The Grandmas.

I have never met two women more EXCITED about becoming grandmas than my mom and Cody's mom. They're both first-timers, and they're both beside themselves knowing that they will have a little one to cuddle and spoil in true grandma fashion. It's the best thing ever. 

I have come to the conclusion that my mom was put on this planet for one purpose, and one purpose only: to be a grandma. Or rather, an amma, as we Icelanders call our dear grandmothers, as I always have with my mom's mom. (My dad's mom was always Mum-Mum to everyone… we aim for different in our family, apparently.) She can literally hardly contain herself as she anticipates the arrival of this little one. Every time I see her she puts her hands on my still-flat tummy, her face just beaming because SHE KNOWS WHAT'S IN THERE! It's SO CUTE. The same can certainly be said for Cody's mom. He said it best: upon finding out that we are expecting, she was "activated," Terminator-style: full grandma mode, ON. It's fantastic.

"Amma" and "Grandma" are going to be amazing blessings to us. They already are. My mom calls me every other day to check in on me and my "little blueberry," as she calls our growing child, along with occasional e-mails to let me know she's thinking of us. Cody's mom calls and e-mails both of us to see how I'm feeling, to see how she can help us out, or just to let us know how everyone is doing and that she loves us. It's wonderful knowing that we have such a core of support in them- that's where it starts, really. No one will be more hands on with our child than our own precious mothers. 

Nothing makes you appreciate your mom more than becoming a mom yourself. Someday I'll understand the magic of watching your children start families of their own. But for now, Cody and I have a front-row seat, and two grandmas who love this "little blueberry" more than words can say.

Rough day.

Actually, it's been a rough couple of days. No energy, extreme nausea, wobbly legs. I remember when I ran track and cross country in high school and then college and having workouts and races that left my legs so shaky it was hard to so much as hold myself up. I have never remembered that feeling with such clarity as I do now- I feel like that ALL THE TIME. But instead of feeling that way because I just ran 10 laps around the track at a successively fast pace, I feel that way because I'm… laying around on the couch, doing nothing. It's the most ridiculous thing I've ever tried to explain. "Yes, I sit around on my butt ALL DAY LONG. And MAN does it wear me out!"

What?

For the past couple of weeks, I seem to have settled into a pattern of feeling generally well during the day and pretty gnarly at night. This is OK because I work during the day and there is nothing worse than being around food that you normally love but now that you're prego makes you want to blow chunks, and dealing with the already-overwhelming smell of the 5-pound block of bleu cheese that the sweet salad lady, just doing her job, is cutting into manageable crumbles, all while trying not to either dry heave or pass out on customers as you take their order at the register- with a smile. 

Yesterday and today were definitely out of the "norm" that I have been experiencing lately. My Sunday started off well enough- woke up, went to church, went to a class, and that's when the fun started. Nauseous, uncomfortable, hungry for a croissant sandwich. We went to Paradise Bakery and I ordered the roast beef and havarti on a croissant, which I was completely unaware contained horseradish, which is definitely one of those things I have a VERY hard time eating these days. Ate it anyway and proceeded to relive the taste sensation for the remainder of the day and night with the release of even the tiniest burp. This was quickly followed up by such intense fatigue that I crashed on the couch and fell asleep- immediately. My poor husband. I had signed us up to babysit Cruz again that day, and guess who did ALL the work? He is such a trooper. And will be such an amazing dad. I have never been more in love with him than I am now.

Anyway, today sucked too.

It's amazing how bringing a life into the world is one of the hardest and one of the best things that a person can ever do in life. With every day that goes by that I feel AWFUL, I breathe a sigh of relief because it means that my baby is taking what it needs from me to grow and be healthy and strong. It's hard, and sure, I wish I felt great all the time like some women do, but if I felt great all the time I would probably wonder if my baby is really in there, growing up a storm. I feel better the worse I feel because of what it means.

It's funny how pregnancy changes your outlook on life. Cody and I both said the other day that no matter how surprised, unprepared, freaked out, uncertain, panicked, or desperate we have felt through this process of facing this new responsibility, it never even crossed our minds to want the baby to stop growing and not make it. It's not that we ever would have wanted that- don't get me wrong. We're still scared, and excited. It's just that our perspective has shifted to want the best for this new person that has been placed in our lives no matter the effect it has on us.

