Saturday, December 29, 2012

Good Day Sunshine

I hadn't planned on such a long blog hiatus, but between the madness of our Portland-to-Los-Angeles road trip, securing our rental home, moving into the rental home, waiting a week to get our internet installed, celebrating Christmas and prepping for the baby, blogging fell to the wayside.

Our roadtrip down was great, but tiring. Instead of a straight 18+ hours, we split it up over a few days. We left Portland after Em's last day at preschool and headed down to Ashland, OR, which I immediately recognized as home to the famous Shakespeare Festival.
Bye, Oregon!

We arrived late that evening and awoke to a happy surprise dusting of snow the next morning. It was a nice send-off. I always loved the little bit of snow we got in Portland.
Ashland, OR snow

Before leaving town, we enjoyed a gigantic breakfast at a popular breakfast spot called Morning Glory.
Lemon riccotta stuffed french toast

Breakfast

We were surprised to see that the city is one of the few, if not only, cities in Oregon with a city-approved sales tax. It caught me off guard when I noticed it on the bill, but then I thought of it as a way to transition ourselves back to the state of sales tax.

Then we headed down to see Brent's family in Walnut Creek, CA.
Headed back to Cali

We spent one night with his aunt and had a great time with his extended family there, including the 4th birthday of his cousin's son. Em LOVES superheroes and was enamored with the Captain America & Spider-Man who came to entertain the kiddos.
At her cousin's Spider-Man birthday party. Mind blown.

It was so fun to see Em interact with all her cousins (and one of their friends).
With cousins

We then went to San Jose to visit our friends, Matt, Nicole and their son, who as sweet as sweet can be! Em had such a great time playing with him. 
Kiddos

Check out their most amazing drinks fridge! Something for everyone, and it's like that ALL. THE. TIME!
Our friends' amazing drink fridge

They also showed us this amazing holiday light display in their neighborhood -- a Santa & his sleigh, which spanned half a dozen houses! 
Ho, ho, ho

From San Jose we drove straight through to Los Angeles. I'm glad we broke up our roadtrip the way we did to catch up with friends and family, but man, oh man, are we sick of the inside of my car.

Em did great in the car, and at one point exclaimed, "What's that big red thing in the sky, behind the clouds?!"

We laughed and explained that she was admiring the sun. Between that and her complaining about how bright it is here in LA, it looks like that she was more acclimated to Portland than we thought. 

It's nice to be back, though. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bump Watch 2012: 32 Weeks

No pic this week because it's Moving Central around here and I'm a hot mess, visually. Maybe a little mentally, too, but definitely visually.

That hasn't stopped the comments from strangers, though. And I mean in a good way, like the sweet Salvation Army bell ringer who made a big "C"-shaped motion with his hand over his own belly and said, "Congratulations!" Or the packing guy today who excitedly asked if we were having a boy or a girl.

It's never wise to assume a girl is pregnant. That was always my biggest fear when I wasn't pregnant. Gah, the potential embarrassment for everyone! However, when a gal IS actually present, or maybe I'm just speaking on my own behalf, it's fun to be noticed and confirm, no, it's not just pudge, it's a BABY IN THERE!

And it's the baby in there that's causing me a wee bit o' back pain and threats of swelling in my ankles. This is about when the infamous cankles started with Em's pregnancy, which I'd loooove to avoid this time around. One can dream.

On the doctor front, I think I've found a new one. I stressed over prioritizing/ranking all the wonderful recommendations from my LA friends, and finally decided who I wanted to go with. Once my inquiries to their offices about their availability to take on new patients and if they accepted our insurance began, I quickly discovered it wasn't going to be an easy switch. Doctors apparently don't like pregnancies as far as long as I am, reportedly because they don't make as much money as they do with a start-to-finish pregnancy. Three of the four docs I called wouldn't take me because I'm too far along, and the fourth one accepted my insurance but was the only one in her practice of four who would. I had no idea how'd that work if she weren't available when I actually delivered.

