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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

38 Weeks

Apparently, the 38 week mark is the time when I begin to make really corny jokes and when everyone else likes to ask me if it's time for the hospital ALL. THE. TIME.

Seriously.

First, the corny joke thing is out of control. Luckily, my husband is gracious enough to smile, give a half laugh, and shake his head.

Secondly, What is UP?! Twice now I've had to slip out of the classroom to use the bathroom and had people stop me in the lobby of our school asking if I was leaving for the hospital.

Really?

Because I'm pretty sure I sit right next to my husband in class and if it was time to leave for the hospital, I think he'd be coming with me!

I shake my head and reply "No, It's necessary that I use the bathroom," in Arabic and that makes the men super uncomfortable. HA!

I'm feeling really good, actually. I had one really bad night of sleep where my hips and groin were in alot of pain and my feet were so swollen all night that anytime they bumped each other I woke up in pain, but that seems to have passed.

I've had two mornings of contractions. The first was during class and I couldn't really tell if they were contractions or not. They felt like menstrual cramps that led to Grace rolling up tight and then relaxing. They came every 3 minutes for about 20 minutes or so and then they just up and stopped.

In the two or three days after that I didn't feel anything that felt contraction like and I was beginning to get nervous. I so want my body to go into labor naturally (if possible,) and I was reassured this morning when I woke up early to a text from a friend and then immediately started having contractions. These were stronger and more defined. They lasted for half an hour and and then stopped!

The whole time I was praising God, thanking Him for the reminder that He is in control. I kept saying "if this is when You want her to come...let her come! If not, thank You for the encouragement!"

LOL.

I had my 38 week appointment today and I almost asked for an exam (here in this country, your aren't given an internal exam until you come into the hospital in labor,) to find out if I was effaced or dialated, but the Dr I saw today was in such a hurry I didn't feel like bothering her.

My appointment lasted 3 minutes.

Seriously.

I timed it.

I'm glad baby Grace and I are so healthy that we don't require much medical attention, but I crossed an international border for this appointment!

We took an entire day off of school!

I didn't eat a second dessert!

Oh. Probably should always heed to that last one, huh?

We had a sweet morning of fellowship. A short term team from Georgia was here working for our company and our supervisors brought them out to meet us. They had carted over a package from my parents and sister and then they had also bought some gifts for Grace, so as we sat at our picnic we had an impromptu baby shower.

And now, thanks to a joint effort by my mom and sister, we have a diaper bag! I let Ian get a Georgia Bulldog themed bag (as in, it is red and black,) so that he wouldn't be ashamed of carrying it around, though if I wasn't taking him into consideration I totally would have rallied for a Vera Bradley diaper bag.

Somehow, I just can't do that to my husband.

And now, the day is coming to an end on this side of the world.

My feet are swollen and I am tired. I'm very disappointed that Grace didn't come today, as I guess I thought this was her day.

I even did my hair and makeup.

Doesn't she understand these things?

No? Well, I think that might be one of her first lessons once she's entered the world.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Better Together

In early January, Ian and I celebrated 5 years of being "us."

Read about it here and here.

I had full intentions of sharing pictures of us through the years, but I never got around to getting them off of our external hard drive and I'm just now getting to it.

I think it's really important to have pictures of you and your husband throughout the years. Sure you'll take thousands of pictures of your babies and of you and your babies, but will you take pictures of you and your spouse during all phases of your life? I think of my parents and I'm not sure if we have one good picture of them for each year or not! And that is just SO sad!

I spent a couple of hours collecting pictures from all sorts of files so that I would officially have an "Ian and Brittney," file.

One day, my kids will thank me.
So, three months late, here's a little look at Ian and Brittney circa 2005-2011.

But first, a song that takes me back to the beginning of our dating, Better Together by Jack Johnson. We danced to it on the roof of his apartment in Amman, Jordan. We listened to it on many a car trips to the beach. We danced to it at our wedding (though it wasn't our first dance,) and I had it as my ringtone during our first year of marriage.

