Ongoings

We had our first Southern California infertility/miscarriage/prayer support group meeting about two weeks ago.  Only a few couples showed up the actual event and so it turned really informal, which was probably good for ‘bonding’?  A few others  emailed/called to say that they were interested but had scheduling conflicts.  We’re planning another one for early March…hopefully we can get a few more people out of the woodwork.  So, if you’re reading this and you’re a lurker, please email me to find out more information!  We’re all super cool and non-threatening, I promise!

I wonder what my role will be in this group going forward, I do.  I wonder how my larger belly at the next meeting will be perceived but I hope I can just remain humble enough to listen and support others and not be a cause of pain, I don’t know.  I just know that I’m called to this ministry now and to help organize something that badly needs it in this part of the country.  Its painful to hear of women suffering multiple miscarriages and not having any support from their churches…hopefully we can provide some relief and support.

So this and NFP seems where I’m called right now, only we’re doing less on the NFP front.  I hope to schedule an information session in March also at our parish.  We are helping with RCIA but are trying to obeserve and make suggestions instead of going in and just changing their classes.  We are both serving as sponsors for confirmandi, and I THOUGHT we would be ending on Easter, which would be several weeks before our due date, but they changed the weeks this year with the bishop and we’re now supposed to be at the downtown cathedral a few days before our due date!  A little nuts but we have ‘subs’ ready in case the baby comes early.

We’re also serving on a panel for the high school confirmation class “vocations and discernment” talk in a few weeks (although, it was suggested that another couple “with children and experience parenting” serve also since we didn’t know anything about that…have to admit that comment ruffled my feathers a bit, but I’m sure the old man who suggested it didn’t mean any harm).  If any one has any idea about what things to say to high schoolers or any good youtube clips we can show, do share!  I’m a little unfamiliar with this age group but we’re trying…hope the Holy Spirit gives us something intelligent to say!

On the baby front, I’m growing away…a little too much says my doctor :(  But I can feel a moving, kicking, squirming little one in there all throughout the day so as long as I’m eating healthy I’m trying not to listen to my doctor and ignore the numbers. I would not step on that scale if they let me.  Seriously, I knew I was gaining a lot but I think there should be a warning button and/or personality test that the doctor’s take to see how much anxiety telling a given pregnancy woman they’re gaining too much weight will cause. I clearly have a perfectionist streak in the sense that if a medical professional tells me I’m hurting my baby, I will do what I can to not hurt my baby.  It would just help to know that their advice is reasonable.  And if its not, that also makes me think, what am I doing in this office again listening to you?  In all reality, I’m at most 5 lbs over the recommended weight at this point.  I hardly think that’s enough to scare a pregnant woman about and tell her to watch her calories.  Ok, no more weight talk…

Our birth classes are going well and I even bought some things for the baby the other week.  Pretty much the only unisex onesies I could find at the discount store and I just picked some slings  on Craigslist today.  What a steal!

The cashier said something sweet the other week, she asked if I knew the sex of the baby.  I’m always reluctant to answer that question because of course its a personal decision and a great majority of our friends/family seem actually upset at the fact that we didn’t find out.  When I told her that we didn’t know, she said something along the lines of “Oh, good for you!  That’s the last real surprise we have on this Earth so that’s just great.”   So I thanked her for being so nice about it, although I think her statement was a complete exaggeration.  It was nice to have someone support one of the first decisions we’ve made for parenting this child.  But the last great surprise?  Will a meteor come and kill us all?  What will the toy in my kinder egg be?…Maybe the last surprise that we can find out the truth to but choose not to.  I think I would have loved to been given the option of asking “God, am I going to have children?” and have a definitive answer.  I probably would have taken that answer in a heartbeat.  So, in a way I think not finding out the gender is my way of not being greedy, if you can even call it that.  I said that’s all I needed and I have my answer now, so now I just have to be patient and wait for it to get here.

And I go to Houston for a baby shower this weekend.  Beyond thrilled to be going back to Texas and to see my friends and then for a baby shower?  Oh man, I’m in Alison-heaven.  Trying to savor every minute!

Ugh

I apologize that I’m not that with it with wordpress and incorrectly made a post with the pregnancy pictures instead of just posting it to the sidebar like I intended :(  Unfortunately, I’m not even bright enough to realize that those following me would automatically get a copy in their reader, well, that was until after I had already clicked ‘publish’.  And I’ve still not been able to figure out who’s following me, which makes me think the number affected was incredibly small, but I really have no clue.

For the record, if I update a post, does that get sent to your reader too?  Or is it possible to just silently update it from here on out?  Sorry again for royally screwing that all up :(

To make up for it, I’ll post a nice little picture of the manger scene outside the Santa Barbara Mission we went to a couple weeks ago.

