving has always been good to me . . . but I don't want to go back.

I've applied for two specific positions that I feel I was well qualified for {kind of pivotal moment in my life! hah}. I'm remaining hopeful. Erin has been an invaluable resource to me this week and I'm extremely grateful. Additionally, my Mom made a contribution to the "Leah's Pregnant and Needs a New Job Fund," by way of Target clearance. I'm husbandless tonight, so the pics of the outfit are not on my body . . . but I guess use your imagination! lol.

The cut is both flattering and concealing at the same time . . . even if it looks a bit school marmish here!

I love the shoes!
And there you are Erin! :)


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Well hoody hoo, baby bless is looking at about 5.2 to 6 inches from crown to rump and weighs about 7 ounces. :)

The buds for the permanent teeth are forming behind those that have already developed for the first teeth. Aww. Then we get to go through the fun of teething! Baby bless's nervous system and brain development continue at a spectacular pace. By this week, the motor neurons, which connect muscle to the brain, have grown into place so that the little guy can consciously direct his movements. Millions of neurons inside his brain are growing and forming connections and the nerves in his body are being covered in a fatty substance called myelin.

Baby bless's limbs are now in proportion, even though his tiny foot is just one inch long, it is in perfect proportion to the rest of his leg. Amazing.

What all of those fabulous baby sites don't tell you however is how to hide your pregnancy when you are almost 1/2 way through as you go about trying to interview for full time positions. Nope, no helpful suggestions or strategies. However, there are fantastic bloggers who are supporting me in this venture, even some offering specific job postings!

I have a few part time opportunities to explore in conjunction with keeping my job here, in addition to pursuing employment all together elsewhere. It's the elsewhere that is frightening considering health insurance and maternity leave.

I seem to have been hoarding them lately, but I would very much welcome your prayers in this time. I know that God is in control, that He has my best interest at heart, it is now up to me to follow His guiding.

Extended early maternity leave.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

No, I didn't go on bedrest, but financially, as Tony so humorously put it, I've been put on early extended maternity leave.

After a few weeks of closed door meetings, I was finally called into the office . . . and the news isn't pretty. The writing on the wall was there and I thought that I was prepared, but I was informed today that I will experience a 50% pay cut, effective next week. I'd like to say that Tony and I can handle this cut . . . but we can't. We aren't even close.

My benefits stay the same, my hours are cut to 20 even though I'm salaried, so hopefully I'll be able to get a part-time job. I'm in the process of contacting my HR rep at Target, but I know that they are in a unspoken hiring freeze right now . . . I'm not panicking, but trying to be faithful.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Talk about worst picture in existance! Not necessarily as good as I'd hoped, as it was taken promptly before the battery died, but eh, it'll do. So hmm, I've completely screwed myself up here and whether I should detail the developments of week 17, or skip ahead to 18 as that's where I am now? {crickets} Okay, by audience applause we're going with week 17. :)

Baby bless is definitely between 5 to 5.6 inches from crown to rump and weighs about 5.25 ounces {or almost a 1/3 of a lb!}. He is practicing breathing by gulping amniotic fluid into its lungs. This helps the lung's development so they will function at birth {only 4-5weeks now until we reach viability!} He is becoming more sensitive to the outside world and is moving around, kicking and punching. As there is still plenty of space in your uterus, your baby can move around a lot, sitting cross-legged, reclining or even turning somersaults {all without disturbing me, sadly}.

He can debatedly hear by now as the ossicles {the bones that pass sound to the inner ear} have hardened and the portion of the brain that receives signals from the brain is under development.
The little guy is getting used to the sound of your heartbeat and blood passing through the umbilical cord, but may be startled by loud noises. He is also aware of some things in the outside world, including sounds and light. If the sun were to shine on my belly {if the sun actually came out in MN}, he possibly could perceive a warm red glow.

Oh and my uterus is supposedly comparable in size to cantalope right now . . . which would be okay, if I could feel it! {note anxiety}.

I fear I'm on the cusp of turning into one of those pregnant ladies. I've decided that monthly appointments are just too few and far between right now! Especially when I'm not feeling movement or growing outward at what I would think a normal rate! So, I did what any sane 18w, 3 days away from an appt, and less than 2 weeks from an ultrasound pregnant woman would do . . . I got Tony to okay our renting a fetal heart doppler. I think we'll only rent it one month, hopefully, or at least until I start feeling baby bless move. You get free next day air, so I should have it tomorrow afternoon!!

