Wednesday, December 23, 2009

38 Weeks

I feel HUGE!

Last Tuesday (37 weeks) I went to the doctor and he said that Lane has turned head-down. This was fantastic news because he had thought she was breech at my 35-week appointment, so we're really glad that she decided to turn! The doctor also said that I have "a roomy pelvis," which I took as "good birthing hips," and the doctor agreed. He said that this should make my labor easier/quicker because she'll be able to move down the birth canal more easily than in women who have narrower pelvises. Lane is now officially full-term, so as far as we're concerned, she can come any day now (except for Christmas day, and preferably not New Year's Day/my 30th birthday). My sister and brother-in-law made it in today and Rachel is here until January 3rd. Maybe Lane will make an appearance in time for Aunt Rachel to get a peek at her!

Almost 2 weeks ago I had yet another fun-and-exciting trip to the ER in the middle of the night. My stomach woke me up, hurting much like the previous time we went to the ER. I ate something and drank a lot of water and waited about an hour before calling the hospital and them confirming that I should go in. So, mom and I headed to the hospital (Shannon was at work), where they monitored me and the baby. I was having contractions and was dilated a centimeter, so they wanted to monitor me to find out if the contractions were causing the dilation or if I was previously dilated and the contractions were being caused by something else (and my doctor was out of town so they couldn't ask him if I was dilated at my last appointment). Anyways, after monitoring me for awhile and giving me some apple juice to drink, the pain got worse (to the point of me asking for medication to ease it). 30 minutes later, I threw up and then felt fine. They kept me for another 6 hours or so to monitor my contractions (which I was still having but couldn't feel) and then sent me home, determining that I have an "irritable uterus" and wasn't actually in labor.

All that to say that things are fine! I've gained 28 pounds, even if I don't look like it. My back still hurts if I sit or stand too long, and I'm not sleeping very well at night. My bladder has surely been squashed to the size of a walnut, because I have to pee all the live-long-day. But other than those few minor complaints, I'm feeling just fine, and ready for Lane to be here! I'm going to try an all-natural labor with no epidural or pain meds. Our hospital does administer morphine between 4 and 8 centimeters dilation for pain relief, so if my labor goes really long or I don't think I can handle it, I may get some morphine to help me get some rest. We shall see, though!

Hopefully there will be no 40-week belly picture. You can all join us in praying for an easy and quick labor (as far as first-time labors go), and a baby that comes before the end of the year (very little to do with a tax-deduction, mostly to do with a health insurance deductible that renews on the 1st). Maybe in 2 weeks we'll have pictures of a baby instead of a belly!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Babymoon/Belated Anniversary Trip

Last week, Shannon and I made the long trip from Kenai to Anchorage to celebrate our anniversary (four months late) and our Babymoon, or last trip as a couple without children. We had wanted to go to Charleston back in August, but our schedule was so insane (what with moving and all) that we decided to wait to celebrate until we were "settled" in Alaska by going to the Princess Lodge. Well, unbeknownst to us, the Princess Lodge closed for the winter on September 12th, three days after we arrived in Alaska. So we were forced to come up with an alternate plan. Living on the peninsula, there aren't really that many options, so to Anchorage we went!

We left Kenai on Sunday afternoon and drove to Girdwood where we parked at the Alyeska Resort and took the tram to the top of the mountain where we had dinner at the Seven Glaciers Restaurant, overlooking Alyeska's ski slopes and the Cook Inlet.

Outside the Alyeska Resort, holding our tram tickets.

The view from the top.

Shannon at our table, surrounded by mountains.

The view of the sunset from our table.

After leaving Seven Glaciers, we headed for Anchorage and checked into our hotel downtown. While I won't comment on the hotel or even mention which one we stayed at (priceline is severely disappointing sometimes!), at least the view was good!

The view to the right out our hotel window.

The view to the left.

After checking into the hotel we headed to the store to buy some yogurt and coffee creamer for breakfast in the morning, and then we went to TGIFriday's for dessert. Then it was back to the hotel for a hot bath (for me), ESPN (for Shannon), and in bed early (for both of us).

