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Yesterday we had our 36 week prenatal appointment, even though I’m almost 37 weeks! Somehow my appointments have gotten shifted to the end of the week they are for, but I don’t think that’s too big of a deal. This week involved the Group-B strep test (fun! swabs!). I had to wait for our midwife for about 30 minutes, while I was half-dressed in the exam room. No fun! Though, once she finally got there (it was Janice), we had a great appointment. We did the va-jay-jay stuff first. The lovely swabbing, and she did my first internal exam of the pregnancy. My cervix is soft, but still high and toward the back. Comon, Braxton Hicks! Keep moving stuff along for me!!!

After that, I got dressed, and Dustin joined us for the remainder of the appointment. Everything looks healthy. I only gained 1 pound since our last appointment (more than 2 weeks ag0), so that is good. My blood pressure is 110/60 (last pregnancy, we were flirting with pregnancy induced hypertension at this point), so that is also good! The fundal height is measuring at 38 weeks, which is more than it was at last pregnancy, but less than it was at our last appointment. Janice thought this is because baby’s head is beginning to engage into the pelvis (yay!).

We started talking about our birth plan and the size of baby. I told her my greatest fears for this labor are a malpositioned fetus and large size, and of course I started bawling. I’m experiencing a LOT of anxiety over the labor now that the time is drawing near, and knowing that this baby will possibly be as big or bigger than Meadow was. Janice was nothing short of reassuring, but my anxiety remains. It doesn’t help that every day at work I am greeted by everyone I see with an, “Oh my GOSH you are SOOOO BIG!!!! Look at how HUGE you are!!!!”. It’s like, uh, thank you. That is the one thing that is freaking me out during this pregnancy. Thank you for commenting on my raw, exposed nerve. But seriously, I am a full-term preggy lady now. Of COURSE I’m going to look big! Right? Dust tried reassuring me last night that it’s all good. I’m trying to accept that.

Most importantly, I am and feel healthy. Baby appears to be doing just fine. Head down, wiggly, and obviously not a weakling (weighing 98 pounds, in need of Charles Atlas – har har). His heartbeat is still right around 130. As far as position, Janice said he’s not locked into a posterior position, and if I keep up with the posture and spinning babies techniques, he has a good likelihood of settling into an anterior position for birth. *FINGERS CROSSED*!!!!

So, while I contemplate starving myself until the birth day so little boy C doesn’t grow further, that is that for now. We have a follow-up ultrasound next Monday, and the 37th week appointment next Tusday (which technically is the start of my 38th week. Oh well).

After that appointment we picked up Meadow and drove to Beacon Hill for Meadow’s sibling prep class with Penny Simkin. As Dustin expected, it was arguably geared toward siblings that will be present at the birth, which is something we have decided isn’t necessary for Meadow. But, it surely gave her a wollop of an anatomy lesson, which I am okay with. She told me the funniest thing I have ever heard when she saw a real life newborn baby boy get his diaper changed. And she felt comfortable enough to go up to Penny after class and ask her a question about how milk comes out of the breast and how does baby eat it. She seems very interested with the whole concept of nursing. Then, we all went out for ice cream (I, with a child-sized no sugar added thin mint. Yum!).

Ah…what a day, what a day…

…are some of the things that make life’s memories. One thing I am grateful for that I think enhances our family is all of our shared meal times. Generally, we eat together in the evening. If possible, we will sit together in the morning for breakfast if our schedule allows it. We talk and learn about each other. We urge Meadow to eat faster and to not talk quite so much. We bond. These are times that I deeply appreciate, and hope to continue for a long time to come.

When I was growing up, I don’t really remember sharing mealtimes with my family.  My dad always worked so early, I never saw him in the morning. My mom often worked late, so I wouldn’t see her until later in the evening. In high school, I could easily go for weeks with only seeing my mother or father in passing. I would skip breakfast, run to school, eat dinner at work (Taco del Mar!), and get home after both my parents were in bed. I don’t remember how our mealtimes were shared before high school, but I don’t have many memories of shared meals at the table. That was more for special occasions, or if we ate at a restaurant.

