Friday, October 28, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday - October 28, 2011



--- 1 ---

Elanor had her first T-ball practice yesterday. It went surprisingly well. I was a little apprehensive beforehand because she's never participated in any kind of organized sport before, but she was excited, enthusiastic and did a really good job of following the coach's directions. I was also afraid that she'd inherited her parents' complete lack of anything resembling athletic ability, but she managed to hit and catch decently enough for a 6-year-old. Maybe the complete lack of coordination has skipped a generation. :P

--- 2 ---

Remember how I said last week that I wanted to get her a pink glove? Well, call me Mother of the Year, because it suddenly occurred to me on Tuesday that my daughter, like her mother, is left-handed, and thus she needs a glove to wear on her right hand. Of course, there is not a single place in Phoenix (that I could find) that carried a right-handed pink T-ball glove. I would have ordered the dang thing online weeks ago had I remembered that she was left-handed. I ended up having to get her a boring black-and-white one instead (it was the only one at the sports store I went to that was right-handed, in her size, and didn't cost an arm and a leg). In retrospect I guess it's good to have baseball gloves that are gender-neutral, in the event that Violet and Baby W. ever reuse them. Still... she would have been so cute. Oh well.

--- 3 ---

Happily, I ended up only having to buy one Halloween costume this year (William's Spiderman outfit) as Elanor decided to be Princess Tiana again - thankfully her costume from last year still fits. Our plan is for me and Violet to stay home and hand out candy while Collin takes the older two trick-or-treating. If Collin gets a call at 6:29pm from a long-winded, whiny customer who won't shut up, I swear I'm going to reach through the phone lines and slap him or her. I hate the nights when he gets a call a few minutes before his shift ends and ends up having to take an hour or more to deal with it.

--- 4 ---

William asked me what I was going to be for Halloween, and I replied, "I'm going to be a pregnant mommy." He considered this, shook his head, and declared, "No, you need to be a princess, because you're my princess." He even found me a princess crown to wear from Elanor's dress-up stash. So, I guess I'll be a pregnant princess.

--- 5 ---

I suppose it beats the other costume I had in mind:

 
It's quite the resemblance right now.
 
--- 6 ---

Forty-nine days until my due date. As cool as it would be to have a December 17 baby (it's the 11th anniversary of our engagement as well as my grandma's birthday) I'll be good with anytime after December 1. I'm ready for this pregnancy to be over so I can walk without pain. At least I start working from home after Thanksgiving - getting rid of the 2+ hour commute (one hour there, about an hour and a half home) will help significantly.

--- 7 ---

Collin's employer announced yesterday that they're continuing with the mandatory overtime for the next two weeks. This was after a week of all the employees assuming that it was no longer required -- that's right, they announced mandatory overtime with less than 24 hours notice. Apparently some of his co-workers are single parents and are frazzled about having to find childcare on the weekend on such short notice, one of his co-workers may have to cancel his vacation, and Collin's upset because he'd thought that he'd be able to have something resembling a relaxing weekend for a change. *sigh* It doesn't help that they're severely understaffed right now. So, prayers for stress relief and peace of mind would be appreciated.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, October 21, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday - October 21, 2011

--- 1 ---

Baby update: I had an appointment yesterday and everything looks good. His/her heartbeat was 145bpm, my bp was good, and weight is stable (actually, I've lost two pounds since my last appointment and am still about 5-6 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight). I'm measuring right on target, which was surprising to me given that I feel like Shamu. The doctor thinks I'm just carrying this baby differently than the others, which is why I feel so big compared to past pregnancies. I also got a flu shot. Ow. My arm still hurts. I guess it beats getting influenza, though.

--- 2 ---

Well, here it is, October 21 and the world didn't end. Poor Harold Camping. Wonder what spin he'll come up with this time to excuse his invalid prediction to his followers?

--- 3 ---

We had a parent-teacher conference with Elanor's regular classroom teacher and special education instructor today. Bottom line is that she's making progress, albeit slowly. We're considering holding her back a year, depending on what progress she makes by spring. We're starting the paperwork now just in case we make the decision to do so. Generally, her teacher told us, the administration is reluctant to hold back a student, especially one with an IEP. Collin and I are both wondering if it might benefit her, though, given that she still shows significant delays when it comes to reading and writing. It's something we'll have to research more, I guess. However, her teachers repeatedly praised her imagination, her positive attitude, and her loving, happy personality, so that was nice to hear.