It was a live manger scene, complete with little donkeys!

It would have been so much cuter if he hadn’t looked so sad :(

And, probably the best picture of the trip, here’s Mr. Moonhead himself in an alternate life…

Funny thing is his high school mascot was actually the friar!

My apologies again…

Healing

So its come to my attention that I never updated about the ultrasound appointment I had last Monday.  I realized that I updated those I’m close to through a flurry of text messages and then nothing on the blog :(  In case you care, so this is to all one of you, the baby is doing well and according to my doctor, we have an overwhelming percentage of making it to birth now!  Great news to hear.  We got to hear and see the heartbeat, as well as learn that we will be having an ultrasound every month because our doctor does not use the doppler.  This is amazing, because we get to see the baby every month (even from the awkward neck screening angle that mom is given…I kept saying “Can you see him/her honey?  I can’t tell what we’re looking at”) but I do have two concerns: 1)  I don’t know if our plan to not find out the gender will work with such frequent visual examinations.  That’s all I’ll say about that for now.  and then 2) am I the only one that’s still a liiiittle bit concerned about the dangers of ultrasounds?  Especially this often?  If anyone has any references that would save me a few keystrokes.

So after the good news on Monday, it was for sure time to tell work.  That and the fact that my pants don’t button anymore.  That occupied pretty much every waking moment not at work I had with my husband to figure out exactly how to break the news to my bosses.  In person? Emails?  Phone calls?  I was so so nervous about their reaction (I am the only girl in the group, the youngest, found out I was pregnant right when I started working and to my knowledge, the first person ever pregnant in the group, ever) that I decided on emails to my simultaneous bosses, which at the last minute turned into me “getting some guts”, walking into the local manager’s office, and awkwardly spewing out that I was pregnant and that we had been unable to get pregnant for a while so this was really a miracle of sorts for us.  Awkwardness was then matched by my managers reaction because, well, he seemed caught off guard.  A few hours later I called the head manager and told him over the phone, and we had a good long talk about the deficiencies of progesterone in the woman’s cycle (how we got there is for another story).  Exciting, I know.  He, of course, also told me the lovely story of his sister who after dealing with secondary infertility for 4 years, discovered she was pregnant about 2 or 3 weeks after returned home from Asia with her beautiful adopted daughter.  Those stories don’t frustrate me nearly as much as they used to, perhaps because of my own situation now.  (Post to come on that one for sure – don’t worry, I will not tell you to relax and get pregnant).

After telling the bosses I felt so free.  Wish I could have done it sooner and not worried type of thing.  What’s done is done and there is a baby in there that I am beyond thrilled about, while I’ve had the job for a matter of weeks.  Perspective.  Some time after that I realized that this Monday was Halloween and I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to share with the in-laws at an aunt’s party that we were pregnant in a very cute way: through the Halloween costume.  If only I had realized it earlier so it could have been cute.  I went at the last minute as a pumpkin with a tiny pumpkin taped to my belly.  It was a fun way to tell his aunt’s family that we were pregnant.  Everyone else knew.  Plus we were the only ones dressed up, so after about 5 minutes it was just odd.  My husband didn’t really join in the “group outfit” and went as Gaddafi.

I admit, although many moons ago I may have, I have absolutely no desire to scream anywhere, let alone on Facebook that I’m pregnant.  I have a strong desire to tell everyone that has been praying for us we’re pregnant.  But as for random people, its just not there.  Maybe its a “half of you could have cared less that we were having trouble conceiving so why should I turn myself into an ultrasound picture to have your forced acknowledgement” bitter thing that I should let go of, but the other part is that I think Facebook is a very impersonal way to tell someone you’re pregnant.  I remember feeling the same way when I switched my status to “engaged”.  And I hated finding out that way from closer friends.  So, do unto others, right?

And as of today, the rest of our research group knows I’m pregnant too.  The cat is out.  Our secret is no longer a secret.  Our baby is being recognized by other people now, which makes the whole thing that much more real.  I for sure try to add in how long we waited for this little one whenever I tell people, if they don’t already know.  I don’t know why I do that.  To bust the myth that its always easy or an accident?   Sometimes people wait a long time to get pregnant and usually those people are quiet about it.  Its not that I think our baby is better or we’re more deserving because we had to wait, I also think I want people to understand why I’m hesitant.  Why I’m not shouting from the rooftops and wanting you to look at my belly.  Why I look a little odd and giggle when I tell you I’m pregnant, its still odd to hear those words myself.  For so long pregnancy has been a conflicting source of emotions, of pain.

