Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dear Baby...

Well, here we and me...almost halfway through this pregnancy. I don't know about you, but I can't believe how fast it has went. As I keep on moving through the end of another school year, you are moving too. Baby Development 101 says you are moving your arms and legs like crazy right now, getting ready for lots of years of running around with your mom and dad. You'll keep us busy, that's for sure.

Speaking of your mom and dad, I feel it is only fair to give you a glimpse of what you can expect to be part of in the Jorgensen household; to prepare you for the uniqueness you will be part of. Last night, Beau and I watched your cousin, Charly. She had her two month shots earlier that afternoon (sorry to say you will get these too), and was worn out to say the least. So, for the first 45 minutes, she nuzzled her head into my arm and slept like the sweet baby she is (hopefully you'll follow her lead with the sleeping habits). As I snuggled up with Charly and watched 'Glee,' I felt Beau glaring at me from across the room. He had waited patiently and it was his turn to hold his niece. Soon, she woke up, happy and rested. She smiled, cooed, and watched intently as Beau and I sang several old school 80s songs to her. When I handed her over to Beau, he thought it seemed like the right time to play 'Superman.' Charly embraced this role, sticking both arms out in front of her, even clasping her tiny hands into fists. Her face was the best though. As Beau gently flew her through the air, her look was one of intensity, of a hero on a mission. She loved it, especially when her uncle proceeded to play the 'Superman' theme song on the computer. By the time Jordan and Kelli had returned home, the 'Superman' song had repeated itself multiple times. Needless to say, Charly was happy to see her mommy and daddy!

Will our parenting styles follow the norm? Maybe not. Will we know what we are doing all the time? You can bet not. Will we raise you to be a unique soul, who follows your own ways and makes the world your masterpiece? I sure hope so.

Will we have fun? Absolutely!!!

I love you, sweet little one. - Your mom

Our little pepper...

How far along? 18 Weeks!

Total Weight Gain/Loss?

Maternity Clothes? Still squeezing into my regular pants, although it’s getting pretty difficult. I don’t want to spend the money on maternity pants when I only have to make it through a month of school. I actually counted the ‘dress up’ days left in the school year. I think I can make 15 days!

Stretch Marks? Nope

Sleep? I thought people said the exhaustion would go away! I did talk to another teacher today, who made me feel better about my sleeping patterns. She said she used to sneak away in a co-workers office and take short naps during recess and lunchtime…she wouldn't make it through the day without them!

Best Moment This Week? Starting Baby J’s room. It’s fun to see the beginning of a work-in-progress. It makes it even easier to dream…

Food Cravings? Lots of fresh foods…lettuce salads, fresh fruit, tomatoes, and grape juice boxes!

Gender? 2 weeks! We’re getting close!

What I Miss? Energy!

What I Look Forward To? Finding out if we’re having a boy or girl! It’s driving me crazy and the 11th cannot come fast enough!

Weekly Wisdom? Pedicure…great idea! You won’t as easily make time for things like this once you have that baby…take advantage of the opportunity now!

Milestones? Our baby is the size of a bell pepper! It is also flexing its muscles; however, not enough for me to feel them yet!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A taste of rhubarb

As I mentioned in a post last week, while grocery shopping, I happened to wander by some beautiful stems of luscious red rhubarb. I've never baked or cooked with it; however, I love the taste of it. I've considered adding rhubarb plants next to my peonies in the backyard, but thought I might try experimenting with some rhubarb recipes first. Because I didn't feel like spending hours on a pie crust, even though a strawberry rhubarb pie sounded quite delicious, I instead decided on a rhubarb cake. Today was the first below average temperature day in weeks, and the cold, cloudy, and rainy day seemed like a perfect excuse to fill the kitchen with the aromas of warm cinnamon, brown sugar, and tangy rhubarb.

As I said, I've never experimented with rhubarb, so was surprised when it was really similar to celery. I chopped up two cups it and mixed with the following ingredients:

1/2 cup of butter
1 1/2 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk

Then, before popping it in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, I sprinkled it with 1 cup brown sugar, 2 tsp. of cinnamon, and 1/4 cup of butter.

During my usual night of Desperate Housewives and Brothers and Sisters, I treated myself to a nice, plump piece of cake and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

I wonder how fast it would take rhubarb to grow in the backyard ;)


This weekend was about finishing. It started with finishing the remains of three bowls of cereal. Because they wouldn't fill an entire bowl, they've been sitting in the pantry for weeks. So, thanks to Project Pantry, I had three mini-bowls of Captain Crunch, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Special K. All were delicious and now I have room to purchase a new box of cereal. Always an exciting decision if you ask me ;)

Saturday, we started another project, a project we've been visually planning since about January...Project Nursery. The future nursery is currently serving two very important purposes: 1) our office, complete with a desk, computer, and all of our Internet cords of life; and 2) my dressing room, complete with my color-organized closet, shoes, dresser, and full-length mirror. In order to begin the nursery, we first had to decide on a plan of action for a new wireless Internet station and more importantly, a new, Carrie Bradshaw inspired dream closet (more progress to come on that later).

