March 19, 2013

33 1/2 Weeks

You know you're getting close to the end when you start counting half-weeks.  Or maybe you're just getting desperate.  But in any case, we've got just 6 weeks and 2 days left until Baby's due date.


If I look exhausted in this picture, it's because I am. Ha!  Oh, and because I had just rolled out of bed and thrown on my workout clothes and decided I should get a belly picture while I had the black tank top on, before it had sweat rings under the arms.

I'm so glamorous.   

Don't worry.  Beautiful, glowy, energetic-looking maternity pics are coming soon.  ;)  We had our family maternity photo shoot this week, and I am SO EXCITED about how fantastic they came out!  

We've gotten back into the daily routine of Jazzercise or pre-school in the mornings, naps in the afternoon, and tutoring or family time in the evening.  Danny's behavior has finally settled down after all the travel, and he's back to being the sweet, even-keel kiddo that I know and love.  He's super-duper excited about his baby brother, and he seems to intuitively know that the time is coming soon.  He talks about him often, and when we got a baby-bouncer seat from a friend of mine and pulled out the bumbo for anther friend who came over to visit, Danny confiscated both items. They are now in his room, with his own baby blanket in them, which he calls his "baby-brother-blanket."  Yesterday, at our photographer's house, he and her little girl were playing and Danny was pushing a baby doll around in a stroller.  I LOVE seeing him so excited!!

My energy is up some, but definitely not "normal," and I don't really expect that to change until Baby's born, despite the crazy amounts of iron I'm taking.  I've also started to have pretty swollen hands, ankles and face when I'm hot or tired, which is often.  So far, it's manageable, but I have to admit that I'm nervous, since swelling got pretty out of control at the end of my pregnancy with Danny.  

Baby doesn't seem to have "dropped" yet.  He moves often, when I'm still, with little rolls of an elbow or stretches of an arm or leg.  Several weeks ago, he was head down, his spine to my belly button.  I don't really know if that's still the case, although I believe his head is down.  

It's just a waiting and a preparing game now...  Time to start re-arranging furniture, I think! 

March 10, 2013

The 3 a.m. Season

There are Springs, Summers, Winters, and Autumns, and the funky in-betweens when it can't decide if it's Summer or Fall, and then there are those others.  Those seasons of life that seem to throw you completely off kilter and you suddenly find yourself in survival mode for much longer than you expected.

Seasons like right now.

I think I'll call this season the 3 a.m. season.  Because I'm awake almost every morning at this hour, thanks to the needs that this second little boy is causing on my taxed and stretched and tired and (at the moment) heartburned-out body.  I recently told some friends that maybe I should just schedule something for myself every morning at this hour, since it seems to be the only time I can currently count on being awake, alert, and uninterrupted.

One of them suggested prayer.  They're absolutely fantastic like that.

These friends, they're called My Lovelies.  I don't think I've mentioned them here before.  We are a group of 15 that evolved out of a secret Facebook focus group originally intended to be editors  and collaborators for this life-changing book.  (Y'all should buy it.  Because anytime you can change your life for $3.99 and 31 daily devotions, you should.)

Last Spring we were a group of twenty something online barely acquaintances who agreed to collaborate on a book together.  Now we are a group of 15 and they are my best friends.  My BEST FRIENDS.  These girls will stop what they are doing to pray for another who is half a country away because of an anguished cry voiced on facebook over spilled milk or temper tantrums or ugly days or just plain ol' PMS.  And we laugh (ok we LOL) until we cry and our cheeks hurt over things that make no sense to anyone else, like metal chickens and poop. And we intercede for each other and buy groceries and plane tickets for each other, because that's what good girlfriends do.

I've only met about half of them face to face.  But that's about to change.  Next month - in just four and a half short weeks - they are almost all gathering at my house for a girls' weekend.  I've lovingly told my boys they must leave the premises for this group of girls I've never met, so that we can have 4 glorious days of kid-free girl time to do whatever. we. want.  After the Are You Crazy!? conversation, Alejandro graciously agreed with that look that I know is only because he knows how much this means to me.

This will be the very first girls' weekend I've ever gotten to be a part of - much less host.  (Well, unless you count Mary Kay conferences, which are a big ol' party and so much fun, but not the same as girls gathering at a house for four days to just be together.) We've been planning it for a year and now we are all just trying to  keep ourselves inside our own skin in anticipation and excitement.  Well, at least, I am.  

Everyone needs to go get themselves a set of their own Lovelies to do life with.

Life. Seasons.  Survival mode.  That's right.  That's what I was orginally writing about, wasn't I.... right.

