October 28, 2012

Bye-Bye Sleep

As much as Brandan I absolutely didn't like Pennsylvania when we first got here, it's starting to grow on us (and by grow, I mean we've found one or two things we like about it and that's it). Brandan refers to this area of the country as "the never-ending wooded forest on rolling hills" because it is so densely wooded and you are never driving or walking on flat ground - it is always sloped upward or downward. As annoying as it is not having any clue what direction we're ever facing, the autumn has brought the beauty of PA come out. The rolling hills have turned into a painting of ball-shaped yellow, red, orange and purple treetops and there are hardly any spots where the ground isn't completely covered in leaves. I guess I am just a sucker for the fall season all around, but I am glad we were able to go into the more rural area this past week and explore a bit before the snow comes and we find more reasons to dislike PA all over again (snow+hills everywhere+crappy drivers=not so much fun).

 During our explorations we were able to go and see the memorial for Flight 93. For those of you who don't remember, it gives tribute to those 40 brave souls who were trapped on a hijacked airplane on the day of 9/11 and ended up losing their lives. When the hijackers took the plane over, they were planning on crashing it into an important structure in Washington D.C., possibly the capital building. The passengers were hearded into the back of the plane to await their certain death and, within the last 20 minutes of their scheduled flight, they revolted and tried to take the craft back over. Sadly, the hijackers made a last-second choice to crash the plane in a field in PA rather than get overrun and all on board died.

 The field where Flight 93 went down is just a hilly area with a long walkway with information posted on plaques here and there, then a beautiful, white, marble memorial with the names of all the individuals whose lives were taken. At first, I thought it was really small and not as significant as it should be, but near the marble wall, there is a large open area with seats and I realized how awesome it was that people can come, quietly read over the names, then sit and reflect on the tragedy that happened on that day in our country's history. I was teary eyed most of the time while reading through the story of what happened, but when Brandan pointed out that beneath a female passenger's name was a small, colorless (hard to see unless you were about a foot away from it) engraving that read, "and unborn child," I burst into tears. I know I've been crying a lot lately when I feel emotional, unlike my normal, un-pregnant self that doesn't really cry unless something very seriously wrong happens, but I think I would have felt just as fall-to-your-knees humbled by it. Anyway, I didn't plan on writing very much about that trip, but I am just so grateful that Brandan and I were able to experience that feeling of love for our country and those who fight for it.
On a lighter note, Halloween is coming up and my Mom's ward had their trick-or-treat this past week. Poor Spencer had all four wisdom teeth taken out that morning, but Mom, Brandan, Alyssa and I were able to go and pass out candy to all the adorable little trick-or-treaters while reading ridiculous laffy taffy jokes in between. We couldn't come up with any good, easy  costume ideas at the last second (because we only ever think about it until the last second...) so I ran to the store and bought t-shirts and fabric markers to make the following outfits:

I figured that our baby is at least as precious to Brandan as his love of soccer, so this idea came to mind when I saw a picture of a pregnant woman who painted her belly to look like a pumpkin (maybe those two aren't related but that's my honest trail of thought).

When we got to the trick-or-treat, we realized we were the only adults dressed up so that either makes us really immature or super fun adults! haha. Anyway, I guess we weren't super decked out, just had humorous t-shirts on with soccer shorts and socks underneath. Plus, we get to wear them more often than just on Halloween!

As most of you know, my older sister Hayley had her second child, Emerie, a few weeks ago so to give her a chance to sleep while the baby would, we took care of her oldest, Lyndi, for a week here at Mom's house. We watched princess movies over and over, played games, went to the park a few times, went shopping, made apple pies, and painted our nails funky colors, though usually with some pink since it's her favorite. In fact, the day we were all at the park, she was wearing 8 different shades of pink - shirt, jacket, necklace, pants, socks, shoes, hair tie, and hair bow - she's hilarious. When we took her back home, I felt like I had lost my little shadow! I got use to having to explain everything that I was doing (she LOVES to ask "why are you doing that?" every chance she gets :)), let her help me do every little chore around the house, and hearing her constantly singing, "la la la la.... la la la la... so this is love..." from Cinderella. It was way fun having her around. Oh, and anytime Brandan was at work, she would ask me where he was, when he was coming home, and what he might want to do when he gets home. I think about 90% of the time his name was mentioned, she'd let me know how much she loves him. SO STINKIN' CUTE!

