Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Against All Odds

Since my doctor's appointment last Monday I have been motivated to continue to eat healthily and gain this baby weight at an even and moderate pace. I have been going for three long walks a week and have been eating lots of fruits and vegetables (and only the occasional donut). Just out of curiousity, I stepped on our bathroom scale this morning, thinking that my weight probably hadn't gone up much in the past week, thanks to all my healthy efforts.
But my scale had a different idea.
I have gained FOUR POUNDS in one week.
What the hey-diddy-diddy did I do to deserve that? I've been told that perhaps my baby is experiencing a growth spurt. Hmm, is that so? Then I must be carrying my baby in my THIGHS because that's where the extra girth seems to lie! I don't know.
I don't think it was wise for me to weigh myself, because now I feel like a beluga, whereas I was actually feeling good prior to reading that dreaded number this morning.
I have always been able to gain weight so easily. Extra calories stick to me like a fat kid on a twinkie.
An ironic similie, I know.
BECAUSE I AM THE FAT KID ON THE TWINKIE.

Amanda Brown at 1:36 PM

11comments

Island Girl

The year after graduation I did a year of Bible school at Capernwray Harbour on Thetis Island, BC. It was a wonderful year filled with great friends and terrible food and island dementia. Each year the students hosted a youth retreat and the year I was there the theme was "Survivor". I was in one of the dramas and played the part of a crazy, whacked-out bush woman. An Amazon, if you will. For the final skit I was to charge the stage and throw the Master of Ceremonies (who happened to be Heather) over my shoulder and abduct her. All was going fine, until I actually picked Heather up and realized the lack of my own strength. I COULD NOT MOVE. I tried to walk off stage, but my feet were glued to the ground from the weight of my friend. I completely fell out of character and just started laughing uncontrollably, as did everyone in the audience. This photo captures that moment. It made me smile. And sadly, I am not wearing a wig.

Amanda Brown at 9:51 AM

3comments

Monday, February 27, 2006

As Requested

Sheesh, you bloggers are a demanding bunch! As per your requests, here is a photo of Bretta and Cody Turner on their wedding day in Swift Current, Saskatchewan. They are one of those couples that is almost too hot for their own good. Bretta is so stylish and hip and skinny and cool, and Cody is not too shabby himself. Their wedding was lovely. This picture won't show it, but Cody's shirt was a pale green and his pants a shade of chocolate brown. How very, very mod. And now that you've had a glimpse at one of my most slim and trim and ravishing friends, I bring you this: my big momma's pregnant belly! I like the contrast, don't you? Here I am this morning, at 20.5 weeks. And Jen, I really wasn't sucking in this time!!

Amanda Brown at 4:54 PM

9comments

The Daily Pleading

This is an excerpt from an email I sent Steve this morning:


"Hey there, Stevie! How are you doing today, toiling away at the mounds of paperwork? Hope you're doing OK and that you get lots done.
I felt the baby move today again! And I think the baby is very smart...she knows morse code! I felt her moving and it seemed to be in a rather interesting rhythm, and I sat and listened and decoded the morse code. And here is what she said:

"Mama! Mama! Can you please tell Dada something very important? I would like him to call me Anneliese. The name is so beautiful and it suits me so well and I know that Mama loves it so much and I love it too! Dada, can you find it in your heart to give me the name I deserve? I will love you forever. Love, Anneliese."

Just thought you'd like to know!

Love you, Stevie! See you soon.

The wifey."
To which he replied:
"Hi Amanda,

I think you should re-check your morse code dictionary. Two short kicks and one long one mean hate not like. If you replace this one word then our daughter is saying that she would hate it if I called her Annaleese. I can't even spell the word for crying out loud!!

We had better go over morse code together so that you know what she is actually saying.

Love your husband,

Steve"

Amanda Brown at 3:45 PM

5comments

She Likes to Move it, Move It! She Likes To...MOVE IT!

So, I am about 96% certain that I felt the baby move for the first time last night. For the past few weeks I have been feeling little prods or tugs in the good ol' pelvic area, but nothing that was a distinct movement of the baby.
I was starting to get freaked out, because they say that for your first pregnancy it's common to feel movement sometime around 18-20 weeks. I was 20 weeks on Saturday and that's when I really started to worry, "I am NOT normal. My baby is a lifeless blob who doesn't like to move. Is she even still alive in there? I don't know! Waaaaaaa."
But then last night I was sitting on the couch at Christy's watching Grey's Anatomy (poor, poor, George! But wasn't Burke so nice to let him stay at his house? I love Burke!) and I felt this kind of bubbly, fluttery sensation in my lower abdomen, like nothing I had ever felt before. It happened once more that night, and once today.
I am 4% uncertain...you know how they say that it's supposed to feel like gas? Maybe it really is just gas. I don't know. The movements should get stronger in the coming weeks, so we'll see what that feels like.
I'll be posting some recent belly shots soon! Steve took one this morning and it's looking large, my friends! Large indeed. Except you know how when you've got some tummy rolls and you sit down and when you get up there's a crease in your gut? I still have that. Hopefully the baby will smooth that out soon and give me a perfectly round tum-tum.
Big Gulps, hey? Well...see you later.