Today, we finished Step 1 of Project Nursery. Gabe, Ray, and Captain Curt came to help Beau install hardwood flooring in the nursery and our bedroom. The preexisting carpet in the bedrooms was old, not to mention, as bad as my allergies were yesterday, I'm ready to have as little carpet as possible.

If only all home improvement projects were this quick. In one day, we ripped up the old carpet, pulled out the staples, and finished the flooring. Although my head felt like it was going to explode thanks to the mixture of sawdust, carpet remains, and cat fur flying through the air, I cleaned the two rooms and carefully helped Beau move furniture back in its original place.

Beau and I finished the night with a trip to Lowes to purchase a few odds and ends (including an air purifier), and a nice dinner at the Olive Garden. We finished two baskets of breadsticks, one bowl of OG's famous salad, but fell short of finishing our spaghetti and carbonara. Although I didn't come close to finishing our Netflix movie, Twilight, which had been sitting in our living room for weeks (Beau said he thinks the 20 minutes he watched actually made him stupider), I satisfyingly finished the night snuggled up in a bed resting on a beautiful new hardwood floor.

Although I'm feeling pretty good about our weekend's accomplishments, I have a feeling one of Beau's favorite authors, Louis L'Amour, and his famous quote may be foreshadowing a series of events to come...

"There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will only be the beginning."

Saturday, April 24, 2010

There's a BUN in the OVEN!

That's right. The last couple weeks, Baby J has made its presence known with the small makings of a baby bump. It's a really strange feeling having no control over the changes my body is going through. It's an even stranger feeling knowing that I have the makings of a person hanging out with me every minute of every day. Beau is jealous because I get to "hang out with the baby all the time." Although 'it' doesn't say too much or move too much, it's the best company I've ever had ;)

I also wanted to use this post to pay homage to my husband and his all-time favorite pastime...his smoker. He knows I'm not a huge fan (as the smoke bugs my allergies), so every time I'm going to be gone, Beau buys out the Fareway meat counter and smokes an array of different meats. This week, while I was off on a much needed girls' night with April, Kelli, and Julie, Beau and Starbuck smoked turkey legs, a massive pork chop, potatoes, and two meatloaves...yes meatloaves. I'm not usually a huge fan of the smoky flavor of the food; however, that meatloaf was making my mouth water. I was convinced we would have a fridge full of leftovers; however, I was wrong. I got home from dinner to find Beau, Starbuck, Taylor, and his roommate, David, stuffed on the couch. Nice call inviting two college boys over to help devour the goods.

Here are some photos of Beau's recent masterpiece. I'm sure the summer will bring many more to come.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Day

Happy Day. Happy 'Earth' Day. A day set apart to celebrate the beauty of this beautiful, God-given Earth.

I celebrated by taking a quick stroll in my navy blue pointed toe heels down scented Seerley Blvd after school. For about two weeks each year, Seerley is gorgeous. I purposely drive to and from work just to admire the trees. If you've ever seen the movie, 'Pleasantville,' it reminds me of the scene where Buddy takes his girlfriend to Lover's Lane in that really cool convertible and on the way, they drive down this lane with these pretty pink flowered trees. The petals from the trees are falling like rain down into the car and since the rest of the film is in black and white, the pink petals stick out like color on a blank canvas. It would be the best place for wedding pictures. I think I may go back some early morning before the traffic hits. That is, if the trees decide to hold out a little longer.

One of my students surprised me today with a homemade blanket for my baby. A sweet, fleece, Noah's Ark blanket with a handmade card signed, 'love, Alex.' Her mom helped her purchase fabric and she was so excited to bring me the gift. Little did she know it is a gift that will always hold a special place in my heart. It will be so cool to curl up with it and tell my future son or daughter that the blankie was made by one of my high school students.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dear Little One...

Dear little one,

Tonight, all is well. I'm inching my way to the end of a school year, we're enjoying one of the nicest springs I can remember, and Beau and I have been spending lots of time together doing what we do best: cooking. Yes, I've reacquired my love for the culinary arts. Right now, I'm taking part in Project Pantry, attempting to spend less than $45 a week on groceries while using the large array of foods I've collected in my pantry during my recent cooking aversion. So far, week one is a success! Not to mention, I'm on my third pound of strawberries in three days! They are delicious and I have a feeling there will be lots of strawberry shortcake in your future! One promise I can make you is that you will absolutely never go hungry. Your parents love to cook, take pride in our ever-growing exotic palettes, and like to try new things. Cooking together makes us feel refined. If only, however, I could dive into a tall glass of wine while I create a masterpiece though!

What else is new? Well, in the last week, you have been 'felt'... a lot. For some reason, a few of my girl students have felt it necessary to start touching my belly. It's rather adorable, actually, and I haven't been the weirded-out type to be annoyed by it. If anything, I've really appreciated their comfortableness and excitement. They ask a lot of questions, are always willing to shed advice on baby names and nursery ideas, and are the first to critique my outfits and whether I'm 'showing' or not. My 9th graders, often the most open and honest with their English teacher, are split a bit. Half of them have confirmed (to me) that I've been a lot happier since I've been pregnant and have assigned less homework, and the other half feel I've been 'moodier.' Bless their hearts for their honesty. I can't wait to see their faces come August when I'm huge, hot, and really moody :-)

I guess that's all for week 17. Know that you are loved, even by 14-16 year olds.

