Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas LA side's been a long time, friends! Due to some large life changes-- moving across the country, pregnancy, and new jobs for both of us- the Shope family decided to forgo a Christmas letter and/or cards this year- our apologizes! However, check out our current update, Christmas, and belly! pics below!

29 weeks and counting...

Can I really get much bigger???!!!

Where to begin...????
We had planned to come home to the East coast for Christmas visits to Parkersburg, Hershey, and Morgantown. However, I started my new job with the Pasadena Public Health Dept. as SPIIn Project Specialist and the time off just couldn't be taken with the upcoming maternity leave (esp. since my position is grant funded and part of my job is securing funds to implement our program!!). We considered changing the tickets to a shorter time period, but it was just too expensive. So...the new plan is to bring the baby home in early June and visit family and friends.

Plan B was enjoying a quiet Christmas here in Pasadena- the last one before our lives are turned upside down (and the first where it was just the 2 of us). We had many fun LA plans- a hike on Christmas Eve, time at our church, baking, a night away to Santa Barbara, and time with friends. Yet, our plans were changed yet again by a virus and fever for me and a nasty cold for Brian. So Christmas was spent in Apt. 4 on Madison Ave. resting and recooperating. Brian was an amazing nurse and I spent most of the last week in bed. :( After the low point of cold baths with water poured over me drinking ginger ale in the tub to avoid the impending visit to the hospital with a high fever(marriage at its finest!) we were up for watching movies and playing Rummikub in our bed with Maggie. She kept Mommy warm and loved throughout the sick season.

Christmas came to us through the USPS and we enjoyed decorating our tiny apt. with reminders of the coming of the King...

Christmas morning we weren't roused by the running of little feet (or a crying baby- that's next year! :) but...the black one...

Is there a rawhide under the tree?

Brian made us an amazing German apple pancake and we spent time opening presents from our families and talking to everyone on the phone...

This one's Maggie's favorite- hopefully our baby will be able to fit in it for more than an hour!!! :) We received so many cute baby things!

Instead of ham or turkey Maggie and Daddy enjoyed treats from WV while I feasted on ramen and chicken soup!

Mr. Bee's are a hometown favorite- shipped all the way across the country!! NICE!

All in all it was a good Christmas- albeit not what we planned. We are still in recovery mode, with each day bringing better health. We hope to see the Rose Parade floats New Year's Day here in Pasadena- a cultural must when you live in this city! :)

We didn't have any Christmas roses for our celebration, but our Christmas cactus loves the SoCal weather- we had 21 buds last week!

Brian will begin his second quarter at Fuller January 7th, as well as a new work study position in his department- Intercultural Studies. It will be his last quarter before the baby! WOW!! I am continuing to work and loving my job- my boss is great, the program I am working to develop a really great opportunity for under-represented high school students in health careers and the people I work with so caring and pleasant to be around.

We begin our first childbirth classes Jan. 6th and they will run until March 2nd. We are very excited to begin- we need all the info we can get!!!! We have chosen to learn about the Bradley method of childbirthing which emphasizes the husband as coach and teaches women to listen and cooperate with their bodies as they experience birth naturally. We'll see how it goes! :)

We turn 30 weeks tomorrow and continue to marvel at how the time is flying by! We are working to finish our registry (we will post some info here for that at the request of several folks very soon). We are trying to purchase environmentally friendly products as much as possible and this has taken a bit more research and time.

We are planning to set up the pack n'play for good very soon to allow Maggie some time to adjust. We also need to buy a baby doll to help her get used to us carrying a baby, having the stroller while with her, etc. We'll keep you updated on how it goes! The baby is doing very well- we can feel tons of movement. Kicks are heartier now and pack quite a punch.

We hope and pray this finds everyone well and enjoying the holiday with family and friends. Peace and much love in 2008...

Friday, November 23, 2007

Six months -- wow- look at that belly!

For some reason the pictures of our 6 mo. old belly didn't upload correctly when I put them on last week, so I wanted to try again. Here ya go... :)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Baby Pics--- High Tech Ultrasound pics!

We wanted to share with everyone the pics from the high tech ultrasound we had last was pretty amazing! The ultrasound tech said the measurements of the baby look great and suggested "bubba" for a girl or a boy. I suppose if it's a girl she wouldn't get picked on at recess with a name like Bubba. Brian and I want to assure you, it's at the bottom of our list of names!! :)

Check out our precious one...

This is the baby's face (don't worry- we couldn't tell what everything was either- he had to tell us! )

Here's the baby's head and body...

And a very large foot, which the tech deemed "big foot"-- this one is a little hard to see- the foot is the white part between the faint x's -- later he assured us that the baby's foot is normal size! He was a crack up!

