Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best Laid Plans and Random Late-Night Thoughts

So, I had every intention of going to sleep early tonight. But a sick baby and sick husband have thrown a wrench into my plans. Hopefully I won't get sick, too. Jack seems to have caught the sniffles from Evan. So far it's nothing serious, but it makes the baby not sleep very well. Also, Evan has been extra snorey since he's sick. As a result, to avoid germs and his loud sawing of logs, I'm sleeping on the couch (yay).

The other night, when I was also up late after taking care of the baby, I was flipping past some low-quality late-night TV and I had a bunch of rapid-fire reactions to what I was watching. For your reading pleasure:

--Marlee Matlin (a deaf actress) has a male translator who speaks for her when she signs. I think this is odd. Anyone with me on that?

--Why is there ALWAYS a Girls Gone Wild commercial on late at night? On the same note, have you guys seen the sensual product infomercial? Two gals calmly extolling the virtues of each item. I'm weirded out by QVC for that stuff. Call me provincial if you must.

Shoot, I had more, but the sick baby calls again. Hopefully I'll get to sleep one of these hours.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Post-Christmas Roundup

Well, Christmas was an absolute blast. It was fabulous to have so much of my family in town and get to hang out with everybody. Jack LOVED seeing people and getting passed around. I loved seeing him have so much fun and having a few extra hours of doing something else besides caring for him. I'm posting a few pics that already appeared on my husband's blog. Oh and speaking of my husband's blog, Kelsey, you asked about our traditions, which Ev discussed in detail. Check out his post. Sorry I didn't get to respond to that comment.

These were taken by my brother on a fun family trip to the local zoo. They make me want a nicer camera; but that will wait for now. Anywho, don't you just love this one of my dad and Jack? They're good buddies.

I also got to hang out with my oldest nephews, who are 10 and 8-ish. They're seriously cool kids. It makes me look forward even more to the future with Jack.

The present with Jack has been great, except I think the teething train has started to pull into the station. He's fussy and - here's the big thing - won't eat much. I think he's also getting a little stopped up from not drinking enough. Thoughts on this, mommy friends? Just deal with it? How long do you think his not-eating-much-spell will last?

In other news, we're gorging on as much holiday candy as possible before we embark on yet another health kick for the new year. Yeah, I know. I get sick of talking about my fluctuating weight, so I'm sure you're sick of hearing about it. But, it's my blog, so get ready to jump back onto the bandwagon with me!

This post has been random enough for now, so I'll keep my miscellaneous thoughts from last night's midnight feeding for another post. Cheers.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Unlike my husband, who has mixed feelings toward Christmas, I have loved this time of year and the holiday itself as long as I can remember. Sure, it started with awe-filled delight about Santa, candy, and the thrill of Christmas-morning gifts, but obviously there is more to the season than just those things.

I also love that for a few weeks (at least) people think more about others, are more charitable, and are kinder. And I love that at this time of year we have more opportunity to really think about Christ. This blog is not typically a place where I talk about religion. In fact, I typically don't discuss my religious beliefs or feelings in any public way. I guess I feel like the people who read my blog (whoever they are) don't come here to read about Jesus. But then, they also don't come to hear about my trials with breastfeeding, and I talk about that stuff anyway.

So briefly, I'm glad that at Christmas I have the opportunity to thank Jesus for coming into the world as a powerless babe--not so very different from my own sweet little one--only to live a perfect life and die for me. I'm thankful for the daily gift that his influence is in my life. And I'm thankful for the innumerable blessings that he and God have given to me, my family, and the rest of the world.

So Merry Christmas to all (five) of you readers. Please accept a bit of the warm Christmas cheer I am sending your way. And to my three Jewish readers, I'm sending Chanukah love your way, too. ;)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In My Dreams I am Brilliant! And A Secret Agent!

I just woke up from a baby-exhaustion- and-yummy-gingerbread-pancake-induced nap. I'm pretty sure I didn't hyphenate that properly, but cut me some slack: I'm so bleary eyed I can barely type.

Anyway, I just wanted to document that I had two fascinating ideas in my sleep. One was also slightly horrifying. Anyway, here goes. I dreamed I was a James Bond-style secret agent. I was just about to start on one of my secret missions, but I was feeling out of it (maybe my pancake reality was creeping in here). I needed to buy an airline ticket online, but when I started to type in my credit card number, I noticed that they were shifting every second. I looked a little closer and realized that the numbers were being electronically generated. Once I started typing a number that I saw on the card into the computer, that number became fixed on the card. Apparently it was a card that would make it more difficult to steal the person's identity without actually having the card, because the numbers would be constantly changing. (I can't tell if what I just typed made any sense, but if it did, YOU'RE WELCOME VISA!) I expect to see my million-bajillion-dollar idea produced soon.

The other idea was that as a secret agent I was about to scuba dive off the side of one of those big, motorized inflatable rafts. I realized that the gear I had was different than most scuba gear (not that I've ever in real life actually used any). Instead of putting a mask into your mouth, there was this multi-lobed apparatus that you actually swallow. Although it's kind of uncomfortable going down, it somehow makes sure that you breathe. And once it's in, it feels perfectly natural. Here's where the slightly horrifying part comes in: Once I had swallowed the breathing tube and tipped backward off the boat into the choppy, freezing, gray, water, I realized I had swallowed the WRONG one, and couldn't breathe. In my dream it didn't occur to me to swim to the surface. So I was just going to drown with something weird lodged in my throat. That's when I woke up. I don't think any scuba companies will steal this idea, but if they do, they have my blessing.

Weird, eh?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Family Photo

This year we're sending out a few Christmas cards - mostly to family. Yesterday Evan and I went downtown and took some family photos. These are two of the more successful results.



I had thought it would be easier to just take pictures with the camera on a tripod using the timer, since it's always a minor ordeal to get the three of us fed, dressed, and out of the house in between Jack's naps.

It was in fact nice that we didn't have to coordinate with another person's schedule. However, if we had had a director/photographer, we could have skipped some of our funnier outtakes. See below.



Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tiger, Briefly

So I, like much of the nation (apparently) am somewhat fascinated by the debacle that is the Tiger Woods circus. What is it that makes it interesting? Certainly, I don't find it interesting every time I hear that someone famous has an affair. It's almost expected. So I think what is weird about the Tiger thing is the difference between appearance or perception and reality.

Tiger appeared to be a super nice, talented, extremely wealthy family man. He was even big on the charity circuit. Basically it seemed like a nearly perfect life. Plus he's a little goofy looking, so who expects him to be going around trying to get with every girl he sees? And then the truth comes out. Not just one affair with someone who he happened to find a meaningful if illicit connection with, but rather double digits of affairs with Vegas club girls and reality show castoffs. What?

Am I the only person who feels a little thrown off? Or, as I'm sure most males (who tend to not follow celeb news) would say, should I just get over it because all celeb types are skeezy and it's not reality anyway?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Love This Guy



I mean, right? Go ahead, expand the photo. It's cute!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jog

Whew! We had a blast on our trip to California. Perhaps best of all, Jack was a great little traveler. Thanks in large part to your suggestions, but also due to his just being a an awesome little boy, we made it through all flights, long car trips, and many unfamiliar places with no meltdowns. In fact he LOVED meeting new people and seeing new things. I will now have to stop being such a homebody. Once I recover from this trip.

Other great parts of the trip (in somewhat chronological order) included eating at Umami Burger in LA with Whitney and Alex. If you live in LA, I recommend a trip.




Meeting Aunt Dina.

Staying with Ryan and Laurel and having a cookie party with most of the old peeps from LA 1st at their place. It felt pretty much just like the good old days.

Getting my hair done by Lacey (At long last! Hallelujah!) and having dinner with the Birds, Nielsens, and the lovely Colleen.

A brief trip to Balboa Island (near Newport). We almost didn't make it after I failed to get directions before we departed. But with help from friends, and a few strangers, we made it. And it was so worth it! Cute shops and the delicious Balboa Bar. Totally worth a visit.

We got to hang out with both of Evan's best friends, Aaron and Andy, and their families. (Aaron came later, so he's not in the picture). It was delightful to get to hang out with them and their kiddos. And sooo nice of of Aaron and Jennie to take care of us throughout our San Diego stay.

Thanksgiving and Evan's birthday (same day). It was nearly a debacle after we were stuck in traffic for about 3.5 hours on our way to Thanksgiving dinner with Evan's extended family. However, we did eventually make it, and we loved having Jack cooed over by all the relatives. Evan also blew out all 30 of his candles...so we'll probably be winning the lottery soon.


