Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thirty Nine

I don't have much to say.

So here I am, in all my unshowered morning glory at 39 weeks and 1 day.

Comment below for well wishes and encouragement!

We'll keep you, as always, posted.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

For Inquiring Minds

Tomorrow, Friday, I will be 39 weeks! Whew!

Yesterday, Wednesday, I had a routine OB appointment - and it was a very good appointment!

For the women (and maybe men) who care to know these things.

I am dilated around 2 centimeters, not quite 3. And 50% effaced. I know you were wanting to know.

However, I am happy to share because my doctor was skeptical that anything had happened because I haven't been sure that what I'm feeling is contractions. I justify stuff as routine pregnancy discomfort/pain. I told my doctor last week that I wasn't sure and he said "Oh, well you will know," and I said, "Maybe I'm just tough!" And he proceeded to laugh. Ha! Joke's on him! I think he was pleasantly surprised at my bit of progress.

Also, the baby continues to drop, my fundal height measured a centimeter smaller than last week - which is what the doctor had wanted to see.

Obviously, we'll be playing some more basketball on Saturday.

Both the nurse and Dr. T thought it was pretty funny that we'd gone a played basketball on Monday. They laughed as they envisioned my layups and jump shots. But let's face it, they were pretty laughable.

Also, on a positive note, when the nurse (Cynthia) had taken my blood pressure it was still elevated. We're talking 141/91 (last week it was 157/89). So Eric asked Dr. T about that. He had me lay on my side for a minute and then they retook my blood pressure. And ta-da! Back down to a very healthy 120/78. Thank goodness! Apparently babies, as they grow, press on your veins in funny ways.

Are you bored yet?

I'll stop yamming away, but now you know!

And now for a photo... of the hubster a couple weeks ago after eating some Granny Buffet.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Clippings

What a wonderful Christmas holiday we've enjoyed - highlighted by family and friends. We spent all day Friday and half of Saturday in La Grande enjoying "Christmas Eve Eve" with my Mom, brothers and sisters and occasional visits by my cousin Morgan. This included all the usual fun - baking and frosting sugar cookies, last-minute Wal-Mart runs, games, arguing, cramming into Zoey's Jimmy to view Christmas lights, teasing our mother, eating a Mexican feast, teasing each other, opening our "sibling" presents and falling asleep watching The Santa Claus. On Saturday, Eric & I were able to meet up with the Potters for a Chinese lunch - photo ops were limited, but hopefully Kara will share one on their blog.

We spent Christmas Eve night at the Lougees' in Umatilla. Eating pizza and having a mini-Christmas devotional. Music, poems, and some laughter. We then went back to our house in Hermiston and went to sleep. I was awoken by an anxious Eric at about 7:15am. We got all our goodies accounted for in less than 30 minutes. This included the much anticipated Wii - which Eric had set up before we headed to church at 10am in Umatilla.

This is a light up light saber. That you eat! 

My luxurious gift from hubster - Coach "Poppy" perfume. 

Eric's a tool...kit! 
 A lot of our Christmas day festivities are not photographed because I got very lethargic. But, Church was very nice. Dinner was a whirlwind with two other families from the in-laws' congregation joining us for dinner. And then there was the setting up of the new TV and Wii and getting to talk to Elder Alan Lougee, currently serving a mission in Nevada.

Family Wii time. Cute. Even Chloe, the dog, was enjoying it. 
And then there was today. We started out our day with Eric playing a little basketball at the Church, and me trying to get some contractions going. Then we made a Safeway run to find foods we could try in Eric's new Fry Daddy.

The Fry Daddy himself. 
I then made some delicious Chex mix, watched Eric play the Wii for a few hours and then we headed back over to the Lougees because the Tidwells were coming to town! We enjoyed visiting with them.

Now it's back to the daily grind. Work tomorrow for me. Boo. However, we really enjoyed this long weekend together, filled with fun and family and way too much food. Can't wait to get weighed at my Doc appointment on Wednesday!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

2011 Lougee Family Letter

We couldn't send hard copies to all the folks we wanted to, so please, enjoy here! 

