Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I grow them big

It's been a really, really long time since I wrote a blog post. Almost exactly two years. I attribute it to the fact that when I lived by myself, I never got out all 20,000 words in a day and I needed somewhere to spew. Since the blog started, I have gotten married and had a kiddo. And, well, I use a lot more words in a day. Even if those words consist of "Don't do that" "Stop please" "Mommy said no" and "Go to your room." So why am I writing now. Because I'm almost 38 weeks pregnant with BB2 and there are some things that need to be said.

There are a lot of blog posts and articles about pregnancy. What to say and what not to say, pregnancy loss, and preemies, and other challenges that come along with being pregnant and the whole process of being born. Posts about breastfeeding, natural vs. c-section, fit pregnancy, etc. And there are even posts about how some women "glow" (it's a lie, I'm convinced) and how some women have a really hard time with pregnancy (this is me raising my hand). But there aren't many posts at all about women that have GIGANTIC babies and how they must feel. So this is that post - the "I'm pregnant with a big baby, leave me alone" post.

This was the newborn diaper they put on Sawyer. 
I think my doctor and others thought I was exaggerating when I said that there was a good chance that BB2 could be as big as its brother. They were skeptical that something else was going on to cause Sawyer's fantastic birth size. Gestational diabetes, lots of fluid, poor eating on my part, a fluke, barometric pressure (ok, I made that one up), but I got asked every possible scenario in the book.

And it came down to this - With Sawyer, I started measuring big at week 20. By week 28, I was measuring 33. By week 38, I was measuring over 44 weeks - basically off of the charts. And when Sawyer was born at 39 weeks, he weighed 10 lbs. 6 oz. I did not have gestational diabetes (they checked me twice), I did not eat like crap the entire pregnancy, I worked until the day of delivery, my due date was correct and Sawyer was just big.

Toddler sunglasses fit at day 1
Along comes pregnancy number two - new doctor because of a move to Michigan - and she is skeptical when I run down my first birth history. Fast forward to week 14 - they decide that the baby is measuring big so they change my due date and move me up a week. Week 28 I'm measuring 34. Ultrasound at 33 weeks shows baby measuring 36-37 and baby is around 6 pounds already. 35.5 week ultrasound and baby is measuring 8 lbs 4 oz. By week 37, I'm measuring 46 weeks. And no that's not a typo. I do not have gestational diabetes (checked twice), my fluid is normal, I'm craving vegetables. Maybe, just maybe, I grow big babies.

I have an ultrasound this Friday to check on the baby's size once again. At my 38 week ultrasound with Sawyer they projected him to be around 10 lbs. And with all these stats and numbers, I wish I had a shirt I could wear, or a brochure I could hand out to curious eyes and old women at grocery stores that simply said these 10 things.

1. Yes I'm huge. I grow big babies.
2. I don't have gestational diabetes or any other health issues.
3. I still have at least two weeks to go.
4. There is only one. Don't you think we would have checked that out?
5. I've been measuring full term (or more) for 6 weeks. I hurt.
6. How the baby is born is no concern of yours.
7. Yes I can sit a plate on my stomach quite comfortably.
8. Baby is healthy.
9. Rules about touching pregnant bellies still applies - DON'T DO IT.
10. I've heard every joke in the book. No need to repeat any.

I'm off my soap box now. I'd like to stay up there and keep going, but I need to sit down. Some people have big babies for no apparent reason other than a little family history. Here's to breaking hospital records and skipping the newborn stage entirely!

Monday, July 14, 2014

It's Not As Simple As You Think

I don't like getting involved in political discussions. Especially on Facebook. I feel like a lot of those topics warrant a conversation - a face to face dialogue. But with the current fighting in Israel/Palestine, my heart hurts. And I wish there was a way to for others to understand what I saw and what I heard when I was there.
Sea of Galilee

Some things you should know:

  • I don't like the fighting. 
  • I don't support Hamas. 
  • The issues in Israel/Palestine (IP from now on) are not new. 
  • Both Jews and Palestinians are misunderstood.
  • "Palestine" does not equal "Hamas"
  • People on all sides are being hurt. 
  • I don't think that we can solve this problem by simply agreeing to not shoot rockets at each other. 
  • I don't think the US is helping. 
  • I think that the Western media is doing a terrible job of reporting facts. 
  • I can only share my opinion. It isn't necessarily "right" or "wrong" but merely what I believe because I have seen some of the conflict with my own eyes. 
Quick Facts: 
  • I went to Israel/Palestine in May 2008. 
  • The conflict was present when I was there. 
  • There are Israeli Jews and Israeli Christians.
  • There are Palestinian Muslims and Palestinian Christians. 
  • Hamas is its own entity. Very few Palestinians associate themselves with Hamas.
A view of the water collection barrels on the roofs in Bethlehem.
I get so frustrated at the links that people post about Palestinians being hateful, or violent, or terrible people. Can I say again that this is NOT A SIMPLE ISSUE. The conflict is not simply about a group of people wanting another group dead (which I saw today). Nor is it about Muslims being upset about a Jewish community on "Muslim" land (another article that I don't find very factual). 
A checkpoint through the separation wall into Bethlehem.

When I was in Palestine, I had to go through the separation wall. I had to walk through security with our Palestinian CHRISTIAN tour guide and watch as he was detained because he was a Palestinian. Did I mention that he had lived in Jerusalem (in Israel) all his life. I stayed with a Palestinian Christian host family that had to create their own rain barrels because sometimes Israel just decided to shut off their water. I stayed at a hotel in Bethlehem (Palestinian territory) and was all lathered up in the shower when the water turned off. Not to be turned on for another 12 hours. I saw Israeli soldiers stop small Palestinian children and look through their bags just to terrorize them. I saw 18 year old Israeli soldiers question us about where we had been and why we would spend time visiting "those people." I waited at checkpoints while our bus driver and tour guide were searched simply because they were Palestinian. 

