Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Family Portrait

We are in need of a family portrait. I have mixed feelings about whether or not we should have one done professionally.

(*Oh no, I think I feel another "debate" coming on. How about we do my brain a favor and keep Andrew out of this one?)

To have a portrait taken now would mean that it would be outdated in two months when our baby boy arrives. However, for that same reason, the fact that our threesome is about to change reinforces feelings that I have to capture this phase our life before it passes.

The reasons I hesitate include:
  • Finding a photographer who has the ability to minimize the current size of my face and has the patience and creativity to keep up with Eliza.
  • Affordability of studio and/or photographer. I am hoarding the baby sitting money I recently earned. It's the first paycheck that's been written out in my name since the Spring of 2006. However, I feel that spending money towards a family portrait is a justifiable reason to dip into "special" funds.
While I sit on the fence of indecision, my body will continue to expand in unflattering regions. Oh well. I guess, for now, our Snowman family portrait will suffice until a replacement arrives.
Presenting a pipe smokin, button wearing Andrew, a voluptuous, pregnant Ali & a cross eyed Eliza!! What do you think? I paid the sculptor to leave off my double chin.
I have to mention that our elderly neighbor (a woman in her mid seventies) was thrilled to see that our snow-woman was pregnant. However, she thought that it needed to be taken a step further. She dutifully saw to it that our snow family become anatomically correct.

I'd post the photos but they're borderline PG-13, maybe even Rated R. Some would call it art, but to post them would simply make me blush.
Our snow princess...
...12 seconds later, our snow princess realizes she's stuck.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Great Forrest Debate

The following dissertation is in response to a very loaded question:
**Andrew does approve of the following content. He thinks I've nailed it right on the head.

Friends continue to inquire about the status of our unborn child's name. "Have you thought of any names yet?" is a common question asked of expectant parents, right?

In my opinion, "smart couples" deliberately guard their thoughts on name possibilities. While some of our tight lipped friends worry that their ideas will be "shot down" by an honest opinion, others want to keep it a surprise, protect the unique nature of their choice and/or - they simply don't know until they meet their baby.

Andrew and I don't fall into the "smart couple" category. Clearly.

Eliza was named before the blue, sticky ultrasound gel had been wiped off my tummy at our 18 week ultrasound appointment. There wasn't room for anyone to "shoot down" our name choice because we unitedly told anyone who asked, that she was to be "Eliza."
(Eliza, 10 days old)

Based on our positive, easy experience in naming her, I never anticipated that nearly each discussion regarding our baby boy's name would lead to instant heart burn.
Andrew is strong willed, determined and exudes a natural confidence while maintaining an honest level of humility. I don't know how he pulls off such a genuine combination, but those who know him as I do, would agree. Now that I've built up Andrew, allow me to detail the ROOT of our problem :)

I've always admired these qualities until discovering that on occasion he doesn't agree with me (*GASP) and decides to "hold his own."

Problem: He is determined that our son's name will be Forrest. I don't like the name (no offense to anyone named Forrest).

