Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's the Final Countdown...!

I am around 39.5 weeks along today, and all I can think is..."Really?? When did that happen?!" For months I have been wishing for November to get here already, and suddenly...here it is. I keep going all over the spectrum emotionally, from being really excited and impatient for Clara to get here, to being super scared and not wanting her to rush her appearance. I realize this is normal, but it's emotionally exhausting! I have been doing tons of baby laundry in hopes of at least feeling a little more prepared. Have I cleaned our apartment top to bottom? No. Have I gotten to the sewing projects I wanted to do before her arrival, such as her Christmas stocking and teddy bear, etc.? No. Am I basically trying to take it easy as much as possible before my life is turned upside down? Yes. Do I feel guilty about it, given my easily-guilted nature? Maybe slightly, but not enough to make me kick myself into gear right now. Ahh, it's so nice for once. :)

I am feeling super optimistic today. There are so many good things that have happened/will happen over the next few weeks:

  • I found out this morning that I passed the Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) section of the CPA exam that I took in October (!!!). I have three more sections to pass over the next 18 months, but I'll tackle those eventually.

  • Niklas and I are going to be parents in a matter of days, and we both have no idea what we're doing. But we'll figure it out like everyone else.

  • My mother-in-law is flying in this Thursday and will stay with us for a little over a week to help with the cleaning and whatever needs to get done. So nice.

  • Niklas' brother and wife are also showing up this weekend to pay a visit.

  • This Friday is my last day of work before maternity leave!

  • My mom will be flying in for her grandma shift after my mother-in-law heads back to WA. She will be spending Thanksgiving with our new threesome family.

  • Niklas graduates with his Bachelor's degree in English this December!!! :D After that, we have no idea what's in store for him/us. He was planning on applying to a few graduate schools whilst also applying for full-time employment. Sometimes all of these unknowns freak me out; but today I'm feeling that everything will fall into place and be fine in the long-run.

Now, if only I could bottle these spouts of optimism and keep it for the future rainy days. Ah, well.

So there you have it, folks. I'm standing on the edge of a major life-altering event, and all I can say, is...bring it on; and also thank you to Heavenly Father, for all of these marvelous blessings in my life. I realize more and more just how much Niklas and I are safe-guarded in Your loving hands.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Game of Life

For Family Home Evening yesterday, Niklas and I borrowed The Game of Life from some of our friends after treating ourselves to pie at Frontier Pies (a la mode, even). Here's a rundown of what happened in each of our lives during our game:

Niklas decided college wasn't for him (he becoming sheepish after my disapproving look) and went straight for a career...as an artist, making $60,000 per payday (not bad for an artist). I decided college was well worth it and took the plunge, incurring $40,000 of debt to become a teacher who made $100,000 every payday. I was pretty happy about this, since I was able to immediately pay off my student loans.

Niklas and I each got married to a peg person (oh, sorry...a peg people per the game instructions...), having one girl and twin boys in each of our families (no joke!). I owned a large farm house while Niklas owned a beach hut, and I was pretty much in the lead for this whole Life game thus far, making more money and higher movement spins than Niklas. Niklas couldn't afford homeowner's insurance but was getting by okay. As life went on, he decided that not going to college initially had been a foolish mistake---so he signed up for night classes that I taught. He paid me $20,000 for his education (he got off easy, if you ask me) and ended up increasing his artist's salary to $90,000 per payday. Not bad at all!

About halfway through my life, I bought an expensive home gym so my family and I could stay in shape. Unfortunately, all the exercise went to my head. Next thing I knew, I was having a mid-life crisis--literally. I "decided" that teaching was not making me happy, so I left the university and became a professional athlete making $20,000 per payday. And Niklas, my pupil that I had helped along the way to greatness, did nothing but glory in my somewhat downfall. Ungrateful little twerp...

Because of this drastic career change, I lost the game by a mere $325,000 or so. I mean, I did do amazing things in my life---like climb Mt. Everest, create a new ice cream flavor and sport, etc. But that jerk-of-an-artist who came out on top did nothing but rub in my face that he had ended up richer than me---even until I went down to my grave. Not once did he acknowledge that I had helped him on his way to financial success...

I had a lot of fun! :D

But here's a couple of problems I had with this new version of Life....

