Sunday, April 7, 2013

36 - 40: What a Blur...

During the last month of being pregnant, I was rather exhausted, working 2 jobs, attempting to help keep the house together, prepping for baby... Well you get the idea; blogging was not a priority and as I sit to write about those last 4 weeks I find myself not needing to share as many details or to process all the emotions I was feeling at the time.  So instead of doing each week as a large post, I thought I would hit some highlights. 

Week 36
- Our weekly treks to see the docs as babies birthday grows nearer begin.
- Only 15 pounds gained thus far
- Our new mattress was delivered and they couldn't fit the box springs up the stairs. :-(  However, I am loving the mattress.  Much more comfortable. 
- Sleep is extremely evasive as I only got 3 hours one night as the uncomfortableness increases.
-I'm ever so torn between Lil Lusch come out early and for him to remain to get more of the vital development time/nourishment/growth.  This is connected to the discomfort. 
- And the reality of getting closer to having our baby come home with us has set in a bit more as Brock and I installed the car seat into the prius.  

Week 37
- My parents purchased a computer and an internet package so that they could Skype and see our lil babe.  So Brock and I have been teaching her how to use the software.  It has been interesting and you can teach older people new tricks; it just takes more patience as well as figuring out how they learn the best so that you can revamp how you teach them so that the highest level of comprehension is achieved.    To say the very least it has been an interesting process.  
- I gained 2 more pounds and we are at 17 which is right where I am supposed to be at this point.  And I have 1 centimeter... Cheers for progress but it is a slow moving process. 
-   We also took some more belly pictures this week with our dear from Ronda.  We had so much fun at the Krohn's Conservatory.  Kate and Ella; Ronda's daughter and granddaughter joined us as well.  I am thankful they were there to share the moments and give ideas for pictures.  It was great fun and we got some awesome pictures. 

- The nursery is coming along this week, we finally put the crib together as well as putting up the wall stickers.  It brought great joy to me to have them up.  these decorations were intended for our first little babe 2 years ago but we were not able to use them since she left us so unexpectedly.  I am excited to teach Hezekiah about his older sister and the beauty of her little life. 
- This week was also full of surprises.  Both of my jobs decided to give me a surprise baby shower.  And a third was planned for Saturday given to me by my Gladstone Church Community.  My in-laws got to come and enjoy the party as well as visit for quite a while.  It has been good to have them come visit a bit more than normal.  I know it is due to the lil fellow growing inside but it has still been very nice. 
- Brock was also very surprised as the Men of our small group took him on a Pre-dad Adventure.  They went flying over Cincinnati on a rather turbulent and rough day.  Unfortunately, Brock's stomach did not fair too well and while he greatly enjoyed the morning he did not feel well on his return home. 
-And right in line with Brock's stomach problems, my tummy has decided to be extremely upset and it just doesn't want to let up.  
- I guess this week was busier than I expected and it took all kinds of energy to get through all of the joyful experiences. 

Week 38
- Getting closer and I just want this fella to come join us.  
- A bit of joy was brought to my heart this week as I got to train my dear friend at work who was recently hired.  I really enjoy having another friend to work with.  It brings peace to my mind while I am at work.  
- I have also just wanted to become a hibernating bear this week as the frigid cold has decided to move in and hang out.  It makes me feel awful and just want to snuggle down in bed for the duration.  
- Working at my counseling job has made me miss my internship experience tremendously for more reasons than I can count. And I really do not enjoy when clients or anyone for that matter attempt to touch my belly.  COME ON PEOPLE, I DON'T TOUCH YOUR STOMACH WHENEVER I WANT TO.
- Brock and I randomly surprised each other on the same day.  I came home to a clean apartment and fresh beautiful flowers and he came home to a bottle of bourbon and some pistachios.  I love when we spontaneously bless each other this way.  It is just another confirmation that I married the right man.  ;-)
- A surprising moment came this week as my Dad guessed the name we have chosen for our son.  I was stunned that he figured it out especially since we have a very non-traditional name.  He was so giddy when we told him he was right.  He also took the liberty to tell some people.  I was not happy about this but I have since expressed my feelings, explained them, and forgiven my dad.
- And the last major event of this week was that our doctors explained there was no progress toward our little fellows arrival.

