Tuesday, December 28, 2010

December 23 – New Name

Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?

Oh, I love this question. I do this at Starbucks when they ask for the name to put on the cup. They always spell my name wrong, so I like to mix it up.

Usually I go with Claire. I like it for a couple of reasons. One is that it's the name I chose for French class in 7th grade. I like to pretend I'm all French and would love to end up there one day, so it helps me get on my way to that dream. Two is that it's one syllable and it sounds chic.

I think Claire Latourelle works, don't you?

December 22 – Travel

How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year?

So I'm a little behind on this daily December blogging due to travel (ironic, huh, due to the title post?)

We're in Minnesota visiting Shawn's family and it's Jack's first Christmas. Besides a little cold, Jack's had a blast. We have had a great time, too. My mom came for a few days for which we're all thankful. Shawn's folks are enjoying every minute of Jack. Granpa Don is a pro at feeding Jack carrots and peas. I'm thankful for that because Jack doesn't seem to like it when I try to do the same.

2010 was a little low on the travel, but the best trip was our baby moon to San Diego. We were just telling Shawn's brother and sister-in-law about it yesterday. The weather was great. The people were friendly. Coronado was beautiful. So much to do, so much fun. We saw a Padres game, we went swimming a couple of times, we went to the famous zoo that is definitely all it's cracked up to be.

The only other trip I took was to South Carolina to be a part of a women's retreat my mom cohosted. It was nice and relaxing. I'm glad I went. It was for my birthday celebration.

Next year, I doubt we'll travel tons with Jack, but I hope the one trip we make is back to Minnesota. Next year Shawn turns 40 and I want to celebrate by taking him to a live show of Prairie Home Companion. I really hope it works out.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

December 20 – Beyond Avoidance.

What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?)

(Author: Jake Nickell)

Very specifically, I should've called my dad on Thanksgiving.

I will call him on Christmas. And I need to send him some more pictures of Jack.

But with Jack's arrival, my heart is back in heavy-land towards my dad. I'm unsure of how to handle Jack's relationship with my dad and I'm scared of Jack not knowing him, but knowing him too much. Very tricky.

December 19 – Healing.

What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?

(Author: Leonie Allan)

Pam healed me this year. Well...she helped. I had a bowel impaction. I won't go into the details, but I thought I was going to die. I'm glad I didn't. Whew...the eventual 'healing' was pretty sudden, but it was definitely a process up to that point.

Next year, I'd like my back pain to be healed. I have a plan in place, but have to wait for the right timing. I'm hopeful...

December 18 – Try.

What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it?

(Author: Kaileen Elise)

I want to try and document Jack's life in pictures more. I had some hopes for that this year, but also gave myself slack for all the adjustments that came with Jack.

I think I also want to try new recipes. I just tried a lamb dish the other night and it turned out way better than I imagined. I have collected quite a few recipes (and have all of my grandmother's recipes). I'd like to step out on that limb next year.

December 17 – Lesson Learned.

What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?

(Author: Tara Weaver)

It's taken me five days to come up with an answer that I could be happy sharing.

Thanks to my friend Marlee for the help in processing.

I've learned that I am a perseverer. Having a baby is the hardest thing I've ever done. And living with a baby is such a tricky thing. It's full of inconsistencies and unmet expectations, both of which I already knew I had a hard time dealing with. But I'm taking it a day at a time, and living in the moment and trying to be the best me with Jack. I'm not ever going to win 'Best Mom of the Year' award. But, I hope Jack will always know that I'm with him and for him and have chosen on a daily basis to love, comfort, and take care of him.

As for applying it, I will continue to persevere in this unknown territory that is motherhood. I won't give up. I will remain loyal and present and be all of me to Jack and to Shawn.

Friday, December 17, 2010

December 16 – Friendship

How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?

(Author: Martha Mihalick)

I think I could spend days upon days mentioning friends who've changed me. I think that if we're not changed by those we spend life with, then we're missing the whole point to friends, to our community. But two come to mind, so I'll share those.