It was lots of fun and amazing to begin to see our baby. We are in awe and so thankful that everything is going well!! The dr. has given me the all clear as far as restrictions, so we are back to normal life. Also, I don't have to take the progesterone anymore since my placenta has grown up towards the top of my uterus away from the opening of my cervix (which is why the bleeding stopped)-- very, very good news!

Friday, November 16, 2007

November in SoCal

It's been a while since we've updated our blog other than the apt. pics- since our last post many things have happened...

1.) I can now feel the baby several times a day- typically when I would like to be
2.) We have unpacked all of our boxes! A necessity, really, when you live in a studio
AND when your Mom is coming to visit! :)
3.) We had a great visit with my Mom over veteran's day weekend! More pics of that
visit to come ASAP.
4.) Brian left his personal training position at 24 hr. fitness due to the extreme
sales nature of the position that conflicted with his personal training
philosophy, and I was hired by the Pasadena Public Health Dept. to begin to
develop their new adolescent immunization program!!! Very exciting! :)
6.) And...we are celebrating with our good friend's the Harlan's- who now officially
own our house on 1199 Mineral! We closed yesterday and we are wishing them well
and so excited to see all of the changes they have and will make (the only
condition was they have to take us in when we visit Morgantown)! ;)

As you can see we have been busy! The end of the quarter is rapidly approaching and Brian is working diligently to complete his final papers as well as massive amounts of reading! He's such a good student!! :)

I am enjoying the last few days of "vacation" while I wait to start my job the week after Thanksgiving. I can't wait!!!! My position is a community services
rep position and I will be developing their new adolescent immunization
program for adolescents in Latino communities and developing ways/programs to encourage more non-white teens to pursue health professions. This fits very well w/my desire to work in the community with marginalized folks and I am very excited
about it! My boss is so great and really sensitive about the baby. We have spoken on the phone multiple times since I received the initial offer and she always asks how I am feeling and how things are going, which we both greatly appreciate!!! To read more about my position see the press release below...

"At the end of her keynote address, Diana M. Bonta, RN Ph.D,
Vice President, Public Affairs for Kaiser Permanente's Southern California Region, and former Director of Health Services for the State of California, made a surprise announcement: Pasadena Immunization Coalition (PIzC) was being awarded a grant of $50,000 to support the planning phase of the Scholastic Partnership for Immunization Initiatives (SPIIn). The large mock-up of the $50,000 check is a hallmark of the partnership that Kaiser Permanente initiated to assist the Pasadena Public
Health Department’s PIzC launch- an outreach initiative among adolescents which promotes understanding about the immunizations that protect them at this stage in their lives. SPIIn is a project with a tri-fold focus: establishment of a youth-led immunization work group; peer-to-peer immunization promotion; and an introduction to public health careers for a new generation."

We also had our "high-tech" ultrasound today and the baby looks great! The ultrasound tech knows the sex of the baby, but we still prefer to be surprised! :) He said the placenta has grown upward, away from the opening of my cervix, which means a return to normal activity and the ability to have a natural childbirth. He took many pics and I will try and scan them tomorrow on Fuller's scanner, but until are some 6 month belly shots to get you through (we will be 24 weeks Sunday)!! WOW!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

"What does your apt. look like???!!!" or "We can't believe you fit all of that stuff in there!"

Yes, we did in fact fit most of our things into our apt- thanks mostly to the amazing wall to wall storage in the dressing nook, as well as creative use of shelves- many, many shelves!! :) Take a look...

This is our "dining room"- the first area you encounter when you walk through our front door- you can also see the "garage" to the side, where Brian keeps his bike.

Another view of the dining space- directly ahead of our dining space- you can see our lovely white heater (I want to name it b/c it's so big, but Brian won't let me). On the other side of our heater where we currently have our hamper is where the pack-n-play will go for the baby.

The rocker is just to the left of the dressing nook- you can see the shelves on the left- they make up the "wall" we designed to section off our bedroom space. :)

This is our living room space- just to the left of the kitchen.

More living room space...

To the left of the living room is Maggie's bed and the entrance into our bedroom.

Our bedroom...

Just look at all those beautiful shelves!!

This is Brian's masterpiece- it holds all of our books, games, our TV, filing box, our dressers are underneath, AND we still have baskets on shelves that are empty for baby supplies, etc. I watched in amazement at his spatial skills! :)

This is the entrance to the kitchen...notice all of our fun pics of friends and family!

We even have shelves in the kitchen- are you surprised??

This is our window over the kitchen counter and sink (a bit dark due to that CA sun shining in!)...

Our cabinets are white and we have about as much cabinet space as we did in Morgantown, actually.

Our fridge and stove...

And how could I almost forget...Maggie's favorite sunbathing spot- the nook!

Finally, through the nook...our bathroom- an important room for a pregnant lady who has to pee all the time... ;)

Well- there ya go- we hope you've enjoyed this tour of the Shope abode!