Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bump Update: It's a big one!

The update, not my bump...well, at least not yet!

Ahhh...2nd trimester bliss. I'm enjoying every second of this phase, as I am starting to get a glimpse of what's coming ahead. My fingers are swelling as I type this. I have to keep the laptop further down on my lap as my belly is "in the way". I ate a small breakfast to avoid the never-really-relenting heartburn. On the other hand, I'm enjoying only one bathroom break in the middle of the night, still being able to fit into some of none-maternity clothes (aka my fat clothes - glad I kept those around!), the excuse to wear Kyle's t-shirts at home (what is it about your husband's t-shirt that just makes it the most comfy thing EVER?!), the ability to still put my shoes on by myself, and of course the fact that every time Drew moves I get all giddy thinking about how at the end of all this - Lord willing - we get to have a son.

Drew is doing great; last ultrasound reported a healthy little boy in the 60th percentile. I always swore I would not be one of those parents who talked about what percentile her kid is in, yet when we know so little about Drew at this point (what will he look like, what will he be like???), we're celebrating his health and percentile like he just took his first steps!

Kyle has been doing great, helping out with a million little things - as usual. Still going for his HOTY (Husband of the Year) award without signs of ceasing! He loves laying down at night to talk to Drew and tell him all about his day (and because I'm all hormonal, it always makes me want to cry). Kyle has had his hands full at work lately, and it's been a nice distraction from the never-ending conversations about Drew (we love you Drew, but sometimes we gotta talk about other things!). 

We've also been settling into our new church location (same church, different location) up in Shoreline. I picked up co-leading one of the Kids Ministry services (much like I was doing at the Ballard location) with my cousin Nate, and Kyle has been helping me with that as well. We recently were invited to sit in on a training for couples looking to help with the pre-marriage counseling ministry, which is something Kyle has been passionate about ever since we went through the pre-marriage counseling prior to getting married. The training re-affirmed Kyle's calling that the pre-marriage counseling ministry is how he would like to give of his time and talent to the church. For me, there are few things as comforting as hearing your husband be sure in a calling - whether it's with work, service to the church, or how to spend our money. So, we are rejoicing in this time where it appears that the options for service are plentiful, and praying God would provide the path (and the time!). 

You'll have to laugh with me at the following photos...I feel like I'm getting increasingly awkward at smiling. Also, my chalkboard art is getting more elementary by the week...I blame my newly chubby fingers! Further, I swear I regular clothes, we just always take these pictures at night and no matter how cute the maternity clothes are, nothing compares to stretchy pants when you're pregnant (or really, even when you're not...). Lastly, I have no idea why our bedroom wall appears to change colors, so just go with it.

Kyle picked the first name, and I picked the middle name!

Please ignore my mullet!
This last month we tackled several baby related items (we're still in what I call the "decision phase"): the registry, the decision to cloth diaper, and a bunch of boring paperwork/insurance/budgeting/snooze-fest related tasks (still in progress, but I wrote them down on a list so that counts, right?).

Registry: For some women, this is really easy. They just pick out a bunch of cute stuff, and call it done. That's never been my approach, and nothing has changed there! Thus, a few weeks ago I sat down with two sample registry lists, an excel spreadsheet of my current inventory (thanks to friends and family), and two baby registries open - and then went item by item down my list and placed needed items on one of the two registries. Thank the Lord for on-line everything, including baby registries. You may be wondering - why the OCD? Well, for once, I actually have a somewhat valid reason: we have a tiny condo! While I'd love to register for everything under the moon, we simply can't. And frankly, I love it. We have (almost) all the space we truly need, and I'm not about to ruin that with 5 variations of a Johnny Jump-Up just because some list tells me I need them. So, with that in mind, I aimed to register for the stuff we need, some things we want, and some options on both. Nothing extra (unless it's free and really cool, and then maybe we'll make some space!). 

Some basic principles I followed:
1) If it comes in a travel version and regular version, we opted for travel. We don't have room to store both!
2) If it performs essentially the same function as something else on the list, we may have registered for both, but we'll only be keeping one.
3) We kept the big stuff off the registry. I know some people do it the reverse. We would rather receive the little items (and a few medium items) from family and friends, and knock out the big purchases ourselves in one lump sum. Plus, that allows me to search for screaming deals you tend to find on bigger items at places like Costco (where we picked up the stroller we were eyeing for half off, thanks to a tip from my sister-in-law and a Christmas gift card).
4) Keeping the pulse on Craigslist, Facebook mom groups, and consignment shops. Which brings me to my new favorite: City Kids in Edmonds. They've got thrift store prices, with Target quality (sorry Target, I love you, but we both know you fall somewhere above Thrift Store yet somewhere below Pottery Barn). Most of what we don't get off the registry, we'll be picking up via Craiglist, trades with other moms, or at the consignment shop. 

