Sunday, December 31, 2006

We had a nice holiday. Technically there's still a day left, but there's no more travel and there are no more house guests, so I think a recap would not leave much out at this point.

SNG's family came here for Christmas, which was nice since going anywhere with a small baby is a bit like going anywhere with concrete shoes on your feet. After everyone went home or back to work, I ate a lot of 50% off Christmas candy, watched a lot of TV, and as you may have guessed, played on the computer a lot.

Friday, SNG, e-baby and I went shopping, and we got a new camera. YAY! It takes much nicer pictures than the old one. The biggest differences are in speed: it takes a picture faster (push-button-to-click time is very short-- better for catching a spontaneous expression, like a smile) and it can take pictures of very fast things (which means fewer blurry pictures of babies and dogs). We've been keeping DOTi most of the week (Peace and Fuzzy's dog) and she is VERY fast.

For the weekend we went to SNG's parents house. Dianaverse will be there until New Year's Day, bt we came home today to beat the traffic. Nothing like sitting in hours of home-from-the-OBX traffic with a baby howling and a dog pooting in the backseat. It was a good idea: there were very few cars on the road today.

As an ending to what may be the most boring blog post ever written, here are e-baby pictures for December. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Two Posts In Two Days! or, Diaries From a Boring Kitchen Table:

e-baby has found her hands. I had read that this happens around 3 months, and in true e-baby fashion, at 3-months-and-1-day we caught her staring intently at her right hand, turning it over and over, wiggling the fingers (1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4), then sucking on it, then looking at it again. It was the most interesting thing she'd seen since lunch. The next day she found her left hand. Now, flailing her arms about, she stops mid-swing to look at her hands, turning them over and over.

She already knew how to grasp things in her vicinity, like pushing her pacifier back into her mouth if it was slipping (more of a forearm-push than a grasp, really). With the discovery of hands, however, she is learning to grab objects held in front of her. This feels like a milestone, the beginning of Big Things. However, it seems that grasping comes much earlier than letting go:

*On her swing, there's a setting where she can grasp the fish hanging on the sides to make the music start and stop. She's been able to control this feature for a few weeks. However, after a few minutes of playing, she'll start fussing and then crying and tugging, tugging, tugging the fish, changing the music each time. It is quite evident that she does not know how to let it go.

*SNG gave her a tiny red teddy bear, and she bopped herself in the nose, chin, forehead with it before crying and shaking it about like a sticky piece of trash, all the while clutching it tightly in her tiny fist. She was undoubtedly aiming for her mouth, missed, and wanted it to Go Away.

Our lesson for the day is this: If a baby grabs your hair and won't let go, remember that it is probably as distressed about the situation as you are. Addendum: Don't take your baby mackerel fishing or you will pay hefty fines for keeping illegal-size fish. Most states won't even give a fishing license to a 3-month-old for this very reason. Babies just don't understand catch-and-release.

Oh, yeah- this post is going to reel in some interesting Google searches.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

We had a fabulous Christmas. I'll post more about it later. But first, I wanted you to see these adorable pictures:







Who is that? No, it isn't e-baby. Hint: look at the date.

All along I've thought e-baby looks like my mother, but this is uncanny. She doesn't have my grandfather's nose after all. It's SNG's.

FRAU:(shouting) "Send in the clone!"
NUMBER TWO: "He is identical to you in every way, except he is one-eighth your size. "
DR. EVIL: "Breathtaking. I shall call him Mini-Me. Mini-Me, you will sit to my right."

Saturday, December 23, 2006

TEN DAYS OFF WORK YAY YAY YAY!

I'm stocking up on 50%off Christmas candy and warming up my credit card for things I don't need.

Did you know that on average, people lose about 100 hairs a day? Just normal hair loss, not pattern baldness of any kind. While I was pregnant, I don't think I lost a single hair to natural causes. Honestly, I did not have to clean my brust for 9 months, plus two more months after the baby was born. The awesome thick hair was one of my favorite things about being pregnant. People attribute the phenomenal hair, nails, and skin of pregnancy to prenatal vitamins, but it's not that because I'm still taking them and the hairs have started to fall out. It started about a month ago, and apparently, I'm making up for lost time because I leave a trail of long blonde hairs everywhere I go. So let's see... even if I lost 50 hairs a day (which I think is an overestimate), then that's 48 weeks at 50 hairs NOT lost a day, so there are 16,800 hairs to lose now, plus the usual 100 a day. The thick hair was nice enough to almost make me want to be pregnant again. And then I smack myself in the back of the head and return to my senses.

Good news of the week: PartnerInCrime and LeBon have their electricity back!! Not only had they been without power for a week and a half, but her whole family was coming to town for Christmas, and oh yeah, did I mention she's VERY pregnant? Because she is. And she just got over a terrible several-week-long stomach thing. And she lost a whole freezer full of casseroles that she had made for after the baby's born. Now it's time to track down the person with the voodoo doll of my cousin before anything else happens.

Not-good news of the week: Peace is sick. She and Fuzzy were supposed to be in Philly for the holidays and we were planning to watch their dog DOTi this week, but now it looks like Peace won't be going anywhere soon. Send happy-healthy vibes for her.

Speaking of family in town, SNG's parents will be here sometime tomorrow, staying for Christmas and a little after-Christmas shopping. We'll have turducken again. I love turducken. SNG's mom will make some pies. Turducken and pies. Those are leftovers I won't complain about.

Of course, this is e-baby's first Christmas so she is dancing to some Christmas jazz music.



Merry Christmas to everybody!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Have you noticed that blog posting for me is feast or famine? This week it's feast.

From the file marked "Gee, really?", Christmas is Monday. New Year's Day is the next Monday. What is noteworthy about this is that my company closes for business between Christmas and New Year's every year. Ten days off. I love that.

January 2 I return to work full time. I don't love that as much. I'm still trying to figure out how to work exercise into my schedule once I'm back FT. This month has been easy because I take e-baby to day care at 9, work until 10:30, jog 30 minutes, feed the baby at 11, grab lunch until about 12:30, and work until about 2:30 or 3. But day care is only open 9-5, so something will have to be cut short to get in a full day's work (which is also 9-5). Soon she'll be big enough to ride in the baby jogger and I'll be able to take her to and from work on foot, but before that can happen the weather will have to be warmer. So I think that's not possible until March or so.

Hopefully I'll be traveling less next year than in previous years. For several years, upper management have been telling us that teaching via the internet is the wave of the future and that we'd all better get on board with it. I resisted this for as long as I could because I really LOVE being in the classroom face-to-face with my students. I also love seeing new places so travel was always a treat. But now that my priorities have shifted a bit, live web teaching is looking much more attractive. Let's just hope it doesn't make me start to hate my job. Because have I mentioned before? It's the perfect job.

Not being able to get in more than a 30-minute workout 5 days a week has certainly made it difficult to lose the baby weight. Oh, and being hungry all.the.time doesn't help much either. I think my pregnancy appetite stayed around. But, I guess this is temporary and once I can start jogging and biking to work again, I'm sure things will settle back to normal.

So what else? Nobody else will be around to hang out next week, since friends from work will be out of town and SNG will be at work and Dianaverse doesn't have the whole week off. So it'll be e-baby and me, cooped up alone like the family in The Shining, only without the axe-murdering Jack Nicholson character. Or the creepy twin girls. Or the blood-spewing-elevator-shaft.

Other than eating 50%off Christmas candy and going shopping for things I don't need, what is there to do for 4 weekdays on my own?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I'm trying out a trick to embed videos here from youtube. It's e-baby chatting with us about her big night out in Manhattan.

One week: Two trips, two colds, one bottle, three pizzas, and a very large rice krispie treat.

Last week I took my first trip without e-baby. It was two nights in suburban Philadelphia, which is quite a bit more boring than urban Philadelphia, but probably less violent. So I guess that's good. I was feeling the beginnings of a sore throat on Sunday night, and I hoped that by the time I got home I wouldn't be contagious anymore and that maybe e-baby wouldn't catch it.

SNG's parents came up to help him out and since they live in The Land Of Crappy Malls (their mall is likely to carry more double-wide trailers and fishing boots than Abercrombie sweaters) they took advantage of the day care to get some Christmas shopping done, and in the evenings there were 3 pairs of hands to feed, change, and snuggle with the SmallAndFuzzy one. She probably felt as though this was ALMOST the level of luxury to which she should become accustomed.

Meanwhile, in suburban Philly, I slept about 5 hours a night (oh cruel insomnia! oh terrible sore throat!) and every evening had SNG put the phone up to ebaby's mouth so I could hear those panting and grunting noises that I love so much. I came home Tuesday night, and SNG was waiting for me with e-baby in the car seat. As I came down the terminal hallway I saw her face light up and she smiled big for me. I think she knew that I was in need of some major baby therapy, and she stayed really cheerful all evening.

On Thursday, SNG, e-baby and I flew together (!) to New York. We got pictures of her first cab ride and her first hotel room and she even got a security badge at the regional office. So cute! Thursday night we had dinner with my cousin Cosmopolitan at a pizza joint owned by Mario Bataly (OH it was SO good). I always love seeing her when I can. She's the first person from my dad's family to meet e-baby in person and of course e turned on the charm. She smiled and cooed and then gracefully fell asleep so that the grown-ups could chat in peace over pizza, cheese, veggies, and a nice bottle of wine.