  1. What is up with no longer getting presents when you get married or have children??

  2. Why do children offer no benefit whatsoever by the end of the game like they used to? What is Hasbro/Milton Bradley trying to say about the value (or lack thereof?) of children? And...if nothing else (because we know that children have massive nonmonetary worth), why couldn't any children we had at least lower our tax payments like in REAL life? (IRS dependents benefit people! "Only an accountant would think about that..." said Niklas.)

Oh well. I still enjoyed myself despite this lack of realism. ;)

In other news, I am trying to study for the Financial Accounting and Reporting section of the CPA exam and I'm already bracing myself for failure. There is SO much information to cram into your brain and remember for this test---I'll be lucky if I remember half of it. Taking the test October 14th in Pocatello and hope I can get through all of the study material I need to before then.

Niklas is still on break from college and enjoying the time off. He has been painting more of his miniatures and starting lots of different books at once. He only has one semester to go! We're planning on him graduating this December. With a new baby coming in November, I'm sure it will be...an adventure while he's still got a month of school left. But hey, we're not the first couple to go through this scenario, and we won't be the last. I know Niklas will make it through all right with lots of hardwork (and me being the primary baby-watcher, of course).

Clara is still baking away, and has about 2.5 months left until she's ready. She's still just hanging out and starting to enjoy resting some part of herself on the left side of my belly button---making for a slightly lopsided mommy belly on the outside.

Life is good (the real thing and the boardgame)!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

10 Things I Love About My Husband

(This is Niklas from when his family lived in Washington (1988ish?), looking up at the snow coming down with the rain. This is one of my favorite pictures of him as a child.)

1) His love of nature. One of Niklas' favorite places to go is the gardens on-campus at BYU-I, and he would love to get back to the greenery and forests of Washington state. He would love to go camping (haven't done that together yet) and always enters this sort of zone whenever we are walking out and about in nature. It's like he is in awe of the touch of God's hand within nature; and I love that we share this same enjoyment being among God's creations.

2) His creativity and artistic ability. I'm sure Niklas would argue with me on this one, since he doesn't see his artistic abilities as that fantastic compared to others. But he definitely has artistic talent! He can draw, paint, and sculpt really well--at least in my opinion. :) I appreciate being able to get his help in coming up with a Halloween costume or color pallettes for my sewing projects. He is far superior to me in the artistic realm, and I really admire his abilities. (His current project? Making lightsabers out of PC pipe. I'll post a pic as soon as I have one.)

3) His love of children. Seriously, which wife/girl doesn't love this about any man? Niklas has always wanted children---lots of children. In fact, probably more children than I'll ever be able to give birth to---9 or 10!! Of course, it was kind of a joke...or semi-serious joke. Not only does he want his own biological children, but he would love to be able to adopt other children in the future. He loves to play and interact with the kids in our combined families and I know he is going to be a very involved father with our own children (though he'll love to tease them endlessly, I'm sure). And funny enough, he finds pigtails on little girls completely adorable.

4) His pouty face. I think I already mentioned this before on here, but I cannot get enough of Niklas' pouty face. I unfortunately don't have a picture of it, but it cracks me up every time. Of course, his pouty face is probably supposed to make me feel sorry for him; but instead it makes me laugh. I find it totally endearing.

5) His physical sense of humor. Yes, Niklas has his little twisted sense of humor; but he also is completely unself-conscious about animatedly acting ridiculous. I refuse to play the game "Curses!" because you have to look like a complete idiot in front of others; but Niklas eats it up. The first time I met him in Colorado, he was telling me and my mom about how ridiculous popped collars on men's polo shirts looked---and then he proceeded to pop his own collar and walk around exactly like a chicken. My mom and I DIED laughing. He can always make me laugh, since he has a bit of an entertainer in him that I find amusing. He has the unabashed physical humor that amuses others, especially when he starts busting a funky groove.

(Niklas and his sister Jacqueline, dressed up 50's style for some kind of event. This picture always makes me smile.)

6) His love of books and learning. Although Niklas hasn't enjoyed the grades part of college, he is passionate about being a life-long learner. He loves learning about history, sword fighting, literature, etc. And he absolutely loves books. He would love to have his own library someday so he can stock up on all the books he wants and read them all at his leisure (sort of like the libraries from Jane Austen times). He is all about literature and is also a great writer. It's nice being able to discuss books with him (although we haven't read a lot of the same material), and I look forward to maybe reading Crime and Punishment together. (I've read it once--Niklas, never.) In fact, he's always trying to get me to read all kinds of stuff he's read (classic literature), but I have no desire right now. I know, how bad of me...but thus it is.