Amanda Brown at 3:23 PM

3comments

Got My Fix

Today I got to hold a three month-old baby girl all morning. One of the ladies who volunteers at the church counting the weekly offering is also a nanny and had to bring her little charge with her. She asked if I could watch her for a while so she could get the money counting done without distraction and I gladly obliged. The baby's name was Mackenzie and she had these huge blue eyes and a big gummy smile and she was wearing a soft, pink onesie. I got to hold her and rock her and play with her for an hour. Needless to say, not much work got done on my end, but it was so nice to just share my morning with such a well-behaved little darling. She didn't cry once! Seeing a perfect, healthy little girl in my arms made me yearn for the day when I'll meet my own.
Sadly, part of the joy that comes with the anticipation of meeting our baby is somewhat overshadowed with the fear that lurks in the back of mind that something is terribly wrong with her. I have been feeling much more peaceful about whatever comes, but there's still this lingering notion that our baby will be stillborn or die shortly after birth or have severe problems. I haven't been obssessing and worrying about it, and I feel like I've let it go as best I can, but part of me is still scared.
And I feel a little cheated that I can't be as thrilled about this pregnancy as I was before we found out about the cysts.
Am I still glad we got the ultrasound done?
Yes.
It was so amazing to see our little girl moving around in the womb; I feel as though I am more connected to her now that I have laid eyes on her. But finding out there is a chance, even though it's a remotely miniscule one, that our baby's health could be compromised, is really scary.
Anyways, no point dwelling on it.
I had a really nice weekend with Steve. We watched eight episodes of Lost in two days and they were all great. I begged Steve to let me order a pizza from Pizza Hut on Friday night and he thought it wise to not deny the pregnant lady her heart's desire. It was delish!
Ta-ta for now.

Amanda Brown at 11:11 AM

5comments

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Random Summer Memories

Today the sky is grey and looks as though it's fighting a hangover, leaving me pining for the sunshine and days of green grass and cloudless blue skies. Just to brighten things up, here are some pictures from last summer. We drove to Saskatchewan for my friend Bretta's wedding and it was like a Capernwray reunion since so many of my favourite ladies from the island made the trek to the prairies. It had threatened to rain all day, but right before Bretta walked down the aisle the clouds parted and a ray of sunshine came down on the ceremony at her grandfather's farm. It was beautiful.Here's me and Stevie. He is swell, don't you think?
I hope you all have wonderful Saturdays!

Amanda Brown at 11:40 AM

8comments

Friday, February 24, 2006

Pomme de Terre

Last night I was the laziest buffoon ever. Steve had left for a band practice and I had noble intentions of cleaning up cleaning the kitchen, folding laundry, and dusting (I know, I know, how does one handle that much excitement?).
Like a good little girl I put away the dinner dishes and wiped the counters clean. Then I pulled out the two hampers full of clean laundry, that have been waiting ever so patiently to be folded, into the living room. A good idea, right? I'll watch Entertainment Tonight while folding the laundry.
Or, I'll watch Entertainment tonight period.
No laundry folding was done. And Entertainment Tonight stretched into Entertainment Tonight Canada which transitioned to Survivor. All of which I watched while laying on the couch like a rotten potato that hasn't moved for weeks and is beginning to grow those disgusting spiney sprouts.
It wasn't that I was even that interested in the TV shows...thanks to the Olympics being on our only other station I was limited to pretty meager pickings.
I just needed to do nothing for a night. And nothing I did!
After a while I felt ambitious and did the first few pages of my pregnancy scrapbook.
But still.
Not too much to show for an entire free evening.
Steve got home and asked, "So what did you do tonight?"
And I just looked at him, with my hair in a raggedy pony tail, my formerly baggy sweat pants clinging a little too tightly to my thighs, the untouched piles of laundry surrounding me, and cookie crumbs all over my shirt.
And he knew I had done nothing.
And that I had loved it.

Amanda Brown at 3:09 PM

6comments

A Rose By Any Other Name

I have often heard friends say that it is difficult to pick out a baby's name before the child is born, because what if the newborn doesn't look like the name you've chosen? Although I have never birthed a babe, I have seen lots of pictures of what newborns look like.
And it's not pretty.
They have cone heads from being rammed through the birth canal, they are all pruney and covered in cheesy gross stuff, and they are beet red. How would any name be fitting for a child at that stage? They haven't really exuded any aspect of their personality, and they look kind of freaky. If you went with a name that suited a newborn, most babies would be named Pointy-Skull or Indigo-Face or Cheese-Monkey.
Maybe I'll change my mind once our baby is born, and I'll look down at my little cone-headed wonder and say, "You don't look like a Natalia. You look like a Bertha. Bertha Brown."

Amanda Brown at 10:02 AM

9comments

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I Call Dibs

Steve and I were talking more last night about names and at the top of our list (when I am forced to exclude my original favorite) is Natalia Faith.
With the onslaught of pregnant ladies, I just want to be the first to lay claim to the name.
We might change our minds in the next 4 months, but for now that tops our list.
Thanks for all your input. My dad emailed me yesterday:
"On a scale of 1 - 10, Grandpa's name rating:
Clara --- -1
Natalia -- 6
Nadia -- 9
Claire -- 9.1
Love,Dad"
I emailed him back and asked him where Anneliese sat on his scale and he said it was in the nine range as well.
I really think we ought to honour my father and give our daughter a name that he likes so that a part of him can live on in her.
Let's see if Steve buys that!

Amanda Brown at 1:15 PM

17comments

Destined for Dollydom

OK, so of the pregnancy weight I've gained thus far, I am fairly certain that a fair chunk of it has been deposited into my boobs. By the end of the first trimester I had gone up two cup sizes and was in the uncharted C-cup territory. I thought that maybe I would grow a teensy bit more during the remainder of the gestation. Well, as I near month five, I am officially filling out a D-cup.
I KNOW.
Christy, in all of her full-busted glory, lent me some of her old bras yesterday. I took them home, thinking they looked pretty huge and that I wouldn't fill them out until I was nursing.
Just for fun I tried one on.
And it fit.
Heavens to Betsy.
I am full of shock and awe.

