Saturday, May 24, 2008

Suze's Sass - c'mon down!

You're the winner of "Em Dash's Sex is Right!"

(as determined by Random.org, which put you at the top of the list of the 46 commenters who guessed that Em Dash is a girl.)

Suze - email me with your prize choice and it's yours when I return from Alaska. And thanks to everyone who ventured a guess!!!

I'm almost done packing and updating my ipod. We leave super early tomorrow morning. While I'm gone, you all can chew on these for a bit.

Em Dash's latest portrait! I love her little arm up by her face.
It's a girl!

And some initials. It's no coincidence that they happen to be "B" for Brent and "N" for Nanette nor that they happen to be on Brent's regular jogging path. My hubby, the romantic vandal. Please don't send him to the clink. Em Dash needs her daddy!
Initials

I'll be back from vacation with tons of tales and pics!

"I found out that Baked Alaska can be baked locally." - Rose, Golden Girls

Bump watch 2008, 18 weeks

Here's the weekly belly photo, which we took right before we left for our big appointment.

18 weeks, 5 days

I just ordered a couple of fun maternity t-shirts from the massive collection on Cafe Press. My office is pretty casual, so I can wear these to work, too.

This one I got with the upcoming concerts in mind (see the right column of my blog for all the shows I'm attending before Em Dash's big arrival).
Here's one that I fell in love with because, c'mon on, who DOESN'T love monkeys? And I ordered it in pink, ya know, to go along with our baby girl.
It still hasn't sunk in that Em Dash is officially a "she" and we can refer to our baby as "her" now. For so long she has been "it" and "the baby" and of course, "Em Dash."

Brent and I are starting to chat more about names now that we can eliminate 50% of the options. We want to find the balance between something that isn't insanely popular (e.g., Emily - in the top 10 names for the past 10 years or so) but not so unique that people can't pronounce and spell it. It's a lot of pressure to come up with something that has such an impact on our child's identity. We have to come up with a middle name, and it all has to flow with our last name, too? I'm sure we'll find something we both love and that won't scar our little girl for life, but still - so much to think about! Very exciting, nonetheless.

Joey: If you want a strong name, you should name him "The Hulk."
Phoebe: I don't know about "Hulk," but I like the idea of a name starting with "The"!
- Friends

Friday, May 23, 2008

The results are in!

I have a lot of work to do as this is my last day before my Alaskan cruise, but had to just share the news with you all! I'll tell you more about our reactions later!

Wheeeee!

"I guess but we both want to have babies while it's still cool. I already have all the names picked out. If it's a girl, Bookcase or Sandstorm or maybe Hat, but that's more of a boy's name." - Carrie, 30 Rock

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya tomorrow

Tomorrow morning is our big ultrasound! Wheeeee! I think my head is going to explode with anticipation!

Shortly after I found out I was pregnant, I ran across an ad for Small Paul, the children's clothing line from Paul Frank. I saw this little boy in the ad and thought, "If we have a boy, maybe he'll look like this, but with darker eyes!!!"
Then, recently a co-worker called me over to her desk. "Nanette, I think the Gap stole your baby for their ad!"

(I think our little girl would be a little lighter than her because even *my* skin wasn't that olive when I was her age.)

Such cuties, both of them!

I'm really starting to feel Em Dash moving these days. I described the feeling to Brent as being similar to an eye twitch, but inside my belly. And it's so much easier to hear Em Dash's heartbeat with the doppler now, too.

You have less than 24 hours to enter the contest if you haven't already!

Oh, and p.s. about my previous post - although it didn't come across in my writing, I thought the whole stuck-on-the-balcony incident was freakin' hilaroius myself, during and after.

"Do you know what they're doing in there right now? They're watching Claire's ultrasound video. And I swear to god, even the baby looks bored." - Marshall, How I Met Your Mother

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Damsel in distress

Last night was my last night in Austin. A sponsor had organized some shuttles from the resort into Austin, but the majority of my team decided to stick around the resort for the night. Plus, pregnant or not, I'm not a huge fan of hanging out with a bunch of random drunk people, so I was happy to just chill by myself in my room.

Cell reception was pretty awful throughout the resort. I had heard folks say it was better outside, so when I retired to my room for the night, I decided to see if I could get reception on the balcony. I stepped out onto the balcony and saw a giant beetle. Not wanting it to crawl in my room, I closed the sliding glass door. I couldn't get any cell reception and headed back inside -- only to find that the door had somehow locked behind me!!! There I am, locked on the balcony of my hotel room, which, by the way, was on the SECOND FLOOR!