Week 39
- Nothing too exciting happened this week.  If fact it was a rather physically draining week for me.
- I dealt with a migraine, which are no fun when prego because I cannot do my normal coping strategies.
- I am extremely ready for my body to be mine again or at least not have an extra residence inside of it.

Week 40
- Anticipation of the coming and going of our due date is rather frustrating.  I had prepared myself mentally as I was 100% positive that our baby would not be "on time" according to the projected due date but it is still mentally taxing.
- I also realized that the stress of working at my intensive out patient counseling program has just become way too stressful for me to continue until I actually go into labor.  I explained this to my boss and chose to take my leave this week.  The day I left was the craziest and most stressful day that I had experienced thus far in this position.  I am thankful that I was able to step out when I did as I know the stress was not good for me or our baby.  The one blessing that did arrive during this transition was that my supervisor offered to continue to be my supervisor as needed if I chose to take a different position.  
- In the midst of all this craziness... my friend Katie took me to a salon for the wonderful blessing of a pedicure.  This was my first experience in a higher end salon and it felt amazing to have a soak, massage, and painted toes.  I had not been able to paint them for several weeks and it was amazing!  She brought rice crispy treats and then we went to dinner.  It was a wonderful evening before my lil boy arrived.
- Brock and I also decided that one more night out would be a good idea.  My sweet supportive hubby wanted to see the Hobbit... I wasn't opposed but i also didn't realize that is was 3 hours long.  Surprisingly, I was able to enjoy the entire move with only slight discomfort due to the fact that it was really warm in the theater and well I was 40 weeks pregnant.
- This week also brought about feelings of missing Brock and I's little girl Rose.  I have been open about my first child and her tiny life with many people around me.  Since I have chosen this path, it has opened doors for me to be able to talk to others in a similar situation.  And ministering to women who have had a miscarriage is only one way that I honor my little daughters life.

So, after 40 weeks of pregnancy and little progress toward our little guys arrival we headed back to the doctor to see what the next steps will be. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

35: Happy New Year... The Year our Son will be born.

Wow, I cannot believe that it is already the New Year upon us.  Brock and I got to spend the Eve with our good friends, the Hatfield's, the Douglass's, and a few other familiar faces.  It was a good evening/morning but boy was I tired when we got home.  I am thankful we got to enjoy the event as usual.  Lots of good food, games, the ball dropping, and a bit of belly watching as our lil guy did some dancing on his own.  Everyone seemed captivated by his movements.  It was funny to see their reactions.  

New Year's day, Brock and I got to have some lunch with more friends, the Reasor's, which was lovely as it seems like it has been so long since that has happened.  We then went on a mission in search of buying a new mattress and to check out a few bed frames that we had noticed on the web and were deeply discounted.  We were rewarded and found a mattress!  This was our Christmas Present to each other this year.  Praise the LORD for this blessing.  We have never had a new mattress and it was extremely over due.  I am sure it will take some getting used to but I think we made the right decision.  :-)  We were not as rewarded with the search for a bed frame.  Everything that we had found just seemed extremely cheaply made or out of our current price range.  Alas, we put a hold on the search until a date TBD.  One day, I will live my dream of having a matching bedroom set.  

In other news, I was pleasantly surprised this week as I was officially offered a permanent position at my data management position.  Previously, I was hired as a temporary employee.  Nothing wrong with this but it can be a bit unsettling to have a job that you really enjoy and know that at any moment that can state that they no longer need to fill the position you have been doing.  Thankfully, my hard work ethic/desire to not be bored at work paid off as my boss found an employee who wanted to work while others played games on the internet.  Of course it helps that I knew the company had an awesome reputation and several of my friends were already employed there.  God is ever so good to me and he is always providing in ways i do not imagine until they happen.  

This week was also a big week as my beloved husband, Brock turned 33.  We really did not celebrate too much this year as well, I'm 35 weeks pregnant and he had to work that evening.  However, by another provision of the Lord, Brock's awesome boss allowed him to get done with his work early on the 7th and because of this blessing we were able to go to a burger joint, watch the national college football championship and have dinner together.  Unfortunately, Notre Dame epically lost but it was a wonderful night to say the least.  

