Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Belly aches

A quick clarification/rebuttal to the baby mama drama that occurred in the comments of my last post. In a nutshell, the observation I made about pregnant bellies seeming bigger at night didn't seem *that* unfounded to me, especially as I've read dozens of other women on a pregnancy message board whose bellies do the same thing as mine, but someone else didn't agree. And some of my readers took offense to the arguing party's comment. I'm fine with someone not agreeing with something I say, but in this case I was making an observation about my pregnant belly. I won't make sweeping generalizations about pregnancies if you agree not to tell me what is or isn't happening with my body. Thanks.

There's a lot going through my mind right now. Some of it can be attributed to the pregnancy hormones, but that's really only a tiny part of it. I found out this morning that the father of a friend of mine passed away today from a long battle with cancer. It hit me really hard because not only was I sad for her terrible loss, I also found myself revisiting some of the sorrow I went through when I lost my own father. Later in the afternoon when I found out more details of his passing from a mutual friend of ours, I lost it again. It's not easy to hide tears from your co-workers in my office, but I managed to do it somehow. My friend and her family will continue to be in my thoughts.

I haven't told you all the story of the morning when Brent and I found out I was pregnant, but the first thing I did after showing Brent the positive test? I burst into tears because I immediately thought about how Em Dash would never get to meet one of its grandfathers. My dad would have been an amazing grandfather. He would have taught Em Dash about crazy food combinations (like mayonnaise on corn). He would have told Em Dash about all the wacky pranks he played when he was growing up, which we would then have to warn Em Dash not to dare try. "No, dear. You shouldn't swap out street name signs to confuse passing drivers." He also would have taught Em Dash to be charitable and be kind to the elderly. He would have shown Em Dash the importance of having a sense of humor and appreciating everything life hands us.

I know he would have been an amazing grandfather because he was an amazing dad. As it so happens, tomorrow would have been his 54th birthday.
Bath time!
Dad and me in the tub.

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of overcoming of it." - Helen Keller

Monday, April 28, 2008

Bump Watch, week 15

Brent was out of town last Monday, so I skipped last week's picture. And although my pic from two weeks ago was labeled "14 weeks" based on the baby's measurements from the NT scan, I'm re-numbering my "weeks" based on my doc's insistence that we stick with my original due date. So, here is my pic at 15 weeks, even if my Em Dash is feeling more along the lines of 16 weeks.

Week 15

It's also important to note that this was taken at night, which means my bump is much bigger than it would be in a morning picture. (For those of you who haven't experienced your own lovely baby bump, it seems to magically grow exponentially from morning to night, then back to a less "oh whoa!" status by the next morning.) Please also excuse the messy hair and no make-up.

I hugged Brent earlier this week, and he giggled and said, "I can totally feel your belly!" And a co-worker commented this week that it was the first time she thought I looked as though I was showing. Fun times!

"Dwight, what is that on your stomach? Is that a Muppet Babies tattoo?" - Karen, The Office

Sunday, April 27, 2008

If you like pina coladas...

In addition to the new kitchen appliances, Brent and I did a lot this weekend.

Friday morning was my 14-week check-up. I got a nice glimpse of what a proactive and hardcore daddy Brent will be during delivery when he busted some heads for making us wait 45 minutes to see the damn doctor. He continuously reminded the nurses that we were waiting. They finally got the clue, and the doc came in with apologies abound.

When I told the doctor that the NT scan ultrasound measured the baby a week ahead of what we thought, she smiled and said, "We'll just stick with your Oct. 19th due date for now." Dah! I don't mind that due date, but I was hoping we'd get to do our 18-week ultrasound -- where we find out if it's a boy or a girl -- a week earlier. Alas, we'll have to wait until May 23. That's really ok, though, because that just means that Em Dash will have longer to "bake" and hopefully we'll get a nice, clear picture of its wobbly bits. (Oh my God... I just referred to my baby's genitals as "wobbly bits." Thanks, Bridget Jones.) The doc also gave me the thumbs-up to attend concerts as long as I have an actual seat to rest in and stay away from the mosh pit. "Music is great for the baby!"

Friday evening I convinced Brent to take me to see Baby Mama, the new comedy with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, both of whom we adore. Brent went in with low expectations, and as a result brought mine down a bit, too. And we both walked out happily surprised. We laughed heartily and came out with lots of quotable lines. I'd definitely recommend it.

