Thursday, December 27, 2007

Holiday happenings

If you can believe it, 2007 is almost at it's end. And in just about two months, God willing, our little guy will enter the world. This is quite a different Christmas than last year, it's amazing what changes can occur in just 12 months. Here's what we've been up to in the past week.

I passed my 3-hour glucose test last Friday. Hooray! It was actually kinda fun. DH used a sick day to hang out in the lab's waiting room with me all morning, punctuated by my hourly blood draws. We watched The Simpsons Movie on our mini DVD player and complained about the uncomfortable chairs. Another patient brought her 2-week-old baby, and we smiled contentedly listening to his tiny cries. Afterwards we ate at a Mexican restaurant and enjoyed the stolen afternoon hours together. I cherish every "couple" moment we have, anticipating when Bean will be the focus of all our attention. I got the test results on Christmas Eve, which was quite a relief. While we were waiting, DH had been practicing his dirty looks and stern reprimands every time I reached for carbs or sugar. To make it worse, he kept asking me if I wanted to walk the dog with him. No, actually, I don't want to walk the dog. The way I see it, there are three main pluses to being pregnant: 1. permission to gain weight; 2. automatic excuse not to exercise (who is going to argue with a preggo who says she needs some rest?); and 3. the beauty of creating life, or something like that. Take away the first two, and this pregnancy was about to get ugly. Real fast. But Merry Christmas to me, I'm clear. I won't be eating 6 donuts again any time soon, though. Well, at least not so close to a doctor's appointment.

My parents arrived for their visit on Saturday, and we've been enjoying their company this week. Especially the dog, who nearly threw herself out the window at the airport when she spotted them. (Fortunately, she didn't pee on the seat like she did last time. But I slyly suggested we take DH's car, just in case.) Monday was absolutely gorgeous, so we took advantage of Seattle's tourist destinations. Who says it always rains here?! Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, the Fremont Troll, the floating bridge... good stuff. We even tried to visit that awesome donut place downtown (I know, I know, old habits die hard). But much to our shock and dismay, they were entirely out of donuts! Not one piece of delicious fried dough in sight. I suspect that DH called ahead to arrange it, but I have no proof.

On Tuesday we enjoyed a quiet Christmas here with my parents. Lots of gifts to be opened, with Evey and Bean getting as much as anyone. Santa (aka my mom) continued the tradition of putting "stockings" in our stockings:

My favorite gift, though, was from DH. I don't mean to turn this blog into a catalog of the jewelry he buys for me, but considering I expect a serious drought starting in March, I thought I would document this on his behalf. Plus, I was really touched by the sentiment! He told me that he was browsing in the jewelry store when he spotting this necklace -- a pearl resting in a white gold circle. It reminded him of me carrying Bean, and he knew he had to buy it. I know what you are thinking, but hands off DH. He's mine.

And speaking of DH, I know it's very common for husbands to feel left out while the mom bonds with the new baby. To keep him involved, we included him in the Christmas belly pic:

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas as well!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Test Day

The first sign that yesterday was going to be tough: I actually had to get dressed, do my hair, and put on make-up -- and it wasn't a Saturday. No, it was glucose tolerance test day, to check for gestational diabetes. Lucky me.

Here is a quick overview of how the procedure should go, for those of you unfamiliar with it:
1. Stop eating/drinking anything with sugar 3 hours before the scheduled blood draw.
2. Drink a small bottle of glucola (provided by the doc in advance) in less than 5 minutes, timed 1 hour before blood draw.
3. Arrive at doctor 20 minutes before blood draw, to ensure proper timing of the test.
4. Blood is taken precisely 1 hour after you finish the glucola.
5. Meet with OB for regular pregnancy check-up.

Here is how my afternoon actually went:

1. Stop eating/drinking anything with sugar 3 hours before the scheduled blood draw. No problem. I had lunch and finished up by 12:25 pm, after which time I sipped on water.

2. Drink entire bottle of glucola within 5 minutes, timed 1 hour before blood draw. Now this glucola stuff gets a very bad rap, in my opinion. I'm not sure if what I had to drink was different than other preggos I know, but it wasn't bad at all! It was not syrupy, it just tasted like orange pop with a little less fizz. I guzzled it within 5 minutes, again no problem, thinking this test was gonna be a CINCH!

3. Arrive at the doctor 20 minutes before blood draw, for accurate timing of test. Ummm, no. This is where I started to derail, for a couple of reasons. First, being a telecommuter, I am not overly familiar with the traffic patterns in Seattle. Second, my appointment was at a later time of day than my previous ones, making me even less familiar with said traffic. (Where was my Fox News morning traffic dude when I needed him? Good luck with that!) Third, there is construction on 405 N, which was not the highway I was taking, but it caused considerable back-up on one along the way. So after downing the glucola on schedule, I crated the dog and hopped in the car, unknowingly headed straight into traffic hell. Shortly after leaving home, I found myself in a dead stop on the freeway. I had no alternative but to wait it out, because the next exit was the one I needed anyway. While my GPS system (which I nicknamed Marsha) ticked away the minutes, putting my estimated arrival time later and later, I attempted to relax and engage in some positive self-talk. "You are doing everything you can be doing at this point. There is nothing more you can do. Relax, this will turn out okay in the end." That positive self-talk quickly degenerated into cursing. "I $&#*ing hate the traffic in Seattle! Our doctor in St. Louis was much closer! I'm such a %@^! idiot for not leaving 2 hours in advance!" As it looked less and less likely that I would be arriving at the doctor on time for the blood draw, I decided to do the only thing a woman in my situation could do: Call DH and complain, so he could suffer with me. I caught him at his desk at work, right before he was about to leave to meet me at the doc's office. Unfortunately, one of his coworkers was at his desk and likely heard my loud swearing over the phone. They both tried to calm me, with the concerned coworker attempting to offer route advice. But there was nothing they could do to help, so we hung up, agreeing to meet at the doc anyway. (Well, not the coworker.) Meanwhile, the glucola was reaching my bladder. Fearing a repeat of another bathroom emergency, I began scanning for a Subway. Then the far left lane started moving, and I decided that if there was ever a moment to be a rude driver, now was it. I would just hop to the left, jet down to my exit, and then cut everyone else off. Finally catching a break, it turns out I didn't even need to cut people off after speeding ahead of the line. They were all waiting to split off onto 405 N (with it's construction nightmare), leaving me a clear path to 405 S. Free of the jam, Marsha informed me that I would arrive at the doc at 3:22. I was supposed to arrive at 3:10, with the blood draw at 3:30. Luckily, there was not much traffic for the remainder of the ride. But did I mention it was raining? (You know this is Seattle, so I don't want to be redundant.) I wanted to get there on time, but more important, I wanted Bean to be safe. Marsha's ETA continued to drift back, until I parked the car in the lot at 3:25. I ran inside and checked in, with precious few minutes left on the clock. After offering my apologies for being late, I asked to use the bathroom (puhleeeaze). Denied! No time. I scanned for DH in the waiting room before being whisked back, but he was still a few minutes behind me. Time for the blood draw.

