Sunday, December 30, 2007

rocket ship


Yesterday was another perfect winter day in Minneapolis, so Dave and I took the dog over to Brackett Park to check out the rocket ship that was recently installed. According to brackettrocket.org, "The Brackett Rocket, built as a playground structure in 1962, was the neighborhood icon of America's entry into the 'space race.' Played on by generations of Longfellow, Seward, Nokomis, and Phillips residents, the structure was removed from Brackett Park in 2004 when it no longer met safety requirements. A 'Save the Rocket' campaign was initiated by a group of residents...to rejuvenate the rocket as a work of public art."

Dave has memories of climbing up in this when he was a child, and his mom loves to tell the story of when she was 7 or 8 months pregnant with him, his older brother got up to the top and was too afraid to come down. With a huge baby belly, she had to climb up and retrieve him. Unfortunately it's no longer for play, but it's fun to see such relics from the past. It reminded me of the rope spiderweb that I used to play on as a child. It looked exactly like this one, and was just about as unsafe as they come.

Playgrounds these days just aren't what they used to be. They look like this and this, and gone are the days of metal slides, swing chains that pinch your fingers, and merry go rounds that go way too fast and throw you from them if you can't hold on. I'm sure everyone is a lot safer and there are fewer injuries, but I sort of miss the rope spiderwebs and rocketships, the climbing structures that enable your children to fall a good 25 feet to the hard sand. Most generations think of the age of their childhood as the "good ole days" and I'm just as much to blame as the next guy. I don't think this dangerous playground thing will be coming back anytime soon, though. At least we can catch a glimpse of the past here and there.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

skating

Dave and I had a great time skating at Rice Park with our friends Steve and Lisa last night. Everyone took a spill except Steve, but no one was hurt. Surprisingly, this was Dave's first time on ice skates. He did amazingly well, considering he'd never done it before. He was tripped once by a little girl who fell right in front of him (dodging the little people is part of the fun of a busy ice rink). By the time we left, he was trying to skate backwards. We will definitely be back.

Friday, December 28, 2007

what a difference some sleep makes

I'm feeling much better today after a good night's rest. I'm not sure if it was the half hour of lap swimming yesterday afternoon or the fact that I had a small half caffiene coffee around dinner time, but something put me to sleep last night, and I only woke up once. In the last weeks, I've been dreading going to bed, knowing that I will invariably be wide awake at 4:00 am, unable to get comfortable. My hips ache while I'm sleeping, and I've been having crazy dreams. Last night, 4:00 came and went, and I didn't even bat an eye. Hoping for the same tonight.

Oh, and thanks to Dave, my Snoogle is on the way.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

back at it

I'm back at work today, glad to have had 3 days off. I'm taking off next Monday and Tuesday, too, so I really can't complain that I have to be at work today and tomorrow. Any time off is fun time.

I've been a bit of a grump recently. Don't know if it's the holiday, the pregnancy, or the family stuff that's going on, but I've been in a bad mood. I haven't been sleeping well, and rolling over has become even more of a chore.
I feel gigantic, but when I went to take a photo of me at 28 weeks, I realized that my belly is not nearly as big as I think it is. (sorry for chopping off my head, it's hard to take a decent photo with Photo Booth).

The pregnancy ticker continues to count down, and with just under 12 short weeks to go it feels like the baby will be here in no time. All the while I look back on the year 2007, and I feel like I've been pregnant for the whole year. Technically, I have been pregnant since June, and we were planning for the baby as early as March or April when we had a pre-conception visit with a midwife. This will definitely be remembered as the year of the pregnancy. It will be eclipsed, of course, by 2008, which will be the year of the baby.

Dave and I continue to prepare our home and minds for the arrival, last week we picked out nursery furniture and a car seat. We're going to take inventory of all of the baby clothes that we've been given, wash them all and start filling up the dresser. Once the changing table arrives, we'll get the diapers washed and put away. We've been lucky to receive so many things from friends who've recently had children. I hope that my spirits pick back up. The third trimester has officially begun, and I know this is the home stretch (for those keeping score - the baby weighs as much as a chinese cabbage this week). I haven't been as diligent about the raspberry leaf tea and the regular swimming, and I will resolve to put those things back into my schedule. The weather has been wonderful so far this winter, lots of snow and not too much cold. I hope that trend continues. I need to find a jacket that will cover my growing belly, so there will be some thrift store shopping this weekend. There is much to look forward to in this new year, I've just got to keep the positive attitude that I've had for the last 6 months. Maybe some ice skating at Rice Park will be just the thing!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

pupper of the week: Christmas pupper

It may be a little blurry, but it was hard to get her to keep the hat on her head. Her noble companion in Scooby, sporting a bow from one of the Christmas packages. He was way cooler about the bow that Irene was with the hat.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Hollidazzling

Dave and I went downtown last night for a fun Saturday night out. We saw the Hollidazzle parade, we attempted to get into the Macy's 8th floor display (but the line was way too long), we bought fun stuff at the bookstore and the coffee shop, and we ended the night with dinner out at Sawatdee. It was a fun night out, with lots of walking and shivering. Turns out that my bladder is even smaller than I thought it was. Alas. Here we are at the IDS for one of my many bathroom breaks.

Friday, December 21, 2007

knitting and photos at 27 weeks

Here's the case for my favorite new camera.

It's knit from some very soft blue yarn that was a gift from my cousin last Christmas. I have no idea what it is, other than soft and blue. I like the case. It'll keep my little camera scratch free when I toss it in a drawer, or in my bag, or in one of the many other places I will throw this camera. I really wanted to take a photo of the camera in the case, but after some thought, I realized that would be impossible unless I were to dig out the old camera, which has been banished to a cabinet upstairs. I was late for work already, so I skipped it. The camera goes in, the case buttons. End of story.

Also, I have chosen the first baby blanket that I want to knit. It came from this book, and I think it's going to be great. I wanted to buy the Debbie Bliss yarn for the pattern, but you can't get it online.
I'm going down to Needlework Unlimited this afternoon to pick out something soft and possibly green. This is what the blanket will look like.

This is not, however, what the baby will look like. This baby is adorable, though, so adorable that you kind of want to kiss the pages of the pattern book. But maybe that's just me...

The blanket is basically just a simple square, knit in seed stitch (Dave's favorite stitch) and it has a hood attached to one corner. There's just something about that hood that sold me. There's another simple little blanket in this book that I think I'll work up after I finish this one.

And, for the sake of posterity, I must present a photo of myself. I'm 27 weeks pregnant, and
I'm totally not sticking my belly out, though it may look that way.

Last week at a training session for work, I heard from our trainer that another employee had walked by the room and reported that I looked "like I was about to pop." That surprised me, because A) I don't think I look that pregnant, and 2. sometimes I think I still don't look pregnant at all. The comment came from a man, one who is likely single and has no experience looking at pregnant bellies. But still. I do not look like I'm about to pop. I've got three more months of pregnancy, kids. Talk to me the second week of March.


Just for the record though - yes, I can still see my feet. Barely.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

pupper of the week

This is one of my favorite photos of the dog. I had come downstairs for breakfast (Dave gets up early in the summer. And in the winter.) and Irene was sitting beneath this sign, staring out into the backyard. She had been misbehaving while I had been sleeping in, and Dave wanted to be sure that I didn't come down and let her back out into the yard. It was so adorable the way she sat right beneath the sign, watching Dave in the garden.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

knitting out of necessity

I really like to knit from patterns. It's rare for me to use the same yarn or needle size in the pattern, but for the most part, I like to find a pattern and knit it up. Unfortunately, the majority of the knitting I do is of another sort. Knitting out of necessity, I call it, and Dave plays a large part. He's the master of invention, so often he'll determine a need for something, and then find a way for either him or me to create it. I'm in charge of the fiber arts and he's in charge of carpentry. Many things around our house have been created this way, and while there are times when I lament how "home-made" everything looks, it's also fun to look at old projects and be proud of that creation.