We introduced Jack to the ocean for the first time. We dipped his feet in the water, and he seemed to take it ok, despite the chilly temp. Meanwhile, we also fell back in love with San Diego and California. We would love to move back, but it's not to be just yet. Anyway, it was a fabulous trip. I would write more, but it's time to go clean up some of the aftermath of unpacking our suitcases.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Please Advise: First Trip with Baby

Ok, I know you folks are a mobile group. So I'd like to ask those of you who have kids (or those of you without kids but who have traveled with kids) for some advice. In about a week and a half, we're taking our first long trip (2 hours in the car, 1.5 hours at the airport, 5 hours in the air, .5 hours to destination, followed by 1 week in California, then repeat in reverse). A lot of the advice I've seen online is geared toward traveling with older children, but right now I only need advice pertaining to one 4.5-month-old baby.

Please offer up anything and everything you think might be useful. Tips, products, strategies, etc. But here are a few questions to get you started:

  • We're thinking of buying luggage since we currently have a mishmash of duffle bags and suitcases...any thoughts on quality/not super expensive brands?
  • What and how much of everything should I bring (considering that I will have access to laundry)? What should I buy there (I'm thinking diapers)?
  • Ideas for handling a squirmy/potentially fussy baby on the flight? It's Southwest and we didn't buy him his own seat, but we are planning on bringing the car seat to check or use if there are extra seats. Also, Evan paid the $10 fee for both flights to ensure that he's in the first boarding group and can get us primo seats.
  • I doubt Jack will nurse in such an unfamiliar environment, and I'm not that excited to try, but I will need to pump. Thoughts on the best way to accomplish this? Also, does bottle feeding help pop babies' ears the way breastfeeding is supposed to?
  • Ideas on getting him to sleep in unfamiliar environments?
  • What other tips am I not even thinking of?

Monday, November 9, 2009

There Goes The Neighborhood and Sleep Training

When we moved into our little duplex almost a year and a half ago, we were thrilled with it because it seemed so big compared to our old studio. And it's still a nice place. BUT, the neighbors have progressively gotten much worse. Even though we live in a pretty cute area of town, we now have 1) Pot smoking scum bags across the street 2) Hillbillies who are always grillin' or working on cars on one side of us 3) Large, loud barking dogs across the alley and 4) New neighbors who share our wall and who are very loud. This includes loud talking in another language, loud TV after bedtime, snoring we can hear through our wall, and screaming children. (And I thought that WE were going to be the annoying neighbors with the crying baby).

It's enough to make us WANT to move, but probably not enough to make us ACTUALLY move. Too much trouble for now. But it is one more thing that makes us more likely to move out of state after Evan hits his 2-year mark at work in about 6 months.

In happier news, we've started sleep training Jack, and it's going surprisingly well! We started this weekend, and so far the longest he's cried is 30 mins. However, he's had several nap times and even a night when he went to sleep after only token protests! Yahoo!

EDIT: Sorry about my unwitting use of a slur in the above post. It has been changed. I honestly didn't know it was a slur. I'm naive.

UPDATE: The next door neighbors are pumping something with a deep base rhythm. I hate them. I feel like I am in college again - but not in a good way. Dina: We want to move to Cali, but we'd likely be in a similar situation there, only being able to afford a tiny apartment next to some new douchebags. On the bright side: We don't own our place, so we can move. :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Let's Talk About Boobs, Shall We?

Ok, not SO much boobs as breast feeding, and my love-hate relationship with it.

Here's how it began: Before Jack was born I listened to podcasts and read books about breast feeding. I was determined to do it no matter what. In the hospital, I was able to breast feed Jack soon after giving birth, despite having had a C-section. However, I didn't get the latch down right away and he bruised my nipples quite a bit. I saw the lactation consultants every day, and one of them gave me a silicone nipple shield. For those of you who don't know, it's a clear plastic nipple with holes in the tip. It helps the baby latch better. Ideally you're supposed to help the baby latch, then slip it off, and go without.

Here's what I did: I never stopped using it. I don't really know if that's what caused my problem. But after about 3 months of relatively great (in hindsight) breast feeding, Jack started refusing to take my breast. He would arch his back and scream rather than latch on.

I looked up all the information I could on nursing strikes. I couldn't find out exactly what might be causing the problem, but one of my books said to pump and feed the baby by bottle for a few days until the strike passed. It never did. I thought it might be related to his reflux, but since we've had him on Prevacid the refusing only got better for a little while.

I could almost always get Jack to latch on during the middle of the night feedings when he was very tired. But recently even that has become a problem. I called the lactation consultant (again) and she recommended that I rent one of the kind of expensive hospital-grade pumps in order to keep my milk supply (which had seemed to be dwindling) up. I did that.

So now I'm pumping at least 8 times a day and bottle feeding and washing bottles. Oy - what a pain! But I'm still glad I can give him my milk. I'm just bummed to be missing out on the closeness of breast feeding and the relative ease of always having the warm milk at the ready.

Now I don't know how long I'll be able to continue this. The pump ($40/month plus a one-time $45 fee) is still way cheaper than all the formula my chubby little guy would be drinking. I would have loved to breast feed for at least a year, but now I'm setting my sights on at least six months? Maybe introducing some solids when Jack turns 4 months on Monday will make things easier?

Here's where you can chime in and commiserate about breast feeding trials. Oh, and if you have any tips/ideas on why Jack is doing that or how I could solve it, feel free to chime in. But please note: I'm pretty sure it's not what I'm eating, perfume or soap I'm wearing, distractions in the room I'm feeding in. He won't take the breast without the nipple shield (I've tried shoving his head on it) and he won't take it lying on his side, football, both of us lying down, or him sitting up. A bath does not relax him enough to take it, nor does lots of skin-to-skin contact.

My potential last resort before I just give up on the whole thing is taking him to the chiropractor who helped my niece a ton with reflux. Apparently he's this really old guy who actually spends time touching the kid and making sure everything is in it's proper place (unlike my pediatrician, who, I think, prefers to do most things visually while I hold Jack).

Or I guess I could go in to the hospital and let them see me try to force feed the little guy.

The whole thing is just so frustrating/disappointing every time. I feel rejected (even though I know he's a baby and it's not his fault) and I feel exhausted after the physical struggle of trying to control his back-arching convulsions. Is pumping the milk good enough, or should I keep banging my head trying to figure out the breast feeding? Alright, ignore how I tried to lead you to answer that pumping is good enough, give me your honest opinion.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I Am An Awesome Mom Part 2: I Got My Baby Sick

Yep, it's Jack's first cold, and we're all on high alert, sort of. First of all, I should say that I blame the people at church who come to church sick or bring their sick kids who cough everywhere. I went to church on Sunday feeling fine, but by Monday evening I was feeling foul.

It's been a rough week full of mucus for all three of us. I went down first, then I brought Jack and Evan down with me. Luckily Jack has been doing pretty well, just being a tad fussier than usual and harder to get to sleep. Speaking of, he just woke up for like the 100th time tonight. Anyway, we're just very grateful it hasn't been more serious. But it did put a damper on our Halloween--we stayed home. Jack's adorable Wonder Bread costume went pretty much unused.

The absolute best part of the week was a 24-hour visit from our friend Colleen! We all rallied enough to be able to enjoy her time here, and we had fun eating Texas dishes like barbecue and chicken-fried steak, plus chocolate chunk pumpkin bread and blueberry pancakes. :) The weather and our health didn't permit for a ton of fun outside the house, but Colleen made it seem fine that we were just hanging out. So cheers to Colleen and to Texas visitors!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Last Night I Pepper Sprayed My Family. I Am An Awesome Mom.

So there I was, making some healthy-ish tacos with 93% lean beef, when I decided to season it up with some cayenne pepper. I'm known to like my foods a little spicy. My mistake occurred when I decided to turn on the fan above my stove right before I sprinkled the cayenne.

I say "fan" rather than "hood vent" because even though it looks like a hood, it doesn't vent outside, just spits the greasy, peppery air right back into the air. I knew this about the fan, but didn't realize that it would atomize the pepper like a perfume sprayer and disburse it throughout our house.

My throat was a little irritated, but poor Jack and even Evan were coughing a lot, so E took J on a walk for 20 or so minutes while we aired out the house. Sigh. I didn't really mean to pepper spray the family!

In other news, I've lost about 5 pounds so far on my diet!

And on a largely unrelated note except that it involves weight lifting, I told Evan last night that since I'm always holding Jack with my left arm while I do other things with my right arm/hand (make a bottle, open doors, etc.) that I feel like I'm going to get one giant left arm and a regular-sized right arm the way you sometimes see a lobster with one giant claw. If that happens, don't make too much fun of me. I did it for the love of my kiddo. See I'm not such a bad mom, I'm willing to get a giant lobster arm for him. :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Should Probably Wait to Post This, But...

