Sometimes I feel disappointed that I'm not blogging as often as I used to. It's actually okay, though. Any hobby someone sticks with over time will tend to change a little, as the person changes. And that's all right.
I could write probably about nine different blog posts right now, and instead I'm going to condense them.
I got braces! My teeth weren't bad, but I have one upper tooth that is really rotated, and a spot where my lower teeth are crowded. Pictures taken from my right side always look bad because the rotated tooth is prominent from that angle.
I can remember when I was 11 or 12 or something, I used to have this plastic stuff that would melt and then harden again, and you could make things out of it. I made a lot of different things. I remember I tried to make myself braces once. The model was more like a retainer; I tried to use a paper clip for a metal part, but it didn't really work right, so I moved to an entirely plastic model. They were basically like whitening trays, or, a prototype for Invisalign. Of course they did nothing, so I gave up on that.
The timing was basically determined by insurance. At Jeff's current job, insurance covers adult braces. (Not 100%, but most insurances won't cover anything after you're 18, 21, or 26 at the oldest.) So, this was a good time. We researched a lot to make sure it was ok during pregnancy, and only real problem is that it's just one more uncomfortable thing. (And it is.)
I got ceramic ones, and the conservative estimate is that I'll wear them for a year. But maybe less.
For Christmas we stayed in town. We spent Christmas eve with Jeff's family, because that's their tradition. We stayed the night there, actually. And then, on Christmas day Jeff and I drove down to Jessica's house to have dinner with a bunch of my family: Jess and Mitch, Sarah, Jason (he was down visiting from BYU-I), my dad (up visiting from CA), and my grandpa (on loan from his old folks' home in Salt Lake). It was a lot of fun. We made out with some great loot, too, because this year Jess and Mitch were giving to Jeff and I in my family's sibling exchange, and Jess got us a personalized sign to hang in our house. We really liked that. Plus, she made me some bands for adapting pre-pregnancy jeans to pregnancy, which was thoughtful and relevant. Sarah brought her puppy ("Skunk"?), too, and it kept playing with the cats, so that was fun to watch.
One of the best Christmas gifts was something Jess gave to Jason. SO, here's the story (as well as I remember it): After Sarah lived with Jess and Mitch, Jessica gave her a framed picture of Jess and Mitch and their cats, to take to her new apartment. Jessica still checks with Sarah sometimes to see if she has it, and she does. THEN, after Jason lived with Jess and Mitch this summer, they drove him up to his dorm at BYU-I, and sometime when he wasn't looking, Jess put up a framed copy of the same picture (of her and Mitch and their cats) in Jason's dorm. After they left, Jason texted (I think?) and was like "ha ha, very funny." Or something. But Jessica still checks with him periodically to see if it is still up, and so far it is. BUT THEN! When Jason came down for Christmas (or right before? I don't know), when Jessica asked Jason about the picture, Jason said that he still had it--right by the 8x10 I sent him of Jeff and I and all of our animals. Then they had a conversation kind of like this:
Jessica: Really? Did they really do that?
Jason: Uh huh.
Jessica: Really, though?
Jessica: But seriously, come on, did they?
Jason: Uh huh.
Jessica: They really did?
Jason: Okay, no they didn't.
Jessica: Challenge accepted!
SO, Jason was even already there--for Christmas--this year--and Jessica got a group picture, for some reason or another, and she went to Costco, and turned it into a poster. I think it was a picture of Jess and Mitch, and Sarah and Jason. I forget. The cats weren't in the picture, unfortunately, because the pictures that had them in it didn't come out right.
It was the funniest to watch Jason unwrap this poster, all rolled up, because he was totally not expecting it. And, my poor little brother, I think he kind of wants to be cool up at college, and it's kind of weird to have a poster like that. But also it's kind of awesome and random, so I hope he does put it up.
