Friday, August 29, 2008


Waiting has been on my mind lately and, the way it usually happens when you have something on your mind, I see echoes of the subject all around me. Tuesday I came across it in Thoreau's journal and posted his stirring declaration, "If my life is a waiting - so be it. I will not be shipwrecked on a vain reality." Today I find the problem of waiting addressed in Romans, chapter 8. Here is an excerpt from The Message translation:

All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it's not only around us; it is within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We are feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don't see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired of waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That is why we can be sure that in every detail of our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
I want to be brave in my waiting, like Thoreau, and say, "so be it!" But instead I groan and I sigh. How loving it is of the Spirit to gather up those sighs and groans and fashion them into prayers.

New Chair

Mom and I spotted a rocking chair out on the curb at a neighbor's house yesterday. Even though we were running late for my doctor's appointment we just had to stop and throw it in the back of the van.

(The only thing to sit on in my living room is a tiny black sofa Ross got from before we were married. While I try to have compassion on all God's creatures, the animate and the inanimate, I think I hate that sofa. There is not a single way to arrange oneself upon it that does not result in aches and pain.)

After the appointment, we went to Hobby Lobby and grabbed some fabric and upholstering supplies and then we spent the afternoon on the back porch giving the rocking chair new life.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I am differently timed

"Here I am 34 years old, and yet my life is almost wholly unexpanded. How much is in the germ! There is such an interval between my ideal and the actual in many instances that I may say I am unborn.... Methinks my seasons revolve more slowly than those of nature, I am differently timed. I am - contented. This rapid revolution of nature even of nature in me - why should it hurry me. Let a man step to the music which he hears however measured. Is it important that I should mature as soon as an apple tree? Ye, as soon as an oak? May not my life in nature, in proportion as it is supernatural, be only the spring and infantile portion of my spirit's life? Shall I turn my spring to summer? May I not sacrifice a hasty & petty completeness here - to entireness there? If my curve is large - why bend it to a smaller circle? My spirit's unfolding observes not the pace of nature.... If my life is a waiting - so be it. I will not be shipwrecked on a vain reality."

-H.D.Thoreau in his journal, July 19, 1851

I've been having similar thoughts, usually when I walk into my office and see a stack of unopened mail and two unfinished oil paintings. ;P

Monday, August 25, 2008

Kanuga Pictures

With everything that happened a week and a half ago our Kanuga trip suddenly had a big question mark over it. I wondered if it would be safe, if I would miss my family too much, if it would be somehow inappropriate. Ultimately we decided that a week with chirping crickets, cool mountain breezes, and lapping lake waters would be a blessing and went ahead with our plans.

What I looked forward to most was quite times and solitude but what I think ended up helping me the most was being surrounded by families. Many of the campers represented three generations of a family. Seeing grandparents, parents and children all around the same table and knowing that many of these families had been coming here for decades gave me glimpses of a bigger picture. God willing, Ross and I will have decades together. This one tragic summer will be a part of our story, but there will be so many more summers, and who knows what good things are in store?

The Cangelosis were wonderful. After the shock of the miscarriage I felt sorta like I was walking around on a different planet than everyone else, but everyone was gentle and kind and made me feel loved.

I have a TON of pictures, but here are a few of my favorites. I'll post more here later and create a new facebook album as well.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Looking Forward to Camp Kanuga!

This Saturday Ross and I will be heading South for the Cangelosi family reunion! Our plane leaves O'Hare at 9am and, after a layover in Nashville, we'll arrive in Ashville, North Carolina, where his parents will pick us up and take us the rest of the way to Camp Kanuga.

I've been hearing about this place since the '06 family reunion, and I can't wait to see it in person! According to the website, Camp Kanuga is "situated on 1,400 mountain acres near Hendersonville, North Carolina, with scenic Kanuga Lake at its center." It has cabins, hiking, indoor and outdoor chapels, trails, swimming, arts & crafts classes...all the things you love about camp, plus mountains!

There will be some familiar faces (Caleb and Elizabeth, Guy and Connie) but I'll also be meeting a lot of the family for the first time! I'm glad I'll have a week to get to know everyone.

