Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Pregnant Truth

While I turn to my baby books from time to time just to make sure I am not crazy (it never works--I’m usually crazy), I still find them somewhat demoralizing. Most of the books--well the two I have, anyway--will tell you some of the things to look forward to in pregnancy as well as pretty much everything under the sun that can go wrong. I don’t mind the sections about the possible chances of my child having a tail or extra appendages if I stand too close to a microwave because I enjoy any chance I can get to join support groups. I just sometimes feel like maybe the authors aren’t really being honest about pregnancy and what a new mother might actually be thinking and feeling. While I may not have clinical proof that my experiences can be generalized to all women, I still feel compelled to offer my version of what a month-by-month look at what pregnancy might be like. I can only go through the sixth month, but rest assured that seven, eight, and nine are on their way.

Month One:

You will think you are pregnant, but you aren’t sure. You are too cheap to buy a box of pregnancy tests and your husband’s words are still ringing in your ears from the last time you thought you were pregnant and freaked out: “Next time, just pee on this twenty dollar bill.” So, since you aren’t sure and you are cheap, you decide that it’s still OK to drink at a friend’s bachelorette party. Two mojitos, three shots of tequila, and one really bad karaoke version of “Don’t Stop Believing” later, you will realize that you may have made a horrible mistake. On the drive home, you will download an ovulation calendar app on your phone and try to remember the last time you may have had the opportunity to conceive a child.

Month Two:

Still too cheap to buy a pregnancy test, you will agonize over every little change in your body. Why do corn dogs taste delicious to me? Why can’t I fit into my jeans? Is it because of all the corn dogs? Does my chest really hurt or is it because I forgot to wear a bra to my aerobics class? You will finally cave and buy three pregnancy tests from the dollar store because two out of three ain’t bad. When the first test is a clear positive, you will begin to doubt the validity of the dollar store tests, yet will proceed to take the other two while your husband panics in the living room. When all three tests come back positive, you will stare blankly at the wall and think about something that looks like a tiny version of you sleeping in your uterus. After you shake that freakish thought out of your head, you will proceed to tell your husband who will read your face to try and know how to react. After you gather your jaws off of the floor and hold the only evidence of your child in your hands in the form of three plastic sticks, you will experience a myriad of emotions. The rest of the month you will walk around like you are secretly the queen of the universe because, well, you are.

Month Three:

You will take another pregnancy test. Just because you can. Nobody knows your secret and every time you pee on that stick, it lets off a little steam. By this month you should have Googled every known thing that can go wrong and if you have not yet believed that you have experienced at least 75% of these things, then you haven’t Googled enough. You Google some more.

Month Four:

You tell your family and maybe some friends that you are planning on bringing a child into this world. Let’s use the word “planning” loosely here. You will be bringing a child into this world and you will now have physical proof other than a pregnancy test: A blurry black-and-white picture of a jelly bean. This month, you should plan on having a mental break-down. Also plan on buying some new dishes and spackle as many of those dishes may have made dents in the wall and you will now have to repair said dents and replace some dishes. Your husband will do incredibly insensitive things like forget to put the toilet seat down or up depending on how you feel that day. He may also make rude remarks like, “Can you pass me the salt?” that will cause you to fly off the handle. You will not apologize for any of your reactions because for the next five or so months you will be rendered incapable of recognizing that you have made a mistake.

You will begin to try on maternity clothes that don’t even come close to fitting, yet your own clothes will be ridiculously uncomfortable. You will look in the mirror at yourself in maternity pants and think, “I will never have to wear these ugly clothes because my butt is never going to get this big!”

Month Five:

You will begin to arch your back so it doesn’t look like you just ate a big burger and you have digestion issues. When no one asks you if you are pregnant, you buy one item from the maternity section just to prove to yourself that you are. You may feel like a pubescent teenager as the evidence of increased hormones is all over your face and neck, but you may also be enjoying one change. Make that two changes, if you catch my drift. You will now be able to fill out the bra size you have always told yourself you were.

You will delete everything off of your online baby registry because you will have registered for the gender your baby is not. You will start all over on the registry begrudgingly at first, then with ease as the memories fade of the gender you thought you were having.

You will rush to have your husband feel the baby’s kicks and just as he places his hands on your tummy, the baby will refuse to move, causing him to suspect that this pregnancy thing is just a ruse for the whole corn dog fiasco.

As you are hit by the realization that you are halfway through your pregnancy, you will begin to completely rearrange everything in your life. Furniture, life goals, and vacation plans now all have something to do with the baby. You try to relax, but you will break down the next few months into events before the baby comes. You will begin to lament all of the things you have yet to do: “But I haven’t seen Mount Rushmore! I’ve never gone to China or even eaten good Chinese food for that matter. When will I ever get another opportunity to meet Oprah?”

