Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Meeting My Niece

My niece, Charlotte Elizabeth was born on July 12 to my sister Molly and her husband Quintin. She is my sister's first child, and the first grandbaby on my side of the family. She's kind of a big deal!

She made us wait for her arrival for a few additional weeks, so I didn't get to meet her during my surprise visit to Las Vegas earlier this month. But, I was able to take another week off of work and fly back there 10 days after Charlotte was born.

I don't know if I can describe what it was really like to meet her. We'd talked about her and planned for her throughout my sister's pregnancy and finally meeting her was just so exciting! She was so tiny. Not tiny for a newborn (she was just over 8 lbs) but a tiny person. A sweet baby girl that won't always be a baby. I just wanted to memorize everything about her when I held her. Her fingers were so long and skinny, as were her legs and toes. She didn't have much baby-fat at all. She had a lot more hair than I had imagined and it was darker than I thought it would be. (My sister was a red head when she was born.) She had the cutest mouth - also very tiny. And large eyes. I haven't seen photos of my brother-in-law as a baby, but I'm guessing Charlotte got the Hagen nose.

Seeing my sister be a mother was also a little bit surreal. This baby she was holding, feeding, and caring for would be her daughter forever. She'd be my niece forever! This wasn't playing "house" anymore! Molly was so calm and patient through those long nights on little sleep. She'll be a great mom.

One of my main tasks during my visit was to take photos of Baby Charlotte. We did several mini-sessions throughout the week. Above is a photo of her in my grandmother's baby hat! My mother saved it for us all these years and finally got to dig it out of storage. It was big snug but so beautiful.

When I wasn't taking photos, I was trying to keep things picked up around the house, making meals, shopping, and doing some laundry. I didn't do as much as I would have thought since my own baby is busy growing and keeping me from having too much energy. I babysat once while M & Q had to go to work for a few hours; I got to give Charlotte her very first bottle which she took without complaint!

Being around a newborn was a good eye-opener for me in what I can expect those first few weeks to look like. I just have a few months left myself.  It was also great to spend so much time with my sister (when she wasn't sleeping!), and talk through what her labor experience was like and how she's feeling as a new mom. I'm so glad we get to experience these things together.

It was also a great time to practice my photography skills! Nothing like getting a baby to play with for a whole week! Molly snuck my camera to take this one below. It's one of the few I actually have of me with the baby!


We had a great visit and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I'm so thankful I got to be there for my sister during her recovery time and be somewhat helpful. It's hard to live so far away sometimes. It's not like we thought it would be when we were kids and we dreamed of living close by and having our kids be best friends or being each others babysitters!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Baby B: 30 Weeks

How far along: 30 weeks

How big is the baby: Weighing about 3 pounds and measuring 17
inches long (according to those lovely Internet statistics)

Sleep: Well, Baby B likes to move a ton at night so it's been hit or miss lately. My calves have also had some cramping going on so that has interrupted sleep every now and then as well.

Best moment of the week:
Holding my niece Charlotte and having my baby try to nudge her out of the way... I said they were playing footsie.

Worst thing: Very sore back and hips . . . so painful.

Symptoms: Growing belly, stiff hips, cramps in my legs, and feeling tired again. And my ankles have started to swell a bit.

Movement: The movements are now so big you can see my stomach move! Kind of distracting in church and at work. I don't think Baby B liked flying as "he" moved a ton and very often. The movements are starting to be a little more uncomfortable for me. There is probably a lot less room to move around now.

What I miss: Being comfortable . . . sitting for too long makes me super stiff and it's hard to get up from couches.

Food Cravings: Ice cream has been a big one this week. Also, everything with gluten  . . . which hasn't been a good thing for my inflammation.

Food Aversions: None.

Maternity Clothes: Recently scored a quite a few hand-me-downs from my sister who no longer needed most of her maternity clothes. New jeans, capris, and quite a few tops. My closet is so full!

Things People Say: Mostly I hear things about how excited people are - or how excited I am. Apparently, I was glowing yesterday!

Exercise: Well, with my two weeks of travel in July, exercise was not part of any sort of routine. I'm hoping to get back into it now that my vacations are over. I was told to be careful in my prenatal yoga class as it seems to be aggrivating my sacrum. (bummer)

Last Appointment: Well, I have one on July 31st (I couldn't wait to post this though)

Next Appointment: August 14th. They'll be every two weeks now. Getting closer!