Packing essentials: summer reading, my new camera, lots of snacks for the pregnant munchies. :)

Week 12

I'm three days into week # 12 and on Sunday I graduate to the second trimester! This is exciting news because the odds of miscarriage go way down at that point, and my energy level is supposed to rebound. Everyone tells me this is the fun stage of pregnancy. It's during this stage that I'll find out the sex of the baby, feel the baby start to kick and begin getting the nursery ready. Up to this point I've been emotionally reserved about the baby. The miscarriage stats really freaked me out when I first read them and so my mind has shied away from imagining the baby or being a mom, but that reserve is starting to melt. I was at Target on Saturday and I passed by the baby aisles and the tears just welled up when I saw all the little onesies.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Monday Misery

The internet has brought me nothing but misery today! First Google News informed me that Bernie Mac had died. Then I went to check out the pregnancy message boards and read that one of the women had miscarried. Then I went over to YouTube to watch "Haunted History: Edinburgh" (for the history, of course) and learned that poltergeists are attracted to children and pregnant women. Then I googled "Hyperthyroidism and Pregnancy" in preperation for my next doctor's appointment and read this: It is very important that hyperthyroidism be controlled in pregnant women since the risks of miscarriage or birth defects are much higher without therapy. Oh crud. So now I'm feeling gloomy. I hope the olympics and some Stouffer's lasagna will cheer me up!

Friday, August 08, 2008


Add "Olympic Opening Cermonies" to the list of things that make a pregnant woman cry!

(Pictures from the LA Times photo gallery.)

Random Stuff

Pregnancy calendar says that baby graduates from an embryo to a fetus today. Congrats baby! Also, just 8 days until the second trimester and, hopefully, a break from this fatigue.

Did you guys hear about the $1000 screen saver app for the iphone that was purchased by 8 people before Apple pulled it from their App Store? The product description reads, "The red icon on your iPhone or iPod touch always reminds you (and others when you show it to them) that you were able to afford this. It's a work of art with no hidden function at all." Hehehe! Read the article here.

And, if you are in the mood for something a little grim, check out Chuck Colson's ruminations on the prophetic words of Solzhenitsyn in a speech delivered 30 years ago at Harvard University. Here's an excerpt:

Solzhenitsyn delivered each line in his high-pitched voice in Russian. The translation blunted the impact somewhat—in fact, there were even sporadic bursts of applause. But soon enough, outraged professors realized that Solzhenitsyn was charging them with complicity in the West's surrender to liberal secularism, the abandonment of its Christian heritage, and with all the moral horrors that followed.

As it happened, this summer I was reading a tattered copy of Solzhenitsyn's speech at the same time I was studying Jeremiah in my devotions. I was struck by the chilling parallels between the dissident's words and Jeremiah's warning to the Israelites.

For example, describing the Western worldview as "rationalistic humanism," Solzhenitsyn decried the loss of "our concept of a Supreme Complete Entity which used to restrain our passions and our irresponsibility." Man has become "the master of this world … who bears no evil within himself," he announced. "So all the defects of life" are attributed to "wrong social systems."

Solzhenitsyn also argued that this moral impoverishment had led to a debased definition of freedom that makes no distinction between "freedoms for good" and "freedoms for evil." Our founders, he reminded us, would scarcely have countenanced "all this freedom with no purpose" but for the "satisfaction of one's whims"; they demanded that freedom be granted conditionally upon the individual's constant exercise of his religious responsibility.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Sugar, Aft and Fore

Obama and McCain's Records on Abortion

The National Catholic Register examines the records of Obama and McCain on the issue of abortion in this article by Tom McFeely.

WASHINGTON ( - Veteran Democrat David Carlin knows what he’s going to do if Illinois Sen. Barack Obama becomes his party’s presidential nominee. He’s going to vote for the presumptive Republican nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain.

“Any Catholic who takes the abortion issue seriously will not vote for Obama,” said Carlin, who served as majority leader of the Rhode Island Senate in 1989-90.

Pro-life leaders describe Obama — who is now the heavy favorite to defeat New York Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination — as the most pro-abortion presidential candidate in American history.

“Based on his record he appears to be the most pro-abortion candidate ever to seek the presidency,” said David O’Steen, executive director of the National Right to Life Committee. “It’s hard to be more pro-abortion than Hillary Clinton, but he seems to have managed to do that.”

Obama has promised that his first act as president would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, a bill that if enacted would prevent any federal, state or local government entity from restricting access to abortion. O’Steen said this indicates that to Obama, “the most important thing facing America is to promote abortion.”

Both Clinton and Obama currently have 100% ratings from NARAL for their pro-abortion voting records in the U.S. Senate. But unlike Clinton, Obama has opposed legislation to protect babies who are born alive following unsuccessful abortions.

