Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Watching the Tower

Part of my daily routine as a secretary is to walk down the quaint little main street of Summerland to pick up the church's mail. I look forward to this little dose of fresh air and the chance to move my stiffened legs. There is one part of the jaunt that I do not enjoy, though.
Perched outside the main doors of the Summerland Post Office is a man dressed in a trench coat. Every day he stands silently, holding an open magazine for all of the passers-by to view. It is a religious magazine and he keeps his open briefcase on display beside him; it is filled with other magazines and books. I am pretty sure that he is a Jehovah's Witness. I don't know much about that religion, but I know that this man's blank stares and silent judgement on the people of Summerland makes me very uncomfortable. Seeing him stand motionless, barely making eye contact with the folks who cross his path, I wonder who this man is. Has he always been a Jehovah's Witness? Does he have a real job, or does he feel he's doing his duty to humanity by quietly holding a magazine for people to see? If he truly believes he has found the Truth, then why doesn't he just talk openly about it with the people he meets, instead of standing on a streetcorner making us all feel weird.
I don't know.
Maybe I'm the one who is being judgemental and the next time I go to the post office I should strike up a conversation with Mr. Jehovah's Witness.
But I am sure he would just try to convert me, and I don't have that kind of time.

Amanda Brown at 3:11 PM

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Monday, January 30, 2006

My Anatomy is Grey



I am sure that come each Monday morning there are thousands of bored women bloggers who post about watching Grey's Anatomy the night before. They must gush about how dreamy Dr. McDreamy truly is, and how they are rooting for him and Meredith to get back together. They must rant about how Berg and Christina are so mismatched but so perfect for one another and how George is like a clumsy little puppy and how Izzy is so beautiful and isn't it so great that she actually has a bum?
I am one such woman.
I know, I know, the show is meaningless drivel filled with nothing but complicated relationships and dramatic flares. But it gets me every time. I cry almost every week. Whether it's about two people who are impaled together on a pole after a train crash and one has to die and the other gets to survive, or whether I am weeping for a tender moment shared by two emotionally wounded doctors...I am in love with this show.
Call it what you will: a waste of time, a mind pollutant, an addiction...I care not. Sunday nights have become a sacred time for the ladies of Summerland who gather round the hum of the television set to immerse ourselves in the world of this grey, grey anatomy.
Don't judge me.

Amanda Brown at 2:18 PM

10comments

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Prairies Beckon

My parents have just booked a flight for me to go to Regina at the end of April. Originally my brother was going to come out to the Okanagan for a visit in April and my mom was planning on making the trek in May (they both are dying to see my what will be huge belly), but after some deliberation we decided that it makes more sense for me fly out instead of them both coming out at separate times. So, I'll be about 6 months pregnant at the time and I am sure I'll be ready to let my momma spoil me for a little while.
I hope I don't run into to many familiar faces of people I went to high school with. You know how everyone likes to talk about how much people have changed since graduation? "Did you see her butt? It's huge! Seriously. Massive. She's really let herself go. She'll probably blame it on the baby, but I don't think the baby's in her butt. She's just fat. Loser."
I am the one they will be talking about.
Aside from all of the people talking behind my back about the size of my rear-end, it should be a wonderful trip. I am looking forward to it. :)

Amanda Brown at 6:17 PM

4comments

Children of the 80s Unite

I love a good themed party. Regular parties are fun too, but I love an excuse to piece together a wild costume and go nuts looking all weird for a night of rowdy fun. We have a Halloween party every year at our house where we strongly encourage all guests to dress up. It's great fun. Last year a good friend of ours, Kristen Perry, moved to Calgary and someone suggested we throw her a Going Away party. Sounded good. Then I piped up, "How about an 80's Going Away party? Wouldn't that be WICKED?" We secretly arranged a costume for Kristen to wear when she arrived, and you can see her in all her glory below: Everyone was a great sport and dusted off their leggings and pumps and beads. Much fun ensued. I was looking through some old photos and found the 80's party folder and thought I would share a few of my favourites. Seeing them has got me thinking that it's about time for another themed party. Adele has a birthday coming up...perhaps we could host a stuffy English tea party where everyone has to wear huge hats with feathers and we could eat mutton. Or not.
Tianna, Erin, me, Kristen and Holly, striking a pose.
Look at those abs of steel. I am one lucky lady.
Steve gets home tonight. Yay!

Amanda Brown at 6:05 PM

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Saturday, January 28, 2006

Not Quite Scrap Worthy

You know those pictures that bring a smile to your face but don't seem quite fit for a frame or a page in your scrapbook? I like those kinds of pictures. Candid, off-centre, out of focus, poor lighting. Here are just a few of those sort of pictures from last weekend. Adele always tries to dodge the camera...she should stop it and just give it a big smile. Cuz she's purty.
The sad thing is I was trying to look cute and coy in the photo, not bug-eyed and fat. I've lost my cuteness and have traded it in for a double chin and a forehead full of pimples.
Christy giving off a belly laugh. She was trying to push our her non-existant gut, but instead just cracked up and laughed really loudly.
She's purty too.
I think that's Adele's left boob in the foreground.
That's all, folks.

Amanda Brown at 6:32 PM

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Prophetic?

Last night I had a dream that we had a baby girl and Steve said that I could name her Anneliese. I said, "I don't want to name her that if you really hate it."
But he said, "After seeing how much you love it, I love it too."
Aww.
What am I to make of pregnancy dreams? I while back I dreamed that there was a long and lanky boy, a midget girl, and a dog in my womb. Maybe we're having twins after all. Steve's dad is a twin, and apparently the gene is passed on the father's side, so who knows? If we are having twins that would explain my connection both to the name Anneliese and my disturbing affinity for sweater vests. Imagine if there's really two babies in there! Instant family! Boom! We'd be done. (Probably. Unless it was two boys, in which case I would try again for my Anneliese.)
We've booked our ultrasound for February 18th, at which time we should find out the sex of the baby, and just confirm that there's only one child in me. That's in less than a month! This is all happening so fast!
Last night I was at a candle party and there was a lady there who was 5 months pregnant and she had a very distinct pregnant belly and said she started to show around four months. Being surrounded by skinny-minny friends has made me feel extra blimpy, but seeing a fellow pregnant lady was reassuring. She was big AND beautiful at the same time.
I find it interesting how we live in a culture that idolizes thinness, but for this time in a woman's life she gets an exemption from the expectations. Of course there's pressure to not gain too much weight, too look as stunning as all of the pregnant celebrities, and to lose all your baby weight three hours after you push the kid out.
All I'm saying is that it's nice, for once, to not have to suck my tummy in. I can breathe easy and let it stick out a bit and be thankful for the blessing of life inside of me.