Amanda Brown at 8:56 AM

9comments

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Beef: The Cure All

It's amazing what a hot lunch and some good conversation with a friend can do for the soul. I showed up at Christy's for my break today with two beef dip au jus sandwiches in hand and together we partook of the beefy goodness. It was nice to just talk about what's going on in our lives...the conflicts, the joys, the fears, the annoyances, and the love.
Thanks for eating beef with me today, Christy.
The iron has lifted my spirits.
I really am feeling better and better as the day goes on.
Usually this blog of mine is carefree and full of me trying to hard to be funny, but thanks for continuing to read despite the somewhat somber tone of the past few days. Again, the support has been incredible and I feel all warm and gooshy inside from all the love vibes coming my way.
Anneliese says thanks, too!
On that note, Steve and I were paging through some name books last night and here are some of his favourite girls names:
Natalia
Clara
Hannah
Nadia
None of these grab me as much as Anneliese, but his choices aren't too bad. Go Stevie!
Any thoughts, oh opinionated masses?

Amanda Brown at 1:26 PM

12comments

Working On It

I am feeling better today, though still a little fragile.
I got an email from my mom this morning that made me break down and sob all over my desk. I am just overwhelmed by the love and support that surround me.
I feel as though I am in transition...moving from fear and uncertainty and picturing the worst to trusting God's plans for our baby. In my head I know that worrying accomplishes nothing, and is in fact detrimental to both my physical and emotional health. But it's so hard to find that worry switch in my mind and simply turn it off. I am working on it, though.
And I hereby vow to conduct NO MORE INTERNET RESEARCH on freaky things that make me cry for days.
I want to enjoy each moment of this pregnancy.

Amanda Brown at 9:50 AM

7comments

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Bad Web

I knew I shouldn't have done it.
I was nearing the end of my work day and was thinking about the choroid plexus cysts and about how they can be markers for chromosomal abnormalities like Down's Syndrome or Trisomy 18. I knew about Down's, but was curious about Trisomy 18, so I did an internet search on it.
Then my heart broke and I have been crying all afternoon. I read journals of parents whose children were born with the abnormality and most of them are either stillborn or only survive for a few hours or days.
My mind is heavy with pictures of these fragile infants and hearing stories about how this actually happens has got me frightened all over again.
I know I need to just let go, but it is so hard.
Why is that I feel entitled to a perfect and healthy child?
I see all of my friends with their shiny, happy babies and I guess I feel like I deserve it too. Even though no one really is worthy of such a gift. That's what's so miraculous about babies.
Seeing images of the Trisomy 18 babies who die shortly after birth makes me wonder why God would even bother subjecting both the parents and child to such anguish. What's the point? Then I find myself pondering all of the suffering in the world...we are surrounded by broken people with tragic tales to tell.
I think I am hyper-sensitive right now.
Regardless, the world looks quite bleak tonight.

Amanda Brown at 6:45 PM

9comments

Monday, February 20, 2006

Better Early Than Tardy

Dear friends of ours who now live in the Republic of Georgia graciously gave us their gently used nursery set, including a dresser, crib and change table, all made of beautifully rich, dark cherry wood. Our baby is going to be surrounded by class! This weekend I pitted my office and started to organize all of my scrapbooking supplies, old journals, photo albums, and costumes to make way for the babe. I have yet to decide where to store all of my junk, but it feels so good to have the nursery on the way to being ready. I even put the bedding in the crib! (What a nerd, hey?) It was fun. I washed it all with a gentle detergent that smelled like a freshly wiped baby's bum and when I took it out of the dryer I hugged it and inhaled the delicious scent. (Yes, definitely a nerd.) Here is the dresser: And here is the change table. Soon enough it will be loaded up with boxes of diapers and wipes, but for now it's bare. The ugly white shelf behind it has since been banished to the den downstairs. Cherry wood and white wood are not friends and should not be in a room together!
And here is the crib. So pretty. I love how the sage green bedding looks against the dark wood. Love it, love it, love it! The bottom sheet I bought from Wal-Mart doesn't seem to fully cover the mattress, so that's kind of lame, but I've got about four more months to fix that problem and get a new sheet or two.
And here is the gliding rocker and ottoman. It is so comfortable! I am sure that many a night will be spent, gliding back and forth with our baby in my arms. It's going to be just swell, I think.
The room still needs to be painted, so it still looks kind of drab, but I thought this would be a good glimpse at the "before". Soon it will be dazzling, but for now I'm just excited to have all the furniture together in one room.
Hurrah!

Amanda Brown at 5:42 PM

11comments

An Open Hand

I had a doctors appointment this morning and all is looking fine. The baby's heartbeat is a strong 157 beats per minute and I am measuring right on target for the size of my uterus, so it doesn't look like my girl will be a ten-pounder (thank the heavens). Thanks to those few days (ahem..weeks) of ravenous hunger I managed to pack on a whopping 8 pounds in 5 weeks, but the doc said that I am still in good standing and my total gain is still in the healthy range so I just need to keep on keeping on.
Life's a garden.
Dig it.
She talked to me about the choroid plexus cysts and was very optimistic that I needn't be worried. She has seen many cases of them and the cysts generally disappear around 22 weeks, or even after birth and she sees no reason for concern. She suggested that I go for a follow up ultrasound to check things out in about a month, and I am hoping the cysts will be gone and our baby girl will be fine (and that they don't find a mysterious penis between the legs that they happened to miss on the first ultrasound!). Part of me is a little wary to get completely excited about the thought of having a girl, because it is possible that the weenie was just hiding. It's happened before. I don't want to connect with the baby and think of it as a girl and have a closet full of pink sweater vests waiting for her, only to push out a little boy. It would feel so weird. Of course I will still be thankful for whatever we are given. It's just weird to know what we're having but still have a little bit of doubt.
This whole experience with finding the cysts has brought me to my knees and reminded me that I have absolutely no control over the life inside of me. During the first trimester I was so scared of miscarrying, and for those first three months I was praying continually for the health of our baby. But once I made it past the three months mark I think I got a little cocky. I figured that I could take it from there, and would be fine on my own. Let nature take its course, and what not. But I have once again been reminded that I am not the one knitting this baby together. There is a Master Designer and I am nothing without Him. I have been pleading with him for a healthy child, and have realized my utter dependence on Him not only for the life of our baby, but for every breath that fills my lungs as well. How is it that it's so easy to forget our helplessness?
Pregnancy is a nine month lesson in trust and vulnerability.
And from what I can imagine, motherhood is a life-long lesson in both.
And so it begins...

