Monday, September 29, 2008

Bump Watch 2008, 36 weeks, 6 days

Living large, my friends, living large. 20 days to go!

36 weeks, 6 days

And although we still have a few things to do in the nursery (i.e., awaiting the arrival of our crib mattress, putting up crown molding, adding a brown ribbon along the bottom edge of the curtains, art to hang about the changing table, etc.), I want to share our progress so far.

Here's the view when you walk in.

The dresser we're using as a changing table.
changing table

Here is the set of shelves and desk we got from Crate and Barrel. (Don't worry - they're very secured to the wall.)

And the crib with my favorite part of the nursery - the hippo decal we got from Etsy!

It's hard to tell from the pictures, but the walls are a light shade of brown, which contrasts nicely with all the white furniture and pink accents. I adore the way the room turned out, and sometimes I just stand there and stare, imagining what it'll be like to actually use the room when she's here.

"Architecture in general is frozen music." - F.W.J. Schelling

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Breaking out in Hives

A couple of months ago, Brent told me, with a combination of excitement and disappointment in his eyes, "The Hives and the Eagles of Death Metal are playing together! But it's at the end of September so I don't know if you'll be up for going."

I told him we'd wait until closer to the date to see how I feel, and if tix were still available, we'd get them. Not ready to end my pre-baby concert season, I decided to get tix last week.

The show? In a word? AWESOME.

I should have known it was going to be a great show when we ran into one of The Hives' guitarists, Nicholaus Arson, during dinner. I was a big goof and went over to him and the roadie he was eating with to sheepishly say, "We're really excited about your show." He smiled and said, "Thanks," although at the time I wasn't sure if he could understand me because a few of the Swedish band members don't speak English. (We later learned that he does, in fact, speak English.)

Brent and I first learned about the Eagles of Death Metal during a benefit show a few years ago for Hurricane Katrina. The band is an over-the-top garage band. They're rockers who put on a fabulous show. During their set, as Brent was practically on the edge of his seat and I was leaned back, I could tell from the back of Brent's head that he was beaming from ear to ear, enjoying it so much.

Eagles of Death Metal rock so hard that they had TWO, count 'em, TWO drummers during their set, including one of the band's founders, Josh Homme (probably best known as the guitarist/drummer from Queens of the Stone Age).

I didn't bring my good camera with me, but was able to capture a grainy pic with my Blackberry. We lucked out with an awesome view from the front row of the venue's balcony.

The Eagles of Death Metal

Then The Hives hit the stage and again, we were blown away. I can't put into words how awesome they are. There's never a dull moment, and the audience has a blast responding to the lead singer's demand for more cheering.

The Hives

The Hives were the first band we saw after I found out I was pregnant, and I can't imagine a better way to have ended my concert-going excursions.

"Well, from greatness to greatness is where I span. You have me for a moment. Grab on while you can." - Diabolic Scheme, The Hives

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Well, that's a huge noggin. That's a virtual planetoid.

This a.m. I was thinking, "If I wait too long between blog posts, peeps are going to think I went into labor." And wouldn't you know it, today I received a "Haven't heard from you in a while...I hope you're ok" email from the lovely La Petite Chic.

Yup, things are going well. Just been simultaneously busy getting ready for Em Dash's arrival, as well as feeling too tired to open my laptop. Third trimester exhaustion has been worse than the first trimester exhaustion because this time around I'm more uncomfortable. I can't lay on my stomach or back, and getting up off the couch or the bed is akin to a turtle on its back -- there's a lot of momentum required to get my basketball belly in motion.

Since I last wrote, I've continued to put the finishing touches on the nursery. All the newborn and 0-3 months clothing, along with the linens, burp cloths, changing pad and Boppy covers are all washed - in scent-free detergent, of course.

This weekend while visiting my mom, and I rested on her couch, she told my 3-year-old nephew, "Go say 'hi' to the baby." He walked over, gently patted my belly, said "Hi, baby," lifted up my shirt slightly, kissed my belly and rested his ear on it. Seriously, if that doesn't melt your heart then you are dead inside. Heh.

