Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What a day...

My day began poorly at around 1 A.M. I woke up because the dog needed to go out, but then I stayed awake for a variety of reasons. My brain wouldn't stop thinking of a million things, I could feel my stress levels rising, and of course, my body was achy and sore. I went to bed late in the first place and then I was up for 2 hours in the middle of the night. Awesome.

I cried when I left Target this morning. No particular reason, I just got out to my car and had a brief cry. When I got home I cried again because my cat loves me, and because I was hungry and didn't know what to eat. I cried some more because my brand new vacuum is broken and I was on hold with Sears FOREVER, only to be disconnected when the guy finally answered. So I called back and waited on hold a second time and cried a little more only to find out that I really didn't need to make an appointment. Awesome.

Sears was good to me when I dropped off the vacuum. Things were looking up. The appointment with my doctor was great. Everything is going well with my little one's development. Her heartbeat is stronger and louder than ever and her size is right on target. (Stop telling me I'm tiny.)

Then, my car wouldn't start. Can you guess what I did? Yes. I cried some more. Keep in mind that I really am not much of a crier. Isn't pregnancy awesome?

My husband is my hero. He came to my rescue, jumped my car, followed me to the store, and replaced my battery in the parking lot. Then he came with me to the temple.

That was exactly the way I needed this insane day to end. Thank goodness we live so close to the Oakland Temple. Thank goodness it was still lit up beautifully with Christmas Lights. Thank goodness I have such a wonderful life.

Monday, December 28, 2009

She's Number 1

People ask, "What are you naming her?"
I say, "Emma."

One common response: "Oh! That's so cute! Just darling! I love it!"
The other common response: "I just heard that Emma is ranked as the #1 most popular baby name right now."

Awesome. Thanks for the information. Did you want me to name her something weird just to be different?

Here's what the internet tells me about the name Emma:

Popularity Rank in the U.S. Population

YearRankTotal out of 1,000,000 Babies
2008#19,043 babies
2007#38,698 babies
2006#29,154 babies
2005#210,035 babies
2004#210,722 babies
2003#211,330 babies
2002#48,379 babies
2001#136,723 babies
2000#176,286 babies
1999#176,021 babies

So, in the past seven years the name Emma has been in the top five. That's funny, because I work in an elementary school and I know of only one girl named Emma who is under seven years old.

Hi. My name is Sarah. Would you like to see the popularity of my name? (Too bad! I'm showing you anyway!) Check this out.

2008#204,332 babies
2007#184,713 babies
2006#155,322 babies
2005#155,672 babies
2004#126,306 babies
2003#126,852 babies
2002#87,472 babies
2001#68,024 babies
2000#58,863 babies
1999#49,809 babies
1998#510,253 babies
1997#410,834 babies
1996#410,964 babies
1995#511,118 babies
1994#511,428 babies
1993#312,288 babies
1992#512,289 babies
1991#612,404 babies
1990#612,568 babies
1989#513,948 babies
1988#414,750 babies
1987#514,883 babies
1986#515,249 babies
1985#513,477 babies
1984#514,354 babies
1983#515,216 babies
1982#415,707 babies
1981#415,760 babies
1980#514,466 babies
1979#612,196 babies
1978#812,157 babies

For TWENTY-FOUR YEARS Sarah has ranked in the top 10. It's #20 for 2008... not too shabby. The year I was born there were apparently 15,706 other Sarahs for every 1,000,000 babies born. (This doesn't even count all of the girls who don't have the "h" on the end!)

Sarah ranked #4 in 1982 with a total of 15,707 Sarahs. If the data from 2008 holds true, yes, Emma may be the #1 ranking name of 2010, but there will only be 9,000 something Emmas out of 1,000,000 babies. That's nothing compared to what I've experienced over the years and I turned out okay. (Mostly.)

Oh Emma. You are so amazing.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

5 Days Until Christmas

"How do the little piggies eat?"

I feel like doing this 99% of the time.

Thank goodness Winter Break is here. I have two weeks of NO WORK at all. I am trying not to cram too many activities into this time off so that I can maybe enjoy some relaxation time. Fat chance. I've got a to-do list the size of a small country. School stuff, Primary Stuff, and (my personal favorite) Getting-Ready-for-Baby stuff!

Hooray for the holidays. Who else still has to do all of their Christmas shopping?

