Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Musings of a Prego

Pregnancy realizations:
First time pregnancy is like filling out an application for a job you know you're not qualified for and getting the job and having 9 months to prepare for taking responsibility for another human being's life that you've never met and you have no idea how to be responsible for.
In those nine months you essentially go through a massive and condensed adolescence in which you have no idea what's going on with your body and you'd just like to cross your legs or do your toenails.
[ and how did women do pregnancy without the ability to google if what they were experiencing was normal?? props!  ]
Then there's this alien moving around in your abdomen, and you're like... Kato? Dat u? Open ur mind???
Then put your body through the equivalent of a car crash while the other human being that just came out of your body also went through the bodily impact of a car crash. You just meet em, and two days later you take them home forever (or at least 18yrs).
And your body will still be seemingly unrecognizable to you and still doing things you're completely unfamiliar with even after you've gone through this process.
And allegedly you'll like it all so much that you'll want to do that again?
My logic and reasoning side really has no idea what's going on. It is very confused by this whole ordeal and doesn't necessarily know how to prioritize with so much going on. So many decisions, so many feelings, so many preparations to make. Sometimes, I'm not gonna lie... sometimes I wish it was all back to normal. Sometimes I wish my life wasn't about to change 100%. I really have a hard time comprehending it.
This is why having the second ultrasound helped me so much and made me wish I could do that more often. As a visual learner, it gave me a visual to go along with all this craziness.
It made me see, that's - that's my baby. It's really there and really moving. Look at it's tiny toes.
I don't know how you mommas did pregnancy without ultrasounds, without seeing this little person before you met them?
We're in third trimester now. Midwife was concerned as baby kept trending ahead in size so she ordered an ultrasound to ensure nothing was wrong with the baby.
So we got to see the little squish today. And they're perfectly fine, just measuring slightly bigger than average (currently 3lbs) for this time frame, but nothing abnormal.
Look at this face. Look at my lil squish. Look at that lil nose.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

20 weeks

You guys, Serena Williams announced today that she is 20 weeks pregnant. I always knew we were so same - successful, super ba chicks.

Today I'm 19 weeks, 6 days, tomorrow being 20 weeks. Or so they think.

Had the second (and hopefully final, as no more are necessary unless something is wrong) ultrasound today for 20 weeks. That day I was 19 weeks, 6 days and baby was measuring at 20 weeks, 5 days. Supposed to be around 10.5 ounces, but that day was 14 ounces. So either a whopper or joining us earlier than we expect. I'm hoping for the latter.

This baby is so much bigger than last ultrasound. It made it much more real to see it's little hands and little feet more distinctly. To see he or she opening their little mouth (even tho they kinda looked like a dementor when they did, which is kinda appropriate​ since they're literally sucking life from me) and moving their hands away and toward their face. Seeing them in 3D, seeing the chambers of the heart working. Hearing the tech take measurements of the brain and saying this is a smart baby.

I have not felt definite movement yet, I'll think something is movement but then I'm unsure. The tech and the midwife said this baby moves a lot, so when I do feel it, "I'm in for it" ...whatever that means. I'm just going to hope and pray this child won't affect my sleep too much, that we will hopefully synch up with our sleep.

It was a lot of feelings today. I'm very glad Jason was able to be there last minute, to see our baby one last time before we meet them in person.

Now I wanna see this baby every appointment though. Shame you have to pay for that ;)

Look at these creepy pics of the adorable alien dementor baby

Dementor baby

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Ten Years

I'm wearing my grey chucks in NYC on Easter weekend, you loved your chucks. This year Easter not-so-coincidentally collides on the same day as the tenth year reminder of the day we lost you and 31 others taken too early from this earth.

It is unbelievable yet believable at times that you have been with Jesus and all those fabulous peeps having a grand old feast for ten years now. I'm jealous in many ways and have frequently wished I could just join you all. I miss you all so much, now more than ever (which I didn't think possible).

Life has continued on, of course. It doesn't stop for death, no matter how much we want it to. We both would have been 28 right now, until you gained another year this summer. Maybe you know already (don't know how quickly news spreads up there), but I'm going to have a baby in a few months. I'm gonna be a mom, and that's pretty weird. I'm sure you would have been in a similar phase of life now, as everyone our age seems to be doing this too.