In baby news...
Jan. 7th was the due date of our first child and while she didn't make it there, I still wonder and think about her from time to time.  I am thankful for her tiny little spark of life that was with us so briefly.  And now, I am thankful for her brother who will be here before we know it.    He grows bigger every day and always has a strong/encouraging heartbeat at our appointments.  He should be about 18 inches long and 5 1/4 pounds, or the weight of a honeydew melon.  He is now at a birth weight that he could survive outside of me.  While I would love to give birth to a smaller babe as it would be easier, I would rather give him all the time he needs.  And it is looking like he will take all the time we will allow. 
Until next time... Happy readings and many blessings. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

34: Christmas Whirlwind and Jam Packed!

This week (Dec 23-29) brought the first snow of the winter!  This made me super happy as last winter I rather missed the snow.  It just doesn't seem like winter if we don't have a least 2-3 measurable snow falls.  And even then they usually do not compare to the amounts we used to get in Illinois when I was growing up.

Brock and I traveled to his parents house for our last pre-baby Christmas.  It is strange to think it this way.  And then I think that our lil guy is with us even if he is just inside.  Pregnancy is rather odd at times.  And the way that people say: "enjoy this time while it is just you two because it will never be that way again," baffles me.  This is something that I have heard so many times and from the moment of conception our family went from 2 to 3.  I get what people mean that life changes drastically in that we won't be able to just pop out and do what we want when we want without the responsibility of caring for others.  Either way... Brock and I knew this would be life changing and it already has. 

So, We normally get to spend a couple days during the Holiday with our loved ones but I took another step into adulthood this year and am no longer a student with a month off from school.  Instead, I am an employed counselor and I was scheduled to work on Christmas Eve.  I often say to myself: "Wow, when did I become an adult?"   Work was a bit crazy on Christmas eve and we had more clients than I really wanted or anticipated.  I had to work much later than anticipated.  Brock and Dexter waited for me in the car for so long.  We then drove straight from my job to his parents house to drop off Dex and then right on over to his Grandparents house for Christmas eve.  We had a wonderful time there.  Brock got to hold his 2nd cousin Samson who is only a few weeks old.  And I got to compare bellies with Grandpa E.  I love his belly!  He told me that over the years and all the pregnancies in the family that I was the only one to ask to compare bellies.  :-)  He was such a good sport.   

 After Christmas eve, we went back to his parents house for a good nights sleep.  And Christmas Breakfast the next morning.  We spent the time with Brittani, Beth, Bob, Sara, BJ, Mason, and Collin.  Brock's immediate family.  We opened gifts and enjoyed one another.  I put together a game the boys had received and after a while we all headed over to see the Lusch Grandparents.
It was a wonderful visit.  I am thankful that all 4 of Brock's grandparents are still with us.  I hope that each of them will be here for quite a while longer so that our son might be able to meet them and build a few memories with them before their lives come to a close.

Our bitterly short visit quickly came to a close and Brock and I had to head back to Cincy as both of us had to work the next day.  I feel like the entire event was all too fast and no where near long enough.  I guess that is part of adulthood.  I am grateful that we were able to go.  Next time we are in Huntington, we will have our lil boy with us.  CRAZY THOUGHT!

Baby Check Up...

We also headed to the doctors appointment for another check up and everything looks great and normal as we progress along.  I learned something new this week:  the doctor measured the length of my belly and I wasn't sure what this measurement referred to so I asked.  Her response was that the belly should measure in centimeters as the same number of weeks that I currently am.  So for instance: I am at 34 weeks in my pregnancy and I should measure 34 centimeters.  I was amazed by this.  The measurement indicates the baby's growth and gives the doctors an indication of what is happening within.  How cool is it that the Lord gave us this simple little measure to monitor just how a baby is growing.  It is just another indication of his genius and wonderful creative style!  I absolutely LOVE these little tidbits of information that the Lord keeps giving me through this process.

What a Wonderful Maker!

