Pregnancy–the good, the bad, and the weird…thus far

The Good:

  • Having the excuse to eat more, sleep more, cry more, and lay around more. My husband does more things for me to around the house. It feels great to finally rest and to know it is going to be okay!
  • People insisting I don’t help with the lifting and carrying of heavy things.
  • My students are nicer and more respectful to me. They ask me questions about the baby; they compliment me on my cute belly; they ask me how I’m feeling; they show sympathy when I’m not feeling well; they laugh at all my jokes and stories; and they genuinely apologize when they mess up. Well, most of them. I still have one or two who like to bet their pennies.
  • I feel just genuinely more happy and carefree when teaching. Kids don’t frustrate me as easily. Broken copy machines, missing substitutes, and unexpected fire drills just roll off my back these days. And as for my classroom management style, eh….just don’t do it again, okay? Who am I? I used to be a drill Sargent!
  • Feeling the baby kick. Feels like popping popcorn now, and I can’t wait until it gets stronger. Owen got to feel the baby kick for the first time last night. So cool! Just wait until it looks like scenes from Alien. Or when the baby decides to kick the air out of my lungs without me expecting.
  • Talking to Kanan about the baby. He kisses my belly. He tells me he loves his baby brother or sister. He wants him to be a girl and to name her Allison (Even though the ultrasound showed us it is a boy and we think we may name him Mathias or Mateo). He wants me to hold the baby and him or to have Papa (Owen’s name) hold the baby and I hold him. He wants to help feed the baby and hold the baby too. So darn cute! Oh yeah, and he loves watching videos from Baby Center that shows the development of the baby in the womb.
  • I’ll just say it–my decolotage. I was never really blessed in that department and it feels great to fill out a blouse. My husband is enjoying the new me too.

The Bad:

  • I’m insatiably thirsty constantly. I walk around everywhere I go with a 24 oz water bottle with me. I fill it up four to five times a day and go through an entire one just to get through a night’s sleep.
  • Round ligament pain and sore spots as my belly grows. Especially if I cough really hard or get up too quickly. Gah! Right now its my right side that seems the sorest. And I believe it is exaggerated because the baby likes to hang out on that side more as well and push his little feet in the same spot.
  • Forgetting I have a belly when trying to squeeze through smaller spaces and scraping it. Like trying to get in a public bathroom stall. Who would have thought that it takes strategy to use a public restroom? I think I’ll just go straight for the disabled stall first now.
  • Going to the bathroom twice as much. And sometimes feeling like I’m going to pee my pants only to sit down and tinkle a tablespoon.
  • All the medical scares that come with being pregnant in the 21st century. What ever happened to just being pregnant and having a baby? Now I’ve got to do blood tests and ultrasounds and if anything is slightly off, they scare me with all the what if’s, risks, and possibilities and then want me to do all these other medical procedures. I believe it’s a greedy conspiracy for money.
  • Gagging every time I brush my tongue. When pregnant, the breathe-through-your-nose trick doesn’t work. Earlier in the pregnancy I had to brush twice. First brush for the sake of hygiene. The second brush to clean up the mess.
  • Watching my derriere get bigger along with my belly. I’ve gained only 6 pounds thus far and it may look like all belly, but why is it that my pants and underwear are feeling tighter around my hips too? They are low-cut, so don’t tell me its my belly.

The Weird:

  • Really dry, cracked bottom lip. I had it when I was pregnant with Kanan and I have it again. It is bad! And no amount of water or chapstick cures it. I find that taking a hot shower and then rubbing it vigorously with a dry towel after makes it look normal. Until I wake up in the morning and its is back again. Getting into the habit of pulling off the dry flakes with my teeth or my fingers. Very sexy. Especially when they bleed. Hey, no need for lipstick! I’ve got naturally stained lips!
  • Adventurous dreams! They are way more detailed with much more complicated plots. And I remember them! Of course, my husband is dumbfounded by my elaborate explanations of these dreams. But sometimes I just have to share them, they are just so crazy. Last night, I dreamed I was a senior in high school and forced to fight against the gangs to save my life, only to have the authorities and school administrators believe I was a gang member too.