December 2011

Dear Family & Friends,

Welcome to our inaugural Christmas letter.  Many milestones, trials and triumphs have marked our first full year of marriage. As we draw to the close of 2011, we are able to look back and see the blessings we’ve been given and feel compelled to share them with you!

In this recession, we’d be ungrateful if we didn’t recognize the blessing of full-time employment for both of us through out the year. Eric continued working as a Supported Living Staff for the Horizon Project up until August. While his work blessed our little family, and he was so good at working with the two elderly gentlemen he cared for, he wasn’t all that sad to bid them adieu and start his new adventure at the Morrow County Alternative School as an ESL Assistant. And by adventure, we mean his daily explorations into gang violence, drug busts, teen moms and kids that “haven’t taken a bath in a year.” His ‘adventures’ leave this wife with scary gang dreams and daily gratitude for our simple life. I’ve continued working at the Pendleton Chamber of Commerce where my title was upgraded to Communications Director (formerly Coordinator), but my job description and perks remained unchanged. Two publications I worked on were recently given statewide recognition – both our Chamber newsletter and member directory received General Excellence awards in the state of Oregon for mid-sized Chambers. It was pretty validating.

We’ve also, sometimes grudgingly, been blessed to continue our respective collegiate educations. Eric continues to hammer away finishing his Associate’s degree at Blue Mountain Community College – taking classes full-time while working full-time. He’s pretty much my hero, even conquering Shakespeare. Magically (after an appeal letter, some charm and some help from above), I was re-admitted to Brigham Young University in the fall. I’ve been wrapping up internship credits that were conveniently fulfilled by my current job as well as taking an online Statistics class, also referred to as water boarding. With only two classes left to take, I can almost feel those graduation tassles shifting from left to right. Yes, I’m on the seven-year plan. No, I won’t be graduating with my Doctorate. Or my Master’s. After Eric completes his Associate’s, we’ll be relocating so he can continue his pursuit of teaching high school Spanish.

Family has been a great blessing to us.  Shortly after a massive Easter egg hunt meltdown by yours truly in April, we learned we were expecting our first baby. I think we were both surprised at how quickly it happened! But, we also felt so lucky and humbled to be given such a responsibility and opportunity. In July, we were able to take a short trip down to California to visit Grandpa Lee. This was also during the tail-end of my morning sickness (that lasted all day) period and poor Grandpa had to endure what Eric had been enduring for months, my green face and easily provoked gag reflexes. Despite the nausea, we thoroughly enjoyed our time in California and hope to go back soon. We headed up north to join in on the Lougee Family Reunion in Prineville. We went white-water rafting on the Deschutes and possibly caused fetal hearing loss during an afternoon of shooting guns with cousins and uncles. It was wonderful. We’ve also just been humbled by the amount of support and love shown to us from both sides of the family – we feel so lucky to be so loved.

Our church callings have given us the blessings of service. Eric has been serving as an assistant to the 11 year-old Scouts and was recently handed over full reign as THE 11 year-old Scout leader. I love when he comes home from Scouts, he’s always energized and smiling, and has entertaining stories to share. I’ve been serving as the Sunbeam (3 & 4 year-olds) teacher since January. It can be a battle, and typically it’s an exhausting job, but I’ve really grown to love these kids. And have learned a lot about myself, too. I was also recently asked to serve on the Enrichment Committee and have been blessed to build sanity-saving camaraderie with the women who serve with me.

The blessing of a stronger marriage has also been felt this year. We were able to witness three other marriage ceremonies over the last year, two of them performed in the Portland Temple where we were married and by the same man. What a tender mercy it was to be able to hear much of our ceremony repeated when we weren’t in a “oh my gosh I’m getting married” haze. We’ve also made regular temple attendance a priority, and luckily we live less than 30 minutes from the closest temple. We’ve also learned A LOT about one another this year – like that we both need to be fed before we can interact with one another sanely. Through the trials and triumphs, our partnership has shown it’s strengths and our friendship and love has increased.

And these are just a few of the reasons 2011 has us feeling thankful. Add among those the blessings of a warm home, good health, friendships - both new and old, as well as our knowledge of a loving Heavenly Father and his guidance in our lives.