I have found that our mealtimes with Meadow have evolved into something I am very happy with. We say grace and eat as a family most every night. We talk about our days. We make jokes. We do not turn on the TV.

This is so valuable to me, and is a new tradition for me as well. I always thought it was a little odd when my friends’ families would have a family dinner. ‘How do you have the time?’ I always wondered.

This is something worth making the time for, in my opinion. Study after study has supported the value of family mealtimes and its positive effect on children and families. I hope to continue this little tradition for as long as possible.

Wow, it’s already June, and I am 21 weeks pregnant! More than halfway there. Woo hoo! By all accounts, this pregnancy is healthy and normal. Baby looks healthy and normal, and measuring just about right. I can feel his little feet kicking me periodically. There is no feeling better than feeling your baby wiggle and groove inside of you. It’s so surreal. My belly is really starting to stick out now, and is making my belly button look a little funny already! My weight gain remains normal at around 10 pounds. So far, so good on that side of things! I think it helps that with this pregnancy I am not attracted to sweets the way I was with Meadow. I’m definitely hankering more for spicy and savory flavors. Buffalo hot sauce! Indian cuisine! Num num! 🙂

Took some fun family trips recently. Spent 3 days at Great Wolf Lodge in May. Meadow had a blast and Dustin and I had a good time too. We can’t wait to go back. We also just got back from our first camping trip of the year this weekend. We went to Lake Wenatchee and just had an overnight. It was nice to get out into the fresh air. I’m not sure how much camping I’ll continue doing as my belly keeps expanding, but so far the air mattress satisfies my comfort needs.

Meadow is enrolled in swimming lessons which she just loves, and her year of ballet classes is coming to an end soon.
She will have her recital at the end of this month and it will be so much fun to see her on stage! They will have adorable tutu costumes, and will be on a “real” stage (at Bothell High). We saw two ballets there this winter, so I think Meadow will get an extra kick out of the fact that she will be performing on that stage now and not just watching!

We’re still trying to get the baby room ready and have had lots of help from my mother-in-law with painting. It’s going to look super cute and I can’t wait to start officially nesting in it!

I’m loving this weather…and looking forward to a busy and fun summer. As Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes says: “The days are just packed!”

Celebrated Dustin’s birthday all weekend…good times! Saw Uncle Roy visiting from Alaska…good times! Saw Dustin’s grandma Mona for her 89th birthday…good times! Meadow attended a birthday party and we inserted other forms of business and fun throughout the weekend. I wish we still had another day to play about, but the weather today makes Monday a bit less harsh. I’m looking forward to some good outdoor time with Meadow when I pick her up. I need a park bench with which to soak up as much sun as possible before the rains return. Ahhh! Joy.

I finished our tax return last week, but still need to file it. I needed Meadow’s preschool’s tax ID number, but now I’m ready to go. I’m a little afraid that I might be missing something and that we’ll get audited again…because this is the first year we are getting any kind of decent tax return.

I just don’t know how that happened!

Most years we’ve filed, we’ve owed the IRS at least a thousand bucks. Seriously. It’s been a huge problem and the source of much anxiety on an annual basis. We can never seem to get it right. I think one year, we had a refund of about $300.  Party time, right?

So now that we can anticipate some money coming back to us, my first thought is, “I must have screwed something up.” But after I get over the self-doubt, I start planning. We could pay down credit card debt, put some money in savings…or…

GO ON A VACATION!!!

I like the latter. I’m so sick of our weather in Seattle. It’s wet. And cold. And COLD. And I have been sick for over a month. And I am freezing all the time. I need blue skies. Warmth. Sand. Sun. Blue water to dangle my little toesies in.

We haven’t had a family vacation since Hawaii. Camping trips here and there, and visits to Alaska & North Dakota to visit family… but those don’t count. I want a va-ca-tion!

San Diego has popped into mind and won’t let go. Thoughts of the best zoo ever, Shamu, and long sandy beaches with people rollerblading are consuming me. Swimming pools, paddle boats, hotel rooms, and yes, even the hustle and bustle and trials of the airport are calling to me. I want to breathe in the plastic smelling recirculated air of the airplane. I want to haul my luggage around and walk out into warm sunny climate full of palm trees. I want to navigate new roads and see new sights.