Your parents have continued to be such a loving, kind, precious part of my life. They're learning so much from Jesus, as you did, almost on a fast-track in your time here.

Life continues on after death. I have learned this too many times. The only good thing I have yet to see coming from any of these painful experiences of loss is helping others. Mourning with those who mourn, perhaps the most difficult empathy there is, especially when you are mourning as well.

This recent time in life (past 10 or so months) has dredged up many of the feelings that I thought I has worked through after your death. The first time I really questioned my faith and "God's plans" was through your death. I did not see God as a merciful God for a while, I had been ripped to shreds at the notion of you not being protected by Him that day. And the same feelings have come back this past year. It is so difficult to wrestle the notion of a loving God amidst your own immense pain and suffering, where you have a hard time seeing the hand of God in much because of your grief weight constantly pressing on you.

But I have seen resurrection life in your death, because I have seen one seed fall to produce much grain. I have witnessed first hand how love can multiply out of the agony of death. I keep this tucked away in my heart and mind, knowing I will see it again, even if it may take a while.

This past week I had another birthday. Another year. This apparently prompted one of my friends to share something with me they had never shared before. I had met them just before a trying time in their life where they lost one of their dearest friends tragically. I shared my grief with them through your story, and I gave them a copy of a book that had helped me see better. We continued our friendship, mostly online, but hung out various times as well. They shared with me something so precious about how my life has impacted theirs on my birthday. It is probably my favorite present this year. But it reminded me so much of you in what he said. And it gave me such hope, that even in my time of this second season of doubt through grief, if we just continue to love as we have been shown great love, that's truly all that matters. It doesn't matter how much we struggle, but we must love. We must empathize. We must mourn with those who mourn. We must step out of our own discomfort and into others' to love them fully, purposefully, and truly.

I continue look forward to what awaits us there with you all, I cannot wait for the grand reunion. In the meantime, I also look forward to seeing how the kingdom of God will be made manifest here on earth as it is in heaven.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal." John 12:24 msg

Rachael Elizabeth Hill, my childhood best friend, and one of a handful of best examples of Christ's love that I have experienced in my time on earth.