On the name front . . . there's been no forward progress. We have our list and I want to start narrowing it down, but Tony doesn't want to start until after our ultrasound on the 12th. I should just mention to you guys as well, that we will not be sharing the names. It's something I'm pretty lukewarm on, but Tony suddenly turned adament about. Following the conversations his sister was subjected to given her slightly non-traditional name choices {Wyatt and Reagan}, Tony does not want to be put in the same situation. We're not too worried about needing peer approval given our traditional taste, so really, it should be a win-win choice.

For recap:

Terrible picture
Baby bless is 5 to 5.6 inches and almost 1/3 of a pound
Baby bless is beginning to breathe amniotic fluid
No baby bless movement has been felt
I'm starting to feel like my stomach should be showing more and am worrying myself about it
I get my fetal heart doppler tomorrow
Monthly appointment is on Thursday
"Big" {hopefully anti-climatic} ultrasound is on the 12th
We are not going to tell people our name choices

My boob, it's peeling.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Now, my friendly bloggers, you may be scratching your heads, wondering how it could be that one as pasty as myself would attempt a tan, knowing full well the result would be a sunburn . . . but no, you'd be mistaken. Tanning is not the culprit.

Any guesses as to how this came about?

Non pregnancy related guesses, because this has nothing to do with those mysteries?

No guesses, no clue?

How about a week ago I dropped my curling iron on my boob.

Not what you were thinking? Hah! It was the day of Bridgit, so it slipped through the crack . . . but it definitely left a mark (literally). It's uh, been an experience.

Oh and the best part, when I told my Mom she honestly wasn't sure if I dropped it or if I miscalculated how large my breasts are now and managed to burn myself in raising my arm!

It's been awhile.

Friday, November 28, 2008

You guys will never know how much I drew upon your support this week. The hardest times for me always seemed to be unexpected, but don't get me wrong, the expected were extremely difficult as well.

- Opening the bathroom door or coming home to the sight of two cats. Only two. The third wasn't coming.

- Allie searching the house for Bridgit. I think I was close to a breakdown telling Allie that Bridgit was gone.

I'm constantly replaying of the moment I knew she was gone. The second she went from my beloved companion to a forever treasured memory. Knowing that I caused it. Searching her eyes and just knowing, that knowledge she wasn't there. It's something that I thought would haunt me, but I'm already starting to desensitize myself to it. My mind has had it on the same loop for so long now that I'm starting to feel like it was a scene in a movie, but not something that I actually had to experience.

Lucy has been sleeping in Bridgit's place in bed. Mainly in my arms, but sometimes lower by my legs. It brings me so much comfort, I sometimes have to force myself to remember that it's not Bridgit, but as each night ends I'm becoming more okay with Lucy filling the void.

Tony has continued to be my rock. He shared last night that he had an extremely hard time closing her box alone. I placed her in it in the house, but asked that he not close it in my sight. I just couldn't see that. I wanted my final image of her to be curled in a ball, much like how she would normally sleep. I didn't realize how much pain I caused Ton to do that act himself.

The healing has started, but I'm praying that I'll be able to forgive myself soon. It doesn't matter that I should, or that I did the humane thing. Grief doesn't have to make sense. It's just how you're feeling. Sometimes it makes sense and adds up, but most often it doesn't.


Work has been dreadful. I don't even think I could describe how horrible one of my bosses is. He is the most ego-centric, pompous ass that I have ever met. But I have a job. I'm trying to keep that in focus.
My camera is $530. Tony won't budge.

I'm supposed to have a belly pic up today . . .but my camera battery went dead and my charger is at work.

I never did announce the answer to my poll. Sadly it was not all of the above, although that proved to entertain the majority! :) Tony was the one to be looking at me through the binoculars (not a rifle scope!). I'm not going to count farting because that really didn't take up more than a few seconds. :) It was kegels!

And later in the day.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

AJ got me out of the house today, she lured me away from my day of reminscing and prolonged crying by promising baby socks. It worked.

We talked about Bridgit a bit, but thankfully there's a huge difference between blogging and real life. There's only so long that you can dwell on the same subject, especially when that subject is the death of a cat, in public, without crying.

