Sunday, April 28, 2013

Grandma's 80th Birthday, Stephen is Dean and Baby Girl stayed put!

I got a really wonderful treat yesterday - I skyped with my grandma and the rest of my family to wish Grandma Happy 80th birthday! This is my dad's mom and we lost Papa (dad's dad) in November to recap. Grandma doesn't really talk much as she has trouble forming words so I don't really call her because for a lot of because it's hard to have a conversation with her, and I also don't want to frustrate her because she can't talk back. But as much as I ache for Papa still, I have ached to know that grandma is okay. They were such a sweet loving couple who really lived for one another. It's also hard sometimes for her to open her eyes, but when mom put the iPad in front of her and she opened her eyes and I showed her my big fat belly and I could tell she was trying to smile. I promised her I'd bring baby girl to meet her in September (my cousin on the other side is getting married and Stephen and I decided we'd go early and make the rounds with family) and I really hope she lives that long, but I really don't know what to count on.

Talking to mom this afternoon, I learned more of how Grandma was handling Papa's death. It hit us all still hits me hard. In some ways I'm glad I wasn't there because I have yet to be with the family without him (with the exception of the funeral). Now, call me crazy and you can believe what you want, but I whole-heartedly believe this can happen. Grandma has been seeing visions of Papa at night. She swears that Papa lays down with her and that he has told her that when she's ready he's waiting for her. It's just so darn sweet...and comforting to me too, because Grandma isn't exactly functioning the way I will always remember her so when the time comes for them to be together again I think we will all feel at peace. Don't get me wrong, my theological brain knows that marraige is a human institution...and in a lot of ways, I believe that when you're dead, you're dead until Jesus comes to raise us to life again, but I've had experiences like Grandma has that sometimes makes me believe in something bigger than my brain wants me to.Even the care-giver has sworn she's seen Papa.

Having said all this, I don't want grandma to suffer anymore, but I'm so hoping I can see her one more time. I'm hoping I can bring the boppy and put it in her lap and help her hold baby girl...her only great-grandchild. Mom says she mentioned that to her at the party and she squealed in what we think was her attempt to let us know she was delighted. I just want to hug her too, give her a kiss and tell her I love her SO much!

In other less somber news...

If you remember Stephen has traveled to Temple, TX for the Mission Assembly (Synod Assembly). He is now the Dean of the Panhandle Conference! He was commissioned this morning. I did not go, but told him to get someone to take pictures and hopefully I will have some to post soon. The panhandle conference is made up of churches I would say in about a three hour radius of Amarillo. Stephen will conduct monthly cluster gatherings and basically be a go-between the pastors and the bishop providing support, inspiration and pastoral care. Although Stephen was voted by peers to be in this position, it was only between him and one other pastor in the area as our conference is currently made of lay leaders and interim pastors for churches where the pastor has just retired and they church is awaiting a call. I'm still pretty proud of him though!

He will be back later tonight and I can tell you after a four day absence I am SO ready for him to be home! Tomorrow marks 34 weeks and with Stephen back in town I feel like we are more prepared for baby girl to make her arrival when ever she decides.

She has stayed put and behaved for the most part while he was gone with the exception of Thursday night which really wasn't her fault because room in this belly is getting tight. I guess it was Friday morning around 12:30 when I got up to brush my teeth and get ready for bed (it's hard to make myself go to sleep the first few nights Stephen is out of town) and I realized my underwear, nightgown and bed were soaked. My first thought was I was leaking amniotic fluid. I had about four people on stand-by from church that were watching out for me, but I the last thing I wanted to do was call them at that ungodly hour and I was so tired I really didn't want to go up to Labor and Delivery to be told I had peed myself again. But this was an unusually large amount of wetness so I laid awake...and awake...waiting for some sort of contraction or more fluid and eventually fell asleep only to wake-up at 4:30 with massive heartburn. I didn't see much more fluid, but by the time I got up and walked around some that morning, I was still seeing some and got nervous so I went into the doctor's office just to make sure. And thankfully, although girl had made me wet the bed without even knowing it. Seriously, there are things people don't tell you about pregnancy that I would have rather had a heads up about! I think I've lost control of almost every bodily fluid now! The nurse told me it happens to over 90% of pregnant women at this point and to start wearing pads because like me, most of them don't feel it happening. Greeeeaatttt......depends here I come.