--- 4 ---

I finally got Elanor's school picture order (long story short, the order got lost somehow after it was delivered to the school and they finally found it):

--- 5 ---

Collin's employer has decided to extend their support hours. Worst case scenario, Collin might end up with a schedule where he's working until 11pm. The thought makes me want to cry. It's imperative that I keep the kids downstairs and quiet while he's upstairs working; I'm not going to able to put them to bed if he's working that late! I might be able to put the older kids to bed and just take the youngest into the master bedroom with me 'til he's off of work or something like that, which is not a fun prospect, given I'll still have to keep them very quiet (not sure how that will work once we have a new baby...). We can only hope and pray that he'll get a halfway decent shift (like the one he has now, 7:30am-6:30pm, 4 days per week) instead of a late night one. He can list his preferences but it's basically a randomized draw. *sigh*

--- 6 ---

Elanor starts T-ball next week. I want to get her one of these:
Back in my day I don't think they made pink-and-purple baseball gloves! I had a boring brown one when I played softball as a kid.

--- 7 ---

I do indeed have my new iPhone 4S now, and I absolutely love it. Siri is a very handy tool (and rather amusing at times). It's so much smoother, faster, and shinier than my old phone! I can't wait to use it for pictures and video of the new baby. :)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Our Leap of Faith


October 17 marked the three-year anniversary of our arrival in Arizona, and I realized that I'd never blogged about what led us here.

In the fall of 2008, my husband and I faced a difficult decision. The recession had detrimentally affected both of our jobs. At the time, I was part of a dedicated team at my work serving a specific client - Lehman Brothers. Collin was working part-time in the evenings for a local ISP and going to college full-time as well. 

Lehman Brothers imploded, and I ended up taking a cut in pay and slightly reduced hours. Around the same time, Collin's employers informed him that they were eliminating all part-time positions in a few months and going to full-time positions only. As he was attending college full-time, there was no way he could accept without dropping out of school (nor did he want to accept; it was a decent job to work while in school, but not a job he wanted to do full-time).  

However, school was not going well for him (calculus was proving extremely difficult) and we were struggling to make ends meet the way it was with two little kids in full-time daycare. Neither of us had prospects for better employment in our area. Collin and I had a long talk one evening, and he asked me how I'd feel about moving to Arizona (specifically, Surprise, in the Phoenix metro area). His brother lived there, and he and his wife were willing to provide us with a place to stay as long as we needed one. His mother lived there full-time and his grandparents wintered there. Despite the impending recession, he felt our job prospects would be better in AZ, given that it was a large metropolitan area, and he would be willing to postpone school indefinitely until we got on our feet.

I was conflicted, given that most of my family lived in the Fargo area, but there was one thing I did know: we were stagnating where we were. It seemed like no matter how hard we worked, we couldn't get ahead.  Also, the winters were very hard on us -- driving to work through glare ice and snow, bundling up the kids like Eskimos every time we left the house, and Collin's bipolar disorder being exacerbated by Seasonal Affective Disorder. The climate in Arizona, in contrast, seemed like a dream.

We prayed, and talked some more, and considered all the pros and cons. Collin felt that God was leading us to AZ; I was more hesitant but I trusted him completely. I thought that if we were meant to go to AZ, then any obstacles in our path would be easily resolved -- and as it turned out, that was exactly what happened. Collin was able to withdraw from his current semester of school with no penalties (he just barely made the deadline); I found a co-worker of mine willing to take over the lease to our apartment right away so we didn't have to worry about getting out of our lease (our landlord had told us that if we could find a new renter, he'd let them take over the lease instead of charging us the standard fee for breaking the lease early). Our families, while sad that we were leaving, generously offered help with packing and moving expenses.  This all came about within two weeks of our decision to move.

We gave away many of our possessions (including one of our cars with a dying transmission, donated to charity), packed a small moving van with what was left, and traveled 1,800 miles to the south. It ended up being a long, four-day road trip. When we arrived, we had barely $100 to our name, two small children (a three-year-old and a six-month-old) to support, and were dependent on the kindness of relatives for housing. We'd prayed hard about our move and felt that God was guiding us in our decision, but it was still very scary.

Once we arrived, we both began sending out resumes and applying for jobs. Collin, a computer technician by trade, decided one day to go to the local Catholic Church and introduce himself to the priest. In front of the Church was a small garden with a statue of Mary in the center. He paused in front of the statue to pray, and just as he finished his prayer, his cell phone rang. The call was from a recruiter at a large and successful computer company. They were calling to schedule an interview. The interesting part was that he had never sent them him his resume; he hadn't been aware they had any jobs available in the area. However, somehow his resume had gotten to them. 

He immediately scheduled the interview, and eventually he was offered a full-time position with a salary higher than he'd ever made before. Exactly one week later I also found a very good job, and within days we'd also found a four-bedroom house to rent (a far cry from the tiny two-bedroom basement apartment we'd had in Fargo)! Neither of us think it was a coincidence that our good luck began after asking Mary for her intercession.

