Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Meaningfulness of Christmas Cards

This is why people despise Christmas cards.

We have lived at our current address for 2.5 years. Meaning, this will be our 3rd Christmas in our house. It's bad enough that we still get junk mail for residents who have lived here for the past 20 years or so ... but so far this month we have gotten three Christmas cards to the couple who lived here before us. These are actual cards, mailed by individuals ..... who apparently are so out of touch with the former occupants that they're not even aware these people have moved 4 hours away. Over 2 years ago.

I don't know if it's the fault of the sender, for not paying attention. Or maybe the recipients never bothered to let them know? But surely, if you care about someone enough to feel the need to send them holiday greetings, shouldn't you know where they live?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Babysitting Success

Our night out this past weekend went really well. The Dayton Flyers won (Go UD!) and we enjoyed our time away.

We couldn't help wondering, of course, how things were going back home. But we resisted the urge to call until we were on the road heading back home. According to what my parents told us, Eleanor was a little angel and everything went very smoothly. I suspect, though, that they would tell us that regardless of the truth, because they love us and want us to leave the house occasionally over the next decade or so.

Being a parent is a funny thing. A strange combination between wanting your child to become independent and wanting to take care of her forever. Why is it that I'm so conflicted? I wanted her to take a bottle .... but when she finally did I was a little sad. I wanted her to be happy when her grandparents hold her and play with her .... and when she is, I feel unneeded.

This parenting stuff is hard work. Even when we're taking the night off.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Christmas Procrastination Techniques

When it comes to Christmas again, I always fondly remember the ways I would procrastinate in studying for exams in college.

Elf bowling was probably my favorite. Silly and addictive, it saved me from hours wasted on actually revising my essay and learning topics of study. So if you need something to procrastinate from this holiday season, enjoy!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Pre-Game Jitters

I'm starting to get nervous, and tip-off is still days away.

For the first time, we are leaving Eleanor for an evening out on the town. Our Alma Mater, the University of Dayton, is playing the University of Akron in Akron, and we have tickets. This means we'll be gone around 5 hours, between driving and the game itself.

I never intended to be the kind of parent who won't leave her child with a babysitter. But, well, you can't plan on the child. And, for her first 4 months, Eleanor refused to take a bottle. So that made the decision for us.

We've snuck out of the house a few times before. When Keith's parents visit, they send us out for coffee or a quick meal. My Mom has watched Eleanor one afternoon while I went into the office for a meeting. And we even went to a friend's wedding in October—we just skipped the ceremony, showed up at the reception in time for the meal, and left before the dancing really got started.

But every time I've been gone, I've felt the clock ticking. And I knew if I didn't get back within 2-4 hours at the most, there would be a hungry baby meltdown. Which is much more ferocious and scary than it sounds. As time passed, I could feel myself winding tighter and tighter as I worried about what was going on at home. I couldn't truly relax and enjoy it.

A few weeks ago, that started to change. I don't know if the 20th bottle we tried was the charm, or if she had just decided a bottle wasn't all that repulsive. But she started to show a little interest in it. We've been working on it since then, and I'm completely confident that Eleanor is fully capable of taking a bottle.

Will she choose to take it? Well, that's a different question entirely. My parents have graciously offered to be the experimental babysitters, and suffer Eleanor's wrath if she chooses to refuse sustenance. They have seen and lived through her hungry frustration before, so I have every confidence that they can handle the situation. Between the rocking, bouncing, singing, shh-ing, and more, they could soothe their way out of World War III, if necessary.

So I'm really looking forward to this basketball game. I know that Eleanor will be lovingly cared for, and is completely capable of being fed and happy when we get home. I no longer worry that I'm abandoning her and scarring her because she's going hungry while I sip my latte. So we just might have to stop for a leisurely latte on the way home.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Lap of Luxury

My lap has been a busy place of late. Obviously, 90% of the time, Eleanor and I are hanging out. I'm soothing her, I'm bouncing her on my knee, she's standing on my legs. This is the majority of lap duty.

But the animals are also more interested in cuddling. I think they're jealous. I used to try my best to entice Gomez to sit in my lap and let me pet her, with very limited results. Once Keith even helped cover me in cat treats to try to get her attention. She never showed, but Beckett loved it.

Now Beckett has always liked cuddling together on the couch. He comes and curls up right next to you, maybe putting his head on your knee. He's not a big believer in personal space.

But both animals have upped their attentiveness. Whenever my lap is empty, they seize the opportunity. When I'm sitting at a computer, Gomez is usually curled up in my lap. (To be perfectly honest, she just left. But she had been sitting with me for about 15 minutes, I swear!) Beckett likes to join me when I'm baby-free on the couch or recliner. But it's not enough for him anymore to sit next to me. He now jumps into my lap, curls up, and rests his head on my arm.

I don't mind too much. It's nice to feel wanted. And it's nice to be holding someone who won't scream in my ear or tug on my hair.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Welcome, Father Winter!

The windows went in just in the nick of time, because winter has come early this year. One Friday, they were putting in a window in the sunshine and Eleanor and I went for a walk. The following Monday, snow was blowing in through the gaping hole in the siding as they framed out another window, and I turned off the heat so it wasn't running continuously.

I can't believe how quickly time has passed since Eleanor was born. She's already 4 months old! Suddenly it's December. Thanksgiving is past and Christmas is just around the corner. How did this happen?

I'm very excited for Eleanor's first Christmas. I'm not excited to bundle her up every time we go outside. I miss going for walks around the block, or even just around the backyard. I'm excited for her to experience snow. I feel guilty every time I pick her up and her tiny little fists have turned into blocks of ice.

Part of me is already looking forward to the Spring. Opening the windows again, sitting on the porch swing with Eleanor on a sunny day. But part of me also feels that the time is already going too fast. Eleanor has changed so much since was born, and will continue to change rapidly over the next few months.

I try to picture us in the Spring, but I have no idea what Eleanor will look like or be doing. Will she be crawling? Standing? Speaking in full sentences? (Probably not.)

So although the dark days of winter are depressing, I'll do my best not to wish away this time with my daughter and all of the experiences we have to look forward to.

Monday, December 01, 2008

I Can See Clearly Now

As I mentioned—very briefly and bitterly—a few months ago, we are getting all new windows for our house. Because our house is old and the windows are incredibly drafty—oh, and have lead paint.

But windows are quite expensive, so we ended up doing just over half of the house now, and will have to do the rest another time. The installation took FOREVER. Nearly 3 weeks, to be more precise. It's because we chose custom windows, built by a local shop, instead of mass-produced ones. And, apparently, our house is a one-of-a-kind crazy building where the frames don't match the window size and the walls vary in thickness from the top of a window to the bottom. That sort of thing.

I was going to blog about getting the windows put in as it happened, but it was just too depressing. They finished maybe one window a day, and then lost a day here because of weather, another day there because someone on the crew was sick .... yeah. It was a long process.