Our host dad, Abdullah Awad. He started a vocational school for Palestinian children with mental and physical disabilities. The first of its kind in Beit Sahour (suburb of Bethlehem).
Worshiping at the Lutheran church in Beit Sahour.
I went to a grand hotel in Jericho that should have been hundreds of dollars a night. But instead it was nearly empty with a casino that never opened. Because it was in Palestinian territory. I worshiped at a Lutheran church with Palestinian Christians that hugged us and told us that we had more power than they did to solve the problem. I went to a very small village in the desert, with no electricity and running water, and met with the village leader that said the children were harassed on their way to school. I was in my Jerusalem the next day when I heard that Israeli settlers (who had illegally built a settlement "city" in Palestinian territory - that Israel had said they wouldn't touch) had stolen sheep - the villages only livelihood - and killed them and wrote a threatening message. Did I mention that the conflict was present when I was in IP? And then I came home to a US that didn't understand anything that we saw, and continued to feed Israel millions in military dollars. 
A small child playing with pliers on the edge of steep embankment in the village we visited in the desert.

When I was in Israel I saw Christians that were friendly and working for peace. I visited with Jews who truly believed that God had wanted them to come to the area, but that he didn't want them to fight. I visited the old city and saw where Jesus walked. I went to the Wailing Wall and tucked my prayer for peace in the wall as well. We went to a Kibbutz (Jewish communal compound) and enjoyed talking with the people there and learning about their families. We visited the holocaust museum and were utterly shocked at the sadness and evil that was present so many years ago. 

And only twice did I feel threatened my entire trip. The first time was when an Israeli soldier - 3 years younger than me - came onto our tour bus, checked our passports and had his AK 47 smack against our seats while he walked up and down the aisle. The other time was when we visited Hebron, a "very hostile city" according to CNN, Fox News and the like. Again, it was an Israeli soldier - a sniper this time - that had his gun trained on us as we walked through the main road of the city. Why? Don't know. You'd have to ask him and his buddy that were sitting in the tower. 
Israeli sniper in upper right tower.

I met some fabulous Israelis and some fabulous Palestinians. And my heart hurts because both sides are hurting and struggling. Both sides want a place to live and a place to belong, and the extremists on both sides are prohibiting that from happening. Why is Israel bombing Gaza? Why when they know that there are children that are being killed? Why when they know that some of those people in Gaza don't have a way of getting out - and if they did, they would have no where to live. And why is Gaza launching rockets at Israel? Why when it seems that some progress is made do they then declare it time to wreck havoc again? 

Ironic that it says Peace Be With You - on a wall that has caused so much turmoil and surrounded by barbed wire, more fencing and armed guards...
I'm not sure I've said anything profound. Or really explained the situation any more. But I just wish people would know that there are people on both sides that are hurting. There are Palestinian Christian brothers and sisters that are losing their land, their livelihood and their family members. There are Israeli Christian brothers and sisters that are trying so hard for peace and trying to unite Israel and Palestine. There are some wonderful people in Israel/Palestine. And I wish others had a chance to meet them before making assumptions about a conflict that is anything but simple and black and white.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I Don't Hear God

I’ve never heard an audible voice from God. In fact, it frustrates me when people say “I heard the Lord say…” Really? Like a deep booming voice? Or maybe a whisper? I’m skeptical because I’ve never heard “the voice.” And sometimes it seems like for God to be real, we have to hear him. At least I thought that for a long time. And when I realized that I should stop listening for an audible voice and open my eyeballs, I began to see just how real God can be, and how real He had been to me.

Over the past 10 months, Chris has been job hunting. And to be honest, I was pretty angry at God for “leaving us” in this situation of limbo. There were over 200 applications, lots of interviews and no booming voice from God that was giving us any direction. I was frustrated, tired of people saying to listen for God’s direction and I was done. We turned down jobs in Texas, West Virginia and Cincinnati, we traveled to 5 different states for interviews and still nothing. I wasn’t sure what we were supposed to do.

And then at the beginning of May, God got very real. We had a couple of job prospects that had fallen through and we were tired of filling out applications and submitting resumes. Looking back now I can see how God was with us through everything, but if you would have asked me if I thought God cared about us 6 months ago I would have said no. And suddenly we started seeing how God was pointing us in a certain direction.

May 6th Chris had an interview at Spring Arbor. May 9th Chris got an informal job offer from Spring Arbor. May 12th Chris was formally offered the position and we accepted. May 19th we found out that the salary would be more than enough to support us in Michigan. May 20th we found an apartment that let us have Dori and had lots of storage. May 24th we moved. June 3rd Chris started his new job and he loves it. The month seemed to line up pretty well.

But there was more than just the job. His initial interview started with prayer. The entire committee prayed during his first officially meeting at the college. Chris’ boss offered to help us with anything and everything. We put our house up for sale and it sold in 6 days for exactly what we wanted. Even though we were moving to a new state we were moving a little closer to my sister. And while we had to move away from all of you, it’s only about 2 hours. Both sets of parents happened to be free to help us move on the same weekend. Our health insurance started Chris’ first day of work (This is HUGE). As well as all of the other perks of the job. The insurance covered all of my and Sawyer’s medications right off the bat and the college is helping cover some of our other costs. I found a family doctor this past week and he is awesome! And we could probably mention even more God things that have happened.

