Thursday, August 30, 2007

Making it Livable

The upstairs of our house is finally livable and for the most part, looks rather cute. Some things have yet to be unpacked, other areas are in need of some tidying up, and the blue I picked out for the kitchen isn't dark enough. But we've made great improvements. See for yourself:






This closet is in the living room. The former owner stored his guns in it. Owning no rifles, I didn't know what to do with it, and my bookshelf became a pantry, so this is how it ended up. Rather nice, I think.







Gone are all the teddy bears and pink paint.


The carpet we put down in the bathroom and living room actually came from my grandparents' house. It's 3 years old, was vacuumed every other day but was replaced by them because of the small amount of bleach water Grandma dropped. Do you see those little white marks. Barely? Yeah, I know. But I'm not complaining!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Pop Quiz

How many studs do you see in these pictures?




The correct answer is 7
- six are in the laundry room wall and one is my husband.

Gas

Please allow me to tell you a story that illustrates 3 things: how great my small town is, how wonderful my coworkers are and that I'm a moron.

Yesterday on my way to work my car died, right in front of a BP station. I tried to start it but nothing happened. So I turned on my flashers and called my boss, who is a genuinely great guy. With K on the way I called Travis to let him know what happened. He told me I was probably out of gas, which I doubted because my light hadn't come on.

In the meantime, a semi had pulled around me, stopped and put on his flashers. My first thought, "Oh my gosh - somethings happened to him, too!" I then realized he was coming to help me. He pushed me to the side and then got on his way as K had arrived.

And so had L and J, two of my other coworkers, who had recognized my car and stopped to help, along with a man who had just dropped his kids off at school. I told them Travis thought I was just out of gas and fortunately enough, N, another coworker, was filling up his truck at the BP at that moment. K hollered to him, N went in and got a gas can, put a little in my tank and my car was running in no time.

By that time I had realized that I have no fuel light.

My tip of the day: If you have to run out of gas, do so in front of a gas station, in a town of friendly people, while people you know will be commuting to work.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Religious Experiences

On Saturday Br. Nathan of the Community of St. John was ordained a priest. His first Mass was Sunday with a reception following. Br. Nathan and I go way back - about 3 summers - when I first chaperoned at an Eagle Eye Camp for high schoolers.

Following the reception we asked him to bless us and our baby since a priest's blessings are extra strong the first year after his ordination. He had me hold one end of his stoll to my womb as he prayed for me and the babe and he then blessed my mom, Tra, the baby and I as a family. It was beautiful.


Saturday was also a good day because I got to see my very dear friend, Sr. Myriam Caritas of the Sisters of Life. Sister had been my campus minister while in college and she quickly became one of my best friends after I graduated and began doing campus ministry at another school in our Diocese. She wasn't a sister then but has now just begun her third year in the Bronx. She taught me so much about the Catholic faith - from its beauty to how fun it is - and she has loved me so unconditionally it amazes me. I miss her so much so this was a very special treat.


I love having friends who are priests and religious! I love being Catholic!

Delighting in the unloved

Saturday Travis and I were able to hear Mother Agnes Mary of the Sisters of Life speak at the Peoria Diocese's Parish Pro Life reps' annual meeting. She did a beautiful job.

The Sisters of Life take a fourth vow to defend and protect life. One of the ways they do that is by providing pregnant women a place to live when they have no where else to go. Mother spoke about how the essence of that ministry was to show the mothers that they are someone to be delighted in. As she was speaking she made it sound so easy (perhaps her holiness and the grace of her vows kicking in) even though we all know it can be difficult. When she was finished I asked a question

- It seems that to love and delight in these women is easier because we don't know them. Yet when our own friends and family are these women, it is so difficult. How do you move past that disappointment, embarrassment and frustration at the sinful rut they are in to delight in these women?

Mother answered that it is hard - very, very hard - but we must still love them as God does. The delighting part doesn't change though it can be so much more difficult.
And boy is she right about that. I had one very specific family member in mind when I asked the question and she can be SO DIFFICULT to love. If anyone reading has any advice I'd love to hear it.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Cute Stories Featuring My Husband

Travis and I were talking one day and I mentioned that I'm nervous about having morning sickness during my travels. Getting sick in Chicagoland traffic or right before I do a presentation to a group of high schoolers would not be fun. Travis oh-so-cutely said, "Well at least you'll be fine in the afternoons. You can just schedule things so you're not on the road in the morning."
I then had to explain that morning sickness can happen at any time of the day.
"Well that's not a very good name, then."
You are so right about that one, babe.