Last week, Dave came home from work complaining that his glasses case doesn't fit in his pocket. It's one of those hard cases that keeps you from smooshing your glasses, but he doesn't like carrying it around. Problem? Solved.

Handy dandy little carrying case with drawstring close. He may smoosh them in his pocket, but at least they won't get dirty.

I also finished up a carrying case for our new camera this week, and I'm working to replace Dave's fingerless flip-top mitts that he loves so much. I have a few patterns that I'm working from, but none of them are in the same gauge, and they don't have the fingers so I have to add those in. And I switched the way the thumb is done. It's just more fun that way.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

glucose challenge!

Last Friday, Dave and I met with our clinic midwife, and I did the glucose challenge test. I was paranoid about this going into it, but it all turned out fine in the end. My glucose levels are well within the normal range. I had been restricting white flower and sugar for the week before the test, and loading up on high protein foods like seitan. It was pretty unlikely that I would be diagnosed with gestational diabetes, but I had heard so many horror stories from friends and acquaintances (again with the horror stories, what's that all about?) that I was nervous about it. I'm glad to check one more thing off the worry list.

Monday, December 17, 2007

weekly vegetable update

Sadly, babycenter.com can no longer think of any vegetables the length of the growing fetus. Instead, they let me know that this week the baby weights almost 2 pounds -which is similar to the weight of a head of cauliflower! Seriously, folks. If the concept of 2 pounds is too much to grasp, do you really think that equating it to do a delicious and nutritious food like cauliflower will help me?

This weekend, Dave and I watched a video on birth. It made the whole thing feel a little more real, and put some questions to rest. It wasn't as gross or as scary as I thought it would be, although it was both of things. It definitely made me feel a time crunch, as if things are suddenly urgent. Three months left in this pregnancy, and that's not very much time. We have no furniture in the nursery, we don't know what we're doing (or if we're doing) a baby shower, and we most certainly don't have a registry set up. I'm not too worried about not having stuff- the baby doesn't sleep more than a few hours at a time those first few weeks, so wherever you put the baby down is where it sleeps, be that on the couch, in the sling, or in bed with us. My body makes all the baby food for the first few months, so we don't have to rush out and buy a bunch of new things to make food. The rest of it will get figured out quickly enough. I'm committed to staying calm amid the storm. Enjoying the winter weather and enjoying the time with Dave, our swan song as a couple, before we become a family.

It's all happening quickly, and once the baby arrives time will speed up even more. It's nice to have some time off work, time to sit and knit, watch movies, play games, spend time with family. Those are my favorite things to do in the winter, and I'm taking full advantage of this time.

Friday, December 14, 2007

pupper of the week

In the winter, Dave shovels out a path between the back door and the car, so we don't have to tromp through the snow every time we want to drive somewhere. When the snow gets more than a few inches deep, Irene uses this trench to race between the front and the back of the house, and it's sort of a puppy slalom. This photo is from Wednesday, when she was racing back to sit on the back steps and shiver. She doesn't enjoy the cold so much, that one.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

the pregnancy trifecta

1. Positive attitude
2. Healthy food
3. Regular exercise

Maybe I'm just lucky, but these three things have kept me healthy and happy so far through this pregnancy. My back doesn't hurt, the headaches that bothered me during the first half of the second trimester are gone, and for the most part, I have lots of energy. I know that the 3rd trimester will bring me a lot more sleepiness, but here at the end of 6 months, I'm happy to say that this pregnancy thing isn't half as hard as I thought it would be. And that makes me feel even better.

waiting for a baby blanket

I've been knitting up a storm recently, but not creating anything new. I've been finishing projects that got stalled in the past, and while it's nice to free up all that space, I'm really craving something new. I think it's time to start on a baby blanket, but I can't decide on a pattern. I've put a few knit blanket pattern books on hold at the library, but I'm not sure where they'll lead me. I was also thinking I should just choose a fun stitch pattern and a single color and let loose, but I can't make up my mind. I definitely want to pick something out before the end of next week. There will be a lot of sitting and talking over Christmas, and it's much more fun for me if I can keep my hands busy.

I sometimes bring my knitting to work and knit through meetings. This has never been a problem in the past, but when my new boss was hired in September, things changed a little bit. When I knit in meetings that he's leading, he tends to watch my hands and scowl. He's never said anything (and he's the type of guy to say when something bothers him), but I just get this "I wish you weren't knitting" vibe. It's a shame, because I sit through a lot of meetings in my job, and most of them don't require much input from me. I still make eye contact and look up more than I look down, but there's something about knitting that makes people think I'm not paying attention. Ironically, I'm probably paying better attention than when I'm just sitting there - when my hands are still my brain wanders away, and I'll miss entire sections of what people are saying. When I've got needles in my hands, that wandering part of my brain is focused on counting the knits and purls, so the conscious part of me can pay much better attention. I've stopped bringing my knitting to work in the last few weeks, and the meetings have been boring and long. I think I'll be bringing it back before long.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

all I wanted for Christmas

After spending 5 minutes trying to take a decent photo of my belly using the self timer on my (new!) camera, I've decided two things. 1 - I hate what I'm wearing today, and 2 - I really have no business putting photos of my belly on the internet. At least, not photos that I've taken myself. Yikes.

So here - a photo of the new camera! In black and white, so you can't see how blotchy my skin is.


I haven't had too much time to play with it, but I'm going to carry it everywhere until I get tired of it. Tonight, I'm going to knit a case for it, so I don't scratch the screen.

In other news, I really like yoga. I've been going to classes weekly, and while it's fun, I feel like I'm kind of an amateur. I'm a little self conscious and don't like to ask a bunch of questions. Yesterday I found this site which is nice because it tells me how to do things like get into poses and out of them a little more gracefully. I will be practicing my grace at home this week, in hopes of looking a little less like an idiot at my class.

Monday, December 10, 2007

fuel

The new furnace has been installed, and things are looking up. My new camera should be here this week, at which point I will take a photo of the new furnace (because, why not?) and my 26 week pregnant belly. Babycenter.com never disappoints, and this week informed me the munchkin is the length of an English hothouse cucumber. Right. I'm guessing that's bigger than a regular ol' cuke, but seriously, how would I know?

The best part of this weekend (aside from all of the bathrobes and sweat pants) was that Dave got to feel the baby move. We though he had felt it before, but this time it was a definite thump right beneath his hand. Since then, the baby has started kicking with a vengeance. I'm trying to be tuned into it because it's the only way the baby can really communicate with the outer world, and also because it's really neat. It's even cooler than I thought it would be. I wish there were more active times, and I'm hoping in the coming weeks there is a lot of kicking and movement. It's neat to be able to feel it on the outside of my tummy with my hand. People have said that eventually you can even see your belly move as the baby kicks, and that seems sorta trippy.

I always used to think that pregnancy looked okay and cute until the end of the second trimester, and after that it just looked scary. Now, coming around the corner on tri-3, I feel like I just started showing a month ago, so it's not scary yet. I guess I'm getting used to being pregnant though it is nice to be on the home stretch. Both Dave and I have been actively trying to be positive, and despite the furnace being out, the crunch of holiday gift buying, and the rest of the crap going on in our lives, the pregnancy has been a shining beacon of fun. We're still enjoying ourselves, despite everything the world has tried to throw down. For the first time in awhile, I feel prepared for the road ahead, and confident that things are going to work out fine. Maybe it's just the heat of the furnace fueling my own personal little fire, but Dave and I are doing really well, and I'm feeling really pleased. I still have very few physical complaints, and swimming and yoga abate the little aches and pains. My feet aren't swollen, my back doesn't hurt - really the only complaint I have right now is constant and persistent hunger. And if that's as bad as it's going to get, then bring it on.