Earlier this week we got our car seat installations inspected via Santa Monica police department's monthly inspection. Brent did a pretty good job installing the bases with both our cars, but they just needed a few tweaks. Plus we learned tips for actually strapping Em Dash into the seat. Oh, and we discovered that there's a special little holder on the underside of the car seat for car seat instructions. Fun! (Seriously!)

Monday evening was our last baby-related class: breastfeeding. I could tell that Brent was hesitant to go, with his continuous "Are you sure husbands need to attend this class?" But I wanted him there so he could potentially remind me of tips, etc., when/if I have a hard time getting Em Dash to latch on and feed correctly. Our classmates weren't as obnoxious as our child birth class, but they weren't as polite as our infant care class folks. There was one couple in particular, who of course were sitting in the row in front of us. They would NOT. STOP. TALKING to each other. Two and a half of ours of constant chatter? Might as well have been water torture for me. At one point the wife even said to the instructor, "Wait, can you repeat that? I missed it." Well, no shit, Sherlock. You can't hear other folks when you don't shut your trap. And when the instructor was talking about how employers are required by law to provide you with an adequate place to breastfeed, the wife piped up, jokingly, "What if you work for your husband?" Hardy, har, har. Why don't you take that act on the road, dear? And it's no wonder you have to work for your husband - I'm betting no employer in their right mind would have you.

I digress.

Yesterday we had a growth ultrasound to get an idea of how much Em Dash weighs.

Ultrasound tech: She's approximately 7 lbs., 2 ozs., give or take 8 ozs.

Me: Umm...

Tech: So with two weeks left, and approximately 1/2 a lb. a week, that means she'll probably be around 8 lbs.

Me: Actually, I'm only 36 weeks, so I have four weeks left.

Tech: [eyes bulging] Ooohhh...

Me: Holy crap! That's a big baby!

Tech: [nodding head in agreement]

I'm not 100% convinced that she's going to come out huge, especially considering that my friend who went to the same practice was told that her baby was going to be 8 lbs... and she came out just over 6 lbs. But then again, I won't be surprised if she's as big as they predict. I do hope to get some use out of the newborn-size clothes we have.

The doctor didn't seem concerned by the weight estimation at all. According to her, we're still on track for the Oct. 19 due date, although she was sure to point out all the signs that could mean I'm in labor and how to determine when I should come into the hospital. We also pre-registered for our eventual arrival to labor and delivery, so thankfully there will be no (or less) paperwork to fill out.

I've always felt like Em Dash is going to arrive a week earlier than her due date, simply because she's always measured a week ahead. But now I'm wondering if she might make an even earlier appearance. She's head down, which the doctor was excited to hear. I don't know if she's "dropped" yet, but the ultrasound tech said that she's so far down that she couldn't get a picture of her face. I haven't had any contractions, other than the standard uncomfortable but not painful Braxton Hicks contractions, but now I won't be surprised if the real things start soon. That's a potentially big baby in there, so who knows what could happen when?

So, I'm preparing for work stuff with that in mind. At home we're basically ready for her arrival, but now I need to "nest" at work to get everything ready in case of an early departure on my part.

So much going on!

"Look at the size of that boy's head... I'm not kidding, it's like an orange on a toothpick... Has its own weather system." - Stuart Mackenzie, So I Married an Axe Murderer

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bump Watch 2008, 35 weeks, 4 days

One... month... left! My due date, Oct. 19, is one month away! Here is my not-so-weekly belly photo, which was taken in a rush this morning so forgive the lack of polish. You'd be surprised how many times I make Brent retake photos until there's one I'm content with. Oh, and this is how I wear my hair when I don't feel like blow drying it.

35 weeks, 4 days

Brent and I continue to prepare for Em Dash's arrival. Saturday the rest of our condo (minus the bedrooms) is getting painted, so I'm going up to visit my mom to avoid the fumes. A few more finishing touches on the nursery and we'll be all set. I've been picking up the last little things we'll need (toiletries, newborn onesies, my first pack of diapers - whee!) before she gets here.

A lot of folks have been asking us about Em Dash's name. It usually goes something like, "Have you guys decided on a name yet?" followed quickly by "Iknowyou'renottelling,soI'mnotexpectingyoutoTELLmethename. I'mjustwondering."

