Tuesday, April 17, 2012

...and a little more fun

I promise, before too much longer I will return to normal blogger ways.  For now, photographing food and pretty much anything else is too much for this pregnant momma.  So enjoy these...

I am missing my family more than ever during this time...especially my sisters!  How cute are we?  Bonus points if you can pick out which one is me in every photo!

Can't wait to go home...just 1 1/2 more weeks to see these beautiful ladies! Miss you Stephanie and Diana!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

It's time for a little fun

Aren't we tired of sick talk yet?  It's time for a little fun around here.  Wouldn't you know, that is my very first car.  It was darling, eh?  Pictured at 16 years old, there were days I was on top of the world with my new found freedom, and there were many days I hated life because I had to ride around in this!  For $700 bucks, my mom brought me home this beast and although I complained more often than not, we certainly had some good times in the boat!
It's hard to tell to the untrained eye...but looking at myself back then, I look hardly old enough to see over the steering wheel, let alone drive this beast.  Pink was clearly my favorite color and we did joke about painting the exterior in pink.
Although it wasn't the coolest car, my friends had no problem hopping in with me!  We at least made the best of what I considered the worse possible scenario. 

I went on to drive several other cars throughout high school.  You know, once I put this thing in the ditch too many times, when the blinker switch fell out, and then when the gear shift fell out and I was stuck in reverse in a parking lot!  Once I hooked up the jumper cables wrong and blew the battery.  I think the best quirk was the timing issue, which would leave the car puttering for minutes (maybe even hours) after I would turn off the car and remove the key.  Like the cool high schooler I was, I just walked away and pretended not to notice! 

Perhaps our favorite joke was that the car was haunted.  Notice the whole side of dents...well I actually had nothing to do with those.  The old lady who had the car before me drove the car along the side of several gravestones while visiting her dear husband one day.  As we would drive along the highways, the back doors would sometimes, and completely randomly fly open on their own.  Yup, how's that for a first car story!

I can't remember exactly when I got a different car or why we ended up getting rid of this one.  Somehow, I think this car ran even when I was finally done with it.  I remember we gave it away.  I believe I was way lucky to have a car at 16, and with my destructive nature I was way lucky to have a car that was so indestructible.  Maybe next time I am home I will find photos from my next car...the White Honda Accord.  While it had its own level of fun, I don't think it will ever compare to my Mercury Monarch!

Friday, April 13, 2012

I survived...

... to week nine! I am not sure why this feels like such an accomplishment, but I have been waiting for this day since we first found out we were pregnant.  When we found out we were pregnant, we thought we were already 9 weeks along.  In hindsight that makes me laugh out loud, as if I could have made it to 9 weeks without knowing it with all this morning sickness!  But here we are at week 9 and while I feel accomplished, the next three weeks are stretched out ahead of me, looming in their unknown.

Will I feel better?  Will I have more energy?  Will I be able to get out of bed each day?  Unsure of what the next 3 weeks holds, I am just happy to be where I am.  The past 3 days have been a welcome relief.  The nausea has been very slight and only sporadically throughout the day.  I have been able to keep dinner down which is much different than where I was at the beginning of the week.  I pray that this will stay.  It is amazing that while I still feel so sick all day (think: a  mild stomach flu or hangover) it is still so much better than where I was.  I find myself feeling "normal" even though I still feel sick.  I am welcoming this level of illness with open arms.  What I would to give to truly feel "normal" if that will ever exist again!

Since I am on an upswing momentarily, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite pregnancy foods thus far, and the worse!  Let's start with the bad shall we...

Foods Tanya Avoids like the plague:
  • Anything from my 7 foods fast, still can't stand the sight of sweet potatoes or avocados and even apples.  I have bags of almonds still in my pantry that are going to waste and I may never eat tofu again!
  • Vegetables in any form, except the rare vegetable soup on a really good day.  I can also eat romaine lettuce smothered in dressing.
  • Most foods that I've eaten once usually make it to the no-eat list.  I had pizza last week and it was so good, but I'm afraid that it makes me sick to think about it now.  Shannon made this amazing vegan quiche one night that was so delicious at the time.  She sent me home with leftovers and I made Alex get them out of the fridge as fast as possible.  It's weird how my mind is working these days.
  • Coffee and all hot beverages.  The weather has turned cold this week and yet I still can't warm up with hot tea!
  • Peanut butter, although I have had a few PB&J sandwiches that was all I kept down for a few days.

