Friday, September 25, 2015

How I Feel About Friday

Yep, that's it.
Joyful beyond belief.
And well, just a little (or a lotta) bit tired.

I know the blog has been neglected but everything in my draft folder (or brain) doesn't feel right at the moment.  My motivation is at zero and I've been on the fatigue struggle bus all day long.  If we're being honest here, I haven't gotten off of the bus in about two weeks now.

The second week of September was super busy at work with school club meetings, and the following week was even crazier, filled to the brim with events.  I worked several late evenings, and Saturday, so by this past Sunday I was d-o-n-e.  This week was a little calmer, but I am worried the Fall won't get any easier on the schedule (or this worn-out mama-to-be).

I'm definitely looking forward to tomorrow, which I have dubbed "Sleep-in-Saturday," and welcome any of you to join the party, lol.  By next week, I'm thinking I may share another bump-date, because I'll be right at 20 weeks, and maybe have a photo or two that are a little more attractive than the previous ones I shared.

If you're in the mood for offering up prayers, here are a few things on my mind these days:

  • Pope Francis (DUH!) and his visit to the States.
  • My friends Victoria and Seth, their newest addition, Oliver (9/11/15), and big brother Carter (2.5).
  • Amy and her little family, awaiting Baby #3 any day now (speedy, painless delivery, and seamless transition for all!).  
  • An unspoken request for my little family...let God's Will be done, and our peace to accept it. 

I tried to dream up 7 things for "quick takes," but my brain couldn't even manage to put that we'll stop there.  Maybe I'll find some motivation to do a little more writing this weekend.



Monday, September 14, 2015

Sunday Funday

These days, Sundays rank near the top of my week.  I have really begun to attach myself to the little mission church we are attending and though I don't like setting an alarm for it, I do cherish the specialness of going to that little church with my little family on Sunday mornings.  It's the season where Alex is out of town on many Fridays and Saturdays, so Sunday is our family day (not to say that it shouldn't be year-round).

A little What I Wore Sunday, 'cuz it's been a while.
Using eMeals (more to come on that in a future post) means weekly trips to the grocery story so naturally, when we get out of Mass at 11, it's the perfect time to grab groceries and get back to the house before all the Protestants get out of their 11 a.m. service.  If lunch at a restaurant is on the agenda, we still generally have time to get groceries, drop them off at home, and make it to the restaurant before the church crowd does.  It's really a beautiful thing.

LOVING these maternity capris...I want to wear them year round.
On this particular Sunday, I had been SO looking forward to our date day.  The weather was B-E-A-UTIFUL all weekend and I was dying to get out the house.  After lunch and groceries (in the reverse order, this time), we decided to take in a ULM soccer game; Alex could show his face at another athletic event, and I could spend the afternoon outside.  It was a win-win for everyone.

And it was 59 degrees when we woke up...sweaters allowed!
Alex had the bright idea to bring the dog with us, and boy was that a mistake.  Though six human years old, that dog is an ageless puppy!  He would not chill out!  He was in our face the wholeeee time and really just made the afternoon not nearly as relaxing as it could have been.  Alex said over and over again, "Surely kids are easier than this...right??"  I laughed and said they probably aren't, but at least we wouldn't be covered on dog-funk when it was all said and done (surely kid funk is less disgusting; I am NOT a dog person).

Since maybe you don't want to see only photos of me...
We finally gave up and came home to lock the dog in a little side fence so that we could sit outside in peace for a little bit.  Oh man it was just glorious outside!  Too bad we're under a burn ban - it would have been a nice afternoon for a little fire.  Ah well.

And of course, we topped off the night with another stressful episode of Big Brother!  Less than two weeks to go before the season finale and 3 hours of our week free up again... haha.

So how was your weekend?  Can't wait to catch up on reading what everyone else is up to!


Monday, September 7, 2015

A First (Bumpdate, 16 Weeks)

Bump Update - 9/4/15

I'm still not at all confident in these "bump" photos,
please forgive me.
How far along? 16 weeks

Total weight gain: I choose not to know the answer to this question.  Since my first appointment, I have consistently lost weight according to the doctor's scale, BUT I have been at a different office (re: different scale) every time, so I don't know if that's accurate.  I prefer not to check the scale at home, thank you very much!  Next appointment - 10 days away. 

Maternity clothes? Occasionally, but not usually.  I've worn maternity pants a few times, and I recently purchased a couple of other bottoms but for the most part I am zipping work pants as high as they will go and pretending no one will notice the unbottoned look.  My friend Victoria (due in September) suggested a belly band, which I purchased from Target and occasionally gets used to make for a smoother pants seam. 

Stretch marks? Maybe a few, but who's to say they weren't there before...

Sleep: More, please.  Getting out of bed in the morning (especially now that it's dark!) is a HUUUUGE struggle.  Someone share their secret for fixing this problem and I just might be your new best friend!

Best moment this week: Uhh... I don't know.  Nothing exciting going on over here.  Oh!  I did find out the friend of a friend (who I know through said friend) is due 4ish weeks behind us.  That's exciting enough, yes?

Miss anything? It's not nearly as fun to attend the husband's work events (all you can eat food and booze) when you can't drink.  I planned to make up for it in frozen custard but they ran out before I made it through the line.  *sad face*  If I had friends here, I could really go for a girly wine/movie night...or even sushi with Alex, but nope.

Food cravings: Nope, not a single one.  Apparently I'm really getting gipped on this deal. 

Anything making you queasy or sick?  I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever be able to eat chicken (cooked at home) again.  It's so bizzare for your go-to food to be a no-go anymore.  Strong smells are intense, but I don't think food is really bothering me much these days. 