******

Last night a very good friend of Trav's came over for dinner. Tobias is his full name and even if he weren't incredibly kind and fun I would probably give him the benefit of the doubt because his name is Tobias.
We made homemade pizza for Tobey and during the preparations I mentioned my pregnancy, assuming that Travis had already told him.
"What?! What?!" Tobey asked with a huge grin on his face.
"Alright! That's so exciting!" He gave us both high fives and hugs.
He then declared that we're having a girl.


*****

My husband is always warm. On days when I'm wearing a hoodie and socks he's finally comfortable in his shorts and tee. Last night as I was resting I asked if he would come and sit right next to me. For pete's sake, I'm carrying his child and I'd like to cuddle some.

However, he would not. He was hot. He was so hot, in fact, he was sweating. Sweating, I say, while I laid with a fleece blanket covering me. I suggested he take a cold shower to cool off and then come sit with me. He replied that soon the weather would be cold and I could then have all the snuggling I want - for he would be comfortable and I would be cold.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Good News

Yesterday I had another blood test and then spent the day at my friend LB's house. Having already watched the A&E Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility I was out of things to do and didn't want to sit at home alone again. LB was happy to have me and I was glad to be around her and her 2 boys, a 4 year old and an 1 year old. We talked, she changed the batteries in her boys' toys, we played with stencils with her 4 year old and ate Dove ice cream bars. It was a good day.
At one point, her 4 year old told me that they were going to go back to the Y. "In Chicago Mommy used to swim there with T in her belly." It was so sweet.

The best part about yesterday, though, was that the doctor's office called to say that my progesterone levels had more than doubled. This is good news indeed!
I still need to take it easy and continue on the supplements she started me on but things are looking up.
Please continue to pray!

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Good and the Bad

Here is some very good news:

I am pregnant again.

We were trying and after some good NFP signs we bought a home pregnancy test Saturday night and it came back positive.

Here is some bad news:

Today I had cramping so strong and painful it woke me up. When I went to the bathroom an hour later there was fresh blood. I had been spotting lightly for a week, but it was less and less every day until today. I went for a blood test this morning. The nurse said they would call me back today before noon hopefully. They want to make sure I'm pregnant (hence the blood test) and to check my progesterone levels (I believe they double every day and my baby should be about 2 weeks old.) This is pretty much where I was when we lost Peter. Travis is at work - everyone's at work. And I'm watching EWTN and Food Network at my parents' house.

Please pray.

Friday, August 17, 2007

So very scary

Yesterday at 4pm we signed the papers for the mortgage. If we were to keep the loan for all 30 years, at the end of it we would pay over $200,000 for a chunk of money less than $90,000.

In the words of Harry Carey: Holy... Cow... Steve...!

People have asked how it feels to be homeowners. It is exciting and thrilling. I feel like we are on the cusp of a great adventure. But it is terrifying, too. Getting married was only 2/3 this scary and for those of you who were in the bridal room - you'll remember me waving my arms and forcing everyone to sing Counting Crows songs and Christmas carols to calm my nerves.

We will get carpet in the upstairs at the end of this month - when that happens I'll take pictures and then you can all see how it already looks so much better.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Assumption

Today we Catholics celebrate the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother into heaven. It's a good day.

I know that Mary can be a stumbling block for a lot of people - some goddess we worship instead of giving due honor to God. These kinds of things are implied, accused or asked about frequently in my life.

But of course that's not how it really is. Personally, I'm so grateful for her comfort, wisdom, example and love.
In art she is usually depicted as young, small and white but when I picture her in my head it is never like that. Dark hair, dark eyes and older. In fact, it is not Mary as a girl or young mother that I earn to get to know. It is Mary whose grown Son was ministering to the crowds. I like to think of her, Jesus and the apostles sitting around and she's telling them stories of the days in Egypt. Of the goodness of her husband. Of what it was like when the angel came to her. Of her three months with Elizabeth. I think that by the time she was standing at the foot of the cross she wasn't as thin as she had been in youth, though she was solid and strong. Her hands and face weren't as firm and wrinkle free. This is the woman I turn to for help in prayers.

Of course I often think to myself, "What would Jesus do in this situation? How would He love?" But I also ask myself, "What would Mary do? What would she say to her Son? How would she pray for this person or love this person? How would she reach out to this person? What good would she see in them and how would she hold on to that? As a woman, how would she act in this situation?"

I know that the more I ponder these things in my heart and the more I engage with my Blessed Mother, the closer I draw to my Christ.