Saturday evening, after our appliance shopping spree, we were in the mood for ice cream. We picked up fixings at the store - stuff to make a sundae for me and ingredients for an ice cream soda for Brent. He says it turned out well, but I wouldn't know 'cuz he added Bailey's Irish Cream to it before I could taste it. Brat.

We enjoyed our creations while watching Cloverfield. Not totally kickass, as far as monster movies go, but not necessarily a waste of time. However I'm glad I didn't pay to see it in the theater.

Sunday we started our day at IKEA, looking at dressers that could serve as potential changing tables for the nursery. I also picked up some new curtains for the living room.

We continued our research for baby stuff at Babies R Us. Man, that place is an experience. We have a lot to learn about strollers, playards, car seats, cribs, etc. All in all I think we came out with a good idea of what we like and need, and what I need to research further.

On the way home we stopped at a dealership to test drive another car we're considering for me. We arrived and were told, "We have them used. Don't think we have them new." Then the salesman came back and said, "We have a new one up on the roof. Do you want to see it?" Brent said yes and that we'd want to test drive it. We made the trek to the roof, which was not necessarily comfortable in this blazing weather, only to see the car and then be told, "Well, you can't actually test drive it today. You can come back tomorrow." WTF? Brent also saw a half-eaten pretzel sitting in the car's console. Gross. We left disappointed, obviously.

Before heading home, we stopped at Coffee Bean, where I discovered my own yummy creation. The seasonal drink right now is Pina Colada. I asked them to add cherries to it, resulting in a faux Lava Flow, my favorite drink from our Hawaiian honeymoon. It also came out the cutest shade of pink that the employee even commented on when she handed it to me. Try it for yourself if that sounds like your thing!

"If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain. If you're not into yoga, if you have half-a-brain. If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape. You're the love that I've looked for, come with me, and escape." - Escape, Rupert Holmes*

*Blog post post script: What the hell is up with that song? It ends up that they BOTH are unhappy and BOTH want to cheat on each other? And they just LAUGH about it? Um, no.

Kickin' it up a notch in the kitchen

Coming soon to a kitchen near us!

A new stove/oven!
A new dishwasher!
And a brand new fridge with built-in ice maker and water filtration!

All of it in stainless steel to match! (I feel like I just won the Showcase Showdown on Price is Right.)

We had a real estate agent specializing in condos over last week to talk to us about where he thinks the market is going, our options for timing to get the most from our place when we decide to sell and what improvements he'd suggest to make our place more attractive to potential buyers down the line.

We had tinkered around with the idea of redoing our kitchen and knew we'd have to get all new appliances eventually. He recommended just getting new appliances that match (our current ones are all over the place - cream-colored fridge, black oven and black dishwasher) instead of a full-on kitchen remodel. Our current appliances are also old and dated, and in the case of our oven, wonky and dying a slow death.

I got suckered into Sears' t.v. commercial yesterday while researching appliances. They were having a one-day only sale - 20% off all Kenmore appliances and 10% all other brands. So off to Sears we went, all the while Brent was kicking and screaming. "Wait, are you sure I can't do 7 more months of research about all of this?" he joked. When I told him that he could but reminded him that I didn't want to be those homeowners who do a bunch of kickass upgrades to their place right before they move and don't get to enjoy it, he agreed to move forward with our purchases. He had already done the heavy lifting for the oven research months ago, and the top contender happened to be a Kenmore. And it's a convection oven! My little baking heart just exploded with glee!

In fact, all the appliances we chose ended up being Kenmore, so we were able to save a ton on delivery because they can do it in one trip from the manufacturer. They'll all arrive next Saturday. Wheee!

Jack
: Are you familiar with the GE tri-vection oven?
Liz
: I don't cook very much.
Jack
: Sure...I gotcha. New York, third-wave feminist, college-educated, single and pretending to be happy about it, over-scheduled, undersexed, you buy any magazine that says 'healthy body image' on the cover, and every two years you take up knitting for [pause] a week.
Pete
: That is dead on!
Liz
: What, are you going to guess my weight now?
Jack
: You don't want me to do that.
- 30 Rock

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Music to my ears

*Squeal* I get to relive my all-time favorite John Mayer concert over and over and over again. The DVD from the show will be released July 1!

And if you haven't noticed, the calendar on my blog's right column is filling up with concerts galore.

