Friday, July 31, 2009

Things that make me go, "hmmm..."

These are a few of the (many) things that I have been thinking and wondering and worrying about recently.

I wonder... our family/friends/coworkers will react when we tell them the news.

...if I am eating the right things to give Baby all the proper nutriton to grow. I'm sill (thankfully) avoiding most of the nausea, but partly that's because I'm really watching what makes me feel sick and avoiding it altogether. Salad sounds totally disgusting to me. Pizza, on the other hand, sounds fabulous!

...if and when my energy level will recover. I'm exhausted all the time! Too bad you can't nap while teaching middle school... I'll possibly survive the next few months without knowing our baby's gender!

...whether I'll still fit into my wedding dress. Not that it really matters, since there are now so many more important concerns.

....about Casey as a daddy. I love imagining this; he's going to be such an incredible dad! He's already an awesome husband, and he is just so excited and supportive. I can't wait to see how beautifully he handles our next life challenge!

...if I'm allowed to go through haunted houses before Halloween this year. Do pregnant ladies get to do that? I hope so.

...about the whole process of labor. I hope I'm tough, calm, and centered. Bring it on, just so long as we have a healthy baby at the end!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sweet Relief

6 Weeks and 6 Days!

The first close up of our beautiful, blessed little miracle!

Baby is measuring 0.88cm - I hear that's kind of big... must be Casey's genes!

We went to the doctor today, and much to my relief and amazement, everything is wonderful. Baby and I got a great report from the doctor - the words "low risk" and "perfectly normal" were bandied about, and, as it turns out, they are some of the most beautiful words in the world!

The best part was that Casey and I got to see Baby for the first time, which of course made me cry. Which didn't really help the doctor much, since it shook the picture, but I couldn't help it. It was by far the best, most incredible picture I've ever seen.

Even when the little stick came back with two lines, part of me was worried that this was some kind of trick on the part of my body; that it couldn't possibly be real. That it was simply too good to be true, and that I can't possibly deserve my heart's complete happiness. Nobody gets everything they want, and I have so much joy already. It seemed like a baby would just tip the balance of my happiness to a level that can't possibly be allowed to exist.

So, of course, I have been nervous and anxious to see the doctor, to have someone who knows what they are doing (and not a little stick) confirm this miracle for me.

Besides that, though, it seems crazy that anyone can just have a baby! All those pregnant 15 year olds at Adams City High School should have clued me in, but I have such a hard time reconciling the fact that I had to go through like 6 months of training just to get my driver's license, but I can get pregnant and carry a baby with no guidance whatsoever. I had to go all the way through a Masters degree before I can teach, but I can just create and care for a life any old time and no one has anything to say about that! I mean, really... So again, from that perspective, huge relief to have a professional check us out and give me the all clear.

The only down side of our visit today was that they had to draw about a gallon of blood. Blech! Casey was a saint and tried to distract me; I hate having blood drawn. I truly think I can handle everything about pregnancy except two things: the nausea (which, so far had been mostly avoidable) and all the pricking and poking and blood-working; basically, anything related to needles. Yuck. Fortunately, though, Casey's distractions worked fairly well - he was showing me the ultrasound picture of the baby - and it was over... well, not before I knew it, but eventually.
All in all, a good report, a great, emotional day, and best of all, confirmation from the doctor about our little miracle. And, our new due date - certified by the doctor - is...

March 17th, 2010

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Something that wasn't there before..

Thank goodness we go to the doctor next week. I would really like to know - from a doctor, based on an actual examination of Baby - exactly where we are in this pregnancy.

Based on my/the nurses' best guess, here I am at the start of week 7:
And, although I know it's slight, I have the tiniest little bump that won't go away. There is no doubt in my mind that it is new, and I can't suck it in like I would be able to if it was something less significant (say, for example, a weekend of poor eating)... hmmm...