My friend Taryn, who is now on the other side of the country for me continually shares her perspective and experiences that changes me for the better. Her love, her frankness, her compassion, her joy...all of that makes me open my eyes to the beauty around me, to the opportunities to be light and love to all around me.

My friend Kelly as been keeping me accountable about Letting Go. She's helped me slowly remember boundaries and keep them here at work. It's been a gradual thing, but it's really improved my emotional well being. I'm really thankful for that perspective.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

December 15 – 5 Minutes

Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

(Author: Patti Digh)

Some of these will be a repeat of previous December posts, so bear with me.

I'm going to try and go in order, so I don't leave things out.

My birthday party that had its own theme and logo and where I told the girls I was pregnant by having Toni say "say Loren's pregnant!"

The whole being pregnant thing. I really did have a great pregnancy.

Yoga. I couldn't have managed my pregnancy as well as I did, I don't think, without yoga. By the end (I went to yoga the Thursday before I gave birth on Sunday), I had a stack of blankets and pillows to prop myself up. It was hilarious, but oh so helpful.

San Diego! Oh my gosh. Such a great 'baby moon'/anniversary trip. Shawn and I went, took public transportation, stumbled upon a Chick-fil-a, went to a Padres game, fell in love with Coronodo. So glad we went. For weeks after, I would wake up and ask Shawn if we could go back to San Diego that day.

My baby shower. Gorgeous. Perfect. Celebratory.

Jack's birth. Jack's life. His smiles, his laugh, his rolling over. His sleep...the grunts and smiles during his sleep. How he adores Shawn and can't take his eyes off him when they're in the same room. His first Halloween, first Thanksgiving...

My mom moving in with us. How thankful I am. How fun and helpful and great it is.

Paige coming to visit and meet Jack for the first time. How fun and helfpul and great that was.

Shawn's parents coming. Their love and care and help.

Ok, times up...whew...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December 14 – Appreciate

What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?

(Author: Victoria Klein)

One thing: time. I realized how precious life is and how precious the time I have been given on this earth is and have really wanted to make the most of my time with the people I love.

And speaking of people I love, I really wanted to change the prompt and make it on person and that would have to be Shawn. He rocked being a husband to a pregnant lady and has rocked even more being a husband and a Dad, while juggling all of life's other demands. I'm so grateful for his love and presence in my life. So glad I get to do life with him and that he's my family.

Monday, December 13, 2010

December 13 – Action

When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?

(Author: Scott Belsky)

Next steps are overrated, aren't they?

My current 'next step' is to wait. I'm waiting on a start-up that I'm a part of to launch. So far, nothing doing.

It sounds like a cop out, so I'm actually actively seeking other opportunities. The latest 'next step' is to find out more information about an opportunity of which I was just made aware.

As far as my list of 8 (that is supposed to be 11), I haven't gotten that far...

December 12 – Body Integration

This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

(Author: Patrick Reynolds)

I have no earthly idea what this even means. And I don't really want to know.

And I can't really think of another question to answer, so we'll just skip this one...

December 12 – Body Integration

This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

(Author: Patrick Reynolds)

I have no earthly idea what this even means. And I don't really want to know.

And I can't really think of another question to answer, so we'll just skip this one...

December 11 – 11 Things

What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

(Author: Sam Davidson)

Oh my gosh. This is a hard question!

Here's my attempt at this list, in no particular order:

1. nail biting (eliminating...have been working on this for quite some time. don't really have an answer besides thoughtful determination).

2. road rage (elminating...starting by breathing more when I drive. seriously...inhale, exhale)

3. foul language (see elimination strategy for #1)

4. soda (I didn't even want to type this one. elminating...trying to drink more water in effort to make the soda intake more minimal)

5. reality tv (eliminating...not turning on the computer as often when I'm at home; not watching the first episode)

6. blogs (elminating...thinking about eliminating that just for Lent)

7. feelings of inadequacy (especially when it comes to Jack. eliminating...no clue)

8. a job I don't like (eliminating...see December 10 post)

ok, that's as far as I can get for now. if I think of 3 more, I'll edit this post.

