18 November 2008

Pregnancy and Cooking

I find that as I get further along in my pregnancy (21 weeks today) that my cooking level skill is inversely proportional with how far along I am.

It's getting a little annoying: I burn myself more often, I drop things more often (like a pan of meatloaf into the sink), I forget to cook half the meal if the main part is in the oven, I have a harder time multi-tasking and I just plain forget what I'm doing in the middle of doing it.

Does anyone have any suggestions for this?

I have heard that it doesn't get any better. Also, a few theories have been proposed: that this is due to sleep deprivation; that this is due to brain cells being produced at a lower rate because they are going to the baby; that my mind literally has other things on my mind: the growing baby in my womb.

I can understand sleep deprivation. I haven't slept all the way through the night in I don't know how long. There are a lot of nights where I just can't get to sleep after my mid-night rendevous with the bathroom, and I lose a lot of sleep that way.

The brain cell thing I need to do research on. The source I got that from is not a scientific peer-reviewed book, so all the information in it might not be completely accurate. Now to find the time to do that . . .

Anyway, just thought I'd share . . .

Unhappy people watch more TV: study

By James Hibberd James Hibberd – Tue Nov 18, 4:45 am ET

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – An extensive new research study has found that unhappy people watch more TV while those consider themselves happy spend more time reading and socializing.

The University of Maryland analyzed 34 years of data collected from more than 45,000 participants and found that watching TV might make you feel good in the short term but is more likely to lead to overall unhappiness.

"The pattern for daily TV use is particularly dramatic, with 'not happy' people estimating over 30 percent more TV hours per day than 'very happy' people," the study says. "Television viewing is a pleasurable enough activity with no lasting benefit, and it pushes aside time spent in other activities -- ones that might be less immediately pleasurable, but that would provide long-term benefits in one's condition. In other words, TV does cause people to be less happy."

The study, published in the December issue of Social Indicators Research, analyzed data from thousands of people who recorded their daily activities in diaries over the course of several decades. Researchers found that activities such as sex, reading and socializing correlated with the highest levels of overall happiness.

Watching TV, on the other hand, was the only activity that had a direct correlation with unhappiness.

"TV is not judgmental nor difficult, so people with few social skills or resources for other activities can engage in it," says the study. "Furthermore, chronic unhappiness can be socially and personally debilitating and can interfere with work and most social and personal activities, but even the unhappiest people can click a remote and be passively entertained by a TV. In other words, the causal order is reversed for people who watch television; unhappiness leads to television viewing."

Unhappily married couples also watch more TV: "(Happily married couples) engage in 30 percent more sex, and they attend religious services more and read newspapers on more days," reports the study. "While those not happy with their marriages watch more TV."

Yet there may be good news here for broadcasters. Commenting on the study, co-author John P. Robinson said the worsening economy could boost TV viewing.

"Through good and bad economic times, our diary studies, have consistently found that work is the major activity correlate of higher TV viewing hours," Robinson says. "As people have progressively more time on their hands, viewing hours increase."

Concludes the study: "These points have parallels with addiction; since addictive activities produce momentary pleasure but long-term misery and regret. People most vulnerable to addiction tend to be socially or personally disadvantaged, with TV becoming an opiate."


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
All I have to say about this article is that I don't watch TV and I consider myself to be a "very happy" person with life overall. And Mike and I are having a baby because we couldn't stick to the rules in Natural Family Planning . . . draw your own conclusions from that one. . . .lol. :)

16 November 2008

God has a sense of humor

Yesterday I attended the Women of Faith conference at the Ford center with Linette and Sarah (more on that in a seperate post).

After the conference, Linette's dad was unable to pick her up as planned, so I volunteered to take her home.

I had driven Mike's car that morning because he was going to use my truck to take Thomas' couch to Jake's to give to him. Now Mike's car is a somewhat "matured" car and occassionally has a problem or two. Mike had failed to tell me the latest problem with his car before I left.

Anyway, I drove Linette home. Now Linette lives on the northwest side of the city, on the northwest side of Lake Hefner. It takes about 35 minutes to get to her house from where Mike and I live, and that's with 85% + highway. Mike and I live on the far southeast side of Oklahoma City in Midwest City. It didn't take that long to take her home from Bricktown (center of OKC), but I'm just trying to paint a picture for those who aren't familiar with Oklahoma City.

