Cute

Update to the baby shower gifts:

I thought this was really sweet. Today, as I arrived at one of my lessons in Colleyville, I noticed the neighbor boy that I used to teach last spring, who ran out of time for lessons this Fall (thanks a lot, Colleyville Middle School football team!). He had walked 2 blocks from his house to where he knew I’d be teaching next, where, true to adolescent teenage awkwardness, shyly handed me a present from his mom. It was so sweet of her to think of me, especially since I haven’t taught their family for 4 months.

Thanks to them, I now have my $40 Moby Wrap!

I love how this Moby Wrap apparently came with unnecessary cleavage flashing.

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Preview

This last Sunday, our good friend Katie Gaspard took some 36 week maternity photos for us. She has the cd waiting for me in Dallas– here are the two preview pics she sent me. Please don’t be horrified at the crazy belly button ring scar. Kind of ironic, considering how much my mom warned me against getting a piercing, saying it would “get infected” (she even wanted to take me off our health insurance!). And, wouldn’t you know? It didn’t get infected until I took it out, 6 years later!! I regard it as my cautionary tale for anyone reading Dante late at night– don’t pierce or tattoo anything, just because you’re reading Inferno!

The light is sort of blotchy on Jesse's face. We had a lot of reflected light in this one.

Skip Hop

Tomorrow is my third and final baby shower. I mentioned last week about another 4th shower, but that got cancelled. It was going to be awkward anyways…Jesse’s work wanted to throw a party for him and a pregnant woman in the office, and they wanted me to be there. I don’t know anyone in his new building, so I was dreading how potentially weird it was going to be. Besides, the reason it got cancelled is because the company is anticipating taking on another huge acquisition, which means that Jesse’s entire dept. is going to get bumped up from “30’s” (accounts that are 30 days late) to Loss Mitigation. Hence, everyone in his dept. was required to participate in a Loss Mit. Bootcamp in order to prepare. The training room they used? The very room they were going to hold the party in. Problem solved– no awkwardness, potential promotion and payraise instead. I’ll take it!

Back to tomorrow: although I’ve already had two wonderful showers, one in CA, one here in TX, my piano families insisted on throwing me another one. Two of the moms were caterers/party planners before having kids, so they are holding a luncheon and serving French cuisine. It should be quite yummy.

Anyways, two of the cutest things on my Target registry arrived today in the mail from one of the ladies who can’t be at the shower (btw, Skip Hop is pretty much the cutest company ever!).

A whale spout cover, and a bunny ears comb/brush grooming set!

Everyone has already been so generous to Baby Gregory, that a few piano moms have complained that I don’t have enough things on my registry. One mom who also can’t be at the shower tomorrow gave me a $50 giftcard instead, saying, “It was a real temptation for me to buy baby clothes, especially since all I have are girls, but I decided to go the practical route for your sake”. I thought that very selfless and thoughtful of her!

Orthodox Prayer from Shower

As I am still overwhelmed by the baby shower yesterday (one lady alone contributed over $100 in gifts, etc.!) I forgot to post one of my favorite parts of it: a beautiful Orthodox prayer that all the women prayed out loud for me.

Some of you might be thrown off by the 2 mentions of Mary (not me, Mary, but the Theotokos, Mary). All I can say is that it’s way more complex than I have time to get into, but we don’t believe that anyone else but Jesus can “save us from our sins” (I put it into quotations because we don’t use that terminology, but I remember it as being the Protestant equivalent of what we mean). There are different kinds of saving, and we believe that Mary, Mother of God has a specific intercessory role with child-bearing women.

Anyways, it’s a beautiful prayer, and I had to fight tears the entire time. Read it if you want! Pray it for us if you want!

O Sovereign Lord Jesus Christ our God, the Source of life and immortality, bless Mary and the fruit of her body that was given by Thee; favor them and animate this child by Thy Holy Spirit, and let it grow a healthy and pure body, with well formed limbs.

Sanctify this child’s body, mind, heart, and vitals, and grant this infant that is to be born an intelligent soul; establish him in the fear of Thee.

A faithful angel, a guardian of soul and body, do thou vouchsafe him.  Protect, keep, strengthen, and shelter the child in her womb until the hour of his birth.

O Lord Jesus Christ, place this infant upon the right hand of Thy grace, and through Thy Holy Spirit sanctify him and renew him unto life everlasting, that he may be a communicant of Thy Heavenly Kingdom.  Amen.

O All-Merciful Christ our God, look down and protect Thy handmaiden Mary from fear and from evil spirits that seek to destroy the work of Thy hands.  And when her hour and time is come, deliver her by Thy grace.

Look with compassionate eye and deliver Thy handmaiden from pain.  Lighten her infirmity in the time of travail and grant her fortitude and strength for birth giving, and hasten it by Thine almighty help.

