Wednesday, September 25, 2013

2013 Walk for Life

For the past two years, I've joined Alpha Pregnancy Center for their Walk for Life event.  I love the way they do their event. All of the walkers gather together at the center, load up their arms with gift bags and maps and hit the streets to deliver the care packages to clients that have been served by the center that year. We get to see their faces light up with joy and we offer to pray for them and their children. It really is a special event.

This year, I won't be able to join in the event as I'll have a brand new baby of my own. Baby B could be anywhere from two weeks old to two days old and I just don't know how I'll be feeling or what kind of activity I'd feel up to.  I was a little sad that I'd have to miss this year's event.

But, after some thought and prayer, I thought I'd try to help out in another way. Maybe I can't do the physical walking or lead a team this year, but I can help in the fundraising! And so can you! Last year we raised $600 for Alpha! We had surpassed my original goal of $500, which was awesome!

What can we do this year? Can we raise another $500? Below is an outline of what your gifts can accomplish through the center. If you feel so led, please click here to donate directly to Alpha Pregnancy Center, and if you like, mention "In Honor of Baby Babiak" in the "comments" section!

$5- Purchases one package of diapers given to a client
$25 - Covers the cost of a pregnancy test and a session of pregnancy options counseling
$75- Pays for one person to complete our Post Abortion Recovery Group
(or another one of our 8 classes)
$175 -- Allows one client to come on a monthly basis for a year to receive supplies and follow up care
$500 -- Provides one year of in depth case management for a family; making sure they have housing, health care, employment, and child care
$1200-- Saves an unborn child
As Chris and I have been preparing for our baby to join our family, I'm reminded again and again of the importance of the support and help that Alpha brings to families who need it. The classes they offer, the services and supplies they provide (all free of charge) are only possible by the gifts they receive from people like you and me. 
We have been blessed abundantly by our community as we get ready to be parents and I'd like to do the same for someone else in need. Will you help?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Baby B: 38 Weeks

How far along: 38 weeks

How big is the baby: Weighing about 6 pounds and measuring 19-22 inches long (according to those lovely Internet statistics).

Sleep: I've had a few nights where I go through long stretches without waking up, which is great. And then I am informed that I snore . . . a lot. Otherwise, it's about every 2 to 3 hours that I'm up, using the bathroom and feeling wide awake. I guess my body is getting me used to something!

Best moment of the week:
Feeling more ready for Baby B to join us. We're getting our apartment put together and creating more space. We received a lot of gifts and hand-me-downs that have us feeling much more prepared!

Worst thing: Swelling. My hands and face are starting to show signs of swelling as well. Not my favorite thing.

Symptoms: Swollen ankles, hands, face and a growing (daily) belly. Fatigue.

Movement: There isn't much space left to move so when Baby B does decide to squirm and wiggle it feels pretty intense. Baby is mostly sticking to the right side of my belly, making me look a little off center.

What I miss: Speed walking. Seriously, I just walk so much slower these days. It takes me a little longer to get anywhere. 

Food Cravings: Sweets. Chocolate. I'm addicted. I may need help.

Food Aversions: I can't think of anything!

Maternity Clothes:
Jeans have not been the most comfortable lately. I am wearing my yoga pants around the house more and more.

Things People Say: Street people are often the most bold in saying something to me, usually it's nice. Like "Congratulations!" or "I hope things go well." The other day, I had a man tell me that he would be available to be a daddy any time I needed . . . AAHH, get me out of here! I got on the bus as quickly as I could after that!

Exercise: My workouts have become more stretching routines than actual workouts. Walking is my main form of cardio these days. I put in my cancellation notice with my gym membership. Only two weeks left. Why quit the gym when I'll be needing to get back in shape after the baby comes? . . . I'll blog about that some other time.

Last Appointment: September 11 - We discussed baby care and car seat safety. There were a few more tests I had to take but so far everything looks great.

Next Appointment:
September 25

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sewing for Baby

As I make gifts for friends and their babies, I often think of what I'd like to make my own children.  I'd love to make a quilt, but I think it's best if I wait to find out who my little one is. And more than likely, I'll make a larger quilt that would one day go on his or her big-kid bed. I just couldn't seem to get it together to make a baby quilt as I had a lot of other things to prepare for.

But there were several other smaller projects I could do! Like burp clothes! I sat down and made three of them this weekend, two in blue and one in the polka dot orange fabric that is my new favorite.