*side note: I really wish I could see my cousins more often. Every time I spend time with them I am reminded how much I like them. My mom's family always gets together at Easter, but the southern Louisiana family reunions have sort of died out. We need to get that going again. Cousins' weekends? Different city every year?

On Friday SNG and e-baby wandered around Manhattan and met some of our friends in the NY office (again, full-on charm) and then we hit LaGuardia for our:

5:30pm flight home.

The pilot for our plane was scheduled to arrive at LaGuardia at:

8pm.

Do the math on that one. It's OK, I'll wait.

Luckily the snack bar in the C-gate area is transcendent and I found a rice krispie block that was about 1/8 cubic foot. It was gone before we left the ground.

I was too optimistic to hope that e-baby would be spared by terrible sore throat and cold. By Saturday she was snot-logged and now she's a pathetic, whimpering mucous fountain. Poor little e-baby.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

The Earth (hearts) Boobies!

Since becoming a mother, I've gradually become a complete and total devotee of breastfeeding. And it isn't just because of those La Leche League meetings I've been going to. But they are a lot of fun. While pregnant I had decided to nurse e-baby the first year, but I wasn't sure whether I'd like it much, or whether it would seem weird.

I've also become a connoisseur of baby and child care books, and one thing is clear from all of them: there are countless benefits of breastfeeding over formula where the baby's health is concerned. Health benefits aside, it is a lot cheaper and it's darned convenient. The thought of having to prepare and heat bottles of formula above and beyond everything else that baby care entails makes me twitch a little. There are a million other reasons, e.g. if I get a flu shot, the baby gets the immunization through the milk. Pharma can't manufacture an antibiotic cocktail that even approaches colostrum & milk for its timely adaptability to exposure to germs.

Besides all that, there's something ticklingly sweet and Hallmark-tastic about looking down at that little profile and her look of utter and complete peace & satisfaction at having a cuddle with mommy and eating and being warm and safe all at once. I wouldn't allow myself to be deprived of that for a million dollars. When e-baby is a surly teenager someday, I'll try to remember those little nursing moments to remind myself that she was, once, perfect.

This is not to diss women who don't breastfeed, and I have aunts on both sides of my family who didn't and their kids are fine. And, of course, adopted babies are generally not breastfed and they are fine, too. But I just love it. I didn't know if I would. It took a couple of weeks to get the hang of it, and it hurt at first. It's since evolved to where I can feed the baby in the backseat of the (parked) car in the middle of a busy day of shopping and fun. Without flashing anybody, either! Formula would be a lot more trouble.

So, the bee that pollinated my bonnet for this blog entry? I was surfing the web for info on Fenugreek (since I travel for work, I need to keep my supply up), and found this site .
If that doesn't convince you to start lactating and go nurse some random baby right away, I don't know what will.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Bike Rider in Training


Bike Rider in Training
Originally uploaded by catandtony318.
I will post pictures from the Thanksgiving trip to Austin soon. In the meantime, here is our "Cindy Lou Who" in her biker gear.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Turkey, Family, and Baby Diphthongs

Tomorrow e-baby and I are flying home from Austin. SNG, e and I flew in on Thanksgiving day, SNG flew home Tuesday, and I taught a class Tue-Thur (it just ended). Flying cross country alone with a baby (and a ton of luggage) sounds like a recipe for Big Fun.

The visit here has been so much fun, and really busy. E-baby has aged before our eyes in the past 6 days. She loves to look at EVERYTHING. The flight here was really easy, except that it's not easy to do anything onboard an airplane with a baby attached to you. She didn't mind the up and down business, but once we got onto terra firma, she was MAD. I think her ears must've been popping or something, because the whole evening she screamed and cried.

My niece, my brother and sister-in-law, and one of my aunts were at mom and dad's house for Thanksgiving dinner, and the next day, another aunt and uncle came to town with 5 of my little cousins (cousins' kids). The youngest of these is 8, the oldest 18. All were entertaining to, and entertained by, the little fuzzy-top baby. My cousin Twinkie #2 came to town on Sunday morning and spent Sunday and Monday with us, which was so much fun.

We also got to spend some time Friday, Saturday and Sunday with two of our best friends here, T&E, and their little guy Big Al, and the soon-to-be-baby-in-belly. Whew!! They are going to be TIRED starting in mid-March!

SPEAKING OF BABIES, I've been keeping mum about this, but she's 12 weeks along now so I can tell you that my high school BFF Lizard IS HAVING A BABY! Yay! So between PIC, E, Lizard and me, we'll have a little army of teeny babies, ready to take over the world. I can't wait!! I think e-baby's excited about it, too, but all she says is "LA!"

Actually, that isn't true. Last night she said her firstdipthong. It was a long "I" sound, pronounced like "Ah-ee." She's sosmart!! I was singing a little song to her that says "IIIII LOOOOVE YOUUUUU" and after the 3rd of 4th time, she said "IIII" (or, more accurately, "ahee") So I sang to her again, and again after 2 or 3 more, she said "IIII" ("ahee") She did it 3 times, so I know it wasn't a fluke. Not quite a first word, but more than a simple phoneme.

What other stuff did we do?... we watched people ice skate on the roof of the Whole Foods world headquarters on a beautiful 80 degree afternoon, walked to Mozart's for tea and the view of Lake Austin, and went jogging several times while others watched the baby. Who knows what else we'll do, since it's still almost a whole day until my plane leaves....

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Monday and Tuesday were my first 1/2 days back at work, and e-baby's first days at daycare. SNG and I devised a morning ritual, which starts with my shower at 6am, moves to SNG changing the diaper, yada yada and ends with feeding the baby one last time at the daycare at about 8:45. It's a complicated little dance, but it'll work well once SNG and I practice our moves a few times. It worked so brilliantly, in fact, that even when e-baby poopinated her fancy new-kid-at-school outfit at 7:40am yesterday, we still had her changed and at school roughly on time (9:05, but who's counting?).

It was surprisingly easy. Knowing that I could call or drop in any time eased my nerves, and feeding her as I dropped her off in her room made the transition easy for her. The only side effect so far is that she cllliiiinnngggsss when I nurse her now, dozing with her "head in the fridge," as it were, for about 30 minutes after all the food is gone. I can't say I mind the extra cuddling. It's comforting to both of us.

In my office, the 2 half-days were just about as wasted as they could be. Most of my time was spent trudging through 8 weeks of email and telling people that, yes, I'm back ALREADY and yes, it sure seems SOON and the baby is beautiful and motherhood is magical etc. I expected it to be this way. But to tell you the truth, it felt beautiful and magical to be back to my old routines and coworkers who, I think I've mentioned before, I adore. But, I was so unproductive that instead of working a half day, I stayed for 6 hours. In the middle of that I fed e-baby and took a 20-minute jog on campus. Hooray for daycare!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Hi folks, this is Alphagal's cousin, PartnerInCrime. I'm working on fixing a few things in her blog template, so the site may be experiencing some technical difficulties.

If the whole thing goes kerflooey, don't fret, I'll have it back up and running in no time. Promise.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

note: IT'S STILL ME, I JUST CHANGED THE TEMPLATE

We had our orientation at the day care center today. Monday will be my first day back at work (but part time until the end of the year).

*snif

Of course, I will be only 2 buildings away since day care is on campus, and they're giving me a pager so I can run over there everytime she's hungry to feed her throughout the day, and the place is cleaner than my house and better equipped, and there are three teachers per class, and a max of 6 babies in a class, and right now there are only four. But still. It makes me sad to leave her at all.

*snif, snif

It really only bothers me that I will have to travel and be without her for more than the business day. The first trip will be hard, but then maybe I'll get used to it. One of my friends at work says that she's gotten to where she loves going on trips because it's the only time she's certain to get uninterrupted sleep.

The thought of an uninterrupted night of sleep brings a tear to my eye. I haven't had one since August, since that last month of pregnancy had me pretty restless at night. At the time, people told me I was "getting practice for when the baby comes." Um, OK, someone tell me WHY THE HECK DID I NEED PRACTICE FOR THAT? I can do it JUST FINE without the practice. And right about now I'd love to sleep uninterrupted for 10 hours.

I shouldn't complain. E-baby only gets up once in the night, somewhere between 2 and 4am. My neighbor's little 5 1/2 month old girl still won't sleep for more than 3 hours at a stretch. And that's an improvement from a month ago when she was up every 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

What else? We're going to Austin for Thanksgiving and the week after. Bunches o' family will be coming up to meet miss e, so that'll be fun. I hope they're ready for some noise. That girl has pipes and when she wants to be heard, she is heard. And best of all, Friday we get to watch the UT/aTm game with T&E and Big Al.


Hey, remember this picture? That was our little 3-day-old e-baby.

Here's a similar shot, at 6 weeks:

And here's what e-baby said this morning when I told her she'd be starting "school" next week:

Monday, November 13, 2006

I just switched to the Blogger Beta today, so if the blog acts funny, that's probably why.

