Friday, December 30, 2011

Fetal Friday: 31 Weeks

I decided to take a little holiday break from blogging.  But don't you worry, I'll be back next week with all sorts of things to share: Christmas, productive time off from work, a new smoothie I've been making all the time, New Years, etc.  But in the meantime, I didn't want to miss 2 Fetal Fridays in a row, so here we are, 31 weeks...

How Big Is Baby
Baby is the size of a head of lettuce (19 inches) and 3.9 pounds.

Symptoms
Nothing too bad...heartburn at night and low back pain after lots of standing/activity.  Generally though, I'm starting to notice this big, hard belly more and more.  One's motion is pretty limited when there's a hard bowling ball for a stomach.

Weight Gain
One pound each of the past two weeks (since I last blogged). Total gain: 21 pounds.

Exercise
I basically had no exercise when we were in Chicago for Christmas.  But I've tried to take the dog on long walks (1 hour) everyday since we've been home.

Food
I ate a ton in Chicago - big meals, lots of desserts, lots of sweets that were sitting around the house, etc.  So upon arriving home, I've been trying to cool out with the eating and pump up the healthy foods.

Dr.'s Appointment
Not until next week.

What I'm Looking Forward To
Our childbirth classes start next week!  Every Thursday for the month of January.

Preparations / Decisions Being Made
Lots has happened in the nursery and we're hoping to have it spiffed up for the weekend of my Memphis shower (when friends will be in town).  Also, we're trying to learn a lot about childbirth so we can make an informed decision about different options for pain management during labor.  I'm hoping to make the first draft of my Birth Plan to take to the doctor next week so we can edit it and see what's possible/impossible in the hospital setting.  I don't want to be one of "those women" who walks into the hospital with a 5-page list of exactly how I want my labor to go, but I also don't want to just be at the mercy of the nurses - I'd like to have a voice (which will probably be voiced by Jonathan) through the whole process, and if we don't do our research here on the front-end, that voice will sound pretty absurd to a medical professional, I imagine.

General Mentality
Feeling good.  It's amazing what some time off work, productivity related to the nursery, and a plan for more productive days can do for the pregnancy nesting brain.

Belly
I'm all fanced up because we had to have our portrait taken for our church directory.  Notice my new, darker hair color.  Also, not sure if you can tell, but I got some great new makeup from my sister for Christmas, which (if I do say so myself) makes my skin look glowy. :)

I sort of forgot to take more than one - so here's our side shot:

Have an absolutely wonderful New Year's Eve!  Be safe and designate a driver or a cab!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Favorites

It's almost the 25th, so if anyone's curious, here's a list of some of my Christmas faves...

Movies
-Christmas Vacation - a classic in my family
-Love Actually
-Charlie Brown Christmas
-It's A Wonderful Life - which I haven't watched in a couple of years, but used to watch every Thanksgiving in Ohio at my dad's house

Cookies
-Spritzes - these are the butter cookies made from a cookie press
-Peanut butter kisses - PB cookies with a Hershey's kiss pressed in the middle
-Saltine Toffee - I made this myself for the first time this year, they're toffee- & chocolate-covered saltine crackers
-Peppermint brownies - not quite a cookie, but whatev

Other Seasonal Treats
-Peppermint bark - I can't get enough!
-Egg nog and/or egg nog-flavored things
-Peppermint ice cream and frozen yogurt
-Hot chocolate
-Warm (sometimes alcoholic) cider; "wassail" if you will
-Winter ales (as you can imagine, I didn't get to enjoy either of the last two this year)

Christmas Albums
-Charlie Brown Christmas
-Django Bells by the Gypsy Hombres
-Mariah Carey Christmas - the first one (yeah, I said it)
-Songs for Christmas (all volumes) by Sufjan Stevens
-Classical Christmas Favorites
-Christmas by Low
-The Glee Christmas Album

Individual Christmas Songs
-"Just Like Christmas" by Low
-"Song for a Winter's Night" by Sarah McLachlan
-"Baby It's Cold Outside" - all versions, really - but particularly Zooey Zeschanel and Leon Redbone
-"Please Come Home For Christmas" by Etta James
-"Joy" by George Winston (this is Jonathan's "signature song" on the piano)
-"Christmas Song" by Dave Matthews - what up high school??

What else is on your list?  My movie choices aren't that abundant - it's not that I don't like other Christmas movies (Elf, A Christmas Story, Home Alone, etc.) they just aren't my absolute favorites.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Inherited &/or Conditioned Traits

My dad is having outpatient surgery today.  Nothing too major, but he had a cyst growing on the top of his foot that's been there for awhile.  It's recently gotten so big that he's feeling pain when wearing shoes/laying on his stomach with his foot is cyst-side down/exercising/etc., so the doctor said it was time to cut it out.

When he originally signed on for the surgery, he was thinking he'd probably have to take it easy for a week or so.  But he figured in about 7-10 days he'd be healed and back on the roads running again.

Then his doctor told him he'd hopefully be able to wear normal shoes again after about three months.

Surprisingly, he took that news with a grain of salt.  Fine, three months of wearing a boot - whatev.  But then she also told him that for the first week after surgery, he needs to stay off the foot for the most part.  Bed rest, if you will.  And this is when he freaked out.  Why?

Because my dad can't sit still.

And it's not in a fidgety, must-keep-me-occupied-at-all-times sort of way.  It's that he can't relax on his couch at home.  He's totally fine on vacation or in a setting where relaxing is acceptable (like, a massage for example), but when he's stuck sitting at his house, he can't just "veg out" for a week because he knows there are 300 others things he could be doing with the time.

After talking to him about how he's dreading the week on the couch, I started to think about my mom a little, too (who's not still married to my dad, fyi).  And I realized that she's the same way.  She won't really veg at home; instead she keeps herself occupied by exercising a lot and with thousands of little tasks.  Also - both of them?  Enormous neat freaks.  Like, 100% tidy houses all the time.  You leave a glass on a table when you go do something else and when you get back it's been loaded in the dishwasher.  Those kind of people.

But then it dawned on me - I'm a neat freak too.  And I don't do well vegging around the house either.  It's funny because when we first graduated college, we would go out late every night of the weekend, sleep late the next day, and then watch hours of mindless tv (MTV, Style Network, TLC, etc.) on the couch.  But the thought of that now is almost incomprehensible.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I can get sucked into an episode of Restaurant Impossible like it's no one's business.  But not for hours on end.  And not as a weekly occurrence.  Most of the time my mind swirls around the 100 things I could be doing and I get really antsy/cranky.

So were these things - these traits about my personality - inherited from my parents?  Or was I maybe conditioned to have them because both of my parents do?

It's making me wonder about our little babe and what s(he) will be like...  Will s(he) be a neat freak like mom or messy like dad?  Will s(he) be athletic like dad or less so (like mom)?  Will s(he) be emotional like mom or more even-keeled like dad?  Or other things - is it a guarantee that because we both love to read, baby also will?  Or because we're both musically inclined (can sing and play an instrument) that baby will, too?  Or since we're both generally outgoing, baby won't be shy?

Who knows - but it will be fun to see!  I think as a future parent, I imagine the kid with all the best attributes of both of us, even though I know it won't really turn out that way.

My prediction is this: I think of all the things, the musicality is one of the most sure-fire (both because s(he) might "inherit" an ability and because we'll probably make him/her learn at least one instrument).

Do you have any traits you feel are pretty darn likely to be passed on to your spawn?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Last Weekend Before Xmas

I still can't believe Christmas is less than a week away.  It was in the 60s here yesterday, it barely feels like winter, let alone the major holiday of this season.

Anyway - I know I've been saying this most Mondays, but it was a great weekend!

Friday (since I took the day off work)
-Christmas cooking baking!  It was extra awesome because I fulfilled my baking urge and then gave away most of the goods (so I didn't eat them myself).
-Prenatal massage - loved this!  Thanks to my mom for the gift card, which will also let me get one more before the pregnancy is over.
-Dinner party at Katie's - delicious food, fun company, and great conversation.

Saturday
-Even though I usually laugh at people who do this at the last minute, I went shopping for my final Christmas presents.  The stars were aligned, though: I got to the mall & got the 2nd parking space, got 40% off one of my purchases, and didn't have to wait in line at the other place.  When I left the mall, the parking lot was filled to the brim and 100s of people were walking in - phew!
-Jonathan and friends moved the monster desk!  Hooray!  They took it to a friend's office building that has some extra storage space.  So thankful for all who helped us!
-We were supposed to go to Meagan's Christmas party, but my back was absolutely killing me and I was exhausted from the night before.  So instead, Jonathan and I got Bhan Thai and watched Love Actually on the couch at home.  It was a nice night.