4. Blood is taken precisely 1 hour after you finish the glucola. The nurse quickly ushered me into the exam room. I have come a long way with my fear of needles in the past two years, I am proud to say. I've had more bloodwork than I care to remember, and I have even given myself shots. But sitting in the chair waiting for the syringe, I was lightheaded from the combo of stress and the sugary effects of glucola, and I really, really had to pee. The nurse poked into my left arm. After some digging, she withdrew the needle, commenting that my veins were flat. (That makes one part of my body!) She decided to go for the right arm. She didn't even stick me, finding the veins totally uncooperative on that side. Time to go back to the left, this time with a pediatric needle. More digging, more discouraged "hhmmm"s from the nurse. I was getting more lightheaded, wondering if DH made it, and dreaming of the moment I could bolt for the bathroom. When she withdrew this needle, again unsuccessful, I needed a short break if I wasn't going to pass out. Mentioning this to the nurse was shooting myself in the foot, though, delaying the relief of the bathroom because she made me lay down and drink some water. I took some deep breaths and it was back to the test, which I felt I was already failing miserably. "One last try," the nurse said. "I'd hate to have you drink that nasty stuff again..." The implied "but" was horrifying. Not because of the taste of the drink, which as I said, was not that bad. It was that I had made it so far! Overcome the obstacles! Prevailed over traffic! Not fainted or peed (yet)! We had to get this blood, and NOW. She decided to try the back of my left hand. After running it under hot water to get the veins out of hiding, we both gave it our all. ("Think bloody thoughts," she instructed, so I did.) Success! She filled the vials and released me to the restroom. Ahhhh.

5. Meet with the OB for regular pregnancy check-up. By then, DH had been taken to my exam room, and the doc showed up immediately thereafter (one benefit to being late, I suppose). The visit included a weigh-in, of course. To my horror, I gained 7 pounds in 3 weeks. I blame those donuts, cursed donuts. The doc, however, was not concerned. "You are still ahead of the game," she kindly assured me. What game is that, sumo wrestling? While listening to the heartbeat, she also commented that there was no fat between the baby and the doppler wand, helpfully remarking that we should thus get a good look at the baby at the next ultrasound. That made me feel worse! If there is no fat on my belly, then where the heck did those 7 pounds go? Not all to Bean's little body, of course. This is part of the reason that I avoid looking in the mirror whenever possible. I prefer to live in ignorance rather than engage in the dangerous and depressing game of "spot the cellulite." But the doc was pleased with what she saw/heard, and I'm grateful for that. Now we get to wait for the results of the glucose test. If there's a problem, they'll call by Thursday. If there isn't... well, no news is good news.

Who knew it was going to be this much fun being pregnant? And I'm not even to the good part yet!

** UPDATE: Not 5 minutes after I posted this entry, the doc's office called... I failed the glucose test. :( Just barely, but enough that now I have to go in for the 3-hour test on Friday morning. This means fasting, hanging out for 4 hours at the clinic reading outdated magazines (Jennifer Anniston and Brad Pitt divorcing, oh my!), and getting my blood taken again and again and again. Waaaaaaaah.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Welcome, third trimester!

Well, the third trimester has settled in. 29 weeks and counting. This is the belly I am now lugging around, as of Saturday (28 weeks and 5 days):

I'm still feeling okay. My energy level seems to be diminishing, so I'm thankful we are done with the relocation. I'm also less comfy and more achy in general, but that just means I get to sit on the couch while DH cooks dinner. (He is making a lovely mustard-roasted chicken with veggies, and it smells divine! I think I'm going to feel achy tomorrow, too.) The strangest part of the pregnancy right now has to be feeling Bean move. I've been experiencing this for months now, of course, but it's more intense. And this kid is active, let me tell you. With absolutely no consideration for what I need to be doing at the moment, such as... oh, I don't know... sleeping. He finds that 3 am is a perfectly appropriate time to play my kidney like a drum. I figure that's the job of a child, though -- to be blissfully unaware of how his actions affect me until the day that he becomes a parent himself. The beginning of nature's most necessarily lop-sided relationship. Meanwhile, as I watch my tummy roll and bounce, I try not to think of the diner scene from Spaceballs when the alien pops out of the guy's stomach, complete with top hat and cane, and serenades the patrons with a rousing rendition of "Hello, my baby! Hello, my honey! Hello, my ragtime gal!" One good punch from Bean, if I can grab my camera quick enough, and I'm the next Internet sensation. Coming soon to a near you.

Fortunately for me, and unfortunately for those of you who enjoy tales of my pregnancy woes, this past weekend came and went without any uncomfortable emergencies. On Friday night, we attended a Christmas party hosted by one of DH's coworkers and his wife. There were 26 2/3 of us, plus 6 dogs, packed into a tiny townhouse. It was a really nice evening, and I came away with a $20 gift card to Jamba Juice from the gift exchange. I knew it was time to leave, though, when I almost had to take down this Jack Russell terrier that kept trying to hump poor Evey, who was huddled in fear under my chair for hours. The mama instinct was kicking in beyond my control, and I would hate to embarrass DH so soon in front of his new coworkers. A gigantic angry pregnant woman body-slamming a 10 lb dog, another video forward you'll soon find in your inbox.

Other than the promise of a stomach full of pureed fruit, the other good result of the Christmas party was that hiding from the Jack Russell really took the energy out of the dog. She actually slept through the night without requesting to join me and DH in bed! Not even Bean woke me up, for that matter. Sleeping in was just as fabulous as I remember. Then, my sweet DH drove us into downtown Seattle for our first real visit to the city's top donut shop. He knew better than to protest when I asked him to buy us a dozen -- 10 for me and 2 for him. What's $20 for donuts when you've driven 15 miles to get there? The price of a contented preggo is worth much more, as he is well aware.

Perhaps the best news of all, I officially finished my Christmas shopping on Saturday afternoon! Last recipient on the list: the pooch. We got her a giant candy-cane shaped rawhide bone. It's so much easier to buy for females, even spayed ones. This is her enjoying the bone we got her last year:

This is her reading the Christmas card that my parents sent to her this year. (Yes, they sent a card specifically addressed to our dog. Is there a problem?)

And just for fun, this is one of her favorite positions when napping on the couch. I could just squeeze her to pieces.

To round out an overall good weekend, I got a present from DH on Sunday! He surprised me with a pair of emerald earrings, to thank me for all my support and effort in moving us to Seattle. (Also known as The Emerald City, as my luck would have it. I'm really thankful we didn't move to a place nicknamed The Garbage City or something along those lines.) Anyway, he loves it here and has been so happy since we arrived, and that makes me happy, too. But the earrings are good insurance for him, just in case.

My impression of Seattle is still a good one, although the clouds rarely part these days. I can hardly be unhappy when there are quality donuts to be scarfed. I have been wondering, though, how far away do I have to move to escape certain really annoying commercials? 2100 miles and I still have to endure the Empire Carpet guy's nasally, overly enthused sales pitch and his unfortunate group of back-up singers belting out "800-588-2300... EMPIRE!" Unfair. And while we are on the topic of television, I haven't decided if I like the traffic guy on the Fox morning news. He's young and a bit goofy, often sarcastically adding "Good luck with that!" when pointing out nasty traffic snarls. In contrast, my St. Louis traffic lady would follow up bad news with helpful advice, such as suggesting that you leave early for work or offering an alternate route. I'm unsure if I like the Seattle guy's realistic approach -- you poor suckers are screwed no matter what -- or if I prefer St. Louis lady's blind optimism that you won't be awkwardly late to that morning meeting just because some idiot didn't slow down in the rain and now the highway is a parking lot. I guess it doesn't really matter, since my commute now consists of waddling 5 steps down the hallway. But I have to think about something when Bean wakes me up at 3 am, so there you have it.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cookie Monster

After spending the last year isolating ourselves at home with pills, injections, thermometers, charts, books, and other infertility-related paraphernalia, DH and I have officially burst onto the social scene of Seattle. And when I say burst -- well, it was a close call on Friday.