All in all, I am absolutely loving being pregnant. I have been extremely fortunate, because I have not had any significant nausea that I can't fight off or ignore. Mostly, anyway - if I work really hard at concentrating on something else.
I have had some interesting cravings. The majority of time, it's not anything specific; but it is specifically not anything that I usually eat. Since I've been dieting, I have pretty much been off carbohydrates altogether. Since I've been pregnant, though, they're about the only things that sound good to me and definitely steer me clear of nausea. I have been craving a wonderful potato soup that I usually make in the fall and winter. It's a little odd to be eating it in the hottest month of the year, but Baby gets but Baby wants! Another weird one is an unusually strong urge to have tacos - unusual for me because tacos are one of the very, VERY few foods that I won't eat normally!
Overall, though, it is just an unbelievable experience to know that I am carrying a little life inside of me. I get caught up dreaming about our nursery, and having a little person sleeping there. A little person who fits inside of this...

... and already I am completely enamoured of our little blueberry.

Casey and I also decided how we are going to tell our friends and family, when we do finally decide to tell them. More to come on that later...

Friday, July 24, 2009


We have a new car!!!

Yes, after a year of looking, we are blessed to have an awesome new car! We were in desperate need... the clincher was a) finding out we're pregnant, and b) the fact that when we went camping this weekend, my poor little abused VW had some major issues. For example, the control panel that holds the air systems (um, yeah, I don't know car lingo at all) hasn't worked in over a year. The blower control is stuck on the one that forces it to blow air on feet only, and the level control only works sporatically, and only on max (so your options if you want heat or cold is either no air, or max air).

While camping, though, we added another fun dimension to this disaster: now, when we turn the air on, the control has started to melt because something is malfunctioning inside the panel and making it extremely hot! Delightful! As an extra special bonus, it started to smoke for some unknown reason as we were driving up the mountain. Yeah... that was the day we decided that the time had come to find something different.

So, suffice it to say that we are absolutely delighted by our gorgeous new car! Here is a shot from the side.

My proud hubby and his new purchase.

After tons of research, we decided on a Toyota Highlander. My criteria for purchasing a car were: 1) reliable, 2) relatively low cost to maintain, 3) holds its value well, 4) practical.

Casey's criteria looked more like this: 1) reliable, 2) powerful, 3) potential for off-roading, 4) BIG.

We both agreed that we wanted a Toyota; it nicely meets the first three of both our criteria. I wanted a Rav 4 because of it's fuel efficiency - while still being great to drive in Colorado's dicey winter weather - and I thought that it would be large enough to work for our family in the long-haul. Casey wanted a 4Runner because it is more powerful, bigger, and can definitely get anywhere we could possibly want to go. In the end, though, we test-drove both, and felt a little like Goldielocks in the house of the three bears. The Rav turned out to be waaay too small to accommodate the family we would ultimately like to have. The 4Runner turned out to be a bit more than we actually need. Although it would still be a great car, our awesome Highlander is "just right"... more suited to our needs, and a nice way to meet in the middle. I am thrilled!

The back seat... perfect size to fit a car seat!

Here is a shot of the trunk. Notice the cupholders on the side... eventually, when we're ready for it, there is a third row of seats that will open up to give us even more room. In the mean time, I'm pretty sure the doggies will enjoy riding back here when we go camping.
I am just thrilled about this purchase. It feels to me like an investment in our future. Casey won't have to worry about having a pregnant wife driving a car which has a tendency to break down randomly. He'll also be able to have confidence in the fact that we won't be stranded on the side of the road somewhere during a snow storm - we'll be able to get where we need to go, including the hospital in the middle of March for delivery. THAT is a big deal!!
Ever time I am in the car, I have such a sense of peace. I can take a deep breath and relax. The new car is a HUGE blessing, and an enormous load off my mind to know that we will be safe, secure, and have the car we need and one that fits our family for years to come!