-Your Mom

P.S. Beau forgot that I'm doing my best to avoid caffeine throughout pregnancy and made an inviting jug of sun tea. I indulged in a glass during supper. Let's just say, my cat, Jade's ears have been back the remainder of the night ;)

Seventeen Bliss

How far along? 17 Weeks!

Total Weight Gain/Loss? up a pound

Maternity Clothes? Last Friday, I rocked my first pair of maternity capris. Do I necessarily need them? No. Did they look wonderfully, utterly attractive? No. Did they provide comfort and much needed room to move while I decorated for the Junior/Senior Prom? YES!

Stretch Marks? Nope

Sleep? I’m afraid it’s only the beginning. For the rest of my life, I will be tired come 9:00 at night. I couldn’t be more disappointed in myself that I can’t even stay up for 24, our favorite TV show. Good thing we have DVR…

Best Moment This Week? My love of cooking and meal planning has come back in full swing. On Sunday, like old times, I made a meal plan for the week and got the groceries I needed. I cut up 3 pounds of perfect, plump strawberries, grilled salmon, and Beau and I cooked chicken and pasta last night. We’ve eaten at the table together 3 nights this week! Now, I’m itching to make a rubarb pie…

Food Cravings? The strawberries I purchased took on a whole new meaning for me this week. I’m not sure if it’s the pregnancy, but they were the juiciest, fruitiest strawberries I’ve ever had. I had them straight out of the carton, over a bowl of vanilla ice cream, and mowed the rest down at work. I even told the check-out lady at Hy-Vee that she should really purchase some!

Gender? 3 weeks until our Gender Reveal Party! How fun!

What I Miss? Making it through all my morning classes without having to pee three times. The overactive bladder has officially begun this week!

What I Look Forward To? 3 weeks until boy or girl; 5 weeks until summer break!

Weekly Wisdom? Give that daddy-to-be of yours lots of loving. He’s the greatest. He helps you interview for an upcoming job for an hour and a half, then after lots of pep talks, tells you he is so very proud of you. Make sure he hears it back.

Milestones? Did I mention the bladder???

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Happiness Project...A Wish List

This week, my Happiness Project continues; however, I'm veering a little off subject. Instead of writing about the things that bring a smile to my face on a daily basis, lately, I've been smiling a lot thinking about all the things I'm looking forward to about summer. I have begun a new list...a list of delightful little plans I have that will allow me to embrace the sun and relax a bit before a new school year approaches and our lives change forever with the arrival of Baby J.

32. the library. Ever since my mom got her job at the Allison Library, I've been dreaming of the chance to explore the shelves, thumb through the pages of the current best-sellers, and check out books to read FOR FUN. See, as an English teacher, I'm always reading. Reading students' papers, reading professional literature on current methodology and practice, and reading classic and contemporary young adult literature as possible texts in my classes. All of these different reading experiences share one thing: they are all done for a purpose. This summer, I want to read for no other purpose than to enjoy and get lost in a good book. I want to quietly stroll through a cozy lit library and experience that excitement that goes along with checking out a book. I want to sit on my deck, sip a glass of lemonade, and read.

33. pie-making. Last summer, I embarked on a journey to learn the art of pie-making. This year, it's about perfecting. For the first time I've noticed, Hy-Vee currently sells long, luscious legs of rubarb. I've been eyeing it the last few times I've been grocery shopping. It may turn into a crisp or a coffee cake, but I assure you, I will experiment with rubarb before it clears the shelves for the season.

34. flower-hunting. Last year, Mom and I ventured an hour and a half away to a lovely greenhouse owned by a sweet Mennonite family. Their flowers are the's not even worth it to spend a penny on the flowers that are so tempting at Hy-Vee or Wal-Mart. They have everything known to man. The drive in the car gives Mom and I a great excuse to spend much needed time in conversation, and we always leave with a car full of plump, colorful, and exotic flowers.

35. Outdoor exploration with Beau. Three years ago, Beau and I purchased a couple of fishing licenses and spent ample time knee deep in the surrounding waters of the Cedar Valley. We anxiously awaited fish; however, focused much more on 'catching' up with each other. Then, Beau and I decided to demolish and reconstruct a kitchen which took up the majority of our summer. After that project, our little fishing excursions became a thing of the past. This summer, we are bound and determined to bring fishing back to our lives. We've already scoped out spots, and Beau's gracious colleague Phil has offered us use of his canoe whenever we want.

36. Baseball. Whether it be a Cubs game at Wrigley, a Twins game at the new Target Field, or a $1 Buck Night at River Front Stadium, baseball is not only America's favorite pastime, but one of my favorite pastimes. The combination of fresh air, raw sun, and salty peanuts and popcorn screams carefree summertime. I will miss watching Taylor play ball, but hope we can find more time for W'loo Bucks games and maybe even a few IA Cubs (especially on fireworks nights).

