Friday, January 29, 2010


Just when you thought I couldn’t possibly have any more wedding-related news, at eight months out, I finally put the last batch of thank you cards in the mail this week! I’m terrible, I know. What remained of them after the first half was finished had been stashed in a grocery bag and moved around several times over the last few months. But they were never exactly “lost”—I knew that I wouldn’t have thrown them away, and that if I really looked for them they would turn up in about five minutes. Sure enough, that is exactly how long it took for them to be found when I woke up the other morning and decided that enough was enough. I was tired of the image of that grocery bag eating away at my mind. Some of the notes still needed to be written, some had been written back in September and sealed but had addresses that needed to be tracked down.

What a relief! And it took me only a few hours to get it out of the way for good. Procrastination, my favorite bad habit, is really a problem. I hereby resolve to send out thank you notes for baby gifts right away rather than putting it off. Of course, as a new parent I know that I’ll be much busier than I am now, so we’ll see how that goes…

Speaking of the baby, in the last week or so I have started to be able to feel him or her moving! (I’ll go with “her” this time) Sometimes it’s a little flutter that almost tickles, other times there are more distinct nudges or tiny jabs—like someone is poking me, except from the inside. It’s such a weird feeling, but an awesome one! Daniel has even been able to feel her once, although I know it is on the early side for that.

The other night a big storm was passing through, and the wind was so loud that it woke both of us up. It was 4:30 in the morning and perhaps I was being a little dramatic, but I had Daniel get his laptop and check online to make sure there were no tornado watches or warnings for our area. I was laying on my side cuddled up to Daniel after he assured me that there shouldn’t be any tornadoes to worry about, and my right arm was sort-of wedged between my stomach and his side. And I felt a jab/poke/some kind of something on my arm. Then I felt it again. So I quickly told Daniel to give me his hand, which I pushed onto my abdomen in the exact spot that I was feeling the pokes. And he felt it too! It must have been the position I was in that allowed us to feel the baby’s kicks from the outside so early, because I haven’t felt them that way since.

Anyways, it’s just a nice reassurance now that every so often the baby can make her presence known. Tonight I sat on the couch feeling a little lonely, eating my solitary dinner of Velveeta shells and cheese and canned green beans while I watched Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma on DVD. Daniel had class after work and won’t be home until late. Suddenly a huge grin spread across my face as I was reminded that I wasn’t alone at all—my baby was kicking me again.

I’m sure that later in my pregnancy the kicks will begin to hurt and won’t be quite so enjoyable; but for now, I love it!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

All the If-Only's

Throughout my life, there has always some particular thing that I was sure would be able to improve my life. For example, “If only I had bell bottom pants, everything would be better” (grade 6); “If only I had a better hair straightener” (grades 8-12); “If only I could find pants that fit me perfectly and I can afford” (middle school-college—my legs have always been too long); “If only I had a boyfriend” (grades 9-11—a little less superficial, perhaps, unless you knew my reasons for wanting one); “If only I had the money to do a semester abroad” (college)…

And the list goes on and on. You may notice that a lot of these things have to do with wishing for more money, or something that money can buy. And although I never would have put it into words this way, I realize now that I almost believed money could buy me a boyfriend. For example, if I could buy an incredible hair straightener to give me the straight hair that was so popular at the time, pants that fit me just right, and that Homecoming dress, surely some boy or other would ask me out. I should have listened more closely to the Beatles when they sang “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

Of course I found my love, and not because of what I was able to buy to attract him, but I still find myself slipping into the all-too-common mistake of thinking that money can buy happiness in some way or another. “If only we had the money to go on the ‘babymoon’ that all the pregnancy/parenting magazines and websites say is so crucial;” “If only I could afford a gym membership—that would force me to find the time to exercise;” “If only we could pay down all of our student loans today, then we could really start to save for building our new house.” Once again, the list goes on and on.

Sometimes it takes a tragedy to stop us in our tracks and remind us of how blessed we are, and of how much we have in our lives that we neither need nor deserve.

Theoretically speaking (since I am not a geologist and know nothing about the locations of the earth’s tectonic plates), what happened in Haiti could have happened here. Over the past week, Daniel and I have prayed for the Haitian people who already had so little to begin with, counted our blessings, and given what we are able. In situations like this, more money really can make life better for someone. Visit Catholic Relief Services for more information.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Yesterday afternoon, Daniel and I went to the doctor for another sonogram, so we got to see our baby again! We could have found out then whether it was a girl or a boy, but we decided to keep it a surprise for June.