We are looking forward, maybe naively, to the arrival of our first baby (which as of this writing has not happened yet) and continuing down this exciting journey together. As a character in one of our favorite shows often says, it’s going to be legend … wait for it … ary!

Merry Christmas!
The (young) Lougees

Thursday, December 22, 2011

When Fathers Nest

"Nesting" isn't just for women. Apparently dads-to-be can go into a form of "nesting," too. I hadn't really thought about that until I got a little note in my email from What to Expect when You're Expecting. And then I read a little bit about male nesting, here. And, upon further reflection, especially over the last few days, I'd have to say Eric is definitely doing some fatherly nesting. I suppose you could chalk it up to having no work or school for two weeks and being bored, but let's go with the more sentimental idea of nesting.

Here's some examples.

He insisted we buy the crib mattress last weekend, even though there's a distinct possibility she won't be in it for a couple months.  
He spent several hours at his parents' house getting all our laundry caught up, whites, colors, towels and linens. Done.  
He got out the instruction manual (in atypical male fashion) for the car seat and got it put in the van for baby's first ride "home.'  
He embarked on cleaning out the fridge, and ended up cleaning out the kitchen cupboards, too.  
He got a hold of our apartment managers to let them know our smoke alarm was on the fritz. Subsequently, they gave him a new one and he got it installed - all in one morning! 

This is all within the last week, not to mention the initiative he's taken throughout the pregnancy in painting the cradle, putting together the crib, buying a highchair, etc., - as well as taking such good care of me!  he's also diligent about putting lavender/olive oil/vitamin E on my stomach a few nights a week. Plus, I like that it gives him a few minutes to hopefully connect with the baby and me and this new unique 3 person relationship we'll soon have on our hands. AND, he always tells me good job for taking my prenatal vitamins and tells me how "great" I'm doing at simply being pregnant. I've really been impressed. Couldn't ask for a better partner during all of this or a better baby daddy.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Graham Crackers and Gummy Bears

Okay, so this week has been a little more hectic than I had originally envisioned and a few of our "Christmas Dates" didn't quite happen how I'd imagined.

Example A: Christmas Date #5 should've been working on our Christmas cards (oh what fun, right?). But, by then I felt Eric deserved to go play basketball with the boys and I deserved to enjoy the peace of the apartment solo. And so I watched "A Charlie Brown Christmas" while addressing and stuffing envelopes.

On Wednesday, one of my supposed days off. I woke up when Eric left for work, got ready and studied my little stats-disdaining heart out. Then I went to my regularly scheduled OB appointment. My blood pressure was "elevated" - I think due to stress and nerves. But then there was the pressure to get it down by the end of the appointment, which I think only increased it. So, I'm supposed to monitor myself for symptoms of pre-eclampsia. Also, while I had grown in the two weeks since my last appointment (but hadn't gained weight), I was measuring at 34 weeks instead of just shy of 37 weeks. So, the doctor told me she'd like me to get an ultrasound just to make sure the baby is getting the blood flow, etc. she needs. I tell you, I have elevated blood pressure because this little girl gives it to me - literally! First with the gestational diabetes scare, then now with the blood pressure and the smallness. Though, honestly, as long as she's healthy with functioning organs, I think small is perfectly fine for this first time laborer. Anyway, so our ultrasound is Wednesday afternoon and my next Doc appointment is Thursday afternoon. While I'm sure things are just lovely, your positive thoughts are always appreciated.

Blah blah blah, enough of the boring stuff.

We had a double Christmas date last night with the Barkers! Woo who! We'd been neglectful friends, caught up in the flurry of finishing up our school work. And while two pregnant ladies on a Friday night are pretty exhausted looking - we still had fun.

We endeavored to build ginger bread houses out of graham crackers. Here are the results.

Burdette's graham cracker castle. Can you tell what that thing is sitting in front of the castle?

Holly's Dog House. Complete with caroling gummy bears. 

I was going for a classical look. Then my roof caved in, so it got a little harder to decipher.

