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*Ah-choo*

Please excuse me a moment while I dust off these keys…

So, apparently having a baby is everything everyone ever told me it would be: time-consuming, stressful, sleep-depriving, busy, really busy, scary, confusing, messy…

And absolutely wonderful!

In the past five months, my whole world has been turned upside down, shaken senseless, and re-prioritized. Some parts have been downright painful (like labor, delivery, nursing, and hormonally-driven emotional surges), but there are other parts that have been just…amazing. Completely, breathtakingly amazing.

Before the birth of my son, nothing and no one would make me understand what it’s like to be the mother a chubby, toothless wonder that has stolen your heart away by doing nothing else but simply existing. Or that I’ll actually be OK with being pooped on, peed on, vomited on, drooled on, chewed on, and bit by him, because he’s got the most beautiful toothless smile you’ve ever seen. I’ve heard at least two people describe motherhood as “watching your heart walk around outside your body,” which I have personally found to be true.

Of course, it’s not all lollipops and rainbows over at my house – don’t get me wrong. My laundry has piled up, the floors need to be scrubbed, my bed hasn’t been made since…yeah, let’s not go there, and you probably shouldn’t turn on the light if you want to use my bathroom. My husband and I haven’t fought this much in a five-month time span since we were engaged while living 1,300 miles apart. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much in my life, and don’t get me started on the list of things that nobody tells you about when you’re pregnant.

But, I am surviving and, dare I say, thriving by the grace of God. His grace keeps me going. It allows me to soothe the crying baby when all I want is for someone to hold me so I can have my own good cry. It helps me get dinner on the table when I want to just crawl under the covers and hope my messy house will just go away. It shows me how to love and respect my husband when we’re both sleep-deprived and cranky. It lets me be OK with the fact that there is no manual for being a parent.

I have a feeling I’m going to be spending a lot of space on this blog processing what I’m going through and learning, now that I’m a mother. Some people may find it to be just another mom blog, but I hope that for some it will be an encouragement. Maybe you’ll relate, maybe you’ll get some insight, maybe you’ll even have some advice for me. However it happens, my life is forever changed because five months ago my son was born, and there’s no going back. So here I go…

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I don’t know if anyone else ever goes through that period of “What the hell am I doing here?!” right after they make or experience major change…but that’s how I’ve been feeling lately.  To sum it up, the past 14 months have lead to job changes for both me and Hubby, the sale of our house, a move to another state where we don’t know anyone (putting us further away from family and friends than ever before), and me being pregnant with our first child.  And it’s taking its toll…at one of my last doctor’s appointments, I cried uncontrollably the entire time, just because I felt so overwhelmed with all the changes (especially the pregnancy) and had no support outside of my husband, who needed his own.  The nurse handled it ok, but the doctor asked if I wanted antidepressants.  No!  I just want a friend!  Why did I have to get pregnant AFTER we left all our friends?

So, I decided to take a break from my pity party to do some actual reflection.  I came across two songs that said it all (don’t you love when that happens?).  The first is Painting Pictures of Egypt by Sara Groves, which draws a great parallel between how I’ve been feeling and how the Israelites felt when they were going through the desert in their escape from Egypt.

The other song is If You Want Me To by Ginny Owens.  I’ve stopped feeling sorry for myself and accepted that God knows things that I have no way of understanding.  There’s a reason for everything.

I also remembered that I went through a similar phase when I moved to our previous state.  I left everything I knew and was in a place where I didn’t know anyone.  I spent 2 or 3 years openly expressing how much I didn’t like it there and my home state was so much better.  But eventually, I found a purpose, along with many great friends, and now I really miss that place.  God was faithful, and He will be again now and forever.

Isaiah 49:1-13

I was just reminiscing on how technology has changed since I was in college.  Yes, technology is constantly changing, but it’s sort of fun/funny to pick a point in time and compare then with now.  I mean, think about dail-up AOL with “chat rooms” and compare that with instant, 24/7 internet access on your phone, where you can update your Facebook, Twitter, or connect to Skype.

Wow…I can remember a time when I didn’t even have a cell phone.  Cell phones were for rich people, important people, people who wore suits and had “business” to get done (whatever that meant).  Back then, my wildest dreams had me aspiring to owning a beeper – all the cool kids had beepers.  The first time I was allowed access to a cell phone was when I turned 16 and started driving.  And even then, I was just carrying around my mom’s phone, only if I went out after dinner, and only to use in case of emergencies.  I was also driving her car, which meant I had to replace the gas I used and wash it every Saturday.

Then, when I started college, my parents added me to their cell phone plan.  I was allotted about 200 minutes a month and my phone looked something like this:

Cutting-edge technology, folks!

Yep, it had an antenna, a green screen with black pixels forming the letters and, um, “graphics”, and 3 or 4 different types of beeping noises for ring tones.  Oh yeah…I was cool! 🙂  When my parents cautioned me about going over my minutes, I remember nodding to them while thinking to myself, “How the heck would I ever use up that many minutes?!”

Current-day me looks back on this cute, little, naive teenager and smiles.  Oh, honey, just wait.  The time will come when you’ll yawn at 200 minutes per month.  Eventually, phones will come with full-color displays, they’ll have cameras to take pictures and *gasp* videos!  Pretty soon, you won’t know what to do with yourself if you can’t have a phone without “text messaging” (you’ll learn about that in a couple years).  And get this…you’ll be able to access the World Wide Web on your phone one day!  Yep, and you’ll start to twitch if you lose your wi-fi signal.  One day, phones won’t even need buttons!  Woah, ok…too much?  We’ll stop there.

