Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fear not!

I haven't forgotten my sweet blog!!! This week is kicking my butt and it may not stop until well after it's over. I will leave you with one thought:

I normally kill plants. But I really want to try growing vegetables. I planted a small raised garden and threw in a tomato and a green bean plant.

The tomato plant is about to take over the south side of Holland. The bean plant isn't far behind. My basil plant that I put in there is close on their heels, too. Yikes.

I even had my first "harvest" of green beans. I am quite pleased.

And that is my little bright spot for the day. Ta-ta for now!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Belly shot...and Father's Day

I apologize for my 20.5 week tummy shot...I was preparing for a Saturday full of yard work, and simply was NOT getting my pretty on that morning. So it's a not-great picture, in addition to the fact that I don't think I look a whole lot different from 16 weeks!!! I AM growing OUT, but it seems like I'm growing more UPward (because I have a really looooong torso, you see...ha. ha. ha). But I know Little Bird is getting bigger - in fact, he/she was measuring a week AHEAD at the ultrasound last week! (Unfortunately - fortunately? - I KNOW without a doubt that my dates are spot-on, so he/she had just had a growth spurt and will hopefully not continue on a "big" trajectory!)

I feel a lot of movement most days, which is fun. But I hear everyone describe this early movement as "butterfly wings." Um, this is no *butterfly* that I'm carrying. That's not even sort of what comes to mind when I feel it. This child is way more aggressive - the other night, for example I was lying on my tummy before I went to sleep (just to get a break from left side/right side/left side/right side). Apparently this was quite displeasing, because as I lay peacefully in the dark, I received such a wollop of a kick right in the middle that I involuntarily whisper-yelled "OH MY WORD!" and immediately flipped over to appease this little banana-sized person.

We had a good time in Manistee for Father's Day. It is SOOOO pretty up there, and why did I not appreciate that when I was growing up there??? One of my favorite things to do is walk to the beach at Magoon Creek, a nicely secluded yet very accessible beach where doggies are actually allowed!!

We spent a little time at the beach, grilled at Mom and Dad's, and went downtown to the sundae bar. A very good day, indeed. :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

Heading up to the 'stee today to see my mom and dad and celebrate Father's Day. I'm so fortunate to have a dad who loves me and spent time with me while I was growing up. My dad has a ton of hobbies, so our dad-daughter activities were always unique. :) He had an old model train, and constructed a huge "landscape" with mountains and rivers and a town with screen and paper mache', and we painted it and filled it in with trees. He had an old photo developing shop, so we'd take black-and-white pictures and develop them ourselves in the basement. When I was learning about clouds and weather in fourth grade, we went out cloud-hunting one afternoon, took awesome pictures, and then developed them. When I wanted to learn about stars, he took me in the back yard with a telescope at night. When I wanted to learn about tornadoes, he bought me books about tornadoes. He bought me a microscope and slides to make my own specimens, chemistry sets, replicas of the human body that we could construct together...I mean, is it any wonder I love science and the human body now????

He did try to teach me Morse code so we could be "ham buddies" but...that's where my interest waned. ;)

Dad taught my Sunday school classes when I was in Junior High and High School. Some of my friends still remember the business cards he handed out with quarters taped to them...he called them "sweaty palms cards." If any of us were to find ourselves in an...um...."situation"....anyone was welcome to call Dad and he'd be available to...um...."talk them down." hahahahahaha!!! (No one ever did call him, BTW.) What made him REALLY popular was during our High School Sunday school classes he took us out for breakfast, instead of staying at the church in a boring classroom. It prompted more free conversation and drew people out of the woodwork who wouldn't normally even come to church.

So Happy Father's Day, Dad!!!! Thanks for being an awesome dad who was always there for me, who delighted in embarrassing me when I worked at Kmart (going down every checkout lane shaking hands with each checker, "Hi, I'm Jenny Mark's dad!"), and grinning cheesily from the top row at all of my band concerts.

I love you Dad!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

20 weeks!!

I had my 20-week ultrasound today!!! And it was awesome! As you may well know, I was a wee bit nervous. As my friend said on Sunday, she prays, "Lord, please give Jenny temporary amnesia. She knows. Too. Much." I did have my little mental checklist and I ticked off each thing (as far as I could tell) with each body part. There does appear to be a brain, a four-chamber heart, the intestines are tucked inside the body, the kidneys and bladder work (which, in turn, makes sure the lungs form, a very fascinating little fetal development lesson if you're ever interested), the cord has two arteries and a vein, and there are four limbs.