Andrew's argument:
  • He descends from two men who were named Forrest. One from his maternal side and the other from his paternal. I acknowledge that both of these ancestors lived exemplary lives.
  • In his opinion, it's not a weird name.
  • Due to his level of testosterone, Andrew is attracted (in a non sexual way) to dirt, stones, wildlife, red rock, bark, flowers, rivers - all things NATURE. And I imagine that the name "Forrest" embodies this appreciation to an extent.
  • Who cares what other people think - people will adjust (please refer to the naturally confident component of my husband)
  • It's too important to only be a middle name (when I suggested a compromise)
  • At one point (long before I was pregnant), I was on board with the name Forrest. He believes that people's negative reactions have swayed me into disliking the name.
  • Andrew loves to tease me. He, along with family and friends, call our son 'Forrest' on a regular basis. My reactions (that I am trying to tone down) fill a need for minor drama filled moments.
Ali's argument:
  • Say "Forrest Flegal" three times fast. It doesn't mesh with our last name. It's a semi tongue twister for a natural mumbler like me.
  • Being Queen of Over Sensitivity, I worry that he'll be teased. True, our son may be blessed with Andrew's thick skin and inherit his "all things outdoors man" gene - but who takes that chance when half of his genetic code comes from me? If the grocery store clerk looks at me wrong, I end up in tears.
  • I confess, on occasion, I've been "open" to the name. During that same"season" of my life, I would have considered framing Andrew's belly button lint had he ever had the nerve to mail it me while he was on his mission. The obsession passed, but the love that's always been there remained.
  • The "pleaser" part of my personality wants to say, "Sure thing Andrew. Name him whatever you want." However, I also love my unborn child. And sometimes in life, there are just unfair name associations.
  • I support the idea of naming our children in honor of our ancestor's. There is great power in researching their lives and passing on their legacies. However, talking about "names" and making "lists" was easy up until we actually conceived. Then it became real and hard to talk about. Has anyone else felt this way? I've honestly analyzed how I feel about this name and concluded on my own, that I am not a fan.
Trust me, I could continue. However, because you and I both have a life to return too, I will end today's discussion with this final thought. As the uncomfortable yet 'grateful to be expecting' vessel, I claim the right to like our son's name. And I'm not being difficult. I'm open to many possibilities.

Feel free to weigh in. I'm sure we can find "Team Andrew" and "Team Ali" t-shirts online somewhere. And please know that as serious as this situation is, our marriage is strong and stable :)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

President Gordon B. Hinckley, 1910-2008

"We Thank Thee O God, For A Prophet"

How do you pay tribute to someone so beloved? Perhaps, it's by abiding by the Christ like precepts he taught, following his example of hard work, selfless service and extending charity towards everyone - as he seemed to do flawlessly. I am thankful that He was the Prophet of my youth. Oh, how he will be missed and remembered.

Along with feelings of shock and sadness at his passing, I feel deep gratitude for the way His life has impacted mine. I think I shall save my remaining thoughts for my other journal. My blog generally consists of light hearted, silly experiences. Thanks for allowing me a moment to reflect on a piece of my life that I hold sacred.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

T-minus 8 weeks, 6 days until blast-off!

"Blast-off" certainly isn't the most lady-like, accurate and/or modest way to describe the arrival of a baby.But let's be honest, there's nothing "Lady-like" about the birthing process. Unless you're one of the fair few who remembers her manners and includes a "please" when begging for an epidural or are able to give a kind notice that you're moments away from retching... but like I said, there's nothing "genteel" about it.

Who am I kidding? You can't compare the timing of a baby to the departure of a rocket ship either. I hear that those people at NASA are quite punctual. As for the arrival of a baby, usually it's the baby who decides when the show starts. And if that's not the case, it's your doctor's decision. Good grief, why should I have any say in the matter? Go ahead and disregard the last nine months that I've put into this process.

I'll happily keep my opinion to myself. What's another two or three days of walking around with a bowling bowl between your legs? (To an overdue pregnant woman - it's an eternity)... Thankfully, I am not there yet, but at 31 weeks, the memories are rushing back.

:)

Having "said" that, let's assume that I have nine weeks until baby boy Flegal arrives. I've mentally been making a list of things I need/want to accomplish before I meet my son. However, considering that my "brief" introduction is no longer brief and that I'm only half way done with today's dishes, I'll conclude my thoughts for now and tackle the above mentioned "bucket" list another day.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Big Girl's Dont Cry (but their Mama's do)

***A hormonally impaired version of myself wrote today's post. Consider yourself warned.

Preparing a 20 month old toddler for the arrival of a new sibling is similar to baking a cake in the refrigerator. It seems pointless, right? This is the mood I find myself in today.

Some of our attempts and/or preparations are simple, while others feel like milestones.