She made me laugh, smile and gorge myself on food {okay, that I willingly did}. I think I forgot to mention my diet the past few days. Thursday's dinner consisted of a DQ chocolate chip cookie dough blizzard with chocolate soft serve, with some restraint I ordered the small. Yesterday, the only food that touched my lips was macaroni and cheese {spirals of course} and a bag of green beans at dinner. Today again, I ate my food in one meal. I need to get over this for the baby's sake.

I was doing pretty good until I got home again. I immediately went to grab the mail and wasn't prepared for a card from my Grandma, consoling me on the loss of a pet. My relationship with Bridgit inspired her to get a cat, so I should have expected it I guess. My Grandma is also one of those card hoarders, always with a birthday card on hand for the occassion. You know she didn't just have a pet sympathy card lying around the house. It's so much the thought that counts. I was bawling walking up the sidewalk without even reading her message.

Much the same as I opened my GoogleReader. I may not be commenting on all posts and may seem bi-polar by the ones that I do comment on, but reading your comings and goings remind me that life is continuing just the same as it was yesterday. I had my responses to Sarah and Chelsie's posts just as I normally accumulate my thoughts as I read down . . . until I came to the end. Again, I wasn't prepared for the kindness. It means so much to me.

You guys have just been the greatest support. Even Tony, who isn't allowed to read my blog, but knows who you are through my retelling, suggested early yesterday that I needed to blog. Even without fully knowing, Tony still understands how amazing you guys are.

Almost 24 hours later.

This is so hard. So so very hard. I want to crawl into a hole, but it can't be my bed, because my bed is where she's supposed to be.

She was there for almost every major moment of my life, save my parents divorce and my freshman and sophomore years of college. So faithful, so consistent. Always there when I cried.

One second she was there, literally in my arms, figuratively everywhere I looked . . . and then supposedly with my blessing, she left me, and now my mind just plays tricks on my me.

I didn't do much other than cry yesterday. Again, not in bed, I couldn't face the bed, but on the couch. I didn't face the bed until about 10:30 last night. I couldn't get comfortable, my arms didn't know where to go. Tony joined me a few minutes after I'd tried unsuccessfully. I was quietly crying, but lost it when he came up behind me and intertwined his arms with mine. He wasn't supposed to be able to do that. That action would disturb Bridgit. His arms, while comforting me, were screaming at the same time, "She's gone!" I attribue your prayers to how quickly sleep fell upon me while crying, it seemed mercifully fast.

The house seems too quiet. There is no clomping of her back claws as she makes her way up and down the stairs {she could no longer take them normally, so her back legs kind of hopped down}, no pestering meowing for me every time I go into the kitchen {an attempt to score any kind of additional food}, the ping of her front feet on the water bowl {as she always managed to hit it as she did the traditional scrape before drinking}. I can't go to the bathroom in peace, either because as soon as I open the door, I'm assaulted by the sight of two, not three cats. The heat has come on a few times as I write this and I should see her, right now in front of the register. I should, I should.

Tony's been so good to me, grabbing me and holding me when I need it, saying all of the right things {I love him, but he doesn't normally say the right thing}. I just can't open up to him. He's sharing his remorse with me, and aside from crying with him, I can't verbalize any of these feelings. Did I say that she slept with me Thursday night, in it's entirety? The whole night, in my arms. I just don't know who I am. How could I have done this to my Bitty Kitty? Who is this person? I want her back. I wasn't ready.

To you readers, please know how much I appreciate your comments. They are what build a community out of blogging and honestly, aside from my family, you have provided more support than my most of my friends IRL. I just want to say, that this post really is for me. I know when blogs turn too negative that they can be a drain to read. I thought about turning the comments off for this just to save some of you the pain of conjuring up a response. I hope you understand when I say, I really don't need it. I just needed to get these thoughts out. If you're over the cat grief, I completely understand and I covet your position, someday, hopefuly soon, I'll be there too.

She's gone.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tony took this last night when he came home late from hockey. Excuse my disheveled appearance, but it's a great example of what I'm going to miss the most, my living, loving security blanket.