The answer? No, we have not decided on a name. But we are close. We have one solid front runner, with a few runner-ups. And tonight on our way home from dinner, I brought up the front runner. Hilariously, when I said the name, Em Dash kicked me really, really hard (but not painfully). We don't know if that was in agreement or protest, but I had tears in my eyes from laughter.

Lastly, after months of going back and forth with our HR team, I've finalized the timing for my maternity leave today. I'm planning to work as long as I'm comfortable because the more time I take before Em Dash arrives, the less time I'll have with her when she's actually here. So, as of now with my Oct. 19th due date in mind, my leave will start Oct. 15th and end Feb. 23! That's more than four months with our baby girl! And it could be an additional month if I end up having a C-section (which I really, really, really want to avoid).

All this time is a combination of my company's generous maternity leave, as well as 6 weeks of California's Paid Family Leave, something that my Toronto-based HR team was not familiar with. So after educating myself, I had to educate them. Then there was some back and forth as we debated my eligibility and how the Leave worked with what my company already offered. But it's all settled now, and I'm super excited to have the opportunity to have so much time with Em Dash!

"Listen to me... If every woman who wanted a steak was pregnant, they'd sell maternity wear at Sizzler's." - Lucy, 7th Heaven

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pretty in pink... or not

Me: I ordered the cutest little outfit from Old Navy for the baby! It's a fleece suit with animal ears!!! It's pink and...


Me: Um...

Brent: Seriously! I'm already overloaded on pink!

Me: Ok. Not everything I ordered is pink, I promise!

monkey set


Me: But there's still a little pink...

peace, love, rock & roll


"Pink Hearts, Yellow Moons, Green Clovers, and Orange Stars - that leprechaun's on acid!" - Black Gallagher, Chappelle's Show

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Busy weekend wrap-up

This was a very productive weekend.

Friday night we headed down to Irvine to catch Maroon 5 with co-headliners Counting Crows. We arrived in the middle of CC's set. It was interesting to watch the hardcore CC fans. It's not often that I go to a show where I don't know all the songs. Peeps were into it, and it was fun to see what I must look like to others when the acts I love hit the stage.

M5 was awesome, as always. That's the last scheduled concert I have before Em Dash's arrival, although there's a chance that I may catch one more show in a couple weeks, depending on how I feel.

Saturday we had a painter come by to paint the nursery. It looks great! I'll share pics once it's all put together, which will be soon, soon, soon.

Although we used low-VOC paint, I still didn't want to sit around in the fumes, so we went to my in-laws'. There we assembled baby stuff. Brent installed the car seat while I put together the stroller frame and the baby bouncer.

We went for dinner at a nearby restaurant called Honey's Kettle Kitchen for some fried chicken. I was expecting a delicious dinner and great experience after reading a recent review in Los Angeles Magazine, noting it was the best fried chicken around.

We had an awful experience. In a nutshell, we waited 30 minutes after ordering our food at a counter. And the staff was less than apologetic. I'll spare you the details, but you can read my full scathing review on Yelp if you're interested.

After dinner we came home and Brent assembled some more nursery furniture, namely our new desk and shelves.

This morning Brent put together the last of our nursery stuff - the crib! So exciting! With everything assembled, I organized a ton of Em Dash's stuff. Everything is coming together so nicely. I'm excited to put the finishing touches on and finally share all our hard work with you!

"Prepare your mind to receive the best that life has to offer." - Ernest Holmes

Friday, September 12, 2008

Daddy's girl

I think this is the only photo I've seen of my parents when they were expecting. (That's me in her belly!)
Dad, Mom (and the belly)

If it's not obvious, he was trying to get my mom to pose for the camera. She was a hesitant participant.

It's funny to think what my parents must have gone through as they prepared for my arrival. They were young. My dad was 23, my mom was 21. He was in the Air Force, my mom was a stay-at-home wife. They certainly didn't take any classes or research nearly as much as Brent and I have in anticipation of our daughter's arrival.

My mom was not a comfortable pregnant woman. She had horrific morning sickness. Her 87-lb. frame probably freaked out once a baby was thrown into the mix. She craved steak and lobster all the time. And she made my dad quit smoking in preparation for my arrival -- a FABULOUS idea, if I do say so, especially since he never started up again.

I don't remember much of my youngest days, obviously, but I do know that my dad loved being a daddy.