Simple acts involve our daily conversations about "baby brother" or requesting that Eliza give her baby brother a kiss on Mama's tummy. Playing with her baby doll and watching her light up as we show her photos of herself as baby are also frequent activities.

As for this week's milestone, Eliza is officially out of her crib. Tears were shed, but they weren't hers...(all mine!) I was all geared up for a tantrum and a battle that never came. That doesn't mean that we're in the clear, but so far, she's adjusting with ease into her bed. I hesitate to say that the transition has been easy because life has a way of humbling you when you do.

As for my batch of tears? I have to put away her baby bedding. As of yesterday, her crib that I spent hours searching for, is no longer hers. To see it standing vacant, symbolizes her continued growth. It still amazes me that this process of change is beyond exciting and emotionally difficult at the same time.

Time is sparse. Pretty soon, I'll have the newborn quarantine placed upon my small family, so like the new film, The Bucket List - I have a few things that I'd like to see happen and/or do before baby boy arrives.

I'll spend more time on what this list entails later, but first and foremost on that list is providing Eliza new experiences such as this."Cherish your one-on-one time" I remind myself. Eliza's been my second half since September 15, 2005 (the day I found out I was expecting). She's had my full attention since day one and I will forever be grateful I've been able to give her that. She's caused my heart to love and worry in a way that I never dreamed was possible.
Good grief, I love my little girl. Even now, I have a hard time typing the word "little" when for so long it's been "baby girl"... I shouldn't be allowed to post in this condition. I'll be pregnant for nine more weeks, so posts of this nature may resurface.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Survival of the Fattest

Based on my extreme lack of athleticism, I shouldn't be allowed to type or say the word "marathon" - but I'm going too.

I feel like I just completed a marathon. I am emotionally, physically & mentally wasted (insert sympathy comments and sighs, *here.)

In case I'm ever tempted to babysit 4 children, while 30 weeks pregnant with a hyper active, dramatically inclined, monkey of my own; I've compiled a list of "lessons learned" to serve as a reminder (or warning) of what to expect.

Lessons Learned:
  • Don't trust mapquest. Although you entered the CORRECT address of the Nickelcade and followed the online directions precisely, you ended up in the center of a trailer park after reaching the final "destination"... Still no clue how that happened.
  • You suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Today at lunch, Harold and Sam were ganging up on their younger sister. To say they were teasing her would be an understatement. Having grown up with your own pair of big brothers, your palms began to sweat as you saw yourself in Suzy's sweet, distraught face. You could hear your brother's teasing you, telling you that you don't have a chin and that your mom joined the circus and was NEVER COMING HOME... Sadly, as an adult, you had to be the peacemaker and resist the temptation of pouring a generous helping of x-lax in their ramen noodles.
  • It's okay to drop off your own monkey at her Nana's house when spending the afternoon entertaining the older children. Thanks again, Teresa!!
  • Lie to yourself often. Spending 40% of the day doing the dishes IS fun when you have two dishwashers.
  • Tootsie Pops - they're your new cure all.
  • Laugh at your husband... otherwise you'll cry when he suggests five minutes after arriving home that TONIGHT is the night to switch Eliza from her crib to a big girl's bed. Riiiiight.
  • You belong in a Mercedes. I mentioned in an earlier post that I was looking forward to driving the family van. Fortunately, I was mistaken. When I was handed the keys to a 2005 Mercedes R350, all I could do was giggle.
So long dream vehicle we will never own... parting is such sweet sorrow!In all reality, we had an entertaining week. The children were well behaved. They said and did a lot that made us laugh.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Not complaining, I promise.

Monday morning:
Phone rings.
"Hi, is this Ali, the babysitter?" Suzy asks.

"Yes it is. Hi Suzy, what's up?" Ali asks with a smile.

"I NEED lunch money. I'm all out. It's a 1.20 per day or you can bring me a lunch from home." She explains. Her voice is filled with a sense of urgency and stress. Ali reassures her that she'll be down to the elementary school momentarily to drop off her lunch money for the month.