Eric also had some stability issues. In the end he made lemonade out of lemons and built this Gummy Bear Church of Scientology Temple, complete with the orange gummy bear version of Tom Cruise. 
Afterwards I was privy to a mini-"jam" session featuring Eric on the electric guitar, Holly on the acoustic and Burdette intermittently contributing with the ukulele. I think I'll take up the tambourines. However, by then my feet had swollen to a size not seen since my near-death experience of 2008, so I was lounging feet up and enjoying the sounds of Christmas. It was a lot of fun and we are so glad to have them as our friends.

Oh! And Holly produced an amazing little green wool cardigan sweater - complete with collar and buttons - it will be photographed and shown someday, maybe with a baby in it. Unfortunately I don't have any talent - so I won't be returning the favor.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Spinnin' some Handel

For Christmas Date Numero 3 we boot scooin' boogied down to the Ward Christmas Party. Sadly, this is the only (terrible) photo I snapped.

Some highlights from the party:
  • Being given a HUGE potato and two pieces of chicken because I was obviously "eating for two."
  • Finishing, incredibly, the above portions.
  • Tiny hugs from two of my little 4 year olds. They were so cute. 
  • Carrying around 1 year-old Gracie. Mmm. Chubby cheekcs! 
  • Talking small town scenarios with the Lewis'. 
  • Mexican punch. 
  • Christmas songs sung by all the little kids. 
  • A video compilation with funny and sentimental clips from members about Christmas. It was awesome! Wish I could show it to you. And yes, the Lougees made an appearance and were apparently second least reverent of everyone aside from the little boy who wanted to give Jesus a spongebob toy. Our topic? Our favorite Christmas songs. Hymns didn't even occur to us, apparently. 

Christmas Date 4 was incorporated into our Monday night Family Home Evening.  My mom had found a vinyl record of Handel's Messiah featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Philadelphia Orchestra. We listened to the Nativity section and then went and got J&B (Jack in the Box) shakes. Originally we were supposed to get holiday shakes, but then I wanted chocolate and Eric wanted oreo. And then we got tummy aches together! Cute!

We also began our 12 Day countdown! We have a little package to open everyday and put on the board - our last one should be Christmas eve! Isn't the heart ornament just so fitting for our cheesiness? Aunt Stephanie found this countdown already put together among all her Christmas things and sent it to us. So, neither of us know what's in each day's package !

Saturday, December 10, 2011

O Tannenbaum - Date Two

Our second date of Christmas took us on a trip down to the Kiwanis Tree Lot. After last year's tree hardships, we learned a lesson ... get a tree that is easily managed. So, we got a bit of a smaller tree this year, but a Noble one, none the less. 

In my opinion, Noble Fir trees are the bestie best for Christmas trees. They smell good, have sturdy branches, aren't too pokey and are a pretty green. 

We got our tree home, drilled some holes in the bottom so she'd keep soaking up water and Eric managed to get her in the tree stand with little to no assistance from me - I was too focused on getting dinner started, I was about to perish from starvation! Something that suddenly happens without warning when you're carrying another human being inside of you. 

We also commenced decorating the living room - a far more exhausting thing to do than we'd remembered previously. Eric wondered how Aunt Steph managed to put up all the decorations in her 14 totes. I pondered upon Mom's brilliance at having five kids to do a lot of the work. 

Some or our favorite ornaments. 
We found these vintage Christmas blocks at an antique shop on our honeymoon. They conveniently have both an 'E' and and 'A' on them. They also have an 'R' on them. So, I guess that means baby girls' name will have to start with an R (For those of you wondering what we're naming herfeel free to speculate and read into this statement all you want!)

Eric's first Christmas handmade ornament. Circa 1989. 

I LOVE this little train Eric painted when he was little. 

Eric loves his Ducks. 
Don't worry, I made sure the nativity ornament was at least as high as this helmet on the tree. 

Love these bells. And the old ornaments we found in a thrift store on our honeymoon. 

Stockings hung by the TV with care. 

We capped the night off watching "Frosty Returns" (we'd missed regular Frosty. Did you know one of the characters talks about a Fertility Goddess on that cartoon? True story. Never noticed before, in all the years I've watched it. Maybe it has something to do with being with child.) and "Yes, Virginia" on CBS.