But the good news that came is there are no cervical changes or fluid leaking. Or at least I think that's a good news. Some people start dialating by this point even if they go a full 40 weeks and since I'm getting more and more uncomfortable as the days pass, I would like to see even the smallest change. But not while Stephen's I think I'll just keep my mouth shut!

And because this post does not have enough different's another!

I recently signed up to be an Arbonne Independant Consultant! Arbonne is a health and wellness company that I came in contact with back when I was selling Thirty-One in South Carolina. Their focus is skin care, cosmetics and nutrition and I absolutely love their skin care. After playing around with my new quilting frame, I realized that was going to take longer to get up and running into a lucrative business than I thought it would. In case you don't remember...I tend to freak out when I'm not making some sort of money. It's part of the reason I carried three to five jobs when I was the only bread-winner while Stephen was in seminary. I don't know where I got that from. Ok, well I do...I think I got it from my dad who always worked hard to provide more than enough for us. It's not that Stephen and I are really struggling, but there's not much to spare. It was such a blessing to have my parents help with college and basically help me not want for nothing so I could focus on my education. I want to do the same for our daughter and any other future kids. Without me working there's just not a whole lot to put away for her.

Things have taken off right away with Arbonne! It has already been such a better experience in terms of the support I've gotten from my up-line and the lack of money I've had to invest to start up. The goals for moving up in the company are easier to achieve and the team in Amarillo seems to work together well. I don't feel like I'm in this for myself, which not only has it's business perks, but I'm going to be meeting so many new people! Best of's a home-based business, so I'll still get to stay home with baby girl and have time to ease into the long arm quilting market.

Needless to say, things are staying busy right up until baby girl makes her grand arrival. I'm thankful to have something to pass the time quickly, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm hoping time stands still for a little bit when she gets here.

Thanks for all your prayers that she stay put till Stephen get's home!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Craig and Caroline were here!!!

This weekend Craig and Caroline arrived (as you've been hearing about for months!). It was too short of a visit but we made sure to pack it tight with all the best highlights of Amarillo. I never realized just how much there is to do here until we tried to do it all in essentially two days.

Their plane was delayed due to some sort of mechanical issue but they managed to rebook another flight and get in later Saturday evening. Our plan was to have dinner at the Big Texan which is right down by the airport, so that actually turned out to be somewhat convenient.

Craig who had boasted the 72 oz steak was a challenge he could face decided against it as Stephen had been prepping them for a ride in the Canyon the next day. A smart choice, I think. He did however order the 24 oz steak - which I forgot to get the picture of, but Craig has it if you really want to see it. It was massive. Craig managed to finish it too - but then realized 72 oz would probably not have been as easy as once thought! Stephen and Caroline got steaks and I ordered the catfish which is a favorite of mine. I think we were all stuffed clear into Sunday!

We did manage to get a couple of the classic pictures you have to take while at the Big Texan, and a big thanks to Caroline who used this new app on her iPhone to clump them together.

Sunday, we went to Stephen's Sunday school class that my middle school class is currently crashing. We decided we needed to get there a little earlier to meet the masses which was a good plan because I think we ended up delaying Stephen's Sunday school just trying to get through the door. Craig - the obvious biological brother was stopped by almost everyone who asked if Stephen and Craig were twins. There was no doubt Stephen's brother had come to visit even before I had a chance to introduce him! I think they look alike for sure, but I don't get the twin thing. It was pretty funny.

I felt bad for Craig and Caroline because people kept asking them if they were in Conn. for school. Caroline is only a year younger than Stephen and I and we're all at that age in life where you probably couldn't speak to who was one or two years older. It made me wonder if people see Stephen and I all the time and think, "Aw look at that cute couple from WTAMU!" Maybe that's why I get stared at all the time during this pregnancy...

One parishoner asked Craig if he was "gainfully employed" to which I responded "Are you kidding me? Craig's the one that's going to help take care of his poor big brother who worked for the church and lost his pension!" Stephen and I always joke that our brothers are going to be the ones that will help us out when we're old and can't afford a good nursing home...