Amanda Brown at 5:44 PM

3comments

Friday, January 27, 2006

Who's That Girl With the Big, Big Belly?

It's me! It's me! If any of you read Adele's blog you may very well recognize this photo. Yes, it's of me. At nearly four months pregnant. Granted, I am pushing my stomach out as much as I can, and I had just swallowed 18 pounds of nachos and one virgin pina colada. But still. That's a pretty substantial belly. I don't know whether to be proud or frightened of it.

Amanda Brown at 3:03 PM

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I'm Surrounded By Content. Seriously.

I love the daily visits I get from some of the interesting characters who come to our church. One lady makes a stop at the church every afternoon. She is a sweetheart and she cracks me up.
Often she has a can of ginger ale in her hand and she chugs it back, then proceeds to belch these hot, stinky burps that fill the office. She apologizes for each belch, then laughs a big hearty chuckle.
And today she came in with a big package of black licorice. She offered me a piece, but I declined (I've always been a red licorice gal, thanks for asking). Then she said, "Fine. More for me. Maybe it will help my bowels."
Yes. Let's hope it does.

Amanda Brown at 2:54 PM

1comments

Puking at the Northgate Mall


A few of the mommy blogs I read feature entries all about projectile puke and poop. I wonder how moms get so accustomed to being exposed to vile bodily fluids all day long. It's a wonder.
All this talk of barf jogged a long-lost memory of mine. When I was a young girl I got tonsilits quite a bit. One time I was about four years old and we just gone to see the doctor who proclaimed that I, once again, had tonsilitis. I was feeling feverish, faint, and sick. My mom set me on a bench in the mall outside of the Shoppers Drug Mart where she went to fill my prescription for antibiotics. Before she left she gave me a piece of grape Bubblicious bubble gum to make me feel better.
Alone on the bench, I popped the gum into my little mouth. The piece of gum was quite large, but felt extra big due to my swollen and inflamed throat. I chopmed away, savouring the grape flavour that filled my four year-old mouth, but then I started to feel funny. Funny in my throat. The gum was just too much for the size of my sick little neck, and before I knew it I was gagging and then I threw up all over myself and the bench and the floor. I sat motionless, covered in my own vomit and waited for my mom to get back.
After what felt like an eternity, I saw her, with my one year-old brother in tow, and I started to bawl. Barfing on one's self is a fine reason to cry. My mom grabbed my hand and escorted me out of the mall without telling a store clerk or janitor. We just left with my puke splattered everywhere.
A mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do.

Amanda Brown at 2:19 PM

3comments

She's Gonna Blow!

I have heard people say that a pregnant belly will suddenly "pop" out and one morning you'll wake up looking much more with child than you did the day before. I think that this has been the week of said popping.
For the past few weeks I have occasionally been wearing maternity pants since they are less constricting and more comfortable, and I would just pair them with one of my regular shirts. But this week, those same shirt from my old wardrobe simple are not doing the trick. They have become too short, too tight, too sausage-linky to wear.
So I dug out some of the maternity shirts I had accumulated from friends and the few I had already bought. I am not totally filling them out yet, but it's nice to wear something that's long enough to cover the maternity panel on my pants, and loose enough to gently flow over my blossoming belly.
I know that the novelty of these clothes will soon wear off and I will get so tired of putting forth effort to look good when I am a whale that I wil buy one of those huge muu muus and I'll be asked to leave work and change into something more appropriate for the office, then I'll burst into tears because I'm so hideous and will drive home and pull out a bag of double stuffed oreos and eat them while watching Starting Over in my muu muu.
But for now the shirts are kind of fun. I am actually starting to look a little pregnant (I'm 4 months this weekend! Almost halfway done already!).
Again, since Steve thiefed the camera I can't show you what my bumpy tummy looks like, but stay tuned. Oh, and our couches are coming today. Exciting times.
New furniture and a rounded gut.
I lead a thrilling life.

Amanda Brown at 8:43 AM

5comments

Thursday, January 26, 2006

He's Gone Away...

So, I've been ditched.
Steve has left with eight other people from our church to attend the Break Forth Conference in Edmonton and he won't be back until late Sunday night. He always has a wonderful time at the conference and comes back inspired to be a better musician and leader. So I am happy that he'll enjoying himself.
While I am rotting in an empty house.
OK, so it's not that bad. Truth be told, the occasional weekend to myself is something that I don't mind one bit. I get to stretch out on the king size bed and not be accused of being a blanket hog; I get to cuddle with Rolo all by myself; I get to leave my bed side lamp on until the wee hours of the morning to finish a good book; I get to take a break from cooking and live off of cheese and crackers for a few days.
Not that I don't miss my Stevie. The time that he is away feels strange and empty, and I love when he comes home. But a bit of solitude is something that I'll never complain about. It is something that I crave from time to time.
However, absence truly does make the heart grow fonder.
When Steve is gone and I have to be in charge of keeping the wood stove a burnin' I realize just how much work it is to load up the wood bin, stoke the fire, keep the kettle going to make the air more humid, let the coals cool and empty them on the orchard...and it makes me thankful for all of the work he quietly does to keep our household running.
Steve is Super Swell.
On a different tangent...OUR COUCHES ARRIVE TODAY! Yay! Steve took our camera with him to Edmonton, so you won't be seeing pictures of them just yet.
Be patient, my friends. The time shall come.
Well. See you later.

Amanda Brown at 1:07 PM

4comments

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I Think We'll Name Him Gershwald Cletus Brown


Thinking about the baby growing inside of me, I can't help but wonder what he (from now on I am using the "he" pronoun because a few days ago I think I felt my baby move and in the instant I put my hand on my belly and felt the fluttering sensation I sensed in my heart that it's a boy...mother's intuition? I don't know. I think I would still prefer a girl, and I'm rooting for Anneliese, but of course I would still be thrilled about a little baby boy. His wardrobe will consist soley of cordorouys and sweater vests, in case you were wondering) will be like when he is five years old, and eleven years old, and seventeen years old. Will he be a confident jock, a reserved bookworm, a dramatic actor? I don't think many jocks wear sweater vests, so he'll probably be a bookworm.
And he'll hate me forever for making him wear sweater vests.
But I will not care.