Some of these have gone out of my life as quickly as they came in...nonetheless these are the foods I have been wanting at some point over the last 4 weeks!
  • Pickles.  Yes I am that cliched.  And salt and vinegar chips.  Something about the salt and vinegar dries out your mouth to help ease nausea.  I understand now why pregnant women crave these things.
  • White potatoes, fried, baked, hashbrowns, tator tots, etc.  Anything white potato!
  • Kid foods like fruit snacks and granola bars and pop tarts.  I did at least grab the organic ones!
  • Sweets, although once I would eat them, they would make me feel worse.  That is a terrible catch 22!
  • Buttered toast and crackers.  I have survived full days off just these foods.
  • Eggs and Cheese.  Yup, who am I?  Did I satisfy the cravings?  You betchya!  Every great once in a while I get a craving for an egg and cheese sandwich and the other day I even had sausage on it at Panera.  That was the first meat I have eaten in 3 years!
  • Speaking of meat: I have been craving chicken fingers dipped in honey mustard so the other day I finally gave in and shared an order with my friend Jill at lunch.  Yup, they were good.  I remember saying, "Oh, this is what chicken tastes like!"
  • Spaghetti.  At the beginning of my pregnancy it was all I wanted.  And it still comes up pretty often.  
  • Iced Tea like nobody's business.  I know it has caffeine, so I finally bought decaffeinated to make at home.  But there is nothing better than $1 king sized half sweet, half unsweet tea from McDonald's when we are out running errands.  I swear it is the only thing that keeps me alive when I am out of the house!
The oddest thing for me during this pregnancy is the food aversions and cravings.  I don't know what my body is thinking but I have resorted to "college Tanya."  I want anything out of a box or bag, prepackaged and hopefully void of all nutrients!  No wonder I am so ill!  If I have to do anything to it (heat it up) it loses point value with me. 

Even better than packaged foods, is food from a restaurant where I have to do nothing to prepare it, or see it prepared, or smell it prepared.  Panera is my number one choice of food lately, although I did deviate to find chicken fingers at Duckworth's this week.  While I have lost my vegan ways, I am still trying to be mindful of where my food comes from.  With the exception of the chicken fingers, I try to only eat eggs and cheese and especially meat if it comes from a reputable source.  Preferably organic, or at least natural.  Panera is wonderful because most of their cheese is organic, their meat is all-natural, hormone free, and while I don't believe the eggs are organic, they are cage-free. 

That is about as good as I can do for the moment.  To be better, I could purchase my own organic meat and cheese and eggs, but that would require me to cook them and that would be the worst thing to ever happen to me!  I am still not sure how I feel about not eating only vegan anymore.  Alex has assured me he is sticking to his vegan ways.  I know we will probably always remain vegetarians in the home, and him vegan since he can't have dairy.  I just wonder if this meat-eating thing will continue.  I am already excited for my trip home at the end of this month so I can sink my teeth  into a Wib's Combination BBQ sandwich (shaved pork with pimento cheese)!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The day we found out...

 How did you first find out you were pregnant?  Were you trying, and waiting anxiously each month for a sign?  Or was it a complete surprise and the pregnancy symptoms caught you off guard?  For me, I had never met a piece of food that I didn't entirely enjoy.  When my favorite foods started to disgust me, I knew something was wrong.

Alex and I were well aware of our potential to get pregnant.  While the chances were slim, we weren't using any precautions (TMI?).  So when apples and sweet potatoes no longer sounded good, I knew something was up. 

My initial reaction to the test was utter disbelief and shock.  "Where are the instructions!?" I demanded.  "Positive means negative and negative means positive, right?!"  I commanded Alex to take a look for himself to make sure I wasn't inventing lines that didn't really exist.  Three more tests later and it was decided...we sure were pregnant.

We were at first filled with complete joy.  We had questioned if this would ever be a possibility for us.  We had agreed back in November to wait another full year, but when you are never really sure if you can get pregnant, using birth control seems kinda silly.  So we threw caution to the wind and have been nothing but excited by the outcome.  Ok, well I have been other things but excited, but I know Alex sure is elated.  I try to go off of what he is feeling, because my emotions are rather questionable these days!