My summer list is sure to lengthen, but for now, I'm content with my five summer goals. If I make it to the end of summer with a thick bed of flowers, a good book, a suntan, and a full stomach from yummy pie, I'll be one happy girl!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Today I pulled weeds...

Today, with clenched fists and gritted teeth, I pulled weeds. Spring has arrived and with all the beauty that it entails, my life has been overtaken by weeds. Hopeless, useless, and pointless weeds that overcrowd and disguise all the pretty parts of my flower bed life. And, as we know, if not taken care of every now and then, weeds multiply and spread, eventually taking over our flower beds, killing the flowers and seeds so carefully planted. was it. Today was a day for weeding.

My 'weeding' involved a soft blanket, a glass of ice water, and a book. As I laid in my front yard, staring at the cloudless sky, my head felt like a top, balancing on an elevated spot of the ground, spinning madly out of control. I fought back tears, which made my eyes burn behind my thick rimmed sunglasses. Then, as I turned over on my stomach, I noticed two eyes staring at me intensly behind my glass door. There stood my cat, patiently waiting for her escape too. I let Jade out and watched her explore her surroundings, taking in every bird chirp, child laugh, and blade of grass blowing in the breeze. I followed Jade's lead and decided to listen.

I want to notice things. I want to see, and taste, and bask in the small things that writers write about and singers sing about. I want to notice things.

Soon, I started 'seeing.' I tasted the cool breeze and admired the softness of the grass that Beau had worked so diligently on last summer. I heard the grass crackle like Rice Krispies as I laid my ear against the fleece blanket. I tasted summer nights when I was a kid, dancing barefoot in the backyard, sucking on the petals of purple clover growing in the field behind our house. I studied our untamed landscaping and wild weeds and dreamed of summers of flower picking and planting. And eventually, I started feeling better.

I went to Hy-Vee and pretended I was at a fresh outdoor market, purchasing only fresh foods and hearty meat to grill. I bought strawberries and rhubarb, tomatoes and greens. I listened to Ron and Pat on 1650 on the drive home, a sound that is synonymous with summer and baseball at Wrigley. Maybe we won't sell those tickets after all...

And, as Beau came home and we walked hand in hand in our neighborhood, I felt better. The 'weeding' I did today helped. My flowerbed life was a bit clearer. And soon...very soon...I'll have time to plant something new to grow.
Today I pulled weeds.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dear Baby...

Hi little one, I sit, all wrapped up baby world again. I just returned from my 16-week appointment and can't get over how surreal all of this is. For years, I went to my yearly check-ups and watched as young women with fat tummies came in and out of the doctor's office. I always dreamed about doing the same, and wondered how it must feel to be carrying a child. Now, thanks to you, I get to experience the miracle that it is. This last month went by really fast and four weeks from now is an exciting one. My first ultrasound. My first glimpse of you.

My appointment went great. In and out. I only gained a 1/2 pound, which is quite surprising due to the large amounts of food I seem to be inhaling lately. My blood pressure was good and your heartbeat was ready and waiting, right on cue. Just one heartbeat, that is, meaning you probably aren't concealing any surprise brothers or sisters in there. Dr. Weno said we'd probably know by now if there were twins.

On the drive home, with sunglasses on and the sunroof open (another above average, beautiful day), I couldn't help but picture life with you next summer. When I got home, your dad was mowing the lawn and I couldn't help but picture your little body crawling through the grass or laying in the shade on a blanket. Our world is going to be so much fun with you in it.

I also couldn't help but wonder who you will be and who you will take after.

Will you inherit your mommy's stringy, but soft dark curls and big brown eyes?

Or will you get your dad's white blond hair and sparkly baby blues?

Will you take after my timid, but sweet mannerisms?

Or will you be a brave, reckless, little toughy like your dad?

Whatever you will be or whoever you will take after, you will be just right to us. We already love you so much

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

16 Weeks!

How far along? 16 Weeks!

Total Weight Gain/Loss? Stayed the same this week.

Maternity Clothes? Not yet!

Stretch Marks? Nope

Sleep? I’m slowly gaining more energy at night. Last night, I was up until 10:30! I shocked myself and my husband!

Best Moment This Week? 16 week appointment today with Dr. Weno. Blood pressure was good, weight was good, and heartbeat was right on cue. The baby was low this week, much lower than my 12-week appointment. Heartbeat was around 152…still high but lower than last appointment.

Movement? No, but I can’t wait for this!

Food Cravings? Anything fresh. I made the yummiest mango salsa last night and could have scarfed the whole thing down. I had it under a skewer of grilled shrimp…also an ongoing craving.

Gender? For some reason, I’m convinced it’s a baby boy; however, I seem to be the only one. We’ll find out four weeks from today!

What I’m Loving? Eating a lot and not feeling an itsy bit guilty about it!

What I Look Forward To? Feeling that first little flutter is going to be magical.