Here's a portion of the first reading for today's Mass. It's taken from the 11th chapter of Revelations:
A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun,with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth... She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Annunciation

Today I received a letter from a good friend of mine who is a postulant with the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist. Enclosed was a copy of this picture:
and a little note that says, "Bonnie, live the Annunciation."
Good encouragement for a woman who fears another miscarriage and is still struggling through the first. I wonder what I would have done were I not Catholic. Of course God is a huge comfort for me, but so are the great women of the Church - Mother Mary, Hannah, Elizabeth, even Joan of Arc and Gianna. Finding joy in suffering is hard. Trusting in God's goodness in the midst of terrible things is hard. But they did it. And I am no different than any of them. I can do it, too.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Move

This has been a pleasantly cool summer. Highs around 80-85 - good for swimming and not too hot for bike rides. Lows down to the 60's at night.

And then came this week. The temperature soared to 97 with a heat index of well over 100. The hottest day, of course, was Wednesday, when we moved.

Travis' parents, sister and cousin all came to help. The day started at 8 am with us all meeting up at Lowe's to buy our new washer and dryer. It ended at 7pm with dinner at the Busy Corner. (If you're ever near Goodfield go there - we satisfied 6 adults for $40.)

The girls stuck around and stayed the night with us Wednesday and Thursday nights. They were both huge helps with painting, unpacking and entertaining us.



Key moments:
- When Travis hoisted a bureau out of the truck and onto his shoulder and then lifted it up to his dad, who was standing on the little white porch at the top of the stairs. (I was a little woosey over what a stud my husband is.)


- After three tries, finally getting a window air conditioning unit that worked!
- Getting the bathroom in working order: clean shower, covered wall, new toilet seat, huge curtain to close off the bathroom for privacy. Note M below in progress.

- Watching the SNL "I want more cowbell" skit at the end of the day.
- The coconut custard pie our old neighbor lady brought over for us and the fresh cantaloupe our new neighbor brought us.
- That B wore this shirt just for me. It's the evil sun melting all the ice cream treats - which is exactly what we felt like.

And here's our new shower - sitting like a champ in our garage until there's a big enough hole in the house to get it inside.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Buying a Bathtub

Last night we bought a bathtub. Which is something I've never done before.
It's a funny thing - the options for tubs. I wanted a one-piece (tub and shower walls are one) unstead of a two-piece (tub and shower walls are two to four seperate pieces). Really, I don't think that's how one describes bath tubes - their not swimsuits for pete's sake - but that's all I could think of...

As we pick out things for the house everything comes down to two things:
1 - Does it look nice?
2 - Will it be easy to clean?

A one-piece tub will definitely be easier to clean. And not a lot of fancy grooves on it - totally smooth. I think there's a classiness in simplicity and that's what we're going with - simple lines.
And easy cleaning.

As we were shopping as Menards I got really bored, as I tend to do when I'm at Menards. Travis was buying pipe stuff for the plumbing, and in my boredom I started playing with the copper pipes. Then I started playing with different valves and then I remembered I'm 26. I told Travis I would be sitting on the lawn furniture but, very sweetly, he asked me to stay with him and help him look for 3/4" fittings. He will be a wonderful father.

It's a wonderful world - the grown-up world. Sometimes it can stink - insurance and mortgages. But sometimes it's a lot of fun - honeymoons in Scotland and doing new things, like making babies and buying bathtubs.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Birthing From Within

I am back to reading baby books. Right now I'm going through Birthing From Within. It's actually a book summarizing an approach to giving birth and preparing for said act. There's a lot of Zen influence in it and some of the stuff is a little too out there for me, but it has made me realize something:
I have a lot of negative associations with pregnancy and birth. And my body.
Before the miscarriage I didn't have as many, or perhaps they didn't seem as real. But they are very real now and I'm worried.
The book talks a lot about art - pregnant women creating art as a way of revealing how they feel about their child's upcoming birth. I haven't picked up a pencil or anything, but my first or strongest mental image is that of a stillborn. A good birth with a healthy mom and baby seem as improbable as me losing 20lbs in the next few months - it could happen but it's pretty far-fetched.
This doesn't mean I don't want to try again, it just means I've got a lot to work through. You pray; I'll keep you posted.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Vices & Virtures

Just when I'm so frustrated that Travis is spending too much time conquering lands for the Roman Empire on some stupid computer game and not enough time making phone calls about the loan and youth group and the Newman Center or planning for the upcoming school year...

Just then, I come home for lunch and find him emptying the dishwasher, bills paid, lists made and having gone through everything needed for the bank.

His biggest vice may be procrastination and mine might be lack of patience.
Ahhh - sanctification.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Finally!

Travis called me today at work.
"Bonnie, I have some bad news..."
"Okay, what's up?"
"Well, we're going to own a piece of crap."
(shouting to my office) "WE'RE GOING TO OWN A PIECE OF CRAP!!!" :)

It's true - the loan has been approved. The seller's lawyers have been contacted and we will be moving soon. This is wonderful, frightening and exciting. We will be homeowners very, very soon.