Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bump Watch 2008, 32 weeks, 3 days

My not-quite-weekly belly pic!
32 weeks, 3 days

Only 53 days left to go!

When we took my photo this morning, Brent asked if I could see a progression in my photos. I think so. Check out a sampling.
Belly progression

Feeling pretty good, although I'm starting to get a little uncomfortable, mainly while trying to sleep. I can't remember the last time I slept through the night, but before I was even pregnant I often woke up at least once to go to the bathroom. I'm now typically going at least three times a night. I told Brent, who rarely doesn't sleep through the night unless I'm snoring, that this is good practice for when we have to wake up frequently for feedings. I jokingly suggested that every time one of us wakes up in the middle of the night, we should make the other a sandwich. You know, to get into the habit of feeding someone. ::taps mic:: Is this thing on?

People keep saying that my pregnancy seems to have gone by quickly for them, as bystanders. For me it crept by until the 24th week or so. Now I'm amazed by how quickly it's going.

We still have a lot to do in preparation for the baby, but we've gotten quite a bit done, too. At my last check-up on Monday, the doctor said, "You should think about getting a car seat soon." Check. "And sign up for a maternity ward tour." Check. "And childbirth classes." Check. "Oh, wow. Ok, then you guys are ahead of the game." Score!

"Oh god, I hope you're not pregnant. We can't afford another kid. We already got Chris, Stewey, Richie, Joanie, Greg, Marsha, Bobby, Jan, Mike Seaver, Carol Seaver, Boner, Urkel, Mr. Furley..." - Peter Griffin, Family Guy

Sunday, August 24, 2008

She will be loved

It's been a fabulous long day, so I'll recap most of my shower with pics. Let me just say, though, that when you combine two of the world's best party planners -- my mother-in-law (MIL) and the lovely JustJENN -- people are blown away.

You can see the entire set of pics on Flickr here, but if you want some narration, read on!

My in-laws have an amazing place for parties, so the shower was at their place. It started off in the backyard.

backyard

tables

My MIL made the centerpieces, which were bunnies reading to baby bunnies. I joked that it's because Brent and I are multiplying like bunnies. The many kids at the shower got to take a bunny home in addition to the awesome favors that Jenn made them.
centerpieces

My MIL made a wonderful lunch of chicken salad, fruit and rolls. And Jenn provided quite a spread of desserts, including a cereal bar for the kids.
cereal yum

malt balls burger cookies

But these sleeping baby cupcakes are what really dropped folks' jaws!
cupcake

Their little blankets aren't fondant - they're melted, rolled out Starbursts! And marshmallow pillows!
sleeping babies zzzz

In addition to fake sleeping babies, we also had some adorable real babies there.
livy

This is Cat from Next Exit Photography (our wedding photographer), along with her adorable baby girl.
Cat, Baby Clara, me

And here I am, right before opening gifts, thanking my lovely shower hostesses and everyone for being there. I was so overwhelmed with love and emotion and pregnancy hormones that I nearly started crying.
me

Our baby girl got so many awesome gifts. And she'll never go naked, lemme tell ya that much.
opening gifts

As I opened gifts, I explained to everyone how I knew the gift giver. As I explained that there were at least seven gals there whom I'd met through blogging, I noted, "See? Not everyone on the internet is crazy!" Later I had to try to explain blogging to my mother, who doesn't use the internet and thinks everything I ever buy online is from eBay ("No, Mom, that's from Old Navy.")

Anyhow, the party ended with adults getting to take home these wonderful favors made by Jenn, which included a cup-a-cake, complete with an amazing gingerbread cupcake inside and personalized notecards. So adorable! And the two babies in attendance got these personalized notecards. I know -- too cute, right???
favors

I had a really great time and am continuously floored by the love our little girl has already received from friends and family. If nothing else, she's going to know that there's no shortage of folks who care about her.

Thanks again, everyone, who spent their Sunday afternoon celebrating with me. And of course oodles and oodles of thanks again to my MIL and Jenn for throwing a stellar bash for Em Dash and me!