And now this momma pumpkin is trying to heal.  I am so grateful for this opportunity to heal.

Most families are special

One of the great perks of moving is finding old boxes of memories.  Well, not really finding, more like trying to escape your parents cleaning out the house and giving you all your old stuff you thought would be stored there forever and then having to sift through it to figure out what’s worth keeping when you finally reach your destination.  And by “old stuff” I mean everything from my little ponies to elementary school progress reports to cards to my mom congratulating her on my birth (wait, why did I end up with those?!).

Old pictures are fun too, such as gems like this one.

I’ll spare you my awkward teenage years.

Something I found that is definitely going in the ‘keeper’ pile is this little book I wrote about 20 years ago about my family.

"My Family Book"

"This is my cat. He is funny. This is my sister. She is pretty."

I like to think I wrote it in order of my favorites, so naturally, the cat is first.

"This is my b(ig) brother. This is my mom."

"This is my dad. He is looking the other way. This is my l(ittle) brother."

Is it weird that I remember making this?  And I remember messing up my dad’s face and thinking it was brilliant that I would hide my mistake by pretending I needed to make him look the other way.  Yes, brilliant.

"This is me. Most families are special. My family is special and yours is too."

So prophetic.  Most families are special, but not all.  But don’t worry because ours are. (Whew).

Yes, my family is special.  Which is why I’m going cross-country to Virgina to visit them!  Well, mostly just that pretty sister and b. brother of mine, but still.  Its hard when we all 6 of us live in 5 different states and 4 different time zones, so I’ll take what I can get!

Apricot fruit leathers

I overcame my silly fear of the food dehydrator this weekend and I thought I’d share what I learned and document what I did to remember it later.

First I got the ripe apricots from the tree (duh).

Note: It is hard to get to the ripe apricots before the parrots do..

Then I pureed the apricots in my blender by adding just a little water.  Since I didn’t really measure the puree, I then added a whole lemons worth of lemon juice and a third cup of honey (maybe? measuring honey wastes honey!) to a blender full of apricots and blended a little bit more.  Up next was positioning in the dehydrator.  I spread the goop evenly on the “fruit leather plastic trays” it came with and also used saran wrap since I read online that works too.

Trays

Plastic saran wrap

Each fruit leather used about a half cup.  I also learned that you shouldn’t cut the plastic wrap too big otherwise it might blow into your goop and prevent it from drying which = no fun (especially after waiting so long…).

Speaking of waiting, I had read online to not use temps over 100F but after 20 hrs of drying at that temp, the middle wasn’t dehydrated, so I increased the heat to around 130F and it was dry in a few more hours.  I think it would take no more than 10 hrs at 130F-ish.  So here’s the final product:

I know, really exciting huh?  It looks like a fruit roll up!  Yum yum.  Only thing is that I would recommend putting a tinsy bit more honey if your fruit is less ripe (like mine was).  And I’m also now experimenting with using real sugar and brown sugar as well, to see what makes the best.

The final most important thing I learned is that the fruit leather trays are bogus.  Waste of money (at least mine came with my dehydrator).  Maybe they’ll be good for something else, but for fruit leathers they are a waste of time.  They might work if you grease them, but saran wrap is easier and you don’t have to grease them, so you know what I’m using next!

Finally, anyone know what to do with figs?  I have a tree full of them and unfortunately, drying them didn’t turn out as nicely as the apricots…

What do you think?

If you saw tea that looked like this in the market, would you expect it to relieve or cause stress?

Just a marketing thought.  Something about all those lightning bolts never put me in the mood…

Somewhere out there

Am I the only one that saw this story about the perigee moon and thought of this song?

Those little kids voices are even cuter than I remember…

And even though I know how very far apart we are

It helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star

And when the night wind starts to sing a lonesome lullaby

It helps to think we’re sleeping underneath the same big sky!

Too cute.  You know what I’ll be doing tomorrow.

Planet Pregnant and the Cosmic Pregnancy Balance

For real this time.

It occurred to me the other week that pregnancy seems to shoot women into another planet’s orbit where an entirely different realm of worries govern their daily life.  If its strange what things you think of on Planet Childless, the questions that seem to occupy a pregnant woman’s time seem equally foreign.

Will it be a girl or a boy? How will I balance my time? I hope I don’t gain that much weight. What will people think? How and when will I go back to work?  What will I wear to Jim-Bob’s wedding when I’m 7 months pregnant?

