Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Belated Congratulations

My father-in-law is retiring at the end of this school year. We were privileged to spend the evening with him, Lori, Dean and Amanda as his colleges and friends honored him for his contributions over the years.
I was very proud of you, Gord - and so glad we could be there with you. It was truly an honor. :)
And hearing all those funny stories about you was a bonus!

The group with our pooches in Gord and Lori's backyard.

A Realization

I just got done listening to messages left for the Home Health Aides on my home phone because I'm on call tonight. (Everyone in the system gets "general" messages.) I left a couple of them today - and realized I sound all of about 14 years old when I talk. :)
I hope the baby knows I'm a grownup. In theory, anyway. :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Welcome Wagon

A gigantic "hello" to my Aunty Michele - new to the world of high-speed internet.
Congrats! :)
Hope you can finally enjoy the music. ;)
Love you!

Friday, June 20, 2008

I Just Paid Off My Student Loan!!!

... and it was massive.
More than double what we paid for our car. There is no smiley to describe what my face looks like when I think about what I just typed.
My jaw is hanging.
Anyway... I'm kinda pumped!
The girl on the phone with National Student Loans even congratulated me 3 or 4 times. :)
Kurt will pay his off when he gets home later today. His isn't as big - but having both paid off, plus our old mortgage, will be a huge change for our financial state.
I'm sure the first time the money isn't taken from our account will be pretty cool. But for now it feels somewhat surreal.
Like.... 10 years of combined school never even happened.
Except for Political Studies 112.3 - without which we would never have met.
Love those North American politics! ;)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

As Promised...

One quick post and then I have to go to bed. :)
The official handing over of our Saskatoon house was pretty emotional in a lot of ways. We've lived there ever since we were married - in fact I was renting the basement when I first met Kurt. So you could say that our entire history as a couple was tied to that house.
Add that to the fact that we conceived two babies in that house - and spent time both rejoicing and grieving there.
All my experiences "with" Autumn were tied to her room. Taking it apart was hard. Saying "goodbye forever" was harder. Her nursery no longer exists. There is no place that is especially "hers" anymore - and as thrilled as I am about this move and this new baby girl - it felt pretty final. I didn't cry, but I felt kinda "off" for a day and a half.
I'm really enjoying my new job. But ask me again after next Thursday - when I will complete 5 shifts by myself. (mini-gak!)
Orientation is such a comfortable experience. But it's done - and I'm like a little bird gently punted out of the nest. I've worked on my own already - so it isn't 'new' but honestly: I hate not knowing what I don't know... and the worst part is that you often don't know what you don't know until you realize you need it!
I know I've been given all the equipping I need with my education, and I know that I don't have to be super-nurse... I know the SRNA wouldn't have given me my license to practice unless I was qualified... yada-yada-yada. But it's still scary to be out there by myself. Actually - let me rephrase. It's scary to anticipate being out there by myself - but once I'm out there I'm okay. See? I'm a pre-freaker-outer. New word. Add it to your spell-checker....
I'm so happy for my friend, Andrea (and her hubby, Matt) - who is having a little boy! :)
I'm tired. I'm swollen (despite my best efforts) and I miss going to Kurt's soccer games.
Complaining done!
I really like sleeping at my new house. The lack of sport-bikes (demon bikes) drag-racing down my street at 3 am allows me to sleep in a strangely-sound manner. :)
Do you drive a sport bike?
Don't drive down my street
. ;)
Did I mention I'm swollen? Yeah - but this time I'm not complaining. :)


Real quick blast of information before I go to work:

1) BManzII is fine. "Perfect" according to the radiologist. I cried like a baby on the ultrasound table - thankfully the lights were dim and I didn't feel like a total fool. Kurt squeezed my hand tightly and we praised God together. :)

2) BManzII is a little girl. :)

Thanks for your prayers, everyone. I'll put more up by-way of updates tonight.
I think.
Ummm... I'll try, anyway. :)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Kurt's New Toy