So many memories wrapped up in one simple song:

Better Together by Jack Johnson
There's no combination of words
I could put on the back of a postcard,
No song that I could sing
But I can try for your heart,
Our dreams, and they are made out of real things,

Like a shoebox of photographs,
With sepiatone loving,
Love is the answer

At least for most of the questions in my heart ,

Like why are we here? And where do we go?
And how come it's so hard?

It's not always easy,
And sometimes life can be deceiving,

I'll tell you one thing, its always better when we're together


[Chorus:]
MMM, it's always better when we're together
Yeah, we'll look at the stars when we're together
Well, it's always better when we're together

Yeah, it's always better when we're together [

Verse 2:]
And all of these moments
Just might find their way into my dreams tonight

But I know that they'll be gone,
When the morning light sings
And brings new things,

But tomorrow night you see
That they'll be gone too,

Too many things I have to do,
But if all of these dreams might find their way
Into my day to day scene
I'll be under the impression,
I was somewhere in-between
With only two,
Just me and you
Not so many things we got to do,

Or places we got to be

We'll sit beneath the mango tree now



Ian and I, on our youth group senior trip. 10 of us on a mini bus, traveling around the Atlanta area. It was during this time when I came to realize how much I liked him. One of my best friends liked him too, and to me, she had dibs, so there was no way I was going to let him know how I felt!Ian and I, Summer of 2005
We began dating on January 7th, 2005, and had one week together before he left for school in Virginia. When he returned for spring break, I was so happy I thought my little heart would explode. Love his smile in this one.Ian and I, March 2006

We spent the summer apart- him doing summer school in Virginia, me working at a summer camp outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When I returned, we had exactly 6 days before he had to leave for a year in Jordan. For some reason, I thought it would be a great idea to spend an entire day during that short week with my best friends at Disney. Poor Ian came along just because he wanted to be with me.
August 2006

We ended up having a great time and I got one of my all time favorite pictures snapped during that day. Ian's adoration is apparent.

Plus my tan is awesome.

Ian left for Jordan and we continued our long distance relationship via Skype.

Ian was able to come home for Christmas for 2 weeks.

December 2006


We knew for about 6 months that we would get married, it was all a matter of being in the same 50 mile radius for longer than 2 weeks.
I had a roaring case of pink eye and strep throat during this entire visit, and all of my pictures has me very squinty eyed. We enjoyed a night out for our "one year," anniversary and dreamed together about the following summer, when he and I would be home.

That spring was unbearable for me. I missed him so much and just needed to see him. So, although my parents didn't want me to (but they didn't forbid it,), I paid for, arranged, and flew to Jordan to see Ian for 10 days. I stayed with 2 other girls that were there doing internships and we had an amazing time exploring the country.

Wadi Rum, Jordan, March 2007

Petra, Jordan, 2007
Finally! 1 and a half years later, Ian and I were in the same place for almost 12 glorious weeks. Although I was taking a full course load and he was working 30-40 hours a week, we spent every possible minute together and LOVED it! Ian proposed on July 7th, 2007 and we began dreaming about our life together.

I can never express how wonderful that summer was. Though we loved every minute of learning about each other through verbal communication only (phone and skype for a year and a half,) there was something so special about him being able to hold me while I cried or for me to be able to wrap my arms around him when he was frustrated.

Ian left for his third and final year of school (we both graduated from college in 3 years thanks to very full course loads and AP classes,) in early August, and I went up to visit him during mid October.

Us at Monticello, October 2007.
Us, hiking the Devil's Marbleyard, October 2007. We love hiking, and though this wasn't our first hiking excursion together, it was (and still is,) one of our favorite places ever! We've been back since then and plan on going again in the future.

Easter break, 2008

I'll spare you the hundreds of wedding pictures and just say we got married on June 14th, 2008, on what will always be the happiest day of my life. We were together, and wouldn't have to live apart again (at least, we hope not!)

