Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Who, What, When, Where and Y

I've hit the point in this pregnancy when I start realizing that the pounds are going to start a-pilin' on unless I take control of the situation, so I followed the lead of many of my mom-friends and joined the local YMCA.

Not only is it a new building, but childcare is included with your family membership...H gets to play with lots of little kids and I get to work on creating a milkshake that'll bring all the boys to the yard, you can't lose!

Yesterday I took my first ever pilates class, and awoke this morning to find that my butt, lowerback, hips and thighs were all sore (good sore, not injured), but my uterus didn't have even a twinge...sweet, the modifications were successful, and I found a great way to start working on my breathing.

I felt like a school-girl again, going over the class list and juggling my current schedule to see what would and wouldn't fit in. I felt like going out and buying a special Y pencil case (but didn't). Here's to hoping that getting and staying fit will help me fit into that bridesmaid's dress as I'm maid of honor in August, after having a baby at the end of May...bright side? My boobs will be HUGE!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

(Baby) Shower Me With Your Love...

You may be asking yourself what those cankles are doing, and what they are doing it in. Well, let me just tell you. When I was pregnant with my darling H, there were about seven other women at work who were pregnant at the same time, all of whom were due to deliver before me.

That means six baby showers before it came around to my turn, and the games were getting booooooooooooring. My friends decided that for me, only the most inappropriate and sick would do. Instead of the traditional "bring out the tray of baby items and make everyone memorize them and write down as many as you can" game, I got the "feel around in a bowl of soup with your feet to pick up baby objects that are in plastic bags, lift them to your hands and then identify them while blindfolded."

This sounds like it's all fun and games but a) it was July, so it didn't smell very good to have warm canned soup on my feet and b) you can't do much with swollen feet, let alone negotiate slippery plastic bags with your toes to your hands. But, it was fun and it was definitely nice to have something else...because that's what I am; something else! The rest of the shower was a fun Hawaiian theme complete with Pina Coladas (virgin, of course, because what betters signifies pregnancy than virginity?)

I'm writing about this now, because as I get further into this pregnancy, the homesickness is getting almost palpable. I had a very tight group of girls, family really, back in Portland and this is the first big life event that I'll do without them.

As I was wallowing in my self-pity, I knew that a good solution was to gather some of my new girlfriends and go for pedicures, so we did. While we were letting our polish dry, one of them said to me "So, do you think April for a shower?" I felt like crying because for the first time I felt like this was becoming my home. Luckily, nobody else is pregnant here right now, so I think I'm safe with the memory game!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

How To Make It In Massachusetts

Hey you, get your mind out of the gutter...I don't mean "make it."

I have discovered that one way to help me adjust to life on the other side (of both the country and "the mommy wars") is to start finding joy in the little things.

I was feeling very defeated that my life had been reduced to changing diapers, making dinners and ensuring that my house was presentable when I hosted mommy functions. Then I started thinking...I could be neither working nor keeping a nice home, so I should be glad that I'm doing one of the two.

Also, it hit me that I'm being presented with this great honor. I get to see H do new things every day and I don't have to be on the receiving end of the stories anymore. I have had to deal with my guilt of taking him out of daycare...I know it's the opposite of most, but his daycare was awesome, and the women in his room truly loved him. I felt comfortable everyday knowing he was there, and he had a wonderful time. Well, I won't lie and say I didn't feel crappy the couple of times that I went to pick him up and he cried because he didn't want to leave...yeah, shining moment.

Mostly, I wouldn't have the time or the inclination to replicate all of the fun crafts that they did with him, or the other activities that they planned on a daily basis. Also, he's had a lot of pbj sandwiches and chicken nuggets since he's been home with me, but he also gets me. It's taken awhile, but I think I'm finding the value in him having me. Even during the times that I'm cranky with him, or we aren't doing some star-studded activity, I realize that the memories I have of my mom are not of her yelling at us (which, pre-Zoloft, helloooooo mommy dearest... slight exaggeration...slight), but they are of being her "taste tester" or making doll clothes or home-made playdough, or the other million fun things she did with us.

So, here's to keeping it simple, and not taking it all too seriously. H, I think I'll take the words of Sonny and Cher, "I got you, Babe."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

You'll be Wicked Sorry!

While the adjustment has been really hard, made even harder by the fact that all my family and friends are across the country, I am discovering that I really like living in New England.

I went to our local Tex-Mex restaurant which is also a biker-type bar (non-smoking). I was picking up take-out for J and I during the first hour of the Patriots game, which ultimately made NFL history as they had an undefeated season. I walked in with my preggo belly sticking out, and noted that the restaurant part was completely empty and made my way to the back, following the sounds of cheering and jeering as Hansel and Gretel followed bread crumbs.

