Thanksgiving 2011: A Week Off In Oregon!

Posted by Amy Evelyn Oden , Tuesday, November 29, 2011 9:33 AM

This year, because Thanksgiving coincided with my Grandma Gustafson's 90th birthday and because it's our year for a California Christmas, we decided to go up to Oregon and celebrate Thanksgiving & Grandma with the Gustafson Clan.  We had such a great trip - it was one of our most relaxing trips to Oregon because I (for once) was not trying to get in any hours for work while there, and Patrick came up after just finishing four comprehensive exams to take him to the next level of his PhD program, which was a huge burden lifted!  We had tons of family time, and time for a few friends - not as many as we would have liked! - but it was really grand.  I also got to lead worship at Two Rivers the Sunday before and loved being with them again, and the Sunday after we got to hear Thom preach at Hope Fellowship, and Thom & I sang a duet together for the offertory.  It's been a long time since we've gotten to do something musical together!

Some highlights in photos:

Bonding with the nieces & nephews!  Me & Miriam

This is where Grant is interacting with Baby O.  First, he kissed my belly (so sweet!), then he introduced himself, and then he proceeded, throughout dinner, to give Baby a running commentary on the goings-on around the table.
Watching baby elephants with Bea

Bonding with Margot Mae, who most often wants her Mama, but obliged me here.

Meeting the newest nephew!  My brother Geoff & his son David Richard at about 4 days old.

Aunt In Love...such a sweet face!!
Always need a stop at McMenamin's!

Uncle Patrick time!  (Or, as Bea called him when she wasn't being shy, Uncle Packet)

A lovely jaunt through Washington Park!
Gustafson Family Thanksgiving
& Grandma's 90th Birthday Celebration

Never lacking in food when the Gustafsons gather!

With Cousin Eric

Grandma meets her newest great-grandson

David & two of his uncles

David with Uncle Chris & Aunt Jenny

L to R: Dana (Jenny's friend), brother Geoff, Uncle Steve & Aunt Gayle, sister-in-law Vera

I love this picture!!  Miriam & Grandma G.

L to R: Thom's back, holding Bea, Paul & Cousin Dawn, Vera & baby David

 David's first Thanksgiving!

The Curtis Gustafsons: (back row) Cousin Eric, Troy (Beth's husband), Aunt Colleen, Uncle Curt, Tom (Annie's husband); (front row) Leigh Anne (Eric's wife), Cousin Beht, Grandma G., Cousin Annie

The Burks: Troy, Anya, Elise, Cousin Beth
Logan, Grandma G., Galen

The Pattons: Cousin Molly, Kerry (Stan's wife), Grandma G., Cousin Stan, Aunt Carol

Aunt Dianne, Grandma G., Uncle John

My dad's family (he is missed dearly!): Curt, Steve, Carol, Grandma G., John

My beautiful immediate family (so blessed!!)
L to R (approximately): Chris & Jenny Storey, Rachael Storey holding Bea Blair, me & Patrick, Matt Storey in front of us, Vera & Geoff Gustafson, Grandma G. holding David Gustafson, Grant & Miriam Storey in front of my mom, Laura, then Margot being held by her mom, Emily, and Thom Blair

Baby on the way!

Posted by Amy Evelyn Oden , Tuesday, November 8, 2011 2:21 PM

Patrick & I anticipating most likely the greatest & wildest Oden Adventure yet: Parenthood! I am currently 16 weeks & some change pregnant, and we're expecting a little Oden in late April.

We had our 16 week checkup yesterday and no peek at Baby O. via ultrasound (like the first two appointments) but we did get to hear a strong, regular heartbeat, for which we are thankful & relieved.

The first glimpse of Baby O. at 8 weeks:

And the second glimpse at 12 weeks...and, no need to be polite, yes, it does appear that I am growing the spawn of Homer Simpson.

And now Baby O. looks something like this (hopefully more like this and less like Homer):

We haven't begun chronicling the Amy photos yet, 'cause there's only the very slightest of belly to be seen so far = not that interesting.  But here's a glimpse at what the first 16 weeks have felt like from my point of view:

Weeks 0-6

This is meant to say, I was just going on about my usual business.  Not that mopping the floor factors into my usual business, I confess.  Nor does whistling or wearing plaid skirts.  That aside, go with me on this one, which is hard to depict via clipart: I felt completely normal and besides a positive pregnancy test (okay, six positive pregnancy tests - five at home, one at the doctor's), I wouldn't have known anything was up.

Weeks 6-14

Any smugness I was beginning to feel about my seemingly symptomless pregnancy was quickly erased by the onslaught of pregnancy sickness.  Every book I've read so far says "morning sickness, only it may not only happen in the morning, you may have it all day or in the evening and it may last longer than the first trimester" and I've decided it's just so much shorter to call it pregnancy sickness.  For, indeed, it is not just in the morning.  For 8 weeks straight, I was nauseated morning, noon, and night, with many bouts of vomiting.  In sum I can say, I never gave pregnant women enough credit.  There was nothing fun about this.  It felt much more like a curse than a blessing.

Weeks 14-16

Just when I was reconciling myself to the fact that I was doomed to eternal nausea, it went away.  And then, this happened.

I began eating everything in reach with reckless abandon.  Things I never let myself have for calories' sake, pregnant or not, I indulged in upon the slightest craving.  If I ran out of things to eat, I hunted down more.  I was a RAVENOUS BEAST.

But leave it to the doctor's scale to tame that wild thing.  Yesterday's report of unsettling weight gain has me back to counting calories, avoiding the candy bowl which is staring at me, calling to me, from the office table, and motivating me to get off the couch & away from the cupboards.

Our 20 week appointment is on December 5th and we're looking forward to the "big" ultrasound and hoping Baby O. will let us know if it's a he or she!

SCC's Songs & Stories Tour

Posted by Amy Evelyn Oden , Thursday, November 3, 2011 8:19 AM

Because Patrick's the dearest husband in the world, when I was up in Oregon in July & he was still in California (which means he was missing me terribly, of course ;) ) and he saw that tickets for Steven Curtis Chapman's latest tour were on sale & he was coming to a church near us - and knowing that I'm one of SCC's biggest fans - he just went ahead and bought two!

Not only that, but he purchased the package deal that came with an early admission time with a pre-show soundcheck/Q&A time with Steven!  Am I spoiled or what??  Yes, yes, I am.

So on the afternoon of November 2, 2011, we headed to Real Life Church in Valencia to get a prime spot in line - and managed to snag front row seats once the doors opened!  Both the pre-show & the concert were really great - and a refreshing reconnection for me to the artist & songs which have provided a soundtrack to my life since age 15, as well as to my own inner songwriter, who's been dormant for awhile.  And I was thrilled that Baby Girl O's first concert (albeit probably a bit muffled) was her Mama's favorite Christian artist :-).

Thanks, dear Patrick - this was a wonderful treat!!

Front row!
 So close!

 Andrew Peterson on the left, Josh Wilson on the right - SCC's touring buddies
They busted out mullets for "The Great Adventure" - though any true fan knows he'd gotten a haircut for that album...;-)



Halloween 2011: Pirates!

Posted by Amy Evelyn Oden , Tuesday, November 1, 2011 9:29 AM

This was our first Halloween that we dressed up since being married! We were invited to a party chez Mark & Sara (Fuller friends) and with a bit of help from Disneyland,, Goodwill, Dollar Tree, and Patrick's closet, we became a couple o' scalawags.