Thursday, December 30, 2010


I hope you had a wonderful, Merry Christmas! We had a nice relaxing one and much of that was due to our decision to drastically simplify the holiday season this year.

When we found out we were expecting, we did the math and realized that I would be 37 weeks at Christmas. The fact that I would be full term at Christmas, in combination with Scott being a music minister, Christmas falling on a Saturday, and my family being over 3 hours away meant that we wouldn't be traveling in December this year. This was our 4th Christmas together and every Christmas morning we would get up early, exchange gifts, go to Scott's parents house and open gifts, then head to Birmingham to be with my family by Christmas night. Whew. Don't get me wrong, we love spending time with our families, but when you can't travel it makes things easier. Our schedule was lighter this season. We had nights at home in the weeks leading up to Christmas where we would keep asking each other, "Are you sure that we don't have anything on the schedule tonight?" We had the usual church  obligations that come with being in the ministry but other than that, Scott and I had lots of time to rest and relax...something I'm so thankful for since this was our last Christmas "alone." 

We (I) simplified even further by making the decision not to decorate the house this year. I know. It sounds so horribly Scrooge-ish, doesn't it? The truth is, I was way too tired to decorate floor-to-ceiling like I usually do. I was still working both jobs as of 2 weeks ago and between that and getting ready for baby, I decided that it wasn't necessary. 

So 90% of our decorations stayed in storage. I asked to skip the tree this year but Scott wanted one, so our compromise was a 3 foot pre-lit tree from Wal-Mart. It cost $18, much cheaper than the fresh tree we usually get. We dug out one box of small ornaments from the shed, found the nativity, and got out the box of wrapping paper and gift bags. That's it. And y'all, it was really, really nice. No pressure to keep the tree watered. No china to unwrap and wash and put away. Nothing but a nativity set and a little tree. The only part of it that I missed was my Christmas china, given to me by my sweet grandmother. (She adds to my set every year and each birthday and Christmas I unwrap a new piece or two of Spode Christmas Tree--so fun)

The third way we simplified was in our spending. We, like most people, are on a tight budget, so we did things a little differently this year. Scott and I decided to only do stockings for each other...which neither one of us exactly followed--we both had two small things to open for each other. We also cut down on our spending for others. We reduced the "amount per person" on the list and it was so rewarding. I do the Christmas shopping and having such a tight budget caused me to be very intentional in my buying--which put such a refreshing spin on my holiday spending. Each gift was thought out and carefully planned...I hope I always buy gifts with that perspective every year. 

So we had Christmas. Not many decorations, not a lot of spending, and no traveling. But Christmas still comes no matter how much money you spend or how many people you visit in December or how tall your tree is. This Christmas was such a nice reminder of the true meaning of Christmas--a tiny baby, the dawn of redeeming grace. Thank you Jesus for simplifying our Christmas for us. 

My parents came to see us Christmas day. This is what my house looked like about 12 hours before they arrived....

The entry into the kitchen. Notice the crispy leaves drug in through the doggie door. Lovely. 

My kitchen counter and sink. A combination of baby gifts, dirty dishes, and groceries. 

This is the worst--the dining room. I wrapped all the gifts here and when you mix Christmas wrapping with baby gifts and thank you notes, apparently you get this insanity. 

Don't worry--I cleaned before the family arrived. And we had such a fun time with them. It was so, so good to see them and they even stayed an extra night because of snow and ice back home. How fun! They brought goodies from my grandma, they cooked, they cleaned, they washed my dishes and loaded the dishwasher. I almost didn't let them go home. I only let them leave because they'll be back as soon as baby girl decides it's time for her arrival. 

And finally, this little gem captured on Scott's cell phone in front of his parents Christmas tree.

Happy New Year! I hope this year is full of joy and blessings for you and your family.  

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pregnancy Confessions: Practice

Last Friday night I left job number two and headed to the church for the staff and deacon Christmas banquet. I had a horrible attitude about going--I was exhausted, work had been crazy, and I didn't feel well. Scott and I were seated with two couples that we didn't know very well and one couple from our Sunday School table so we were sitting, eating, and talking when all of a sudden I felt the weirdest pain I have ever felt. I sat completely upright in my chair and whispered to Scott, "I think I'm going to slip out in a few minutes and go home. I really don't feel well."  He didn't seem too concerned--I don't blame him--I haven't felt great in about, oh, 9 months. 

I told our friends goodnight and practically ran out the door. I got home and started pacing the house trying to decide what kind of pain I was feeling and what I should do about it. I called the after hours nurse from my Dr.'s office and described my symptoms. She suggested that I run to the hospital and get "checked out" to make sure everything was okay. Immediately my phone rang and my friend from our dinner table told me she was on the way to my house, that she was going to take me to the hospital, and that there was basically no arguing with her about it.

(If you're wondering where Scott was during all this, he's the Music Minister, so he was still at the church leading the music for the banquet. He was trying to leave as quickly as possible, but sometimes in the ministry there's no such thing as a "quick exit.")

Anyway, I went to the hospital. I checked in, they took me to a room, I changed and was hooked up to the monitors. My sweet friend was there the whole time and stayed until Scott got there just as the nurse was walking in (Thanks M!).  The nurse looked at the monitors, looked at the printed strip that the monitor was spitting out, and told me I was having contractions and they were two minutes apart. TWO. MINUTES. APART.  Scott's eyes got big and I almost came out of the bed....I mean, doesn't that mean you are about to have the baby? I could think was, "It's too early...I need to wait 3 more weeks...The carseat isn't even installed." 

I wasn't dialating, thank goodness, so two shots and two hours later the contractions had stopped and I was about to be sent home when the nurse walked in and told me to lay on my left side. I did, but she didn't say much and walked out of the room. That's when I got worried. What if something was wrong? Why didn't she tell me anything? Where did she go? A few minutes later she called me in the room and told me that I had to eat something. She brought peanut butter, graham crackers, and grape juice and I dutifully ate as much as I could. She came back in, stared at the monitors, walked out and came back with an IV and a bag of fluid and told me that I would be staying the night.

Bascially, when you have contractions baby's heart rate naturally drops a little.  My contractions had stopped but baby girl's heart rate hadn't come back up enough to assure my doctor and nurse that I was "back to normal." The nurse told me that it was likely because she was moving too much to get a good reading (she was, I could feel her) or laying on her cord and that the fluid should help get a consistent reading on the monitor.

In short, within 30 minutes of getting the IV everything was fine. I was so thankful. After an extremely long and restless night, I was discharged the next morning. My doctor had been on call the whole night and had monitored my progress, my nurses were wonderful, and I was sent home feeling MUCH better about baby girl's health. We have so much to be thankful for--a healthy pregnancy, a wonderful hospital, and a doctor who cares enough to err on the side of caution. What blessings! 

So, we had our "practice run". We experienced what it would be like to be admitted and spend the night in the hospital...and we learned that we need to get ready for baby maybe a little sooner than expected. 

Tonight I'm putting baby clothes in drawers and packing a bag for baby. This weekend we will vacuum out the car and install the car seat. I'm delaying packing a bag for myself because most of the stuff that I need to pack I will need before we go to the hospital. I mean, I'm 9 months pregnant...I'm down to like, 3 pair of pants that fit! So maybe I'll just write a list of things I need to pack? I don't know. 

Either way, baby girl will be here before we know it! SO exciting!