In 2002, Clinton voted in favor of the federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which was approved unanimously by the U.S. Senate. Obama was not sworn in as a U.S. Senator until 2005, but he opposed similar state legislation in 2001 while serving as an Illinois state senator.
Obama argued against such legislation specifically on the grounds that it might undermine the right to abortion-on-demand throughout pregnancy.

“Whenever we define a pre-viable fetus as a person that is protected by the Equal Protection Clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we’re really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a — a child, a 9-month old — child that was delivered to term,” Obama warned during debate over three state bills that would have offered protection to babies who are born alive after unsuccessful abortions. “That determination then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place.”

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) is scathing in his assessment of Obama’s opposition to born-alive legislation. “That’s pretty doctrinaire — that’s about as pro-death as you can get on the abortion issue,” said Santorum. “He’s a candidate who is not just for abortion, but also for infanticide in order to protect the right to abortion.”

Santorum said Obama is continuing to affirm his embrace of abortion on the campaign trail. He cited remarks the candidate made at a March 29 town hall meeting in Johnstown, Pa.
At that meeting, in response to a question about sex education for children, Obama argued in favor of educating young children about using contraceptives.

“Look, I’ve got two daughters, nine years old and six years old,” Obama said. “I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don’t want them punished with a baby.”

Said Santorum, “To view a child as a punishment, under any circumstances, to me shows that this is not a man who values life, who respects the dignity of human life.”

Obama’s campaign office did not reply to questions about his position on abortion and other life issues that the Register submitted by e-mail.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that a child has a right to be considered as a gift, now as a punishment: “A child is not something owed to one, but is a gift. … A child may not be considered a piece of property, an idea to which an alleged ‘right to a child’ would lead. In this area, only the child possesses genuine rights … [including] the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception” (No. 2378).

O’Steen said Obama’s position on life issues is a stark contrast to McCain’s. He noted that McCain has a 100% pro-life record on abortion in the U.S. Senate, has voted against a Senate resolution to express support for Roe v. Wade and has stated that he believes Roe should be reversed, supports parental notification and opposes the use of taxpayer funds to facilitate abortion.

Perhaps the most significant difference between Obama and McCain is their position on judicial appointments. Obama has indicated that if elected president he intends to make it a top priority to nominate pro-abortion judges.

In contrast, in a speech May 6 at Wake Forest University, McCain pledged to nominate only lawyers with “a proven commitment to judicial restraint.” He attacked Obama’s “judicial activism” and was particularly critical of the Democratic candidate for voting against the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.

While McCain did not refer directly to abortion in his speech, opposition among Senate Democrats to the Roberts and Alito nominations centered largely on fears that if confirmed, the two judges might overturn Roe v. Wade and other federal decisions supporting abortion rights.
Said McCain, “Somehow, by Sen. Obama’s standard, even Judge Roberts didn’t measure up. And neither did Justice Samuel Alito. Apparently, nobody quite fits the bill except for an elite group of activist judges, lawyers, and law professors who think they know wisdom when they see it — and they see it only in each other.”

In response to the speech, Obama’s campaign said McCain would nominate judges who would threaten abortion rights, Associated Press reported May 6. “What’s truly elitist is to appoint judges who will protect the powerful and leave ordinary Americans to fend for themselves,” said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor.

Santorum, who earlier in the campaign cycle was critical of McCain’s pro-life commitment primarily because the Arizona senator does not oppose embryonic stem-cell research, said McCain’s speech “was a home run from my perspective." Said Santorum,"It hit all the salient points, and it should give a lot of comfort to pro-lifers.”

Paying the Piper Carlin predicted that Obama “would certainly” apply a pro-abortion litmus test on all judicial appointments if elected.

And Carlin said abortion is only one of a number of areas where Obama, even more than Clinton, is advancing positions that appeal primarily to the most liberal elements of the Democratic Party.

“His support is among the secularist wing of the Democratic Party,” said Carlin, who teaches sociology and philosophy at the Community College of Rhode Island. “He’s beholden to that wing of the party, the most extreme wing of the party, the “moral left” of the party. And if they put him in office, you know, ‘he who pays the piper calls the tune.’”

Added Carlin, “So I think if he gets elected as president, it’s going to be a very, very bad time for pro-life Catholics.”

