Sunday, December 30, 2007

More BELLY!!!

Now that I feel I've successfully vented my frustrations and fears, it's time for a more refreshing and nicer post. I have belly pics! These were originally intended to show my cousin (who is expecting twins) how big my belly is so she knows what to expect size-wise, but I figured I should also post them here since it's been a while since my last belly post. That and since I'm so close to my due date it's probably my last belly post. So without further ado:



Okay, so the last one's not really a "belly" pic but I thought I looked really happy in it (even if I do look a little more rotund than I prefer). Pic #2 depicts me holding something odd looking under my belly so I feel I should explain. Since my laptop's built in camera is easy to use and upload pics from, I felt like being super lazy and just using it instead of hauling out the digital camera. So to take pictures with the laptop's webcam, I have to click the mouse on the "take picture" button. Therefore the odd looking object I'm holding under my belly is my nemesis, the evil Bluetooth mouse that hates my guts. I am not getting another Bluetooth keyboard/mouse set if I can help it ever again. Bluetooth is evil! But baby is good! And I apologize for the mess in the background. We're trying to get things cleaned up, honest!

Yargh

No, it's not talk like a pirate day...that was a couple of months ago, I think. This is "Anna feels frustrated and needs to vent" day. Perhaps I'm just really moody from the pregnancy and that's why people seem more irritating than usual. Or perhaps certain people are just extremely annoying and I am justified in feeling an urge to kick them down the staircase. Now, I'm not out to deface any particular person on the internet, hence his name and how I know him are not going to be posted. Neither am I going to go into detail about what exactly it is he does/has done that is bothering me as it is possible (however unlikely) that either he or someone who would recognize him might read this. My intent is not to cause offense or to harm anyone in any way, I just need to let out some hot air before I take my anger out on someone I'd really regret hurting, namely Sean.

I guess I'm not really angry so much as frustrated with the way things are going. I've got a lot on my mind lately and feel very stressed out. I've been nauseous the last few days and have been having wilder mood swings than normal. There's still a lot of stuff I need to get done before the baby gets here and I barely have the energy to think about doing it except for when I get a sudden burst of energy and start doing something weird like baking. I keep trying to remind myself I need to make a few casseroles and freeze them so Sean won't have to do a lot of work cooking while I recover, and I still need to sew the vinyl cover for the crib mattress.

That being said, I hope anyone who has had a baby before understands that I'm ready to rip my hair out right now even though I've been greatly blessed to not have any complications. I am also feeling very guilty that so many other women have such horrible problems and complications with their pregnancy and here I am whining about people that stress me out. I have a cousin who's expecting twins after a miscarriage and various other problems, I have a friend who is expecting a boy and she suffers from a kidney condition that makes her pregnancy extremely high risk. And here I am whining that I don't like certain people.

I know that it's normal for any pregnant woman to experience a variety of emotional changes, especially as she gets close to her due date, so perhaps that's why I'm being so weird...I don't know. But I do know that however insignificant my frustrations are in the wider picture, they're obviously real otherwise I wouldn't really be frustrated, would I?

So this person who I am particularly frustrated at is someone who irritates me all the time anyway so it's not like this is anything new. He has shown in his past actions and words that he does not really respect me and as he is an elder to me (as opposed to my peer) I often find it hard to stand up to him. Unfortunately, I can't completely cut this person out of my life, either. I think part of my frustration is that I am afraid this person is going to insist on being a major figure in my son's life starting from birth (he has "jokingly" stated that he's ready to see "his" baby and that I should have given birth already), and is planning on being present at the hospital. At least I can give instructions to the nurse at the hospital that I don't want certain visitors and can avoid a confrontation that way but I am dreading coming home afterwards.

I will very much appreciate help (especially from other women) after the baby's born, but I am not looking forward to a tiny apartment full of guests which is what I'm afraid is going to happen. Maybe I'm suffering from overprotective mother bear syndrome or it's just my introverted nature. I can just picture people wanting to come over and hold the baby (I can especially picture the irritating person doing this) and not giving me time to spend with him and me finally going insane and threatening people with sword in hand to leave me and my baby alone. I know part of this might stem from my control issues but still...I'm allowed to want to protect my little one when he's so vulnerable, right?

I also don't want anyone to spend the night here (not even my much beloved mother-in-law who I'd love to have come help out with the baby). As much as I can understand the good intentions of someone to stay the night to take care of George and give me rest, we just don't have room. Yes, our new sectional has a pull-out bed but there's already going to be a new person living with us and I don't like the idea of our living room being turned into a guest room. Besides, where is our baby-phobic cat going to go those first few nights until she gets used to him?

I hope this doesn't come across as selfish or extremely self-centered, and I hope I was vague enough about the irritating person so that Sean and I are really the only people who know who it is. Again, this post is not out to deface anyone, I only am trying to safely vent my emotions. Besides, I'm sure everyone knows someone who irritates them to the point of near insanity....