I’m trying to imagine what kind of technology will be available to my son when he becomes a teenager.  Will he look at my iPhone and laugh at what a dinosaur it is?  Will his eyes widen in disbelief when I tell him that we had to survive on only 3G or 4G through our phones?  Will Facebook and Twitter still be cool?  One of these days, I’ll sit him on my lap and tell him, “When I was your age, all I wanted was a beeper.”  And when he turns his puzzled little face up to look at mine and asks, “What’s a beeper?”, I’ll smile tell him my story…

Heeeeey…and we’re back from commercial break!  Sorry for that moment…er…month…of silence.  The thing is, I really only had one thing to talk about, but I couldn’t share anything yet.  What is this big news?

I’M PREGNANT!!! 🙂

Yep, that’s right.  By October, we’re expecting a little bundle of Spanish-American joy. 🙂  Obviously, going through first trimester gloriousness, all I’ve had to talk about is feeling sick, tired, or cravings.  Not the greatest blog material, but I think from here on out we’ll be alright.  Although, I have found some of my cravings amusing, especially when they come on so randomly.  Like the time I woke up and said, “Pancakes!”  That’s all I wanted.  Right away.  Yikes…

And for those of you who might be wondering, no, we weren’t exactly trying.  It actually went something like this, “Wow, things are going really well.  Yeah, maybe in a few months we could…oh, are those two pink lines?  Nevermind!” 🙂  We are SUPER excited, and my husband has already started looking for baby-sized futbol (soccer) jerseys.  My brother texts me about once a week, wondering if we know whether it’s a boy or a girl yet.  And I’m pretty sure none of our parents have stopped grinning since our announcement. 🙂

And here’s baby’s first picture, at 9 weeks:

It's kinda fuzzy, but you can see the head, torso, and a little hand! Baby was a little wiggly, so it was hard to get a clearer pic.

So, other than that, I’m still housewifing, although I have begun a job search, mainly focusing on at-home opportunities.  The flexibility seems to fit well with our current “long term goals.” 😉  I had to take an “assessment” to find out whether I can…I don’t know…follow directions?  We’ll see how it goes, I haven’t gotten the results back yet. 

As for what I’m not doing: jury duty!  I got a letter from my old city, summoning me to yonder East Coast.  But one phone call and an email with a scanned copy of my new driver’s license later, I was excused.  Apparently, they’re not up for reimbursing 10-hour road trips or authorizing Skype in their courtrooms…yet.  The sad thing is, I am one of like 10 other people in the U.S. who would actually enjoy reporting for jury duty!  Call me a nerd, but I think it would be interesting.  So, there’s a bit of pre-Friday irony for you to savor: me, of all people, getting out of jury duty, no hassle! 🙂  Sorry for those of you who will be dragging your feet to the courthouses.  Maybe some day I’ll get to. 🙂

I once read a post on a friend’s blog – My Interior By Design – that went like this:

1. Healthy things grow.

2. Growing things change.

3. Changing things challenge us.

4. Challenge forces us to trust.

5. Trust leads to obedience.

6. Obedience makes us healthy.

7. Healthy things grow.

Change.  It can be so difficult.  It can be so good.  It can be a pain in the butt!  Changes have really hit me as I adjust to life in a new state (and yes, sometimes I walk around during my day with the David Bowie song, “Changes”, stuck in my head).  For example, in the state of Georgia, you get your driver’s license from the Department of Driver Services (or DDS), but then you go across town to a totally different office run by the county to get your car’s plates.  Never had to do that before, and the idea sounded awful – two different offices to complete a task that I used to be able to take care at one?! Come. On.  Well, it turned out to be a rather painless and efficient system, because it took all of 20 minutes for both my husband and I to get our car tags, so…yay! 🙂

Another thing I’ve been adjusting to is not knowing anyone around here.  Well, I’ve got my neighbor, who’s been really nice, but she’s much older than me, so we probably would run out of things to talk about if we ever found a place we both wanted to hang out.  I really drive myself crazy at church or Starbucks, which are both places I used to go and see friendly faces.  Oh, well, the faces are friendly enough around here, too, but none of them are familiar.  That doesn’t stop my from scanning every face, trying to find someone familiar!  Still haven’t found one.  😦

It’s hard to think back and remember that only 5 years ago, I was in the same situation in Virginia.  I had just moved from the Midwest, where I was born and raised.  Friendly strangers, low humidity, and cold weather were all I had known!  Needless to say, moving to the East Coast/South, living 20 minutes from the ocean was quite a culture shock!  I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t have a job, and I didn’t have a clue where to start!  Fast forward half a decade, and as we packed up all our earthly belongings (besides the ones that are still being stored in my parent’s basement), we said several teary goodbyes to people who had become close friends.  People who I had never known existed a few years before are now some of the dearest people to me. 

And now, I look forward to living that all over again, even though I have no idea what the process will look like, and it probably won’t be all that fun sometimes, but one day, I will be able to look at my life and smile at all the wonderful people who have come into it at different times, in different places, and made it so much more special.

So here’s to growth, change, challenge, trust, and obedience!