Amanda Brown at 3:43 PM

5comments

What??

All I have to say is....Meredith and GEORGE?!

Amanda Brown at 9:17 AM

8comments

I Like You Guys

I just want to say thanks to everyone for the outpouring of well wishes and prayers for our baby girl. I really appreciate all of this internet lovin'.

Amanda Brown at 9:04 AM

1comments

Sunday, February 19, 2006

One Thing

The results of our ultrasound were so exciting, but the tech did tell us of one small thing that she found. On our baby's heart ventricles there are some tiny (less than two millimetres) cysts called choroid plexus cysts. She said they are not uncommon and they tend to disappear on their own and that we shouldn't be concerned. I appreciated her telling us the truth, and didn't think too much of it at the time. But then I came home and made the mistake of surfing the internet looking at sites about choroid plexus cysts and how they can be an indication of chromosomal abnormalities. You see, there are several markers that may surface during an ultrasound, things that the tech flags as abnormal. They include: choroid plexus cysts, an echogenic bowel, short femurs, and clenched fists. If a baby has more than one of these markers, they take that as an indication of a potential chromosomal problem like Down's Syndrome or Trismony 18.
Egads!
I went to bed and tried to put all of my internet research out of mind, but I awoke at three a.m. plagued with fears and doubts and the feeling that our dream for a healthy child was dashed. I began to fret that the ultrasound tech had perhaps found more than just the cysts; what if the baby's femurs were short or the fists were clenched and she didn't want to be the one to break the terrible news to us.
I heard Steve tossing and turning and then whispered to him, "Are you awake?"
He was. I said, "I'm worried about the baby."
Then I cried. And he held me.
When I woke up this morning I called the home of our ultrasound technician (she is a wonderful lady who goes to our church). Yes, I was playing the part of a paranoid first time mom. I asked her if she had found any of the other markers, other than the cysts, and she said no. There was nothing to be worried about. She's had friends whose babies had the same thing and were fine. Her assurance was that our baby was healthy and there were no other problems that she could see.
I feel much better.

Amanda Brown at 8:51 AM

13comments

Saturday, February 18, 2006

We Shan't Be Naming the Baby Oscar Mayer

No siree, there was no wiener in sight at the ultrasound today! The technician told us that she is almost positive that we're having a girl, as she got an up close and personal look at our baby's privates!! We are so thrilled. Everything looks great and our little girl was moving and shaking around in the womb like crazy. It was a relief to see that there was so much movement, and that things are formed so perfectly already. It blew me away to see her tiny spine, fingers, heart, kidneys, feet, and her mouth opening and closing. A miracle on all fronts.
We have a tonne of photos of our baby, but I don't have time to scan them right now. Stay tuned for blurry shots of body parts that are difficult to recognize.
I suppose that now the name war truly begins. I spent the entire ride home defending the name Anneliese and how if Steve really loved me he would let me give our baby that beloved name. He seems to think that we should choose a name that we're both happy with. Oh, Steve, and his fandangled ideas!
Time shall tell...

Amanda Brown at 4:29 PM

21comments

Friday, February 17, 2006

I Only Had Two!

Last Jen came over and I suggested that we bake something sweet, like ginger cookies. So, we got out all the ingredients and made up a batch of the thick, brown dough (not before Jen managed to dump molasses all over my kitchen counter). We used a recipe from our rival cooking blog and was told that the dough would yield about 3 dozen cookies.
"I want to make big cookies, OK, Jen?"
"Sounds good to me!"
Famous last words.
The entire batch of dough made a mere TWELVE COOKIES.
Each cookie was soft, with a crackled top, and was as big as my head.
That seems to be the way I like my baked goods: head-sized.
Jen and I each ate two cookies.
Meaning, we both devoured one-sixth of the batch.
It was a good night.
We watched an episode of Grey's Anatomy and scrapbooked. Actually, Jen brought over all of her scrapbooking supplies but forgot her scrapbook. Funny girl. Molasses spilling, scrapbook forgetting Jen.
She's great!

Amanda Brown at 1:23 PM

5comments

Better

I am feeling better today. I was able to get up out of bed and not feel the need to curl up and die, so I took that as a positive. It's good to be back at work, and being busy keeps my mind off of the incessant sneezing and nose-dripping. Everyone wins.
Our computer was being wonky yesterday and refused to let me get onto the internet, so I was completely disconnected from all things blog-related for 24 hours.
And it felt bad.
Today I have been scurrying around from page to page trying to catch up on everyone's adventures from Thursday and I don't have time to comment on everybody's posts. I think I'll survive, but I just wanted to let you all know that I missed you.
I have updated my links, as you will see on the right. The list of people I know who are blogging is growing every day. As is the list of people I don't know, but feel like I do, in a weird internety sort of way. There are just way too many awesome blogs out there.
Bon weekend, tout le monde!

Amanda Brown at 11:28 AM

3comments

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Pull

I am sick today.
For the past week I have been waking up with a raw and scratchy throat that tended to better as the days went on. But yesterday the sore throat lingered. And worsened. And my head was starting to get cloudy and I wanted to sleep for a week. There have been a lot of cold and flu bugs making the rounds, so I guess I was finally caught by one.
I got a dear friend to man the phones at the church and was relieved to have a day to rest and focus on getting well. After spending the majority of the day glued in a horizontal position on the couch watching the first five episdoes of season one of Grey's Anatomy, I can say that I am feeling more energetic, though still not fully back to 100% me. My nose is stuffy and runny, my eyes are watering, my throat is still scratchy, and I am itching to resume my position on the couch and watch the next five episodes of Grey's.
I think I needed a day to just rest and do absolutely nothing.
Perhaps getting sick is our bodies' way of telling us that we need to spend a day on the couch with nothing better to do than watch trashy TV.
I vow to listen to my body. It knows what it's doing.