Monday morning we slept in (until 7:30 when nearby construction woke us up). We took the morning easy, eating breakfast in our room and enjoying the coffeepot. Then we went to the movies, where we saw Everybody's Fine. It wasn't the best movie ever, but neither was it bad, so we had a good time. Then we headed to Humpy's Great Alaskan Alehouse for lunch. I had eaten there once before, back in 2005, but my sister recommended it as one of the better places to eat, so that's where we headed! Shannon got fish & chips (he was jealous of my fish & chips at Seven Glaciers) and I got chicken fettucine, which I never do, because I know it's loaded with fat and calories. But it was what I wanted, and I'm pregnant and entitled to gain weight, so I ordered it! Yum.

The sign over the bar in Humpy's. For those of you who don't know, a humpy is a pink salmon.

Us in our booth with the humpy behind us!

My chicken fettucine, oh-so-bad for me, but oh-so-delicious!

After eating lunch we wandered around downtown for awhile, looking in fun shops and doing a bit of Christmas shopping. Then we headed to Babies 'R Us and registered for baby stuff, and then we headed to the Dimond mall where we watched some little kids at hockey practice, had a cup of soup at The Perfect Cup, and ice cream at Baskin Robins. Then it was back to the hotel to get a good night's sleep!

Tuesday morning we woke up and went to Great Harvest Bread Company, one of my favorite places in Anchorage. Shannon had never been to one, so when he asked for three samples of bread and got three real slices, he was shocked! We ate our bread samples and got some hot chocolate and a loaf of bread to-go.

The outside of Great Harvest Bread Company in Anchorage.

Mmm, a thick slice of bread, fresh hot chocolate, and a loaf of cinnamon-chip bread for the road!

Next it was back downtown to do a bit of baby shopping (diaper bag and mom-things) before heading back to the hotel to pack up and check out. We headed back to TGIFriday's for lunch, because when we were there on Sunday evening we scored some coupons for $5 sandwiches. So back we went, both getting a different chicken sandwich and splitting regular fries and sweet potato fries for a grand total of $15 after leaving a pretty good tip for our waiter!

Happy Anniversary to us with HUGE chicken sandwiches for $5 each!

And then it was time to head back to Kenai. We stopped in Girdwood to take some pictures of the mountains and frozen inlet, and then drove the remaining 2 1/2 hours home. All in all, it was a pretty good trip! The only thing that would have made it better would have been to be able to stay in a swanky hotel...but we spent most of our time out-and-about anyways, so it didn't really matter. Happy Babymoon/Anniversary to us!

The view of the inlet from a pull-off in Girdwood.

This view never gets old!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fun Stuff

A couple of weeks ago as I was flipping through the Sunday paper I discovered a local "contest" where you could win a free turkey. Simply cut out the paper turkeys in the paper, fill them out with your name, phone number, and address, and drop them at local businesses which would be doing drawings for free turkeys for the winners. So, I filled out about 10 or 12 of them and Shannon and I took about 30 minutes driving around and dropping the turkeys off at local businesses. It was almost like a date. :-) Lo and behold, we won one! Mom went to pick it up the next day (because you know, pregnant women shouldn't lift an 18-pound turkey, haha).

Shannon felt that braving the cold to run all the paper turkeys into the businesses was worth it for this beaut!

Thanksgiving was a pretty good and relaxing day. It was a bit of a bummer because Shannon had to work from Wednesday evening until Saturday evening straight through, but they did give him a few hours off on Thursday morning/afternoon so he could come enjoy a meal with us.

Mom's carving the turkey while my brother Sean looks at my Sweet Potato Casserole with contempt.

It snowed a lot this past week! Monday night and Tuesday morning we got between six and eight inches! They finally plowed our road last night, which was a very nice surprise after driving home from our birthing class: no having to maneuver my way through the deep snow on the road after all!

This picture was taken on Thanksgiving.

Shannon and I buy one new ornament every year for our Christmas tree. Our "First Christmas" ornament is two s'mores in bridal attire. I don't remember what last year's ornament is (I think I couldn't find one I really liked so I just got a cheap one at Target). But this year's ornament came from The Moose Is Loose on our trip last week.

Quite appropriate for our first Christmas in Alaska with a baby on the way, don't you think?

And on Monday when I got home from work, Shannon had surprised me with these beauties:

Blue and orange guessed it...Auburn! It's a miracle I managed to finagle myself out of a blue and orange wedding!