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Eating for Two

Today's pregnancy calendar article o' the day snidely points out that just because I'm eating for two doesn't mean I need to eat twice as much. Forget you, pregnancy calendar! You don't know what it's like to be hungry ALL DAY! I've gained another three lbs since the doctor's appointment which brings my weight gain to 10 lbs :( The article goes on to mention the "good" sources of protein; milk, eggs, chicken. What about BigMacs!? Just 206 days of weight gain to go.

In other pregnancy woes, my tailbone has become a ticking time bomb of agony. I'll be waddling along (yes, I waddle already), minding my own business, and all of a sudden, BOOM! My stately waddle becomes a humiliating hobble. Monday I made the mistake of attempting to jog out of the rain and immediately my tailbone notified me that if I didn't quit it she was gonna drop straight off my body and I could see how far I'd get without her.

Alright, enough griping for now.

Poor Husband

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


The weather provided a pretty interesting small group last night! We (Crystal, Corey, Steph, Jacqui, Sara, and I) met up at Barnes & Noble in West Dundee and within a few minutes of starting our study we noticed a pretty dramatic shift in the weather. It went from rainy to rainy, flashy, and blustery. Steph got a call from Mark warning us that the tornado sirens were going off in Elgin and the storm was headed to Dundee. Jacqui quickly took off for home and Crystal called home to check on Scott and the kids. Scott reported the sirens were starting up in East Dundee as well. A book store employee announced that "tornadoes" had been spotted in the area and advised everyone to move away from the windows.

Being the clever girls that we are we decided we could do better than just get away from the windows and headed to the ladies room. From the safety of the bathroom we could still hear the thunder and the rain pounding on the mall roof. Soon the management had moved the rest of the customers from the store into the bathroom hallways and we could hear all the excited chatter outside the Ladies room door. As we hunkered down and waited for the all clear the power went out a couple of times, but gradually the noise outside the building seemed to subside, and then the noise outside our bathroom subsided, and then a friendly head popped into the bathroom to tell us that it was safe to come out.

After the worst of the storm had passed and as we finished up our small group the power went out briefly a couple more times, and when I left the mall I saw that the power was completely out on the other side of the street. The drive home wasn't too bad but there was a 10 mile stretch on 59 with almost all lights were out. The rain wasn't heavy but lighting provided a pretty constant show off to the North. At home there is a big tree limb down in our driveway, but nothing got hit and we have power so we got off easy compared to a lot of people. ComEd estimates that 200,000 people lost power because of the storm.

Pictures stolen from NBC5 website :)

Monday, August 04, 2008

Rick Warren, Barack Obama and John McCain

I heard this segment on All Things Considered this afternoon and thought it was worth posting. In this interview Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Community Church, discusses the upcoming appearance of Obama and McCain at his California megachurch. His attitude and language is in refreshing contrast to another famous evangelical, James Dobson.

Below is an excerpt, but you can read the entire interview at NPR's website here.

Back in the 2004 election you sent out a letter to thousands of pastors in which you listed what you considered to be five non-negotiable issues and they were abortion, gay marriage, human cloning, stem-cell research and euthanasia. Are those still non-negotiable issues for you?
Well they might be for me. It doesn't necessarily mean they're for everybody in the nation. I have my own convictions, but I also believe in the common good. I think that's part of democracy. You have a right to promote whatever view you hold and you have a right to try to convince me that I ought to change my mind.
But would you be sending out that same list now in 2008?
I'm not going to send out any list this year because I'm obviously maintaining neutrality in order to do what I think is best for America and that is get these two guys to speak up in their own words. On a personal level, if I were sending out a letter today my view hasn't changed one bit on any of those particular subjects, but my agenda has expanded dramatically over the last four years. One of the things I've tried to do with evangelicals is to get them to not deny their pre-existing agenda but to expand it. I'm still pro-life but I don't call myself pro-life anymore. What I do is call myself 'whole-life.' I'm not just in favor of the unborn baby. I'm in favor of her when she's born. Is she a crack baby… is she an AIDS baby… is she a baby living in poverty? Is she going to get an education? It's not just concern for protection of the unborn but for protection of the born, too.

Check It Out!

Over at Meghan is doing a poll to determine which one of her photos to submit to a summer themed photography competition. The problem is they are all so good that the three leading pictures are neck and neck! She can only submit one, so head over to and vote for your favorite!

72 Days In!

I have a pregnancy calendar at that I love! It shows the month in a grid like a normal calendar except that each square tells you how far you've come and how many days are left and links to a new article about pregnancy. Even though its progress is fairly predictable I keep coming back to it to see the little pink marker move to the next box in the calendar.

