Happy Due Date!

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Happy Due Date (and Halloween)!
by Laura

I’ve been absolutely terrible about updating anyone or really keeping much record at all of these past nine months – I’m sorry! I’m sure that I will come to regret this in the years to come. We didn’t really do the whole "Profile Picture Once a Week, Belly Expanding, Time-Lapse" thing. In fact, until recently I think I’ve got like three pictures of the whole pregnancy!

The pregnancy itself, to be honest, has actually been pretty hard. For seven-and-a-half months I threw up almost everyday, many times a day. I became very familiar with the nuances of our bathroom tile patterns, that is for sure. I also got to experience pretty much every single other pregnancy discomfort on the list…and believe me, there are a LOT of them! :p But, at least it isn’t like being sick with the flu, where you’ve got all that junk and there is nothing good at the end. At least with this, there is a blessed purpose! That is what has kept me going and kept me really excited! And I am not about to deny what an incredible miracle this little baby is, or how amazing it is that I’m even pregnant (for those of you who don’t know, our doctor told us it would be impossible because of my polycystic ovarian syndrome) – so I’m very, very grateful!  I can’t wait to see this precious little baby and hold him or her in my arms!

The last five or six weeks everything has gotten a lot better, and with the exception of a few ribs out of whack, I’m feeling GREAT! In a practical sense, we’re almost ready – the nursery is almost done, I’ve almost tied up loose ends at work, etc. – we’re just playing the waiting game now :)

I’m really excited to see Brian as a Dad…I think he is going to be absolutely amazing!  He has been so encouraging, patient and supportive of me through this time. Two weekends ago we went away to my parents’ lakehouse and took that time to reflect and reminisce on the last three and a half years. One of the things we did was to fill out a memory book called “The Book of Us” and it was so sweet to think back on these past several years together.  As much as I’m looking forward to this new little family member, I’m also processing/mourning the loss of it being just me and Brian.  The time away helped me feel better about the closing of this “season” and the opening of the next.  We dreamed of the future and all it holds – I’m definitely looking forward to this next chapter and I can’t wait to hold our baby in my arms!  But I’m grateful, too, that this baby will be adding to, instead of making, our joy.

We are planning on giving birth at the Birth and Women’s Center in downtown Dallas next to Baylor Hospital.  It is this beautiful old Victorian house that they’ve made into a birthing center.  My care provider is a midwife and she has been incredible. The plan is to go natural unless something comes up where medical intervention is necessary (and then I’m all for it!). To help prepare for this we took Bradley Classes which are focused on delivering naturally, and I’ve been reading "Christ-Centered Childbirth" — I’m really looking forward to the labor and delivery being something that Brian, God and I do together to bring this precious baby into the world.  I have had several friends give birth at the BWC, the first being sweet Susan, who wrote this article about it all:

I got to be in the room as Kyla came into the world, and it was a truly ethereal, supernatural (and very, very safe — for all of you who might be worried ;)) experience that convinced Brian and I that that route would be right for us.

We don’t know the sex of the baby. Brian really, really wanted to wait until the birth to find out but I was dying to know as soon as we could!  Since he has given in on so many other things (and was even willing to give in on this!) I figured this was something I could do for him that would make him really happy.  I must say that it has been easier than I thought, but I still can’t wait to know!

If it is a boy, his name will be Jonas Paul, and if it is a girl, her name will be Clara Jane.  I really thought I would have a “mother’s intuition” about it, but I have NO idea if it is a boy or girl! The due date was today, October 31st, but it looks like it will be November before Baby Rhea decides to make his or her grand entrance. In the words of my chiropractor, “You aren’t having that baby on time.  You don’t look miserable enough yet.”  I know he or she will come at the time God has ordained, and we will continue to eagerly anticipate that time!  Here is a picture of my halloween costume with our lil’ pumpkin’…

Pumpkin_side   Pumpkin_front_3

In case you’re interested in seeing some more pictures, Brian took some photos at my parents’ house and we also went to the Botanical Garden here in Grapevine and he worked up a sweat running back and forth to the tripod in the 90+ heat!

I hope you all have a wonderful Halloween! 

Who’s Afraid of Barack Obama?

