26 Weeks

Can you believe the size of this thing?


Kitters Galore: Instagram Recap

The kitters get a lot of attention at our house. They used to get a lot of attention here on the blog, too, but that was before I got super duper lazy about switching to the Windows side of my computer to edit photos and oh- it was before I stopped taking photos with anything other than my iPhone. We have a nice camera and we even have a few good lenses for it, but Kenny uses it at work almost daily, so it's never around. There, now I feel I've given every legitimate excuse for not blogging about the kitters more regularly (or blogging more regularly in general, ack!). And since I'm snapping photos of Miso and Bo on a daily basis and posting most of them to Instagram, I thought I'd round up some of the latest and feature them here, so you could enjoy them, too! If you want to keep up as they're posted, you can follow me here on Twitter and on Instagram. Without further blabbering on about how precious my cats are, here are some of my favorite Instagram shots from this month.
1. Bo is a serious couch tater. 2. Miso likes to hunt for dragonflies on the roof. She is really good at catching them and bringing them inside and letting them loose in the house. It's like she's bringing us presents. 3. One day Bo just jumped up on the couch and sniffed my belly for a few seconds then turned a circle and snuggled right up to my baby bump! 4. Miso does a daily weather check out the window. 5. Bo shows off his serious overbite. He's such a little snaggle tooth! 6. Miso commiserates with me as we mourn our winter weight gain. 7. Miso, just hanging out by the tissues. 8. Chilling on the couch with Kenny. 9. The most relaxed I've ever seen Miso! She was so cute sitting like this. 


Please Let it Be Prophecy

I've had two dreams of delivering Jude so far. One was last month. I dreamed that I was in a hospital with my mom, which is weird because my parents and Mamaw aren't flying to Korea to meet Jude until April and he's expected late February or early March. So that was strange. It was just me and mom and no doctors anywhere. I told my mom I needed to get up to go to the bathroom- like a serious "sit and think about some things" bathroom session- and she said, "You better not. Just stay here. You're gonna go when you give birth anyway." So I felt this pressure and then a baby just slipped right out of me! And the thing is, this baby could talk. And this baby said to me, "My daddy is Shaq." As in, the baby's father was Shaquille O'Neal, and I started to cry uncontrollably because I was so confused and disappointed. I really had wanted the dad to be Kenny. Crazy, right?

So Saturday night I had this dream that I was going into labor and I was getting ready to experience all this horrible pain and again, all I felt was this slight pressure, and I put my hand between my legs and caught his head as he slid out. So strange. In the rest of this dream, I was also with my family in the States, running from the cops because my dad was wanted for tax evasion or something. And I kept forgetting the baby. Sometimes Jude looked like a real baby, and sometimes he looked like a miniature Bo. That's right, half the time in the dream my baby looked like my boy cat. And I kept remembering I had him and saying, "Oh, Mom! The baby! Where's the baby?"

I've always had vivid dreams, and I've always been able to recall them. Sometimes the feelings leftover from my dreams can put me in a funk for the rest of the day, they're so strong and feel so real. I once dreamed I kissed another man while married to Kenny and after I woke up, I felt so guilty the entire day! So, I'm used to having strange dreams. And they say that during your pregnancy you'll have crazy dreams. And I'm all, "Bring it on. Can't beat the ones I'm already having." And it's true that these dreams are shorter and less unusual than my normal nightly adventures. But the thing is, both times I've dreamed about birth, it's been completely pain free. Pressure and then he slides right out. So, I'd like to ask you all to pray right now that my dreams continue in this manner. Not only that, I'd appreciate any prayers you can spare for my actual labor. They say you should pray specifically, so I'll help you out with this one:
Dear Lord, please let Danielle's delivery mimic her dreams. A little pressure and baby Jude slides right out. Thank you for the gift of prophetic dreams. In the name of sweet BABY Jesus, Amen.


The Ideal

After we finished walking the Camino last May, we spent the better part of a week in Barcelona.  We spent two or three afternoons at the topless beach, reveling in the perfect weather. I wore my entire bathing suit to the beach, but took off my top with all my other clothes. Five years ago, I wouldn't have thought one second about baring my breasts in a public place, much less one where there were so many other amazing breasts to compare with mine. But after spending time in Korea, becoming comfortable with my own body in front of other women at the public baths, and ultimately becoming comfortable enough to stop caring if other people weren't comfortable with my body1, the topless beach thing wasn't a big deal. I didn't feel stared at or ogled. I had just finished walking over 500 miles for 32 days, and my body was a prize. I wasn't completely happy with my size (does this EVER happen?) or with every part of my body, but I was satisfied enough to feel that I was owning my body in a way I hadn't ever done so before. 

I had gotten up every morning and fed myself well and then walked for miles every day, fully deserving those sweet hours of sleep between yellow arrows pointing the way to Santiago. I felt productive in a new way. I didn't necessarily produce much, except for an exceptional amount of perspiration and dirty clothes. But I was going somewhere; I had direction and purpose to wake up to each morning; I had my body to thank at the end of the day. 