Poor little e-baby. She has a cold, and for a couple of days has been screaming in pain and misery, and not sleeping very much. I took her to the doctor today (what does it say about me that I'm still in the habit of saying "to the vet" rather than "to the doctor"? Do we need another dog or what?). They poked and prodded her, and agreed with me that her behavior was not normal for her (they know her really well by now). But, since they couldn't find any obvious reason for the screeching other than having a cold, and since she had a low-grade fever, they sent us over to the pediatric emergency unit at a local hospital. Not the hospital that's walking distance from the house. No, they sent us to the one clear on the other side of town. At rush hour.

So, once we got there, we were checked in pretty quickly, and she was poked and prodded some more. Poor little thing, probably wondering what she did to deserve having her temperature taken, rectally, three times in one day. And to add insult to injury, they wanted a urine sample. Yeah, with a newborn? That requires a catheter. Someday this day will resurface in some repressed memory therapy session and she'll hate me forever.

But the real reason I'm writing this post is to tell you about hospital procedure for an infant. Just like a grown-up, they took her temperature, blood pressure, respiration, weight, and handed me the teeniest, tiniest hospital gown you've ever seen. With puppies on it.

And yes, it ties up the back so that her little bottom sticks out the back when she's walking up and down the hall.

Or, just hanging around the room screeching from the indignity of it all. ;-)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Okay, so it took me a little longer than I had anticipated to sit down and post these. I have 2 sets of little videos. First, recent footage of e-baby in her new "overstimulation gym." Well, actually it's not called that but it should be.
She really loves "rock a bye baby," especially when it is performed by a blue octopus with flashing red eyes.
looking in the overhead mirror (and then looking a little overstimulated)
listening to her tunes
BTW, she's 6 weeks old in those.

For the next set, I thought this was fun. I found videos from 1, 2, 4 and 5 weeks old that show her face really well. It's really neat to see how she looks a little different in each one. She's not just getting bigger: her face is gaining character.
One week old
Two weeks old
Four weeks old
Five weeks old

Thursday, November 9, 2006

I'm back online! Time Warner Cable are a bunch of jive-turkeys.

LONG story less-long: After 8 hours (EIGHT HOURS) on the phone with various tech support people over 2 days, they set an appointment to come fix something at my house between 8 and noon. But they ended up fixing it remotely and never told me so, and so I waited at home until the end of time without knowing the problem was fixed... until I happened to turn on the computer for something else and found "HP updates are available" and I said "How do you know this?" and the computer went online to get the updates-- which is how I learned that TWC had in fact fixed the problem without telling me.

What's most annoying about this? It was a server outage on their end. Which is what I thought it was in the beginning, that is to say, on Tuesday morning!! I told them so, and they kept telling me it was a hardware issue on my end. So I tested: 2 different wireless routers, 2 different cable modems, 3 computers, 2 different cable jacks in the house, a wireless connection, an ethernet connection, and a USB connection, with and without the router in play, enabling and disabling the firewalls, while holding a mouthful of coffee in my mouth, while standing on my head, seated and standing. I also tried playing JS Bach for the modem (good for babies, why not for modems?). They still wanted to tell me it was a hardware issue on my end. I told them that I was almost positive that they had a DHCP server issue, and they ignored me. Then they said it was the cable coming into my house. Which I knew it wasn't. And it wasn't. And I said I'd make this LONG story less-long so I'll just stop talking now.

Later I'm going to post some e-baby videos. E-baby is good for lowering blood pressure, and she can bost your immune system. And I know you want to see the proof. And it's cold& flu season. Consider it my good deed today.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Saturday night was our 2nd annual Guy Fawkes day bonfire, and a good time was had by all. Or, at least, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it. Unlike any other party we've ever thrown, the salad was the first thing to be finished off. That's probably because we forgot to show anyone where the hot dogs and s'mores were until after I noticed a couple of people eating their own hands.

We burned a lot of stuff, and I have to say that burninating with the assistance of youthful pre-pyromaniacs is really, really fun.

To see a photo-blog of the fun, go here. There are notes on most of the pictures because that is My New Trick. I should also mention that nearly all the pictures were taken by Dianaverse, which explains why she isn't actually in any of the pictures.
I have pictures from the Guy Fawkes party but I haven't been able to sit and post about it yet because there's this baby, who is all warm and soft and fuzzy on top, who smells so nice, who curls up around my neck and snores a little bit all morning long. She is there now and this took about 10 minutes to write. I should have it posted by this evening?

In the meantime, I put a link to Week 6 pictures on Flickr a couple of posts down from here, if you haven't seen them yet.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Test Post: Flickr Blog and Notes


Walking with mom
Originally uploaded by catandtony318.
I'm testing a feature in Flickr that lets you add notes to a picture. Neat. It also lets you post pictures directly to your blog. You can see the notes of you click on the picture.
WEEK 6 BABY PICTURES ARE HERE!

Friday, November 3, 2006

e-baby says, "I really made the most of my very first Halloween!"
Isn't it a Bit Early to be Sick of The Christmas Season?

It drives me bonkers that Christmas decorations go up earlier and earlier every year. Case in point: In college I was frustrated when Christmas stuff hit the stores a few weeks before Thanksgiving. In grad school I recall complaining that Christmas stuff was in the stores the day after Halloween. This year, Christmas stuff hit the stores the day after Labor Day. What the??

To make matters worse, most of the Christmas stuff is cleared out the make way for Valentine's stuff on Dec 26. That's right, the "First day of Christmas" is really the First day of Valentine's shopping. Uh, Hello? The Christmas Season lasts until Epiphany. I have a sinking suspicion that the worst culprits of all are the turkeys who boycott stores for having Happy Holidays in their windows. Because for some reason they hate sharing December with anyone else's religious holy days, but they probably take their trees down on the 26th. But I have no proof that this is the case.

I just saw 2 things on the news that made me bristle, and so I thought I'd share them with you.

First: Our local Macy's, which is new, is trying to establish itself in a city where the Old is sacred (kind of like New Orleans, so I can't really knock it). Macy's recently displaced (bought out) a local department store that was something of an institution (think D.H. Holmes or Godchaulk's in NOLA, but Raleigh-flavored). So, to endear themselves to the locals, they're having a "Macy's Holiday Parade." Come on out and join the fun... this Sunday, November 5. They could at least have the decency to wait until the weekend before Thanksgiving or something, but no. The weekend before Election Day is close enough to the holiday season for these guys. I'm already sick of Jingle Bell Rock.

Second: This is totally unrelated to the holidays, and it was a few days ago, but it friggled me so it fits into the current post theme. I was watching some drivel on the cable channels up in the hundreds, something like a biography of Bela Lugosi or a 25-year-old British comedy or a documentary on the city of Jericho or somesuch. Anyway, the Emergency Broadcast System BRAAAP BRAAAP BRAAAP comes over, and a banner across the bottom of the screen tells me that:
"The North Carolina department (of something-or-other) has issued a Child Abduction Warning for the following counties..... until this evening at 20:45"

That was all it said. Not information on who the abductors might be, where they might be, what to do to find more information, why they were interrupting a brilliant interview with a Harvard epidemiologist, nada. There was nothing on any of the local news stations, and no other warnings were issued. So, um, I HAD been thinking about putting e-baby in her stroller out at the corner with her little thumb sticking out and a sign saying "Mexico or Bust" but NOW, with that warning in place, NO WAY. Thank goodness for the NC Dept of something-or-other. Since e-baby wasn't abducted that day, I'm sure it was all because of that excellent implementation of the Emergency Broadcast System. Hmph.

But today is Friday, and tomorrow is the BONFIRE! and so I'm pretty stoked (pun intended). Tonight Peace and Fuzzy will come over with the printout of Parliament and some poster board. Armed with glue sticks, frosting, gumdrops and about 2 gallons of salsa, we will have a craft project to keep us entertained for hours.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Gunpowder Treason! Gunpowder!! Treason!! Yay!
Sunday, Nov 5 is Guy Fawkes Day. I would guess that few of you (except LeBon, of course) are familiar with the holiday, unless you recall the discussion this time last year. This year our annual bonfire/backyard burn-a-thon will be open to kids. I figured it was only fair, since our own little burninator will be present at the festivities.

We're having the party on Saturday so we can get to bed on time Snday night. Yes, we've become That Old That Quickly. In fact, I try to start getting into bed around 9pm. That way I'm usually able to nod off to sleep by 11:30 or so.

The bonfire will again feature hot dogs, s'mores, burgers, and anything else you can cook over flame. Aluminum cans, gummy bears, plastic army men, the usual stuff. At the end of the evening we burn the scarecrow effigy of Guy Fawkes to much native dancing and fanfare. A lot of beer is spilled.

One small point continued to irritate the proverbial skin, however, like a minor case of diaper rash: We and most of our friends are Catholic, and it's a little weird that a bunch of Catholics would celebrate Guy Fawkes Day by burning his effigy. Since, you know, he represented the Catholics trying to assassinate the Protestant government officials and all that jazz. We were bothered by this dissonance last year and resolved it by just burning more stuff and spilling more beer.

