Tuesday, February 28, 2012

66 Days

Christmas doesn't seem like it was that long ago, does it?

I just saw my cousin Stephanie at Christmas. At that time, she was about 30-ish weeks pregnant... a little over a week ago, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I can't help but think - Christmas doesn't seem like it was that long ago... how did she already have her baby?

But it WAS that long ago... it was about 7 or 8 weeks ago. Christmas was 2 months ago (roughly).

Why is this becoming such a point of thought for me, you might wonder? Well... as of last Friday, we are at 30 full weeks that I've been pregnant (30 weeks and 4 days today, actually). I'm in my 31st week of making a baby inside my body. It really doesn't seem like that long ago that Steve and I were pushing each other out of the way to see if the pregnancy test was showing us one or two pink lines.

But it has been that long. Christmas passed, football season is over, pitchers & catchers have already reported, our annual date-iversary trip to IHOP is in a week (March 7th). Before we know it, St. Patty's Day and Easter will pass... and then not long after that we'll have a little baby boy living with us and joining our family.

This is basically what it looks like inside my tummy right now. Cramped quarters...

Knowing how quickly it's been since Christmas was here helps to put in perspective how quickly it's going to be before our Little Man is here. His due date is May 4th - less than 10 weeks away - but we're less than 7 weeks from our "safe zone". He could basically arrive any time in the next 7-12 weeks...

That's less than 2 to less than 3 months away.

This past weekend, Steve painted the baby's room (the final step in transforming my purple office into a baby-friendly cream-colored nursery). In a month or so, my friends and family are throwing me baby showers... blessings I can't even begin to tell you how much I - we - appreciate. There are so many people who are so excited for this little guy to get here... Steve and I at the absolute top of that list.

It's exciting, it's scary, it's amazing, it's wonderful.

It's a miraculous blessing.

We're ready for the next step... and it'll be here before we know it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tears, Joy, and Life

I sat on the floor of the room that's about to become my son's nursery in tears. Tears that shook my entire body ran down my cheeks and I was crying like I hadn't cried in months - maybe even years. A simple miscommunication, a frustration of not knowing how to react to my mood swings on Steve's part had gotten us in an argument... and landed me in a spot where I knew I needed to walk away and regain my center.

It landed me in the middle of my office - my son's future nursery - sobbing as hard as I'd sobbed in years.

It wasn't that Steve had done some great offense that we couldn't have talked through and worked out like normal human beings. It's that over the course of the last 6-7 months... I've lost the control I typically have over my emotions and something had spilled me over the edge. Nothing is more frustrating to me than not being able to control my emotions. It lands me in this cycle...

...I become overly sensitive/emotional...

...I get frustrated that I cannot control it...

...I become emotional about my emotional state...

...I get frustrated I am exposing my husband to this side of womanhood...

...I become emotional that I can't be the best wife possible...

...you get the point.

Welcome to being pregnant.

Add to this the complication that every cry-fest also runs a huge risk for me to get backed-up sinuses and a sinus infection. Without the ability to take my normal decongestants after a good cry (they're on the pregnancy no-no list), I need to rely on nature to drain my nasal cavities. This means that one good cry equals a week's worth of a runny nose. A few good cries means you may as well think I have a cold.

As the tears run down my cheeks and I feel the pressure building inside my sinuses... I open the door to see my distraught husband with a look of complete helplessness on his face. He wants nothing more than to take the frustration away, and I don't even know where to begin to tell him to start to help. This makes me want to cry even more...

It's right about this point in the breakdown that I - in my head - simultaneously thank God for providing me with a husband who loves me, an overall healthy pregnancy, a son who seems to be growing well in there, and no morning sickness to speak of... and curse Eve for that eating that forsaken apple.

Then he said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth..." (Genesis 3:16a)

We all know the story of Adam and Eve and the Serpent and the Apple, so I'm not going to rehash it... but it was the first sin that was ever committed. As a result of that, we have our first set of consequences. Painful pregnancy and childbirth for the ladies, a lifetime of hard work & toil (and unmentioned in scripture - but also dealing with the wife's painful pregnancy and childbirth) for the men.

Every woman experiences pregnancy differently, and while many women truly enjoy the beautiful process of creating a human being inside our own bodies - this process is not one that does not have its consequences. Books have been written about how to deal with the discomforts of pregnancy: backaches, hemorrhoids, morning sickness, postpartum depression, UTI's, stretching ligaments that support your uterus... the list is endless and the symptoms are different for each and every woman.