Weekly Wisdom? If a bike ride exists in the future, plan the route ahead of time. You don’t want to get yourself in trouble again!

Milestones? My energy is definitely coming back. The weather might have something to do with it too. It’s been beautiful lately.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Your life at 15 weeks...

Hi Baby J,

Happy Week 15 Sweet Baby J! A pretty impressive week in baby development! You are eating, breathing, and moving a lot, even though I haven't felt you yet. The nurse said some women can feel baby 'flutters' as early as 16 weeks, so I'm hoping I'm one of the lucky ones. Feel free to get my attention at any time! My book says you might even be sucking your thumb! That's pretty adorable to think about.

Here are a few of your seemingly favorite things right now (or at least you don't complain when I indulge in them)...

1. Dancing with the Stars- whether you are a fan of Edyta and her risque costume choices, or Max and his handsome smile, 'Dancing with the Stars,' equals entertainment for all. I love the cool dances and sultry chemistry between the contestants, Beau loves Brooke Burke as the hostess and Pam Anderson as one of the contestants. It's a great show and entertains you and me for a couple hours each week.

2. American Idol- a faithful viewer of AI for years, this new season did not get off to the best start. I didn't think the talent compared to years in the past. Although I'm not as devoted as I used to be, I still make sure Simon Cowell and the crew is a part of my weekly DVR schedule. I usually listen to the music as I blog about you.

3. the music of John Mayer- his new CD, 'Battle Studies,' is awesome. Every song is so nice to listen to...I make sure to make it part of my day at some point. I've always had a thing for John Mayer and his, I guess I could say, swagger. He's nice to listen to and that's all there is to it!

4. John Lennon on Pandora-
Pandora, the free live music streaming service, gets me through the longest days of work. Lately, I've been listening to a John Lennon playlist. I've decided the Beatles deserve all the glory they still receive, fifty years later. Their music is incredible and every song takes on a new meaning, a new feeling, and a new style.

5. Ice cream sandwiches- lately, these have served nicely as my after work indulgence. They're delicious and work as the perfect mixture of ice cream and chocolate. If I get into this habit too much, I'm afraid it will be a difficult one to break!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Week 15

How far along? 15 Weeks!

Total Weight Gain/Loss? Stayed the same this week.

Maternity Clothes? Not yet; however, I’m longing for summertime and mesh shorts, leggings, and sundresses! My dress pants are getting pretty snug and a little less comfortable everyday!
Stretch Marks? Nope

Sleep? Who knew sleep could get any better??? I ordered a new comforter for our bed last week and it is heavenly! Big, fluffy, and soft, it’s literally like sinking in to a bed of clouds! I love it and look forward to bedtime even more!

Best Moment This Week? Telling my students about the baby in a game of good ol’ fashioned telephone! We sometimes kill time with a game of telephone, so the students were not surprised when I asked if they wanted to play. This way, after passing the message, “somebody’s having a baby in October…” I could watch each of their faces and reactions separately. They were adorable and far more excited than I had anticipated. The entire school knew the news before the day was through!

Movement? No. Beau went through an intersection a little fast the other night, unleashing a million little butterflies in my stomach! I’m pretty sure Baby J felt that one too!

Food Cravings? I haven’t craved anything specific this week, but that doesn’t mean I’m not hungry. Chocolate every now and then, seafood most days, grape pop, and apples and oranges!

Gender? I’m 50/50…5 weeks and we’ll no longer have to guess!!!

What I Miss? Cooking! I haven’t had much of a desire to cook since getting pregnant and I miss it.

What I Look Forward To? Getting closer and closer to summer vacation!

Weekly Wisdom? Sing a little louder in the car, laugh a little more, and pray with the little one that hangs out with me day in and day out. It can hear, so make sure it hears YOU!

Milestones? I experienced heartburn for the first time ever this week, for three consecutive days. Nothing a couple of Tums couldn’t settle.

A Sunday of Life

Today was a sunny, 70 degree day. A storybook kind of day. So 'storybook', that the papers could wait to be graded, the laundry could wait to be sorted, and the dishes could wait to be put away. Beau and I needed the kind of day we used to be really good at. A day of exploring, of laughter, of silly talk, of dreams, and plans.

This day was full of spring. Of life, and growth, and this overwhelming sense of 'new.' I love the season of spring for the sense of a fresh start that comes with it. The rain will come indeed, sometimes for longer periods than expected, sometimes clouding and flooding our hearts and minds with hurt. Although the rain will surely pour, the comfort lies in the fact that somehow, that rain changes the earth in distinct ways. The sun shines when the rain dries.

Today was spring. Lots of it. I could feel it from the tips of my dirt-stained toes to the top of my wind-blown head. As I laid my head on my pillow and kissed my husband and another weekend goodbye, I'm pretty sure I fell asleep with a smile on my face.

26. The day started with church at Orchard. I sometimes wish we had the opportunity to begin each day with church. Then, I suppose, it would lose some of its excitement. I feel so blessed to have found a church to look forward to each week. We heard 'Stories from the Seats,' this week, a sermon series that uses the real and raw stories of its members to move and inspire new and existing members at church. The stories today were amazing. They reminded me of God's all-knowing presence during all the times of our lives. The times when he seems far away are actually the times He's listening the closest. "Blessed be Your name!"

