L1: Nesting

Chad has lived in our house since he bought it in 2008.  I’ve been there since our wedding in 2011.  We’ve accumulated some stuff along the way, and when I hit 30 weeks in my pregnancy, my nesting instinct (which does somehow feel different than my normal organizational streak) kicked into full gear, and I made a list of 18 places in our house that need (yes, NEED) to be cleaned and purged.

I listed individual cabinets and closets, since I wanted each task on the list to feel approachable.  I can clean out one particular dresser drawer in 20 minutes, but saying “clean our room” feels totally overwhelming.  I took advantage of a recent snowstorm stay-in-the-house day and started to tackle my list.

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First up was the pantry.  Which, it’s not even a pantry so much as a corner cabinet with spinning Lazy Susan shelves.  It’s not big, but it’s our only spot for food storage, so we make the most of it.  Canned goods, crackers, cereal, you name it – it lives here.  Including, apparently, lentils that were purchased before our wedding.  My friend Christy swears that lentils don’t expire, but plastic bags do, and my patience for food I’m not likely to use does, so into the trash they went.

I pulled everything out of the cabinet, wiped down the shelves, threw away the expired stuff and made sense of the rest, organizing as I put it all back.

It turns out that an opened box of Triscuits that expired 7 months ago is actually stale, should not be tried as a snack, and is totally worth the $2.50 to just throw it away and buy a new box. I learned that one the hard way.

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Spices were up next.  Same process – empty, wipe, organize and put back.  When I moved apartments in 2010, my mom helped me pack up my kitchen, and she labeled all my spices on the top so I would know what I had without unpacking the box.  Genius, that woman.  But, any spices with my mom’s friendly, familiar handwriting on them had to go.  I made a list along the way of herbs I was nearly out of or spices that I thought of that I don’t somehow own that I should (cardamom, obviously), and reorganized my two little spice shelves.  Oils, vinegars, and soy sauce and friends live on the shelf right below, and all those bottles also received a wipedown with a hot soapy rag.

I also took my baking drawer to task, which mostly consisted of me wishing I had enough brown sugar to make a batch of cookies.

The rest of the list includes things like the bottom drawer of Chad’s dresser, which mysteriously became the go-to “get all the crap off our dressers” dumping place when we clean our room for Airbnb guests; the cabinet under the kitchen sink; our basket of medical supplies; the filing drawer of user manuals for appliances and such; and the linen closet in the basement, which I KNOW holds some old camping equipment, even though we haven’t been camping, like, ever.  Should be fun.  No, really.  I’m weird, I know.

I’m 34 weeks plus 5 days today.  Time’s running out!

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What I’m Into / January 2015

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We kicked off the new year with good friends, great wine (one of us) and an epic game of Settlers of Catan.  We even managed to make it up past midnight.  Felt pretty good for being then-29-weeks pregnant and in my 30s.

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In January, I’m into asking for help.  I’m decidedly NOT into my long-lasting pregnancy-induced back pain that makes me walk like an 80-year old, but I AM very much into my top-notch husband, who is gracious and patient with my big and small requests for help and makes me laugh and feel beautiful. Yes, please.

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I’m [still, always] working on embracing the mess and chaos of life, and choosing to find grace in the messy moments and messy closets.  However, I’m also nesting big time and working on those messy closets when I can find the time and energy.

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These girls, some of the very best, threw a shower for me/L1.  It was an overwhelmingly beautiful day, filled with family and dear friends.  I felt so loved.

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Also could not believe these girls made the drive to Omaha for the shower. They (plus Courtney) are by far the best thing to come out of my evangelical childhood church & youth group experience.  The miles between us are many and the moments spent together are few, but WOW, I love these girls.

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L1 will be into bacon (and learning), natch.

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I, meanwhile, am into macarons.  And all the other snacks, really.  I may or may not have gained kind of a lot of pregnancy weight lately, but let’s not talk about it.

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Tradeshow season at work took us to Minneapolis for a couple of days, where I squeezed in lunch with this girl.  Her laugh.  I can’t even.  I seriously have some of the best women in my life.

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AND, I got to see these little post-bath wet-head chickens in January.  It was kind of a great month, honestly, if a little nuts with the traveling. There was a quick photoless trip to Winnipeg somewhere in there, too.