So yeah, after the "I'm going to P90x my way to fitness" promise of last month, I probably shouldn't say anything about my new craze, but here goes anyway.

I joined Weight Watchers online. Whew, there it is. This comes after the high recommendation from at least one friend, Becca, and the subsequent recommendation from others, once they heard I joined.

Anyway, I had always thought of WW as something for the middle-aged housewife or the very overweight. Turns out that I'm only a few years removed from the former and a few pounds removed from the latter (my current BMI does qualify me in the overweight category).

I signed up Sunday and have been doing it so far this week. It's been going pretty well! I've lost a little bit and I don't feel too deprived. Actually, I like it better than when I counted calories last year or two years ago or whenever that was. I feel like I get to eat more things I like. Just everything in moderation. We'll see if it continues to prove fruitful though. Here's hoping. :)

In other news, things have settled down here at the Ranch. Jack is calmer and suuuper cute, though still not always willing to nurse. But he's taking a rather long nap today, and that always makes me feel good because I get to get other things done around the house.

And we're planning our trip to California for around Thanksgiving, and that's kind of fun, too. Oh, and even though the near constant rain here has been a bit much, the cooler weather has meant more walks outside. Yay!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Really Gross, Read On If You Dare...

If you know me well, you know that I typically have kind of an iron stomach. I like most foods, and even if I prefer not to eat some of them (ahem, sushi), it's not like I couldn't choke down a maki roll.

In addition, I rarely, and I mean rarely ever, throw up. I'm pretty sure I can count the number of times from ages 5 to 29 on two hands. (It's not that I was a throw-up queen before age 5, I just don't remember it and can't vouch for my iron stomach as a youngster.) In fact, I only ralphed a grand total of once while I was pregnant, and that was because I took my prenatal vitamin on an empty stomach.

So I was pretty surprised when I started feeling nauseated last night. It almost made me wonder if I had somehow gotten pregnant and didn't know it, since I'm still breast feeding. I went to bed as normal and got up to feed Jack at some point in the middle of the night. Around 5:30 this morning, Evan got up with me when we heard Jack again. And it's a good thing he did, because after about 2 minutes of nursing, I had to call Evan to take Jack so I could run to the bathroom.

I was certainly surprised by my intestinal distress, but not nearly as surprised as after Evan had left for work and my mom had kindly come over to help me out. My mom had just fed Jack a bottle of pumped milk and was changing Jack when I made a comment about how I was nauseated but never throw up. Right after that comment, I knew that was not going to be the case today.

I made it to the bathroom sink before my body was wracked with retch after retch of (dark green!) stuff. I've felt weak and achy all day since. Thankfully, my lovely mother took care of her grandson all day while I slept and vegged.

So far Evan and Jack seem unaffected, so I'm hoping it was just sort of a freak virus.

Side note: Can I just say how awesome it is to live near my mom? I literally felt too weak to lift my 15-pound baby for more than a couple of minutes at a time. I always wonder what I would have done if I were a single mother without a support network to help out. Uf. In a way, I'm nervous for when we eventually move away from here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Little Worse Before It Gets Better?

Well, last night we administered the first dose of Prevacid. He seemed ok for about an hour, then there was a big, big screaming fit. Uf. Similar thing this morning. Not sure if it means the medicine is making him feel ill in itself. Sigh.

I'll let you know if I ever get the hang of this mothering thing and am just running around exercising, doing errands, meeting up with gals from church, etc. Not. happening. yet.

Good news is, I love my baby! He's so sweet when he's not feeling bad. Poor guy.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Results Are In

I'm sure you're all desperately waiting to hear the results of this morning's doctor's visit, right? Right?

Ok, so maybe I'm the only one who was super eager to get the kid diagnosed. Evan questioned whether Jack's behavior was just normal baby fussiness, and I'll admit, I questioned myself at times. However, it just seemed too different from his usual to be completely normal.

Anyway, the doc said it's classic reflux. So now I just need to get that prescription filled and we should be seeing results by Thursday. Happy days, here we come (I hope!)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fusspants Returns :(

I love, love, love this kid, but a few days of fussiness is wearing. me. out. I don't know how parents of colicky children do it.

Today I am split between thinking he IS sensitive to the hi-protein milk I've been (stupidly and without thinking it would cause a problem since he hasn't seemed sensitive to milk before) drinking for the past 3 weeks (and abstaining from for the past 2 days) or that he has reflux.

In addition to the previous symptoms of refusing to feed, gassiness, and fussiness, lately he refuses to be laid down - which is what I used to do after feeding him. Not even the swing is good enough. So if he's awake, I'm holding him. Also he'll suddenly cry out as if in pain when laid down. And he's always hiccupped a lot, lately it seems to be every morning, and sometimes more often than that.

Anyway, like I said, I'm off milk for now. If that doesn't help it clear up, I guess I'll take him to the pediatrician on Monday for a reflux prescription?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sigh

Thanks for the advice. Jack seems back to his cheery self, and gave us no verbal explanation as to why he was acting oddly. :) I still see the spots on his gums though, so the teeth may follow soon.

The doc did eventually call back and just said basically, keep an eye on everything and let him know if it doesn't resolve. It did, so, whatever.

The sigh is just because I'm feeling tired and hormonal lately. All my exercise hasn't been doing much for me - maybe helping me be in a little better shape, but I look exactly the same and weigh the same. Boo. I'm considering dieting, but don't worry, nothing that would affect the milk. I dunno. I'm tired of being chubby, but I'm possibly also too tired to do anything about it.

Post-pregnancy hormones. Am I supposed to get weird skin issues and a huge appetite and mood swings?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Diagnose My Child

Does this ever happen to you? Just when you start to think how great things are - how they could hardly get any better - life smacks you in the face with some challenges? It used to happen with me and Evan all the time. Just when I thought we were blissfully happy and hadn't had a disagreement in ages - WHAM! we have a dumb blow out argument.

Anyway, this sort of happened with Jack this week. Things were great. I was thinking how we were in such a great stage - him all smiley and cute, but can't run away or talk back yet. Me feeling like I'm getting the hang of the basics of motherhood.

Then, wham, he starts being super fussy. So here's where I ask you to diagnose my child. I guess what I really want you to do is to say if you've ever had the following set of symptoms with your own child, and how it turned out. And yes, I've already called the pediatrician and a nurse is supposed to call me back, but hasn't yet.

1) 2.75 month old boy goes from generally cheery to generally fussy. In particular, he fusses when he is laid down on his side to eat. Whereas he used to ALWAYS be soothed by breastfeeding, now he refuses to put the nipple near his mouth. In fact, attempting to breastfeed either on his side or back sends him from mere fussiness to hysterics. However, he will still lie down on his back and drink a bottle of breast milk. 2) He is pretty gassy. Although he isn't easy to get to burp, he very commonly passes gas. Lately it has had more of a foul odor. 3) In the past couple of weeks he has gone from pooping one or more times per day to every other day or three. 4) When he does poop, it is a huge amount of watery orange/brown poop - very foul smelling. 5) He has two small white spots on his bottom gums where his front teeth might be coming in. They do not look like thrush. No other white spots. 6) No fever, stuffy nose or other flulike symptoms that I recognize.

So, what do you think? Is he constipated? Can someone this young use pear juice as a laxative? Is he just gassy? Does he have an earache? Is he teething?

Any advice/anecdotes of unexplained fussiness you have would be appreciated.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Six Hours

It's been six hours since we put Jack to sleep! I'm totally glad about that. But why am I the one awake at 3 a.m.? Weird. Might have something to do with my giant boobs. ;) But seriously, I hope he continues sleeping longer, I just didn't realize it would be an adjustment for ME. Well, I think I'll go try to sleep a little more myself. Oh, and yes, I'm that first-time mom who had to check if he was still breathing. :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Picture Post

In no particular order, because I am too lazy to change the code, here is a set of pictures of our recent adventures:


Jack and I at the new Asian Forest exhibit at the zoo. You can't tell, but there's a giant Buddah-type head in the waterfall behind us. Jack thought the waterfall was cool. Also note his safari-style hat.



Monica, Jack, and I getting in one last shot as we drop Moni off at the Austin airport. It was sad to see her go, but great to have her here for a while!


Moni and I spent a while before dropping her off at the airport entertaining ourselves by taking self-photos. Believe it or not, this was one of the better ones. :)



Jack and his dad one night when Ev was flying solo for a while while I was at a movie with the girls. I got home and waited to take the pic until Jack was awake for a minute or so and Evan was just waking up, that's why one of Evan's eyes is open.


A few shots of our boy enjoying his new play mat.



Sunday, September 20, 2009

Swine Flu Question

Ev and I are having trouble deciding this one. I think I've mentioned it before, but I just want to throw the question out to you: Should we keep Jack home from church, where we know some people have had confirmed cases of swine flu? On the one hand, I don't want to be overly cautious and paranoid, on the other, I really don't want Jack to be sick.