It amazes me that people get to think about those questions, those questions that I forbid myself to think about every month!  In one second (well, more like one month) I can go from completely understanding and speaking clearly with a non-pregnant friend and the next, its like she’s blasted off to a different planet full of thoughts and worries that I only thought existed beyond the deep horizon.  People actually go there?  It sometimes feels a little like learning that Martians exist.  Phenomenal.

But yes, trips to Planet Pregnant are very frequent and people go there a lot, often they make multiple trips!  In fact, as soon as you’ve announced your next voyage to Planet Pregnant I’m sure it seems like women who you’ve barely spoken too as long as you’ve inhabited Planet Childless offer you their travel tips.  Its such a life-changing experience I’m sure there’s no way not to talk about your last trip.  Its like that time you went to Europe, only the souvenirs are way better.  I’m sure this experience is not only for those without children yet, but the unmarried could feel the same way.  And perhaps Planet Marriage or Planet Wedding-Day seems equally as foreign a place with related worries as odd as another language or something you only dream about.

I just wish I had something to add to these conversations about Planet Pregnant, but sometimes it just feels like a country I’ve never been to, I can only ask what was the food like, did it make you sick, or, did you meet anyone fun? And I do try to relate, after all, I got sick on a trip once.  But to be honest, that’s when I get concerned about myself.   I want to go to Planet Pregnant because of the joy it would bring and how it would change my life after I return. I do have to remind myself of that.  I don’t just want to go because other people are going, although I’m sure people decide to book trips based on the fact their friends are going so they might as well go too.  But truth is maybe I’ll get to make a more unique intergalactic journey, to somewhere like Planet Adoption, Planet Foster Case, Planet South American Mission or even Planet Full-Time Student-For-The-Rest-Of-My-Life (OK, so maybe people won’t really want to hear stories about my journey to that last destination).  Maybe I won’t be able to share stories with as many people since those places are less visited, but we’ll have our own experiences which will be invaluable to us.

And the Cosmic Pregnancy Balance…I have a whole other post coming about The Pregnancy Announcement Reaction (dom dom dom, well, at least in my head) but I was wondering if I’m the only one who somehow feels a superstitious belief in the Cosmic Pregnancy Balance.  That perhaps somewhere in there I believe in another physics law, totally unprovable but as strong as the law of gravity, that conserves the number of pregnant women on Earth, nay, the Universe, at the same time.  That maybe there can only be a certain number of pregnant women at once.  So when you hear of another one, you’re happy for them but at the same time realize that your chances of being on the numerator of that Pregnancy Ratio just went down.  It makes no sense by any laws of conservation or math that I’m familiar with, but man, in the moment it always makes total sense.

The Cosmic Pregnancy Balance, that’s why I’m not pregnant.  Of course.

OK, this was my lame attempt at humor.  I’m sorry if I failed miserably. It was not meant to be blasphemous or disrespectful, its just sometimes easier to joke about a Cosmic Pregnancy Balance than to believe that God has hand-selected me to learn patience this way while seemingly everyone else doesn’t need to learn patience at all.

Piled Higher and Deeper

That’s me right now.  Trying to get the final results so I can graduate.

Its also the name of Jorge Cham’s PhD comic series.  He was a graduate student that basically found a lot of success writing comics about grad school life and eventually giving basically stand up routines using the comics.  He came to our university last year and gave a talk on the Power of Procrastination and seriously, it was awesome. The man has brilliantly motivated many a graduate student by helping us realize that this whole experience is just part of it all.  My favorite was during the Q&A after he gave the talk and one girl asked him “So, like seriously, what do you do with your PhD. now?” (He graduated from Stanford in Mechanical Engineering).

“Umm, this.”

His point?  Pay attention to what your procrastinate on.  He wrote comics in grad school and look what he’s doing now.  It helped me sort a lot of life questions out for myself (though I don’t claim to be done).  We also gave him a couple ideas for comics we’re still waiting to see on his site…ha!  If you know a graduate student, I highly recommend gifting them a book!  (If they haven’t procrastinated away on the website already…)

Anyway, here are a few comics that I’m finding particularly entertaining now:

And if you didn’t laugh at those…well…this is probably why!

How I interpret reserved maternity seats

Once when I was boarding a crowded bus in Mexico, I saw this sign above one row of seats:

Thinking that this was the seat that would make me pregnant (and they had left it open for me! they knew I was coming!) naturally I sat down in it.

But the more I sat there and stared at the picture, the more I decided that this seat might actually have an equal chance at giving me a larger-yet-saggier chest, a hunchback, and a huge ba-dunka dunk.  However, I thought the possible pros outweighed the cons, so I continued to sit.

(Un)Fortunately, to date I have not ended up with any of the above.

But then again, neither has my husband.

Oh well.