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There is not much better than spending time with my seester.

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I’m totally into long shirts these days.  I have no time for maternity clothes or formerly long shirts that don’t cover the belly.  Stripes aren’t my best look, but it’s long, and I’ll take it.

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Despite the lovely weather that we started off the month with, Old Man Winter is back for a visit on the last day of January.

What I’m reading & what I’m watching
I did manage a bit of reading this past month, and have more underway.  It feels good to get back into the pages.  See what I’ve read lately here.  All my shows are still on winter hiatus, so I’ve been watching cheesy movies and episodes of Chopped on Netflix. I’m super excited about Gilmore Girls and Friends, but I’m saving them for long labor or long nights up with the baby.  I figure I could use some good TV friends during those moments.  Just 7-ish weeks left!

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I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer for her What I’m Into series. Hop on over to her blog for more.

L1: Week 31.5 update

One day you’re wearing Old Navy & Gap tall sizes just fine, feeling all cute and pregnant.

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And then one day you can’t button any of your winter coats, you’re buying Tums for the first time in your life ever, you’re waking up multiple times a week with muscle cramps in your legs and feet and seriously child, would you please MOVE off my bladder.

I have to pee ALL the time.

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Trimester the Third, we are not really friends.

I can still tie my own shoes, but just barely. Bending over and reaching the floor is an issue, but actually getting up is the bigger problem.

My belly button, once a loyal member of Team Innie, is barely hanging on to its insider status.  I’ll spare you a photo, but it looks totally different than it used to, and the skin is all soft and squishy and tender to the touch. It’s like all the little wrinkles are unfolding and that skin has never seen the light of day before.  So weird.

I have to pee ALL THE TIME.

Despite regular visits to the chiropractor and a OB-prescribed back brace, my SI joint pain has not improved, and it has been 20 weeks since I have been able to comfortably roll over in bed. The simple act of getting out of bed or up from a couch is often tear-inducing and requires help.  Honestly? It’s really tough emotionally.  I cry a lot.  My back issues have definitely been the worst part of being pregnant. I would NOT be a good candidate for long-term chronic pain.

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The baby is about 17 inches long and weighs 3.5 pounds.  I’ve gained 23.5 so far, so despite occasionally feeling like a whale, we’re both right on track.

Most people think of in-utero babies being in the fetal position. I’m convinced mine spends much of its day doing jumping jacks, making snow angels, kickboxing my internal organs, practicing tae bo and doing other calisthenics and cardio. At least that makes one of us.

My uterus is now larger than a soccer ball, in case you aren’t terrified of pregnancy yet.  Good lands.  Bodies are insane and amazing and whoa.  However, my blood pressure is AWESOME, and I have not developed gestational diabetes, for which I am very thankful.

I have to pee ALL the time.

The baby gets hiccups several times a day.  I can feel the rhythmic “hic, hic, hic” clear as day.

And I’m tired.  Not really sleepy, but I feel like I just worked out most of the day, except all I did was carry a laundry basket up the stairs.  The struggle is real, kids.

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“What’s my birth plan?” you ask.  Make it out alive, all 3 of us.  Really.  That’s the whole thing.  We haven’t taken our birthing class yet, obviously.

Also, we don’t yet have a car seat that fits my car, any diapers, or a name.  But, we do have amazing friends throwing showers for us, an almost-mama who is in full-on nesting mode, an almost-daddy who likes to sing silly love songs about the baby and the belly, and we’ve still got 8-10 weeks before the baby’s due date.  We can do this.

You might need to remind me of that at least twice a day between now and then.

We’re going to be a three-family, and I have to pee ALL the time.

Quick Lit / January 2015

A quick look at books I’ve been reading recently.  (And here’s what I read last month.)  What’s on your bookshelf these days?

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The Best Christmas Pageant Ever / Barbara Robinson
This is a Must Read for me every holiday season.  I just love the narrator, her perceptions of her mother, all the Christmas, and the whole Herdman gang.  “Hey!  Unto you a child is born!”  I also read a whole host of children’s books over Christmas – Mom dug out all our old favorites while I was at home for the holiday.  Such good memories.

chasing mona lisaChasing Mona Lisa / Tricia Goyer
A unique look at WWII and the art world.  Young love, famous art, and bad guys escaping in old cars…what more does a mystery need?  Definitely an entertaining story, but not amazing writing.