This year, the Catholics will have a voice. The Burninating Committee determined that we need a little cardboard model of Parliament, frosted and decorated with gumdrops like a gingerbread house. That will be a fun project for the kiddies, don't you think?

Then we dig, in the backyard, a teeny little basement underneath our sugar-sweet little Parliament and Big Ben. The kids can play out a puppet scene of a teeny little man in period clothing transporting a little miniature keg filled with gunpowder while old gentlemen in powdered wigs sip Brandy upstairs.

For the play's climax, a cleverly inserted match (GROWNUPS ONLY HERE, PLEASE!) will blow the place to smithereens.

The only question that remains is this:
Should we use
this one?
Or
this one?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Biker Chick
It should come as no surprise that e-baby had her first bicycle before she was born. My parents found the world's smallest mountain bike, used, and snapped it up for her. Our plan is to teach her to ride (when she's a little bit bigger!) without training wheels. We 'll take the pedals off of the bike and let her cruise around with her feet for balance, learning to steer and roll, and then when she's ready, put the pedals back on and she can ride like a big kid. The idea is not ours; it's the same thing that Rolli-Riders do.

Anyway, here is e-baby modeling her riot-red mountain bike.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Mom went back to Austin yesterday, but I think we'll be OK. She left us enough frozen meals to get through three winters, and I learned a number of baby-soothing tricks from her along the way. Right now, my favorite one is to pat-pat-pat the baby on the toosh to settle her when she is frazzled. It works really well, but you have to do it for about 4 hours before you can walk away from her. She appears to sleep but as soon as you stop patting the toosh, she wakes up and roars. She's a lot like a baby lion cub. When she's mad, she growls and roars and opens her mouth big to show you her big, scary teeth, but all she has are gums, and she stomps her tiny feet and no matter what she does, she can't be scary, but she sure as heck tries. Like this:



See? Just like a baby lion cub.

I've posted 2 more sets of pictures on Flickr. I went ahead and got a real account because I decided to eventually put other pictures up there too, like vacation pictures and such. But for now, it's all about e-baby.

e-baby, week 2

e-baby, weeks 3-5



Friday, October 20, 2006

Two updates from yesterday:

1. The La Leche League meeting was really fun. It was a group of moms with babies between 4 weeks and about a year, as well as 2 LLL leaders who had a few semi-structured conversation starters, and we basically spent the 2 hours asking and answering one another's questions about adjusting to the new baby, nursing problems, etc. No weirdos, no militant judgemental booby-police. Just a bunch of women like me who probably get as much out of the "we've had the same problem you're having and here's what I did" as from just getting out of the house and being social. Only thing special was that it was not at all weird to feed the baby right there in front of everyone without any kind of cover-up. I will definitely go back.

2. e-baby SMILED AT ME! She's not real confident in her smiling abilities yet, but she did it 4 different times. NOT GAS! A REAL SMILE! She's so beautiful. It made me into a complete babbling goon. I tried to catch it on film, but haven't been successful yet.

SNG and I just got home from a 12-mile mtn bike ride, about an hour. I know it doesn't sound like much, but it's the most my hiney has done since June. Since I outgrew my bike and all. It felt really good, and I could've definitely done more. But, I was worried about a hungry baby at home and wanted to get back to her. Did I mention? She smiled at me? As if I could stay away from that for more than an hour.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Next Sunday e-baby will be 4 weeks old! She's so cute. Soon she'll learn to smile. For now, she only smiles when she poots.

I'm still jogging just short distances of about two miles at a time. The distance is too easy now, but the longer I stay out, the more I feel like I need to get back to the baby. It doesn't matter whether she's with my mom or with SNG or with a band of gypsies. It's not the quality of the child care that is pulling me back home. It's just her little face and squealy gurgly voice in my head. I put on my iPod and listen to an audiobook and can't follow the plot because I'm thinking about e-baby too much. I really do want to get away and run for maybe 5-6 miles-- that would be perfectly reasonable and would take an hour, maybe 75 minutes. But the teeny supermagnet won't let me go that far.

If it's this hard to go running by myself for 30 minutes, what will the first business trip sans bébé be like? Oh, I hate to even think of it.

Anyway, so here's the skinny (haha) on recovery. I dropped 20 pounds of pregnancy weight in less than two weeks. And since then, nada. That leaves five pregnancy pounds and another five vanity pounds and my weight hasn't gone anywhere for the past two weeks. They say nine months to put it on, nine months to take it off, but Bah! eight more months for 10 measly pounds? It'll be well into triathlon season by then.

The problem is that nursing makes you HUNGRY like nobody's business. It takes a lot of calories to make all those calories, but I'm mostly jonesing for sweets. I think I'm hungrier than I was pregnant! At least with mom here it's harder to make bad food choices because she's doing all the shopping and doesn't buy boxes of rice krispies, bags of marshmallows, and a stick of butter which is really all I need to make a little something to tide me over until dinner, honest I won't have to snack on anything else.

Oh, and add a bag of butterscotch chips while the marshmallows are melting.

I went to a "Moms in Motion" fitness class on Tuesday. It was nice to meet other new mothers and be somewhere that a screaming baby was not a nuisance. But I get more exercise diapering e-baby than I got in that class, since my house has stairs. Just how bad off do you have to be, how rough was your delivery, that after your OB gives you clearance to recommence exercise, you need to keep it that low-key? But, I might still go back to the class because like I said, I enjoyed going somewhere that e-baby could yell and holler without any dirty looks and I enjoyed meeting other new moms.

Tomorrow I'm going to try a La Leche League meeting. At least I won't have to pretend I'm getting a workout. I might have to pretend to breastfeed, though. E-baby will have had her breakfast and 2nd breakfast already, but it'll be too early for elevensies yet.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

False Starts

So we are supposed to do announcements, right? OK, I've been working on that, with all my spare time. Ha. Ha. Ha.

I've been doing this little project one bit at a time since, well, before e-baby was born. I started by checking out the cute little stationary store nearby, and their announcements, while beautiful, were going to run us about $3.50 apiece after photo, printing and stationary. Which would be fine if I only had 10 (or 30 or even 50) to send out. But I have a big family. My and SNG's parents have a lot of friends. SNG and I have a few friends of our own. We're looking at many, many announcements. Not quite wedding-invitation-many, but still about 150 or so.

Mom kept offering to hand-write them for me. I told her that this solution would not be optimal. It would not even be minimum variance. Besides, her time can be spent on better things. Like washing another load of stuff with poop and spit-up all over it.

I decided that the best approach is a simple one: have little cards printed with a color-graphic design on the front and the announcement text inside or on the back (depending on the type of card). Then, insert perfect-wallet-sized-baby photo with custom border, seal envelope, and voila, annonce accompli. We even already have a box of 150 little announcement-sized envelopes! What could be easier!

Staples is just around the corner. That was easy (sorry, couldn't resist). I found a moment to over there while e-baby was sleeping peacefully with my parents watching her. I was on the lookout for the right cardstock and to price the printing. Then to Wolf or Eckerd's for the picture.

Went to Eckerd's first: "Wallet sized pictures are $1 per print."
Went to Wolf: "You can't put a border on wallet-sized pictures."

Went to Staples: "We cannot print on non-standard paper sizes. Must be legal or letter sized."

Went back to Eckerd's: Their machine cuts of part of the cover design graphic without my permission. Got to have cover graphic printed because cover will have to be color photocopied. Went back home, edited the cover design graphic to have a border so that it would only crop the border.

Then at Staples the copier kept jamming and we were gone for over 2 hours and when we got home the baby was howling with hunger and anxiety and I was a wreck and

(pant, pant, pant) here the story has to stop. Because that only accounts the first 2 days of a 2 week epic saga in which I faced obstacle after obstacle to having the announcements done, not even the way I wanted them, but done at all.

I was going to write all about it here for you to feel the pain along with me, but as I started, I felt my blood pressure soar dangerously high. And just a moment ago, as SNG sat here next to me and slurped a spoonful of soup RIGHT NEXT TO MY EAR, I reflexively smacked him in the teeth. Well, not really, but in my mind I did. So, it'll be safer for all in my sweet little household not to tell you of the epic saga of Getting Announcements Made.

It suffices to say that they're done now, and if I have your address, and if I remember to do it, I'll send you one. I hope you enjoy it, because it nearly cost us a few thou in orthodondist bills for SNG. He is about to try his hand at a bowl of cereal. I will go to another room and find my center. Oohhhmmmm.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Daily Vitamin E(-baby)

It's hard to get pictures of her awake and alert, since she sleeps a lot, so here are a few gems from the
"I had a bath today and now I have cool Zoolander hair" file.

"Powderpuff Magnum"

"Pink Steel"

Monday, October 9, 2006

Two Week Update and Lessons Learned

Because you know, I've been a parent for 2 weeks so obviously I know everything now. Ha.

e-baby had her 2 week appointment when she was 10 days old. I'm so proud of her: she can track sounds and sights with her head, she knows my voice from other voices, and she's as strong as a teeeeeny-tiny ox. When the doctor put her down on her belly to see whether she could lift her head, ... she... DID A PUSH-UP! The doctor was so impressed and said that she is ahead of her age on all the tests. What a clever baby. She's going to be ready for the Iron Kids series before too long.