7) His cooking skills! Niklas is a great cook. While I have to follow any given recipe line by line (NO deviations) in the rare times I do cook, Niklas can simply throw ingredients together and have the dish turn out really delicious. He instinctively can tell what spices work well together and create a masterpiece. His favorite type of cooking, however, would be grilling. Someday we'll get one and then he can do all the grilled meats he wants. :)

8) His gift for teaching. Niklas has a natural desire to have an impact on the people around him---and when he has taught classes (in church mostly, though he did teach a college class once this last semester for his T.A. job), he knows how to hold the classes' attention by making the subject interesting and throwing in some humor (whether by props or likening life, etc. to Star Wars). He loves to teach and has a knack for it, which is why he hopes to be able to become a university professor someday. (And I would be extremely proud of him being a teacher!)

9) His love of the Gospel. Niklas has a strong testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and has a deep respect for the prophets and apostles throughout history. He loves to learn more about the gospel through studying church literature and isn't afraid to talk to others about the gospel. He seeks and strives to be the best patriarch he can be for our family, and he loves God and Jesus Christ with all of his heart.

10) His soul. Okay, so this is kind of a cop-out---I was having issues thinking of #10. ;) But really, it's a true statement. Though Niklas and I are so different in so many ways, and we drive each other crazy too often than I care to elaborate....I have a deep connection with this man that I didn't have with any other. We have our struggles like any other couple, but when it comes down to it, Niklas is a safe place for me to come to amidst the highs and lows of life. I'm grateful that we are both committed to each other no matter what happens.

(Taken the day I was to receive my endowment, a week before Niklas and I were married.)

So there you go. Niklas has been wrestling with his laptop all day (yay for viruses), so hopefully this post will bring some sunshine to his most-likely gloomy state of mind. ;)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

After-Breakfast "Snack" = No Shame

Did I seriously finish the rest of this yummy sorbet this morning as soon as I got to work? Yes, yes I did. And it was glorious.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Good News and More Ultrasound Pics

So! The glucose drink wasn't as nasty as I thought it would be, but was definitely nasty---imagine a concentrated dosage of Otter Pops and doctor-office suckers for kids, and add in some acidic burning, and you pretty much got it. I had to drink the stuff in intervals.

At the actual appointment, I found out that my placenta did move away from the cervix, which means no C-section in my future! I was relieved. Also, I passed my glucose screening test, so I don't have the drink anymore of that nasty stuff until I am pregnant with my second child! This also made me very happy.

While doing the ultrasound to check on the placenta, the tech graciously took a few more shots of our little Clara. Unfortunately, Clara still had her head turned to the side slightly to prevent a straight-on profile shot; plus she had her arm/hand right up at her face/lips. The tech caught her playing with her toes again as well. :) So cute! The tech was jossling Clara just a bit to get her to move, so she gifted me with a few swift kicks--it was surreal seeing her move on the ultrasound screen while feeling it happening. I can't wait to meet this little one.

And now, for the pics. I decided to finally stick a belly shot on here---here is me at almost 28 weeks (will be on Saturday):

I've been feeling pretty good besides the fatigue, so I can't complain too much. I mean, don't get me wrong--I am defintely experiencing typical pregnancy symptoms that we won't go into, since you'll find out how repulsive I've really become. :B Just kidding...well, not really, but we can pretend. It's only going to get more uncomfortable with the growing here on out, however, so I'm going to enjoy this time while I can!

And presenting little Clara (the pics may be a bit tiny, so you'll have to click on them and zoom):

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hoping for Sickly Sweet Goodness...?

