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Thursday, November 22nd:

Twenty-Two Things I’m Thinking About This Thanksgiving Day:

1. My little family–

for my amazing husband, Peder, and all that he does for me, for my beautiful son or daughter that I can’t wait to meet, & for my sweet kitties who never fail to make me feel loved.

2. My mama–

for the woman who does so incredibly much for us, who loves us and supports our life no matter what.

3. My sister

for Emmy, a wonderful person, a wonderful teacher, and a wonderful aunt.

4. My extended family–

for so many aunts and uncles and cousins who have been so helpful and generous, giving us everything we need for the baby from onsies to maternity clothes to breast pumps!

5. My new extended family–

for my in laws, my new grandparents-in-law, and the numerous aunts and uncles and cousins-in-law who are just amazing people.

6. My job–

I have never loved what I do more than I have these past two years as a teacher.

7. Peder’s job–

despite the long {long} hours, his job provides for us, allowing us to live here while Peder gets to do what he loves.

8. Good food–

for thanksgiving staples {like corn and oysters! and stuffing!} and new favorites {like squash or sweet potatoes with cranberry relish on top. zomg delicious}.

9. NPR–

for the 15 minutes I spend every morning listening to what matters most in the world on Morning Edition, and for the hour every weekend we spend laughing and quizzing on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.

10. Christmas lights–

for the brightness that fills the world {and our porch} every holiday season. The new bulbs on our house make our neighborhood look beautiful again!

11. Christmas trees–

for the old tradition of picking out a blue spruce at Bomgaars with my family and lighting the family room with bubble lights, glass beads, and popcorn strands, and for the new tradition of trekking out with Peder to chop down a tree every year; can’t wait to bring little baby with us in 2013!

12. Fiction–

for the characters in books, movies, and TV shows that carry me away to wonderful worlds, for Hogwarts, for Narnia, for New York City apartments, and for the Stars Hollow town hall.

13. Blogging–

for this new adventure that lets family all over the country keep up with our life!

14. Snow–

for the first snow of the year, and the many flakes to come {even though I’m learning in my adult life that I strongly dislike the cold}.

15. Close friends–

for the wonderful friends we’ve made in grad school, and the great friends from high school and college who have stuck by us since we were teenagers.

16. Nebraska–

for being the most wonderful first home-on-our-own that we ever could have asked for. We’re not native Nebraskans (though I’m really close), but I’m already dreading leaving this beautiful prairie.

17. Our home(s)–

for our apartment in Lincoln, for our childhood houses that still hold us when we go home.

18. Life–

for clean {warm} clothes, good food, heat, light, and every other blessing we have in spades.

19. Date nights–

for the nights we spend together, even when the main attractions are eating homemade pizza rolls and watching old TV on Hulu.

20. Traveling–

for the traveling gene we inherited from our families and for all of the amazing places we’ve been with them, for the small trips back home, for the wonderful vacations to Florida, Colorado, and Maine.

21. Inquisitiveness–

for constantly evaluating what we believe in and why we’re here.

22. November–

for an entire month full of reasons to be grateful for the amazing blessings we have in our life.

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Wednesday, November 21st:

Today, I’m grateful for a wonderful day up in MN with Peder’s family.

Even though we were only going to be in town for a few days, we sure made the most of it!

We started the day with breakfast with Peder’s brother and his girlfriend. They were just taking off to go see her family for the holidays, so we were lucky to catch them before they left! Hopefully we’ll see them again over Christmas break.

Then, we had great conversations with Peder’s mom, mostly about baby-related things that I’m sure I’ll bore you with in another blog post on another day. On the list of upcoming topics: Newborn tests to waive (or request), co-sleeping (and how to do it safely), cloth diapering (what I’m still learning, and need to buy before little _____ or _______ gets here), and breastfeeding (why I’m ridiculously excited to start!).

I’m still nursing a cold (even a week later as I write this), so after lunch I decided to curl up in bed with my ethnography essay and a few episodes of Psych. Peder, however, went out with his dad and did all sorts of outdoorsy things that I rarely do with him–biking, kyaking, toy helicopter flying…the works. I think they both had fun, and it was such a great way to spend the last 50* day!