Monday, November 30, 2009

So Thankful

I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving.

Mine was wonderful, but it has been a busy four days and I pushed myself too hard. Thursday was Thanksgiving with my family (about 3 hours in the car). Friday was Thanksgiving with Barry's friends and family (about 2 hours in the car). Thats when the occasional cough I've had increased in frequency. Saturday was work at the vet's, then a drive to Eureka for Grandma Dee's 80th Birthday (5 and a half hours in the car). That night I slept poorly on a mattress that was too firm for my sore hips and achy back. Sunday, visit with the family some more, then drive the 5 and a half hours home. Sitting that much during pregnancy is not a good thing.

I got home exhausted last night and kept pushing myself to get things done so I could get to bed early. My hot shower followed by the chills was my first clue that maybe I wasn't just tired. My pregnancy book says that I should call my doctor immediately if I have a fever of 102 F or higher. Mine was 101 F. Awesome. I still didn't know what to do.

Then I asked my husband for a blessing.

If this pregnancy has taught me anything, it has taught me to have greater faith in the power of the priesthood. The only blessings I had received before being pregnant were blessings of comfort when I was emotionally struggling. I asked for blessings then because of the spiritual nature of my problems. I never asked for them when I was physically ill because I doubted the connection between spiritual matters and physical illness.

That has changed. I have received three blessings for physical ailments since I've been pregnant.

This little love inside of me is my world. Her health is the most important thing in my life, so my health is more important to me than it's ever been. I have tested my faith for this child, not for myself, and I am so glad that I have, because my testimony of blessings has finally formed and grown strong.

With the help of a blessing and some acetaminophen my fever dropped steadily. I talked to a nurse and doctor on the phone. I called in my absence for today and lined up a substitute teacher. I had my plan in place should things get worse instead of better. However, each time I woke up during the night I felt more and more like myself.

Now I have the day off to rest and recover, to sleep and relax.

Today I am most grateful for my family. I am grateful for my body and for my growing baby. I am thankful for my husband and for his worthiness. I am thankful for Target brand acetaminophen, digital thermometers, and telephones. I am especially grateful for my Heavenly Father, for the power of His priesthood, and for the love that He has for me.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanksgiving Week!

Where have I been?
Mostly here. There a little.

Things are coming along nicely for our little girl's room. That's been my main obsession for the past six months. It's been frustrating at times. There have been many things that I could not do, so I had to try and be patient while waiting. Emotional, pregnant me had a hard time with that.

I am overjoyed to have an ENTIRE week off of school. I need this break so badly. My students and I were burning out. We needed a little time and space away from all things school. Of course my time off will still be packed full of things to do. I should probably plan some time to do nothing at all for a change. Wouldn't that be nice?

Thanksgiving is four days away. Thank goodness.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

24 weeks...

... and things are looking good.

I'm extremely tired at night and in the mornings. Again. So why am I playing around on the internet instead of sleeping in my cozy bed, snuggled with my cat? I really have no idea.

Work is going well. Tomorrow is our Halloween celebration. I love being surrounded by children who get so excited and swept up in the magic of fun holidays. I can't wait to see all of their silly costumes! Several of us teachers decided to wear our old caps and gowns to be graduates. I only rented the black one I wore for my college graduation, so I'll be sporting my lovely, yellow, GHS cap and gown. It's awesome.

I'm looking forward to hanging out at home this Halloween. No crazy parties, no late nights. Just my husband, me, the couch, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and some candy for the trick-or-treaters. Sounds like a lovely plan.

Goodnight all, and happy haunting.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Results Are In...

Ultrasound imaging is truly incredible. I love technology. I love the miracle of being able to see my unborn baby, hear her heartbeat, and watch her move.

That's right. I said, "HER."

Little Baby started the appointment very modestly. Her knees were together, legs crossed at the ankles, a real lady. However, after some jiggling and poking, she woke up and moved around so we could get a nice view of her girly parts. I'm glad she cooperated, but now that I know her gender she can go back to that more modest behavior she was practicing so perfectly.

How do I feel?

Yeah. That pretty much sums it up!
Hooray for our baby girl! She's healthy! She's beautiful!!!!

Give me a high-five!!!!

That's my girl!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The City by the Bay

I had to go to San Francisco for a bit of business today. It was the first time I've ever taken BART to the city all by myself. What a grown up I am!