All the balconies are connected, only separated by a waist-high set of rails, but I didn't want to hop the rails -- partially because it's probably not something a pregnant woman should be doing and partially because even if I found a room with someone in it, I'd probably scare the bejeezus out of them. I know I'd freak the hell out if I heard tapping from the outside of my hotel room and found some random woman standing there.

But the room next to me had its lights on, so I took my flip flop off and used it to reach the window. Despite my tapping, no one from that room came to my rescue. My guess is that they ignored the tapping, didn't hear it or simply weren't in their room despite the lights.

I could hear a crowd of folks across the way, whom I'm sure were from our work's event. I was somewhat hidden behind a tree, so I don't think anyone could see me. But I finally worked up the courage to shout for some help, despite my fear of ridicule amongst industry execs. I yelled and said, "Um, can anyone hear me? Anyone?" Then a woman responded, "Are you ok? Are you stuck on your balcony?" "Yup!" I replied. "I'll call someone for you!" she offered. I told her my room number and thanked her profusely even thought I couldn't see her.

As I sat on the balcony waiting for help to arrive and relieved that I wasn't going to have sleep outside in the balmy Texas weather with bugs as big as my head, I realized that there was one more potential hurdle. As a cautious traveler, I had flipped that little arm on the door that serves as a faux deadbolt. So then I feared that when security came up to save me, they wouldn't be able to get in! Lucky for me they had some special tool that enabled them to push that little arm out of the way and unlock me from my balcony prison.

I probably should have complained to the hotel management for having a door that locked patrons out, but I was just relieved to be back in my room. And to that faceless stranger who heard my plea, thank you. I hope that good karma comes back your way.

"I’m going to be your new boss. It’s my greatest dream come true. Welcome to the Hotel Hell. Check-in time is now. Check-out time is never." - Dwight The Office

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

That's just how I roll

Russell Simmons

My team and I ran into Russell Simmons after dinner last night. We were surprised that he was sitting there sans an entourage. We caught him on the phone, but he was very pleasant and seemingly happy to talk to us. And he smelled really nice - probably something from his own line of cologne. He was kind enough to take a photo with us (thanks to my co-worker's quick thinking to ask if he'd be willing).

"The nice thing about being a celebrity is that when you bore people, they think it's their fault." - Henry Kissinger

Monday, May 19, 2008

Don't mess with Texas

Thanks for all the votes! Place your bets if you haven't already!

Yee haw!

I'm currently in Austin for a work event, which I always enjoy. Sadly I missed William Hung's performance on Sunday (I mean that in the most ironic way possible), but I did catch Russell Simmons' keynote this morning, which was entertaining.

Oh, and Leslie Mann, Judd Apatow's wife, was on my flight out here yesterday. I didn't say anything to her, but I've always enjoyed her work and am a big fan of her husband.

I'll be in Texas 'till Wed, and hopefully I can stay cool in this 90+ heat/humidity.

This weekend Brent and I had the pleasure of attending the simply stunning wedding of our friends Angie and Chris at the Firestone Winery near the California Central Coast.

Oh. My. God.

Actually, "stunning" doesn't do it justice. It was more than stunning. Angie incorporated so many wonderful little details that together resulted in a beautiful, beautiful event. She had chandeliers hanging from the wonderful tree that they stood under during the ceremony. Parasols, pashminas and flip-flops for the female guests. Cigars and matches for the male guests. Wine galore! Gorgeous floral arrangements and candles everywhere. And the bride and groom? So beautiful and so very much in love. It was evident how much they are loved by their friends and family.

Brent and I had a really nice time and were honored to share in their big day. I'll have to post pics later that some friends took as I didn't take any myself. I was too busy enjoying the celebration!

"But he's not your father. The guy swinging from the chandelier is your father." - Leela, Futurama

Friday, May 16, 2008

Choose or lose

In exactly one week from today if all goes well, Brent and I will find out whether Em Dash is a boy or a girl. I can't wait!

And I'm going to give you all a chance to play along! Leave a comment with what you think the outcome will be. From those who guess correctly, I will randomly select a winner, who will receive their choice of:

- Baked goods from me (probably cookies as those travel better than cupcakes) or
- A $25 iTunes gift certificate or
- A $25 Pro Flickr account - good for one year of unlimited photo storage

(And I will not be offended if the winner selects the iTunes or Flickr over my baked goods.)