Brett Dennen, Teitur, STONE TEMPLE PILOTS (the Concert Gods have answered my prayers and pulled together a reunion tour just for me, with kickass tickets to boot, thankyoufanclub), John Mayer (*ahem* - 5th row, baby - his fan club has redeemed itself) with opener Brett Dennen. Rock on!

Jamie Cullum will be performing locally in August, so I'm anxious to get my grubby little hands on some tickets when they go on sale next month.

Maroon 5 will also do a summer tour, along with Counting Crows (meh), in September, which I'm dragging Brent to in case I'm super tired and need to leave early or if I happen to go into labor.

Now if I can just get Sara Bareilles and Ray LaMontagne to tour soon, I'll be the happiest little groupie ever.

I'll double-check with my doctor at my appointment this week about the noise factor and Em Dash's little ears, but I'm fairly certain that my tummy will provide more than enough cushion. It's already been to The Hives and Foo Fighters. I know it's gonna be tough to get out of the house once our little one is here, so I'm cramming in as much as I can while I can.

"Does anybody know how the story really goes or do we all just hum along? Sell your soul and sign an autograph. Big bang baby, it's a crash, crash, crash." - Big Bang Baby, Stone Temple Pilots

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Weekend review

I was especially tired this weekend, so I took it easy. I did manage to get a little bit done.

Saturday, I got scolded from my eye doctor at my annual appointment for not wearing my contacts more often. Long story short for those of you who don't already know, but I have a condition called keratoconus, which means I have pointy eyeballs. (Ok, not really pointy, just kinda bumpy.) I'm supposed to wear hard contacts to basically serve as braces for my eyes -- ensuring that the bumps don't get bigger. But I loathe hard contacts, especially when my eyes are itchy from allergies. I promised I'd wear them more often and he gave me a prescription for eye drops on days when my eyes are especially irritated. I also got a prescription for new glasses because the ones I've been wearing? Ohhhhh, I've had those for almost as long as I've had Brent. I think one of our first few dates included him going with me to pick them out - 9 years ago! *gulp* We picked out new glasses, which should arrive next week.

Saturday evening we had a very nice Passover celebration with my in-laws. I buried the part of me that was sad to be missing the Grilled Cheese Invitational. Why would they schedule it during a Jewish holiday? Boooo!

Sunday I found a couple of cribs I really like -- I just have to figure out which of the two has the better reviews -- and a dresser I'd like to get to serve as our changing table. We also had fun playing with something I ordered from Amazon called a doppler. It shows the weather in my belly. I kid, I kid! It's actually a high-tech microphone that allows us to hear Em Dash's heartbeat. It took us a while to find it and determine whether it was my heartbeat or Em Dash's, but we finally figured it out. I also compared it to the sound of one I found online, so I know what we heard was correct. So exciting!

"Glasses! Oh, no, mom! Not glasses! They'll make me look absolutely positively goofy!" - Jan Brady, The Brady Bunch

Somebody put Baby in the corner

Scene -- I flip the station to the end of Dirty Dancing.

Brent: Why is she in the corner?
Me: Because she sits in the corner between her parents.
Brent: And they *put* her in the corner? For a reason? And declared it?
Me: No, that's just where she happens to be sitting.
Brent: (watching the scene when Johnny comes up and declares that no one puts Baby in the corner) She's not even in the corner! Her back is just up against a wall! This doesn't make any sense... This really doesn't make sense.

A little later, as Johnny and Baby look as though they're leaving, Baby's dad stops Johnny and apologizes. Then they cut to Johnny and Baby dancing again.

Brent: Wait, weren't they just trying to leave? "Aw, he apologized. Let's go dance again!" DOESN'T MAKE SENSE!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bump Watch 2008

Some people call the baby in their womb "Peanut." Some people call it "Bean."

When we bought my first pregnancy book, it declared, "Your baby is the size of this dash -- " When I showed it to Brent, he replied, "Our baby is an em dash!"And that nickname just stuck. "Em Dash is craving lemonade... Em Dash wants some apple slices... Em Dash misses Daddy."

Em Dash is about the size of my fist these days. While I'm not necessarily showing yet, Em Dash has seemingly pushed out a lot of the pre-pregnancy belly I had. I'd like to pretend that I'm a tiny little thing and the belly you see is ALL baby, but I'm not in denial that much.