Where'd you go, Bernadette?

Where'd you go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple was a great book to bring along on my trip to Las Vegas. I finished it in just a couple of days. It's uniquely written in the form of letters from one character to another with bits of narration thrown in by Bernadette's daughter. 

It's quite hilarious . . . the things this family does. Or specifically, what Bernadette does. But I can't give too much away, because it will ruin it for anyone who reads it. And I think you should read it. It will make you laugh . . . (although, some parts are sad).

Let's just say, it involves a gifted child, a Microsoft workaholic father and family vacation to Antarctica . . . throw in a crazy neighbor or two and a house that's falling apart. And Bernadette. 

And it has a great ending! (I can't say that about many books.)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Freezer Meals for Sis

When I made arrangements to spend a week with my sister, her husband and their new baby, I knew one thing I really wanted to do for them was stock their freezer with good, homemade meals that could easily be thrown in a crock-pot and called done.  I scoured the internet and Pinterest for great and easy recipes. I narrowed it down to five, made my list and once I got to Vegas, went shopping.

I also planned on making two larger dinners to eat while I was there, hoping there would be left overs from both and count for more that just one meal.

The results from my grocery shopping spree:

It didn't really take long at all to put together the five recipes, which technically made six meals. Even with taking a few breaks in between, I was done within 3 hours. Here's what I made:

  • Sweet Teriyaki Chicken
    Mexican Chicken Taco Stuffing
  • Pineapple Chicken Stir Fry
  • Sloppy Joes
  • Orange Beef Stew (two bags)
My sister will have to pair most of the meals with something like rice, hamburger buns, or taco shells, but really, that should take minimal planning/preparation.  All of the meals are crock-pot meals that would take 4-6 hours to cook. So, she'll drop them in the crock-pot after lunch and when hubby comes home - wha-la - dinner is served!

Other things I tried to help with while I was there: grocery shopping, laundry, clean the bathrooms and general clean up and babysitting. Yep, I got to babysit twice while I was there. Can't believe they trusted me!

UPDATE: To view the recipes mentioned above, click here.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Four Years and Counting

Last Thursday marked our 4th wedding anniversary. It's hard to believe another year has come and gone.  I'll probably always feel that way . . . that the year passes very quickly. Chris surprised me with a night out after work on Friday. We headed downtown to a little alleyway crowded with restaurants. As soon as I saw it, I knew where we were! A friend had told me about this little part of the city and I mentioned it to Chris a while ago, but had completely forgotten all about it. (He knew I would). Belden Place - the French Quarter of San Francisco - looks like the streets we walked in Paris and parts of Rome. It was so fun to be brought back to memories of Europe--the dining experience anyway.

We walked by each restaurant, glancing at their menus and finally decided on one called Taverna. Although we could have sat outside, we decided to go upstairs where it was a little quieter. Chris enjoyed delicious ravioli and I had the braised short rib. Dinner was delicious, but the best part about our anniversary dates is always the conversation. We spend time reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the next. We talk about dreams and goals, desires and fears. Its a conversation I look forward to every year.

This past year was a big year for us . . .

We spent the first part of the past year focused on saving our pennies for our trip to Europe, which we took in September. Chris had I have traveled together domestically before but this had been our first international experience. Visiting seven cities in fourteen days made for a great adventure and was definitely one of the highlights of our year. There were several opportunities to learn more about each other during the long train rides and those rare moments of stress. But we came home with thankful hearts that we got to see everything we had hoped to see and that we could share the experience together.  It was really a great time and we both look back with fond memories of the sites we saw and our time with each other.

The second half of the year had a completely different focus . . . the expansion of our family! With each passing month we find ourselves extremely excited to become parents, but also a little reluctant to let go of this uninterrupted one-on-one time we have with each other. We're preparing our apartment for our little one as well as trying to prepare our marriage for the upcoming changes. I know it will take more effort to make each other the priority as our sleep and schedules change; we really want to be intentional. (I say this now. . . please ask in six months how it's going!)