Our Family Pictures

A month or two ago, Owen and I decided to get some family photos taken with Kanan. We hadn’t had any family photos taken with Kanan since we were married and wanted to get some done before our family grew. Our friend Marci Mares took the photos at a beautiful state park near our house called Guajome. Look her up! She is an amazing photographer and has great packages! Kanan behaved well and my belly was still small enough not to take the thunder from our family shots. I tried not to wear anything that really showed off my belly just to make sure the focus was on the three of us. Anyway, take a look to at the photos in our Flickr thumbnails to the right. This one is one of my favorites. Belly shots will be coming next in our professional photo collection, courtesy of my friend Lisa Briley—another amazing photographer!

Almost 18 Weeks Pregnant

Baby Boy Hemsath’s head and profile


It’s a boy!!! Who would have thought? Certainly not Owen or I or most people for that matter. Only one teenage student and our friend Amy said boy. I was sicker this time around it seemed, and more tired, so I assumed that the differences chocked it up to a girl. Nope. Haha! Regardless, I am soooo excited. I cried when I saw the images of him on the screen. And Owen is stoked too. Kanan got to be with us as well and see the baby on the screen.

Little Footsie!

Well, we did figure out a boy name weeks back. It was the girl names we were struggling with (Anayah, Alessandra, Jordan, Genesis, or Allison were possibilities). So as of two weeks ago, our little boy’s name is Mathias James Hemsath. But now that we know it is a boy, Owen would like to put some more thought into the name so I’m not guaranteeing it will stay Mathias James. So until we officially know, we will refer to this munchkin as Baby Boy Hemsath.

Boy Parts are below words on image

As for other updates
Weeks along: almost 18

Estimated due date: May 20

Heartbeat/rate: 154 bpm

Next appointment scheduled: Jan 12

Condition of baby: Active and healthy boy! Baby Boy Hemsath was so active during the ultrasound, the tech could barely get clear image shots.

I know my favorite books for pregnancy help me know what to expect each week. So much of it is right on. But here’s my additional symptoms.

Food cravings: none

Other symptoms: stuffy nose and sneezing constantly! (the nose ring doesn’t help), breathlessness, intense insatiable thirst! Getting up to go to the bathroom one to two times in the night. And feeling more voluptuous in the décolletage area.

Nausea: only a bout once a week in the morning. And perhaps one episode in the evening since my last post.

Fatigue: pretty much gone!!! I feel fabulous!

Baby Boy Hemsath face and skull

Size of belly: starting to wear some maternity pants even though they are too big for me. Discovered stretch pants from Motherhood Maternity that feel like heaven! I would seriously wear these pants every day, all day for the rest of the pregnancy if I could. I actually don’t want to wash them even though I still do because it means I can’t wear them. I don’t know what is in the material if these particular stretch pants but I have never worn pants so wonderful in my life.

Weight Gain thus far: 6 lbs
Condition of father: Quote: ” I have never been so happy in my life. “

Something is in the Water

I have four friends who are all about 2 months pregnant! September will be the month for babies this year and I am so excited! Owen and I have had an itch for a baby ourselves lately, but figure God opens and closes wombs so he’ll be the one to decide on that. Even though we are not really trying, we are having a great time practicing and not really not trying, haha! In the meantime, I have four cute little tummies I get to rub over the next 7 months: My friend Kelley, my friend Sarah, my friend Lisa, and my future sister-in-law Meagan! I can’t wait to buy little pink headbands and dresses and tights for the girls and cute blue jeans and fun sneakers for the boys. I can’t wait to smell baby powdered skin and breast-milk burps. I can’t wait to feel their little fuzzy heads, and wrap them up in swaddles and hold them when they sleep. Yep, I’m a sucker for babies. And I’m so happy for the mommy friends and sister-in-law. 🙂

Pssst….Can I Tell You a Secret?

I’m really not happy with teaching English anymore. I’m not sure what the deal is or what to do about or whether I should do anything about it. The novelty has worn off. My interests have changed. At this point, I don’t care so much if a person knows the difference between direct characterization and indirect characterization as much as I care about them knowing about Jesus. About caring as to whether or not teen girls are feeling pressured too early to be having sex or become women. I care more about the moral relativism of our youth and world and what we can do to make a difference. I still love teens. I still care about their welfare. But don’t care about writing that novel I always dreamed of. I don’t even care about writing my memoirs. None of that matters. I want to change lives in profound ways. I want to write books about real issues from which real women are suffering. I want to show them a real answer in Christ in a way that makes sense to them and through a medium to which they will pay attention. And with the current economic effects on the stability and security of my job, it just doesn’t seem worth it when I don’t have the same heart I once did.