As far as how these things will change my life, I'd be less stressed, lighter weight (mentally and physically), and Shawn would be thrilled.

December 10 – Wisdom

Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

(Author: Susannah Conway)

I think the wisest decision I made this year was to share with Shawn the random idea that flew into my head one day in June (maybe even July). I thought, 'we'll have an extra room, we're staying in this place for a while, why not ask my mom to move in with us?' She was already planning on moving out to the Bay Area, but was waiting for the right time (namely, having the house sold). But the day after we offered for her to move in with us, she was trying to quit her job.

It's played out in the most amazing way. She lives with us! She helps watch Jack. We get to hang out and chat and eat dinners together. And she and Shawn get along famously, as well. I love it.

I'm faced with another decision that'll effect things quite a bit that I'm praying God gives me wisdom about as well. Here's hoping...

Thursday, December 09, 2010

December 9 – Party Prompt

Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans. (Author: Shauna Reid)

I have been truly blessed this year in the party arena. TWO of the best parties in the world were thrown for me this year.

The first was my birthday party.

My friend, Toni, threw an outrageously awesome party for me. Complete with my own logo, magnets with my favorite words on them, and party favors any girl would want. It was all in green (my favorite color), the girls who attended were asked to wear green, we played one of my favorite games (Taboo), had my favorite foods (sour cream and onion pringles, delicious petite fors from Woodland market) and drinks (Dr. Pepper and Sweet Tea). I was surrounded by some of my favorite people (even Nikaley from France and April from Africa made an appearance...both being home for just a few months). To top it all off, I decided that I wanted to share with all of them at the same time that I was pregnant. So I read up on different ways to share. I decided to have Toni take a picture of all of us. The first take she said the usual, 'Say cheese!' The 2nd take she said, 'Say "Loren's pregnant!"' It was priceless. Crickets could be heard. It took a second for it to sink in. Then everyone freaked out. It was great!

The second was my baby shower.

Oh goodness. I can't say enough about Pam, Toni, Katie and Marian! These ladies went all out for me and Jack. I felt so incredibly special. My mom was able to be a part of the celebration, as well. The decorations were awesome. The food (can you see a theme?) was to die for. Karen Robinson made her scrumptious blueberry scones. They bought more petite fors from Woodland Market. The favors this time (Toni again) had Jack's life verse (Job 10:12) on them, were mini chinese-take-out style boxes with homemade cookies inside. Pam went all out...including beautiful table linens. Pam also put together a perfect scrapbook of the day that I'll cherish forever. I felt so supported and loved.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

December 8 – Beautifully Different.

Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.

(Author: Karen Walrond)

One of the things that makes me different is my laugh. And I think it definitely would qualify as 'lights people up.' I have actually tried to change my laugh in the past, but now I just embrace it. Some people claim to be able to hear my laugh from the other side of a school campus. Others have been infuriated by it (my most favorite memory is of a Russian librarian accusing me of making her work environment impossible).

I really do love to laugh. Whether at jokes, at irony, or even silly things people do. I have a pretty dry wit and sarcasm really does it for me, too.

It's hard for me to think of other things at the moment, especially since it's not only something different, but something different that lights people up.

If I take away the lights people up part, a few other things come to mind:

my height (although I don't really notice or feel short unless I'm standing close to someone over 6 feet).

my frankness (I have a knack for being disarmingly honest...my honesty paves the way for others honesty)

i have a widow's peak

i count most of my steps

will continue to ponder what makes me different. if anyone is reading this, please feel free to add your two cents.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

December 7 – Community

Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

(Author: Cali Harris)

Are these people reading my diary that doesn't really exist?!

