Monday, December 31, 2012

It's not about a new year

Well, our Christmas decorations are all down. They've already been packed up and put in storage. It's a little sad. We usually have decorations up until Valentine's Day. Don't judge me for that...we really love Christmas.

We took everything down early so it'd be less to pack up later. We have just one month until we're back in Longview- which also means just one month until our entire apartment has to be packed up and ready to go. We loaded up the car and Cameron's truck full of stuff we aren't using right now and drove it all up this past weekend. We rented a storage and left his truck in Longview. We realized that we had three vehicles (Cameron's work truck, his personal truck, plus the car) and only 2 people to drive them all... so we had to go early and drop one off. It worked out nice because it jump started the packing phenomenon and it forced us to find a storage.

 I was super excited to find a 10x15 unit for just $60/month! The place was really well kept and incredibly clean. An older retired couple have a storage facility and office out of the their home that is on the property. I like it when businesses are personal... I also like knowing a little bit about the people I do business with- although I suppose hearing about how they acquired each of their 4 dogs, chickens, cows, horses, etc. wasn't necessary... neither was the story about how dumb it is to let "storage wars" film on your property (because it might make thieves believe there is something worth stealing). Regardless, I like knowing that our business is helping to support this older retired couple rather than being pushed up a corporate ladder at one of those chain places.

We even took the first of many loads of unnecessary things from our home in Longview and put that in storage. We've learned from our time in San Antonio that we really like it when our home is less cluttered- and in Longview, we just have too much stuff for too little space- enter the beauty of storage. We also have decided that we really need to have a yard sale. While we have plenty of things we should just store out of the way (seasonal items, clothes, furniture that we will need when we get a bigger place, etc) we also have a bunch of stuff that we just don't need or use.

We're starting to accept that we are probably going to be in the same home in Longview for a while because we just won't have the money to move to anything bigger... but at least that means that I get to paint the nursery! (Which really means I get to pick out the paint color and Cameron will "get to" paint the nursery). The poor thing... has to do all the loading, unloading, painting... yeah. I'd feel sorry for all the work he has to do if it weren't for the fact that I carry a baby in my uterus 24/7  that has caused a plethora of unpleasant symptoms, and in just 15 1/2 weeks, I have to push it out (aka... worst "natural" pain known to man). So... yeah... I'm not going to feel bad about all the work he has to do... I will tell him that I appreciate it (which I do), and occasionally (when I feel like it) rub his back, neck, or head and tell him I love him.

In other news, my last OBGYN appointment went well. Heard her little heartbeat along with her moving around a ton, and I'm measuring right on track. Weight gain is also going well so far- still haven't had any increase in appetite so from start to now I've only gained about 8-9 lbs. (If you're thinking that doesn't sound like much for someone as far along as me (currently 24 1/2 weeks), think again- when you start out as high weight as I did you don't need to gain much and it's actually better for baby if you don't).

We're excited. Between getting to return to Longview, and looking forward to meeting our precious little girl, we have a lot to look forward to this next year. Goodbye 2012! (aka our last year "alone")

Sunday, December 16, 2012

For Christmas

It's a strange Christmas for us this year. Aside from the unseasonably warm weather, we will be celebrating a little differently than usual. This will be our first year to not see the lights downtown Marshall... we started dating in December of 2007. A year later, Cameron asked me to marry him and we walked around downtown Marshall afterwards. We stopped and sat on a bench for the longest time under a tree covered in red lights and just stared at the courthouse all lit up. It was a quiet moment to sit back and soak in the joy. The first year we were married it didn't work out for us to see any family for Christmas- so it was just us. A great couple (Glen and Misty Scott) invited us to come to their home for lunch on Christmas. We didn't have anywhere else to go (at least nowhere we could afford to go) so we went and were blessed that first year to get to share the holiday with their family. After lunch, we left and drove downtown to look at the lights. I don't remember a lot from that day, but I remember Cameron pointing out the tree that we had sat under a year before. I remember being surprised that it stuck in his head the way it did in mine. Since then, we've gone back each year on Christmas day to look at the lights and see our tree, and remember just for a moment our special night.

This year we won't get to go to Marshall on Christmas day. It's been a different year. We came to San Antonio because I really believed (and still do) that it is what God was telling us to do. It's been hard being so far from friends and not having our church family, and even harder for me to be away from my mom, my best friend. I came here believing God had some great work to accomplish through me working with Sam Ministries. While I did most certainly slip right into a me-sized hole in that organization, the longer I'm here, the more I see that God's plan was so much bigger. Honestly, SAMM just seems like a tiny side note to what our time in San Antonio has brought us. I knew from the start that God wasn't sending us here forever, and that our time would be short-lived, but I can't help but be surprised at how the timing worked out.