Amanda Brown at 6:25 PM

7comments

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

My Maverick

Last night Steve and I went out for a lovely dinner to celebrate our looooove. While we were waiting for our meals to arrive, we exchanged our little Valentine's gifts. He opened up the card I had made for him, along with a super-sized package of beef jerky (he'll take that over chocolate any day) and I told him that the other item I had bought for him was on its way and was on back order. He seemed quite pleased with my gestures of loooove.
Then it was my turn to see what gift he had chosen for me. I opened the card he had made and it warmed my heart. Then I went to peek under the tissue paper in the gift bag that held my present. (For a few days prior to Valentine's Day I had been dropping not-so-subtle hints that I wanted Season One of Grey's Anatomy on DVD.) I reached down into the gift bag and felt a DVD.
Yay!
But when I fully lifted the DVD out, I saw that it was not Grey's Anatomy, rather an old school copy of the movie Top Gun.
Um.
I smiled and tried to shield my disappointment. I reasoned with myself, "Amanda, why are you being such a little brat? Who cares what he got you? He loves you and you are so lucky to have a guy as great as Steve. Suck it up."
But the other side of me, the disappointed side, said, "Augh. I don't even like this movie. He knows that I don't really even like this movie. He just got this movie so that he could watch it! He should know me better than this! TOP GUN? Seriously?! He could have at least bought me 20 pounds of chocolate. Anything would be better than this!"
I kept on smiling politely, while my inner monologues fought one another. Then Steve reached behind his back and pulled out Season One of Grey's Anatomy and laughed.
He got me good.
We had a delicious meal seasoned with meaningful conversation.
I love this guy!

Amanda Brown at 10:20 AM

7comments

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

My Ballintime

I remember being an awkward and chubby preteen. I remember wondering if I would ever find a boy who would choose me over all of my pretty, skinny friends. I remember feeling alone at the Valentine's dance, as though I didn't belong.
Thankfully, I grew up and out of that physically awkward stage of life, but a part of me always wondered if I would ever find someone with whom I would truly connect, someone who would know every inch of my soul and love me despite my imperfections.
I was 18 when I fell in love with Steve Brown. He swept me off my feet under the Okanagan sun, and I haven't looked back since. We married young, and have had to make some sacrifices so we could be together, but I wouldn't trade him for anything. He makes my days richer, fuller, and happier.
He is the reason why I could get excited about having a little boy one day...the hope that our little son would turn out just like his daddy. With a soft heart, a strong spirit, and a love for others that puts me to shame. And our little boy would be darn cute, too, just like his dad!
Stevie, I love you.
Thanks for sticking by my side as we wander this big spinning sphere.
You're the greatest.

Love, Amanda

Amanda Brown at 2:05 PM

7comments

The Tally

Girl: 6
Boy: 8
I'm hoping for the underdog, but will be thrilled either way!
Thanks for all your guesses!

Amanda Brown at 11:56 AM

2comments

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Sex Pool

Alrighty, so we go for the ultrasound next Saturday and I am just curious as to what people think is in this belly of mine.
Boy?
Girl?
One of each?
Please comment with your predictions.
And also we are needing some name suggestions. Any ideas, all you internet buddies?
I'll keep a tally of who guesses which sex of the baby, and the winners will receive a special congratulatory email from me with a coupon that reads "Hooray! You guessed right! You have permission to buy my baby a really expensive present!"

Amanda Brown at 1:23 PM

23comments

Gone

Where, oh where, has the weekend gone? Those precious days, Saturday and Sunday, flee far too quickly and I am missing the freedom that comes with them. I had a nice few days off, though. After the birthday bash on Friday night, I roused early on Saturday morning and went to Kelowna with Suzy and Jen. We made many a stop at various stores all around the city and I was successful in my hunt for a maternity bathing suit. The plan was to go swimming in the afternoon, and I wasn't feeling too ready to don a bikini with my gut looking the way it does these days, so I opted for a chocolate brown one-piece with a halter style neck that ties up. It's big. And sexy? Not really, but I feel comfortable in it, and that's all I ask.
I also found a great maternity dress at a consignment store for $18 which will be perfect for the two weddings we will be attending this summer. Deals and me...we get along.
After a lovely morning in Kelowna, I came home and went swimming with Steve's sister, Kaile, and the friends she had brought up with her from Vancouver. One's name was Chingo and he was from Japan. The other's name was George (pronounced "HOR-hay") from Columbia. So, I had a cultured afternoon at the pool with these nice people. I forgot that I actually like swimming. It is so nice to feel weightless and free in the water. On a sour note, I was seduced by the hot tub and soaked in it for a few minutes. I know that pregnant ladies are supposed to avoid them, but I started out with just dipping my feet in, then my entire legs, then my bum too, then I fully plunged in. It wasn't actually that hot, more like a "warm-tub" so I don't think I deep fried the baby.
On Sunday we went to church and then I came home and had a nearly two hour long nap. It was heavenly. Following my time in slumber land, I went for a beautiful walk along the lakeside with Adele. The fresh air was invigorating and the converstation enjoyable. I am so happy that Adele's visa was approved and that she and Craig get to stay in Canada permanently.
In the evening Christy, Adele and I gathered round the boob tube and watched Grey's Anatomy. Yes, I wept profusely when Dr. Bailey saw her husband (who had miraculously survived a near-fatal car accident while racing to the hopsital for the birth) for the first time and showed him their newborn son and told him that she had named him William George, after Dr. O'Malley, the clumsy, puppy-dog intern who helped her through her labour. I CAN'T HANDLE IT!
This is turning into one of those really long and boring posts, isn't it?
I will stop now.
Hope you all enjoy the week ahead.