Just a quickie post. I felt fine when I got to work, besides feeling tired...but now I feel exactly how I did after running a few miles and lifting weights back in the day: completely worn out. It's not even 10 a.m. yet! :'(

In other news, I have my 28-week prenatal appointment later today, consisting of another ultrasound and the glucose screening test. The ultrasound is to check on the location of the placenta, since at my 20-week ultrasound, the tech found that it was located within 1-2 cm from the cervix. If the placenta is still that close to the cervix, I'll have to get a C-section ultimately(ugh); but the doctor was pretty confident the placenta would move away from the cervix as my uterus grew with time. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that today's ultrasound will result in good news. I'm also hoping to see little Clara again while they are looking around in there. I love seeing her move around in her little wonderland. :)

I'm also keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be able to drink this stuff down:

Mmmm, yummy.... Not. I don't know about you, but the thought of drinking a pure sugar drink makes me want to gag. But I have a strategy: I'm going to pretend it's chocolate milk while plugging my nose. We'll see how that goes...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


(I've given Niklas fair warning I was going to make this post. ;) )

Back in December during Christmas break, my husband was introduced to the board game Arkham Horror by his brother, which consists of trying to close enough other-dimensional portals before an unspeakable evil monster wakes up to kill everyone. And because Niklas gave me the most pathetic expression of pleading (which usually make me laugh more than anything else), I gave in and played this horror game with them to appease him. Little did I know there was no going back.

Subsequently, Nikas bought the game for himself and it became the #1 (and pretty much only) game that was played in our household whenever we had friends over or saw family. I thought, "Sure, the horror/monsters doing horrible things to people isn't my thing, but it's pretty fun; and it makes Niklas happy when I play." But then Niklas found out about another game by the same company, and immediately bought it as soon as it was out: Mansions of Madness.

This game is basically a horror version of Clue: you are an investigative character trying to find clues (via solving puzzles) as to why so-and-so is missing or why the mansion is a crazy place full of monsters, etc. But the clues are pretty disturbing/gross---like the last game we played I found a bloody man who had been skinned lying on an operating table next to all kinds of crude instruments, speaking his last few words of horror while handing me a silver key. And to make it worse, my oldest niece heard me reading this clue and ran out of the room crying. You can imagine how horrible I felt!

These two games, Arkham Horror and Mansions of Madness, have been the two games that have been played in succession over and over again for the last 8 months; and I've grown weary of playing the same games over, and over, and over again. But Niklas is just as zealous about them as ever.

Niklas also has other games he thoroughly enjoys, but doesn't play as often that have the same disturbing flavor: Gloom, a card game that consists of making members of a selected family suffer as much as possible before offing them; and then Zombies, which is basically killing the undead while trying to survive through it all (I have never played this last game, and have no interest to do so either).

All in all, I've realized even more strongly these past few months that 1) my husband has a twisted, dark sense of humor and entertainment, 2) I can liken his obsessions and addictions to a child that loves to watch the same movie over and over again within the same week and months, much to the exasperation of the parents, and 3) Niklas has an obsessive nature much like mine was back in the day.

I've voiced a petition to purchase "normal" games in the future, such as Life, Settlers of Catan, etc. I'm ready for some family-friendly games that we can play that won't result in upset children and adults or me having nightmares of falling to an icy death afterwards.

Now, I don't say all of this to mock my husband---I actually find his obsessive nature amusing while also struck with how different our tastes are. Niklas married a gal who has the emotional sensitivity of a 5-year-old---who still cries when watching Bambi or The Lion King. The yellow soul-sucking alien in the Green Lantern movie completely disturbed me: I kept gripping Niklas' hand tightly as if I was in labor, not realizing I was doing it; but I got the clue when he kept looking over at me with a worried expression. I mean, how miserable for him to be with someone like me during a movie he is enjoying! :P

Ironically, I have my own obsessive nature, but my obsessions come in spurts of obsession and are not so long-lived as Niklas'. Well, except one: chocolate. Everyone who knows me well knows that chocolate will always hold a special place in my heart. People told me once I got pregnant I might not want chocolate, or completely lose my taste for it. Oh, how contrare. Instead, I eat chocolate every single day in way-too-large quantities, even worse than before (though Niklas has countered that claim). In fact, I'm pretty sure this little girl I'm carrying is swimming in chocolate amniotic fluid as I type. She is either going to LOVE chocolate like her mom or absolutely ABHOR it due to my nasty eating habits and cravings. I've introduced her to chocolate-covered craisins, chocolate milk, rocky-road ice cream, thin mints, chocolate shakes, hot fudge pudding cake, smores, fudgsicles, chocolate-covered pecans, and so much more on multiple occasions. Ice cream happens to be the worst craving for me right now. But despite this, this little girl keeps making her presence known through many a jab, swift kick, or roll; and maybe that's her way of expressing her feelings about my lack of nutrition. ;)