However, they are now in and they look fabulous. We can already tell a huge difference, particularly in the living room where the biggest windows are. I doubt we'll save as much in heating bills as we spent on the windows in one winter, but give it a decade or so and maybe we'll break even.

It's just so difficult to relax or feel at ease in your own home when you have contractors on the premises. Eleanor and I had to hide in the basement whenever I was feeding her, which felt like most of the day. Plus I dreaded hearing that there would be another delay, and all the uncertainty of never knowing when they'd be finished.

And yet, by the end I was a little sad to see the contractors go. The same two guys had put in all the windows. They'd told Eleanor how beautiful and smart she is, and exclaimed over what a wonderful dog Beckett is. They even threatened to take Gomez home with them, too, because she'd also befriended them. The house felt a little empty on the first day without them. But it felt a lot warmer, too.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, to Americans and our friends across the globe!

I never have a shortage of things to be thankful for, but this really has been an amazing year. At the top of the list:
- family
- friends
- health
- relative prosperity
- warm socks

I am also very thankful that Keith is off for the rest of the week. We might actually get to spend a few hours together, not running around doing errands and constantly handing off the baby. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Is Santa Worth It?

So, like I said, I've done most of my Christmas shopping online. I only have a few particular items in mind that we will actually need to venture out in public to purchase.

This is the second or third year that I've shopped this way, and I'm a big fan. You can find things that your loved ones actually want, easily compare prices for the best deal, and fit "window shopping" into the small chunks of time that one carves out throughout the day, in-between other tasks. Most importantly, you can avoid stores at Christmastime.

I love the holiday season and Christmas cheer. But malls/stores involve people. And that's never good. Especially when they're waiting in line, or in need of something specific and in a rush ... I can feel my shoulders tense just thinking about it. So avoiding the holiday shopping crowds is one of the most important reasons to shop online.

However. This year, Keith pointed out that we probably want to take Eleanor to get her picture taken with Santa. I think it's a good point, and having that picture will be very meaningful for years to come.

But I'm not convinced that I'll be able to handle it. It's not just venturing out in public with a baby, aka ticking time bomb. And it's not even just zipping in and out of a store. It's standing in line. For Santa. At a mall.

If anyone has advice on how to make it through this experience, I'm open to suggestions!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Heart Etsy

As has become my habit, I've done most of my Christmas shopping online this year. Primarily at one place: Etsy. I adore Etsy. I'd heard about it awhile back at Dooce, and always figured I'd like it, but this is the first time I've really been and shopped and I'm very impressed both with the usability of the site and with the wares for sale.

I particularly like the feature that I could choose to shop locally. So I went online to find things that were being made in my area that I would never have found otherwise. One seller is even located in the very city I live in!

It's amazing how the Internet can be used to access merchants both far and near. I can buy CDs in the UK and ship them directly to my friends there .... or I can find a jewelry maker who lives 10 minutes away from me. It's a beautiful thing.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Keepin' It Together

Do you know what I realized today? It's been a very long time since I've worn a belt. Really that was one of the first things to go, about this time last year, when I became pregnant. I could keep wearing my usual clothes for quite some time, but they didn't exactly need any help keeping them up.

Today I got "dressed up" for Eleanor's 4-month well doctor's visit. I wore the size jeans that I wore pre-baby, which was pretty exciting. And I even put on a belt!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Real Simple: Scarf Knitting Pattern

Thanks to a comment from Anon on an old post, I'm featuring the knitting pattern from Real Simple magazine that first started me knitting .... I don't even know how long ago it was. I was living in Dayton at the time, in my first apartment .... so I think it must have been the fall/winter of 2001. Wow. Longer than I realized!

I was going to just link to their website for the pattern, and avoid any issues of posting someone else's content on my site. However, I just tried to find the pattern there and apparently their archives only go back a couple years, so I don't think this is available. So here it is, in a very abbreviated format. I didn't include any of the actual knitting instructions, but if you watch the YouTube video above, you'll be all set!

Real Simple Scarf Pattern
  1. Purchase Size 8 (5 mm) needles and six 50-gram (1.75 oz) balls of yarn. The original scarf had two color stripes, so you might want to do the same.
  2. Cast on 35 loops.
  3. Knit 25 rows per color.
  4. To change color, cut the yarn from the old color, leaving a 6-inch tail. Then add the new color in your next row.
  5. When you're done, cast off! No fancy fringe or anything with this scarf.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cloth Diapers

So far, so good!

We really like our cloth diapers. After many recommendations from friends, and good online reviews, we went with the Bum Genius 3.0 diapers, purchased at Cotton Babies.

For the first few weeks, we went with disposables just because we weren't yet willing to commit to the time and effort of washing and assembling the cloth diapers on a daily basis. And the disposable diapers were convenient .... but I hated having an overflowing trash can all the time. And we thought they smelled strange in a chemical sort of way—maybe from the super-absorbent filling materials? We were probably influenced by the fact that we were already planning on cloth diapering anyway, but overall I just wasn't a fan of the disposable diaper experience. It's expensive and wasteful ... and Eleanor started getting a diaper rash, which cleared right up when we made the switch.

On the other hand, we started with the cloth diapers about week 3 or so. We made sure to start when my Mom was visiting, so we still had plenty of help around the house:) The diapers come in a variety of colors, as shown, and are pretty attractive. They're very easy to put on—just as easy as disposables.

On the downside, the washing process does take a while, since you need to run the washer 3 times and then the dryer. So it requires some advance planning when you get low. Also, at this point in time, the diapers are significantly more bulky on Eleanor than the disposables. This is because we got the "one-size" diapers that adjust to fit your baby through potty training (35 pounds). So they may give Little E some "junk in the trunk" at the moment, but that effect will lessen as she gets bigger and we expand the diapers.

Overall, we really like the cloth diapers and are very happy about our decision to go with them. Since we've started using them about 2 months ago, we've been on the same jumbo pack of disposables for outings and the occasional lapse when the diapers are being washed. For us, disposable diapers are useful in certain situations, mostly when we're out and about, but cloth diapers are definitely our first choice.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Back to What Passes for Normal

Finally, after a bit of upheaval, it's just another day in the life. A hectic, unpredictable day. But at least one without specific appointments and errands.

The trip to Cincinnati went really well. I was shocked and impressed by how well Eleanor did being handed amongst 30 or more of Keith's relatives and friends. We had some good friends stop by too, so it was really nice to have some time to sit and chat while Eleanor roamed from one aunt to the next.

Plus, there was an unexpected benefit to the trip: previously, Eleanor had cried when Keith held her, and only really calmed down for me. But it would appear that after she's realized just how many people there are in the great wide world, Keith doesn't look so bad anymore. As he puts it: 2 out of 2 isn't very good, but 2 out of 30 is a lot better. So now she's daddy's little girl!

As always, the worst part of the trip was the driving. But this time was even more brutal than it had been. Friday night, for the trip down, we left at 10 o'clock in the evening so she would sleep the whole way. Which she did, and we were grateful. But once we arrived, she awoke to eat, get her diaper changed, etc., so we didn't actually get to sleep until about 4 o'clock in the morning. And when she awoke at 7 or 8, demanding our attention, it was rough.

