Monday, December 29, 2008

Welcome to the world, little one!

This is the Gutsy Dad, writing on behalf of the entire Gutsy Family…

Madelyn James
8lbs, 0 Oz
21 inches
December 29, 2008

The Gutsy Mom and Madelyn are doing fine! Jillson, Meme & Kiki all came to meet the “little one” and Jillsie declared that Madelyn is “cute.”

We will include some more pictures soon.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Santa Came!

This year, it was our first time celebrating Christmas as a "nuclear" family in our very own home, with dogs, kid(s), and grandparents together. What fun!

The Gutsy Dad got new (baby) gear, of course:

Jillson was happy to unwrap presents for one and all:

Lila was the lucky recipient of a stroller just her size:

Meme reads to Jillsie:

Like Kiki, like Jillsie:

The Gutsy Dad treated the Gutsy Mom to new boots and a new bag. You can never go wrong with boots and bags. (Please pardon my bedhead.)

A Gutsy Family tradition--cheese curls in the stocking:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

38 Weeks & Lost In Thought

Warning: this blog post is filled with excessively sentimental writing. The end of this pregnancy has inspired some serious thinking. And, well, 'tis the season to clear my mind.

My mom pointed out in an email that both my grandmother and I have experienced what it is like to be expecting this time of year (Mom was born December 31st), and so I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit. Pregnant or not, this time of year is filled with great expectations: Christmas is coming, plans are underfoot to see family we haven’t seen for a while, new beginnings lie just around the corner with the new year. We have advent calendars and paper chains and shopping lists. We are all waiting for something. My grandmother once told me how much she enjoyed this time of year when she was pregnant, sitting in the dark with my grandfather during the blackouts (it was WWII), singing Christmas carols, and discussing names for the baby. I love this picture of a young family making the most of uncertain times; I love that it was my mom—eventually named Carol—whom they were discussing and, literally, singing into this world.

I’ve also spent some time thinking about Mary. Yes, that Mary, the Mary. I’ve been feeling quite sympathetic for her, due to the discomforts that come along at the end of a pregnancy. If the Gutsy Dad turned to me and said “Hop up on the donkey, honey, we’re going on a road trip,” do you think my response would be full of grace? (More like: “No. No. Ow. And, no. Can’t we send in an absentee census form?”) Right now, I wouldn’t ride a donkey around the block, let alone to the next city. But Mary did. And she did it as an unwed teenager. And she did it because it is what was asked of her. How does a person find the strength to do that? (I am not just talking about the donkey ride anymore; I mean, how does a person find the strength to—literally—bring God into the world? Would you do it if it were asked of you? If you are a Christian, are you doing so now, metaphorically? Are you doing all that is asked of you? Are you bringing God into the world? I don’t normally talk about religion on the blog, but I told you the end of this pregnancy has me thinking. I know I am not doing everything I can.)

Finally, I have been filled to overflowing with thoughts of another young family. My brother’s friend, Luke, has a 5-year-old daughter Madeline who is dying from pleural pulmonary blastoma. She’s been sick for a long time and has survived several brain surgeries, but it seems the tumors have grown inoperable. Her doctors are not certain she will make it to the new year. Inspite of what must be an unbearable situation, the family is trying to do something fun every day; today, at Madeline's request, they are baking cookies for all of the children on the hospital ward where Madeline was treated. So now, during this holiday season, as I prepare with my family to welcome a new little life into this world, I also think of Madeline and her family, preparing to let go of a life. How does a person find the strength to do that?

I once read somewhere that all of our prayers can be boiled down to one or two words, and I think this is true. So these are the words that I have been praying over and over this week:

For my own family’s situation, I pray thank you.

For Madeline and her family, simply help them.

Friday, December 19, 2008

'Tis the Season...

...TO BE JELLY, according to Jillsie.

A few recent pics that are cheering me up on an otherwise gloomy Friday morning.