Sunday
-Marathon church service - sheesh.
-Jonathan's parents stopping by afterwards.
-Lunch at Stone Soup.  (And I've got to shout out that their pimento cheese sandwich on the homemade bread was out. of. this. world.  Like, I'm wondering if I'll need to go back this week to get it again.)
-Painting the first coat of primer in the nursery.  "First coat" because we're going from hunter green to a light robin's egg blue/grey.
-Painting more of the dresser.

Overall it was friend-filled and fun and productive.  Love it!  I hope you guys had good ones, too.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fetal Friday: 29 Weeks

Ok, yeah.  I realize it's pretty lame to only post a couple times this week and then throw up a Fetal Friday (since, when scrolling through the blog, there was just a FF post a couple down).  But whatev.  I'll try to blog better next week* when I'm not so busy.
*Does everyone realize next week is the week of Christmas??  That sort of boggles my mind.

Anyway - 29 weeks...

How Big Is Baby?
The size of a butternut squash (mmm): 17 inches, 3.1 lbs.

Symptoms
None really, this week, other than the nightly heartburn.  I was SO MAD on Tuesday night because I went to sleep with my "heartburn pillow" (it's an extra one I put under my normal ones so I'm more propped up).  Usually, when I wake up in the middle of the night to tinkle, I can discard the heartburn pillow when I get back because I don't need it anymore.  Well, I was super thirsty, so I drank a few swigs of water from my water bottle.  And then when I got back in bed (sans extra propping), all that water started to come right back up, so I had to use the dumb pillow for the whole night.  Water consumption fail.

Weight Gain
Up two pounds this week.  Total gain: 19 pounds.

Exercise
As much walking as I could get in, given my sched; it was in the 60s this week (in December - I know!), so Hank and I took a few walks outside.

Food
I've been trying to eat more protein (which is important in the 3rd tri, apparently) and drink more milk (since calcium is huge for baby right now).  Note: I've changed this section from "Aversions/Cravings" because I'm pretty sure those have been gone for awhile.

Dr's Appointment
No - but I heard back from the dr that I passed my glucose test, so I'm gestational diabetes free and don't need to go back for further testing.  Woo hoo!

What I'm Looking Forward To
My prenatal massage this afternoon.  Ahhh.

Preparations and Decisions Being Made
I'm not sure if this falls into this category, but after that Baby Basics class we took last weekend, I think we are preparing more mentally for life with a newborn.  I cannot say enough good things about the class!  We learned so much stuff - from super basic, to probably-won't use: how to change diapers, how to wrap a swaddle, how to bathe a newborn, umbilical stump care, feeding cues and tips, how to calm a crying baby, how to help them if they're choking, carseat tips, baby CPR, and then also what to expect with my body for the few weeks after birth.  It was golden.

General Mentality
Pretty good.  Although, I've got to say, there are a lot of hormones circulating through my body right now.  We've seen a fair amount of tears here and there that probably wouldn't be there if I weren't pregnant.

Belly
Let's talk for a second about my belly button.  I'd say it's rapidly approaching an outtie, and that makes me feel weird...  The end.

Also, I noticed at my super-crowded work Christmas party, that I can't squeeze around people like I used to because my stomach is too big!  Weird.

Here it is from the front:

And the side:

I'm all fancied up because we'd just been to a Christmas party.  Have a great weekend, guys!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Book Club Holiday Party

Phew - to say this is a busy week is an understatement!  While it's absolutely glorious to only work T-Th, it makes for a packed 3 days at the office!  Combine that with our book club holiday dinner on Monday night, our work holiday party Tuesday night, and a friend's Christmas party tonight, and when all is said and done, I'll have not seen much of my house!  But again, the light at the end of the tunnel, I'm so so happy to have Friday off work (especially since my agenda includes: making Christmas cookies, attempting to make peppermint bark, getting a prenatal massage, and a dinner party at a friend's house - sweet!).

I had to post about Monday night, though, because it's such a fun Christmas tradition we've started.  First, we chose a swanky new restaurant (arguably the "It" restaurant of the moment) Alchemy in Cooper Young.  This place is cool.  For Memphis-familiar people, they took what used to be Restaurant Grace and Au Fond, knocked down the wall in between them, did what had to be hundreds of thousands of dollars of renovations (literally), and created a space so uniquely awesome and unlike anything else in town that it's pretty amazing.  There's a huge square bar in the center, soft lighting, cool nook-like tables with curved couches on one side, and awesome architectural and design details.

The menu is all small plates, and they pride themselves on cocktails (although no one in our group had one [the drinkers stuck to wine]).  Our overall takeaway of the food was: fabulous!  With seven people in our group (and since we each got two small plates and a dessert), a fair amount of the menu made an appearance at our table.  There were only a couple dishes that seemed mediocre - everything else was delicious and beautifully presented.  Our biggest complaint, food-wise, was about the desserts.  We collectively had every dessert on the menu and none were knock-you-down awesome.  My suggestion if you go to Alchemy: bring your wallet (because I can imagine a man, for example, with a big appetite doing some serious damage to the tiny portions) and skip dessert or get a cheese course as dessert.

So back to book club.  We all met at this swanky restaurant and had our delicious meal.  Then the part we'd all been waiting for: Dirty Santa!  Basically, everyone brought a book they really like, and then after the person would open the book, the person who brought it would talk about it and about why they like it so much. All the books looked great, so I'm sure we'll all enjoy our holiday reading.  When it was my turn (I was second to last to choose), I could either take a book I had my eye on from Emily, or I could open one of the two still on the table.  I chose to open, and was a little disheartened to find something I'd already read. 

Well, then Patti was last to choose and she stole the book from Emily, so Emily had to choose a new one.  Being her kind self, she took The Secret History from me, giving me another pick.  This time, I went for the one I originally had my eye on, The Shipping News, and stole it from Patti.  It was ruthless at the end!  (Note that when I got home, Jonathan was like, "pretty sure we already own that."  So if anyone from book club wants to borrow it - we're allegedly pretty well set [although I haven't actually seen the copy at our house].)

All in all, a great night!  I love a night with friends, delicious food, and books!

And blog readers, if you have a book club, you should steal this Dirty Santa idea for yourself!  It's such a fun way to close up the year (plus, December is a tough month to make everyone read a book to discuss).

Monday, December 12, 2011

Great Weekend!

This past weekend was one of my favorites I've had in awhile.  It was super fun and super productive - and both of those things make me happy!  (Also note, I'm home today from work and will also be home Friday, so my 3-day week is looking pretty good as well.)

Highlights...

1) Friday night.  I went with some girlfriends to a new restaurant on South Main, Rizzo's Diner (which was delish & I'll definitely go back), and then we all went to the Canon Center to see Handel's Messiah performed.  Great company, great food, great concert - a trifecta!

2) A Saturday morning Baby Basics class at the hospital.  It was somewhat serendipitous that we were able to go because I talked to my doctor Thursday about my desire for a class on newborn care and she recommend the Baby Basics at the hospital.  For some reason, I was on the ball on Friday and just happened to look up the class online.  I saw that it's only offered once a month and there was one on Saturday, one in January when Jonathan has a work retreat, and one in February the day before my due-date.  So had we not gone this weekend, we wouldn't have been able to go at all.  I love it when stuff works out like that!  Anyway - the class was fantastic.  I feel 3000x more prepared and the nurses who ran it did a great job making it engaging and interesting.

3) Lunch at the Mexican Deli - mmm.

4) Lots of cleaning of the office/nursery on Saturday and Sunday.  We were going to move the enormous desk into the guest room Sunday, but instead, after some calculations, we determined it wouldn't fit through the door.  So we're going to move it next weekend to a friend's office building, who kindly said we could store it there.  And we moved another, slightly smaller desk into the guest room.  So an amended note to future guests: that room is still pretty tight, but not as tight as it would be with the massive desk.

5) A trip to the dog park on Saturday.

6) Dinner with some dear friends who live in Jackson, TN during the week and Memphis on the weekends.

7) Procurement of a small dresser we're going to use in the nursery (and put a changing pad on top).  My project for today is to paint it white.

8) 1.5 Christmas movies watched this weekend!  We watched Elf on Sunday night, and half of the tv version of Christmas Vacation on Saturday night when we got home.