In contrast, on the way back she was awake for at least 10-20 minutes of crying every time we strapped her back into the car seat. Which happened a lot, because we stopped several times to feed her along the way. It's not that long of drive, but we went to his aunt's picnic first, and then stopped at friends' in Columbus .... anyway, the drive back just dragged on forever.

But being in Cincinnati was good, and I think she managed to charm all of Keith's relatives. (Jan, would you agree?;) And the ensuing chaos for the rest of the week was due to the fabulous news of Gavin's arrival. Finally, Keith and I had our first big outing this weekend, sans Eleanor: a wedding on the west side of town. We showed up late and left early, but we still made it!

However, I'm very happy that we have no big plans for this week. We're not going anywhere or doing anything. That will probably change by this afternoon, but for now it sounds very nice.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ruff! It's a Tough Life

Ruff! Beckett here. Megan's been very busy again lately, so I told her I'd write a few blog entries, in exchange for people food. Mmmmm, lasagna ....

I still haven't decided how I feel about the baby human. She's not all bad, but she really does take up a lot of our owners' time and attention. Where are my walks?!? I used to get two a day. Now I'm lucky if I get two a week!

On the other hand, at least things have improved from the beginning where she was always waking me up in the middle of the night with her crying. Now she sleeps much longer, and sleeps in her own room, which is even better.

I think I'll let her stay. The cat really likes the crib and the rocking chair in the baby human's room, though. So if she has any say in the matter, she'd give the baby human away to the first interested party. Maybe I should check Craig's list just to make sure she hasn't put an ad in ....

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Cousin Gavin Has Arrived!

Apparently, when we former Williams girls go into labor, we mean business!

My labor lasted less than 6 hours, from waking up with contractions at 3:30am to Eleanor's birth at 9:14am.

Likewise, my sister Erin went for her weekly Ob-Gyn check-up at 1:00pm on Monday afternoon, where she was told that she was already in labor! Gavin was born at 9:46pm on Monday evening. She spent several hours in-between the appointment and his birth trying to relax at home. After he was born, she was warned that next time she'd better get to the hospital pronto.

Eleanor was quite interested in her cousin. Once she realizes he will be competition for Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Amy's affections, she might not be so happy to have him around.

Congratulations, Erin and Josh!

Gavin Joseph
Birth day: Monday, September 29, 9:46pm
Weight: 7 pounds, 7 ounces
Length: 19.5 inches

Friday, September 26, 2008

The First Big Trip

I'm excited and nervous. Today we're driving down to Cincinnati for the first time with Eleanor. My in-laws are having a big Open House on Saturday for the whole clan and friends to come by and meet Eleanor.

It's strange to think that so many people haven't met her yet. She's already changed so much! Yet it also feels soon to be traveling with her. Can she handle the trip? Can I? How will she feel about the complete change of scenery? Will she remember her grandparents and aunts and uncles that she's already met? Will she cry constantly or be happy and stimulated by all the new experiences?

I think this is sort of a litmus test, where we will see another facet of her personality taking shape. Based on her behavior in the past few weeks, I'm going to guess that she will enjoy the trip, overall. I think that she's been handling new experiences pretty well, and shows a lot of interest in the world around her.

My only concern is that she tends to cry for other people who are not myself. Everyone is all excited to hold her, and she often responds to this love and affection by trying to make their eardrums bleed. Is this something one grows out of? It's rather inconvenient at times (like say, when I would like to brush my teeth or go for a run), but I'm sure I'll remember it fondly 14 years from now, when she won't have anything to do with me. I'll remember a time when I was the only person she wanted, and whenever I held her in my arms she was happy.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Little Too Quiet

I'm actually getting some things done today, and it's kinda freaking me out.

Eleanor went to the doctor the other day for her 2-month check-up. Apparently she's in good health, falling in the 90th percentile in length, middle percentile for weight, and low side of average for head circumference. So she is very tall, on the skinny side, with a tiny head. I'm not really sure what that means, but I still think she's adorable. Tiny head and all!

She also got her first vaccinations at the appointment. She got stuck 3 times. The nurse was very efficient; Eleanor hadn't even managed to start wailing about the first one before the second one was in and nearly done. Much to my surprise, she wailed for a minute or so and then stopped.

Since the doctor's appointment, her sleep schedule is all crazy. She slept nearly the rest of that day, stayed up during the night, and seems to be sleeping today away as well. Last night Keith and I were both pretty miserable, when we couldn't get her to sleep. But today, today! Today is a glorious thing, filled with sunshine and quiet and endless possibilities.

I took a shower. I got dressed. (Beckett was excited!) I ate breakfast. I even had the audacity to make a to-do list ... and have completed several items! I can't even tell you the last time that has happened. Okay, I can. It was July 19.

All the same ... it feels a bit odd. I feel like I should go and poke her. Wake her up and make sure she's okay. Surely I shouldn't be allowed this much free time during the day? Why is there a part of me that feels like I will be punished later for enjoying some free time now?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Daily "Routine"

What does it say about me and my daily routine since Eleanor was born that, when I get dressed, the dog gets all excited? Like, if I'm putting actual clothes on, instead of pajama pants and an oversized robe, it's a Big Day! Things might happen!

If I get shoes out of the closet, he goes into overdrive.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mid-Day Outing

I spend a lot of time lately popping into stores for just one or two items. With feeding Eleanor every 2-3 hours, I don't have time for major excursions in-between. But it's still nice to get out of the house and remind myself that there is a wider world beyond my front door. If I can just gather everything for the diaper bag, keep the baby quiet and happy, and manage to buckle the car seat in correctly, then I can participate in the adult world for a short time.

Running errands is the perfect way to spend my hour or so of free time. All the stores are within 5 minutes' drive of our house, and shopping has no set time limit. If it's going well, I can browse longer. If it's not, we cut our losses and head home, and hopefully the car has lulled Eleanor back to sleep before I pull in the garage.

Last week, I was at Target, following the slammed door incident. The breast-feeding part that I had originally intended to buy was out of stock, so I was desperately searching for something else to put in my cart, so I didn't just buy peanut M&Ms and a bottle of wine.

As I glanced around the store, I noticed the seasonal section across the aisle had been transformed into a Halloween wonderland. And a grown man was standing in the costume aisle, seriously considering the mummy mask, then putting it back and fingering the Frankenstein hands.

And I think I've been living in the 9-5 world for a little bit too long. Because I was fascinated by the fact that a healthy adult male was shopping for a Halloween costume at 1 o'clock in the afternoon. It's been such a long time since I was out and about during the workday that I think everyone else should be chained to their desks.

I immediately started imagining a scenario where it was extremely important to him that he have the perfect Halloween costume. So important that he blew off an afternoon of work in mid-September to start looking. Ex-girlfriend's Halloween party? Big work shindig where everyone is expected to dress up to show that they're part of the team? Maybe not a Halloween party at all—maybe he was a bank robber and finding a disguise was work.