Friday, December 7, 2007

neat

Last night, Dave and I had our 3rd (4th?) visit with our home birth midwives.  It was super fun.  We talked for awhile about food and emotions and stuff, and then they listened to the heartbeat (solid 160, while the baby was active) and did massage and then a muscle loosening technique with a rebozo scarf.  Clare told us about midwives in the Yucatan who didn't understand when they were asked what they did with a Breech birth.  They had to find a very old midwife who had seen a baby present feet first.  Apparently, it just never happens.  They do this rebozo technique, and it is possibly the reason that the babies are in a good birth position.  It was fun, whatever the reason.  My belly is slowly shaken from side to side, and it's meant to relax involuntary muscles and ligaments.  If those can be loose, the baby will automatically get into the best position for birth.

I'm 25 weeks, and feel like it's time to get down to business.  We won't see these midwives again this year, but starting in January, we'll see them every 2 weeks.  I can't believe how soon that is, that the new year is just around the corner.  I've got the glucose challenge test next Friday, but I'm not freaked out about that.  I think my blood sugar will be fine.  I've continued to eat an extremely healthy diet (with the occasional slip up of potato chips or cookies).  For the most part, every meal we eat was organic, made of whole foods, and cooked at home.  The only processed, pre-packaged food I consistently eat is refried beans, and I don't think I can give them up.  Besides, there's protein!  I can't go wrong!

It's going to be a cold weekend in our house, the furnace has officially been marked as unsafe.  We've got space heaters, but it was 60 degrees when I left this morning and it's not safe to leave the heaters running.  I won't be home until 4, and then we'll get it warmed up again.  At least the sun came out today, so that'll keep the house a little warmer.  I think I'll be living in my bathroom and sweatpants this weekend.  Which is pretty much what I do every weekend, furnace or no furnace.  

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

the last shovel

Snow is falling in Minneapolis, and I couldn't be happier. Dave has been doing the lion's share of housework recently, and I was sad that he hasn't left any of the shoveling to me. Tonight I finally got my chance as he put some finishing touches on the new stair banister. The peace of a fresh snow is so wonderful, and I'm glad to live in a city that gets a real winter. I like to get out before the neighbors start up their snow-blowers, spewing grey smoke and roaring down the sidewalk. The love of snow-blowing must run deep, since our neighbors on both sides (who normally won't stop for a simple hello) will take the time to clear our walk for us.

I don't think we've had snow like this before Christmas for a few years, so it's nice to be looking out at a landscape of white instead of the dead grass and garden remains. I've always said I'm more of a winter person than a summer person, though the last few summers have been so fabulous they've nearly eclipsed my love for winter. During the July and August heat this year, I yearned for a time when I could hunker down, hide behind the sweat pants and blankets and enjoy the winter weather. Mother nature is delivering, and I'm delighted. The world can through wrenches in my path (family turmoil, a broken furnace) but nothing can ruin the fun of shoveling freshly fallen snow.

baby steps

Dave and I have quietly started talking about home birth. So far, we've told my brother and my dad and step-mom, along with a few friends. The next frontier is my in-laws, and my mother and sister will be the final challenge. So far, I've been surprised. Friends have been mostly supportive, and family is trying to understand before they disapprove. The most important thing has been to reassure everyone that Dave and I would never, not ever, not under any circumstance, put either me or the baby in any risk. Once they hear that, everyone breathes a big sigh of relief as if there were every any question. I believe and research has shown that the risks are the same for home or hospital birth. About 10% of our midwives' patients transfer to the hospital, and most often the reason is dehydration and exhaustion of the mother, not because the baby is any danger.

People try to trip me up, throwing what-if's out there. What if you go past 42 weeks? What if the baby is breech? What if the baby is in distress? Well then for heavens sake people, we'd go to the hospital. Though I haven't driven it with a stop watch in hand, we live about 10 minutes from our chosen hospital. The midwives that we hired have the same level of training as the clinic midwife that we see, and a heck of a lot of experience under their belts. There are many things we can do to prevent problems - eating a protein rich diet has been shown to reduce the occurrence of preeclampsia. Being prepared for the birth, keeping up fluids and eating during the labor should ward off exhaustion (depending on how long the labor goes). I do exercises daily that will help get the baby into an ideal position. Beyond that, I have to leave it up to fate. Somethings remain unknown, and I know that I'm doing the best I can to have the best birth I can.

I think some folks find it a little strange that I began actively preparing mind and body for the birth 3 months ago - but it's the most important part! The whole pregnancy is leading up to this monumental occasion where we get to meet our child, so of course I want to be prepared for it. If I can help it, I'd like to avoid going to a hospital, just as I would want to avoid having a cesarean. If it's necessary, however, I wouldn't hesitate to put myself in that situation, especially if the baby is in any danger. I want to avoid a medical induction, but if I have high blood pressure and there is a medical reason to induce, then of course I would go for it. Planning a home birth isn't as wacky as it sounds, and the more information one has, the more reasonable it seems. It's been fun to share all of the knowledge that we have about this with others. I can't control how the labor and birth go, but I can do everything in my power to prepare for it. I think it's going to be pretty exciting. The most important thing, of course, is that we end up with a health baby and momma at the end. The rest is incidental.

Monday, December 3, 2007

feeling a little better

This is the best I've felt on a Monday for awhile, and that's saying a lot. The furnace wouldn't light last night, and so for the second time this winter, Dave and I slept in a chilly house. The furnace repair folks were able to come today and Dave took the day off to wait for them. He said the temperature bottomed out at 49 degrees, which isn't cold for the outdoors, but is rather chilly for inside the house. After work he delivered the blow that we will be replacing the furnace this year. Just one more reason to love living in an old house.

Physically, I'm rejuvenated. I went to yoga this weekend which helped, and I slept in on Sunday and mostly took it easy. I am rededicating myself to positive attitude-ness, and I think that's a step in the right direction. Family drama aside, I've found it extremely hard to control my emotions in the last 10 days, mostly sad and angry emotions (overflowing happiness hasn't really been a problem). I realize that being sad and down has a direct effect on my physical well being, and I'm trying not to dwell on the things that are bringing me down. There are plenty of positive things to focus on, and I should acknowledge the fact that physically the pregnancy has been pretty easy. No lower back pain, no swollen feet (at least not yet). The headaches I suffered were mild, and I've only gained about 15 pounds so far. I was talking to a friend today, and she gave me instructions on how to create a cast of my belly. This is something I really want to do, so I'm happy to hear that it's really quite easy. I'll wait until March, when my tummy is huge. I'm really looking forward to it.

Hitting 20 weeks was a mile marker, and I've been less than enthusiastic about the week by week updates since then. I think I'm at 25 weeks now, and I keep struggling to figure out how many months that means. Babycenter.com continues with the practice of unknown vegetables, reporting this week the baby weighs slightly more than the average rutabaga. That's really helpful to me, since I eat rutabagas pretty much never. It's hard to believe that I'm nearly at the end of the 2nd trimester. I hope the next 3 months are as uneventful as the last 6 have been. I think so long as I try to keep my chin up, things will work out fine.