For this is Thy glorious work, the power of Thine Omnipotence, the work of Thy grace and tender-heartedness.  Amen.

My most gracious Queen, my hope, O Mother of God, the joy of those in sorrow, help us, for we are helpless.

Intercede thou and pray thy Son, Christ our God, that He lighten for his handmaiden Mary this season while she is with child, and that He ease the burden of heaviness of her, and bestow His blessings upon the child to which she is giving birth.

For we know no other help save thee, no other hope save thee, O Mother of God, that will guard and protect her and her child.  For by thine intercession and help we send up glory and thanksgiving for all things unto the One God in Trinity, the Creator of all, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.  Amen.

Dallas Baby Shower

This afternoon, Courtney and Katie held a St. Seraphim Ladies Shower for me. Just like the CA shower Tess and Julie threw, I became overwhelmed by the love and generosity shown to me by everyone. Even though these people have been a part of my life for the last 3 years, it still amazes me how generous everyone was. Not only did Courtney collect enough money for both the expensive carseat and stroller I had picked out, but there was about $100 leftover! Plus we received countless other gifts…truly overwhelmed. It’s almost as if God knew that Jesse and I don’t have any money to spare these next couple months since I’m not working. It’s also almost as if God knew that gifts are my “love language”…

For the quick version of the carseat/stroller story…I had originally picked one out an infant carseat/stroller combo travel system at Sears. The kind folks at my CA baby shower pitched in enough for me to buy it. After talking to a few other moms, reading some reviews, etc, I realized that while a “click in, click out” infant carseat works well at first, it only lasts for a few months before they’ve outgrown it. I decided to use the Sears $ I had received for baby room essentials, and trust in God’s timing and provision for the carseat and stroller. Turns out, it’s a providential thing that I waited! The Combi Corocco carseat in this next picture works from infancy– 3 years old, plus, it fits well in compact cars such as our Corolla! The stroller is a nifty jogger, with a swivel front wheel. Not as nice as a “BOB” stroller, but 1/2 the price. And it even has an MP3 player dock, with speakers near the baby’s head.

Oh, and a few weeks ago, one of the moms gave me a hand me down “click in click out” infant carseat she used for her 2 kids. If I can research it and discover that there haven’t been any recalls, I can use it too! I’m very glad I didn’t buy one back in July.

Stroller and carseat, plus other gifts and cute onesies!

Blocks from his room, along with the Gap Bearsuit that Julie bought him

Katie's awesome sign that we got to keep!

Yummy foods! More came later, but I forgot to take photos later

The chocolate cake that Courtney made!

The owl wishing tree

Frothy punch and lemon/lime water

Fruit!

One of two "diaper cakes". This one was made by Maureen, with all sorts of goodies stuck in around it. The second was made by Courtney using all organic diapers 🙂 She knows me...

Flowers in vases

Cute outfits and onesies

36 Weeks

My best impression of a stork. Or flamingo. Can't remember which...

I know. Huge, right?

Feeding coffee to the baby...

If I even hint at what we were about to do with this iron, CPS would be all over us...

Thought you might like this candid shot of our living room. Jesse thinks it's profitable to take these.

Baby Reading

I just bought 2 books that I am anxious to read through, as soon as a few more school tasks are out of the way.

I know many people have read and recommended the first, but how about the second?

Coffee!

I just poured myself a small cup of caffeinated coffee, my first in nearly a month, and I’m thinking to myself, why on earth do I even need this? But I do– I feel like this entire third trimester has my brain wrapped in a anxious and impatient fog. Plus I have a short paper on Conrad to write by tomorrow evening. So I am drinking coffee, not to stay awake, but to give myself that extra jolt of mental agility.

I kid you not when I say that it will pain you to know how much sleep I’ve been getting lately. I usually go to bed at around 10:30-11:30, when Jesse does. I wake up at 6:10 so that I can eat breakfast with him, and then I go back to sleep….for about 4 hours. And then, I sometimes take another 1-2 hour nap. Folks, I’m clocking in at around 10-13 hours of sleep a day, and I’m still counting down the minutes when I can go back to sleep again every night!

I have this luxury, seeing as my job does not have many hours to it. It’s really the very delicious part about teaching piano– I work around 15-20 hours each week, making more money than I did teaching high school. As a result, I have every day until 2 or 3pm all to myself.

It’s not all fun and games, because I am finishing up my last two graduate classes, which involve a lot of reading and writing. And I am trying to prepare for this thing I usually call a baby, but will refer to him in this post as “he-who-punches-holes-in-my-intestines”. I also try to have the house clean, laundry and ironing done and a dinner plan laid out so that Jesse can come home and relax. While he usually does need to make dinner (unless he wants to eat close to 8pm when I get home!), I try to have everything there at his disposal, including a recipe. Plus, he loves to cook. He emailed me from work on Tuesday, saying, “I have this dream of making peach cobbler…will you help me realize this dream?”