He probably wasn't skipping work at all. But he was still looking at Halloween costumes in mid-September (which seems ridiculously early to me). And no matter what his real story was, I appreciated having something to mull over as the "free time" timer dinged in my head, and I hurried back home to feed the baby.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Like a Hurricane Hit

You know your life is crazy when you forget to mention that your car broke down. When that's minor, compared to the other catastrophes of life.

My parents came over yesterday afternoon—ostensibly for the Bengals game, but really to see Eleanor. My mom noticed that the glass window in the back door had a huge crack running through it, sealed over with duct tape.

"What happened to your door?" She logically enquired.

"The dog did it," was my short answer, although the more truthful answer is that the dog caused me to break the glass.

He really has no shame. He eats anything and everything that is left within snout's reach. Wicker clothes hamper, plastic breast pump parts, dirty diapers ... anything that sounds entirely unappealing to a sane human being, my dog demolishes.

The middle of last week, Eleanor and I were unexpectedly running to the store to replace a breast feeding part that Beckett had eaten. I closed the back door and hadn't even made it down the porch steps before I heard him grabbing the empty pizza boxes off the stove. A hot, fiery rage filled my veins.

I ripped the door back open, grabbed the one pizza box on the floor, and started banging it around as I looked for the dog and the other pizza box. When I found him and the partially shredded pizza box (he'd only had 30 seconds, or else it would have been completely gone), I yelled at the top of my lungs about what a bad, disrespectful dog he was. I banged around the pizza box some more to work out a bit more of my frustration. I threw the pizza boxes on top of the fridge, which he hasn't figured out how to get to (yet), went back outside, and slammed the door for good measure.

Hence, the cracked glass.

Then on Friday, Keith's car wouldn't start when was leaving work. Completely dead. Some good Samaritan gave him a jump. Which you would think is a good thing ... except it meant that it died again a few blocks later. Only this time he was in the middle of a busy downtown street, blocking traffic, instead of in his parking lot. And the car was so dead, he couldn't even get the hazard lights to come on, so he got many dirty looks and filthy words hurled at him as he waited over an hour for the tow truck.

So yesterday afternoon I explained about the door to my Mom, but completely forgot to even mention the car fiasco. And that was BEFORE our power went out early Sunday evening, thanks to the high winds of Hurricane Ike's leftovers. As of mid-day today, our power is still out. The power company is saying that, with so many homes out of power (about 400,000 in the Northeast Ohio area, according to cleveland.com), it may be until the end of the week until power is restored everywhere.

This morning I packed up Eleanor, Eleanor-related necessities (two bulging bags) and the ungrateful, disrespectful dog, and headed out to my sister's place on the Westside, which had never lost power. And here I am.

I'm hoping the silver lining is that normal life won't seem so bad after this. The baby may be screaming, but at least I can watch "Project Runway" to drown her out! I'm dirty from cleaning up another one of the dog's messes? At least I'm assured of hot water for a shower!
After dealing with this, it will all seem easy, right?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The First 8 Weeks

Good news! We're only halfway through September, and I'm writing my first post. Hopefully, this means I might actually write October's first post in the first week or so ... and by Eleanor's second birthday, I might be back to posting on a regular basis! Or maybe that's too ambitious .....
So yes, things around here have been hectic. A baby is seriously hard work. Harder than anything I've ever done before. But even with all the sleepless nights and difficult feedings, it hasn't been all bad.

When I look back on this time, I hope I don't just remember the problems and frustrations. I also want to remember that, for the first month, Eleanor hiccuped just as much out of the womb as she had in it, which is quite a lot. She actually started hiccuping during delivery, which I found very distracting!

I don't want to forget how she moved as a newborn—her jerky arm and leg movements as she first started to unfurl from the little ball she had been for months. I love the feel of her sleeping on my chest, heavy and completely trusting. And the first time she looked up at me and smiled, at about six weeks, was amazing.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Still In Survival Mode

Remember over a month ago, when I promised more pictures and posts of the baby soon? That was crazy talk.

The past six weeks (six weeks!) have been insane. Other than the usual sleep deprivation and complete rearranging of our entire lives that new parents experience, we've had a lot of issues with feeding her and slow weight gain. Because of this, I've spent pretty much all day, every day since she was born feeding her. Or waking her up to feed her, or getting ready to feed her. Sometimes it's a struggle to find time to feed myself. I scarf down a sandwich while she impatiently cries in hunger. As you can see from the photo, it's worn us all out.

So am I finally posting now because we have it all worked out? No. We've made significant progress, but we're not there yet. I'm posting because it's the end of the day, August 31, and if I don't post today I'll miss an entire MONTH for the first time since I started this blog and that is unacceptable, even during this crazy time.

Hopefully I will start posting again soon. I think about posts, and compose them in my head during marathon nursing sessions. But getting to a computer and actually getting them written and online is a completely different matter. So try not to forget about me, check your RSS feed once in a while .... I shall return!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Introducing Eleanor

Keith and I are proud and happy to announce the birth of Eleanor.
Birth day: Sunday, July 20, 9:14am
Weight: 8 pounds, 2 ounces
Length: 20.5 inches
1o fingers, 10 toes, a fabulously developed set of lungs!

We're now at home, getting settled into the new routine. Expect many more posts and pictures in the coming days!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bereft and Directionless without Satellite

I like to claim that I don't watch TV that much. I pretend like it's all Keith's fault that we have a big flat panel TV and fancy satellite dish. Although I will admit that even I cannot live without DVR anymore. You know, for when I want to record the Jane Austen series on Masterpiece Theatre.

But apparently, all of my posturing about not needing to watch TV is a pack of lies. Because our satellite is not currently hooked up, and I'm in a corner, twitching.

To take off the old roof and put on the new roof, the roofers had to remove and reinstall the satellite dish. Fair enough. But they don't actually reposition it properly—we have to call the satellite TV service to take care of that.

The satellite TV service wants to charge us a $50 service call to reposition the satellite. We're not big fans of that. So Keith wants to try repositioning it himself first. Being "fiscally responsible" (aka stingy), I approve of this plan.

Except. I'm home all the time now. And I don't have a whole lot of energy. All I really want to do is flip on the TV and watch other people do things while I knit a baby blanket for my sister or fall asleep on the couch. But Keith won't be able to try and reposition the satellite until probably the weekend, at the earliest.

I'm a little surprised how disconnected I feel without the TV. I know part of it is KNOWING that I can't turn the TV on, even if I wanted to. Well, I could watch a DVD, but I can't watch actual television programs.

I'm listening to NPR, which I often listen to all day at work, and it's surprisingly dissatisfying. I miss the moving pictures! Maybe I'm just going through the withdrawal, and by tomorrow the need for TV will be lessened. Maybe this will bring on labor, because I don't have anything else to amuse me.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Last week, the rules about communication with my immediate family changed. I think it happened after my last doctor's appointment, when I eagerly called everyone and told them the doctor thought I could go into labor any day now.