Friday, December 9, 2011

On the first date of Christmas.....

A few days ago I was perusing blog land and while visiting the Rockstar Diaries I read about an idea for "12 Dates of Christmas." So, in a mini-series of epiphanies I realized I CAN have it all. I CAN finish school, enjoy the Christmas season, spend quality time with the hubster, and clean and prep for baby. And I DON'T have to do it all at the same time. It had kind of come to the point where I felt like there was so much to do, I wasn't doing anything.

So, I just wrapped up my internship credits last night, woot. And have my stats final to take next week. But, I've also decided to do 12 Dates of Christmas with Eric. Not every date is really going to be a "go out on a date" type of deal. But sometimes they will. Last night was the "soft launch" of me enjoying my husband, my holidays and staying sane. When he got home from playing basketball, I gave him a Spanish nativity to open and set up. And told him about my 12 Dates of Christmas idea. He was all for it. And, he's in a more care-free mood anyway since he wrapped up his classes Wednesday (now just waiting for final grades) and he's only got one more week of work before the School District goes on winter break.

So, here you are. Eric LOVED the set. He named the shepherd and wise man and told me the Spanish names for Mary and Joseph as well as the animals. We joked that next year he could play with that nativity, I could play with my tiny replica of a nativity my family had growing up, and baby could play with the wooden nativity we have.

Oh, and why Spanish you ask? Eric did a two year stint serving the Spanish speaking people of Arizona for our church. And he plans on teaching high school Spanish.

Final treat. One of the lovely ladies I work with snapped this picture of me today - at exactly 36 weeks. I promise my hair and face aren't so scary in person. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My Favorite Things

I apologize if my blogging has seemed a little sparse lately. We're keeping our heads above water, but it's constant work as we both try to finish up the last of our school work for this term/semester. Of course, we enjoyed a hearty Thanksgiving in Cove/La Grande. My aunt Steph & uncle Gareld hosted us out at their new home on "the property." In my laziness, I just posted pictures on Facebook. If you haven't seen them, you can find them here.

Last year, we had quite the trouble trying to locate a tree in Hermiston before December 10th, well, apparently they read my blog and so there are tree lots all over the city and have been up since Thanksgiving! Unfortunately, I just barely got the decorations and tree stand down, and due to unforeseen school deadlines, we will have to wait until at least Friday evening to pick up a fresh tree! It's exhausting! By then there are only two weeks til Christmas! Lame!

Next week I go to working three days a week at the Chamber. But, it's not all R&R. I have my stats final to take next week - which means catching up on my Stats, too. Plus, the apartment has been a bit neglected and needs some thorough cleaning, so until that happens, don't ask to use our restroom. Not to mention Christmas shopping & crafting & wrapping & movie watching (notice the lack of baking in there). As well as prepping for the babester's arrival. I haven't packed the hospital bags, washed the clothes, purchased a crib mattress, installed the car seat, put stuff away in the changing table..... it's hard!

And so I'm torn - some folks have requested a Christmas arrival of the baby. But, I have to say, I don't think I'm ready! Except .....

(To be sung in your head to the tune of
"My Favorite Things" )
Seaweed and rice all rolled with some tuna            

Flowing shirts that don’t make me a balloon
Fingers that don’t swell around wedding rings

These are a few of my favorite things

Sitting at the salon with foil in my hair
Not needing assistance to get out of my chair
Using the restroom less times than 18
These are a few of my favorite things

When I feel her move
When I’m scared of birth
When I’m not going mad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I want her out so bad! 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Raising a Girl

In just the last couple of weeks I've started thinking about my role in raising a girl in today's world, not just on having a baby or being a parent - but being a mother to my daughter. Of course, each person has their own unique personality that they are born with and develop over their lifetime and, I believe, beyond.

BUT, I wonder how I can give my daughter the tools to feel empowered about who she is, about her own role in finding joy and happiness, about her value and individual worth.

It's funny to go online and type into Google - "raising a daughter" or "raising girls." The information runs the gamut! There were some interesting ideas in this article on PBS.