I also tried a new project: a diaper changing pad. I purchased iron-on vinyl and ironed it to the light blue fabric with the square pattern (you can't see that part in the photo, but it's the same fabric as the burp cloth) and then sandwiched quilt batting in between that and the other blue/white fabric I recently purchased, made a wipe-able pad! I sewed a matching button and a loop of elastic and wha-la - it rolls up and travels great! The iron-on vinyl was a lot cheaper than buying vinyl fabric and this way, you can make any fabric easy to clean by just wiping it off.

The other project that I started this weekend was flannel cloth wipes. I figured if I'm going to use cloth diapers, I may as well use cloth wipes and wash it all together. Hopefully this will cut down on the 1) waste and 2) expense of buying disposable wipes for years. The flannel was extra fabric given to me by another crafty lady, so it didn't cost me anything. I only had time to make a handful, so this will have to be an ongoing project.

There are so many other things I'd love to make for this baby of mine. Here's hoping there will be time for sewing after he or she is born!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Baby Shower #2

Last week, my co-workers blessed us with a baby shower. It was open to all of my co-workers, men and women, all departments. It was a pretty decent sized party! The dessert table was decorated in green and purple and covered with desserts of all kinds - some even gluten free!

There were a couple of games to be played: Guessing the gender, birth date, time of birth, weight and length of baby (we won't know the winner of that one for a while!); and a celebrity baby name game, which we failed.

Then we dug into the pile of gifts! Everyone was so generous and blessed us with such great gifts! Toys, clothing, soaps, a diaper pail, soft blankets, and cards filled with sweet sweet words.

It was a great shower—we truly felt showered with love and support for our baby. It was also a great time spent with my co-workers. I only have a week or so left of work before my maternity leave begins, so ending with a party seemed appropriate!

Monday, September 16, 2013

No Longer

Last Saturday, two of my co-workers and I joined 40 other women for a Living Proof Simulcast with Beth Moore. I hadn't heard what she would be speaking about, but I knew I had to be there. I'd felt this need to be poured into for quite sometime, and if you know me at all, you know conferences and women's retreats are things I immensely enjoy. I love hearing speakers, taking notes, worshiping and fellowshiping with other women. I haven't been to something like this in years and my soul was craving it fiercely. 

Beth opened up the word and spoke many important truths to us that morning. I tried to take notes and let it all sink in and by lunch time my heart was saying "More, more, more . . . please I need more!" And my head was saying, "Go back and repeat that!" If you'll allow me, I'll share a few of the things that really stuck out that day. Hopefully they will make sense to you!

The scripture we studied together was Romans 5-6; the theme, "No Longer" was taken from 6:6:
" . . . knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin."
The other main verse was Romans 6:14: "For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under the law but under grace."

She talked about the differences of living under the law verses living under grace. And let me tell you, my heart was convicted and hungry for change. I wish I could have taken photos of her stage props - they were great visuals. She had a banner on one side that said "Grace" and on the other side of the stage was "Law." She would often walk over to one of them and literally stand "under grace" or "under the law" as she shared examples of both and why we find ourselves often stuck in the middle.

A couple of words she mentioned while standing under the law were "fear" and "anxiety" and if you've been reading my blog this month, you already know those are a few of my issues I need to work on. The thought struck me while Beth was talking, "If I am truly living under grace, I wouldn't experience those things!" I wanted to pause her presentation, make her back up and say it all again. Fear and anxiety are sins -- they are there because you lack faith in God and want to control things yourself. According to Romans 6:6, I am not suppose to be a a slave to sin any longer! Fear and anxiety should not rule over me.

Another interesting point Beth made, relating to the fear of disappointing God or feeling unworthy of his grace was that scripture never says anything about God being disappointed with his people. According to the studies Beth has done (I say that because I haven't verified it myself) the word "disappoint" is only in the bible one time and "disappointed" five.  Not one of these six references assigns the word to God. It is always referring to the people (us!) not being disappointed in God if we believe in him! A similar (but very different) word is used to describe God's feelings toward us, and only in reference to when we shrink back from our faith . . . the word is "displeased." 

Isn't that a interesting! If we are wanting to walk close to God but fear that we will just disappoint him in the end (because we fall short every time), we're believing a lie! The thing that brings God displeasure (not disappointment) is us falling away from our faith or have a lack of faith. But trying to live by faith will never disappoint Him!