Linette and I had a wonderful conversation on the way home to her house which we continued in her driveway. Since it was really cold outside, and I didn't really know how long we would be talking, I left the car idling in the driveway as we talked. According to the gas gauge, there was over half a tank of gas.

After we ended our conversation, I headed home. As I turned out of her neighborhood onto Hefner Road, I was leaving a voicemail to Mike letting him know that I was on my way home. The car seemed to have a hard time going forward when I pressed on the gas, then all of a sudden would surge forward. This was weird, and I thought that it could be any number of things. After it would surge forward though, it was fine. Then I would stop at another red light and when the light would turn green, I would go and it would be really sluggish for a few seconds and then surge forward again.

Okay, this is weird. And not really good. It's dark outside, cold, I'm all the way on the otherside of the city from where we live.

Now, Linette and I had just been talking about God's faithfulness and placing complete trust in God in all situations and how the Lord answers prayers, if you ask Him. Plus I had just left the Women of Faith conference where the speakers had also stressed these points.

So I prayed and asked the Lord that I would make it home safely that night and that there wouldn't be any problems with the car.

As I continued to drive along, I was going to stay in the right line, "just in case" the car broke down.

But then I saw that as doubting the Lord, so as if to prove my trust and faith in Christ and how He answers prayers, I moved into the left lane, you know, in the middle of the road.

At the next red light, I rolled to a stop and the car died.

Okay, this is not God answering my prayer. That's okay though, God has a plan, I'm not doubting. So I try to restart the car.

Rrrrr-rrr-rrrr. Then nothing.

Okay, try again. Rrrr-rrr-rrrr. Then nothing.

Hmm. Not good. Car is not starting.

By now the light is green and people who are behind me are honking.

So I look for the hazards switch. Where is the hazards switch??? Cars are really honking impatiently now and I frantically search for the hazards switch.

I hardly ever drive Mike's car, so I'm not all that familiar with it. Plus it's dark and I don't know how to turn on the inside light to see where something might be.

Ahah, I have a cell phone. I open the cell phone to use the light from the display to scan the dashboard and steering column for the hazards switch. No such luck.

Cars still honking. Light is turning red again.

I did try to roll down the window to wave people around, but Mike has electric windows. Did you know that electric windows don't roll down when the car isn't turned on?

So I call Mike:

"Where are the hazards?" in a slightly frantic, but still somewhat calm tone of voice.

"The what?" is the bewildered reply.

"The hazards. Where are the hazards?" The pitch in my voice starts to rise. I'm just trying to get out the words as fast as possible.

"The lights??" is the reply from my bewildered husband.

"The HAZARDS. Where are the hazards??" is the now really high pitched, edgy, frantic response.

"Oh, they're on the side of the steering column, on the right side."

"Okay, thank you". Find button and engage hazards. Impatient honking behind me dies off.

I explained to Mike what happened and asked what he thought it was. He asked if it was out of gas. "No, the gage says its full." "Well, the gas gauge hasn't been working." "I see, when did you last fill it up?" "Last Sunday" "Last Sunday? You failed to inform me that the car might need gas before I took it this morning." (Not that I could blame him, he was asleep in bed.) I told him I would call Linette's dad since I was just a few miles from her house where-as Mike was 30 minutes away and at dinner with Jake at Steak-n-Shake.

So I called Linette's dad (after calling Linette and getting no answer and calling Sam and getting the home number) and asked for help. We talked for a few minutes and it was decided that he would bring me some gas in a gas can and we would see if that helped. I thanked him and sat and waited.

Did you know that Hefner and McArthur is a really busy intersection on a Saturday night? And that there are a lot of people who don't know that a parked car with hazard lights isn't going to be able to go when the light turns green?

So Linette's dad and Linette arrived and went to the gas station.

The one right across the street.

Did I mention I broke down across the street from a gas station? Yes, just across the intersection. I spent quite a bit of the time I was sitting in the car looking at it.

We put the gas in and I tried to start the car.

It started right up. Of course. So I drove the 50 feet to the gas station and put gas in the car.

