Heartbeat.

I am now a little over twelve weeks along, a.k.a. just under
three months, for those of you who don't count things by weeks like
normal people do. Every night I look in the mirror and exlaim, "Look! I
think I'm showing!" But that always turns out to be a food baby, not
the actual baby, because every morning when I wake up I look in the
mirror, and my tummy is as flat as ever. I have actually lost weight
since becoming pregnant, but I sure don't feel like that's the case. My
pants are tighter- so tight, in fact, I've given up completely on
trying to wear anything that doesn't give in the waistline. You can call me Nacho Libre; sometimes I like to wear stretchy pants. And maybe sometimes a cape.

Yesterday morning, we had our third OB/GYN appointment, and before we arrived we had no idea what to expect. The previous month, I had been poked and prodded like never before, and I dreaded the prospect that out of some sick twist of fate I would be the patient who would have to have my blood drawn at EVERY MONTHLY APPOINTMENT until I give birth to an 11-pound baby for whom we couldn't find hats big enough to fit its giant head. We have this problem with my husband, so naturally my biggest fear, next to having my blood drawn, is that our child will carry on this lovely trait in honor of the one who gets to experience the watermelon vs. the lemon phenomenon firsthand.

Imagine my elation when we were able to walk out of there with absolutely NO poking and prodding. I almost wondered if we were leaving prematurely, if we were actually supposed to keep waiting in the room after the doctor left because somebody would inevitably walk in brandishing syringes and speculums and scalpels and any other instrument that could possibly be used to torture a pregnant woman, but no one tried to stop us as we walked by the nurses' station or arrived at the checkout counter. High fives were exchanged, and off we went for our traditional post-appointment Port-of-Subs sandwich run.

We didn't escape, however, without a completely life-changing experience. The nurse who checked us in had a portable ultrasound machine and immediately set to work gelling up my belly to find the heartbeat. Two excruciating minutes later, i.e. AN ETERNITY- no joke- she finally found it, and in that moment my whole perspective on my pregnancy shifted. It's not that it wasn't real- believe me when I say that no experience has ever been more real in my life- but… I fell in love. I felt a bond with this little person for the first time. I looked at my husband and couldn't believe what we were hearing- the sound of our baby's life. I felt protective; I felt elated; I felt completely overwhelmed with love.

Whoever this person is, is just who it is. I say that all the time but it never fails to amaze me. Listening to the heartbeat of this new life that Cody and I helped create was absolutely the best thing I have yet to experience.

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Things that make me dry heave.

I haven't actually thrown up yet. THANK GOD. I hate feeling nauseous all the time and a sane person would probably want to hurl in the hopes of getting some semblance of relief, but no sir, not me. Even though I haven't done this pregnancy thing before, I am smart enough to know that all the barfing in the world will not relieve the incessant nausea that makes the process of acting as host organism to a slooooooow-grooooowwwwwing being of the human variety so enjoyable. Why make myself miserable with my head in the toilet five times a day when I can be miserable in front of the TV, or with my face buried in a book instead of a trash can?

My gag reflex, however, has not escaped unscathed. As I sit here watching the Michael Jackson special (what a bizarre day), I am also trying hard not to dry heave at the stench of my dogs' wet food filling every square inch of air space in our house after their evening feeding. And GOD FORBID that we try to feed them their dry food sans wet food. They would rather starve, and usually that's what they do if given the choice. Cody is not here to do the job so I get to take on the task myself, in all my nauseous, pregnant glory. There is also something particularly gag-tastic when the feeding requires that we open a new can of food, as I had to tonight, which means that it hasn't been refrigerated, which means that it's warm-ish and the aroma is that much more intense. But they ate, and they are happy, and true to post-meal fashion, they are running around wrestling with each other as if someone gave them a 14-liter dose of pure liquid speed.

Come to think of it, the dry food is pretty foul-smelling too, and so are these chew bones we got them from Costco. Every time I open our pantry I hold my breath to avoid the smell, which, so I've been told, smells very similar to marmite, something I will NEVER EAT AS LONG AS I LIVE.

I hate anything involving poop, but I don't think that has anything to do with being pregnant. And boy, am I glad that we have had healthy dogs for the past several weeks. April was a rough month for our dogs and the owner who had to clean up after them: me.