Suddenly, my phone calls "just to chat" were no longer welcome. The person on the other end of the line would invariably answer with nearly hysterical excitement in her voice. But as soon as I said I wasn't in labor, the excitement was gone.

Now, no one wants to actually talk to me. They just want to hear that I'm in labor and they should hurry over to the hospital. The ironic part is this only afflicts immediate family—the people that would actually get the call to come to the hospital for the birth. I'm still allowed to call other people just to catch up, it's just those closest to me that find the sound of my non-laboring voice so very disappointing.

So I've stopped calling people over the past few days. If my mom or sisters want to find out how I'm doing, I let them call me. Which is another way that the rules have changed. Normally, I don't feel the need to rush and answering a ringing phone. If I'm in a store, I send it to voicemail. Or if I'm in the middle of something, I might wait and see who is calling and give him a call back at a more convenient time.

But those days are long gone. Because now, if Keith or I don't answer the phone, I feel certain that the caller will immediately jump to the conclusion that we're engaged in much more important activities. Like having a baby.

So I make hardly any outgoing calls. But I obsessively answer all incoming ones. I'm guessing this will be the new routine until I actually have reason to make The Call.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

We love to cut it close

Well, the roofers arrived this morning. Our house was originally on the schedule for last week, which I thought would be great. Definitely finished by the baby's arrival time.

Except then, because of weather, it got pushed back to Monday. And then to today. And when they weren't here by 8 o'clock, I was afraid that they weren't coming at all.

But they did roll in around 9 .... half of a crew, instead of a whole crew. And informed me that, instead of being a 1-day job as I was originally told (2 at the outside), they're expecting it to take 3 days. Meaning that they would finish on my Thursday, July 17. You know, my due date.

I don't really know what to think. Is this normal? Is this to be expected when you're having a large job being done where the schedule is weather dependent? Should I be annoyed and arguing with the main office about the scheduling? Or should I just take it in stride?

My fear is that something will come up. If everything goes exactly as according to the estimate I originally signed, there's no need for Keith and me to be around and accessible. But what if things change? They find decking that needs to be replaced that wasn't covered by the original estimate and they need us to approve the additional cost of changes? I'm guessing it would be rather difficult for us to discuss roofing issues in-between contractions.

But anyway, let's focus on the good news: They have started. Even if they don't finish until Thursday, the forecast predicts no rain until Sunday. And, even if I go into labor today—as soon as I finish this post?—once I give birth and stay in the hospital for a few days, everything should still be finished before I come home with Little L. I'm just going to block out the racket above me, and focus on the positives. Or try.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Officially in Waiting

So, I'm done working. I have a "To Do" list around the house, because it's a physical impossibility for me not to ... but everything on the list is mentally marked with an asterisk that says "if I don't go into labor first."

It was very strange to clear off my desk last week, knowing that I wouldn't be back for months. I had originally offered to work from home this week, depending on how I felt. But it sounds like HR doesn't really approve of people working from home, and I don't want to go back into the office after I've officially gone on maternity leave (so anticlimactic, you know?) so I guess I'm pretty much done with work.

Today I plan on going grocery shopping, cleaning up around the house a bit, working on curtains for the nursery maybe (one down, three to go). My little sister, who is just starting summer vacation from school, is going to come and hang out with me, so maybe we'll sit on the deck in the backyard, sipping iced tea and admiring the lovely tiger lilies, as photographed by Keith above.

I'm excited for a relaxing, laid-back day. But I'm also hoping that my plans change suddenly because Little L has decided it's time to make an appearance. As I told Keith this morning, I've never been so disappointed to get a good night's sleep as I was when I woke up and realized dawn had broken without me going into labor. I know it's still a few days before my due date, but I'm an impatient person! Any other items are my list are just marking time—giving birth is really the next (and only) item on the REAL to-do list. Hopefully I can distract myself enough with the other, less-important tasks, so the wait doesn't seem so long.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Seriously Counting Down

Sorry my posting has been so sporadic lately. I expected July to be bad, but my lack of posts in June caught me by surprise. Apologies!

But seriously, I need to warn you that I might be disappearing off the interwebs very shortly. The due date for Little L is July 17, but who knows? I go to the doctor every week nowadays, and for the past two weeks they've waved me off with a cheerful, "See you next week, unless you give birth first!"

This is my last week of work, I'm very excited to report. I have been pretty tired lately, so I'm looking forward to being able to take it easy during the day next week, just keep the house basically clean, read a little, nap a little, etc ..... assuming the countdown is still ongoing, that is. If I don't go into labor until the 17th or after, early July should be great for my post count. But if you don't hear from me again after this, wish me, Keith, and the baby all the best! Many, many pictures will be forthcoming, I'm sure.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Finally Unveiled: The Nursery!

I know it's been a looong time since I alluded to this, but I'm finally posting a few pictures of the finished nursery. We're very excited with how it turned out. And not a moment too soon!

Items of note: The purple blanket on the edge of the crib is one I knitted myself for the baby. I'm also pretty excited about the basket of books that is on the floor, next to the glider rocking chair. And many, many props to Keith and my dad for hanging the fabulous white trim that separates the brown stripes and green solid color below.

It is a wonderful room. I love the light that fills it in the morning, and I think the colors are very welcoming and soothing. As our guest bedroom, we never spent much time in there. But now that it's the nursery, I know we'll both be in there day and night!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Our Pizza Box Holder

We haven't been very good about cooking lately. Partly because we've been busy, and I've been extra tired. And partly because we know we won't have the discretionary income in a few weeks to be ordering out all the time.

I've started referring to the stove as our "pizza box holder," since it seems to be doing more of that lately than actually being fired up. I hope we're not making it harder for ourselves to adjust after the baby arrives. Falling into bad habits now that will be hard to break later.

But I figure, any habit we have now is irrelevant post-baby. I don't really think we can assume that anything will be the same when we get home from the hospital. So even if the stove is a pizza box holder now, I think we'll be able to see it in a whole new light with Little L around.

It will be the surface on which we slap together peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Fascinating, Captain*

Well, we made it through the weekend! Keith's family came to visit and we had a great time hanging out. Overall, it was pretty laid back. But even so, and with all the help they gave me, I was still pretty worn out by Sunday evening. I'm very glad this is a 4-day week! (For my international readers: Friday we have off to celebrate our Independence Day.)

Most of the weekend we used paper plates for everything, because it just made life a whole lot easier. But I decided to really step it up a notch on Sunday morning and use real plates. I set the table with placemats, the smaller square plates, silverware, juice glasses, napkins—the works! If you didn't know better, you might actually think that Keith and I eat meals at the table on a regular basis.

So anyway, I turned all of the square plates at an angle to the rectangular placements, so they appeared as a diamond-shape to the diners. I liked the contrast of shapes. I did this as I set the table, and then completely forgot about it.

