Monday, February 28, 2011

Nesting - finally!

Hello to everyone - I am safely back at home! I also have no internet or tv so I'm in the business center of my apartment complex.

To make a long story short, my flights on Saturday went very smoothly. My parents travelled with me and it was nice to have them drive me to my new apartment. On the other hand, my airport experiences were not so wonderful. We had some problems checking in with doctors' notes and a very pregnant belly. We made it for the final boarding call to Amsterdam. We practically walked right through the airport and onto our next flight to Detroit. When we landed at 5:05 the airport didn't have power, then a medical team had to address a medical emergency before we were allowed off the flight (I think the ladies turned out to be okay) and I was glad that didn't mean me. After going through customs and filing a claim for my lost luggage we finally left the airport at 7:45. I had not planned on being there that long and was super thirsty and ready to be home.

My luggage has arrived and I have enjoyed two days of major nesting. I have unpacked most of the boxes that were left for me but have yet to find any silverware. I got a pretty shower curtain and can't wait to decorate! It will be a busy week leading up to an exciting weekend. So happy to be safe in the states and done flying for the near future :-D

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Packing Up

My parents arrived on Friday and we had a wonderful weekend with my cousin who was in from Scotland. Then Monday I showed my parents around the royal armouries museum and realized why the city has been so crowded - all the families are out and about because kids are on mid-winter break this week!

Yesterday Will and I walked my parents to the train station for their mini trip to Scotland. Edinburgh was so beautiful and close I said they just had to go! They also took my phone and computer with them. That leaves me with the business of packing up during the day while Will is at work and I have no access to a computer. I have packed one suitcase and, right now, it looks like I won't come close to filling all my luggage - but isn't that always the case? Then in the end you are struggling to get it closed. At least that is how my packing goes.

I have a long to do list now and I'm so excited to get home and nest. Especially since I have recently finished my cross stitch project for the baby - all except name, birth day and weight. I'm also going to add baptismal date so we remember that important day as well :-)

To all my local readers - I'll see you soon!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Back to Reality

I know I keep repeating myself, but I just can't believe that my parents will be here tomorrow! I'm thinking a lot more about home and all the organizing I need to do. Luckily I like organizing so all the unpacking and putting away will just be extra fun with my nesting instincts finally unleashed.

I'm also thinking more about the causes I'm involved in back home and how I am so thankful to have those groups. Most specifically, the natural family planning work I do. If I were to go back to school to get a real job (as opposed to teaching), it would have to be in a field that works with marriage and family. It is the only topic that seems to keep my interest. It is also a topic that I have shied away from while here. I needed to step back and observe the culture which is so different from my niche back in the midwest.

Reflecting on my time in the UK - I have loved the experience. I have been surrounded by people much different than those back home. They are great and friendly people; however, religion is a taboo topic and most people find it strange that anyone would get up early on a Sunday just to go to church. Those who don't find it strange most of the time say they are for this or that religion but rarely attend. I never realized how "Christian" our culture and country still was. My eyes have been opened a bit and I have enjoyed getting to know Will's co-workers. It has been interesting to see how different marriage and family life is over here. It is the norm to talk about having children before talking about a wedding. They are great parents and a committed couple, but marriage just isn't seen as a big deal over here. There is no fight over marriage and what the definition should be like in the states. It is just not emphasized by either side. Marriage seems to be stressed by religious groups, and their influence is a lot weaker in Europe. If you don't believe based on my short experience this post is composed to people writing in who are long time residents of Europe and back up my statement.

All my work with NFP (natural family planning) has given me the opportunity to really look into what marriage is and how it changes you. I'm blessed to be with someone who is supportive of my passion for this topic and tolerates/participates in conversations that include words about female anatomy that many wouldn't want to hear. I'm so excited to go home and talk with others about it again and so excited that a few emailed me with questions while I was here :-D

So, to kick start the move back toward reality and my ministry, I thought I would mention a talk that was recently sent to me from a good friend back home. Most things I knew, but it re-motivated me to spread the word about important information dealing with marriage, family and how our bodies are made. The physiological aspect behind the bond of marriage and the benefits of natural family planning. If you are into science and biology, you will probably like it. For example, the speaker talks about the differences between the biology of men and women. Men's language center is in the amygdala of the brain and women's language center is near where we process emotions which is why we talk about our emotions and men have to think about it more. We are complimentary in so many ways!

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Instinct to love and protect

I was watching Bones last weekend and found Angela's character amusing. For those of you who don't follow this fabulous show, she is pregnant with her first child. She also went around proclaiming all the things her child would not be doing - like bmx biking - because they were too dangerous. Her husband told her it was the pregnancy hormones talking.

There have not been many times I have felt like that. True, I may have gotten upset once or twice over trivial things. I also might have proclaimed a few off limits activities while my children are young, but most of those topics were brought up by me before the pregnancy as well so it can't be blamed.

On the other hand, this Sunday at church I definitely felt the motherly instincts/pregnancy hormones kick in towards the end. Or maybe it was just genuine concern at first and hormones that kept me upset about it for hours after. It was an awkward situation to say the least.

Halfway through Mass, a couple of homeless people wander in. For a while, they stayed toward the back. They would have outbursts occasionally but I don't think they were intentionally trying to disrupt the service. I heard them during the sign of peace loudly saying it to other people. I guess it is okay if they stay in the back. Then, during the consecration (the climax of the mass), they start walking down the aisle. One elderly gentleman decided that was enough and escorted them out of the church. Apparently this couple didn't just wander in by complete accident because they came right back in. I didn't notice this until I realized the same guy was forcing them outside again. I was outraged and a bit upset at myself for not saying anything.