One more illustration I want to share! Please stick with me, I know this is a longer post.

Going back to the theme scripture for the day, Romans 6:6, Beth brings out this life size dummy. She drags him back and forth across the stage illustrating that this is what we often do with our "old dead self." We don't get rid of him, instead, he bring him along like an old friend we can't live without. Bringing up old sinful habits is like giving CPR to the corpse we're dragging around.

"that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with"

The funniest thing she said all day was, "You bring your old dead self to bed, your husband brings his old dead self to bed, and look, now you have a bunch of dead people in your bed!" Or something to that effect.

Our old self is to be done away with. We are no longer slaves to sin. We are to live under grace.

At the end of the day, I just wanted to stand up and shout "Freedom!" Christ has given his very life to set us free from sin. And I often find myself refusing to actually live by that gift of grace. Beth quoted someone during her talk saying, "I know I'm saved by Grace, but to look at my life, you would never know it!" The person had found every aspect of her walk with God, except salvation, was still very much under the law. She wasn't living out of the abundant grace she had been given. That's how I felt . . . well, still feel.

I want to live a life that speaks of this grace. I need to say a loud "No Longer" to a few things!

The Funniest Refugee

I received this book, The Happiest Refugee by Anh Do from my good friend Katie for my birthday and it came at just the right time. I had just finished a few books from the library (which I forgot to blog about) and had no idea what I would be reading next!

Anh Do is a comedian in Australia, a pretty famous one actually. No, I had never heard of him before reading his book, but you can bet I looked him up when I finished. He has a pretty amazing story -- his family escaped Vietnam during the war when Do was just two years old. His family probably should have died on their journey, but they didn't! They made their way to Australia and his stories of trials, heart ache, hard work, and success continue.

I didn't find the book especially hilarious,  which I was sort of expecting since he's a comedian. But it was very touching and motivational. As I read the stories of him and his family and all the crazy things they tried to do to make ends meet and now have accomplished so much, I couldn't help but think of how strong we can truly be when we need to be! And with the right attitude and love, support and encouragement from family and friends, we can get through pretty much anything.

Thanks Katie for a good read and blessing me on my birthday!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Co-Ed Baby Shower

Last Saturday was our first of three baby showers! It was a co-ed shower hosted by our good friends Leah and Lauren.  The people in attendance were our friends from church and small group. Mostly 20s-30-something guys and gals we've come to know and love over the last three years.

The girls went all out with this brunch baby shower. Seriously! I snapped a few photos so I could share the efforts they went through to make our party festive and fun. Just take a look!

There was french toast, a delicious frittata, yogurt and fruit, mimosas and beer (for the non preggo guests) and of course, cake! The morning started out with a few games and activities like taste testing and guessing the flavor of baby food, writing a message on a diaper for me to read during those middle-of-the-night changes, and a few others. Everyone seemed to have a great time.

The prizes for the games and activities were bags of Saint Frank Coffee, San Francisco's newest specialty coffee company. Sort of a big deal . . . and the owner is a friend of ours! I swear, we had the best prizes for baby shower games ever! (And I don't even drink coffee.)

Later on in the morning, we opened our gifts and I cannot tell you how blessed we were by our generous friends! We came home feeling a lot more prepared to have our baby home with us. Our friends are really supportive of us giving cloth diapering a try and our stash is well on it's way! We also received a lot of very thoughtful gifts, things I hadn't thought to actually register for like books and toys. Chris loved opening up the books and read a few of them right then and there! I think he's really looking forward to reading to our child (and probably making up a few stories of his own).

Thanks to all of our friends who literally showered us with gifts and love! We are so grateful!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Baby B: 36 Weeks

How far along: 36 weeks

How big is the baby: Weighing about 6 pounds and measuring 19-22 inches long (according to those lovely Internet statistics). According to my midwife, baby is probably smaller than that.

Sleep: This continues to be a bit of an issue. Finding a comfortable position and having it stay that way is rare. I also wake up feeling wide a wake around 2:30 in the morning, thankfully, I do end up falling back asleep.

Best moment of the week: We had our first co-ed baby shower this past weekend and it was a blast. We were so blessed by the generosity and care of our friends - I can't even tell you how loved we felt. And how much more prepared we are!