I was very grateful to Linette's dad for helping me out and gave him a hug, which I think he was not expecting. Linette had come with him, so I thanked her and gave her a hug as well.

And I drove home.

While I was driving the rest of the way home, I thought about my prayer to the Lord and how He had indeed answered my prayer. It had not gone unheard. He just didn't answer it the way that I wanted him to answer it. I thought this was all very amusing and also viewed it as another testament of God's faithfulness.

Yes, I viewed breaking down as a testament of God's faithfulness.

Truly though, He did answer my prayer and I was very grateful and thanked him when I arrived home safely. And the car didn't actually break down, it just ran out of gas. The gas gauge does need to be fixed though.

Anyway, I hope that the readers I have can apply my lesson to their lives. I also can apply it to my life. Just because the Lord doesn't answer our prayers the way we want Him to doesn't mean that He isn't answering them. Sometimes He just has a little trial on the way. We just have to see a situation for what it is and realize that the trial isn't a "no", it's just a test on the way to "yes". And keep communicating with Him. God is faithful - always. We just have to trust in Him - always.

10 November 2008

New Feeling

On Friday night at Bible study, I held Josh for a few minutes before he went to bed. (Josh's one year birthday is coming up too!)

As I was holding him, this warm, motherly, loving feeling just washed over me and filled me. It's kind of hard to explain, although I bet all mothers know exactly what I am talking about. I have never, ever in my life felt this feeling before, or anything close to it. Though it was a new and unusual feeling, it felt really nice and made me feel excited to hold and love my own baby.

I am beginning to see how God causes us to fall in love with our babies when they are born. Slowly I am beginning to get more and more excited about meeting Mike and I's little creation and holding him/her and taking care of him/her.

I like to feel the baby kick too; I can make out it's little foot pushing against me and it just feels so precious and tiny. I can picture putting a little booty on that foot when it emerges from my womb. :)

Oh, Mike have finally made our decision on a name: Timothy Edward if it's a boy and Sophie RoseEllen if it's a girl. Unless we change our minds again before the baby is born. I think we're pretty decided though. I think. Edward would be after Thomas (which he objects to, but I have always wanted to name my first son after him and Mike doesn't object) and RoseEllen would be after our mom's, although we're only using half of my mom's first name. It's a really hard decision naming a human. It's hard enough to name an animal, but a human will bare that name for their entire life and I have always been of the mindset that a person's name is something that helps define who that person is and influences their life. Lots of responsibility there.

Fall rains

It's a beautiful day today - lots of beautiful rain falling, with a strong northwestern wind causing the rain to blow in almost sideways. I got really bundled up for school this morning, left with my cup of hot chocolate and headed to school.

While I was walking through the parking lot, I was reviewing a conversation in my head from Friday night between Michelle, Sarah and I about winter foot apparel. Michelle had said that her winter boots were really just for cold, and weren't good at keeping out rain or wet or anything. I was thinking about this and how at least my boots that I used to wear to work, which really have a more dressy look, though they don't keep out the cold all that well, do keep out the wet. Just as I was thinking this, I had to walk through a little stream of water crossing the parking lot about an inch deep. There was no getting around it, not that I would have tried or anything. So I just walked right through.

And then I felt that dreaded feeling of water seeping into your boot from a loose seam or a whole near the ball of the foot, soaking the sock right in the toe area.

Not good.

I do not like having wet feet. And now my boots, which are already showing signs of wear (they have no heel left on them since I walk really hard on my heels) have leaks in them that have not been there in previous seasons. This should not be happening! They are only four or five years old! And I only wear them for half of the year!

I can see that I will be buying some winter boots along with other winter clothes before going to South Dakota. Mike and I decided that since I have virtually no winter clothes (especially ones that fit now that I'm pregnant), I am going to buy a few things with student loan money. It will actually be the first time I think that I am buying winter clothes. Usually I just layer my summer and fall clothes and wear a heavy coat (yes, I am that cheap/thrifty).

Well anyway, I have to get going. I can't wait to get home and change into some dry socks! Maybe I should carry an extra pair of socks with me now . . .

06 November 2008

Snowy article

This must have been what Pam was talking about in her blog . . .