 [Lyndi taking a picture of us on our walk - she refused to be outside at all without her sunglasses, even when it was cloudy or raining]
 [Spencer and Lyndi at the park]
 [Brandan and his not-so-secret admirer who followed him every step as he threw discs around the park for an hour, even though she didn't want to throw any herself]
I also have to post something pretty cute that happened the first day Lyndi was here with us. So my little sister, Alyssa, and I look fairly similar. She's only a bit shorter than me and isn't as wide or curvy as me, but we have similar hair and our facial profiles are almost the same. Anyway, Lyndi has a really hard time keeping us straight. Whenever she has just seen me in person or on webcam and then talks to Alyssa, she'll call her Sarah for the first little while and vice versa with me after she's seen and talked to Alyssa and then is talking to me. It's really funny and I shouldn't laugh when she mixes us up, because even our neighbors and people at church mix us up all the time too. In fact, in my Mom's ward, five different women have mistaken me for Alyssa until they see my pregnant belly and/or my cuddling up to Brandan. They laugh and say they feel silly not remembering Alyssa getting married or pregnant since the last time they'd seen her.
Well, the first day that Lyndi was with us, I decided to get a haircut and donate my hair to Lock of Love. I was able to donate four entire pony tails worth of long, curly hair and even got a free haircut! [Before and after pictures below] Just before I left to get it cut, I ate breakfast with Lyndi and she hadn't mixed me up with Alyssa yet. When I got home about an hour later, she called me Alyssa a few times before I had a little talk with her about the differences between Alyssa and I. I pointed out my ring and my braces-less teeth and my belly that has a baby in it (she was so excited that I had a baby inside of my belly too, since her little sister just came out of her mom's belly, haha) and after that talk, I think she only mixed Alyssa and I up once or twice more that whole week.
 [I decided to let my hair grow out while pregnant since it's the fastest it has ever grown and I hadn't had it even close to this long since I was a little girl - I think I'll make it a tradition to donate it near the end of each pregnancy since that's the only time it grows enough between hair cuts to eventually get this long!]
 [My little shadow and I, dressed alike for our last day together before she went home - we had matching shoes, pants, shirts, and even eye shadow!]
Just a quick update on pregnancy and baby: I can no longer exercise as of about two weeks ago. I had been going on long walks with Brandan each day after work but all of a sudden my pelvis and knees decided that they wanted to get ready to deliver a baby so they ache pretty sharply if I walk or are on my feet for very long - just a trip to the grocery store is enough walking for me now. I also haven't been sleeping at night very much the past week or two because I get incredibly itchy in the evenings and, even though I'm on meds for it and have tried several other anti-itching things, it comes and goes as it pleases so between nights when I'm really itchy and other nights when I'm not so itchy but the baby won't stop moving (she's officially become nocturnal), I don't get more than an hour of sleep total. Luckily, it's just Mom and I at home during the day usually so I can take naps while I don't itch and the baby isn't squirming around. I also have been having trouble doing anything in the late morning because around that time, and sometimes in the evenings also, I start feeling really faint for an hour or two and can't really do anything or focus on anything other than laying down on my side with my feet propped up and drinking powerade until it passes. My doctor in Iowa thinks it's just my anemia (I've only been anemic since being pregnant so it should go away once the baby comes), but I'm going to ask my new doctor here about it at my appointment this week because anything I do to prevent anemic episodes (eating lots of protein all throughout the day, not overexerting myself physically, not standing or sitting for too long, taking a high-iron prenatal each day, etc) hasn't made a difference. Brandan thinks that I might be overproducing insulin so that sugars don't stay in my blood very long and it dips my blood pressure down, but my glucose test they make pregnant women take during the second trimester came back negative. Anyway, so hopefully I'll be able to figure it out so I can actually make it through church one of these days and don't feel completely helpless and unproductive in the mornings during the week.
We had another ultrasound at the 35 week mark on the 18th and everything looks great. Our sweet baby is in "thee perfect" percentile for height and weight according to the doc, all her limbs and organs have developed correctly as far as could be seen, and her head is positioned down so she's all ready to go! According to her size, I am still due to have her on November 22nd (3 1/2 weeks from now!!!!). Brandan and I are getting so excited and are going to set up the crib and get the hospital bag and everything else ready this next week just in case she decides to come early. I'll post the ultrasound pictures as soon as I can, but since they are 3D and were given to us on a CD with a funky format, I still haven't quite figured out how to do that. They also gave us a few videos of her moving but I don't think I can post those...

October 7, 2012

We Got Moved, Got Sick, and Now Play a Lot of Spades

Well, we have had quite the busy life lately. For the past two months, Brandan and I have kept ourselves nap-less (pretty sure I just made that word up...) trying to get everything done in preparation for moving to PA for Brandan's first physical therapy rotation. He'll be going through 10 weeks of full-time, unpaid work in a clinic in Pittsburgh from the second week of October through mid-December. It is pretty exciting to think that he is already almost halfway done with graduate school and getting his doctorate in physical therapy!