I want to raise a strong daughter, who feels beautiful and empowered and willing to take chances. I want to be a mother who affirms her daughter's worth rather than makes her doubt herself.

But how?!

And, maybe the silliest of all - but I'm almost more nervous in hoping that we like each other. I don't think we have to always be "friends." But, I hope we enjoy each other's company and that she'll feel safe confiding in me. I think I was so blessed in that area - to have a Mom who loves me, but also seems to usually like me. And vice versa. It's a special thing.

What advice would you offer this momma-to-be? 

A now, for just a few words of advice from the patriarchs and matriarchs of our church....

"A mother-daughter relationship is where a daughter learns how to nurture by being nurtured. She is loved. She is taught and experiences firsthand what it feels like to have someone care about her enough to correct her while continuing to encourage and believe in her at the same time." - Elder Russel M. Ballard 
"You are your daughter’s guardian in more than the legal sense. Be present in your daughter’s life. Let her know your standards, your expectations, your hopes and dreams for her success and happiness. Interview her, get to know her friends and, when the time comes, her boyfriends. Help her understand the importance of education. Help her understand that the principle of modesty is a protection. Help her choose music and media that invite the Spirit and are consistent with her divine identity. Be an active part of her life. And if in her teenage years she should not come home from a date on time, go get her. She will resist and tell you that you have ruined her social life, but she will inwardly know that you love her and that you care enough to be her guardian. " Sister Elain S. Dalton 

Monday, November 28, 2011

34 Weeks and Counting

I swear, I don't wear this sweater every day. I just happened to get photographed only when I'm wearing it, it seems.

34 weeks and 4 days down ..... 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hazards of the Job

Newly discovered pregnancy hazard. 

Turns out having a built-in shelf isn't really so convenient. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Year One

Saturday, November 19th marked our First Anniversary.

We used it as an excuse to sneak away to Wallowa Lake for some much needed R&R before our little girl arrives.

Last year, on our honeymoon, it snowed - even at Seaside! So as not to break with a new apparent tradition, it began snowing as we entered Elgin and didn't let up for the next 40 miles to the lake. It made for a beautiful setting though. And by the time it finally stopped, after checking into our cabin, fairing the roads of slick and death, and sitting down to a warm, hearty and delicious dinner at the Outlaw Restaurant in Joseph, there was about 4 - 5 inches of snow in town and at least 6 inches by the lake.

It was literally a winter wonderland, complete with deer, pine trees and Christmas music (I couldn't help myself).

Dinner was delish - and being the off season for tourism there were only four other people in the restaurant - twin elderly sisters and their husbands celebrating a birthday. We sat cozy and warm by the gas fireplace, ate our clam chowder and enjoyed our first evening away.

Our cabin was the perfect cozy retreat. There was a gas fireplace - complete with a mounted buck - large windows looking out on the river and mountains. A heated massage chair. A whirpool, jetted bath tub. A kitchen with everything we needed to cook and eat for two.

We enjoyed several games of Yahtzee, college football, IBC rootbeer, Milano cookies, cuddling on the couch, and a feeling of near isolation. It was splendid and so relaxing.

Eric pleasantly surprised me with his good taste and gave me some jewels to mark Year One.

It was cold, but so cozy, so romantic and so needed. Now, onto the photos.

The view out our cabin windows.... 

I don't think Eric could wait anymore, so when we got back from dinner Friday night, he gave me my anniversary gift. Here is the necklace - it came with matching earrings, too. He told me he felt like such an adult, going to a store and picking out jewelry for his wife. And I feel spoiled! 

Saturday morning we ventured down to the lake. 

Swim at your own risk. 

Headed out for dinner Saturday night. 
 We ate at Mutiny Brew Pub. It was a relaxed place to eat with yummy food!

 Another in a seeming series of gross pictures of yours truly. Trying to show off my new accessories. 

Eric really wanted a photo of his forehead wrinkles. 
This is what marriage has done to him, he says. 
Or maybe that's just what I imagined him saying. 

We rolled out of dodge late Sunday morning. 
The sky was finally blue and it made for a gorgeous view of the lake. 

Whoa, belly. 

Whew, one down and eternity to go!