There will be no rational answer to any of these questions. You will also wonder why your thighs are so big. The rational answer to this question is ‘corn dogs.’

Month Six:

You will freak out because you are only three months away from having a baby. Then you will realize that while nine minus six is in fact three, you actually have to complete four more months before the baby comes.

This month you will look in the mirror and realize that your thighs are actually getting smaller so you will pull our your favorite jeans breathing a sigh of relief and thanking God that pregnancy actually made you skinnier. When you rip a hole in said jeans you will come to the awful realization that you are now disproportionate and your swelling midsection is actually just making you look like an orange on two toothpicks.

You will begin to break down your time left before the baby comes into “weekends available for baby showers.” And when you realize that you have two weekends free until you give birth, you will begin to reevaluate those trips you have planned to see Mount Rushmore, China, and Oprah.

27 Weeks

The kitchen remodel is still in progress, but it's getting there. JJ put in those cool Starbucks looking lights, can lights, and a vent. It's true: we did not have a vent in our kitchen. I think it's my favorite new feature.

JJ reinstalling the dishwasher after we got our new linoleum. We really like the floors and now all we (read: JJ) has to do is put up the cabinet doors, have countertops installed, figure out what to do with the backsplash, slap some baseboard on and do some touch-up painting. Wow that sounded like a lot actually. Well, at least we have a floor now! I'm so proud of JJ!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

So There We Were in Eastern Europe. . .

JJ and I got back from our trip to Romania and Hungary on Monday night after one two hour flight from Budapest to Amsterdam, a ten hour flight from Amsterdam to Seattle, and four hour car ride from Seattle to Spokane. It was a little strange getting home at essentially the same time we left and it has taken us until I think this morning to get over the jet-lag. But, we are back in action and ready for the next adventure.

It is difficult for me to describe our trip, so I will be borrowing from the websites of the organizations we worked with in Siria, Romania. First, to explain why JJ and I were asked to go:

We were asked by a group called YouthCompass Frankfurt to come to Romania on Project Compassion to provide the humor, recreation, and entertainment portion of the week for kids coming from other countries to serve. YouthCompass is a ministry to kids who likely have passports from one country, but may have not lived in that country for most of their lives. They have found themselves in Frankfurt, Germany living with Germans, but possibly speaking another language in their homes. In other words, they live in limbo at times trying to identify with two or more cultures they might not fit into. We went on the trip to bond this group of special students. Our good friends Justin and Heather Tillery work for YouthCompass in Frankfurt and were on the trip with us--what an amazing blessing.

{If you want to know more about YouthCompass Frankfurt go to}

Project Compassion is the trip we went on. According to our facebook page, "Project Compassion is an annual services project which gathers teens from our network of European YouthCompass community youth programs and gives them the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the underprivileged."

Many people have asked me if we were Bible smuggling or handing out literature. If you know us at all, you will know that those activities are not our style. I understand that most people have had a traditional view of Christian missions and find it difficult to grasp the concept of what we participated in. NetWorks was the group that is in charge of this trip and has relationships with the community in Siria. This is what their website says about what they do:

"Romania is a beautiful country with a rich history and culture of its own. In 2007, Romania became part of the European Union. Yet there are still many people living in incredible poverty. Small mud houses with earth floors, no fresh water and no drainage. There are children with no clothes, and there are homes with no doors and plastic sheeting for roofs.

Romania isn't a tropical country. Each winter temperatures drop to below minus 20 C. Young people in these communities have little hope for their future as they see old people living on pensions that won't even buy bread. Families fall apart, and children live and work on the streets.

Eighteen years after the revolution there are communities in Romania with massive needs. A lot has already been done, but there is a lot still to do.There are no simple solutions, yet there can be no ignoring the problem. No one person, or organization can meet this range of needs. NetWorks is a Christian charity (registered and based in Romania) which has begun to collaborate locally, nationally and internationally to begin to meet these needs."

Project Compassion is a small, but significant part of what NetWorks does in Romania and we were glad to be a part of these important relationships.

I feel like JJ and I were stowaways on this trip in the sense that we had no other job than to hang out with these "third culture kids" and to unite them with fun and humor. This trip was very meaningful to us because we were able to see what can happen to an oppressed people when significant and Christ-centered relationships are established.

For a week, we worked hard, laughed hard, and loved hard. We took some pictures of where we were, but we were not allowed to take pictures in the community in Siria. NetWorks did not want 50 people taking snapshots of poverty because those are real people living in really difficult circumstances--it's not poverty tourism. If you would like to see some pictures and video, please visit Otherwise, you can check out the pictures I took of other towns and places near Siria:) The other pictures are from our jaunt to Budapest on the way home. Happy viewing. . .