Monday, July 20, 2009


This weekend, we went camping with our very dear friends, Andrew and Jessica. It was an absolute blast! We got off to a rocky start, since we were intending to camp at a site at Rainbow Lake between Bolder and Estes Park. Unfortunately, though, camping has really changed from when I was a child. The campground was first come, first served, and by the time we got there Friday afternoon, there were NO camp sites left! So we went up the road to Brainard Lake... same result.
At that point, we were getting a little frustrated. We kept going toward Estes Park, stopping at each campground we came to trying to find somewhere to camp, all to no avail. Fortunately, Andrew knew of a place that was off the beaten path (literally - we had to use his 4-wheel drive truck to get there! Our car wouldn't make it!) that was absolutely gorgeous. It had an awesome view, a fire pit and a flat spot for our tent... what else do you need?! Finally, at almost 8:00 in the evening we were able to set up camp and make dinner. And, of course, s'mores!

The next day, we went into Rocky Mountain National Park to explore and do a little fishing. Again, it was absolutely, amazingly beautiful. I feel very lucky to live in Colorado; I think that we are spoiled in a LOT of ways! We didn't catch any fish, but we enjoyed a very nice day with friends.

On the way back to our campsite, we stopped in Estes Park for some ice cream (because, what's camping without a little ice cream??) Jessica and I couldn't help but put our feet in the freezing cold river... actually, it felt great on a hot day!

We had a wonderful time. I love camping, and every year I hope that we will be able to do it more than we can. It's so much fun to pack up the cooler and all the gear, set up a tent and spend a few days away from our "civilized" lives. And it was SO much fun to be able to do it with our awesome friends!!!

The only thing that was difficult about the trip was the fact that we're not yet telling our BIG (b-a-b-y) news. Jessica is one of my best friends in the world, and not being able to tell her something this huge was like torture! It was particularly difficult because I didn't just have to not tell her the truth, I had to actually lie, since there was alcohol and bad foods that I can't eat. It's not that I drink so often - clearly I don't at all - but normally I probably would have had a little something alcohol-related since we didn't have to drive or go anywhere. So I had to devise a lie to cover up the fact that I couldn't have anything with alcohol in it. Saaad.

Not to mention, for the past year plus, Jessica and I have been meeting for coffee every week. We seriously have been doing this every single week since last June when she got back from her MA program in Oregon. I would guess that, in a year, we have only missed maybe three or four weeks. So again, since she knows all my normal coffee habits, that's a difficult one to hide! And I really hate lying to one of my very best friends! On top of that, this is definitely the kind of thing I would normally tell her because she would share in my joy. She of all people knows how much I have been struggling with the issue of getting pregnant, and now that there is good news instead of difficult news, I can't even tell her! It's very hard!

The good news is, we've decided that we will break the news to close family and friends after we see the doctor next week. I just want to make sure that everything looks normal and is progressing well before we let anyone else know. And, although I am thinking extremely positively and I truly believe this pregnancy will thrive, I can't bear the thought of announcing it and having something happen. Ugh, that makes me shudder just to think about. So we're letting a little bit more time pass before we spill the baby beans... and I can't wait!!!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tears of joy - ish...

Things that make me cry: Pregnancy Edition

Here are the things that made me cry this week:

... when I discovered that the milk had gone sour and I had to pour it down the drain. It just seemed abundantly wasteful!

... taking out my belly-button ring, which I have had since I was 18. As an adult, I've always had this crazy, irrational fear that the piercing would balloon up when I got pregnant and cause a giant hole in my belly.

... Casey laughing at me when I explained this irrational fear to him. To be fair, I was a little ridiculous.

... the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Although, I'm pretty sure I would have cried at the end of that movie pregnant or not.

... "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Israel Kamakawiwo - especially the line that says, "I see babies cry and I watch them grow." For the record, just typing it made me choke up a little.

... Home Shopping Network's Christmas in July. Don't judge me.

... every single episode of A Baby Story (although again, probably would have been true preggers or not).

... the Rice Krispies commercial where a mom is making rice krispies treats with her daughters.

... when Casey fixed soup for me and dinner for himself because I was too naseous to do it for him.

I think that's all for this week... stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Letter to Baby

To my darling unborn child,

It has been one week since your daddy and I learned about your precious little life. Over that week, there are a few things that have grown exponentially (besides you!):

First is my sheer awe, amazement and gratitude that you are in there, getting bigger and becoming the little person that we so look forward to meeting in what feels right now like many months. I know already that it is the first of many miracles you will bless our lives with.