Worst thing: I have been moving so much slower these days and find myself getting winded on these San Francisco hills. I also feel pretty stiff after sitting on the floor or even in a chair for any length of time. Kind of moving around like an older person.

Symptoms: Much of the same. Swollen ankles and a growing belly. My hands are also starting to swell and I have one of those beautiful indents underneath my wedding ring . . .but it still fits! Fatigue. I've also started experiencing braxton hicks contractions.

Movement: Movements are pretty big and noticeable if you're watching. Sometimes they hurt a little, but not too bad.

What I miss: Getting up without making noise, or putting on my socks without grunting. That and margaritas. . . in this heat, it would be lovely.

Food Cravings: Sweets. Cutting them out completely only worked for about a week. Now, I'm trying to keep myself in check and have other snacks ready to go. I found that raisins are a nice addition to my trail-mix. Those are healthy, right?!

Food Aversions: This isn't a real aversion, but my blood sugar seems to drop suddenly if I don't eat at the proper times and if I find myself stuffing my face with too many sweets, I feel just awful afterwards. Guess my body is trying to tell me something!

Maternity Clothes: Summer has hit hard in San Francisco and I am so thankful for the hand-me-down summer clothes I have. So far the long sleeve shirts I purchased have only made an appearance a few times.

Things People Say: People have been pretty kind these days, commenting that I look good, etc. which I appreciate. No one has mentioned (to my face) that my ankles have completely disappeared.

Exercise: I'm still working out about 3-4 times a week at the gym. I go slower, but still feel pretty good afterwards.

Last Appointment: August 28 - we toured the hospital which was great. I didn't really know what to expect. The rooms are small and not overly decorative, which is okay. It's pretty small, only 4 or 5 delivery rooms and a short hallway. I had been picturing walking up and down these long sterile hallways in my gown stopping for a contraction, but that won't likely be the case. I'll be taking short laps.

Next Appointment:
September 11

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Nothing to Fear . . . right.

The sermon I heard at church last Sunday was a good one. An important one. It was one of those sermons where the word just met me where I was and fed my soul. And the person who shared the word had a great testimony to go along with it. You can listen to it here if you're interested.

The passage was Isaiah 8-9, specifically:
8:11 For thus the Lord spoke to me with mighty power and instructed me not to walk in the way of this people, saying,
12 “You are not to say, ‘It is a conspiracy!’
In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy,
And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it.
13 “It is the Lord of hosts whom you should regard as holy.
And He shall be your fear,
And He shall be your dread.
14 “Then He shall become a sanctuary;
I fear a lot of stuff. I fear that something will happened to me or Chris or our baby. I feel really anxious about things like bike, car, or pedestrian accidents. I hear stories of these things happening a lot. And they frighten me. Often times these fears stop me from moving forward. They hinder me from living.

Last week, there was an accident at a local park that rekindled a lot of my fears, or at least brought them to the surface. A woman and her 11-month old child along with their dog were hanging out at the park and were hit by a city parks vehicle. It was horrible. The woman ended up dying at the hospital; the baby uninjured (PTL!). I had assumed that it was another case of a pedestrian vs. car accident, but that wasn't the case. The woman was actually sunbathing in the grass, away from the road! The city vehicle was driving in the grassy area and ran her over . . . and kept driving. The police found the truck and driver not far from the park.

How does one take precautions against stuff like this? Are we supposed to fear sunbathing in the park? Live in fear of freak accidents? Fear the seemingly impossible?

I don't want to live that way. I really don't. And the word that was shared on Sunday says I don't have to! It says that I shouldn't fear the things of this world. No, I am to fear the Lord and regard Him as holy. Then He will be my sanctuary (or peace).

The sermon covered so much more than this, but this is the part that I took home with me and needed to dwell on. How do I acknowledge the sovereignty of God on a daily basis and fear Him only? How can I keep these earthly fears from taking over my mind and heart . . . and life? I don't really have any answers to this, but I think part of it (or maybe most of it) has to do with being in God's word, knowing Him, and TRUSTING Him with all of me.

I hope I can grow in this area of living without fear or anxiety. It seems unlikely as I enter parenthood. But I need to.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Family Photos

A few weeks ago, I had asked a friend to take some photos of Chris and I with our growing baby bump. She did such a great job and so without too many words, I'd like to share them with you!

Can't wait for Baby B to join us! One month to go!