Gender: Yeah, no.  I should probably delete this question since we aren't finding out (though we could at this next appointment if we wanted to).  

Labor signs: Way too early.

Symptoms: This week I am wondering if I'm dreaming this pregnancy deal.  The bump I thought I had seems a distant memory.  No queasiness, mostly headache free (don't talk to me about the last two weeks)...hating mornings is about as bad as it gets right now.  

Belly button in or out? Normal here too.

Wedding rings on or off: Business as usual.

Happy or moody most of the time: Yeah, I guess you could say things are a little more rocky in this department lately.

Looking forward to: A real bump, feeling the little one move (some people already do by this point??), and really just the next appointment.  

Hows Dad doing? "Dad is doing good....the number of weeks along are starting to creep upward which means before I know it my first born will be here...and I'd be lying if I didn't say it scares the crap out of me."

14 Weeks.
Must have been extra bloated or something.  Ew.
13 Weeks.
Kinda cute, but is that even a real bump?
There you have it folks! Now that we have one of these out of the way, maybe I won't ramble so much in the future.  Side note:  Don't expect these on a weekly basis.  

Have a great holiday weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Fall 2005, Never Forget (Part 2)

For Part 1, click here.

Two days later (Monday, August 29th), Hurricane Katrina plowed into the Gulf Coast, taking with it more than 1,800 lives and billions of dollars worth of infrastructure along the way.  From my house 2.5 hours west of New Orleans, we watched in horror as the news broadcast all that occurred east of us.  We experienced the rain and wind of some of the storm's outer bands, but our power never went out and we were able to keep up with almost all of the news coverage coming out of the area.

The only people we knew directly affected by the storms were more like acquaintances than close family or friends, but our hearts still went to those living the devastation first-hand.  Almost immediately, a "Cajun Navy" of 350+ boats assembled at the Acadiana Mall in Lafayette, pledging to offer volunteer rescue services to those in need (who knew the government would fail at pulling together adequate resources for addressing the situation).  It couldn't have been more then a day or two before buses started rolling in to local arenas, community centers, and nearly any facility that wouldn't have it's daily functions interrupted by hundreds or thousands of new guests (aka: evacuees).

Hundreds of boats assembled at the mall at 4 a.m. That, my friends, is dedication.
The campus of Nicholls itself was spared of major damage, but many, many students were unable to return for more than a week, so the school canceled classes for a week and a half (thanks, Jen, for jogging my memory!).  With the extra time on my hands, I rounded up random craft supplies and games, and spent a few days offering to play with kids who were staying in nearby shelters.  I remember it being an extremely awkward situation to be a teenager showing up in the midst of all the regimented chaos (yes, regimented chaos) and trying to track down someone "in charge" who could give me permission to play with the children.  Most kids who ventured to where I set up shop were shy, timid, and unsure of what I had to offer.  A few though, really enjoyed the distraction, and I could tell their parents appreciated it too.

Though I'd only been a student there for one week, getting back to Nicholls was a strange experience.  For starters, there were hundreds of new people calling campus home - both students and general evacuees.  Like at home, the campus had opened up both of its gyms to house evacuees from the New Orleans area, and the nursing building was transformed into a triage/hospital of sorts.  Many of our classes were relocated to account for new people and the accompanying business functions (communication headquarters, distribution of food/clothing, reunification efforts, applying for aid, etc).

Jen and I were forced to move out of that "new" dorm room of ours (we never once actually stayed in that room, btw), back onto the first floor hotel-style part of the building, to make room for students from other schools who hoped to avoid missing an entire semester of coursework (NOLA area schools cancelled classes for the entire semester).  All of a sudden, students from Tulane, Loyola, the University of New Orleans, and even some community colleges were now enrolled in classes.  These students (and even some of the original Nicholls students) didn't have text books or other basic supplies, but our teachers worked around it.  Everyone truly bent over backwards so that these students didn't lose out on their work.

(Note: After Katrina, almost all of our classes migrated to using online systems and students were instructed at the start of each semester that classes would continue via distance should anything occur that prevented the school from providing in-person instruction.  There were clauses added to syllabi that told students they were obligated to take texts and other materials along should the need to evacuate become essential.  I attribute the spike in online classes and related technology to the effects of this situation.)

Speaking of students from other schools, Jen's then-boyfriend-now-husband was one of those affected.  Logan had just begun his first semester at UNO and found himself at Nicholls after the storm.  We enjoyed having Logan around for the semester, but his heart was at UNO and he returned to school there when classes resumed there in the Spring (2006).

Don't hate me, ya'll!
Overall, the vibe on campus that semester was really a unique one.  Students were encouraged to wear (bring) their student IDs with them at all times, and administration recommended students not travel on foot after dark as added safety precautions.  But, for a quiet little campus such as ours, having all those extra people meant there were always others around.  Faculty and students in the Communications Department assembled two news publications (here and here) for evacuees, and the local community banded together to provide for all their needs, including the coordination of regular recreational opportunities such as sports tournaments and outdoor picnics.  In some ways and was annoying to have the disruption (as I imagine many selfish college students would feel), and in other ways remarkably encouraging to have witnessed the incredible sacrifice of those who bound together to serve those in true crisis.

Of course, time went on, we finished the Fall semester and continued with our college experience.  Slowly, people were reunited with family, and students returned to their original schools.  We all moved past those months and continued to find both struggles and successes over the years.  Today, though, we remember those experiences and how they defined a part of our lives, a part that we will never forget.


For added reading on Katrina effects in the Houma/Thibodaux area:
Killer Dog Cheers up Katrina Evacuees at Nicholls
Pushed to the Limits
Katrina Taught Houma-Thibodaux Something About Itself