I’ve never heard God’s audible voice. I’ve never thought woa – someone is talking to me and it’s not just the voice in my head. But there have been a few times that I knew God was not only real and involved in the plan, he was in charge of the plan. There are hidden blessings in the past 10 months of searching and praying and changes and I’m sure we will look back and find more. And I don’t want to sugar coat anything either. It’s rough, frustrating, confusing and annoying at times – waiting on God to show you His plan. And you’ll get tired and angry. And people will keep telling you to press on. And even when you want to punch them, DON’T. You are allowed to feel all of those things but remember that deep down He is there. And it will feel like a very faraway place and you may not hear God – but just wait and you can see Him at work, you can feel His comfort and you can understand how he is real in your own life. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Positively Perfect

Disclaimer: I get frustrated with all of the "awful, thought-I-was-gonna-die, didn't bond with my child, they were ripped from the womb" talk about c-sections. While some experiences may be negative, my c-section was positively perfect. It was perfect for ME, perfect for CHRIS, perfect for our big kiddo with the large noggin' that was all twisted up in there. 

So the day was set. July 25th we would be welcoming our "little one" into the world. And to be honest, I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be. I knew that Dr. Kennedy agreed that a c-section was the best choice, that I had time to prepare in the morning and that our parents were going to be there with us.

We left for the hospital around 6:00 and only had to make one pit stop on the way there: Chris needed a breakfast sandwich at Subway. The next 2.5 hours were very laid back. We got checked in and went to the pre-op room where we met our pre-op nurse. We heard stories about her Corvette that was at the garage, how she didn't remember what she filed out for the previous patient and how she was going to be with me the whole time I was in surgery/delivery. At 10 till 9 that morning, I said goodbye to the grandparents to be and walked back to the delivery room.

This is probably the one time I was really nervous. Chris had to put scrubs on and wasn't allowed into the room until I was numb and ready to go. Dr. Kennedy was washing up and I was sitting on the bed, shivering away. The minute Dr. Kennedy got into the room, she came right over and began explaining everything that was going on. For me, as someone with panic disorder, it is important to "know more." I want to know exactly what is going on, what is going to happen next and all of the details.

Note #1: I knew in advance that I was going to have a c-section. For this reason I asked my doctor lots of questions about the procedure, the risks, etc. and did my research. This helped calm a lot of fears going in to the delivery.

First up was my spinal. I had four shots to numb the area before the anesthesiologist began the spinal procedure. The process is somewhat like an epidural. He told me to bend forward, (which consisted of me putting my chin down. My boobs were on my belly, my belly was on my legs and there was no "bending forward"), and then inserted the needle. Unlike an epidural, I got one large dose of medicine that completely numbed me from the chest down. I would be numb for roughly 2 hours and then it would completely wear off. The doctor talked me through my spinal and then asked me to swing my legs up onto the bed. As I sat there looking at the 100 pound weights, formally known as my legs, I looked back up at her and raised my eyebrows. She was pleased to know that the spinal had worked so quickly and with the help of the nurses we were able to get me positioned on the bed. IVs were already hooked up, arms were FREE TO MOVE - none of the tied down business - and a nice warm blanket was wrapped around my face.

Note #2: Let me take a moment to say that I am very thankful that the catheter was inserted AFTER my spinal. 

Once I was all set up and ready to go, Chris was allowed in the room. He had a stool right next to me on the left and the anesthesiologist was on my right. I remember an oxygen mask being placed on me and Dr. Kennedy said "Here we go!" Chris was fascinated with the whole procedure and kept standing up and sitting down to catch as many glimpses as he could. He was allowed to video and hand my hand in his right and the camera in his left.

A couple of minutes in, Dr. Kennedy said "Wow, that's a big head!" and then let me know that she was going to have to make the incision a little wider. Afterwards she let us know that the baby was indeed face-up and not even near the birth canal. I would have most likely gone over the 40 weeks which would have been dangerous because of the baby's size. The baby kept slipping back up and they were having trouble wiggling it out. There was a physician that pressed rather hard on my stomach and I was moved from side to side. It was during this time that I got a little nauseous. The anesthesiologist patted my shoulder and said "Ok. Count to 10." I got to 2 and felt amazing. I'm not sure what he gave me but I would have been more than happy to have that in pill form.

And then the really awesome part happened - and the only thing that really matters in this whole ordeal -- We delivered a baby. Chris videoed, Dr. Kennedy and the nurses pulled and I laid there quite peacefully as Sawyer Wayne Bauman entered the world. I appreciated so much that Dr. Kennedy said "You have a son" and Chris and I looked at each other and smiled, and asked her to check again, and smiled some more. 

Once Sawyer was out, they took him to the warmer and I sent Chris over to get some pictures and to meet the big guy. We were told that he was 10 pounds 6 ounces and Chris told me he had a full head of hair and was chubby. After getting Sawyer cleaned up Chris got to hold him and bring him over to me. Chris and Sawyer were right beside me until they finished stitching me up. Chris carried him to the recovery room and I was able to snuggle next to my little guy. Because of the surgery, loss of blood and my anxiety I was shaking pretty bad. The nurse did a great job of keeping Sawyer next to me and brought the grandparents back right away.

My c-section was positive and it was perfect for us. We had a healthy, BIG boy, wonderful doctors and nurses and a great hospital.  I was able to have skin to skin contact, we tried breastfeeding (the kid was born hungry), Sawyer blew out a newborn diaper and was upgraded to size 1, Chris was able to hold him and all of the grandparents got a turn too. I was wheeled to our room with Sawyer in my arms, we were given alone time as a family and it was a wonderful experience. I don't want to sugar coat things and there was pain, and headaches from blood loss and I had to spend a little more time in the recovery room than expected (due to my violent shaking/panic) but looking back the pain was bearable, medicine was helpful and I was able to stay with Sawyer the whole time. From the moment he was born until 2 hours later, Sawyer, Chris and I were together.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A big baby, a bad position and a nervous mom.

Part One: A big baby, a bad position and a nervous mom.