And this is where Mike and I (and hopefully Thomas) are going in three weeks . . .

Wintry conditions wreak havoc in northern Plains
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081106/ap_on_re_us/wintry_weather
Thu Nov 6, 5:52 pm ET

RAPID CITY, S.D. – A wintry blast of punishing wind and more than 3 feet of snow in places pummeled the Northern Plains on Thursday, knocking out power to thousands and forcing highways to close. As much as 40 inches of snow fell in higher elevations of western South Dakota's Black Hills as the early season blizzard caused havoc. Drifts as deep as 6 feet covered roads in Spearfish.

"It's a raging blizzard out there," said Jeff Schild, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Rapid City.

Weather problems halted or disrupted traffic on Interstates 80, 90 and 94 in the Dakotas, Nebraska and Wyoming.

In Rapid City, a wind gust of 78 mph was measured late Wednesday, and gusts of 60 mph were still being reported Thursday morning.

The snow came down — sideways might be a better description — at a rate of 3 inches an hour overnight. It slacked off to 1 to 2 inches per hour late Thursday morning, Schild said.

More than 10,000 customers lost power at some point in Nebraska and South Dakota.
In North Dakota, parts of Dunn County received about 9 inches of snow, the Weather Service said.

"The wind is blowing so hard it's hard to tell how much snow we got," said Terry Sarlsland, street superintendent in Bowman, N.D. "We got 4-foot drifts in some places."

Sharon Gjermundson, a postmaster in Taylor, N.D., said that about a foot of snow kept her from punching in at work Thursday, and that she and her husband were worried about their livestock.
"We hope all the cattle are OK," she said.

Ta-Da!!


My first attempt at making bread! I think it turned out really great too. Mike and I got a breadmaker for our wedding and I have finally started using it. I know, I know, I'm the ultimate procrastinator. I had wanted to make bread since we got it, but it just seemed like it was never the right time. Mike and Thomas really love it though, and it is so incredibly easy. (A LOT easier than I thought it was going to be.) All you have to do is put in the ingredients, which right takes me about five minutes because I'm so meticulous, and then it just does everything else itself. So I have stopped buying bread at the grocery store and am just going to make bread instead. It's a huge money saver and it tastes one hundred times better than any store bought bread I've ever had. And it takes about two minutes to clean it after you're done.
Tonight I'm making cheese and cracked pepper bread, at Thomas' request. The breadmaker came with recipes for about three dozen or so different recipes, even some gluten-free I think.
Guess what everyone's getting for Christmas??

The Neighbors

Mike and I have a family of birds that lives in the tree right outside our living room window. The parent birds actually moved in and made house sometime in late winter, early spring. Sometime around that time, I decided to start buying wild bird seed at the commissary and filling the previously abandoned birdfeeder that hung from a branch stump about eye level (if you're Mike's height). I had to do some minor repairs first, but now it's good as new.
Later that spring, we heard lots of baby peeps. I liked to sit and watch at the window (along with Eowyn and Missy) and watch the comings and goings of the very busy parent birds as they brought food back to their new little arrivals. It was a nice distraction from studying. :)

I remember "flying lessons" day. Each bird fledgling would kind of hop out to the edge of the tree, test his wings for a few seconds and soar back into the safety of the branches. Gradually they moved to the roof, flying from the roof top to the tree and back.
Now the fledglings are all grown up and look identical to their parents. The whole family, all seven of them, live in the tree together. If you look close enough, you can see all of the little tunnels they have carved through the branches. It's such a delight to be sitting at the window and watching and all of a sudden a little brown head will pop out of the branches, look around, and pop back in or fly out.

Occasionally, you'll see more than one bird doing this at at time. How many birds do you see in this picture (above)? Right before I took the picture, there had been over five I think, but they get skittesh when I get too close to the window, so it was tricky to take pictures of them. I'm glad my zoom is really great! (I do need to wash the windows though!)

Lake Thunderbird and Pregnant Pics

As I had written in a previous blog, last Sunday after church, Mike and I went to Lake Thunderbird with Sarah and James after lunch. Mike and I both had a really great time hanging out with James and Sarah. And Sarah brought her camera, mostly because I forgot mine (even though the plan was to go to the lake after church to take pictures and hang out with Mike), so she got some really pictures.