"My heart is full and my door's always open. You can come anytime you want." - Maroon 5, She Will Be Loved

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Belated weekend recap

I know it's almost the next weekend, but I've been battling the 3rd trimester exhaustion a bit and haven't felt up to doing more than veg on the couch.

But I'm here now!

And this won't be a full weekend recap - I'm just going to focus on Sunday when Brent and I decided to finally check out The Getty Museum in Malibu. It couldn't have been a more perfect day, in terms of weather, and we were able to score day-of tickets, which are free but have to be reserved.

The museum portion is relatively small, but the grounds are expansive. We walked into the garden and Brent said, "Now is it really too much to ask for something like this in my backyard?"

garden

I preferred the outdoor decor and art more than the indoor stuff myself. Check out the trump l'oeil hallway.
hallway

fake bug

Brent took more pics of the grounds and other stuff he found visually interesting, but I'm just going to share pics of peeps - namely us.
us

me

Outdoor belly

After getting what we call "museum tired" (tiring ourselves out by wandering aimlessly), we headed up the Pacific Coast Highway for some delicious seafood.

We chose Malibu Seafood based on lots of great reviews. We got there just in time because when we left, there was a huge line out the door.
malibu seafood

We hadn't eaten a real meal all day, so we were STARVING. We started with shrimp cocktail.
shrimpcocktail

Then I had some yummy fish and chips.
Fishnchips

And Brent enjoyed fried oysters.
oysters

But I was most pleased with my own catch o' the day lifetime. Heh, heh.
hottie hubby

"So Ryan got promoted to Corporate. Where he is a little fish in a big pond. Whereas back here in Scranton, I am still top dog in a fairly large pond. So who is the real boss? The dog or a fish?" - Michael, The Office

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Daddy likey

I had the honor to be asked by the sweet Daddy Dan to participate in his series of blogger interviews. You can read my interview here.

I'm also privileged to be in the company of other awesome bloggers in his interview series whom I already love, such as Heather and Mike, and Katie. I got to hang out with Heather and Katie at BlogHer. Hopefully we'll get to do it again next year!

Thanks again, Dan, for the bloggy love!

"Michael Bluth was taking his son to an interview at the prestigious Milford Academy, an institution once famous for its credo that children should be 'neither seen nor heard.'" - Narrator, Arrested Development

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bump Watch 2008, 30 weeks, 6 days

This photo features my just-trimmed hair and in anticipation of my SFAM shower.

30 weeks, 6 days
64 days to go!

Liz: Didn't you just get your haircut two days ago?
Jack: I get my haircut every two days. After all, your hair is your head suit.
- 30 Rock

Sunday, August 17, 2008

SFAM shower

As I've mentioned previously, I have the privilege of being a part of a wonderful group of gals I met online while planning our weddings. It's been more than two years now since we first met. And since our first meeting on that message board, they've become more than just my "online friends" - they're like family to me. In fact, as I've blogged about before, our little big group is lovingly referred to as the SFAMily - Sisters From Another Mister.

Coincidentally, there are two of us SFAM members who are not only knocked up, but due in October! So the SFAM was kind enough to host a shower for both California Girl and me at a surprise location, The Peninsula, Beverly Hills.

The girls went all out for this shower, including so many wonderful little details. I found myself at a rare loss for words to express my gratitude.

A special shoutout to Wan, Tater and Lilcee, whom I know worked quite hard on pulling this together. And thanks to Christy for chauffeuring Cali Girl and me to the event!

Now, onto the photos! (Some of these photos were happily taken by WeezerMonkey, as indicated with an *. You can check out her photo recap of the event here.)

Our private room so we could be as loud and giggly as we wanted*:
Table

Flowers to go with the pink and green theme:
flowers

Adorable clotheslines:
clothesline

The settings:
setting

The favors (these were DELICIOUS! Brent and I gobbled them up last night. Must. Get. The. Recipe.):
cookie

The yummy tea treats!*
Treats

The photo guest book, compiled using a portable photo printer at the shower:
Guestbook cover Guestbook

The SFAM working hard on the guest books:
group table

California Girl, the other mom-to-be of honor, and me*
The other mom-to-be

SFAM group shot!*
Group shot

Thanks again, ladies, for a most memorable celebration!