Since it was the anatomy scan, the ultrasound technician had to check and measure a whole list of things, so it took a little while. She wasn’t able to check everything on her list, though, because our child didn’t exactly cooperate. He was in a really curled up position and refused to straighten out at all, so that the technician wasn’t able to check for correct spinal fusion or look at the chambers of the heart. So, that means that at my next appointment in four weeks, we get to have a repeat sonogram! Hopefully at that one we are able to get a better picture printout, too. This one isn’t quite as good as I was hoping for. As you can see, the baby’s face is on the left, with a big circle blob right next to it on the right… we’re not really sure what that circle is. From what I can remember seeing on the screen, I don’t think the torso did looked like that. Anyone with some technical knowledge on the subject care to share a thought?

You may have heard the saying, “Love does not divide, it only multiplies.” This has come to mind a lot recently considering where I am in my life right now. Before I met Daniel, I loved my parents and siblings more than anyone else in the world. I used to worry when I was growing up that when I met my future husband I wouldn’t love my family as much. Maybe that was a strange thing for a kid to think about, but I did.

When I fell/grew in love with Daniel, what actually happened was that I discovered a whole new kind of love. I also discovered that my own God-given capacity to love was much greater than I had previously known. I didn’t love my family any less at all. In fact, I might make the claim that in discovering a new kind of love I grew into an even greater understanding and appreciation for my family that is hard to explain and thus found myself able to love them on a deeper level. Perhaps that is also the result of simply growing in age and life experience.

Now that I am a mother, I am in the process of discovering another kind of love, one that is both the same as my love for my family yet also different. This is the first time in my life that I find myself so intensely loving a person that I have never met. (Since I am the oldest child, I did love my siblings before they were born, but that was different.)

Only God knows what this child’s future holds, what his passions and his sense of humor will be, what his voice will sound like, and even what the colors of his hair and eyes will be. All I have seen is a fuzzy black and white ultrasound, my abdomen slowly swelling, and the numbers on the scale slowly going up. I’m not yet even able to feel this child’s movements within me. But I love this little person totally and completely and I know that I always will.

And of course, I know that Daniel feels the exact same way. Because of this, I find myself loving him even more, not only as my husband and best friend but as the father of my child and partner in raising him. God has used our love for each other to bring new life into the world, and we are both bound more tightly together in our shared love for this new life.

Anyways, if all of this isn’t evidence of love multiplying, I don’t know what is!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Prayers for This New Year

I regret to inform you that this past week has not held much in the way of new and exciting things to write about. 2010 has arrived. This is the year that our first child will be born—which really is quite perfect, Daniel and I concluded the other day. Being born at the beginning of a new decade will always make it easy for this baby’s age to be quickly calculated.

Speaking of the baby, one of my New Year’s Resolutions this year (actually, it is my only one so far) is to say a Rosary for my child once a week, now before he is born and continuing afterwards. I would love for it to be something I continue as our family grows in the future. I have never been very good at my attempts at regular Rosary-praying, for example the several times I’ve made a Lenten promise to pray it daily, but I am determined to do this for my little one.

During this first week of the year, and as I look forward to Daniel’s and my own first anniversary in just a few months, my thoughts and prayers have been with those I know who will be married in 2010. We will be attending four weddings (at least that I know about at this point) this year. Daniel’s brother is getting married on March 6 in Birmingham, Alabama, which means for me lots of bathroom breaks during two 12-hour car rides at six months pregnant. But of course we are very excited. Then we have three good friends getting married later in the year: one on June 5 when I am about ready to pop, another in September, and one in October.

In addition, I just received the happy news this week that two of my good friends from college got engaged between Christmas and New Year's! Congratulations to them both! I believe both couples plan to be married in 2011, but they still fit the theme.

To all of my readers who are planning weddings in 2010, I pray that God blesses you as you prepare for this wonderful sacrament! May you keep your hearts fixed on what it is you are really preparing for: a lifetime, not just a day; and may you stay as calm and as joyful as you possibly can be. I have only been married almost eight months, but I already know that there is so much happiness in store for you!