9) Massive consumption of eggnog and peppermint ice cream.

10) Disposal of the pumpkins on the porch & a replacement of the Fall wreath with the Christmas one.

And, to keep it real, so you know my life isn't all sunshine and rainbows, an un-highlight of the weekend: I went to get new running shoes (because mine were done-zo) and the guy fitted me in a half size bigger than I had before.  I don't want my feet to grow in pregnancy!  I already wore a size bigger in athletic shoes than normal shoes, so these new ones look like boats!  Thankfully none of my non-athletic shoes are fitting oddly as of yet.

I hope everyone had a good weekend, too!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fetal Friday: 28 Weeks

The third trimester is feeling good guys!  Feeling really good!  And I have to mention (just for documentation sake) this baby is moving around like crazy!  All the time - I can feel the kicks and you can see my shirt move from the force of them.  I wonder if we'll have an active little babe once s(he)'s outside of the womb.

On to the 28th week...

How Big Is Baby
I sort of agree with Tiffany's comment from last week about these vegetable guesstimations being a little inaccurate...but suffice...this week we are a "small cabbage" at 17 inches, 2.9 pounds.

Symptoms
Nothing really noticeable this week other than heartburn at night, a bloody/constantly-stuffy nose (which also happens in winter when I'm not pregnant, so whatev), and some low back achy-ness (totally attributable to the large belly, I think).

Weight Gain
Just keeping it real on the blog again, guys - I was down two pounds this week.  Total gain: 17 pounds.  You're not supposed to lose weight in pregnancy, so I was slightly worried.  But the doctor says a little loss here & there is fine - the only cause for concern is if the weight is down in a consistent pattern.

Exercise
Almost everyday this week!  And I'm actually able to do a reasonable walking workout, I'd say (that is, for a pregnant or non-pregnant person).  I'm enjoying this while I can in case the tailbone pain comes back.

Food Aversions / Cravings
Naaah - but boy do I love peppermint-flavored sweet treats!

Dr's Appointment
I had one yesterday.  I drank the glucose drink and had my blood drawn after an hour.  And I had the Rh+ shot in my butt.  We'll get the blood sugar results in a few days.  Everything was looking good, otherwise.

What I'm Looking Forward To
Finishing the book Amy recommended to me, The Birth Partner, so I can learn more about my options during labor and try to figure out what road I want to take with all that.

Preparations and Decisions Being Made
Nothing major.  We decided to buy a dresser someone at my work was selling to use as a changing table in the nursery.  It's blonde-colored wicker, so I plan on painting it white on one of my vacation days from work.

General Mentality
Good - except that I'm feeling incredibly unprepared for actually having a newborn.  I have no idea about things like: umbilical stump care, breastfeeding, sleeping & eating patterns, etc.  My doctor recommend a class at the hospital that covers all that stuff, so I'm going to look into it asap.

Belly
And here we are.  From the front:

And from the side:

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bah Humbug?

I mentioned once before on the blog, but we decided this year not to put up Christmas decorations.  We just have too much going on in our house right now with trying to convert the office to a nursery and trying to find places to store all the baby gear.  It's not that we couldn't have put stuff up, but it almost seems like it would've been counter-productive to the clearing/cleaning up.

The weird thing, though, is that it doesn't really feel like Christmas.  I think this is partially due to the lack of deco, but also because our brains are honed in on the end of February, not anything before then.

Some good has come out of this, though.  One, I don't really feel stressed about Christmas-present buying like I usually do.  (Baby gear buying is a different story...)  Two, I haven't felt consumed by consumerism, which tends to happen usually when I get 1000 emails from different retailers everyday and have tons of people asking what I want for Christmas.  (Fact: I've had a really hard time coming up with presents for family to get me, because I just don't need much right now for myself.)  And three, I haven't eaten my weight in holiday sweet treats yet.

But all that to say, I love Christmas and definitely want to partake in some holiday activities.  So here are my thoughts on how to maximize the rest of the month.

-listen to more Christmas music (I popped Charlie Brown on at work yesterday)
-watch Christmas movies! (I'm so sad - we've watched none thus far)
-make Christmas cookies (and try not to consume too many myself - actually, maybe this isn't the best idea...)
-eat/drink seasonal-specific things: eggnog/eggnog ice cream, peppermint ice cream (my fave!), peppermint bark, hot chocolate, Christmas cookies other people have made, etc.
-go to the zoo lights thing, even though I can't ice skate this year
-maybe go to the Shelby Farms light display??  (Jonathan - every year I say I want to do this...)
-get a holiday-scented candle (maybe pine?)
-throw out our pumpkins and take down our Fall wreath on the front door - oops

Even just typing these out puts me in the spirit a little more!  Just because we don't have Christmas decs up doesn't mean we have to completely forget about the holiday!

Did you guys decorate at your houses?  And/or are you consumed by "the holiday spirit?"

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sleepy Time

Awhile ago, I first mentioned my inability to sleep on the blog.  And then I followed that up with some improvements that had been made in my sleeping.  And while those improvements were wonderful, I still wasn't a great sleeper.  I'd wake up multiple times a night, couldn't get comfortable, never slept deeply, etc.

THEN I got pregnant.  And for whatever reason, I've become an awesome sleeper!  I sleep deeply and usually only wake up once or twice a night (once for the mandatory bathroom break).  And I must say, it's awesome!  When you sleep well at night, you aren't tired during the day.  You aren't all that tired in the mornings when your alarm goes off.  You don't need to sleep in on the weekends (although I usually sleep until 7:30/8, which is slightly later than during the work week).  And when you sleep well at night (and generally go to bed around the same time/wake up at the same time) your body functions really well because it's well rested and adjusted to a rhythm.

But all this to say, in a couple months when we have a newborn, I will not be sleeping well.  I'll potentially be up every couple hours (if not every hour for awhile) and will be forced to nap (which I hate doing).  And when I'm not up at night actually doing something for the baby (feeding, changing, soothing, etc.), I'll potentially be in a light state of sleep, making sure the baby monitor alarm that detects lack of movement isn't going off.

And I'm totally fine with this.  It's part of the agreement you make when you decide to be parents: "I will be sleep deprived for the next couple of years."  But the thing that sort of sucks about it all?  I'm FINALLY sleeping well now, so when we first bring baby home, it's going to be a big shock to my system.  Had I brought a baby home in February 2010, I would've been 300000x more adjusted to poor sleeping and multiple middle-of-the-night wake up calls.

Such is life, I know.  But every morning when I wake up in our dark room under the warm covers, I think about how happy I am to be in our big comfy bed.  It's such a lovely cocoon of relaxation and warmth...

I'm going to enjoy it while I have it.  (And who knows, everyone complains about sleeping in the 3rd trimester, maybe I'll have a complete 180 and start sleeping really poorly before baby comes.  We'll see.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My Un-Wonderful-ish Day Off

I shouldn't complain, because I guess regardless, it was nice not to be at work yesterday.  But man, the day could've been 300x nicer...

I had a bunch of errands to run.  I knew this and planned my day for it.  I didn't plan, however, for pouring rain and cold temperatures ALL DAY.  I think Memphis has had multiple inches of rain in the past couple days because it just hasn't let up.

Basically what ended up happening was my day of errands (which should've probably taken a couple hours) took four because of bad drivers, flooded streets, my reluctance to take the highway (because of aforementioned bad drivers and flooded streets), and general slowdowns due to dealing with pouring rain.

But to look on the bright side - because there's always a bright side, right? 1) I got all the errands done; 2) it was the most awesome sample day I've ever encountered at Whole Foods; 3) Target had Edy's Slow Churned in Eggnog flavor; 4) I got a smoothie from Cosmic Coconut; and 5) I was able to walk for an hour on the treadmill at 4.1!  When you look at those things, the day doesn't seem bad at all!

It's back to the grind today, though.  And grind it is, because we have tons of stuff going on at work before the end of the year...bleh.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Weekend...

Was great!  Even better?  I'm HOME today from work!  We get a ridiculously excessive amount of vacation and sick days each year.  The sick time carries over into the next year, the vacation doesn't.  Well, I'd been saving my days because I assumed Jonathan and I would take a trip together sometime in the Fall.  Factor in baby and excessive spending on baby gear/maternity clothes/nursery preparation/etc. and we decided this might not be the best year to yacht through the Mediterranean.

So this brings us to December and I have 8 and a half vacation days to use!  Dang!  But I've got to say, I love having Mondays off.  It makes the weekend so much more pleasant.  And I'm going to take a lot of time at Christmas, so that will be nice.