I'm really writing this so I remember. I'm not sure why I would forget it, but I want to remember the details. Birth stories fascinate me. And maybe its because my birth story was very different. I don't know what a contraction feels like, I've never been in labor, I've never woken up in the middle of the night and gone, "Oh crap. My water broke." I have no idea what those things feel like. But yet, I still gave birth, just in my own way.

**Disclaimer, when I refer to "the baby" or "it" I am talking about Sawyer. However, we didn't know what we were having until he was born. In my head, I'm used to saying the baby when talking about my pregnancy.**

We knew around 20 weeks that the baby was getting big. Not off the charts yet, but I was measuring about 10 days ahead of schedule. All parts were there, all systems healthy and working, they were just a little larger that what was expected.

24 weeks: I was measuring almost 2 weeks ahead. Dr. Kennedy questioned the August 1 due date and said it could be wrong. Tentatively moved the due date to July 13 (two days after Erika's due date).

28 weeks: Measuring 1 month ahead according to my belly. Dr. Kennedy scheduled an ultrasound for our next appointment at 30 weeks. Just to double check everything.

30 weeks: My appointments were now every two weeks. At this appointment we had another ultrasound and saw some very chubby cheeks on the baby. The ultrasound tech asked when my due date was and got a funny look on her face when I told her. After meeting with Dr. Kennedy we learned that our healthy baby was weighing around 5 lbs. 7 oz. An average sized baby at 30 weeks weighs around 3 pounds. We were almost double that.

32 weeks: No ultrasound this week but I was measuring 37 weeks. Almost 5 full weeks ahead. Dr. Kennedy said my goal was to get to 37 actual weeks. And an ultrasound was scheduled for my next appointment.

34 weeks: I was still measuring about 5 weeks ahead. And the ultrasound was estimating the baby's current weight to be around 7 lbs. 2 oz. The last 5-6 weeks a baby can gain up to a pound a week. I'll let you do the math on that one. At this point Dr. Kennedy (who we loved) threw out the idea that we may have to have a c-section. Depending on the baby's position if and when I went into labor, she may not be able to turn it because it was so big. She didn't want to alarm us, but wanted us to prepare for a c-section just in case. I had already figured that a c-section could be a possibility. So I researched, asked questions and got all my facts lined up so I was prepared.

35 weeks
37 weeks: Our next appointment I was measuring 42 weeks. I was uncomfortable. I had trouble breathing, I was swollen, I had gained close to 65 pounds, I was nauseous and I was ready for this baby to be born. I thought I had braxton hicks contractions earlier in the week but came to find out they were just indigestion cramps. The doctor ordered one more ultrasound at 38 weeks and told me to take it easy.

38 weeks
38 weeks: I actually put my hospital bag in the car for this appointment. I made sure Chris was with me and that we had all the necessary forms hoping that Dr. Kennedy would take one look at the baby and say "Head to the hospital." It didn't happen how I planned. I was literally measuring off the charts. The doctor said that she didn't have a week estimate for how large I was based on my belly measurements. We went back to the ultrasound tech, she again was shocked at when my due date was and she said everything was healthy and the doctor would come see us soon. At this point Chris and I had seen on the monitor that all of the baby's measurements were in the 99th percentile. We also saw a number at the bottom of the screen that said 10.8. I assumed that was the baby's estimated birth weight if it was born on August 1, the due date. I was wrong. That was the estimated weight of the baby at 38 weeks. When Dr. Kennedy finally came in she looked at me and said, "I will leave the decision up to you, but the baby is positioned face up, it is very big and I'm not sure you will physically be able to deliver based on all of these factors." Chris and I went in to the appointment with the agreement that if the doctor recommend a c-section we would agree with her. My mom had a very hard delivery with me, Chris' sister was over 10 pounds, the history in our families of large labors and rough births was not something we wanted to chance. Knowing that the c-section was going to be planned, that Chris would be able to be in there and that I would be awake the whole time was a much better option for us then trying to give birth naturally and possibly having an emergency, high-risk, c-section.
39 weeks

Dr. Kennedy's office called the next day and we were put on the schedule. Our baby would be born at 39 weeks - July 25, 2013. I didn't have a preference on day. I just knew I wanted to deliver and to see my baby and not be pregnant anymore. And having an end date in sight was very helpful for this nervous mommy. I could plan (kind of) and I could be prepared (as much as possible) and I knew that family would be able to be there when we needed them.

And then we waited. For a whole week.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Well that was fast...

Hard to believe it has been almost a year since my last blog post. But if I have nothing to say, or my brain isn't functioning in "blog mode" nothing appears on the screen. It was the same way in college. I couldn't set out a block of time to write a paper. I had to write when the spirit led you could say. I wrote most of my 40 page senior communications paper in 3 sittings. Just because that's when the words were coming. So why weren't the words coming the last 11 months?

This guy.

Well, we didn't know it was a boy, or that he would be this adorable, or this big, but we knew what upset the fruit basket. This guy.

Don't get me wrong, I was so excited that we were pregnant and going to have a little one of our own. Other than Dori of course. But I was not prepared for the onslaught of sickness, mental health issues, panic, hormones and woa baby we are having a baby reactions in my body. This adorable little man made his mommy very sick at the beginning of the pregnancy. Like "trip to the ER" sick. Then this adorable little man wanted to hide from the doctor's at the 7 week appointment and scare mommy and daddy. We didn't know if we were actually pregnant or not for another whole week. And then when mommy was starting to feel a little better, this adorable little man got BIG. Real BIG.

It's amazing to me that the first ultrasound didn't show a baby. There was no "fetal pull", no hint of a baby at all. And we waited for one really long, really rough week and when we went back in for another ultrasound, we saw a little blob with a little flicker of a heart beat. And 32 weeks later we had a 10 pound baby. How does God do it? How does he create something so small we don't see it, and then its a blob and then its a blob with stumps for limbs and then its a 10 pound, healthy baby boy? The miracle of it all is still baffling at times.