I now have my first ream of pictures, and I wouldn't post them all, except I know that California Mommy would love to see them all (and maybe a few other people are that intensely interested as well in every single body part). The great thing is, my mom was able to come in and see it too...she had spent the night and we didn't think she'd be able to come to the ultrasound (only one person allowed), but the tech let her come in for a peek after she had done the entire "anatomy scan." And remember, I don't have a scanner, so I have to take a picture of each picture and download it that way, so they're a little ghetto.

Here's a nice little profile shot...

And then it started to turn and show us a back...

Some little legs that I hope are going to be long and luxurious like Daddy's (the legs are to the left, if you can't tell, with the feet all the way over to the left - and hey! No clubbed feet!)...

A face shot with a hello wave! Looks a little freaky, I know...

This is a gorgeous picture of the spine (Little Bird is curving like a cat with the head to the left)...
Sucking on a thumb???....

A little foot!....

And I'm mad at Blogger for rotating this picture without my permission and not letting me rotate it back...but it's the best profile shot...Baby's back is to us and he/she is looking up over the shoulder...so you'll have to cock your head to the right...

Speaking of *he* or *she*....we told the tech that we didn't want to find out the sex, so she did her best to avoid "that" area. There WAS one point, though, when suddenly the baby moved, and from what I could tell, we were looking at it from the feet up. And for about a second and a half I thought, "Oh my word. I think I know what I'm looking at." I didn't say anything until we got back in the car, and I said, "Ummmm....I'm no expert, but I think we're having a _______." And Matt said, "Yeah, there was a point where I saw ______ and thought the same thing."

See, you're either looking for hamburger buns or a hot dog. Again, we certainly don't have a trained eye whatsoever, so we may be verrrrry wrong. But did we see hamburger buns or a hot dog????? I'm not telling!!!!! Mwah-ha-ha-ha-haaaaaaaa!!!!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

A very Amish day

I felt very Amish today. Ish. My friend Mary and I went to a local farm and picked gobs of strawberries...which are totally gorgeous this year! Very red, very juicy, very sweet. I picked 15lbs and paid $20, totally awesome. Then we went to the farm's little stand and I bought asparagus, peas, and honey. And THEN we stopped by a little farm house that was selling eggs and I bought a dozen. I loved that it was a little mini-fridge perched on the porch with an old cash box next to it, admonishing me to "be honest!" and pay my $2. Which I did, cross my heart.

I even wore a straw hat (Mom, I've been wearing that hat a lot that you gave me).

Now if I were really Amish, I would have picked strawberries from my own garden, harvested my own peas and asparagus, collected the eggs from my own chicken (and perhaps even hacked the neck of my own chicken and it would be boiling on my stove right now). And would have done it before 4:30am. But I can pretend, right??

Now, I have a super-awesome smoothie recipe that is bound to change your life. Or at least sweeten your morning. It's very easy, very fast, and packs a few servings of fruit at once. You can use whatever you want, but here's my fave:

Frozen blueberries (however much you want)
Frozen strawberries (man, I can't wait to use my yummy ones)
Frozen mango or peaches
Some OJ
Some honey (make it local honey!! Especially if you have seasonal allergies, it'll help)
2T ground flax seed (I don't eat fish so this is how I get my good omegas in)

First, blend, then puree. Delicious. Just watch out...those little blueberry skins are teeth-clingers. Have a mirror at the ready.

If you're a yogurt-in-the-smoothie person, have at it...but once I tried Jamba Juice's "all-fruit" smoothies, I was way hooked.

Pregnancy is going quite well...I'm 19 weeks on Wednesday, and "the big" ultrasound is NEXT Wednesday, when I'm 20 weeks. Already halfway there!!! I'm somewhat nervous about this ultrasound, I'm sure everyone is, just wanting to know that all the right pieces are in the right places. A lot of people think that the 20-week ultrasound is just to find out the sex of the baby, but it's really called an "anatomy scan" because, well, they want to know the anatomy is correct. I'm praying for a brain, lungs, functioning kidneys, a four-chamber heart with the vessels in the right spot, intestines that are tucked inside the body, a fused palate and lip, an appropriate amount of amniotic fluid...I know, pretty high standards.

So please pray that we have a great ultrasound (deep down I have peace about it, I really do), and please pray also for me as I head into the 20's. I don't want to get into too much dramatic detail, so I'll quote Matt's very correct summary: "So this is when the NICU nurse needs a sedative." Yep. My prayer is for a pregnancy that continues as smoothly as it has so far...until at least 38 weeks.