So keep all of that in mind as I post my first belly pic to track my evolving baby bump. This picture was taken on Monday, when I was exactly 14 weeks along. I don't think I'm huge for where I am in my pregnancy, but I'm still a little surprised to see the bulge below. On the bright side at least I don't have to suck it in anymore. Hee, hee, hee.

I'll try to post a new pic each week. And next time I'll be sure to smile!
Week 14

"The body is a house of many windows: there we all sit, showing ourselves and crying on the passers-by to come and love us." - Robert Louis Stevenson

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Baby FAQs

When are you due? Oct. 13, although that started as Oct. 21 then moved up to Oct. 19 then up again based on the baby's measurements in the ultrasounds. I'm going to take a page from justJENN and hold a contest to see who can guess when I'll actually deliver.

Are you going to find out if it's a boy or a girl? As previously mentioned, YES! The suspense would kill me. Plus I need to know how to decorate the nursery and narrow our name choices down. We'll find out in about four weeks whether it's a he or she. Wheeee!

Are you hoping for one or the other? Nope, we'll be perfectly happy with either. Brent thinks it's going to be a boy (as do many of my friends) but for some reason I'm inclined to think it may be a girl. Maybe that's because so many people are guessing boy and I'm in a contrarian mood? I'll hold some sort of contest on my blog to get people's guesses before we find out.

Are you going to share the name before the baby is born? No way. This is something we decided long before I was pregnant. It should, in theory, be less likely that anyone will criticize our choice once the baby is here. And we'd love to avoid any of the crap like, "Ugh, I went to school with someone named that and they were such a JERK!"

Are you craving anything in particular? The funny thing is that my notoriously severe sweet tooth has diminished SO MUCH! Our bread box is full of candy and other goodies that normally wouldn't have lasted long around me. I've traded my sweet tooth in for a "carb tooth" instead. Pasta, mac n' cheese, bread, etc. are all high on my list of cravings. While I also crave a lot of fruit -- especially the pre-cut apple slices, wow, I've eaten bags and bags of those -- it's kind of a chore for me to eat veggies these days. I try my best to get my 5-a-Day in, but I have to continuously remind myself that it's good for the baby.

Do you miss drinking? I've never been a big drinker, so that wasn't hard for me to give up at all. What I'm starting to miss is sushi, which is on the list of pregnancy contraband sadly.

Are you going to stay where you're living or move somewhere else? Our two-bedroom condo is big enough for us and the baby, so I think we're going to stay put for now. Sadly the real estate market is not good for sellers. It's much more of a buyer's market. If things happen to get better before October, we're not opposed to upgrading to a larger place, but for now we're planning to stay where we are. Plus, I love living so close to the beach. I'm hoping to spend a lot of time there with the baby during my maternity leave, walking the nice path (not sunbathing with the baby, if that's what you were thinking).

Are you going to go back to work after the baby? Yup, although I'm trying to work with my bosses to cut my schedule back a bit so I can have lots of quality time with our little one.

Were you trying? Ok, I have mixed feelings about this question. I think it's because Brent always freaks out when we hear a parent say that their kid was an accident - especially IN FRONT OF THEIR KID. There's a sort of stigma that surrounds a kid who wasn't "planned," like they weren't necessarily wanted in the first place. And while I don't mind telling people that, yes, we were trying, part of me thinks it's not even anyone's business but our own. My advice to all of you - don't ask parents-to-be this question. Some may be ok with it, but some may not.

Where do babies come from? When two people fall in love, they do a special hug...

If you have a question for me that I overlooked, feel free to leave it in the comments!

"I bought this condo to fill with children!" - Michael Scott, The Office

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The big reveals... revealed

I had originally wanted to wait until the beginning of the second trimester before telling ANYONE about the baby, but later decided that it was too hard of a secret to keep. I had heard that once you see the baby's heartbeat, your chance of miscarrying goes down to 10%. After seeing the heartbeat at our first ultrasound at 7 weeks, we decided to tell our families and closest friends -- anyone we'd be ok with having to "untell" if God forbid anything happened -- with the provision that they'd have to keep quiet until our second trimester.

I knew my in-laws would be super excited as this is their first grandchild. We tried to just stop by their house nonchalantly but our timing was off as my father-in-law was working late a few days in a row. We finally convinced them to meet us for dinner on a Friday night, along with my bro-in-law, but we later learned that our persistence to get together was tipping them off that something was up.