Amanda Brown at 9:53 AM

4comments

Weird

Hmm, I can't seem to view the comments left on my last post. I am just doing a test post here to see if comments are working today. Here's hoping...

Amanda Brown at 8:50 AM

4comments

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Hostess With The Least-ess

On Friday I hosted a birthday party for Adele. I had been looking forward to it all week; I love having a houseful of my favourite ladies. In preparation I tidied the house and thought I would be efficient and get the chocolate fondue ready a few minutes before people arrived. Our fonude set has been used on but a few occasions, so I just threw a few decapitated Easter bunnies in the pot, turned the flame onto low and proceeded to finish setting things up around the house.
I was a good girl and did not neglect the melting chocolate. I tended to it and stirred it every few minutes, and once it had melted to a velvety and smooth texture I turned the flame down as low as it could go, to keep the chocolate nice and warm.
Soon thereafter the smell of scorching chocolate hit my nostrils and I ran to the fondue pot to see that it was indeed burning. What the heck? I thought I had done everything right, but apparently not. I had to throw out the whole batch of chocolate, since the little bit that had charred marred the entire lot of it.
I also learned that the smell of burned chocolate lingers in the air for much longer than you'd think. All of my guests were greeted with the stench of scalded cocoa when they walked through my door. I felt like a loser, but what can you do? Welcome to my party. I think it's going to suck.
It wasn't so bad after that, though. We melted more chocolate and there were some experienced fondue experts to guide my way. The girls brought such yummy treats...we had strawberries, grapes, bananas, rice krispie squares, and gummy worms to dip in the chocolate, as well as lots of veggies with dip and birthday cake and chips galore.
Jen had really bad gas and no one wanted to sit next to her on the couch. Christy, Suzy, and Jen struck a pose, after Jen assured them that her flatulence was done for the evening. She lied. Seconds after this photo was taken, Jen let one rip and Suzy passed out.
It is so nice to have Christy back home. She was missed and we're happy she's back!
Thanks, girls, for being who you are. I love you all and am a lucky woman to be surrounded by such strength and beauty and wisdom.

Amanda Brown at 5:41 PM

4comments

Friday, February 10, 2006

Ready For A Girls' Night In

Amanda Brown at 6:38 PM

5comments

No More Talk of Food

Ok, I realize that my last few posts have all been about food. That's going to stop and I am going to focus my energy on other things. If I don't I fear that this is my fate: Except the title will read "Cinnamon Bun Brown...She's Gonna Blow!"
No more food talk.
Really, there are better things to write about:
Like how we go for our ultrasound in nine days!
Originally I wasn't going to tell people what the sex of our child is, and keep it a secret that only Steve and I know about. But you all know me better than that by now. Of couse the internets will know the sex of our baby within moments of us finding out ourselves.
This big fat mouth? 'Tis never shut.

Amanda Brown at 11:42 AM

2comments

Victory Is Sweet

But defeat is even sweeter!
Remember my unswerving resolve to not eat the massive cinnamon bun yesterday?
Well, that resolve dissolved at 10:17 this morning.
You would have thought that the bran muffin I had at 9:56 would have held me over a little longer. But my body merely saw it as an appetizer leading to the main course.
So, I relented, packed up my purse and walked down the street to The Beanery and sheepishly ordered a cinnamon bun. (With a few butters on the side. Go big or go home.)
Just for the record, the bun was not actually as big as my head. More the size of a large man's fist. So I don't feel too bad or too full.
When's lunch?

Amanda Brown at 10:39 AM

3comments

If You Beg Loudly Enough...

...someone will take pity on you and bring you a bran muffin.
I am hungry all the time! My stomach is constantly calling for "more food! more food!" and it's scary. I don't want to blimp up like an orca, so I'm trying to watch my intake.
But it's not working too well.
Usually I don't have much of an appetite in the morning. But these days that is when I am the most ravenous. Around 9:00 my tummy starts growling and letting me know it would like to be filled. With anything.
As I was sitting at my desk this morning, trying to will the hunger pangs away, Jen and Suzy dropped by the office on their way to a parenting workshop being offered here at the church. I mentioned that I was already starving and they laughed at me and said, "We've both been there. Ha ha, you're going to get SO fat! Yay!" Actually they were much more supportive than that and offered consoltation, explaining that they were both eating machines while they were pregnant and I needn't geel bad about it.
Then they left.
A few moments later I saw Jen making her way down the hallway towards my office. And she had brought me a bran muffin.
I almost cried.
It was delicious.
And the hungry beast in me has been quelled for the next few minutes.
Thanks, Jen!

Amanda Brown at 9:41 AM

2comments

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Highway to the Danger Zone


This morning could have been disastrous.
There I was, sitting at my desk, and a terrible urge overcame me.
I wanted a cinnamon bun.
One that was as big as my head.
With cream cheese icing, no raisins, and gooey goodness tucked lovingly between the coiled layers of dough.
And did I mention it was to be as big as my head?
(They really do make them that size at the cafe down the street.)
I was thinking about how if I were to consume this head-sized divinity, I would probably feel pretty gross afterwards. Unnecessary calories and all.
But I was losing grip.
I was about to head out the door to sell my soul to the head-sized bun, when someone came in and offered me a few little Timbits (for any Americans out there, Timbits are little round donut holes). I chose a few and after eating them I felt satisfied and as though I had diverted the head-bun craving.
That sure was close, though.

Amanda Brown at 2:39 PM

6comments

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Oh How Lovely Is the Evening

Here's a shot of the real deal...the post-dinner profile.
There is definitely a bump there and it's filling out more every day.