We had plans for dinner with my mom's office manager's son and his wife. (Got that?) They live here in town, of course, and were gracious to extend the invite and welcome us to the city. Normally you will find me and DH at a restaurant shortly after 5 pm, the only people there without blue hair and still in possession of our own teeth. But in attempt to be cool for at least one evening, we agreed to meet them at a restaurant downtown at 7:30 pm. Shortly before we leave, I am putting on my make-up when I have a shooting pain in my left foot. Looking down, I clearly see that one of my toes is not happy, bent in a way that it usually isn't. So I start freaking out, and once DH is assured that no, Bean is not on his way, he promptly tracks down an urgent care place nearby. Luckily, we quickly realize it is just a cramp and my toe is soon back in it's rightful place. Cramps like this are common in pregnancy, and while they are not entirely preventable, drinking water is supposed to help. I guzzle down two huge glasses of water, praying that I wouldn't be struck by the affliction during dinner. Turns out that should not have been my biggest concern.

Downtown is approximately 25 minutes from our house, in good traffic. So we leave about 50 minutes early, anticipating a bit of a crunch. Now about 30 minutes or so into the drive, as we are crawling along the highway in extra-horrible congestion, it's time for the second panic of the evening. I have to go to the bathroom. Immediately. And we are nowhere near the restaurant or even any other exit for an emergency stop. As you probably know, using the restroom when you are pregnant is not something that can wait. There's no holding it when a 2-lb baby is using your bladder as a lounge chair. I try relaxation breathing to distract myself while DH silently dreams up an excuse to tell the couple in the event of an emergency change in plans. (We are both fearing the worst, although neither of us speaks it.) Somehow I manage to keep my composure until we can exit, which is in downtown Seattle. We immediately get stopped at a red light, and I get out of the car in the middle of the street and race to a nearby Subway. Thank goodness, crisis averted. But the fun is not quite over yet, because now I am standing in the dark in a rather scary part of Seattle, with a man and woman screaming angrily at each other in Spanish nearby (I was hoping it wasn't the couple we were meeting), while DH is struggling to navigate the one-way streets in gridlock to retrieve me. Plus we are at least 15 minutes late for dinner already. We connect via our cell phones, and DH says he is completely stopped in the next street over and suggests that I walk to the car. I express concern that traffic would become unjammed before I could get there, but he assures me, "There is absolutely nowhere for me to go." Famous last words. I turn the corner and see our car, just as the street opens up. I yell to DH over the phone, "I see you! Don't move! Unlock the doors! I'm running down the street!" So in all my pregnant glory, I'm booking it down the sidewalk to catch DH. I hop in and the slam the door, and we take off... for about 20 feet, and then stop again because the light has changed. DH is laughing hysterically, and I'm just relieved to be... well, relieved.

The good news is that despite the rocky start to the evening, dinner was wonderful. The restaurant had a lovely bathroom I visited about 5 times, just because I could. And the food and conversation were terrific as well. We were completely exhausted by the time we got home, though, so while it was fun to dine with people of our generation, you'll probably still more often find us eating with gramps and grams.

Saturday we wasted an absolutely gorgeous day doing necessary errands. It was our second attempt at getting driver's licenses, as we discovered the first time at the DMV that the State of Washington requires 26 original forms of identification, a character referral from your kindergarten teacher, and a notarized list of your favorite colors signed by the governor. Then you get to wait an hour and a half to sign a form and have your picture taken. After that bit of fun, we battled the crowds at the mall to do some Christmas shopping. Overall the day was a success, though. Our eyes are open in the license pictures and we knocked off nearly our entire gift list, which is pretty much all we could have asked for.

Sunday was another social day for us. One of DH's coworkers invited him to a bar to watch the Lions play the Cowboys, as the game wasn't on the stations you can get at home. Being that we are in the Pacific time zone, that meant DH dragging himself out of bed early to get to the bar by 9:45 am. Despite the Lions blowing a fabulous lead, DH had a good time and got his football fix for the day.

Then around 3 pm, it was time for the highlight of my weekend: the cookie exchange. My love of cookies began when I was around age 2, perhaps even earlier, listening to Cookie Monster sing "C is for Cookie." You see, "C" is not only for cookie. It's also for ME! While Elmo eventually surpassed Cookie Monster as my favorite Muppet, I was hooked on cookies for life. For my birthday, forget the cake -- I want a ginormous cookie from Mrs. Fields. With extra frosting, please. (In fact, while we are on the topic, let the countdown begin: 2 months and 1 day until my next cookie cake. Dear lord, there'd better be Mrs. Fields out here...) So when a coworker of mine who was also transferred to Seattle with her husband two years ago invited me to a cookie exchange, you can imagine how quickly my answer was YES.

I have never been to such an event before, but now that I have been to one, I plan to elbow my way into the cookie exchange circuit as quickly as possible. It is exactly what it sounds like, heaven on earth: we all made and brought 3 dozen cookies, then went around the room filling a container with everyone else's sugary creations. We didn't eat any of the cookies during the party, but there were delish appetizers and hot orange cider to enjoy. So now there is a tantalizing array of 3 dozen cookies on the kitchen counter... minus the 7 that I ate for dessert last night. (Minus the 5 more that I will go downstairs and grab right now, because typing this post has made me hungry.) And I left the party with an invite from the hostess to hit the local malls with her whenever I feel like getting out. Which is pretty much every day. I hope she doesn't mind.

Cookies, shopping, socializing, and no car "accidents" -- I'd say it was a pretty good weekend. Oh, and I'm fairly sure we named Bean, too. Although DH doesn't realize it yet.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Slip Slidin' Away

This is a belated topic, but I thought it was worth mentioning anyway, because many of you have been so kind to ask how we are doing in Seattle following the rain storm earlier this week. (And for those of you who HAVEN'T asked, I assume you didn't know about it, otherwise you would have also been wracked with concern -- so let me enlighten you.) On Saturday, it snowed quite a bit. Beautiful, gorgeous, huge wet flakes. It reminded me of Michigan, which was comforting and lovely. On Sunday, it warmed up and started raining. And kept raining, and kept raining, and kept raining. So by Monday (yep, still raining), we had snow melting off the mountains and water pouring from the sky. Which led to flooding and mudslides. Yippee, welcome to Seattle! DH's boss ran to his desk to assure him this was an unusual occurrence, appropriately afraid we would immediately pack up and head back to St. Louis. I wonder really how uncommon, though, as there is a weather term for it: the "Pineapple Express," because the system comes from Hawaii. (Are we anywhere near Hawaii? Apparently I have absolutely no clue where I live.)

Fortunately, the immediate area around our home was not affected by the rain. The biggest inconvenience to me was having a hyperactive dog who couldn't get a proper walk. The biggest inconvenience to DH was driving through the flooded valley on Monday to get home from work. I told him not to go through the mini-lakes that had formed -- don't be a hero, I don't like sports enough to raise our son alone. But of course he didn't listen, and ended up in a situation where waves were actually going over the top of his car. He was shaking for about two hours after he got home. Or wait, was that me shaking him? Either way, we emerged unscathed and dry, thanks for asking.

Random thoughts/updates:

Does anyone watch Mike & Juliette's morning show? Today they talked about women delivering huge babies and brought in enormous turkeys to show everyone what a 20 lb newborn would look like. That was frightening on many levels. Luckily, Bean in no way resembled a turkey in the last ultrasound.