I think Lucy is also going to struggle with the loss of Bridgit. She often slept by her side and would from time to time entangle themselves.
I think I spent the majority of tears this week while driving. I'm thankful, because even so, the time I spent in the office this morning was torturous. My emotions were just like nauesa, I knew I was going to combust into tears, just like one knows before they're going to throw up.

We got home at about 11:00 this morning before the appointment, and I got to spend a lot of time with Bridgit. We even napped for a bit, so I could curl her into my arms. After our nap, Tony and I cranked the heat up because she loved {this past tense just broke me} to sit in front of the heat registers.

I'm so very glad we chose to have the vet come to our home. I absolutely could not imagine it any other way. He came a little late, but that was just unexpected precious time with Bridgit. So I just sat and sat with Bridgit as she enjoyed the warmth. I got to pet and talk with her. For the injections, I got to hold Bridgit in my arms, first as she slipped under the control of the injection to make her sleepy and finally as the vet administered the euthanasia. It was far too quick. Far too. I don't think I could tell her enough how good she was or how much I loved her.

The vet was like a shadow, moving very quickly and precisely. He said some very appropriate words, but thankfully knew that they would not be enough to console, so he didn't try. Within a minute of his announcing she had passed he was already gone, allowing Tony and I to greive together.

I've never heard the sounds that I was making, atleast not coming from my body. Tony's heart was also breaking. He's always been great with my cats, but they've always been my pets. He made it very clear today how much he loves them and especially Bridgit. The man didn't cry on our wedding day, not even when I was crying, but he let his heart go today.

I'm okay right now, the tears are intermittent, but I fear the worst is yet to come. Tonight, when I'm forced to face the fact that she's really gone. No warm body.

I genuinely appreciate and am drawing upon the knowledge that I have so many of you praying for me and willing me through this situation. Please, please know how appreciative I am.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

I really, really wasn’t kidding that the farm fare did me in, was I? Baby bless is now at a substantial 4.3 to 4.6 inches and now weighs about 2.8 ounces. Holy crap! Fine hair called lanugo covers the baby boy, fingernails are well formed and the arms and legs may be seen moving on an ultrasound. Plus he already has his own unique fingerprint pattern, which if you didn’t know {as I didn’t!} are formed when he basically “swims” through the amniotic fluid, the delicate skin is impressed to form the fingerprint pattern {which is the reason why even identical twins do not share similar fingerprints}. Baby bless can hold his head erect and he can also make faces with his slightly developed facial muscles, so he’s busy practicing squinting, frowning and opening and closing his mouth. Personally I can’t wait for the smiles! :)

The annoying comments have kept coming, although these may just be worse because I know who’s delivering them . . .

Situation #1
Not friend #1: (Haha) So . . . two lunches again today?
Me: Well, it’s healthy choice soup and a healthy choice/smart ones frozen! It barely even adds up to a regular meal!

This has occurred 3 times now! I’ve finally taken to eating my healthy choice soup upstairs and the later portion downstairs, because she just keeps commenting away! I’m not counting calories, but I’m eating healthy which usually means lower calories, which usually means I need to eat more! And this woman has had 2 kids of her own!

Situation #2
Me: Well, I’m off for the night. I’ve got a date with The Biggest Loser and my treadmill!
Not friend #2 (same who berated me for the diet pop wish): Leah! You’re not supposed to be losing weight!

Gah. No crap, dumbo. I would venture to guess if I came in eating fast food, she would also warn me that I can’t gain too much weight either!

Sorry, I do feel better now that I spouted those off. :)

In related news, the constipation is not so bad anymore, neither is my boob soreness . . . unless you count when I actually wear a real bra. I finally figured out why that does it work, due to the fact that the cup now fits a good two inches into my boob, instead of actually, well you know, cupping! Ouch! So I’ve taken to sports bras again.

There’s been no progress on the name front, although I think we both still agree on the middle name. I think.

There also has not been any progress on the nursery development. If you remember we’re redoing our 4 x 5.5 bathroom and will be knocking out the closet of the nursery to do so. Meaning the nursery can not be worked on until the bathroom is completed . . . and your guess is as good as mine on that!