Tuesday morning:

"Harold forgot his lunch" Sam informs Ali.

After dropping the two kids off at the elementary, Ali makes a pit stop at the junior high and crosses the icy parking lot with a sack lunch and a toddler in arms. Feeling she did a good deed, she leaves satisfied.
Tuesday MID-morning:

Ali receives a text from Harold.

"Thanks for the lunch. I also need ten dollars for my science lab fee by the end of the day."

... So this is what Mom's do ALL DAY?

Wednesday morning:

Cell phone rings.

Cute husband says, "Um... hi. I left my breakfast/lunch sack by the door. Could you please put it in the fridge?"

Ali can't believe it - oh wait, yes she can. Why should today be any different.

"Are you going to buy yourself something to eat at school?" she asks, fully aware that Mr. Flegal Frugal pants won't do that.

"No, I can eat at five when I get home." He says.

Knowing that she can't drop off his lunch, Ali does the next best thing and calls his sister who also attends the U of U.

So today, I share the "super hero glory that Mom's never get credit for" with Katie for delivering Andrew his lunch. Thanks Katie! *please note: that picture is not intended to represent my beautiful sister in law Katie. Is it a representation of how I feel? You betcha!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Epiphany

*Children's names have intentionally been changed

Driving to school this morning, Ali, *Suzy and *Sam begin discussing restless leg syndrome.

"Yes..." Ali explains, "It seems that my legs have a hard time falling asleep when I am pregnant."

A look of complete understanding washes over Sam's face as he exclaims, "Oh!!! So you ARE pregnant!"

Ali starts laughing, grateful that they're now having this conversation.

"I didn't want to ask. I didn't want to hurt your feelings if you weren't" he says. "I didn't know if you were pregnant of if you'd just been eating a lot of chips."

Sunday, January 13, 2008

On Blogger Vacation?

Our family will be checking in with a nearby family for a few days to do a little substitute parenting. We will be adding to growing brood, four children and one dog.

As the "mother" of five - hmmm, why don't you go ahead and make that six if you want to include the one I'm carrying around on a permanent basis,
(30 weeks)

I am anticipating a few cooking mishaps (does anyone know how to work a rice cooker?), deleting "nap time" from my schedule and forgetting to pick up little "Billy" from preschool - oh man, that would be terrible. I promise not to do that.

I don't know if I'll have the capability, time or more importantly - the brain power to blog much next week. So if anyone other than my Mom is wondering why I am missing in action, that's the reason.

As for the benefits of our upcoming adventure:
1. I love these kids. We watched them last year and had a great time.
2. They have two dishwashers: TWO!!!
3. One of the little boys mentioned something about having a Wii??
4. You should see their shower.
5. I get to drive a mini-van. That's hot.

Little Eliza is going to Love, Love, Love having four friends to play with. Isn't that right, Eliza?"Yes, Mama. I think you're right about that. "

Thursday, January 10, 2008

An Untold Treasure

First order of business...

Happy Birthday Mark! My brother turns the big 3-0- today! Whoop, whoop! Mark, I hope that you have a lovely night out with your beautiful wife, Jen.Mark & Jen Mays family (Note to self: look as fabulous as Jen does after giving birth)

While on the phone with my Mother this morning, I asked her to share Mark's birth story. Seeing that it is his birthday, it was on my mind. I was also interested because:

1. Mark is her second child. Coincidentally, I am expecting my second (which will also be my first boy) and I've been wondering how my sister Ami adjusted to his intrusion... I mean, arrival.
2. Mark was born the day before my Mom's birthday (Happy birthday tomorrow, Mom!).
3. I am nosy and like drama.

"Well, let's see. I am trying to remember the scenario" she began.

"Oh, yes... after going to the doctor's office that afternoon, we were sent straight to the hospital to be admitted."