Evey ate my cell phone on Tuesday. (See previous post re: our dog/mountain goat and the kitchen counter.) Has anyone seen the Family Guy episode where Peter accidentally swallows his cell phone, and you can hear "hold" music coming from his stomach? DH and I had a good laugh imagining the phone ringing inside the pooch. I got a new cell phone with a local number, but if you need to reach the dog... try my old cell number. (Thanks to DH for that observation, he's so witty.) :)

One of the hardest questions for me to answer is "How are you feeling?" I don't know why that question leaves me tongue-tied, but it does. "Well, I'm having trouble maneuvering through doorways with a 20-lb basketball protruding from my midsection, I can't keep a thought in my head or object in my hand for more than five seconds, and I am in trauma counseling after seeing a gigantic turkey on TV that I might have to deliver in three months." Or, "I'm doing great. Generally the waddling is kept to a minimum, and there are tons of bone-chilling symptoms in 'The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy' that I don't have yet." (None of which are fit to mention in polite company or pseudo-anonymous blogs. But you preggos and former preggos know what they are.) Somewhere in between those two answers is where I am. I don't feel glorious and radiant, like dancing through the streets and brightening the world with my pregnancy glow. But I don't feel entirely crappy yet, either. Just taking it one day at a time, one kick at a time.

I added a new poll to the right so you can help us choose a name for Bean. Don't worry, no presidential debates associated with this vote. Although that snowman guy was really cool.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Random Act of Kindness

I'm not sure if it's the holiday spirit or what, but I've been blessed by the kindness of others this week, and I wanted to share it with you. It started Wednesday when we screened our new OB and loved her. (Nothing like enthusiastic compliments on my uterus and impending "man child" to dispel insecurity about gaining 20 lbs!) It continued yesterday when my boss called to tell me that 1) she was paying me for Thanksgiving, even though I'm a part-timer and typically not eligible for paid holidays; and 2) she was able to get a raise and a bonus approved for me before our VP of Operations retired. (Now we can get a fancy glider-rocker for Bean's room!) Then last night our incredibly agreeable landlord rushed over to fix the garbage disposal that DH and I had the talent to break within 2 weeks of moving in. Even when it looked like it needed to be replaced due to our blatant mistake, he was not going to charge us for a new one. (Fortunately, he took it home and could fix it; he put it back in this morning.)

But this most recent situation, a truly random act of kindness, really topped off a good week. I ran out of cereal this morning, so I decided to go out and get a coffee and donut. (I refuse to eat that Kashi stuff that DH consumes. I don't eat tree bark. Unless they start coating it in frostring or adding colorful marshmallows.) Usually, I try to be more creative than going to Starbucks for my over-priced coffee, as there actually are other options for over-priced coffee here in Seattle. But this morning, it fit all the major criteria I needed: it's close (because there's always one close); it has a drive-thru so I could go in my sweatpants and slippers; and I could get both a coffee and a donut at the same stop. So the pup and I hopped in the car and headed down the street. Twenty seconds later, we arrived at a Starbucks.

The cars waiting at the drive-thru wrapped around the building. When I was next in line to pay and get my goodies at the window, the woman in front of me took a rather long time. It didn't bother me; the dog and I were grooving to my new Ingrid Michaelson CD and were not in any particular hurry. (No more of a hurry than a pregnant lady can be in when she's waiting for a donut, at least.) When it was my turn, I pulled up to the window with my $5.31 in hand. "Actually, it's $1.75," the cashier corrected. "The woman in front of you paid for your coffee." Astonished, I asked why. She shrugged, "Random act of kindness. I guess she felt bad for taking so long, her coffee was double-roasted."

True, I am generally easily impressed and currently prone to emotionality and sentimentality. But for someone about to bring a new life into the world, it's heartening to see generosity and goodness in others. It's out there, despite the prevailing images on the evening news. (Which, incidentally, is why I solely rely on The Onion for current events.)

So to random Seattle-area woman with the double-roasted coffee, thank you. It was one of the best peppermint lattes I've had. (The donut was also delish, but what donut isn't?) And to everyone else, here's wishing you random acts of kindness -- given and received.

Now I'm going to go to the McDonald's drive-thru and see if someone will buy my McNuggets.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

26 weeks (and 1 day)

It's that time again, folks... belly pic! DH took this tonight, at 26 weeks and 1 day. It looks like I'm carrying Bean a lot higher, but I think it's just the way the shirt is pulled. Either way, he's a growing boy!

Since I'm too tired to type a real post, I'll add some more pics to round it out. DH and I ordered the crib and dresser this past weekend. (Yipee! Something crossed off the list!) We were really excited that our favorite set was reasonably priced, although it was fun to visit the upscale Seattle shops and pretend to be big shooters. The furniture is a gift from Bean's four fabulous grandparents... thanks guys!

(No, this is not a clever way to announce that Bean will be named "Joshua" post-womb; this is actually just the display in the store. So far, he's still just Bean. But if we can't decide on something in the next three months, who knows. We are taking suggestions, and I promise to say the name you offer is beautiful, even if I think it's hideous. I expect the same from you when we finally select one.)

That's it for me today! I'm wiped, between starting work again and trying to settle into the house while lugging an extra 15+ pounds. Plus, I had to kick the dog out of bed because she wouldn't fit anymore (it was her or Bean, and the choice was easy), so she's been crying all night and keeping us awake. Poor little pooch, she doesn't understand. And I've tried explaining. If she keeps it up, I think DH may trade with her and sleep in the dog bed. It looks pretty comfortable, actually.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Turkey Day!

I have so much to be thankful for this year. A mix of the ever-important constants -- family and friends, the most notable -- and some new blessings as well. Now that the physical part of the move is finally over (although the settling in process has just begun), I can say I am grateful for a relatively smooth relocation. After spending much of the past week wading through moving boxes and rain puddles, we are largely up and running in the new place. There were a few annoyances to get straightened out (we nearly had to provide DNA samples to get our garbage service started), but nothing that doesn't come with the territory of a transition like this. Sanity check: so far, still here.

Despite days of clouds and rain, Seattle is an incredibly gorgeous place. Especially when the sun shines, as it did today, it's impossible not to be in awe of nature. There is so much to see and do, from watching the salmon run to digging for clams. I snapped this pick of Mount Rainier as seen in our neighborhood when we were walking the dog earlier today. (There are better views of it I wish I could share, but it's not usually convenient to stop traffic and grab the camera. Even now that I am driving with my Missouri watch-it-I'm-an-out-of-state-menace license plates.)

As is evident by the fact that we were walking her earlier today, yes, our sweet little Evey pooch is with us once again. We love having our family reunited! She's adjusting well to the new house so far. The first morning, she did get up at 4 am (which was 7 am Eastern Time to her) and sounded a wake-up call by batting the door stop spring in the master bedroom. BOING! BOING! BOING! She's not really a subtle dog. Evey has also somehow acquired mountain goat climbing skills. Our couch now backs up to a pass-through to the kitchen, and she likes to jump on the counter to see what goodies she can snatch. Actual food is prefered, but she'll give it a shot and consume paper products if that's the best there is. The following pics show two of her favorite perches: the window sill in the family room and the pillows on the guest bed. She likes to survey the house, inside and out.