It's made us grow up.

WAHM.

Work at Home Mom. I hope to achieve this title in the near future. I just can't seem to figure out a legitimate way to do so. 

Lately I have been overwhelmed by all I have laying ahead of me, and all I have to get done, everything I have to learn, not knowing what I don't know but need to know, and wondering how we are going to stretch our dollars without my income anymore. Because insurance companies are evil and view pregnancy as a "pre-existing condition," Cody is stuck at his job at least until our little one arrives. And because ASU is run by a communist- I mean, Michael Crow, they have things like forced mandatory retirement funds that don't let you choose how much or how often you put in money, and they require employees to pay for parking (and Lot 59, which was a mere $50 when we were in school, is now $270 per year for EVERYONE and is the cheapest parking on campus!), plus unpaid furlough days to cut everyone's salary by 10%, on top of taxes, and you have a paycheck that is whittled down to less than 70% of what you would normally take home from that same salary anywhere else. Cody is very good at his job and has gained great experience since he started there three years ago, but he doesn't necessarily want to stay there long-term, and without his Master's degree, there really isn't a way to move up, at least not in the next six months or so. And even if he did, his income couldn't be impacted all that much with all the FEES that are FORCED on ASU employees. Grrr… 

I have a love-hate relationship with the whole scenario. In spite of everything I don't like about it, I am SO thankful that Cody was able to keep his job through all the budget cuts that happened there last winter, and I am so thankful to have great health insurance. Things could be a lot worse so I know I need to keep that in perspective. I am frustrated with employment in general on many levels these days and all I can say is that I know both he and I are worth WAY more than either of us take home every two weeks. 

Cody is a scholar at heart and wants nothing more than to go to seminary for his Master's degree, and even talked about getting his Ph.D so he can teach at the college level someday. He would be SO good at this, but an education like that costs a pretty penny- a pretty penny we thought maybe we could swing BEFORE we found out that we had a baby on the way, and now we're like, "THE MORTGAGE! THE A/C! DIAPERS! THANK GOD WE DON'T HAVE A CAR PAYMENT! HOLD ON A SECOND! DO WE NEED A NEW CAR!" 

I'm happy to report that the panic phase has passed, but we still don't have any answers. That's the thing about trusting God- you don't know what He's up to, but you have to trust the fact that He is always up to something, and it is always for our good. It's our humanity that makes us freak out, and I still do from time to time. My hours at work have been cut in half (which was NOT part of the deal) and my pay was cut too, so I've been trying to figure out what exactly I'm supposed to go out and do. Go get a new job, tell them I'm prego and not even stand a chance at the job (no matter how illegal that is), or don't tell them and let them figure it out when they see The Bump, and then say something like, "Oh, that? I didn't mention it before? My apologies. I won't be here much past January." I mean, really. Who does that.

So I'm researching like crazy trying to find something I can do from home that brings in a steady income but gives me the flexibility to care for our baby. I've found like, two legit sites, but one of them is already ruled out because it requires a PC, and we are a Mac family. I've gone through all the steps that are required of applicants to be considered for an opening on the other site, but the follow-up I received totally goes against everything I already did. I of course am beginning to question its legitimacy. 

For right now, I just want a paycheck. I have dreams of doing other things but those things will have to wait for a time. For instance, I LOVE to sew. I am a total novice at it, but it was a childhood hobby of mine that I'm starting to pick up again, and I'd love to make something of it. My Icelandic grandma was a professional seamstress and used to make all sorts of goodies for us when I was growing up. I would love to do what she did and learn her tricks (she had SO many cool tricks) and sell my items on Etsy… I know, I know, this is SO TRENDY, it almost makes me not want to do it. It seems as if talented, well-practiced, formally trained artists of the handmade variety are a dime a dozen anymore- it's overwhelming- and why would anybody want the work of a mere hobbyist like me? I have so much inspiration and a lot of ideas but when it comes to executing them, it's almost like I get paralyzed. By what, I don't know, but I am surrounded by people who are just going for whatever it is that they have always wanted to do and I want to do it too. I am so inspired by them. It'll take time to achieve these things, but I'm sure it'll be worth waiting for. 