And in case you're worried that Kyle missed out on all the fun, we did take a physical trip to Babies R Us so that Kyle could see and touch many of the items we registered for - or at least similar items. He actually said it was more fun than doing our wedding registry, so I was encouraged by that! 

Cloth Diapers: I'll just say it - we're frugal. That's the primary motivating factor behind our decision to cloth diaper. Baby Center estimates it costs about $72/month to diaper your kid, which results in $864/year. If you kid potty trains at around 3 years old, you're looking at $2,600 to diaper your child. Conversely, you can get going with a complete set of cloth diapers for $100-$400 (depending on how fancy you want to be). Plus, they are re-usable, and/or sell-able if you are done with them and they are in decent condition. It's also a bonus on the environment (did you know that the first disposable diaper hasn't even decomposed yet?!). Lastly, they are really stinking cute

Our biggest fear was the laundry up-keep. But, "lucky" for us, our tiny condo comes complete with a tiny washer and dryer. This tiny washer and dryer forces me to do laundry every 48-72 hours because the washer can only hold about 4 towels before it's full. If I saved all our laundry for the weekends, I would spend my entire weekend just turning laundry over. The upside? We almost always have clean clothes because there is no laundry pile up! So, all that to say, I'm already in the habit of doing laundry at least every 72 hours. Thus, adding a few loads of cloth diaps into the mix should be no problem. 

With our decision to cloth diaper made, we then began to talk to our cloth diapers friends, pooled the Facebook world, I attended a diaper party (think: tupperware party, but with cloth diapers), watched dozens of You Tube videos, and scoured various blogs to get all the info I could on which brand and model to use. And guess what: we still aren't totally sure! My big takeaway is that it just depends on us, and the kid. So, we've picked up a few brands and types over the last month and I'm just going to continue to collect them and see what we end up with. I'm sure I'll be reporting back within the next year with some big sweeping opinions of which brand and model to use. For now, we are winging it!

Boring paperwork stuff: Let's just say having a kid isn't all cute onesies and day-dreaming about what they will look like. By God's grace, Kyle and I have managed to keep the "paperwork" aspect of our life together fairly organized (think: taxes, budgeting, various insurances, boring, boring, boring, etc). Thus, sitting down to factor in a child has been considerably less traumatic than it might have been otherwise. Despite planning for this child and being fairly prepared, there is nothing quite like mapping it out on paper...or Excel. Yikes. I'll save you the boring details, and just say again - I'm really thankful God blessed us with the desire and ability to keep things organized on an on-going basis. Turns out, with just a few minor tweaks, we are re-assured that there is plenty of room for little Drew in our tiny condo, delicate budget, and big hearts :) 

Giving it grace: 
With all this decision-making going on lately, something that has been on my mind is the idea that God cares about these minute details of our life. I'm not just over in my little corner of the world, forging this path alone with Kyle. In reality, God ordained all the choices we would make as He cares greatly about us - which includes the big stuff (like when to start a family) as well as the little stuff (how to prepare for the newest addition to the family). 

In Matthew 10:29, Jesus says: "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven." 

I love three things about this verse: first, that not one of the sparrows will fall to the ground apart from the Father. This reassures me that nothing happens - no choice of mine is made - apart from the will of God (Ephesians 1:11-12). God's sovereignty is reassuring to me, as we would be doomed if our God wasn't in control - or if His plans were able to be influenced by the sinful heart of man. 

The second thing I love about Matthew 10:29 is that God explicitly tells us we have more value than the sparrows, and in Matthew 6:26 we are reassured that if God loves the birds enough to take care of them, He will surely take care of His people more so (with the understanding that my definition of "being taken care of" and God's definition don't always match - His is always better!).

Lastly, I love the comfort versus the command dynamic. Jesus first comforts by reassuring us that nothing happens apart from God's will, and we can "fear not" because we are of value to God. Then comes the command following the word "so". These things you have been comforted by, so: acknowledge Jesus before man, and Jesus will acknowledge you when you stand before God. This is a direct but tender command, where Jesus is calling those who have been comforted by God's care to not just stop there, but to stand up and acknowledge Him before man.

I can't say I do a great job at acknowledging God before man 100% of the time (which I fully attribute to my fear of man as it ebbs and flows), but in God's grace, His comfort is still there - and it's not dependent on my ability to perform. I love knowing that we can call on God's comfort (and sovereignty) anytime we need to, and I pray that in response to that I (and Kyle too) would find increasing freedom in acknowledging Him for that! If I haven't made it clear yet: I'm really thankful that God is in control of our lives, and cares about the details of my family just as much as I do!