Today my calendar tells me I've entered my 11th week, I've completed 72 days, and I have 208 days to go. To me, in my pregnant state, this is fascinating. Tomorrow I'll check back on my calendar and it will say 73 days, 207 days to go, and I will be just as amazed.

Sunday, August 03, 2008


JoJo and Sugar looking on from the porch as Piper frolics in the grass.


I thought last year was supposed to be the big summer of the cicadas but I guess out here in the Western suburbs the little buggers didn't get the memo! They are out en masse and the volume of noise they make is really impressive. The name Cicada comes from the Latin word for "buzzer" but I think that if they'd had car alarms in ancient Rome we'd be calling these things "car alarm" in Latin.

I caught these two making sweet Cicada love on my driveway this afternoon. They didn't seem too embarrassed about the camera, but they did buzz a little when Piper came to investigate.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Piper on the Prowl

I Have Watched TMZ and People's Court and Made Myself Cheap and Vulgar

I'm finding that morning sickness and unemployment are a dangerous combination. In these early weeks of pregnancy I've adopted an indolence previously reserved only for the day after a good vacation or a bad car accident! Thoreau said you can't kill time without injuring eternity and that sounds plausible to me. I'm scared that Judge Mathis binges and You Tube browsing may be eating my soul!

The good news is that most of the stuff I've read predicts an uptick in energy around week 12, which isn't so far away. Until then I'll try to avoid glowing screens as much as possible. Oh, except for maybe to watch my new prenatal Yoga dvd :)

Friday, August 01, 2008


I'm ten weeks pregnant! I was going to try to wait until I reached the second trimester to talk about it but I just couldn't. I think about it all day, so keeping it quite is just too much work :P So here's what's been going on with the pregnancy:

The earliest sign was fatigue that set in on June 21st. I thought I was getting sick but no sickness appeared, so on June 28th, when my cycle was about 3 days late, I bought two pregnancy tests. I couldn't test right away because Ross and I had plans to go see Wall-E, but when I cried at the previews I had a pretty good clue what the test was going to say.

When we got home from the movies I went straight to the bathroom with the tests and Ross went upstairs to check his email. He didn't stick around because he was sure I wasn't pregnant! The fist stick immediately displayed two pink lines. For a moment I just stared at it feeling as if the air had been sucked out of me. I didn't know what to do but I had another test so I immediately used it and this time the pregnancy line was even darker. I just started laughing. In that moment I was as joyful as if I'd been trying forever.

But the truth is we hadn't been trying at all, so in the next moment the joy was replaced by fear. I felt weak in the knees, and my head started spinning. For some reason I wandered to the kitchen and back to the bathroom before I remembered Ross. I had to tell him! I slowly climbed the stairs wondering how he would react. When I got to his office I just blurted out that I was pregnant.

He couldn't believe it at first so I took him downstairs to see both tests. For the next 24 hours we were a couple of people in shock. He kept saying "I can't believe you are pregnant" and I kept echoing "I can't believe I'm pregnant." We did manage to go pick up some prenatal vitamins that night and we got online and plugged in my cycle information to get an estimated due date of 3/3/08.

The shock wore off pretty quickly for me because I felt pregnant. Dizzy spells, hunger, cramps and, soon, morning sickness were all impossible to ignore. For Ross it was still a few weeks before he stopped saying "I can't believe you're pregnant." :P

Last week I had my first doctor's visit and it went great! I had an ultrasound and got to see the baby's heart beat. Based on the baby's size, I also got a new due date: 2/28/2009. They printed up a couple of images from the ultrasound and I'm convinced it is the most beautiful ultrasound ever!

If you look at the bottom of the dark jelly bean shaped area in the lower right hand side of the image you can see the baby nestled down there. The big round part on top is the head, the thing that appears to come out of the back is actually the umbilical cord which is coming around from the front on the opposite side, and you can clearly see the curve of the back and the legs. The head can be deceiving because the dark spots resemble facial features but I think it's pretty much impossible for a baby to be looking up at this stage. Instead I think the head is actually tucked down in the normal fetal position and the bright spot on the face is the nose.

At this point kidneys, lungs, genitals and the gastrointestinal tract are all present and developing. Fingers and toes are becoming more defined. Bones are beginning to form in the arms and legs. Baby is just over an inch tall. And yet somehow I'm 7 lbs heavier, lol!