Second is the incredible, overwhelming love I feel for you. I laugh when I tell your daddy this, because today you are probably the size of some obscure little seed, and yet you are already the center of my world. Although my life is wonderful, blessed and happy, I have felt for some time like someone was missing from our family. You come to make me better; to make us better, your daddy and me and our family. Our little gift from God.

Sometimes the awesome responsibility of caring for something so precious is a little overwhelming. I overanalyze every single thing that happens to me throughout the day, and I run to a book or a website for reassurance that whatever it is is normal. So far I have avoided calling the nurse, and hopefully Mommy will learn to balance my fears and anxieties as I discover more about how you and I share my little body. You don't take up much room yet, so it is difficult to be sure that you're safe and comfortable and have everything you need.

My darling baby, one of the most wonderful, frustrating and incredible parts of life is its uncerainty. I take such joy in imagining you; what you will look like, whose eyes I will find staring back at me, what your voice will sound like. Of course, I can't wait to find out if we will be buying ballet slippers or football cleats (that's my clever way of saying I'm anxious to find out your gender. But know that you can do anything you want to do, whether you are a boy or a girl! Play an instrument, be a painter or a swimmer or a banker - we will support and love you whatever you choose). Just be healthy, and the rest will take care of itself.

As we continue this journey together for the next several months, there are a few things I promise you. I promise to always - ALWAYS - keep you safe. I promise to put your needs ahead of my own; to give you whatever you need to grow and be strong. Your daddy will tell you that I talk a lot, so you will definitely be hearing from me as soon as you're ready for that! I hope, though, that my voice will be a comfort to you, soothing and encouraging you - the first of many times I hope to do that throughout your life. I promise to be proud of you and rejoice in your accomplishments - even when all that means is that you've made me naseous. If nausea means you're growing strong, then I will take it (but just between us, let's agree right now to go easy on Mom, okay? Thanks.). More than anything else, I promise to love you unconditionally and with all of my heart. That's an easy one; I already do.

With affection and gratitude,
Your Mom

Monday, July 13, 2009

Brand New One-a-Day!

This weekend, I started on my prenatal vitamins! I was a little apprehensive, since I haven't been to the doctor yet (and, of course, I'm a little apprehensive about the fact that I haven't been to the doctor. They assured me that's fairly routine). But, I also wanted to make sure that I was doing everything I needed to do to ensure Baby's good health in the mean time. After a fair amount of research and talking to other mommys to be, I decided to start on a women's one-a-day prenatal vitamin. I'm excited to be doing everything in my power to make sure Baby is healthy and has everything it needs to grow big and strong.
I was able to make my appointment for two weeks from now. That seems like a really long time to wait. In the mean time, I spoke with a nurse and as able to get a few of my (many, many!) questions answered. Among those was the "official" timeline of my pregnancy!

And, in the official pregnancy way, they estimated that I am about 5-6 weeks along! Woohoo! Based on that, they are currently estimating our due date at March 14th. Hooray! That will probably all be revised at the first doctors appointment, but I am SO excited to already be halfway through the first trimester!!

All things considered, that's probably a good thing. Today was also the first day that I have felt really exhausted. I have been on a workout routine for the past 7 or so months, and part of that includes going to an exercise class 3-4 times per week. It has been going really well, until this morning. Today I honestly thought I might pass out during my workout. Seriously! I think it was actually more difficult to get through my class today than it was the very first day I started working out last January! There was a woman in the class who is about 7 months along, and, because I am paranoid, I had to ask her if that was normal. She was so cute; she laughed and told me that the first three months of pregnancy are pretty much the worst part of the whole thing, labor included! That made me feel slightly more normal - I was really worried when I couldn't muster the energy and strength to get through the class as I normally do!!

I also wanted to take some starting pictures. Yes, I'm a belly-picture kind of gal. I can't wait to see the growth that will inevitably happen! But, before we can get anywhere close to that, I thought I'd start with a couple of "before" pics...