Caroline got to add that she was a CPA...which if I were in a snarky mood, I probably would have added "And I ended in CT after I was transferred from our NYC office" because it sounds pretty impressive. Yes, I am a successful young adult with a Master's whose been out of college for more than a few years, thank you. But of course, the intentions of the questions were always good so no need for snarky-ness.

Worship was nice and I enjoyed having someone to sit in the pew with me. Stephen had quite a job preaching after the Boston marathon bombings and the explosion in West, TX. He did a great job and several people commented to me that they enjoyed his sermon that morning.

Afterwards, we had to get a good picture of the brothers.

So apart from my "oh we're adults" comment about asking Craig and Caroline if they were still in takes a picture like this for me to realize how far we've come. (Never mind my marraige and the fact I'm about to birth a child into the world). When I first met the Friedrich boys, Craig was a guitar toting friend who taught me lots of chords for church songs as we went and played at various mission sites and youth events. Stephen was this really cute kid on crutches that always wore t-shirts and cargo shorts to church. Now here's Craig all grown-up and clean cut next to Stephen in some fantastic liturgical wear that is leaps and BOUNDS from t-shirts and cargo shorts. (Still just as handsome though...;-). We look so grown-up! Caroline asked me how long Stephen and I dated before got married, which was about five years (If you're counting that means 9 years together) if I think about it, I've known these two for a good 14 or so years. As a wife and a sister-in-law, I'm pretty darn proud of who they've become!

Mushy moment over...for now. (I am pregnant and hormonal - you never know when the next emotional moment may strike...)

Afterwards we took Craig and Caroline to our favorite Mexican place, Fernandos. Stephen and I got our standard Shredded Beef Burritos (Stephen) and Stuffed Avacados (Me) and Craig and Caroline split the fajitas which looked REALLY good. I may have to branch out next time. I keep thinking I can eat as much as I always do there...but again had to stop short of my second avacado and felt full literally the rest of the day!

We headed back to the house to change and head out to the Canyon. Stephen rented bikes for Craig and Caroline and wanted to share his love for biking down there with them. I did not ride, as I have trouble keeping balance walking sometimes, but instead opted for a seat in the shade and the start of a new good book. I probably relished that time as much as they did bike riding strictly because my time for reading good books is probably getting short. The weather was perfect, mid 70's a slight was a great day for biking or sitting outside.

Not sure how much Craig and Caroline could handle, Stephen had suggested they go for about 45 minutes and then come back and re-assess going on the light house trail. Two hours after I'd been sitting there reading I hoped they were ok and just having fun! (No cell reception in the canyon). I then took a little nap and an hour later they returned from their three-hour bike ride! I was mega-impressed and enjoyed hearing about their ride. Here are some pictures they took along the way.

Yes, that's Caroline beasting it up the hill like a champ.Go, Caroline, Go!

 This picture has to be posted because of the awesomeness of Craig's calf. I have to say, I think it beats Stephen's calf definition...just enough for some friendly sibling rivalry.

Afterwards we drove through the rest of the canyon, sadly there wasn't any water covering the water crossings for me to hit the gas through, but it was still fun. I love driving through the canyon!

We got back to the house and then went to Malcom's our favorite burger place for dinner. Having not burned so many calories, I couldn't handle a burger so I got a grilled cheese. Caroline ordered their club sandwich which I had heard was good but have a hard time usually straying from the burger...I'm going to definitely have to try it next time though!

The next day, I woke up to throw up in the toilet. Stephen dutifully got up and held my hair commenting on how it brought back so many memories (mind you I haven't done this in a while). Because my insurance only fills my Zofran six pills at a time, I had forgotten to go get my meds while the pharmacy was open on Sunday (too many other fun distracting activities). So it was my own fault. The pharmacy didn't open until 9 that morning and it usually takes about a half hour for the Zofran to kick in really good so I sent them on their way without me to go to Cavendars (a western-wear store) and the Cadillac Ranch. I hated to miss it but I'm sure they had more fun without me.  From what I hear, the TN flag was the winner when deciding what to spray paint, and they did a fantastic job! Complete with a star stencil made by Craig with car keys and a cardboard box. Had I been there, I would've driven him back to Cavendars and told him real men in Texas must carry a pocket knife for such occasions, but since I can't even convince Stephen that, it probably would've been a lost cause!