I am looking forward to what our new family life will be like. I'm looking forward seeing my husband  grow into the new role of a father. There will be many changes for us professionally, most of which are unknown at this point. The next year will be very different from the last four, that's for sure.

Another adventure awaits!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Coupon Fail

Last week, I noticed I needed to buy toilet paper. Not something you really want to run out of! With just a roll to spare, I picked up a 12 pack at Safeway. I would have preferred to wait for a better sale, but who knew how long that one roll would last us! I couldn't risk it.

The 12 pack was marked down a few dollars and I had a $1.00 off coupon which made it a reasonable purchase, but not great. (With toilet paper, I really try to spend $.50 or less per roll.) The very next day, the Target ad came out advertising the same brand but in the 18 pack and for only $1.50 more. It still was a little over $.50 per roll but I thought it was a much better deal. So, I drove to Target (rather, I made Chris drive me to Target on the way to the movies . . . I don't think  I need to mix shopping with date night any time soon).

I was feeling really good about this purchase and returned the original package to Safeway (where I spent nearly 15 minutes waiting for their customer service attendant . . . argh). But wait, there's more. As I was leaving the store, I noticed that the toilet paper I just returned was on an even better sale than Target . . . if I had saved my $1.00 coupon, the toilet paper would have been the desired $.50/roll. But I wasn't going to waste anymore of my time.

And then I got home and found another $1 off coupon that I could have used at Target or Safeway . . . I give up. It's toilet paper.

Sometimes the effort it takes to save a buck isn't worth it. And I was reminded of that over and over again in this situation.

Gifts for Baby Hunt

Before my sister found out she was having a little girl, I knew I wanted to make a baby quilt. I had seen this fun yellow and gray patterned fabric at my aunt's house this fall and new it would be perfect for the next gender-neutral project. I found the fabric sold in a bundle of fat quarters at JoAnn Fabric. Sister said she wouldn't mind having a none-pink quilt after she found out Baby Hunt was going to be a girl, so away I went.

It seems that the chevron pattern is everywhere right now, and it can be done in so many styles. I saw a Youtube video demonstration of how to make the square which totally took the mystery out of those diagonal lines. So I decided to give it a try.

I'm really bad at math so my calculations and measurements were way off from what I had anticipated the quilt to look like, but with a few modifications, it turned out alright and I had just enough fabric to make it work. The finished project is 46" x 38."

The finished product. 

 The details. I decided to do a little of the stitch-in-the-ditch quilting as well as free-hand in the yellow areas. I really liked how it turned out.

I love the texture!

And then the back. I used a dark gray for the back and the binding around the edges. But when I went to add a strip of yellow to the back, I had it upside down.  This wasn't a huge deal, except my master plan of having it line up perfectly for the decorative quilting didn't end up the way I hoped. It's pretty much upside down too. Oh well. More texture I guess. I do really like the yellow in the midst of the gray though.

There's More
My sister had this adorable book filled with projects to make for babies. So I tried a few. Below are two stuffed zoo animals - a penguin and a hippo made with left over fabric from the quilt. They are far from perfect, but still turned out to be fun and pretty cute.

An then I tried my hand at making fabric flowers and baby headbands . . . 


I used buttons for the second one . . .

Welcome Baby Hunt! You are very loved!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Baby Gift: Nursing Covers

It's been a while since I've been able to post any of my recent craft projects. I've had a lot going on, but let me reassure you, I haven't stopped sewing, making cards, or taking photographs.

My sister had her baby last Friday (more on her gifts later) and my cousin had a baby girl the very next day! And then today, I had a baby shower to attend for a good friend of mine from church. Babies are everywhere!

Nursing covers are a fairly easy project that take a little over an hour (if I do them right the first time!). And although I wouldn't say picking out fabric is a strength of mine, I think I'm getting better. I've made them a couple times before so I am more comfortable with the steps. This time however, I decided to try something new and add pockets! Perhaps a couple of nursing pads will fit, or a burp cloth, or pacifier . . . whatever mom needs within arms reach.