I've felt quite a bit of movement (I have since about 17 weeks, which I know is unusual for a first-time mom), and this baby is definitely a mover and shaker! I use the doppler every time I'm at work and I spend more time chasing the baby around than I do listening to the heartbeat. I hear a LOT of kicking, swooshing, and turning. It's quite amazing. I poke at my tummy and it hops to the other side. In fact, as I write this, I'm feeling a lot of tap-dancing! It won't be long before those little feet are tearing all over the house!

Anyway, that's the update, and next week I'll post a 20-week tummy picture...and hopefully pictures of a very healthy Little Bird!

Friday, June 4, 2010


Before I packed all my earthlies and headed for parts unknown, I was another single gal living in Grand Rapids. And let me tell you...

Being single in West Michigan is NOT easy.

Being single in general can be a tough and lonely season...and for some a very tough and long season.

But here, there is a different flavor, if you will. Let me try to explain. And in doing so, I don't want to sound like I was some angry single lady minus the cat. And I know full well that one can feel isolated and lonely no matter WHAT stage of life they're in, no matter WHERE they are.

This is a part of the country that is very, very family-oriented and conservative. I really appreciate that, I do. But I'm not gonna lie: it does lend itself to making someone who doesn't fit the married-straight-out-of-college mold feel like a social pariah. You kind of are made to feel like less of a grown-up. Most activities and events are geared towards families or marriage "encounters." It's just...awkward.

I remember even throwing my hands in the air one time over the name of a local grocery chain: "Family Fare." I wanted to open my own chain called "Single People Fare." You know, with smaller loaves of bread that don't go moldy because only one person is eating them. Fewer aisles full of family size!!!! boxes and more single-people size!!!! packages that won't go stale. You get my drift. A local Christian radio station touted that it was "the number-one preset in mini-vans across West Michigan!" I was like, SERIOUSLY? I was 25 and I got so many doleful looks from the ladies at work, like, "Oh, your life must be just awful, being alone." Argh.

Anyway, probably the most difficult place to be was church, of all things. When I worked nights I'll admit it was really hard to get plugged into a church. That's a different story, but I'll just suffice to say that working nights just made me a physical and mental mess. But when I DID go, I was always struck that, here I was in this big church nearly packed to the gills with people. And as I looked around, I noticed that I was the only one with a huge gap on either side of me...I know my perception was probably incorrect, but it almost felt like I had this huge disease (singleness!!!!) that no one wanted to brush up against. People are awkward when you're a onesie instead of a twosie. How do you relate to a half instead of a whole? At least that's sure how it seemed.

Church is a place where everyone should be able to breathe a sigh of relief and think, "Ahhhhh...here it doesn't matter if I'm married/single/rich/poor/ugly/gorgeous/etc." Unfortunately, on this side of heaven that may never be fully the case. Nonetheless, even when I was just out of college I remember being struck at the compartmentalizing our society likes to do...and how churches follow suit. We need to categorize people and perch them on the corresponding peg. Age groups, life groups, marital status, kid vs. kid-less status...line them up in their neat rows because that's how people get along.

I can see the real benefit of categorizing, I really do. But I also see how it hurts and alienates. Not intentionally, but it does. I mean, here's an example: (BTW, this has not hurt or alienated us, it just caused some uhhhhh-ness at first) There are two Sunday School categories at our church that Matt and I could fall into: young marrieds, or married with kids. We fall more in the "young marrieds" category simply because we are still fairly newly-married (and had been married less than a year when we started going). But age-wise, we fell more in the married-with-kids category (and heck, for Matt, he could even go into the next group up). Many of the young marrieds are remarkably younger than we are. But if we go into the married-with-kids class, where there are more people our age, they're in a radically different stage of life than we've been. So no matter where you go, there's a degree of awkward.

What annoyed me with some churches I attended was they would put all of the singles in one pot: post-high school and up. So you'd have this mish-mash of 19-year-olds up to 30-somethings who may be divorced. But that was your only choice, because you certainly couldn't join another group, that would be the wrong category!!!! And that would throw it all off!!

Anyway, I feel like I'm straying off of what I want my point to be, which is this: we need to be better at taking care of all of the "categories" of people at church (and in life in general). I need to be better about it, that's for sure. People feel alienated and lonely because they aren't treated like they fit. There are couples who are secretly struggling with infertility and are being told to "relax" and "trust in the Lord." There are people who feel snubbed because their kids go to public schools rather than being homeschooled or put in the Christian school. There are older newly marrieds who need to be mentored by an "older" married couple who may very well be their same age. And there are single people who need to be pulled into families and loved on, asked how their life is going, encouraged, mentored, and appreciated for their gifts.

