Monday, October 22, 2007

Birthdays and Adventures, not related

First, and most importantly, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Kate!!!" There are so many great things about being 24: you can celebrate one year of your life for each hour of the day, you're now officially in your mid-twenties (according to "Betsy's official designation of decades"), you're old enough to be respected but young enough to not have wrinkles (ok, obviously I've run out of ideas...). Anyway, the point is, you're a great sister, I love you, and I hope you're having a wonderful birthday!

Not that I always have to talk about pregnancy, and perhaps I can blame this more on the inspirational weather (sunny, for a change!) than on "nesting," but I woke up with a mad motivation to clean, clean, clean. So I did. It's so nice to sit in a clean apartment with the windows open and the sunshine and crisp Fall air streaming through. It will be even nicer once the gentleman outside is done mowing the quad. ...Air streaming through...that means more dust! oh dear. Yes, something unusual is definitely happening to me.

Speaking of which, for the second time in the past month, and perhaps the 4th time in my entire life, I did what I honestly thought I would never ever ever do. I ate ramen noodles... voluntarily, and today, even eagerly. (May I please blame pregnancy?) Oh the shame! Mark was quite shocked, as he used to eat them in his single days and, once he met me, heard no end of my tirades about how ramen noodles aren't food, or if they are, are a VERY poor excuse for it! Well, I have to admit, just before I devoured my bowl for lunch today, I said, with a little smirk, "Thank you Jesus for this poor excuse for food" and proceeded to thoroughly enjoy every last one of those stringy noodles (chicken flavor, in case you were wondering).

Well, pregnancy-related or otherwise, that won't be the first crazy thing I've done since carrying around this little boy....
My adventures with cups: In case you doubt the authenticity of these accounts, my sister Heidi was witness to at least a couple of them.
- I poured myself a can of pop. Literally. It ended up on me. I completely missed the cup I was holding in my left hand and poured it right onto my shirt - and this was no near miss, there were a good 4 inches between the cup and me.
- I attempted to fill a glass with water from the dispenser in the door of the fridge, ...but the cup was upside down. Guess where the water DIDN'T go.
- For at least a week, I wore a sample, on the front of my shirt and/or lap, of whatever beverage I was drinking. Thankfully, I mostly stuck to water.

I think perhaps there should be a warning from the surgeon general on every pregnancy test that reads something like this: "If this test is positive, avoid driving or operating heavy machinery for nine months."

"Why?" you may ask. well, I hesitate to mention, as I know my mother will be reading this post, but I will anyway (don't worry, mom, I'm fine!)
-The front license plate on our car is now hanging askew, as the result of a little collision I got into ...with a large pipe, our parking garage, ...before I had so much as touched the gas pedal. Impossible, you say? Not so, my friend, not so. If there's a pregnant lady, there's a way, and I discovered it. Ok, this one is understandable (at least that's what Mark told me). Friends of ours had driven us to the airport and then parked our car in our parking garage until we returned. Upon returning, I got into the car, failing to notice that our car, a manual, had been left in 1st gear without the parking brake set (we always leave it in neutral with the parking brake on). I turned the car on and promptly lurched forward at what seemed like death-defying speeds, right into a 10-inch diameter steel pipe labeled "sewer." Thankfully, the pipe survived with not even a scratch; I survived with no scratches and no sewage shower (!!!), the car survived with no other damage beyond the license plate. Thank you, Lord!
- Last night, I drove 3/4 of a 10-minute drive home, at night, before realizing I didn't have my lights on. The car that was about to pull out in front of me clued me in. Thankfully, that was as eventful as it got, so I'm fine, the baby's fine, the car's fine, and the other car wasn't a policeman. I count my blessings. I also ask Mark to drive whenever I have the option.

Now, back to that beautiful weather. I need to go enjoy it. I hope you all have a wonderful and safe, spill-free, ramen-less day!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Drum roll, please

First, I have to apologize to my 3 fans for the delay in this post. Yesterday, I had to run straight from my ultrasound to an all-afternoon training seminar for work that continued through the day, today. Secondly, I also have to apologize for the fuzzy pictures. We don't have a scanner, so I had to use my digital camera to get post-able images, which resulted in less than clear pictures, esp. for the profile pictures which are already blurry because baby's head was tucked in a funny position that made it hard to reach with the ultrasound waves. So........ :) :) :)

...We're having a.....
For those of you less-than-ultrasound-savvy folks, that's a picture of the backside and legs of our baby boy, with his little boy parts front and center (yes, he does have a full left leg, it's just in shadow.) :) He certainly wasn't shy about showing off that part of himself; it was the very first thing we saw as the ultrasound began! His head, however was another matter. The images on the screen at the ultrasound were clearer and he looks SUPER cute, if I can say so, but this is what we came home with:

The shadowy image above his nose is his right hand.