27. After church, Beau and I had lunch on our deck. Check that. Beau, Jade, and I had lunch on our deck. Beau and I feasted on a smorges board of Hot Pockets, yogurt, potato chips, and string cheese, and Jade feasted on the abundance of grass in our backyard. She was our herbivorous lawn mower. She even chased a squirrel up a tree, then stood frozen in fear as the squirrel made a crazy noise at her from its limb up above. I went to rescue her and she was more than appreciative.

28. A bike ride was definitely in the plan for the day ahead; however, we decided to go on a drive to scope out a possible route. We found this secluded little dirt trail not too far from the river and decided to explore. We hung our feet over the bridge and talked like kids, spotted unusually tame deer about 100 feet away from us, and found the makings of a meth lab. Most of all, we found this lovely little place to help expand our nature loving instincts all summer long.

29. The first hour of our bike ride was splendid. We biked from our house to George Wyth, leisurely stopping at every bridge and lookout, and continued to spot lots of deer. I was proud of my endurance and Beau and I had a great time planning our future family bike rides and camping trips. It wasn't until we couldn't find a new way home and had to turn around that I started losing my energy and enthusiasm. I began my usual end-of-bike-ride whine, stopping more frequently, coasting more frequently, and sweating more profusely. By the time we got about a half mile from home, Beau finally gave up on me, left me on a park bench, and raced home to come rescue me with our car. As much as I hate to admit this, I gave up. I blamed it on being pregnant. Beau, like most things, took it like a sport and rescued his damsel in distress like the knight-in-shining-armor he is!

30. Afterwards, we quenched our biked-out bodies with a Cherry Limeade from Sonic. I recovered quickly after that! We stuck our arms out the sunroof, listened to 'Bad Romance' by Lady Gaga, and shared tator tots.

31. We ended the night with some Sunday night TV, sweatpants, and air-popped marshmallow popcorn. Beau pops the popcorn. I melt the marshmallows. Teamwork at its best. This combination screams comfort to me. I love curling up on the couch after a long day in the sun, each with our own bowl of popcorn, blankets, and a remote control.

This day was spring. And for that, I am thankful.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Mexico Memory...

Last week, as Beau was helping me make the bed, he noticed a wood-carved mask we bought from a vendor on our last trip to Mexico. I had forgotten about its presence in our bedroom until Beau reminded me. Believe me, it took on a whole new meaning this time.

The story...

Last June, Beau and I booked an anniversary trip to Mexico. Baby talk had begun and although it had become a part of our regular conversation, no definite 'plan' was in the works. During our trip, we went to Chichen Itza, one of the seven wonders of the world and the home of the famous Mayan Ruins. A large part of this day involved being persuaded by, and turning down a number of Mexican vendors. Their work was beautiful and I wanted to buy something, but Beau was set on bartering his way to a good bargain.

As we hit our last line of vendors, we stopped at a table full of beautifully hand-carved Mayan masks. The man was smart, as he knew how to work over the ignorant American 'lovebirds.' He handed me a mask with a sun and moon carved in the top.

Man: "this mask will grant you fertility."

Me (to Beau): "we can't walk away from this now, we'll jinx it."

After several minutes of Beau attempting to snag a deal...

Beau (handing him the cash): "for fertility!"

As we walked away, hand in hand, admiring our new souvenir, we missed the vendor licking his chops and counting his bills. If I would have been listening closer, I'm sure I would have heard him whisper an English word frequently a part of his growing vocabulary...


That night, at the resort bar, Beau and I were sipping our pina coladas in fantasy land, as a Mayan bartender asked us about our day. We told him about Chichen Itza, as well as our wonderful 'score' with the vendor. I pulled the mask out from my bag and informed the man that we would be taking home the Mayan sign of fertility to help us in the year to come. As the bartender examined the mask, he laughed.

Bartender: "You got hosed. This sign does not mean fertility. It symbolizes the stages of sleep!"

So...instead of fertility, the mask would grant us many days and hours of pleasurable...sleep.

Eleven months later, the Mayan mask dons our curio cabinet and watches, the three of us, sleep.

14 Weeks

How far along? 14 Weeks!

Total Weight Gain/Loss? Stayed the same this week.

Maternity Clothes? I rocked my first maternity shirt today at school. I haven’t exactly gained weight as in pounds; however, my body is clearly changing. I needed some shirts that were wider at the bottom, to safely cover the slight baby bump protruding from my waistline. Just a simple white v-neck, yet, three students told me they liked my shirt. Funny.

Sleep? I’d like to say I have a little more energy this week; however, I might jinx myself. I was feeling really tired after school today, so I asked Beau if he would go on a walk with me. I thought the fresh air might wake me up. By the time we got to the driveway, I told Beau I felt like I could literally crawl to the door. Now, I’m yawning just thinking about it!