[The view of Pittsburgh from the clinic where Brandan will be working at for the next 2 1/2 months]
                   [Pittsburgh - not quite as big as I would have thought, but still pretty fun to live close to]
Rather than keeping our apartment in Des Moines, we decided to put everything in a storage unit and just filling our trunk with any of the important things we'd need during the rotation. We filled up our huge trunk and placed a few extra things in our back seat so we can have plenty of space to bring our little one home (due date for baby-girl Lym: Nov 22nd). It won't be super fun having to unpack everything into a new apartment with a new baby as soon as we get back, but it didn't seem worth it to pay for an apartment we wouldn't be using for 3-4 months.
Well, I spent a week or two taking my time de-junking, organizing, and packing our apartment up and getting our address changed and doing anything else you have to do when you leave an apartment permanently and move to a different state. Brandan was crazy busy trying to get everything ready for his rotation and taking final exams and practicals. We felt so blessed to have so many young men and older men from our church come and help us move everything out. We set what I feel is a record time for helping move anyone out of an apartment. Though there are only two of us who had been living there, we have quite a collection of stuff - more than an older gentleman we helped move out of his place a few hours later. Everything was moved out of our apartment and into a moving truck, driven 10-15 minutes to the storage unit, and loaded (and strictly organized so as to fit into a 10x10) into a unit within 1 1/2 hours. It was awesome! Then, since I'm fairly OCD about cleaning all the time anyway, it only took about 10 minutes to get our apartment ready for the walk-through (oven, fridge, dusted, vaccumed, etc) afterward. I'm glad we got all of this done a few days in advance and could just relax for a day or two at some friends' before making the trip out to PA.
We started driving around 5am on a Monday morning and made it 14 hours, Six different states (Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virgina, Pennsylvania), and only a few pitstops for restroom breaks to get to my Mom's house. She lives under an hour outside of Pittsburgh so we decided to stay with her, Spencer, Alyssa and my stepdad Steve for the rotation to help save some money and so that I won't be crazy bored by myself in an apartment all day every day for 3 months. It actually works out great because my older sister, Hayley, is having her second child any time now so my Mom could go and help her out while Brandan and I help hold down the fort and get my little brother where he needs to be for seminary, school, cross country, etc. It will also be nice to have more people around to help out with our baby when she comes in November (and will save my Mom another trip this fall to help out daughters having babies! :)).

[32-33 weeks along]
[Brandan couldn't gain sympathy weight even if he tried! Lucky duck ;)]
[Hands of the creators? Haha - Just a more artsy pic]
Since we have come to PA, our baby girl cannot stop moving and shaping my belly into funny figures. At first, Brandan and I thought it was cute and fun, but holy crap - any woman who has had a fairly active baby inside of her knows and understands how crazy difficult it is to sit or lay comfortably for more than a minute or two at a time. We still have 6 1/2 weeks until the due date so it'll be interesting to see how much more sleep-deprived I'll get by the end and how much weaker I'll feel (she uses up so much of my energy now so I can barely make it through the day without a nap). But, as my sister said, it's probably all in preparation for being up and down all day and night with a newborn when she comes!
I have also realized how down my immune system gets while being pregnant. I've been sick for over a month now with a congested nose and chest. It's gotten better, then worse, then better, then worse and I'm ready for it to be gone! This sounds awful, but it made me cheer up quite a bit when Brandan woke up with it and was sick with me for a few days when we first got here. Luckily, he still had a week to get over it before his rotation!
[We look awful - but this is our "sick day" where we watched lots of movies and played cards all day]
This past Tuesday was a busy day. My little brother, Spencer, had a cross country meet Brandan and I were able to go to. It was really fun going to a high school CC meet again. I think it has been maybe 4 or 5 years since I've been to one and it's so different from CC meets in college. I'm amazed that running is popular at all here in PA with the humidity, never-ending hills (there were literally no flat areas on the entire course...), and thousands of bugs clinging to you (stink bugs - yuck!). Tuesday was also my stepdad's birthday so we picked up a delicious Coldstone ice cream cake on our way home from the meet, found a shiny Star Trek b-day card (he's obsessed with Star Trek so we have never failed in getting him something Trekki for his birthdays/holidays), and played some games. This day was also my sister Hayley's due date for their second girl, so we were waiting to get any word of how she was doing all day. Sadly, mini-Hayley decided to hold off and chill in the womb for another week, but we are so excited to have another member added to our extended family! She should be coming along any hour now.
[Spencer is the giant blonde in the blue jersey in the middle of the starting group]
[Happy 94th Steve! Haha - JK, he flipped the numbers around]
We have stayed busy while being here so far. Brandan has been working in the yard quite a bit since there are a billion little shrubbery/flower beds in the front yard, bought and set up spider traps all over the basement, and has been busily watching all of the Superman and Star Trek movies. I have been organizing and cleaning out the basement and garage, making it possible for my Mom to have all of her kitchen stuff actually fit in her little kitchen, making a car seat canopy (turned out SUPER cute but will wait and put up a picture when I get the buttons on there), running Spencer around to his activities, and organized various boxes of "stuff." It will be weird hardly seeing Brandan once he starts working tomorrow, leaving at 5am and getting home just before dinner just to be in bed around 8 or 9pm. My Mom and I will have quite a few "baby" projects though, so I plan on staying pretty busy. We have a blessing dress to make, baby booties to put together, burp cloths to make, some more recieving blankets to sew, etc. Three months seems like a long time, but I think it will fly by with a baby on the way and lots of big fall/winter-time holidays coming up.