Before going out to dinner, we handed my mother-in-law a gift bag. She peeked inside and said, "Awwwww!" Then I said, "Open it!" She pulled out a book called The Granny Diaries, a hilarious book of advice for grandmas-to-be, followed by a onesie that read "Hug me." She started crying. I started crying. My father-in-law and Brent laughed at us. My brother-in-law hugged and congratulated us.

The next day we headed up to Visalia to see my mom. We arrived around lunch time, so she heated up a Filipino version of chicken soup that she had made, complete with tripe. Yup, tripe. Brent cautiously ate it while I handed my mom a little gift box. Brent said, "Oh, we're doing this now? While I'm eating tripe???" Yup. My mom opened the gift box and pulled out a little onesie that said, "Too cute." She looked at it, puzzled, then the light bulb went off in her head. "ARE YOU PREGNANT???" She started crying, gave me a big hug, then gave Brent a huge hug and wouldn't let him go. It was hilarious. Then, through her tears, she asked me, "Do you have any morning sickness?"

Soon after I started to tell my closest friends, who were all really excited. I was especially excited to tell my best friend, Shelby, as she's due in June. I'm so happy that we get to go through this wonderful event together! (Figuratively, not literally.)

We've loved everyone's reactions. One in particular sticks out, though. A co-worker of mine, who is a bachelor and jokingly refers to girls he dates as his "future ex-wives," happened to have gone to high school with Brent. When I revealed to my team that I was pregnant, this co-worker told me, "I'm not big on the whole 'kid' thing, but it makes me really happy when two people like you and Brent decide to bring one into this world. There are so many people who shouldn't be parents, but you two really should be."

*tear*

"You have no idea the physical toll that three vasectomies has on a person!" - Michael Scott, The Office

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Weekend rewind

Phew. Today's heat has finally let up. It was 88 degrees today, which was probably the hottest day of the year thus far. Tomorrow should be more pleasant at 70-something degrees, but sadly I'll be stuck indoors at work. In the meantime I'll enjoy my frozen Thin Mints and Tagalongs while I blog. Mmm...

This morning I had the bright idea to take a long stroll down to the beach, stopping at Cora's Coffee Shop for breakfast. Have I mentioned that it was really hot today? Ugh. The trip was still nice, though. I can think of worse ways to work up a sweat.

For instance, cleaning our place and doing laundry are not fun ways to work up a sweat. Did that today, too.

We took a break and test drove one of the cars we're considering to replace my current two-seater, tiny sports car. Not only does my current car not have the room for a baby seat, it doesn't have too much room for a mommy-to-be belly! The test drive went really well, but we're still weighing our options.

Last night we saw a documentary called Young@Heart. It's about a senior citizen chorus -- average age of 80 -- specializing in contemporary and punk songs! Each and every one of the choir members is so endearing. Their performances are adorable. And as Brent had guessed, it was a bit heartbreaking. Ok, I admit it - I cried. But not as much as the majority of the audience! I highly recommend it.

Yesterday we picked up a chaise lounge for our patio. We've been searching for months to fulfill a particular vision. Our solution was the perfect compromise for the two of us. And both of us have already fallen asleep on it. Pure cushiony bliss just in time for spring!

"And we also have a jacuzzi and sauna, but old people shouldn't use the sauna because it raises the heart rate, and gives everyone else the willies!" - Bridget, 8 Simple Rules

Friday, April 11, 2008

Symptomatic

I'm working on my "FAQs about Brent and Nanette's Baby," but there's one in particular that needs special attention:

"How are you feeling?"

Well, these days I'm feeling pretty good. I'm one of the fortunate ones to not have had any morning sickness, and they say that it typically hits in the first trimester and eases up in the second trimester. Having just started my second trimester, I'd say I'm in the morning sickness clear. Phew. [knocking on wood]

Morning sickness seems to be the first thing most people associate with pregnant women. While a large percentage of pregnant women do have to cope with morning sickness, it's also one of the big stereotypes portrayed in the media. Often in movies a woman doesn't know she's pregnant until she vomits and thinks, "Wait a second..."

And consequently, when any woman of child-bearing age, married or not, complains of a stomachache, people often joke (or seriously say), "Maybe you're pregnant!"