But on that note: if anyone has any ideas for income in the meantime, please, enlighten me. 

Diapers.

Cody wrote a great blog about his life-altering excursion to the grocery store last week. He went to Fry's for some milk and decided, with absolutely no prompting from me, to start the process of stocking up on diapers early. From what we hear, once baby arrives, we'll never have enough. From our experience with Cruz and his four diaper changes in three hours, the rumors were proven completely true. You can read about his shopping trip here. He's just so sweet I could pinch his cheeks. 

Actually, I think I'll go do that right now.

Scary things.

I finally heard back from my doctor yesterday, and it wasn't the great news of anemia I was hoping for. Not to worry, Internet, I'm not dying, and my baby isn't either, but I was diagnosed with mild dysplasia, which fortunately typically clears up on its own. "Nothing to get in a panic about," said the doctor.  So naturally, this translated in my head to, "YOU HAVE CERVICAL CANCER AND YOU ARE GOING TO DIE," which incited panic, which brought on the daily hormonal breakdown, which caused my dear parents to worry sick about my state of mind. Don't worry Mom and Dad, I'm gonna be OK! However, mild dysplasia is scary for two reasons: first, pregnancy suppresses your immune system; and second, moderate and severe cases of dysplasia commonly lead to cervical cancer. AWESOME.

I haven't had a girl exam in many, many years, but every time I had one they always came back normal. I've always been healthy, tests always came back normal, and if there was ever anything wrong, it was never something that a simple change in diet or the like couldn't fix. As much as Cody and I struggle with the task of parenthood that lay ahead of us, and as much as it excites us (we are an emotional roller coaster, no?), we see God's hand at work in more ways than we even thought possible. If I didn't get pregnant, I never would have gone to the doctor for a checkup, because CLEARLY I'm perfectly healthy… and if I started to feel otherwise, maybe I would have gone. And that's a big maybe. And if I hadn't gone to the doctor, who knows whether the dysplasia would have ever reached a more advanced stage and resulted in a devastating diagnosis, when it was too late, when I finally got my stubborn behind to the doctor. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, and although we will never know it… my baby may have saved my life.

On that note, the only thing I have to do as a result of this diagnosis is a procedure called a colposcopy when I am about five months along, where the doctor will somehow look at my cervix through a microscope, the mental images of which are just not OK. I'm having flashbacks to my seventh grade biology class, where we had tables lined up with microscopes… Ew. 

Babysitting and photo fun

For those who know Cody and me, it is safe to say that when it comes to babies, we have absolutely no clue what we are doing. Although I have a brother and a sister and a nephew who is more like a brother than a nephew, I grew up an only child, and Cody grew up the oldest of three. I remember when I was eight years old I begged my mom for a little brother or sister because my friend who lived down the street just got a new baby sister, and she was so cute, I wanted one too. Needless to say I never got my wish, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I liked my life growing up as an only child- it’s not as lonely as people who grew up with siblings will try to make you believe, I promise. And while we all have our issues, I would like to think I’m not a total screw-up as a result.

Yesterday, Cody and I spent the afternoon with our friend’s little 7-month-old, Cruz, while his parents Jason and Jessica Williams were out doing a photo shoot for their new business, Session 9 Photography. Jay and Jess are two of the best people we have ever had the privilege of calling friend, and their little boy is so adorable you could just eat him up. So it was a no-brainer to embark on our first babysitting adventure as a couple with Cruz at the helm. 

What a day! We had fun rolling around on the floor with him, keeping him entertained with his toys and various ridiculous faces, watching Finding Nemo, taking him for a ride in his stroller through their neighborhood, marveling at the sheer volume of spit-up that a single child can produce, and learning that baby wipes aren’t meant to be thrown by themselves into a Diaper Genie (definitely something I will NEVER FORGET AGAIN). Cruz is such a happy baby that even when he’s fussy he’s still a joy to be around. And I am so happy that we have this particular family alongside us through this totally unpredictable journey we find ourselves on, because their own experiences and uncertainties parallel ours in so many ways, and things have turned out more than fine for them. It’s such an encouragement to both of us.

