Wednesday, March 30, 2011

This Babe is Kickin!

You would think that since this is my third pregnancy, I wouldn't get giddy when the baby kicks. It's not like this is first kick either. I've felt Baby M groovin' around since I was barely three months along. From tiny little carbon-bubble flutters to the more definitive bumps, elbows, and whooshes (are they surfing or what?) each new stage of movement has been expected and yet wondrous.

I suppose it is what the kicks represent in my mind. Not just life. Specific life. My child's life. See, God has a persistent habit of disregarding my schedule for childbearing. After two children, I should know this. I should celebrate the freedom of being tucked into His plan as snugly as the baby is nestled in my womb. Instead, I freaked out. I wasn't ready. I wasn't skinny enough. I was still nursing. We had kindergarten tuition ahead of us. And to be honest, I wasn't completely sure I wanted another child. My two little ponies sometimes stretch me beyond the comfortable, pretty, tame parts of my sanctification. Add a third one and who could say I wouldn't be pulled apart? How can you unconditionally, passionately, and completely love so many little hearts without losing yours?

The baby felt more like a force than a child, something elemental and transformative and sudden. A hurricane. A tornado. A flash flood. A planet ascending over the horizon of my body, changing the shape of my skin, of my soul. I realized, after weeks of pregnancy, that I was thinking of the life inside me in terms of cause and effect. My mind was continually clicking through the ways the baby would stretch the fabric of our family as I tried to plan in advance how I'd keep us from tearing.
One almost-spring morning, the shortcoming in this thought pattern become glaringly obvious.

I am carrying a child. Not an event. Not a cause. Not a force of nature. A baby. A life that God trusted to my hands and to my heart, which meant that He knew I could care for it with love and care, mistakes and grace. I wrote an apology to Baby M right then and there. I accepted-- no, I embraced-- mothering them before I even heard their heartbeat.

Since that time, as my belly has grown and the tiny kicks, pokes, and flutters have strengthened, each one is an affirmation. Each one is a secret-- a conversation, if you will, that only me and my baby can hear. No one else feels this life. My pregnant friends will share their own private wonders with their babies but this kick, this elbow, this tap is from my baby. God is weaving them together for my family, for my arms, and ultimately for His glory.

With each kick I am reminded how I am so humbled by something so tiny, so comforted by something unseen, so in debt to grace for placing this unique human life in our home so that we may be stewards and shepherds for such a brief yet vital time in their eternal journey. Perhaps it is that knowledge that makes the kicks all the sweeter. I am but a vessel, not simply to bear a child for nine months but to bear Heaven's love and wisdom during their time in our home. All too soon they will be given back to God, to do with what He chooses for their joy and His kingdom. To have them so close, such a part of me, for these few months more is a blessing and a gift.

Keep kicking, baby. Whatever you're trying to say me, I'm listening.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Zucchini + Cheese = Bliss

It's 6:30. I'm pregnant and starving. I have dishes, laundry, the dining room and the living room to tidy up before we hit evening meltdown hour. Once upon a time this would have meant one of three things-- processed carbs, fast food, or zap-and-eat.
Not tonight, thanks to Kalyn's Kitchen.

Her recipe for broiled cheesy zucchini is my new go-to food for healthy, quick, crave-worthy munching. I've had this craving for zucchini lately so I finally bought one (rather timidly) at the grocery this morning and wasn't entirely sure what to do with it. Her user-friendly recipe took me less than ten minutes and even a zucchini novice such as myself couldn't mess it up. Loved One, who seems to be more picky by the day, turned her nose up but Little One devoured it. Seriously, I thought I'd have to fight her off with my fork if I wanted to get any myself.

One other thing I appreciated about the recipe was how easy it was to switch out ingredients for whatever I found in the fridge while still getting a good result.

Since I am depressingly low on seasoning I brushed the zucchini rounds with a bit of fat-free Italian dressing before adding the cheese, which I also switched to Italian. It would be even healthier with fat-free cheese, but even with the full-fat cheese, one whole broiled zucchini only cost me 150 calories. Whoo-hoo!

This will be appearing at my house weekly until my next weird pregnancy craving takes over.

Check the recipe out here and make some for yourself!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Garden Full of Dresses

Yes, it's been quiet.
Too quiet.

But spring is here and I can't shut up any longer. The daffodils are blooming, my belly is blooming, and the little girls in my house are blooming. Winter hibernation is over and so here I am, posting again.

Since my gardening aspirations have been thwarted by my growing baby bump (I so do not want to be pulling weeds at eight months in July heat), I have decided to turn my sewing and knitting in a floral direction. Bold blossom prints; delicate petal-colored layers of chiffon; lacy shrugs and sweaters. All celebrating the season and all without a single weed to pull! Once I dig out the trusty camera, hopefully there will be pictures, but for now, here's what is in the works:

The Great Easter Dress Project is underway, with the first stage being practice dresses. Loved One and I are attending a wedding shower this Saturday (her first) and it's a perfect time to test my dress design on sturdy cottons. I found a juicy green and blue flower print at Wal-Mart of all places so that's on the sewing table for tonight. The two designs in the running for Easter are.... drumroll...

The Party Dress by Cottage Mama and The Twirly Dress by Sew Sweet Patterns

I think it's going to come down to whether or not I want a circle skirt or a gathered skirt. Loved One and Little One will each get a test dress so I can pick the best design and hopefully get any tweaks out of the way before I cut into the heavenly chiffon I found at DreamSpunKids. I haven't even got the courage to cut the practice chiffon yet, much less the real thing.

On the knitting needles are a few different versions of a tiny shrug to keep their shoulders warm. The Shizknit offers a cute (and free!) bolero that I'm in the process of tweaking for a lighter, more airy look. I also have cast on the Leafy Shrug by Stitchy Mama, though between the provisional cast on, the double pointed needles, and the eight row repeat lace I am unsure whether or not the late-night knitting is addling my brain.

Once I unearth the camera, there will be actual pictures of progress towards Easter cuteness and the mishaps along the way.

Happy Spring!