Anyway, our weekend was a good one.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous on Saturday (sunny and in the mid to high 60s) and absolutely nasty on Sunday (pouring rain all day and a cold front moving in).  Here are some highlights....

1) A movie and dinner date on Friday.  We saw Hugo and ate at Casablanca.  I was a fan of Hugo - I didn't think it was the best movie I'd even seen/seen in a long time (as some people have concluded), but I thought it was a nice, inventive story and would recommend it.  Even though the 3-d made me a little naus at some points, I definitely recommend seeing it that way.  As everyone has said, the sweeping views of Paris and the train station are very cool in 3-d.

2) Marathon watching on Saturday morning.  It's always fun to go out and cheer on the runners as they pass through our neighborhood.  Also, and I don't know if this will embarrass her, but I've got to shout out to Patti.  This was her 4th marathon, I think, and all the other times she's run, her time has been just north of 4 hours (as in, 4:04, 4:01, 4:03 - just a couple minutes over).  Well, this year she decided to beat that stupid 4 hour mark and trained hard to be speedier.  The outcome??  She ran it in 3:41!!  Insane and awesome!

3) Lunch with a sweet friend and her adorable new baby post-marathon on Saturday.  So nice to catch up and to hear about the first few months with a baby.

4) Lots of activity (without any tailbone pain).  I went for a couple long walks, raked some leaves, put away the baby presents, did 5 loads of laundry - it was great!  (Note, Jonathan assisted with all this stuff - I wasn't out there raking alone!)

5) Finally put the duvet on our bed.  Our weather has been so weird that we hadn't switched out our summer quilt yet (and were instead supplementing it with extra blankets at night).  It was finally time to take the plunge this weekend.

6) The SEC championship game - geaux Tigers!

7) A concert of Christmas carols at 2nd Pres followed by dinner at my in-laws' house on Sunday.  I freaking love some good choir music, and this one was great!

All in all, a great weekend - productive and fun.  And even better - it's a three-day weekend!  Today is my oyster...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fetal Friday: 27 Weeks

Oh my gosh, you guys.  Before I get into my weekly recap, I have to share with you an enormous answer to prayers that happened a few days ago: my tailbone pain went away!  Read that again: my tailbone pain went away!  I'm telling you, there was one point when we were in St. Louis when it cramped up and I couldn't move from the hallway to the couch.  Like, the pain was so severe, I didn't know how I was going to put one foot in front of the other and make it to the couch to sit down.  (That incident prompted an emotional breakdown, if you can imagine.)  But now, it's gone!

We got home Sunday afternoon.  It was acting about the same as it had been (which is to say, some moments it was 100% fine and unnoticeable, and other moments, when I moved or sat wrong, the tailbone area butt exploded with sharp, stabbing pain). 

After we unpacked our bags, I went to the grocery store.  I was a little surprised at the store that I was able to move as much as I could, but didn't really think anything of it.  When I got home, I decided to try a little walk on the treadmill and it wasn't a good one.  I did 30 minutes and the fastest I could go (which still caused quite a bit of pain) was 3.0.

But then the weird thing happened...  When I got off the treadmill, I went into the kitchen to start making dinner.  I was standing the whole time (obv), and noticed when we sat down to eat that the tailbone wasn't bothering me.  (And note, it definitely should've been bothering me - that is, after a walk and having to stand for awhile, that should've been a recipe for disaster.)  And seriously, just like that, after weeks of agony, the pain hasn't reappeared!  Now I definitely feel a little tenderness here and there if I move in a certain way or when I walked at a fast pace (4.2!) on the treadmill.  But it's just barely noticeable.  I think if I started running or something, it could easily slip out of place again, but I'm hoping if I keep my activity reasonable, I'll be fine.  Thank the Lord!  (No really, thank the Lord, because I'd been praying pretty hard for pain relief.)

So - moving on - our 27 week update.  What's up third trimester??

How Big Is Baby?
Baby is as big as a head of cauliflower: 16 inches and 2.5 lbs.

Symptoms
-Heartburn.  And it's a weird heartburn that doesn't really hurt, but instead makes me wonder if I'll puke it up because it's sitting so high up in my chest (almost in my throat).
-Getting full really fast; I just can't eat as much as I used to.  And when I try to eat that much (a la Thanksgiving/the whole St. Louis trip/book club), I get the awful heartburn afterwards.
-Swollen ankles - ha!  I looked down the other day and was like, "um...whoa!!"
-Nesting - is that a "symptom?"  I've been feeling the need to get stuff in order.

Weight Gain
I'm just going to keep it real on the blog, guys.  My weight gain this week was four pounds!  I was actually a little freaked out for a second (since one of the symptoms of pre-eclampsia is sudden, extreme weight gain).  But a quick visit to the blood pressure machine at Kroger dispelled that worry.  I'll definitely talk to my doctor about it next week, but I think it's just holiday overeating combined with no weight gain last week combined with slightly less-than-average weight gain up until this point.  So now my total gain is 19 pounds, and actually, I think that's about on track.

Exercise
After Sunday night's change in tailbone status, I've been able to walk everyday!  And sometimes at a good pace (4.0 and above)!

Food Aversions / Cravings
Not really, although I've been thinking a lot about BBQ...  (But after the thought pops in my head, I  think even harder about how bad it would make my heartburn.)

Dr's Appointment?
Next week.  We'll do my gestational diabetes test (the one where you drink that sugar-y liquid all pregnant women talk about) and I'll get my Rh+ shot (my blood type is Rh-, and since that's uncommon, you have to get a shot of the + to help your body in your next pregnancy not recognize the fetus as a foreign object it needs to fight against).

What I'm Looking Forward To
-Getting the office more cleaned up this weekend.
-Putting away the presents we got last weekend (since they're all sitting in the living room right now).

Preparations and Decisions Being Made
We finally made a decision about where to put the massive desk!  We realized it will juuuuust barely fit in the guest bedroom.  So attention to anyone who plans to be our guest at some point: that room is going to be really tight, moving forward.

General Mentality
I've been feeling a little anxious this week.  I feel like I have 10000 things to do, and I worry that I'm forgetting something.  Also, maybe a little more emotional than normal.

Belly
I had already showered and was in my nighttime "lounge clothes" when we got around to taking this.  Note: there's a stain on my shirt.  I thought it was just water, but then it never dried.  Oops.  Also note: I had just been crying a little after watching a documentary about dog & cat ownership.  See note about my general mentality.

From the front:
And from the side:

And for your viewing pleasure:

Have a wonderful weekend!  Good luck to my runner friends (the Memphis marathon is this weekend).

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Best Book I've Read All Year...

Our most recent book club pick, The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides.

I loved this book!  Loved it!  I'm feeling so enthusiastic about it that I can't control the exclamation points!  It was that good!

But no, really, this was such a perfect book for me to read (as I'll discuss later - because I'm not sure everyone will feel quite so strongly).  It's basically about three people's intertwined lives (Madeleine, Leonard, and Mitchell); it starts with their time together at Brown University and follows them through the first year and a half after graduation.  You also get glimpses into their families' lives. 

As you can infer from that description, it's a pretty character-driven novel; but at the same time, the plot moves along nicely, in my opinion.  Different parts are written in different points of view, so that propels the plot a little bit, too.

As I said, though, I'm not sure the book would be for everyone.  I think the main reason I loved it so much was because I was an English major in college.  The first 127 pages happen while they're at Brown, and honestly, this whole section was just a joy for me to read!  It talks a lot about literary theory (which I happened to love when I studied it senior year of college) - and so I remembered some of the readings that shape that part of the plot (Barthes, Derrida, Culler, etc.), but more importantly, I remember the feeling of learning literary theory and having my mind blown by it.  Seriously.  I'd been reading books and analyzing them my whole life, but until first semester of my senior year of college, I didn't even know there were different schools of analysis and interpretation.  It made everything analyzed by me before that point seem somewhat uneducated because I didn't understand what I was really doing.   

But then, and this is where my love of the first 127 pages of the novel really really comes into play, I can look back now as an adult and see how funny it is that I took myself so seriously!  And how insignificant literary theory is to the real world!  And that's how the first part of the book is written.  It's hysterical, actually - I laughed out loud at some of the outrageous, over-absorbed college students.

