pregnancy, motherhood & womanhood

Judging by my blog, it may not seem like I'm overly excited about this pregnancy.
When we were waiting to bring Bo home, I couldn't shut up about my anticipation.
I posted pictures of his room, any photos we received in weekly updates, etc etc.
And all I've written about this new baby is how many times I threw up and speculation about the gender.

Part of that is due to my shifting thoughts and increasing ambivalence toward blogging.
Part is due to my realization that no one cares what I'm craving or how much weight I've gained.
Well. Certain family members might be interested in that last part.

The largest part, however, is what I've learned from being an adoptive mom
and what I've learned from friends and family.

First of all, I've been surprised by how intertwined this pregnancy and our adoption are in my mind.
When I feel the baby kick, it's exciting and weird and wonderful.
But I also wonder about Bonsa's birth mother. And how his kicks felt to her.
When I was hanging over the toilet bowl, I wondered if his growth caused her nausea.
I don't feel like I missed out on experiencing all of that with Bo - 
his story and our journey to him have taught me so much that I'd have missed out on otherwise.

Second, when we were in the adoption process, we didn't know whether or not 
we'd be able to have biological children.
We'd been "trying" for about a year with no success before we sent in our adoption application.
Then, after we brought Bo home, we decided to just "see what happens"...
and nothing happened for over a year. 

I know what it's like to sit on a bathroom floor with a negative pregnancy test
and curse my body, curse God and curse pregnant women.
I know what it's like to visit the doctor and stare at a black space
where so many other sonograms have a teeny little bean growing.

I've read multiple blogs and heard countless stories about women who claim
that they've never felt like a true woman until after going through the birthing process.
They've never felt stronger or more beautiful or prouder of their bodies or what have you.

I have beautiful friends who long to be married.
Sweet friends who have been through excruciating miscarriages.
Wonderful friends who are currently battling the struggle of infertility.

I think - especially within the Christian culture - there is such a high emphasis placed on reproduction.
When I was resigning from my job teaching, I was explaining to my former [male] boss
that we were getting ready to bring our son home and I was going to stay home with him.
And he told me, "Good for you! That is the most important thing a woman can do."

I mean - don't get me wrong. I do believe a woman's first priority should be her family.
But THE most important thing a woman can do?
What about my friends who are unmarried? 
What about my friends who are unable to have children?
Are they carrying about lesser business than a mom?
Does God care less about the work they are doing than wives and mothers?

My ability to procreate doesn't elevate my importance.
My womanhood isn't determined by my ability to push a human out of my body without painkillers.
My femininity isn't found because of my marriage.

I am created in the image of God.
My identity is rooted in Christ alone.
Yes, the other details of my life shape me - 
but the determining factor is always Christ.

Whew. Unintentional soapbox there.
All that being said - yes, I am SO excited about being pregnant 
and welcoming another Parton to our little pack!


family camping: letchworth

This past weekend, we took a quick trip to Letchworth State Park.
It's only an hour from us - I don't know why it's taken us so long to get there!
We've been wanting to take Bo tent-camping for awhile,
and I especially wanted to get a trip in before I become massive.
So last weekend, I checked the 10-day forecast and suggested,
"Let's go to Letchworth next weekend!"

Arriving at our campsite:
 Taking it easy while Daddy sets up the tent:
 Once camp is all set up, we're ready for adventure!
Doug's pack had a long strap, so Bo held onto what he called "my tail" the whole time:
 Upper falls:
 Sweet boys:
 Little pep talk before our hike:
Top view of the Middle Falls:
 Beautiful rainbow! Feels like a different country.
 Middle falls:
 Family shot, thanks to a random passer-by.
 Middle Falls:
My attempt at being artsy-fartsy: 
 I'm not nervous at all when Doug props Bo up on the rock wall... (lies, all lies):
 I couldn't get enough of Bo holding "my tail".
Every once in awhile, Doug would go too fast and Bo would lose his grip and exclaim:
"Daddy, I lost my tail!"
 Taking in the view:
Oops, caught me with the camera:
 I had to document the sweat. 
This is why we cut Bo's hair so short in summer, much to everyone's chagrin:
 At some point, a hiking stick was acquired:
 Hiking sticks are maybe a little dangerous for young boys. 
But so, so awesome:

 Stopped swinging the stick long enough to get a shot with Mommy:
 Last view of the gorge-ous scenery before we headed back to camp.
 Bo relaxing while Doug gets our fire going:
 Hobo dinners, my favorite camping meal:
 Set up the self-timer on top of the cooler in an attempt to capture 
what we look like watching the fire & cooking dinner:
After dinner, we headed over to a little playground near all the sites
and let Bo get out even more energy before turning in for the night.
Once we got in the tent, however, Bo had a burst of energy - 
apparently he was just super excited about all of us being in the tent together.
It took him about an hour and a half to finally fall asleep, 
but other than that, our first family tent experience was awesome!

The next morning, we broke down camp and headed back out to check out the Lower Falls.
 Absolutely perfect weather & such beautiful scenery!
 Daddy's boy.
 Descent to the Lower Falls:
We stopped along the way for a quick photo shoot,
and I snapped this little heart-melter:
 But in all reality, this is how most of our pictures usually turn out:
 So pretty:
 This is how "hiking" occurred Sunday morning:
 Makes you feel tiny:
 Boys on the footbridge:
View from the footbridge, looking toward the Lower Falls:
 Set up my timer and sprinted over to get another family shot...
Bo is cracking up and reaching for my headband.

A quick trip, but so much fun! Looking forward to future adventures at Letchworth.


the gender game

We are not finding out the baby's gender until he/she makes his/her arrival in October.
However, I love guessing & all the old wives' tales about gender!

Baby's heartbeat: above or below 140?
10 weeks = 168
14 weeks = 170
19 weeks = 144

Mom's cravings: sweet or salty?
I can't get enough fresh fruit (especially nectarines).
However, in my first trimester, I was pretty averse to sugary things,
most notably, mini Cadbury eggs, as I've written before and still bemoan.

Morning sickness: yes or no?
Up until about week 16, I was throwing up probably 4-5 days a week.
Then I stopped for a good 2 weeks, and the last time I threw up was at 18 weeks.

Mom's skin: soft or dry?

Mom sleeps on: right or left side?
Oh man. I really toss and turn.
I don't know how I'm going to sleep once I get really large.

Chinese Calendar: 1 girl, 2 boy
This one says girl, this & this say boy...

Mom's emotions: moody or happy?
Pretty happy!

Mom's headaches: more or less?
Less now.
More at first - probably from cutting down caffeine!

The trick used by the lady from Manda & Marla's church: boy

Girl tally: 3
Boy tally: 5

I think it's a boy.
Bo thinks it's a boy.
Though a few weeks ago, he kept saying it was a girl.
I think he chooses whichever gender is the last one mentioned.
Doug refuses to comment either way, stinker!

What about you guys?? What do you think?


fruit of the spirit?

Some of my most frequently played tunes in the car are by All Sons & Daughters. 
I especially love their song "I Am Set Free", which starts:
"You broke my chains of sin and shame and covered me in grace..."
I just love that picture, and Bo has gotten to know the song because of my repetition.

Yesterday afternoon we were in the car together and I was just staying quiet, 
enjoying hearing my little boy sing praise songs. 
Then "I Am Set Free" came on. 

I listened as Bo sang along:
"You broke my chains of sin and shame and covered me in grapes."