Thursday, June 27, 2013

Here We Go!

Right now Jim is completing his last few flash cards before taking his second medical board exam tomorrow. He'll spend the day taking eight one hour long tests. Makes my stomach curl just thinking of it. Please keep him in your thoughts & prayers! Tomorrow evening will be when his last "summer" ever begins and also our last summer before our family grows. We plan to make the most of it!

We'll spread our time between Philadelphia for Erin & Russ' wedding (!), Lebanon with Jim's parents, New York City with Tim & KC, The Pinery with my parents, siblings, & extended family, Cape May for our baby moon, and then home for a week of projects/nursery prepping before Jim starts rotations again.

I'll try to post updates along the way! No promises, though.

Here's another fun shot from our pregnancy photo shoot:

At my midwife appointment on Wednesday the baby's heartbeat was 140 beats/min. He/she is staying quite consistant with their heart rate and when they measured my belly we were right on target with 28 cm for 28 weeks! I asked the midwife if it was possible to tell which way the baby is facing and she felt around, molding my belly with her hands to find the head, spine, and bottom of our little one. Her final verdict was that the head is down, the spine is curving up the left side of my uterus, and the legs and arms are on my right side. That's why my right side is getting all of the kicking action! She said that the baby could easily move from this position at any time, but that by 32-36 weeks he/she will be pretty set in his/her position. We'll see!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day Weekend

Bittersweet is the best way to describe Father's Day this year.

I thought of and celebrated my dad, who is one of the most talented, musical, determined people I know. His music can touch me deeply, as almost none other can, and the cabin he built combines with so many wonderful memories that fill me up. He's always been a dreamer, but he makes many of those dreams come to fruition and we are the beneficiaries.

Though I didn't see my own father on the actual day, I did see him the day before. He delivered the personal remarks at my Uncle John's memorial service and they were extremely touching, describing character of my Uncle John and making so many people chuckle with their own memories of his impact in their lives. I was a proud daughter sitting in the pew, knowing that my dad had probably spent many sleepless nights reminiscing, writing, rewriting, pacing, and rehearsing. It was beautifully written and delivered and I'm sure Uncle John was smiling, nodding, and laughing his signature laugh.

I love you, Daddio!

I always considered Uncle John to be my second father. I spent every summer of my life living at The Pinery, where he would visit us at least once a week and we would visit his family, too. Memories of his joking and speaking of the future abound. It was always so comfortable to sit and listen to him talk to my parents and Aunt Beth. We bought our first car from him and always called him before actually purchasing our next cars or dishing out a significant amount of money to fix our cars. He was the go-to guy for many, many people. 

This weekend was spent remembering him and celebrating his life. Family and friends came from all over the United States and one from Germany to give tribute to him. He impacted so many people and helped to shape who they became. At the service, a choir sang "River in Judea" and it was a combination of the church choir and Venango Choir (both of which he was involved in) as well as a few family members. Combined, it was probably fifty plus people, all wanting to sing and honor him. Never has there ever been a campfire with more people laughing hysterically while sharing stories of a person's life. His wit and timing were extraordinary.

I love and miss you, Uncle John!

This was also the first father's day without grandpa. Uncle John's joined him in heaven, and if there are pranks in heaven, then Grandpa might have just gotten a note hidden by my uncle. Right about now he just might be chuckling to himself and shaking his head. 

This was Jim's first Father's Day and what a great father he'll be! The car ride to and from Pennsylvania was filled with remembrances about Uncle John, dreams of our future, and talk of what he's looking forward to doing with our children. His passions for biology and nature, enjoying hard work with his hands, woodworking, reading, and learning, being just a part of his excitement to share in raising our little one.

It's crunch time right now for studying for Step 2, his medical board at the end of this month, but he relaxed and interacted with my crazy & funny family all weekend. I don't think he'd have it any other way. AND, we took a few minutes for a little pregnancy photography shoot (Thank you, Whitney!!).

I love you, Jim!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hither & Thither

I move through periods of joy, stagnant thoughts, and sorrow. I remain often in the haze of stagnant, thinking of my uncle who passed and yearning so desperately to believe that he'll be at Tippery Pines, his home, when I arrive on Thursday.

He'll be exiting his workshop, built of straw bale, and greeting my family with a knowing smile. Perhaps he'd then throw some Orris burgers (of his own creation) on the grill, while also manning a campfire with a bed of hot coals. He'll offer my dad a beer or a bourbon and their conversations would weave in through the porch door, as my cousins braid my hair and chat about their lives and to me and my siblings.

Soon we'd all grab a seat at one of the picnic tables outside. Sometimes there's a children's table, while other times we all cram into one table. The cousins chatter, but always pause the conversation to eaves drop or giggle at the most recent Uncle John quip, as my Aunt Beth responds with an "Oh John!" Adult and children's laughter continues for minutes on end or escalates with the next banter of my dad and Uncle John's tangent.

Such joy. Such peace. So comforting.

Desiring so strongly to believe that in July, he will pull in between the pines at The Pinery and get out of the car with a hilarious remark, leaving me laughing and smiling to myself all night. We'd all rush to get our suits on, but not Uncle John, the water is too cold for him. Until recent years, that is, when he would come in and swim or wade with his grandchildren. Laughter echos down the river, as adult and child alike are caught off-guard by his witty statement.