Honeymoon, Duck Key, Florida, 2008

Honeymoon. We cut the trip 2 nights short so that we could get Ian back in time for an interview that he got a call for. the interview ended up being a complete hoax and we regret cutting our trip short, so we've promised ourselves we're going back for our 5 year anniversary, the next time we are in the States.

Rhode Island, 2008

We spent our first year of marriage in Gainesville, FL, with Ian working on his Masters degree and me hunting for my first teaching job. I won't lie. That first year was rough. Not because married life wasn't fabulous, but because so many things were uncertain- like how we were going to pay rent and where God was leading us.
Ian had another first, carving his first jack o lantern! Wow, my hair had gotten long!
University of Florida, 2009

10 months later and Ian graduated with his Masters. We had direction for our life and were so excited about the steps to come!
May, 2009.
The summer and fall of 2009 took a much different detour than we expected, and we ended up living with our parents for almost 8 months.
Ian and I, December 2009, Tennessee

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Nursery Reveal

For some reason (that not even I could explain,) today was my ultimate deadline for having the nursery completed.

We have had the furniture for over two months, the room was already painted {just like the rest of the apartment,} and we got our wardrobe made over a month ago.

Somehow, the final pieces of the nursery were just taking awhile to fall into place.

I blame it on the fact that I have to cross an international border in order to purchase quality made things.

And also on that whole "money," thing.

Oh yes, that.

This was not really a nursery on a budget.

Not because I'm against that, but simply because our options are very limited here. I am unable to just order things that are on sale and have them shipped to our house, or peruse local stores until I find the best deal (I miss Target!) or even hunt through garage sales or consignment shops.

Instead, we have about four options for home goods:

Baby Shop, which is similar to a Babies R Us, is where we got our crib and changing table from.

Ikea, that Swedish metropolis where you can furnish your entire house from one store, is where we got our rug, frames, mirror, bookcase, and daybed bedding.

Land of Nod is where we ordered our bedding from along with the daybed pillow covers. We ended up paying about double the price in order to get it shipped overseas but I'm really happy with it!

Pottery Barn Kids, where we bought our canvas containers, curtains, changing pad, cover, and day bed crib skirt.

Like I said, four options, and we utilized them all!

So, it all came down to today. The frames needed to be hung, the mirror placed, the bookcase put together, the rug rolled out, and the crib and daybed bedding put out.

Amazingly, we got it all done in less than 3 hours.

The room is just what I wanted. Lots of natural light, non cluttered, with those tell tale girlish touches of pink. It's a haven, a place that is relaxing, laid back, and calming. Exactly what I think a nursery should be!

So, here is Grace Madeline's nursery, all ready for her to arrive!

{View from the door, looking in. Changing table houses her current clothes (newborn right now,) and all of her diaper changing gear.

Love the rug that is covering up part of our crazy blue patterned tile. Neutral and super soft!

Also, her curtains were probably our biggest investment piece, as they are blackout curtains. Here in the desert, I'm not concerned about the light coming in (I love sunlight!) but I am concerned about how hot it can get in the summer- 125+! The insulation on these houses aren't the greatest and since all we have is a wall unit in our bedroom and hers, keeping the house cool is a big priority!}

{Another view of the left wall, with changing table and bookcase. All that's missing? A pink canvas hamper, which I can't find anywhere!}


{I'm loving how the bookcase turned out! The pink canvas bins hold her toys, the top set of books are hers, and the bottom set is all of my pregnancy and parenting books- at least until her collection of books overtakes it! The CD player is all ready for some lullabies or play time music and the top is ready to hold my cup or snack while I nurse.}

{The crib is a sleigh bed crib with thicker slats that I just love. The bedding has three different coordinating patterns and was classy with a twist of modern edge without having any characters or animals on it, which I was trying to avoid.}
{Last summer, when we were living in Vancouver, Canada, I eyed this sweet bunny rabbit in a bookstore, longing for the day when we would find out we were expecting. The day that we found out Grace was on her way (August 14th, 2010) we headed to the bookstore and scooped her up. Grace is our sweet little "bunny," and there are touches of bunny rabbits throughout the room.}