Amanda Brown at 2:59 PM

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Wonder

I am so thankful to be married to a man with whom I can ponder life's questions, express my frustrations (trivial as they may be), speak openly about my struggles and dreams, laugh, talk in absurdly high pitched voices, relax, and know I am loved.
Thanks, Stevie, for loving me.
You are as swell as they come.

Amanda Brown at 2:56 PM

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United Furniture Warehouse (Boom, Boom)

Last Friday we were in Penticton to sign away our lives on the mortgage for the orchard. We happened to park across the street from United Furniture Warehouse (Boom, Boom)(...c'mon how can you not sing the jingle?)(are you liking my inappropriate use of ill-placed parentheses?) and saw the windows of the store plastered with "CLOSING FOREVER!" and "EVERYTHING MUST GO!" and "DEALS, DEALS, DEALS!" signs.
I suggested that we go and check it out.
So in we marched and were informed of the promotions going on, since the store was closing for good. All sofas were only $399 if you bought the matching loveseat.
Woohoo!
I immediately was drawn to an off-white microfibre sofa that was casual, comfortable and stylin'. It was actually the exact same couch that Jen and Jordan have, but in a different colour (I am not a creepy stalker who wants to be just like Jen, OK? Haven't you heard that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery? Get over it.) Steve found a different sofa that he preferred, but it was a dark forest green, and since are walls are sage green and our ottomon is olive green, I thought it would be just a bit too much green to stomach.
He disagreed.
I told him to DEAL WITH IT.
We went home that night and pondered our options:
"Should we even be getting couches right now? We just took out a mortgage for gosh sakes!"
"But what a DEAL the couches are! How could we pass up an opportunity like that?"
"Let's be responsible and wait."
"NO!"
(Guess who was the voice of reason and who was the voice of manipulation? I take pride in my negotiating skills.)
We went back the next day and bought the microfibre couches that I wanted. Steve does actually like them too, and is happy with our (my) choice.
They get delivered early next week, at which time I will post picture of myself posing (clothed) on our couches.
Until then...

Amanda Brown at 9:25 AM

5comments

Monday, January 23, 2006

Carbariffic!

This weekend was all about (way too much) delicious food. As previouly mentioned, on Saturday the girls went to Moxies for Ang and Jen's birthday bashes, and I consumed thrice my body weight in nachos and flatbread. Then on Sunday Adele had a houseful of friends over to celebrate Craig's belated birthday. I think she bought out Safeway to get all the food she did for the party. Of course there were many healthy choices: greasy sausage rolls, chips, mile-high submarine sandwiches, pizza, guacamole. And there was Ice Cream Cake (it deserves proper noun status, since it has the power to make me weak in the knees every time I get offered a piece). In other words it was a Carb-Fest weekend.
Of all the food categories (fat, carb, protein) my favourite has always been the good ol' CARB. From freshly baked buns to gooey cinnamon buns to potato chip...my middle has always been CARB.
Amanda Carb Brown.
Perhaps this is why I have always had a jiggly bum and cellulite on my thighs, even when I was a twiggy teenager. Too much bread!
A few years back I tried going on the Atkins diet to lose weight. For two weeks all I ate was eggs, cheese, luncheon meats, and those little Atkins brand chocolate bars (which give you diarrhea if you eat more than eight per day, just so you know). I did lose weight, and my appetite was much easier to control, but I found that cutting carbs completely is NO WAY TO LIVE. I felt irritable, I had the raunchiest breath ever (from all the ketones in your system) and all I could think about was bread.
I quit Atkins and never looked back.
Since those days I have developed a moderate approach to eating and try to neither overindulge nor deprive myself. It doesn't always work (this weekend was one of those instances of "oops, I am so full that my maternity pants are tight") but for the most part I try to find a balance.

Amanda Brown at 2:43 PM

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

It Had Been Too Long

Many moons had passed since we last got all of the girls together and hit the big city for a night on the town. Jen and Angella both had birthdays last week, so we jumped at the opportunity to commemorate their special days by getting dressed up and heading to Kelowna for way too many appetizers, drinks, and desserts. It was a delicious evening shared with great company. We really have to make this a more regular occurance! Here is Ang, one of the birthday girls striking her "Kiss me...I'm hot and 31 never looked so good!" pose. What a fox. If only we could all look as stunning as she does. The service at the restaurant we went too was less than stellar (we waited nearly an hour for our nachos...the pregnant lady is starving over here!) but that didn't stop us from having a swell time.
Gotta love cheesy "Hey look! That's us in the mirror!" shots. It was past 9:00 pm, so I was getting too sleepy to keep a steady hand on the camera. Please pardon the lack of the focus.
We inhaled our appetizers and desserts with frightening force. Make me wait an hour for nachos? You'll be sorry. We completed our meals with some delectable desserts (white chocolate brownie...ahhhhhh) and then realized just how full we all were.
Here's Jen, the other birthday girl, who has reached the ripe old age of 23. What a hot momma!
Thanks for the great night, ladies!

Amanda Brown at 11:39 AM

6comments

Friday, January 20, 2006

Bring on the Oats

People have been asking if I've had any unusual cravings since I've been pregnant. For the most part, no. But recently I have been salivating at the thought of anything oaty. A big warm bowl of thick oatmeal with brown sugar, or oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, or just a handful of dry oats. Just kidding about that last one; I haven't reached that level of desperation. I'm sure it will come, though.
While at Christy's house for lunch today she had some really hearty, oaty cookies with chocolate chips and I seriously could have eaten two dozen of them. I stopped at one. Not one dozen, rather one single cookie. Aren't you proud of my discipline? You should be, if you know how much I like cookies.
I have heard of pregnant women craving everything from vinegar, to sucking on pebbles (no lie). I wonder what it means that I'm craving oats. Maybe I have a little pony in my belly.
If I do, I will name him Jeff.
Jeff the pony, who likes oats.