This week was the first of our 2 baby Lusch Bump sessions.  Our first was done by a wonderful friend, Ms. Jessi Roesch.  Since it is till december, I deeply desired just enough snow to cover the ground for our session.  I didn't tell anyone about this, I just secretly asked the Lord.  And he answered!  I got snow!  Before the session, Brock and I went to Target to purchase a new sweater for me as I wanted to look cute and nothing in my wardrobe rang out to me for picture day.  I was then return to a friends house for a wonderful hair cut and style.  It felt so good to get some of the length off my shoulders.  Tara did a fantastic job.  Jessi took so many pictures and had some amazing ideas.  We had a lot of fun just being silly and enjoying the process.

 We were also surprised this week with a package from my older sister Jessie.  She made us some great onsies, found a mustache pacifier and a bib and a hat with his initials on them... This lil dude is so loved and he is not even here yet. It really amazes me how so much love can be generated for one human being when no one has met him yet.  Interesting.

This week we were blessed with being able to have dinner with our dear friends and Newly Weds, David and Valerie Borton.  We had not seen them since the weekend of their wedding and it was a joy to have them in our home.  They are too perfect for one another and it was wonderful getting to catch up with them.
 Another rather humorous fact that occurred this week.... My parents had the internet installed into their home and my mom was given a laptop for her Birthday.  Now Dad, claims it is for farming purposes; but I beg to differ.  I believe it is more for Mom and Dad to be able to video chat with Brock, Baby, and I.  Ok, really they just want to see their first grandson all as much as possible.  :-)
Another first for my family that was a bit out of left field... My Mom and Dad, who have never been interested in having any connection to technology via the internet or a computer.  The story is that my parents have purchased a Laptop computer for my Mom's birthday and then added internet for the first time in my life.  Mom says that the internet is so that she can skype with us and see her first grandbaby on a regular basis.  My Dad says that both the laptop and internet are also going to be for in getting what he needs for the farm.  ;-D  I think it is cute either way and I am excited to be able to work with my parents so that they can share in life.  It is true... You can teach new tricks to those willing to learn.
A few final thoughts for this week...
- Brock thinks that the babe will come early
- I had a client get up at work to do the Twist and gave the half Moon ... Yep I got a full view of that one.  Ugh, I did not want to see that one at all.
- Well, I think that I am out of words for this week.  Ok so there were a lot of them as well as looks of pictures.  I hope you have enjoyed the journey thus far of Baby Lusch's story.

Brock and I would love to hear any feedback.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dadnapping (A form of kidnapping)

So today I was picked up by three gray guys from church Kevin, Justin and Joe. I was told to be ready at 8:25am and they did not tell me where we were going. Corie only told me to eat a good breakfast and take some tums with me. So I made a couple egg sandwiches and made my way to the meeting place. We drove west on 50 and I was so lost as to where we were going. We made it all the way to Columbia Tusculum before they realized they missed their turn. When they started to head in the right direction I joked about the area we were in and said so are we going to do a drug deal cause we were in a shady area. We finally made it to Lunken Airport to Hanger 4510. The plane was running a little late but no worries we sat around and talked and I was getting excited because I was not for sure what was about to happen. Finally we got the call to go to the gate and it was obvious we were going flying but I did not know where. They then told me it was a city sightseeing tour. The Lord is awesome because I had never told anyone that I had wanted to do this ever since I have moved to Cincinnati. We took off and headed back by Mariemont and I say the High school that I work at.

Then we flew by Indian Hill High school.

We flew over Kings Island

And then I got to take the yoke and fly for awhile. The wind was pretty bad so turbulence was rough. I flew over 75 and headed to CVG where I was going to be talked through a touch and go which I was excited and very nervous about. The nervousness got the best of me and I ended up having to give the yoke back to the pilot because I was about to loose my cookies which I did :(. We broke off from the touch and go and headed to downtown. This is where I was really excited to go so I could get pictures of the stadiums and the city. I got some really good shots with my phone. Gotta love the iPhone camera abilities.