I found these two pieces of fabric on sale and since they looked so good together, I decided to mix and match them. (Again, trying something new.) I think they turned out pretty cute. Hopefully they will bless the new moms and babies!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

MN Part Five: Time with Mom

I really didn't expect to get to spend much if any time with my mom while I was home. She had been planning to fly to Vegas as soon as my sister went into labor and her due date was literally the first day I would be in MN. So, the chances of seeing mom even one day was very small.
At the last minute, mom made arrangements to drive to Minneapolis where I would be staying with my Aunt. That way, she'd be able to see me for at least a day and be able to fly out from there. And the big bonus was that I could take her car! (I hadn't made any final arrangements on how I was going to get anywhere yet!)
But, the phone call never came. So mom stayed! We ended up having the whole weekend together and she was able to drive me to Fargo where I was staying with my brother for a few days. We had a great time together and had plenty to talk about with my pregnancy/upcoming labor/parenting.
Then, when I arrived in Plummer for the 4th of July, she was still there! It was great, she cooked for us all and showed me all the adorable garage sale finds she had for my child and we had fun together at the parade. She made plans to fly to Las Vegas on the 6th, which was the same day I was flying to California. She couldn't stand being away from Molly just knowing labor could begin any moment. We had the same flight to Denver so we had all morning together and even got to sit next to each other on the plane.
Well, if you read my post about my flight home, you already know that I got to spend the next two days with my mom and sister in Las Vegas. We had a great time together going through all my sister's little tiny baby clothes for her daughter, going shopping and trying to stay cool in the intense heat. When it was time for me to leave on Monday, my sister was still very pregnant but doing great. And I was feeling blessed that I had gotten to spend so much unexpected time with my mom.
Me at 27 weeks and Molly at 41(ish) weeks

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

MN Part 4: The 4th of July

I think I've grown to love my small town upbringing the longer I'm away from it. I appreciate it so much more than when I was in school. I made my way home to Plummer, MN for the 4th of July. I figured, why not visit my lovely little hometown when everyone will be there!

I sat with my high school classmate Rachelle as her boys scrambled for candy being thrown from the passing floats during the parade. We watched as our classmates drove tractors with their kids in tow and other well-known people from the area in all sorts of vehicles. 

I wandered the streets with my sister and brother-in-law and talked to many people along the way. I loved running into the women from my home church. They of course, were excited that I'm expecting. I saw several neighbors and parents of other classmates who weren't able to attend, high school teachers I haven't talk to in years, and was even hugged by an extremely drunk man who I think was the custodian of my school at one time. (That part was awkward for me and several people who were eye-witnesses.)

We went home for lunch and mom cooked up a great feast of hamburgers, salads, and watermelon. While she was busy in the kitchen I decided to go visit with my dad while he was putting up a new fence for our sheep. Well, visiting of course turned in to helping, and before I knew it, I was in the field, in dress and sandals, holding fence posts and gates, attempting to keep the sheep from escaping. (I can't say I technically chased them this time, as I could only waddle at best . . . but you can picture it.) Sure enough, a few got past me, or rather, found another way out and we had to call in the reinforcements, because again, I shouldn't be running in my condition. 

After the fence was secure, we had lunch and lounged around for a bit. We headed back into town for the evening festivities and more mingling among friends. My sister and brother-in-law headed back to Grand Forks that night and my mom and I watched the fireworks.

It was a very relaxing day with friends and family and I was so glad to be home.  Sometimes I miss life in the country.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

MN Part Three: Cousins

Next Stop: Grand Forks. Maybe I should call this my North Dakota trip instead! I stayed with my sister and her husband for two nights and spent the day with my cousin Erin and her son Blaine. I hadn't seen Erin in two years and had not met Blaine yet as he will turn two in November. 

Erin and I grew up practically next door to each other until I was seven. As next-door as you can be in rural Minnesota anyway. I never thought I'd live far away from her and often thought that our children would be best friends too. I never thought we'd go two years without seeing each other, but life doesn't always go the way you dreamed when you were five. 

Anyway, I was thankful to be able to spend the whole day with Erin and her son. To be a part of her life again. We started with a trip to the park, and after lunch we brought out the sprinkler and kiddy pool and watched Blaine enjoy the water on the hot day. It was a very low-key day for which I was thankful. Don't get me wrong, I would have gladly gone on errands with them and run around town, but sitting around and playing with the water was very relaxing.