Thoughts?

UPDATE: I'm so glad everyone said to keep him home! I went to church today without Jack (Ev stayed home with him) and everyone there was totally cool about us switching off weeks to stay home with him. Yay! For once I'm not the only person who wants to err on the side of caution. Let's hear it for the "better safe than sorry" club. :)

Picture post coming soon.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Few Steps in the Right Direction

Fitness update: While I haven't really lost any more weight, I've been good about getting some fitness in every day. Today was "running." I put that in quotes because it was really a jog/walk that my former self would have laughed at. I did 3 miles in about 37 minutes. Cardiovascularly I felt fine, it's just hard on my hips and abs hoisting this heavy body around.

Still, it felt good. Just getting out and getting sweaty. Oh, and that heat that I've been complaining about all summer may have left for good. It's too early to say for sure, but it's been downright pleasant for a week or two. Bring on the outdoor exercise!

In other news, another friend, Colleen, has pledged a visit to our humble home in October. Things are looking up!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ups and Downs (On the Scale and More)

UP - Well, since my last post I have started doing P90X and eating better, though not counting calories. I was starting to lose a little weight and feeling great.

UP - My best friend Monica gave me a great surprise by letting me know she would come visit me over Labor Day weekend before she leaves the country for Jolly Old England.

DOWN - Even though Moni is typically a healthy eater, Ev and I took her being here as an opportunity to gorge on Blue Bell ice cream and DQ Blizzards. P.S., if you haven't tried the cookie jar Blizzard, you're seriously missing out.

DOWN - I gained back the weight I had lost (and then some).

UP - I'm back on the wagon and back to my earlier weight loss.

UP - While Moni was here we took Jack on his first out-of-town trip to Austin, twice, as well as visits to the Dr Pepper museum and awesome zoo here.

UP - I bought an annual family pass to said awesome zoo for $60. A steal.

UP - Jack turned 2 months old!

DOWN - Jack got his first shots yesterday and HATED it.

UP - He got measured and he's continuing his trend of being a very big boy - 13.9 pounds and 24.5 (or Evan swears 25) inches long. Oh and he's suuuuuper cute. Check out my husband's blog for recent pics.

Friday, August 28, 2009

September's the Month

So last night I went to a church event, and since I'm Mormon, I was surrounded by women who have children. Most of them have at least two kids, and I'm one of the few with just one. Of the women around my age (plus or minus 5 years), some of them were a little chubby, but many of them were far skinnier than I am. I found this depressing, since I have previously been in rather good shape and I have just one baby. (Yes, Internet, I know he's pretty young, but still!)

Anywho, I'll admit that since Jack was born I have not been watching what I've been eating. Not one bit. Ice cream and chocolate chips have been my fifth and sixth food groups. I have to allow that it IS a little harder to make wise food choices when I'm up at odd hours to nurse (for some reason I find it hard to go back to sleep with an empty stomach); but honestly, I've just been eating poorly a lot of the time.

This all changes in September. I'm going to get back on the wagon. Longtime followers of this blog will remember the gung-ho days of early 2007 when I lost 15 pounds in two months. I don't plan on being quite as disciplined as I was then, when I wrote down everything I ate and exercised a ton. However, I do hope to eat healthier and start exercising regularly again, even if it's with less intensity than before.

I don't think I'll do before and afters -- I don't think I even want photographic evidence to exist of the current state of my body. But I WILL keep you posted on the progress.

Cheers to a healthier me!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

More Baby Stuff

Alright, those of you who came here for political chatter, you're going to be disappointed. Ok, ok, I'll throw you a bone - Isn't it weird that they're setting the Lockerbie bomber free? I think I'm just barely old enough to remember the news coverage of that. Somehow I don't think we'd be setting any of the Sept. 11 guys free if they were alive.

Anywho....back to happy baby stuff!!!

Things are going pretty well here. Jack is just as happy as a clam most of the time, and I love hanging out with my little guy. The exception is the evening from about 5pm to 8pm. Unfortunately he gets a tad fussy at those hours, which also unfortunately coincides with the hours that his dad is home and most eager to play with him.

I am starting to feel a bit more normal as Mr. Jack's sleep and naps are getting a tad more regular. Though, make no mistake, I am not getting a regular amount of sleep and my personal and home hygiene are still at a bare minimum. :)

Here's my weekly question for the mom friends: Now that I know which is the good nursing bra, do you have any advice on sports bras for my now ample bosom? I've never really had to deal with anything larger than a C. Now I have no idea. Do I just wear two? Too much information, Internet? C'est la vie.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I'm Having a Bad Hair Year

I probably shouldn't care what I look like, since I just had a baby. I should be as accepting of myself as most other people are or would be if they knew. However, I do care.

It bugs me that I'm still up at least 15 pounds from where I'd like to be. And my butt looks a little like a mom butt. And I have the slightest of stretch marks. And as the title of my post mentions, I feel like I'm having a bad hair year. I mean seriously. I can't remember the last time I looked in the mirror and thought "Hey, nice hair!"

Sigh. Oh and I have no time to exercise. And it's too bloody hot to go outside and walk. Double sigh. Ah well. Off to the grocery store. :)

Now I'm back from the grocery store and I'd like to add that I haven't found a good nursing bra (suggestions?) and I've still got night sweats. Blah. That's not all, but that's enough for now.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I Feel Like a New Person

In the continuing cycle of ups and downs of new motherhood, we've had some awesome ups (Jack was blessed on Sunday and we've had Ev's and my families in town) and some downs (the kiddo has been a bit high-strung lately -- not unlike his occasionally high-strung mother).

But today, he's taken 2 2-hour naps. And that has made a world of difference. YAYAYAY! I've showered, eaten three times without interruption and enjoyed our interactions much, much more.

I know this won't last forever, but I'm reveling in it today!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

holy crap!

so i'm typing one-handed because i'm holding the boy, trying to get him to sleep. it's 3:30, we've been up since two. i fed him for about 40 mins--he's a somewhat slow eater--then tried to put him to bed. nothin doin. so i checked his diaper; it was dirty. as soon as i was done and had him reswaddled, he loudly went again. so i sighed and changed him again. so he loudly went again. oy! who even knew his little body could hold that much? ok. wish me luck on getting sleep sometime tonight.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Life At Home

So I guess I could have published the last post as a novella. Sorry about that. This one will be shorter and have a couple of pictures to boot!

Life at home has been sort of interesting and sort of dull. Evan recently covered most of this on his blog, so I'll try not to rehash too much. Time with Jack has been very joyful. He is definitely in the running for sweetest baby ever. I LOVE his round face and delightful little mouth. He also has silky hair. One of the nurses at the hospital said she calls his type of hair "special hair," because it's so soft that if they could bottle the formula to make everyone's hair that soft, they'd be millionaires.

Anywho though, it is a little dull because I'm mostly homebound. I haven't driven a car or walked more than a block or two since the baby was born. Sure, I guess it's only been a little over a week, but I'm getting a little stir crazy.

The sleep deprivation is also a challenge, but Ev and I have worked it out pretty well so far, and we've both been willing to get up often and change diapers often. Actually, Evan needs a little online shout-out here, because he has been in superdad/husband mode since we checked into the hospital. He's been really, really great about helping me get whatever I need but can't reach because I'm nursing or it's too high or low for me to get without feeling pain from the surgery. Plus, he has definitely changed the lion's share of the diapers. (Not sure why a lion would have a giant portion of diapers, but hey).

Anyway, the true test will come when Evan goes back to work at least part-time next week and then full-time after that. I can't imagine him being quite as easygoing about missing so much sleep when he has work in the morning - I know I wouldn't be - but I think we'll manage somehow. Especially since Jack is making things pretty easy on us so far.

So here are the pictures I promised. The first one is probably my favorite picture that I've taken of him so far, asleep on the couch.





The next one is of him yawning, right before falling asleep on the couch. Evan likes to make a roaring noise when Jack yawns, because he looks a little like a lion roaring. Maybe a baby Simba, anyway.





And the last one is of Jack after his first bath at home. He was a champ and only whimpered a little, no major crying. Go Jack!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Recovery

Ever since I found out I was pregnant, I had been researching all things pregnancy-related, with the exception of C-sections. I just had it in my head that because I was having an uncomplicated pregnancy, and because I wanted to do things pretty naturally, that I was definitely going to have a delivery via the regular method. (Don't you hate that you have to say "vaginal" all the time when you're pregant?)

I did talk to a few friends who had had one or more C-sections, though, and it seemed that in response to my vehemently not wanting a C-section, the overwhelming response was "Eh, it's not that bad." So when I found out I was going to have the surgery, I really didn't know what to expect, except what I had seen of the actual surgery on Discovery Health and TLC.

