30 June 2016

engagiversary

two years ago today, the boy and i got engaged.

at sunset on june thirtieth, two thousand fourteen, while standing at the westernmost point of the contiguous united states, ian asked me three times if i would marry him. i said yes all three times :) you can read our whole engagement story here

here's the thing: i really didn't know what saying yes meant on that day two years ago. it was the greatest leap of faith i've ever taken and will ever take - and yet i had no hesitation and felt heavy, heavy peace. i knew what i needed to know: that i loved this boy fiercely and that he loved me back in equal measure, and that he would always be committed to me and to god. beyond that? i really didn't know, and couldn't have known, what i was getting myself into! 

indeed, the seven hundred and thirty days that have followed since that magical evening of elated, giddy love have been brim with surprises. most of those surprises have been tremendously wonderful, while others have been searingly painful and quite grueling. and all of those surprises have helped both of us to grow in really beautiful ways, and have miraculously and spectacularly etched our love for and commitment to each other truly deeper and deeper. 

so, so much has happened since ian slipped that ring onto my finger two years ago!

one perfect magical wedding, twenty nine countries, sixteen states, one phd graduation, two new jobs, two tiny living spaces, at least one hundred and four dates, one international move, a lot of arguments and way more tender moments of love, dozens of road trips and bike rides, and one baby boy in utero. 

indeed, we couldn't have known what we were signing up for as we held each other with bursting hearts that night two years ago - but as it turns out, that leap of faith was a pretty dang fantastic one. and there's lots of more surprises - both sweet and sour - to come! 

when we were dating and trying to decide if we should get married, we considered if my 1 + ian's 1 equaled 3 (we'd fundamentally help each other become better) or just a different 2 (we'd change each other but maybe not in a synergistic way). eventually, we realized and determined that for sure our 1 + 1 wouldn't equal 3, but actually our equation was more like 1 +1 > 73 (not sure where that random number came from, but it stuck!). i really believe that with each passing day we are growing to become greater than the sum of our parts, that together we are so much better, that the past two years are only a little glimpse of how our love and synergy will expand. and it's all going into hyperdrive very soon here as we become parents! 

i'm outrageously grateful that ian chose me, and popped that big question two years ago today. 
happy engagiversary, love! :)

28 June 2016

while i'm waiting...

these are unique days of my life - days that feel kind of weird and also kind of precious. i'm waiting for a baby, my first baby ... waiting for an experience i have longed for, prepared for, envisioned with earnestness. i have definitely lived days kind of like this before - days building up to a big, dreamed of, really significant day - but the sheer uncertainty of timing makes this experience different, and new, and fascinating, and hallowing. i feel like i'm teetering on the edge of something miraculous, not knowing when i'm going to drop, and it's pretty exhilarating.

i still feel like there's a plentiful list of things i'd like to do and prepare before our baby is born, but i'm also feeling an urge to be still and deliberately soak up these last days. i want to emblazon on my memory the sensations of a moving life, this moving life, inside of me. i want to rest my body and mind in preparation for the great work ahead. i want to draw up any last shreds i can gather of learning and conditioning and organizing. i want to enjoy being childless while also sunbathing in the fond anticipation of what's to come.

and so, my days lately have been laced with both busy preparations and with quiet, meditative moments. there's been a lot of happiness and excitement and also a lot of tears (it was a hard weekend for several reasons, and pregnancy hormones are making me all the more tender!). what a wild slice of life - one unique to anything i've ever experienced or will ever experience in the future.

here's four random tidbits from post-maternity-leave, pre-baby life that seem worth sharing:

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it has certainly been an interesting few days here in the united kingdom. brexit has affected us personally in some pretty direct and negative ways and has put strain on our family that is not fun. we absolutely recognize that any adverse effects do and will cut much deeper for many, many others, and we are curious and worried about how this event will play out and change the world. it's a historic and fascinating time to live in the uk. somehow in tandem with the gloom of the past few days, i've felt a deeper love for this amazing city and beautiful country (which i've been so fortunate to call home several times in my life). today i took a long walk to east london and then to the hospital and then back home and just reveled in the magic that is london. i believe that nothing can dim that magic!