So I reached out to a very highly regarded doc in my circle of friends, but who might only deliver at the not-so-convenient hospital where I had Em. She WILL take me on, she accepts my insurance, and another friend said there's a rumor she's about to start delivering at one of the other hospitals I like, not that that matters at this point, really. I'm waiting to confirm my first appointment, but otherwise I think we'll be good. That's a sweet relief and one less stressful thing I can take off my to-do list.

The movers are coming tomorrow to pick up all of our stuff, which was packed today. After Em's done at preschool for the day (and there forever, sniff), we're going to begin our roadtrip down to Los Angeles, stopping along the way to see friends and family in Northern California. Hard to believe that we'll be back in Los Angeles by early next week! And there are only eight weeks left until Mimi's due date!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Bump Watch 2012: 31 Weeks

31 weeks. Large and in charge. #pregnancy #31weeks

Brent's out of town for his new job, so it's a self-portrait week. 

I had my last appointment with my midwife here in Portland. She confirmed my suspicions that Mimi is head down, which is awesome, particularly if she stays that way for the next 10 weeks. I can't imagine that it's comfortable to be on your head for that long, though, but maybe that's just me. I've been feeling 90% of the movements at the top of my belly (her legs/feet), with just a few from her head/arms lower down. 

I was sad to leave my midwife today. She's amazing, and a local friend adores her and the delivery she did for her, too. I wasn't planning to go the midwife route, but when I made my first appointment at the practice before I got pregnant, they paired me with her instead of one of their OBs. I connected with her right away and decided to stick with her for my pregnancy.

As a result, I'm now rethinking my delivery options in Los Angeles. With Em, I went with the OB practice/hospital I'd been with before getting pregnant. While Em's delivery was fine, looking back I realize that my doc was a little fast to recommend a vacuum delivery. That part of my delivery contributed to a huge bruise on Em's head, which in turn contributed to Em's jaundice. I also like the idea of a more personal connection with my doc. With Em, I rotated through the numerous OBs in the practice and then whomever was on-call when I went into labor delivered Em.

So I've been interrogating many of my LA mom pals to find out about their experiences with docs at the other three nearby hospitals. I'm sure it'd be fine if I ended up where I had Em, especially since I'm more aware of what I want, but I'm doing my due diligence regardless.

The search for a doctor is yet another thing to pile on top of our solidifying a move date (end of next week), a moving company (the same folks who moved us up here, fittingly), a rental home in LA (getting pretty close), and planning our road trip from Portland down to Southern California. I'm trying to keep zen about the whole thing, although on the inside I'm kind of feeling like this:


It'll all come together, though, and I keep telling myself that it's better to do this with a toddler and while pregnant than a toddler AND a newborn. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

NaBloPoMo No More!

On the last day of November I'm excited to see that I made it through NaBloPoMo -- National Blog Post Month -- without missing a day.

I think I've earned the right to phone it in a little more than usual today because I'm in the middle of hosting my oldest and dearest friend, Shelby, with her first trip away from her family.

We're having a blast and I'm beyond excited that she's here.

Happy end of November indeed!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Adventures with Buddy

Buddy, our elf, has been busy.

Get yer motor running. Head out on the highway. Looking for adventure. #elfontheshelf

Chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool #elfontheshelf

Listen, baby. Ain't no mountain high, ain't no valley low. #elfontheshelf

I wanna rock n roll all night, and party every day! #elfontheshelf 

And the one I'll have the hardest time topping...
  "Buddy, I want you to draw me like one of your French girls." #elfontheshelf 
"Buddy, I want you to draw me like one of your French girls."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

ZooLights

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of bundling up our little family and attending ZooLights, a special event held at the Oregon Zoo, where they go all out in decking the zoo halls with lights galore, amongst other festivities.

Even the entrance gives you a taste of the pretty that's to come.
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Zoo lights!
This corridor of lights was probably my favorite spot in the entire zoo.

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We tried our first elephant ear (think giant, flattened churro) and enjoyed it while watching a local school choir performance. I also highly recommend grabbing a cup of hot cocoa (or in our case, two).