We wasted no time naming our baby.  We have had names picked out since the summer we met.  We just agreed on what we liked so much and we have stuck with our names since.  If it's a girl it's Eleanor Margaret and our little boy would be Henry David.  Our other boy name is Jackson Forbes.  Just in case twins surprise us!  And our creative use of girl names will leave us with Eleanor and Margaret for twin girls.  No middle names.  Although the ultrasound technician assured us there is just one baby in my belly, I have my doubts.  Elizabeth told me that a large percentage of twins aren't discovered until after 20 weeks.  No doubt it could be possible.

We found out about the pregnancy on St. Patty's Day.  Luckily I had already given up drinking in March for a fast.  We had spent all day in Charlotte people watching and bar hopping and on our way home we stopped by the store.  And the rest is history. 

We celebrated that night with a dinner at Flat Iron Kitchen.  It may have been the last meal I really enjoyed. 

Now we are just over 8 weeks along and due on November 16.  And if the second trimester doesn't hurry up and get here, I may not make it until my due date!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Why I hate being pregnant...

Seriously...this is not my game.  I really always wanted to be one of those sweet little pregnant ladies who never tire of telling us how much they loved being pregnant (yes, Shannon, I'm talking about you!)  But that ain't me.  I am not dealing well.  Most nights I just lay in bed crying for this to be over and I'll tell you why:

1.  One word: nausea.  Like seriously, is this necessary?  Why must I be sick all day?

2.  Ok, two words: Morning Sickness...because we all know that when they say "morning" what they really mean is all the time, or when you least expect it, or right after you have eaten your favorite meal, or while you are peacefully laying in bed asleep.  Forget morning sickness, I could handle morning sickness.  Whatever this is, I cannot handle.

3.  Throw-up.  Prior to the last 3 weeks of my life, I could have counted on my fingers and toes the number of times I have vomited.  Now, I usually exceed that number on a daily occurrence .

4.  Pure exhaustion.  I would not be exaggerating to tell you that I lay in bed on average 6 hours a day, on top of the 10 hours of sleep I get every night.  Doesn't sound so bad does it?  Well it is.  It sucks.  I never want to get back in bed ever again.  And yet, I cannot stand the thought of being out of bed.

5.  Food.  Ech!  I used to love food, love to cook, love to eat.  Now, I won't even open my fridge.  All my food comes straight out of a box or from a restaurant.  For some reason, I cannot even put the tator-tots in the oven myself...Alex has to do it. 

6.  Speaking of Alex...Irrational anger toward Alex.  "You did this to me.  You made me this way.  You are terrible for making me so sick!"

7.  I cannot make any plans.  If I make a plan or schedule a meeting, it has a 90% chance of being cancelled.  And if I show up, especially if I had to drive there, I will probably head straight to the bathroom to puke my guts out.

8.  And I can't drive.  The few times I have ventured to drive myself somewhere I usually wind up so sick I have turn around and go back home...or worse, speeding home so I don't lose my breakfast in the car and wind up with a ticket for 63 in a 45.  Yup, true story.  When I can schedule things around Alex, he'll drive and I ride in my makeshift bed in the backseat.

9.  "Only 4 more weeks to go!" Really!? If I hear one more person tell me that I will feel better in my second trimester and I only have one more month to suffer they will probably get decked in the face.  Have you ever been sick for 4 weeks straight?  No?  Oh, how about 4 weeks on top of the 3 you have already suffered through...ok, then shut up!

10.  I truly love all the moms out there in the world.  I do.  I understand you are just trying to help.  But when I admit I have been so so terribly sick and you want to share horror stories of your puking adventures from pregnancy, then don't be offended when I throw-up all over you.  Seriously, do you want to hear about vomit when you are feeling nauseous?

Ok, dramatic, I know.  But on occasion I have wished for my own death several times over the last 3 weeks.  I don't want to offend anyone.  I know there are lots of women who have struggled getting pregnant and would give anything for these symptoms.  I can relate.  We thought we might not have our own children either, so don't get upset with me.  Just let me vent.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Jesus My Savior

I apologize for not writing over the last couple weeks.  I admit I was being a bit selfish, a bit pitiful, a bit whiny.  If I had written, I am not sure what would have made it's way onto the blog.