Friday, April 14, 2017


19 weeks, almost halfway there and I haven't written a thing about this season. So I'm on a bus ride to NYC, perfect time to gather my thoughts.
I always wondered how people "didn't know" they were pregnant, and now I know.
December is a busy month for all families, and our December 2016 was, to say the least, extremely stressful. I'm sure most are aware, but Jason's father, Chris passed away the morning of Christmas eve. We had already taken on responsibilities to help his parents, and helping Kim became paramount priority. We honestly didn't really have much time to think of ourselves, so me considering momentarily the notion of me being pregnant... eh there just wasn't really time. Especially since I had also just been in a car accident in which I finally had to give up my precious swagon. I was not surprised my cycle was late, it usually is when I'm stressed. When that happens, it's usually about a week late, but that week came and went. I made a decision that after two weeks I'd get the test, do the thing.
The day before I had decided to take the test, I got together with my dear friend Colleen. Colleen and I formed a quick and deep bond a few years prior, she and I both share the gift of prophecy. Though I'm still getting accustomed to mine, hers is well formed. We caught up on the past year or so of life events. Of course Scotland came up, how we are going to move there, our dream finally realized, and our goal to start trying for a family once we got there.
Colleen says, "oh, so I didn't want to ask bit since you brought it up, are you pregnant?" I told her I was unsure and taking the test tomorrow. She replies, "well, it's funny you say that, because God told me 'pregnant' the moment I saw you today." I take it in stride and figure we will know tomorrow.
I had been at one particular place of work since Sept of 15, and had started looking for a new job in Feb of 16. It was the worst employer with the best employees, friendships formed that I wouldn't trade for the world. But it was extremely stressful, and I still didn't have a new job in January of 17. This had been weighing on me heavily, Colleen and I prayed together about this too in addition to many other things. It was a precious and powerful time, and I will always see it as the definitive end of one season and beginning of another.
As you could have guessed, I took the test the next day and it was positive. It was hard to believe, and it's honestly continued to be hard to believe. Most of the time in these 19 weeks I haven't felt much different. Aside from week 15 where I had a good bit of nausea for the first time and vomited once (yes, in the second trimester). When I wake up I don't think I'm pregnant until I roll over or have to sit up. Most notably has just been the fatigue in the evenings and the occasional stretching feelings in the belly. At week 19 I've still not felt any real movement from this kiddo, sometimes I think I will have felt something but it's always very questionable, nothing definite.
What remains continually precious to us is that this baby came to life before Chris died. Even though we so desperately wish they could have met and shared so many precious memories together, its a comfort knowing they shared a short time here unknowingly.
I've missed my passed loved ones very much in this time, wishing Nanny and my other grandparents could be here to meet their first great grandbaby. Papa is very excited about being a great grandfather. I'm so grateful I have blankets that Nanny made, I get to snuggle my little one with something her hands created.
We have also loved sharing the news with those close to us before it hit social media. That's just really the best. Nothing will top Kashif's reaction, ask us to tell you that story when you get a chance.
We told my parents for my mom's bday, made a card with top secret information enclosed in a miniature "Clue" like envelope. That was lots of fun.
Kim was very excited at the chance of a September birthday to finally be in the family as it is the only month no one in the family has a birthday. But we would also love for this baby to be an August baby (to get here sooner heh!) and share Chris' birth month.
I had wanted to tell Debbie (NYC friend who I am about to see for the first time since her birthday in Dec) in person. We had planned a trip in Feb/early March, but it ended up falling through, so facetime it was. Her reaction was my second favorite. She just kind of screamed, fell over, and started weeping in typical Debbie fashion. But now lil nug gets some Auntie Deb time :D
The photo announcement (kilted holding a baby kilt) was a plan of ours for a while before even before Scotland. Kim had given us that kilt a few Christmases before, "for whenever you guys end up having a baby. I just couldn't pass it up!" That photoshoot was a challenge, I could barely fit in the kilt anymore, and I actually took it off immediately after the photos were taken and put on a different skirt over my knitted tights in the waterfall area of Bryan Park. No shame.
Other random things is we invested in a waterpick as my gums were more sensitive than normal, and bleeding a good bit. Without that waterpick, don't know how my mouth would have fared. Apparently you also build up more plaque during pregnancy bc your body doesn't see it as a priority... thank you waterpick for the assist.
Some know this, but we do not plan on finding out the gender. This is really because I don't want to know (nor do I want any gendered clothing ew), Jason does, but how could he keep that kind of secret from me for 4ish months? It would be an iocane powder situation "ah you're pretending it's a girl so you won't think that I think it's a boy" or vise versa.
The nursery theme is Singin in the Rain... you guys thought it would be Star Wars. Nah, too overdone. Haha.
There's so much to consider, and we haven't made all the decisions that have to be made, there's just so much. I have been slowly accumulating an Amazon registry, we will likely do Target as the other.
We chose VCU for delivery, go Rams (no alumni discount unfortunately). I love their approach, that birth isn't a medical situation to be remedied but a life event to go through with the help of trained medical professionals. They have a great team of midwives an a more natural way to bring in a baby, which I'm all for. It's been a delight thus far, especially since they also have a secondary location that isn't downtown!
Anywho, that's all I've got on the brain heading into Lincoln tunnel with my Bbie on the other side. We shall see how I fare NYC as a prego lady!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

scotland conglomerate of posts

wanted to have all our trip to Scotland & Iceland posts in order for people to view much easier -


day 1, glasgow:

day 2 & 3 edinburgh:

day 4 aberdeen:

day 5 aberdeen:

day 6 & 7 inverness to thurso:

day 8 and beginning of 9 - the north coast:

day 9:

day 10 the fairy pools in skye:

day 11 northern skye:

day 12 & 13 - fort william, oban, staffa:

day 14 glance:

day 15 & 16 last full days in scotland:

day 17 & 18 iceland:

day 19 last day of adventure:

day 20 reflections back at home:

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

november 9th

I wake up to a nation I do not know.

I process by writing. These are my ramblings trying to make sense of my confusion. You’re welcome to them, maybe it will help someone.

- - - - - - - - - - -

On one hand I’m surprised that the person with the most money didn’t win.

I’m genuinely surprised that my nation isn’t totally an oligarchy. 