I really appreciate all of your support and prayers regarding Bridgit. I know that I keep bringing it up, but I’m kind of in disbelief that it’s actually happening. I get extremely nauseated just thinking about it, so please, continue to pray for me. Last night I woke up several times just to cuddle her closer. Trying to enjoy every minute of my 2nd to last night. At one point she started purring, which in all honesty I’ve been trying to get her to do for the past month. It gave me peace and tore my heart at the same time. I needed to hear it more than anything, but it makes me cry just to think that she was simply purring in contentment to be held in my arms. To know that that simple fact made her that happy and to know what I’m going through with. I just can’t handle this pain.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I did not get to my follow up posts last night, although I did eat a fantastic dinner, managed to get out 3 miles and indulge in Biggest Loser. :)

Vicky is not quite as psychotic as I thought she was, but last night was definitely an different episode. I wish that Amy could have gathered her courage again, but understand that last week's decision was difficult enough and had a much greater consequence than knocking Vicky off this week.

Most importantly, an appointment has been made for Bridgit that will not be cancelled. On Friday at 12:00 (Central) a veterinarian from our local clinic will be coming to our home. I have 2 more nights with the most constant and loyal friend that I've ever experienced {in a few years Tony will surpass her! :)}. Once again, I'd welcome your prayers that she would die peacefully with me before that time and if that is not the case, please pray for me on Friday.

Let's see how many posts I can write today?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I've missed a few awards and blithefully ignored a few taggings, which I promise I will get to . . . potentially tonight. However, I do have a very important date with my treadmill and horrendously psychotic Biggest Loser contestant!

And keep your car comments coming! Obviously, I need some help in this department! :)

Oh and just for fun, there's a poll to the right.

Praise the Lord!

Thank God almighty, the Vue is sold! I hated the fact that I just complained about it on here, without disclosing that we were actually trying to do something about it. We listed it on a few local sites and while I love all of you {or atleast the 1/3 of you that I know! Sorry lurkers, there's just so many of you now!}, I just didn't want any random creeper to try to contact me through the information disclosed.

Anywhoo, a woman came to test drive it today and we settled on $10,200. It's a loss of about $3,000 in 4 months, but it's worth it.

Finally, it appears this chapter will close and in all honesty, I'm ready to throw away the book.

Our plan now is to get a Honda/Toyota/Saab/Volvo/VW/Buick with miles, pay it off quickly and then continue to save our "payment" amount in an account specifically for purchasing our next vehicle. It's a simple plan made popular by Dave Ramsey and Tony is suddenly gung-ho on DR. Seriously gung-ho. And while I could be happier if he'd signed on when I was very fiscally aware and wanted to do things with our money last year, I guess better late than never!

Background to corrupt tongue.

Monday, November 17, 2008

In regards to my Ephesians post, I’ve been struggling a lot lately with my emotions and reactions. Sure I’ve got hormones, but I’ve also got a killer tongue and I’m having extreme trouble differentiating the two lately. All of my life I’ve heard from my Mom, “You sound just like your Dad.” I don’t think it needs to be explained that she is not complimenting me.

My husband has such a great heart. I know there are plenty of happily married women reading this who think the same of their man, but I literally know no man of the same caliber. He is without compare. God created him to compliment me, equipping him to support, encourage and love me like no other, on the flip side, He also provided within Tony the depth of character to handle me at my worst . . . sometimes that is without complaint and other times, he asserts his authority. Last night was one such night and I would be the first to admit I was acting like a brat. We generally have out all of our disagreements at that time and place, but I just didn’t have it in me last night . . . so we went to bed angry. I can literally count the number of times this has occurred in our marriage. Notice I said went to bed angry, not to sleep, as sleep did not bless my mind for quite sometime. It proved very elusive as I managed to drag myself through the mire of terrible words I’d showered the love of my life with. I’m tired this morning, but I can deal, as it was the result of my heart to heart with both myself and God.

To say that we woke up on opposite sides of the bed this morning would be an understatement, it felt like we were in separate beds. I’m not proud to say that I did not apologize, but I didn’t have the words, so we went through the motions of getting ready this morning, both knowing what was off. I think we spoke 4 times to each on the drive into work, but slowly drug ourselves out of our self involved issues as the work day progressed. Which means that I still have not apologized . . . but I’m working my way there and have a new favorite verse to boot.

