Saturday, June 30, 2012

Memories

As our nesting frenzy sets in further, one of the things I wanted to do was go through our many-compartmented Ikea entertainment unit and clean it out.  You see, after our foster kids left last December, we couldn't bring ourselves to empty all their toys and books and stuffed animals out.  Quilted cozily in a thick layer of dust, the shelves turned steadily from black to light brown as the months passed us by, all the toys staring out at us night after night as we sat on the couch.  Some days, it is a comfort.  Some days, a burden.

But no longer.  I needed to get it cleaned out, organized, and sorted.  I spent my afternoon pulling dusty toys and books out and sorting them into piles.  Trash.  Washing machine.  Keep, but put away.  Keep, and replace on the shelves of the unit.  Now, it stands clean and black once more, stocked with toys and books, awaiting its next little girl to provide hours of entertainment to.

Toys and books were given to us by family, knowing we needed toys for whatever foster kids would come our way.  I found myself receiving from my mother toys that belonged to myself and my brother.  Toys that belonged to my foster siblings from when I was growing up.  As the children before them had, our foster children loved and played with many of these hand-me-downs.  I held a Christmas teddy bear that belonged to my brother, fingers brushing dust from his velvet vest, and thought about how at one point I had a Christmas teddy bear-ette to be friends with this one.  I picked up the periwinkle stuffed dog I had as a kid, aptly named Perry.  I couldn't help but smile at all these memories I had for these toys, things that would never be billed as "keepsakes" per se, but toys that have lasted the test of time and have been much loved.  And then I think that someday in the near future, our daughter will lay her head down on Perry, or invite Christmas Bear to tea parties.  How incredible is that?  I don't know that most toys are so lucky to be so well-traveled, or be lucky enough to have so many children to care for.

Perhaps I sound like a broken record, but we've been thinking a lot about the last two kids, the ones who left as Ever was conceived.  T looked through our photo album of last year, and for the first time the photos afforded her a sense of comfort instead of sadness.  For this, we're thankful.

T is 31 weeks pregnant today.  31 weeks... only nine more weeks until Evie's due date and only six more weeks until she reaches full term.  We're feeling anxious about getting everything done, but my parents are coming to visit tomorrow and hopefully they will be able to help us get the giant vinyl wall decals put up in Evie's room.  We went on a mega shopping trip this afternoon to buy T more clothes that might actually fit her, as well as for some new shelves and lamps for our bedroom.  Who knew that maternity clothes could be so very infuriating?  Poor T.  It used to be charming and cute when clothes didn't fit, when her belly was small and pregnancy was still new and different.  Trust me, that is no longer the case.

The midwife told T yesterday that the baby was head down, which is fantastic and we're hoping she's brainy enough to be that way when T goes into labor.  We've been trying to figure out where she is, but honestly there are so many bumps and lumps!  They're hard to tell apart.  Little Ever gets hiccups frequently, and sometimes she even passes them on to T!  The Braxton-Hicks contractions continue, and seem to be gaining in numbers.

Soon, little one will make her grand entrance.  I am gradually becoming more impatient to see her sweet face, kiss her cheeks, and look into her eyes.  I am anxious for the day that she comes out of T and stops causing her discomfort.  Though I know she'll experience much more discomfort before baby gets here, I hope for her sake it's tolerable.  I worry about my love, and I hate that I cannot do more for her.

We will be taking photos soon, and I will be certain to share them here as T's belly has become quite impressive!  Have a great weekend, all.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Song of the Cicada

The first hints of this summer's upcoming monsoon season are sneaking their tendrils into our 105 degree days, teasing the college kids with a few hours of higher humidity and cooler temperatures.  The locals know it won't hit full force for a while still, but the first drops of rain our parched desert has drunk in months are quite seductive.  The scent of the moistened creosote is absolutely the smell of the desert - my desert.  The cicadas sing their droning monotony as a few drips of rain patter the warm pavement and the humidity sinks down among us, shrugging itself around our shoulders and stealing away in between flyaway hairs, curling them to our necks and causing perspiration at our temples.  The combination of the water and the hot pavement release rich-smelling minerals out into the air, and every now and again you can catch a cool breeze punctuating the pressing heat of the day.  It's absolutely intoxicating.

Although we've always said we'd like to live somewhere greener, somewhere with real seasons, I know I would miss the desert immeasurably.  I love living here, for all its misgivings.  It's my home, it lives on in my heart and in my dreams and it presses heavily on me tonight, a night following a day of thunder and lightning and slight, sweetly delicious rainfall.

Life as we know it is full of comforting daily expectations, things we've lived with for years.  But life is also full of uncertainty, especially for us or maybe just for me.  This new person about to join us will change so much.  Of course we know that; I know that.  What'll it be like?  Who is she?  Is she going to like me?  Am I going to be good enough for her?  Did we do the right thing?  All questions that most parents have asked themselves while waiting for their children to be born.  Like pregnancy, so many before us have walked this path and yet I find that it doesn't make me feel less ... alone, for lack of a better term.  It feels nearly as if we're the first people ever to travel this journey.  Perhaps that's one of the great miracles of creating life.

Each one of us is so full of magic and hope and promise and miraculousness.  It's incredible that my body functions, my heart beats and my brain fires and my nerves respond and I'm a thinking, breathing, living being.  Yet I don't feel terribly special, on a day to day basis.  My wife is growing my daughter inside her body, and that absolutely amazes me.  She was created from mere cells, and in the last seven months has gone from a tiny cluster of cells to a tiny being, one who already has the beginnings of her personality.  What could be more incredible than a brand new life?