At the end of the flight, we headed back to Lunken and landed. I was still pretty queezy and on the ride back home we were going to stop and get coffee but I ended up throwing up again in the car so I had the guys take me home. I had a great time and was so blessed to be able to have the chance to go flying. I have been pretty sick all day but am getting better. I did not get to spend time with my dad, brother and friend David later in the afternoon, that I would have liked, but flying was fun. The Lord has put great friends and family in my life who have shown Corie and I love and support through all these years and I am overjoyed to know they are there for us.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

33: Growing closer

This week has been somewhat stressful and fun as well.  My hours at the hospital have been cut from 5 days a week down to 3 days a week.  My co-worker is also in this boat.  She was rather angry about this as she has two children and a babysitter who need a reliable schedule.  While I was upset, I had to take this news in stride as I did not have control over the situation.  I also realize that this reduction in time may be a benefit to my current prego situation.  My outlook on this is that my glass is half full.  Yes, it bites that my hours and therefore my income have been cut, however, I still have a job, I am able to schedule doctor appointments and not miss work, I can sleep in a couple of times a week, and I am not as exhausted at the end of the week.  Although, growing a human being is exhausting enough.  :-)

I am thankful for these little blessings that have come from a reduction in hours as I did not see them previously.  I love that the Lord is taking care of me even when I do not expect it and it seems like a negative situation.  

Not much to report on the baby front this week.  I do feel like the internal massage is continuing and getting a bit more intense as he gets bigger and bigger each day.  This has led me to think/feel like a belly dancer of sorts, only he is doing all the dancing to make my belly move.  

In other life happenings, Brock and I along with some lovely friends, Jessi and Kevin; decided to complete our tours of the Kentucky Bourbon trail, which we started about 1 year ago.  We headed south to visit the last of the distilleries on our list.  We first went to Maker's Mark where we had a wonderful tour of the facilities, were given lots of information, and at the end given taste tests of 3 of their products and a bourbon ball.  I admit I did allow just enough of each of the 3 liquids onto my lips to have a brief taste.  I discovered that I really rather enjoyed the Maker's 46 which is a regular bourbon and the only change that occurs to make in unique is that the company will open a barrel before it has completely aged and they add 10 planks of French Oak.  It gives it just enough of a difference.  I really did enjoy it.  I am going to need to purchase some to enjoy after Lil Lusch is no longer breast feeding.  Not sure when that will be but looking forward to it.  We continued our journey over to Heaven Hills Distillery.  We quickly discovered that there is not one bourbon by this name but rather Heaven Hills is a collection of several different items.  I must say I rather appreciated the smaller distilleries than the large ones like this.  I did learn something new that I had not previously though.  When drinking bourbon, if you add just a touch of water, it will change the flavor and body of the bourbon.  It was quite interesting and a wonderful new tidbit.  So for just that bit of knowledge it was worth the visit.  
Our journey was going to conclude by a visit back to the Jim Beam facilities for a dinner at their new restaurant which we were told last year would be completed about this time.    Unfortunately this was not the case, however, we were allowed to taste there wares as well in the new tasting facility.  It was a really unique experience as each person was given a card with 4 available pours.  All you had to do was slide the card in, push the bottom and the machine poured bourbon into your snifter.  So cool.  Again, I only tried 2 and just enough to have a bit on my lips.  We were also given the name of a really funky place to dine at in Louisville.  I can't remember the name for the life of me but the food was fantastic, the company was wonderful, and I really enjoyed our brief trip south.  

32 - So Busy.

32 Weeks: 3.75 Lbs and 16.7 inches.
Wow, I am 32 weeks.  It is crazy how quickly the time goes by.  I just cannot believe that in about 8 weeks my son will no longer be growing within.  

I guess I will start with the Baby News

This week he is moving much much more or at least I can feel bigger and more frequent movements.  Either way it is crazy to watch and feel both from the inside and the outside.  It really is amazing to go through this process.  The newest symptom is that my belly just itches all the time as lil Lusch continues to grow and stretch my skin.  Little tricks have helped to relieve this such as rubbing extra virgin coconut oil on my belly (courtesy of one Kathy Sprinkle!  Thank You!) And of course with this growth comes the ever growing general uncomfortableness due to continue increase as the weeks increase.  I am assuming that the Lord allowed it to be this way to let momma's know that this process must come to an end and give a bit of hope that it will come to an end.  

Brock and I also attended a birthing class this week.  I was not excited but it was great information to have.  I thought that being in a room full of pregnant women would cause more anxiety for me as I heard about their experiences and my fears creep up.  This was not the case at all (Thank You Lord)!  I was rather comforted by the room full of couples who were in the same life stage as Brock and I especially since I do not have anyone terribly close to me moving through this process currently.