Best Moment This Week? Planning the first holiday in preparation of Baby J…shopping for an Easter basket! It won’t be near as fun without the physical presence of a baby; however, an excuse to shop is all this girl needs!

Food Cravings? Beau took me to Hy-Vee tonight and I was like a kid in a candy store. What filled up my shopping cart? Fresh fruit. Cheese sticks. Yogurt. Pop Tarts. Ice Cream Sandwiches. Grape Soda.

Gender? Beau and I have agreed to disagree. He says girl, I say boy.

What I Miss? Watching a movie without bawling like a blubbering weirdo. I cry…a lot. I sobbed through the first hour of ‘The Blind Side.’ I cried during a rerun of ‘The Office,’ when Jim proposed to Pam in the pouring rain. I cried during ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ I cried during Oprah when a real-life 'Glee' club received a check for $100,000.

What I Look Forward To? Feeling that first flutter of a baby foot against my stomach.

Weekly Wisdom? Enjoy the small things...

Milestones? Our baby weighs more than a pound. I'm counting that for the pound I've gained so far!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Can you HEAR me???

"Your fetus’s ears are now developed enough that she’ll hear when you sing or talk"

-Fit Pregnancy, Week 13 Update
Hi little one,

That's right. This week, perhaps for the first time, you can hear me talk to you. And sing to you. This has been big news for your dad and I. I texted him yesterday during school to fill him in on the news. Here is how the conversation went:

Beau: 'That is so cool. While you work on stuff, I am going to talk to your stomach. HI BOB!"

Me: "I know. I have to start singing and reading it books. Studies show it makes kids wicked smart."

Beau: "You read while you proofread. This kid will give everyone '5' at PLS when you proofread your Masters paper." (referring to the Five Pillars of Character...don't ask me how Beau retains this stuff about school)

Beau (again): "It loves the Iowa Core Curriculum." (again, school jargon)

Beau (yet again): "It wakes up to 'Go Cubs Go' for its alarm every morning, so that's good."
So, all in all, we are completely enamoured with the fact that you can hear! All week, I've been playing my favorite John Mayer CD in the car and singing to and from school! I'm not the greatest at keeping a pitch; however, I'm pretty sure your mind isn't developed to judge your mom just yet. That won't come for another 13 years or so.

Your Grandpa Ray is ready for a picture of the crib he and your daddy are going to build for you. You are going to turn your Grandpa Ray into mush before you even enter this world! Before he got off the phone with Beau tonight, he said, "give our love to Mom and Bob." You are going to be one of the luckiest little people in the world. You have two parents, four grandparents, five great-grandparents, five aunts and uncles, and many good friends who are going to love you to pieces. This journey so far has been full of blessings and I can't even imagine it once you arrive!

So...Sweet Baby J, hear me LOUD AND CLEAR when I shout it from the mountains and rooftops...


Love you! Love you! Love you!

Your Mom

The Big 1-3

How far along? 13 Weeks!

Total Weight Gain/Loss? Stayed the same this week; however, my mental weight was shifted by the pounds. I'm getting a little self-conscious at school. I feel like everyone, 16 year old boys included, are whispering about the bulge surrounding my waistline. I hope it's in my head; however, one of my students walked in on me devouring a Butterfinger today.

Maternity Clothes? No; however, the time is in the near future...I can feel it. I think a couple pairs of pants will hold me over until summer break.

Sleep? I went to bed at 9:04 last night if that tells you anything...

Best Moment This Week? I found out that the baby can finally hear us this week! Suddenly, I find myself singing a lot more ;)

Food Cravings? It's been my biggest sign of pregnancy. This week, it's been fresh fruit and juice. And seafood. The seafood has been big for me throughout. I think I could eat shrimp and tarter sauce every day!

Gender? I got an email about Old Wive's Tales for determing gender. The majority pointed to girl; however, I think it's a little early to tell. I am officially the only person I know that is predicting a boy! We won't have to wait long! Our ultrasound appointment is set for May 11th!

What I Miss? Not much...for the most part, I'm really liking this whole pregnancy thing. It does make me a little sad everytime I pull a Victoria's Secret magazine from the mailbox. I wish I could be one of those women who embraces the pregnant belly and lets it out for the world to gawk at, but at this point, I don't see that being a part of my future! I will lay out this summer; however, I think I will choose the privacy of my deck instead of the wonderful Lost Island.

What I Look Forward To? Getting out of school for the summer so I can focus on nursery and baby preparations! Three months of painting, planning, and preparing to share our lives and home with another person!

Milestones? I can talk to our little one and it can actually hear! Can you imagine what it thinks as I yell at high schoolers all day long?!?! It's probably worried!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

In pursuit of...

Happiness. I recently found this really great quote...

"Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.”

Imperfections? Let's see...My house is a mess. There is a bowl of moldy fruit staring at me from the fridge. I have a huge zit on my chin, I haven't graded papers all week, and I ate fast food twice today. Life is full of imperfections. Little blemishes that are hard to let go of. Slowly, I'm learning that as great as it sounds, perfection is nearly impossible. That, however, has nothing to do with happiness.