So what to do? It has only been since the baby boomers that we have had this notion to believe our job should be doing something we love. There are plenty of people who have jobs much less fulfilling than mine and yet they still find joy in their lives. They still find ways to be fulfilled in their impact on the world. Does mine have to be my job? Can’t I just do my job and then find joy and satisfaction in the other areas of my life? Or should I try to change professions? At the same time, my husband is the one who is going to school now and working on a course toward a new career. Shouldn’t I stick with this to give some stability? Is there stability if I don’t even know if I’ll have a teaching job come June?

I need thoughts. I need advice. I need prayer. I need to have a glimpse of an idea of where God wants me. And if he wants me teaching English in public school then so be it–I just need Him to change my perspective on it so I can find joy in it again. And if he doesn’t want me doing this anymore, please pray that I have the vision to see the doors he is opening, the courage to take risks and be willing to suffer a bit if needed to get through the paths that will lead me through those doors if that is what needs to happen.

In the end, I need to trust that regardless of any of this–God is in control. God is taking care of me.

Teaching Unmotivated Students

Since I started teaching at a new high school this year, I have experienced many great changes, yet also some new challenges. As a problem solver, I have worked hard on trying to come up with ways that I can change in order to reach the needs of my students. With those changes, some things have improved and some have not. This Monday, I couldn’t help but laugh at some of the most ironic and coincidentally textbook situations arise in my classroom. My teacher friends will laugh at this. As for the rest of you, I hope you do as well.

So in my English Language Development class, I have twenty-four mostly Mexican immigrant students all learning academic English, so they can get fully mainstreamed into regular public school classrooms. This class has been the most difficult class I have ever taught. Not because it is ELD. I have been teaching ELD for six years. It is just this particular group of kids. Maybe it is a sign of the different dynamics and culture of language learners in Temecula versus Oceanside. Maybe it is just a bad year. But nonetheless, the classroom management issues I have had this year with this class have baffled me.

For the last five years, my usual classroom management strategy has worked well— having students come in everyday with ten points for their Behavior/Participation grade, and losing those points throughout the day when they are not behaving or participating accordingly. This was not working with this class. So I added a positive reinforcement element: they earn raffle tickets when they are working diligently and on task. Classroom management much improved with this strategy albeit two students. Hurray for me, right?

I spent thirty dollars on prizes and we held our raffle on Monday. Students take out their collection of raffle tickets they earned and when they hear their number called, they come up and pick a prize. Now most of the prizes were items I picked up at The Dollar Tree— a pack of pencils, a bag of Hot Cheetos, a thesaurus, etc. But I decided to have two grand prizes to really motivate them and told them this when I started the strategy twelve weeks ago. If three of their raffle tickets were called, they would win a grand prize: a ten dollar gift certificate to iTunes. I had two such grand prizes. In my mind, the students who worked diligently more often would collect more raffle tickets and thus, increase the likelihood that their numbers would be called more than once. It doesn’t take a math major to figure that out. Well my two students who did not alter their behavior in my class probably collected a total of five tickets each the entire semester, while other students like Phat or Jorge collected twenty or more. But who, oh who were the ones who had three of their numbers called? Oh no, not just one of these misfits, but BOTH! BOTH of them! What????

I am still baffled. And what was I supposed to do? Tell them no, they couldn’t get the grand prize because I didn’t feel they deserved it? They did earn those tickets. There were few times, but they did work a few times diligently, and I wanted to give them those tickets to motivate them to work more.

I could see the faces of the other students in the class pale as these boys walked up with smug expressions and took their prizes from my hands. I felt so determined to have one hard-worker reap the benefits that I took my ten-dollar gift card to Starbucks in my wallet, a gift given to me for Christmas from a student’s parent, and of which I had not yet spent, and placed it firmly on the table. I told the class it was one last prize to win if they had three numbers called. Thank God, Alex’s number was called–A great kid who works hard even when his skills are lacking. I never felt so happy to give away a much desired present of my own.

But what are the odds, right? I even told them it was the most ironic event I have ever seen in my classroom and told them they were very lucky.