I should also mention that it doesn't look I need to worry about him being a Leap Day baby, after all. He measured a week larger than expected, so my due date has been moved up to 2/20/08. I'm thrilled, as it's one week less that I have to wait to meet him!

Last night, Mark and I celebrated by beginning our baby registry. I discovered that it's dangerous to bring along your very excited, sports-fan husband! Our son isn't going to lack sports-related baby items if Mark has anything to do with it. I tried to remind him that chances are we'll have girls as well, and I'd rather not wrap them all in football-patterned receiving blankets! :)

It was so amazing to see our first child, our son, yesterday morning. He looks healthy, as far as we can tell, though the tech wouldn't have been allowed to tell us otherwise. She seemed very friendly and excited for us, and asked if we might bring him in for a visit after he is born. That leads me to believe there's no cause for concern. :) Praise the Lord for our healthy baby! Please continue to keep us all in your prayers.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Church and Lay Communities

Mark and I attended a conference this past weekend on "Community and the [Catholic] Church." It dealt with the role of private lay associations and ecclesial communities in the Church. The first talk covered (then) Cardinal Ratzinger's Pentecost address, The Ecclesial Movements: A Theological Reflection on Their Place in the Church (1998), (the picture is of that day, '98,) and subsequent talks drew heavily from JP II's Christifideles laici (1987). Ratzinger posited that these 20th Century lay movements are the "fifth wave" of the Holy Spirit, referencing Missionary Monasticism, The Cluniac Reform, The Mendicant Orders, and Missionary Expansion as the 4 previous "waves" of the Holy Spirit through history, all following a similar, recognizable pattern. The conference also covered Canon Law, the nature of the Church (e.g. there’s more to her than parishes), the role of the Bishop, and more. It was really fascinating material, and especially helpful for me, as I have wrestled with the very issue of where "Community" fits, not realizing that Popes have spoken extensively on the subject. Praise the Lord!

There were so many quotes on the conference; it’s hard to choose which to include, so in case you need some good bathroom reading material, you can print these off: :)

Ratzinger - '98
"...It should be said quite clearly that the apostolic movements appear in ever new forms in history - necessarily so, because they are the Holy Spirit's answer to the ever changing situations in which the Church lives...A retrospective glance at the history of the Church will help us to acknowledge with gratitutde that, through all her trials and tribulations, the Church has always succeeded in finding room for all the great new awakenings of the spirit that emerge in her midst. I therefore recommend that the new ecclesial movements be spread, and that they be used to give fresh energy, especially among young people, to the Christian life and to evangelization..."

JP II - '87
“Since the Church’s task in our day is so great, its accomplishment cannot be left to the parish alone… There are many other places and forms of association through which the Church can be present and at work. All are necessary to carry out the word and grace of the Gospel and to correspond to the various circumstances of life in which people find themselves today.”

"In recent days the phenomenon of lay people associating among themselves has taken on a character of particular variety and vitality. In some ways lay associations have always been present throughout the Church's history as various confraternities, third orders and sodalities testify even today. However, in modern times such lay groups have recieved a special stimulus, resulting in the birth and spread of a multiplicity of group forms: associations, groups, communities, movements. We can speak of a new era of group endeavors of the lay faithful. In fact, alongside the traditional forming of associations, and at times coming from their very roots, movements and new sodalities have sprouted with a specific feature and purpose, so great is the richness and the versatility of resources that the Holy Spirit nourishes in the ecclesial community, and so great is the capacity of initiative and the generosity of our lay people."

(Back to me...) As a last note, before you get the idea that the place of lay associations within the Church is all ironed-out, I should add that the Church recognizes the current tension that exists as she seeks to find each movement’s place within the structure of the Church. On that note, some quotes from the outline by Fr. Bob Oliver, STD and Canon Lawyer, who was the main speaker at the conference:

"At the present time the Church is still developing canonical forms for lay movements. Such forms will (eventually) address many of the practical issues that the members of our communities face in living the life of the Church and participating in its mission."