You can either make a guess based on your own gut feeling or you can consider some of the following:

- I'd say the majority of friends and family have declared that we are having a boy, for no other reason than their own gut feeling.
- My mom thinks it will be a girl because "Brent comes from a family of two boys. They don't have any girls." Yeah, I don't understand her rationale for that one either.
- Shelby thinks it's a boy because I didn't have any morning sickness, based on her own experience and the old wives' tale.
- My MIL thinks it's a boy.
- My FIL thinks it's a girl.
- My brother-in-law thinks "it's both." "A hermaphrodite?" I asked. "Hey, don't judge," he replied. Ha, ha, ha!
- My friend Stacie thinks it's a girl just 'cuz.
- My friend Andrea thinks it's a girl 'cuz all her friends seem to have girls.
- Most of my co-workers seem to think it's a boy.
- I've accidentally referred to Em Dash as "he" or "him" or "little guy" before.
- I had a dream where it was a baby boy that then turned into a girl.
- Brent had a dream that it was a little girl who could talk at 2 weeks old.
- I took an online quiz based on old wives' tales and based on my answers it said, "38% chance it's a boy, 62% chance for a girl."

Other than the dreams and the occasional slip-ups, Brent and I have no real intuition on what Em Dash will be. Of course, we'll be happy either way!

You have until Friday, May 23 to make your guesses!

"When my mother was pregnant with me, they did an ultrasound and found she was having twins. When they did another ultrasound a few weeks later, they discovered that I had reabsorbed the other fetus. Do I regret this? No. I believe his tissues made me stronger. I now have the strength of a grown man and a little baby." - Dwight, The Office

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Where have I been? And Bump Watch, 17 weeks

Eating out
Dinner last night at Ciudad with a fabulous bunch of gal pals. Then tonight at Versailles with Shelby's parents. Yup, that's how close I am with Shelby and her family. Her parents are very much like parents to me. :) They were in town and wanted to try "the Cuban place that Shelby is always raving about!"

Rocking out
At the Brett Dennen concert, along with awesome Aussie Missy Higgins. I was sad that Brett didn't play more of his songs that I know, but his new stuff was awesome.

Popping out
I'm 17 weeks, 4 days. And I think my little pregnancy belly has popped over the past couple of days. Take a look for yourself.
17 weeks, 4 days

Taste budding out
This morning my Raisin Bran Crunch cereal tasted like chocolate to me. But there's NO CHOCOLATE IN IT! I've heard that strange things can happen to a pregnant woman's taste buds, but this was by far the weirdest thing I've experience yet.

Feeling it out
I think I may be starting to feel Em Dash kick a bit. I'm not 100% sure that the flutters I *think* I've been feeling aren't muscle spasms or what, but I'm hoping any day now that I'll feel the telltale flutters of our little one with certainty. Come on, Em Dash! Mommy says it's ok to kick her!

Styling out
Trying to get the hang of my new 'do. It's a subtle change with fringe bangs, but I like it. It's also added a bit of fun layers to the bottom of my hair, which are hard to see in these pics. As Brent joked with me over the weekend when I didn't agree with him about something, "Hey, just 'cuz you're all punk now doesn't mean you can take an attitude with me!"
New 'do

Baking out
I officially broke in my new oven this week with a batch of Mexican Wedding Cookies. I pink puffy heart my convection oven - less heat and baking time required!

Buggin' out
On the way home from dinner at Ciudad last night, I could have sworn there was a bug in my car and it flung itself into my body. It was too dark to tell, plus I was going 65+ on the freeway, so I just rolled all my windows down in the hopes that it would fly out. I didn't see anything when I arrived home, but while I was on the computer shortly after I got home, I felt something near my bra strap. I stuck my hand in my shirt only to pull out a GIANT (ok, an inch or so) black beetle! I screamed and yelled for Brent to come kill it, but it was already dead - probably from fear of my yelling. Ugh, I'm getting the willies just thinking about it.

"So the days pass, and I ask myself whether one is not hypnotized, as a child by a silver globe, by life, and whether this is living." - Virginia Woolf

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Weekend highlights

Friday evening I cheated on my hair stylist, whom I've been faithful to since I moved to LA in 2000. I still adore my previous stylist, but I wanted something a little different and a little closer to my home. After seeing a gazillion fabulous reviews on Yelp, I tried out Studio DNA, a modern salon that's nearly walking distance from my home. Summer, a bubbly, tatted-up chick who shares my adoration of Tokidoki, did a fabulous job with my hair. I'll definitely see her again. And I especially loved the scalp massage and the hot towel from the shampoo girl. It was the perfect way to end the week. (You can check out my new 'do when I post this week's belly pic in a couple days.)