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Em was enamored by the choir and later said it was one of her favorite parts of the evening. "I liked the kids singing on the stage and the guy playing the piano!"

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The elephant ear stand is conveniently located near the elephant exhibit, so after the performance we headed over and caught a glimpse of one of the elephants. I doubt this was the pregnant one, but one of the elephants is currently in active labor right now! (By the way, elephant pregnancies are 18-23 months. And I thought 40 weeks for a human pregnancy seemed like forever.)

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We loved the light animals throughout the zoo, especially the animatronic ones like above and below.

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Em gazed longingly at this lit cottage.

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ZooLights offers a few different packages, including one that includes a ride on this train throughout the zoo. You can see plenty of lights throughout the zoo without the train, but there are some that you can only see from the train. And the train ride ranked way up there on Em's favorite parts of the evening. When we told her about the train ride earlier in the day, that's all she could talk about from then on.

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We ended our night with a walk through the zoo's gift shop, where we picked up a tasty piece of fudge and admired this adorable exit/entrance just for kiddos.

IMAG0694 IMAG0696
It's like we had a sudden glimpse of Em as an adult!

While we were comped our tickets to this event as part of the ZooLights' media nights, it's worth the price of admission to enjoy the sights of the ZooLights. And be sure to bundle up from head to toe -- hats, gloves, the works. It's gorgeous but chilly!

The event runs nightly until Dec. 31, excluding Dec. 24-25. We went on opening night and it wasn't packed, although I hear that weekends can be kind of crowded so aim for a weeknight if you can. More info here, and a schedule of featured performers here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bump Watch 2012: 30 Weeks

30 weeks

Thirty weeks, folks! While I've been in the 3rd trimester for a couple weeks now, hitting 30 weeks is a bit wild to me because that means out of the 40 typical weeks of pregnancy, I'm 3/4ths of the way there! It's just another fun way to look at numbers and think about how the time has passed.

I've cut back my number of weekly Zumba classes, mainly because thanks to my SPD, I spend the night after a class feeling like I got kicked in the pelvis. I've been trying to make it once or twice a week, and I'm about to try to pick up a Nia class, which is like tai chi meets yoga meets something else low-impact and good for a pregnant body. We'll see how much I can fit in before we move in a few weeks.

I'm feeling behind on the baby gear we need to pick up before Mimi gets here, but I'm excited about the diaper bag I ordered a few months ago. I about lost my mind when I saw that my fav diaper bag line (and former client), Ju-Ju-Be, partnered with tokidoki, one of my fav handbag lines. I decided on this bag (in the black/white/blue combo). Whenever I get compliments on my tokidoki handbags, I tell them about the diaper bag I'm excited to use, and people tend to get giddy on my behalf because really, it's such a cute line.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Adding a new addition to a family can bring about a lot of introspection about goals, hopes and dreams. You may wonder how life will change, if you're where you're supposed to be, and who you want by your side to get there.

More often than not, you realize you are exactly where you want to be.

Or in our case, you realize that it might be time to pack up and head back to familiar waters and be closer to family.

All this to say -- we're moving back to Los Angeles.

With Mimi's upcoming arrival and a look at our life here in Portland, we've decided now is the time to uproot again. We're beyond blessed that Brent and his skillset are in high demand. He recently accepted a wonderful job, so sometime in December we're going to head back down south for good.

Em arrived two weeks before her due date, and if Mimi is anything like her sister, that means she could very well be here before January is over. Thankfully, it looks like we'll be able to get back to Los Angeles by Christmas, with just enough time to get settled before she makes her debut.

The decision wasn't easy. There's so much we're going to miss about this city and our life here. We've made some really great friends and love Portland's whole "vibe" -- the big backhanded compliment is that Portland is where young people go to retire. There are pros and cons that go along with that. And there are pros and cons to living in Los Angeles, which we've experienced firsthand but are excited to head back to.

This little one is excited, too
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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Weekend Recap: I Mustache You a Question, But I'll Shave It for Later

Ah, a lovely long weekend comes to a close.