I also feel like the little guy attempts to give me an internal massage on a regular basis but he has been illy trained as it usually does not feel relaxing as a massage should.  

I wonder what child birth would have been like prior to Adam and Eve eating from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil.  Was God's plan to have the earth populated via child birth before the fall?  Answers that I will not get while here as there is nothing to suggest it in the Word.  I am just in a rather pondering mood.  

Anyway, that is about all of the baby update for now.  Nothing too exciting but then there are those days where it is a choice to just keep swimming. 

On the Work front...
It is going better more recently.  I have one client in particular who attempted to touch my belly.  I was able to block her hand and explain that I do not randomly touch her belly so I ask that people do not touch mine.  She seemed to understand but I have a feeling she will probably forget this request and go for the bump again.  I will just have to keep my guard up around her.

I am enjoying my two jobs, however, Brock stated that if feels like I am back in Grad school again.  I am constantly busy and do not feel like I have had any time or energy for that matter to do anything when I return home from working my 9.5 hour days. I can understand why he has felt this way.  Hopefully, life will change some once our son is here and it won't feel like this all the time.  Only time will tell.

And on the Food Front...
This week I made Potato Soup.  Growing up this was a regular occurrence in the Grafton Household.  Mom would make it from a ver simple recipe of boiled potatoes, butter, milk, and some basic seasonings.  I decided to be a bit adventurous this week and add some flare to the pot.  Instead of using only milk in the broth (I am sure Mom did this because we didn't have any options) I added a couple cans of chicken stock, green onion, my regular spices of garlic, salt, pepper, and basil.  And to top it off just before enjoying the soup we added some crumbled bacon!  Oh my goodness it was so wonderfully delicious!  I am going to stick with these new additions from now on when making Potato soup.
I encourage all of you to try something new with your food.  After all it is the easiest way of adding a little adventure to your life without taking a huge risk.
Bon Apeptit. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

31: The Sorrows and the Joys

My Wonderful Grandparents and my sister Jessie on the
Day my younger sister Brittney Graduated from High School. 
This was a difficult week for me but more so from my family.  After thanksgiving my Grandma Kate was taken to the nursing home as she stopped eating and drinking.  All the signs were leading to her getting close to dying.  She was in the nursing home/hospice care for a total of 10 days and this week she passed away.  I was told that she went peacefully and that my mom and uncle were both with her when she passed.  I am so thankful that she was with family. 

I am not able to head home for her funeral as traveling at this point in my pregnancy is a rather large struggle.  I am annoyed and frustrated that I cannot go but it would be too difficult to head home and back again in the 3 days that are allowed for the grievance.  It would have been nice to be there with all of my family and to have shared in the grieving process but alas that is life.  

My Grandma was a great woman.  She could cook anything and loved all of her children and grandchildren to the fullest.  I only wish I could have gotten to know her better as an adult.  I know I would have appreciated her much more now than I did as a young girl.  She will be missed by so many.  

I was able to continue through my week with minor upset.  I think I have been processing this for a long time as Grandma has slowly declined over the past several year.   I think that since I live 7 hours away from my Grandparents house and have had some separation.  I know that once I return home and visit with my Grandpa, my Grandma's absence will affect me in a great way.  I did take a day off from work and remained at home to rest.   I have grieved, cried, relaxed, and was given support from so many people.  I greatly appreciate all the love that I have received.  I was also blessed by my church and my new job with two separate bouquets of flowers and cards.  
In other news, this was my 2nd week at my new job and I have been so tired with the 2 jobs.  I feel like I am constantly moving and not getting everything done that I have needed to do.  I have doubts about this job, but I think I can persevere through it all.  Only time will tell what it is that I am supposed to learn at this job.  It continues to show its challenges but I know that God put me there for a good reason.  We will see why as we move forward.  As of right now I have no clue.  
31 Weeks... I didn't have
a chance to do a sign this week. 

