sinus troubles, tree decorating and disappearing toes!

The Woodland clan has had a busy and exhausting couple of weeks. Drew has been wrapping up his first semester of classes, putting the final touches on a brochure for ICS and spending every spare minute fine-tuning his PhD applications. It feels fitting to welcome advent with a rush of beginnings and ends, the relief of coming rest and the hope of good to come. Still, it will be nice to be ‘on break’ together with the rushing behind us and the hope of all this new year will bring ahead!
I’ve been battling sinus and ear infections all week and I’m really struggling to settle myself into the rest required to get well. It is just amazing the complete lack of energy my body has these days, all the more so when fighting off infection. I feel constantly torn between the good wisdom to listen to my weary body and the guilt that I might be overindulging in sick days. And then the questions come: will I be able to work until they’re born? What if I can’t? Why does everyone else seem so much less taxed and just generally better at this baby-growing business? If I’m this tired and worn down now, how will I ever handle two newborns?!
Drew has been such a champ, continuing to take care of me and our home but the deadlines of two jobs and the exhaustion of applications are taking their toll. We’re learning the humility to ask for help and celebrate the generosity of friends and family who cheerfully rise to the task. I’ve been reflecting on this feeling of helplessness and I wonder if maybe this is the sort of place we can best experience God’s provision, this place of weary need and hopeful longing. Maybe it isn’t all about hitting rock bottom and  having a great plea for needing help from a desperate place but instead about the quiet humility of admitting it would be better to let another carry me through this season than to try to press on alone. It’s certainly a more joyful way to live!
As for the babies:
I got to meet my new OB yesterday, she’ll be co-managing the rest of my pregnancy and birth with our midwives and it went wonderfully! I was a little nervous for the more clinical approach of a traditional OB office but Dr. Brotman couldn’t be further from the C-section-pushing, drug-happy caricature I had built up in my mind. She assured me that these babies were meant to grow and meant to be born and she would do everything she could to help that happen as naturally and safely as possible.  In fact, it wasn’t more than a few minutes into my appointment when she looked me right in the eye and reminded me that this beautiful and hard work of growing two little people is not easy and that rest is a gift for all three of us. Right. Still, there must be more fruitful ways of spending my rest than plowing through levels of Candy Crush and watching re-runs of What Not To Wear. Something else to grow into, I suppose!
We had our 20 week ultrasound last week and our amazing technician got us in and out in just over an hour and sent me home with snacks! I was pretty nauseous and uncomfortable while she was taking measurements, but it was worth it to see our little squirmers kicking away. We found out baby girl has flipped breech, which explains the large protrusion (her head) that slowly inches its way out of my abdomen each afternoon and evening. The best part was watching them kick each other in the face, although it did make it difficult to get good mug shots! 
His profile and little fist, ready for action. 

Her utterly terrifying face, seen front-on. 
They’re measuring right on track at 14 (him) and 12 (her) ounces. The baby websites tell me they’re about 11 inches long this week and I believe it. Even knowing that there’s two of them wiggling around  doesn’t seem to explain how much kicking and pounding I’m feeling. I read it’s around this time that their taste buds have formed enough to pick up on what I’m eating and I’ve noticed that shortly after I eat, the head-banging and fist pumping starts up with a  vengeance. Drew was even able to feel some kicks this week. It’s so wild to see my belly jumping and pulsing as they move and jostle one another. 
In less baby-centric news: we decorated the tree last weekend and are looking forward to a week of travel and celebration with Drew’s family in just a short week and half! It was fun to unpack Drew’s nativity set from his childhood VBS days and tell the stories of our childhood collections of ornaments now that they’re all in our own home! 
Sure, he’s lost a little hair but he’s got the same cute smile, 22 years later!

Oh yes Mom. I do still have my beloved Styrofoam bell!

Our pint-sized tree!

And my belly, which covers nearly half of it.

And finally: this. Someone asked me the other day if I could still see my feet and because I’ve spent the last several days propped up on the couch, I didn’t think anything of it. I may not be able to tie my own shoes anymore, but of course I can still see my feet! 
Wrong. I can see toes. And their days are numbered.


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