This is a loaded question for me. One that brings mixed emotions.

The good: I'm a part of a house church. We meet in our homes. It's truly a community. My husband and I have walked with people through some pretty intense stuff. This year, especially, I've appreciated having this community during pregnancy, as well as with Jack's birth. Those people gathered round us, brought meals to us the first few weeks, and contineu to walk with us as we navigate this unchartered territory.

The not so good: My husband and I, before we got married, both felt led to live in community with other people. We set goals, both big and small, for what we wanted to achieve by living with others. After we got married, we decided to hold off on living in community for the first year of our marriage. A year and a half into our marriage, we invited a guy to live with us. So began our community living adventure. July 2009, we moved into a three bedroom townhouse. The guy who'd been living with us for 6 months decided to move with us, and another guy moved in as well. The first guy (we'll just call him A), moved out early to get married. The second guy (we'll call him B), moved out the end of September. He moved out mainly because of Jack. When he first signed the lease we made him well aware that we hoped to have a baby within the next year and he seemed totally fine with that idea. Oh well.
Nothing really went as we expected or hoped. All we asked was to share a meal together once a week, and pray together once a week. We were amazed at how hard that was to accomplish. Guy B was better at it than not, although right after we shared with him that I was pregnant, he began to distance himself. Also, around that same time, he stopped paying rent. Awesome. He kept saying he would pay us, and he never did. He still owes us to this day. He's since moved back home with his parents, and it's doubtful we'll ever see the rest of the money he owes us (even though he told us he'd pay us...gotta love integrity).

The silver lining: B moving out made room for my mom to move in! And for that we're very truly thankful. It all happened so fast, but we asked her, she said yes and picked up from South Carolina to live in community with us. We eat dinner together at least once a week. We watch movies together. We laugh together. She gets to vent, I get to vent. She and Shawn get along swimmingly. AND she helps us watch Jack. She adores Jack, of course. Which is so great for us and so great for him!

I'm not sure what community living will look like in the future now that Jack is in the picture, but I'm trying not to close the door on it altogether. I'm thankful that my mom lives with us and am grateful to continue to nurture and grow in my relationship with her. That's my 2011 community goal.

I think life is meant to be lived intentionally with others. Even in the mess, in the pain and hurt, the good times and the bad. We are not meant to live isolated lives. I seek out community for accountability, fellowship, and encouragement.

Monday, December 06, 2010

December 6 – Make.

What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

(Author: Gretchen Rubin)

At the risk of being way cheesy, I choose to share that the last thing I made was a joyful noise to the Lord. We went to a Bach Choir Christmas concert on Sunday. The last song everyone sang together: 'O Come, All Ye Faithful.' It was beautiful.

I dodged a 'normal' answer to this question because I'm not a crafty type person. I love looking at DIY ideas, but when it comes down to the doing, I'd rather just buy something and call it a day.

I can't even think of something I want to make...

December 5 – Let Go.

What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

(Author: Alice Bradley)

Oh my word. This has been my mantra at work for the past 6 months or so.

My work situation is interesting at best. Tricky at least.

I have an overwhelming sense of responsibility and justice. But being in a job with no authority, little respect, and lots of inconsistency, I've had to let go of any expectations of right or good to happen. It seems if I even try to excel or go above and beyond, I get punished or held back. So I've had to let go of alot in regards to expectations and fulfillment at work.

It isn't easy, but it has been a bit freeing. I get my work done, but nothing above and beyond. Which is a little sad to me, at times, but I've learned that it won't do any good or get me anywhere.

I struggle to maintain integrity, but think I've found the balance.

I'm not sure how long I'll have to stay here. But God has provided a source of income, a job with excellent benefits, and a place where I have friends who can encourage and support me along the way.