Two innertubers come floating down the river. Uncle John turns and asks quite enthusiastically, but calmly, "Would you like a shrubbery?" To which the tuber replies knowingly, "A shrubbery?" And they proceed to quote Monty Python, leaving us all in stitches. The tubers float away, but we get to continue enjoying his humor all evening.

Sometimes he gets quiet and reflective, staring into the flames of the campfire. I often wonder what's going on in his head. Thoughts of work on his most recent plane, his time in Vietnam, or his next wood-working project. Perhaps, but I don't know. We all need quiet sometimes.

Quiet. Relaxed. And wonderfully familiar.

I sit here in Virginia longing to believe he's still with us. As my brother, Willem, said,"... there are some campfires, living rooms, a church, and some lives that have an Uncle John sized part of them missing." We feel the horrid ache. Yet I know that he's in heaven. He's where joys will never end. We can have hope that we will be together again. That's where the joy can be found when we are in such sorrow.

John Adam Orris, Jr.
October 3, 1949-June 4, 2013

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Hello Third Trimester!?

This has to be a joke! Right? The second trimester is already done? I cannot believe it.

Once again the pregnancy journal surprised me, since I was flittering along thinking I had a few more weeks and then WHAM! Yesterday I was doing one of my prenatal videos (thanks, Marianne!) and the yogi asks you to follow one of the three women in the video, depending on which trimester you are in and your flexibility/ability. I was gleefully following the second trimester woman and thinking about how weird it will be to modify the stretches and poses so much when I eventually get to the third trimester. Well, hello! That was my last day in the second trimester.

Second Trimester Collage
-each # represents the weeks-
Perhaps the reason I'm so shocked is because second trimester was a breeze compared to the first trimester. My appetite was great, I slept through the night without needing a snack, could exercise or do almost anything, and I wasn't exhausted throughout each and every day.

I have noticed that my balance isn't all that it used to be. Some yoga poses that would have been fairly easy for me require much more concentration and some support. Rolling out of bed isn't too bad, but it's noticeably different! I'm certainly not as spry as I was before, but just ask the scale... I'm hitting numbers I've never seen before :)

In the last two weeks I have been struggling with back pain and have woken up through the night with aches and pains. I have been wearing a compression belt, of sorts, and it helped some. On Thursday my OB recommended that I take it easier in some tasks and remove some activities from my day. Though still present, my back has felt significantly better since putting those things into action and I have been sleeping through the night!

Baby B has been noticeably active during this trimester, as opposed to moving unbeknownst to me before! What a joy it's been to feel him/her moving around. Within the last two weeks the movements have been so strong that my belly sometimes bounces, though I am the only one who's actually witnessed it so far. Papa Jim has been feeling the movements each night as we sit and watch a show or relax together. Other than that his/her Aunt Phoebe is the only other person to feel the baby move so far; she felt two good thumps on Memorial Day Weekend. Your movements have us mesmerized, little one.

We are extremely excited about you, Baby B! This morning I read that you are the size of a rutabaga (about 13.5'' and 1.5 lbs) and are trading in your thin, lean body for one with a little more fat and chub, just as a babe needs to have. Your lungs are also now capable of breathing air, according to my journal.  Wow! It seems so early! I also learned that you are growing more hair and that IF I could see you, I would know what color your hair is already! Perhaps you'll be born with red hair like your mama or blonde hair like your papa, we'll see.

Cravings include avocados, Sweet Frog frozen yogurt, popsicles (this all-fruit one we just discovered... cranberry flavored!), Chipotle, sun chips, strawberries (from our patch!), and any and all fruits.

The whole birth experience absolutely enthralls me. The fact that a baby is capable of growing within a person is just amazing. Just one more trimester before meeting our babe! Baby B, we love you!

Two down, one to go!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Birthday Delights

As promised, here's the post from when we finally celebrated Jim's birthday! He, once again, tried to stump me by asking for a cake he didn't think actually would exist. One of these days he'll get wise and actually check the internet to see if any of these desserts have been posted online before challenging me, but shhhhhh... don't tell him. Thank goodness for the worldwide web!

This year he asked for a kiwi cake. Little did I know that kiwis are actually one of his favorite foods!? Almost four years into marriage and I never knew and maybe only purchased them once or twice before this cake. Sheesh. Well, now I know!

We found this great recipe and ran with it. It's kiwi cake with lemon-lime cream cheese frosting!

The prettiest batter you ever did see.
Strawberries from the patch in our front yard!
Have I mentioned how much I LOVE our new place?
The final product. A perfect summer dessert!
Good choice, Babe!
The happy birthday boy who had just returned from a run :)
We've been doing this for three years and I have to say that Jim knows how to choose delicious desserts! This was a real winner and great for a hot evening.

Delight Two
We received a package from Alaska, which is always exciting! My cousin Marianne is known to put together some pretty out-of-this-world packages AND she is incredibly gifted at whatever creative project she sets her mind to. To my great joy she combined both of these knacks and made Baby B an absolutely BEAUTIFUL baby quilt!!!

Wow, wow, wow!
I cannot wait to cuddle our babe in this gorgeous quilt. Even though she was in the final stretch of teaching school, getting her house ready to sell, and in the midst of packing to move to Germany (where her husband is already working and so she is flying solo as a parent to her two year old), AND her father is my uncle John, who I wrote about in the previous post, she somehow managed to make this blanket for our baby. She is a rock star. Thank you from the very bottom of our hearts, Marianne! We love you so very much.

Pregnancy Out-takes!
Just playing around and waiting for a cake to bake :)

24 weeks pregnant!