Friday, November 30, 2007

pupper of the week

I searched and searched for the photo of Irene that I wanted to post, but I can't find it. This one will have to do. Irene has a chronic blanket stealing problem, and sometimes, it backfires and the whole blanket falls down on top of her. Mostly, she doesn't mind. She's a chilly pupper.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

not in the mood

I'm in a funk, both emotionally and physically. I'm not sure which one brought the other on, but they're both here, hovering over me. I'm physically drained, even though I've been going to bed at 9 and getting up at 7. My body aches and I have a low grade fever. I was feeling horribly nauseous last night, sure that I was finally going to puke like all the other pregnant ladies.

Pregnancy has done something to my brain that makes it impossible to reason. When I'm uncomfortable or not feeling well, I immediately jump to the conclusion that this is how it's going to be for the rest of my pregnancy. It's like I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop, that feeling good all the time must be a miscalculation and it's all going to be swept away sooner or later. I resign myself to the fact that I'm going to spend the next 4 months miserable, unable to sit on a couch comfortably or roll over in bed with out careful choreography.

This, though, this can't just be the way it is. I think I must be coming down with something. I'm not in a mood to do anything. I don't want to eat, I don't want to knit, I don't want to go to the gym, and I most certainly do not want to go to work. Pretty much just lying in bed in my bathrobe sounds good. Nothing else. I don't like being around people because it's hard to lie when I answer the question "how are you?" This week, my answer has been "sick of being pregnant. I want a break." That's not actually true. I don't need a break. Being pregnant hasn't been that difficult. Sure, none of my pants fit, but who needs pants when you have the softest bathrobe on earth? I think I need a break from everything: from work, from home, from my routine of things to do on a daily basis. I just want to float in a little nothing time, where I don't have to get anything done and I don't feel bad for not doing anything. Just a little time off from being Laura. It's exhausting sometimes.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

c-c-c-cold

Winter arrived today, much to my surprise. On Sunday evening Dave and I sat in the backyard in jeans and sweatshirts and had a fire. Today, it was 9 degrees while I waited for the bus. Who knew the temperature could drop so suddenly?

I always claim to be a winter person, but I've been more and more excited about summer in the recent years. The cold has just begun to get to me. I'm not sure how it's going to work this year - my jacket is barely fitting around my tummy right now. I'll be thrift storing for a bigger coat soon. Maybe a big long trench coat, one that goes down to my calves and keeps my butt warm so I can sit on the bench.

Long ago when I first became pregnant, I vowed to myself that I wouldn't become a wuss and insist on driving the car every day. This morning, though, I was trying to figure out how to finance a second car so both Dave and I could drive instead of take the bus. We don't really want to be a two car family, but there are mornings when I dream of walking into a heated, attached, 2-car garage, kissing Dave good-bye and each getting into our respective cars. Just a pipe dream, one that will be completely gone by this afternoon when it's 30 degrees. I do love Minnesota winters. I just tend to love them more in retrospect than when I'm living through them.

Monday, November 26, 2007

pupper of the week: not my pupper

This is Ruby. She belongs to my dad and step-mom, and lives in Colorado.. I met Ruby for the first time almost 3 years ago, and I haven't seen her since. She is a good bulldog. We heard fun stories about her this weekend, and I can't wait until she moves to Minnesota so we can spend more time with her (and my parents).

These photos are from our visit when Ruby was just a puppy. Irene and she got along like gangbusters.



giving thanks it's over

Dave and I hosted the big meal this past week, and along with it hosted family members and a lot of drama. It's the first time in a long time that I've been thankful it's Monday.

Our internet connection at home is iffy right now, so I will try to get some updates in while I'm at work this week. The baby has reached the length of an ear of corn, and was kicking me enthusiastically through the weekend. Perhaps it was the sugar rush from all of the pie, or perhaps I'm just finally starting to notice it daily - either way, I''m enjoying the fact that I can finally feel the baby move around.

It's my 24th week of pregnancy, and it's hard to believe that the third trimester is right around the corner. We have begun sharing our home birth plan with some family members and that's been okay so far. We haven't tacked the difficult ones yet. I think I might start attending the childbirth collective education nights - it would be good to connect to some people who have chosen the same path and come out safely on the other side.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

in retrospect

When we were kids, my mom would take us to Philadelphia to see her family once every 2 years. She did it when she had only my sister, then she did it with two kids, and she kept doing it once I came along. That meant that when I was a baby she got on an airplane with me, my 3 year old brother, and my 5 year old sister. She must have been insane.

The last time I flew anywhere was to see my friend Kayla out in Oregon. I was sitting in my seat when the last people boarded, and it was a family of 6 - two parents and 4 kids. It looked like twin 5 year old boys, and two younger ones - one about 3 and one maybe a year old. The parents looked harried, exhausted, dragging 8 million pieces of luggage behind them. I know I exchanged looks with people next to me, as if to say, "this is going to be one long, tear filled flight". In the 3 hours that I was on that plane, I didn't hear the kids once. The parents kept these kids totally engaged with books, coloring, stories, and various other things. I was shocked, and felt bad about my eye rolling. I guess I had become a victim of the "other people's children" mentality, and I was embarrassed that it was so easy to fall into.

It's hard to avoid saying "I would never let my child do that" especially now that I'm pregnant and that hypothetical child is soon to be a reality. Naming and listing things that I would never do is just dangerous territory for doing exactly what I say I won't do. There is something about being pregnant and having a child that allows strangers and acquaintance's to offer you unsolicited advice. I've changed my tune a little bit when we talk to people who don't know us well, and instead of "we're doing cloth diapers" I say "we're going to try to do cloth diapers" and "we're going to try to make our own baby food as much as possible." This still brings scorn and rueful laughter from people who think they know how hard it is to do these things, but those friends that we have who have gone the same route offer nothing but support and encouragement. They tell us how easy it was to incorporate making baby food and how few loads of wash the diapers actually are. They don't make us feel stupid for saying we want to try to avoid all the plastic toys and licensed characters, and in fact they offer us advice on how they got away with donating everything back to the thrift store. I like support better than I like being laughed at. I would never let my kid do that.

Monday, November 19, 2007

failure

Apparently stores don't stock swimsuits in the middle of November. Who knew?

I ended up purchasing a maternity suit online. I'm not happy with it, but they have a good return policy and it should be here soon. I chose this one, and while I don't really like it or think it will be flattering, I can at least be grateful that it's black and my belly will not be hanging out. Tankinis for pregnant people? No thanks.

Thanksgiving is this Thursday and Dave and I are getting ready for family to visit and a big meal to cook. As I think I've mentioned before, we cook nearly everything from scratch, and buy as much local and organic food as we can. I'm a little sad that Dave hasn't had time to post to his blog about it because he's been super excited at home. The menu is shaping up, and the turkey is in the fridge. I wish I could link to the farm we got it from, but the name is escaping me right now.

I've also picked out a new camera, so hopefully that will mean more, clearer pictures. I know I'm overdue for a belly photo (23 weeks! woot!) and I hope to get around to it this week. There will certainly be photos on Thanksgiving, so maybe I'll post a few of those.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

suits

It's been a weekend of shopping. Yesterday Dave and I hit Savers, Salvation Army, and Unique Thrift store. I came home with 5 new maternity shirts that I really like. Dave also got some electric socks ($6!), an item he has long craved. Today, my mission is to find a swimsuit that fits.