{Her sweet crib in the afternoon sun. You can see the three different patterns on the bumper, sheet, and skirt, here.}


{Oh, the prints. I've had these prints picked out for over a year. Made by Etsy seller Trafalgar's Square, they are whimsical with beautiful colors and tiny details that make them so special. I already have my prints picked out for baby #2 (and #3!)}

{Since we didn't have room for a rocker or glider in this room, mainly because the twin bed had to stay in the room, I knew I wanted to make it into an incredibly soft a relaxing place to cuddle and nurse! The down comforter is SO soft and I'm especially proud of the skirt, which I tailored from a Pottery Barn Kids crib skirt that I found on sale for 10 dollars! Tons of pillows help you to just lean back and relax!}


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Just Plan On It!

I'm your typical, Type A, "Planner."

Not that I don't love moments of spontaneity, but day to day living that is well planned out and well thought ahead makes me very comfortable and very relaxed.

Living moment to moment {for every moment} or not having a full handle of what is coming up and what I need to accomplish leaves me stressed and anxious.

So, for the last 6 years I have been a user of a planner.

A very specific planner, that is.

The summer between my Junior and Senior year of high school, I attended the first of three levels of Student Leadership University, where they introduced us to Franklin Covey daytimers and their organizational system.

We were gifted a beautiful black planner that had part of SLU's motto on it {Five Years from now you will be the same person you are today, except for the People you Meet, the Places you Go, and the Books you Read. SO so true.} and a year's worth of pages.

I used it off and on my Senior year of high school, but mainly to keep track of my babysitting jobs and church responsibilities.

I started college and everyone was buying the 8x10 university planner but I knew right away that was an inferior product. So, I went online to order my refill pages and gasped when I saw the prices. Ridiculous.

So, there lay the problem. Once you are aware of a "gourmet," product, the cheap version just won't do it for you. I soon wandered into the planner aisle of Target and all was redeemed when I found that Franklin Covey produced a generic version of their pages for Target!

I bought those filler pages for the next four years and continued to use the black shell for my planner.

The year we moved all over the place (in 2010 we moved to Florida, Virginia, Vancouver, and the Middle East,) I went shopping with a family friend and picked out a new, slightly larger shell (Fire engine red, thank you,) and used that "slim" version for the year.

2011 dawned and I found myself on the other side of the world, with, sadly, no access to a Target.

My sweet mother in law, knowing my disposition and penchant for planning, went and picked out a beautiful new shell and filler pages for me and mailed them to us for Christmas.

And that, my friends, is the very long story of my "Covey," planner.

Everyone has their own system, I am sure, or at least their own lack of a system. Some use post it notes, scraps of paper, plain notebooks, or whatever planner that strikes their fancy that year.

This, is a look into what my system looks like:

Introducing, Bubble Gum Pink Covey:

Isn't she beautiful? My first one zipped shut, my second one didn't stay shut at all, and this one has a cute little clasp. I definitely like this one the best, since it stays shut and doesn't let papers fall out, but it doesn't make the loud "zipping," sound that my first one made.

Zipping noises prove to be quite the distraction for children and adults alike in classroom and work settings.

Or in church.

Or in the movies.

What? I remember things that need to go in my planner at weird times!


Open her up and you'll see this:
1- Behind the cover flap I store pieces of paper that I haven't filed or filled out yet. This was my Fetal Movement chart for my doctor that was ridiculous. One hour, three times a day. I'll admit. I did it twice and then just filled it in for the rest of the month with rough estimates.

2- Payments for various things that need to be made. Though I don't usually carry our cash around and I don't really pay our bills here, I am unofficially in charge of making sure we have the correct change to pay our cleaning lady who comes in and vacuums and mops for me.