DH is enjoying his work so far. He is surprised to find that there is no belligerent cursing or door slamming at meetings. Guess it really was time for him to leave that last department! The work itself is new and challenging, and his coworkers seem friendly. We went out with a group of young couples for dinner last weekend, all of them being transplants as well. They have invited us to their weekly Friday night poker games, even Evey and Bean are welcome. (I confirmed that they meant after he's born too, not just while he's gestating and can't be left behind.) Although poker is not my game -- I prefer Go Fish -- I'm willing to learn. If celebrities can do it, it can't really be that hard, right?

Overall, I am still feeling pretty good as a preggo. 25.5 weeks and counting! The belly continues to expand of course, meaning extra weight to carry around all day. My feet and calves are extremely sore by bedtime (aka 8 pm), sometimes I wake up at night with cramps. And it's very difficult to adjust to my ever-changing dimensions -- I am constantly bumping Bean on the edges of boxes and doors and countertops. As revenge, he spends a lot of time kicking and rolling around, especially when I am trying to rest or sleep. Practicing, no doubt! I'm doing my best to enjoy the relative ease of this stage of pregnancy, though, because in less than 3 weeks, I'm hitting the dreaded third trimester. From what I hear, it's going to get ugly pretty quickly. The home stretch... or should I say stretchmarks... here I come.

Next on the agenda: Finish organizing "stuff" around the house, meet with the new OB/GYN to make sure we’re a good fit (i.e. make sure insurance clears), and order baby furniture. I start work again on Monday, too… but I'm going to blissfully remain in denial about that until Sunday afternoon, at the earliest. Maybe until Monday at 7:59 am. On the bright side, I know that either way I'll be wearing DH's sweats, hair a mess, and sans make-up when 8 am rolls around. Maybe I will like working from home.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Home Sweet Seattle

I am in Seattle right now, at Tully’s Coffee using their free Wi-Fi to blog. I’m pretty sure this is the pinnacle of my coolness in life, so I’m glad that I’m able to document it this way. I enjoyed a gingerbread latte (decaf of course), chatted with other Internet users, and explained to two older gentleman the general concept of Wi-Fi. If this cafe is an accurate representation of the level of friendliness of Seattleites, I'll be very pleased.

Because I have a few minutes, and you may be curious (or just passing time like I am), I’ll give you the skinny on how our week of corporate relo went. On Monday, two packers showed up to start boxing our goods. One looked like Steven Tyler; she was a very nice lady. Before they came, we were instructed not to touch anything in the house. (I assumed an exception to picking up underwear on the bedroom floor.) In a process that can only be described as miraculous, they wrapped and boxed every single item in our house at warp speed while we watched in awe. It took them two days for some reason -- even though they only worked 4 hours the first day and 3 hours the second day. On Wednesday, a big 53' semi pulled up in front of our driveway. Two loaders and the driver put everything from our house in the truck, filling about 1/3 of it, I would guess. We were again amazed at the process, there was not an inch of empty air. "Any empty space is lost dollars," the one who resembled Jason Lee explained to me. (Yes, we had quite the collection of celebrity look-alikes helping us in this move. If there was beer on tap, I would have sworn our house was the new hot spot for impersonation contests in St. Louis.) Also on Wednesday, two flatbed trucks came and hauled away our cars to eventually meet us at our new home. Before they left, the drivers made notes on every single scratch on each car. And I mean every. single. scratch. If there was a 1/4" long graze on the center of the roof that didn't even get through the first layer of paint, these guys spotted it. It was actually kinda depressing, because before they went through it, I thought my car was in pretty good shape. By 3 pm, all the trucks had pulled away, and it was just me and DH in our empty home. We walked through one final time before leaving it forever. It was quite emotional for us, and a few tears were shed. But eventually DH pulled himself together. ;) On Thursday (yesterday) morning, we flew into Seattle. Despite the cramped 4+ hour plane ride, I suddenly wasn't ready to get off the aircraft when we landed. But one deep breath and a few steps later, and I was in Seattle. Yes, I live here now.

Now we wait. Our household goods will arrive on Wednesday the 14th, after visiting Indianapolis and Boise. Our cars will arrive about a week after that. (We have rentals in the meantime, of course. This makes navigating more difficult, because the cars have Washington plates. Our Missouri tags would have been helpful to announce to fellow drivers: "I have absolutely no clue where I am going, and I am going to cut you off at some point. Sorry.") We have a to-do list to keep us busy while our worldly belongings migrate across the country. And one of DH's best friends from college has a business meeting in Seattle next week (he lives in San Diego), so he and his girlfriend are flying up early to spend the weekend here. It will be great to see him and start exploring the city. A familiar face in the midst of upheaval, and one seen far too infrequently, at that.

And in other bits of news, DH started his new position today. I miss him already, I'd gotten used to spending my days with him. I don't start work again until the 26th, after Thanksgiving, to give me some time to set up home and office. I also booked Evey dog's flight to Seattle. She'll be joining us next Saturday the 17th. I can't wait!! Eight more days. It is PRICEY to get her here, good lord. But worth it -- at one cent per tail wag, she'd make it up in a few hours. Another important agenda item: visiting the birthing centers at local hospitals and setting up meetings to "interview" OB/GYNs. There is a major hospital about 2 miles from our place, but we've heard some negative reviews of the birthing center staff. Apparently they are not always responsive to the laboring woman. As someone who plans to ask for her epidural at around 8 months pregnant, just to be prepared, this does not appeal to me. So the search continues.

Oh, and just in case you are wondering. Yes, it's raining. But the sun is peaking through in spots, and there is a rainbow. I think we'll be just fine.

Friday, November 2, 2007


Like most people, I hate goodbyes. I always feel awkward and can never think of the right thing to say. Whether it's a passing acquaintance or a close friend, I would rather just pretend that everything will continue to be the same. But deep down I know it won't -- so we say our goodbyes.

Wednesday was my last day in the physical building of my employer. Sure, I'll be working from home once we arrive in Seattle, so I will be "interacting" with the same coworkers, sort of. But I will really miss the camaraderie around the department, it's going to be pretty isolating and lonely. (And much harder to get the latest gossip.) I've been driving to that building for nearly 5 years now, and it was surreal to be leaving it for the last time. Fortunately, there was a huge traffic jam on the way home, so I felt much better about the whole thing.

DH's coworkers wished him farewell with cake and a happy hour. It was quite the turnout; one of the best the department has had for a send off, they said. A cynical person could say that they were especially happy to see him go -- but I know it's because he's such a personable guy, he gets along with nearly everyone. Even a boatload of engineers, who are generally not known for their social aptitude. To express their admiration and good wishes, their going-away gifts included a Slim Jim, 30 packs of Orbit gum, and a gift card to Best Buy, which his boss instructed him "not to spend all at the same place." It was a good day for DH.

We have lunches and dinners planned with as many friends as we could squeeze into our schedule. Unfortunately, my hormonal crankiness gets nearly impossible to hide when I'm tired. And I'm tired. I almost lost it at one Mexican restaurant when they told me they didn't have any guacamole. WHY AM I AT A MEXICAN RESTAURANT, IF NOT TO ENJOY SOME NICE FRESH GUACAMOLE! If you don't have the guac, you might as well stay closed for the evening so we know to go somewhere else. But hopefully my friends will forgive me for my preggo- and relocation-induced moodiness. Please, guys???