In fact, I just came across this entry from the book The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie
December 4:
"How much do we need to let go of?" a friend asked one day.
"I'm not certain," I replied, "but maybe everything."
Letting go is a spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical process, a sometimes mysterious metaphysical process of releasing to God…that which we are clinging to so tightly.
We let go of our grasp on people, outcomes, ideas, feelings, wants needs, desires—everything. We let go of trying to control our progress in recovery. Yes, it’s important to acknowledge and accept what we want and what we want to happen. But it’s equally important to follow through by letting go.
Letting go is the action part of faith. It is a behavior that gives God…permission to send us what we’re meant to have.
Letting go means we acknowledge that hanging on so tightly isn’t helping to solve the problem, change the person, or get the outcomes we desire. It isn’t helping us. In fact, we learn that hanging on often blocks us from getting what we want and need.
Who are we to say that things aren’t happening exactly as they need to happen?
There is magic in letting go. Sometimes we get what we want soon after we let go. Sometimes it takes longer. Sometimes the specific outcome we desire doesn’t happen. Something better does.
Letting go sets us free and connects us to our Source.
Letting go creates the optimum environment for the best possible outcomes and solutions.

Today I will relax. I will let go of that which is upsetting me the most. I will trust that by letting go, I have started the wheels in motion for things to work out in the best possible way.

December 4 – Wonder.

How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

(Author: Jeffrey Davis)

So, I was pregnant for half of 2010, and have been figuring out this 'how-to-be-myself-but-be-a-mom-too' thing since then.

While pregnant, I really did marvel and awe at God's creativity and his sovreignty. I was filled with wonder about the process of life. I really had to let go and learn to trust the process of life (as I was living it, as well as while it was going on inside of me, almost a part from me, but as well a part of me).

I cultivated the sense of wonder by having lots of conversations with God about life itself. By sitting still and just being. Inhaling and exhaling became worship to me. Worship of the Creator God for who He is and what He was doing inside of me.

I have been a bit distracted to actually continue with that sense of wonder, unless I'm just alone with Jack, feeding him or just holding him while he sleeps.

This is a good reminder to take time to intentionally wonder at the beauty and love and goodness of God. Mostly through the lives with whom He's allowing my own life to intersect and connect.

Friday, December 03, 2010

December 3 – Moment.

Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

Since I haven't recorded the story of Jack Haynesworth Latourelle's entrance into the world, this seems as good a time as any, regarding feeling most alive. There are few times in my life where I've felt as alive as I did in the process of giving birth. Feeling alive while experience new life is such a surreal experience. I'm sure that won't be the last trite statement I use as I tell my first born's birth story.