Minus the part where Em got sick (she was back to normal the next day), we had a laid back and silly time. 
All her idea
"Mommy, let's have mustaches. Daddy, take a picture!"

Don't break the ice
Don't break the ice.

Gorgeous sugar cookies
We used our two American Express cards to support Small Business Saturday, where they credit your statement $25 for each qualifying card used at small businesses. We had breakfast at our new favorite spot, and we took home these fancy sugar cookies from its bakery. The ninja was mine. The owl was Em's. 

Daddy's dinnertime doodles
We used our second card for a delicious dinner at Screen Door, where Brent whipped out this little doodle of him and Em. 

Refreshing my knitting skills.
I took a beginner's knitting class this morning at a sweet yarn shop to refresh my skills. I forgot what I learned back in 2006, and I've been itching to pick it up again. I would love to work up to making sweet little hats for Em and Mimi, which the knitting teacher said is a great next step once you've mastered the basic techniques. 

I wish the Wavy Hair Fairy would visit ME at night. #jealousmom

It was a brisk fall day but we stepped out to enjoy a bit of the sunshine. I may have also enjoyed fawning over Em's waves, which gets even prettier in the wet Portland weather. She and I were playing with a tape measure yesterday and I measured her hair -- it's 20" long! It's getting close to dangerous bathroom territory, so we'll be heading back to the stylist soon. We'll see how much I'm willing to part with this time.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Guess who's back, back again. Buddy's back. Tell a friend.

Last night our Elf On The Shelf, Buddy, made his triumphant return. Em had asked about him over the past week or so, after spotting his "friends" in Barnes & Noble, as well as featured as a float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

We slyly pulled out the book for bedtime, and after Brent read it to her, we pointed out that Buddy was already here. She spotted him hanging out in her lamp.

 Guess who's back? Back again... #elfontheshelf 

"How'd he get there, mama?"

"He's so silly!"

"Aw, Buddy!"

Then this morning she gasped in delight when she spotted him in the living room. 

"He's on the bell! Buddy!"

  His first morning

We had a lot of fun staging adventures for him last year. We'll see what kind of mischief he gets into, although I didn't realize how early Thanksgiving was this year. We have a lot of nights for him to get into trouble, so I'm not sure how often I'll get more elaborate than moving him from place to place. Tonight at bedtime Em wondered aloud, "I wonder where he'll be tomorrow! Maybe in the decorations!"

Meanwhile, I woke up this morning and made a solid decision not to take personal offense to friends' comments about how "creepy" this tradition is. As you can see above, Em is obviously not scared or scarred by his presence. I may not change anyone's mind about it, so I'm not going to bother putting anymore thought or energy into trying. Our gal loves it. I don't mind doing it. And I don't fault any parent who doesn't want to do it for their kids. 

'Tis the season to be jolly about our little friend. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Annual Awwwww

It's hard to believe, but it was a little over a year ago when Em began her preschool career.

Then:
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Now:
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She started off one day a week, based on her school's availability, and slowly built up to full-time as more days opened up. She adores it, and we love watching her thrive there. 

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Em has definitely become more social over the last year. We laugh (and sometimes cringe) at the stuff she picks up from her preschool pals -- silly songs, fun additions to her drawings, obsessions with words like "poop." 

We also love the chance to watch her interact with kids her age. It's another glimpse into how her evolving mind works, and it's one of our favorite parenting perks. 

She started preschool a little over a year ago. Then and now.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

Today and always I'm thankful for these two.

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bump Watch 2012: 29 Weeks

[insert adorable bump picture here]

On Tuesdays or Wednesdays, at the lastest, I try to put a little more effort into my hair, make-up and ensemble -- all in the name of my weekly Bump Watch. I was adorable today, you guys. I had a morning appointment with my midwife, so it was a planned two-for-one pay-off in the grooming department. Nice for her, nice for my blog. 