We also had to say goodbye to our OB, today was our last appointment. We will sorely miss him and his distinctly male obsession with his 4D ultrasound machine. In fact, this may be the last time we get to see little Bean before he arrives! Hopefully we can sneak another one in with the new doc, when we finally pick one. We were really spoiled up to this point. After seeing these latest pictures, DH joked that the baby looks just like him. As long as Bean doesn't look like the other guy in the doctor's waiting room when we had our procedure done, I'm happy.

I've been holding onto my sanity so far, but I feel it slipping away as the weekend begins. It's crunch time, the movers come on Monday. We get to supervise two days of packing and one day of loading before waving goodbye to all of our worldly possessions for their cross-country trip. We fly to Seattle on Thursday, just in time for DH to start his new job on Friday. In one week, we will have no home here in St. Louis to come back to. This will probably be my last post before we head out, because things are about to get really crazy. So despite my best efforts at denial and avoidance, I have to say it:

"Goodbye, St. Louis. I'll miss you."

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

House sells and 5 months pregnant

It appears that the Gods of Superstition were not angered by my previous hint that things were going well with the sale of our house, so I'm going to lay out all the cards now. We are under contract!!! It's unbelievable to me still. We got the offer 18 days after it went on the market, and for approximately 99% of our asking price. !!!! To top it all off, the closing date that the buyers requested is November 9. Wanna know what day we are moving out? NOVEMBER 8. This is truly a gift from God, there is no other way to explain it. With the market the way it is... more than I could have hoped for.

But we did work hard on this house throughout the years to make it sparkle, and it was a family effort. DH has spent countless hours on home improvement projects since the day we bought it. (Remember the green carpet that had exploded to cover every inch of floor? Including up and around the side of the BATHTUB. When one of the neighbor kids came trick-or-treating that first Halloween, he actually looked over our shoulders as we doled out the goodies and asked, "Do you realize that you have green carpet on your stairs?" Obviously we gave him the crappy candy. But we did take his hint and got rid of it.) My mom decorated and staged the home beautifully, she put Roger Hazard and Tanya Memme to shame. My dad was a home improvement maniac on their visits, accomplishing before we woke up in the morning more than we could have done in a month. But the ultimate hero of the sale is our realtor, who set the perfect asking price and marketed the house like crazy. (If anyone in St. Louis needs a real estate agent, BTW, I am happy to refer you to ours. Obviously she gets results!) We still have to clear two major hurdles: the results of today's inspection, and the sale of the buyer's old home, which happens on Thursday. Please oh please, let this work out!!!

A quick belly pic. This one was taken a few days ago, at just about 22 weeks along.

In two days, I will be 5 months pregnant. OMG. 5 months pregnant. There were many, many times that it did not look like we would ever get here. Just looking at those words in type sends chills down my spine: "5 months pregnant." Wonders never cease.

Overall, I'm still feeling pretty good in the pregnancy. My energy level is decent, I attribute any fatigue to relo-related stress. Lights out at 9 pm! My food aversion hasn't really faded, but I just polished off a piece of homemade apple pie (DH loves me!) and a decent amount of Halloween candy (ones that I'm sure would be left over anyway), so I guess you could say I'm managing. :) My round ligaments bother me at times as this belly grows, but if I rest, I can usually recover pretty quickly. I also periodically have a pain in my left hip, causing me to do the preggo waddle whenever I first stand up. But I've embraced the waddle, even adding my own sound effects and songs. I can either laugh or cry at the changes in my body, and I chose laugh. For now.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Story of Jack O'Melon

In honor of Halloween this year, I wanted to share with you a little tradition that DH and I have started in our family. It is the story of Jack O'Melon.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. While I've never been especially creative with costumes -- save the year my coworkers and I went to our company party as the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes Prize Patrol -- the abundance of chocolate and other sugary sweets is enough to send me into rapture. Add our enthusiastic puppy tripping over herself to greet the dozens of smiling children at our door, and how could the day get any better?

The first Halloween after we were married in 2002 was a dud. We were preparing for our move from Michigan to St. Louis, living in married housing at MSU. I went to my parents' house for the evening, as DH was studying late at the library. Very few children came to the door, and the highlight of the night was when we ran out of candy and my brother gave the last trick-or-treater a pack of gum from the pantry, which we belatedly realized had two pieces missing.

When Halloween 2003 rolled around, we were once again in flux. We closed on our first home on October 24, and we were consumed with transitioning over from our apartment. I whined to DH that I was once again being robbed of fully enjoying the holiday. How sad to be without a pumpkin, I lamented. (Life was tough, what can I say.) While DH has learned to tune out most of my whining and lamenting -- for the betterment of our marriage -- he was apparently feeling indulgent and decided to get a pumpkin for his ever-suffering wife.

Unbeknownst to me, DH left the office early that Halloween in search of our first pumpkin as a couple. Any of you familiar with his ambitious work schedule will understand the significance of that. What he underestimated, however, was the difficulty of finding a pumpkin at 3 pm on October 31. He went to store after store, coming up empty each time. Eventually he found himself at Sam's Club. Seeing no pumpkins and realizing that time was running out, he decided to cut his losses and employ some creativity. He shamelessly stood in line at Sam's, among customers with their overflowing carts, holding a single honeydew melon in his arms. The cashier eyed him curiously and ventured, "So... you just had to have a honeydew, huh?" When DH shared his intention, the cashier laughed approvingly and called over another clerk to hear the plan.

When I came home from work, I was greeted by the sweetest sight: a honeydew melon carved in jack-o-lantern style on the kitchen table with a note from DH, wishing me a happy Halloween. Of course, I was touched. We put Jack O'Melon on the porch of our new home, complete with glowing candle, under the risk of being immediately ostracized by our neighbors. Fortunately, Jack and DH and I received a warm reception. Children inquired if ours was a glow-in-the-dark pumpkin, due to the greenish hue, and mothers and fathers chuckled at DH's resourcefulness. A tradition was born. Jack O'Melon welcomes our trick-or-treaters each year, with neighbors sharing their anticipation and appreciation as they come to the door.

So what exactly does a Jack O'Melon look like? Just how you'd expect, of course.

2003, the first Jack O'Melon:




And despite another busy Halloween, DH has promised to make Jack O'Melon 2007. The neighbors would surely be disappointed if he didn't, and we do want to leave on good terms. Please feel free to adopt Jack O'Melon in your own house, as we would be honored to spread joy and happiness through honeydew. I really think it could catch on.

Happy Halloween everyone!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Baby shower

The whirlwind continues! Last Friday, DH and I drove up to Detroit for our baby shower. What an utterly exhausting but fabulous trip. On Saturday, we went to DH's alma mater to watch his youngest brother play rugby for the university. Now that is one sport I do not understand whatsoever. They purposely give each other wedgies as an integral part of the game. Really BIG wedgies! Is that necessary? Men and their sports, totally baffling. But despite entirely missing the point of the game, I enjoyed the time with DH's family, a lot of laughs as always. And my brother-in-law scored his first goal, or so I'm told. Go P!

The baby shower on Sunday was great. We had the most gorgeous sunny autumn day, and the party room overlooked a golf course. The decorations were beautifully coordinated and executed, the hostesses are super creative ladies. I felt very blessed to be surrounded by friends and family to celebrate our miracle, as it can be lonely living far away. We also got many generous gifts to help us prepare for Bean, from car seats to a ducky onesie complete with little yellow tail. Both very necessary in specific ways.