I cannot stand coffee right now. The smell, the taste, EVERYTHING. Just the thought of drinking coffee gives me heartburn.

Carrots. I don't even want to look at a carrot. When I look at carrots, I think about the sensation of chewing them, and it makes me sick. Cooked, raw, blanched, dipped in ranch dressing, it doesn't matter. Don't give me carrots.

THOR has an ear infection. How do I know this for sure? Well, besides the fact that after his bath today I had to cut a handful of bloody hair out of his ear, the smell was otherworldly. I distinctly remember describing the odor emanating as I retrieved his "stool" (if you could even call it that) from our bathtub (that story requires a whole other post) as "otherworldly." So there ya go.

The Italian sandwich we serve where I work. Unfortunately for me, it's a very popular sandwich.

The smell of cooking chicken… good God that has to be the all-time worst. Worse than the dog food. Worse than the poop. Worse than the ear infection. Cody has made some doozies in the weeks since I've been pregnant and I finally had to cut him off, I just couldn't take it anymore. If it's baking in the oven with other things in the dish, this is not a problem. But if you're cooking it on the stove top, PLEASE SPARE ME THE TORTURE. Actually, I could handle writing about everything else I just wrote about, but just thinking about the stench I endured on those nights that Cody innocently set about making dinner for himself makes me want to make a beeline for the bathroom.

There is a flipside to this, however. We went on a little light rail adventure with our friends Alex and Ryan on Saturday evening with the mission of eating at Lolo's Chicken and Waffles. Little did we know, it was more than a mile walk through The Hood from the nearest light rail stop to Lolo's, and it was more than 100 degrees outside, and the whole way there we were like, this had better be good, and OMG, what if we get there and they're only open for breakfast! And hey! What do you think the odds are of making it to Lolo's vs. getting gunned down in a drive-by vs. suffocating from heat stroke! Because I'm personally thinking the drive-by is the most likely! Needless to say, we didn't do our research, but we made up for our ignorance with pure, unadulterated determination. Half an hour later, we walked up to one of the most ghetto-fied buildings we have ever seen: boarded windows with broken glass still sitting on the sills, bricked-in windows, chipping paint, and an upturned shopping cart for a lawn ornament. We made our entrance- two couldn't-be-whiter boys and their wives- and were immediately greeted by two things: the overwhelmingly appetizing smell of bona-fide soul food, and murmurs of the more appropriate patrons asking each other, "What are all these honkies doing in here?"

All I can say after my oh-so-satisfying meal at Lolo's is that they can call me whatever they want as long as I get to eat their food. It was a soul-altering experience. I can say with utmost certainty that I will be getting more cravings for chicken and waffles, ONLY FROM LOLO'S, AND KFC IS NOT AN ACCEPTABLE ALTERNATIVE, than any other food during the baby-building process. Hopefully Cody can put up with being called a Honky long enough for me to pop out this kid, who will no doubt look more like a fried chicken or a waffle than either one of us once I'm through with it.

Heart song 1.

We all have songs that resonate in our soul, whether it be because of a season of life we find ourselves in, a memory it evokes, or knowing that there are other people who sometimes think about things the same way you do, even if you've never met the person. These are called "heart songs," so I've been told. Lately I've had a song by my favorite band, Stampead, on repeat on my iPod called "A Clown Too Fat to Walk Across a Wire." (You can listen to it here when you click on the player for "Oh Boy.") It's melancholy, and even depressing, and it doesn't resonate with me because I'm melancholy or depressed, I promise. There are things I reflect on from my past and even now that are found in the words to this song, some subtly and some explicitly. It's about the things we do in vain, the things we do unconsciously, the things that hurt us, the things that we regret, the things we try to do but fail. I know it sounds so pathetic but I would bet that there is at least one thing on this list that anyone who hears it can relate to. I love how music can make you think, reflect, and sometimes come full circle when you simply know that somebody out there gets it. (Beware: Judd does drop the f-bomb once.)

What are your heart songs? Is there one in particular that is helping you process through a certain time of your life?

A CLOWN TOO FAT TO WALK ACROSS A WIRE 

Try to drive on the highway with your eyes closed. 
Try to go to church with something exposed. 
Try to make a joke when you’re on your knees.
Try to fall in love without saying please. 