3- There are slots for business cards but since people don't really use business cards that often, I put some key verses on mini index cards. I need to switch them up, but I keep forgetting to!

A Typical Week is laid out like this:
1-The top 2/3 of the page is broken up in half hour increments and is used to schedule your day. I am not that busy of a person, so class or church are usually the only things that get "scheduled," unless I have a meeting or Dr. appointment.

2- 1/6 of the page is broken up in a cute little to do list, with a place for check marks and everything. *Sigh* This is my catharsis.

3- The final 1/6th of the page is labeled "Notes." which I use for various things. This semester I am using it to keep track of how many hours I study and how many hours I use my Arabic out in the community, for reporting purposes.

The second half of the week is very similar:

1- On the Friday To Do list portion, I usually put a few chores that I want to accomplish that week. Apparently that week I wanted to "Install a toilet seat, clean our second bathroom, and clean off the balcony." FYI, that balcony never got cleaned off. ha! See? To Do lists don't master my life...I master them!

2- On the Saturday/Sunday to do list, I try to think of a few "honey do's," that I talk to Ian about at the beginning of the week. He'll tell me if they are unreasonable expectations and I edit accordingly. He works on them throughout the week and I get the joy of checking them off. Everyone wins.

3- Since we live thousands of miles from...well...everyone, I have a hard time keeping track of who I have kept in contact with. On the right side of the "Notes," page I keep track of who I have called/skyped with and who I have sent an email or facebook message to.

A close up of the To Do list system:

1- Pretty simple really, a check means "finished."

2- An arrow means "I didn't do this on this day/week and I have put it on an alternative and later to do list." There's also the potential for an "X," but I try to avoid that because "X's" still scream failure to me.

I'm working on it.

There are TONS of extra little pages at the end of the planner: An Address book, Menu Planner pages, Shopping lists, recommended book and movie pages, website and password tracking pages, much more!

The back inside cover has these two features:

1- A Clear zipper pocket to store those loose pieces of paper that you don't want to misplace. I keep coupons, appointment cards, and brochures here.

2- A notepad for various, you know, notes. The best little lesson I learned at the original organizational lecture was the pitfalls of using different pieces of paper to keep track of things. This can lead to lost or misplaced notes and then missed appointments or things. Having this pad of paper for jotting this miscellaneous notes that can then be moved into the various monthly or weekly tabs! This particular note was a list of nursery/baby items that we needed to purchase before Grace's arrival.

Well, that's just it. If I've scared you with this little corner of my mind, I'm sorry! Hopefully, though, some of you can identify with my need to be organized and well planned out!

Monday, March 21, 2011

We're Full Term..Baby!

As of yesterday, we are officially 37 weeks....FULL TERM!

That means that if Grace were to come today, they would not try to stop my labor and that her chance of survival would be about as high as it gets!

All of that to say....I am so excited to meet our little girl!

But she can stay in there awhile longer if she wants.

I am in no rush for the end of the pregnancy to come, as I am comfortable, not swelling, and sleeping well at night.

That could all change tomorrow, but for today we're praying that she stays in and keeps getting bigger and stronger!

Happy 37 weeks and 1 day Grace Madeline Galloway!

Your Mommy and Daddy love you so much and are so excited to meet you and hold you!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pregnancy Brain...

I've been wondering for months when "pregnancy brain," would show up in my life.

I knew this elusive yet comical state of being would bring much entertainment to the Galloway household.

I can, after all, laugh at myself.

Most of the time.

So, yesterday, after pouring myself a glass of milk to go with my lunch, it surprised me, 4 hours later, when Ian started asking where that new gallon of milk was.

I told him, "I finished up the old one, opened the new one, and put it back in the fridge!"

"Nope, definitely not in the fridge!"

And our fridge is tiny, think just bigger than a dorm fridge and you'll get the idea, so there was no way it was hiding behind anything.

10 minutes later, and a comical search throughout the house led us to the cup cabinet, where I had pulled down my milk glass, poured a glass of milk, then promptly put the milk back into the cabinet.