Amanda Brown at 1:58 PM

7comments

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Why I Should Be Changing My Bed Sheets On a More Regular Basis

Rolo thinks he is a human, worthy of every human experience. He likes to sleep in the king size bed, under the down duvet, with his head resting gently on a pillow. He likes a good piece of red licorice, and laying in front of a wood burning stove. He is of the thought that he is entitled to whatever he pleases. And the problem is that we give it to him.
Every morning when I come back to our room after having a shower, this is the sight I see: Rolo has stolen my side of the bed and is snuggled up with Steve. Yes, my bed sheets are covered in dog hair, but it's worth it.

Amanda Brown at 9:25 PM

3comments

I Feel Like I Got Asked to Sit at the Cool Kids' Table.

Last week was National De-Lurking Week, a time when readers who secretly browse blogs are encouraged to come out of hiding and comment to make themselves known.
I mustered the guts to comment on this one blog that I have been reading on a daily basis. The writer of this blog, Leah, is an exceptionally talented writer and photographer, and if it weren't for her I would never have even known what a blog was. You see, about a year ago I was doing a search on Google for something and I accidentally ended up on her site. I had never seen something like it before...her wit was impressive, her candid nature was endearing, her life was intriguing. I read all of her archives and watched her go through the transitions of being in love, having her heart trampled on, finding herself, and meeting her soulmate.
I also found some other great blogs on her list of links and have fostered several addictions thanks to her site.
Anyways, I posted a comment on Leah's blog and came out of the lurking closet. I felt like a bit of a nerd, saying something like "Golly, I think your blog is neat." I didn't think that Leah would think much of my comment, since she is so high on the blogging food-chain. But today I checked my comments and there was one from her! And from one of her friends!
People, these are famous bloggers! And they know who I am.
And now they are quite possibly reading this very post and realizing what a nerd I truly am that I would gush about them like this and they'll never return. I hope that's not the case.
Regardless, I am honoured that they were at one time present on this little blog of mine.

Amanda Brown at 9:40 AM

9comments

Oh, the Mystery.

It appears that I am now able to view my old comments. Weird. Owell, no use complaining about a good thing. I am glad that the words of you, my devoted readers, are once again accessible.

Amanda Brown at 9:38 AM

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Tagged

My friend Kristin has "tagged" me and now I have to answer these questions on my blog. You should check out her blog while you're at it. I've added her to my links so she can become part of your daily read.

Four jobs you have had in your life?
1. Scooping ice cream at Checkers Ice Cream Parlour
2. Tim Hortons (for one week...I couldn't stand the hairnet)
3. Ricki's/Bootlegger (for one month...just long enough to get the employee discount)
4. Catering at the Penticton Lakeside Resort

Four movies you would watch over and over:
1. Romeo & Juliet
2. The Notebook (yes, I am a sap)
3. The Wedding Singer
4. Clifford (the one where Martin Short plays a 10 year old boy)

Four places you've lived:
1. Regina, Saskatchewan
2. Thetis Island, British Columbia
3. North Vancouver, British Columbia
4. Summerland, British Columbia

Four TV shows you love to watch:
1. Grey's Anatomy
2. House
3. The Biggest Loser
4. Arrested Development

Four places you have vacationed:
1. Minot, North Dakota
2. Minneappolis, Minnesota
3. Calgary (can't you tell we had thrilling family holidays?)
4. Mexico

Four websites I visit daily:
1. All of the links on my blog
2. Blogs of cool people I have never met but feel like I know
3. Hotmail
4. All Recipes

Four of my favorite foods:
1. PIZZA! Seriously.
2. Fresh baked BUNS
3. Homemade COOKIES
4. French Fries with GRAVY

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. Hawaii
2. Hanging out at Christy's house watching Ellen
3. In a furniture store picking out couches
4. Cuddled up in bed with Steve and Rolo

Amanda Brown at 1:17 PM

9comments

I've Got To Start Writing This Stuff Down

As a church secretary I hear about a lot of interesting things. Most of which I keep to myself, out of respect for the parties involved.
On a nearly daily basis I experience something that makes me feel as though I am in a play, acting the part of a secretary who's faced with a quirky cast of characters.
I like it.
Today's moment: a sweet old lady phones the office and says, "I think I left my teeth on a pew in the sanctuary on Sunday. Can you go and take a look, dear?"
Funny times.

Amanda Brown at 10:07 AM

3comments

No Comment

I almost had a heart attack yesterday.
Perhaps you've noticed that on my Blogger profile it shows that I have 3 blogs. This is a mistake. When I was initially setting up my blog I must have done it wrong or something and accidentally set up all three sites. Only one of them was my actual blog.
So I thought, "The time has come to delete those extra phantom blogs!"
Big mistake.
I deleted the two extra blogs and when I went to go to my real blog, the "NOT FOUND" page came up and I almost pooped.
My blog had disappeared into the void!
All of my words and thoughts and pictures lost forever!
Then I signed into Blogger and saw that my blog was actually still there, but when I got onto my page, none of my archives worked! So I randomly tried republishing the last post from every month and that seemed to make my archives reappear.
The only downer is that all the comments left of EVERY single post have vanished. I can't access them.
It's a dark day.
Owell, I am just thankful that my blog is in tact and that new comments are showing up fine.
I have learned my lesson: don't mess with Blogger. It will hurt you.

Amanda Brown at 8:53 AM

2comments

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Passing

There is a funeral at the church today.
Funerals are an interesting tradition. That we as humans take pause to remember the life of another.
I am lucky to have been to very few funerals. The one that stands out in my mind is my Oma's. She passed away last Febrary after a long battle with heart disease and many other health problems.
When I saw her body in the casket it looked so empty and void of her spirit. She was gone and only the shell of her body remained.
I cried.
I cried when we sang hymns that she had loved and sang to us, I cried when I had to do a scripture reading in front of everyone, I cried when I saw the multitude of other family members crying.
I don't think I was crying merely because I was sad that she was gone, rather at the magnitude of her life. She had lived through the war in Germany, had her heart broken by a man who promised to marry her, become an unwed mother and taken her three year-old daughter to Canada to find a better life, worked diligently at many hard labouring jobs to provide for herself and her daughter, married a farmer who became a raging alcoholic, and given birth to a second daughter (my mother). Along the way, she met Jesus and gave her life to Him. She prayed fiercely for her children and grandchildren and watched them all go through their own struggles.
Oma was not perfect. She was stubborn and tactless at times. She ate too much ice cream (I come upon my addictions honestly...it must be genetic) and she was a terrible packrat.
But all of her traits, her flaws, her aches, her loves...they made her who she was. And at her funeral I cried for all of those things. For how hard she had worked and how she had been hurt and how she had persevered and how she had prayed.
I cried for her life.
And for all of our lives.
How full and complicated and laced with joys and pains they all are.