What's a boy to do? Jillsie "helps" cousin Teddy:

Purple passion is our fashion (I think that was something my mom used to chant in college):

Post-bath happiness--Tilly licks Jillsie's toes:

Talking to Meme:

After the humiliation of a bath, Tilly finds a seasonal place to curl up and dry:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Murphy's Law

I know it is, in general, rather tacky to complain about pregnancy-related issues, but sometimes you just hafta. Please understand, I am deeply grateful to be pregnant, I enjoy being pregnant, I know I am blessed to pregnant, and, in general, I find pregnancy to be a wondrous thing.


I am currently being plagued by random, intense soreness. One day it is the quads, the next day it is the shoulders, the next day it is the groin, the next it is the hammies, the next day the butt. I assure you I am doing nothing out of the ordinary. No crazy-long walks, no weight-lifting videos, no long periods of sitting or standing or doing any one thing. Just crippling achiness.

The Gutsy Dad is an expert masseuse at this point, and a very patient one, but I assure you he is just as delighted as I am by the arrival of our new "i-need" back massager thing from Brookstone. Loooooooove this thing. It's mean, it's lean, it's lime green, and it kneads the heck out of my back multiple times a day.

Next. I believe it is Murphy's Law that I now wake up--fully--some time between 4:30 and 5:30am, when the Gutsy Dad gets up. He has always gotten up this early, and I have always slept through it. Not anymore. Wide awake and starving. And, wouldn't you know, right around 6:45, I am exhausted again and ready for my morning nap. But guess who wakes up around 7:00am... She is not subtle either. You can't sleep through (even fake sleep through) "Mommy, I'm reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeady! Mommy, come get me! Just a minute, Jillson, Mommy is coming to get you down! Jilllllllllson! Oh, Jillson, you need a change. Wait for Mommmmmmy! Mommmmmmmmy! I neeeeeeeeeeed you!"

I do appreciate her attempt to get herself to wait. Now if only she would whisper it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


For those of you who haven't seen The Belly recently, this is what it looks like at 36 and a half weeks. For the record, the belly button is out, out, out. That never happened when I was pregnant with Jillson, but there you have it. Sieby is asserting herself already.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Not Yet

Having recently been chastised via email by a good friend, albeit quite graciously, for not posting in over a week and making her wonder whether something very exciting had happened.... the answer is no. I'm at 36 weeks and holding tight, as it were.

Sieby is the size of a crenshaw melon and still very active, though things are getting a bit cramped for her in there.

On Sunday, we returned from a whirlwind Tour de Family in the States. We were lucky enough to see all four of our siblings, their spouses, their kids, and the infamous Meme and Kiki. Whew! Fun details to follow. Okay, fun details POSSIBLY will follow, if I ever get around to posting pictures. I cannot make any more promises like that, as I am totally consumed by getting the house in order for the baby and decorating for Christmas.

I love Christmas in Germany, so you will certainly hear more on this topic in future posts.

In the meantime, I leave you with a few little tidbits:

-- The Gutsy Dad and I believe we have finally chosen a real name for Sieby. (You'll have to wait for the Geburt to find out what it is.)

-- A marder chewed through the wires on the Gutsy Dad's brand new Volvo, rendering all electronic communication with his brakes impossible. Sadly, this repair will cost about the same as our deductible. Sigh. (Go ahead, google marder along with crenshaw melon.) Ah, the cute, little, wire-loving twerps.

-- Our Christmas tree is up!

-- We have a few new inches of snow. (Need to get trekking poles to go with our new snowshoes.)

-- A recent chat with Jillson:

Jillsie: (pointing to Mommy's belly) Papa's udder dodder is in there.
Mommy: That's right!
Jillsie: (pointing to Mommy's right boob) And Mommy's udder dodder is in there.
Mommy: Um...
Jillsie: (pointing to Mommy's left boob) And Jillson's liddle sister is in that one.
Mommy: No, sweetie, there's only one baby, and it is in Mommy's belly. It's Mommy's other daughter, Papa's other daughter, AND Jillsie's little sister all in one.
Jillsie: No, Mommy, no. Nein. Papa is having three dodders. We need to get Papa more dodders. And Papa will get a new ring for you. And Meme will get a new ring for Jillson.

Okay, then.