Obamasepia

I’ve received a number of e-mails from friends, family and co-workers
warning us of the supposed doom that will befall the United States if Barack Obama
is elected President. I have also had conversations with concerned
friends, family and co-workers who, in one way or another, know that I
support Obama’s campaign. Every single one of these e-mails and
conversations has had two things in common:

1. They are well-intentioned.
2. They are simply misinformed.

So,
I’d like to correct some of the errors that are out there concerning
Obama so that you (whoever you are) will have a better understanding of
who he really is, and so that if you receive an inaccurate e-mail
forward about him (and there is a common one floating around that I’ve
received several times already) you can direct the sender to this post
or Snopes to eliminate further confusion and misinformation.

First of all, one of the first lines of the e-mail forward is:

"We checked this out on snopes.com It is factual. Check for yourself."

This
is a new inclusion in many urban legend e-mail forwards. They assume
that the reader will not take the time to actually verify it for
themselves and by implying that they have, they create some undeserved
credibility. If a person actually does take the time to check for
themselves they find that the claims in the e-mail are entirely false.

The fact that this line opens up the e-mail and is itself a
blatant lie should tell you something about the credibility of the rest
of the message.

The e-mail also includes this:

"Obama
takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim. He is quick
to point out that, ‘He was once a Muslim, but that he also attended Catholic school.’"

Barack
Obama has never said that he was once a Muslim. The e-mail places
quotes around the line implying that Barack said that, but he never
did. This is another claim that the e-mail presents as fact despite the
complete lack of supporting evidence.

And then:

"Lolo
Soetoro, the second husband of Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, introduced
his stepson to Islam. Obama was enrolled in a Wahabi school in
Jakarta. Wahabism
is the radical teaching that is followed by the Muslim terrorists who
are now waging Jihad against the western world."

This
is a claim that was borne from a thoroughly-debunked story printed in
Insight Magazine which said that Obama attended a radical Muslim
religious school. Every follow-up investigation found this claim to be
false.

Associated Press:
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/politics/20070124-1317-obama-2008.html

A spokesman for Indonesia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs said claims that Obama studied at an Islamic school are groundless.

"SDN Menteng 1 is a public primary school that is open to people of all
faiths," said the spokesman, Sutopo, who goes by only one name.
"Moreover, he studied earlier at Fransiskus Assisi, which is clearly a
Catholic school."

Obama later transferred to SDN Menteng 1 – the elite, secular
elementary school at the center of the controversy. The school is
public but is very competitive and has exceptionally high standards. It
is located in one of the most affluent parts of Jakarta and attracts
mostly middle- to upper-class students, among them several of former
dictator Suharto’s grandchildren.

And finally:

Also,
keep in mind that when he was sworn into office he did not use the Holy Bible, but instead the Koran (their equivalency to our Bible, but very different beliefs).

This
is also not true. Barack Obama was sworn into office with his hand on
the Bible. The original author of the e-mail has either mistakenly or
purposefully confused Obama with Congressman Keith Ellison.

Clearly, the e-mail is filled with falsehoods from start to
finish and the conversations I’ve had with people face-to-face are
about the same wrong claims that are found in it. Please, if you
receive it, direct the sender to the actual Snopes page, this post, or
give them my e-mail address and I will be happy to clear up any
confusions they may have about Senator Obama.

Baseball, Boston, Bikes, but no Baby

As the day that will change our lives forever draws near, it’s been
nice to have a diversion or two to offer our psyches a respite.

Mindless Enjoyment #1 : MLB Postseason

It
may no longer be the biggest spectator sport in the country, and
football is certainly staking a legitimate claim to replace it as the
National Pastime, but baseball still has a number of things going for
it: a.) in terms of in-game strategy and drama, it has no equal in
sports; b.) it is a visually beautiful game to watch, the geometry, the
(a)symmetry, the contrast of dirt and grass, for my money only golf
gives baseball a run for its money when it comes to aesthetics; c.) you
can realistically take a family of five to a live game without taking
out a second mortgage, I can’t think of another professional sport
where this is true.

Also, the managers wear the same uniforms as the
players. As sharp as the hockey and basketball coaches look in their
jackets and ties, there is something cool about a manager arguing a
call with a number on his back and logo on his chest. And finally, as
much as I wanted the Series to go to seven games, the fact that the
BoSox swept it means that the entire postseason was played in the month
of October, hands down the best month on the calendar. Hooray for
baseball.