"At the end of my life, when I'
m sitting on my yacht, am I gonna be thinking about how much money I have? No, I'm going to be thinking about how many friends I have, and my children, and my comedy albums. I mean, I have a yacht, so I obviously did pretty well money-wise." - Michael, The Office

Friday, August 15, 2008

Notorious B.A.B.Y.

Things we learned about Em Dash today during a 4-D ultrasound

She has a cute button nose, nice full lips and as the U/S tech pointed out, "a super cute cupid's bow."
Big lips

She has chubby cheeks, not unlike Notorious B.I.G.
Chubby cheeks

She likes to smile and stick out her tongue to taste her amniotic fluid. Little did she know that the 4-D ultrasound would be followed with a trip to The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, giving her plenty more deliciousness to taste.
Smiling

She's very contemplative. See her little hand on her chin? Ah, our little thinker.
Our little thinker

She's approximately 4 glorious lbs, putting her right on track for where she should be at this point.

The ultrasound place was out of paper to give us hard copies of the photos, and apparently they want to try to get us even BETTER photos of Em Dash, so I'm going back next week for a "do over," in addition to the awesomeness we've already seen. We're also getting a DVD of the session set to some of my favorite songs.

If you haven't already guessed, my heart is about to explode. Is it possible to fill it with even MORE love for our little one?

"I never thought through love we'd be making one as lovely as she. But isn't she lovely, made from love?" - Isn't She Lovely?, Stevie Wonder

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Whatever Lola wants

In Tagalog, my mother's native language from the Philippines, "Lola" means "Grandma."

Even though my mom lives relatively close at three hours away, I've still only seen her three times since I've been pregnant. We're close, as mothers and daughters go, but it's not easy to make the time to visit each other. She and her fiance took the train/bus down to LA yesterday to pick up my old car, which used to belong to her. She missed the sporty little car and was eager to take it back after my recent new car purchase.

My mom was super excited to see my expansive belly. She had fun rubbing it, asking why certain portions were harder than others. "Um, I think that might be Em Dash's butt, but I'm not certain," I told her. And she was the first person other than Brent to feel Em Dash move! My mom rubbed my belly, cooing, "Grandma is here." Em Dash kicked in response!

Also, 60% of the time when I summon Brent to watch my moving belly, Em Dash immediately stops, making me the Preggo Who Cried Wolf. "I swear, she was moving!" But when I told my mom to watch last night, Em Dash was cooperative so my mom could see my bare belly jump!

Lastly, in Stupid Baby Tricks, I pulled out our doppler so my mom could hear the rapid heartbeat. She was in definite awe.

I'm so glad Em Dash was "on" last night. I think I filled my mom with enough Grandma-to-be moments to hold her over for a while.

"If you have to have your weapon, at least run it through the grandma test. Take the weapon and hit your grandma with it. If she dies or writes you out of the will, don't bring it!" - Ask A Ninja

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Class, people

Up until recently I've worried more about breastfeeding Em Dash than the actual childbirth portion of the whole process. I hear/watch/read way more about the obstacles of breastfeeding than labor issues, hence its priority in the worry-list.

I mean, really, I just go in, huff and puff a bit, ask for some meds and poof! Out comes Em Dash! ....Right? RIGHT?

Nah, probably not so simple.

Last night was the first of our two-part "prepared childbirth" class at our hospital. While I pride myself on soaking up all the pregnancy/labor/childcare knowledge I can get my grubbly little hands on, I still came away with some interesting childbirth info that I hadn't heard before, such as the huge majority of women who VOMIT during labor (especially during c-sections) because of the pressure on your stomach. And the whole process when the baby turns to face your left or right hip to get its oval head to fit through your oval pelvis. And the three stages of labor with the first stage divided into three mini-stages. Oy vay.

We practiced some techniques to get us through painful contractions. Oh, and she taught our "labor partners" how to massage our legs without annoyance. Sweet!