Photo: Great work team.

I joined them at Chick-Fil-A for lunch. Caroline had to go because there aren't any in CT. (Poor thing! A girl after my own heart!!) I only got a small french fry after eating some PB toast at home. I wasn't sure how I would handle the chicken (sad day, I know). I did ok and we then went off to Route 66 for Cowboy Gelato and to see the sites and a few antique stores.

Then, sadly, it was time to take them to the airport. It was so good to meet Caroline and catch up with Craig. It was a definite spirit lifter! Stephen and I enjoyed hearing about life in CT. Made me miss our friends in seminary and the times we did fun things like go get a beer at the Flying Saucer after a long day or play/watch flag football practices for the Luther tournament, take weekend trips to Charleston if we wanted. Made me realize how dull my social life is...and that's probably why baby fever hit! 24 hour entertainment wrapped up in a cuddly!

 Stephen and I agree that Caroline is a keeper (and that's not just because you read the blog! ;-) It will be interesting to hear where Craig heads off to next in June, but if I have to give my two cents (and I will...) I know my Friedrich boy was worth the long-distance wait for a while!  My vote is for Houston because there's a direct flight to Amarillo and vice-versa so baby girl could spend lots of time with her Uncle Craig. But I suppose I would rather the job be something Craig wants to do and not just because he's got a cute niece to visit. But as her mother, I do have to say, she is going to be ridiculously cute...I mean look at the gene pool she has...;-)

As a wrap's another cool picture Caroline combined that sort of sums up the trip! We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly and can't wait to see them again! As I hugged Craig goodbye, I told him next time I saw him he'd be an uncle! Still a surreal idea, but the truth! And by the time they left I felt like Caroline was just another part of the family. (Did I mention we think she's a keeper????)

Photo: Such a fun time visiting Stephen and Betsy in Amarillo!

In other news...

 Baby girl seems to be doing well. We will have another appointment next week. Typically the start checking for cervical changes around 35 weeks and then you start going every week. The nurse practitioner said depending on how she's measuring and whether I have anymore braxton-hicks contractions they may go head and check me at 34 and go two more weeks or they may wait and have me come back again the next week.

For now, I need you to pray extra hard she behaves herself as Stephen is going out of town tomorrow for Mission Assembly (Think Synod Assembly - North Texas/North Lousiana refers to their Synod as a Mission Area). I wish I could go with him, as he was voted Dean of our conference and will be doing a mission area wide presentation on the Macedonia Project which he helped spear-head. I love getting to see him in his element and I'm sure the commissioning as Dean is going to be an awesome service. But Temple, TX is 8 hours away and if I was to have problems there's no real quick way to get back to Amarillo, so I decided to stay close to my doctors. We asked the nurse practicioner last week if she thought it was ok for him to leave (despite all the things he's involved with - he would have stayed if they thought there was a true risk for labor). She said she never bets on pregnant ladies, but given the way everything looked last week, she thought he would be fine, I would be fine and the baby would stay put, but recommended he stay put after this trip. In the mean time I have a few people on stand-by to help me while he's gone should anything happen.

I feel pretty good about him leaving as she's not really been pulling any stunts lately. I just hate him leaving for the obvious normal reasons like having his company and warm body in the bed. But the way I've been snoring lately, having my own personal bed-warmer isn't a guarantee anyway. He's also a big help for when I drop things in the floor, or need things plugged in...I'm very spoiled that way. I appreciate all this, but I have a feeling I'll appreciate it even more by the end of the week! We've gotten to the point to where if he finds things in the floor he accepts it's not just because I'm lazy but because bending over takes SO much effort.

I admit that I feel big, but it isn't until I see pictures of myself with this HUGE belly that I realize just how big I really am! Apart from the swelling I get in my face, hands and feet, I'm all belly out front though. This is me in Stephen's shirt and shorts. I wore them to the canyon too. I have to wear his extra-large shorts or else they dig in. I remember in college my waist measurement was the same as his thigh. Now, you can see his large sized shirt barely has enough room for the belly! Such a weird feeling as I used to wear his shirts and no shorts as pajamas because they hung like a night gown! Now they barely cover my belly!