Mindless Enjoyment #2 : Envying Boston Sports Fans

Boston Red Sox : World Series Champs
Boston College : Number 2 in the BCS
New England Patriots : 8-0

Mindless Enjoyment #3 : Mountain (Trail) Biking around Lake Grapevine

Last year, I got really in to mountain biking after borrowing
Gene’s bike for a week or two. There are some really great trails
around here that make you forget that you’re in the metroplex. After it
was clear that it wasn’t just a phase, we bought ourselves some bikes
and I have been so grateful for the purchase. However, some months ago
when Laura mentioned to a friend that I had recently gotten in to
mountain biking, the friend’s response was, "I’m from Idaho. Where are
you going mountain biking in north Texas?" Fair enough. So, I’ve had to
get in to the habit of referring to my new hobby as Trail Biking.

A major selling point of our new home is that it backs up to
the woods surrounding Lake Grapevine. This was mostly for our kids, but
it’s definitely a feature that Laura and I have taken advantage of. It
so happens that the trail known as Horseshoe runs through those woods
and, in fact, it comes within a stone’s throw of our back gate. On
Sunday, I cleared a private little path to the trail so I can actually
get on it from my own backyard!

Here is a video of the new path…for some reason I can’t get Google Video to cooperate.

Wait, Wait…

For the most part, it’s all quiet here on the Grapevine front. Well, we’re doing a number of things to continue to settle in to the house (it seems like for every box we unpack, two more appear) but in the baby arena, there’s nothing new to report.

In other exciting news, I got to be a call-in contestant on one of our favorite radio programs last week! "Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me" comes on our local NPR station, 90.1 KERA, on Saturday mornings but Laura and I podcast it and listen to it whenever we’re in the car together. We’ve been big fans for years and it’s a staple on long road trips. This summer, I was just tinkering around on the web one day and thought, "Hey, I should sign up to be on Wait Wait."

Well, last week I took my students on a field trip to the museums in Dallas and on the bus ride back to the school I got a phone call from someone with the show saying there was an available spot for the upcoming recording!

You can listen to the segment that I’m on here: http://www.npr.org/templates/rundowns/rundown.php?prgId=35
Scroll down and listen to "Who’s Carl This Time?"

The prize is that NPR newsman Carl Kasell will do a recording for my voice mail! So when you call me, instead of, "This is Brian. Sorry I missed your call." It’ll be Carl! This is a big deal to NPR nerds.

So, I get to write the message that Carl leaves and I’d like some suggestions! Go here to listen to some examples:
http://www.npr.org/programs/waitwait/features/messages.html

If you have an idea for my message from Carl, leave a comment!

I’m thinking something along the lines of:
"From NPR headquarters in Washington, I’m Carl Kasell. But you live in a red state, so chances are, you don’t know me from Adam. Trust me though, it’s a big deal that I am the voice on Brian’s answering machine. He’d explain why to you himself, but right now he’s busy hugging trees, reducing his carbon emissions and convincing people that Barack Obama is not a Muslim."

Alive and Kicking

Moving + Pregnancy + Beginning of School = First Post in Over a Month

But we’re doing great and despite the fact that we don’t know when our baby will be born, what we do know is that with each day that passes, it has gotten one day closer. The due date is October 31st, but anything can happen. It’s been a wonder to watch Laura carry and grow this baby, and to feel him or her moving around, reacting to our voices and touch, getting the hiccups.

I cannot wait to meet our little baby and I cannot wait to be their dad.

I wonder what they will be interested in and passionate about. I wonder if they will have a curious or calm imagination. The other day I wondered aloud to Laura, "What if our baby grows up to prove String Theory or discovers the actual Unified Field Theory?" I allowed myself to daydream about this for several minutes.

Tuesday morning as I drove directly east on my way to school, I looked at that orange ball floating in the sky and I laughed out loud in the car. It is an impossibly large explosion occuring 93 million miles away and I am watching it happen. Actually, I’m looking at what happened seven minutes ago since that’s how long it took the light to get here. It’s an explosion so large that if it were the size of a basketball our earth would be the size of a pinhead.

Att000103

And on that little pinhead, there is this little blond-headed creature walking around who I love more than anything. And inside of that little blondie, there is something happening that’s even more miraculous and wonderful than the controlled explosion 93 million miles away that inspired this thought to begin with. Cells are dividing, a heart is beating, and in his or her brain, synapses are firing: microscopic, controlled explosions, brighter than the sun.