He was kind and loving. He taught me how to find the fun in the mundane. He was silly and made bad jokes. He taught me to appreciate music, both as a musician and a fan. He passed down his love of food. He taught me that it didn't matter if I was the best in school as long as I tried my best. He also taught me not to sweat the small stuff, something I apply to my life every. single. day.

Five years ago today he was taken from us, but his spirit lives on in so many ways.

"A sweet thing, for whatever time, to revisit in dreams the dear dad we have lost." - Euripides

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Braces, belts and blue - oh my!

Last night after posting, I organized a bunch of Em Dash's clothes to figure out what stuff I wanted to wash in preparation for her arrival. I sorted everything else and organized it in her closet, which we emptied out over the weekend. I was on my feet for 30-45 minutes before I looked down and saw that not only were my ankles swollen (no big surprise), but my feet were blue! Where my toes connected to the rest of my foot were two bands of blue (pretty much where flip-flops would cover, but I was barefoot).

I wasn't sure if it was a simple side effect from the foot massage earlier in the night, a strange but typical pregnancy thing or a sign of something I should worry about. I contemplated my options for a few minutes then decided to call my OB's after-hours number to talk to a doc on call. Within a few minutes one called me back. She said that as long as my feet weren't numb (they weren't), then not to worry about it. Coincidentally I had a check-up scheduled for today, so that put my mind at ease. She said that the doc today would take a look at me and we could discuss further.

At my appointment today, the other doc also said it's normal, especially when there's fluid retention. In fact, he looked at my feet and said, "They're actually a little blue now." But apparently it's nothing to worry about. Phew.

I talked to him about other pregnancy pain. I've been having some pain and numbness in random fingers in the middle of the night and the morning. He confirmed my suspicions - it's pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel, which again is perfectly normal. He suggested I wear wrist braces to bed to keep my wrists straight and promote circulation to my fingers to prevent the pain I've been feeling. It really is a wonder that pregnancy doesn't make a woman's toes and fingers fall off from lack of circulation.

On my way home from the appointment I stopped at Babies R Us to get a maternity belt, something that was recommended to me by my doctor a few weeks ago when I mentioned some pelvic pain I've been having. Apparently that's from the pressure of the baby's weight, and a maternity belt will relieve some of that by supporting my belly.

All I need is a helmet and I'll have a full suit of pregnancy armor!

I also asked the doc about Brent's traveling. He works in his company's San Francisco office two days a week, so he's been gone one night a week. Coincidentally he received the job offer the exact same day we found out I was pregnant in January, so they knew that his travel would be temporary. The doc didn't have any thoughts on a specific date for Brent to stop traveling, but he mentioned that most babies arrive anywhere from four weeks before to one week after the due date. That means that, in theory, Em Dash could arrive in TWO WEEKS! Whoa... just... whoa. Em Dash, darling, please take your time baking. We're close to being ready, but we're still not there yet. Eeek!

"You know, even though I had to wear that stupid back brace and you were kind of fat, we were still totally cutting edge." - Michelle, Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

This and that

This evening I had to drag myself up from a nap to make it to my prenatal massage appointment. I know, tough life, right? The massage was even better than last time, especially since she worked on my swollen feet a bit. It felt soooo nice.

A co-worker mentioned to me that Jack in the Box has a new tasty treat called mac bites, which are basically bits of mac n cheese fried in a tempura-like batter. So I picked some up on the way home for dinner. They were delicious, but I don't think I'd go for the large size again. There is such a thing as too much fried goodness.

I topped my night off with the new CW show, Privileged. While I can't get past how much the lead looks like my beautiful blogger pal, Heather, I'm digging the premise. (Someone described it as Gilmore Girls meets Gossip Girl, neither of which I've watched.) I'll check it out again next week.

Anyone watch True Blood on HBO? I'm not in love with it yet, but I did enjoy it and look forward to seeing what they do next week. I also think Bill the Vampire is easy on the eyes, a sort of scruffy Paul Rudd. Rawr.

I'm adding lots of new shows to my TV repertoire seeing as how this fall I'll be spending a lot of time in front of the TV while feeding Em Dash. I imagine I won't be able to do much with a baby attached to me, but it'll be worth it.