I enjoy going there and taking in all of the sights. The skyline when I first came up the escalator from below ground is really incredible. Do every day commuters even notice? The people walking by in their variety of styles are wonderful to watch. My favorite moment of the day was when I noticed two matching clocks mounted on the same building. They were at a corner, one clock facing south, one facing east, so I could see both at the same time as I approached. However, I wasn't seeing both at the same time, because one was five minutes behind the other. How can you mess up the synchronization of two clocks that are so very near each other? It made me smile.

I wish I had taken a picture.

I met a man who was very nice. We went to the same college and would have had a lots to talk about if we had met under different circumstances. Unfortunately, we cannot be friends and today's meeting was almost all business. Oh well. It was a new experience to add to my collection. ;)

Also, hooray for my Lil' Casey, her mad S.F. driving skills, and delicious, authentic Mexican food! Mmm...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Patron of Animals

My middle name is Diane. That part of my name has always caused me to feel a certain reverence for the Roman Goddess Diana. Likewise, I am fond of her Greek counterpart, Artemis. She is the Goddess of the hunt, virginity, and also known as the patron of wild animals.

I don't know how much I identify with some aspects of Diana's fame, but that last part is spot on. In the year that I have lived in my own home, I have been fortunate enough to help a great many animals. Last summer there were several kittens, and (my favorite) a bunny. The greatest was the time that I walked out of my house, knelt to the ground, and had three chihuahuas come straight to me. Two men had been following those little dogs for blocks, offering them food and trying to get close enough to check their collars for tags, but the chihuahuas were not interested. Then I came along and all was well. That made me feel good.

Today I got to do another good animal deed, but this one was more rewarding somehow.

I was sitting at the kitchen table, eating lunch and facing the window, when I noticed a black pomeranian running across the street. I went outside and called to her. She ran straight to me, let me scoop her up, and gave me kisses. She had on a pink collar that had a cute tag which said "Princess" on one side and "Chloe" with a phone number on the other. Chloe most certainly was a princess. She was well groomed, smelled of a woman's perfume, and sat on my lap like we were old friends. We called the number but only got a voice mailbox, so we left a message. I had Barry knock on a few doors, but we didn't find her owner. With no other options but to wait, we took her inside and hung out. Eventually, I ended up taking a nap on the floor with little Princess Chloe by my side, she was so sweet and cuddly. When Barry's phone rang we were happy to hear that Chloe's owner was right across the street, our neighbor's girlfriend who was visiting for the weekend. We walked out and met them and I could see how happy both Chloe and her mom were to be back together. I felt good to see their joy.

A little while later there was a knock on the door. Chloe's mom stood there with some dessert treats for Barry and I. She told me how grateful she was, how she had just recently lost her son, and that she didn't know what she would have done if she'd lost her dog. I almost cried listening to her. I told her I was happy to help.

If I see an animal in need, I help it. That is just my nature.

It makes me feel good and strong when I do something that seems like a small thing, something that comes so naturally to me, and later realize that it is a huge blessing to someone else. It's during moments like that when I catch a glimpse of heaven and I am so grateful for my talents, my strengths, and my heart.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

All sorts of good news...

I can start talking about a bunch of stuff now:
I'm the Primary President in my ward. That means I'm responsible for all of the children and teachers every Sunday. I'm very excited but also extremely intimidated by the whole idea. I know it will be great, I just hope I can do a wonderful job and take care of everyone.

Barry just got called as the 2nd councilor in Elders Quorum. That's a pretty important calling. He'll be over all of the home teaching in the ward, and service, and who knows what else. I'm so proud of him.

We're going to be parents in February! Holy macaroni! It's going to be amazing and wonderful, I'm so excited! I found out in early June and have been doing my best (unsuccessfully) to keep it a little bit of a secret until now. I have been blessed with no morning sickness, but I've been extremely tired. Thank goodness the 2nd trimester is coming along just in time to start up another school year. We'll find out if it's a boy or a girl on September 29th, as long as the baby doesn't keep it a secret from us! Wow. This is all so amazing.

I'll be keeping you posted!

Friday, July 17, 2009

so much to say, so much to say, so much to say, so much to say...

...but I can't talk about it.

There is a lot going on in my life at the moment, but everything is currently either private or unwise to write about on the internet. Regardless, I need to vent a little steam, so I'll do it cryptically.