yesterday i watched the business of being born and really enjoyed it. when ian got home from work, i showed him some of the scenes of childbirth in action. have i mentioned how much i have loved immersing myself in learning about the miraculous world of pregnancy, labor and birth?! it has become one of my ultimate passions, and i am seriously considering a career move into prenatal education. today i re-read my sister saydi's post on why she loves childbirth, and i have also been absolutely devouring the book the gift of giving life. all of this has reminded me to go back and review a post i wrote on this blog four years ago. and i am just gobsmacked at the gratitude and joy i feel of my greatest life dream coming true. {picture above from @monetnicolebirths on instagram, which is the best part of my feed. look at that emotion! we are planning on laboring in and possibly birthing the baby in a birth pool.}

one downside to being pregnant at this very moment in time is that it means i have to miss some things that i just really, really don't want to have to miss. it has taken me months to feel at peace with the reality of missing out on my family's annual and epic reunion at my favourite place on earth (which is happening two weeks after the baby is due to arrive), and last month we also had to confront the reality that i'll have to miss ian's sister's wedding (which is happening three and a half weeks after the baby is due to arrive). aaaaand, ten days ago one of my very, very dearest closest and most beloved friends, dani, got married! all day my heart was simultaneously soaring with happiness for her and her new husband and breaking with sadness that i wasn't there to celebrate with her. luckily our other sisterfriend sara facetimed me right as dani and bryce were coming out of the temple and sent loads of pictures from the wedding dinner. i have a feeling i'm going to be super grateful for facetime around reunion time and while ian is at his sister's wedding. {pictures above: dani blowing me a kiss for sara to photograph and send to me <3}

after a lot of back and forth and weighing pros and cons and trying to figure out the right thing to do, we decided (and then had to re-decide!) to travel back to the states at the beginning of september. and this week i am just feeling giddy about going home, and seeing loved ones and introducing them to our baby. i really hadn't felt a strong longing for the united states of america since we moved abroad until we finalized our flight plans to go back across the pond. once that was set in stone, my eagerness and excitement became feverish! i am sooo looking forward to reconnecting with family members and friends, to being in the mountains, to eating cafe rio and a wendy's frosty, to being surrounded by the sweetly familiar, to getting in a car and driving to target - hahaha! while we'll miss the big 
gatherings of family, we are hoping to see as many siblings as possible and my friends are throwing me a baby shower! it's going to be so great. chick fil a! and creamies ice cream bars! and utah mountains in the late summer!!! (we are going to new york city for a few days, and then to ian's parents' in texas, and then on to utah - i'm so excited for all!)

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this active waiting and anticipating is beautiful in a lot of ways. we are confident that baby boy will come at just the right time. and oh, what a glorious time that will be. 

24 June 2016

the final weeks
{this post includes a discount code for urban massage!!}


i seriously can't believe that there is an essentially full-size baby inside of me. in the past, when i've looked at pictures of newborns, or held/observed a brand new baby, they've all looked so, so tiny. but now, as i near the end of pregnancy, to me they all look really huge!

i just can't get over how crazy cool and miraculous and beautiful this whole process is, and i am deeply grateful to be experiencing it - and that both baby and i are so healthy. we had a bit of a scare this week that has required a couple of hospital visits. this experience has helped us prepare to be flexible and take the unexpected or non-ideal in stride, and has stretched our faith (in god's care, in each other, in the process) a bit wider.

i officially began maternity leave from work today (yay!), so i'm now in full-time baby prep mode :) since i want to remember so many aspects of this exciting journey, i've decided to spend some time today documenting our pregnancy experience in my personal journal, the special book we are keeping for our son, and here on the blog! it's wild to think that i first shared some "bits and bobs" from this adventure nearly five months ago - so much has happened since then! to bring it full-circle from the beginning, here's some bits and bobs from the end.

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