I stood next to a man in a (not kidding) blue-collared shirt, at this very blue collar bar, and he turned to me stating with disgust "Theah naht winnin' yeaht." And it hit me; one of the main things I love about this area is the accent. Everywhere you go, it's as I imagine it would be in the UK or Australia...the language itself is the same, but you still sometimes find yourself asking people to repeat themselves. Even the words used for common things are different, but it's great.

My whole life, I've lived in an accent-less state "Hi, I'm from Orygun." Boooooooooooooooring! Here it's even fun to listen to parents yell at their kids in the grocery store, because you're sure to hear a cah or a wicked thrown in here or there. "You bettah get out to the cah or youah gonna be wicked sahry." sweet

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Oh no....

As I was reading my friend Alex Elliot's blog today, I saw a comment by another blogger that I really like, but hadn't read in awhile. Expecting Executive had a post about a CNN article that she recently read; Unknowing Twins Marry Each Other. The title of her post, 'How Would You Ever Recover?' is very appropriate because, well, how would you?

Basically what happened was that a woman in the UK had a set of twins and placed them for adoption. They met as adults, were incredibly attracted to one another, and married. As soon as they discovered their relationship, they applied for an annulment, but there are no further details about the couple regarding how long they'd been married, how they found out, etc for legal reasons and for their own privacy (completely understandable).

The reason that this case is being highlighted is that the UK is currently discussing the laws regarding the birth certificates of children conceived by a donor egg or sperm. Under their current legislation, there is no requirement to report on the birth certificate that this is the case which, it is being argued, robs the conceived child of it's history. The children, from what I understand, essentially have the same amount of information about their biological parent (less in some cases) as do children of closed adoptions. Without knowing a lot about your biological origin, you do not have the same knowledge base with which to make decisions about your health, relationships and other life aspects as children who do.

It's an interesting topic, and one that I'm sure will continue to receive attention as the advances in science and fertility make the issue more and more complicated with ramifications that won't necessarily be able to be predicted until decades later when the children reach adulthood.

Sorry, there's not really any way that I could make this one funny without being completely heartless, and I have the draw the line of propriety for myself somewhere.

Monday, January 14, 2008

My Fall From Grace

There is perhaps nothing funnier to me than watching someone fall. I'm not talking about a little slip, I mean bouncing down the stairs or slipping with feet in the air falling down. There are many incidents I've witnessed from which I thought I'd never recover.

Basic human decency does not prevent me from doubling over with laughter prior to ensuring that someone is physically okay. I hope that this is because I've never actually been faced with someone really injuring themselves, and that if it were the case, I could call 9-1-1 and complete the call without breaking down.

Today, we awoke to find an overnight dump of about ten inches of snow. Because I had already promised H that we could get donuts on the way to our playdate (which got cancelled due to the continued onslaught and requests by bejeweled newscasters to stay off the roads), I decided to make the trek across our parking lot to the newly opened Dunkin Donuts.

Once outside, I decided to take the road most traveled, and headed on the main part of the apartment's drive, instead of slogging through the snow. I got to the road just as a bobcat plow was trying to back up, a truck plow was turning onto the road, and a fellow apartment-dweller was driving his camry-type car to work.

In my quest to get out of their way so that I wasn't the stupid bumbler who had to go out walking while they had real work to do, I quickened my steps in my trusty dansko clogs, which had not yet failed me on the ice or snow...

I stepped from fresh, crunchy snow, to just-plowed slickety slickness, and my legs went up from underneath me, as I tried to say wow, which came out as woaoaoaoaoaugh, as I landed with a thud on my backside.

I immediately looked around, with the stupid grin on your face that says "Did you see me? And if you did, wasn't it funny?" Because I would have died if any of the three men had abandoned their work to see that I was okay. The driver of the compact car, nodded at me and gave a slight wave, which was probably all he was able to do before speeding away to laugh or call a friend and say, Guess What I Just Saw?! As I was standing up, my feet started to slip from under me and I thought, "Oh God, please let me be able to get up and out of the road quickly before I die of embarrassment!"

I was up and at 'em, continuing on my journey to aquire coffee and donuts. Needless to say, I had really wet pant legs when I got home, because I decided to walk through all the fresh snow in order to prevent another accident. I would have been really annoyed if I dropped my coffee and donuts after all that effort.