Forgive the bad picture, although it probably only gets worse from here!

It's a little ironic, because I've been working so hard to get skinny in order to fit into that wedding dress, and now I'm going to have to be more concerned about gaining - not loosing - weight! Anyway, before I fill (over-fill) them again, I thought I'd pause to remember what are soon to be the good ol' days when my shorts were actually too big for me. That's the weight I've lost this year! Hooray and sayonara!

Whoever imagined I would actually be delighted beyond words about gaining weight?!?

Sunday, July 12, 2009


As we all know, I like literature. I believe that one of the best things a parent can do to increase the future potential of a child is to read to him or her.

So it is no surprise, then, that Casey and I have already selected a littany of books to read to Baby over the course of the next 9 months.

What's that, you say? Baby can't actually hear anything for approximately 20 weeks? True. But that's not really the point, is it? Technically, baby can't "hear" anything at all; mostly just sound impulses, recognizing repetition in the cadence of sounds - not the meaning of words - anyway. But I'm convinced that Baby will pick up on whatever emotions I am putting off, and reading to Baby is not only soothing to me, but also extremely magical and amazing. Baby can only benefit from that!

We selected the books we would read carefully, looking for pieces that portray some characteristic that we want and hope Baby to have in his or her life. So, without further ado, and in no particular order, here are our literary selections for the next 9 months:

The Iliad - So that Baby will be strong and courageous throughout life. Also, we decided to start with this book right away because, in these first, sometimes perilous few months, we want Baby to be like a strong little warrior as he or she begins to grow. Grow strong, Baby Strassner!

Hamlet - Obviously in some ways not the best for families, considering the bizarre familial relationships (uncle kills father, mother marries uncle, son must avenge father). That being said, though, there are some redeeming qualities - namely, a profound sense of loyalty that we wish for our child. Not only family loyalty, but also having friends who are loyal and would do anything for Baby, as well as the importance of being worthy and deserving of such loyalty.

To Kill a Mockingbird - Because we wish, perhaps above all, that Baby will have a deep and unswerving wisdom, empathy and discernment, grounded in a strong moral center and sense of what is fair and what is right. Atticus Finch is one of my all-time favorite literary characters because he so fully and gracefully embodies all of these qualities.

Harry Potter - Partly so that Baby will be able to see the wonderful, magical possibilities in life; partly in the hopes that Baby will have a creative, problem-solving mind, enriched by just the right amount of mischeiviousness. Lastly, too, because we want Baby to always be on a path of self discovery; we hope that Baby will be true to whatever wonderful person he or she turns out to be.

Gone with the Wind - We chose this book for three reasons: First, because it is one of my all time favorite books. Also, it is a book that my mother read to me before I was born. I've always felt that - crazy as it sounds - that fact has influenced me throughout my life. Lastly, symbolically, we chose this book because we hope that baby will always know that "tomorrow is another day," so never quit, and never give up hope!

Peter Pan - Because the power and beauty of imagination is one of the greatest gifts any child - no, any person - could ever receive! I also wish for my son or daughter the kind of joy and whimsy that comes from seeing the world through the eyes of a child, and I very much hope that there will be part of him or her that never grows up.

I think these selections are solid, but we may come up with one or two more depending on how the timing goes. I am so excited! It is so amazing to know that I am already influencing and responsible for the little life inside of me! WOW!!!!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Things I love

I have discovered that trying to determine the "official" age of the pregnancy is very difficult to do on my own! It seems that everyone calculates it a little differently, and since I have never had a "regular" cycle, my dates are all screwy. Since I know the date of conception, though, I can determine that I am about 3 weeks along - ish. I'm definitely feeling anxious to get to the doctor and have them give me something more accurate!

But, here are some things that I have discovered (and in some cases, rediscovered) my love of over the past few days:

- My amazing husband! Casey has already begun to embrace this with open arms. Example: I was having potato chips as a snack - something I NEVER do, we never even have them in the house! We only buy them once a year during camping trips! - and he knowingly advised me, "you're not supposed to eat those. Everything you eat is a chance to nourish baby." :) (This is almost a direct quote from our "What to Expect When You're Expecting" - I'm so proud!)