In Baby news, I was sitting and relaxing one evening and I got to see my son move significantly within my belly.  It was really cool and crazy all at the same time.  My stomach shifted back and forth as he moved.  I continue to be amazed by the life growing within me.   We were also able to buy our boy's crib this week and were greatly blessed during the process.  We discovered that Target only had one of the cribs that we wanted in stock and thankfully no one else wanted it.  We also were able to have some fun in picking out some clothing for the little dude.  When we proceeded to check out I asked the cashier to scan the bed to make sure we had enough funds to cover the cost.  We did and she then rang up the clothes.  I gave her the $8 coupon and to my surprise she scanned it 4 times totaling $32 of savings.  I also think that she may have missed scanning one of the shirts that we had picked out.  She explained that her scanning the coupon more than once was her Christmas gift to us and that it was just extreme couponing.  I was blown away.  I then headed outside to the car.  A young man was assisting Brock to help get the crib into the car... there was absolutely no way that it was going to fit inside of the box.  Brock and our helper unpacked the crib from the box and it fit into the car perfectly.  Over all it was a wonderful trip to target.  I was also able to put together the stroller with some minor help from my beloved.  It didn't take a ton of effort but I am thankful I was able to do so as my nesting desires increase.  It was a joy to be able to prep in this way.  I am sure that my nesting will only continue to grow as we get closer to the arrival.  

30... New Adventure in Counseling.

This week I started a new Job at Bridgewell Hospital.  It is a hospital for Psychiatric Geriatric patients.  On the first floor of the hospital is an in-patient unit and on the second floor is an intensive out patient/partial hospitalization program (IOP/PHP); which is where I work.

The program is brand new and we don't even have clients in the door yet but they are coming very quickly.  This first couple days are training and then we bring in the clients.  It is a crazy time but I am very excited to be a part of the program.  We will work with those who are severely mentally ill and the goal of the program is to assist them in managing their symptoms so that they do not have to be hospitalized.

I am nervous as this is the first paid position that I will have as a professional counselor and I never expected to work with the Geriatric population, but I cannot say no to the Lord when he has thrust a door as big and as wide as this open in front of me.  So I have agreed to be a part of the team and learn all that the Lord has in store for me. To say the least, I think it will be interesting.

So some more details...
I am a licensed professional counselor with a chemical dependency counselor assistant credential.  I will be working with the clients directly and serving them in multiple different ways.  I will facilitate anywhere from 1-2 groups in a day, provide individual counseling, assist with crisis management, and anything else that may pop up as necessary.

The team will run 4 groups in a day with breaks, lunch, and a fun activity factored into the schedule.  The first group is a goal setting group; 2 and 3 are educational/symptom management, and 4 is a process group.  I think it is going to be stressful and challenging but then what new job isn't at least for a while.  Check back in to see how life as a professional counselor suits me.

In baby news...
We had another appointment today and the doc told me that I have only gained a total of 11 pounds.  She was extremely happy with my progress and did not show any concerns.  So we will continue the routine of appointments and go from there.

29: Thanksgiving Week!

The belly shot and my sweet hubby in his country wear.  :-) 
Lately, I have been feeling like a watermelon and one day I was even dressed like one with a deep pink shirt underneath a green shirt... yep didn't do that on purpose.  As this guy gets bigger, I am amazed at how much things change and then there are moments when he is quiet and I think everything is still the same.  Reality will kick me in the teeth soon enough.  Until then, I am attempting to enjoy this time.

A big shout out to my Father-in-law and his new job as an independent truck driver.  The unfortunately circumstances that lead to this position were not good but I am loving the benefits that come with it.  You see Bob is now a regional driver as opposed to a short distance driver and while the transition was not easy at first and there are downsides, there are also great blessings.  Bob now comes down to Cincinnati every so often to deliver or pick up a load and while he doesn't have a lot of time, an hour is enough time for Brock to be able to see his Dad!  I am thankful for this as normally Brock wouldn't see his dad for a couple months at a time.  This also allowed for Bob to bring down a bag of maternity items from a friend of Brock's who wanted to bless us.  I was in need of some more items as my new job has a business causal dress code. So Bob, thank you!