After I fell, I immediately thought "Thank God I didn't have H with me." Then it dawned on me..."I'm almost in my third trimester of pregnancy!" I fell on my backside/hip, not flat on my back/side or stomach, and there was no bouncing or sickening thud involved. In fact, the spot that I landed on didn't even hurt...aside from my wounded pride, of course. It's been over 12 hours, and it's all good...I still laughed when typing it, but when you read it you may be like, 'huh?' Guess you had to be there!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Gravy Train (Mom and Dad, you may want to skip this one)

It's often discussed that a woman's libido changes while she's pregnant. Particularly in the second trimester (for me anyway). I won't go into detail about J and my intimate life, but suffice it to say it's very healthy.

Last night, J got off work and was home as I was just getting into bed. This doesn't happen very often, and I decided to carpe diem. I suggested that he brush his teeth and then wiggled my eyebrows...married couple code for "wanna do it?" He smiled back and said the magic words, "I kinda wanted to check out the score of the Patriots game." Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh.....what the what?

Okay, so I lay in bed reading more of my WWII novel Suite Francaise, and getting more and more angry. Particularly after I heard him microwave food and crunch on tortilla chips while watching football. Wow! That makes a girl feel really special.

It gets better...after about ten minutes in the living room, he saunters back in and hops on the bed...."So, you're feeling frisky?" Uh, no, no I am not. This is an express train, buddy...if you don't get on immediately, you'll have to wait until the next one comes in about ohhhhh however long my you-rejected-me-and-now-we'll-both-pay grudge lasts.

He was genuinely surprised that I did not pause my enthusiasm for him to eat some spinach-artichoke dip and catch the end of the game. Seriously, how jazzed would he be if I told him I just needed to catch the end of What Not to Wear? I'm thinking not very. Furthermore, it's not as if we're in college and just met...last I checked a perfunctory eight minutes does the trick most of the time.

Nothing makes a pregnant girl feel sexier than having her offer for sex rejected. He strenuously objected that he had said no, only that he needed to check out the game. He felt really bad, as my feelings were obviously hurt, but seriously buddy, you snooze, you lose.

Good thing he's a Patriots fan, because they'll be the only sure thing for him for awhile.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely*

As I've mentioned in previous posts, my sister is getting married this summer. I come from a family of four girls, all of whom have been married now, with a wedding courtesy of the parentals.

Because this is my sister's second wedding, and she is of a "more mature" age, she will be footing the bill herself. Although the wedding is several months away, my mom has already had several strokes just thinking about things like "How much has she allotted for her dress?" "How will everyone get there?", etc. The wedding will be taking place out of our home-state, as my sister no longer resides there, and her whole life is in her current residence. That said, none of the major players are under the age of 25...I think we can handle booking a flight at this stage of our lives.

My mom's questions were starting to bug me, because I couldn't figure out why she was so concerned. For instance, she called me very concerned, stating that my sister had spent $1500 on her dress. I knew for a fact that my sister had not yet purchased a dress, but that she had made a comment on her recent blog post about telling a saleswoman that she would not look at any dresses over $500, because she didn't want to fall in love with the $1500 one. I told my mom that maybe she should read the blog more carefully, instead of skimming it like an ADD 8 year-old. Also, why did she care?

After several similar conversations, it hit me...this is the first wedding for which she has not been financially responsible, aka is not immediately priviledged to the most minute detail. I don't want anyone to think that she controlled the decisions for our other weddings, because she and my dad were absolutely gracious about setting a budget and then just offering advice regarding any details we questioned. However, I know that her OCD brain is going CRAZY because she doesn't get to have her finger in this pie.

What she doesn't realize is that she's getting the best of both worlds; my sister wants her to be absolutely involved, to come early and help out with all the fun last-minute details, and to ultimately be the guest of honor. All this without having to foot the bill? Relax, Nance! This is what you've been waiting for!

*Only my sisters and I can make fun of my mom. We're fiercly protective, but use snotty humor to bond.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Back To My Roots

For the first time since the two months following H's birth, I have let my roots show. I was examining them in the mirror because, aside from the mousy blonde that just looks dull overall, I realized that I had a couple of hairs that were bright blonde. Upon closer inspection, I stood back quickly and then got close again...I have my first silvers!

I don't know when they first came, as my roots have barely been able to show their ugly face since I was a senior in high school. Whether it's high times with regular trips to the salon, or the as-of-late low times with a box of Feria or Nice-n-Easy, I have always held the upkeep of my hair at the utmost of importance. However, since there was a specific time when I last saw that dishwater blonde, I can say with certainty that raising children really does make your hair go grey.

Speaking of roots. For Christmas, we gave H the "Old School Sesame Street" series. It's various shows from the series' first decade. I was thrilled to watch them, and H has been loving them as well. A number of things struck me. Oscar the Grouch was actually grouchy, One of the human males actually told someone "You must be high" when they were acting inappropriately, and Cookie Monster actually ate cookies! At the beginning of the series, they actually put a disclaimer that said something to the tune of: "This video is intended for adult nostalgia and does not necessarily meet the educational needs of today's preschoolers." Funny, because I learned a lot from it, and I don't think my darling H is any smarter than I was at his age. He loves it, and I feel like the education piece is more subtle, which seems like he'll learn more from it.

It seems like it's harder and harder to be a parent who just wants to let their child enjoy childhood. It is obvious that many others feel that way as there is a plethora of books available (which I own, in order to enforce that I'm normal for wanting to be normal) with titles like Even June Cleaver Would Forget The Juice Box, Perfect Madness, and Reclaiming Childhood.

I am very happy with my childhood, and spend a lot of time each day trying to figure out just what my mom and dad did to make it so enjoyable on a daily basis. I've realized that what they did was very basic; encourage your kids to play outside and use their imaginations as much as possible, know that individual play is good, and establish boundaries and structure that don't have to include an Ivy League prep course from the age of two.

But maybe that's just me trying to get back to my roots.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Book Club Book Snub (a rant)

My mom's group holds a monthly book club, and part of the honor of hosting is that you get to choose the book that all the members will partake.

Because my assigned time was just after the holidays, I decided to choose a fun book and went with one that I'd already read. I am the queen of the "pool book" or chick lit, as my former job required that I have hours of mindless, light, reading so that I didn't turn into a completely cynical beyotch.

I had both read and listened to Bergdorf Blondes by Plum Sykes in the past and loved it. The central character, Moi, is a London-born girl, whose American mother connected her with department store heiress Julie Bergdorf in childhood, and they became fast friends. Now, living in New York full-time, the Ivy League educated Moi has been reduced to finding a PH (Prospective Husband) and ensuring that her tresses were appropriately coiffed while her Chloe jeans were always flawless.

This book is no War and Peace, but it's not supposed to be. To me New York City is still this magical, almost mythical place, where everyone lunches at the Four Seasons and dresses like Carrie or Charlotte, working free-lance so that they have time to trot around the city as they please. Even the Mirandas have their evenings and weekends free for the most part, in order to take in all that their high-powered jobs afford them.

My table was set with three platters of Vanilla Cupcakes from the Magnolia Bakery recipe, as they were mentioned several times in the book, and I was trying to be clever in my food offerings. I thought it would be a delightful evening with everyone strenuously agreeing what a fun book it had been...

Enter the negative nellies who just couldn't relate to any of the characters, and felt like they had to slog through the book. I went from being the consummate hostess to feeling like a silly 7th grader trying to hang out with the seniors. Believe me, I know that part of book clubs is that not everyone will like the book, but this was a fun book! It wasn't supposed to be relatable, unless your name is Paris or Nicky.

Here I was, finding the love triangle between Julie, Moi and the oh-so-cute and down to earth Charlie Dunlain very engaging, and then people asked questions like "How do they stay so skinny if they're eating at all those places?"..."Um, well, they talked extensively about anorexia and how they cater parties but don't eat anything, and there are also several mentions of the gym and personal trainers. Other than that, IT'S A BOOK! It's called suspended disbelief!!!"

Oh well, back to the rigorous schedule of books that rip your heart out and make you want to commit suicide. I bet none of them will have a central character who inspires the hostess to make fluffy, pink frosted confections that use an entire pound of butter! If we're lucky, at a future meeting we'll be eating Stone Soup and reading Mrs. Dalloway.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Hooter Hiders and other fun...

I was creating my baby registry on, when I came across a product called "Hooter Hider Nursing Cover" made by Bebe Au Lait. It basically looks like an apron without the waist belt. It has a little bit of stiffness at the neckline so that there is a gap between the fabric and your body, alleviating any suffocation concerns that I had about nursing H with a blankey over his head in AUGUST! I never was able to coordinate the whole blanket thing, so I just used...well, nothing. I totally registered for it. So exciting! I'll give a full report when I get to try it out in the flesh so to speak.

While searching, I was looking for a bouncy seat and found one that glides! Can you imagine any better way to assure that your baby will sleep separate from you for more than 2.8 seconds that to be surrounded in cozy cushiness and gliding?! I can't believe how much in baby gear has changed just in the short two years since H joined our lives.