And so for the last 11 months, I have been sick, I have been worried, I have been scared, I have been happy, I have been excited and I have been thrilled to welcome our first child into our lives. Its been scary, fun, tiring, hilarious and all sorts of other emotions since Sawyer Wayne joined our lives.  And as I sit here and watch him wiggle in his sleep on the boppy and get kisses from his big sister Dori, I finally had a few words. Maybe not 20,000, but a few. We'll see if the words stick around. I have faith that they will. =)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Today was like any other day...

Today began like any other day. Dori and I went on some walks, we cleaned up the house, we played with Ferdinand (Dori's favorite toy) and we were starting to sew. Dori was being especially annoying so I tied her out back on her run-line. About 5 minutes later she started to bark. A lot. I figured it was just a car on the street or the neighbors were home, so I let her bark. When she didn't stop, I went out to investigate. I peer around the corner and Dori is barking at a furry animal that is larger than she is! I screamed, hauled Dori inside and gained the courage to investigate.

Peeking around the corner again I determined it was a raccoon. Gross. Climbing on the kitchen counter and sticking my head out the window I determined that it was sleeping....or dead. Double gross.

Don't go thinking it was an adorable little raccoon. 
 Raccoons are not adorable. To me they always look like this:
Every since I was little I've hated rodents. Dad would find cool dead things in the barn, or say we have a possum in the wood pile and I would RUN. Inside, behind firmly shut doors. My memories of rodents include hiding in my bedroom until I head the shotgun and got the all-clear from mom. I hate them. They creep me out and I just think they are gross. I'm a bug person. Got a spider? Creepy crawly thing? Ants? Flies? Bees? No problem. I'll squash 'em! I'm the bug person in our house. They don't scare me at all. Chris is the rodent person. Really he is the "any animal that isn't Dori" person. He handles all of that.

Problem 1: I'm the BUG person.
Problem 2: The rodent person, Chris, is at work. All day.
Problem 3: There is a rodent of unusual size outside my house. 
Problem 4: It could be dead.

If there is anything I hate more than rodents, it is dead rodents. Probably because I've seen a possum pretend to be dead and so I automatically assume that every dead animal is going to spring to life at any minute. Earlier this year I managed to get a muskrat out of our garage at the apartment by wearing Chris' snow boots, standing on a chair and shooing with two brooms. This was going to be a much more complicated extraction.

Step 1: Determine if the animal is dead. I made a loud noise, clapped and ran back inside. After calling my dad, only to hear him laugh at me, I again attempted to officially determine it was dead. I threw a tennis ball at the raccoon. It landed on the raccoon. No movement. No breathing. Raccoon is dead.

Step 2: Put dead raccoon in a box. I put on my trusty rain boots, wore my work gloves and grabbed a shovel. I slowly approached the raccoon. Remember, it looked like this:
I poked the raccoon. No movement. I poked harder. Again, no movement. I poked one more time to be sure. And that's when I realized the raccoon was stiff. I about lost my breakfast. I moved the box as close to the raccoon as possible and started to scoop up the stiff, very dead raccoon. The dude weighed a ton! After pining the animal against the siding so I could slide the shovel underneath, I managed to keep the raccoon on the shovel. I went to dump him in the box. He didn't fit! The fatty didn't fit in the box. Despite the rigor mortise that was already apparent I shoved and much to my relief the big, dead raccoon was finally contained to a box. With a lid.

Step 3: Dispose of raccoon. While it may appear that I had now conquered the hardest part, I beg to differ. I now had to carry the box, full of stiff, fat dead raccoon to the front of the house. Take it in my car out to the country, find a secluded area and dump the beast. Still wearing my protective boots and gloves, I carried the box to the front of the house. I put the box ON the trunk of my car and slowly backed down the lane. Having been on the phone with my dad and mom, they both advised that I make sure the box didn't open and that the raccoon didn't crawl out and come back to life. I had assured them that this thought had already passed through my mind. Multiple times.

Step 4: Drive to disposal location. As I slowly turned the corner out of our allotment, the lid flew off the box. Luckily it was because of the wind and not because the monster had pushed it off. So I slowly turned down 600 N, and then onto 400 and then 550 and then some more roads. As I was contemplating the dumping/disposal procedure I realized that I would have to carry the box without the lid. And it still had this guy inside:
As I pulled off the side of the road at the perfect location, I stepped out of my car, picked up the box and launched. Then I sprinted back to the car and drove away before the gigantic, dead raccoon could follow me home. And yes. I littered. I left the box, with the raccoon still partially inside, on the side of the road. And then I got the heebie jeebies and felt the need to shower and disinfect the outside of my house.

So the problem has been solved. The raccoon beast is resting on the side of a country road. I have washed my hands multiple times. Dori has settled down and I'm quite proud of myself for disposing of the monster all by myself.  Do I want to do it again? Not a chance. Can I do it? Yes. If I absolutely, positively HAVE to do it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I am not a fan of nocturnal panic attacks. Not at all. To be honest, I don't like any kind of panic attack but that can be assumed. Nocturnal ones are the worst. You are just sleeping away and you wake up in a panic for no apparent reason.

Like this morning. Roughly at 5:30 a.m. Ick.

Since my last round of reoccurring panic, I've been "practicing" cognitive brain therapy. Mom found it back in May/June and since then I've been reading and re-reading the books ever since. So I pulled out my trusty cheat sheet and started reading again.

It says:
"60% of people with panic disorder (like me) experience panic attacks in their sleep." (Now that doesn't seem fair does it?) "This has to do with the physical changes of 'letting go' that occur as we go into deep sleep. To someone who is already on 'high alert' (welcome to my life) these bodily sensations can first of all wake them up and then trigger a panic attack."