Amanda Brown at 5:47 PM

7comments

It Feels Like Grown-Ups Live Here

For the past few years we have been storing quite a bit of furniture for both Steve's mom and dad as they get settled into their new homes. This weekend we were told that Steve's dad did no longer want to use the china cabinet and dining room set you see pictured above, and that we were free to put it up at our house if we so wished.
We so did.
Be thankful I don't have a "before" shot of what our dining area looked like. All we had was a slatted pine shelf that held all of my dust-collecting bowls and platters, and a garage sale table made of that plasticy stuff that's supposed to look like wood.
Anything would have been a vast improvement over what he had to start with, but I never imagined we'd be blessed with such beautiful pieces to put in our home. Granted, they are a tad more traditional than I would have chosen for myself, but they were FREE and for that reason they have a whole other kind of beauty to them. I like the look of our new dining room. I actually want to dine there now, instead of just scarfing dinner down while seated on the couch watching the news.
I feel so posh. :)

Amanda Brown at 5:14 PM

4comments

Crescendo

What is it about life's big events that attracts so many willing spectators? In the sphere of blogging, I find myself drawn to sites where the writers are gearing up for some big event in their life: a wedding, a baby on the way, a budding romance. I will loyally check in to see how progress is coming, whether it be in the form of choosing a bridal gown, getting an ultrasound and choosing the baby's name, or hearing about some utterly fantastic date between two star-crossed lovers who will be engaged within a matter of months.
But sometimes, once those monumental events have happened, I lose interest in those bloggers. Once they get back from the honeymoon and all they write about is their new dishes or how their spouse snores, I kind of stop caring. Once the baby comes and they take a bazillion pictures of him in his newborn glory and the theme of the blog shifts to discussing the consistency of the baby's bowel movements, I move on. And once the hopelessly romantic couple gets engaged, then married, then have a baby...again, I tire of them. It's a cycle of crescendo and then sudden disinterest.
Now, that is not true of all blogs. Some have true staying power and I love visiting them and will continue to do so as their children grow up, as their love blossoms, and after their wedding takes place. The truly gifted writers can share about anything and make me fall in love with their every paragraph.
It's just got me thinking about how we so easily get bored by the regular pace of life. If we're not headed towards some lofty or exciting goal, then are our days dull? Sometimes it seems that way. I wonder if that is why so many marriages end in divorce: people realize that after the wedding, life just continues as normal and it's about doing laundry and falling into the toilet bowl in the middle of the night when your husband forgot to put the seat down. And when you have a child, there is a lot of bum wiping to do, a lot of bone-shattering crying to endure, and a lot of sleep deprivation to fight.
Not that there aren't any magical moments of matrimonial bliss, or fragments of indescribable joy at the sight of a new baby.
But there will always be the regular old stuff mashed in between those spectacular moments.
I try to find happiness in the stuff.
Because we don't realize how amazing the stuff is until it is taken away.

Amanda Brown at 10:25 AM

9comments

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I Should Have Knocked on Wood

I have just met another fellow pregnant woman my age here in Summerland. Her name is Kaili and she's really great and I look forward to having someone to be a blimp with. She's just past her 5 month mark and was writing on her blog about how she's been extra hungry lately and is able to pack away more food in her growing tummy than ever before. She asked if any other pregnant women were experiencing the same thing and I commented on her blog, mentioning that I haven't really been abnormally hungry and overall have been able to eat fairly moderately.
I think I jinxed myself with that comment.
Because today I have been a hoover.
I had my regular piece of toast for breakfast, but when I got the church someone had brought this extravagent fruit platter with strawberries and grapes and other delights and I dove right in. Fruit is good for you, right?
Then I started eyeing the oatmeal cookies I had brought for our staff meeting and had one of those.
Our meeting went a little longer than usual and I was getting quite hungry, despite my prior fruit feast. So I pulled out the crackers I had brought for my lunch and started crunching away (keep in mind, it was only 10:30 am). About 15 minutes after that, I was still ravenous so I yanked out my sandwich and tossed it down the hatch. Then I had another cookie.
Apparently I have become the bottomless pit. I don't feel bad, because I was legitimately hungry and I am just trying to listen to my body's cues, but STILL! That's a lot of food to have packed away before noon.
And I have been dreaming about what I'll have for supper ever since.

Amanda Brown at 3:08 PM

2comments

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Human Stain

While dining with the Dalsins last Friday night, we got to talking about our couches. Jen asked, "Are they easy to clean? Have you spilled anything on them yet?"
To which Steve replied, "Why, yes. I spilled some soy sauce on the sofa just this afternoon."
This was news to me, and I prodded, "How did you clean it?"
"I licked it."
Jen laughed, assuming he must be joking, but I saw the look in his eye that told me he was serious.
"You LICKED our couch? Why didn't you just go and get a cloth? You know, like normal people do?" I cried.
Steve got defensive, "Well, I just wanted to see if the couches had actually been scotch guarded. I wanted to see if the stain would absorb. And it did."
"So, you licked the soy sauce, but a stain still remained. And you just let it fester on MY BRAND NEW COUCHES?!"
"Yes."
I went and grabbed a clean cloth, threw it at him, and told him that if he didn't get that stain out, I was getting new couches.
He cleaned it.
And the stain came out.
Our marriage has been preserved.

Amanda Brown at 10:16 AM

9comments

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Transitioning

Does everyone know what time it is? It's Belly Shots Time! To me, these photos aren't showing that much a change from week to week, and I think that has something to do with the fact that they are taken first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. And I am still sucking in (just a little...c'mon, I figure I may as well suck in for as long as I can. Once the baby is bigger, my stomach will be distended for months, so I am going to enjoy these final weeks of abdominal control). After a day's worth of food is in me, this tummy looks a lot different than these photos portray.
Here is a photo of me at 16 weeks: And here is 17 weeks:
There you have it.
If you would have told me last year that I would be posting pictures of my pudgy, alabaster tummy on the internet, I would have laughed in your face.
Just don't expect any post-pregnancy photos.
I think that would be a little too traumatic for all of us.