But you know what the media and others don't tell you -- or at least didn't tell ME -- that is a huge symptom throughout the first trimester and often hits before you even realize you're pregnant?

Exhaustion.

Holy crap.

I had no idea. And I've commiserated with five of the other pregnant women I know. (Oh yes - I have FIVE friends who are knocked up. 2008 is the new baby boom.) They've all dealt with the exhaustion, too, and many of them said, "No one told me about the exhaustion!"

Maybe it's God's way of preparing us for the fog we'll have to deal with when we have our newborns.

The worst part is that I was trying to be coy and hide my exhaustion during my first trimester when very few people knew, but I could barely keep my eyes open a lot of the time. I spent so many weekends sleeping most of the day. I snuck naps at work during my lunch hour. And my poor boss was relieved when I told her I was pregnant because she thought my diminished perkiness was a sign that I wasn't happy with my job. Truth is that it's hard to be at full perky capacity when you're feeling like you're on Nyquil all the time. (The point of drowsiness right before it's unsafe to operate heavy machinery.)

And I was going to bed around 9:30, which is super early compared to my usual midnight bedtime. This also explains my lack of blogging and lack of blog commenting because I do so much of it post-9 p.m.

Thankfully my exhaustion has started to ease up. I'm still tired earlier at night -- typically 10:30 or 11 -- but I can make it through a workday with fewer yawns. And I actually feel up to helping Brent around the house more! Poor guy has been such a saint. While his pregnant wife couldn't do anything more but increase her indentation on the couch, he has made or picked up dinner, kept up with chores around the house, etc., without complaints.

So, that's my story. Now whenever a woman complains of being tired, I joke, "Maybe you're pregnant!"

That goes over real well.

"I don’t understand why sleeping at your desk is better than you not being here." - Stanley, The Office

Thursday, April 10, 2008

My big fat celebrity sightings

Last night I joined my in-laws for dinner with my mother-in-law's cousin's son, who leaves for Iraq on Friday with the Marine reserves. He's from Maine and my mother-in-law wanted to take him somewhere for a nice dinner, so we went to Campanille.

While we were there, we had a plethora of celeb sightings, including:

Harry Shearer (Spinal Tap, Simpsons and a gazillion other things), Joanna Kerns (mom from Growing Pains!), Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) and Ian Gomez (My Big Fat Greek Wedding, married to Nia).

Apparently Campanille is the place to be on Wednesday nights!

We were sitting next to Harry Shearer's table and I was cracking up hearing his voice in person instead of via The Simpsons or over the show he does each weekend on the local college radio station.

Oh, and dinner was AMAZING but I left the camera in my bag. I need to get back there for Grilled Cheese Nights, which is held each Thursday. I mentioned to my father-in-law that it's National Grilled Cheese Month when he asked the waitress about Thursday's special night. The waitress got all giddy and said to me, "We should TOTALLY promote that this month!!!"

"While Clinton was partial to Hollywood heavyweights like Stephen Spielberg and Barbra Streisand, Bush has courted his own version of celebrity royalty, like pro golfer Ben Crenshaw and country singer Larry Gatlin. Not at the same time, of course. I mean, you'd just be begging for the place to get trashed." - Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Testing, testing

Wow! Just wow! 80+ comments! Brent and I are floored by all the congrats and support and well-wishes and all my awesome readers. Thanks, everyone. It really means the world to me, and you've made sharing the news that much more exciting!

So, as I mentioned, I have some stuff to catch you up on - stories I would have told and observations I would have shared had I been blogging all these weeks. I'll start with last Friday, the 4th. That was the day that we had our 1st trimester screening/NT scan, which is where they use my age, a blood sample and measurements taken from an ultrasound to determine our baby's risk factor for Down's. There's a lot of controversy about this test because it may give parents-to-be unnecessary worry, but I had no problems doing it as I looked at it as an opportunity to spend some more quality time watching our little one. If there turns out to be cause to worry when we get our results next week, then we'll know to go ahead with additional tests. If not, then we'll have a little peace of mind.