Shannon and I had decided that we weren't going to spend a lot of money on baby clothes for multiple reasons: 1) we're still not 100% sure that it's a girl, 2) we're moving in 2 1/2 months, 3) Then we're moving again two months after that, 4) And then we're moving again two months after that, and 5) babies outgrow newborn or 0-3 months clothes so quickly that it just didn't seem to make a lot of sense to buy a lot of things that might or might not fit for more than a month or two. For these reasons, we had what we felt was an adequate amount of baby clothing, but not a surplus by any means. Then last week, we received a package in the mail from my sister. Christmas had come early! She had mailed us an absolute ton of gently used baby girl clothes that had been given to her specifically for us.
I don't know how she did it, but I do know that we are blessed beyond belief. We lack for nothing now, thanks to her (or thanks to God for giving me a kind and thoughtful sister who wanted to bless us immeasurably).

Onesie after onesie, hat after hat, dress after dress, outfit after outfit...our little girl will be all decked out after all!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Moose is Loose!

Yesterday, Shannon and I went on a date! Ok, well, actually we drove to Soldotna to buy some stuff for Thanksgiving dinner, but while we were over there, we went to The Moose is Loose, a to-die-for bakery that Shannon's been wanting to visit since we got here in September.

The Moose is Loose is closed on Sundays and Mondays, two of Shannon's days off, so it seems that we've been missing the chance to go. So...yesterday we finally went.

This bakery has the most fantastic selection of pastries, cookies, cakes, pies, and espresso drinks. They also have a large selection of moose paraphernalia. I love all the moose stuff. I have moose dice from The Moose is Loose, and I've wanted moose pajama pants for forever, but they're kind of expensive, so I've refrained from buying them before.

However, we may just break down and buy a moose onesie for Lane. I mean, who can resist a onesie that says "Moose-chevious" or a bib that says "I moose eat" on it?

Shannon was SO excited about eating here. We shared this apple-walnut-cinnamon-roll, which was the size of a...well, it was big. And delicious. No coffee for us, since they didn't have decaf, but chai tea was a good compromise. Notice the HUGE mixer in the background.

They also have lots of signs, pictures of people wearing their "The Moose is Loose" t-shirts all over the country and world, and pictures that locals have taken of moose in their yards or around town.

My personal favorite.

34 Weeks

34 weeks.

Only 6 (or 7, I suppose, if she's late) weeks to go!

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Truly Alaskan Winter

So, this past week it decided to get cold up here in Alaska. Like, -15 or so cold. Brr! I haven't lived through an Alaskan winter since 2005, and I kind of forgot how chilly it gets! The good news is that our house is toasty warm and I know lots of good recipes for cold days! Today I tried my hand at Broccoli-Cheese Soup, and I must say, for my first attempt at it, it was really, really yummy. Too bad Shannon's at work until Saturday and it'll be gone before he gets back! But I'm sure I'll make it again.

Earlier this week, Shannon and I had yet another date! We took my brother to Young Life and then went to...drum roll please...McDonald's! Well, what can I say? There's not much to do in Kenai, and we didn't want to drive to Soldotna (there's not much to do there, either, actually), because that would have cut our date 30 minutes short! So we went to McDonald's and got a couple of hot chocolates and sat and talked about the next 7-8 months and what it has in store for us.

Ok, ok, I had an ice cream too. But Shannon ate some of it!

It's hard to believe that in two months we'll have a baby, in three months we'll be in Alabama, in five months we'll be in Virginia, and then in 7-8 months we'll finally be overseas, location tbd. This little family is going through quite a crazy year!

Shannon and I also braved the cold yesterday and went out to the swimming pool again. Today my hip flexers were actually sore from all the kicking I did! It feels nice to be sore from working out and not just from being pregnant. Lately my back has been aching if I sit too long, and the stomach muscles right below my sternum are so sore. I think they're the only ones I really have left to help me get up from lying down. Oh, I can't wait to not feel like I'm too big to move myself around! I hate needing help to get up!

This is the view when driving from town (Kenai) back out to our house. Every single time I see it I think, "Isn't God beautiful?"

The view across the Kenai River. You can barely see it, but one of the canneries I worked at during summers while I was in college is over to left on the bank of the river.