Amanda Brown at 2:18 PM

4comments

Monday, January 16, 2006

It's Got a Good Beat, and You Can Dance to It

I heard our baby's heartbeat today! WOOT!
It took the doctor about 30 seconds to find it and I was starting to get worried, but then she located it and it was a wonderful relief to hear that tiny, fast beating sound.
She said I have a deep-set pelvis which is why I am not really showing much yet, and we have to really seek out the heartbeat.
And I gained 4 pounds since my last appointment, which is not to bad considering I usually pack on close to that over the holidays when I am not supporting another human life in my womb.
Yay for dodging the obesity bullet! WOOT!
I will be going for an ultrasound in about six weeks at which time we are going to try to find out the sex of the baby (I know, I know, we are terrible for ruining the surprise but if you don't think it's a good idea to learn the sex I DON'T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT). We have made the decision and are excited about getting to know a little more about our baby before it makes its debut.

Amanda Brown at 1:39 PM

7comments

Friday, January 13, 2006

Toss, Flush, or Scrape?

One thing I am honestly not too thrilled about my upcoming waltz with motherhood is changing diapers. I know, I know, "when it's your own kid it's really not so bad" is the response I get from every mom I've met.
But I have my doubts.
Poop is really gross.
End of story.
But I realize that a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do and I'm sure I'll get used to wiping pooey bum cracks all day long.
The question then is: what kind of diapers to use?
I have always assumed that I would go the disposable route, simply because the thought of scraping chunks of poo off of a cloth diaper into the toilet and then proceeding to wash a butt-load of poo-covered diapers in the SAME WASHING MACHINE THAT WASHES MY JEANS has never really appealed to me.
But then I heard about these flushable diapers...they look expensive and like they would leak pretty easily, but that seems like an environmentally friendly option.
Who knows?
Maybe I'll be on of those wacky parents who tries to train my infant in the art of "elimination communication" and as soon as I see her (yes, "her"...Annelises, of course!) face scrunch up to push out a massive dump, I'll run her over the bathroom and hold her little 8 pound body over the toilet while she turds.
SOME PEOPLE REALLY DO THIS.
I read about it in the newspaper.
I won't knock it till I've tried it.

Amanda Brown at 3:45 PM

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A Dangerous Discovery

How is that I've lived in Summerland for three years and have only just now learned that there's a restaurant in town that sells pizza by the slice for a mere $1.25?! I am never brown-bagging it again! Pizza every day!!
It's what the baby needs.

Amanda Brown at 2:26 PM

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Dinner Plates On Broom Sticks

How does one attain balance? Is it even worth pursuing? Can one ever have the pefect amount of solitude, work, sleep, exercise, intimacy, social time, nutritous sustenance, and spirituality? I don't know.
Lately I have been feeling that the regular demands of each day are a bit too much. By the time I have worked a full day, gone for a walk after work, made dinner, cleaned up the dishes and had a shower, it's already late into the evening and I am tired. Granted, my energy levels have not been too stellar through the first trimester of my pregnancy, but still, sometimes the usual things that everyone needs to do (work, eat, sleep, house-clean) just feel like too much and I can't muster the motivation to do what must be done.
Does anyone else ever feel this way?
I also know how maddening boredom can be, though, and I think I would take busyness over boredom most days. The year we were first married I took a semester off of University to just work and make some cash. The problem was that I could not, for the life of me, find a job. I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to be an unemployed bum for a few months, and was secretly excited about the chance to do nothing for a while.
The novelty of that nothingness wore off in about a week.
Within a few days I began to feel aimless, depressed, and like a big, blobby waste of space. It sucked. I tried to create structure in my day by going to the gym in the morning, reading, cleaning and cooking. But what ended up happening was I lost all motivation and just watched a lot of dumb TV shows (I sank to the level of actually looking forward to an episode of Starting Over every day).
I felt terrible about myself.
So, I don't know.
Will I ever find the perfect balance between being stretched in too many directions and being so bored I want to tweeze my sideburns out one hair at a time?

Amanda Brown at 3:23 PM

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You Know What's Good?


Jolly Ranchers are good. I hadn't had one of those hard, tangy candies in over a decade, but was given a box of them at Christmas and have been popping them back all morning. The flavour reminds me of grade 7 when we'd march down to the Esso gas station at lunch hour and blow our allowance on candies like Jolly Ranchers, Tart 'n' Tiny's, Blue Whales, Gobstoppers, and Screaming Saucers (the ones that turned your mouth a violent shade of blue). It was a statement of your independance to have candy in your possession. It said, "I have money and I will spend it as I please. I have the power. And no, you may not have one of my candies. Get yer own." I liked the feeling.
We had a change jar in our cupboard when I was young, and I would raid it every so often, discreetly taking only the quarters and loonies, so I could buy candy.
We weren't allowed to eat candy on the school yard premises, but me and my friends were little rebels and we'd chow down at the far end of the baseball diamond almost every day. One time a particularly horrid teacher found us and confiscated our loot then dumped it all on the ground and stepped on it. What a gershwald!
Anyways, that's my thought for the day: I like me some Jolly Ranchers. And no, you can't have one.