So here is some criteria that I think might help you decide if you'd love the book versus just liking it because it's an interesting story:

1) If you were an English major.
2) If you took yourself (and what you were learning) maybe a little too seriously in college and you can look back and laugh about it now.
3) If you didn't take yourself too seriously, but you can remember some of the students around you who did and laugh at them.
4) If you appreciate Academia, but can also laugh at some of the things that make it funny (and inclusive and/or irrelevant to the "real world").
5) If you went to a small liberal arts college.  (I guess I never experienced another type of college experience, but I think the small schools in particular draw in certain students that are just sort of funny when you look back on them now.)

One of the funny parts of the book that sticks out to me happens when some of the students are in a class on the first day of the semester.  The teacher asks them to introduce themselves and share a couple biographical tidbits..."The boy without eyebrows spoke up first.  'Um, let's see.  I'm finding it hard to introduce myself, actually, because the whole idea of social introductions is so problematized.  Like, if I tell you that my name is Thurston Meems and that I grew up in Stamford, Connecticut, will you know who I am?  O.K.  My name's Thurston and I'm from Stamford, Connecticut.  I'm taking this course because I read Of Grammatology last summer and it blew my mind.'  When it was the turn of the boy next to Madeleine, he said in a quiet voice that he was a double major (biology and philosophy) and had never taken a semiotics course before, that his parents had named him Leonard, that it had always seemed pretty handy to have a name, especially when you were being called to dinner, and that if anyone wanted to call him Leonard, he would answer to that."  (page 25) 

I LOVE IT!  The boy without eyebrows.  The "problematized" social introductions (and using the term "problematized").  Derrida blowing his mind.  The identity of a name.  It's just classic over-eager, too-serious college student and I love it!

So yeah, I highly recommend this book.  I actually really nerded out while reading it.  (I also really nerded out while writing this blog post, I think.)  Anyway, it's worth a read, I recommend!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Baby Shower #1: St. Louis

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, we were lucky enough to have a lovely baby shower thrown for us in St. Louis.  It made our whole trip home super exciting because we not only got to celebrate the holiday, we got to celebrate our little babe!  My mom's friend Suzanne was our hostess (the woman who also hosted our St. Louis wedding shower a couple years ago).  She chooses to host these things for a reason: she's good at it!

This time around, it was held at her country club in the back corner of one of the dining rooms.  I think we had about 15 people total - mostly my mom's friends, but then also my sister, two of my high school girlfriends (Sarah and Ali) who were in town and their moms, and Jonathan.  (It wasn't entirely clear whether Jonathan was supposed to be there or not, but since he really wanted to I kind of made him, he came.)

After some chitchat and mimosas, we sat down to what I'd call a "ladies luncheon."  Fresh fruit, rolls, mini egg frittatas, mini hashbrown cakes, and bacon (I guess that's not really a ladies lunch food, but whatev).  For dessert, we had an adorable cake made by the hostess, who happens to be a master baker.  It was as delicious as it was cute.

Following lunch, as expected, we played shower games!  We had also played quite a few at my wedding shower, so I was anticipating this portion of our afternoon.

First up we had a "pin the sperm on the egg" game.  Yeah.  Seriously.

Here's Sarah and then me:


(Also, please note, my mom is just about incapable of taking a non-blurry picture.  I think I'll need to give her some lessons next time I see her because we have basically no good pictures from the shower because of this little problem.)

Next was a relay race that involved balloon "babies" and walking with coins between our legs to drop them in a bucket.  Here's my sister enjoying her extra bump.
Then there was a somewhat disgusting baby food feeding and eating game.  I thought the baby food tasted good (applesauce) but I was just so stuffed from lunch, I couldn't down a whole jar of it.  Then the other team member had to drink from a bottle.  Jonathan and I didn't win.

And after all these games, it was time to open presents.  I sort of felt the same way when we got married, but it's just so humbling to have a room full of people buy stuff for you for no reason other than they want to celebrate the happy time in your life.  We got some awesome stuff!  We got big stuff (like our carseat & extra base, a portable crib, an electronic swing, and a 4-in-1 convertible high chair/booster seat), play stuff (like an activity mat, some books, and some toys), baby-carrying devices (our Moby wrap and Ergo), and practical stuff (bath towels and washclothes, a baby bathtub, and a sleep sack).

Luckily we had our car so we could transport everything back to Memphis!

All in all - it was wonderful - and we felt so loved!  Here are a few more pics (blurry, for the most part).

Ali, me, and Sarah:
What would be cute pics of my sister and me, and Jonathan and me (if they weren't blurry):

One of the adorable flower arrangements (taken in my mom's kitchen, not at the actual shower):
And finally, since we were in a majorly Christmas-decorated country club, a potential Christmas card pic for my mom to send (albeit, not the final one - I wouldn't share that on the blog before Christmas!).
A wonderful day!  Thanks to all who attended!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Our Almost-Week in St. Louis

It seems rare for an adult to get to spend an extended amount of time in his/her hometown if (s)he lives in a different city.  This has definitely been the case for me since moving to Memphis.  So when we looked at our schedules and realized we could leave for "Thanksgiving break" on Tuesday night, I jumped at the idea.  I'm not sure I've spent that much time "home" since I graduated college.

So overall, it was nice to be there for so long.  Because we weren't rushed for time, we did a ton of lounging around.  (Actually, so much so that on Friday, Jonathan and I decided to go shopping just so we could get out of the house.)  But lounging is good!  Sometimes it's hard to lounge at our own house on the weekend because there's always so much stuff that should/could get done.

And I couldn't describe the week without mentioning the eating.  Oh. My. Goodness.  We ate a lot.  For one thing, since we hosted Thanksgiving dessert at our house, there were tons of sweet treats sitting around.  Pies, cake, cookies, frozen custard, chocolates, you name it.  I think I ate more sweets in these five days than I have in my whole pregnancy.  But aside from those, there was just a lot of food in my mom's house.  She made a couple casseroles, macaroni and cheese, tuna salad, leftover Thanksgiving stuff - and it was all delicious, so we kept eating it the whole time we were there.  Phew.  I need some major detox this week.

Otherwise, here are some highlights from the week:

1) Seeing 2 movies: The Descendants and The Muppet Movie.  Both were awesome and I highly recommend!  The Descendants has "Oscar" written all over it; and the Muppets will hopefully be the beginning of another successful series about our puppet friends.

2) The baby shower on Saturday, of course!  I'll blog about that tomorrow.

3) Dinner one night with Sarah and Ryan.  We went to a quaint little Italian place and enjoyed delicious food and lovely conversation.

4) St. Louis Smoothie!  My fave!

5) My mom taking care of Hank pretty much exclusively.  She would take him on her 6+ mile walks every morning and constantly play with him and keep him entertained.  He's still pooped from the week! But I'm hoping this is a good representation of her grandparenting skills - ie, she let's mom & dad have a break!

6) Thanksgiving itself, which I already wrote about on Friday, but still.  It was great!

7) What seemed like a real breakthrough with Hank's barking on Thanksgiving night.  We knew he would freak out when all those people came over, but we handled it a little differently.  Instead of just telling him "you're ok" while petting him, I kept him sort of locked between my legs when they first arrived and kept telling him "no" when he would start his growl/bark.  By the end of the night, when we were all playing games, he was sitting with the whole group, not barking, and letting other people pet him.

8) Warm weather!  It was shocking and lovely!

Overall, it was great to be there and I think my mom loved it, too!  I hope everyone enjoyed their whole Thanksgiving week and/or weekend.  Back to the grind, I guess...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Fetal Friday: 26 Weeks

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving!  My day began with the Macy's parade (which was LAME - did anyone else watch?  where were the balloons??  it was Broadway singer after Broadway singer), followed by the dog show.  And then we had dinner at one of my mom's neighbor's houses (our family and a few other families) and then everyone came back to my mom's house for dessert and games!  It was a fun group and an overall fun night!

Best part of being pregnant on Thanksgiving?  Maternity leggings.

How Big Is Baby?
The size of a cucumber: 15 inches, 2.2 lbs.

Symptoms
Nothing new - still a large amount of un-awesomeness with the tailbone.

Weight Gain
None this week - total gain: 15 pounds.  (Please note - these weigh ins take place on Thursday mornings, so this is pre-Thanksgiving binge - I'm guessing next week might be a 2-pounder...)

Exercise
1 yoga; 2 "official" walks (as in, "I'm going to take an exercise walk right now"); and a couple times walking the dog for short snippets of time.  It sounds really lame, but honestly, my tailbone hurts so much when I walk and I have to walk so slowly that the walk becomes more about building mental stamina (ie, "I can do this - I can work through the pain") than cardiovascular health.  The fastest I could go on the treadmill the other day was 3.2.  Literally.