Today I officially started Christmas shopping. We're not really "doing" Christmas this year with the majority of our family because we don't really need anything (other than baby stuff), and we don't want more stuff to haul overseas with us, but we're doing small stocking stuffers with my mom's family, and Shannon and I are exchanging a couple of small gifts as well. So today I bought him a gift which I'll probably give him on Saturday when he gets home from work, and I got a few stocking stuffers for other family members as well. What's on my list this year? New slippers and a phone in which the backlight works. The light in my phone has been dead for about a year now, if not longer, but other than that it works just fine so I haven't been able to justify getting a new one. would be nice to be able to read a text message or see who's calling when it's dark, so maybe a used phone wouldn't be too extravagant?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

First Snow

It finally snowed! When Shannon got up this morning (at 6:00, bless his heart :-)) to get ready for work, it had snowed overnight! It kept snowing throughout the morning, but now it's warmed up to 34° and has stopped. We got a good couple of inches, though! Anyhow, I'm quite happy that it finally snowed. Everything has been brown and dead for about 3-4 weeks now and just plain ugly...the snow helps brighten everything up and make it prettier.

Our driveway. (My brother has been practicing parallel parking between the tires).

Yesterday, Shannon and I had a little date. My mom had court in the morning and Shannon had his weekly staff meeting, so after both of those were finished Shannon and I went to a little place here called Charlotte's. Charlotte's is only open for breakfast and lunch, and they have wonderful salads, sandwiches, and soups. We were hungry and it was cold, so we thought it'd be a good time for a date.

Shannon had Black Bean Chicken Chili. The poor guy still looks cold, wearing his coat inside!

Not the best picture of me, but look at the size of that salad! Southwest Chicken Fajita favorite thing on the menu. By the way, I brought half of the salad to my mom...I didn't eat it all!

So Shannon and I had a fun date out to lunch. Later in the afternoon we went to the swimming pool (yes, it's indoors, don't worry that we're freezing to death swimming outside!). We had the place all to ourselves, other than four little kids taking a swimming lesson. We swam laps for about 30 minutes (me with a's too much work to push my extra 20 pounds through the water without one!) and then headed to the hot tub. Shannon let the jets work on his back and I soaked my legs. Then it was home for Louisiana Dirty Rice and Beans and to invent a recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake while watching House with the family and then heading to bed. Today's my day off and I'm helping my mom get organized for the holidays. Can you believe that Thanksgiving is only two weeks away?! I think it's time to start planning the menu...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

32 Weeks

I think my belly is just a tad bigger than usual...I'd just eaten when we took this and was stuffed!

I had a doctor's appointment on Friday and was supposed to have an ultrasound today, but the ultrasound was canceled. I was going to have it at a free clinic, but apparently they don't do ultrasounds in the last trimester, so I'll have to wait until December 1st when I go for my next "real" doctor's appointment and have one then. I'll be about 35ish weeks then, so they'd probably want to do one anyways to make sure Lane is head down and that all is well.

At my doctor's appointment nothing too eventful happened. They told me that I don't have gestational diabetes, and I almost passed out from not having food before my test (it was at 9 in the morning and I would have had to have eaten breakfast at like 5:45. I decided I didn't want to get up that early). I also asked my doctor about some pain I had had a couple of days previously. My stomach had been hurting so I went through all the things I thought it could be (hunger, thirst, gas, etc) and did what I could to try to fix them (eat, drink some water, etc). When my stomach still wasn't feeling better we were preparing to head to the ER, when I stood up and suddenly I felt fine. It was so strange, but I think that Lane changed positions. She had been side-to-side, and I think she moved head-down. My stomach shape changed, I've felt kicks in new places, and the doctor said that it is common for it to be quite painful when babies turn. So all is well with Lane as far as the doctor's visit is concerned.

However, on Sunday, my stomach started hurting again. So we decided "better safe than sorry" and headed to the ER. Turns out that I was having small, irregular contractions for 10-20 seconds about every minute. They monitored me for awhile, took a test to see if I was in pre-labor (I'm not), and told me I could go home. If it happens again and the pain is worse then I'm supposed to call and/or go back in, but they said that it could be normal for my pregnancy. So, until it happens again we're just going to pray that it doesn't. :-)

I think we finally decided on her full name, but we'll just wait a bit to disclose that, just in case we change our minds. But "Lane" is going to be her middle name (for sure) and we're going to call her by it. I've gained a total of 20 pounds this pregnancy, so I'm glad to know that I've been eating enough to gain appropriately but not too much. I can eat whatever I want to over the holidays and still probably make it under the 30-pound mark. :-) Today my maternity bathing suit got its second use. We're trying to go out to the pool every week or so. It's a good workout for me (kicking around that extra 20 pounds is hard!), and Shannon likes the hot tub. I like the hot tub too, but can only sit on the top step and let my legs and butt get wet. So sad. But better safe than sorry!