Amanda Brown at 11:17 AM

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Filling Out

Here's my 13 week belly shot. I know it's not too exciting. Nothing much to see. Just a chubby gut. I go for my next doctor's appointment on Monday and we should be able to hear the baby's heartbeat then, so I'm looking forward to that. What I am not looking forward to, however, is stepping on the doctor's scale. Ugh. I fear that my holiday indulgences have caught up with me! I didn't really overdo it that badly, and I have been faithfully walking five times a week since the beginning of my second trimester, but I am still a little scared as to what the scale will say. I know that's silly, and that I should focus on being healthy and not worry about some stupid number on the scale, but for someone who's struggled with her weight her whole life, it's always going to be a bigger deal than it ought to be for me.
Owell, the extra girth will be well worth it when I look into the face of our baby (aka: Anneliese). I am wearing Steve down on the name issue. Every day I pester him about Anneliese (again, if you don't like the name I DON'T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT. Maybe I don't like your name. But I wouldn't be so mean as to say it to your face. So keep quiet all you naysayers!), and while he still loathes it, he seems to loathe it a little less severely.
I still have six more months to work on him, too.
Keep the faith.

Amanda Brown at 6:28 PM

9comments

Don't Go!

Nearly a year ago, Craig and Adele Meadow packed up all their belongings, hopped on a plane, flew over the ocean and arrived in the Okanagan in search of a fresh start and a new world. Craig is a skilled tradesman whose trade is in demand and there is a desperate need for workers in his field, so he was sponsored to come to Canada for that very reason. Shortly after their arrival Adele found work at a government funded employment agency and she spends her days helping people find jobs. Both Craig and Adele have been contributing to society and the Canadian economy from the moment they set foot on our soil.
I'll never forget the first time I met Adele and Craig. They had been coming to our church for a few weeks but hadn't met any people their own age. (I hadn't seen them...if I had, I would have said hello!) They found a pastor to introduce them to some young people, and they were led to us. We introduced ourselves and I saw the look of desperation in their eyes. They needed friends. And fast. So I invited them to come to Christy's birthday party that day, thinking they would probably decline since they didn't know any of the other people who would be there. But they came, all by themselves. I was so impressed.
That afternoon we visited and I remember asking Adele what she liked to do.
"I like to read," she replied in her classy English accent.
"Oh, what sort of books do you like?" I asked, in my lame Canadian accent.
"TRASHY ones!" she answered.
And it was in that moment that I knew we would get along. She is a strong, vital and authentic woman and I have loved getting to know her.
A few weeks ago the Meadows received the news that their visa had been denied. There are a lot of stupid reasons they were given, and I think all of the excuses are LAME.
Craig and Adele deserve to stay!
I don't want them to go.
I called Stockwell Day's office and talked to one of his reps who gave me a load of bung saying that a member of parliament has no role to play once the immigration process has started.
In other words, I got written off.
If you're reading this, Stockwell, know that I am not going to vote for you on January 23 unless you let the Meadows stay.
Who's with me?

Amanda Brown at 3:33 PM

2comments

Scarfed

I like long scarves. I have a fuzzy white one that I wear all winter long, and it cascades down my back and my front like a gentle waterfall. Not really, but it's long and it hangs. So stylish. I feel good in my long white scarf. But lately when I am walking down the street, the front half of my scarf begins to creep between my legs, then my thighs, then right up into my crotch. It's a gradual progression, and I don't even notice it until I feel this bulky sensation in my loins and I realize that my scarf is wedged in my crotch and everyone who sees me must think I am a weirdo.
Just thought I'd let you know.

Amanda Brown at 12:55 PM

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Monday, January 09, 2006

Days

Life has resumed a somewhat normal pace. Sleep, work, walk, eat, relax, and repeat. My days are full, but there isn't a frantic feel to them, and I am just taking them hour by hour. Steve and Rolo have been napping together on the couch and I think it's the cutest thing ever. Rolo has become more cuddly lately and I can't help but wonder if he senses that he's only got six more months to be our main outlet of affection. The other night I asked Steve, "What if our baby is deathly allergic to dog hair and we have to give Rolo away? And he'll go to live on a nice farm somewhere and we'll visit him, but after a few months he won't remember us anymore." My eyes started to well up (blame it on the hormones, OK?) and Steve assured me that we would give our child up for adoption before we'd send Rolo away. He was, of course, kidding, but it amazes me how attached I have become to our little mutt. And how much more attached I will be to our child. It's bizarre how a little pup can make my heart swell with joy; I just can't imagine how overwhelming the love for a tiny human being born of your own flesh will be.
Jen and Jordan have successfully moved into their lovely new home and the place is looking great! They had us over for a delicious lunch on Sunday and it was nice to visit. I have missed having Abby running around, and when I saw her on Sunday she gave me a big hug and nuzzled her little face into my arms and I just melted. I got so used to coming home to see Jen and Abby, and having dinner with Jordan and Steve and everyone all together. We really could not have asked for better houseguests. Thanks for being so wonderful. And for taking these freaky pictures of yourselves that I shall now post on the world wide web:


Life is good.

Amanda Brown at 7:16 PM

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Friday, January 06, 2006

Gimme Gimme Never Gets

Tomorrow Steve and I are going to go to Kelowna to pick up a few things and just poke around. We'll go out for lunch, and it's going to be so nice to just spend some time along with my dear Stevie. We both happen to have alterior motives, however. Steve is trying to convince me that we need a set of drums to complete his home recording studio. No doubt I will be pulled in and out of countless music stores tomorrow, looking at variations of these:
Then there is my devlish desire: I want new couches! Steve has agreed to look at some furniture stores, to see if there are any deals to be found and just discover what styles we like, etc. You see, our couches are deteriorating. They are faded and torn and floral. They have served us well, but I think that it's time to spring for some timeless pieces that will serve our purposes better, and my thinking is that we better hurry up and buy them before our baby comes along because then I'll be too busy blowing our savings at Baby Gap to even think about getting furniture. I am not entirely sure what I want. I like sectionals, I like leather, I like leather sectionals. But they are so expensive. Maybe I'll settle for something upholstered and then we can also get chaise. I have always pictured myself draped over a chaise, sipping a cocktail (or diet coke). It would be so classy.

I am pretty sure we shall both return home tomorrow emtpy-handed and bitter about how our mean spouse won't let us get the things we want. But it will be fun to be disappointed together.

