Friday, November 27, 2009

The Holiday Parade

For the first time since moving to Billings, we decided to attend the Holiday Parade. Part of our motivation was to help out with the church as they have a float and also give out hot chocolate and cookies to passers by, as the church is right on the way to the parade.

We got there in time to help set up a table and chairs and bring out some cookies. Maggie even helped taste-test a few and stated they were good. Once the crowds started coming through, Maggie decided she wanted to help pass out candy canes. She was very polite and asked people as they passed "Excuse me, would you like a candy cane?" She took the first few rejections a little personally, but was soon handing them out like a pro! At one point, she told me "I'm serving the church!" Get them while they are young!

A little bit before the parade started, we headed to find a good spot to watch from. Maggie got the best seat, on Daddy's shoulders. We saw lots of Boy Scouts and even saw cousins Terry, Christy and Ethan on a Boy Scout float. Once the church van passed and Maggie got a candy cane from Miles, she was ready to go. We saw about 20 minutes of the parade, which was about enough for all of us! We did have a lot of fun and will help out next year as well.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving 2009

I love Thanksgiving: the food the food and the food. It is amazing that I spent several hours throughout the week and many more hours Thanksgiving morning preparing all the food, we spend about 15 minutes actually eating, and then Rocky, during the clean up, always remarks about just HOW many leftovers we have. Of course, I could have bought a smaller bird, made fewer potatoes, but there's just something about the smell of that large bird roasting away, the giblets flavoring the juices that will turn into gravy. (And yes, the gravy turned out yet again, though I made too much roux to start with and ended up with more gravy than we will EVER need).

I love the Thanksgiving afternoons of lazing around, watching football, playing Candy Land with Maggie and reading through the Black Friday ads to see if there's any saving just soo enticing that we MUST head out bright and early tomorrow morning (as usual, there is not). Currently, I'm trying to decide when to start the apple pie, Maggie is "reading" her Sponge Bob book using her Leap Frog Tag pen, and Rocky is watching the pre-game show for the Cowboys/Raiders game.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A new church home

I've been a part of many churches throughout my life, the majority Presbyterian. The church I grew up in which gave me my faith foundation; the church in Boulder, CO which rather helped keep me in my faith at times when I wandered and where I learned a lot about how to sing; the church in Grand Rapids, MI where Rocky and I were married and started our walk together; the church in Richmond, VA where Maggie was baptised. And now, after a search of approximately 2 years, we have found a church home here in Billings.

Our search started with looking at Presbyterian churches and for an early service. We are early risers and enjoy going to church early as well. We opened up to other denominations while seeking an early service and attended a Catholic and Methodist church near our home in the early search attempts, but never felt quite at home. We then opened our search to include those churches without an early service. We knew about the downtown Methodist church (as it is directly across the street from the Gazette), but had never tried it. So, last spring, we decided to check it out. Friendly congregation? Check. Members of all ages? Check. Strong youth programs? Check. Choir? Check check. And we just kept going. And today, we officially became members.

We are making good friends, as Rocky and I have joined the Young Married Group. Maggie is also making friends by going to Sunday School and hanging out with the YMG kids while we are in our discussion. There have been several times she has cried when it has been time to leave because she is having so much fun playing with the big kids as well as the kids her age. I have joined the choir and sing with the Praise Team. All in all, it is a wonderful match for us and I think we will enjoy being Methodists.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Grow up?

As any parent, I wonder what Maggie will do when she grows up. With her love of animals, it never quite surprises me when she says she wants to be a Zoo Keeper or an animal doctor or even a zoo doctor. While riding with Daddy a few days ago, they saw a school bus. She asked Daddy about the school bus and then told him that when she grows up she's going to drive the school bus!

Now, Maggie is developing yet another talent: photojournalism. Perhaps she will follow in her father's footsteps. At a minimum, she certainly does enjoy helping him: She got to visit the set of "Peter Pan" at the Billings Studio Theater and received the opportunity to interview Peter Pan "him"self!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I'm trying to remember the early pregnancy with Maggie. I was never very sick -- I threw up once or twice, though I did have the dry heaves many many mornings in the beginning, probably had the queasy stomach most of the time. But I don't remember when that all started or ended. I do remember the awesome boobs. I don't remember when I started to show or really needed to wear maternity clothes -- I started wearing them probably before I really needed to.

This time around, I really want to compare to reassure myself that everything is okay. But apparently, the whole thing about forgetting about labor is applying to the whole pregnancy with me. I'm sure part of it is that it's been almost 5 years since I've been pregnant. And we haven't told about this pregnancy yet, so I feel like I'm being successful at hiding it as only one person has guessed. Maybe I'm just one of those lucky women that pregnancy agrees with. I'm sure 26 weeks from now I will be eating those words as I close in on the end of the pregnancy (look at me being all optimistic) and am feeling the Braxton Hicks. Or probably sooner: probably as soon as I can no longer lift Maggie easily.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"But I was just scared."