Lane has found my ribs and I now feel lots of movement in that area, more on my right side than the left, but enough on the left for me to believe that she's more upside-down now than before. All is well and I don't think I have anything to complain about as far as pregnancies goes. I'm starting to get more uncomfortable but not too terribly bad. We'll see how I feel in another month, though!

Well, that's about it (ha!) for pregnancy updates! More to come soon, but I've been baking a lot...check the recipe blog for new recipes!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

An Autumn Tradition

Caroline Joy Photography is having a fall contest! Write a blog post about your favorite fall tradition and mention her in your blog, linking back to it, and be entered in a drawing for a $50 Anthropologie gift card. Read all about it here.

One of my favorite fall traditions is baking. Of course, I love to bake all year round, but there's just something about cooler, crisp air, and fall flavors that makes it more enjoyable, and almost more appropriate. Coming in from the cool weather outside to a house full of the smells of spices seems so...perfect. Now, seeing how it's fall, there's just something about baking with pumpkin. Is it just me, or does pumpkin pie just a 4th of July picnic, or even at a New Years party? Pumpkin belongs with fall like watermelon belongs with summer.

Back in 2004 when I lived in Poland, finding canned pumpkin was (and probably still is) impossible. Fresh pumpkins were almost impossible to find, but I found one, just in time for Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Pie coffee creamer is only available during select (read: fall) seasons. Just like pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks, pumpkin muffins at The Moose is Loose, and fun-sized bags of Snickers bars. Sigh.

Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, and even pumpkin-flavored coffee have always been a part of my fall baking repertoire. But this year, for the first time, I ventured into the unknown: baking pumpkin pancakes. Last fall, Shannon and I went out for breakfast one morning and I tried pumpkin pancakes. They were so good that I wanted to make my own, but the craziness of the fall semester prevented me from ever trying to make them. This year, with leftover pumpkin in the fridge and a free morning, I conquered my fears and emerged victorious.

My first attempt at pumpkin pancakes. The result: delicious!

So...pumpkin pie, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin cheesecake. Anyone out there have any other pumpkin recipes? Biscotti or scones, perhaps? Pumpkin cake or soup? We still have almost a month until Black Friday when fall is officially over, ushering in the Christmas season. So I still have a month with my friend the pumpkin before holly, mistletoe, and mulling spices take over. Please, bombard me with your favorite fall flavors!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bargain Buys (or Blessings)

God is always so good to us, often in ways that we can't understand or don't expect. Take these three examples of God's goodness in unexpected, often small, ways:

Winter boots for Shannon.

A few weeks ago I stopped into the Salvation Army to see if they had any good, nice baby clothes. They didn't. But what they did have were brand new, tags-still-on-them, winter boots, guaranteed for up to -10 Fahrenheit, in what I thought was Shannon's size, for $20. So I got Shannon to go and try on a pair, they fit just perfectly, and so we bought them. Many places it's not necessary to have winter boots, and he probably would have survived 3 months of winter in Alaska without a pair, but they sure will be nice and keep his feet dry and warm while he shovels snow this winter, or goes out to the freezer to get meat/fish/bread/whatever we need from it. Plus, they fit me too, so I can wear them if I need to go outside for something!

A nearly-new carseat, given to us by friends.

My friends Joe and Emily had a baby boy back in May. They had bought him this carseat only to find out after he was born that he hated it. He would scream his head off the entire car ride anytime they took him anywhere. So they bought him a new one (so he could sit up more) after suffering his screams for 6 or 8 weeks, and saved this one to give to us! Even if Lane hates this carseat as much as Joe and Emily's boy did, we won't be using it that much in the 6ish weeks that we're here after she's born, and we could buy one that attaches to a stroller once we're back in the Lower 48. We didn't want to do that here, because there's no need for a stroller in Kenai in January and February, and there was no point in lugging it back down South. Now we don't have to even think about what's the best thing to do, because we have a carseat no matter what!

39 ounces of coffee for $1.49.

Yesterday my mom and I went to the store to stock up on carrots (between the two of us we've bought about 40 pounds of carrots: they were on sale for $1.29/2 pounds and good, and we can keep them under the house for use all winter). While picking up a few other random items and walking by the "reduced cart," I spied this can of coffee. Medium roast, seal unbroken, but marked down to $1.49 because of the large dent in the side. A can of store-brand coffee up here runs at least 6 or 7 dollars, and for a brand that anyone's actually heard of it's more like 10 or 11 dollars. With 3 1/2 coffee drinkers (I'm the 1/ doctor told me I could have 1 cup a day if I wanted to, but I only do a few days a week) in the house, we go through coffee quite quickly. It just goes to show that God cares about us, even in the small stuff.