You see, 3 weeks ago something changed in me and it brought me away from a place of close relationship with my Savior.  Instead, I felt distanced, unable and unwilling to pray.  I felt sad, and lost, and scared and when I closed my eyes to pray all I could see was the world around me and I couldn't reach out to God.  I no longer felt like myself.  During this time, my favorite passage was this:

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express."  Romans 8:26

Despite my crumbling faith, I knew that God had me in the palm of His hands, and even in moments of darkness the Holy Spirit was interceding for me.  When I couldn't mumble any words of prayer, I was yet being lifted up.  That scripture verse means so much to me because it assures me that even at my worse, God is at His best.  He knows my needs, my wants, my desires.  He protects and guides me.  He is always there for me. 

I have a classic case of melodrama and nobody is dying here.  This post isn't meant to have you guessing about why I felt this way, but only to show you how I am being led back straight.  I know that this is just a season in my life, this too shall pass.  And on the other end I will be happier, healthier, and more in love with and on fire for Christ each and every day.

Over the past few weeks I have questioned my purpose and our desire to become missionaries.  I couldn't see how I ever wanted that for my life.  I was reminded of all the great that we have right here.  Great jobs, great church, great family, great friends.  And yes, even Great God.  We don't have to set off around the world to experience the love of our Father.  And so, momentarily I gave up on our dream. I resigned to settling back in.  We even bought plants.

Monday through Saturday this was me.  Regretting my decisions, questioning my future.  Living for the life I wanted here, and not for a life that I have been called and purposed to.

But on Sunday, when the music would play in church, and Doug would send the message, in between the lines all I could hear was our call to "Sell our possessions and give to the poor." (Luke 12:33) and to "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation." (Mark 16:15).

I realized in these moments, when I was in the presence of the Holy Spirit and able to hear God speaking, that this is truly what I want.  It was difficult to know this when the world was thundering in around me.  But it was clear when the noise was silenced and I was praising and worshiping God.

After my last post, wise words from my family and friends told me this:

You will always be a Christian no matter where your life takes you, He lives in your heart and will never leave you. He has a plan and already knows your life, all you need to do is just live it. Material things can always be replaced.

Tanya, keep trusting in God. If you don't hear His voice just keep doing the last thing you heard from Him until He tells you something different. 

I think the hardest time when making a change is where you are right now, that space between making the decision and following through with it. Once you are into the next phase (i.e. the actual mission work), you'll be happy with your decision. That doesn't mean that you won't still miss your friends and nice house and all the luxuries, but you'll be equally happy with your new life! But until you get there and have the experience, it's hard to give up what you love. It's part of change, though - you have to be willing to give up everything you are now to see what else you can be.

What would I ever do without my family and friends to walk beside us during this time.  It also helps so much to have Alex.  He is our rock and never strayed.  He supported every emotion and feeling I had, but always stayed on the straight and narrow and knew what we really wanted.  

I feel like I sorta woke up from this coma yesterday.  It was like I looked up and exclaimed "What day is it!?" only to realize that it was Good Friday.  It was a clear wake up call.  Because what happened on Good Friday isn't just good, it is nothing short of amazing and I am awestruck that even I could be loved this much.  All I could feel last night was adoration and humbleness for the greatest gift of all that I clearly do not deserve.  I spent 3 weeks moping about, crying over the biggest blessing in my life, and all for what.  To pity myself in front of a King who gave His whole life just for me.  Who surrendered everything so that I may live this life.  Nothing would be possible in my life if it weren't for Jesus' horrific death on the Cross.  If I were an Old Testament character I would have torn my clothes and wept for that is how I felt last night.  I don't deserve an ounce of this grace and mercy and yet it is all there, it is all mine. 

"It is accomplished," He said.  And grace and mercy and peace is now mine despite every failure and every misstep.  He loved me that much.  Unconditionally, and without question, and even in my darkest moments He loves me.  And He loves you too.  When you don't feel close, and you cannot pray, the Holy Spirit is interceding for you.  And Jesus is just waiting there with open arms to show you what it feels to be loved unconditionally.  To love you for who you are exactly.  

It is easy to think that we can take this whole life into our own hands, and perhaps it is possible to live and die in this way.  But we haven't lived our best life in this way.  And we haven't lived our full life.  Because when we surrender to God, and let Jesus be our Savior, our life span increases to eternity.  And in eternity there is joy and peace and love and grace and mercy.  Amen.