[ well, actually that remains to be seen ]

- - - - - - - - - - -

“And to the young people in particular, I hope you will hear this. I have, as Tim said, spent my entire adult life fighting for what I believe in. I've had successes and I've had setbacks. Sometimes, really painful ones. Many of you are at the beginning of your professional, public and political careers. You will have successes and setbacks, too. This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what's right is worth it. It is — it is worth it. We need you to keep up these fights now and for the rest of your lives.” - Hillary Clinton concession speech, November 9th, 2016

- - - - - - - - - - - 

If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?


I was always taught that this was the response to that question.

You’re always supposed to do the right thing even when no one else will.

You’re supposed to stand up for what you believe in even when it is unpopular.

You’re also supposed to stand up for those who are oppressed, those whose voice is being drowned out by unkindness and fear.

You’re supposed to stand up to bullies.

So what happened to what I was taught?

Why did this election become a bunch of people jumping off a bridge because everyone else was?

- - - - - - - - - - - 

We do not yet know what history will say about the next term of president in this nation.

But one day my children or grandchildren will ask about this election, just as I asked my grandmother what were people thinking when FDR took a third and fourth term.

I will be able, with clear conscience, be able to proudly but humbly tell them I did not vote for fear. 

- - - - - - - - - - -

It was difficult for me to even think about going to church before election day.

Now, that seems so much more daunting.

It’s so hard to try and step near places that claim to be the body of Christ when that body reeks of fear, and fear is not the aroma of Christ.

[there is one church locally I know I could still probably go to though, so that is comforting]

It’s gonna take some time. It may take a move to another nation. Who knows.

I just wish church was a place of healing as it once was. I wish it was a beacon for the weary as it is supposed to be. We are all so weary, we need the true Rest that the true Comforter can provide. 

But where is He in all this fear?

[ He’s still here, somewhere ]

- - - - - - - - - - -

The opposite of love is not hate.

The opposite of love is fear.

And unfortunately, fear overtook many in this nation.

And now, in response, many are fearful for what this means for them and their families and friends. I’m trying to not be scared, but it is an uphill battle. It’s hard to not be scared for what this means for women, minorities, muslims, the lgbtq community, disabled persons, or even anyone who doesn’t align with the same views, as the new presidency whose platform was based on alienation takes hold. 

But we don’t overcome fear with hate. We don’t overcome fear with fear.

We overcome fear with love.

My friends and family who are scared of what this new presidency means for them - know that you’re loved, you are of much worth, and you’re not alone. There are many standing on your side, including myself. And we’re not going anywhere. I truly hope you will not be bullied, but if you are, please don’t hesitate to speak up.

My friends and family who voted for this new presidency - obviously I still love you too, even when I don’t agree with your decisions. I hope we can all be kind to one another, not gloat, and come together amidst the divide. Most importantly, I hope more will be able to learn empathy on a huge scale. Listen. Please, please - learn how to actively listen, especially when it makes you uncomfortable.

I truly hope this presidency will not continue to divide us further, but will teach us how to humble ourselves, listen to each other, and love so powerfully that change can occur on a deep level in many hearts and institutions.

We’ve got work to do, people.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

day 20: not just a dream

Being home and showering in your own shower, sleeping in your own bed and waking up in it - almost makes you feel like it was all just a dream. But then you see the evidence that you did indeed have the adventure of a lifetime. And you will carry it in you forever. So here's some musings -

Things I'll Miss -

Scottish accents everywhere, or really a variety of accents everywhere.

THE BACON. we are still convinced we didn't have had real bacon until coming to Scotland. the thickness of a slice of thick cut ham and it's all incredible tasting, so full of flavor.

the cheddar. again, what has America called cheddar? what is that? not much flavor in comparison with Scottish mature cheddar.

springy earth under foot. I didn't know it was possible to have the earth feel like a small trampoline everywhere you walk, even in some gravelled areas.

smell of falling leaves with a light rain.

all the flowers still blooming beautifully in middle of chilly October (so confusing).