I’m not a girly girl, that may be hard to convey through the internet, but I’m not. Sure I love some fashion, a dabble of gossip, but that about does it. I really do hate the color pink, I’m not gushy with my friends, and I’d say only two close friends have ever received the brunt of my bared heart. I'm not one to compliment easily. Let it be known if I praise a cut/color, shirt or otherwise, it is truly from the heart. So I get really hung up on that last bit. Good for necessary edification. I am not an edifier. It does not come naturally to me. It’s my new challenge, to use my words to uplift my husband. To let them be a gift to him, instead of a burden to bear or a sting to rub away.
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

Ephesians 4:29

From The Message:
Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.

I don't know about you, but I needed this reality check today.

Buck Hunter, I'm not.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Well, Tony, my Dad and myself are all back and accounted for safely. My brother hung around for the final sunset hunt and should be home in a few hours. At that time I can rest easy. I really appreciate any and all of you who offered up a few for us, my anxiety really does seem to get worse every year!

So, I was wrong, I recounted and it has been 8 years since I shot a deer . . . a number that I no longer have to add on to! Friday night, I shot a small doe. No small feat, considering we somehow managed to leave home without my rifle clip! Meaning, I had one shot. Just one. And luckily, I made it count with no need to shoot again or additional suffering to the doe. It ended very quickly. To make me even more happy, even though there were tags to fill, since I shot one of my tag, I could respectfully bow out from the morning hunt. For the first time since I started hunting at age 14, I got to sleep in. It was glorious and I did it again this morning. :)

I had a bit of a scare this morning though after Tony text messaged me to see if my Dad had come in from hunting. I replied that he had, followed by a text of Rachel's beautiful baby boy, followed by a text asking him when he was coming in. This spanned 40 minutes and without a single response I started to get very worried. My Dad called Tony with no reponse which only increased my sense of dread, until we were able to raise someone at the house who told us that Tony was at the farm!

Within two minutes he was at the cabin and I'd quickly changed from scared about my beloved, to slightly peeved. As soon as he walked in he could tell I was upset so . . . I told him, "Now I'm annoyed you're alive." Lol, and if you needed any additional insight into our marriage that should about sum it up. :) And it should be noted he laughed in response.

No clip for me. :(

Where it all went down.

Orange is not my favorite color, but I proudly wear it.

P.S. For all of you bump watchers, stay tuned for my belly pic this week. I'm fairly certain I made some good headway filling up on farm fare this weekend. There wasn't a veggie besides potatoes in sight and everything is made with half and half . . . including cereal.

Well, it's that time again . . .

Friday, November 14, 2008

Deer hunting that is. Opener was last weekend, but we allow the family who's farm we crash to have full opportunity to nab the first deer. Due to the warm fall we've been having and the poor weather conditions last weekend, the harvest was 17% below average. Experts are saying that the numbers indicate a larger harvest this weekend, but that over all we will be below projected numbers.

I know that my hunting may offend a number of you readers, but really, it is a necessity. Without natural predators to keep the deer population at a number that the woods can feed, the two options are starving deer or death by vehicle. I don't think there is a Minnesotan who doesn't have a relative or friend that has experienced hitting a deer, or hitting one themself! Additionally, we love venison and make full use of it! Steaks, sausage, jerky, it's all good.

I don't know why I feel the need to defend myself, as hunting is a tradition that I have known my entire life. For example, in celebration of my birth my Dad bought me a .20 gauge shotgun. Yeah, I know. Crazy. The companionship and stories told while hunting always make the time enjoyable. In fact that's why I keep going out, seeing as how I haven't shot a deer in 7 years!

I love that it is something I can enjoy with my Dad, brother and Tony. It's very unique I think and extremely special to me. However, as I've gotten older, I have a much harder time getting out into the woods with three of the men most dear to my heart. I wouldn't hunt with them if I didn't think they were extremely safe hunters, and we hunt on private property, surrounded by private property, but accidents are accidents. Unfortunately accidents while hunting are also deadly. When I was younger I'd say my prayers were 70/30, please let me shoot a deer/safety related. Now I'd say my prayers are 90/10, safety/it'd be nice to see a deer.

So again, I'm asking for prayer. Just keep us in mind this weekend and for that matter all hunters in general.

I'll leave you with a semi crappy pic of the Belgian Stew I made for the weekend!

PS. My dear Rachel aka Maydaygirl is being induced tomorrow! I'm so excited and will be praying for her delivery!

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