Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Now that I'm pregnant, I've been thinking a lot about community.  No matter how hard we tried, we haven't been able to be part of a community here.  We've only lived here ten months (well, I've only lived here ten months, my husband's been here three years) and I understand that it takes a while to become part of the community, but I've found many of our entry points closed.

We live in an area that is mostly college students, and while most of the people that live in our apartment complex are graduate students, many married and with children, they are mostly foreign students.  I think most of them want to move back to their home country and don't make it a priority to build a community here, or if they do it's with others from their culture.  When my husband and I go on walks around the complex, our "hellos" are not returned.  It makes me very lonely coming from a place where everyone was friendly and those in the neighborhood knew each other.  Granted, I didn't come from a small town where "everyone knows everyone" but I did often run into old schoolmates (or their parents) at the grocery store and I certainly recognized the neighbors and would say hello to them on a regular basis.

My husband and I have also tried to get involved in our church, going to the simple soup suppers during Lent, teaching Sunday school, and attending the "Catholicism 101" class that the priest offered last fall.  Almost all in attendance were single middle aged (or older) women.  While they were kind, I really have very little in common with them (and the man bashing that sometimes occurred when these women got together made my husband very uncomfortable - and me too, quite frankly).  There are young couples, with and without children, that attend church on Sundays, but they are never at other church events.

I think the city we live in is part of the problem, it seems that most people here have either lived here all their lives or are college students.  Grad students don't fit into that picture very well, and especially not the wives of grad students.  While my husband knows many other grad students, they don't tend to be too sociable - they are too busy.  And when I do attend their events, I'm always the lone spouse (although many of the men are married, interestingly not the women though).  It seems that the other spouses have found social outlets elsewhere (probably jobs) while my job involves interaction with teens and not many adults.

I'm don't mean to complain, mostly I'm just reflecting on what the situation is here so I can try to do something different when we move to North Carolina this summer.  Community was such a big part of my childhood - playing with neighborhood children, going to church events and neighborhood barbecues.  And I think it was a very positive part of my childhood, something I want my children to remember.  My mom still exchanges Christmas cards with her childhood neighbors - will my children have that same opportunity or is the word just different now, not so personal, more plugged in to the internet than connected to the neighborhood?

Any thoughts?

Friday, May 20, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (Take 14)

Usually I plan out my quick takes a little, but I'm doing this week's on the fly.  Since we don't have internet at home anymore, time online is precious and I better get this out quickly.

1.  Please pray for my husband's cousin.  Her husband is hoping to be able to finally get a green card to come back to the United States after living apart from his family in Mexico for over two years.  They have two young (and adorable) children together and it's been so hard on the family for him to be away.  They have a meeting with immigration in Juarez next month, so prayers that the meeting goes well (and that they are kept safe - Juarez is not the safest place!) would be much appreciated.

2.  Now that we've had our first doctor's appointment and heard our little one's heartbeat, we feel ready to announce our pregnancy to the world.  However, I feel really uncomfortable just putting it in a Facebook status or in some similar impersonal social network way.  Our close family and friends already know; however, there are a lot of people that I think would want to know but that I don't particularly want to call individually to tell (I'm thinking of extended family members and more distant family friends/childhood acquaintances that I get together with every once in a while).  Any ideas of how to do this?  Or should I just wait for the information to "get around" to everyone?

3.  I only have a week and a half left of work.  I can't believe the school year is almost over.  I don't know if I'm too excited about work being over though, because we are going to miss my paycheck (tiny as it is) and because I dread being home for hours with nothing to do but pack.  I will, however, take advantage of the ability to sleep in every day.

4.  Since my husband had never seen the Lord of the Rings movies (or read the books), which I consider a travesty, we watched all three movies last week in the course of a few days.  It was so fun!  Now, I'm looking for another movie series to watch together.  Since the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie comes out today, we may have to watch those movies before we go see the new one.  Any suggestions after that?

5.  We are going to Indianapolis this weekend with David's cousin and his wife (who are also pregnant) to go to baby stores!  The only downside: I can't buy anything until after our move!