I do feel badly for T.  She is thirty weeks now, and her discomfort seems only to increase by the day.  We've been waiting so long for this, and I only wish it were easier for her.  I wish I could shoulder more of her discomfort, her pain, the little things that annoy her.  I am a fixer, and I can't fix this.  We just have to wait together, fingers entwined, shoulder to shoulder, for Ever.  Forever.  For the present, and for the future, and hope for some wisdom in there somewhere.

I suppose the weather has left me feeling contemplative.  I apologize that this hasn't been a more informative post, though I suspect it is likely indicative of my frame of mind tonight.

I leave you with a picture of T, showing off her new trick as we sit down to have frozen yogurt together.


Monday, June 11, 2012

California weekend

It's been awhile, eh blog?  I've missed you!

Things here have been as crazy as usual - and in some ways, crazier!  The first weekend in June we drove into Thousand Oaks, California for T's grandfather's wedding as well as some (not enough) beach time with the family.

First, we met up with T's cousin Ami and her boyfriend Ben for dinner - I'd never met them before, and they're wonderful!  I just wish we lived closer so we could hang out.

Both Grandpa and his new bride are widows (widowers?), and they are very sweet together.  It was lovely of them to invite us to come for their big day.





































Me and T at the reception


Following the reception, we drove down to the beach town we were married in, Laguna Beach.  We took an awesome picture of T with her iPhone, but the iPhone sadly got left at the in-laws house tonight so you all are going to have to wait to see the great Laguna Beach lifeguard tower photo.

We spent a few hours wandering around our favorite haunts, including our very favorite shop, Art for the Soul.  Bought a couple of greeting cards there and were shooed out the door at closing time.  We got some gelato and sat on the boardwalk, freezing our butts off and loving every moment of the chilly salt air that blew through our thin Arizona clothes.  We'd hoped to have dinner in our new favorite cafe, but it was an hour and a half wait to eat so we decided to hightail it outta there and head to our hotel in nearby Dana Point, where T's family all were.

We picked up some dinner from the hotel restaurant and enjoyed an evening together with my brother and sister-in-law and our nephew Erik, my out-laws, and our littlest nephew Jon.

The next morning (after eating breakfast at a doughnut shop, of all places) we headed to the beach in Dana Point.  T and I dug out an area for her to sit in the sand and began building some sand castles.



































































After spending a few hours together on the beach (T's siblings and their kids were there, too!) it was time to leave.  We headed back home to Tucson.  A few hours into the drive, I noticed my face was starting to feel tight.  I thought to myself, "Yes, I must've gotten a little sunburned.  Oh well."

Stupid, stupid, stupid.  Not just a little sunburned.  A LOT sunburned.  I had been wearing my sunglasses most of the time and so I had the supremely cool "raccoon" sunburn going on.  Not to mention where my pants had been rolled up - my shins and the top of my feet fried.  So did T's, as well as my very unfortunate mother-in-law, who received the worst of it by far.  She had sausage legs and feet for several days and is still recovering, over a week later.  My father-in-law had minimal leg burning, T got a bit of a burn on her face as well but it was not as rockin' as mine.  It is a really good thing I don't have a customer service job, haha.  I was frightening there for a few days.

Both on the drive to and fro, I continually was full of gladness.  I'm so fortunate to have someone who never is boring, someone who I never get tired of or need time away from, someone who laughs at my goofy jokes and humors me when I have crazy ideas for intricate photos.  Someone who understands what I need, someone who I can take care of and love on.  Someone who also wants to take care of me and be with me.  I recognize that these are all great qualities in your life partner, but I also see that not everybody has this in their life.  I'm glad for you, T.  And I'm glad for our tiny Ever, who is only going to make us a fuller family.

So for anybody who isn't counting the weeks carefully (or crazily, as I am...) Teri is 28 weeks along now.  That is very pregnant.  That is nearly seven months pregnant.  Evie is growing faster than ever, with about five or six pounds to gain yet.  That little fact sometimes is concerning, as poor T's belly already seems stretched to its limit.  We of course realize that it is NOT actually stretched to its limit, but it is very tight and Evie is quite insistent about moving around still.  We began to notice and feel her hiccuping in there last weekend, right when T sat down on the beach.  It's very adorable.  T may not think so, I don't know.

The belly button is an ever-evolving source of entertainment, as well.  It's totally flat most of the time, with a small purpley star in its center.  When her abdominal muscles contract, it pooches the belly button out a little bit and forces her belly into a cone shape, and that makes her laugh. We're interested to see if it ever really "pops" out.  There's still lots of time for that.

In our Bradley class (which has finally started becoming useful!) our homework this week was to pack a birthing bag for the birth center!  Insanity!  I mean, okay great, it's awesome and Boy Scoutish to be prepared and all, but eek!  Time to pack the birth bag means the baby will be here soon.  SOON.  Hmm.  Notice, I did not say that we'd actually packed the bag.  Mostly I've just been thinking about how that means the baby is coming soon.  But yes, the Bradley instructor is now going over laboring positions and pushing positions and birth-type scenarios, which is scary and exciting.  I'm glad to be DOING SOMETHING other than talking about nutrition and how much exercise is enough.

Speaking of Bradley homework, I have two chapters in the silly and outdated Husband-Coached Childbirth book to read.  Must go.

I promise, we'll be back soon, because we've got a lot of stuff to talk about and mull over and T will be writing a review on The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding here soon.

We love you all and hope you're doing well!