We arrived at the testing facility and awaited the ultrasound tech's arrival. He came in and got started with the ultrasound. The room had two screens - a larger one on the wall in front of me, as well as the smaller one next to me that the tech was using. I was focused on the larger one while Brent was fixated on the smaller one. I didn't realize until later that the smaller one had much more clarity than the larger one. So when we got the first glimpse of our baby, I watched Brent's face as his eyes widened and his jaw dropped in awe. It made me giggle, which then made the baby bounce. And our first glimpse of the baby was of the baby on its stomach, which I hadn't expected at all. I just assumed that they were always on their back. I think it was also sleeping, so I was a little freaked out that our baby was just chilling on its stomach. I asked the tech, "Um, is it ok that the baby is like that?" And he said, "Oh, yeah. Babies move around so much and are always changing positions. They sleep for 20 minutes at a time and move around even while they're sleeping."

He could get the measurements he needed with the baby on its stomach, but he preferred to have it on its back. So he bounced the ultrasound wand on my stomach in an attempt to get it to turn over. The baby wasn't having it, though. It just bounced around like it was on a water bed. The tech told me that my bladder was really full and asked me to go empty it to make more room for him to get the baby to move around. When I came back and saw the baby on the screen again, it was definitely not asleep. It was moving around, which was sooooo cool to see. We were able to get the baby onto its side, facing us, but it just didn't want to be on its back. He said, "Well, I got what I needed. Maybe the doc will have better luck moving it when she comes in to do her scan."

The tech left and the doctor came in to do her portion of the ultrasound. She turned the little screen so I could see it after Brent commented that the clarity was so much better on that one. I don't remember if the doc was able to get it on its back or if it had turned on its own, but regardless, it was on its back for the doc.

The doc was awesome, counting the fingers for us, pointing out the different parts, including the flickering heart, the nose and assuring us that things looked pretty good preliminarily. The best part was how excited she was for us. "Your baby is THIS big!" indicating width with her fingers. (At the time it was as big as a plum. This week it's as big as a peach!) We asked if she could print some pictures for us and she did, excitedly.

The whole thing took a couple of hours, including the blood draw they did at the end, and we ended up with a good half-hour or so with our little one on the screen. It was so great to see how much it actually LOOKS like a baby now, instead of the little circle/blip we saw at our 7-week ultrasound. The middle of next month we'll do our BIG ultrasound to find out if it's a boy or a girl. (Oh, yes - we're TOTALLY finding out. I don't know how the heck people wait!) By then it'll look soooo much more like a baby. And I think Brent's head will explode.

"Ultrasound her uterus this time. See if there's something growing in there that doesn't look adorable in a onesie." - Dr. Gregory House, House

Monday, April 07, 2008

Blessed is this life

As mentioned, tomorrow marks two years since Brent and I said, "I do." Hard to believe that it's been nearly 10 years (9 years next month) since our first date when we started this magnificent journey.

When Brent presented me with this ring on Jan. 15, 2005, I knew that the next stage of our life would be filled with so much warmth and happiness.
The Ring

We celebrated our big day surrounded by our dearest friends and family.
Group shot!

fountain

And we love the little home we've created by the beach.
Kissy, kissy

We've enjoyed our travels...
Brent and I

I love his nuzzle

Where ever we go and whatever we do, we're happy to be in it together.

It seems like forever it's been just the two of us...
Awww

But now we have a little one to add to the mix. It's time to reveal one of the hardest secrets I've ever had to keep.

Here's the first pic of our baby, who will make his or her debut this October.
A little closer up

I have soooo much to catch all of you up on. It's been a wildly fantastic and surreal 13 weeks thus far. And I know it's just the beginning.

"You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel." - Pablo Casals

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Weekend in pictures

This weekend Brent and I celebrated our 2-year wedding anniversary (the official date is Tues., April 8). We decided to spend the weekend in Santa Barbara, where we got engaged three years ago.

We stayed at the Eagle Inn, a lovely little bed and breakfast, which happens to be the place we were supposedly staying during our engagement weekend. (We stayed at Bacara instead, as part of Brent's engagement surprise.)

The Eagle Inn is quaint with 23 rooms. I booked us in a room with the "deluxe whirlpool tub for two." Brent asked if I arranged for the rose petal treament. I hadn't. It was a fun surprise.
Whirlpool tub for two

The hotel is walking distance from Santa Barbara's popular State Street, where we hung out Saturday. We enjoyed the city's characters.
Santa Barbara characters

We checked out many of the little boutiques along the way, including a massive costume jewelry store where Brent was admonished for taking photos. Oops.
Earrings, earrings everywhere

Brent had our new camera most of the time. That resulted in a lot of photos like this of me:
Typical shot of me

We picked up some gourmet chocolate (I got salty chocolate -- yes, a salty chocolate ball --, Brent got a piece that was chile-infused). And I bought a Jones Soda with the best name ever:
Best Jones Soda name EVER

We spent Saturday evening at Olio E Limone, the Italian restaurant where we celebrated right after we got engaged. The food was delicious, just as we remembered! Brent had the lamb. I had the duck ravioli. We shared the lemon tart.
Mosaic
1. Olio e Limone, 2. Lamb, 3. Duck ravioli, 4. Lemon tart

After dinner we relaxed in the tub. I'd love to have something like that installed in our place.