Then the same day—my coincidental, text-book event happened, but to such an extreme, I had to laugh. Fifth period comes, and I had changed the seating arrangement of the class so told the students to come in and just sit where ever they wanted until I showed them where I had planned for them to sit. Their bell work that afternoon was to preview their semester 1 grade and then reflect on that grade in their journals. I had a number of questions to get them reflecting and goal setting. As they worked on this assignment, I took my stack of letters to the parents of students who failed and began to search for the faces that matched the names. I had to take a double look because I found that every single one of those students who failed first semester were sitting in the back row of the class all together in a group.

I remember in college, I sat down in my Counseling 101 class in the front row. The teacher walked in and looked at all of us. She pointed to the back row of students and told the class that the students in the back row were probably the students who were either going to drop out of the course or fail. She said it was a statistical fact that the personality types of students who sit in the back rows of classes are the same personality types of students who do not perform well enough to succeed in classroom education. Pretty harsh, I thought, but maybe it was true.

Over the years I have seen students who failed my classes choose the back row. But never, never have had every one of them. Amazing. They didn’t know they had received the “F” (although they probably subconsciously knew) and I had not told them to sit there. I never had it in my mind that they would fail—I assume the best in all of my students. And yet, there sat eight ninth graders slumped in the back row of my class, with white sheets of paper and black typed-ink addressed to their parents, laying on their desks. Funny thing is, I don’t think most of them looked around and noticed that all of their friends and neighbors had the same thing on his or her desks. But I did see that many students in the rows ahead, turned their heads this way and that to see who did get the letters, and found the same coincidence.

At that moment I looked at seating chart, and made sure that those eight kids were spread around the classroom. Front row to back row, east side and west side. I am determined to change them. I will not let them feed off of each other. Instead, I hope to give them no other choice, but to succeed.

Wakin’ Up Step-Dad

I’m quickly learning that one of the things I despise most in this world is blending with one of the things I love most: waking up and being a dad (or dad-like figure).

Before the gift of coffee

When Kanan starts waking up in the morning he whines for mama. That’s when Theresa jumps out of bed like there is a fire in the house and brings him into our room. He loves that. Actually… I love that too. While we are still waking up he is over there talking and chatting about trucks and trains and says, “Mama, I wanna get up. I wanna wake up now.” Of course, that is code for, “Mama, get up.”

So after a little fighting, he has won. We are up now but we are not watching news, or a sermon, or listening to Itunes… we are watching Boom Chicka Boom (or some other nonsensical name) and Kanan couldn’t be happier. Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for the coffee to kick in…

Why I am a Christian part 1

I have not always been a Christian. Having been extremely disillusioned by traditional religion as a child, I could be at best a skeptic at worst agnostic. I accepted parts of different belief systems; picking and choosing a path based on my own faulty logic and whim. It was almost like I was putting on a bunch of random clothes before getting the weather report. I wore a winter cap and swim trunks, a white shirt and a blue shirt with one purple sock, a soccer cleat, and so on. I wore all sorts of beliefs.

Beliefs are strong motivators and we wear them like trendy outfits or the newest gear: a man who believes it is snowing outside will dress for snow, etc. If his beliefs are based on reality, then he will be warm and comfortable; better suited and prepared. If they are inconsistent with reality, then he will be hot and sweaty; perhaps even slower and less effective. I began to notice that my beliefs had not always lined up with reality (let’s share the assumption that reality is knowable) and those beliefs had real affects on my life. I believed that it was legal to drive through a yellow light. I believed it was not illegal to drive barefoot. I was wrong and it cost money- real money. Not symbolic money, or imaginary money but physical money from which lowered my bank account. My beliefs were beginning to have an affect.

Although some beliefs proved beneficial, a series of beliefs came crumbling down and I began to wonder what else I was believing that didn’t line up with reality. I didn’t want to live my life based on assumptions. I wanted to live what I could positively identify as a logical belief system and what would be illogical. I wanted this new belief system to perhaps help me to navigate reality a little better. In addition to learning the traffic laws, I decided to comparatively analyze religious belief, non-belief, and I don’t knowism.

Like any reasonable person, I knew that I would never be able to know everything about a given subject but I did know that I could read and learn and search a given subject till I was blue in the face. I knew at least that I would be able to evaluate enough data to make a logical decision based on empirical evidence. If there was a god there would be (positive) evidence for that god or (negative) evidence against that god. By reasoning through that evidence I would be able to establish a belief system based on something real- not a feeling or a theory.