Overall I enjoyed the class, except for the part where I wanted to punch some of the other parents.

[Warning: uncharacteristic rant ahead]

Similar to how cats seem to know I'm allergic to them and get joy out of rubbing all up on me, I always seem to attract the I-like-to-talk-at-inappropriate-times folks, no matter the situation. To our right was the guy who continued to chat with his wife through the entire three-hour course, asking the instructor obnoxious questions all along the way and making comments about other people's comments or questions. Oh, and with a Bluetooth headset on and in his ear THE ENTIRE TIME. Really? You're THAT important? I don't think so.

The couple to our left couldn't stop giggling. We were supposed to "work through our contraction" yet they continuously burst into laughter, which caused others to laugh (not us). When the instructor asked what was so funny, they had no answer.

Then there was the guy who insisted on fishing out the last teeny tiny crumb from his mini bag of Lay's potato chips. Crinkle, crinkle, crinkle went the bag. Annoying.

Lastly, there was the woman, whom we guess was from some European country. She continued to ask about vaginal deliveries of breech babies, even though her baby isn't breech and the instructor explained again and again that she's be hard-pressed to find a doctor in our hospital or our country who would take the liability of delivering a breech baby vaginally. You could tell the instructor was understandably annoyed when she had to explain for the second or third time that it wasn't going to happen. Ugh.

She showed a couple delivery videos, and there were the few 30-somethings-going-on-5 guys who busted out into, "Ewwwws!" and "Gross!" when they showed the actual birth. Um, did you think your baby was going to come out your wife's ear? Or do you really believe that a stork drops off your nice, clean baby?

And because our class was annoyingly chatty during inopportune moments and wasn't taking the breathing exercises seriously, the instructor did something she said she normally doesn't do -- she gave us HOMEWORK. Thanks a lot, Chatty Charlies and Chatty Cathies. The assignments are very minimal, truthfully, and probably helpful, but still! It's like the entire class skipping recess because Wayne the Pain couldn't keep his trap shut. So not fair.

Of the 18 couples in the class, we learned during the intros that two of them aren't finding out if it's a boy or a girl, two of them are having boys and the remaining 14 couples are having girls! The instructor said it's not often that there's an overwhelming majority of one of the other.

And if it turns out that any of those kids are in Em Dash's classes, I may not let them play together because THEIR PARENTS HAVE NO MANNERS.

"And also, Phyllis, Stanley says that you cry too much and that bugs him." - Michael, The Office

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A baby shower, m'Kay?

Saturday I had the pleasure of attending Kay's baby shower at the lovely home of Jolene. (Seriously, I pink puffy heart Jolene's place!) My other blogger bestie Alyssa was also in attendance as she helped throw the shower.

I got to play with our new camera, so here are some of the gazillion photos I took.

The diaper wreath made by the crafty Jolene Alyssa!
Diaper wreath

Tables and umbrellas

"Naughty" sangria
"Naughty" sangria

"Nice" fruit punch
"Nice" punch

Baby clothesline
Baby clothesline

I tied for first for the celeb baby name game. My prize was a GC to Target!
I win!

Dessert
Dessert

My gift to them: a diaper bag and GC. Strangely, the diaper bag wasn't removed from her registry so she ended up with THREE of them at the shower. Doh! (That's the father-to-be assisting with gifts.)
Opening gifts

When Kay opened this, Alyssa said, "Be sure to show Nanette!" Cupcake! So cute!
Cupcake onesie!

Check out these teeny tiny homemade booties!
Teeny tiny homemade booties

The fabulous girls and I. I normally don't tower over them, but I'm wearing 4-inch platforms here.
Jolene, Kay, me and Alyssa

Kay is about a month ahead of me and absolutely has that pregnancy glow. I'm looking forward to our little girls' play dates!

Congrats, Kay, Steve and Baby R!

"He's been working overtime. I'll tell you why we're here. We're here because some diaper bag downtown's being a jerk and making us work on a Friday night. Am I right, Peter?" - Ray, Ghostbusters II