Maybe a half-hour later, after all of the eggs, goetta, watermelon, etc. had been consumed, Keith's sister Jessica looked around the table. She realized that half of us had left our plates as set, and the other half had turned them so the straight edge was against the table edge. Upon further inspection, we realized that all of the engineers (which includes Keith's dad, because his mom argues the kids got their engineering brains from him) had turned their plates so the straight edge was facing them. All of us non-engineers had left them cock-eyed.

I hadn't meant for the plates to be a psychological experiment, but I think the results were very telling!

* In case you're not as big a dork as I am, you may not realize the title is a reference to Spock on the original Star Trek television series.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Keith!

Finally! Yesterday was Keith's 30th birthday, so the long 3 months when I am older than he are now over for another year.

It was our usual, laid-back affair. We went with some couple friends (that is, friends who are a couple, not two un-related friends) to dinner at a Mexican restaurant and to see the new(ish?) Indiana Jones movie. Beckett must even have known it was a special occasion, because he behaved himself while we were gone. This is more impressive when you know that, while we were at work on Tuesday, he got into the trash and pantry—and ate my Oreos!—, pooped in the attic, and peed in the basement. All in a day's work.

So even the dog behaved himself and when we got home from the movie, we actually got to bed at a decent hour. That part was very important because tonight is going to be a long night. Keith's family is coming up this weekend to celebrate Keith being old, and also to see the Reds play the Indians at Progressive Field. As always, we had the best intentions of cleaning every night this week so it wouldn't be so bad tonight. And we tried, but never really got as far as we wanted. So tonight will be a cleaning extravaganza. I hope the old man's knees don't give out when he's scrubbing the floor at 1 am!;)

Friday, June 20, 2008

The camera loves the kitten

Since getting the new camera, Keith has taken a million pictures of random items around our house, trying to get the depth of field, focus, lighting, etc., just right. He wants to get used to all of the features so that the first pictures of Little L come out perfect.

So far, I would say that the kitten has been his favorite subject, and the dog is a close second. Followed by inanimate objects within 2 inches of the lens (he really likes that short depth of field option), and then me.

Wednesday night was my last official writing group meeting before the baby arrives. I said I may show up in July or not .... it all depends on when Little L shows up. So my writing group members turned our meeting into a mini-shower and gave me all sorts of wonderful toys and clothes for the baby. When I got home, I showed the latest acquisitions to Keith and Gomez showed up to investigate. So the picture above is Gomez modeling a hand-crocheted frog hat from a girl in my writing group. Isn't it adorable?

The only problem is that Gomez seems to think all of the new goodies are for her. She's in for a rude awakening, but I don't have the heart to break it to her just yet.

And it just keeps growing

Just when you think the belly can't get any bigger ... surprise!

Keep in mind, the cropping is a bit different in the most recent photo. And it was taken with our new camera that Keith, dutiful citizen that he is, spent our "Economic Stimulus Check" on. We both knew we wanted a camera that took better indoor pictures than our old one, and he did all the research to decide we had to have a Canon XSI. So that explains the better detail, different colors, etc.

But anyway, this isn't about the camera. It's about the belly. Isn't it impressive?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Missing in Action

Sorry I've been MIA for such a long time. I've been trying to put my finger on why I haven't written lately, but I'm not exactly sure. There's plenty to write about, but I just never seem to have the energy to sit down and write about it. And maybe that's the problem; I'm just too tired.

The short version of what's going on today is:
1) We've recently learned that we need to replace all of our windows, due to lead paint issues. Just when we were coming to terms with that, our roof started leaking. So we'll go from being in a pretty good financial position (1 student loan paid off a few months ago, nearly ready to pay off the car loan that isn't even a year old yet) to looking at taking out a substantial home improvement loan just to get our house livable again.
2) On the other hand, remember when I was talking about my gardening project? Apparently, by buying 5 bags of mulch, we got entered into a raffle to win a $100 gift certificate to our local garden center ... and we won! We were shocked; Keith and I never win random games of chance. Unfortunately, we can't really spend the money because we're waiting for the soil testing results to come back. If the soil around our house is contaminated with lead, any hot spots need to be dug out down to 2 feet to get rid of the hazard. So not much point in planting new flowers.

Old houses can be so charming! See, just writing this brief summary makes me want to take a nap.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Hazards of the Doctor's Office

My perception of the doctor's office has been shaped by the fact that, for the most part, I am a healthy person. The doctor's office is someplace you go when you're not well, and they make you better. In general, it's a place I don't see the inside of very often. When I do, it's usually for another sinus infection or, say, breaking my finger.

This has changed since I've been pregnant. I'm at the doctor's office all the time now, it feels like. And not for any reason other than the fact that I'm still pregnant. I don't have any complaints or symptoms that need addressing, I just go in because I have another scheduled appointment.

It had never really occurred to me before that there's hazards to hanging around the doctor's office too much. Because you know who spends a lot of time there? Sick people! And the elderly. The elderly who really shouldn't be driving. Their ancient, enormous cars fill the parking lots of doctors' offices across the country.

I had another check-up this past week. It went well. I'm still pregnant. The doctor said the baby was a "good size." I haven't figure out yet if that's a euphemism for "rather large" or really just a good size. I'm not sure if I want to narrow it down.

When leaving the medical building, I pulled up to the left-turn lane. The driveway to the building is three lanes wide—one lane for incoming traffic, a center lane for outgoing traffic turning left or going straight, and the right-hand lane for outgoing traffic turning right. So I'm in the center lane, waiting for the light to turn green so I can turn left and be on my way.

The light turns green in surprisingly short order, and I'm just starting to pull out and curve left .... when I notice that there's another outbound car on the left-side of me, also turning left at the light.

Which would be fine, except that lane is for INCOMING traffic. Not that basic traffic rules stopped this elderly woman from calmly going out the inbound lane, and gracefully turning left onto the road.

What could I do? I also turned left, right along-side her, and into the curb lane. It's a good thing that we were turning onto a street that had four lanes, so there were two lanes headed in our direction, and we could each turn into one. The situation was only marked by its complete lack of alarm or distress. I'm driving alone in my car, wondering "Did that really just happen?". But she drives calmly on, no one honks or shakes a fist .... and I'm left to ponder the hazards of visiting a place where the elderly are known to congregate.

I will not be visiting a bingo hall anytime soon.

Friday, June 06, 2008

That Joke? Still Not Funny

Mr. "Alright for a Monday" strikes again. He's been driving me crazy all week and there's no sign that it will abate any time soon.

I feel the need to reiterate, once again, that he is a very kind person and a good human being. Would give you the shirt off his back and all that. " But although he is truly nice ... he is also genuinely not funny. Or rather, every once in a great while, lightning strikes and he says something hilarious. That has not been the case this week.

The biggest problem is if he finds a "joke" that he likes the sound of, he repeats it over and over and over again. And it wasn't even funny the first time.

When I saw him on Monday, he feigned amazement. "You still around?" he said. "You haven't had that baby yet?"