The love of my life with his very first John Deere. It's a dream come true for him - and our yard is big enough to justify the purchase. Although for me - the purchase is justified by the big grin on his face in the first picture. Even in the serious picture, he still looks like he's trying not to break out with a huge smile. :)
(Some shots of our new yard, by the way. Pretty trees and a big 'ol rock.)
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A Recent Prayer Journal Entry

This is a part of my wrestling with God about the future.
Part of me is so hesitant to put this out there - to be transparent with my struggles and fears. But this is part of my continuing journey - and because I want to be real I can't hide the ugly just because it might make me look weak or foolish.
I know I have been given so many good gifts - but losing my baby girl has rocked me to the core... and my sense of certainty about the future is not as rosy as it once was.
I'm really not sure what the tone will "sound" like when on the computer... please know it is not at all disrespectful or angry. I had tears falling down my face as I penned these thoughts - and - if nothing else - I want this to show that trusting Christ is the anchor that does not break... despite the storm raging inside.
He is real - so very real that by the end of this entry, my tears were not from grief or fear - but from a sense of amazement that He - despite the unknowns and the questions and the fears that linger - provided peace beyond understanding.

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.
Job 23:10
I am so afraid of what my future may hold.
Will this baby - our second child - live? Be healthy?
The physical has eclipsed the spiritual. I do not even pray for his/her salvation, because I do not know if the baby will even breathe - let alone comprehend.
Our last ultrasound was devastating. Autumn was dead. We had to phone people and tell them our dreams for this little one and our family were not going to come true.
And you did it.
You not only let it happen - but you made her heart stop beating.
You grew and knit her together - perfectly - and then you took her.
Lord - now I must trust you with the life of this one.
Perhaps sick. Or handicapped...
I do not know. I know you do - but I am afraid. Afraid that your goodness is not always going to look like I want it to.
Afraid that your sovereignty and wisdom will give me the strength to bear up under yet another lifelong burden.
I am afraid that - like Job - you will allow for Satan to take me into his cruel hand and destroy the life I desire.
At which point am I guaranteed a flawless future? When is that ever promised? To what extent is there rest in your sovereignty? Will I wrestle with this forever?
If you have created flawed little lungs, kidneys, a heart, a spinal cord or a brain - or if this baby is missing chromosomes - or dies...
Who would I turn to but you?
Where else would I go?
You know you have my loyalty - you have quickened my spirit... but "trust" for me has always seemed to have two obvious outcomes:
1) knowing there will be some good to rejoice in
2) knowing things will eventually "work out"
Autumn died.
And I will live with that until you call me home.
Another dead, or sick, or disabled child... living with that would be so hard.
And Lord? I do not feel like I can ask you for good things. I do not feel certain that your plan lines up with mine.
It feels better to not ask - and be like a lamb who doesn't know slaughter awaits - than to plead for a life that is not to be.
I asked you to keep Autumn safe. This journal documents those very requests in all their fervency.
I asked for you to heal her cysts - and let me love her for the rest of my life.
And you said "no". You took her life before it molded with ours.
What right do I have to ask you for the exceptional gift of this child's life, health and salvation?
"Expect great things from God." How? What "things"? What will they look like?
I know you have plans for me - I do not doubt that.
I know you are good. And gentle. And kind.
I just don't know if those characteristics are destined to be the ones others see when they look at me.
Perhaps my life will always be the enigma. The mystery. The paradox.
"How does she praise the God who smites her?"
"How does she smile when her life is so unfair?"
And so perhaps the day of the ultrasound will be a gift. A healthy son or daughter. A reminder that you do give as well as take away. That I can praise you for answering a prayer I am, even now, afraid to lift before you.
But perhaps, also, you will come alongside me as I weep over more shattered dreams, and more trails and difficulty.
I do not feel punished - or as though I have or can somehow earn or lose your approval and favor.
But I feel like a deer hiding in the long grass as the danger approaches. Cautious. Do I move? If so - which direction?
Resting in you right now means I will let the situation come to me. I can't flee - I can't run. The reality of the future is yet to be written for me to see... but you know.
So I will ask simply for the strength & grace to be able to bear up under whatever you give me.
If "good" - to not set my heart upon it as a source of happiness.
If "bad" - to once again run to you for shelter from the storm.