What have I learned in 2 weeks? Well, for anyone who might be having a baby, here goes:

1. Take help from anyone willing to give it. Assuming, of course, that it's someone you trust. It's surprising how hard it is to grab a cup of coffee or a glass of water when you're nursing, diapering, and rocking the baby for 2 hours, only to rest for an hour and start the cycle again. For the first week, all you do is feed, diaper, and rock the baby until she's well asleep and then you get an hour or 2 to get that cup of coffee. If you have someone to help you, like bring you an apple or whatever, use them. They don't even have to hold the baby, but if they have very clean hands and aren't sick, you could let them do that when she's crying inconsolably and you have to go to the bathroom.

2. Same goes for getting out of the house. OK, maybe I'm worse about this than most people, but I hate idleness. Being in the house too much makes me bonkers, and so having someone who could watch the baby while I go outside and walk or go to Eckerd's or even just go put gas in the car is a big help.

3. Get a rocker or a glider for nursing and rocking the baby to sleep. Make sure it is sized right for you. Make sure it has a high enough back that you can lay your head back and fall asleep. Because you're gonna be tired.

4. Get a Snugli. Hopefully someone will give you one as a present because they aren't cheap.

5. Shower every day. There will be some time of day when you are certain the baby's sleeping well, so put a monitor in the bathroom and get cleaned up. Why do I say this one? Because you will get inexplicable depression. You'll start crying for no reason at all (the reason is hormones, but that doesn't matter because you're still crying) and your brain has to find a reason for the sadness. If you can rule out things like personal hygiene and lack of nutrition, then you're less likely to spiral into self-pity. Self-pity will lead to more depression, which is not just the hormones, and you really don't need that. The baby doesn't need that either. If you can keep the perspective that you and the baby are both clean, well-nourished, and getting at least some sleep sometimes, then you can also keep the perspective that the sadness is just hormones and that it will eventually pass.

6. When you do get weepy, know that it will probably be at the same time(s) of day most days (mine are mid-morning and in the evenings, which happen to be e-baby's fussy times of day. Awesome.). Talk to someone if you can, or write about it in private, to keep you from getting too inwardly-focused. Or take a walk. You won't be mad at the baby: she's too perfect. But you'll redirect your frustration at everyone else because that's the only safe thing to do. And that's OK. Just try not to leave a trail of blood and tears behind you because it'll probably be the people you love who you take your frustration out on.

So if you read between the lines, you'll have a clue what my week has been like. She's the most beautiful and charming person n the whole world to me. But even though she's less fussy than the average baby, and things could be much harder as far as sleeping (she takes 2 hours to get to sleep on a good night, and she wakes up once or twice to eat, and sleeps otherwise), we're so tired. I'm cranky a lot of the time, although some things will cheer me up right away, like taking a walk or...

JOGGING!

I jogged yesterday! Yay! Hooray! I did 2 miles and it felt SO GOOD but I didn't try to run further than that because I wanted to stop while it still felt good. I'll work on adding real distances after another week or so. For now, the muscles have to remember the motions. But yeah, it felt great. No pain. Up until the end of last week, bouncing felt pretty bad so I walked. Little by little, the walking felt better and easier, and finally got too easy so I knew it was time to run.

And so we begin week 3. Here's a new picture. Cute little froggy, isn't she?

Monday, October 2, 2006

SNG and I have been parents for just over a week. How has it been?

No joking, it's really much more fun and exciting than I thought it would be. I've never been much of a "kid person," and I've certainly never been a "baby person." If anything, I'm more of a Jr high/ High schooler person. In college I had a job tutoring jr high and high school kids, and it was one of the most fun and interesting jobs I'd ever had. I also worked as a 2-yr-old day care teacher, and it was the worst torture I've ever endured. And babies? Never really my thing.

This one is certainly different. Perhaps it's the knowledge that we're her primary advocates in the world, and that if everyone in the whole world were to turn their backs on her someday, she'd still be able to count on SNG and me. It's a funny feeling to be in love with someone with no strings attached at all. She's charming, beautiful, funny, cute, captivating. As Tita said, she's got SNG wrapped around her finger. Well, that goes for both of us. Actually, I think it goes for every single person who has held her so far.

OK, enough sentimental stuff.

I decided to try to jump back on my fitness bandwagon right away, since the doctor told me I could. Last Wednesday mom and I took a 40 minute power walk. I hadn't moved that fast since probably April or May, and it felt great. But by the end of the walk, let's just say I felt like I was turnng inside-out. And the next day I came down with a cold. Probably my body saying "WHOA, Nellie, put on the brakes! I gotta get some sleep before you can sign up for the next triathlon!" So I've been taking normal-speed walks, doing abs in the living room (which feels SO GOOD after not being able to due to distatis erecti (SP?)). By some stroke of luck, e-babe hasn't caught my cold or SNG's (different) cold or anyone else's... yet.

Yesterday SNG went back to work. He doesn't get paternity leave, only vacation, and he didn't have a whole lot of that. He misses her, she misses him.

I might get out of the house long enough to hit the BabiesRUs for some essentials, and if I'm lucky, I might even get around to designing the birth announcements! Imagine that! And, if that doesn't impress you, I've taken a shower every day since last Wednesday. Uh, huh! That's impressive, isn't it? Go me.

Actually, none of that would even be possible if not for the fact that my mom is here doing everything. EVERYTHING. She makes dinner, she makes the veggies for my breakfast omelette, she does our laundry, she takes care of the baby when SNG and I need to go take a walk alone or get out of the house, and on and on. I think she's having a good time, even though she is doing stuff that nobody likes to do. She's been getting to the movies, taking walks in the woods, and sleeping all night long in exchange for her hard work during the day. Don't tell her, but I think I've got the better end of that deal.

Perhaps in a few months I'll have more exciting things to blog about, but at least for awhile, it'll be mostly Adventures In Parenthood (And Frogs In The Woods) around here. I hope you'll keep reading!

I'm confident that everyone likes to stare at her as much as I do, so if you would like to see some live-action baby action live and action-packed, here are some videos... Action-packed!
NOTE NOTE NOTE: If you are on a phone line, these will take a long time to download. Also, it is going to have to download, so you might have to modify your security settings to allow downloads in order to view them.

VIDEO 1 in the hospital

VIDEO 2 at home

VIDEO 3 at home

VIDEO 4 at home

Saturday, September 30, 2006

I have finally posted pictures!!! Go to Flickr and see the "Elizabeth Week 1" slideshow. If you flip through individually, you can see titles and descriptions, too. Enjoy! Feel free to come back here to the blog and tell me how adorable you think she is! ;-)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

e-Babe: 9/24/06, 3:57 am, 8lb 7oz, 20.5 inches, APGAR scores: 8 (1 min) and 9 (5 min). Punctual, overachiever. Brilliantly smart, charming.

10 minutes old!


Sorry about the delay- we've been a little bit busy, but we are home now.

The whole story? No way. Some of the story with some parts edited out for terrifying graphic content? OK.

So yes, early labor (the kind that feel like menstrual cramps) lasted 17 hours. Frankly, I never expected it to last that long. At 2:30 am, I was certain our baby would arrive ON THE 23RD. I imagine the baby expected as much, too. Seventeen hours of early labor was a piece of cake, really. I had a shower, SNG and I walked around the neighborhood a little, we went to the mall with mom and Dianaverse and looked at stuff, went home and had a nice bath, and then we waited to see what would happen.

At 9:15pm we decided to take advantage of the lull in football stadium traffic and head to the hospital. At admission time I was at 2cm. For those uninitiated to baby-making, you start at 0 cm. A baby can be born when your cervix opens to 10cm.

First of all, SNG is the best. birthing. coach. ever. I'd have fainted dead away if I had to do his job. At least my job was one of those can't-run-away-no-looking-back jobs. SNG's was, in some sense, voluntary. He's amazing under pressure.

I got my favorite doctor from the OB practice (there are 6 doctors, all of whom are fantastic, but 2 of whom are outstanding, as far as having personality and medical philospohy that matches me. Your baby is delivered by whichever one is on call. I got one of those 2). The doctor came in and told me that I was there very early in the labor, and that she expected the baby to be born sometime Sunday afternoon, and that I should settle in and just get the epidural whenever the pain got to be too much.

Our nurse, Kate, told me with a sly wink that if she had anything to do with it, we would be finished well before Sunday afternoon.

10:00- water broke naturally. That's when the hospital people consider labor to have "begun" since that triggers active labor. For the next 2 hours or so, the labor got a LOT harder, and went from bearable (can't talk through it but not freaking out from pain) to unbearable. Kate "checked" and said I had only made it to 3.5cm in 2 hours. WAAAAAH! The doctor said that I'd need to be given pitocin to speed up and intensify the labor. WAAAAAH! But wait...