*Insert sigh of missing those relaxing, warm, summer days of the Midwest*

That evening, I made dinner for my sister and her husband we watched a movie and went to bed. The next day would be July 4th and we'd make our way to Plummer.

MN Part Two: Mini Golf and Good Friends

The next stop on my tour of Minnesota was technically in North Dakota. I stayed with my brother John in Fargo and spent a couple of afternoons hanging out with a few other college friends.

Katie, one of my very best friends from college had come back to the states from Australia for a brief visit. Of course, I had to arrange my trip home to co-inside with hers! I've blogged about Katie several times over the years, but let me just proclaim it publicly again, that I love this girl! She has been "by-my-side" since we met through a Campus Crusade trip to Panama City Beach in 2004. We've never really lived in the same city (or state) since I graduated, but we've kept in touch on a very regular basis. I'm just so blessed and thankful for her friendship.

Sarah, my college roommate during my second year at MSUM also joined us making it somewhat of a mini-reunion. Sarah and I met in the college cafeteria one day and joked about being roommates the following year during that very first conversation -- seriously, God, thank you for that "chance encounter!" Who would have thought that it would have worked out - but I'm so thankful it did. We had so much fun that year together.

The three of us along with Katie's Australian roommate, Lisa roamed the Fargo/Moorhead Area for two days, making stops at Hobby Lobby (going there with other crafty friends was more fun that I would have imagined), Thunder Road for a round of mini-golf, and Cold Stone Creamery. It was a gorgeous summer day, but I was not used to the heat and humidity at all.

We also drove over to our friend Skip's house to visit him and his family.  Skip made a brief visit to SF a few years ago, shortly after we moved to the city.  I think we had a whole 20 minutes to catch up then. I hadn't seen his wife since their wedding and now they are expecting their 4th child! Life goes too fast!  It was great to sit around and catch up and enjoy the energy of his children.

With the six of us hanging out in the living room, I was reminded of the times we'd gather in the commons area at college or in one of our apartments. We had a pretty stellar group of friends and did almost everything together.  They were the best part of my college experience and I love that I could see these special friends again.

I also was able to see Melissa, a friend I made while working at the US Bank call center after I graduated. I didn't work there long, but Melissa and I have tried to keep in touch as much as we can. I was very thankful to have lunch with her and hear about her life since then.

I had been a little concerned that my time in Fargo/Moorhead would be really busy, but that wasn't the case. Everyone was pretty laid back and I even had an entire morning to stroll downtown by myself.

In the years I had lived there,  I had never taken the public transportation. But now, I didn't have a vehicle -- so, feeling a little adventurous and not up to long walks in the heat, I took the bus. It was a little surreal. The bus driver was super friendly and helpful, the bus wasn't crowded at all, and once I found the bus station it was really easy. The only part that had me worried was that if I missed the bus, I'd have to wait an entire hour for the next one! Leave it to me to stress out about taking a bus in Fargo when I take the bus in SF everyday! 

Also in my down time, I discovered a quilt shop! I spent nearly an hour there picking out fabrics for my upcoming projects. I found four cute patterns that were all 50% off! Score!

And in case you wanted to see a pregnant lady mini-golfing, I've leave you with this:

My trip to Minnesota: Part 1

I'm going to try to keep this as chronological as I can, for my own sake really. I've gotten pretty horrible at keeping a journal or a scrapbook so this will have to do for now.

My visit to Minnesota was something I had been looking forward to for a long time. I hadn't been "home" since my sister's wedding in 2011 and a lot had changed since then. Cousins had gotten married, cousins had kids, classmates had kids and friends moved. I was so thankful to be able to take off a week of work and spend time visiting with the people I missed most. (No, I didn't get to see all of you, that's true, but hopefully next time!)

The first stop was Minneapolis where I stayed with my Aunt Carol. (Big fail here as I have no photos of her or the other family members we saw! Darn.) She put on a little dinner social with my Great Aunt Sylvia and Aunt Judy and her husband Chris. My mom had also driven down to spend the weekend with me. Carol also took us to a few garage sales as well as IKEA and the Mall of America where my mother spoiled me with maternity clothes. (Yeah!)