Sadly, we are poochless for the next few weeks. *sniff* We took Evey to Michigan with us and left her with my parents, who are graciously dogsitting until we can send for the pup to join us in Washington. My mom calls at least once a day with updates, proudly sharing that Evey did not chew up the rug while they were out and was so adorable as she tore apart a Kleenex box. The worst part of the whole thing for me is that I actually appreciate these things. I never understood Dog People before; I found canines to be smelly, hairy, loud, annoying, and sometimes scary. What's the point of having a dog, I wondered? All that work and not worth the trouble. My hermit crabs were a much more reasonable pet. But one schnoodle later, and I'm a certified card-carrying Dog Person myself. DH and I even have a language to describe the gifts she leaves on the lawn ("man poop" being the favorite). How I wish my white fluffball would toss her fish toy at my feet, stare up at me eagerly, and wag her little tail! Hopefully she won't forget us, or get so pampered at my parents' house that she refuses to come back to us. I wouldn't blame her, frankly. I'd move in with them too if I could get peanut butter cookies every morning. Anyway, here are some pictures of Evey Louise for your enjoyment!

Sooooooooooooo... there may be some good news on the sale of our house. But I'm going to wait to say until things are firmed up. You know, jinxing it and all that. I irrationally but completely believe that sharing details may cause the entire deal to fall through. But the Gods of Superstition do allow mildly cryptic hints, so there you have it.

Finally, a quick prayer request. My aunt (mom's sister) has started her cancer treatment. We have already been sending up tons of prayers and positive thoughts, but there is always room for more. Thanks!!

PS I was asked at the shower about leaving comments on the blog. I didn't realize when I first set it up that the default setting required you to have a google account to post a comment. I fixed that, so all you need to do is click on the link to comments beneath the blog entry, and then if you don't have a google account, click "other" and type your message. It should work now.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Home? and half way to Bean

We flew back to St. Louis yesterday after our house-hunting trip to Seattle. So I guess I could say we're home? That's being flexible with the term, because I'm feeling quite displaced and disoriented. The house that I love in St. Louis is devoid of all pictures of my beloved family, staged for a generic buyer; there are no doggy toys scattered around for me to step on, no familiar layer of dust on the furniture. I don't feel comfortable or settled here anymore, our days together are numbered. This is the time when I'm supposed to be "nesting," but instead I'm hiding all the baby stuff for showings and open houses. It's a hard pill to swallow sometimes, and I frequently want to turn to DH and scream, "What the $&@# are we thinking?!" Will I find another OB that I like in Seattle? Will we pick a good hospital? Will we make new friends in time to help us transition into parenthood? Can we afford to purchase a home in one of the most expensive counties in the country? Will DH like his new job? These are on top of all the requisite worries of impending motherhood, including whether the baby will be healthy, well-adjusted, and vote Republican. It's enough to drive an already fragile pregnant woman over the edge. After visiting Seattle, I am hopeful that our little family will fit in there. It's a gorgeous location with friendly residents and plenty of fun activites. I just wonder how long I will have to go without a "home" before I can relax again.

The good news is that we were able to find a place to rent, so as long as all the paperwork goes okay, we won't be in a box under the freeway as I feared. We also found time to enjoy ourselves on the trip, including enjoying seafood at Pike Street Market downtown; touring the breathtaking hills and lakes surrounding the city; avoiding the 923,288 Starbucks we passed at all costs, just for the challenge; and making fun of the math teachers who descended on our hotel for a conference (NW Math Conference 2007: License to Learn). I apologize to all my teacher friends, I do normally have the utmost respect for the noble profession. But based on the difficulty they seemed to have in operating a very simple elevator, I do worry about Bean's education in the Washington state school system.

Pictures: Our new rental home, if all paperwork goes through; view of the city from the Space Needle; a glimpse of Mount Rainier on a cloudy day.

Pregnancy update: Here I am at 20 weeks along, I can't believe it. My little Bean is half-way cooked already! The second trimester is going along well I'd say. From what I hear, this is as good as I'm going to feel while this little person bakes, so I am trying to enjoy it. My energy level is decent, considering I'm stressed to the max with the relocation. My aversion to everything edible has not subsided, unfortunately. I am starving every two hours, but nothing sounds good to my cranky stomach. I keep waiting for the day I can pig out as a proper preggo should, but it aludes me still. Hopefully I won't be robbed of that hard-earned bonus of gestation, I am just dying to wake DH up in the middle of the night and send him to Dairy Queen to get me a flurry with peanuts, gummy bears, coconut, and pickles. Maybe I will anyway!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

First impressions and kicks in the stomach

So this is Seattle! I wish I knew what to say, my thoughts and emotions are all jumbled up right now. I was operating at 98% capacity preparing for this move from St. Louis, and I've now maxed out during this house-hunting trip. Just forming a coherent sentence is difficult! I'll do my best to get a few things down.

Here goes:

There are 8 Starbucks within 1 mile of our hotel. It has been sunny, cloudy, misty, and pouring rain already -- and that was all within about an hour. Mount Rainier is absolutely gorgeous. There are tons of hills here. It's very green, I love the enormous trees. There are bugs and fall colors here, both of which I was told there weren't. Other than bugs and fall colors, there is not much similarity in the scenery of the Pacific Northwest vs. the Midwest. People here look pretty normal, I don't generally feel out-of-place. Housing prices are obscenely high ($315K for a double-wide manufactured home) and many homes look quite silly. Everyone owns a black lab. Seattleites love their seafood and lite FM. The HOV lane = "high occupancy vehicle" lane (aka carpool lane) = the golden ticket of the highway. The Space Needle is pretty cool, but my heart belongs to The Arch. The pillows in our hotel are very fluffy, but they flatten like pancakes when you lay on them.

Now for the Bean update. We have officially felt the baby moving! I thought I felt something on Monday night at bedtime, but I wasn't sure. My weekly pregnancy email from said that many first-time moms aren't able to recognize the first signs of fetal movement, that it feels like fluttering or gas. Well, perhaps first-time moms can't recognize the feeling because they read emails from! I was waiting for this fluttering or gas, but it feels entirely different than that to me. The best single word I can use is a "pulse." Or to be most accurate, it feels like an itty bitty creature in my tummy is trying to punch and kick its way out. Go figure.

Anyway, Tuesday morning I enlisted DH's help and we both agreed it was our Bean. Amazing! It's a bit disconcerting and comforting at the same time -- just like every other part of this pregnancy. On Tuesday evening, I couldn't feel anything, I guess Bean was sleeping. I gave my tummy a few pokes (gently!) and oh my, did that wake the baby. Bean was punching and kicking right back. We take turns disrupting each other's sleep, I suppose. I thought it was pretty special, though -- our first communication! Mommy to Bean, Bean to Mommy. I love you already, sweetheart.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Belly pics: 18 weeks 3 days

Well, actually I might be 18 weeks and 5 days, as the doc moved up my due date by two days (to March 3). But close enough, right? My mom took these photos today. Enjoy!

PS We just got a call from our realtor... first showing is tomorrow! :O

Friday, October 5, 2007

Sell this house

Things are still moving at lightening speed around here... lots going on in the past week. Here's what's up!

Last weekend, we spent ALL of Saturday and Sunday registering at Babies R Us. Holy crap, by the time we were done, we were practically crawling out the door towards our car, zapped of every ounce of energy in our bodies. Eight hours total in the store, two hours online at home, plus countless hours reading "Baby Bargains" so we would know what the heck we were registering for. The bad news is, I'm still not sure about most of that stuff. It's been years since DH and I have spent an extended amount of time with an infant, and since then, things like "baby pods" have been invented. Necessary? I have no clue. But the moms at Babies R Us were raving about it, so we knew Bean must have one. Someone can show me how to use it later.