Perfect.

Tell me I'm not alone on this one. Anyone else have a moment of "Pregnancy Brain?" What about just a "Blonde moment," that you'd like to share?

I think we could all use a laugh now and again, right?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Lost Week

The week is going down in my pregnancy hall of fame as "the lost week."

I'm not even sure where the time has gone!

The past 72 hours have been spent with me sick, on the couch, with a stomach bug or maybe food poisoning. Only, we didn't realize that's what it was until AFTER my weekly dr appointment when he guessed a bladder infection and had tests run for that (I had been running a fever with chills/sweats for about 48 hours.)

Fun.

Too bad the stomach virus part didn't come on until the moment we stepped in the door from the hospital! Luckily, it was before I started an antibiotic or even got the test results back.

I'm not full of complaints, surprisingly. I have alot to be rejoicing over right now, such as:

1.) Baby Grace is officially head down!

2.) Her slight deceleration in heart rate that the dr noticed at the last appointment wasn't there this time, so he guessed she just got excited and then simmered down at the last appointment!

3.) My Classical Arabic teacher delivered her baby yesterday...yay! Except she's two weeks behind me! How did that happen? And why isn't my baby in my arms yet?

(I Joke, I joke! Grace can stay in as long as she needs to get healthy, have strong lungs, and get plenty plump!)

4.) Politically, things have simmered down here. There's still things going on but it isn't nearly as "exciting," as it was 3-4 weeks ago!

5.) And here's the big one folks....

WE GOT OUR VISAS!!!!!!

This means our 2- 2 1/2 hour car trip to the hospital is effectively cut down to 45 minutes to an hour!

Praise God!

They came in 2-4 weeks early and couldn't come at a better time. We are so grateful, and so excited.

6.) We got a care package in the mail today from a group of women in Lebanon, TN- stocked full of muffin mixes, Mac N Cheese (I'd been craving this for weeks!) bacon bits, and pepperoni! It's the little things, folks.

*Sigh* Pepperoni. I haven't had real pepperoni in...well, I'm not sure how long. 6 months? I think a friend here served us pizza with real pepperoni on it a couple of months ago, but I couldn't be a hyena and pick them all off greedily.

Now, I can.

Be Prepared.

(anyone else hear the song from the Lion King in their head when they think of hyenas? No? Just me? Okay, carry on.)

7.) We got our car seat installed, contact list made, and hospital bags packed. We have to take them with us every time we go over the border now, just in case we need to stay over there! So surreal!

So, despite being ill and not seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, I have much to be thankful for.

I even have a belly picture for 36 weeks, but, seeing as I haven't loaded it on the computer yet, you'll just have to wait.

Curious? Just look at my profile picture, and imagine a much larger, much puffier Brittney with a watermelon stuffed under my shirt.

Perfect.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

And Exhale....

Life has been...full lately.

I don't think it's a good full or a bad full, necessarily, just full.

I told Ian that this weekend felt like I took a big breath in {in anticipation of a relaxing weekend,} and then it was just so jam packed with paperwork, fellowships, phone calls, housework, and social things that I never actually got to exhale.

To cap it all off, this whole "interrupted pregnancy sleep" thing is really a damper on my usual chipper spirits. And please don't leave comments about how it just gets worse when baby gets here, because I really don't want to hear it right now.

I told my friend that I am probably dehydrated because I'm staying away from water so much. It's like my mind and body know that for every 8 oz of water I drink, I will be getting up once in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. Conservation of energy, or something like that, I suppose.

All of that griping to say that I had an amazing night tonight. Or rather, day today. I made it home from school in one piece and just collapsed. I took a three hour nap and then got up and gave myself a "spa night." Every once in a while I like to let myself take a 2nd shower (in the evening,) that is extra long and I then tweeze, shave, pluck, trim and paint nails to my hearts content, all while wearing a clarifying mask.

It's a beautiful time.