Keep those prayers coming! 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

32 weeks! Almost...

Hello world! Thought it might be time for an update. If I go by the latest ultrasound, I'm 32 weeks, if I go by my original due date which has not been officially changed, it will be tomorrow.

I am feeling the third trimester! Since my last post I feel as though my baby bump has grown as much as it did in the entire 2nd trimester. Okay, I may be slightly exaggerating, but bottom line - this girl is growing like crazy!

Tuesday we will have another regular doctors appointment and I'll be curious to hear if this new found growth is "normal" for that ounce or more they grow everyday at this stage or if she's just taking off. My sugars are still doing well (PRAISE BE TO GOD!) so that's something to celebrate. My body on the other hand is having a hard time handling such rapid change.

For the past two days I have felt as if she is almost boring down into my hips and pelvis. Sciatica is deep in my left leg even though she seems to have shifted more to the middle based on where I feel her kicks. Last night I almost felt like she was pushing against my spine and my toes started to tingle - to which I seriously started to question if you can have temporary paralysis from pregnancy, but I shifted my position in bed and she shifted as well (for once!) and feeling returned to my toes.

Yesterday I almost got a sit-n-shop at the grocery store because my back hurt so bad and my hips felt so tight it was hard to walk. It ended up being very crowded and I didn't trust my maneuvering skills since I've never used one...but then I was walking so slow I felt like I was in the way regardless! I just trust people are empathetic to a large pregnant woman. And if they're not, they really don't want to cross me...;-) 

Eating can sometimes feel like a chore. Depending on where she is, I feel as though there is no room in my stomach for much. Today we went to our usual Sunday afternoon spot, Fernandos and I did a pitiful job eating my usual stuffed avacados. (Leftovers tomorrow!) I still didn't have much room for dinner and couldn't even think about a mid-afternoon snack!

There is good news however. She kicks me like CRAZY. It may sound annoying, but I enjoy it. It's a constant reminder that this is all for the good. If you were following on facebook you may have heard I've started to call her Thumper. Sometimes she has these fast repetitive movements that feel like a rabbit in my belly! It's so funny, because not only does it feel strange, you can see my entire belly vibrate.

Last night I was playing a game on my kindle which conveniently sits up on my stomach and turned on the radio and she started dancing to the music and my kindle almost fell off my belly. Fun times! I'm going to see if I can get a video of it next time so we can show her when she's older.

I enjoy it when Stephen gets to put his hand on me and feel her. Sometimes he puts his head down and mouths into my belly to talk to her. It's pretty darn adorable and even more so when I feel her react to it.

Another good thing is braxton-hicks have subsided some what. I'm trying so hard to stay hydrated and it seems to work. I am not getting the gallon they recommend, but I hardly think anyone could. Every time I go somewhere I always make a point to know where the bathrooms are and try not to stray to far. And if the back and hip pain don't keep me up at night getting up to use the bathroom certainly does! I still think it's a good trade off to warding off contractions though!

The rest of the week we are looking forward to Craig and Caroline coming in for the weekend. After getting the nursery put together and then re-doing my sewing room, the front bedroom remains a dumping ground until we get things put back in place. We're working hard to make it at least tolerable for Caroline. I also went and got new pillows. That's what happens when the pregnant lady in the house steals all the pillows! I currently sleep with four or five...

I'm hoping some of this uncomfortableness will subside while they're here so I'm not such a Debbie-downer. The big thing to show off is the canyon and while they go bike-riding I was hoping to walk around with them some, but I am impossibly slow! I keep thinking about my mother-in-law hiking Charlie's Bunion (which for those of you's probably a good 3-4 miles uphill just on the way out) and begin to pray my daughter gets some of her height because that's the only way I can figure Nancy was able to do that at 8 months! I waddle like a penquin on flat ground and if I have to walk around something, I feel like I might tip over and have Stephen just roll me like humpty-dumpty!