Our house is on the market!!! YIPPEE!!! Okay, so it's really sad in one way, I am very emotionally attached to this house. But if it's gonna happen, let's just get it going. We hired a cleaning service to come in on Thursday, which was well worth it. The dog was freaked out by all the cleaning supplies, she so rarely sees them. Thanks for giving me away, pooch! It's convenient to use the pregnancy excuse to get out of cleaning, so I don't have to use my real excuse -- laziness.

My parents are in town this weekend, so they could attend my doctor's appointment and generally spoil me. The upside is that I don't have to cook any of my own meals, but the downside is I have to finish all my chicken before I can leave the table. ("For the baby," mom says. Have you seen my stomach lately? I think Bean is doing just fine.) My mom also took me shopping for maternity clothes. We had tons of fun, and now I don't have to wear DH's sweatpants and a big t-shirt everywhere I go. My coworkers will appreciate it.

We also had our "big" ultrasound on Thursday, where they do lots of measurements to make sure Bean is okay. Right on target, not too big and not too small. Bean was awake and moving around, which is still my favorite part of the ultrasound. Here are a few of the pics for you to enjoy. Bean was 18 weeks 1 day when they were taken. Can you tell if the resemblance is to me or DH yet?

"No more pictures, please!"

Whew! What a week it's been. Monday we fly to Seattle to pick out a rental home. I can't wait to meet our new city. I hope I like it!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Another week closer...

It's Friday, and we are another week closer... to Seattle and Bean and all the little milestones along the way. The pace at home has slowed down a little bit, from frantic to constant. We're starting to feel some momentum, which is good, but the to-do list remains daunting. I will have more time on my hands to tackle it, though, because yesterday was my final day in private practice. *sniff* Counselor C has packed up her shingle, the mental health of St. Louisans is no longer my responsibility. It was a rather emotional day for me, but a reminder of how rewarding my career is. And I have tons of paperwork to finish so I don't forget that for the next few months. In the meantime, I am continuing with my other part-time career, which is helping families who are relocating due to corporate transfers. (Gotta love irony!) My boss has been ridiculously flexible with me, allowing me to work from home as needed and take lots of time off for house-hunting and moving. They will also allow me to work from home in Seattle once we arrive. It's really nice to not have to worry about my job situation, but it is definitely tough to keep working through this transition.

Today we should hear from our relocation management company about what the realtors said. With any luck, we'll be on the market very soon!! Please send positive thoughts to our home and the buyers in St. Louis... we would love to sell it ourselves and not have to take the buy-out from DH's employer. We've decided that we will likely rent in Seattle for 6 months or so before buying. The housing prices up there are so high, we want to make 100% sure that we LOOOVE the house and the area. Besides, this way we can get Bean's opinion on the house, and the dog's, too, because she'll be staying with the dog sitter when we scope things out next month.

Pregnancy update. Currently NOT a fan of round ligaments. Between my growing belly and working around the house -- OUCH, soreness. I'm most comfortable when I'm sitting around. (But who isn't, really?) It's funny, the dog's desire to go outside seems to be positively correlated to my discomfort at the moment. I wonder how that happens.

And how is DH doing? It's been years since he's been this happy, which is so rewarding for me, and a bit contagious. He's over-the-moon about becoming a father, excited to start his new job, and thrilled for the upcoming change in scenery. He deserves all the good in the world, and I'm so lucky to be a part of his life. Oh, and because of his blissful mood, now is the time to ask him for favors. I've already been promised diamond jewelry, a designer raincoat, and several trips to expensive restaurants. Seeing as I pay our bills, it's unlikely I'll approve the purchases, but it's nice to know he cares.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Are we there yet?

Seriously, I am so over this relocation already!! Done with preparing the house for the market, done with mounds of paperwork, done with trying to coordinate 100 things that are all priorities, done with being constantly exhausted, done done done. *sigh*

The good news: there is an end in sight, no matter how far away it seems. We will be house hunting in about two weeks, then we'll make the transition that first weekend in November. While the craziness certainly will not end at that point, at least we'll be over the big hump.

The garage sale was a success, although we still have a few pieces of furniture to get rid of. Anyone need a Nordic Track? (I know, we're so cliche.) We have also met with both realtors who will assess our home, and soon we'll choose one of them and get this puppy on the market. Anyone need a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath?

Leaving St. Louis feels very surreal to me right now. When DH (dear hubby) and I left Michigan, I knew my family would stay there and I'd return often. A couple times a year, I still get to shop at the familiar mall, visit my favorite restaurants, drive by my high school. Leaving Chicago wasn't too tough, it always felt temporary as a college student. And Cincinnati, that was a very brief stop. But leaving St. Louis is different. We never really put down roots, despite being here for five years. It wasn't because we didn't like it or wanted to leave, it was more a matter of circumstance. The first three years were spent working full time and going to graduate school, and the second two were consumed with infertility. Both of those defining periods caused us to grow closer as a couple -- we have herculean strength now, by my calculation -- but they meant we kind of skirted the outside of the city. I thought this baby would help me finally become entirely present here, but then the situation changed again. So as I look around in this final month in Missouri, it feels as if we are leaving as quietly as we came in five years ago. There's a disconnect in my mind about how everything has changed for me during my time here, yet now I'll just pick up and leave, not sure when or if I'll return. Sorry for getting all serious on you for a moment, these are the thoughts that keep me up at night. :)

Okay, now for the fun stuff! Bean seems to be doing well, we're keeping close tabs. Here are the ultrasound pics from last Friday, at 16.5 weeks. Our "big" ultrasound is October 4, so hopefully we'll have some good shots to share then. We listen to the heartbeat almost every night on our doppler (, love it!), which is comforting. I'm starting to worry that I haven't gained enough weight, just a couple pounds at almost 4 months along now. There are actually parts of my body that are skinnier than before! But the doc isn't concerned at this point, so I guess I should just be careful what I wish for...

I also want to mention two friends who recently delivered their babies. Both experienced significant trials along the way, and I am so thrilled that they can now hold their little miracles. One friend had a healthy set of boy/girl twins -- the boy sharing his name with my DH, gotta love him! -- and the other had a sweet little boy and delivered his sister into Heaven. The little angel will be in our prayers.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Belly expands, time contracts

Another quick entry, this week has gotten quite out of control with too much to do. As the title of this post mentions, little Bean is really making him/herself known. This belly pic is from last Friday (15 weeks and 2 days). It is kinda fun to be showing now, but I'm still getting used to seeing the bump when I look in the mirror. Is that really me?!?! I am also including ultrasound pics of Bean from a week and a half ago (14 weeks and 2 days).

Meanwhile, as my belly stretches larger and larger, time seems to be shrinking as we prepare for the move. This week, in addition to our normal working/eating/sleeping schedule that feels busy enough somehow, we are trying to clean and stage our home for the market and organize our "junk" for the neighborhood garage sale on Friday and Saturday. My parents gave us a huge boost on these tasks last weekend, for which they deserve a standing ovation. But there's still a lot left to do! I'm hoping that once the garage sale is over and the house is in shape, we can get a handle on things and I can start sleeping again. Right....

Monday, September 10, 2007

Let the fun begin!

What an amazing couple of months it has been... pregnant with our first child, relocating to Seattle, and now starting my very own blog. Each a life-changing event in itself, but I will attempt to balance them all at the same time. