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.

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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!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

An FYI for Mimi

Listening for her sister 

I was going to save this little tidbit for my next Bump Watch, but it was just too sweet not to share tonight. After Em placed her head on my belly (above) to listen for Mimi, she placed her hands on my stomach.

Belly

Then she said, sweetly:

Hey, sister! Mommy and Daddy are going to take such good care of you, like they did when I was a baby! They'll feed you and change your diapers, and I'll share my toys. 

I can hardly wait to see our girls together. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Five: Em's Favorite Videos

When I think about the limited amounts and kinds of technology I had access to as a kid, today really seems like something straight out of the Jetsons. (Still waiting for my flying car, by the way.)

Em loves the musical playlists we have stored on our computers, and she LOVES watching YouTube videos.

I'm always on the lookout for Em-friendly videos, especially ones that Brent and I won't mind watching a few dozen times -- in a row -- so I thought I'd share some of her favorites here with you, in case you're on a similar search.

1. Don't Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus (based on one of our fav books)

2. Ode To Joy

3. For The Birds

4. Mahna Mahna

5. The Duck Song

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Warm and Tasty

Pregnancy brain IN DA HOUSE! I thought today was Wednesday, so I just posted this as a "Wordless{ish} Wednesday." In case you're a ding-dong like me, today is, in fact, THURSDAY. Oops.

Belting it out
Our little crooner

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She shushed me for talking too loud and waking her babies

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Doodling by the fire

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Our mini Jedi post-bath

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If you like coconut, get thee to a Trader Joe's stat! (Found in the dried fruits section)

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Holiday treats are here!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

And She Shows 'Em, Pearly White

Because I have a less than stellar dental history, I had always planned to get Em to the dentist not long after all her teeth came in. (Some even recommend taking kiddos younger before that.) Despite my best intentions, we didn't actually get around to her first-ever dental appointment until yesterday.

I wanted to make it as least traumatic as possible, so I sought out a very kid-friendly practice, not like the family practice I grew up going to, with the creepy clown murals on the exam room walls. I'm not even afraid of clowns, but they were scary enough for the bravest of souls. 

We've been reading this Elmo book to her for a long time, so she had a basic understanding of what would happen. And for the past few weeks after each brushing and flossing, we'd practice her saying "ahhh" and letting me "count" her teeth like a dentist would, which she thought was quite fun. 

Yesterday morning we arrived at her appointment, and she was excited to see the kid-friendly lobby. She particularly loved the Nemo-like fish in the tank. 

Dentist

The dentist came out, introduced herself and ran through Em's medical and dental history. Then we all went back for her exam and cleaning. 

Em was hesitant to sit up on the chair, but it only took a little coaxing to talk her into hopping up and laying back. The dentist and staff were as friendly as one would expect at a kid-friendly practice. Em liked the sunglasses to keep the bright light out of her eye, and she enjoyed picking out a new toothbrush.

The dentist did a visual exam, and Em cooperated like a champ. Her only issue was during the cleaning, when the assistant asked her to close her mouth around the suction straw -- she was not a fan after experiencing that, despite being fine with its general suction, but they were able to finish the cleaning.

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The dentist wanted to take some x-rays of her front teeth, just to get a better look at what was going on between them. She said that they'd attempt to get pics of her side teeth, too, but it all depended on Em's mood. 

I made Brent accompany Em to the x-ray room, being that x-rays aren't a good idea for pregnant women. She had no issue sporting the heavy bib or dealing with those annoying x-ray film strips, so they were able to get all the x-rays they'd hoped for. 

Dentist

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She joined us back in the exam room, and I wish I'd captured a picture of Em's face as she watched the assistant pull up the x-rays onto the computer screen. It might as well have been her favorite episode of Yo Gabba Gabba -- she was almost giddy in anticipation. Later when we asked her what her favorite part of the visit was, she said, "Taking pictures of my teeth!"

After kudos from the dentist for taking great care of Em's teeth, Em was given a clean bill of dental health -- no cavities! We just have to pay special attention to flossing well between her molars, which isn't hard to do because Em is a freak who loves when we floss. 

They rewarded Em with a balloon and a token to choose a toy from their lobby toy vending machines. 

She's already excited about her next dental check-up, which is exactly what we were hoping for.