It's extraordinarily frustrating to me that nearly every pregnancy book and website tell you that swimming is a good, healthy exercise to do while pregnant, yet it's impossible to find a suit. I've been following this advice, and for the first 5 months of this pregnancy I have swam laps at least 3 times a week. Now I'm no longer able to fit into the suit that I bought back at 2 months - it's not a maternity swimsuit, it's just a regular old speedo that's a few sizes larger than I normally buy. I originally scoffed at the maternity suit idea, thinking it was just another way for stores to make money. I get it now. I really need a different suit. One with support, and an expandable belly. I've been avoiding the pool for a week because it has just become too uncomfortable. I've searched the websites of Target, Motherhood, Due Date, and every other cutesy name brand maternity clothing line. I have found one thing: the dreaded tankini. There may be people in the world for whom the tankini is a flattering and delightful swimsuit. I am not one of them. I see no reason that my belly should be sticking out while I'm trying to swim laps. So today I'm off to the stores, to see what I can come up with. I'm hoping that the stores are better stocked than the internet, but I seriously doubt that. I think it'll be nearly impossible, seeing how it's November and swimsuits aren't exactly the hottest item. We'll see what I get.

Alas, I'm going to try. Maternity swimsuit, here I come.

Friday, November 16, 2007

pupper of the week

She hates the cold, but I love running around with her in really deep snow.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

believing

In the introduction to Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, she writes something that I don't think I'll ever forget:

"So many horror stories circulate about birth- especially in the United States- that it can be difficult for women to believe that labor and birth can be a beneficial experience. If you have been pregnant for a while, it's probable that you've already heard some scary birth stories from friends or relatives. This is especially true if you live in the United States, where telling pregnant women gory stories has been a national pastime for at least a century. Now that birth has become a favorite subject of television dramas and situation comedies, this trend has been even more pronounced. No one has explained the situation more succinctly than Stephen King in his novella "The Breathing Method." Commenting on the fear many women have of birth, his fictional character observes, "Believe me: if you are told that some experience is going to hurt, it will hurt. Most pain is in the mind, and when a woman absorbs the idea that the act of giving birth is excruciatingly painful- when she gets this information from her mother, her sisters, her married friends, and her physician - that woman has been mentally prepared to feel great agony." King, you may not know, is the father of several children born at home."

This struck me so completely when I read through her book for the first time (when I was 2 months pregnant). Now that I've picked it up again at 5 months, it resonates even more. People love to tell you horrible stories about birth, as if scaring the pants off a pregnant woman is fun for those who have never been pregnant. The strangest thing for me, though, is that I spent my younger years very afraid of pregnancy and birth. It was only when I became pregnant that I felt this eerie calm come over me. After reading and doing research, I feel totally at peace and excited about the birth, not afraid at all. (though I'm conscious I sound a little bit like Luke in this scene, I hope I don't run into Yoda any time soon).

The way that Ina May counteracts this culture of horror stories is through telling positive and happy birth stories. Her books are filled with telling after telling of mothers who felt fulfilled and happy throughout and after the birth of a child. It's difficult to change my thinking to believe that labor and birth are not horrible, painful experiences. That perception is so pervasive that even after reading these stories and talking to people who enjoyed the birth of their children (a number of whom delivered at home) it's hard to fully believe that birth will be anything other than excruciating.

It is only when I'm defending our choice to try to give birth without intervention, at home, that I find that I must actually believe in some of the natural childbirth hokey-pokey. I remember my sister telling me after the birth of her son that "you wouldn't expect to be up and walking around after a car wreck, and that's essentially what your body has gone through." Just recently, talking to my brother about birth, he shifted uncomfortably in his seat and said that it sounds "traumatic." My response was that no, it's not a trauma - a woman's body was designed and intended to give birth. It is only bringing birth into hospitals in the last 50 years that has created the illusion that this is "like a car wreck." In the same book mentioned above, Ms. Gaskin states the same sentiment: "Birth is a normal physiological process...It is important to keep in mind that our bodies must work pretty well, or there wouldn't be so many humans on the planet." I, for one, am a believer.

unfair

Yesterday was a hard day. I had a board meeting from 4:00 - 6:30, and I should have gone into the office late knowing that I would be there into the evening. I had a training that I had to attend at 8:30, so I wasn't able to start the day late. I went into the office at the usual time, and was there for about 11 hours yesterday.

I don't have the stamina for that any longer. By 4:30, by eyelids were drooping, I was exhausted. I stayed to the end of the meeting, and came home and ate dinner. I was on my way to bed at 8:30, and slept for 10 hours straight. It's the first time in a long time that I didn't wake up in the middle of the night, and I'm actually feeling much more rested than I have in days. I can't work more than 8 hours at a time. It's not fair to me, and it's certainly not fair to Dave, who has to bear the brunt of my grumpiness. I'm really looking forward to this weekend and a short week next week.

In pregnancy news - I think thumper is beginning to develop a sort of schedule. The baby doesn't wake up when I do, but usually thumps me for the first time around 9:00 in the morning. That goes on for awhile, then there's radio silence until mid afternoon. From 2 - 5, there's lots of thumping, and then again after dinner. Maybe the baby is learning how to take naps!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

honk

My spell checker just suggested that I change the spelling of my last name to "Honk". I'm feeling a little insulted by that.

special cat

Luke is the least loved animal in our house. I'm not ashamed, everyone has to have a favorite, and Luke just isn't it. He was acquired by accident, back when Dave was a young lad of 19 or 20. His roommate brought Luke home, and later moved out without taking him. Years later, someone made a claim for him, but by then it was two late. He and Roo had become a twosome, and there was no turning back.

Luke is very loving. He tries hard to meet new people and experience new things. This summer he ventured outside regularly, if only to run from the back door to the front, then around again. It seemed to bring him great joy, that little adventure. Once or twice he was left out overnight, and I know he just waited on the porch for the first sign of morning. Maybe sneaking beneath the porch to check on things, but never venturing too far away.

Luke is annoying to those who live with him. He is neurotic and compulsive. He drinks water until it makes him sick, and then goes back for more. He really like water and drinking out of the bath is his favorite thing. He's always looking for a lap to sit in, but when you pet him, he tries to bite you. He chews on plastic bags and cracker wrappers, but doesn't steal the food. He's mischievous, and very good at sneaking things away. I know he must have a stockpile somewhere of all the q-tips, pipe cleaners, hair bands, and small pieces of yarn that he's squirreled away. One day, I'm going to run across it, and get all that yarn back. He sneaks into closets when you open them for something, and then doesn't run back out before you close the door. He meows very loudly when this happens, so he's never stuck for long.

Luke is probably around 10 or 11 years old, and I have a fear that he might live to be 20. It scares me more than a little bit to know we could have a 9 or 10 year old child, and Luke could still be around begging for a lap and drinking out of the bath tub. He doesn't take good care of himself, his whiskers are always crooked and goofy, and he neurotically chews the hair off of his belly and ankles. Dave recently pointed out that he kind of has a lazy eye, something I'd never noticed. He gets a sort of wild look about him every now and again, and his eyes just don't line up. I like Luke, as much as I never admit it to him. Every now and again I give him a pat on the back, then run away before we can swipe at me. I'm glad that he's around, he completes our little pet trio (two cats and a dog...). Roo is by far my favorite cat, and Irene is by far my favorite pet, but Luke deserves some credit every now and again. Most days, he's the one to greet me at the door when I come home - the dog is too lazy to move away from the furnace. He's handsome and friendly, some say he could be entered into a show, he's got some sort of fancy cat breed in him. For now, though, we'll just keep him to ourselves, closing him out of the bathroom to take a bath and pushing him off the couch when he's in the good spot. Luke is pretty special, though. Crazy whiskers and all.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

22 weeks and ready for a nap

I've reached 22 weeks along, and babycenter.com wants me to know that the baby is the length of a spaghetti squash. Because the length of a spaghetti squash is something that I readily understand and think about. They may be running out of vegetables.

I meant to post these photos earlier. Here are the ultrasound photos from last week!

Looking straight at the baby's face and belly.










The baby on its knees, facing down.








On its back again, with face in profile.