The appointment was great, but then we got a little derailed with Em's first time sent home early from daycare/preschool due to illness. We are beyond blessed that she's rarely ever sick. She's only had one noticeable stomach issue before today, last month when my mom might've stuffed her with a little too much string cheese and other goodies from Grandma's. Not sure if that necessarily counts. Anyhow, Em had an unfortunate episode at school, and I'm currently trying to come up with ways to apologize to the poor teacher who was on the receiving end of said episode.  Em's been on the brink, if ya catch my drift, at home, but hasn't done anything more than sleep, refuse most foods/drinks and insist on more of her fav shows/movies. But I got sidetracked watching over her today, forgot about my weekly bump picture and didn't realize it until after I changed into pjs. 

Hence, no pic. 

Brent has been a saint, insisting that I limit my contact with Em because the last thing we need in addition to a wonky-stomached kid in the house is a wonky-stomached pregnant lady in the house. 

Thankfully tomorrow's plans are just to lay low at home instead of traveling. We were considering a nice dinner out, but now we're going to nosh on a few Trader Joe's Thanksgiving dishes instead. 

In pregnancy news, I'm now on the every-two-weeks appointment schedule. I passed my gestational diabetes test (a result of 108, well below my midwife's 135 cut-off for the 3-hour test), but the blood samples also showed that I'm a wee bit anemic so we've added iron to my vitamin regimen. Could be much worse, of course. 

I thought I had some other relatively interesting pregnancy updates for you, but my mind is a bit derailed. It could be the sick kiddo or it could be my pregnancy brain not-so-hard at work. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Taking Our Show On The Road


Thank you, thank you. We'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip your waitress!

(At the end she's asking to watch the video we just recorded.)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Blogging in Sick

I had an awful night sleep last night and woke up with a cold.

I'd typically hit the hard meds, like Dayquil/Nyquil, but remedies are limited when you're pregnant. So I'm suffering a bit more than I'd like and won't be gracing the blogosphere with one of my usual introspective, hard-hitting posts tonight. (I can hear you laughing at me from here, you goofs.)

I could share a pic of the box of tissue I tore through today, or even more, the resulting carnage after using said tissues.

I could share a pic of the midwife-approved meds I took this afternoon.

I could share a pic of the bed where I napped for two hours.

I could share a pic of the gallon of lemonade I guzzled over the past 12 hours.

I could share a pic of my body's indentation on our couch.

 

But I'll spare you and hope that I wake up feeling better tomorrow. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My Maternity Must-Haves

Each day of this pregnancy I find myself thankful not only for the life we're growing, but also for the little things that make the discomfort of a changing body more bearable.

Here are five things I'm thankful for during this pregnancy and something to keep in mind for any pregnant gals you might know.

1. Bella Band

This little stretchy strip of fabric was great early on in my pregnancy, when I was too small for my maternity wardrobe but getting too large for my regular clothes. Strangely, I'm using it more these days because I'm having a hard time with all my maternity pants, no matter the length of panel at the top of the pants. The Bella Band helps keep the ever-sagging bottoms up where they belong.

2. Gummy Vitamins
While I still have to supplement with other vitamins (vitamin D, fish oil, iron), I can at least enjoy the bulk of my required vitamins by pretending they're candy.

3. Smoothie Mint Tums
With Em's pregnancy I became a fan of Tums Smoothies in the fruit flavors. When I lamented about heartburn this time around, a friend of mine who had just had twins suggested the mint version. I tried them and voila -- they became my new favorite flavor.


4. Bra Extenders
Some of the first parts of a pregnant woman's body to expand are the breasts. My current size became too uncomfortable, so I went for a fitting. I was up a cup-size, but my band length was the same. The sales gal suggested I use bra extenders later on, if needed, rather than invest in more bras. Soon enough I'll get fitted for nursing bras, but the extenders have been a nice interim solution. 


A sleep bra is like a sports bra without the tightness. It's not the kind of thing one would wear out of the house, but it's perfect support for pregnant breasts while one is sleeping. I also found it to be vital right after Em's arrival -- it was easy to nurse in and kept nursing pads in place.

Any other maternity must-haves I should know about? I have approximately 79 more days to put them to good use!