I could go on and on about the many ways that we have been blessed (a king-size bed for me and Shannon that my mom found for $15, being eligible for WIC and the help that has been with the grocery budget, Shannon's being hired even though they knew he'd only be there until February, a friend letting us borrow a car while we got the flat tires on another fixed...), but there's just not room. I think it is sufficient to say that God is good all the time; all the time, God is good!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

30 Weeks

30 week belly pic.

As of yesterday I am 3/4 though my first pregnancy. January 5th is only 10 weeks away! It's so crazy that we will be parents around Christmas or New Years! When people find out that Lane's due date is the 5th, they always say, "Maybe you'll have a New Years baby!" with lots of excitement. Personally, we don't want a New Years baby. I already share my birthday with the rest of the world...I don't want to share it with my firstborn child as well, thank you very much!

Next Friday I have a doctor's appointment. I get to eat 12 jellybeans in 2 minutes and then get screened for gestational diabetes! How thrilling. :-) Hopefully that test will come back negative...I don't know how well I could handle giving myself shots for 9 weeks. Other than the diabetes test, I'm not sure what to expect next week. They'll probably just see how much weight I've gained and we'll get to hear Lane's heartbeat again, and maybe they'll measure me to see how big my uterus is.

I've been feeling fine, a little more tired than I was the past couple of months, but not too tired. In my first trimester I needed a nap every day, otherwise I could barely function. As long as I get a decent night's sleep now, I'm fine, although a nap is certainly nice sometimes! I'm certainly still hungry a lot, but it seems to fluctuate: some days I'm starving all day long, and other days I eat probably less than I ate before I was pregnant. I'm getting some exercise walking around at work, and since it's been chilly and gloomy here, Shannon and I haven't been going for walks together very often. I feel like I'm doing pretty well, physically, although I miss having stomach muscles to help me get out of bed without rolling to my side first! Lane is a wiggly baby. She hasn't been kicking very much, but she definitely squirms and wiggles around, probably trying to get more comfortable in the limited space available! She's still doing the "vibrating" thing sometimes too. I don't think she has the hiccups, because her movements are never very regular, but sometimes it feels like she's shaking. Surely she's not cold! :-)

That's about all that's happening, pregnancy-wise. Shannon had to fly to Alabama for his grandmother's funeral about two weeks ago, so our lives were a little crazy because of that. But now he's back and working and we're hopefully getting into a somewhat normal schedule for a couple of months, until Lane comes and changes everything up on us!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

28 Weeks

28 weeks. I've definitely got a bump now!

I am officially in my third trimester now! Actually, I think I'm about a week into the third trimester. I had a doctor's appointment last week to meet the doctor who will deliver Lane, and he said that everything looks good. He measured my belly and we got to hear her heartbeat for the first time. I really like the doctor, Dr. Deede. He's probably in his late 50's and has been around the peninsula for a long time and has delivered lots of babies. It makes me happy to know that I'll have someone who has lots of experience. He also said that babies come when they come, often to around 2 weeks before or after your official due date. This makes me happy to know that he won't push for a c-section if I'm a week past due, especially since Lane is still measuring about 10 days smaller than "normal" for her due date.

Anyhow, all is good with the pregnancy. Lane is quite active sometimes (usually when I'm trying to go to sleep!), and I can feel her squirming around or rolling over, but I think she's too big to do flips/somersaults. She should be about 14 inches long and about 2 pounds by this point. Sometimes I can feel her "vibrating"...I don't know how else to describe it. I think maybe she has the hiccups? I'm trying to get out and walk 2 miles a day when it's not raining, and waiting tables is helping me to stay active some. I had envisioned running up until I was 7 or 8 months pregnant, but the 5 or 6 weeks I took off for packing/moving/back pain really did me in...I don't think I could start running again now. So I'll have to be content with walking.

Other than the pregnancy, life is going well up here in Alaska. The weather yesterday was so nice that Shannon actually turned on the cool air in the car! He says it wasn't the AC, but it was blowing cool air, so he admits that it was 58 degrees! It was quite nice. Today is foggy and in the 40's. Fall is almost over. We had a lot of wind and rain the past few days, so most of the leaves are gone and all the fireweed is dead. It's starting to look gloomy and this is the time of year that I long for beautiful snow to cover up all the ugly dead stuff.