The ultrasound was a little strange, but all told it went fine. The baby is of average size, and there were no abnormalities with the heart or brain or anything else that they look at during the procedure. Right toward the end, the nurse called in some strange doctor-man, saying "I'm calling the doctor now. He reads the results" This threw both Dave and I back a little bit, since we didn't know in advance that we would be seeing a doctor. He came in and shook my hand, muttered something about "looks good" and then asked if I had any questions. I didn't, other than why he was in the room. I equate this to when the dentist comes in and looks at your teeth after the hygienist spends 30 minutes cleaning them. I think it's just to be sure that you feel like a real professional is working behind the scenes, and to ensure that the visit costs the insurance company the $1200 per minute fee that the doctor charges. Just one more reason I'm feeling confident in our homebirth plan. It's pretty rare for a stranger to walk in during the birth when you're in your home with the midwives and support people that you've chosen.

Speaking of homebirth midwives, Dave and I met with Gail and Clare again last week. It was fun to see them, and I'm glad to begin the process of getting to know them. We covered a lot of ground in the hour we spent with them, but we honestly didn't talk much about the birth. We talked about diet and exercise, my health history, and they listened for the baby's heartbeat using the fetoscope. Unfortunately, they weren't able to pick it up, but they were able to hear all sorts of kicks and punches coming from the baby. The ultrasound revealed the the placenta is anterior, making it more difficult to hear the heartbeat and also making it a little more difficult for me to feel those first kicks. I am feeling them pretty regularly now, and Dave got lucky and felt one through my belly the other night.

I wish I was a little better at keeping up this blog. If I updated daily, it would look more like this:
Everything is great! I feel great! Pregnancy is fun! Whee!!
Dear lord, someone get me a pillow and a blanket, I need a nap.
Pregnancy rocks! I rock at being pregnant! Woo hoo!
Is that the time? 7:30 pm? Geez, I better hit the hay I need to get 12 hours of sleep.

Unfortunately, I tend to only post when I'm not on those emotional and physical highs, so it sounds all down and sad and poor me. When I look back over the past 2 months, though, things have been wonderful overall. Just in the last week have I hit the good day/bad day dynamic, and it's taking some time to get used to. I'm exhausted again, and not sleeping through the night. I haven't had time to fit my naps in, and when I do they just make me more tired instead of more rested. I know that the third trimester will bring some exhaustion with it, but I'm not there yet. I feel a little cheated that I didn't get the full second trimester full of energy (4 more weeks!)

I've been meaning to take a photo of me from the side - I've started visibly showing in the last few weeks, and I'm loving that. My weight gain is still hovering around 10 pounds total so far, but my belly is poking out over my pants, and I'm having a hard time keeping it covered. It's definitely time to move into maternity pants, but I don't feel like shopping or going to a store at all. One thing I definitely need to buy is a maternity swimsuit. I'm still swimming laps 3 times a week, and even though the suit I have is a few sizes bigger than usual, it is no longer doing the job. My internet searches have turned up nothing other than tankinis, a style that I do not want to swim laps in. You'd think with all of the advice to swim while pregnant, someone would make a decent swimsuit that covers your belly but doesn't come down to your knees (why do they put skirts on swimsuits? why?). I have to make it a priority to find one soon, since it's become uncomfortable to swim in the one I've got, and I don't want to get out of the habit of doing my laps every week.

In other non-pregnancy news, we're getting excited for Thanksgiving. I can't believe how quickly November has blown by, the holiday is next week already! My mom and brother are coming to share the meal with us, and hopefully my mother and sister-in law as well. My dad and step-mom are flying in on Friday, so they'll miss the meal but will still see us. This is the third year that we've hosted the holiday, and we have a great time doing it. We cook an entirely organic meal, using as much locally grown food as we are able. Even though we're vegetarian, we cook a turkey for everyone else and rumor has it that it's pretty delicious. We insist on a free-range, organic bird, something that our family members wouldn't buy for themselves. I think its deliciousness is partially due to that and partially due to the fact that Dave is a fantastic cook. We always invite friends for wine and pie after dinner, and hopefully we'll have some people show up again this year. I'm doing apple, pecan, and pumpkin pies again so if that's not enough to draw them in, I don't know what would be. I'm glad that our families are coming again this year, we weren't sure if we would just be cooking for 2 this time.

I think it's time for me to go find that nap that I've been raving about. Hopefully I can take off from work a little early and sleep the afternoon away.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Pupper of the week special edition: a dog and her heater

A few months after we began dating, Dave and I rented a house together. It was a small house. Something like 400 square feet, but miraculously 2 bedrooms (if you could call them that - the bed was against the wall on 3 sides). In this house many life changing events happened - I finished college, we got engaged, we got a puppy, and we got married. We lived in this tiny house for just over 2 years.

The house did not have a furnace.

It had a "cabin heater". It was about the size of a short bookshelf, sitting smack in the middle of the house. It was connected to a thermostat and fueled by gas. When we would turn the heat up, the heater would ignite, and you could see the flames through the front panel. It was definitely unique, and in the middle of a Minnesota winter it was usually pretty cold in the house - except for right in front of the heater.

When the weather turned cold in the first year of Irene's life, things got tough for the pupper. She did not like the cold. She would sit and shiver at 70 degrees, her whole body visibly shaking. She still does not like to go out in the rain or snow, and will sit pathetically on the doorstep waiting to be let in. Dave wrote about this tendency here. While we lived in that tiny little house, Irene developed a special relationship with the heater. When it clicked on, she would sit in front of it, as close as she could get without scorching herself. If it turned on while she was in the kitchen or the porch, should would run to be near it as it gave off heat. When it clicked off, she would lick the front face of it, as if to say "please turn back on. it's so cold in this little house."
She slept in front of it most days, and sometimes she would contort her body to flop away from it when she got too hot, but kept her bum close for the warmth.

Two years ago we bought our first house - and luckily it had a proper furnace. It was May when we moved, so I'm sure the heater was the last thing on Irene's mind. We quickly discovered, however, that we had created a monster.

Instead of just one heater, Irene has now developed a special love for all of the furnace vents in the house. When it turns on, she runs to sit in front of the living room vent that blows the most air. If we're cooking and she wants to be near the kitchen in case of a dropped onion or piece of cheese, she will sit directly on top of the kitchen vent, blocking all of the air into the room. If we force her off, she reluctantly pulls her bed up to the dining room vent. It's not as strong as the living room, but she can't block it fully so at least some heat escapes into the house.

We recently purchased a programmable thermostat, and I'm wondering how this will affect her love for the furnace. Will she learn that at 5:00 it goes up to 69 degrees? Will she prepare for it by bringing her bed over to the vent at 4:55? I don't know if the little house with the cabin heater is entirely to blame for her dysfunctional love of the furnace, but sometimes I feel bad that she's so cold. That is, until she starts licking the wall or the chair next to the vent. Then I make her move.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

it could have been worse

I had to run a short errand for work. It should have taken less than 30 minutes. Instead, it took 2 and a half hours. Why? Because I locked my keys in my car.

It could have been worse. I was in a store that I could bus home from, and the store had computers so I was able to email my boss as well as call Dave to find out where the extra house key is hidden. I even had change for the bus, and it all worked out. But I felt really stupid. Locking my keys in the car is not exactly par for the course. I just don't do things like that.

Enter: Pregnancy brain. My new excuse for everything. Some people may think it's a bogus claim, but I sign up for it. Thanks to Google, I have plenty of people to back me up. Including these folks here, here, and here. None of these pages site an actual medical study, but I think they're all right on course. How else could I have dropped my keys inside my purse and the left the purse sitting on the passenger seat? That just doesn't make sense, folks.