6.  A couple students have asked me if I am pregnant.  Apparently I have a baby bump that everyone but me can see.  I hate to lie, but I need a good recommendation for my boss to be able to substitute teach in the fall and I don't want him to mention that pregnancy might get in the way.  I told them no and they felt terrible.

7.  We were approved for our apartment in North Carolina.  As much as I am not looking forward to the move, I kind of wish we would do it and get it over with sooner rather than later (this might be partially due to the swimming pool we'll have in our apartment complex once we are there and the weather still being COLD here!).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Our first appointment was today and we got to hear the heartbeat!  It was so exciting!  It's like our little one is real.  All I had was a home pregnancy test, a couple missed periods, and some awful nausea to tell me there was a little person growing inside me.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Council of Dads

I recently read the book Council of Dads by Bruce Feiler.  The author was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer when his twin girls were only three years old and he created a "council" of men who could step in and play the role of father for his daughters if he were to pass away.  They were men that represented various aspects of his life and various stages of his life - his childhood best friend, his camp counselor, and his agent, just to name a few (there were six total).  The idea was that if his daughters needed advice or wanted to know "What would dad think about this?", these men could be his voice.  I highly recommend the book.

It made me start to think, "Do I have people who could do this for me if I ever needed it?"  I, admittedly, have very few friends.  This is by choice.  I find it more fulfilling to have a few close friends that actually care about me and are willing to put the effort into the friendship than have many friends that are constantly draining me of my time and energy without any reciprocation or benefit.  I've cut out a lot of deadweight friends in the last few years, and I am much happier for it.  I am young and Bruce Feiler was in his early 40s, so he had much more time to create these friendships.  But I still felt sad thinking that I only have two close friends that I could rely on in hard times.  And really, these women, while amazing, beautiful women, don't have much in common with me other than the city we grew up in and the schools we attended.

While thinking of friendship, I starting thinking of the move that my husband and I are making in July.  I moved here last July and since being here, I have made one friend that I think had the potential to become a good friend.  But we are moving soon, and I have a feeling that since we haven't had much time to really cultivate a friendship, we probably will quickly lose touch.  We'll probably live in North Carolina only a year as well, and so I will once again put off making lasting friendships.  I think that's what I lament most about the upcoming move, not being in one place long enough to make friendships.

My husband is my best friend.  It sound corny, but it's very true.  I tell him everything, I enjoy spending hours upon end with him, we have a lot in common (although personality-wise, we are quite the opposite).  I will always have him with me, no matter where we move.  But friendships with other women are very important to me, as well.  I've written blogs about friendship before (I know, I'm a whiner!) and I'm sure this won't be the last of them.

But this also makes me curious about your friendships: Who would you have on your Council of Moms/Dads if, God forbid, you had to make one?  How did you meet your best friends?  Do you still keep in contact with friends from different periods of your life (childhood, teen years, college, your 20s, etc.)?  What is the best way to make new friends?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sad News

I recently heard that a girl I went to high school with is having a really hard time right now.  I used to bump into her once in a while and she seemed so happy, so full of life as she was when we were in high school.  I never was very close to her, but we were on the cheerleading team together for a few years and I always appreciated her presence.  She got married the week after me and I found out a while ago that her husband and her were already expecting!  So exciting.  This weekend, I came across her CaringBridge website that detailed the early birth of her baby (at 26 weeks) and, shortly afterward, her diagnosis of cancer.  I can't imagine the stress and sadness that comes along with having a baby in the NICU, fighting for life, then discovering that you yourself are also fighting your own fight.  How hard it must be on her family!  It really brings things into perspective - she's only 24, same age as me.  You don't think that things like this happen to people this young.  

I haven't really kept in contact with her and we were never close, so I don't know if it's appropriate for me to say anything to her, but I will be praying profusely for her, her baby girl, her husband and family.  What sad circumstances to befall a young couple just starting a family and life together.  