Try to make a million bucks with only your smile.
Try not to act like an only child. 
Try to call the president once a day. 
Try to think before you die the last words you'll say. 

My friend, are these the first steps to the end,
my friend, are these the first steps to the end,
of a clown too fat to walk across a wire?

Try to take all your memories, put 'em in a box. 
Try to walk thru the city wearing only your socks. 
Try not to think about what they're gonna say. 
Try to make a difference every single day. 

Try to get drunk with just three bucks. 
Try not to think about who your ex &#$@%. 
Try and realize you only have a few friends.
Try to tell a cop that it won’t happen again.

My friend, are these the first steps to the end, 
my friend, are these the first steps to the end,
of a clown too fat to walk across a wire?

Try to be hated for just one night. 
Try not to remember that your mother's always right. 

Try to get rich by the time you're 30. 
Try to be quiet when you're fighting dirty.

Try to take a joke a bit too far. 
Try to walk away without a scar. 
Try and pick a fight with someone you love. 
Act like a clown when the going gets tough.
 

My friend, are these the first steps to the end,
of me?

Baby Daddy.

I'm warning you, I'm gonna get mushy for this post. I just can't help myself anymore. And what better day to salute my husband than today- Father's Day!

With each day that goes by, I can hardly believe my good fortune to be married to such an amazing, self-sacrificial, loving, humble, wonderful man. I am so blessed by his commitment to me and our family, for being willing to take care of me when I can barely get my butt off the couch (or just because he's being nice and letting me relax), for getting up early and going to work every day to provide for us, for taking care of things around the house that I normally would do myself, for cooking amazing food, and for proving again and again what an amazing dad he already is. 

God knows I am not an easy person to get along with sometimes. But Cody's patience is unmatched, I swear- patience of a saint, as my mom would say. When it's easy to throw your hands up in the air and say, "I give up!" Cody always takes on the challenge of making things right. He works hard to make our relationship work, as all worthwhile marriages require, and it makes it easy to take on the task myself. He reminds me every day that I am number two in his life… right behind God. I love being number two. It's right where I belong.

Sometimes I just can't find the right words to tell my husband how much I love and appreciate and need him every day; when these times happen, I just have to be near him and hope that he knows that this is true. I can't believe I get to share my life and now the adventure of parenthood with my best friend in the whole world… a person I love so much that sometimes I think my heart will simply explode. 

Happy Father's Day, Cody. Thank you for being you, i.e. AMAZING. Our child is going to love you more than me… just like our dogs 😛

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Can I use them for beer, then?

I was pretty stoked when I came across the blog of the author of the book "Sippy Cups are Not for Chardonnay" while linking between other mom blogs. What was funny is that, while I was reading her blog, I thought to myself, "I need to do some research and find out if the author of that one book I want has a blog, because I'd love to read it." Like, I almost left her site to go… find her site. DRRRT. Then I look over at the about me and right below the part where it says she's an author and has a new book coming out, there's a link to "Sippy Cups are Not for Chardonnay" right below it, and her name was on the book.

Well that was easy.

On a different note, if anyone needs any ideas for a birthday present for me, feel free to choose from the following list:

A copy of "Sippy Cups are Not for Chardonnay" or any other funny, honest, easy-to-read new-mom memoir because I need to know I'm not the only one out there who DOESN'T KNOW WHAT THE HECK I'M DOING
A trip to get a pedicure
A haircut by Kim Cornwell at Robert Paul Salon
A gift card for a magic tan at Dolce so I at least look tan for the weddings I'm in next month
Anything from Anthropologie
Maternity clothes- because apparently I'm gonna need some in a few months or something
A night at Little America in Flagstaff
A gift card from JoAnn Fabrics, i.e. the happiest place on earth
A six pack of Paulaner Hefeweisen, drank on my behalf… no lemon necessary
A million dollars

That's right, I have no shame. Gifts are my love language… that's my excuse, anyway. After all, you only have one final-birthday-of-your-twenties. My advice to my nephew, who just entered his twenties: Don't be an idiot who does dumb things. Not that you would. The end.

The “New Normal.”