Now, the thing you've been waiting for - finished mittens!

Photobooth doen't lend itself well to hiding while you're taking a photo. Oh well.

Pattern: Eunny Jang's Anemoi mittens
Yarn: SandnesGarn sisu in brown and Cleckheaton Baby cocoon in color 005.
Yarn Source: LYS
Needles: US 3 Prym double points
Gauge: Ask me and I will kill you
Modifications: I ended up skipping all of the repeats in the pattern because the mittens were long enough before I got to the end. I changed needle sizes 3 times, and used the Italian tubular cast-on.

They may not match anything else that I own, but I love these mittens. The colors are great, they're warm but not too warm, and fancy shmancy.

dave is smart

Thank you for fixing the thing that was wrong. From now on, I will know not to click on the Edit Html button. That messed everything up for me.

We had the ultrasound yesterday and everything was great - I'll try to get to the library today or tomorrow to scan the photos in. I know folks are just dying to see what the little baby looks like!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

anemoi, take 5

Last week, I began working on the anemoi mittens. I've long read Eunny Jang's site and I admire her knitting and her patterns very much. I knew that this pattern was probably above my skill level, but I thought I would go for it.

Surprisingly, I was successful. On the 5th try, that is.

Take 1: Cast-on with size 0 needles, as called for in the pattern. Knit through cuff. Did not fit over hand. Pulled back.
Take 2: Cast-on with size 1 needles. Knit through cuff. Did not fit over hand. Pulled back again.
Take 3: Cast-on again with size 1 needles, but consciously tried for a very loose cast on. Thought I was successful, knit up to the thumb. Didn't fit over my hand. Pulled back.
Take 4: Cast-on with size 2 needles, and discovered a new way to do the tubular cast-on. Thanks to this nice lady, I was able to get a very flexible cast-on, and knit up to the thumb. It fit over my hand! Woo hoo! I was so excited that I excused the fact that it barely fit over my hand, and that the cuff was a little too tight (read barely allowing blood into my hand) so I knit the whole right mitten.

It was beautiful.

But it didn't fit.

Now, I realize this entire situation could have been avoided if I had just done a gauge swatch to see how many stitches I was getting per inch. Why didn't I? Why did I knit up this entire mitten knowing that it wouldn't fit? Because it was really fun. I really liked following the pattern. And I could only find 4 of the 5 size 3 needles, and I didn't have the energy to go searching for the other one.

After taking this picture, I ripped the whole mitten back.

Take 5: Found (with Dave's help! go Dave!) my missing size 3 needle, cast-on the Italian way with the size 3's and changed the main color from blue to brown. I knit them up in 4 days, and I love them. I would have a finished photo for you this morning, but I left them in the car. Oh well. They fit great, and I love the color and the pattern. They're not perfect - I have a serious problem with loose stitches at my needle join, but they're still fantastic. And I have mittens!

Tonight - we're meeting with our homebirth midwives again. Tomorrow - a new project on the needles.

Monday, November 5, 2007

carrots

I forgot to upload the photos of the Anemoi mittens, so it'll have to wait until another day. This is week 21, nearing the end of the 2nd trimester. I'm still surprised at how little I'm showing, though some people are shocked to see that I suddenly look very pregnant. I think it all depends on what I'm wearing. At work, I'm in dress pants and button up shirts so don't think it's as noticeable. At home I'm in jeans or sweat pants and tank tops, so I think it's much more obvious.

My check-up with our clinic midwife last Friday went very well. The baby's heartbeat was 158 bpm, which is perfect and normal. We've got the ultrasound rescheduled for this Wednesday, and we're also scheduled to see the home birth midwives again on Thursday, which will be fun and exciting. Our clinic midwife is fine with our plan to do a home birth, and has had a few clients who chose this route. She and Abbott NW will be the backup plan. It's good to have that piece taken care of. She also recommended the standard glucose screening test at my next visit. This is something I've been anticipating, and doing some reading about. Somewhere along the line I got it in my head that this test has a high rate of false positives, and I'm looking forward to talking to our home birth midwives to get their perspective on it.

In other baby related news, I think I felt the first stirrings this weekend. In the middle of the night (after the mouse attack) when we were going back to sleep, I felt what I'm almost sure was the thumpings of the little one on my insides. Since I identified that feeling, I've felt it once or twice more during the day and in the evening. I'm still not 100% sure that this is it, but more and more I'm thinking it can't be anything else. According to babycenter.com the baby is the length of a carrot this week - and can definitely hear sounds on the outside. Maybe I'll get Dave to blast some Shostakovich at my belly - that should get the kid moving!

For unknown reasons, yesterday was a really hard day for me. I was exhausted (despite the extra hour of sleep) and took 2 naps and a long shower. I just couldn't get motivated to do anything, and I missed the yoga class I had been wanting to attend. I suppose these bouts of exhaustion are normal, and I got used to it during the first trimester. It's been 6 or 7 weeks since I've felt tired like that for no reason, and I couldn't help but be angry and sad about it - something else I can't really control. I took my naps and lazed around, and tried to get into a better mood. I'm feeling much better today, so Dave and I were joking that maybe the babe is just going through a growth spurt and needed to sap my energy for 24 hours. By the end of the evening things were better, even though Dave kicked my butt at Trivial Pursuit 80's edition. I hope that I get a few more weeks of boundless energy, before the hum drums of the 3rd trimester set in. T minus 133 days until the due date! Woo hoo!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

the good cat

This is Elvis. He is a good cat.

Elvis and Dave go way back. Dave acquired Elvis when he was just a young strapping man of 19 years old. When he and I met and started dating, I was not much of a cat person. In fact, I found it a little strange that a single man would own two cats. They grew on me, however, and now I'm glad to have them as part of my life. Elvis has two names, and has not really gone by the name Elvis for many years. He is called Roo, originally because he can jump like a kanga, but also because he caterwauls in the middle of the night and it sounds a lot like "A-Roo! A-Roo!"

We've had a mouse in the house for the last few weeks. Dave and I have seen evidence of the mouse, and once the dog was able to trap it in the garbage bag, but it got out and away before we were able to take it outside. We don't like to set traps for them, we just hope nature will work itself out. Last night it did. At 2:00 am, we heard a racket in the kitchen, and then Elvis came tearing up the stairs into what will be the baby's room. We heard a tiny squeak, and we knew the mission had been accomplished.

We're happy to have a mouse free house once again. We even got up at 2:00 am to congratulate Roo on a job well done (he received half a can of tuna as his reward). And we didn't let him toy with the mouse until its death - Dave grabbed it and took it outside. It may have been mortally wounded, but this way we didn't have to set a trap and know for sure that it had been destroyed.

I was beginning to wonder if he still had it in him, but at nearly 12 years of age, Roo's still got it.

Friday, November 2, 2007

pupper of the week

Here is the ever-popular Irene, glaring at me through the screen door. I thought it was fitting to have one more summer photo before the chill really sets in.

It's been a busy few days at work, and I feel like I haven't had a chance to catch my breath. Halloween night was fun - we had many trick-or-treaters and only had to turn away one bunch of kids when we ran out of candy. I did something that shocked the shit out of me, though - while I was walking down the stairs, I completely missed the bottom step and hit the floor on my knees. Even though I've read in every pregnancy book to be careful, walk delicately, and note that your center of gravity changes, I still wasn't really prepared for that. I thought it would happen much later, once I'm really popping out, but I suppose an extra 10 pounds right in the middle front of your body will through you off. I iced my knees and the bruises aren't too bad. It made me take note, though, and I'm going to go down the stairs more carefully from now on. Of course, it may have nothing to do with my center of gravity - I may just be extremely clumsy.