I gritted my teeth and hope he mistook the grimace for a friendly grin. "Not yet!" I replied. Because what else can I say? It's true; I haven't had the baby yet. I'm not due for 6 or 7 more weeks.

But right away I knew. THIS was going to become his next favorite joke. So for the next six weeks, I'll have to endure him asking if I'm still here, or acting surprised to see me around the office. AND IT WILL DRIVE ME INSANE.

Just like this morning. When he said "Still here, huh?" and I twitched, ever so slightly.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Weekend of the Project: #5 The Belly

And of course, the main project! The 9-month project for whom all these other projects are taking place. Here's the belly picture from May.

Shockingly, my belly button is still hanging in there. I thought it was a goner weeks ago. And yet, it's still around! It may not be so much of an "innie" but it' s not quite an "outie" yet, so I'm happy with that. For month 8, that's not too shabby!

Some days I wake up in the morning and feel like The Belly has grown during the night. I have a hard time imagining what the next picture will be like. It might be on panoramic setting.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Weekend of Projects: #4 Dresser

This is as close to seeing the nursery as you'll get for now. This used to be Keith's dresser from high school. It was a natural-looking wood veneer—pretty plain and simple.

I don't remember when it appeared in our house .... I think Keith's parents handed it down to us when we got the house for our guest bedroom. Oh, I take that back. Keith said that we had it a few apartments ago, so apparently it's been around longer than I thought!

To make it fit in with the nursery, Keith painted it white and I added the brown and green accents. It wasn't a very cooperative piece of furniture—Keith needed to do three coats of white before it looked even. I got frustrated because the wee little accents took FOREVER to paint. It was the smallest area we'd painted all weekend, and yet it seemed to take an inordinate amount of time. Probably because, once it was finished, I could put down my paintbrush once and for all!

Of course, having said that, I think another coat might be in order for the colored accents. But I just might get used to how they look now, since the alternative is to open the paint cans again.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Weekend of Projects: #3 Bookshelves

This was really all Keith's and my Dad's project. Therefore it's my favorite project, because these fabulous bookshelves appeared, just like magic!

Ever since we moved into this house, I've wanted bookshelves in the living room, flanking the fireplace in the living room. For a few months now, Keith and Dad have been working on this project—researching the best way to build the bookshelves and measuring and buying materials.

Silly Keith and I; we thought the bookshelves were pretty much done once they were assembled. This weekend he would just be doing some "finishing touches." Oh, our DIY naivete strikes again!

FYI: Staining takes a LONG time. Especially when you need two coats of stain on each bookshelf. Plus on the back (which was attached after the staining process). And on the trim pieces. So just keep that in mind.

But as you can tell from the pictures, the final results were absolutely worth the (Keith and Dad's) time. I think they're great! I can't wait to fill them with all of my impressive literature books from college. I'll have to dust the books off first, though.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Weekend of the Project: #2 Garden

This is a picture of a project in process, because it didn't occur to me to get an After photo. We got 5 bags of mulch and a few plants to make the front garden beds look a little less pathetic.

This project involved weeding, which for me is a game of "Is this a weed or a plant?" After weeding, I planted a few myrtle starter plants, since I'm trying to get ground cover started to compete with the weeds. Maybe, about 5 years from now, the myrtle will be winning and I'll have a little less weeding to do.

I also planted a container that looks very cute on the front step. It almost looks like our yard isn't completely hopeless! There's still plenty of room for improvement—and I mean room. There's not a whole lot of plants and large spaces for the weeds to grow in-between. So, as with the myrtle, my plan is to take the long-term view. Take out a few weeds and put in a few more perennial plants every year, and eventually we'll improve the weed-to-plant ratio to an acceptable level.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Weekend of the Project: #1 Necklaces

I can't believe it, but we actually survived our project-filled weekend. This week will be posts of some of the projects we completed over the weekend. Unfortunately for you, you won't see pictures of the finished nursery quite yet. It is completely painted and it looks AMAZING. We're both so pleased with how it turned out and I'm looking forward to showing it off. But we are hoping to show it to a few people in person first, so the Big Reveal will have to wait.

In the meantime, here's the easiest project of the weekend. I've been meaning to do this for quite a while; my jewelry box just isn't big enough to fit all of my necklaces. I toyed with the idea of getting fancy decorative hooks to hang my necklaces, but in the end I decided it was more important to have something that went easily on and off the wall than something very decorative.

After a quick trip to the store, this project was finished in about 15 minutes. If only they were all that easy!

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Pain of Childbirth Classes

"What's the first word that comes to mind when you think about labor and childbirth?"

This was the ice-breaker question for our childbirth classes. As ice-breakers go, I didn't think it was too bad. It wasn't too personal, but it's obviously something that was already on all of our minds! The first woman said "Pain." Ding! Ding! Ding! I felt like, if we were on the Family Feud, the survey would have said she was absolutely correct.

Her husband said it was a process, which was a bit more clinical, but still apt. I suggested "endurance" because Keith had just finished the marathon and I'd been joking about how we both had endurance events this year—the only difference being that Keith trained for months to prepare for his, and mine will probably last 5 times longer.

Most of the answers were pretty predictable; only one answer really stuck out to me because I had instantly disliked the woman who said it, and her answer reaffirmed my initial impression.

"Natural," she had shrugged when it was her turn to answer. "Childbirth is completely natural and women have been doing it for thousands of years." It just seemed like such a snide, self-righteous comment to me. Yes, we all know that we are not the first ones to do this. Or the last. But that doesn't mean that I can't/shouldn't be frightened and apprehensive about squeezing out an 8-pound baby! We're not really talking about the natural process of childbirth—this class is about ME and what can I expect in a few months and how do I prepare for it.

When class re-convened the following week, the instructor asked us to tell one thing that we had learned the week before. Most of us talked about specific parts of labor that we hadn't been aware of, or pain management techniques. Our snide classmate?

"Last week I learned that I already knew even more about childbirth than I had realized!"

So all of that information may have been news to us uneducated masses, but SHE knew better.
I suppose it's probably wrong that I wish her an incredibly long and painful labor, isn't it?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hapless DIY-ers

Last weekend, we went to Home Depot to purchase all of the materials needed to paint the nursery.

In theory, it's not that hard. Just pick out a few cans of paint, right? And yet, somehow, we were there for nearly three hours. THREE LONG, PAINFUL HOURS.

A big part of the problem is that we don't really know what we're doing. And we don't pick simple projects. Actually, those two issues together pretty much sum up the problem in its entirety.

For example, we can't just paint the nursery one color. Oh no! I saw a cute picture in a magazine where the bottom two-thirds of the wall was one color, separated from a different color on the top one-third by a trim board. It was adorable! But much more complicated that just slapping some paint on the wall.

Even before getting to Home Depot, it required significantly more detailed measuring of the room, since we were buying several paint colors. It will also require leveling abilities when we hang the trim boards.