When I found out about being pregnant, I was thrilled, but upset that I would be in San Antonio for the whole thing- away from my mom and friends. I originally refused to accept that I would have Violet here. I told my doctor in Longview that I would just drive up for appointments and then about two months before I was due, I would come back to Longview so I could have the baby there, and then go back to San Antonio afterwards. She looked at me like I was crazy (which I was).

We originally came expecting to stay a year, but later realized that we may be here longer than that. I had a hard time adjusting to the idea that I needed to start making a life here in San Antonio. I felt like God was asking me to give up my life (which I had left in East Texas). The funny thing is, after a little time (and encouragement from my friend Paige) I had really started to believe that there could be a life here for us. We started to grow accustomed to the idea and together made the commitment to make an effort (once I stop being sick thanks to Violet) to really start building relationships with others in the area. We got a notice that our lease was coming up at the end of January and we had discussed signing a new one... it's like the moment that we gave up on going back to Longview and accepted that God may have other plans for us, He was like "just kidding guys, it took yall long enough to decide I know better... and by the way, I think it's better if yall go back to Longview pretty soon."

I feel like in some ways God was just testing me to see if I'd be willing to give it up. I say me and not us because Cameron didn't struggle the same way I did with leaving. He missed friends and everything, but he was excited about San Antonio and all it had to offer. I've lived in large areas before and already knew that I didn't want what it offers. Before we left I tried to explain why Longview was the perfect place for us to be and to start a family, but Cameron didn't see it the way I did. He didn't appreciate it. The longer we're here though, the more he seems to notice the merits of Longview. By the time his job called and said things were changing, he was pretty ecstatic that it meant cutting our time in San Antonio short.

I know this whole thing was long winded and seems disjointed, but it's a lot of different things that I've been mulling around in my head. When it comes down to it, this whole year seems like Christmas to me. You see, we celebrate Christmas because Christ was born. We give gifts to symbolize the gift He gave in coming here. The Christmas story is the story of birth and new life and love. It's not getting rid of the old, but rather the fulfilling of what was old. That's what this year feels like to me. We didn't get rid of our old life, God gave us a gift. We didn't understand it at first (just as many didn't understand the birth of Christ at first for the gift that it was), but I can see now that our time in San Antonio was a blessing, or rather fulfillment of the abundant life that Christ offers to us. Returning to Longview isn't returning to our old life, but rather coming into something new because we're not the same people who left it- we've both changed. The love that started there, that we drive to Marshall every year to remember, it's grown so much that God is giving us a new little person to share it with. We get our own little birth of new life and love and it spreads not just between us, but to all aspects of our life.

Lord thank you for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A new birthday perspective

Today I am officially 26 years old. It feels old. Most years go by fairly meaninglessly and I feel no different, but this year I feel old. It could be because I'm now on the downhill side of my 20s, or it could be the fact that I will be transitioning from being "Amber" 100% of the time to finding a balance between who I am now, and the new person "Mommy" that I am becoming. I know that being a parent will change everything. It already has.

I don't feel like doing much these days. Honestly, if I accomplish just one household task a day I feel pretty good, and if I manage to accomplish more than one, I feel like superwoman. Little Violet just seems to suck the energy out of me. So, for my birthday I really just wanted to be comfortable and relax with my favorite things. I got just that- I slept in, got wonderfully comfy cute new pjs that I promptly put on, had my favorite meal for lunch, Cameron made my favorite dessert, and even put together dinner in the crockpot before he left for work this afternoon (he's working nights right now). We watched my all time favorite movie and just lounged on the couch. It was beautiful.

By the time Cameron left, I was feeling tired. I know, I hadn't done a single thing, but that's just how things go these days. I get tired for no reason. I feel the need to nap a LOT. I don't return phone calls unless they are from my doctor or pharmacy.. and honestly I only return those because I want them to keep me supplied in Zofran. Occasionally, if I'm feeling particularly well, I will return a phone call to my parents.

So, like I said, I was feeling pretty tired when Cameron left for work, and my mom called. She had texted earlier, and I hadn't responded. I just didn't feel like it, and normally I wouldn't have given it a second thought because I know she understands how exhausted I am all the time and how I get sick even with the Zofran, so she doesn't mind if I don't answer her calls or return them for a few days until I feel better. But today is different, you see, it's my birthday, and while normally that translates into a license to do whatever I want, in the few seconds after seeing the "missed call" on my phone from my mom I thought about the fact that 26 years ago she gave birth to me. She went through horrible labor and ripped wide open and had to stay in the hospital for days to recover. For the first time in my life, I felt like on my birthday, I owed her something. So I called her back. I told her thank you for sending me a card and texting me and such, but I wanted to say so much more. I thought in that moment of my sweet little Violet. I will want the chance to talk to her on her birthday until the day I die. I just couldn't deny my mom that right.

It was a new way of thinking for me. I think it means I'm growing up a little more.