"If a vampire bat was in the U.S., it would make sense for it to come to a “-sylvania.” Like Penn-sylvania. Now that doesn’t mean that Jim is going to become a vampire. Only that he carries the vampiric germ." - Dwight, The Office

Sunday, September 07, 2008

There's a hole in this cake!

Saturday was our Infant Care class, which I was looking forward to because, quite frankly, Brent and I haven't taken care of a lot of babies. And there was that "incident" from three years ago, straight out of a sitcom, that stands out in my head. (Short story: we babysat for some friends of ours and ended up putting her diaper on backward. Oops. I also didn't mention the part where we had to stand her up to put it on in the first place. Double oops.) So I was ready to learn more about taking care o' babies.

The class was from 10-1. I must admit that I was riveted. In the pregnant state that I am, my bathroom trips are more frequent, but I had to hold it 'cuz I was so interested in everything she had to say. I especially enjoyed her opening slide show that included all the ways our baby may look when she makes her grand entrance (stork bites, baby acne, newborn rash, blue hands or feet, dry skin, etc. -- all sorts of stuff that might freak out a new parent).

We learned how to swaddle, how to dress and undress the baby, tips for changing the diaper, tips for feeding, carrying the baby, putting the baby down for the night, how to tell if the baby is sick, etc.

I think Brent got a lot out of the class, too, despite his being a little creeped out by the disapproving look of our fake baby.

Disapproving fake baby

Best of all? The class was free of the idiot parents from our childbirth class. No stupid questions, no one talking just to hear themselves talk. All in all, the three hours went by quite quickly and I'm feeling at least a little more prepared.

Our class was right around the corner from a new bakery that I was dying to try. How excited was I? Well, the night before I actually dreamt about trying it. Sad, but true. I think the pun-filled name alone was enough to draw me in.

The place is called Kiss My Bundt!
Kiss my bundt!

As you may imagine, they feature bundt cakes of all sizes and flavors. They were offering free samples of their baby bundts (or maybe the mini bundts? I'm not 100% sure). We ordered three to take home in addition to the two samples we tried.

We had the red velvet, carrot, lemon drop, chocolate chocolate and chocolate with buttercream. Brent noted that they were a lot like cupcakes, but with less frosting. I thought they were quite good, especially the red velvet. I believe they were $2.50 each, and probably three bites worth. (More if you use a fork rather than picking it up like a cupcake.) I don't know if I'll run back there again, especially as it's a bit of a trek, but if I'd stop by again if I were in the neighborhood.

After picking up some bundts, we headed to another bakery, but this time for sandwiches. It's a place called La Maison Du Pain, which Brent had tried and enjoyed a couple times previously. All the baked goods, especially the breads, looked AMAZING. If I didn't have a box full of bundts, I would have picked up some other goodies to go, especially the macaroons and the creme brulee and the..., you get the picture. Instead we stuck with sandwiches. Brent had a chicken sandwich while I had the tuna on olive bread. So delicious.

My sandwich.

Tuna sandwich on olive bread

The rest of the weekend was filled mostly with organizing and cleaning, especially in our future nursery. (Oh, and some naps for me.) The nursery will get painted on Saturday, which then means Brent can assemble the crib, desk and shelves while I organize all the clothes and goodies in preparation for Em Dash's arrival. So excited!

"Only those who look with the eyes of children can lose themselves in the object of their wonder." - Eberhard Arnold

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Bump Watch 2008, 33 weeks, 4 days

33 weeks, 4 days

45 days left until Em Dash's arrival!

Today my co-worker returned to work after a week off and said to me, "Wow! You really popped while I was gone!" It's funny 'cuz I was thinking the same thing. I spend my evenings at home waddling around in a maternity sleep bra (aka a sports bra designed to keep your massive boobs from flopping around too much while sleeping, with a less constricting band around the bottom) and shorts. Brent sometimes stop mid-sentence because of my belly to say, "Holy crap, you are PREGNANT!"

I find myself bumping into things with my belly more often, forgetting that I've grown so much horizontally. Leaning over to grab something off the counter or picking something off the floor of my car...heck, even trying to put pants on in the morning - I have to bend my legs differently. It's so strange, yet freakin' hilarious.