Maggie was the talk of coffee time at church today. After a difficult drop off at Sunday School -- even though she LOVES Sunday School and was very excited to go today --apparently, when another parent left, the teachers couldn't find Maggie. One teacher ran upstairs to see if she had come looking for us (we were in the new member class). A few minutes later, the other teacher looked under the table, and there was Maggie, hiding.

When we picked her up, she had tears in her eyes and didn't want to talk about what she learned. We're pretty sure she was just hungry as after a cookie and a fruit roll up, she was in a much better mood. Later this afternoon, when I asked her about it, she told me "But I was just scared of my teachers and friends." She couldn't articulate exactly WHY she was scared of these people she has spent time with every Sunday and Tuesday since September.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Still not ready

After some panic and worry, I decided (much too late really) to put this all into God's hands. There is really not one blessed thing I can do about the pregnancy at this point and after spending last week worrying off and on (I guess part of that is the hormones, which is a good sign -- no mood swings would probably not be good. This is the best part of pregnancy, you are happy to be sick and tired and upset when you feel fine.) So, late last week, I told God that this is His child and I would be honored if He would allow me to carry this child and lead him or her to adulthood and that as I can't do anything I am putting this child into His hands. And today, I got to see His child. Kind of. Have you seen "Monsters vs. Aliens"? Well, His child currently looks like B.O.B. (without the eye and hands). We got a photo and the sonographer pointed out the baby's head, which I just can't quite make out, other than the baby looks like either a 3 portioned peanut or B.O.B.

We're still not quite ready to make this all public. We have a strong heartbeat (170) and Dr. McCracken said that while there is still a miniscule chance of miscarriage, once we see a strong heartbeat, typically everything is fine. We have our next appointment scheduled for December 11 and we will have some genetic testing completed then, including an ultrasound. I am feeling so much more confident about everything this time around. And praying. Lots.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Great Escapes

In early June, we had a fence put in. Otis immediately found a "weak" spot and got out, but in his usual fashion, just went over to the neighbor's. We still kept him in the garage during the day as we hadn't put in the doggie door yet and he really enjoys hanging out in the garage -- probably because that's where his bed is.

Along come Wiconi and Rocky put in the doggie door. Otis decided to utilize this new power source and escape the backyard, less than 4 hours after we had left for the day. Again, in his usual fashion, he headed to the neighbor's. They didn't know who Wiconi was, but as she seemed to be with Otis, neighbor Jan took them both into their backyard. All of this happened as Rocky was coming home for lunch to check on them. They got to spend the rest of their days in the house and wait for us to come home for a potty break.

In the meantime, we would leave the doggie door open when we were home as they seemed to just go out to do their business and come back in to hang with us. Apparently, they were just lulling us into a false sense of security as one night, they escaped the backyard. When we got home in the morning, they were sleeping just outside the fence by the side deck. A few weeks later, I got the priviledge of chasing them down after another escape. We're fairly certain they were probably chasing after something when they got out and just couldn't find their way back in.

So, the doggie door remained closed for several weeks while we decided what to do. After some research, Rocky felt the best course of action was an invisible fence. Rocky spent most of yesterday putting in the fence. Wiconi seemed to recognize the collar, but Otis wasn't quite sure what to think of this new collar. After finishing the invisible fence and collars on, Rocky took the dogs outside. Maggie and I scrambled to find slippers to watch as I knew Otis would be the first to get shocked. Before we had even found the slippers, Otis was yelping after getting a little too close to his usual escape spot. Of course, it isn't funny, but it SO is! Wiconi had to be enticed/dragged to get close to the fence so we could show her what would happen. She definitely knew what was going on with the new collars.

We left the collars on and the doggie door open all night. Otis went out and came back in, tail between his legs, in the late evening. We knew what happened to him. He ran a little close to the garden earlier today and got another shock. At least he won't dig once we plant there.

The current plan is to leave them with collars on and doggie door open tomorrow as we are fairly certain they aren't going anywhere. Especially as Otis' first move after the shock is to run into the house and hide by our bed. It will take a long time to dig out that way.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The worries

Still just writing for me. But writing because I'm so very very worried and I can't tell anyone about it. We still haven't told anyone (well, I told my VP because we were having a conversation about stress and the conversation lead that way and I really wanted someone in the office to know, just in case). And today, I woke up with zero pregnancy symptoms. No sore boobs, no fear of throwing up, no upset stomach that will calm down with toast or cereal. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Maybe I'm one of the lucky pregnant women who doesn't have a lot of symptoms, or those that will come and go. But it wasn't that way with Maggie. The sore boobs and upset stomach continued into the 2nd trimester. I remember dry heaving many mornings for many many weeks. And when I did that the other morning, I was so so very happy. If I'm sick, then everything is fine, right? The good news is I'm not cramping or bleeding, but part of me wonders if that is the progesterone, not letting that happen.

All I know is I'm scared and feel oh so alone right now. I can't cry at work. Well, I can, but not without arousing questions I'm just not prepared to answer right now. I'm hoping for a busy day and a call back from nurse Shelly to lay to rest my fears. Though, I doubt that will happen until I see the heartbeat on the monitor next week.