Back to the beach. Back to a time when Kenny and I spent an entire two days of the trail talking about baby names and using phrases like, "In three more years," or "after we hike in Peru" just to make sure we agreed about the timing in our marriage for children. We were leaving the beach the last day when I saw a small girl, maybe a year and a half old standing under one of the showers for rinsing off the sand. She couldn't push the button to make the water come out, but she was standing there with her hands out just waiting. She also happened to be completely nude and adorable with her perfectly round tummy and her pudgy little hands waiting expectantly for the water. And then her mother came up to her and decided it was time to go. Her mom was topless and had another baby in a stroller. And you guys, this woman was breathtaking, both in the usual sense of being a beautiful woman and also in the sense of being a mother. And as I looked at her and watched her chase her babies inside that skin, I turned to Kenny and said, "That's the mother I want to be." 

So far, I'm not the mother I want to be. I started this pregnancy at 66 kilos (145 pounds) and yesterday in my 23rd week, I weighed in at 77 kilos (169 pounds). Now, I am not that woman who was in shape before her pregnancy and is mourning the loss of her figure. I happen to be in love with my big round belly, because that's where Jude's hanging out these days, and pregnant bellies are cute. However. The rate at which I promptly quit living my life and immediately began consuming unethical amounts of carbs have devastated the rest of my body. My boobs are huge to begin with and now I barely know what to do with them. My thighs and my butt have never even concerned me before, and now I find myself gazing at them with an open mouth in the mirror. Where did these come from? And HOLY BACK FAT. I guess Jude is just rearranging all the fat that can't settle around my midsection anymore. He is delegating it to my back and my upper arms. And I know that this post is silly in some respects. That worrying about the state of my body and my weight is somehow supposed to be outweighed by the joys of growing a child, the wonder of making another person inside me. 

But. It's just not healthy, is it? And health should be more of a priority for me. The weight I've gained isn't just pregnancy weight. It's lazy weight. Weight that doesn't have to be here. And it bothers me. I want to be a cute pregnant lady, not the one who uses her pregnancy as an excuse to eat three donuts in one day (hello, yesterday). There are a lot of things I need to work on. In my last post, I wrote about how dissatisfied I was with my inability to DO anything. Well, in the past week, I've volunteered to help at a library story time on Saturdays, volunteered to sing and dance at church once a week in an English play time, and found a prenatal yoga class that I'll start next week DESPITE the fact that I don't really speak enough Korean to understand what the teacher says without watching her the entire time. Add to that my private tutoring and I've got something to do almost every day of the week. So, I've managed to spread out my time and efforts and I'm hoping just having a reason to leave the house everyday will help stall the back fat extravaganza. Oh, and taking nightly walks with my husband, holding hands and talking about our days and our future. Yes. So, now begins the battle: The Ideal vs. My Back Fat. Let's hope the Ideal takes this one, eh?

1. I think this is actually the real issue. It’s not usually about what we think or feel about ourselves when we look in the mirror, but it’s about what we imagine other people to think about us when they look at us. It’s always the pressure of “the other” we’re measuring ourselves against. I’ve worked hard to guard against this and now I mostly try to measure myself against the best version of myself. But of course, this is also difficult. 


My Soul vs. My Meat

I'm embarrassed to admit that I spend most of my days doing nothing much. Sometimes, I make our bed and sweep the floor. Some days I might even wash all the dishes after all the meals to alleviate the guilt I feel about living with my parents-in-law. Usually, I sleep in, eat, wander from coffee shop to coffee shop, and watch a ridiculous number of CSI reruns on TV. And everyone I talk with makes wonderful, compassionate excuses for my month of sloth.

The thing is, I have to figure out what I'm doing. I can't keep doing nothing. It's easier and I'm sick of myself taking the path of least resistance. I've been given an amazing time to prepare for this pregnancy, to accomplish so many things. Heck, I've been given 10 months to DO WHATEVER I WANT. How many people get this opportunity? How many people are running through their busy lives wishing for what I've been given? And here I am, having wasted the first 5 months of my time "off."

What really makes me sick is that I know all the time-management techniques. I know how to organize my time, turn big lofty goals into small actionable to-do lists, use 10 minutes productively. I just don't. Kurt Vonnegut once did a really good job of paraphrasing Romans 8:  My soul knows my meat is doing bad things, and is embarrassed. But my meat just keeps right on doing bad, dumb things. This is exactly how I feel now. I'm embarrassed when Kenny comes home in the evenings and asks me what I did that day. I sometimes don't have anything to tell him. And luckily, I have the most amazing husband in the world, who thinks writing blog posts and making vlogs and desigining in Photoshop count as legitimate tasks that deserve my time and attention.

I'm ashamed of how much time I've wasted. I'm ashamed at how easily I've allowed myself to continue making bad decisions. And I'm scared. I want to find some overarching sense of direction and purpose before Jude comes, because if he comes and falls into that spot, I think it becomes dangerous. I have the time to make sure that I'm not completely alienated when this boy comes into our world. Whether he speaks English with me at home or not, most of his world will take place in Korean. And if I'm not privy to that world, I'll be quite alone.

So, here's hoping my meat and my soul get it together. This post is the first step of many.


At the Moment

I have a lot to tell you, but currently not a lot of time to tell it. And since Mary Oliver already did such a good job of saying what should be said, I'll let her speak for me today.

The following is an excerpt from her poem "Six Recognitions of the Lord" out of the Thirst collection.

Lord God, mercy is in your hands, pour
me a little. And tenderness too. My
need is great. Beauty walks so freely
and with such gentleness. Impatience puts a halter on my face and I run away over
the green fields wanting your voice, your tenderness, but having to do with only the sweet grasses of the fields against my body. When I first found you I was filled with light, now the darkness grows and it is filled with crooked things, bitter and weak,
each one bearing my name.
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