Also that weekend, mom and I drove to my cousin Mary's home to visit her and her growing family. She has 4 kids now and I so desperately wanted to see them. We practically stayed the whole day! It was wonderful.  I had sewn quilts for her youngest girls and was able to get a photo of them both with their quilts. We played and talked and ate and just had a great time together.

For dinner on Sunday, I met up with one of my roommates from collage, Michelle. We had a great time catching up and I was reminded that no matter how much you keep in touch via facebook or even a phone call, spending time with someone face-to-face is special.

Stay tuned for more! More photos will be posted to Facebook as I find the time! Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Baby B: 27 Weeks

How far along: 27 weeks

How big is the baby: Weighing about 2.5 pound and measuring 16 inches long (according to those lovely Internet statistics)

Sleep: Much improved. If I cuddle with my pillows, I usually sleep really well! Yeah! Still getting up a few times in the middle of the night, but I don't expect that to stop any time soon. I slept really well on my trip to MN which surprised me as I was in at least four different beds!

Best moment of the week:
Getting to have my family feel the baby kick! Baby B had the hiccups for my brother.

Worst thing: I had an upset stomach/bloating pretty much all week.

Symptoms: (much) bigger belly, bloody nose . . . sorry, do I really have to share all this . . .

Movement: All the time! It's great! I love being constantly reminded of this little life. Sometimes I can distinguish which part of Baby B's body just moved, and sometimes he or she does somersaults.

What I miss:
Yesterday, I was missing beer, which is weird because I've never really needed it before. But Chris was drinking one and it looked really good.

Food Cravings: Chocolate (always); I am really liking hummus and veggies or gluten free pita chips too.

Food Aversions: For some reason rice crackers are awful. And nuts just don't satisfy me again.

Maternity Clothes: Yes Please! They are so much more comfortable than trying to squeeze into my regular clothing. My mom went crazy and bought me quite a few things while I was home and I got lucky at a garage sale and took home a new outfit for $7!

Things People Say: It varies day-to-day. Someone will say how pregnant I'm looking and another will say, "You're not very big yet--I want you to get fat!" I was also told I looked "motherly" in the outfit above.

Exercise: Trying to keep up with my routine. I walk a lot and stretch much more than I did before. My calves have been super tight. I'm trying to get to the gym three times a week, but even that feels more challenging for some reason.
Last Appointment: June 25th - everything looked great. Was told to find a pediatrician . . . yikes.

Next Appointment: July 31st with the centering group. We'll be discussing labor - yippy!

The Kitchen House

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom takes place in the early 1800s when slavery and large plantations were the way of life in the South. The main character is a young Irish girl who was orphaned and taken in by a wealthy plantation owner. He leaves her in the care of his house servants who raise her as they would their own children. She, although white in color, acts and works just as the other slave girls do. Not until she is older does she realize that there is segregation based on color and she is a little different, not fitting in with either one.

As she struggles with this, she also starts to see how mistreated her "family" is by the plantation manager.  When tragedy strikes the plantation owner and his family, things take an interesting turn and this little girl who has grown up as a slave is given opportunities of education and wealth she has not known before. She soon takes on the role of a grown white lady and actually marries the son of her owner. Now she is in charge of the slaves who raised her. As she tries to make changes and treat them with the respect she has always given them, she is rebuked by her husband and made a slave to him.

It really is an interesting story. I really enjoyed reading this different perspective of what that time was like. And having my eyes opened to the types of things slaves were put through. There was a lot of tragedy and heartache, but also scenes that made me smile and laugh to myself. It was a great book to have along on my trip to Minnesota.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Long Way Home

It was early Saturday morning when my brother dropped my mom and I off at the airport. I was scheduled to fly home to San Francisco with a layover in Denver and my mom was on her way to Las Vegas to see my sister, also with a layover in Denver. I had never flown with my mom before and was thankful for the extra time to be together.

Everything went really well on the first leg of the trip and in Denver we sat and talked and ate our lunch together before I boarded my plane just an hour before her.

About an hour into the flight, the stewardess announces that there was a plane crash at the SFO airport and we may be delayed but they didn't know any details at that point. (I think they wouldn't have thought to mention it at that point but some other passengers were watching the news on their in-flight TVs and were asking questions.)