"Lay ecclesial movements are a relatively new gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church. The ecclesiastical hierarchy has endorsed, encouraged and validated these movements, but not without controversy and not in an unqualified manner."

Our community in St. Paul, for example (the Community of Christ the Redeemer), has overwhelming support from, endorsement from, and a close relationship with the local Archbishop, Coadjutor Archbishop, and Auxiliary Bishop. (The latter also happens to be the President of SPO’s Board, and therefore indirectly Mark's boss!)

What we've been up to

This is the view from our living room window. Not bad, eh? :) It's been a good couple of months in the expanding Archibald family. Expanding, yes indeed. I keep thinking I should have Mark take a couple of pictures of me every now and then, for posterity's sake, but then I wonder if I, or anyone, will ever really want to look at pictures of me at the largest I've ever been, and growing. Ah, pregnancy. :) Baby has been kicking like crazy for a few weeks now. S/he already has predictable sleep/wake cycles, with the most active times being approximately noon and midnight. Mark, not yet being able to feel the baby, has made numerous comments about how feeling the baby move is the ONE AND ONLY part of being a woman of which he is a bit envious. I'm not sure what parts of my predictable pregnancy-related weekly crying spells don't appeal to him?

Two and half weeks ago, the Fenton family married off another one. Heidi is now officially a Keiser. Hurray!!!! I wonder who Kate is going to marry, in order to keep up with last names like these new ones we've adopted! Heidi and Kevin are already off in Rome, where they will be living for 2 semesters. Mark and I have grand plans, though yet to be solidified, to visit them in late Spring '08 during baby Archibald's whirlwind tour of Europe. Please keep this trip in your prayers, as it would be a wonderful opportunity for Mark's side of the family to meet their newest relation. I am a bit concerned that a passport for baby might be difficult to get in time, but God can do anything!

Kate dropped in for an afternoon, this past Friday. Yes, she was in St. Paul! It was great to see her, and show her where we live, etc. She was here for the weekend, for the wedding of a friend of hers. We had been informed that we probably weren't going to be able to see her at all, so it came as a surprise when she called to say she had a free afternoon, and could she come over? I was dissapointed that we weren't able to have anything planned, so we couldn't make the most of our visit and show her around a bit, but she was exhausted and I was on the verge of a cold (which has me in its clutches, at the moment) so I suppose an afternoon of chatting in our apartment was probably for the best. She came with a married couple, friends of hers from W.P. and Fort Hood. I have to admit, I felt a little bad for the husband, having to spend an afternoon with 3 other women, doing what women do best: talk. :)

Our work and personal lives are very busy, especially as they are often one and the same. Mark has taken on many new and demanding roles this year with SPO, not to mention being a Chaplain. I am loving my very-part-time job as a prenatal nurse! I am also taking on a role as a women's group leader for a few post-college age women. I'll also be pastoring a least a couple of them, which presents more challenges and, I am sure, ample opportunities for my own growth!
This is Mark, hard at work in our dorm living room. The red couch, coffee table, and life-size Our Lady of Guadalupe belong to the University, but the rest is ours, including the mess. Why do photos always make my home look messier than I see it? Perhaps this is telling...

Life in the dorms has not entirely lost it's rosey-hue. I can not help but appreciate all the blessings we have at our fingertips. The occasional "f-bomb" (as Mark calls them) yelled in the hall, and poor taste in VERY LOUD music has yet to make me think that living here isn't for us. It simply highlights the necessity of our presence, that much more. In the boys' defense, they are very polite and quickly turn down their music when I request they do so, which I've done all of once. Last week, while Kate was here, we recieved what I can only guess was an apology card, shortly after said volume request. The card, which was unsigned, was a pink, sparkly, Winnie-the Pooh number, that had been duct-taped to our door. It read "Congratulations on Your Baby Girl." I laughed as I said to Mark, "well, I guess we're having a girl." :)

Speaking of which, THIS FRIDAY is our 20 week ultrasound!!! God-willing, Baby will cooperate and let us know if we're parents of a boy or a girl. :) I was telling Mark that when I feel the baby kick, I think about baby as a boy, but when I think about whether we're having a boy or girl, I think about the baby as a girl. I guess I'm just completely confused! Anyway, please post your guesses, and if we are able to find out, we'll let you know who's right! :)