As we'll be traveling the next couple of weekends, I wanted to take things easy this weekend. So Saturday I did little more than sit on the couch and watch bad tv. That evening we met Josh, Jami, Josh's sister Leah and her husband Juston at the new Father's Office in Culver City. Despite having to hover to finally get a table, the experience was great.

Sunday evening we had my in-laws over, who were very kind to bring us dinner. And I ended the evening by ordering the crib I've been drooling over for weeks. The crib is from the Baby Mod line at WalMart. It's made by a well-reviewed company called Million Dollar Baby, plus it has great reviews online. This particular crib has all the qualities I'm looking for -- convertible into a toddler and then a twin bed later on, a dropside rail so shorties like me don't have to get on our tippy toes to get the baby out, modern, gender-neutral, white, etc.

Coincidentally, it's a knock-off of a popular Pottery Barn Kids crib, but half the price!

Here's the PBK version.
Here's the WalMart version. The WalMart version also comes with the storage drawer. I'm also saving $50 by having it shipped to the nearest store for pick-up.
I was going to wait to order the crib, but it had been out of stock since I first discovered it. On a whim I decided to check tonight and it said it was available, so I went for it. Although when I went to grab the photo for this post, the site said it's not available online anymore. So I either managed to score one of the few they had available or I'm going to be saddened with an email later on that says, "Sorry, we are out and can't fulfill your request." Come on, WalMart. Don't make a pregnant lady sad!

"People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one."
- Leo J. Burke

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Bump Watch, week 16

Here I am at 16 weeks, 4 days. This was taken in the morning.

Oh, and it's my first pic in my new glasses. I love them. They're the only thing I'll ever own with a Prada label. You can't tell in the pic, but they are purple on the inside. Fun!

Week 16

"I prefer the term 'Professional Crazed Fan.' A job that's a hell of a lot more satisfying than sewing Prada labels in your Old Navy shirts. Go get yourself a new assistant. If you need me, I'll be in your hamper." - Jack, Will & Grace

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Pregnancy update

Although the pregnancy hormones spared me from the dreaded morning sickness, they certainly wreaked havoc on my forehead. I broke out like a 13-year-old boy! It's been especially frustrating because my olive skin has always been relatively clear, even during the hormonal teen years. The past few months, no matter how many fluids I drank, how often I washed my face, what doctor-approved acne creams I slathered on my forehead, I continued to find myself looking in the mirror only to see a pimply forehead staring back at me. The past few days, though, my forehead seems to have cleared up more and more. And that makes for a very happy pregnant woman, lemme tell ya.

I also noticed this weekend that I've developed a small linea negra, a dark line vertical to the belly button that some pregnant women have. I just read an old wives' tale that says if it runs only below the belly button, like mine is, the baby is a girl. Remember, as all old wives' tale go, there's always a 50/50 chance that it's incorrect. It's still fun to think about.

At my last doctor's appointment I asked when I should start sleeping on my left side. She said, "Now." Because your liver is on the right side of your abdomen, lying on your left side helps keep the uterus off that large organ. Sleeping on the left side also improves circulation to the heart and allows for the best blood flow to the fetus, uterus, and kidneys. I know it's not a huge deal to wake up and find yourself on your right side, back or stomach -- I'm still not too big to sleep on my stomach yet -- but there's always a millisecond where I wake up in the wrong position and think, "Crap! Left side, left side!" Any mommies have luck with those giant Snoogles or pregnancy pillows to keep you on your left side and comfortable?

Brent took my weekly belly pic yesterday, but we're redoing it tomorrow morning because nude bra + black shirt + flash photography = see-through shirt. And I don't need to draw anymore attention to my ever-growing boobage, as was pointed out by a few gals after I posted my last belly pic. I got measured last night for new bras, and Lord have mercy on my mammaries - I'm now a DD. Please don't tell me any horror stories of how they're just going to get bigger and harder and saggier. I know, I know. Let me just live in denial a little longer.

I started researching some daycare options and costs today. In a big metropolitan area like LA, I've heard that it's best to start early. Wow. Finding someone to care for our little Em Dash is not cheap. I think I'll try to go through the sticker shock phases now so it won't be so bad when it's time to fork over the cash. Maybe I can just keep Em Dash in utero until it's time for college. Oh, crap... we gotta pay for college, too?!?!?