I'm anticipating the weight of some heavy responsibilities from all avenues of my life, and it seems that they will all come down on me simultaneously. I am a relatively strong person, however, new situations always get me worrying and doubting, and I am a champion worrier. Luckily, I have faith that can pull me through and a knowledge that my Heavenly Father will never give me more than I can handle. That doesn't mean it's going to be easy though.

Life is good, don't get me wrong. Two out of the three new situations are very positive, (Only one is ridiculously negative.) but they are still new and therefore a little bit intimidating. I'm sure each will work out wonderfully, and when they do I'll be able to tell you all about it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Adventures in Ohio.

Summertime has been good to me. There have been a lot of lazy mornings, leisurely walks with the dog, and quiet moments with books. I've had several outings with friends and one wonderful trip to Ohio with the husband. It's hard to believe that I'll be back in the classroom in month.

(This entry is for me to remember our adventures. I'll warn you right now that it's long and it isn't always worded beautifully.)

Ohio was glorious for so many reasons.
The trip was Barry's second ever trip in an airplane and first flight as an adult. It was my first experience renting a car. I had never driven in Ohio before. I had never even been there without my parents either. How strange to be a grown up...

We left San Francisco airport around midnight the night of June 19th. Our flight was an hour late because of storms that had closed down Chicago's airport earlier in the day. We flew United, which isn't my favorite airline, but was part of the package deal, so we made the most of it. Flying in the middle of the night is horrible, no matter what company owns the plane. After landing in Chicago O'Hare, we walked about a mile (I may be exaggerating, but not much!) through the airport to get to our next flight. That place is huge! Barry took a nap on the floor for an hour, then we boarded the tiny plane that would take us to Akron.

Landing in Ohio makes me happy every time.

We met up with my very first friend ever, Melissa, at a restaurant in Akron called Rockne's.It was great to talk with her, meet her husband, and catch up on each other's lives. We've kept in contact off and on through the years and it is so good to know that we still feel comfortable around each other after all this time.

Next stop, Hubbard! I drove the familiar yet foreign path to Grandpa's house while Barry slept. I love the way that the horizon in Ohio is where the tops of lush, green trees meet a blue sky full of puffy, white clouds. Random side note: There are more radio stations to choose from back there. We never lacked good music in the car.

I got emotional as we got off the highway and made our way to the house that holds so many good memories. Though I had never been the one driving before, I could have done it with my eyes closed, the roads are printed so deeply into my memory. There we were. Grandma and Grandpa's house. It doesn't hold the charm it used to now that they are gone. 
Uncle Dan and Dave were there doing their weekly yard work. We talked, wandered the property and spent some time relaxing. I showed Barry around, sharing specific memories at certain locations. He humored me like a good man. Dan and Dave took us out to dinner at the first Quaker Steak and Lube which used to be a gas station belonging to Grandpa's uncle. 

Good times were had. 

We checked into our hotel in West Middlesex, PA and passed out for the night. Sunday was Father's Day and we made it to church just in time, despite the fact that Tibbets-Wick Road did not have a street sign. We ate lunch at Bob Evans, which is apparently Barry's type of restaurant. I am so glad he loved it as much as I do. 

Father's Day was spent visiting the sites of my forefather's graves. I really enjoyed driving to each of the cemeteries and finding everyone. 

The graves of my Great-great-great Grandparent's who came from Ireland. 

My grandmother's parents in the front. My grandparents stone is behind.

We then visited Daffins, ate at Eat'n Park, and went to Buhl Farm. Hooray for PA!

Monday we headed up to Kirtland, Ohio. I can't really begin to explain our wonderful experiences there. We toured the temple and sang "The Spirit of God" while inside. We wandered the cemetery, ate yummy food (I had pizza!), then toured Historic Kirtland. We went inside the Newel K. Whitney store and sat in rooms that have such powerful history. It was amazing. 

From Kirtland we went to Willoughby for a place to stay. We visited Lake Erie and relaxed. The next day we went back to Akron, visited Uncle Dan one more time, the headed to the airport to leave the land I love. It was a good vacation, four days packed full of great experiences and memories. I am so glad that Barry enjoyed himself in an area that brings me so much joy. 

Friday, June 5, 2009

Feline Frenzy

My dearest love has turned into an old lady.

Meet Winter.