I would also be free to deny that evidence and believe whatever I wanted to believe. In other words, I would be free to interpret that evidence in any way that I chose. I could connect the dots in any way I saw fit (which I was already doing) and not care if those dots revealed any meaningful interpretation of the world or simply my ever-changing opinions and volition. My goal however was to find a reasonable explanation for the World that would enable me to know and navigate the World better. The next few blogs will illustrate that journey and how I came to know Jesus and reject evolution. I will describe what evidence I looked for, how I examined that evidence, and how I interpreted that evidence to arrive at my conclusions.

You may agree with them, you may not. However, I don’t believe that a reasonable person can arrive at a different conclusion without ignoring the knowable laws of nature and the laws of logic upon which the principles of math and science are founded. In other words, a person with a volitional desire to remain an atheist or agnostic after reviewing this data will do so based on more faith then I need to remain a Christian.

After all, “the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (ps 19:1)


New Life

Its no surprise that the new year brings with it feelings of renewal and transcendence. The former year passes away and another born, entering the world for the first time ever. By God’s grace, this new year allows us to start again with it and put away the past with some level of finality…just in the nick of time too!

Theresa and I are pretty excited to put away our pasts and begin a newly married life together as one- especially after spending nearly 3 married months living in different states. The feeling of renewal and transcendence is totally filling our experience as our old lives transition in this united life as one. In the book of Genesis (a book of beginnings) God tells us that it is “for this reason a man will leave his father and mother” (2:24) and the joy that comes from living God’s word is unspeakably good.

Kanan is melting my heart everyday and making it very easy to love him. From making his forts to making his hamburgers, Kanan is running around with a huge smile and these amazing blue eyes and just having a great time. I’m amazed at how he always wants to play. Eating and cleaning and personal hygiene are total inconveniences to him because “i wah play mama”. He never gets bored of playing trucks or trains and loves it when we play with him. Oh, don’t worry. He’ll let us know exactly how he wants to play. Yesterday he told me, “No, your train goes on that side….” Cute.

Theresa has revealed so much beauty in the past two weeks. It’s almost unfathomable. Her intricacies and complexities make her a wonderfully puzzling and beautiful creature. Watching her be a wife, a mama, a teacher, a daughter and sister, really demonstrate God’s love for me- a poor sinner. That He would love me so much to bless me with a woman who is capable of so much is outstanding. From all my years of turning my back on truth, He loves me and shows that love via my wife. At the end of T2 Arnold, as the Terminator, says to John Conner, “I know now why you cry.” After being married for just a few days (it seems) I know now why people cry when they’re happy.

Well, I start what I hope will be an amazing year of broadcast journalism where I will continue to produce short video packages. Although I’m loaded with gen ed classes this semester, I also plan to grow as an apologist by exposing the total fraud of Darwinian evolution as well as educate un-believers in the amazing evidences for the validity of the Word of God. I plan to use ordinary words to expose the scientific data, witness testimony, and tight logic that secular people have supressed in order to push an anti-God agenda and “feels good” science that hypnotizes our culture and schoolchildren. A lot of people close to me are going to have a hard time with what I’m going to show them and I just pray that the Lord blesses this venture for His glory. If that means losing all my facebook friends then so be it.

If we missed you at the reception we’re so bummed- it was a blast. We had a great group of friends who were willing to help us with the DJ, the photographer, and the cake and we’re so grateful for that. We hope to have pics up real soon and will keep you guys posted with all the new stuff. God bless you in this new year and please keep us posted with your prayer requests and fellowship needs.

Live for something real!!

Owen and Theresa.

And the Countdown Begins

Last picture in the car at the airport on Theresa's 30th birthday.

I flew up to see Owen over Thanksgiving Break. What a wonderful time and how significantly closer I feel to my husband now that I’ve seen him this week. The week was spent romancing one another, meeting family and friends, drinking coffee, shopping, and watching movies. I cannot wait until my hubby is with me to stay. Kanan and I fly up on the 19th of December to come get our Owen. We will stay for a couple of days and then drive down in the Uhaul through the snow to move into our new place. Of course, during my stay this week, my camera’s lense stopped working, so I was only able to get a few pics. They will be posted soon.