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I’m linking up with Anne Bogel for her Quick Lit series (formerly Twitterature). Hop on over to Modern Mrs. Darcy for more.

One Word 365: Help

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Actually, I can’t host Christmas this year.

I can barely get up off the floor by myself.

And I don’t actually know what in the world to do with a newborn, really.

Yes, staying in therapy is the best thing for me.

2015 will be another year of change and uncertainty. We’ll need our community to show up in strong and tangible ways.

What do I have to give?

I believe, help my unbelief.

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Learn more at One Word 365.

Dear Mary,

We’re driving a lot of miles this Christmas, and you’ve been on my mind today.

Mary, did you know? 

Did anyone tell you? Did you know about the peeing when you sneeze?  Or laugh? Or hit a bump on the road too hard? No one told me.

God, that donkey ride must have been uncomfortable.

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people. 

Did you know that soon you wouldn’t recognize your body anymore? That your skin would be stretched tight under your used-to-be-flowing robes? That your very patience would be stretched thin? That your joints would loosen as hormones and tears flowed?

How high was your blood pressure? Was your anxiety skyrocketing? You had to raise the very SON OF GOD. No big deal.  Behind the blue headdress and sweet flannel graph smile we’ve pasted on you, were you freaking out?  How the old biddies must have loved to give you advice. Glory.

Glory to God in the highest, and peace among all men.

What did you think when you heard his name? Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Jesus. Had you always wanted to name your son Peter or Matthew?  

And Mary, can we talk about the hunger and the cravings? Did you wake in the night, your body needing something that you didn’t possibly have on your store shelves? You didn’t even know about Jello and Joseph wasn’t there with you – bless Elizabeth for tending to your pregnant self.  Is that why you wrote that line in your song?

He has filled the hungry with good things.

How did you do it? I’m freaking out about giving birth in a hospital filled with white sheets and technology and nurses and maybe a blessed epidural. No one can mommy-shame you for not having a natural birth. Take that, internet. But how did you do it? The little porcelain nativity set on our mantle is so clean. No hay, no mud, no blood and life pouring from you.

I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind.

And you lost a son, too, didn’t you?  My heart grieves this Christmas for mamas whose arms are empty, whose arms are missing one of their own. Did you know it would come to that for you? Could you even have imagined how the prophecies would play out?

Who were you when you weren’t preparing to be mama to the prince of peace? Some call you virgin, some call you holy mother. Some call you queen of heaven and saint.

This Christmas, dear Mary, I call you friend.

Quick Lit / December 2014

A quick look at books I’ve been reading recently.  (I read zero books last month because evidently my pregnant brain needed a break.)  What’s on your bookshelf these days?

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Where’d You Go, Bernadette / Maria Semple
This was a popular book club pick over the past couple of years, and I can see why.  I found the story to be lightly enjoyable and totally quirky.  A fast, funny read about prep-school moms, Microsoft corporate culture and the city of Seattle.

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The Peach Keeper / Sarah Addison Allen
A lyrical tale of southern friendships and coming home again, woven in with a bit of mystery.  I found some of the characters to be less believable than preferred, but overall, a nice little read. From reviews, it seems like other novels from Allen might be a better pick.

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Inescapable / Nancy Mehl
A predictable but sweet “bonnet book.” Nothing overly original here, but a decent read. The “does my father love me?” question is woven with themes of grace and redemption.  Note: I listened to this on audio book and found the voice of the daughter to be highly grating.  Would recommend reading the actual book instead.

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Seating Arrangements / Maggie Shipstead
Charming enough, but overly WASPY. “The whitest book I read all year,” wrote one reviewer, and I can’t disagree.  I like Shipstead’s writing style and character development, I think, but the story just didn’t do anything for me.

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Clapham Lights / Tom Canty
Many novels that I read feature female protagonists, but I thoroughly enjoyed this story of male friendship and misadventures.  I found the writing to be funny and sharp, and loved the depictions of life in young professional middle class Britain.

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I’m linking up with Anne Bogel for her Quick Lit series (formerly Twitterature). Hop on over to Modern Mrs. Darcy for more.

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