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

One of Those Things

Something I feel I need to get off of my chest and make a mini-rant about, is the insistence of certain people that we lock our doors when they leave. Yes, after my insightful post a few minutes ago, I'm posting a rant. I'm hoping, however, that someone can give me some insight on this.

We have a relative who when walking out the door insists that we make sure to lock our door after he leaves. Unfortunately he is not the only person who does this, another friend of ours has taken up the habit of reminding us to lock the door. I keep having to resist the urge to say "Really? Well, I was planning on actually propping the door open and putting up a neon sign that says 'ROB ME PLEASE!' I mean, after all, we do live in Dallas, right?"

Keep in mind that I used to live in a rural area where we never locked our back door at night, and in fact left the door to the porch wide open during the summer so the night breeze would cool off the house and the cat could get to her litterbox. Probably not the safest thing to do but we never had a problem. However, I am not naive enough to think I could get away with that in Dallas. I'd be crazy if I did. Every night we go through the apartment and make sure every lock is locked, we rarely open the windows and make sure they're locked tight when they're closed, and we make an effort to bring in notices left on the doors so any passerby would know we're alert. I make sure my car is locked while in the locked garage and make sure there's nothing in sight that would tempt a would-be burglar (yes, even in the garage). Call me paranoid but don't call me stupid. I do all in my power to be a responsible renter and don't leave opportunities for would be house thieves.

So the insistence of these people that we lock our doors I find rather insulting. Why do these people insist on reminding us to lock our door when they leave? Is it really because they think we are that stupid? Or do they feel a need to be our "mommy"? I can understand why the first person reminds us to lock our door, he is used to living with someone who tends to forget these things, but even so I still feel that my intelligence and common sense has been insulted when he does. Of course there are many other things he does that bother me, but things like this just make me want to rip my hair out.

I'm not a child, I do have the sense that God gave me, and I don't set myself up to be a victim. Same goes for Sean. Perhaps this reminder is this person's way of trying to exert control over us or perhaps he just has no tact. Oh well. Not much I can do.

Merry Christmas!

It occurred to me that I haven't posted in a couple of weeks, so I'd like to take this time to wish you all a Merry Christmas (I'm not too late it's only the second day of Christmas!). Sean and I went to Midnight Mass at St. Alban's on Christmas Eve, and I must say I am very touched by the warm welcome we received. Our visit that night made me realize just how much St. Alban's is really like family to us. I do like the REC parish we've been attending these past few weeks (this parish is only a few blocks away from our home, St. Alban's is a 45 minute drive away) and have even started to get used to the 1928 BCP service, but I have come to realize that St. Alban's is truly my church "home".

Something else I realized is that though the REC parish consists of members with the same conservative viewpoint as we have, I would rather be at St. Alban's where there is a mix of conservative and liberal. Perhaps it's because the more liberal members keep us on our toes. I am constantly checking myself to make sure that what I do or say is in keeping with God's will as laid out in Holy Scripture. To be blatantly honest, I have failed in that many times but I also immediately (usually) see the error of my ways and make an effort to repent and ask for forgiveness, then do what I can to correct my error.

One situation that comes to mind is my disdain for "Folk Mass". There's nothing wrong with disliking a certain style of worship, that's why there are so many different denominations and even differences inside of those denominations. It's why we have a Rite I and a Rite II, not everybody likes the same thing. But my dislike of "Folk Mass" or "Contemporary Eucharist" (CE) as it was changed to extends far beyond just a dislike. I became so upset one week that I refused to enter the nave and sat outside in the narthex the entire service crying because I was so angry that the CE crowd was seeming to take over. At some point I dried my tears and Sean and I left after the service. On our way home I started crying again, but this time in shame. I had no right to be angry, it was not my place. Surely there were parishioners who are not fond of the traditional service with the Chamber Choir, and I was being a hateful, spiteful, and prideful music snob.

I had a long talk with God that day about my behavior and have not been quite so bad since. While I am not happy that the situation occurred in the first place, I am grateful I was given the chance to grow. Many different outcomes could have happened from that incident, but God used it as a way to teach me. Had I been in a place where everyone agreed with me I might not have sinned, but neither would I have had a chance to repent of that sin and change my behavior. I might not have realized how prideful and vain I was becoming.

So again I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and a Joyful Epiphany.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Requiem

æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Nana passed away last night. I don't know of the exact time, but I do know she died in her sleep. The last few days she was unable to recognize anyone, and was bedridden. The saddest part was that she kept asking why she couldn't meet Jesus yet. We were all able to say our goodbyes, even my cousin who lives in Poland. He made the trip last week to Washington just to see his grandmother. It breaks my heart that I can't go to her funeral or burial because of my pregnancy, but I hope to make a trip up there to visit this summer, God willing.

Nana (as she was known to me) lived to be 96 years old. She outlived two husbands and two of three siblings. She is survived by one sister, four children, nine grandchildren, four great-grandchildren (that I know of), one great-great granddaughter, and three (at least) great-great grandchildren yet to be born. I haven't the slightest idea how many nieces, nephews, or great-niece/nephews she has. This amazing woman was the matriarch of our family and a devout Christian (Protestant). She was the center for information about family members stretched from one end of the country to the other and even overseas.