We had our ultrasound scheduled for today, but the furnace
is causing us problems and the repair person can only come during the hours we had planned to be at the clinic. I'm going to try to call and get it rescheduled, I just don't want to have Dave miss it. Hopefully we can get in early next week, get the furnace fixed, and all will be well. I'm more than a little disappointed, though, and sad that today won't be the day where we get to see the baby.

Alas, tis better not to suffer the cold in the house this weekend, or pay through the nose for emergency repair service. I've started Eunny Jang's Anemoi mittens. I'm thrilled with them, but more on that later.




Wednesday, October 31, 2007

and she knits, too!

One of the main reasons I wanted to start posting to a blog was to connect with all of the wonderful knit-bloggers out there. I've spent years reading other knitting blogs, and for the most part I find the discussion of yarn, patterns, spinning, dying, FOs and tips to be exciting and invaluable. I've learned a ton by reading about the misfortune and mistakes of others, and I have used and adapted many patterns posted to other blogs. I thought it would be fitting to make my first knitting related post about something that I came up with on my own: the biking sock!

What is it? It's sort of an adapted sock with a huge hole in the bottom. Dave requested something like this last year, while he was freezing his toes off during his bike commute. According to some sources, Minnesota has the highest number of bike commuters per capita in the United States. I'm proud to say that my wonderful husband is one of them. He has nice biking shoes that he inherited from a friend years ago. The foot portion is made up mostly of mesh, letting his feet breathe during the hot months. They're not exactly designed for November and December biking in this climate.

However! We came up with a solution. He wanted something like a bootie that just went around his foot, but I went with an all out sock, both because it would take me less time to think about the pattern, and because it would go up high enough to reach the bottom of his long underwear, keeping the icy air out all winter long.

The large hole in the bottom allows him to clip into his pedals without tearing up the sock. I struggled a little with the placing of the opening, and had to spend a few days trying his shoes on with the socks to figure it out. He tried them out this morning and said they worked great.

I used crap-tastic black acrylic yarn that was hidden in my stash. I inherited a ton of acrylic yarn in the past, and I hold onto it for projects like this. The acrylic may not be nice to work with, but it is durable and washable, two things that are important when Dave will regularly be splashing through wintry puddles with his socks on the outside. He wanted the toes to be brightly colored for safety. I chose white, again because it was in my stash, but also because it gave the socks a really silly look. I'm sure the fancy-bike commuters will think he's a little strange, but he'll be laughing all the way to work because he feet will be warm!

One added bonus of the toe design is that if his feet get too hot, he can flip the toes up and cool off without having to stop and take them off. I also added a small slit at the top of the shoe so he can re-tie his shoes without having to
pull them off completely. I'll have to wait to see how they look come spring, but if they hold up nearly as well as his flip top mittens, I think the project was a great success.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

to shower, or not to shower

Dave and I got to have dinner last night with our friends Ben & Emily. It was fun to see them, and even though we saw their little daughter just over a month ago, it seems like so much has changed. She seems to have gone from toddling to running in that span of time, and it's delightful to watch her chasing the cat, then the dog, then the cat, then the dog again. It makes me feel a little sorry for what our pets are going to go through when the kid reaches its first birthday.

These two were kind enough to hand off a bunch of baby stuff to us, and we couldn't be happier. They're planning to move soon, so they were happy to get rid of the infant junk. We came home with a portable swing, a baby bath, a bjorn, and an absolute ton of clothes. They've also promised to pack up their newborn and infant cloth diapers for us, so we've already got a start on that.

We've been debating whether or not to have a shower - my SIL would very much like to throw one for us. The debate is a tough one - we know that people are excited about the baby and want to give us gifts, but having a party just to receive presents just doesn't fit with our morals and lifestyle. On the other hand, if we don't do the registering thing, then people will just shower us with gifts anyway and we won't get to pick out the stuff that we'd like. At this point I'm really leaning toward not having that shower, but that may change. Who knows precisely how we'll feel about it in January and February, and we may be panicked because we just don't have enough onesies.

In the meantime, friends like Ben & Emily are extraordinarily generous, and we're happy to start our baby junk collection. I hope we don't fill up the nursery before we can get some furniture in there!

Monday, October 29, 2007

it just might be

I think maybe, just maybe, I might have felt the first movements this weekend. I was sitting in a rocking chair and reading, and for a second I felt something that was like a soap bubble popping on the inside of my tummy. I couldn't get it to happen again, and it was devastatingly light, but I'm pretty sure that was it.

I feel relief - I finally felt something that I think was it, and now I can rule out everything else. I had been having little twinges in my abdomen that I now think was just muscle pain and ligaments stretching. I'm glad to know the baby is there and reaching out. Since today is the official half way mark, I was beginning to think it would never happen.

We've got our second ultrasound scheduled for this Friday, and I'm very excited. Though Dave and I agree that we don't want to know the sex of the baby in advance, I'm tempted to try to look and figure it out. I want it to be a surprise, but a tiny part of me also wants to know that little secret. Even though I've been pregnant for 20 weeks, I feel like the baby doesn't really have any individuality yet - and knowing the sex might help me characterize it in my mind, allow for that individual personality. Then the logical/liberal takes over to remind me that our culture over sexualizes and gender stereotypes children enough, we could do without it in-utero.

If I knew though, I wouldn't tell everyone. I wouldn't splash pink or blue everywhere, I would just hold onto it, know it, get used to it. Try out names and see what fits, start using "he" or "she" in my mind. I've been dreaming and having strong feelings that it's a boy, but Dave mentioned me to yesterday that he has similarly strong feelings that it's a girl. The temptation to know is there, but I think on Friday we'll make our wishes known to the ultrasound tech and continue in our ignorance. Coloring things in green, brown, grey, yellow (which are better than pink and blue anyway).

Friday, October 26, 2007

tea

At the recommendation of Gail and Clare, my two favorite midwives, I have begun to drink red raspberry leaf tea every day. At first, I was skeptical, having never been much of a tea drinker. I always thought those who drank tea every day were people who had an inner calm and meditated regularly. I can't quite fit those things in, but I have found the tea to be a wonderful addition to my daily routine. A cursory google search turned up many articles touting the benefits for pregnant women. It's a traditional herb used to tone the uterus with calcium and magnesium, and some say ease and shorten labor.

Gail told me at our first meeting that even if I didn't like it at first, to keep trying and eventually I would come to crave it. Perhaps it was just the power of suggestion, but she has been correct so far. We buy loose tea from the co-op for the evenings and weekends, and I keep tea bags at work. The loose tea is more flavorful, perhaps because I'm brewing it stronger. I add lemon balm to it and find it absolutely delicious. The tea bags are convenient and usually contain nettle, another herb which is said to be beneficial for pregnancy. It may even help to prevent UTI's, something that have always been a problem and a pain in my past.

Pregnancy has been so different from what I expected. I vowed to do things naturally, not to freak out about every little thing, and remain true to who I was before I got pregnant. When I look at my routine today compared with a year ago, many things are different:
I take folic acid and fish oil daily
I add metamucil and sometimes protein powder to my banana/raspberry shakes
I have completely cut out caffeine and I drink tea with a vengeance
I have traded my desk chair for a ball at work
I swim laps 3 times a week

All of these things are good, healthy habits, but sometimes I feel surprised that I'm so dedicated. I tried to be a healthy person before, but it's a lot easier to practice beneficial habits when it's not just about me. Even though I still haven't felt a sure-fire kick in my abdomen, I'm pretty sure there's a baby down there somewhere. That makes these changes all the easier - it's hard to be selfish and skip my trip to the gym or the extra protein in my diet when I know that it will make a difference to the baby.