Food Aversions / Cravings
Thanksgiving food!  Mmm!  And cookies - my mom has a lot of cookies at her house.

What I'm Looking Forward To
Our first shower this Saturday!

Preparations and Decisions Being Made
Decisions: if I eat one more helping of sweet potatoes, will my stomach be uncomfortably full, or just normal full?

General Mentality
Great, for the most part - the holiday has been lovely and I've just been relaxing and enjoying it.  I had a small breakdown the other day because my back cramped up so much I couldn't walk and I just couldn't envision three more months like this.  I think I'm going to call the acupuncturist on Monday and see what she says.

Belly
Sorry guys - we left our camera at home. :(

Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankfulness

For which I'm thankful:

-my husband, dog, and our quaint little life
-the baby!
-my family
-my friends
-the health and safety of all the above

-employment
-a place to live; clothes to wear; food to eat; cars to drive
-my education
-a peaceful home country with a democracy

-ketchup
-good books
-suburban grocery stores
-vacations
-frozen yogurt
-sunny days
-NPR

Let's all give thanks for the big (and small) things that bless our lives everyday.  I hope you have a Thanksgiving full of family, friends, food, and football.  Gobble, gobble.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Hank Dog Bark

When I was very early pregnant (and consumed by worry of miscarriage and birth defects), my doctor told me something insightful: "you always worry about your kids, the worry just changes as they get older." 

Similarly, I was talking with a co-worker who has a 1 year old and he affirmed the same thing.  He said you worry about the developmental stuff first: "shouldn't he be reaching out to objects already;" "shouldn't he be making sounds already;" "should he be doing better with tummy time?"  And then, as the child accomplishes each worry-inducing task, you move on to the next worry.  "Should he be crawling more;" "should he be pulling himself up;" "when is he going to walk?"  And it just keeps going.  And when you're up at night worrying that your kid is way behind on his walking, the worry from months ago that he wasn't reaching out and grasping objects is almost removed from your memory because it's so distant.

Well, the old nickname of a dog as a "practice baby" I think has sort of illustrated the same cycle of worry that we'll have as parents.

First we worried about Hank not liking/being scared of Jonathan.  Then they became pals.  Then Hank started to like me and Jonathan equally (or about equally - he and I are pretty tight).

Next we had a huge potty dilemma.  Hank was going in the house a lot (which caused a lot of stress).  Then we could get him to go outside, but we had to be in the yard with him.  Then we had to be on the deck with him.  Then he would go outside, but only on our prompting (he wouldn't stand at the door to tell us he had to go).  But now, he potties like a normal dog (outside, alerting us when he needs to go, and tinkling on command if necessary [ie, it's raining and we don't want him getting drenched]).

And these things?  While they took some time (and stress!), eventually they've become such a natural, normal part of our day that it's funny to look back and think how Hank hated Jonathan for a few weeks.  Or how annoying it was to have to keep a constant eye on him at night in case he started to pee in the house.

Well, presently, we have an issue with barking.  And it's quite the issue...

Basically, whenever Hank encounters a "stranger" (and I'm using the term lightly - I should say, any time he encounters someone other than us), he barks his head off.  Not just a couple light barks.  Not some heavy barking that eventually lets up.  No.  It's intense, growl-ish barking that can often last the entire length of time we're around the other person.

We think it's partially a fear response (because usually his big bushy tail is between his legs while he barks).  And we think it's partially a protective thing of us (because when we were last at the vet, for example, they had to take him back and do a minor procedure, and the techs said he was sweet as could be [once we were gone]).  We also don't think he would ever bite someone (thus far he hasn't, and it just doesn't really seem like his m.o.).

But, regardless of not biting, it's incredibly annoying!  Any time we have someone to our house, we have to explain that the dog will freak out and it's best to just ignore him & let him decide if he wants to warm up to you.  It's also annoying in instances at the vet or the groomer or anywhere a stranger needs to interact with the dog because I'm sure they think he's an out-of-control animal (and often have to muzzle him).

The Catch 22 of it, though, is that there are instances when it's not annoying.  When I'm walking him at night and a questionable person is also walking on the street?  Not annoying.  When we have repairmen to our house?  Not annoying (because, you know, they could be "scoping the joint" thinking about coming back).  If someone were to break into our house?  I'd rather have the barking dog than the golden retriever who'd go up and start licking the burglar, you know?

(There are times, too, when it's outright hysterical.  I was walking him one day and we encountered a man, probably in his 30s, who was a dead ringer for Cam on Modern Family [but seemed 100x nerdier].  He saw the dog and sort of crouched down, clapped his hands and was like, "come here, boy" clearly assuming Hank would just run to him to be petted.  Only "come here, boy" got about as far as "come here, b-" before Hank yanked forward on his lease, took a firm stance, and started ferociously growl-barking at the guy.  The man then stood up looking sort of emotional wounded from the experience and walked away.)

So what we need is some kind of command like "friend" that we can say in those instances when we're actually around friends.  Because of the fear aspect, though (the tail between the legs), we don't know how to get him to listen to a command when he's all fired up with fear.

Has anyone had any experience with this?  What can you do with a barker?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Paint Party!

As alluded to in yesterday's post, I had a super fun Sunday night!  We went painting!  (As in easel and smock and beret painting - not painting a room in the house.)

We originally heard about these paint places from our friend Brooke.  Apparently there's one in Cooper Young she's been to a few times where you go, pay a set fee (which includes all your materials), and you then choose what you want to paint from a wall of options.  That place is more paint-by-numbers guided, I think (as in, you get a sheet handed to you with step-by-step instructions).

Well, we then heard about this woman, Lisa, who does "paint parties" most Thursdays and Sundays of the month.  With her parties, there's only one painting per class that everyone does.  And she paints along with the class, offering a step-by-step tutorial.  There is a set price that includes all materials (the canvas, paint, paintbrushes, aprons, etc.).  And she advertises it as a fun get-together for groups, and encourages people to bring snacks and wine.

So Sunday night, a group of girlfriends and I attended one of these parties!  None of us (except for one, who was an art major in college show off) had any experience or skill painting pictures.  But I have to say - it was such a fun experience!  I have no idea how (because seriously, most of us claimed beforehand to have no skill), but all of our paintings turned out really well.  Like, surprisingly well!  I'm still a little shocked to look at my painting and know I created it.

Even if the final products hadn't turned out so well, though, I think this still would've been great.  We all brought food and wine to share, and we were all at one long table, so we got to chat throughout the whole thing.  One surprising aspect to me was how relaxing I found the actual painting.  I don't think it would be relaxing if I just sat down in front of a canvas and tried to think of my own idea, mind you.  But with the guided environment, it was low-stress.  And the teacher was definitely encouraging to those who had some more natural talent, basically emphasizing that she was just showing one way to do it, and you could do absolutely anything you wanted on the canvas.

I highly, highly recommend this!  In fact, I'm anxious to go back soon (although some of the parties in December are holiday-themed and a little kitschy, so I might have to wait for the new year).

Here's my masterpiece (Birds On A Fence, if you will):

Monday, November 21, 2011

Lazy Weekend

Man, there's something about cloudy/rainy days that make it nearly impossible to accomplish anything.  Case in point: I stayed in my "lounge clothes" until about 2 yesterday.  We decided early on we weren't going to church, and our productivity went steadily down from there.  I was excited, though, because there was a 2-hour Food Network Thanksgiving show where people called in and asked questions to the FN chefs.  I'd been complaining the network wasn't airing any of its classic T'giving shows (Lets Talk Turkey, Dear Food Network Thanksgiving), so this sort of fulfilled that desire for me.

The rest of our weekend was pretty low key as well.  We stayed in Friday.  Took Hank to the groomer on Saturday (and I've got to say, he's now super snuggly and soft, and smells good and his hair isn't so shaggy).  I went to prenatal yoga.  Then Saturday night we went to dinner with friends and went to see TWILIGHT!

Overall, I'd say the movie fulfilled for me what I was hoping it would.  I wasn't expecting a Best Picture with a bunch of Best Actor/Best Adapted Screenplay moments - and so, I'd say my expectations were met.  My favorite aspect of the books was the love story - plain and simple.  (And of course, I see the flaws all the feminists point out - but whatev - for myself as a reader, I'm happy to read about unrealistic and obsessive teenage love.  If I had a daughter, it might be different.  But I don't.)  So anyway, this movie focused a ton on the love story, which was fun for me.  The guys complained at the end of the film that "nothing happened."  And I guess if you went into it expecting something as action-packed as the previous one (#3), you'd be disappointed.  But Book Four focused a lot on their wedding and their honeymoon, so the movie felt authentic to the book in that way.