She entered the world in April of 1993. I was ten years old and blessed to adopt her into my life. We grew up together, caring for each other, both believing that the other was the child who needed nurtured. As a kid I snuggled her under the covers and waited for her to fall asleep against my side. I did foolish things too, like shut her in the bathroom with me when I dried my hair, even though I knew she was afraid of the hairdryer. I only did that so that I could rescue her, so she would cling to me for dear life as if I was the only thing that could protect her. I cherished that feeling of being needed, of being someone's hero. Even now, no matter how stressed she becomes, I know that I can calm her by lying on my back and placing her on my chest. I'll rub her ears, she'll purr, then she'll lick my nose. We're best friends.

Winter is 16 years old now, a geriatric kitty. I've watched her slow down over the years, sleep more, play less, lose weight and start looking, well, old. I monitored her weight, checked her blood work at regular intervals, but there's not much you can do for old age. However, in the past few weeks we've noticed a drastic change in her ability to see. I took her in to my part-time work place and the vet checked her out. Detached retinas. Her blood pressure is high. Her heart murmur has become louder. Blood work confirms kidney disease. I figured as much.

I started feeding her special food for her kidneys two days ago. I mixed in vitamins as well as a tiny quarter of a pill to lower her blood pressure. She has always been a bit of a piglet and canned food has been a special treat in the past, so she was extremely excited to start eating this delicious, stinky, wet food. That day was awesome, she ate happily, seemed to be feeling well, and had no complaints. Yesterday went just as smoothly, but early this morning she decided to stop cooperating and has had no interest in eating since.

Bribery with chicken broth hasn't worked.

I don't know what to do.

I hate knowing that she doesn't feel well enough to eat but not knowing how to make her feel better. I've been mentally preparing for her departure from this earth, but I don't look forward to that moment. I don't look forward to the hours leading up to it either.

Oh, my sweet child. She's been beside me through it all. She has been a constant friend through all of my ups and downs: puberty, those angst-filled teen years, the loves and break-ups, the growing up, the marriage and moving out. She has never let me down. I just hope I can return the favor.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Isolated T-Storms

Yesterday, Barry and I went to the chiropractor. I am a little bit uncomfortable with the idea of someone crunching my spine so that it cracks in various places, so every time the doctor made an adjustment, I let out a ridiculous, nervous laugh. I just can't help it. My spine was snap crackle popping and I was laughing like a hyena.

After our appointments, we decided we needed some fatty, greasy food. We sat in Ben's Burgers waiting for the meat to cook, and I listened to KKIQ blasting through the restaurant's speakers. Lady Gaga, followed by Jimmy Eat World, followed by Nickelback. Really? Then I heard it. The glorious weather report that informed me of the thunderstorm that was fourteen miles away and moving in our direction. Hallelujah!

We picked up our bag of delicious burgers and fries and headed home. As I drove, my eager eyes scanned the dark clouds.

Once parked in the driveway, the drops of rain began to fall more consistently. I stepped out of the car and stood, face up to the sky, my skin drinking in the drops from heaven. Then I heard it. My old friend Thunder was creeping across the sky and my heart and nose and skin were instantly transported to an early time, an earlier me. I was 6, scared in bed at the roar of the skies. I was 9, playing outside as the storm moved closer. I was in a greener, more humid place.

In real time, I was about to cry. Why? Why does something that brings me so much joy cause a bittersweet pain deep in my chest? The best explanation I have is that these memories of a younger, carefree time make me happy, but the knowledge that those times are forever lost saddens me. The hollow ache comes when I think of all the family members who have passed through the veil, those people who I love so much and who are no longer in that greener, more humid place. The places that are the most special to me were not made that way on their own. They were made magnificent by the people with whom I shared those spaces.
If the people are gone, do the locations hold the same power?

I went inside our house, leaving just the screen closed so that I could hear the roar and the splatter through the open doorway. I put on a sweatshirt and slippers and sat at the table in front of an open window. I watched the sky come to life with a flash. I heard the clouds echo with power. I saw the street splash and flow with cleansing rain. I was filled with joy, with a sense of peace and a knowledge that, though some things have to change, pieces of the magic will always return to spark a memory and bring life to sleeping dreams.

Maiden Voyage

I keep trying to start here, but it feels like cheating. 
I can't seem to leave Diaryland. Not Yet. So I'll just double-post for a little while and see how I feel. Here we go...