Now I have to plan! Ever the cheapskate, I keep scouring Expedia etc. to find the best deal. I’m not sure if I should purchase a vacation package, or piece the flights and hotel separately for the best deal. I need to buckle down and do more research. But research like this, I like!

It will be nice to take a vacation with Dustin and Meadow before baby #2 comes. Meadow deserves a really fun time with just mom and dad before she becomes Big Sister.

And Dustin and I deserve to get sun tans.

Freaked about the economy. 55,000 jobs were lost yesterday alone. Yikes! I hope Dust and my jobs are safe…he works for a pretty secure company but that is obviously no guarantee. I’m feeling okay about my job right now, but the industry is a volatile one. I want to be dreamy, continue working toward my goals, but I can’t shake the grim feeling I have about the world’s ever sinking recession. I always thought I would live through an economic depression. I just figured. I guess that’s the maudlin in me.
All I need is a shining star of hope, for all of us.

I haven’t posted in FOREVER!!! Or, more like a month. Inundated with snow and holidays, I have been too busy and flitty to consider posting. I’m too busy at work right now, but I love my procrastinating. Blogging is so much more fun than year end closing activities at work!
The holidays were great. Meadow had a blast. We were stuck in the snow for a while. Last weekend we went ice skating twice and tubing up at Snoqualmie. That’s about the gist of it.
I started a new blog about something we’re praying for. I’m not sure if I want to make it public yet or not, because so far it hasn’t been a record of anything exciting. Hopefully soon. Let me know if you want pre-release rights to view the other blog.
Well, I must go. Work calls and I reluctantly answer its beckon.

My friend had a baby this weekend! It sounds like it took her all weekend to have him, and I don’t know any of the details other than his name is Dylan, and he is BEAUTIFUL! I can’t wait to meet him!

In other news, a different friend will be getting an ultrasound today to make sure baby is healthy and hopefully, if it’s a boy or girl!!! Such excitement!

Our weekend was packed and fun! We couldn’t have asked for better weather. We started Saturday morning with ballet class. It was their special Halloween class, and Meadow was allowed to wear her costume and bring a friend! We were happy that her cousin Bella was able to make the drive from Maple Valley to attend the class. They had so much fun! Meadow really loves her cousin. It was cute watching them dance around, as a cheerleader and bumble bee.

After the class we came home and just tooled around for a bit. Dust went and got some snowboarding equipment at heavily discounted prices (yay) then I went out to birthday shop at Mill Creek Town Center. Fun! I went to one of my favorite “gifty” shops, Belle Province. They always have such nice stuff in there. Lots of frou-frou items, but I can always find something really nice there.

After finding my gift, I met up with a friend and we had a nice chit-chat. I always feel lighter after talking with her; her energy is so positive!

I ran home as fast as I could to pick up Dust and Meadow to head over to my sister-in-law’s birthday dinner. It was delicious, but my portion was ridiculously small. I ordered butternut squash gnocchi. I think i got maybe 1/2 cup of food on my plate, for $17. Seriously. Quality only covers quantity by so much, ya know? I munched of my B-I-L’s pizza and Meadow’s spaghetti and was fine, though.

My parents had agreed to watch Meadow that night, so we went over to Woodinville/Bothell to drop her off. The plan originally was to go to the Haunted Trails at Bastyr, or mabye even the KUBE haunted house. We’re so lame, though. We were exhausted so we just swung by Blockbuster, got a few scary movies and a bad comedy, and headed home. We watched parts of the first two horror movies but they were too awful, then struggled through the pathetic and badly acted Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Party on.

Sunday morning came, and found Dustin ill. He had to stay at home while I picked up Meadow and took her to her friend Paige’s Halloween party. It was so cute! There were about 12 cutie pies all dressed up in Halloween, doing fun activities like bobbing for apples, bean bag toss, and pumpkin plate decorating. Joanna, Paige’s mom, always has really great parties for the kiddos.