We walked along the lake shore for a little while, taking various pictures, then headed down a trail at a nice, slow walk. You know, so the pregnant woman could keep pace.










This is me at 18 weeks, in regular jeans. I have the top button buttoned in this picture, but it's not in the other pictures.












It was such a magnificent fall day: it wasn't too hot, there was a wonderful breeze (actually it almost capsized one of the sail boats on the water), and the trees were the most beautiful golds, reds, oranges, yellows and browns. So beautiful. Definitely my favorite time of year. But why clot the beauty with simple words when you can just look at the pictures. :)






































I know this picture is a little devious and naughty, but I wanted to post it anyway because I love it. I think it just shows some of the passion of being married (especially to a tall, strong, handsome man like Mike!)










Here's Sarah and James - so in love! They are so cute together.







































Ahh, happiness . . . :: sigh:: I love Mike so much!






Here's one of Sarah by herself. I really think she could be a model. Mike agrees with me.



Peanut Butter and Procrastination

Well, I should be writing my exegetical exposition right now, which is due tomorrow, and I have all my resources on the table here next to me, but I just can't seem to get the motivation to get going on that. It's only over four verses, so it really isn't too terribly hard. I'm just tired and I have other things going on right now . . . .

. . . like making dinner . . . .

. . . and baking bread . . .

. . . and pining for Mike even though he's at work right now and I saw him earlier today and he'll be home in just a few hours (2300). . .

. . . and eating peanut butter . . .

Yes, peanut butter. I was eating it on celery, but the celery was hindering the creamy deliciousness of the peanut butter, so now I'm just eating it straight from the jar. Yum! I've never done this before, however, Baby apparently REALLY wants some peanut butter. It's so good! Michelle, I really wish you could partake of this treat. And since WIC gives me a new jar every month, I can eat all I want! Yippee!

So anyway, it was a really hectic day of running around. I had a dental appointment, and from there I drove up to school with enough time to spare to look up some information, copy the pages I needed (using my last 40 cents) and rush back to Family Expectations to meet with Tequia for our office visit. And since Mike's schedule had unexpectedly changed, he was able to join me! :D At the last office visit, Tequia took a picture of us and made the picture into a puzzle. On the back of the puzzle, which we started working on today, we are going to put together some goals of how we want our family to be 20 years down the road. So we figured out our goals and in the next few office visits, we'll be working on those on the back of the puzzle.

Our goals are:
  • better our communication with each other
  • get out of debt
  • learn to manage our finances better
  • there was one more financial one, but I can't remember what it is right now
  • work on our time management for we can more family time together
So anyway, I think we're off to a good start. Both of us pretty much have the same goals, so at least we are like-minded in our thinking.
Then after Family Expectations, we drove home (in our seperate vehicles since we had come from opposite directions), I ate a sandwich very quickly and then had to leave for the Red Cross. I've been helping Susan work on some data entry projects the past few weeks, which has actually been a blessing in disguise, because I can just sit at a computer and work and I don't have to expend a whole lot of energy. Today I was helping her get some backlogged data entry done in a really important report. And I also created some excel spreadsheets for the all the schools that have the Masters of Disasters Program. The MoD program is really awesome - it's a free kit that the ARC sends to schools and the teachers can incorporate disaster education into their curriculum year round (a little at a time in various subjects). A lot of schools are really happy to utilize it, especially since disaster education has been proven to save lives in Oklahoma during Tornadoes. The Red Cross has literally been able to reach thousands of kids through this program, which is really cool.
Then I came home and rushed right into getting dinner ready, doing the dishes, starting a loaf of bread in the breadmakers (LOVE IT!!!), and starting on my paper. Maybe after things calm down a little bit I'll be able to work on my paper.
Oh, in case I never follow up from my blog on Monday about the gushing fluid and stuff - I went to see the midwives (my midwife was off) and I was seen by two other midwives (at the same time). They actually thought my water had broken and that was what they were testing for. (Scary thought!!) It turns out my water had not broken (Praise the Lord!) and I had an infection, which apparently can cause the same type reaction. My first thought was gross!! But anyway, I got some antibiotics to take for a week and then everything should be great. :) While I was there, I did get to hear the baby's heart rate, which was in the 140's and strong. It was really great to hear that. And the baby was really moving around a lot! The midwives were actually surprised at how much the baby was moving! So apparently I am giving birth to a wiggleworm . . .
I want to post some pics, so I'm going to close this post. :) ta ta for now . . .