I wish, when I was single and probably had more opportunity than I realized, that I would have had the gumption to start to get to know a variety of people, and not just see myself as "single and therefore a freak." My answer was to bail, honestly, and thankfully the Lord still directed my steps in that. When I got to California, though, the bulk of the people I met were married and I was like, "Oh my word, is this some cosmic JOKE?" but it was thanks to some wonderful couples/families who took me under their wing right away, included me in their date nights (I know, who does that?! Honestly, I would never expect that), had me over for dinner, invited me to Bible studies and movie nights...and that was all within two weeks of being there. Why didn't that happen in three years of being here? But now that memory reminds me of the extreme importance of dropping the category and loving on people. Married, single, weird, smelly, or otherwise.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I'll take the horrid mumu, please

I was on a rampage today and was terribly displeased.

I'm hot. As in, I feel like my body is going to burst into flame when it's >75 degrees out. The person residing in me is a mere 5 ounces, but they're making me into a human inferno.

And so, simply enough, I set out to find a pair of shorts today.

When I first got pregnant, I thought, "Oh FUN!!! Shopping for maternity clothes!!" Finally your tummy is CUTE instead of shameful, people want to touch it instead of inviting you to the gym, and you want to wear clothes that show it off instead of tastefully hide it.

I received piles - and I mean piles - of hand-me-downs from people at work who recently finished having babies. And I got some great stuff - but most of it is for cooler weather. Which is great, given that I'll be in the enormous throes of pregnancy when the weather is cooler. I dirted my regular jeans weeks ago when I discovered that awesome elastic thing that stretches to your chin and practically over your head and back again. So I've really enjoyed wearing my new-to-me duds. My Title 9 sporty knit dresses have managed to squeak me by as well and will continue to do so in the next few weeks.

I've got jeans, capris, dresses, skirts...but I wanted good old shorts.

This Bella Band thingy does not blow my hair back at all. It's this large stretchy band that you can wear over your regular pants, leaving your pants unbuttoned and the band will hold everything in. But it makes me look exactly like I have a zipper and buttons being corralled under a large band under a shirt (in addition to my tummy), which is NOT a cute look. And when it's hot out, the last thing I want is this huge piece of synthetic-stretchy-something snug against my body underneath my clothing. So that option is a last resort, if that.

So I went out looking for some shorts today. I was horrified. I went to a couple of consignment shops that sell all baby and maternity stuff, but totally struck out. I'm sure the shorts flew off the racks when the weather heated up, and I was a late arrival. So that was out. Then I went to Younker's to check out their "new maternity section" and was equally shocked and flummoxed at the horrid selection of tent-like tops, bizarre patterns, and ranks of pants and jeans. I was like, you have GOT to be kidding me. Just because my midsection is a bit bigger does NOT mean that my interest is suddenly piqued by awful prints on huge, unbecoming shirts. I actually blurted out loud, "Are you KIDDING me?!" in the middle of the store (but I was at the West Shore Mall, so it's not like anyone was there to hear me anyway). It was insulting. Why on earth would I wear anything like that, pregnant or not?

Then I went to JC Penney. Asked the first person I saw where the maternity department is. "Sorry, we don't have a maternity department." I nearly cried. I blurted out that I feel like I'm going to spontaneously combust and NO ONE has any maternity shorts. The girl just looked at me with wide, apologetic eyes.

I went to my car and speed-dialed my mom to vent. I'm hot, I feel like a Clydesdale horse (not saying I look like one, just feel like it), and all I want is a stupid pair of SHORTS. And WHY is all of the other clothing totally disgusting, like something that no self-respecting rhinoceros would even be caught dead wearing, let alone ME?

Well, my tale of woe does come to an end. I finally went to Kohl's. I normally get frustrated at Kohl's because often when I shop there the racks are haphazardly stuffed with clothing from different sections of the store...I'm not one of those patient people who can sift through racks and come up with a prize-winning outfit. But I was a hot, angry pregnant broad who was on a warpath for shorts. Alas, Kohl's became my anointed summer-wear savior this afternoon. I found two pairs of shorts AND a dress (all on sale!), all made by Motherhood Maternity, who has faithfully provided great clothes, great prices, and they're clothes that I would actually want to wear whether or not I'm pregnant. (I would have just gone to Grandville to the actually Motherhood store, but was on call for work and couldn't leave town.)

And now my world is peaceful again...and much cooler.