Friday, May 6, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (Take 13)

I’ve been absent for a little while, mostly because we no longer have internet at home, so I have to make the attempt to go to a coffee shop to post, but also due to the fatigue that accompanies the first trimester of pregnancy.  I always relish “7 Quick Takes Friday” as an opportunity to catch up on my blog.

1.  I saw Shawn Carney (cofounder of 40 Days for Life and featured prominently in the book, UnPlanned) speak at a fundraiser for Matrix Pregnancy Resource Center We were invited to the dinner by our priest, who purchased the tickets for two full tables of parishioners, and he didn’t really tell us what the even was about or who the speaker would be, so it was a very pleasant surprise.  Shawn was a fantastic speaker, and it means to much to have a young, energetic father (a man!) at the head of the pro-life movement.  He is doing great things.  I was more than a little star-struck!

2.  I previously looked up Matrix because I was interested in volunteering for a pregnancy resource center, but that will have to be shelved until after our move, because I wouldn’t have much time to volunteer after the center took the time and energy to train me.  What I didn’t realize about Matrix is that it truly is doing great things.  It recently moved into a building across the street from a Planned Parenthood (women don’t have to seek out other options, they can see it and walk to it!), recently acquired sonogram machines, and will soon be providing STI testing and early pregnancy care in the form of various tests.  Apparently, the only clinic in the area that takes Medicaid patients often can’t get women in for their first appointment until they are 5 months along, so the center being able to do some of the early testing needed to ensure a healthy pregnancy is really vital in the local community.  And there aren’t any clinics or other resources for women who are uninsured. Sonogram technicians may want to look into the great work that Matrix does. 

3.  We announced our pregnancy to family and (some) friends several weeks ago and it went much better than expected.  Our families, although noticeably still worried about us financially, were very supportive and excited about the news.  My mother is already planning to fly us home for a baby shower in August or September and all she can talk about is little duckies for her grandbaby (we decided to do a yellow duck nursery).

4.  Although it is still early in the pregnancy, my husband and I have spent a lot of time on baby names.  If it’s a boy, that’s easy, he’ll be a jr.  But for a girl, we want a strong Christian name, either a Biblical name or Saint name.  And it’s been so hard because there are SO many Saints (and unfortunately, some of the names aren’t quite usable, if you know what I mean - I don’t see to many Hildegardes and Sexburgas wandering around).  I think we’ve found two we like, so we’ll see… It seems that everyone is convinced it’s a boy, so we may not have to worry about a girl’s name anyway.  How did you find your children's names?

5.  Although I read a lot of novels, I love non-fiction (it’s the history nerd in me) and I recently read two books I loved:  John Adams by David McCullough and The Imperial Cruise by James Bradley.  Up until recently, Fly Boys by James Bradley was my favorite book (I also loved his Flags of Our Fathers), but it has been eclipsed by John Adams.  It may be the pregnancy hormones, but I cried for a half hour when I got to the part where Abigail Adams died and then for another half hour when John Adams died (five or ten pages later).  I’m not really sure why it was so sad, I mean, they lived to ripe old ages and they couldn’t have lived forever.  But I think it does attest to how David McCullough is the master of story weaving - so much so that he can make you love his characters.  Plus, John Adams was really a great guy in a million different ways, not just in his service to our country (which was pretty spectacular in itself!).  Although none of the Founding Fathers were the perfect demigods we tend to think of them as, he was a generally decent fellow, a family man with Christian values.  It’s a long book - 651 pages - but it’s definitely worth the time!  I learned so much more than just about Adams, Abigail plays a huge role in the book as she did in John’s life, and it made me understand that time period, early American politics, the Revolution, etc. that much better because it was portrayed through a storyline instead of random facts.  SO GOOD!

6.  Going to Chicago to spend the weekend with my husband’s family again.  It such a nice weekend vacation (my husband may have a different view since his cousin’s kids want him to play with them 24/7 - he comes home more tired than rested).  Although even going a few hours away for vacation is expensive for us now that gas prices are so crazy.

7. A random tidbit about me - I love good old rock ‘n’ roll (CCR, Fleetwood Mac, anything my mama loved and listened to when I was young).  They just don’t make music like that anymore!