All I could think of was that is not a loving way to treat some people that obviously need some help. Okay, they may have been a bit distracting and a bit smelly, but didn't they have a right to be in the house of God? I was reminded of the Bible passage that warns us not to sit important people in the front and poor people in the back. This was worse, the poor people were kicked out to the street.

As my husband and I went out for a roast dinner I looked around to see if I could give those mistreated people the snack I always keep in my purse - they were nowhere to be seen. I talked with him during our meal and said that was unfair and what should we have done? I've decided, if that happens next week, I will go and ask the man why people are being thrown out. What have they done to offend God so much that they are not allowed inside? In my opinion they had done nothing wrong. Yes, they were distracting, but I don't think they were trying to be. Just like young children don't try to disrupt the Mass - they just have a knack for doing so.

I said a prayer for the couple and for our church to show love to everyone, but I didn't find the courage to stand up to the one forcing them out. I wish I had. What would you do?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Quick Takes (11)

For those new readers to my blog, quick takes is a Friday event hosted by where you can go and read hers or many other who link to her site. It's kind of fun to put 7 random things up instead of trying to think of some topic profound enough for it's own post. Here is my homecoming version.

Week until my parents arrive in England - many people are excited to meet them.

Weeks until I am home and excitedly going over to my new apartment

Weeks until my side of the family hosts a baby shower. What fun and what a test. I must not let the names slip...

4Align Center.
Weeks as a "bachelorette" with a fabulous friend and room mate to help me settle in to my new place - did I say I was excited about that?

My baby is nearly that many pounds already as she was over 4 (according to doctors) at my ultrasound last week. Okay, I just really needed a 5 and this was the best I could think of so far.

AM is a common time when baby wakes mommy up because we are either very hungry or very active. I've gotten up a number of times but usually end up taking a morning nap later because 6am is just so early when you don't have a job to get work at all day.

Weeks plus a couple days until expected arrival of our precious baby. That seems both way too close and super far away. I'm hoping that my new place :-D will keep me distracted and busy while I wait those four weeks for husband and few more for baby. Unlike many women, I'm not going to hope for an earlier arrival date. I want daddy to be well adjusted to the Eastern Time Zone first!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Scotland Pictures

So it's been a couple weeks since the Scotland trip and I finally took the time to put the pictures on my computer. Here are some of the best

Walking around the cemetery in Glasgow in area called the Necropolis

Inside cathedral in Glasgow

Me and cousin in Edinburgh

Castle in Edinburgh

Nearly Homecoming

Last Friday I had a growth scan - standard care in the UK. Baby looks good and is head down. She is a bit bigger than average growth pacing about a week ahead. So, according to the ultrasound she is a bit over 4 pounds and has become a modest little one. We got no confirmation on our strong suspicions, based on my feelings and the first ultrasound, that we are having a girl.

Saturday was poker night for the guys and Wii and baby holding time for the girls. It was a blast.

Sunday my sister and brother-in-law came in town. We relaxed and then went around Leeds on Monday. On Tuesday my husband became tour guide in York. They are now off to enjoy time in London and Paris - how wonderful!

Next weekend is exciting as well. We are signing and faxing a lease with a move in date of February 12th. My lovely family and amazing friend are moving my large items into the place where my friend will be my room mate at least until Will gets home. So, as of Saturday, I will have a place of my own back in the states. What a wonderful thing to look forward to seeing. Counting down until the nesting can really begin.

As for life here, it will be my last weekend feeling like I really live in Leeds - what shall I do? I have no idea! One thing is for sure, I will be enjoying a lot of quality time with Will as it is the last weekend before my parents arrive for their trip and then take me home. The time has gone by so fast!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mommy Wars

I'm just not ready for them. I've heard about how sometimes you feel like every parenting decision is being judged and that must be overwhelming for a new mom. Especially if she, like me, has not read tons of parenting books so can't even pretend to be an expert.

With my last few weeks in Leeds, I have really starting feeling nesting instincts kick in and I'm getting super excited to meet our little one. Our apartment is super clean and organized, I've started enlisting help to find a place in Michigan and I'm reading up on some parenting issues. All in all though if there is one thing I'm pretty certain of regarding parenting it's this: my baby isn't going to fit into the mold of a book. So I don't see the use in reading tons of them. Hopefully that does not come back to bite me later when I may be challenged on some of my parenting goals/practices.

Here are a few that I hope to do as of right now (though everything will be flexible with such a little one)

Breastfeed - this is probably my highest priority since I try to eat high quality food and I will be around the baby longterm. After the learning curve, I hope this goes smoothly and will save me lots of money on formula.

Attachment style parenting - though very loosely followed I believe this most fits with my view of family life. I plan to try co-sleeping and baby carrying/wearing. It just makes the most sense to me.

Elimination Communication (EC) - here is the one I think will be met with the most criticism/disbelief. Of the few things I have read up on, EC is one of them. I got a book mainly because, other than breasfeeding, I know the least about it. It seems a bit like hypnobirthing - too good and easy to be true. I plan on using diapers - but less of them! EC is all about communication and if that helps me "catch" most bowel movements in a potty at just a couple months old, why wouldn't I try to get out of cleaning up blowouts? I may even be motivated to switch to cloth diapers if there isn't a lot to clean up. EC also follows along my viewpoint that babies are born with amazing abilities. They reflexively know how to turn and root to get food. They are born with a reflex of holding their breath under water and they are born with an awareness of the sensation of going to the bathroom. The success stories show that is true. It won't be perfect and I'm not going to try to catch everything, but I have to try. I have not decided if I am going to try this right away or wait a couple months. The book is encouraging about starting at any time and not letting yourself get stressed about doing it perfectly. One thing is for sure, it will be an adventure. Hopefully one that is met with encouragement and support. After all, if it does work, that means all my relatives/babysitters will have less diapers to change as well :-D