Then, we had a quiet dinner of homemade pizza and called it a night. Overall, it was a great day!

Tuesday, November 20th:

With a departure earlier than we’ve ever managed before, we left at 12pm today for Thanksgiving Break! We’re traveling all the way up to MN to visit Peder’s family for a few days, a journey that normally takes us about seven hours. We were thrilled to be able to leave as early as we did, and we had a wonderful drive up north.

Today, I’m grateful for a wonderful traveling companion!

Peder and I have always had more than enough to talk about. Rare are the times that we don’t have something we’ve been meaning to discuss–from the mundane (such as, “So last week in linear…”) to the important (like, “Do you really think we need to give the baby the erythromycin drops after birth?”).

Seven hours alone in the car together was so great–it truly flew by!

Although, we also did plenty of reflecting that, this time next year, we will have a whole new person adding to the (fun?) of our travels to see family. As overwhelming as the thought of traveling with an infant can be, I’m still {honestly} looking forward to having someone to bring with us.

A quick belly shot from traveling day–26 weeks 5 days!

Monday, November 19th:

Today, I’m grateful for a great start to a holiday week!

After a semester-long build up full of projects, lesson plans, papers, and lots and lots of reading, I came home on  Monday to–

nothing!

No papers to grade {yet}

No books to read {that couldn’t be put off a teensy bit}

No papers to write {that couldn’t be written later in the week}

it. was. lovely.

Instead, I was able to come home from practicum and get the house ready for our time away. We always like to leave a clean house when we go out of town–mostly so that we can come home to a clean house! And having no work that I *needed* to do gave me the opportunity to do some much needed cleaning, tidying up, laundry, packing…everything we needed to get done in order to fully enjoy our days away with family.

Of course, someone thought the cleaning to be a little too boring…and decided to nap instead.

I spy one mischievous kitty?

Saturday, November 18th:

We traveled to our first Thanksgiving {of 3} today, to my aunt and uncle’s vacation farm in central Nebraska. Their small farm house ended up accommodating almost 20 people for dinner–so today, I’m grateful for {extended} family!

Among the family members we got to see and catch up with are:

My cousins from Chicago and their two cute kids–whom we hardly ever get to see, but we love so much. They were SO kind and sent us a ton of their old baby clothes & accessories (including fabulous things like a moses basket, two swings, and a breast pump!), so it was great to see them in person and talk about the baby things we now share!

My grandma–who, in her 90’s, is getting harder and harder to load up in the car and shuttle out to the farm {much less up the stairs into the house}, but it was still wonderful to see her. She’s so excited to meet our little baby–her 6th great-grandchild!

Many great-aunts and great-uncles, 2nd (or is it 3rd?!) cousins, and of course, my amazing mama and sister! I may be a little biased, but I think these last two were the highlight of our visit. Even though they’re among our closest family members {geographically} we still don’t get to see them near enough. It was so great to see them today, and even better that we’ll see them again for Thanksgiving #3 on Friday!

Of course, in the meantime we’ll be heading up to Minnesota in just a couple days for Peder’s family’s Thanksgiving #2. Ah, the beginnings of the season of driving!

Saturday, November 17th:

Today was kind of a lazy day around here: A cold that I’ve been working on for days has finally hit full force, and I’ve spent most of the day on the futon watching Friends; Peder, of course, is knee-deep into studying for an exam, and has been out to 3 coffee shops today alone, I think, studying with 3 different people.

Needless to say, today I’m grateful for the time I get to spend with my husband, even on the crazy days!

Even if the rigors of grad school mean that our “quality time” together is spent

me sleeping next to him studying

doing laundry/cleaning

eating quick, random meals

evicting moths (?!) out of our apartment {and away from crazy cats}

and texting grocery lists back and forth

I’m still so grateful that we’re able to come together throughout the day and just be. I’ll take that, any day.

Happy parents-to-be

Friday, November 16th:

100 days.

I’ve been pregnant for 26 weeks and 1 day, and there are 100 days left until we become parents.

Yikes!

A long time ago, I remember thinking that when we got to 100 days left it would be a huge milestone. I mean, 100 days!! It feels like such a long time  from now, but at the same time it feels so soon.

