Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Big update... little news

For the past few days I have been having contractions.  Lots of contractions... every 5-7 minutes all day Monday.  But not the productive kind...Braxton Hicks contractions.  The ones that get your hopes up and wear you out!  At my appointment this morning I tried hard to hide my disappointment when everything checked out the same as last week.  Seriously!?  Those contractions were hard work!  The midwife conceded and said maybe I was a tiny bit more dilated... but not a full number.

Alli is so excited for her little sister to be born.  She keeps asking if I am having contractions and how hard they are... she also asks if my water has broken.  She is into this whole idea of labor... we have approached this milestone by telling her pretty much how it works (the labor part... we'll clear up the baby-making part another time).  She is fascinated by it all.  Me too.
Alli has her bag packed.  She is excited for a sleepover with Ruby and her friends when real labor starts.
I have my bag packed too.  We have a minivan now (whoever invented automatic sliding doors is a genius... and also probably a busy mom... brilliant!).  We are ready for baby.

Lack of sleep and extra physical exertion are getting me down a little, but I am hanging in there.  If this little one takes after Alli... then she would be here yesterday.  If she takes after Ruby, then maybe by the 15th she will come...OY!!
At least the snow has melted and the temperatures have been somewhat mild... right?!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I got two mugs instead of a van

Yesterday I went mini van shopping... by myself! 

I did some research online (Andy helped too) and headed out to a dealership in the suburbs.  So far so good.  I was feeling confident and things were going well.  I test drove a few vehicles and picked out the model I liked best.  Still good.  I was ready to buy.

Then the salesman who was working with me slipped on the ice and broke his arm.  (I was sitting in the warm dealership... did I mention the zero degree weather?)  He had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance. 

For whatever reason, things were moving slowly.  I had been at the dealership for four or five hours already (next time I shop for cars I will bring a book to read).  The sales staff were bringing around trays of Christmas cookies every hour or so... for survival.  I ate far too many... but it was all I had.

Another salesman was deployed to assist me.  I decided to purchase the van, but I needed to get a cashier's check from the bank.  No problem, the nice salesman would drive me to the bank.  The bank was about two miles away, and the salesman not only took the long route, but he got totally lost and I ended up taking over as navigator giving him turn-by-turn instructions using a poorly printed tiny map from the internet.  The van was also on E... no gas.

We finally made it to the bank...half and hour later.  Mr. Salesman dropped me off and went to find a gas station.  I went inside to the customer service agent... and discovered that I did not have my ID.  You can't get a cashier's check without identification, and I had none.  The first salesman took my license to copy it when I first test drove vans... hours ago.  I called the dealership.  They could not locate the ID.  They suspected it was in the pocket of the first salesman who was at a hospital.  They did not know which hospital the ambulance took him to, and he was not yet admitted, so the hospitals they called could not tell if he was even there.  Closing time at the bank was quickly approaching.

(This was like an episode of Seinfield or something... without the laugh track.)

I helped myself to a cup of hot chocolate at the bank.  I was stranded.

The second salesman came back to the bank to pick me up.  He couldn't find a gas station.  The van was running on fumes. 

He did not know his way back.  I navigated again.

We had to stop for gas, the van was starting to gasp for gas.  Luckily a gas station was nearby.

Back at the dealership finally, I sat and waited forever for whatever.  I had been positive and humorous for eight hours... and I had reached my limit.  Because I couldn't get the check, they wanted me to finance the car (which we didn't want to do).  It was all getting to be too much, so I said, "I just want to go home."  They thought this sale was in the bag, so they had transferred the plates from our car to the van... and the van was at the gas station getting topped off.  So I waited some more.

Mr. Salesman sheepishly brought me two mugs... as souvenirs or whatever.  Thanks so much.

I was starving at this point.  I had been surviving all day on cookies, pretzels, and water... not enough for a fully pregnant mama!

The plates came back to the dealership with the van, I had them switched back to our car, and I drove home via heavy traffic on the highway. 

My license is still at the dealership... so I guess we have to go back. 