The surgery went pretty much as I thought it would, with the addition of my violently shuddering the whole time because of one of the medicines they put in the IV to keep your heart beating or blood pressure up, or whatever. That was horrible.

When they took the baby away, Evan went with them. We had discussed this previously, and we had agreed that he should. I'm glad he did. BUT, when they wheeled me to the recovery room for an hour, I regretted that choice somewhat. It was just me and one nurse in this big, cold sterile room with florescent lights, gurneys and curtains. She was sort of seated off in a corner doing paperwork or something. Meanwhile, I was still shaking the whole time. So much so that the muscles around my collar bone started to get VERY sore. And those near my jaw since my teeth were chattering.

I was also on a morphine drip, so everything just seemed weirder. I could already feel some of the anesthetic wearing off and the lower part of my abdomen had started to hurt. In my altered state of mind, I worried that I hadn't been sewn up correctly and was bleeding internally or something.

Eventually I asked the nurse to please, please track down my husband, which she did. She called the nursery and they sent him my way. I don't really remember exactly what happened next, but I know they wheeled me to the room I would be in for the next several days and transferred me from the gurney to the regular adjustable hospital bed. They made me move a little to help the transfer though, and that was the first of many excruciating movements that I would be making for some time.

They hooked me up with some weird pneumatic leg machines that wrapped around each leg and alternately inflated these full-leg cuffs to keep me from having blood clots. That was weird but actually felt good. They also hooked me up to a heart rate monitor and a pulse-oxygen monitor. I remember thinking it was freaky that they thought I might have a heart stoppage. The machine beeped regularly. It was annoying, but in my drug-induced haze, I managed to zone out anyway. However, aides came in regularly to check stuff, and so I awakened very regularly. They also let me feed Jack a few times that first night. How I pulled that off, I'll never know.

I'm sure Evan spent the night with me there, but I don't remember it at all.

The next day involved an all-liquid diet that ranged from jello and Italian ice to beef broth. Since I hadn't eaten anything but popscicles the entire previous day, I remember thinking they were heavenly.

At some point someone came in and removed the catheter that had been there since just before surgery, so I had to get out of bed to use the bathroom. First movements were exquisitely painful. While there, I think I saw for the first time the staples that sealed the incision in my lower abdomen. Eeew. I also had a bandage over that and lots of tape residue over my body. Plus, Evan pointed out an electrode that was still hooked to my back.

Still, the day passed somewhat normally. I had relatively normal conversations with Evan and with my mom, who came to visit. I was still hooked up to the morphine drip for a while though, and I was watching the clock so I could press the pain button every ten minutes. (There was a limit to how often it would dose out the pain meds). Later my mom would tell me that I looked pretty bad that day.

That night, Evan and I decided it would be better if he could get a full night's sleep at home so he could take better care of me the next day. The time alone was ok. I watched TV, then went to bed. The nurses wheeled Jack in regularly to feed. It was a nice special time with him. However, I was having trouble managing the pain. I was (and am still) on two drugs: Mega-strength Ibuprofin and Darvocet. For some reason, they would give me the Ibuprofin every 6 hours, but I had to ask for the Darvocet, and I could have either one or two of them, depending on what I requested.

At one point, I woke up and needed to use the bathroom. The process of moving from lying on my back to raising the bed, rolling over, moving my legs over the side and most painfully, standing up, took over 15 minutes. After that I decided to always request the maximum amount of pain meds as often as I could. I've found that if I stay on top of my pain, it doesn't get too bad. But if I delay taking the meds, it's really hard to get back to feeling good.

The days in the hospital improved drastically as each passed. We checked in on Tuesday and checked out on Saturday. My parents, brother John, and friends Jenny and Lindsey visited while we were there. I was put on regular food the second day after surgery and enjoyed (at first) ordering my meals from the cafeteria. That quickly grew old though. :)

We were able to get some great lactation aid while there from two nice ladies. One was like a lactation cheerleader, and the other was gentle but firm, like a good lactation school marm or something. I still don't have it 100% figured out, but at our 1st follow-up pediatrician appointment yesterday, they found that Jack had regained some of the weight he had lost in the hospital, so I guess I'm doing something right. :)

So we checked out Saturday and drove home. Next post: Getting settled in.

Monday, July 13, 2009

While I Have a Minute...the Birth Story

Ev has been urging me for a couple of days to try to write some of my memories about labor and the early days of Jack's life while I still remember him. I totally want to do that because, what with all the late-night feedings and general newness of everything, I'm already forgetting stuff.

For sake of ease I'll start chronologically.

As mentioned in a previous post, we decided to induce on 07/08/09. Still, I tried to send myself into labor by walking miles in the early mornings before it got too bloody hot here. Nothing doing. Jack was happy where he was.

On 07/07/09, Evan got off work early and drove with me and our hospital bags to the doctor's office. (Oh and before I forget, I'm just going to share as much info as I feel like on here - sorry if any of it is TMI). The doctor inserted a balloon catheter into the bottom of the uterus/top of the cervix and inflated it, trying to get the cervix to soften and dilate. This procedure also occasionally sends people into labor immediately -- but not me. Up to this point, despite being a few days past due my cervix was pretty much 0% effaced and 0%dilated. The procedure was uncomfortable, but not so bad. I felt crampy. Then we drove from the office to the hospital.

When we got there, we had to check in, despite the fact that I had preregistered online 2 months ago, like a good girl. I give them a partial pass because the hospital is brand new and still transitioning from the old place. Anywho, eventually we got checked into a room in Labor & Delivery.

We hung out in the room, watched TV, and chatted. I got hooked up to machines that monitored my heart rate and the baby's heart rate. Evan went and got some dinner, and I ordered hospital food (decent - not great). The doctor had prescribed me some ambien and a narcotic for the discomfort so I could sleep. We spent the night and were told to plan on starting the pitocin drip early the next morning.

The next morning we started pitocin and saline IVs. Contractions started coming. At first they were hardly noticable - not much more painful than just the catheter. This continued for several hours. Occasionally the doctor would come in to check me. I was not progressing quickly. A major upside was the super sweet nurse we had at that time. She had told us we would get the baby out before her shift ended at 7pm. We didn't.

Periodically the nurse would come in and up the pitocin to try to make stronger contractions. They were painful, but nothing I couldn't breathe through. Around 5pm or so, the doctor came in to check me and remove the catheter. This check was so painful that I bawled. Evan even teared up for the only time during labor and delivery. After this check I decided I wanted the epidural. I had been at about 5cms and 70% effaced for a few hours. I know epidurals can sometimes stall labor, but they can also sometimes relax the body and let the contractions work better. Still, after the recent check, I thought, if that was a check, there is NO WAY I can handle having a baby come out of that!

So they called the anesthesiologist in. Being me, I was nervous that he would somehow manage to (at least) give me a horrible spinal headache and (at worst) paralyze me or something. But everything went well, except that he had to do the needle twice. Suddenly my legs were kind of numb and my belly was completely numb.

And we waited. And waited. And waited. At 11pm the doc said we needed to really talk about a C-section. They had also broken my water at the really painful check and the clock had started toward the point of no return. We had until about 5am before the C-section would be mandatory, but I thought it would be better for everyone to just move forward. So we made the decision together, said a prayer, and told them they could start the prep.

About 30 minutes later I was wheeled into an operating room. It was a surreal feeling of being inside a TV show like ER or something. The room was very cold. My doctor, the anesthesiologist and a lot of nurses were there. The put up the blue divider so neither Ev or I could see the operation (thank goodness). They put new drugs in my IV that made me even number, tested that I couldn't feel anything by pricking me with something sharp, and then started the surgery.

I couldn't feel pain, but I could feel the pressure as the doc sliced open my lower abdomen through a few layers and then reached in and started tugging. Even when they cut him out, he didn't come easily. The doc really had to tug him out of my belly, and I could feel my whole body being pulled by that motion. When they did get his head out, the doc said, "Look at that head!" He had a huge (14.25") head. They suctioned him out, then pulled him the rest of the way out and hurried him over to the tables, where they did whatever they do. It took a couple of seconds but then I heard him cry! It was amazing! One of the nurses said he had a head full of strawberry blonde hair. I was like "Strawberry?!?! How did that happen?" Once they had him wiped and bundled, they brought him over to me and Evan (who had stayed beside me to hold my hand as the frigid temperature and IV meds made my whole body shutter and my teeth chatter). They held him up to me and called me mom. When they brought his face near to mine, his beautiful eyes were open and he rested his soft, warm cheek against mine. It was like knew me and loved me already.