So when that happens I then have to reteach myself that a panic attack is a rush of adrenalin. My body will eventually stop sending shots of adrenalin but until then, I feel crappy. And when you wake up like that and have no idea why, well, its incredibly frustrating, scary and exhausting. And while I know the panic attack will pass, well, for the time being its hard to remember that.

I'm hoping that when I go to ACE Hardware this morning and maybe make a stop at tractor supply, I will forget about the extra adrenalin coursing through my body and I'll be able to relax.

Cause the panic attack can't harm me in anyway, it just sucks.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I can breathe again

It's been a doozy of a month. (My blog is telling me that I spelled "doozy" wrong. Please. D-O-O-Z-Y is the proper spelling.) We got back from vacation, started packing up the apartment, closed on our house, spent a week painting and cleaning, moved into our new home, started a new job and had house guests each of the last 3 weekends. And I finally feel like I can breathe again.

Today was the first day in a while that I didn't have to do anything. Nothing needed moved, cleaned, painted or organized. The fridge is full, the laundry is all caught up and the dog doesn't need a bath. I could just sit and enjoy the living room and Gerdie, the couch. I took a nap, ate lunch, made pizza rolls and just sat. It was a good day.

But August has been a doozy. I didn't realize how much stuff Chris and I had until I started packing. Holy moses. The attic alone was packed full. We found old picture albums and yearbooks, LEGOs and toys from childhood and lots and lots of trophies. I'll admit that all of the trophies belonged to my ridiculously talented little league husband. We went through everything and came up with a number of "donate" boxes and bags. And we still had a lot of stuff to move. Once we got to the new house, I realized how big it really was. Well big to us anyway. All 1600 square feet.

And now we are in our new home. Each day this past week I've organized a new room or closet and we only have one more to go - the sewing room! That's right I have a sewing room. It's being treated for pill bugs right now but will soon we ready to go. We've mowed the yard, washed down the front of the house, and enjoyed sitting on the back patio with the woods. We still haven't had a fire in our fire ring, but the plan is for that to happen on Monday. Sometimes I forget we have an upstairs and I've found myself walking laps around the house trying to find everything that I packed away so nicely.

 But we love our home and sometimes are surprised that we own it. I feel very blessed that we were able to buy our own place only one and a half years after getting married, and at the ages of 25 and 26. I'm able to start a new job that I love (more on that later) and Chris is able to work with sports every day. We have a great church family and love being a part of the youth group. And I think every time we walk into our new home we both think about how blessed we are.

So besides buying a house in August, I also had an interview and started a new job. It's been quite a change going from a 40/week job that was demanding, pressure filled and calculated, to a job that is relaxed, retail and focuses on one of my favorite things to do: quilting. I'm now working part time at Quilts N Gifts in Bluffton, Ind. My main job is to run the floor so the others can tackle the quilting orders and the sample projects. I talk with customers, pick out fabric, cut material for kits, go to the classes and hopefully lead a class or two of my own for the kids that want to learn to sew. I wasn't too sure of what I was getting into at first. I worked full time and was used to that income, but I'm really enjoying what I'm doing. I'm busy, it's different every day and the ladies I work with are hilarious. 40 years older than me, but hilarious. And I still have days off that I can do my own thing here at home - like mow the yard. Which I just finished.

When I started this post a couple days ago I had lots to say. I really don't anymore. So I'm going to end it now with "I'm alive." Just not a lot of note-worthy things to, well, note.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Things I learned while babysitting this summer...

1. Darth Maul has a small head.
2. Imaginary friends get their feelings hurt.
3. Imaginary friends and their humans don't appreciate when they are elbowed in the car.
4. We do not say "butt." We say "bottom" or "bum."
5. Obi Wan Kanobi has a high pitched English accent. According to Sadie.
6. Walking is an Olympic sport. Along with chasing Dori, swinging on carts and pop-tart eating.
7. Some small children think its hilariously to pretend to pee in the kiddie potty. Hilarious.
8. Water can give you an "ouchie."
9. Siblings can love each other one minute and absolutely hate each other the next.
10. Dori is way more fun than me. Way more.
11. Kyle makes a great R2-D2 noise.
12. I'm glad I'm up to speed somewhat on Star Wars. I'd hate to repeat the slapping incident of 2009. Note to future babysitters: do not put a RED light saber with Luke Skywalker. It is frowned upon.
13. The Jar Jar Binks version of Call Me Maybe goes:  "Hey I just met you, and this is cawazie!"

Monday, July 16, 2012

If I was an empty house...

If I was an empty house, I wouldn't care if the sale was final before letting someone start working on me. I wouldn't mind if they came in and cleaned, painted, changed shower heads and doorknobs, had the carpets professionally cleaned and started moving in furniture. I wouldn't mind if they tested all the windows, replaced the screen door and started attacking the front garden bed jungle. I wouldn't mind if they tore down the eye-sore fence and worked on the yard. And I wouldn't mind if they moved in before the sat at the ever-intimidating "closing table." (Insert dramatic music here.) In fact, if I was an empty house, I just wouldn't want to be empty anymore.

If I was an insurance agent...

If I was an insurance agent, I would make sure and tell the people I'm working with that there are extra "fees" associated with the start of the homeowners insurance. I would make sure to tell them about multi-policy discounts and how their car insurance will lock in soon because they've been with the insurance provider for almost 10 years. I would also give them a sticker and a gift card to a restaurant because after buying a house and paying for homeowners insurance for a year, they won't be going out to eat for at least 6 months.

It would be the nice thing to do.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

If I was a loan officer...

If I was a loan officer I would go insane.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

If I was a cable company...