In 100 days, we’ll be holding our sweet little baby for the first time.

In 100 days, our lives will change forever as we go from “just the two of us” to “our family of three.”

In 100 days, we’ll learn if we have a son or daughter, a sweet little _______ or _____ (not sharing any names! Although I *did* use the correct number of underscores to correspond with the letters in the names) (that’s for you, Emily!).

In 100 days, our love will grow even deeper as it turns from something that lives only inside of us into a tiny, perfect little human living outside in the world. I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to anything more.

Thursday, November 15th:

Today, I’m grateful for the little guy or girl kicking away in my tummy.

Not even 8 weeks ago all I could feel were tiny little nudges. I used to spend hours with Peder’s hand glued to my stomach, trying endlessly to make him feel what I was feeling:

“Didn’t you feel that?? It was huge! How can you not feel that from the outside?!”

Poor guy probably felt like a failure, AND he got a crick in his neck trying to hold his hand still!

Now, however, baby is moving SO much that we can even SEE it from the outside! Every time Peder puts his hand on my stomach, baby kicks for him. It’s such a great feeling.

For a while, baby’s favorite spot to kick was right below my right ribs. Lately, though, I’m feeling simultaneous movements on both sides of my stomach–from feet and elbows moving together! It’s like a little rock concert drumming away in my tummy.

As much as I cannot wait to meet our little baby and have him here with us, I honestly think that I’ll miss being pregnant. Despite the overwhelming uncomfortableness of a big belly (and it’s only going to get worse), I wouldn’t trade these little kicks for anything.

I swear I was standing straight in this picture–but baby was all on the right side!

Wednesday, November 14th:

Wednesday nights this semester have been my “night class nights.” I’m lucky to be taking only 3 classes this semester–my practicum every morning, one online class, and then my only night class.

Oddly enough, Wednesday nights are one of my favorite nights of the week! For this, I’m so grateful.

Throughout the last several years, I’ve come to LOVE night classes. 50 minute classes seem way too short now! I love the conversations that we’re able to generate. I love being able to put all of my time and energy into synthesizing the week’s work–rather than working every other day for a discussion that is inevitably cut short!

Even better, my night class is made up of an amazing group of people, and gathering each week to talk about a passion we all share–teaching English–is so rewarding. I always leave feeling more prepared for the upcoming week than I did when I walked in because of the amazing professors and colleagues I’ve met here. I can’t tell you enough how truly remarkable the educators in my program are. I only hope to be half as influential on my students’ lives as my cohort professors have been on mine.

Tuesday, November 13th:

Every Tuesday, we have friends over for our weekly “Tuesday Night Dinners.”

After crazy workdays our various jobs, four of us grad students assemble at our house to eat good food and chat for a bit before we all head home to hit the books some more.

Today, I’m grateful for Tuesday Night Dinner!

This ritual started when a friend of mine moved to town for grad school. She was homesick and didn’t know anyone, so after we had dinner together on night we decided to make it a weekly thing. One of Peder’s colleagues happened to be joining us for dinner that night, and has been there ever since!

Honestly, they make Tuesday my favorite night of the week

{besides nights on the weekend. Because who doesn’t love the weekend??}

I look forward to seeing these two girls all week long, ever since we said goodnight the previous Tuesday. They make the long days at work bearable!

I hope that we’re able to continue Tuesday Night Dinner next semester once the baby’s here–even if it does mean that we’ll be having Tuesday Casserole-from-the-Freezer Night for a while!

Norah-roo

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Our family

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Norah’s words & signs

Words:
Mama (7 months)
Dada (12 months)
Kitty (11 months)
Bear
Bath
Book (12 months)
Bird (12 months)
Baby
More (13 months)
All done
Cheese (12 months)
Fish (12 months)
Norah (14 months)

Signs:
Kitty (10 months)
More (10 months)
All Done (10 months)
Bird (12 months)
Dada (11 months)
Mama (13 months)
Train (14 months)
Please (14 months)
Carrot (13 months)
Banana (13 months)
Fish (12 months)
Horse (14 months)
Goat (14 months)
Thank you (10 months)
Milk/Noms (12 months)
I love you (15 months)