Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Showering "little firecracker"

A couple of weekends ago, my sister and my best friend co-hosted a beautiful baby shower for "little firecracker"! The day was absolutely lovely, and I was completely blown-away by the amount of thoughtful details they included. 
(Rachel would tell you that event-planning is not her forte; I'd beg to differ.)

From Rachel's handmade invitations, to Morgan's hand-painted artwork...
from the paper "firework" decor, to serving my favorite cake...
from the entertaining and meaningful activities, to the wonderful variety of gifts for baby and Bobby and me...
I felt entirely loved.

It was a labor of love for my sister to put together such a special day for me, and it meant so much that she and Morgan teamed-up to make it happen. I appreciate each of them more than they know.

I am incredibly thankful to be surrounded by so many loving women, and to celebrate with so many of them at the shower was a gift in itself. 

My daughter is going to be one blessed girl...her mother certainly is!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Things I Love About My Marriage

Recently I've been considering specific attributes of my marriage that I think really help to make it "work". There are certainly more reasons than these why we "click" the way we do, but these few specific thoughts come to mind time and time again. These qualities are some I've recognized before, and they are qualities that I hope I can always say are true of us.

1. We don't take life too seriously. This is far more a result of Bobby's outlook on life than mine, but I have come a long way, and I'm quite proud of my changed outlook over the past...well, how long have I known Bobby?...8 years. We keep things in perspective, and get a chance to practice doing so frequently. It's a healthier way to live, in general, and benefits our marriage, too.

2. We don't stay mad for very long, and we don't hold grudges. When we're frustrated, we let each other know it. Then, we discuss it. Or, we don't. (Which, I know, isn't necessarily the healthiest thing to do in the long-run, but sometimes, it's the best choice.) Regardless, we vent, we talk, we move on. I cannot remember a single occasion in our (albeit, relatively short) married history where a difference of opinion led to an extended argument, or long-term hurt feelings. We get mad, and get over it. Forgiveness is a beautiful thing.

3. We're a team, and we don't keep score. When the dog or the car or the yard (or one of us) needs attention, we take care of it (and each other). Sometimes I pick up the slack, and sometimes Bobby does. We take turns with chores, and we try not to keep a record of who did what, when. Eventually, it all evens out. It's a partnership, and we both know that we each have the best interests of the other in mind.

I know our relationship and interactions will change once "baby makes three". Knowing exactly how much, though, or in what ways, is impossible to predict. My prayer is that these elements of our relationship, among others, will remain our foundation as we prepare to navigate this new, wonderful, difficult, and emotional journey called "parenthood".

Monday, May 14, 2012

Third Trimester Things

Time is flying by. If I stop to think about it, I remember that, really, this happens every spring. The agenda fills up, weekends feel shorter than usual, and the weeks pass in a blur. Of course, this year I'm paying more attention to the calendar, anyway, and March and April flew. There was a time when July felt very far away. ... Now is not that time. I'm realizing, too, that our baby could quite realistically be born in June, although I'm really pulling (or, more appropriately, pushing) for a July birth day.

Lamaze classes are an interesting thing. I am enjoying our Wednesday night dates! Bobby and I inevitably have dinner out, and it's time together, spent focused on little else but baby-prep. A girl could do worse! But, the classes themselves are much too long, in our opinion. If it weren't for the overly-frequent breaks, chit-chat, and ice-breaker activities, I'm quite confident we could condense each of these 8 sessions from 2.5 hours to 90 minutes, at most. But, they serve a purpose, I'm sure. More than being particularly full of new information, they are confirming what we already know and we are enjoying thinking about the time when we'll welcome our daughter into the world.

In class two weeks ago, we were informed about labor positions and natural pain management. The class ended with the strong encouragement that we try out the various tools and techniques stationed around the room: birthing ball, massage, hip movement, etc. We gave them all a try, in the midst of fifteen or so other couples. There's a reason women labor in private.... It was awkward.

Last week, though, was our tour of the labor and delivery floor at the hospital, and I must say, being in that environment made me very excited for our stay. I can picture us there now, and having that clear image in my mind of what our surroundings will be when she's born has heightened my anticipation of the big day.

I like being pregnant. A friend asked me several weeks ago whether or not I like being pregnant. Had this question been asked last fall, in the middle of my morning sickness and early pregnancy woes, my answer would have undoubtedly been different. (That seems fair.) But, first trimester queasiness and general discomforts aside, yes, I am still really, really enjoying this. As the doctor confirms at seemingly every appointment, I feel so very normal, and my body has seemed to do exactly what it was created to do throughout this process.

I like the way my body looks.
I like knowing there's a new life growing in my healthy body.
I like the bond that's intensifying between Bobby and I.
I like the attention. (I'd be lying if I didn't admit to that.)
I like the busyness and anticipation surrounding her upcoming arrival.
I like the refreshed spiritual awareness.
I like feeling fulfilled.

Yes, I'm happy to say, pregnancy seems to suit me. (Which is good, because I pray this isn't the last time I do this.)

Forcing myself to slow down is my biggest challenge these days. I like being busy, and it's becoming very easy for me to over-do it.  It's discouraging when grocery shopping feels like a major workout.... I want to garden alongside Bobby, but can't for long without becoming overheated.... Bending over (& getting up & bending over & getting up...) to play with Royal is exasperating.... Seemingly minor physical exertion is wearing me out, and although I know that my body is working hard constantly, that's difficult for me to wrap my head around when I'm feeling lazy for resting on the couch. And, it's hard for me to sit and watch activity and be left out. Lately, though, I've otherwise felt wonderful...unless I've over-done it, and then I've really no one to blame but myself.

Watching my tummy move and feel her inside of me is my favorite thing. I don't know how to describe it, but I hope I never forget this sensation. It is unlike anything else I've ever experienced, and it's beautiful. Her movements have become more and more frequent, and now her entire body rolls and shifts. The kicks and jabs are unmistakeable to Bobby and other onlookers or feelers, and I love being able to share this activity of hers with them. It's becoming much easier to picture this little girl not as a fish swimming around in my tummy, or fluttering like a butterfly, but as a nearly-newborn child, trying to find a comfortable spot in ever-tightening quarters. She's getting ready for her debut...and, in many ways, it feels like I already know her.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Pain and Joy

My mom commented last week about how safe and secure Baby Phillips is right now, how she's never known any pain or sadness or hurt. I'd had those thoughts before, but not vocalized them. And, as I rub my ever-expanding tummy these days and wonder about the type of person this little girl will be, I can't help but feel a tinge of sadness, knowing that I can't keep her protected from life's trials for much least not in the same way that I have.

She'll be born (in less than two months!) and be subjected to all that life in this world brings...pain and joy.