If anything interesting happens at the Doc on Tuesday I'll be back for another update, but for now- That's all folks! Hope you are all doing well and we thank you still for your prayers!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

30 week update!

This week we got the results of our last sonogram. Dr. Anderson was very happy with what he saw. Baby Girl is growing right on schedule and is neither too big or too small - phew! I've been working very hard to keep my sugar numbers under control so she stays this way and he was very happy with those as well.

I have found a few things that I like to eat and generally eat them everyday with a few deviations every now and then.I've learned to let myself enjoy things I like such as Chik-fil-a. Believe it or not - my chicken nugget kids meal that comes with a small fry (and I always trade the toy for an ice dream) puts me in a great range sugar wise. I guess it's all about portion control. It's hard not to want Chick-fil-a every day! 

While baby is growing well, I actually lost weight this week (2lbs), which is rather hard to believe since I feel like I'm eating so much more! I still have only gained about 6 lbs of pregnancy weight which is also hard to believe at 30 weeks and a belly like I have! I'm hoping that means I'll return back to my normal looking self fairly quickly after baby.

In general, I have found the 3rd trimester to be easier than the first two of pregnancy, but I'm feeling the aches and pains of being so large. My balance is definitely not what it used to be, and spending much time on my feet leaves my hips, knees and ankles sore and swollen. I'm also having a harder time getting good sleep at night and have developed a snoring habit (much to Stephen's dismay!). When I asked him how bad it was (because he often moves to the twin bed in the front bedroom...) he decided to video me, Fortunately for me - he deleted them, sorry to disappoint you!

This week in particular has also brought some pretty strong braxton-hicks contractions. Because I was born so early and my mom's great intuition for going and getting care probably saved my life, I get pretty nervous when they happen. Thankfully, they never seem to have enough regularity to them for me to identify a real pattern but sometimes they can be strong enough to make my abs sore the next day. I'm ready for them to be real so I don't have to go through the emotional roller coaster of "should I go to labor and delivery or not?" or" is she ok?". Having gone twice for false labor already I just want to be able to go and come home with her, but that doesn't need to happen for at least 8 weeks!

For now, I sill continue to go to Dr. Anderson every two weeks until I get close enough to my due date, or we see evidence for a weekly visit (like cervical changes). 

In other news, thanks to my connections at Viking, I came across a fantastic way to work at home! Having purchased a clearance semi-industrial machine that is a mid-arm quilter a little over a year ago, I always dreamed of getting a frame for it. For those of you who aren't familiar with the world of quilting - most people do not have the capability to machine quilt larger quilts and send them off to professionals for finishing. This requires a frame that you put the quilt on that allows you to quilt the entire length and width. The frame however, is compatible with another machine that Viking dealers sell and was about three times the price of what I paid for the machine and I could not justify it.

Someone called the store and wanted to get rid of their machine and frame for an unbelievable price! My colleague Jeanne (who stepped in as manager after me) also sews at home and wanted the machine but had no room for the frame. We split the price down the middle to something I could easily recoup after doing two or three quilts for the public.

There's a fantastic market here, as most quilters have month long waiting lists and with my connections through the store at Viking I have plenty of people to offer my services. After writing up an action plan and a business plan, we decided to purchase the frame. Now, all that is left is lots of practicing!

My goal is to get comfortable enough to start for the public sometime in the fall when baby girl gets bigger and won't require so much around the clock care with feedings. My sewing room has lots of room and I will set up a play area for her first with the pack n play and her swing, then later with baby gates and toys. This way, I'll get to work while she's with me and won't have to dump my wages into child care and because I make my own hours, if she needs more attention some days than others, I can work around it.

Yesterday in the tee-tiny town of Dimmitt, TX (about 1hr 1/2 south of here), I went to a regional quilt show that is quite a big deal. I got lots of inspiration seeing some of the most beautiful quilts done by professionals both around the world and right here in our area! It will be a long time before I ever quilt something for someone who wants to enter a competition, but now I have inspiration!

I hope all my family and friends are doing well! Coming up soon we get a visit from Craig and Caroline that we are super excited about. We're also looking forward to trips in the fall for Rebekah's wedding and John's wedding when we can introduce you all to this baby girl we are already so in love with!