If I was a cable/internet company I would set up my website so that it MADE SENSE. No bashing the other company, no flashy graphics with weird lingo. Nope. It would be easy.

Step 1: Enter zip code to see if we have service in your area.
Step 2: If we have service we will show you options 1, 2, or 3 for TV (not "video") TV. It's called TV. So anyway, there will be only 3 options. Option one: basic cable with the PRICE LISTED. Option two: slightly more channels with the PRICE LISTED. Option three: the most channels with the PRICE LISTED.
Step 3: Select internet. Options: Basic - Fast - Fastest. and always LIST THE DANG PRICE.
Step 4. Pick which two you want and put them together. Take $15 off your bill.
Step 5: Celebrate cause it was that easy!!!!

No gimmicks, no dishes, no extra wiring, no limiting to certain rooms, no fancy offers, just pick the two you want and wabam! You have cable and internet.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Getting the tough stuff out of the way

Chris and I have done a pretty good job of getting the tough stuff out of the way during our first year of marriage. Some of it has been planned, most has just happened whether we wanted it to or not.

Not only did we move in together upon our return from the honeymoon, our marriage started off with a bang - me missing my anxiety meds for way too long...having consistent panic attacks...not being able to fully function for the first couple was a great time to figure out how patient Chris is and how Drea reacts when she doesn't take her pills. After the disaster of May 2011, the rest of the summer was pretty uneventful. We decided it was time to make a big purchase together. So we bought Gerdie, our wonderful couch, during Swiss Days in Berne at the end of July.

Unfortunately, we lost Chris' Mamaw to cancer during August. I've never lost a grandparent before, and Chris was especially close with Mamaw. It was a rough time for the family, but again, taught Chris and I how great it was to have one another and work through it together. 

One week after Gerdie's arrival in September, dear little Dori entered the family and Chris started another year at Indiana Tech. Adding a puppy to the mix stirred up our little lives, but with everyone around us having children, we figured a puppy was the next step.

We paid off a car in November and were looking forward to not having ANY car loans for a couple months. One week after the cars were all paid for, Chris' '98 Saturn bit the dust for the final time and we had to do some fast shopping and buy a car at the end of the month.

To sum up a very stressful spring: my job was causing unnecessary stress and anxiety, Chris was super busy with work, we hardly had time to go home and we were involved with the youth group at church. Chris graduated from grad school with his MBA and was hired on full time at Indiana Tech. Which then prompted me to quit my job and learn what its like to work on my schedule.

And as of today, we have signed the agreement for our first home. And I'm exhausted. I understand more than I ever wanted to about loans, repo's, home owner's insurance, PMI and the concept of looking for and finding a house that's perfect for us. We won't be moving until the middle of August, but I'm ready to get going. I feel as though I'm wasting my days by not being able to clean the new house and start painting. I may start packing next week to be honest. Is it too early? Most likely, but if you know me at all I like to be prepared.

That's all the tough stuff for now. We will just keep taking it day-by-day. But I'll be ready to be settled in at our new place and maybe start working part time again. Until then, I'll pack, dream about paint and decorations and go on a vacation or two. Summer is looking pretty good right that the tough stuff is out of the way. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012


"Maybe this is the time when you figure out what your dream is. Maybe this is the time that you ask God what his dream for you is and how that works with your dream."

My counselor is a wise woman. This was what she said to me last time I went in for a visit. I'm kind of limbo-land for a little bit. I quit a full-time job, with benefits, to take some time off just for me (and Chris). This was my first full week of being a stay-at-home wife. And I really enjoyed it. I spent time with friends, organized closets, made supper, planned 2 weeks worth of menus, did laundry and got to run in the mornings. But the one thing I didn't do was have some quiet time with just me and God.

I haven't taken time to think about what my dream is for right now in my life. And I think I'm scared to open up and ask God what it is that He has in mind for me. Right now I have a plan in my head, and I know that God can interrupt that plan. And that would mean I'm no longer in charge. So while my first week went really well, and my anxiety is down again and I've been having a lot of fun, this next week my focus needs to be on what my dream is and what God's dream is for me as well. And to embrace the fact that discovering what that is could be a little scary.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012 what?

Today was my last day of work for a while. I don't have anything else lined up. No full-time job, no part-time job, nothing really. I'm going to be a stay-at-home wife for at least a month. I'm going to try and relax (ha!), I'm going to volunteer, I'm going to quilt, read, cook, bake, blog, nap, run, breathe, pray, search, discover and learn how to be me without the title of a job.

I feel very blessed that I'm able to do this. Chris got a full-time job at Indiana Tech and we are switching roles a bit. And since he works at a university, his summers are much more flexible. So I'll get to see my husband a lot more. I'll get to see the sunshine during the day, I'll get to visit family more, I'll get to see my best friend's baby, I'll get to go on vacation and I'll get to drink in summer. Not only that but I can learn how to be spontaneous (ha!), I can help people out in a pinch, I can babysit during the day, grocery shop before 9 p.m. and do laundry on a weekday.

And while I write this post and am looking forward to the days that I can do what I want, when I want, I also realize how hard this transition is going to be and has already been. It makes me nervous. Now what? What will I do every hour of every day? I'm learning that my entire doesn't need to be planned. I'm learning this slowly. My counselor and I talked about learning what our dreams are and how that happens at different stages for different people. God has a special plan just for me, for this time in my life and only I can fill it. So I'm taking some time to just sit and pray and see what my dream is -- for right now, for this part of my life.

So now what? Now I wait. I listen. I have fun. I relax. I run. I breathe. I pray and I search for my dream for right now.

Not to mention, I'll be sleeping in tomorrow. On a WEDNESDAY. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I smell like perm

It's true. I got a perm last night.