Amanda Brown at 1:35 PM

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Steamed

I had been chilly all day yesterday, so when we got home from our lovely dinner with Jen and Jordan, I decided to hop in the shower and get warmed up. I had been in for about 10 minutes and was on to the leg-shaving portion of my shower (it had been about a month since I last included this portion in my showers and Steve had been complaining about my cactus stumps) in which I stand at the far end of the tub to prop my leg up on the ledge of the tub, away from the stream of the showerhead. It was then that I heard Steve come into the bathroom and before I knew it, he had hucked a big cup of ice-cold water over the shower curtain. It missed me, because he didn't know I was at the other end of the tub.
I was still really mad, though. He knows how much I love my hot showers. But he thinks that I make my showers too hot and that it's not good to deep fry myself with the scalding water.
I hollered, "WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?!"
He laughed and said that he was just trying to make sure my shower wasn't too hot. "Did I get you good?" he asked.
Then I opened my big fat mouth and said, "Ha! You didn't even reach me! I was at the other end of the tub, sucka!"
He left the bathroom and I resumed my leg shaving.
Seconds later I hear quiet footsteps on the tile and before I know it I am soaked with freezing water. Steve had refilled his cup and hurled the water over right onto my head.
I was so shocked by the chill of the water, and by the gall he had to try to soak me a second time that I lost it and bellowed a really mean name at him then proceeded to chuck my razor over the shower curtain as hard as I could. I was like a caged animal and I had to retaliate. I was so MAD.
I think it's the pregnancy hormones that made me overreact, but Steve slinked away and said, "I thought it would be funny. Then a razor whizzed past my head like a ninja star and I feared for my life."
I stayed in the HOT shower for a few more minutes, stewing about how he shouldn't have thrown the cold water on me. But I felt bad about the mean name I called him, and that I almost decapitated him with my razor.
I got out and said sorry, and so did he.
Good times.

Amanda Brown at 9:38 AM

4comments

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Who Wears Fat Pants? Manda Wears Fat Pants.

It's official. My pre-pregnancy pants are too tight. But I don't have a cute little bump of a baby yet...just lots of rolls digging into the waistband of my pants. It feels so good.
Actually I feel like a tub of lard.
My middle name is Crisco.
A while back I bought some really cheap maternity pants and today is the first day that I actually resorted to wearing them out of necessity, and not novelty. I need the elastic panel under my expanding belly, to support and tuck in my gut. I have heard that it's common for this stage of pregnancy to be somewhat awkward as I'm in the "in-between" phase. Not as thin as I was before I got knocked up, but not sporting a cute tum-tum yet. I just look THICK.

Amanda Brown at 3:50 PM

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In His Element

I got an email last night from my father and he had attached a bunch of old documents he found on the computer. Our family grew up attending Rosewood Park Alliance Church and we were quite happy there for many years. It was not a perfect church, as none ever are, and for a while my dad wrote an article for the church's monthly newsletter. He secretly wrote as a ficticious advice columnist named Ms. Rose Wood (clever, n'est-ce pas?). No one actually wrote into Ms. Wood; dad made up the questions and the answers. No one knew who Ms. Wood was, however. It remained a secret and quite a few feathers were ruffled as Ms. Wood poked fun at some of the stereotypical problems that prevailed in church life.
Below is one of Ms. Rose Wood's monthly entries:

"Dear Rose:

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would ever write to an advice columnist, but I was truly inspired by your wisdom last month, Rose. Here is my problem. Two weeks ago, I was fellowshiping with some of my friends in the hallway after the morning service. Just as we were deciding where we would all go for brunch, this stranger walked up and tried to talk to me. Now, it wasn’t too bad this time, because she only wanted to know where the bathroom was for her young son. But the incident left me shaken as I realized that, really, there is little to prevent anybody from just walking up and trying to become a part of our conversation. Rose, how can we protect the sanctity of our foyer fellowship?

-- Insider

Dear Insider:
How traumatic that must have been for you! I cannot understand some people’s thinking. I mean, we come to church to see our friends, right? If we wanted to meet strangers, we would go the mall on Sunday mornings. To protect your friends and yourself from insularity interruptus, it is necessary to observe nature, specifically the instinctive protective behaviours of musk oxen, buffalo, and football players. Whenever musk oxen or buffalo are threatened, they form a tight protective circle of defense to protect their young. Football players have adapted this natural defense one step further into the huddle, whereby instead of facing the intruder, they turn their backs to the offender. Here, then, are the key steps:

1. Mark your turf (carpet) -- occupy the same position in the hallway every week.
2. Stay consistent -- the same people every week.
3. Form a tight protective circle with your backs to the world.
4. Take care not to establish eye contact with any outside the circle.
5. Speak loudly, and appoint the loudest to announce the time and place for brunch -- this is an especially effective tactic.

With consistent application of these guidelines, you may well never have to speak with anyone outside your circle again."
My dad, the king of subtle sarcasm, went on to write quite a few entries as Ms. Wood. None of the members of the congregation knew who was writing these columns. People grew to develop a disdain for this Dear Rose character who seemed to make fun of them, and eventually my dad was asked to stop writing. Rose died a quiet death, and wrote one final entry. Unfortunately, this entry did not "clear military censors and was not to be published" but you are lucky enough to read it here:
"Dear Rose:
I am confused. I am twelve years old and last night I heard my parents having a big discussion. Dad said that Rose is nothing but a sarcastic windbag who ought to be tarred and feathered. He said that Rose is not even a real person -- just someone who makes up the questions and answers. He said that telling imaginary stories about imaginary people is lying, and lying should not be allowed in a church paper. Mom, on the other hand, said that Rose is a sophisticated satirist who uses an innovative literary device to gently point out some of the foibles of everyday church life. I’m not sure what that means, but then she told Dad to lighten up and get a life.
Like I said, Rose, I am still confused. Are your letters made up, and is there really a Rose?

- Virginia

Dear Virginia:
You think you’re confused. Ask Clark Kent if life is easy when you have an alter ego. In the last few weeks, Rose has sown the wind and reaped the whirlwind. Your father has not been the only one offering to donate tar and feathers.
Consider what God did when David, his friend, the king of Israel, and a man after God’s own heart, committed a grievous sin against his own friend and lieutenant, Uriah the Hittite. God sent the prophet Nathan to tell David a parable about an imaginary man and his lamb (2 Kings 11-12). The result? David’s confession, repentance, and restoration. Why such a tactic? Probably because David was prepared to ignore or silence a direct rebuke, a la Jeremiah or John the Baptist. The parable allowed David to see his sin from a different prespective. Of course, not everyone reacts so well to being the subject of a parable (Mark 12:1-12).
We have all heard a thousand sermons. And we erect psychological defense mechanisms to filter out what we don’t want to hear. Perhaps, though, a barb from the satirist’s arrow can pierce our defenses and lead us, on occasion, to thoughtfully examine ourselves in a slightly different light.
But, to answer your original question, yes, Virginia, there most definitely is a Rose."
My dad is a man of God. I love that he's always had the guts to stand up for what he believes in.