Shannon has officially started his job, and he thinks that he's going to like it alright. It's not exactly what he thought it would be, but he still thinks it will be just fine. My job is going well and will be nice to help create a financial buffer for when the baby comes and I don't work anymore. So all is well!

My 16-year old brother goes to play football for the State Championship this update will surely come if they win! Last weekend he caught an interception and returned it for a touchdown...not too shabby for a defenseman!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

26 Weeks

Not too much has been happening around here the past week, so there hasn't been much to post about! However, Shannon got a job offer on Friday and starts training on Wednesday. I got a part-time job today and start on Wednesday, and I'm also going to fill in at a place I used to work if they ever need someone. So, that's the good news from our end!

We went to Fred Meyer today to find me some work clothes, because I need a white or black shirt and black pants for my new job. However, come to find out, Fred Meyer does not sell maternity clothes. That means that there is nowhere nearby that sells maternity clothes. "Nearby" meaning "within 180 miles." We'll have to drive to Anchorage if I need anything else!

So, to tide my two remaining readers over until I get something more interesting to post about, here is the best 26-week belly picture we could conjure up. I'm starting to feel fat.

26 weeks. I can still wear regular clothes, although maternity pants are much more comfortable if I'm sitting.

Now, in my defense, I know I'm not fat, just pregnant. However, when you've never struggled with your weight, never had problems with outgrowing your clothes or needing "fat clothes" for times when you weigh 5-10 pounds more than is your ideal weight, and are used to your hips being bigger than your waist, it's difficult to watch your figure go out the window. Especially when I don't even look that pregnant yet...I just look thick. I know that our baby needs the fat/blood/uterus/amniotic fluid/etc. that is making up the 17 pounds I've gained so far, but still, it's hard. I think that after being pregnant I will be able to sympathize much better with people who struggle with their weight. Even if I have a valid reason to gain this weight, I still think I'll understand how it feels emotionally to be larger than you'd like better than I ever have before. My brother called me "fatty" jokingly last night and I burst into tears. Sigh. Maybe some of the hormones will leave in 14 weeks too?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Skyline '09

We did it. We survived Skyline.

I hiked Skyline back in May '06, and I must say, I remember that it was hard. But I don't remember it taking 2 1/2 hours to get up. And I certainly don't remember it taking 1 1/2 hours to get down. I think it was more like 45 minutes to get down. But, then again, I was three years younger and not 5 1/2 months pregnant back then either. At any rate, we made it, and it was worth the four hours it took us and the aching, throbbing legs that we are now experiencing. I'll be surprised if either of us are able to really walk tomorrow.

We started at the base of the mountain, at mile 61 on the Sterling Highway. We parked, finished packing the backpack, and set out.

This doesn't look that bad, does it? 1800 feet to the top!

The sign lies. It's at least 1 1/2 miles to the top. No way does it take anyone 1 1/2 hours to walk down one mile.

We huffed and puffed our way up the mountain, slowly, but surely. Going up is tiring, for sure, your heart pounding as fast as it does when you're running as fast as you can. A lot of the trail looked like this:

And this is an easy part.

But we were rewarded with views like this on the way up:

About 1/4 of the way up.

Another bit further can start to see the second lake in the distance.

Taking a break for a photo.

We found some snacks:

Wild raspberries

And much further up, wild blueberries.

And finally, we reached the top:

When there's no one else around, you have to do the best you can!

Shannon at the summit, with the Sterling Highway headed west in the background.

Shannon's favorite picture of the day: an almost-25-week belly pic at the summit of Skyline, with the Kenai mountains in the background.

So after dawdling at the top for about ten minutes, resting, signing the guest book, and donning our gloves (it was chilly!) for the way back down, we headed back down the trail. Going up was hard on our quads and butts; going down was hard on our knees. We both were feeling pretty old by the time we reached the bottom, with our legs and knees aching.

Heading down.

But it was worth it. I mean, how many times in your life do you get the chance to do something like this? Not enough. And besides, when else would Shannon have gotten to see a ptarmigan in the wild?

A ptarmigan, the Alaska state bird, waiting for us behind the sign introducing the trail.

Overall, it was a great day, and a great hike. Shannon says that knowing what he knows now, he'll never hike it again. But he's glad he did it once. And he thinks I'm crazy for doing it twice.