But there is a promise of new life at the end. 

It hit me yesterday while sitting in church (after another crying fit that morning)... I sat down after taking Communion and bowed my head to pray. The first thing that poured from my heart was acknowledgement of my condition.

I am broken. I am a sinner. I am pregnant. God made it clear in Genesis 3:16 what this meant. For me, this means a breakdown of my normal poise, patience, clarity. It means frustration at the limitations that pregnancy imposes. It means random outbursts and crying fits.

But it's not all bad news... It means that for 40 short weeks, God gives me a glimpse into what it means to take part in His creation and make a life. It means a small little boy will be brought into this world who will depend on me, who I will love with all of my heart and who will love me back. It will provide me with an opportunity to not only experience a small glimpse into taking part in God's creation... but also a small glimpse into the unconditional love He has for each one of us.

A part of Him is in each of us, for we are created in His image. A part of me is in my son, for he is 50% my genetics. We frustrate the daylights out of God, and there are consequences for our behavior... but He forgives us. I know there will be days when we will have conflict with our son, and we'll have to "ground" him or help him see the consequences of his behavior... but we will forgive him.

And in that moment of recognition... I swallowed my cracker & grape juice and thanked God for this amazing blessing of parenthood that He has bestowed upon us. Somehow, that perspective eased the frustration of the emotional roller-coasters and helped me to see that this will all. be. worth it.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Top Five: Commercials

Last weekend was the Super Bowl (as anyone living in New England is painfully aware and anyone in New York is joyously celebrating), and with the big game comes the annual excitement surrounding commercials. The Super Bowl has to be the only viewing experience where people will debate whether to get up during the feature presentation or the commercials for snacks because they don't want to miss anything.

Having said that, I was seriously disappointed with this year's commercial selections overall. Sure, there were a few good ones (the Seinfeld commercial, the M&M Commercial, and the doggy Dorito commercial) - but overall, disappointing. Budweiser historical context? I thought that beer commercials were supposed to be funny!

At any rate, this year's commercials got me thinking of some of my favorite commercials in general - not just from the Super Bowls - and I thought that I would share some of them with you. Some are funny, some are touching - but (at least in my opinion), these commercials are pretty darn good.

So... in no particular order... here are my...

Top Five Favorite Commercials

Volkswagen- The Force: This is one of the most adorable commercials I have ever seen in my whole life. Poor kid just wants to use the force... and as a woman who's about to be a parent, the outcome of this video is incredibly touching. If you've never seen it, believe me - it's worth the minute of your time to watch.

McDonald's - Mac Tonight: This commercial isn't really that great, but when you're 7 years old (which I was when this commercial came out) - it's catchy. And it gives you something to bond with your 2nd grade crush about (which I did... yes... I used to sing the Mac Tonight song in class with my 2nd grade crush. No, I will not tell you who it was). Anyway, for that reason - this commercial holds a special place in my heart.

Old Spice - The Man Your Man Could Smell Like: Admit it. You love the Old Spice commercials that have come out over the last few years. Between the hot former football player with the awesome voice, and the ripped guy who screams at the camera - entertaining is the best word you can use to describe Old Spice's recent marketing attempts. Next time you're in the store, read the back of their deodorant. They talk about stench monsters and laser robots. No, I'm not joking. Anyways - the first (I think) of these commercials is one of my favorite commercials I've ever seen. "I'm on a horse". Great stuff.

Folgers - Homecoming: This commercial is really sweet... and though I had seen it lots of times, my current pregnant state had me bawling my eyes out when I saw it this Christmas. If you've never seen it and you're a crier - grab your Kleenex.

Budweiser - Wassup: OK - this is me openly admitting that this may actually be one of the dumbest, most juvenile commercials ever made. However: when I was in college, this offered truckloads of entertainment to my friends and I. For whatever reason - one I will never understand - I find this commercial catchy and possibly even funny. Every so often, I do make an obscure reference to this commercial that probably few people understand. The funny thing - I don't even LIKE Budweiser. I actually hate it.

There are definitely lots of other commercials out there that are pretty entertaining (the original CareerBuilder.com "I work with monkeys" commercial, the E*Trade baby in "solitary confinement" in his crib, and several others I've seen over the years), but these are some of my favorites. Hopefully next year the folks who decide to buy the valuable ad-space during the Super Bowl will step it up a bit before they lose their audience to the refrigerator or a snack table.

What are some of your favorite commercials? What did you think of this year's ads?