to baby or not to baby?

About a year ago, my wonderful husband threw a stick into my front bicycle wheel and said, "I want to have another baby". It was as if he was saying, "we're out of milk" or something completely arbitrary. Being the level-headed rare find of a female I am, I ignored him. For 6 months.

I mean, what the heck was he thinking? Just months before we had uprooted our lives and moved to Lake Oswego. He was months into a new position with a new hotel, I was still navigating through being a stay-at-home-mom, and Emily wasn't yet a year old. I wanted to dump a bucket of ice water over his head.

Notwithstanding the previous completely valid reasons why his idea wasn't anywhere close to the proverbial ballpark, there was another. David and I are only children. Go ahead, bring on the jokes; we're used to it. Neither he or I have any idea what it's like to have a sibling, let alone how to guide an older child to accept a sibling. Or how to settle sibling disputes. Or manage anything that has the words "parenting" and "sibling" in the same paragraph.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, David has the ability to decision-make...and I have the ability to really slow him down. Thankfully, he is a patient man. So over the course of the last year I mulled over the idea of a second baby. I listened more intently to the struggles of my friends with two little ones. I watched relationships between sisters and brothers. I imagined turning points in my life and how they might have been different had I had the ear of a sister or brother.

One evening David & I were sitting on the couch and I told him I was ready. One of the nice things about my husband is I don't have to elaborate. He knew just what I meant.

After 3 months of waiting for our insurance to process our policy change, another to get on my Doctor's schedule, followed by another of super-fun-married-people-things, I sent David into the pantry to fetch some spaghetti sauce for dinner...

You should have seen his face. I never thought he was going to come out of there.

Today we had our first ultrasound. Baby is 9 weeks old, has a healthy 170bpm heartbeat, and was doing the wiggles for us. My Doctor gave me the thumb's up and said we were good to go.

Meet our little bean. Due September 24. *bigfatcheesysmiles*



Yipee! It's Valentine's Day!


Excuse me, I just gagged.

I should be thinking of nothing but sunshine and roses on Valentine's Day, right? Neck-deep in pink Hershey's kisses, roses and sonnets. Well, I'm not exactly a roaring Valentine's Day fan. I'm not bitter from years of being without a decent smooch on the 14th day of February, I just think it's an overly commercialized excuse to gorge oneself in chocolate and then go back to the same old thing the following day.

It's like the 'Sunday Christian' I was growing up (eek...confession); begging forgiveness for my transgressions at 10am Sunday but sneaking out by 11am with my friends to hit the ice cream shop down the street just as it opened, then racing back before anyone knew we were missing. Valentine's Day is like a one-day hall pass whereby you cram in an entire year's worth of unconditional, undying devotion...and then go back to the same ol' thing the next. Enter stage left: *pwhthhwth*.

So today I'm going to be grateful for my family and forego the nausea of too much cacao and not enough sincerity. Sure, my family is weird. They have odd habits (you people know exactly what I'm talking about), wear socks with their Birkenstocks and get far too excited when I mention the word 'Skype'. But they love those they love unconditionally, and not many people do.

After sending me out for a morning to myself including an extra-long (and extra-needed) workout, my Dad sent me a text this morning: "HVD, I love this! :)" Translation: Happy Valentine's Day, and by the way I'm having a blast entertaining Emily...don't hurry back.

When I got back from the gym I found another text, this time from my mom: "Happy love day! xo".

Then there's my MIL; ours is a rare, close relationship sadly not often found on a wife's family tree. This morning's Facebook post: "I forgot to send Emma a valentines card so please give her a big hug and kiss from Baba and Pa. And a Happy Valentines Day to you."
With all the family feuding going on out there, I consider myself more than fortunate to have a family that loves me with the kind of love everyone could use some more of.

So in the spirit of the day, I'll say it...hvd. But don't go thinking it's going to become habit or something.



letters to angie

It's been a while since I've blogged. Not because I don't have any material, but because every time I log on to Blogger my last post appears. I read it, it overwhelms me, and I give up. The crazy-cute thing Emily just did or the ironic moment I experienced that day retreats out of my memory and I close the laptop. Today I think I'm just sick of it getting the better of me.

My entire life I've heard the phrase, "be Jesus with skin on." Over time it becomes less meaningful and begins more to sound like Charlie Brown's teacher: "wau-wau-waaaau". But recently I've had the chance to step out of my comfort zone and give it a shot. And boy, did I pick a doozie.

I'm a planner. I know, I know...you're surprised. I'm also annoyingly cautious when it comes to decision-making. My patient husband sits patiently for months sometimes while we pray (and I mull) over an issue before I'm certain we have a green light. But when I heard about Angie and what she'd done, I knew instantly what I needed to do.

Letters are a lost art. I actually like writing letters. My friend Jane will tell you I mail her cards occassionally just because I find one so appropriately inappropriate I can't wait to stick a stamp on it. I write thank you notes because I think if a person takes the time to give a gift, they deserve a hand-written note. I would rather receive a thoughtful card than a gift, because I think they are quite often more sincere. So when I found myself thinking of her the day after the newscast, I traded in the living room at my in-laws for their guest room and opened my laptop. It took a little searching, but I found the resource I needed: Lane County Corrections Inmate Mail Rules and Regulations. What a laundry list.

So I found a regular, non-roller-ball ball point pen, some regular unblemished paper and began. It wasn't hard to find the words, they just came. I told her she was loved, she was forgiven, and that she had someone to talk to if she needed it. I wrote down Psalms 119:105 and told her I had deposited $20 in her inmate account.

Selfishly, I was hoping for a response. When it didn't come, I told myself maybe mail took extra time for screening. After all, she's being charged with aggrevated murder. I could forgive Big Brother for reading the mail of those charged with that level of crime. Then I reminded myself it wasn't about me. Idiot.

I wrote the second letter two weeks later, and the third two weeks after that. The third letter was the shortest of them, as I was beginning to second guess this little endeavor. Did she even want to hear from me? Was I bible-beating someone who didn't want to hear it? Lucky for me, I have a husband who not only encourages me but also tells me when I'm being rediculous.

Then one day, I checked the mail.

It might not look like a thick envelope to you, but to me it weighed ten pounds. I sat it on my desk and waited for naptime.

She had replied to each letter. Each and every letter, the day she received it. [The jail apparently won't give an inmate a letter's envelope, just the contents. I went on to learn people have been known to lace the envelope sealant with drugs. And I had written the return address on the envelope. So she begged the mailperson to write down my address for her so she could write me back.]

I don't want to betray her trust, so I will say only this: the thing that continues to strike me is that she sounds exactly like the girl I remember. For a plethora of reasons, it makes perfect sense and is also nothing short of a tragedy. I wonder if God brought me into her life because I still know her as the sweet 16 year-old high school sophomore.

The only thing more sad than her crime is that I am the only person talking to her about Jesus. Her family has abandoned her, no one has come to visit, and she is dumbfounded and lost. So I will continue to write and pray for the right words. Wish me luck.