"I will praise you in this storm -
and I will lift my hands.
For you are who you are -
no matter where I am.
And every tear I've cried, you hold in your hands.
You've never left my side -
and though my heart is torn....
I will praise you in this storm."

Lord - have your perfect way with me and this child. My future is yours. So is this baby's. For Jesus' sake - and for the great love He has for me - let me kiss the hands that bled for me. The hands that hold me, mold me - and will usher me into your presence with exceeding joy. I know He will do it. I cannot wait to let Him wipe my tears away forever.
Oh Father - without Him I would be lost.
Hold me tightly. Let me feel it.
I love you.
Your will be done.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

By Popular Demand...

So here you go - a couple of pregnancy pictures...

Me - the chubby-wubby hobbit checking my email. (last night)
"Samwise is my name... following Frodo is my game..." :-D
Okay - and the reason it is black and white is because it was kinda washed out and this was the best way to display.
It has nothing to do with my complexion or the fact that my feet are (again!) looking like freshly risen dough... ahem.

This one (below) Kurt took today - our 17-week picture (for the baby book):

Hmm.... perhaps I've grown into this pregnancy after all. Gadzooks - what a bump! Kurt told me today, "Your tummy has really gotten big this week!"
Thanks! :)
So nice to pass the "Has she just gained a ton of weight?" into the "So when are you due?" phase. Some stoned (as in "having recently partaken marijuana") guy in WalMart asked me that very question. So if he could see it, imagine what the rest of the world thinks. ;)
Anyway, the first few weeks of pictures have me looking like, "Hurry up and take the picture before I toss my cookies."
I definitely like my hair better this time around. When I cut it (not knowing I'd be pregnant in a few days/weeks) I thought "no big deal - it grows an inch a month". It hardly grew at all during that entire pregnancy! It took 9 months to reach just above my shoulders. Strange.
It grew like crazy after Autumn was born, and has continued since I've been pregnant. Maybe it's a boy this time? Gotta be something different...

So there you are! Some pictures! :)

In other BManzII news - I've felt the little one moving around pretty consistently since 15 weeks. Actually I think it was more around 14 weeks - but all the books say that is way too early. So I bow to obstetrical wisdom - 15 weeks it is!
It's such a blessing - it is making this child seem so much more real. Creating a distinction between Autumn and her little brother/sister is bittersweet. I am missing her so much - reliving what my experiences were with her only a year ago. And yet I know that this child isn't her... and I'm thankful for the opportunity to have another one.

Last week I was actually really afraid. I spent so much time waiting for the first movement - and when they started I was so thankful. But Friday and Saturday I didn't feel a thing. Thankfully, I was distracted by lots of stuff (like moving!) - but it gave me lots of opportunity to pray - and I realized that this is going to be a battle until the end of the pregnancy. After lots of prayer and waiting - early Sunday morning I felt some flutters again. He/she hasn't stopped very much since... for which I am so grateful. I give myself permission to touch my tummy, and talk to him/her - and maybe even dream a little about what it will be like to hold our second child in a few months. Cautious - but hopeful.

I read on one of the pregnancy updates for 17 weeks that the baby can hear loud sounds now - so Kurt spent a little bit of time yelling loving words at my tummy this morning. ;) (kidding - he didn't yell...) but we're really hoping everything is developing normally. As you can tell, size shouldn't be a problem. (chuckle) But I've spent some time worrying that his/her kidneys, or heart, or brain or spinal cord... (name it!) will have something wrong... and again - giving it all back to God has been an effort - but knowing He hasn't dropped us so far is a great comfort. Lord willing, we'll make it through next week's ultrasound with minimal stress and come out joyful. :)

So thanks for checking and reading everyone. I really appreciated all the emails while I've been "gone". Hopefully gaps will be soon reduced.

Talk to you soon!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I'm Online!

I'm sitting in my new house with internet!
Posts and pictures to come soon... or something like that.
Blessings and thanks for reading, everyone!