- Warm weather. Summer has finally truly found Colorado! It took a while, what with the rain and thunderstorms we had almost every single evening in June, but now we have wonderful warm (hot!) weather.

- Water World - although this one poses some issues since finding out I'm preggers. I was lucky to go with two of my girlfriends from my Masters program this week, and we had a great time! I love the water, and I LOVE the water slides! It was scary, though, to see signs posted warning, "Do not ride if you are pregnant." I think - and desperately hope! - that that's supposed to apply to those who are more significantly along than I am. But, since I haven't yet seen the doctor, I can't be sure. It doesn't seem to have done baby any harm... but I think, from here on out, I'd rather be safe than sorry!

-Half-caf coffee. Okay, "love" might be overstating things. The past three mornings, though, Casey has made me coffee by mixing decaf (who knew we even had decaf coffee? I am so vocally against it - it doesn't really count unless it has caffeine!) and caffeinated coffee, so that I can still have one of my very favorite things, but in a "baby friendly" way. Coffee is going to be far and away the hardest thing for me to give up, but it is so helpful to have a husband who looks out for me and helps me to do the right thing!

- - Another great resource, besides "What to Expect," that I have come to rely on as I wait anxiously to see the doctor. It's actually a great help, especially since there is so very much I don't yet know!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

And Baby Makes Three!

Yesterday - Wednesday, July 8th, 2009, at about 7:30 a.m. - Casey and I received the biggest news we could ever hope to get: We're Pregnant!

I had been feeling kind of iffy for a few weeks, but my hormones have been really off for the past three months, so I figured it must be part of all of that. Just to be sure, I took a pregnancy test about a week ago, and it came back negative... mostly. There was only one line, but very, VERY faintly, there was the slightest ghost of another line. I decided that, if I continued feeling strange, I would wait one week and then test again. That was a long week... luckily, though, I was able to wait it out (barely) by promising myself that Wednesday morning I could test again. Well, I did, and this picture was the result!

Casey hadn't left for work yet, but I couldn't quite tell him. I was still processing the whole thing myself. Not to mention, because of the fact that I have had so many hormonal issues recently, I wasn't 100% sure yet that I was actually pregnant.

As soon as Casey left for work, I drove to the store to get another brand of pregnancy test. I could hardly wait to take the test! I had to slam down three or four glasses of water first, but , the next test was just as successful as the first one had been!

Two positive pregnancy tests - proof positive of my dream come true!!! YAAAY!

Once I was fairly sure that this wasn't some kind of elaborate hoax on the part of the pregnancy test companies, I started to get really excited. I have been struggling with my desire to be a mother. Struggling because I have felt for so long that we are in a good place to begin our family, and in my heart of hearts, I have always - ALWAYS - wanted to be a mother. As far back as I can remember, I have made my decisions based on having a family. But, practical woman that I am, I recognize that there are some inherent challenges to starting a family this year - like the fact that I am a first year teacher, perhaps...

In a perfect world, we had planned to start trying next summer, so that I could get through my first year of teaching without the added stress of pregnancy. But this feels like an overwhelming gift from God! Regardless of the timing, I can't believe I am actually pregnant!! This is what I have wanted for so long, and it is an amazing, AMAZING gift to have it come true! W-O-W! I couldn't be happier about it!

Okay, enough of my reverie and back to the story...

Now that I was fairly sure of the "occupied" status of my womb, I was quickly devising a plan to tell my husband. I ran to the store to buy "What to Expect When You're Expecting" (YAY!), and put both the book and those lovely sticks in a box, which I wrapped and bowed carefully.

When Casey (finally) got home, I told him that I had a present for him and gave him the box. I set up the video camera so I could record the whole thing, and his reaction was priceless. He was surprised - I knew he would be. But he was also excited, which absolutely thrilled me. I think he is going to be an amazing father, and I am amazed and grateful and beyond excited that we will have that opportunity in 9 months!

I changed my font at