Go see it if you're into the whole movie franchise.  If not - DON'T GO.  Ha.  This isn't a "must-see" for everyone on the planet.

Anyway, as I said, Sunday was pretty lazy.  I ventured to Old Navy where I bought some fake Ugg boots for $15 (to wear to yoga in the winter) and some baby onesies!  And then Sunday night was an incredibly fun night I'll blog about tomorrow!

I hope you guys had good weekends, too.  I'm pumped about the short work week and the fact that our boss is in Hawaii, ie, no one is going to do anything all week.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fetal Friday: 25 Weeks

Um, whoa.  Am I almost in my third trimester?  The exact weeks of the trimesters sort of confuse me, but it seems I would only have a maximum of two more weeks in the second, right?  (40/3 = 13.3)  That's weird.  the third trimester seems really pregnant to me - like, more pregnant than I feel, ha.

One of my big struggles this week (and looking forward to 15 more weeks) was/is going to be exercise.  I didn't really do much of anything this week except one yoga class and two walks with the dog.  It gets dark so early now that I feel little motivation to take Hank for a walk when I get home from work.  But at the same time, I feel a little guilty getting on the treadmill because I know he would really like a walk. 

And then there's my back.  Ugh.  It's definitely clear that the more exercise I do, the more it hurts.  (Ie, this week, it feels 300x better than it did the past two.)  But I want to be exercising!  I want to keep my weight gain appropriate and I want my body to be as physically prepared for labor as possible.  So I think I need to be willing to work through some of the back pain so I can reap the benefits of exercise.

I'd like to make a "goal" for how much I want to do each week (that I'll monitor in my weekly blog updates).  But I don't know what the goal should be!  My initial thought was 2 yoga classes and 3 (minimum 30 minute) walks per week.  But that's 5 days of exercise - is it too much?  Should I instead say 1 yoga class and 3 walks?  Or is yoga more important?  2 yoga classes and 2 walks?

Maybe we'll see how this week goes - with the ultimate goal of 2 yoga classes and 3 walks (but with importance placed on the walks).  Also, it's Thanksgiving week, so while it will be really easy to walk in St. Louis, there will be no yoga there (ie, I need to do that this weekend and early next week).

Ok - exercise tangent over - on to 25 weeks.

How Big Is Baby?
Baby is still the size of an, albeit bigger, eggplant this week: 9 inches; 2 pounds.

Symptoms
Nothing new (except for some stomach aches that might or might not be related to the babe).

Weight Gain
1 pound this week - total gain: 15 pounds

Exercise
As I said, 1 yoga, 2 walks.

Food Aversions / Cravings
Nothing new.  Still loving the French onion soup and butternut squash.

Last Doctor's Appointment
Not this week.

What I'm Looking Forward To
-Having an exercise plan in place.
-Eating my baby's weight at the Thanksgiving table.

Preparations and Decisions Being Made
We're trying to decide where to put the freaking huge/nice desk that's in our office.  Current thoughts: none.  There's nowhere else it will fit in our house (including storage locations like the attic and laundry room).  We don't want to sell it.  If we move it out of the house (to either a storage facility or Jonathan's office), we'll need to pay movers.  It's sort of a problem right now...

General Mentality
Feeling good.  Maybe a little more emotional than normal?  I also have this worry that "pregnancy brain" is making me forget to do a lot of things - so those "things" (if they even exist) are causing me a little anxiety.  Weird, I know.  Also weird is that I have a lot of anxiety about germs and getting sick as it gets colder and "the sickness" becomes more prevalent.  Stay away germs!  Wash your hands a lot, friends!

Belly
Here we are from the front:

And from the side (the baggy shirt doesn't make this a great pic, but whatev):

Have wonderful weekends!  I'm insane with excitement looking forward to seeing the new Twilight movie!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Easy-Peesy Apple Danish

I've been in the baking mood lately.  But, as is always the case, I've resisted the itch because Jonathan and I certainly don't need a whole cake/pie/2 dozen cookies/cupcakes/etc. sitting around the house because we always have intentions of sharing, and then just eat everything ourselves

Then, last week, I was reading the daily Hungry Girl update and saw a recipe for an apple cinnamon danish.  Do you guys know of Hungry Girl (ie, Lisa Lillian)?  I have completely mixed feelings on her...  The premise is that she seeks out low calorie/lowfat food "swaps" for common recipes and ingredients.  So, she'll make a Hungry Girl version of stuff like fettuccine alfredo, Big Macs, pizza, sweet & sour chicken, etc.  And then she also advertises new products that are low fat/cal (stuff like protein bars, reduced fat cheese products, low cal chips, low cal pasta substitutes, etc.).  My mixed feelings are: 1) I like the idea of it - that one doesn't have to get super crazy if one is having a craving for something like macaroni and cheese; but 2) I dislike that she often uses "fake" food to achieve her recipes - stuff like artificial sweeteners and chemical dairy products (Laughing Cow, fat free half & half, non-dairy creamer, etc.); and 3) that she'll often choose low calorie over nutrient-dense (so she'd choose white Light Wonderbread over a slice of whole grain bread).

But that being said, I still read her blog everyday, ha.  And while I haven't made a ton of her recipes, the ones I have made (generally the ones without fake food or chemicals) have been pretty good.  So when I saw this apple danish and saw that it used real food for the most part, I was on board.  Also - each slice only has 160 calories - faaaaaar less than one of those delicious, fatty danishes from the grocery store.

I made it last weekend on Saturday morning - and I have to say - it was pretty darn good!  Also - it was eaaaaasy to make.  I think this would be one of those great things to make if you were having overnight company (or if it's just a random Saturday and you & your significant other want a sweet treat breakfast).

Cinnamon Apple-Cranberry Danish

I followed her recipe pretty much to a T.  I was worried the fat free cream cheese would be gross, but you can't really taste it - it just adds a creaminess to the filling.  Also, that Pillsbury dough is durable!  I was worried because I stretched mine pretty thin, but it's so sturdy, it didn't matter.  One place I ventured away from the recipe was with the "frosting" (just powdered sugar and water) - I made more than she suggests, because the amount she suggests is minuscule.

Here's my finished product:
I recommend giving this a try - it's fun and doesn't taste low in calories.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Anniversary Celebrations

It's fun to celebrate anniversaries since it's about both of us and only us.  So not only do we each get presents, but we only buy them for us (ie, not for the 20 [$$$] members of our family like at Christmas), so it's not that stressful.  (And let's be honest, an anniversary is a great excuse to eat a nice meal and have dessert.  Mmm.)

A few months ago we found out The Pixies would be playing in Memphis on our actual anniversary.  Jonathan checked in with me about my thoughts, and while I have to admit it wasn't my number-one, must-do, can't-live-without-this idea of an anniversary night, he was really pumped about the show, so I said "what the heck - let's do it."

Knowing we had the show on Monday night, we decided to have our anniversary celebration on Saturday night.  First we exchanged presents!  The theme for a 2nd anniversary is cotton.  We decided beforehand we didn't need to try to get each other cotton items that would be lifelong keepsakes.  So I got Jonathan a cotton/cashmere blend sweater, a collared buttondown, and some socks.  He got me a tunic (which is maternity, but I think can be worn when not pregnant) and matching leggings that I picked out.  We were both happy!

Then we went to our unknown-to-me dinner location.  Jonathan had told me it was a "new" restaurant.  I didn't know if this meant new to us, or a new restaurant to the city.  I had looked at some menus online of both of the above, pretty sure I knew where we were going.  Then he pulled into River Oaks - a new to us restaurant I totally forgot about!  The fun/sweet aspect of the whole thing was that the chef/restaurateur of the place is the same one from the place we went on our first date (Encore).  Aww.

I've got to say, even though we tremendously overate (I mean, seriously overate, such that I didn't feel very well when we got home), this place is awesome!  The menu is fantastic and everything we had including the 3 appetizers we got who said that? was really, really delicious!  Highly recommend.  We followed the restaurant with a trip to YoLo to try the new "YoLo Bakes" bakery aspect of the place.  We each got cupcakes that were yuuuum.  So overall, Saturday was lovely.