This week I had my first day of training at my new job.  It was just a lot of basic information and a lot of policy and procedure information from the Hospital itself but all stuff that must be reviewed to be hired.  Nothing too exciting just yet.  The real fun starts next week with more training and then actually admitting clients and running the program later in the week.  I am excited to get started, kind of worried about what I said yes to, anxious about all the unknowns that keep popping up, I can't wait to decorate the office which I will share with my colleague and just all around ready to go.  I have also been distracted this week as the anticipation of seeing my family keeps growing and growing.  I'm not ready for the 7 hour drive while being 29 weeks pregnant but it will be well worth the visit. 
We headed out after work on Wednesday afternoon, my boss was gracious enough to allow me to work in the morning instead of my usual afternoon shift.  Sidebar - she is one, if not the best boss I have every had the pleasure of working under.  Judy is one of the reasons that it will be so difficult to officially put in my resignation when the time comes. (and I have no idea when that will be.)  

Anyway, the journey began with me driving as I get less nauseous in that circumstance than when others drive.  This gave Brock some time to rest and get a bit of sleep as he does most of the driving on these trips anymore.  He is a road warrior's son after all.  Per doctor's orders we had to stop ever 1.5 hours to take a 10 minute walk to make sure that my body and baby had a break and to get my blood circulating.  This made our trip even longer than normal but again worth the efforts.

Once we made it home, we discovered my parents house had been resided and given a new roof, something that has needed to occur for a long time but life puts a damper on plans that are not essential.  It looks great!  

We got to hang out, for 4 days, with my Brother, Clayton who was in from Colorado,  My two sisters Jessie and Brittney, Henry (Jessie's husband), Brice (Brittney's BF, he is so sweet on her), my parents, and the 5 dogs (Masada, Elliott, Pixie the puppy, Sophie, and Chloe).  I am ever so blessed to have this large wonderful family to share sweet memories with and to make new ones.  The Lord has given me more than I knew I wanted or needed in this family and we have been through a lot of rough patches but I wouldn't trade these people or the experiences for the world!  

We also had a great traditional McGraw (Grafton) family meal.  I have 3 aunts and 1 uncle, all of whom are married and have kids of their own.  Needless to say we are a BIG family.  The best part of this event was being able to see my sweet Grandma Kate and wonderful Grandpa Bob!  They have been married for so many decades and for the past several years Grandpa has been taking care of Grandma as her health and mental capacity have slowing declined.  Grandma, doesn't look like the woman I remember and it was hard to see her that way, but I am so glad I got to see her.  It made my uncomfortable trip that much more worth it.  You see she really has not been doing well and the doctors believe she won't be with us much longer.  I think she just knew that her family would all be around her during this time and she could see everyone together before letting go.  This woman cared so much and seeing the Love my Grandpa has for her is a great encouragement.  I want my marriage to be as full and blessed as theirs has been.  It is hard to think about the fact that she probably won't be there for Christmas this year.  What a change that will be.  And as her life draws to a close I have a tiny life within just beginning his journey.  I am sad that he won't be able to meet his Great Grandma Kate but I am praying that he will soon meet his Great Grandpa Bob.  This is something that I greatly desire for my son, but then reality and our desires do not always match up.  I love my Grandparents and they are a big part of what makes me who I am today.  I am so thankful for them and the way their lives have shaped mine. (So being pregnant and emotional and processing as counselors are familiar with doing; I have cried a lot during that paragraph.)

And now, I shall move on for our visit also included a celebration of this little boy with a baby shower. 
My big Brother and the duck he shot.  He's so handsome!
My Mom, younger sister Brittney, and Older sister Jessie, threw me a shower!  I really didn't know what to expect from this experience as I was not sure who would be there.  I was pleasantly surprised.  I got to see all of my aunts on my mom's side, an old family friend, a great (x2) aunt, one of my aunts on my dad's side, and several cousins.  It was a wonderful day.  Jess made red velvet cup cakes, we played some games, and everyone got to adore all the gifts for my son.  He is blessed by lots of wonderful people who love him before he has even fully arrived.  We also had a cutest onesie context.  Our little guy will be warm and cozy.  He got a car seat, stroller, crib, lots of clothes, some toys, several blankets, a baby book and so much more.  Unfortunately, we don't have pictures as the cameras were out of juice.  Oh well.  It was a fun afternoon anyway.  I'm looking forward to the time that I can take him home to introduce him to all these people.  It will be a wonderful time.

A couple pictures from our trip out west...

The Old Homestead and the Face Lift of new siding and a New roof.