These Lovelies, and my dear, blessed, long-suffering husband are going to be SO glad when this 3 a.m. season of survival I'm in is over.  I mean, we're all enjoying it for what it is.  Don't get me wrong.  There are the kicks, and the million trips to the bathroom and the constant eating.  Constant. Eating.  ...wait, I meant to go off on a list of the wonders of pregnancy right then.  Sorry about that.  Anyway, we are enjoying this season for what it is, but we will also be glad - so very glad - when it's over and it feels a little less like survival. And my husband and my Lovelies and everyone else around me can welcome the sane, logical, emotionally balanced Renee back into their life once again.

In the meantime, I'll do my best to cherish the anticipation.  The reorganization of a house.  The reorganization of a life.  The sweet one-on-one moments with my little boy who acts entirely too much like a little man sometimes.  Like tonight at our family Starbucks date way past his bedtime.  Every time he just holds that little Starbucks kids' hot chocolate and takes a sip while giving me a grown-up look, I could just squeeze him and go right back to when he was a newborn babe, patiently waiting for me to figure out how to mother him.  Oh, my sweet boy.

I'll cherish the moments when I suck in my breath and close my eyes and breathe deep and wait, while my body finishes another practice contraction.  And that look in my husband's eye as he waits, knowing without a word what's going on.  "Contracting?" he says, just to acknowledge what I'm going through.   "Mmm," I respond.  And just behind the expression of concern and sympathy, is a light glowy expression because his wife and unborn son are just getting ready for what's to come in the next 8 weeks, give or take a few days.

I'll cherish the cute wardrobe thas has been put together by loving loaning friends and Target sales, full of stretchy pants and huge waist-lines and the blessed break from sucking in my mid-section for 9 months.

I'll cherish the anticipation of a baby boy, so close to my heart, and yet still unknown, who will change and shape my faith and my motherhood and my character and my person and my life in a whole new yet unknown way.

I'll even cherish the quiet uninterrupted moments at 3 a.m., when I can read my favorite writers and be uninterruptedly inspired.  Even if they are born out of heartburn and the gazillionth trip to the bathroom.

See, Renee?  There IS a lot to enjoy right now.  So just ride it out.  Take each day of these next 8 weeks one at a time.  Breathe slower.  Or at least harder and longer.  And enjoy this 3 a.m. season.  It will only happen to you quite this way just once.

March 1, 2013

Now THAT's Better!

It's uncanny how I take a whole week to decide to share a bummer of a situation and ask for prayer, and less than 48 hours later, prayers are answered and I'm feeling so much better.

Where 2 or 3 are gathered, right!?

I'm not up to 100% yet - I expect that probably won't happen for another 9 weeks.  But I'm WAY better this morning than I was on Monday.

This morning, I made it through an entire jazzercise workout and I'm not dying a painful and slow death here in the easy chair!  Ok, I did a whole workout with the exception of one routine that's particularly tough when your center of balance is off.  Oh and the trips to the bathroom to pee.  And the contraction. But other than that!  And of course, I AM modifying all my workouts so they are entirely low impact.

So, if you didn't know, I'm an annoyingly huge fan of Jazzercise.  If you are my Facebook friend, you already know this.  It's the only thing I've found (as an adult) that gives me a complete workout, that I don't get bored with, and that I have enough fun doing that I forget that I'm sweaty.  That's pretty much a prerequisite for a workout for me now.  If it's not fun enough to make me forget I am sweating, I'm probably not gonna do it.

I started Jazzercise when Danny was around 6 months old, and it helped me shed those last 10 or 15 stubborn baby pounds.  Now, I'm the 7-months-pregnant lady they all marvel at and think it's amazing I can still do aerobic dance for an hour. (Actually there are three of us at the center who are pregnant. If you come visit for free weekends in March, you may not want to drink the water.)

Honestly, people, it's only because I never stopped.

I started Jazzercise, because I needed to get in shape and lose pounds and it was so stinking fun.  I kept doing jazzercise when I got pregnant with Baby #2 because it was still fun, I was committed to a certain schedule - oh and I work at the front desk, so I HAVE to be there, and that's entirely on purpose.

And why am I STILL doing Jazzercise now?  Ok, confession:  10% because it's fun.  Because when you're contracting and peeing and sweating and you really just want to lie down, it's not always fun.  Let's just be real. It IS fun that I am wearing a size 6 pair of maternity jeans though.

But really?  90% of why I still do it is because as I'm in there moving with the thinnest of them, I am internally (and now, not-so-secretly) thinking, "Oh yeah? Well I'm working out while growing a human being and carrying a 20 pound basketball on my front. Beat that!"

Yep.  It's pretty much my pure unadulterated ultra-competitive spirit that keeps me going.  Now you know.  ;-) Will you still be my friend?