I remembered the Yoda Jedi wisdom of my childbirth instructor who said that sometimes, intense labor is totally unproductive because the pain causes the mother to be tense, keeping everthing "closed up." Literally. I knew the only way I'd relax would be with epidural pain relief, so I asked for the hook up and we decided against the pitocin just yet. Two tries later (first time the epidural went into a vein instead of the nerve) and at about midnight I was juiced. It didn't feel like anything-- it's essentially novocaine for the lower body-- but I could tell when there was a contraction and I'd focus on RELAX RELAX RELAX. Sure enough, I was dilating at last.

A funny thing about epidurals, though, is that they can only keep up with labor pain if it progresses at a normal rate. If it goes fast, the medication has little or no effect at all. The doctor told of a phenomenon known as "outrunning the epidural." All that good relaxing, and within an hour I was feeling the contractions. For real. By 2am I was at 7cm. With no pitocin, I might add. The nurse decided I didn't really need it after all. Fine, as the labor was PAINFUL ENOUGH WITHOUT IT, since the epidural wasn't working. Did I mention that?

SNG was busy busy busy with massage, encouragement and talking to the nurse/doctor on my behalf (they said I sounded like darth vader with my oxygen mask on, but luckily, SNG speaks Dark Side).

By 3:15 am I was at 10cm. Apparently this is kind of fast for a first baby. The nurse had just paged the doctor at about 3:13 to say "we're progressing, you should wake up and be aware it'll be sometime this morning." Two minutes later she had to call to tell her to GET IN HERE WE ARE DELIVERING NOW.

I was not really all that cognizant of much, as by now the epidural was little more than a tube in my spine delivering something as effective as saline. I pushed. I don't want to talk about it. The nurse and the doctor were blown away that I pushed for 42 minutes, as this is very quick for a first pregnancy. They said it was all a matter of strong muscles, overall fitness, and cardio endurance. PIC, my wise Yoda-Jedi advice is to continue exercising somehow-- anything-- through the whole 3rd trimester, unless you aren't allowed to.

The bottom line, for the curious, is that other than the epidural not working, there were no complications, no forceps, no vacuum, no episiotomy, no pitocin, no c-section. Just a few stitches and the doctor told me I could start jogging again the next day, if I felt up to it. Hahahaha. She's such a funny lady (she did also say that I wouldn't feel like it for a week or so, but whenever I want to is safe).

SNG stayed with me at the hospital, and the baby slept in the room with us. We were initially told we'd be in for 2 more nights at the hospital, but Monday morning the doctors all said that she and I were fit enough to go home after 24, if we wanted to. So we came home at noon on Monday, and we're home now.

She's absolutely, totally, completely perfect in every way that a baby can be perfect. Pink, plump, and beautiful.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Today's the Due Date.

At 2:30 this morning, early labor began.

Early labor typically lasts 7-8 hours, but can take much longer for 1st babies.

It's now 5pm. Still in early labor.

Darn well better not be false labor.

Update will follow when there is more to tell.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Here are two people who look a lot more relaxed and patient than they really feel:


We took a walk down to Reedy Creek Lake today (in the state park by our house) which was a little longer than most of my walks have been lately. My bladder generally can't go more than 2 1/2 - 3 mi at a time, and so 4 1/2 miles this morning was pretty good. It's a far cry from the 8-10 miles a day I was doing before pregnancy (jogging), but my 2 walks a day are still adding up to at least 3-6 miles overall. They say that walking in the last week before the due date can induce labor. So far, no dice.

But it was a terrific walk. The mushrooms this year are more varied and interesting than I've noticed in the past:


We also have a lot more green tree frogs than usual, including this guy who has decided to take up residence in our car-washing bucket:

Actually, I found him in the laundry room, collecting lint off the floor. He was so covered in lint that it was tying up his legs so I caught him and put him in the water to rinse it off. When I tried to set him free in the backyard, he returned to the bucket. I guess it's a pretty nice oasis for a frog. Most of our green frogs live on the front and back porch glass doors, where they can catch bugs by porchlight at night. Some are as big as kumquats, and others are as small as raisins.

It was 64 degrees when we woke up, and by noon it had soared to 71. I love fall in North Carolina.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Have y'all heard this song and seen this excellent video? SNG just sent me a link to The best song I've ever heard. I will be singing it for weeks. It's just so good.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I'm sorry to report, still no baby. I'm starting to lose faith that she'll come early. I feel FINE. I have ENERGY. I'm SLEEPING NORMALLY (which, for me, means insomnia for about an hour a night on average). I don't fit into half of my maternity clothes anymore, but I'm not gaining any more weight. Since the weather has cooled off, my swollen ankles have returned to near-normal size. I'm not fanatically nesting (although since the dog passed away, I've kept the house meticulously clean Because I Can). I don't even have heartburn all that bad most of the time.

None of this bodes well for an early labor, does it? You'd think I was still happily in my 2nd trimester. Dabnabbit, give me some backaches! Braxton-Hicks contractions! Sleepless nights! Anything to suggest that I might actually give birth sometime this fiscal quarter.

**sigh**

I've asked mom to check into what it would cost to push her itinerary back by 5 or 6 days so that she will definitely be here for at least a month of baby time. I love her company, but there's not a lot of point having her here for a week or 2 when I'm still at work all day waiting to have a baby. So we'll see.

And yet, who knows? It could still happen tomorrow....

Monday, September 11, 2006

Fun weekend! But not very productive.
Saturday was our baby shower at Peace and Fuzzy's house, and it was really great to see everyone and to eat a whole tray of rice krispie treats and another whole tray of petit fors.

But that didn't induce labor, in spite of what everyone told me.

Sunday was my birthday, and again we had a great time. After a birthday breakfast of sausage and grits, we did a little shopping and walked around at the museum. Sunday night we had a quiet dinner at home of lobster and shrimp (both cooked in Zatarain's, of course), corn, green beans, grits, and petit fors for dessert. Mmmmmm.

That meal didn't induce labor either.

Of course, as we do every day, we walked several times.

Still no labor.

Today I walked in the morning, had an Irish lunch of roast beef with cabbage and potatoes, went to water aerobics after work, and walked after dinner.

Yeah, you know the chorus of this song by now.

But tomorrow I'll visit the doctor again and hopefully she'll have good news for me.

Unrelated: SNG had the jingle from that beer commercial with the song "Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me" going through his head all day Saturday, so from time to time he'd bust out with his silly dance and sing the song. Laughing that hard might, just maybe, induce labor.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Change Happens, Life Moves On.
Everybody's been so caring about Goofch. I can't tell you how much it means to us-- thank you. We'll be OK- just sad for awhile. He was a terrific friend.

In the interest of cheering us all up, I have added some new belly pictures to the old belly picture page (scroll down to see the newer ones). I have one with the same outfit and pose (sadly, no melon this time) at 37 weeks as the picture taken at 27 weeks. What a difference 10 weeks makes. There's also a scary-belly picture, so if bellies scare you, please don't look. I don't want to scare anybody.

We've taken to calling her The Passenger lately, but I think I'll call her The Boarder. And her eviction notice is coming. She'd better pack her bags and take down all those rockstar posters from the walls because moving day is approaching. No squatters!!

The doctor told me yesterday all the stuff I usually hear: blood pressure is fantastic (thanks, mom!), hemoglobin is "One of the best I've ever seen in a woman at this stage of pregnancy!"--Doctor's quote (Thanks, dad!), weight is good, protein and sugar are normal, and Baby Is The Right Size! (what? Did I hear you right?) Yes! 38 cm fundus measurement! Go me and the Boarder!

Unfortunately, I am NOT 90% effaced, 3 cm dilated (more like 10%, 1 cm) so it doesn't look like the baby will be coming this week, or probably next week either.

I'm telling you kiddo, I don't want you squatting. I know it's a fantastic rent-controlled all-bills-paid flat you've got there, but I WILL send an eviction crew in there after you if necessary. Then all your CDs and Manolo Blahniks will be out on the lawn for the neighbors to see. And you'll be crying for mama.

And she'll come running. ;-)

Wednesday, September 6, 2006


This afternoon at 4:30, SNG and I will be taking The Goofch to the vet for one last time, and coming home without him. His health took a very bad turn over the weekend and he lost about 10 more pounds in just a few days. His doctor doesn't think it's humane to let him die of his disease, because he is in a lot of discomfort. His liver appears to have completely failed him, and he's just not a happy dog.

We adopted Goofch around October 1998, when he was nearly a year old. I saw him through the window of my hairdresser's salon, riding in the back of a pickup truck, looking skinny, but really cute. I said "Oh, what an adorable boxer!" Chloe (the hairdresser) told me that the lady who brought him, a client of the salon, had rescued him from the back lot of a puppy farm and was trying to find him a good home where he'd have a dog-buddy to play with, a yard to run in, and people to love all over him because he had been abused and would need extra care to socialize him properly. He was scared of men, mostly, but also tentative about new surroundings and loud noises. At that time, Modean was about a year and a half old and HIGH ENERGY, and needed a friend. We had a big yard. We love to love on dogs. I met the Dog Rescuer and arranged for Goofch and Modean to have a playdate, to see if they'd get along.