Sunday morning we enjoyed an amazing brunch at Tupelo Junction Cafe. We started with the fruit plate. Brent loved the crab cakes with poached eggs and avocado salsa. I had the vanilla-dipped french toast with berry sauce and fresh whipped cream.

We ended our weekend with a trip to the Camarillo Outlets. Picked up a few things from the Banana Republic outlet and drooled over some great deals at the Coach outlet, although I left all the lovely bags there.

Overall it was a very lovely weekend, although every weekend with my hottie hubby always is.
Hottie hubby

"Next week marks the anniversary my beloved Lilith and I first met. As a show of my affection, I bought her a Louis Coutures armoire at a little antique shop I saw on the Hill today. It set me back quite a penny, but you know when you're trying to express your affection for your mate, old wood says it best."
- Dr. Crane, Cheers

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Giggling over Google Talk

9:39 AM
Brent: good morning. i'll start your day off with this bit of nonsense i just heard
me: good morning
Brent: dude 1: hey. how are you?
dude 2: i'm delicious
me: ha! that's up there with the guy in the elevator this morning who was practicing his golf swing. thankfully he was using an air club

9:55 AM (Back story - Brent has been traveling a lot for work. This was the morning following a night away.)
Brent: after i hung up with you, tyler called and wanted to take one more look at his essays so i was in bed working on them. and then just sort of messed around on the laptop after. and then naturally fell asleep while doing so. but here's the amusing part. i don't really remember what i was doing, but i'm starting to piece it together based on the windows that are still open. apparently i was editing a movie and researching propaganda.
me: niiiiice
Brent: it's the supergeeky version of being hungover and using crap in my pockets to see who i punched or slept with
me: dahahahaha!

"Okay, are we going to talk about this like adults or you just going to throw things at me?...All right, nothing that plugs in, you guys! Nothing that could really hurt me!" - Liz Lemon, 30 Rock

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Be excellent to each other

The lovely Cheryl at Places Never Planned has honored this lil' blog with an award of excellence! Thanks so much, Cheryl! I'm so happy that you and I have been reading each other's sites for, oh, it's been so long I can't even remember when it all started!

And now I get to pay the award forward and bestow it upon 10 of my favorite bloggers. And I had a helluva time narrowing it down to 10. I love way too much of the blogosophere. Also, I'm sure that this will get passed along to many of the other bloggers I love as my blogosphere is so incestuous - and not in a dirty way - so I kept that in mind while compiling the list.

Here they are, in alphabetical order:

2054 Miles






Evil Duke: Put them in the "Iron Maiden"
Bill, Ted: Iron Maiden! EXCELLENT! [they do their air guitar]
Evil Duke: Excecute them!
Bill, Ted: BOGUS!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Now with more blogging action!

I know some folks are participating in NaBloPoMo this month, which I considered doing, too. Then I realized that I won't be around on Saturday as we'll be in Santa Barbara celebrating our two-year wedding anniversary. But I'm going to try to do my best impression of NaBloPoMo this month anyway as I've been more of an absent blogger than I'd like.

In addition to my not being as frequent of a blogger here as I should be, I've also been really bad with leaving blog comments on others. Never fear - I have been reading all the blogs I subscribe to. Here are the comments I meant to leave, but didn't have a chance. So pick one of your posts that I haven't commented on and match it up with the applicable response below that I should have left:

- Freakin' hilarious!
- Mmm... that looks delicious!
- Seriously - Cutest. Kid. Ever.
- Ugh, I hate when that happens.
- What a great trip! I'm so jealous!
- Get well soon.
- It's ok - I've been a bad blogger, too. Welcome back to the blogosphere!
- Booo! What an asshat!

"Promises and pie-crust are made to be broken." - Eliel Saarinen