Of course, I couldn't pass up the Johnny Cash Folsom Prison onesie that was striped a la old-time prison garb, or the Willie Nelson "Outlaw Baby" onesie. It has been so fun doing a registry this time because I know the little things that I never used. Also, I have most of the boring big items already, so get to ask for more frivolous necessities (oxymoron you say? Oh, well.)
I had been feeling so tired the last couple of days, and couldn't attribute it to the pregnancy. I realized that it had been some time since I had regular physical activity, and there have been many a-cholestorol-filled calorie consumed in the last 3 weeks. While my sister was here, we made fudge, macaroons and sugar cookies (the kind that require a stick of butter in the icing.) I hosted book club this week and made the vanilla cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery (more on the book club in tomorrow's post), which had 2 sticks of butter each in the batter and frosting...but SO good!
Back to the realization; I decided that I needed to do some kind of physical activity EVERY day. I bundled up H and put on my little walking shoes and headed out into the brisk winter air.....only to find out that it was so warm it was almost muggy. I stripped down to my T-Shirt and tied my sweatshirt around my waist, took off H's coat (he still had two shirts on), put the blanket loosely over his lap and hit the road, well, path in my apartment complex. We went to the gym first and I chased H around, dribbling the basketball after him, then he got back in the stoller and we went for a nice walk. It was so lovely to get out in the fresh air.
Huge bonus? H fell asleep almost as soon as we got home...that's right folks, four out of the last six days, he has taken an afternoon nap! If the result of me getting my plus-sized booty in gear everyday is him taking a nap, I may not be plus-sized for long!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Tea for Two

One of my favorite Christmas gifts this year was my new Kitchenaide tea kettle from my mom. Prior to this one, we had a ratty old tea kettle that was probably second hand to my husband which he's owned the entire 8 years I've known him.

Everytime I look over at my stove, I just want to warm up some water and have some tea or hot chocolate.

Since becoming pregnant this time, I've switched out my daily coffee for some decaf tea. Not, mind you, that I don't still splurge on a latte from Starbucks every now and again, or drink Diet Coke. The taste of coffee is just not doing it for me right now, so I figured if I'm going to drink tea, it may as well be decaf.
It has been so odd being pregnant this time, because it seems like there are times that it occurs to me "Oh yeah! I'm pregnant!" It's not as if I forget, but I'm so busy chasing H around that I haven't had as much time to obsess about every little detail like I did when I was carrying H.
In the last week or so, I've really started to feel movement, which is the whole reason that I really enjoy pregnancy. I am not being sarcastic when I say that I like being pregnant. I am a larger person with a long torso, so that may be why it's not really an uncomfortable thing for me.
Of course, the last couple of weeks are not fun for anyone, but the majority of my pregnancy with H was really great. I remember sitting in the lunch room at work and looking down to see my entire torso shifting from side to side as space got more cramped. It was so weird to be part of this science experiment, but so cool at the same time.
I'm not saying I'd want to be perpetually pregnant, but this time, I'm a little more apprehensive about the baby actually being on the outside. I don't have reservations about caring for an infant, I know I can do that. I'm really nervous about making sure that H isn't left out too much and understands, as much as possible, that this baby is not a replacement.
But these are all tomorrow's worries. For now, I've got a nice cup of Earl Grey steeping in the other room...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Grey Anatomy

It seems that creating a child is all about watching for the lines. When you take a pregnancy test, you're praying for two lines instead of just one (because, I guess one really is the loneliest number). I learned yesterday that if you're determining the gender on an ultrasound, you look for three white lines for a girl.

Not that I have ever seen these mystical white lines, because we just found out that we are having another little boy. Throughout the ultrasound, the baby was laying with his knees clenched together, twisting this way and that, craftily avoiding the scrutiny of the technician's wand. He then flipped over onto his back and spread his legs for all the world; or just J, H the technician and I, to see his 'glory.'

Please do not get me wrong, I am not disappointed that we're having a boy. I wanted a boy the first time, and am more than happy to be a mama to boys. My reason for wanting a girl is really very shallow; naming boys is very hard! It seems like there is an endless supply of girl names that are lyrical and classic, while at the same time not overused or odd. We had our girl name nailed. I even had a witty nickname if she turned out to be a southpaw like her mom; Lefty Lucy (as in the mnemonic device for unscrewing and tightening objects).

My husband likes the good old, simple American names; Tom, Sam, James. I do not have anything against any of these names, but I just want something with a little more flair, without being weird. At the same time, he has vetoed any name ending in -er; Tyler, Buster, etc. Why?Probably for the same reason that he suggested that he become a certified locksmith, while he was in medical school because 'Everyone needs a trade to fall back on!' Why? Because he's weird.

What's in a name? Everything! So, if you have a great boy name that you'd like to pass along, I'm definitely open to suggestion! Comment away.

And yes, those are socks on H's hands...he loves it and I love him, so there you have it!