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...