The news struck me as sad and a little ironic since my brother was just telling me how rare plane crashes were. But I didn't really let the news sink in too deep and continued reading my book.

After a while, I tried to excuse myself from my window seat to use the bathroom and noticed my neighbor was watching the news, I caught quick glimpses of the plane and something hit me like a ton of bricks and I basically burst into tears. Thankful to be in the bathroom, I let myself poor out my tears of fear. I was scared. That could have easily been me. Seriously, finding out about a plane crash while you are thousands of feet above the earth is not in any way comforting. I tried to calm myself down knowing that I was okay. But as I made my way back to my seat, I couldn't help think about the fact that I just left home, saying goodbye to my parents and siblings, and I hadn't seen my husband in seven days . . . what would have happened if I never saw them again? Terror, panic and another emotional wave hit me again and I'm sure the thirteen year old boy sitting next to me thought I had lost my mind.

Not long after I sat down, the pilot announced that we would not be able to land in San Francisco as the airport had been closed and all flights were being redirected to the surrounding airports. We would be redirected to Las Vegas. I let a quick laugh escape my tear-streaked face as I thought of the irony of being "stranded" where my mom would be arriving shortly after I did.

I called my husband as soon as we landed, bursting into tears trying to tell him that yes, I was okay, but no I wouldn't get to see him soon.

They didn't know if we'd be able to get off the plane, and if we did, how long we would be staying at the airport. But we were able to deplane and get some food and rest for a while. As I was about to ask if I could leave the area to meet my mom at her gate and let her know what had happened, they announced that the plane would be returning to Denver as soon as everyone got on board. The crowd began to beg for more information: What would happen when we got to Denver? Could we choose to stay in Vegas? Can we get our luggage? Would accommodations be provided? How would we get to SF? The questions were never ending. And I had my own.

I described my situation to someone hoping they could give me advice. My mom would be arriving in just minutes and I'd have just a short window of time to get to her before she left the airport. I tried not to freak out . . . but really, I was. They wouldn't let me leave the terminal and come back. Once I left, it meant I was staying in Vegas. I called my husband and he thought it best to go with my mom and try to get another flight out of Vegas to a neighboring city in the next few days.

The situation from the airline looked like this: They were not suppose to be in Vegas at all, so they wouldn't allow us to have our luggage. They needed to be sent back to Denver because that was where the plane was suppose to be.  Apparently the TSA has very strict rules about these things. They would try to find us an available flight from Denver back to SFO as soon as the airport reopened but they could not fly us to any of the other airports in the area because this particular airline doesn't fly to those destinations, nor would they provide accommodations for any overnight stays. If we decided to stay in Las Vegas (leaving our luggage on the plane), we would be on our own as far as finding another way to SF, no guarantees of refunds or vouchers were made.

Overall, I didn't feel they were very helpful in the situation. Definitely not going out of their way to make sure we, as passengers were comfortable with our options. But I knew that I'd rather spend a few days with my sister (who is now 41 weeks pregnant) and my mom, than in Denver where I could probably have begged friends to take me in, but wasn't at all sure what that would have looked like. Having only ten minutes to decide, I stayed.

Chris booked me a flight for Monday afternoon before I had even left the airport. (He is an incredibly supportive husband, let me just state that clearly.) I found my mom and were shortly picked up by my sister. My dad had heard about the accident on the radio and called within minutes of me meeting up with my mom. I let my other siblings know I was okay and did a quick post to Facebook (just in case others actually had heard the news too).

I felt emotionally drained at this point. (I had been crying off-and-on all week as I needed to say goodbye to close friends and family during my visit.) I was shaken and tired. I knew everything was going to be okay and buying another ticket, although, not the most convenient thing, didn't break our bank. I had much to be thankful for. I was safe, I had a place to stay and I was with family.

I've never really had to deal with airport issues like this before, I've never even had to reschedule a flight. Being nearly 27 weeks pregnant and completely incapable of restraining my tears didn't help the days events. I'm not sure I could have handled this without my husband on the other end of the phone and my mom just a few minutes away.

I'm not home quite yet, but am scheduled to arrive sometime Monday afternoon. No signs of my niece being born yet. I have a sneaking suspicion that she'll arrive at the same time I need to board my plane. Just to keep this story interesting.