"The best way to keep children home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant--and let the air out of the tires."
- Dorothy Parker

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Weekend, categorically

Stuff I got
I couldn't pass up a killer sale that diaper bag designer Petunia Pickle Bottom had recently online. I chose a gender-neutral orange backpack/shoulder bag, which features a foldout changing pad that even Brent was impressed with.
Diaper bag

Our friends Matt and Nicole sent us this lovely set of baby gifts.
Gifts from Nicole and Matt
It includes a super soft stuffed dog, a stylish rubber ducky, a onesie that reads "A nap is in my future," a parenting book for me called, "Sippy Cups Are Not For Chardonnay" and a humorous book for Brent called, "Bad Baby Names." Oh, and of course a super cute mini red and aqua suitcase! We love it all!

Last week justJENN and I met for dinner at The Counter, where I dusted off some of my public relations and marketing knowledge to give her some tips for her stationery business. As an unnecessary but very appreciated thank-you, she gave me this:
Shirt from justJENN
Ya get it? Absolutely adorable! I have to hurry up and wear it before my belly gets too big!

Our new appliances arrived on Saturday but they weren't able to hook-up our new stove, as they had promised, because of some liability issue. All my dreams of weekend baking are on hold until next week when the Gas Company comes out. Booo!

Places I ate
Pizzeria Mozza - After what seemed like weeks to coordinate availability and then waiting an additional month to get a reservation, Jami, Hil, justJENN and I met for dinner at Mozza. The company was fabulous, as always, and the food was delicious, but I think we all agreed that it didn't quite live up to the hype. After waiting a month to get in, I don't know, maybe I expected to leave with shinier hair or something. We each ordered different pizzas, which was a great way to taste a lot of flavors, although we could have easily split two amongst the four of us. I ordered the Squash Blossom with Burrata pizza. Amazing! I'd go back when the wait dies down.

Buddha's Belly - A new location opened up in Santa Monica recently. The restaurant offers a wide variety of Pan-Asian cuisine. Brent and I split some Vietnamese rolls and then each had a salad. I enjoyed the Asian chopped salad while Brent had the spicy seared tuna salad. We'll definitely go back, especially when we're in the mood for light cuisine.

Amandine Patisserie
- At first I thought I wouldn't blog about this place because it's such an amazing find, but judging from the crowd, Brent and I are the last people on Earth to know about it. It's a French cafe in West LA (somewhere between Brentwood and Santa Monica) specializing in baked goods, sandwiches and breakfast goodies. I had the strawberries and cream French toast, which was probably the best French toast I've had since our honeymoon. Brent enjoyed an omelette. I also took a slice of lemon loaf home that I enjoyed with some vanilla bean ice cream for an evening dessert. Mmm....

Movie I watched
Iron Man - While I don't read comic books, I enjoy most comic book films. I knew very little about Iron Man, but I adore Robert Downey Jr. so I was super excited to catch this flick. And it didn't disappoint! It dragged a little, but the storyline was great, as were the cast and special effects. Now if I can get that damn Black Sabbath song out of my head! Oh, if you haven't seen the movie yet, be sure to stay until the very end of the credits for a bonus scene!

"Ok, this next act asked me to read this. 'Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Molly Hatchet could not be here tonight, but they all had sex and are proud to announce the birth of their two-headed baby, Tenacious D.'" - Paul, Tenacious D movie

Thursday, May 01, 2008

For the record...

- Yes, Em Dash will have three other kickass grandparents. They already love Em Dash more than you'd believe.

- Yes, Em Dash will know his/her grandfather through my stories of him, along with his traits I've inherited.

- Anonymous from yesterday and today: I think I was very diplomatic about the whole thing, if you hadn't noticed. Oh, and I've already scolded justJENN for sticking up for me. I hid her spatulas and baking pans. That'll teach her.

- Anonymous from today, whom I don't think is the same anonymous from earlier today and yesterday: I'm not a "constant victim" and I don't feel sorry for myself. I write about my dad approximately TWICE a year - on his birthday and on the anniversary of his death. But hell, if I wanted to write about him EVERYDAY, that's my prerogative. My site is by no means forced reading for anyone, but if you've read any number of my posts, you'll see that I very much enjoy life -- probably more than the Average Joe/Jane -- and I love being pregnant.

- I've done my best to keep my blog a pleasant and relatively snark-free place since the four years I've had it. I'm non-confrontational IRL and online. And as Slackmistress so eloquently says, if you chum the waters, don't be surprised if you attract sharks. I've always stayed far, far away from the chum -- heck, I haven't even gotten on the damn boat -- but apparently pregnancy (and perhaps death) is churning the waters. That doesn't mean I'll stop writing about it, but I'm surprised by the drama in my comments lately.

- I've scaled back my comment system and won't allow anonymous comments anymore. And I'm turning off the comments on this particular post. This is where I stand.