Amanda Brown at 9:46 AM

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Juicy

I have been drinking diet beverages since I was a young preteen, in an attempt to get skinny. It worked for a few years, but then the bum-chub came back and all I was left with was an aspartame addiction. I had basically given up real fruit juices and high sugar drinks, since my reasoning tells me it's better to spend 200 calories on a chocolate bar rather than a glass of OJ.
Since I've been pregnant I have been trying to cut out aspartame (I've caved a few times and slugged back an ice-cold diet coke) just to be safe, and have been trying to drink more water. Water is fine. But sometimes I need flavah! So I've been drinking real fruit juices. And they are YUMMY.
My favourite is pure Welch's grape juice. So tangy and zippy and high in vitamin C. I also like the Strawberry Banana fruit + veggie drinks.
I LIKE JUICE.
Now that I've sipped the delicious real fruity goodness of unartificially sweetened drinks, I don't know if I'll be able to go back to the world of aspartame and splenda.
Actually, that is a lie.
I know I'll go back.
And what a delightful return it shall be.

Amanda Brown at 3:21 PM

3comments

Shake That Body For Me

OK, so I am out of the first trimester and my energy levels are predicted to increase a little.
It hasn't happened yet.
I am still a sleepy, haggard mess who can't be bothered to do her hair or tweeze her bushy eyebrows or make a dinner more complicated than mac and cheese.
And I'm also told that my zit clusters should be clearing up soon.
Again, that hasn't happened yet either.
My doctor warned, some people aren't so lucky and are really tired and zitty for their entire pregnancy. I think she was trying to say, "You are going to be one of those people. Now please leave the office because I am afraid that your volcano zits are going to erupt all over me. And the dark circles under your eyes are going to give me nighmares tonight. Please leave. Seriously. Go."
I am so thankful that I haven't had any major nausea, though! That's a huge blessing (as is the entire experience of pregnancy...I may gripe about my shiny zits but if they are what it takes to grow a happy, healthy baby, bring 'em on!).
I didn't really exercise at all during the first trimester. I was really bagged and the fall was just such an insanely busy time with the Christmas musical that I gave myself permission to be a lazy-bum. But now I am feeling the need to get moving again. I want to be healthy and have a good pregnancy, not gain six hundred pounds and retain so much fluid that I burst. I have been eating pretty sensibly (not perfectly...c'mon it was was Christmas for goodness' sake) and I want to continue that.
About a month ago Angella and I decided to switch exercise machines (my elliptical trainer for her treadmill) since that would better suit our work out needs. I badgered Steve for weeks, "You've got to hurry up and get the treadmill AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. I want to use it NOW!"
So, he went and picked the beast up.
That was a month ago.
And in that month I have used the treadmill once.
Classic.
But now that the new year is upon us I have a new resolve to get moving. I walked on the treadmill yesterday and then lifted some free weights for while. The sad thing is that I am stiff today.
So very pathetic.
It feels good though, and I am motivated to keep on walking. For once the goal isn't to lose weight, rather to have a healthy pregnancy and a happy baby. I know there will be days when I don't exercise, but I am hoping they become fewer and farther between than they were this past season.

Amanda Brown at 2:28 PM

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Monday, January 02, 2006

Before You Say No

Steve and I will be the first to admit that we have different ideas of what "fun" is. My idea of fun involves such things as: relaxing on a beach, getting ice cream, going shopping, sipping a frapuccino, going for a summer stroll, roller-blading along the boardwalk, scrapbooking, blogging, visiting with friends over a cup of hot chocolate...you get the picture. I am a pretty mellow person (some might dare to say lazy) and have always been more of a "be-er" as opposed to a "do-er". Steve, on the other hand, does not like sitting still and can be found dirtbiking, snowmobiling, skiing, paintballing, working on his truck, wailing on his guitar, or mountain biking when presented with a sliver of free time.
We have had to learn the art of compromise, since we both value time spent with one another. Meaning, poor Stevie has had to sit through some pretty artsy-fartsy plays and I have had to try some really scary hill-climbs on a dirtbike. Not that we have been perfect in accomodating each other...Steve has fallen alseep during some plays, and whined about the hard chairs in the theatre. And I have cried when he's made me try a really difficult trail and I fell off the dirt bike and curled up in the fetal position and wept until he came back and found me and I refused to go on and said I'd rather die in the wilderness than get back on that blasted bike. You think I'm kidding. But I'm not.
We've had some neat memories.
But looking back on all of our pictures together makes me smile. We laugh about my mishaps on the snowmobile and the ski hill and about his distaste of hour-long monologues in plays. I am thankful that he's so willing to compromise, and it's something that I need to continue to work on.
Yesterday we went up to a friend's cabin in the woods on a lake and brought the snowmobiles. Truth be told, I did not feel like going. Snowmobiling is scary to me: the machines weigh eight tonnes and you have to lean so far off of them when you're on a hill that only your pinky toe is touching the beast or else it will overturn and crush you. It's freaky.
And now that I am pregnant I don't want to take an unnecessary risks. I explained this to Steve, hoping he would say I could just stay home. But he really wanted me to come.
Which is nice.
So I went.
For most of the day I stayed in the cabin, cuddling with the owner's little weiner dog named Oscar. I did go out for a few snowmobile rides with Steve, and it was fun. We didn't do any scary mountain climbs or trails, rather just stuck mainly to the frozen lake. He went 120 km, though, which was a bit much for me. Under normal circumstances I wouldn't have minded the speed, but the fact that there's a baby in my belly makes me paranoid about hitting a bump and going flying, or falling through a crack in the lake and drowning in the frigid depths.
It was a nice day. And I am thankful for a hubby who wants me around, even though I am a big baby who sucks at all the things he loves to do.

Amanda Brown at 9:30 AM

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