She helped to raise my mother for a couple of years while Oma worked, and her home was always open to any family members who needed a place to stay. I have so many memories it would take a book to write them all down. Mom did one better, a couple of years ago she recorded on tape several hours of Nana reminiscing, and is now able to work on transcripting them, or will be when her motor skills have improved. For now let me just say that I know she's gone to be with our Lord and is finally at peace. Even so, it's hard to let go.

I love you, Nana. Say hi to Jesus for me.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Concerning Conservatives...

I normally consider myself fairly conservative. I'm a member of the Fort Worth diocese that agrees with the direction Bishop Iker is headed. I believe that extra-marital sex is a sin, and that marriage is between a man and a woman. So I'd say I'm pretty conservative, theologically and politically.

Yet I am constantly amazed when I see someone become (as my mother put it) sanctimonious over certain situations. In a recent online conversation I was pointing out that the better way to ban a residential sex club was to argue for the illegality of such a situation due to traffic flow, noise, and parking rather than the immorality of the situation and was chewed out by another poster for not condemning the immorality. Except that I did say I don't agree with the situation, but using an emotional morality argument is not going to get the club banned.

On another website an article was posted complaining about how upset the author was when Christians send non-religious Christmas cards (such as family picture cards, cards expressing generic "Peace and Joy" sentiments, etc) and they should be more religious.

I know that as a Christian my actions and words are the best way to evangelize, not telling non-Christians that they must conform to my views because my faith is the right way. I can't think of anyone at the moment who converted to the Christian faith merely because someone told them they absolutely had to for their salvation or they were going to hell. Generally people don't react well to being told they're wrong.

I can't count the number of times people have come up to me and asked me about my DOK cross...or have told me that I act more mature than most people in my age group they've met (I'm serious). Sean and I are good friends with a family where the father is quite anti-Christian. We always avoid religious debates, but we absolutely love this family and consider them an extension of our own. They invite us to their home not because we shove our faith down their throats, but because we LIVE it.

I'm not saying we step on eggshells, but we don't force others to listen to us. We try to show our faith by example. Kind of like the song "They will know we are Christians by our love". Some people I've met are surprised when they find out I am Christian because I didn't try to shove a tract down their throat. Of course then it gives me an opportunity to explain what the Christian faith is really about. I don't know if I've ever converted anyone, but I hope I've at least provided an incentive for them to open their hearts to the truth.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I just don't see any sense in acting like a holier-than-thou jerk. I'm not good at preaching and I have a lot of trouble coming up with a counter-argument on the spot when debating, so this is my way of evangelizing.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

My, What an Interesting New Taste....

...I've discovered. I wasn't a big fan of the Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper or the Berries & Cream version, so when I saw this at Walmart the other day....I was afraid to try it at first.
But my curiosity got the best of me and I broke down and bought it. Lo and behold, this stuff is tasty! It really tastes like chocolate....kind of like a cherry-tinged Tootsie-Pop. So I am happy. New flavor. YAY!

On a more distressing note, please keep Sean's mother in your prayers. She was admitted to the hospital this afternoon for heart problems. She has a micro-defibrillator on her heart and when she went in today to have a check-up her doctor noticed an abnormality. We're not sure why exactly she is in the hospital but are optimistic for a good outcome. I'll post more when I find it out.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Have A Blessed Advent

There's not a whole lot going on right now, and nothing really new to post so I thought I'd make an Advent-type post. I always look forward to Advent and Lent for two reasons. The first is the anticipation of Christmas and Easter, the second is that purple is my favorite color. Several years ago (I believe this was the year Sean and I got married), we purchased a simple Advent candleholder, a square iron box that "floats" the four candles in glass votive holders. Each year I swore we'd observe Advent by doing Evening Prayer at least every Sunday of the season. The last few years, however, we traveled to Mississippi to see his Mom for Christmas, which meant the last Sunday of Advent was spent out of state, and we didn't take the wreath with us.

Yeah, I know that's not a very good excuse. Neither is saying that we also are always tired on Sunday after church since it's quite a drive to get to and home from our home parish and just kind of forgot. Most of the years we intended to observe Advent I had actually forgotten to get out the wreath until the 2nd or 3rd Sunday. This year is different.

I think it mostly has to do with the pregnancy. Since I'm limited for travelling, we're spending Christmas at home this year. We also agreed that we wanted to start family traditions of our own, so last night after dinner we lit the first purple candle and said Evening Prayer (Rite I of course!). When we finished and blew out the candle, Sean told me he was looking forward to saying Evening Prayer with George. I thought it was so sweet, and had to really keep myself from tearing up.

I am so excited that we're laying the foundation for cherished family memories and beginning traditions that I hope will stick with my child(ren) for the rest of their lives. Is this part of the joy of motherhood?