Then Monday, on our actual anniversary, we both got special presents delivered to work.  Mine:

And Jonathan's:

The timing worked out well for us with the concert at the Orpheum because it's Downtown Dining Week in Memphis.  For this week only, participating restaurants are offering 3 course dinners for $20.11.  We decided to try Bleu, the new restaurant in the Westin on Beale.  Our general takeaway from Bleu was so-so.  The menu looks awesome.  And the stuff we ordered should've been awesome, but it wasn't executed very well.  I got a fish in parchment and while the flavor was great, the fish was raw in parts and had to be sent back.  Jonathan got this fab-looking pork chop with a poached egg on top...and the pork chop was raw right next to the bone.  Both of our desserts should've been delicious (mine was apple pie - hard to mess up, and his was s'mores in a cast iron skillet), but they just weren't very good.  Not sure how I feel about going back to try more of the awesome-looking menu...

Anyway, after that, we were off to the Orpheum for the Pixies!  We saw lots of friends we chatted with before the show, and when we weren't chatting, we were enjoying the people watching (which included a total random crowd of preppies/hipsters/punks/purple-haired people/oddly pierced people/etc.).

The show itself was fun.  Not being the world's biggest Pixies fan, I have a more objective take on the whole thing (while Jonathan said he thought it was "alright; pretty good").  Their music is fun and loud and rockin, so that made a fun atmosphere.  What was not so fun was my tailbone pain (which caused me to sit down for a lot of it), and the two times during the show I was convinced I was going to puke.  The first time, I was sitting down and felt this intense nausea come on and thought "holy crap, I got food poisoning from the raw fish!"  I raced out of the theatre, and once I hit the cold, empty lobby, I realized I didn't have food poisoning, I was just having some pregnancy naus from the intensely hot/crowded/smoke machine-y theatre.  I got a bottle of water, cooled off for a little bit, and headed back in.  The second time I felt the nausea was at the very end of the show (the second encore) when the lead singer was doing this cutesy goodnight thing to all the other members of the band.  It was taking foooooreveeeeer (especially considering how I felt), so I gave Jonathan "the look" and we were out of there.

It was sort of lame to have to sit for a good portion of the show, but it was still fun.  And it was ok that it was on our anniversary - maybe even good - because we essentially had two celebrations!  Yay for two years of marriage!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

RIP Keurig

This past weekend, we said goodbye to an almost-member of our family...our Keurig coffee maker.

We - well, Jonathan - has had this guy since 2007.  And it has probably been the most-used appliance in our kitchen (because back in the day [when I was still taking in the coff]), we were both having about 2 cups a day).

For the most part, this coffee maker has been great.  I seriously cannot recommend enough the single-cup brewing system.  You always have a delicious, fresh cup with no end-of-the-pot sledge.  It's also handy for instant hot water whenever you need it.

We didn't really have any problems with ours until about a year ago when it started telling us more often that we needed to "de-scale" the system (ie, run vinegar through it to remove the hard water buildup).  Also note that we'd never de-scaled in the first 3 years we had it, even though they recommend doing it once a month.  So part of our Keurig's untimely death could be our own fault.  But recently, we would de-scale and then it would tell us 2 days later we needed to do it again.  It started to mess up every time it made a cup (ie, only a little bit of liquid would come out and then you'd have to run it again and double the amount would come out).  Then, this past Saturday, water started pouring out the back of the machine while brewing.  That was when we decided Old Trusty had brewed his last cup.

RIP Keurig - you've been good to us - you've pepped us up in the mornings and helped us attend late night concerts.  We'll miss you.

Although, for full disclosure, we have purchased your brother (the new upgraded model) and expect to receive him in the mail tomorrow.  It doesn't mean we loved you any less.

Monday, November 14, 2011

2 Years

Today, 11-14-11, is our anniversary!  Two years ago, we walked down the aisle and became Mr. & Mrs.
It's a little weird because today doesn't really feel like it's about our actual, physical wedding.  It did feel like that at our one-year anniversary, I thought.  At our one-year, I was reminiscing about the big day and replaying everything in my mind.  But today seems more about our marriage and the commitment of our vows, and less about the party of a wedding we had (because it was a party!).

I'm thankful we've been together almost 5 years and that we united before God, our family, and friends two years ago.  I'm thankful we've been given the gift of creation and that our family will forever change in February. 

This anniversary feels more about looking ahead than looking behind, and I couldn't be more excited for what's in store!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fetal Friday: 24 Weeks

Let's all shed a small tear that I didn't get pregnant in mid-February, because then our kid would've had a shot at the COOLEST BIRTHDAY EVER, today, 11-11-11.

Ok, tears gone.  End of February or early March will also be an awesome time for a birthday.

Anyway, 24 weeks pregnant.  In honor of the week, I've written a Haiku...

Oh, sweet Pregnancy,
Mostly, You've been good to me,
Now you tease and taunt.

How Big Is Baby?
Baby is the size of an eggplant and about 1.7 pounds.  Perhaps more interesting, my uterus is apparently the size of a soccer ball.  A soccer ball, people - that's big!

Symptoms
My artfully written Haiku alludes to my weekly symptoms.  As I said last week, I've had a good pregnancy for the most part (aside from some symptoms here and there).  Well, remember last week when I said I "hurt my back?"  Yeah, I don't think I hurt it after all, I just think I've entered into the back pain stage of pregnancy.  I hate to be a whiny baby, but I'm in some pain.  It's pretty much exclusively located in my tailbone/butt area and displays itself as shooting/stabbing pains if I move, sit, or stand in a weird or just any way.  I don't want to take Tylenol (I know I'm allowed, but I don't want to), and I don't want to tone down my activity level.  I tried a heating pad the other night and that felt awesome then Hank ate the heating pad.  Yoga doesn't make it feel better (in fact, sitting on the floor is really difficult), but I still plan to do it because stretching has to be good for it, right?  I'm also d-o-n-e wearing heels, which greatly increases the pain.  We'll see...I'm thinking about things like prenatal massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic help, but I haven't really looked into any of these.

Weight Gain
Two pounds this week - total gain, 14 pounds.  (I wonder if I'll be in a pattern of gaining two one week, and none the next?)

Maternity Clothes
This category is gone next week.  Yes - all maternity.  I've been wondering, though...  So usually, if you talk to a woman at the end of her pregnancy, she'll say she's ready to burn her maternity clothes because she's so sick of them.  Well, I'm wondering if I will feel the same way.  I really like all the new stuff I've got.  It's hard to think I'll be sick of them in 4 measly months (especially considering I've had some stuff in my wardrobe for years).  I guess we'll see on this one, too...

Food Aversions / Cravings
I mentioned in my weekend recap, but I was madly craving roasted butternut squash and French onion soup, so I made them.  I figured I could make the soup at home a lot healthier than if I got some from a restaurant.  Both were delish!  Fun fact: when my mom was pregnant with me, all she craved was zucchini - like, zucchini every day.  I wonder if we're just a family of squash cravers?

Last Dr's Appointment
We had one Tuesday and it went great!  We did an ultrasound to get the 4th view of the heart (which looked great!), and to get a sweet side pic of baby.  Then I had my appointment and we had our normal chitchat about how things are going.  We talked about the back pain (which is quite common), and talked about a tiny spotting incident I had after yoga on Saturday (which, again, was nothing for concern).  I asked about umbilical cord blood banking (and pretty much decided after she mentioned the $2000-$4000 price tag) that we wouldn't do that.

Baby Moving
Yes - all the time.  It feels like there's a little acrobat in there!  This category will be gone next week, as well.

What I'm Looking Forward To
-Hmm...back pain relief?  (Wishful thinking.)
-Getting the office more and more cleaned up and ready for its nursery transformation.

Preparations and Decisions Being Made
We're moving ahead with the naming process, I'd say.  I also ordered some fabric samples for potential nursery bedding.  I'm hoping this weekend we can do even more cleaning of the office.

General Mentality
It's great!  What a huge relief to know the little heart is looking good.  Now I just want to concentrate on keeping myself healthy, eating well, and active.  (And I have to say, as much as my back hurts, feeling these sweet baby kicks all day make it totally bearable.)

Belly
Here we are from the front:

And the side:

Someone else was excited to be in the picture to show you what a big boy he is!  Also, Daylight Savings might have killed our outdoor picture series unless we get home early from work or start taking them at a different time of day.  TBD.

Have a good weekend!  We're celebrating our anniversary on Saturday night (actual anniversary is Monday).