And over the past week or so, Em Dash has started getting the hiccups. I was starting to worry about her because she HADN'T had them yet. (Just one of many things a pregnant woman could be paranoid about.) I was worried that her little parts in charge of hiccups weren't developing correctly, so I was relieved when she finally got them. They feel so different from her typical kicks and pushes. It's movement from deep within my belly, continous movements that I can feel much more while laying on my back than on either of my sides. Brent can easily feel and see them, too.

One of the few things my mom remembers from her pregnancy with me is that I'd often get hiccups in the middle of the night. Hasn't happened to me yet, but Em Dash does tend to get them right when I lay down to sleep.

In not-so-fun pregnancy news, good-bye ankles, hello cankles. Boooo. I'm actually typing this with my feet in a foot bath in the hopes of reducing the swelling. And I regularly wrap my ankles in ice packs. Swelling can suck it!

"There was that law of life, so cruel and so just, that one must grow or else pay more for remaining the same." - Norman Mailer

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Belated recap

- The gorgeous wedding of Randi and Mike! I love all the little details they put into the wedding, and I got to see hottie hubby in a yarmulke! (All the boys wore them.)
Hottie hubby in a yarmalke

- Long overdue dinner w/ Josh and Jami.
- Talked to their babysitter, a high school senior, about how technology has changed high school since I was there. She told me about how her teachers have websites where they post notes from class, assignments, etc. And kids can upload assignments via a special site that determines if content was plagiarized from classmates or other assignments in the database. My, how times have changed.

- Got a message from justJENN that said, "Will you be home? I want to drop something off." I thought, "Oooh, baked goods! Baked goods!" And I was right! Check out these ingenious bad boys!
Domo cupcakes

It's Domo Kun, whom I adore! I had to take a picture of a cupcake with one of my Domo dolls! (Yes, I have more than one Domo doll.)

- Went to IKEA to pick up the dresser that will double as our changing table, which was the last piece of furniture we needed to complete the nursery!
- Organized shower gifts, including all the clothes given to us and what I've purchased. She's going to have to be like an Oscars hostess and go through four outfits in a day to get through them all. Not that that's a bad thing!

- Brent, his bro and I discovered an AMAZING breakfast place in West LA. After eating, Brent turned to me and said, "Don't tell anyone about this place!" aka "Don't blog about this!" Sorry, folks. You'll have to search for it yourself. Heh.
- Met up with Alyssa, her awesome husband Rob, and another couple of really nice friends of theirs for dinner at Noodle Planet.
- Dinner was followed by an awesome Jack Johnson show at UCLA. Alyssa is a HUGE Jack fan, and I've always liked him but hadn't had a chance to see him until now. He puts on a great show, which was even better because of the wonderful company.
Alyssa and me

- We had our handy man over and spent Labor Day laboring. He installed the dishwasher that Brent thought he could install himself (but was wrong), hooked up the ice and filtered water features on our new fridge (FINALLY!), fixed a broken light fixture and started to install the light/ceiling fan in our nursery. He finished up today, so now the room is ready to be painted!
- The timing for all this home renovation is ironic because I think I've found myself in full on nesting mode, which means I was following our handy man around with a broom and dustpan like a mad woman.
- Brent assembled our dresser/changing table!
Dresser/changing table

Because IKEA doesn't necessarily sell heirloom pieces, we weren't that surprised when one of the drawers didn't seem to close all the way. Brent figured out some wonky fix with a simple piece of paper. He was SO excited at his ingenuity that he screamed, "TAKE A PICTURE OF THIS! WOO HOO!" So I did!
Brent's quick fix

And that was our long weekend!

"Werewolf bar mitzvah, spooky scary. Boys becoming men, men becoming wolves." - Tracy, 30 Rock

Monday, September 01, 2008

Tore up from the floor up




I am beyond exhausted but I don't want the blogosphere to think I've given up on it, so here's a pic to hold you over. It's from Randi and Mike's beautiful Thursday evening wedding. The hit of the party was a photobooth they rented. Such a step up from the Polaroid guestbook we had at ours! And so much fun!

Click on the photo for some narrative notes.

Brent and I in the photobooth

A full long-weekend recap coming soon!

"One should never criticize his own work except in a fresh and hopeful mood. The self-criticism of a tired mind is suicide." - Charles Horton Cooley