We headed home after the party and brought Dustin some soup. We had plans to go to the South 47 farm to get our pumpkins/do the corn maze with my folks. Unfortunately, we had originally planned to go last Saturday, but rescheduled for this weekend because my Dad was sick. Now, Dustin was sick and he couldn’t go! It would have been better for him to go with Me and Meadow, but we already rescheduled and Halloween is on Friday, so we went anyway. Dustin tried to rally, but just couldn’t make it. It wasn’t that big of a deal anyway. Meadow was tired for the corn maze and it took a lot of prodding and pretending to be horses to get her through it. All their pumpkins were woefully picked over, too. They were either green or had rotting gaping holes. Ew.

We managed to find one that was passable, deciding to get the other 2 pumpkins we want from Safeway. Maybe Dustin can help select them, after all!

We finished the outing with a visit to Theno’s Dairy nee Vivian’s Pride Ice Cream. Meadow chose the nastiest blue concoction that tasted like Fruit Loops on steroids. Yuk! I had awesome blackberry ice cream (yum-o) and my folks both had pumpkin. My lovely mom bought us a half-gallon of pumpkin to take home so Dustin could have some, too.

Despite Dustin being sick and my trying to ward off the ickies (I had a low grade fever all day…still do), we had a pretty good weekend! I feel like one more day would just about do it, though. :o)

Monday night, Meadow and I were sitting at the dinner table. I forget what happened, but I think she dropped a piece of food off her plate or something along those lines. Out of the blue, I hear a solid, “Uff da!” from her little mouth.

“What was that?” I questioned her, trying to hide my smile.

“Hm? Oh, that’s what you say when you drop something,” she told me, very matter-of-factly.

Hilarity! I think I’ve probably said “uff da” to her maybe twice in my life. It’s amazing what these kids pick up. I guess she is channeling her Polish/Norwegian/North Dakotan roots!

Thomas Ward

Anchorage resident Thomas Eugene Ward, 77, died peacefully Sept. 29, 2008, at Providence Alaska Medical Center with his children at his side.
Visitation will be from 6-8 p.m. today at Evergreen Memorial Chapel, 737 E St. A funeral will take place in Dillingham.
Tom was born June 27, 1931, in Gruver, Texas, to David and Elma Ward. Born and raised in the Texas panhandle, he worked in the family hardware store as well as neighboring ranches until graduating from Gruver High School in 1948. His adventurous spirit took him on a trip to New York City and Los Angeles and then Korea by enlisting in the U.S. Navy in 1950, serving as a boatswain’s mate on the USS Toledo.
Upon honorable discharge from the Navy in 1954, he landed in Anchorage for a summer visit with his childhood friend, Jim Davis, and never left. His first job in Alaska brought him to Dillingham to work for U.S. Fish and Wildlife, where he met his wife, Trudy, of 50 years. Tom and Trudy lived in Anchorage, Bethel, Unalaska, Kodiak and Sitkinak Island before resettling in Dillingham to raise their family. Tom’s early work history with NC Co. allowed them to meet many friends throught the state. In Dillingham, Tom’s work for NCA led to running the bulk fuel plant and dock. Upon retiring in 1994, Tom and Trudy moved to Anchorage.
Several of Tom’s proudest achievments included being a founding member of the Dillingham Lions Club and a charter member of Dillingham Trinity Lutheran Church. For Tom, working on the dock was a gateway to a community involving the whole Nushagak Bay. Tom was an avid subsistence fisherman for his family. Tom enjoyed worldwide travels with his good friend, PG Brannon.
His family wrote: “Tom was a son of Texas and a father in Alaska. Many considered him a true friend.”
He is survived by his children, Jimbo and Kathy Ward, Kay Lynn and Dana Thomas, Roy Ward, Sheila Brunsvold, and Sonja and Paul Stoker; grandchildren, Bristol, Seth, Tricia, Zach, Tommy, Kaila and Everett; great-granddaughter, Meadow; brother, Glenn Ward; and many nieces and nephews.
Tom was preceded in death by his wife, Trudy; brother, Leslie; and sons, Tommy Gene and John.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Dillingham Trinity Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 1730, Dillingham, Alaska 99576.