I thought to myself, "Now that's exciting! How many frustrated, overdue pregnant women leave their doctor's office beyond irritated because they were told not much was happening and that they'd be back next week for another appointment. And here she was in labor!"

"And then..." she continued, "Shortly after his delivery, I ran into Greg and his wife, who had also just delivered a baby."

HOLD THE PHONE. You need to know who Greg is.

Greg was my mom's high school boyfriend. She had every intention of waiting for him while he served his mission, that is, until she met my dad. I haven't drilled her (yet) for every detail of their relationship, but I think it's fair to say that Greggy Weggy (as my Dad calls him) was her first "love."

Ladies, please raise your hand if you'd like to run into your first flame A DAY AFTER BEARING A CHILD... because let's be honest, you certainly would not be looking your best.

I can recall black eyes from pushing so hard that your blood vessels bursts, not to mention your swollen, yet squishy, belly, triple chin, a face that is completely marked with exhaustion that enhances - um NOTHING...

As for that "new mom" glow - that's a lie. It's just sweat.

But knowing my mother, she didn't look like that at all.

Still, what an unfortunate moment for something like that to happen.
Thirty years later, my Mom is still as stunning as ever. It's a pity that Gweggy couldn't see what a hot Grandma you are. Happy birthday (tomorrow) to my best friend. I love you, Mom.

Monday, January 7, 2008

An Andrew Report - exclusively found here!

The following is an unedited conversation with Andrew:

Enter the loving, concerned, empathetic wife. She inquires: "How was your first day of school?"
(*Andrew begins to laugh --- his laugh turns into a whimper...)

Waiting for details, an alarmed Ali prods, "That good, huh?"
Andrew eyes me suspiciously and asks, "You look like you're ready to type my answer."

"Yes, yes I am." I honestly reply, " I am trying to capture your current state of distress."

"I want to cry." Andrew says and then woefully, he exits the living room.

Well, how is that for a drama filled moment? Are you captivated? I didn't think you'd be either.

I knew I should have blogged about my dear friend giving birth to a nine pound baby instead (CONGRATS LAURA!!!) - now that's excitement! And the suspense continues because their baby still hasn't been named. Out of fear of being annoying (way too late for that!) I called her parent's house a half hour ago to see if they had decided on a name. Anyway, I'll keep you posted... there's nothing like a newborn baby to liven up a blog such as mine!

Back to Andrew, truth be told - his classes went well. Andrew tried to explain a recent hiccup, setback, roadblock (take your pick) with his design project, but due to the technicality of the situation, I think that my level of understanding would be the same if he had
laid out the details in German.

What I am trying to say is; I don't understand the intricacies of the situation because it's complex, but today I've been here to support him, to serve as his rock. Ha ha ha - I'm more like his squishy marshmallow ! Exhibit A: Happy, cheerful, wearing a chef's hat wife... Lucky for him, my version of a "bad day" didn't land on his. On those "rare" days, I'm more like exhibit B: hormonal, sleep deprived, starving pregnant wife who neglects husband due to my own personal distress (ugh - where are those ghostbusters?)

In closing, I'd like to say that it's a GOOD THING that he has an Eliza to help him find simplistic moments of joy on days like today - regardless of my own mood.
Why is she still wearing Christmas jammies? Because they fit. Give her another five minutes, they'll be too small.

Friday, January 4, 2008

"Cousin's Share" By Eliza G. Flegal

Hello everyone! It's me, Eliza Grace, ready to tell you everything I know (so far) about cousins!
First of all, I love to play with all of my cousins. Here is a picture of a few I've seen recently.
As you can see, cousin's hold hands and stand in a lot of pictures together... a lot. of. pictures. Which suits me just fine considering I love attention.
Cousins support each other in everything and anything silly - I really thought Emee's sticker on her head was funny.Cousins try to share toys. We shared foam stickers really well when decorating princess crowns!