05 November 2008

October 31st


On Halloween, Steph and Jeremy hosted a Halloween Party at their house in Del City. They said dressing up was required, but Mike and I protested, so we didn't get dressed up. There was lots of good food and it was a pretty fun time.



Jeremy was a rockstar, although I thought he looked more like a punk pirate. Steph was Goldie Locks or Alice in Wonderland. Josh was a Vampire. (Poor Josh! He looks so sad!)


Michelle and Betsy were 80's girls. I thought it was pretty cool how well they matched. Joe and Kyle were both TDY, so they missed all of the fun.









Marilyn went as an 80's Rock Star, aka Madonna. Jason was the Joker from the latest Batman movie. He looked so much like the Joker, it was just unreal!

















Sarah was Oscar the Ostrich (very cute) and James went as a redneck. I thought he looked a lot like Joe Dirt.

















Thomas also showed up in no costume. (We never celebrated Halloween growing up and don't believe in celebrating it now.) So Steph and Jeremy put a cowboy hat and belt on him. Here in this picture we see a very rare sight: Thomas is smiling!















And here is Mike and I. I am 18 weeks pregnant at this point and I was extremely uncomfortable that night.

Like I wrote earlier, we had a good time hanging out with our friends. Jackie and Ryan weren't able to make it, and Linette and her sister Sam weren't able to make it either. :(

One Year Anniversary

Mike and I's one year anniversary was on October 14th. :) We made it to one year! Because Mike was on an exercise, he got recalled at 0400 and didn't home until after 1900. I knew he would be really tired, so I had dinner ready when I got home.

I had gotten dressed up for him before I started cooking, and I bought the flowers and cleaned the dining area for him. I made his favorite dinner for him: steak with yams, acorn squash, green beans and muffins. However, I burned my hand taking the steaks out of the oven, so I couldn't finish cooking everything. Thomas however came in and saved the day and finished sauteeing the mushrooms, and even added some onion (which turned out really wonderfully), and finished cooking everything else for me and even made the juice for me. (Yes, it's not wine on the table, it's a type of grapejuice.) Mike arrived home just in time and really enjoyed the food. He was pretty surprised. I wish I could have gotten a picture of his face.

We had a really romantic time, although Mike had to cut my steak for me because I couldn't hold the knife in my burned hand.

We had wanted to return to the Willow Way B&B, but this year it just wasn't feasible since he had an exercise and we didn't have the money. Nonetheless, we had a really great time together. It was actually our first candle-lit dinner at home together, which helped to make it really special.

Air Force Ball

Yes, Mike took Thomas to the Air Force Ball on September 19th. They had a great evening of dinner, laughter and dancing at the Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Museum. Thomas went with the casual look . . .



Just kidding . . . .


Mike and I went to the Air Force Ball together and we had a great time together. I bought a new dress and even lipstick and shoes to match. I had wanted to get a dress that would go well with Mike's uniform, but Ross had three to choose from and this one looked the best on me. Mike really loved it though. :) The food was awesome! We didn't stay for the dancing because by the end of the night my feet were so sore I could hardly walk back to the car. There were some other women from PWOC there, so Mike got to meet them and I got to meet their husbands.
Overall the night was really great and I didn't have any morning sickness! I can't remember how far along I was, but I think it was 13 weeks or something.

04 November 2008

Election Day

I voted today!

Did you?

Exercise your right to vote . . .

03 November 2008

Catching up

I haven't posted for a while, mostly because I've been pretty busy with schoolwork and stuff like that. I think I've had more papers to write this semester than any other semester since I started college! I just have three more to write before the end of the semester though, so that's not too bad. And a few tests.