Amanda Brown at 8:17 PM

5comments

Friday, February 03, 2006

Lukewarm Chocolate

I was a doddler this morning and had neither the time nor desire to eat breakfast before I left for work. Around 10:00 am I started feeling kind of rumbly and ready for some sustenance, so on my way back from getting the daily mail, I stopped in at the local coffee shop to buy a bite of breakfast.
I ordered a carrot bran muffin and a kid's size hot chocolate to go. The muffin was handed to me promptly in a little paper bag and I was told my hot chocolate would be right up.
They lied.
I sat in the cafe for a long little while, and I saw many other people who ordered drinks after me being served before I was. Oh, the injustice! So I walked up to the counter and politely asked, "Is my hot chocolate still on its way?"
And the owner scowled at me and nodded and then moments later handed me a lukewarm cup of hot chocolate and he didn't even offer to put whipped cream on it. That is just criminal.
So I walked back to the church and nuked my hot chocolate in the microwave, cursing the lack of whipped cream (I didn't want to look like a gluttonous nuisance and beg him to pour some MORE calories into my drink).
It's a rough life.

Amanda Brown at 11:35 AM

6comments

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Big Comfy Couch(es)

As promised, here are some photos of our new couches. I am very happy with them, albeit a tad paranoid about spilling spaghetti sauce or grape juice on their splendid new fabric. I am told that microfibre is a very easy material to clean, but why tempt fate? I make Steve put a huge blanket over himself when he eats on the couch, to catch any falling debris. Before I unveil a full photo of the couch, here is a picture of me doing what I do best: draping myself over the arm of a couch like a tired old rich lady worn out from a day of shopping. If only! Here is the loveseat in all its microfibery glory. Come on over and have a seat.
And here is what a fatigued pregnant lady looks like. Again, I stress that I was actually trying to look cute in the photo, all "look at me, so cute on the couch". Instead it's more, "look at me, I'm as big as the couch". Ahwell, my body knows what it's doing. I'm not worried. All I ask is that you don't click on this photo to enlarge it, for then you will see my third and fourth eye, in the form of massive zits on my forehead. I'm begging you. DON'T CLICK THE PHOTO!
You totally clicked it. Aren't you sorry?
And yes, I am wearing pink socks.
They were a Valentine's gift from my mom last year.
Does that make me doubly cool? Not only am I wearing tacky socks, but I got them from my mother.
Well, there you have it. Our couches. The pictures don't really do them justice, but you get the general idea.
I'm going to go sit on one now.

Amanda Brown at 8:00 PM

9comments

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

God is Great, God is Good, Let Us Thank Him For This Food...

...Amen. Let's eat! Jen had the genius idea to start a recipe blog showcasing her talents in the kitchen. I jokingly suggested that she include me as a contributor to supply all of the baking recipes, since Jen will be the first to admit that her angel food cakes don't rise and her cookies taste like hockey pucks (I have actually found her to be a decent baker....she's just got more of a forte for gourmet cooking).
But Jen jumped at my suggestion and I am now a partner on her recipe blog called "Amen. Let's Eat!"
Check it out and be inspired to make something yummy for dinner tonight.

Amanda Brown at 3:35 PM

2comments

I have been terrible at sticking to my exercise routine! My goal was to walk five times a week. That was quickly whittled down to a goal of three times a week. And then it got to the point where I was lucky if I walked once. I am so darn lazy. I could blame it on the cold weather, on the fact that it gets dark out so early and it's not safe to walk at night, or on how I'm still battling some pregnancy fatigue. But really, all of those excuses are pretty pathetic. I simply have not been making exercise a priority.
Someone slap my wrists please.
On Monday I decided that I really needed to put my lame excuses aside and step into my runners again. So after work I did the 4 km loop around Dale Meadows. And I am SO GLAD that I did.
The air was crisp, I had Counting Crows crooning in my ears, and as I walked I had the time and quietness to just be alone with my own thoughts. It really had been too long.
I walked past many houses and thought of the people who live in them. How some of them are lonely and alienated.
Then I passed the little creek and remembered the story of the little two year-old boy who wandered away and drowned there.
As I made my way around the valley I saw the rolling hills of orchards and I saw a few ponies eating hay and I smelled the stench of sheep manure, and I saw the sky slowly darken.
I thought about how my baby was on the walk with me, and I got to thinking that I will never be without my child again. I have lived for 23 years without my baby, but now that it is growing within me, I will never know what life without him/her will be like. I will never be without the company, or the memory of his/her life.
I am going to go for that same walk today.
And I'm looking forward to it.

Amanda Brown at 12:02 PM

6comments

Call A Plumber

Yesterday afternoon I was craving something sweet, so while I was out getting the mail I ducked into the local grocery store and was on the hunt for something tasty. I isolated my craving and decided I just needed some sugar. Not chocolate, not a cookie, but something like licorice or jelly beans or gummy bears. But then I started feeling bad. "Really, are gummy bears the wisest mid-afternoon snack for a pregnant woman? I should buy a banana or a head of romaine lettuce or something."
So, I compromised.
I found some sugar free jelly beans.
The best of both worlds, right? Empty calories, just not as many of them as regular jelly beans. So, I scarfed the little bag down and was feeling quite sated.
Then the gut twisting started.
I should have looked a little more closely at the label of those jelly beans, because I think they were made with the same artificial sweetener that's used in the dreaded crystal light slurpee. Seriously. There was some trouble down under. I had the most painful bloating and cramps and then, you know, the expulsion began. Not cool.
My discomfort lasted all night and I felt truly awful.
Never again.
And I really do mean that.

Amanda Brown at 10:49 AM

2comments