I'm sobbing tears of joy as I write and remember this. It's only partly the pregnancy hormones. It truly was one of the most meaningful and transformational moments of my life. I was a mother!

Friday, July 10, 2009

For the Time Being...

While Mary's hands are full with the little one, jump over to Paternity Pants for all the baby coverage you can stomach.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Stayin' Put

Just got back from a doctor's appointment. So far the baby is showing almost no signs of wanting to leave my womb. The doctor diligently knocks on the door once a week, and the baby keeps turning up the rock music, dancing, and waiting for the doc to go away.

So our dreams of Baby Jack coming on or before his July 4 due date are seeming less likely.

But we hatched a plan to induce for a birth date of 07/08/09 if he hasn't come by then. That's a cool birthday. I don't want to force him out too soon and end up with a C-section. But my doc goes out of town on the 10th and wouldn't let me go past the 11th anyway. Plus he's always measured a week big anyway. So I think he'll be ready, even if unwilling, by the 8th.

At least there's an end in sight. :)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Too Hot to Handle

I completely envy my California friends right now. Yeah, I know you're in the midst of June Gloom. Well you know what we're in the middle of? A record-breaking heat wave that's been going a couple of weeks and has no end in sight! Boo!

So it's really hot. I'm talking it's been triple digits for like two weeks straight. I know that's nothing if you're in Phoenix, but we're not! Oh, and did I mention I'm about 9 months pregnant? Eeek! This kid will be lucky if he's not a fried egg by the time he comes out of the oven. (Baked egg? I digress).

Mostly I've been staying inside any time I don't absolutely have to go outside. This is fine, but boring. I'm getting annoyed at the TV schedule. I DID at least pick up a new load of books from the library. What I really hate is that if I don't get outside to take my daily walk by 7:30 when Evan leaves for work, it's too hot to go all day. Even in the morning I have to bring a bottle of ice-filled water and periodically douse myself with it in addition to sipping from it.

Sigh. And I even like it hot. I think the baby + heat = scrambling my brains.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Jumping Jack Flash

For several days now I've been trying to capture Jack in action inside my belly. He's super active -- doing dive rolls on a regular basis. One of the doctors I've seen told me I might need to keep kick counts -- I told him that there was no need since this guy moves so much.

Anyway, I've been trying to capture his moves, but it's hard because he'll start moving a lot when I'm lying down or reclined in the recliner, so I'll get up to get the camera and he'll stop moving. Sort of a contrarian, I guess?

This is the best video I've captured so far. You'll have to be patient while watching to get the full effect. Also, if you have the volume on on the video, excuse my heavy breathing. it's just how I sound sometimes these days when I'm lying down. :) Darn huge belly. Oh, and that's really the baby moving, even though it looks like I just put my hand under my shirt.

video

Friday, June 19, 2009

Homework

So it's been a week since I stopped work at the writing lab, and I've been able to get a lot done around the house. I'd say my to-do list is well over half done. Frankly, I probably could have done more, but I've been dilly-dallying. I'm not sure if I'm just resting (I AM very tired) or if I'm trying to put off having the baby come by not being fully prepared. :)

Also, I got to do one fun project: I painted a cute picture for the baby's room. I might end up doing more, but this is the one I have for now. It's based on some wall decals Ev was interested in. I liked the idea of painting it better because I got to be involved and because it actually added a little more color to the room via the background sky color which wouldn't have come with the decals. Plus it was cheaper. ;) That's typical me.

Anywho, I actually think I'd finally be ok if Jack came anytime, because I've finally got everything washed and the house is in pretty good order. The to-do list is really down to smaller stuff like looking for more life insurance. Speaking of life insurance, are ya'll on the life insurance bandwagon? We have some through Ev's work, like about twice his salary, but do we need tons more? Let me know what you think.

In other news, I'm finally getting HUGE. There's just no denying it. I've just about gained the maximum recommended 35 pounds and have the waddle and everything. It will be NICE to not be full of baby! Here's a pic from a week or so ago.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Stay-At-Home Mom-To-Be

Thursday was my last day of work. What a weird feeling! It was a day much like any other - I watched some TV, read some of a teen novel I had brought (not very good) and enjoyed several rounds of spider solitaire.

My coworkers also took me to lunch at Cracker Barrel. The place was packed! I had been to the same CB before once during high school, and I don't remember it that fondly, but my older gal coworker suggested it and it turned out to be tasty. Apparently everyone in this area already knows that and eats there regularly.

We also indulged in a box of Goo Goo Clusters, a classic southern candy with chocolate covered peanuts, marshmallows and caramel. If you've never had one, you'd probably like it, even if you don't like marshmallow-y candies like peeps - I also hate those. Clusters are different.

The other thing I did at my last day of work was to finally write my list of everything I need to do before the baby comes. I may have started to panic a little bit after realizing how many things are on said list, so that's why I'm procrastinating more now by blogging. :) The list basically boils down to three types of tasks: Getting the house ready for baby (deep cleaning that will likely never be done again, organizing baby stuff, etc.); Getting the car ready (making sure car seat is installed properly, changing oil, wash inside & out); Getting me ready (haircut, preparing a last lesson for church, etc.)

Anywho, I realized at my last doctor's appointment that the baby could come any time when the doc told us that we shouldn't take a weekend trip to Dallas because it's too far away (90 mins) if I were to go into labor. Eeek! I need at least a week.

The doc also mentioned that she thinks the babe is already about 7.5 pounds! So he could be on the big side - up to 9-ish pounds. Eeek again! That combined with the idea that Evan and I have large heads is pretty freaky. But I'm just going to try to take it as it comes.

Cheers!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Exactly One Month To Go

Sorry I haven't posted lately. Heaven knows I've had plenty of time at work to do so. I told Ev today that I had finished watching all the shows worth watching on Hulu. And my index finger is sore from playing solitaire obsessively. (In case you're wondering, I haven't been able to beat my earlier score of over $1,000). Oh, and today my boss's boss walked in and saw me streaming TV and playing solitaire. Awesome. 4 work days to go after today.

Anywho, I guess I just haven't been feeling particularly inspired. But I think that being exactly a month away from my due date is worth noting. Maybe I won't even have to go that long - my friend Elise just had her baby girl and her due date isn't for 5 days. (Congrats, Elise!)

So yeah, the baby is coming soon. That sounds like a movie, "Coming Soon." Maybe when he's born we can say "Now Playing." I'm getting pretty excited, but also kind of anxious/nervous about the whole thing.

In the meantime the little guy is moving so much! I had a doctor appointment yesterday and he (not my usual lady doc) encouraged me to do kick counts to make sure that I'm getting 10 per hour during Jack's active phases. I told him that I haven't been doing them because during his active phases I get like 6 moves per minute. He's doing laps or something. :)

Anywho, I guess that's my news for now. Cheers.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Insomnia Again

So we're at E's brother's house, and the weekend has been great so far. We had a fun trip down and a chill day, which included me sleeping in, some shopping, a crazy freak thunderstorm, followed by a tasty barbecue and a trip to the pool.

I fell asleep watching Madagascar with the nephews and niece, and once I got up to go to sleep, I found I couldn't. Bummer. Here's hoping for sleep soon. Cheers!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Big Week

For perhaps the first time since we moved here, we have had something scheduled every evening for more than week. And some of these things are pretty good, too!

Sat 16 - Baby shower. It was a fun and classy affair put on by dearest Jenny. The only unfortunate part was the HUGE rainstorm that began about an hour before the 11am start time and ended about 10 minutes after the end time. I think some people didn't come because of this.

Sun 17 - Dessert and games with a couple from the ward.

Mon 18 - Potluck dinner/barbecue with Ev's coworkers at one of their houses. Very yummy! I love a good barbecue. Nevermind the woman pregnant with triplets who's WAY smaller than I am (and only a couple months behind me).

Tue 19 - Fancy dinner to celebrate our 2 YEAR ANNIVERSARY! Can you believe that? We've already outlasted the marriages of *J-Lo and Chris Judd (8 months) * Lisa Marie Presley and Nic Cage (3 months) * Lisa Marie Presley and Michael Jackson (19 months) * Drew Barrymore and Tom Green (6 months) * Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett (20 months) * and Helen Hunt and Frank Azaria (18 months). Yahoo! 2 years down, eternity to go. :)

Wed 20 - Evan works with the youth at church.

Thu 21 - Baby class at the hospital.

Fri 22 - Sun 24 Trip to San Antonio to visit Ev's bro, sister-in-law and kids. Fun!

All in all, a much busier week or so than we're used to. We'll take it. :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Computer Solitaire Queen

Thanks for the comments on the grocery question - it's something I've been thinking about for awhile.

Anywho, those of you have been longtime readers of The Panda know that I began this blog when I was working somewhere where I was required to be at work for a certain amount of time, but there wasn't enough work for me to do.