I know that I need the extra sleep. He-who-punches-holes-in-my-intestines makes me very weary. Getting in and out of the car is a massive feat. Swimming is about the only aerobic activity that I still enjoy, simply because it doesn’t have massive consequences for my ability to function later. I can’t open and close my hands for the first half of the day. My hips hurt so much from expansion that I develop huge burning knots on either side of my pelvis. He-who-punches-holes-in-my-intestines has his feet and knees kicking on my tail bone, making me feel as though a had a huge fall at a roller skating rink.

So, I asked Jesse the other day, which would he prefer? To have a nice day of leisure, reading and writing, with the occasional housework and errand to run, but be unable to walk or bend over without pain, having to pee every 2-4 hours of the night? Or would he rather work a long, nine hour day but have his bodily health intact, able to do and eat anything he wants when he gets home?

He had to think about it, but decided that he wants the first part of my situation, added into the last part of his. I said that’s cheating.

UPDATE: 3 pages of my Conrad paper cranked out in 45 minutes. Wow, that coffee sure helped!! Let’s just hope it makes sense…

Financial Matters

I read in a Parenting magazine that before having a child, it is a good idea to write a will in the case that something happens to us. While I’ve never felt a need to write a will before, our child will be the most valuable thing we have in our keeping. Perhaps the only valuable thing.

Does anyone know how to legally write a will for such a matter? I’ve googled it, but it was just so I could get an idea of what’s out there. I’d much rather get advice from someone directly.

Also, does anyone have any idea how to start a college fund? While the fact that Jesse and I are still paying off our school loans could get in the way of putting money away for someone who might not even decide to go to college someday, it’s actually an incentive. I don’t want Gregory to need vast amounts of school loans to go to the college he wants. I keep thinking that just a little bit of money now could reap vast rewards in 18 more years.

Has anyone else done either of these things and have advice to give?

Waste and Wastefulness

(Don’t be too shocked, but this is Jesse writing this post, not Kelly. She wanted me to make sure that was clear.)

As is it just so happened today, at work a guy I don’t know walks up to the urinal, pauses, and flushes it before going about his business. Now certainly this isn’t a big deal, and my coworker probably didn’t even pause to think about the action. But it’s a really silly thing to do.  There is no hygienic reason for clearing out the previous contents of the urinal. The fact of the matter is that by initial flushing accomplishes nothing but wasting a little water. One wonders if this man’s pee require to be deposited in pure spring water before it joins the rest of the sewage? This behavior (and keep in mind I don’t know this man at all) isn’t in anyway rationally defensible (which doesn’t make it wrong), but it makes one wonder what is happening with the person that they would exhibit this sort of behavior.

There are countless other examples, but I’ll stick with work for now (since none of them read this blog). In the break room there are plastic silverware, and Styrofoam plates and cups.  The cups disappear like crazy as people get a new cup with every trip for water or coffee.  I started to realize that I was going through four or fives cups a day when I bothered to even pay attention.  So I had Kelly pick up a mug for me at a garage sell, and 25 cents later I was simultaneously saving my company money and the environment.

While both of these are good things, that’s not really why I care. There is something spiritually cumbersome about wastefulness, whether it be with material items or time. Both these things are gifts from God and lack of awareness and gratitude for them prove to be very good signs of similar sentiments towards God.

The distinction between sins of omission and sins of comission is misleading, and it gives us a false picture of sin.  It tricks into thinking that sin is a category of “things”. Sin is our failure to conform to the likeness of God. It’s not a “thing” with a discrete border. You can point to an action, but sin is never just an event.  It’s failure to attend and obey the Holy Spirit. “Be perfect, even as our Heavenly Father is perfect.” The verse is not a caution to never misstep, but an injunction as to our high calling  It is not the case that we are viewed in terms of which technical infractions we’re transgressed and which paperwork we’ve correctly submitted. It means that we are called to the likeness of God, the high calling that is the purpose of humanity. When we sin we are being less-than-human.

We often talk of sin as if it is something to be categorized. We talk of sin when we should be speaking of vices. Really we should be speaking of sin as we do maturity and immaturity: often easy to distinguish but difficult to see where it begins and ends.  We know when someone isn’t handling things as they well as they should, even if we don’t know the best way for them to fix it. This is true even when we analyze ourselves.

Sin is not a thing that reveals us to God– something that presents us to Him. It’ something that is realized by virtue of our relationship to him. This is what legalism is: the view that sin is the summation of who we are that is presented to God. It takes what is realized by virtue of our relationship to God, and suggests that we create a formula by which we relate to God.  It puts something between us and God, reversing the way it should be.

Then again, it could be the case that I make too much out if things like  a flush.