Do you know what else cousins share?! GERMS! BACTERIA! VIRUSES even!*Gasp! I can tell you from firsthand, personal experience. We've shared identical coughs and fevers over the holiday break. I am happy to report that after being sick for a week, I am on the road to recovery - thanks to hours of sleep, endless cuddles and hugs from Mama, the makers of Children's Tylenol and last but not least, the wonder coughing syrup, Delsym

(*All approved and recommended by a pediatrician and more importantly - my Aunt Jen)

But wait, it doesn't end here.Cousin Karina and Aunt Katie shared their Friday night with my Mama and me. Daddy is currently sleeping in a SNOW CAVE IN THE SPRUCES so they brought my worn-out Mama some hot, homemade soup and veggie salad! It was delicious (okay, I'll be honest, I had chicken nuggets and jello for dinner.) But Mama loved it. And their company. She likes adults. A lot.My mama returned the favor by providing STORE BOUGHT brownies . Mama always says it's the thought that counts. She "thought" about making something homemade, but settled in for an afternoon nap instead - oops!

And finally, cousins and sister in laws share DUE DATES!Mama and Cousin Serity are ONE day apart on their due date. While Aunt Liz is expecting her baby boy two and a half weeks earlier... and of course, they're all having BOYS!! Which makes me wonder, how well do boys share?In my Mama's defense, this shirt is a miniature sized tent. But I bet by now she could fill the entire thing on her own.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Welcome, Welcome 2008!

I have had limited time with our laptop. Andrew and I have a gift for losing valuable cords... cords that are meant to charge laptops, for instance. Another cord that is M.I.A. belongs to our camera charger (Personally, I think we left that one in Germany). Lucky for us, yet inconvenient for our parents, we are able to charge our camera using the Flegal's camera charger.

If you merely check this blog for new pictures, I'm afraid that because of our disability in losing things, there won't be any new additions until our .99 cent purchase from Ebay arrives (a new cord).

This brings me to my list of resolutions for 2008:
1. Please stop losing things!

Goal setting overwhelms me, so I think that should suffice for my personal self-improvement in 2008... ha, just kidding.

I have loads of ideas floating around my head, but because the only lists that I make on a regular basis consist of either groceries or what everyone wants from Wendys, I haven't made one for my resolutions - not to mention, some of these ideas fall into a category labeled " Ali personal."

I pride myself on being honest with Andrew (and with myself) when it comes to recognizing my weaknesses, but it's my intent to fool each of you into believing that I don't have any. So to maintain this deceptive illusion, I will keep most of my goals or my "areas of needed improvement" private. And besides, do you really care about my resolutions?

Rather, here is a list of things I am looking forward to in 2008!!

1. Welcoming our son this March.
2. Andrew graduating this Spring (does anyone else hear the Hallelujah chorus?)
3. Having an income - full time.
4. Settling into a house (that includes: a dishwasher, bathtub AND washer/dryer!!)
5. Eliza learning to use the toilet.
6. My little brother comes home from his mission in August!!
7. Continuing to spend each day with Eliza. I love her and am thankful for the way that motherhood challenges me.

A year ago, I never would have thought that our family would be spending the summer in Germany. As I continue to over-state, that experience blessed and enriched our life. Here I sit at the beginning of another year, knowing that great change is on our horizon again: a new baby, the possibility of re-locating for Andrew's engineering job, dropping two chin sizes come April, etc. And it excites me.

With the good, comes the bad... it's my hope and prayer that heartache and disappointment will be far from my family and friends in 2008. Forgive me for not writing down who said the following, but at Church on Sunday, a sister shared the following quote:

"The only way to dispel fear is to be prepared both spiritually and temporally." - I believe this whole heartedly... and can say that much of what my resolutions include, revolve around becoming prepared in this manner.

Happy New Year!

P.S. Eliza has a list of her own resolutions that she'd like to share, but at the moment she is afflicted with a horrible cough and fever. When she's back to her bouncy self, you can look forward to that.