For the sibling exchange we had my little brother Brandon, so we had to mail him stuff. It was so lame, because I thought he was coming up to Utah with my dad, so I hadn't mailed his gifts, but then I found out he was staying in California. So I sent his package priority (2-3 days) on the Tuesday morning before Christmas (4 delivery days out). Would it be there in time? The post office guy assured me that it would. "Oh, yeah, it'll make it." So, readers, want to guess when the package was actually delivered? ... Wednesday! Not the next day. EIGHT days later. Four days after Christmas. (Heyyy.)
The day after Christmas, we drove down to Phoenix to spend a week with my sister, Tracy. We had a great time. It was a very relaxing vacation, which was just what we needed. We slept in, and ate good food, and did just enough tourism for us to feel like we were on vacation. We hiked at ...South Mountain? and we hiked at White Tank ... something Preserve. We visited the Botanical Gardens. And we visited some of my friends from back in Provo. It was so much fun to see them and their kids. And then we drove back. Our books for the trip were: Currency Wars (James Rickards) and Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. It was a long drive, but we had a great trip, and we really enjoyed spending so much time with my sister and her family.
My property management business is continuing to grow. I recently hired a lady to help us as a "Part Time Office Manager/ Property Management Assistant." So, her primary responsibility so far is to help us with our office organization--she's doing a lot of bookkeeping for us, and helping us transition from Quicken to QuickBooks for 2012. She also has about 20 years of property management experience, though, so as we get caught up on bookkeeping, we will begin to have her also help out with property management tasks--primarily for interactions with tenants. She's been working for us since the week before Christmas, and I like her a lot. She brings a lot of good ideas and useful experience to our business.
So, one of the big reasons for hiring her is in preparation for the baby being born. All by myself, I think it would be really difficult to become a parent and still be growing my business (or even meeting the needs of my existing business). Instead, my hope is that I can continue to expand my business as much as possible during my pregnancy, and then my job can transition into marketing and owner relations. Those aspects of property management are a lot easier to do with a baby than all of the running around parts of the job. With a good team, I can continue to grow my business, provide excellent service, and set things up so that I can be a mom and raise my kids.
Pregnancy is still going all right. A few weeks ago my morning sickness finally went away, so I'm not nauseous all day every day anymore. That's nice. I still get tired a lot. For the past week or so, every day at about 2 pm I start to feel like I haven't slept in months. I'm just exhausted. Making a baby is a lot of work, I guess.
I think I'm starting to feel the baby move sometimes. I wasn't sure if I was feeling it or not, but over the past week it's become more distinct. I only feel it sometimes, and when I do, I usually start to feel it a couple minutes after I lay down for bed at night. That's kind of cool.
We have another appointment with my midwife next Monday. She said if it is a boy, we may be able to tell at that appointment. We're planning to do the anatomy scan the week of the 23rd, so either way we'll know the gender within the next couple weeks. It's something I think about every day, though. Today I am 17 weeks and 3 days pregnant, and if we went to a for-fun ultrasound place, that's far enough along that they would be able to tell us the gender, and it would be accurate. So! Why don't we know?? I really want to go find out! But then I'm like, "Oh, Emily, just be patient. You'll know really soon anyway." And that's true, too.
Lately I feel like the baby will be a girl. For the first while during pregnancy it seemed like it would be a boy because almost everyone I know has has boys. But who knows. Jeff and I don't really care whether it's a boy or girl. We maybe slightly prefer a boy, because Jeff loves to play rough with Chalcy and boys play rougher than girls. And I can think of a few boy names that I like, but I struggle with girl names. And, a boy would be a better farm worker, maybe. But, boys have lots of energy. And little girls are sometimes just so sweet. It would be a lot of fun to have a daughter. So, our preference isn't much of a preference, because either way will be a lot of fun.
Last week I got my first maternity outfit. My mother-in-law took Jeff and I shopping for Christmas, and I got these cute black pants and a blue top. The pants are extremely comfortable. I still fit into almost all of my regular clothes, particularly if I'm standing. Sitting down makes regular pants uncomfortable.
And, I think that's pretty much everything.