And how do we hang the trim boards, exactly? With our old plaster walls, Keith isn't a big fan of putting in a lot of nail holes. But can we get away with gluing the boards? This gets to the second part of the problem: we're both pretty new at all of this house maintenance/decorating stuff, and we don't know the best way to do things. We don't know any way to do things, really. We're just kinda making it up as we go along, and that takes a lot of brain power. Especially considering that it usually means the plan changes at least once during implementation, because there's a kink we'd failed to factor in during the "planning/making it up" stage.

By the end of our Home Depot trip, I was physically and mentally exhausted. I hung around the cash registers, waiting for Keith to pick up one more thing that we'd missed in our first five rounds of the store. When he finally returned to the front, he told me I looked defeated. I thought it was a pretty accurate description.

If the painting this weekend goes well, maybe there will be pictures to post next week. If you don't ever see pictures of the nursery .... well, don't ask. Just assume we've decided to take a break from DIY house projects.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Baby Shower

The nursery is starting to fill up! I had my work baby shower last week, and then my Cleveland baby shower was yesterday. The final baby shower in Cincinnati is a few weeks ago, which is good because it gives us some time to figure out where to put everything we've already gotten before more presents arrive.

The only other experience I can compare a baby shower to is our wedding showers from a few years ago. I wasn't a big fan of the wedding shower. I mean, I'm not complaining about people getting together to give me gifts. But it felt sort of awkward, with all of the focus on me. I felt on display, and I wasn't really sure how to properly display my appreciation for a Crockpot or laundry hamper.

But I thought, overall the baby showers were a lot more fun. There were two things about it that really stuck out to me as different from a wedding shower. First, as I've discussed with several friends, registering for baby items is really hard work.

When you're registering for a wedding, you basically know what you need as a functioning adult. But what does a baby need?!? I had no idea. And there are so many products out there to choose from. Every time we tried to register, Keith and I would only make it through a few items before our brains were friend and we'd give up. It was rough.

But what's great about the baby shower is that people give you things both on and off your registry that they think you'll need or like. There's so many gifts that people gave me that they could personally recommend, and I really enjoyed getting the gifts AND the recommendations. It helps me feel a little more prepared, and like I may have a clue as to what I'm doing.

I also enjoyed that we got a LOT of books for the baby. Reading is a huge part of our lives, and something that I can't wait to share with my children. So, in my case, getting books that my friends and family have personally cherished and want Little L to enjoy meant a lot. Some of the books I've heard of before, but most of them I haven't. I'm looking forward to reading them to Little L both before and after he/she is born.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Bump Inferiority

Pregnancy-related activities are heating up. My doctor's appointments are starting to be closer together. We're taking childbirth classes this month. And a few nights ago we took our prenatal tour at the hospital where I'll be giving birth.*

It's very interesting to be surrounded by other pregnant women. The tour started with a talk in an amphitheatre. Of course, once we sat down I started checking out all of the other moms-to-be. Is her bump bigger than me? Am I waddling more than she is?

I came to the conclusion that everyone else had put off the tour a lot longer than we did, because they all seemed hugely pregnant. My bump looked so small! Or do I just think that because I've gotten used to my bump, and it doesn't seem so big anymore?

I did experience some minor feelings of bump inferiority, but I got over it when I realized that the majority of pregnant women on the tour had foregone shoes that laced up. I'm at the end of my 7th month, and so far I'm still making the effort to bend over and tie shoelaces. It may not always be easy, but I'm still doing it!

* I took a break here for about 5 minutes of breathing into a paper bag.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Little L: Month 7

We've made it to the third trimester. Like, third of three. This is it!

My 7-month check-up was actually a few weeks ago, but it took me awhile to post about it because I had a bit of scare that required further follow-up. I had my glucose test to make sure I don't have gestational diabetes, since it does sometimes happen that women who aren't normally diabetic can become so during pregnancy. On the plus side, this condition can be treated through diet and medication. But on the downside, it does put the mother and baby at a higher risk for Type II diabetes later in life.

I wasn't phased by the test. No one in my family is diabetic, and I've had a very easy pregnancy so far. So I was that much more shocked/dismayed/worried when I got the call from the doctor's office the next day that my sugar levels were high in the initial test, and I had to come back in for a longer test. The following Monday, I was back in the lab bright and early, on an empty stomach, to drink more glucose drink and get my blood drawn every hour for 4 hours.

Between the drink, lack of food, and nerves, I was sick by the time I got home at mid-afternoon. I ate lunch, called into work, and slept for the rest of the afternoon. I thought about all the pop I've drank and Oreos I've eaten over the past seven months, and wondered about what I would be like as a diabetic.

The next morning, I got the call from the doctor's office saying my latest test results were normal, and I did NOT have gestational diabetes. Once the experience was all over, I convinced myself that it was actually good for me (since the final results were negative).
  1. Drinking less Coke and and eating fewer Oreos can only be good for me and Little L.
  2. It was a reminder that, although my pregnancy has gone really smoothly so far, there's still a lot that's out of my control. I need to be aware of that, and also grateful for the good fortune I've had so far.
  3. At the end of the pregnancy, there's still the labor and birth to go, and that whole experience can be so unpredictable. So I need to learn to go with the flow and trust my doctor's advice, even in a less-than-ideal situation.
But the final verdict is: So far, so good. Little L is growing well and sounding great. He/she moves around a lot now, and Keith can hear the heartbeat when he lays his head on my large (and growing bigger daily) belly. As always, I'll keep trying to eat healthy, get some exercise, and enjoy the last trimester!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Didn't See That Coming

"I should wear more black eyeliner and mascara."
--Aloud musing from my husband, as we watched part of a Greenday concert on TV.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Congrats to Keith!

Keith is officially a Marathoner. He finished the Flying Pig Marathon yesterday in 4 hours, 8 minutes. His original goal was to finish in under 4 hours, but 26.2 miles is a long time for everything to go your way, and his calf muscles started cramping at the end.

It was a great day to spectate. A little chilly at first, when we arrived at spectator point #1 at 6:30am. The race started about 15 minutes late due to a house fire on the course.
But once the race started, it ran smoothly, and the day warmed up quickly as the sun came out.

I joked with Keith beforehand that he was wearing his "anonymous runner" costume because he wore a long-sleeved, white shirt with gray shorts. He didn't exactly make it easy to pick him out of the crowd! I had been guilty of missing him last year because I couldn't find him amongst all the runners, and I was worried about missing him again.

I actually got pretty nervous for Keith the morning of the race. Until that point, I had been quietly confident. But once it was really race time, and I couldn't see him or talk to him to find out how he was feeling, I got anxious. Did he feel good? How did the start go? Was he on pace? The few times that we could a glimpse of him at miles 2 and 6.8, he looked good, but that still left a lot of time just wondering how it all was going.

It was such a relief to see him come running toward the finish line. Not hobbling, or being carried, or walking even. I'm so proud of him for not just running the race, but also for training since last December to be prepared for this race. It's just one more sign that he is determined, and passionate, and the most wonderful partner I could ever wish for.

Congratulations, Keith!