With our two good jobs, our financial situation continued to improve. We were able to invite my grandmother to spend an extended stay with us so she could escape the ND winter for a few weeks, and we loved having her as a guest in our home. (She's been back every winter since.) 

In December 2009, we realized a long-cherished dream: home ownership, something we never thought would be possible for us. Our new home was located right behind our church, the parish where Collin had asked Mary for her prayers. When we were originally looking at the house, we brought the kids up to the master bedroom to look around, and our daughter pointed out the window at the beautiful view of the church and said, "Look, there's Jesus!" Collin said he knew right then and there that God meant for the house to be ours, and he was right again. Despite nine other offers on the house, ours was accepted. 

In March 2010 we realized another dream -- a new sibling for our children. Soon we'll realize that dream once again. Collin was able to return to school and has been a full-time student at the University of Phoenix for a little over a year; his GPA is currently over 3.5 and he's set to graduate in 2012.

When I look back over the road we've traveled, I can't believe how our lives have changed in three short years. Moving to a new state with no jobs lined up and very little money was a huge leap of faith on our part, but it ultimately turned out to be the best decision we could have made for our family (and yes, we LOVE the weather!).

Deo gratias!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

What's Wrong with this Picture?


A (very liberal) Facebook friend posted the following to her wall earlier today:


I commented that the initial assertion in the graphic (specifically, "The House just passed a bill that will let a hospital refuse a woman emergency abortion care even if she will die without it") was a blatant lie, offered a link demonstrating step-by-step how it is a lie, and asked her to please not post pictures that propogate lies.

The response by her and her liberal cronies, in a nutshell?

"It's not a lie! The Protect Life Act doesn't create jobs, therefore the graphic doesn't lie!"

I sometimes wonder why I even try.









Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day

Today, October 15, is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day.


Please light a candle in memory of your own lost little ones, and/or in memory of those who have lost babies, either before birth or within the first year after birth.

I've lost two children to miscarriage, Noel (December 2006) and Chris (March 2009); I think about them every day.


Image: foto76 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday, October 14, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday - October 14, 2011 - Haiku Edition



--- 1 ---


New iPhone 4S is 
waiting for me at home. 
4pm, come soon! 

--- 2 ---


The kids watch Star Wars 
over and over again.  
Love this new obsession. 

--- 3 ---


I'm 31 weeks. 
Jeez, was I this big before? 
My belly is huge. 

--- 4 ---


My new goal in life: 
Please, Leila Miller?? ;) 

--- 5 ---


Prayed outside clinic 
yesterday afternoon for 
 

--- 6 ---


Pumpkin spice lattes 
are so very, very good.
I must get one soon 

--- 7 ---

 Plans for tomorrow: 
Sleep in, do laundry, fix bikes. 
Or maybe just sleep. 

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, October 7, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday - October 7, 2011


--- 1 ---

30 weeks
today! Baby W. has been moving around and kicking like crazy lately. I think s/he's had hiccups a few times, too.

--- 2 ---

You know how I said last week that I was hoping things would settle down this week? Well, they did to a certain degree, but it looks like the next two weeks are going to be difficult. Thanks to the release of iCloud, Collin has to work mandatory overtime for the next two weeks in addition to being in the final weeks of his most challenging college course to date. I think he's going to emerge from his office for meals, bathroom breaks, and the occasional nap, but that's about it. *sigh*

--- 3 ---

Speaking of Apple, Steve Jobs will be missed. He was a brilliant man who impacted several different entire industries -- and his company treats their employees quite well to boot. Prayers for his soul, and for his family in their time of grief.

--- 4 ---

Speaking of Apple once again, Collin ordered my birthday/Christmas present this morning (a white one, 64GB - I thought I was getting a 32 GB one but he decided to go for broke).

So. Excited. It should arrive October 14!

--- 5 ---

I had an intensely painful charley horse at 2am this morning. Ow. I swear it hurt worse than labor contractions did.

I hate that particular pregnancy symptom. The weird thing is that Collin woke this morning with a bad charley horse too! Must've been a sympathy one.

--- 6 ---

I read a birth story earlier this week that simultaneously made me laugh and freaked me out. It's called, "Is That My Uterus in that Taurus?"

I think it freaked me out because I came uncomfortably close to having a similar birth story with Violet, and I'm nervous that my labor this time around might go even faster. I really don't want to give birth in the car if I can help it.

--- 7 ---

Potluck tonight for the marriage prep group. We're bringing Beer-Braised Kielbasa, mainly because I KNOW the kids will eat it.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!