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Reason for the Season

Tonight, for Family Home Evening we read part of the Christmas story in Luke chapter 2 of the Bible.
Alli and Ruby dressed up as different characters to act out the scenes. 
Here, Alli plays the part of Joseph.  Ruby is Mary (grumpy because her headband wasn't staying in place).  Baby Jesus is a doll wearing a bow tie in a manger with a feather boa for hay.  The stable is a tent.

The shepherds...

The angels!

And then Alli wanted to hear the story of Samuel from the Book of Mormon.  She dressed up as Samuel and talked about the signs of Christ's birth.

We wrapped up our evening by singing "Away in a Manger" (verses 1 and 3 per Alli's request) and "Silent Night."  And then we had a few Christmas cookies.

As a kid, our family dressed up and acted out the nativity every year to the narration of Luke 2.  I am glad Alli and Ruby are old enough to start that tradition for our family.

cookies and Christmas carols

Okay, so a little bit of catching up here...
Last week we went to our neighbor's Christmas party.  There were hundreds of cookies!  So many varieties!  We made chocolate covered cherry cookies to share.  And we made and decorated gingerbread cookies too.

There was also caroling at the party.  Alli brought her guitar along so she could play along with the pianist and violinist and carolers.

Last week we got a turkey from Jesse Jackson... not personally delivered by him, but from him... or his coalition or whatever.

Andy has been working on a big case... for the UE.  He was even on the evening news!  Well, you could see half of his head in the picture.  Alli and Ruby and I cheered when we saw him on TV.  Our hero!

Also this week...

I got crafty with wool sweaters.

My sister Marissa is in town!  Alli and Ruby love having "Jen-Jen" around (we do not know why Ruby started calling her that)... and it has been such a help to have her here.  I am getting bigger and moving slower while Alli and Ruby seem to have extra Christmas energy.  Two more weeks until due date.

Andy and I have started shopping around for a minivan.  Dealing with car salesmen is so much fun... I enjoyed watching Andy negotiate with Mr. Slick-haired-tanned-Salesman.  (And then I stepped in to shut the salesman down.)  We won't be pressured into an impulse buy on a car.  But we will buy soon!

Today was cold.  With windchill, the temperature was NEGATIVE FORTY!  Luckily the car doors weren't frozen today.  (A miracle indeed!)  Andy and Marissa helped whip up a delicious lasagna for lunch!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

single digits

Monday was a cold day... and "cold" doesn't begin to do it justice. 

I didn't realize it was only 5 degrees (without windchill factored in) when I bundled up the girls to walk Alli to school.  We made it two blocks before Ruby started to cry a little.  Silent little tears were running down her rosy cheeks.  But we were closer to school than home, so we pressed on.

The ground was covered in ice.  Rain and sleet had fallen just before the temperature plummeted.  Everything was slick, hard, and cold.  We watched a car slip past a stop sign.  Ruby lost her footing a few times. 

By the time we got to Alli's school, Ruby dropped to the floor, refusing to budge.  She did not want to walk home.  I kindof wanted to hang out and warm up too.  But you can linger at preschool for so long before it is obvious that you are stalling.

The walk home was not fun.  Ruby cried from the moment we stepped outside.  Wailed.  She was a trooper, but I ended up carrying her most of the way home.  She buried her face in my hair and snuggled into me.  My coat wasn't zipped over my belly (no longer an option), so it worked out that we kept each other warm.

I am very pregnant.  Carrying Ruby was not fun... especially with icy sidewalks.  But we made it home.  We curled up on the couch with blankets and hot cocoa until we could feel our toes again.

I did not even attempt to walk to school to pick Alli up... even though it had warmed up to 8 degrees.  I decided to drive the few blocks to get Alli.  Unfortunately, the doors to the car were frozen shut.  With some effort I got Ruby's door open and buckled her in.  I chipped the ice off the windshield so I could see.  The driver-side door would not open... not for anything!  I was able to open the front passenger door... so I climbed over the center console somehow... nine months pregnant.  It was graceful and awesome.

Once at school I was able to force the car door open, but the locks were frozen and I couldn't lock the door while we went inside. 

Walking or driving, the cold really bites.

Days like this make me fantasize about one day having a garage to park our car in!  I hear it is pretty great.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Baby, it's cold outside!