It was like peas and carrots, as they say. Or maybe more like beans and rice. The two of them exchanged butt-sniff-greetings and took off like brown blur across the central Texas farmland. Two days later I took Goofch home and he & Modean spent the next seven years together every single day and night.

The day I brought him home was the first time he met SNG. Goofch had jumped the fence and was confused and standing in the front yard when SNG drove up the driveway, and Goofch wouldn't let him out of the car (Bark! Bark! Bark!). I came out and Goofch ran and hid behind me while SNG got down low and introduced himself slowly. That night (and for a few nights), we put Goofch's kennel in our bedroom at night, and I slept in a sleeping bag up against it. I still remember hearing his hyperventilating every time he'd wake up and wonder where the heck he was, and what all these smells were. I'd reach in and scratch him and he'd go back to sleep.

Some funny Goofch stories, oddly all involving bodily functions:
The first (and last) time we used a kennel service with him was in New Orleans that Christmas. We drove to NOLA with both dogs (Modean was old hat at kenneling, and always made lots of friends) and left them with a kennel on Broad street near our hotel in the Quarter. Two days later, when we went to check on them, we learned that Goofch hadn't gone to the bathroom the whole time he was there. We took them for a walk and the first thing he did was POOOOOOOOOOOO all over the median outside. He never liked to poop around strangers.

Goofch could never turn down a free drink. One time, he drank the Illinois river. We were canoe-camping with my brother and sister-in-law just South of Tulsa, along with Modean and their crazy dog Eddie. Goofch drank and drank and drank every chance he got. He kept drinking and drinking as we were paddling and paddling, and then a terrible storm came our way. As we paddled like mad for safe shelter, I guess none of us realized that it had been about an hour since we last stopped to let the dogs ashore. Goofch whined and whined, and I told him to hush up. He whined some more, then stood up, looked at me with The Most Apologetic Look I've ever seen on a dog's face, and began to PEEEEEEEEEEEEEE the ENTIRE ILLINOIS RIVER onto the floor of the canoe as we dashed for shore and tossed him out, mid-stream (so to speak) and he peed for what seemed like about 5 more minutes.

When we moved from Austin to Raleigh, all the strange movers and moving equipment freaked him out a little and he, once again, didn't "go" for a few days. When we drove cross-country to Raleigh, the 2nd day of driving, in Memphis, Goofch started crying and whining and POOOOOOOOOOOOOed all over the cushion that he and Modean were sharing. In the truck, mind you. We pulled right over and tossed the cushion into a nearby dumpster, frightening the frightening-looking junkies on the corner with our terrible stench. That evening, we let him run free in a field, and he'd RUN and POO and RUN and POO and every time he'd POO he'd get this very JOYFUL look about him and run a little bit faster.

Even with all his anxieties, this dog had no agression in him at all. Over time, with a lot of coaxing, he made friends with everybody, and became the (slightly portly) loverboy we all knew. He transformed into a confident, happy, sweet dog over the next few years. He'd even go to the bathroom in strange circumstances and became a terrific traveler. A lot of it can be blamed on Modean, who was completely fearless and really loved EVERYONE. Goofch had no choice but to go with the flow, so he learned that most people were his friends, too.

That dog LOVED children. The number of times I've caught a child torturing him one way or another, by using him as a pillow (#1 Goofch trick, by the way), pulling on his ample lips and cheeks to make him "smile," trying to climb on him like a pony, painting his nails with smelly nail polish, wrestling with him, chewing on him, you name it. And he was in heaven the whole time! The dog just couldn't get enough attention from the little ones. They loved him and he loved them.

After Modean passed away, G was a wreck. He didn't sleep at night for several months. He finally recovered (forgot??), but he never felt the same way about the dog-room without his Modean.

Everybody loved him very much and he had a better life than he would've had at the Puppy Farm. This is a terribly difficult decision to make, and although we trust that the vet is right, SNG and I both feel ripped wide open.

SNG helped Goofch post a farewell letter on the Dog Blog- please check it out.

There will always be Goofch- and Modean-sized dog-cushions in my heart.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Comfort Food

Being pregnant does afford one certain indulgences. Living in North Carolina affords one many opportunities to accomodate the desire.

Today a bunch of us from work went to a friend/coworker's farewell luncheon (she's not going far, just another department, but any excuse to leave campus to eat is a good one). We went to a Southern farmhouse comfort-food place that had nothing on the menu that I'd consider making at home. It was all stuff like chicken & dumplings, country fried steak, meatloaf, chopped beef with onion gravy, BBQ pulled pork, thick-cut ham with red-eye gravy, fried bologna, stuff like that.

Will it make you hungry if I tell you what I had? Oh well, I'm telling you anyway:
BBQ chicken
Collard greens
Yellow squash with onions
Iced tea (unsweetened)
1 hushpuppy

and

crispy, fluffy buttermilk biscuits with blackstrap molasses.

And some of you just got a panging yearning to be back in the South again.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Nesting??

They say that if you get the nesting instinct, then labor is just around the corner. Trouble is, I've ALWAYS got the nesting instinct. SNG has laughted about how I get fixated on little around-the-house projects since we started dating 13 years ago. Besides, if that's true, then my cousin, who is 17 weeks pregnant, should have already had her baby weeks ago. ;-)

But anyway, last week as I reviewed and updated my list of "the things in life that have to get done at this point in time" (everyone has a list like that, right?), I took inventory of the minimum requirements for having a baby tomorrow. This was, in part, motivated by the fact that we finished our childbirth classes Thursday night.

They included:
Car Seat ready-to-install
Bag for the hospital Packed and Ready To Go
A bed, diapers, blanket and a few onesies for the baby since I won't be shopping the day after the baby comes home.

Sure, there are a few other things that we'll still have to buy at some point, but we can live without a baby bathtub and a diaper champ (a stinky-free diaper pail) for awhile. After all, she can bathe in the sink and SNG can carry smelly diapers outside every evening. We already had some diapers, blankets, baby bed (we have 3, in fact!) and the car seat. The bag is packed and ready to go. We had onesies and lots of size 3mo+ outfits, but not much in size Newborn. So we bought a new pack of onesies in size 0-3mo. (Aside to PartnerInCrime-- OMG, they're so little. SO LITTLE. so little. And so cute. I was totally feeling just like you said the other day.)

Friday night, SNG got the nesting bug. He carried the crib and changing table upstairs and assembled them in about 1 1/2 hours, totally stress-free. Such a handy boy. Then Saturday we moved the dresser up to the nursery, I washed all the baby clothes and blankets, and Sunday we decorated the walls with the Pooh decals I found the other day (we had already painted the room a week ago). In short, the nursery is ALMOST FINISHED! All that's left to do is move the big eggplant-colored giant overszed chair-and-a-half into there, which we can't do until Fuzzy comes over to help carry it.

Want to see how it looks? Here are some pictures:





Friday, August 25, 2006

A Post That Katrin will be More Interested in than Most People
Tuesday we took The Goofch to The Vet to see whether they had any more ideas about how to treat his lack of appetite, weight loss, incontinence, intestinal distress, etc. In short: our dog was dying right in front of us and there was nothing we could do about it!! The vet agreed, and said it was time for a different tactic.

She took him off one of the antibiotics he was on (Clavamox) and added Prednisone, which is a steroid that makes him hungry and thirsty. Modean was on it when he was sick and I'm certain that's what kept him alive for the last 3 months. So far, it seems to have worked!

So in all, (really only Katrin cares about this) he's taking: Pepcid, Carafate, Metronidazole, Prednisone, and Imodium. Oh, and some eye drops for dry eye.

He's still got the intestinal distress, but he's continent again and most importantly, he's EATING! Not a ton, mind you, but enough to hopefully put some meat back on his bones. Last night we added yogurt (organic, plain, lowfat) to his diet and he slept through the night for the first time in a long while. Today I gave him more yogurt about an hour after breakfast and he has been a happy dog all day. Maybe it'll get his "good" bacteria reestablished and put a slowdown to the intestinal stuff. If nothing else, the yogurt adds more calories (and water).

He also has some energy back. He took a walk the other night for about a mile, which is about twice as far as he was able to go the 2 weeks before. Gooooood Dog!

I really REALLY hope this sorts itself out before the Due Date, because if it doesn't then my mother will be sentenced to Doggie Duty, and I'm not sure she's too excited about the prospect.

That's a good segue to another topic... 29 days and counting!!! Hooray! Mom and Dad have their airline reservations made: Mom gets here the 20th, Dad gets here Oct. 5. Due date is the 23rd. I'm hoping for a Sep 21 arrival to maximize the use of Mom's helping skills. She has MadSkilz for helping. But, if there's any truth to heredity and one's natural cycle (mine is usually 30 days, not 28) then the baby will probably come Oct 2. Has anyone started a betting pool yet?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Dreams of Roller-Derby Queendom are Dashed!

Goofch has a certain type of incontinence problem that I won't describe here and so yesterday I was desperate to get our expensive rug rolled up, and there's a BIG coffee table on it, and no one else was home, so I pushed it across the room to roll up the rug. Five minutes later I couldn't stand up from a seated position because I threw out my back!!! What the...? I'm super strong! But the 25+ lbs of extra leverage out front was apparently enough to twing something on my low back, left side and put me out of commission for most of the day yesterday.