I'm in a similiar situation now. Counting down the days until I go on "Stay-at-home-mom leave" (I thought about saying "maternity leave," but that makes it sound like I'm planning on coming back and I'm not.) Only 15 more actual work days until I'm done!

So here's the deal, I've been working on my computer solitaire technique for the past several months. Recently, I've been spending more and more time on it, while I stream tv behind the solitaire screen.

My grand announcement is this: Today I reached an all-time high of over $1,000 on Vegas-style solitaire. I welcome any congratulations you have to offer. ;)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Grocery Shopping Question

So I was surfing blogs the other day, and I ran across this one about a gal and her husband's grocery shopping habits.

Basically, it says she shops once a week, with a grocery list based on the five dinners she makes at home per week, as well as seven breakfasts at home and five lunches they take to work. She spends $40 dollars a week for all of this. $40!!!!!! We spend somewhere around $400 or more dollars a month just at the grocery store, in addition to a few meals out.

According to the details the blogger provides, I note that they 1) eat less meat than we do (esp. since Evan just went on a high-protein diet) 2) seem to eat way less than we do in general. We Rowleys are just big eaters, I think. I know that when I actually counted my calories on a diet, I felt nearly starved by limiting myself to 1900 calories a day (though I was also burning 500 a day in exercise). 3) I eat a frozen meal at lunch in addition to the carrots, apple, granola bars, etc. that I bring as snacks. I guess you could say I eat a lot at work. 4) We also get some more-expensive items sometimes (goat cheese, shrimp, fresh herbs, etc.)

But aside from those three main reasons, I can't totally tell why we spend so much more than they do. Two of us, two of them.

So I ask you, dear readers, please let me know how much you spend per month at the grocery store. And if you have tips for saving, I'd like to know those, too!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Soooo Sleeepy

I just got back from lunch with co-workers. Since there are only 3 of us that work in the lab, and we need to keep it open all day, we rarely go out to lunch. But today we closed it all down and went to a local steakhouse. And I ATE. SO. MUCH. (Rolls, barbecue lunch plate, ceasar salad, and mashed potatoes).

This is bad for three reasons 1)Being seven months pregnant, there really isn't room in my abdomen for all that food. 2)Now that I'm back at work, I can hardly keep my eyes open, although I still need to work for 5 more hours. 3)Despite it all, I'm totally craving a milkshake.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Free Drink = I Had To

Today a helpful student announced that the new Starbucks by the new bookstore was offering free drinks. Since I rarely turn down free things, I toddled over to the new building and asked if hot cocoa was included in the free drinks. It was!

I was extra excited because when I worked at a glam office building in LA and a Peet's Coffee opened on the floor below us, it only offered free drip coffee. Anywho, I just had to wait a couple of minutes, and I got my free drink.

Today's drink tasted like liquid Cadbury Mini Eggs. Yum! I think I've mentioned my love of these before. (But I also secretly hate them because they are so addictive).

Anyway...has anyone had a Starbucks hot cocoa before and thought "Cadbury Mini Eggs," or is this an altered recipe?

Also, with Starbucks closing so many stores and laying off thousands (or whatever), why are they opening a new spot on our sleepy campus?

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Prego Monster and The Rainforest

Evan came within seconds of being attacked by the Prego Monster last night. See, when we were sharing our "worst attributes" that I blogged about last time, I'm not sure if he mentioned his snoring, but I did know about it before we got married, so I guess I can't be too surprised by it.

Still, last night I was awakened multiple times by his snoring and tossing and turning. He's been sick, so it's actually pretty understandable - but when I'm tired, prego, and trying to sleep, being "understanding" isn't really my top attribute.

In case you're wondering how loud these snores are, I'll just mention that when we first moved here and were staying with my parents, my mom woke up one night thinking that my dad had started snoring loudly in bed next to her, when in fact it was my husband snoring in an adjacent room. Sigh!

Also in case you're wondering, he already uses breath right strips and has a c-pap machine for his related sleep apnea. The machine helps when he uses it, but he can't use it when he's already sick. Sigh!

Anyway. At 5 a.m., I suddenly couldn't take it anymore and had to flee the room to sleep on the couch. But then I was too hungry to sleep. So I had to eat a toasted blueberry bagel with butter. But then the couch was too uncomfortable, so I watched some delightful early morning programs on TV. Then I tried to doze. Finally at about 6, Evan woke up and told me I could go to bed. So I snoozed until about 6:30. Now here I am at work! :)

And for those of you not in Texas - which is probably all of you - it's like a rainforest here! Seriously just pouring down. The office I work in has huge windows, probably 12 feet tall by 18 feet wide. They look out on the dozens of oak trees (and probably other varieties of trees) that cover the campus. And right now the deluge of water plus the sidewalks becoming rivers make me feel like I'm in a South American rainforest. I kind of like it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I've Never Claimed To Be Patient

When Ev and I were dating, we both shared with each other some of our worst attributes. I honestly don't remember what he said his were, but I think the one I stressed as my absolute worst trait was impatience.

So here's the deal: I'm feeling impatient about the baby. I mean, c'mon already! I don't want him to be premature or anything, I just think I should be further along by now!

Part of it, I think, is that I have known I was pregnant for what feels like FOREVER. I was talking to some gals last night who mentioned that they found out they were pregnant at different points in the process, anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks (because of funny cycles or breastfeeding or whatever). I can't remember if I already blogged about this, but I found out I was pregnant at about 3.5 weeks - before I had even missed a period - because I was having some unexplained pain and went to the emergency room. They asked if there was any chance I could be pregnant, and when I said there was a chance, they did a pregnancy test and told us about 2 minutes later that I was. (The unexplained pain was never totally diagnosed, but they said it could be an infection and gave me some antibiotics, but i digress).

Anywho, I'm now coming up on 30 weeks. Three-quarters of the way through. Yahoo! I'm excited to be this far. However, I'm definitely getting bigger, and that's not so awesome because I'm also feeling more tired and achy (back pain, ick). I also (and I'm probably jinxing myself here) haven't gotten stretch marks YET, so I'm hoping that I don't get too big and get covered in them. I'm also excited about having a baby shower in about a month, and then buying all the other stuff we need to have everything set for the baby. Plus I get to quit work about three weeks before my due date - yesssss!

All in all, this whole waiting game sort of seems like the way I used to count down to Christmas Morning. Except I never started counting down to Christmas nine months in advance! Maybe I need a baby Advent calendar.

I know that when the baby is actually born, I'll probably be yearning for my carefree days and restful nights. But I can't help being anxious. That's not so wrong, is it?

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Reluctant Follower

I just watched the YouTube of Susan Boyle on Britain's Got Talent. I know this already went around the webs a few days ago. I'm behind the times. But it was awesome! Maybe the judges' performances seemed a bit contrived -- like Simon Cowell staring at her like a puppy in love -- but it still gave me tingles.

See, like with my recent post about Twilight, I'm often reluctant follow trendy things, because I think "That can't possibly live up to the hype."

Sometimes I never give in to the urge to try it, and I just live my life without ever finding out if the hyped thing was good (Lots of rated-R movies come to mind here). Sometimes I finally give in and check something out and I'm proved right that the thing wasn't that good (Titanic); and sometimes I find out that I was just depriving myself of something awesome for too long (Harry Potter, Pinkberry, Twilight).

So, watch the video of Susan Boyle if you haven't already. It's worth it. Then let me know what was and wasn't worth the hype for you.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Quick Question

Ev and I have an ongoing debate about the Nic Cage movie "Knowing." Neither of us has seen it. Ev claims the entire premise looks horrible. I say the premise about the numbers predicting disasters could have been good, IF (SPOILER ALERT!) it did not end up being a big plot by aliens. (I read the spoiler online).

So what do you say, is the premise about numbers lame, or is it just the fact that they end up on another planet in the end of the movie that's lame?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Does This Look Like Me?

I can't remember all the brilliant things I was going to post about, so instead I'll just give you my manga avatar. How nerdy is this? Very. But then, I used to work for a video game company and I was a straight-A student for many years, so, I'm kind of used to that.

Anywho, does it look like me?

Keep in mind that I went with bright blonde hair despite the fact that my hair is pretty ashy these days becuase the ashy options they had made my hair look dark brown or grey.






Also, as long as I'm posting pics off the interwebs, I found a picture of the Brooklyn Zoo's giraffe enclosure and compared it to the equivalent enclosure in our small city.





Note the Brooklyn Zoo's playground gravel and sad photo background. Then note our nice grass and trees to play with. Who says small-town Texas can't be as cool as the Big City? Oh, right, pretty much everyone. Well, at least we have a decent zoo!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Ok, I'll Admit It

I read the Twilight series. And I liked it. So much so that I just HAD to stay up on a work night until 2:30 am finishing one of the books. Sigh.