I'm seeing a lot of this "New Normal" business on the news shows on network TV lately. People living in tents, in motels, kids without shoes, etc. etc. "With the economy the way it is…" I'm really beginning to get tired of that statement. Yes, the economy sucks, and I am not one to deny its effects on many in our country, I promise. I've said it myself a time or two. But sometimes I think it's nothing more than a GIANT COP-OUT for anything that happens to a person these days. There comes a point when you have to take personal responsibility for the things that are or aren't happening to you. 

I've been a complainy, whiny mess lately. My hormones are off the charts and I don't handle feeling sick like a champ unlike some people. I try, but quite honestly, I fail. I am thankful for friends and family who let me vent, and understand, and have compassion, and am annoyed with the ones who do not. I am annoyed that my paychecks have been cut by more than half; in fact, I'm just annoyed with how that whole situation was handled, period. I am annoyed by things that are affecting us that are out of our hands.

I cannot, however, be annoyed by the things that I can control. And we can always control where the money that we do have goes. 

We live in a nation of absolute excess. My husband's income alone places us in the top 3.5% of earners in the world using that number. It feels so… ridiculous. That is an eye-opener, for sure. We both seek to be giving people, and giving should be a sacrificial and joyful thing. Nobody wants to receive something out of reluctance or obligation. It's scary to give when you aren't sure your own needs will be met. But it is what anyone with the title "Christian" is called to do, and God is faithful to provide when you show you trust Him to do so. 

My friend Amy posted a fantastic blog on this subject. I read it right after I woke up and it was such a timely read in the midst of all the stress and uncertainty we are living in now. Not because I believe in distribution of wealth (I'm not sure she necessarily does either, as she clarifies later in the comments); I believe that people who earn whatever they earn deserve to keep it and do with their income what they see fit. I also think giving and charity should be a huge part of what people do with their earnings, but it should not be forced on them. (OK, I'll spare you. I'm off my soapbox.) I enjoyed her post because it pointed out that we have to be responsible to the choices we made to get us to where we are now, and what can we ACTUALLY complain about? I can't complain about not being to pay for things if I'm out buying a new shirt at Anthropologie because I "deserve it" or even something as small as a $2.00 bag of Starbursts because I was craving them, as I did tonight, because every penny adds up these days. Never before has the reality of being really, and I mean REALLY, frugal hit me so squarely in the face. I realized that up until now, we were trying to be frugal, but we still allowed ourselves luxuries from time to time. Unless money starts magically appearing in our bank account, we simply cannot afford those luxuries anymore. 

And in a strange way, while still fearing it, I'm actually looking forward to it. 

There are things I've been missing out on in life. Laziness and fear have gotten the best of me. I don't feel like doing much RIGHT now, but once I start feeling better I don't want to miss out on life anymore. It's strange because I feel that in some way, by being forced to forego the little things we usually enjoy, like eating out, seeing a movie every now and then, or buying the latest book that gets our attention, we will find other, more meaningful ways to enjoy life. I can see how God would be teaching us and stretching us more than we ever thought possible during this time. I know that there will be times that I HATE going without; honestly, I always have. I would be lying if I said I didn't get pangs of envy when I serve some of these girls my age who come in with their friends and their giant diamond rings and cute outfits and fancy purses and Lexus key rings and order their salads and lattes without a care in the world. I've always had expensive taste- just ask my dad, or my husband 🙂 But going WITH those things makes a person lose perspective on the things that are really important. 

And I want more out of my life. And more for our new little life. I'll just be trusting God's provision along the way, more than ever before. 

Preliminary name list

Some names we like (we've only just begun):

Boys: Luke or Lucas
Elijah
Elliott
Emmanuel
Micah

Girls: Ella or Elle
Emmanuelle
Evelynne (I like, Cody doesn't)
Sadie
Sheridan
Dinah
Callie (then I paired it with Alley… NEVER MIND.)

If you hate your child, name it: 
Homobono. I actually came across this today. Means "good man." As if the meaning matters when your name is "Homobono." ONLY PARENTS WHO HATE THEIR CHILD GIVE IT THIS NAME. If you named your child this and you are offended, no one cares because now your child has to live with being called HOMOBONO for the rest of his life, or just "Homo" or "Boner" or "Homoboner." Good job with that one.