Plus, I come out of it feeling so refreshed and rejuvenated that all negative aspects of my day (weekend, or week,) have just been washed away.

I was in major need of one today. You know you look like a mess when 3 out of 4 teachers make comments about your tired and haphazard appearance in the middle of class. Jeesh.

Nothing like making a pregnant woman feel beautiful, huh?

In my defense, I had been up since 4 am with head splitting headache and wore my curly hair up in a ponytail, which I never do. I mean, it's always up, since hair out and about is kind of a no-no in this culture, but I don't usually wear it curly because that would mean it being wet in the morning, which is also a no-no in this culture.

But, when a male teacher tells you that it's time for this baby to come out because you look so exhausted, you know it's time to have a spa night. So that's what I did.

I also may, or may not be, {but definitely am} holding a small grudge against this male teacher for the next day or so.

Ian and I made dinner together (hamburgers, cucumber slices, and twice baked potatoes,) shared a Mars bar, and then he headed out to run some errands.

I spent the evening powering through the ever tedious manual laundry cycle, cleaning up the kitchen, washing dishes, folding Grace's layette items for the hospital, cleaning out the fridge, charging the camera battery and cleaning the camera for the big day, and forcing myself to drink some water (8 oz down, aren't you proud?)

All of this oh-so-exciting information is not very pertinent to your existence, I'm sure, but seeing as we really haven't been doing anything of note, I figured it was high time to let the world know that:

1.) Yes, I'm still alive
2.) No baby yet
3.) My life is still as boring as ever.

The rest of the week is forecasting to be just as dull, so I can't promise much beyond my 36 week update, but I take solace in the fact that alot of you seem to be in blogging slumps as well.

Hooray for mediocrity!

Monday, March 7, 2011

35 Weeks and All is Well...

I am shocked at this "35 weeks," business.

I mean, naturally, 35 would follow 32, 33, and 34, but something about 35 weeks makes it seem SO close.

Maybe it's the fact that Grace will be here {probably,} in 35 days or less.

Or maybe it's the fact that my belly is so huge now, I feel as if I might be mistaken for a small hill while laying down.

Maybe it's the pressure to have her turn in the next 10 days..or else {Turn, baby, turn!}

or Maybe, just maybe, it's the fact that we will officially be parents in five weeks or less.

Who knows.

This pregnancy has really been a dream pregnancy. No morning sickness, healthy weight gain, no blood sugar, blood pressure, or circulation issues, and minimal disturbances to my sleep. My emotions, for the most part, have been steady and those pesky Braxton Hicks made their appearance for all of two days before disappearing.

I am so thankful for all of these things!

We toured the maternity ward last week. Saw the delivery room where we'll stay through labor and delivery plus two hours afterward. It was spartan and...medical, but it was clean and spacious. We then got to tour the after delivery rooms, where we will be for 24-48 hours. They showed us the normal room and the upgraded room (for the local people, they like to have a sitting room attached to the hospital room where all of the family can gather and sit on the floor.)

We weren't even given the option of seeing the VIP rooms.

Sheesh. ha! The normal room will do just fine and we know it won't even matter how fancy or well decorated the room is, since all we'll be caring about is our precious baby girl.

This weeks tasks are to tackle our contact list, installing the car seat, packing the hospital bag, and getting all of her embassy paperwork ready.

Oh, and trying to figure out how to get our cash advance from our overseas insurance company. Otherwise, the hospital won't admit us. Ha. That would be a problem.

I finished washing all of Grace's newborn and 0-3 month clothes, along with all of her linens (towels, sheets, burp cloths, blankets,) at my friend's house, since they have a real washing machine and dryer. Everything is put away, hung up, or folded and her layette items are sitting on her changing table, ready to be put into our hospital back.

Crazy.

The only baby related task that may never get tackled? Her baby blanket that I was crocheting. Especially if she comes early! If she holds off for another week (or 4) then I'll have my spring break to lay around the house, crocheting until my fingers blister. Otherwise, she'll have to make do with a baby scarf, instead of a baby blanket!