On another note, Cody and I are going to start taking belly pictures in the very near future. I’m not showing yet, but it will be fun to document the progress over the next several months. If I were funnier and more creative and also 25 weeks further into my pregnancy, I would have thought of this first, but I digress.

We have our first photo shoot with Session 9 next weekend and we are SO EXCITED. I say first shoot because they will be doing our maternity and hospital shots as well! The only experience I have had as a “model” was at our wedding- and funny story, I was so barfy at our wedding that I spent half the time that would have been spent taking pictures in the bathroom, and now I’m in my first trimester and am feeling barfy all the time… so I’m 0 for 2 at the moment. Good news is that I haven’t actually “finished the job,” if you know what I mean; I just constantly feel on the brink of it. It will be fun to get all decked out for this shoot since these days my favorite thing to do is not wear makeup so I don’t have to make the effort to take it off at night, because that is A LOT OF EFFORT. I am anxiously awaiting my blood test results from the doctor so they can tell me that yes, I am indeed anemic, and then they will give me a magical pill that will take the edge off the simply unreal fatigue that is brought on by this building-a-human-being business, and I can finally wake up from this haze I have been living in for the past month and start to feel normal again.

And yes, I am fully aware that “normal” as I once knew it has ceased to exist. This “new normal” will be quite a ride.

About

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I grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona
before it became the $40,000 millionaire capital of the world. The
Scottsdale I remember is quaint, western, and scenic, and up until I
graduated high school the outskirts of town were not yet connected to the
town of Carefree, which is halfway to Flagstaff.

I will admit that in my early twenties, after graduating college, I
fell prey to a lifestyle that led to a lot of stupid choices along the
way that did a lot more damage than I could have known at the time. But
it was those mistakes and getting sick of the lame wannabes that
surrounded me that led to a curiosity that there is indeed something
bigger and better out there… and that something is Jesus. He grabbed
hold of me in 2003 and has never let go, never let me down, and never
ever left my side.

I met my husband when I was working as an academic advisor at Grand
Canyon University in Phoenix. He claims that he knew I would be someone
very special to him from the moment we met… well, the line worked. Haha! We got married in November 2007 at the University
Club in downtown Phoenix. It was a fairy tale wedding, except for the
fact that I couldn’t stop vomiting the entire time. Other than that, it was great. I wouldn’t change the
outcome of that day for the world- I love my husband more than words can say.

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Our marriage has been a fantastic adventure ever since. We have
lofty goals and dreams of wild travels that may have to wait a while,
but we’re working on fulfilling our dreams in other ways in the
meantime.

We have two dogs, THOR! and Hanalei, both of which are Cavachons, or
Furry White Bolts of Chewing and Pooping Thunder. I lovingly refer to
them as my “fur-kids,” and I their “fur-mom,” but Cody isn’t having any
of that crap. They are our “dogs,” and we are “dog owners.” Bah
freaking humbug.

My husband and I weren’t planning on having a baby any time soon, but TA DA! God had other plans. My own little surprise is
the inspiration for this site, where I plan to document all the ups,
downs, hormone-induced breakdowns, and inevitable joys that are sure to
accompany my husband and I on our journey toward parenthood and beyond.
They say that taking baby steps is the best way to accomplish a
daunting, overwhelming, and totally worthwhile goal… hence the name
“Baby Steps to Mom.”

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Our daughter, Linnea Joelle, was born in the middle of the night on my husband’s 30th birthday. You can find our birth pictures with a link to her birth story here. She is simply the most amazing gift either of us has ever received. 

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In 2009 I started my own business called No Strings Virtual Solutions, helping creative entrepreneurs with the administrative tasks of running their companies. I work from my home office, giving me the opportunity to not only bring in some bacon but also be here to care for Linnea.  It’s a blessing to be able to contribute to our income and enjoy watching our daughter grow up. I wouldn’t want to miss a second of her life if I could help it.

I love NesQuik, hot fudge sundaes, and sewing- preferably all at the same time. I also dig thrift shopping and Chuck Taylors. And my favorite color in the whole wide world is pink.

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Welcome to my blog.