You see, I held firm on this for over a year. I did not want to read them because they were so popular. And from what I could understand from people trying to describe them, they were like Sweet Valley High books but with an unattractive main character, plus vampires and werewolves. Um, no thanks.

But then I saw the movie. It wasn't THAT great, maybe a B-. Ok for the teen audience it was directed toward. I did think it was creepy how obsessive the three main characters seem about each other. Some people have argued that this is less true in the books, because their romance develops over more time. But I disagree. Their obsession with each other IS creepy because there's really no basis for it except they're inexplicably super attracted to each other. But I digress.

After seeing the movie, I decided to read the books. I even went so far as to see if there were any copies checked into the local library. Of course there weren't. I wasn't about to buy any copies, though, so I just waited.

Then, over my spring break, E and I visited my friend Jenny, who just happened to have all four books on hand and was willing to loan them out. This coincided with my reading at least a novel per week at work. So, I borrowed, I read, I obsessed a little, I made E watch the movie with me again, and now I think I'm done.

I recognize they are a great read - total page-turners. NOT fine literature. Some parts are quite poorly written. But through it all, the reader cares about most of the characters and wants to see where the plot is going. So the series will never win any Pulitzers. At least it was entertaining. And unlike a lot of other entertainment, I thought it was relatively harmless (except for that whole creepy teenagers-in-obsessive-love bit). But hey, nobody rags on Shakespeare anymore for Romeo and Juliet getting all suicidal, so I guess I can let even that part by.

So there, I gave in, I confessed, now I can move on. :)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

5th Random Thing

So, I'm sure you've all been waiting anxiously to find out what the 5th random thing I've been assigned to write about is. It is a rather bold topic: "The worst fashion trend EVER."

My problem is, that I've never been good with superlatives. I always have a hard time picking my favorite movie, book, food, etc. Same with worsts.

So I'll have to keep it to a list of some that spring to mind, in no particular order:

--High-heeled, ankle-cut booties
--High-heeled sneakers (remember those?)
--Skinny jeans, esp. on chubby guys (hello, who said "emo" had to look so nasty?)
--Big hair on men (like 80's-style rock stars. Actually anything from 80's-style rock stars, like spandex, makeup, etc.)
--Super long fake nails, especially with flashy designs, diamonds, etc.
--Scraggly hair extensions of any color
--Crocs (Sorry, I'm sure there are fans out there)
--Gold teeth
--Tramp stamps/arm-band tattoos. (Most tattoos, though I'll admit there are some that are kind of cool)
--Bell-bottoms
--Shaggy/long hair on almost all men
--Shoulder pads
--80's business suit/dresses on women
--Mom-style jeans on young people

I'm sure there are more I'm leaving out. What do you think?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

4th Random Thing

(Again, read posts below if this one doesn't make sense out of context).

Topic 4. "Budgeting for things that are important to you (because Becky thinks I'm good at it)."

I have mixed feelings about budgeting. On the one hand, I am known for being frugal. Most of my friends realize that I do not usually like spending money. On the other hand, I'm not a true budgeter, in the sense of categorizing how and where I will spend alloted amounts of money.

First, perhaps I can explain some of the reason why I dislike spending money. I grew up as the youngest of five children. My parents are delightful people who took great care of us and made sure we never lacked anything we really needed. However, while we weren't "poor" when I was growing up, the money situation was definitely tight. There were many discussions of how we couldn't afford certain things, and even some worrisome (to me) discussions of how we might not be able to pay certain bills.

My older brothers all started paper routes when they were somewhere between 9 and 13. My dad drove them around and helped them with them. I was always jealous that they had their own money to spend on whatever they wanted. I was never allowed to get a paper route because my parents thought it would be unsafe for a girl to be walking around alone that early in the morning, even with my dad close by. Heck, maybe he was also just sick of waking up at the crack of dawn to do it.

Anyway, all this translates to me generally feeling poor. As soon as I got my first job at the NY Bagel Cafe when I was 17, I started saving money. I would spend some of it, of course, but I always liked having extra money. I have never been, and hope to never be, someone who overdraws the checking account. I like to feel like I have money.

I took out a $3,000 student loan before I started college, but ended up not using it for school. Instead, after I realized I could get by on my scholarship and part-time work, I used the money to go to Europe. I also took out a $5,000 loan to buy my first car. However, as soon as I got my first real job out of college, I obsessively paid down these debts. Getting the "paid in full" notices gave me a deep feeling of satisfaction.

Since then I've just saved my money beyond my basic needs, and then occasionally bought stuff when I felt like it. Probably the only huge splurge of my life was when I traveled the world for 4 months when I was 25.

Getting married has been an interesting experience budget-wise. Combining two people's styles is probably never easy, unless they just have tons of money. We've always had enough money, but I'm a bit obsessive about paying off E's (moderate) law school loans and he's a bit more live-in-the-moment.

The upside of my obsessiveness is that we always have enough money to deal with true (even if unexpected needs) and many of our wants (though I'll resist getting them for some time). The downside is that I probably actually don't have as much fun, at least in the short term, as some people who spend money more freely. Also, I annoy people with my frugal-to-the-point-of-being-cheap behavior.

So all in all, Beck, I don't know that I'm a good budgeter, I just have an internal device that screams at me constantly if I feel like I don't have enough money or have too much debt. If I could figure out a way to bottle it, I'm sure some people would buy it -- but I'm not sure they'd know what they were getting into. :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

3rd Random Thing

(Again, read posts below if this one doesn't make sense out of context).

Topic 3. "Running shoes."

As long as I can remember, I've loved to run. When I was in elementary school, I used to challenge everyone, even the tough boys, to races. I wouldn't always win, but I did often enough that I got a big kick out of it. I actually enjoyed our annual or semi-annual mile-run in P.E. My fastest time in 4th grade was 7:47.

I started running for "fitness" around age 12, when I lived in Phoenix and it was bloody hot most of the time. I think I was partly enjoying a run, partly trying to get out of the house, and partly freaked out by my pubescent body and trying to be thin enough that no one else could tell. But I always wore Payless or equivalent athletic shoes. Sometimes I would wear my sister's old shoes.

In 8th grade, I moved to Texas and had a PE class that required "athletic shoes." I didn't have any that fit at the time, so my mom and I went to the mall and bought some plaid Converse. I thought they were athletic-ish, but it turns out that they were uncomfortable to run in. And besides, all the other girls had nice Nikes. So I felt dumb and sore-footed that year.

The next year Mom and I ventured back to the mall, this time asking more questions. I was told I should get some Nike cross-trainers, so we did. They were better, but nothing special. I continued to buy Nike for several years becuase I knew the brand and there was an outlet near us, so I thought I could get more shoe for my money. But for some reason, I thought it was normal that my running shoes should be uncomfortable and give me large blisters until I broke them in.

It wasn't until my sophomore year of college (I think), that I discovered a truly comfortable shoe in the Saucony brand. I was faithful to the brand through multiple iterations, and I still say it's one of the best shoes on the market.

But I have wavered. At my last trip to DSW a month or so ago, when I fully intended to just buy the new model of Sauconys, I was led astray by a pair of Mizunos. They were more expensive than my typical Saucony, and not way better or anything. However, that day I was feeling irritable and pregnant - and they only had the new Sauconys in an ugly color. Plus it hurt to bend over and lace all the different shoes time and time again, and I couldn't really get a good test run going. All this to say, I bought the Mizunos.

They're good too.

2nd Random Thing

(See post below if the title of this blog entry doesn't make sense).

Topic 2. "Strangers touching your belly (soon to be baby)."

Pregnancy is weird. There, I said it. I am happy to be pregnant, but it is, on the whole, a new and strange experience. One of the strange aspects is the increased attention on my body. Perhaps my husband would say something here like "the attention probably hasn't increased, it's just being more verbalized," or something like that. I now imaginarily thank him for his imaginary compliment.

But still, it's weird that everyone from my girls in young women's to the old dude at the school's weight room ask me "How you doin'?" With an expectant twinkle in their eye, as they glance at my burgeoning belly. Luckily, only a few people have actually tried to touch/touched my belly.

I tell myself that pregnancy and birth are such miracles, and semi-mysterious miracles at that, that people can't help to be drawn to it. They're just trying to join in on the general good feeling. But still. Why does it make it ok to touch my body? Blame my puritanical upbringing or the "stranger danger" videos I watched in elementary school, but I'm not used to people other than my hubs touching "parts of my body usually covered by a bathing suit."

All of this is not to say that touching my belly offends me to the point of hating the transgressor or anything. I just think it's weird and am not a big fan. Take it as you will.