I'm getting bigger and bigger. Especially from the morning to the night. It seems like everyday I wake up and I just have a tiny little bump, though definitely noticable, at least to me. As the day progresses along, my belly seems to literally double in size and is quite uncomfortable! I'm not really sure for the reason behind this phenomenon, but oh well. I also crave water! I can't get enough. My constant thirst and dry mouth is driving me crazy! Anyone else have this problem? I hope I don't have gestational diabetes.

Mike's TDY got canceled, so he won't be gone for the month of November and we'll be able to go home for Thanksgiving! Yay! I've been really looking forward to going back up to South Dakota to see Ruth and Paul and Pam and family for a while. I really hope that Mike and I will be able to see Pam and Joel's new house. From their blog, I can tell they've been working so hard and it really looks great. I hope also that Thomas will come up with us. He's been invited but is making excuses as always. Very frustrating . . .

I have an OB apt this afternoon at 1600 because I've had some gushing and leaking of fluid, and some of other stuff. Hopefully it's just a false alarm, although everyone I've talked to about has appeared to be quite alarmed. And I read one article which really scared me, so I decided to keep living in ignorant denial.

Sarah, James, Mike and I went out to eat for lunch at Alfredo's yesterday after church, which was really tasty, then went out to Lake Thunderbird and took some pictures and walked around the trails for a little while. It was absolutely beautiful. I think this fall is probably the most beautiful fall I have seen in Oklahoma. The trees everywhere are beautiful, brilliant reds, oranges, golds and browns and the wind hasn't been that bad, so all the leaves are taking their time falling off. Usually we have a lot of really bad storms and all the leaves are gone within days. I hope to get some pictures of the trees at school before we get some bad weather.

I do have some pictures to post, but I'm at school at the moment, so I have to wait until I get home and download them from my camera before posting them.

Mike and I have started our Family Expectations workshop, which has been really wonderful. We've learned communication skills, anger danger signs, the importance of friendship in marriage and other things. It really has been such a blessing. Two weekends ago they had a marriage panel come in that we could all ask questions and someone asked what the number one thing in their relationship was that helped them to "make it work" for as long as they had been married (one couple was 42 years). Both couples answered: Jesus Christ! What an awesome testimony to His faithfulness!

The morning sickness has pretty much disapated, which is such a relief. I do have an occassional day or part of the day where I feel pretty sick, but it's not constant like it was.

I have also finally broken down and put on a pair of maternity pants. Yes, I'm 19 weeks (tomorrow) and I'm just now putting them on. I was down to two pairs of pants that I could wear and I had to unbutton the top button on both. So you can imagine, after wearing the same two pairs of pants every day of the week . . . . Anyway . . . they are really comfortable!

I honestly haven't written very much about my pregnancy because I'm pretty scared about so many different facets of what's going to happen. The baby isn't even here yet and it has put a strain on Mike and I's relationship - at least in the sense that the "fantasy" glasses have come off. Which I was not happy about. We're working through things with help from mentors, but it's been hard. I just feel so lost, without a dream, which is very disconcerting. I have never not had a dream for my life. For as long as I can remember, I have had something "in the future" that I was looking forward to or working towards, and now there is nothing. Except an unchangeable reality. I know the Lord is working in my life and molding me and shaping me; it's hard though, and uncertain and I know I just have to keep trusting in Him. I cling to Jer 29:11 because I no longer have a plan for myself, I just have the Lord's unknown plan for me. It would be easier if I knew what His plan was, but I know that would underscore my trust in Him, so I have to continue to trust until I find out that plan is.

One of the hardest realities that I have come to face is that now that I am having a child, I am certainly no longer a child myself. I know I'm an adult and have been for some time now, but I still have what some might consider "childish" things in my life. For example, I have my collection of Breyer horses, which I have collected and cherished since I was 8 years old. I only let one other person play with them with me when I was a child, and that was my best friend Sam because she knew how much they meant to me. And now I look at them, and in some respects they have become a symbolic of something that I can never return to: the carefree days of childhood where there is no responsibility like there is in adulthood. This pregnancy in some ways has become a seal of adulthood. Something that in some ways I'm not ready for. I know this probably sounds really weird, but this is the first time I'm trying to put these feelings to words. I feel that I am losing the inner-child inside of me. That it's finally time to grow up. For good.

And there's no going back.

Well, I'm out of time and have to leave. I will try to post the pictures this week.