21. Since sleeping is my number one pasttime lately, I decided to treat myself to new bedding. It's soft, it's fluffy, it's luxury. It's what bedtime should be...a perfect little getaway. I remember sleeping in this nice hotel in Chicago a few years ago. The bed was amazing! It was a mini-vacation in itself. Ever since then, I haven't been able to get that bed out of my head! So...I sought out to recreate it's amazingness. And. it. worked!

22. Anther Chicago reference. Chicago Cubs! Opening day of MLB started on Monday. Although I admit that I don't pay too much attention to the games, I still love everything about baseball season. The sound of Ron Santo's voice on 1650 on a hot afternoon, the bright, blue and red jerseys against the lush green grass. The authenticity of good ol' Wrigley Field. And especially, the sheer excitement exuding from my hopeful husband's face each year the Cubbies step onto the field.

23. Speaking of beds, Beau and I bought a baby mattress for Baby J this week. I've been researching everything from bathtubs to baby thermometers, but hadn't really thought twice about a crib mattress. I was shocked to find all the different choices. Inner springs or foam? Vinyl or cotton cover? 12 inch or 8 inch? So many decisions, and as I'm finding with a lot of prebaby planning, these two expectant parents don't have the slightest idea! So...after some research on Amazon, and a phone call to Jordan and Kelli, we decided on a nice Sealy Sleeper from Target. Beau balanced it on his head all the way to the checkout, and again out the door. Now, the mattress is laying on the middle of the living room floor. Jade sniffs it, but doesn't touch it.

24. Judy, a wonderful teacher and friend, dropped by my office to say hello yesterday. And, she gave me a wonderful treat to 'fulfill' future cravings of summer cocktails...Pina Colada gum! Not only does it taste like a poolside day in Mexico, but my entire office smelled like sun tan lotion! Yum!

25. Teaching English is one of the greatest jobs, especially when you introduce students to a new world that is found in a great book. This time, it's one of my all-time favorites: Harper Lee's, To Kill a Mockingbird. I remember really be affected by this book when I read it for the first time in high school. I remember one day, during a free-reading day, I found myself lost in the book, only to stop myself and soak in the silence in the room. Every student, from the avid reader to the first-time reader, was lost in that book. It is the memory that stuck with me until my decision to introduce this book to my dear freshmen. It will be a great way to end the year. And besides, Gregory Peck as Atticus!

"They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions... but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."

First purchases

Although I'm trying to hold off on the majority of baby purchases until we find out if we're having a boy or girl, it's impossible to not buy some things. I watch the sales at Von Maur and Target, and have ordered a few things from Amazon. After looking through my baby box the other day, I thought I would write to remember the first purchases for baby from its mom and dad.

Purchase #1: Mom's First Purchase

Cubs gear is easy to buy because it will be cute for boy or girl. This Cubs' board book is adorable. It's even better when Beau reads from it. I can just hear him teaching our child about Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, and the Fergie Jenkins. He wants our baby's first word to be 'Friendly Confines.' Who knows...maybe Beau's Cubbies will take it all the way this year to honor Baby J?!?! I don't want to jinx them, but that'd sure be something for the baby book!

Purchase #2...Brace yourself....Dad's First Purchase

I agree, it's a bit scary. It may be soft and cuddly, and I can just see a little one carrying it by its floppy arm, but come on...the eyes are creepy weird and no matter how you leave it, it always seem to lay in an awkwardly provocative playboy pose. Beau thinks it's awesome, I find it a little frightening.

So yes, these are our first purchases for our son or daughter. I'm sure there is more to come.

Beware, Baby J, you have no idea what you are in for!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


How far along? 12 Weeks!

Total Weight Gain/Loss? Up a pound.

Maternity Clothes? No, but I added a trusty little device to my wardrobe last night...a rubberband to buy me a little room in my jeans! Turns out, I could have been using this idea even when I wasn't pregnant!

Stretch Marks? Nope

Sleep? I think about sleep so much that I'm actually looking at new blankets and sheets for the bed.

Best Moment This Week? GETTING TO HEAR A HEARTBEAT! Our baby proved to be dependable and excited to greet us! The nurse found the heartbeat right away and it was fast!

Movement? No, but today, the nurse said I might feel it as early as 16 weeks!

Food Cravings? Spring officially sprung during this Spring Break week, with temps crawling to the mid-60s. This meant that my husband was ready to fire up the grill. Must to his dismay, I kindly asked him to pick up a pack of Ballpark Franks from Hy-Vee instead of a ribeye. He was appalled, but I'm a cheap date! I had a grilled hotdog for three meals in a row this week!

Gender? According to the old wive's tale, the fast heartbeat is supposed to predict 'girl.' Beau says girl, I say boy.

Labor Signs? NO!

What I Miss? Having a green beer on St. Patty's Day. I settled for a water with a green lime instead.

What I Look Forward To? Our 20-week appointment and our first ultrasound!

Weekly Wisdom? I heard it from the doctor herself...One meal with tuna a week! And shrimp! And McDonald's fillet-a-fish!

Milestones? Houston, we have a heartbeat!


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