Saturday, July 24: Shawn had planned for us to go into San Francisco for the day. During a job, he'd stumbled upon a street that had a few baby-type shops and he knew that I'd love it. So we went window shopping. Around 11a, I started having contractions, but I thought they were just Braxton-Hicks. I hadn't felt any contractions prior to that day. I didn't say anything to Shawn at first, but in my head I was counting how long they lasted and keeping track of how far apart they were. Initially, they were about 30 seconds long, and at least 20 minutes apart. A couple hours into it, I shared with Shawn what I was feeling and he agreed that surely they were just Braxton-Hicks. We went into some really cute shops that had really cute things, but didn't buy anything. We grabbed lunch at a cafe on the corner. When we were walking after lunch, and still had a few shops to mosy into, I think is when I felt my water break. But at the time, I just thought it was related to the mucus plug. So, we kept on our merry way. We sat in the MOST comfortable rocker in the world, but of course, left it at the store.
We made our way back home and I noticed the front of the kitchen cabinets were filthy. So I started cleaning them (that should've been the sign that I was about to have a baby!).
We had dinner and I started feeling the contractions a bit more regularly. Looking back, I should've eaten way more than I did, considering I wouldn't eat again until after 8p the next day. I think around 8p I realized these weren't fake contractions, but the real thing.
Then we went to bed. Except, I couldn't sleep. For some, it may be the case, but for me, I couldn't catch any sleep in between contractions. I can't fall sleep that quickly, nor was I able to handle the contractions lying (or sitting) down.
Sunday, July 25: Around 1a, I called San Francisco Kaiser. They said they had room for me, but if I could stand it longer at home, I should try. So try I did. I also did a load of laundry because the outfit I wanted to go to the hospital in wasn't clean (I wasn't due until August 6, but was for sure I'd give birth August 1). I also took a hot shower around that time. That felt good, too.
With each contraction, I would hold on to the end of the bed and sway my hips back and around (like a hoola). I learned that in my yoga class. I would moan during them, although I was trying not to be too loud since we had a roommate at the time.
4:30a rolls around and I know it's time to go. My bag was already packed. Shawn's was, too. He put the bags in the car and we headed to the hospital.
My biggest concern was making it to the hospital through the contractions. I hadn't sat down for a contraction since around 8p, so I was scared. But I made it. It was about a 30 minute ride to the hospital. Luckily, there's not much traffic going into San Francisco at 5a on a Sunday.
Shawn dropped me off at the Emergency Room entrance, just liked we'd been told to do at our birthing class. He went to park the car. I told the lady I was in labor and needed assistance. Meanwhile, I placed my hand against the wall and swung my hips back and around when the next contraction came on.
Shawn came before anyone was ready to take us back. Finally a woman came to us and said we could go with her. They had a wheelchair for me. I gladly accepted.
When we got to our room, I asked for an epidural. I had to wait for the anesthesiologist to come, so I think it was 8a before I actually got the epidural.
Then I went to sleep. I progressed a bit, but by the afternoon, I needed pitosin. So I got some and then, started progressing right.
With the help of my fabulous nurse, Anna, and Shawn, I pushed for about 2 hours. I experienced what most women giving birth experienced: I didn't think I was going to make it. And I said as much. And I do remember apologizing for not being able to make it. Then, I felt the ring of fire (that's what the OB called it, and that's for sure what it felt like to me).
Jack Haynesworth Latourelle was born at 7:22p on July 25, 2010. He weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces, was 21 inches long and I can't remember his head circumference. The funniest thing, though, was that he had the BIGGEST cone head (he shrunk a quarter of an inch after the conehead shrunk). The nurse even wrote "Giant Conehead" underneath his measurements. We all were laughing about it.
Per my request, they cleaned him up before bringing him to me. They brought him over, and I was speechless. It's still quite surreal that he grew inside me and that I gave birth to him. He looked so much like Shawn. He was so tiny, but I swear he smiled at me when he first laid eyes on me.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

December 2: Writing.

What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
(Author: Leo Babauta)

This presupposes that I write. Ha! I actually barely began to participate in National Novel Writing Month (that was November), but failed miserably. In hopes of being a success at something, I'll continue on with Reverb 10. Something I do each day that doesn't contribute to my writing is surfing the web and watching TV online. I check Facebook far too often. I subscrie to a ridiculous amount of blogs. I'm even considering (haven't committed yet) to fasting from the Internet for Lent. If I didn't waste that time, I could truly be more thoughtful and make more attempts at expressing those thoughts. I will set a goal of limiting myself to one hour online a day. Not altogether elminating, but limiting, so that I can begin to make room to write some.

Reverb 10

I've decided to come back to the blog world by participating in Reverb 10 for the month of December. Here goes...

December 1 One WordEncapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

Our church decided on a word of the year for 2010 and that word was courage. I have tried to live out courage a few ways this past year. I think, obviously, the biggest for me was having the courage to give birth to Jack and learn to live out the role of mom. It's not been an easy task. I feel inadequate more than not, so far. But it's also a time of learning...about who I really am, what I am capable of doing, and how far I have to go to become who I know I am capable of being.

As for a word for 2011, I'm still mulling that over. I'm leaning toward CHANGE, but it may be BECOME. I'll keep you posted.