9 Days until my next Doctor's appointment. We'll get to do an ultrasound to determine her position, blood work, and other such necessities and we'll be at the 36 week and 4 day mark on that day!

I am so ready to hold her in my arms and cuddle and love on her!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Concerned Ones,

We finally have our internet restored and I figured it was time to address the {lovingly stated} comments and messages of concerns about our situation in the Middle East.

First of all, we're fine.

We're safe, happy, and in a peaceful situation.

Praise be to God.

Most of you have figured out where we live, though I don't specifically state where that is. In the last four days, our peaceful little country has begun to see touches of unrest that have infiltrated much of the Middle East already.

Ours is slightly different though, since the people are not calling for a total overhaul and reform. Simply put, an estimated 50-60% of adults under 30 are unemployed. They need jobs. They have no way to make an income. And since weddings here are on the financial shoulders of the groom to be, costing upwards of 28,000 US dollars for the dowry, gifts, and wedding itself, you have a whole generation of young men that are unable to wed and move on with their lives. So, they are asking for the creation of jobs, unemployment benefits, etc.

They are also asking for the country, which is run by a King (kind of,) to make some reforms to the parliamentary body, a kind of advisory council. Currently the members are not voted in and do not have much power. The people want the parliament to be voted in while also increasing their responsibilities and power. The people are not calling for the removal of the King. As much as I can tell, as an outsider, they still love him and do not want necessarily to have the right to vote in their leader- as much as that might blow our "freedom for choice," and "right to vote," western minds.

The majority of the gatherings and "protests," have been peaceful- some have been even compared to a tailgate, with groups of 4-5 men standing around talking as they await news and word from the government. A wave of "yays," {only the Arabic equivalent,} are heard and then the crowd disperses.

There have been some non-peaceful gatherings, with the major one ending in the death of an individual and several other wounded. The causes for these incidences have not yet been revealed, though I have my suspicions that these were out of line protesters.

The repercussion for this one city's protests is that the rest of us may face gas shortages, as the gasoline is trucked in from the other port city. We've stocked up and will not let the car reach "empty," again, just in case.

Much like you would do when a hurricane approaches. Except I don't have to board up my windows or stock up on food.

Comically enough, our biggest concern is that our import store (over an hour away, by the way,) was looted and burned, so where, oh where, will I be able to buy my cream cheese frosting or frozen bagels?

To that, I do not have an answer.

We keep rolling our eyes and going "why did they have to loot the store?!" It won't open again until the company is sure everything is calmed down. Boo.

I do want to thank everyone for their concern for the situation in the Middle East.

Some deal with their love for us by not realizing how large this region is, geographically speaking, and by overgeneralizing one problem to the whole region. Much like saying "oh my gosh, there was a tornado in Kansas, are you okay in Florida?!"

To those who want to know our plan of action, it is this: Be wise, have open ears and eyes, and keep our family updated and calm in the States.

If anything were to escalate, you can probably expect a few less blog posts as we would go ahead and go across the border. I am, after all, almost 35 weeks pregnant and our hospital is on the other side of the border, in a still completely peaceful country.

I will be honest with you, my mind does go to the If and What Then questions quite often. It's not like the imagination of my childhood, where I ceaselessly pretended to be an orphan on the street or in a war torn country, living in the woods. Instead, it's me going over mental lists of what I would pack, how long it would take to do a visa/border run, and where we would stay on the other side.

At this time, I truly don't believe it will even come close to that. But, I am human, and am an outsider in a foreign culture. I won't pretend to understand all of the dynamics of things here.

We greatly appreciate your prayers for us, other friends, and for the people of the Middle East.

Remember, any people group can not know true Peace until they know the Prince of Peace.

Expecting anything else is relying solely on the power of human nature and discourse, which is faulty and sin filled at best.

All is possible through Him.

Blessings,


(Ian and baby Grace, as well!)