It doesn't look quite like this. In fact it looks quite a bit better. 
I mean, I don't often wear a turtle neck or glasses.

I drove an hour and a half to get a perm. Which meant I had to drive an hour an a half home with stinky perm hair. And I got a headache because of it. And then last night my dog attacked me because she wasn't sure what the stink was. And then I wet my hair down this morning to go to work, and well, I still smell like perm. So much so that I think I made my boss wrinkle his nose. I thought it was funny and was not at all sympathetic. However, I do feel bad for Carson and Allison that have to share our space. Perm smell is not a good smell. And I still smell like perm.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Blogger's Envy

I have bloggers envy. Big time. One thing that has come out of my job at DRG (besides the headaches) is the chance to find a bunch of great blogs - specifically quilting/sewing blogs. To name a few:

These wonderful people pump out quilts like I've never seen. New fabric lines are GIVEN to them just to make a quilt. They sell their quilts, they design quilts, the make ones from patterns, they get PAID TO QUILT.

They also blog. They post pictures of their quilts, of everyday life, of their WIPs (work in progress), of the new fabric they received (for FREE), of their kids, etc. And they post often. They get to share their craft, the mistakes and so much more. They go to bloggers conferences and quilt market (on my bucket list) and did I mention that they quilt?

And so I have bloggers envy. Because I want their job. I want to make my own schedule, be paid to do something that I LOVE, stay at home with kids when they come along, be able to volunteer at church more often, have days free to visit Erika and Galen or spend a long weekend with our parents. I want that work schedule. A schedule where I have a job doing what I love, blogging about it, being a mom and maybe even getting free fabric.

And while I'm dreaming about things, it would be great to have a whole room for quilting, sewing and crafting. With one giant wall full of fabric. Color-coordinated of course.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Wanna hear something funny?

I signed up to be on our church's softball team.

Go ahead and laugh. I did. I'm anxiously awaiting the first game, knowing full well that hilarity will ensue when I step on the field. My softball skills leave something to be desired. But let's start at the beginning.


On December 31, 1986 a little girl was born. She instantly loved sports. Well I'm assuming she did. She had to. Her dad loved sports and her sister and mom did not. She had to even the playing field. (Note the sports reference.) She grew up watching sports on TV, reading about them in the newspaper and she loved falling asleep with Tom Hamilton and the Indians on the radio each summer. The time came for her big sister to play little league. She went to her sister's games, was probably super helpful and was only scared when the sky looked like rain. Rain + ball field = tornado, of course.

The little girl did not participate in little league. I'm not sure if she ever asked if she could play (Her parents will have to fill in the gaps in this part of the story.) but she was never on a little league team, baseball or softball. She played soccer a couple years and biddy ball basketball, but was pretty content to sit on the bench during the games of summer and hold the sacred score book. She did the book for her little brother's games, for her older sister's softball team, for the Slidders (the premier girls softball team in Kidron), for the church league softball team and sometimes for fun during the Indians games. She KNEW all about the sport of summer (and a myriad of other sports). But she never stepped on the field.

In middle school the girl dabbled with volleyball and basketball. She played high school basketball for one year and joined the cross country team until shin splints ended her season before it ever started. She KNEW all about the sports at Central Christian High School. She knew a lot about college sports and professional sports too. She knew the rules, the strategies, but she stayed away from the fields, courts and tracks. She preferred to be part of a pep club, preferred to ride in the fan van and preferred to keep the book for the varsity baseball team her senior year.

Then the girl went to college. And she joined an intramural powder puff football team. And they got second place. Then she joined 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 basketball teams. The 5-on-5 team won the league championship 2 years in a row. She played powder puff another year, played more basketball and spent her free time shooting hoops in the gym. The girl always loved sports. But now she loved playing them as well. She knew she wasn't the best, but she could hold her own.

Then she signed up to be on a softball team.

Slow-pitch softball is a little different from soccer, basketball and football. She had to swing an object and hit another one WHILE IT WAS IN THE AIR. She played right field for a year and they figured if she didn't catch it (because her depth perception was terrible) at least she ran fast enough to track it down before an in-the-park home run happened. Her senior year, she was the pitcher. She struck out 3 people in one game. She says it was because of her mean arch. Most people say its because the batters were terrible. She got hit by a line drive that left her right arm numb for 6 hours. She was cleated in the ankle while covering home and she batted lefty and righty. While this seems like quite the accomplishment to be a switch-hitter, the reality is that the girl feels equally awkward swinging a bat from either side. And during her senior campaign of slow pitch, she reached base a total of 2 times. And once it was on an error. Needless to say, softball may not be the girls sport.

And then the girl signed up for the church league softball team. 3 years since she last participated in an organized sport. 3 years since she swung a bat. 3 years since she tried to hit a ball.


So that's where I am now. I can throw a ball and I can catch a ball that has been thrown. If I play in the outfield, you'll have to yell "BACK!" or "IN!" so I know which way to run in order to catch the ball. I'm terrified to play infield, even though I have a mean arch on my pitch. I'm probably destined to be the girl behind the plate. The one that stays out of the way and simply throws the ball back to the pitcher. I may ask to wear a helmet so I don't get konked in the head by a bat, and maybe I'll wear shin guards just for fun.

I'm going to be going to a batting cage to hopefully learn to hit the giant floating ball a little better, and I may even practice running the bases. Maybe I'll get eye-black to make me look tough, or some sunflower seeds so I'm official. Maybe I'm not as terrible as I think. There has to be a small athletic bone in my body. But to be honest, I'd be ok not playing. I'd be fine being the "team-mom" taking care of the details and keeping the book. But why not give it a try? If nothing else, I'll give the good Christian people a chance to laugh and forget about the seriousness of the game. My husband has enough baseball/softball skills for the both of us. But let's be real, I was always best at being on the bench.