"elderly people" signs.

calling canned food tinned food.

calling cows coos.

heaps of sheep and loads of lambs.

cars falling into water signs.

calling road construction "works."

their system for "works" is very efficient - they set up temporary stop lights for each side to alternate traffic to pass through, same for single lane bridges.

not tipping.

not being in America, actually.

the word cheers sounding right as a thank you only because of their accents.

them being so understanding toward us when we had no idea what kind of coins we had to pay with ("it's okay, I would have the same trouble if I were in America").

the gorgeous, otherworldly landscape everywhere you go in the highlands.


Things I Won't Miss -

getting regularly scalded by hot water as they usually have hot and cold separate at all sinks.

hostel life (except for the amazing people we got to meet!).

toilets not flushing.

compact spaces (mostly bathrooms!).

the lack of Target (and other American establishments).

living out of a series of bags.

wearing flip flops while showering.

single track roads. especially the ones on a side of a cliff.

making all things prawn (which I still find to be a disgusting word for shrimp)... prawn crisps. prawn this prawn that. enough with the prawn already! there's also haggis crisps...

Things I'd Do Differently -

Fly into and out of Edinburgh and skip Glasgow all together.

Spent more time in Inverness, maybe have gotten the car in Aberdeen instead.

Bring fabreeze and travel dish soap.

Bring more than just my credit and debit card, bring Jason's as well. Had read to just bring one or two forms of payment and keep it all together in an RFID protected case on your neck or waist... should have had that for each of us.

Book the insurance for the rental cars in advance because it was apparently cheaper but didn't know that when booking (also didn't know our U.S. auto insurance wouldn't cover driving abroad, still unclear if that's true but had to go with it at the time).

Maybe have decided to not get any souvenirs for anyone haha. Kinda stressed us out a bit.

Attempted to try to understand the Krona (Icelandic currency) a bit better beforehand, and maybe just planned our Iceland trip a bit differently.

Not left my camera bag with charger, extra battery, and card reader in the hostel by accident.

Gotten to our Achiltibue airbnb before dark, but we did have so much fun adventuring.

Been able to stay at the Skywalker hostel in Skye (was booked when we were to be in Skye).

Not have either of us get sick. Can't do much about that.

Arrange getting us both abducted by someone in Scotland so we would never have to come home.

Things I learned -

Scots and Brits still very much hostile toward each other. Some Scottish businesses don't accept the British pound, and British businesses won't accept the Scottish pound. They treat each other poorly. Very sad. But it makes sense when you know the history.

Gaelic and the Highland ways were kind of wiped out until 1985. For the same reason we tend to want to ignore the bits of history where we oppressed people groups.

Some think Braveheart had a huge part to bring the Highland ways back to the forefront. To demand the government not ignore their history any longer. Gaelic is now taught in all Scottish schools and on all signage.

Brexit impacts everyone in the UK, even those who are here on visa.

You only have to have a grandparent who was a Scottish citizen to become a Scottish citizen.

At the beginning of the trip I was heavily disturbed at not having a flat sheet between the duvet comforter and myself, now I'm completely accustomed to it. Also kind of like said comforter not being tucked at the foot of the bed so I can just stick my feet out if I'm too warm. But I don't think I could do this at home. Jason rolls and runs too much in his sleep for that haha.

Freaking out, stessing, or being anxious doesn't change the situation. Now I've learned it and must put it into practice.

The beauty of Scotland has spoiled me. It's like walking in the best parts of Middle Earth and exploring each nook and crannie that could possibly contain beauty - and it always does. Everywhere you turn is something completely outlandishly and wildly beautiful.

Scotland will be home one day.

- - - - - - - - - -

As for life after travel - we've given most of our souvenirs now, and they love them. It makes your heart happy to bring pieces of your joy in travel back to those who bring you joy.

Transitioning back to real life has been a bit abrupt but still good. It's good to see your loved ones, no matter what challenges you are facing.

If you all could please lift up our family during this time, we would greatly appreciate it. Jason's dad was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor back in June. Life is tough right now, and anything you could consider giving to help offset medical bills would be so appreciated. We know everyone has their problems and can't give to everyone else, so if prayers is all you can give, we appreciate that too.

Yesterday he was re-admitted to the hospital due to dehydration and possible infection. Thank you all for your love, prayers, and support during this time. 

We are so thankful to have such wonderful family and friends to be on this journey with. These times make you hug a bit longer and cherish those sweet cuddles and laughter with your nieces and nephew all the more.