It seems much better today after lots of rest, ice, and some exercises my mom suggested (not so much exercises as horizontal dance-moves for an injured back. Kind of funny looking, but it helped. Everyone should have a pilates coach on-call 24/7.).

Goofch goes to the vet this afternoon to see if they can make him continent again (is that the right expression? If you're incontinent, doesn't that imply a lack of continence? What the heck is continence anyway? Yuck.). In the meantime, he's sleeping under the old camper-top from our truck, like a true Appalachian family hound. Anyone got a spare dead-refrigerator we can put out there with him? An old sofa? The guys next door are out of town. Think they'd mind if I jacked up their Porsches on blocks in the yard to make Goofch feel more at home?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Tonight we went to see a bout (they're not games, not matches, but bouts) of Carolina Roller Girls roller derby. It was the league championship, and while the Debutante Brawlers put up a strong fight, it was the T'ai Chi-tahs who took home the Golden Skate. SNG held aloft a sign for Eva Lye, and I had a sign to support Elle Anthnofury. Big points were scored by Penelope Bruz, Princess America, and Teflon Donna. Trainwreck and Shirley Temper did some fine blocking, and Julie Jawbreaker slammed a number of opponents right into the crowd.

Actually, I don't really know what I'm talking about, as this was my first-ever roller derby bout, but it was really fun. A coworker of SNG's is a huge supporter of the local league, and I think is in training to try out for a team next year.

Anyway, if you ever get a chance to go to a roller derby bout, I highly recommend it. It's not very long (3 20 minute periods, minimal stoppage), and there's a lot of action. Just don't be surprised at the teensy mini skirts and tattoos on the skaters or the tongue-in-cheek butch-grrrrl culture.

It's actually the kind of thing I'd have loved to do in college. Throwing around 200-pound guys on the judo team was fun, but our costumes were not nearly so fancy.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Goofch is home again, but he's still not a well-puppy. The vet school said he's getting better, but I'll just have to take their word for it. He's got 4 weeks of antibiotics in the form of 5 pills twice a day. He's so skinny and still not very interested in eating or going for walks, and what he eats makes a hasty exit...one way or another. Yeah, I know, you really wanted to know that about my dog.

But on a happier note, it's 38 days until my due date. Yay! The dog should be better by then. And then he can start work as our new nanny.

In all the craziness of sick dog drama, I forgot to tell about our Sunday. We spent most of the day working on getting stuff cleared out of the soon-to-be nursery (still a long way to go) and then at 5:00 we headed down for a neighborhood cookout in the cul-de-sac at the other end of our street. Well, it turned out to be a surprise baby shower! Our awesome neighbors put together this little shin-dig and managed to get SNG to keep the secret and to make sure I wouldn't have a fit of narcolepsy and try to weasel out of going anywhere. It was so much fun! I was really touched by how sweet and thoughtful that was.

So there was a bright side to our weekend, too. :-)

Monday, August 14, 2006

So many things going on!

The Boston trip was a lot of fun, although I was pretty pooped most of the time. There was an exhibit called Americans in Paris at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts which included works from late 19th-century American painters living in post-revolutionary Paris. It was fantastic. That's not usually a period of art that I'm so crazy about, but the various works were presented as part of a cohesive narrative about life in Paris as an American expat during such an amazing time of transition and it really worked. I'd recommend it if you get a chance to visit Boston before the end of September. Just to see one painting called "Madame X" was worth the price of admission alone.

The trip home on Friday was easier than I had feared. I printed my boarding pass before leaving for the airport, got there at 3:50 for a 6:30 flight, and hardly anyone was at the airport. For once, it was good that Logan airport is such a dump, and that the American Eagle flights go from only 5 little gates with no bathrooms or shops beyond security. It kept the lines very short. I managed to squeak onto a 4:50 flight and got home about the time my original flight was taking off. Yay!

The weekend was a flurry of working on the nursery and sitting around at the small animal hospital of the vet school. Poor Goofch is very sick. Please light a votive for him if you have the chance, because no one seems to know what's wrong with him, but he has lost about 15 pounds since we came home from the Marquette trip and last week he stopped drinking water. Our vet did lots of tests and couldn't nail down any causes and none of the treatments they tried helped. His vet suggested sending him over to the vet school hospital (sort of the Johns Hopkins of the small animal world, as far as I can figure) and we decided to go ahead and try them after K suggested it-- thank you for the advice! We would have hesitated if not for that advice from one of the nations BEST vets (can we send him down to Alabama for treatment?). But really, if anyone can figure out what the problem is, it's the people at NCSU, but it's already cost us a couple of mortgage payments to have no answers.

UPDATE SINCE I WROTE THAT:
I just spoke to the vet at NCSU, and after a lot of testing and such, it's starting to look more like a liver infection, maybe some kind of hepatitis thing. TREATABLE! Yay! They haven't entirely ruled out cancer, but he's showing signs of improving since they've given him more antibiotics, IV fluids, anti-vomit drugs and some food he can keep down. He's such a sweet dog that he has a bunch of new friends who are loving on him lots, which is good because I bet he's scared. Hopefully we'll get to take him home soon, all healed and it'll be worth the mortgage payments.

SNG made an astute observation: if the dog has hepatitis, can it be passed to one of us or to the baby? I better ask about that when I talk to them next...

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Quick update: SHE DIDN'T FLIP! Yay! Those are her FEET jamming into my right-side rib cage. Some big feet, it seems. Well, it's both feet at once and I thought it was her head. What had me confused is that whenever she has hiccups, the feet kick out. Bump! Bump! Bump! Bump!

The Neil Diamond reverse-therapy will not be required after all. Thank goodness for that (sorry again, mom!)

SNG and I went to the doctor this morning and she felt around, said she was pretty sure that IHPE is still head-down, and did a quickie ultrasound just to make sure. Sorry, no 3D pictures this time. It was a strictly-business ultrasound.

The doctor also told me that she wanted to revise my travel deadline by about a week, just to be on the safe side since I'm carrying fairly big. It's a shame because I had a trip scheduled for the week of the 22nd, but it's also a relief because as I've mentioned, air travel is HORRIBLE when you're pregnant, and the bigger you get, the less pleasant it is. It's made even worse by the fact that I'm not allowed to lift more than 10 pounds, and so I can't actually carry any luggage. I have to ask strangers to lift my bag for me to get into a car, on a train, through security, etc. So although I would have loved to teach that class, it would have been pretty tough that late in the game.

I'm still going to Boston today, though! I love Boston. Lobster Roll, here I come!!

Monday, August 7, 2006

Cracklin' Rose, You're a Store-bought Woman.

I'm sick of summer. It really is true that if you leave the weather you're accustomed to, it only takes a couple of years to completely de-acclimate and re-acclimate to the new place. I'm certainly more cold-weather hearty than I ever thought I'd be, and I am much less hot-weather-ready than I used to be. Although to be honest, I've never liked the heat of August, regardless of where I lived. August in a record-breaking summer while 8 months pregnant is miserable. I told SNG that if we do this again, we're only going to "try" in July, August, or September, so I won't have to be pregnant (or at least, late in the term) during the hot months. If the pasta won't stick to the fridge* during that time, then it'll have to wait another year.

(* this refers to the old standard for testing done-ness of pasta by taking out a strand and throwing it at the fridge. More reliable than tasting it and certainly more fun.)

When we first moved here, and in fact for the first 4 summers we were here, I thought we were in summertime heaven. I still think it's a lot nicer than NOLA or Texas, since NC does occasionally get a week or 2 in the summer where the temperatures don't exceed the low 80s. But this year has just been uncomfortable.

Tomorrow I'm flying up to Boston, where the news says that the heat wave has broken. Yay! Not like it matters though, since I stay in a hotel at one end of a big shopping mall/ office building complex with skyways and the office is at another end of the shopping mall/ office building complex. Regardless of the weather, I'll be in climate-controlled 76 degrees. Yay again!

Tomorrow is also my 33 week appointment at the doctor. Last time I went in, they were well pleased because IHPE was head-down and in the chute, in an advantageous position for being born. Since she likes to do the Safety Dance and Hand Jive, my bladder was getting pretty well pummeled for the last 4 weeks, but it was still nice to know that if I spontaneously went into labor, say, NOW that everthing would still come out OK.

Over the weekend, while I was dancing to some catchy tune (Cracklin' Rose by Neil Diamond, with apologies to ANYONE with half-decent taste in music and even bigger apologies to my mom for having just said that), IHPE got really wiggly. Dancing, of course. But it felt suspiciously like a "flip." And today, her head is in my right-side rib cage. OH NO! Breech! And she's about big enough that it was probably a Herculean effort to make that flip and I don't know that we can expect her to flip back the right way again. So I guess tomorrow I'll ask the doctor whether we need to pencil in an appointment for a c-section just in case her days as a dancing acrobat are over.

SNG will probably say that she was flipping to try to hide from that song. He was hiding under the furniture but you can't NOT sing and dance to that song. However awful it may be. (sorry, mom)