This week we had snow followed by freezing rain followed by more snow and more cold... which equals a cold, icy wonderland (or whatever you want to call it).  Brrr.
It takes so much longer to leave the house in the wintertime.  I have to bundle layers upon layers on my girls to keep them warm on the walk to preschool.  Sweaters, coats, hats, mittens, legwarmers, boots, scarves, muffs, snow pants... we've got it all!  Check out the newest hats from Grandma Utah!

My favorite Chicago winter gear for myself:  big warm winter boots (not cute, but warm and waterproof),  tights or thermals, mittens (leather/fleece combo... very warm), long down coat (gotta keep the buns warm), scarf and hat (essentials), Andy's fleece vest (my coat won't zip over my belly, so this keeps baby warm).
Speaking of taking a long time to leave the house, the ice coating the car doesn't help either.  I think we will just have to stay in for a while.  (Stay tuned for the cabin fever post!)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Embarrassing Moments

My sister Emily posted some embarrassing moments on her blog.  Very funny stuff.  And so, inspired by my li'l sis, I will share a few embarrassing moments from my life.

In high school, I had a crush on a very cute upperclassman boy.  I even joined a club he was in because he was in it.  (Very embarrassing now.)  Anyhow, one snowy, cold winter's day I stayed after school for a meeting of Nature Club (I think that is what it was called, but I can't remember anything we did or what it was all about).  After the meeting, he offered me a ride home.  I was giddy with delight!  Him and me together for a 3.5 minute drive!  Three and a half minutes of mind-boggling teen conversation... I don't really remember that, but I'm sure it was great... or whatever. 
As we reached the end of my parents' driveway, my youngest brother's preschool bus pulled up to drop him off.  Ben must have been four at the time.  Just a little guy. 
My crush-boy told me to get Ben from the bus and he would take us up the driveway (it is a very long driveway... 500 feet long, I think).  So I got Ben from the bus and carried him to the car and sat him on my lap.  Ben wasn't very awake.  As we progressed up the driveway, my lap became warmer and warmer...the kind of warmth that spreads too quickly to be anything normal.  Pee!  Ben peed all over my lap!  In front of this boy I liked!  In his car! 
I was mortified as I got out of the car with soaking wet jeans clinging to my thighs.  Sleeping four-year-olds just aren't embarrassed that easily I guess... Ben didn't seem to mind at all.

Embarrassing moments are rare for me... just kidding.  Most often they involve glancing in the mirror after a busy day and realizing I had kid-crust all over my shoulder.  Or a Dora the Explorer sticker on my belly below the point where I can see now.  Or a hairstyle that went awry... completely awful. 

So at the baby shower brunch on Saturday, I was drinking a lot of water.  And the waiter kept refilling my glass with ice water.  The ice was building up with all the refills.  The water/ice ratio was getting way out of whack.  I was thirstily trying to get the last sip from my cup of ice, when the ice suddenly shifted, causing an avalanche of water and ice down the front of my shirt onto my protruding belly.  Very cool.  My friend Kristal was in the middle of taking pictures of the brunch party.  I was trying to blot up the water spots before anyone noticed.  The camera turned to me.  I had to think fast... here it is.  Cool.

So what have you done that is embarrassing?

Jolly bellies and amazing friends

I have often lamented the fact that my sisters live so far from Chicago.  I have three sisters, plus eight amazing sisters-in-law.  Unfortunately, we have no family in Chicago.
Thankfully, I have some truly wonderful girlfriends in Chicago.  These women are beautiful, fun, talented, accomplished, smart, crafty, articulate, inspiring... I am blessed to have them close by.  They have been my surrogate sisters.
On Saturday I went to brunch with a bunch of these friends at Feast in Bucktown (yum).  These ladies surprised me by turning brunch into a surprise baby shower!  Shocker (complete with blushing)!
Santa stopped by our table... and we had to get a belly shot.  Mine is real.

These gals are so great!

On Saturday afternoon, I went with a couple other girlfriends to see Twilight.  I liked the movie.  Of course it isn't as good as the book, but entertaining... and we had a great discussion about it all... book and movie.  I'm glad I got to see in with the ladies... who understand.  Andy wasn't wanting to see that one.
All in all, a fantastic day with my Chicago sisters!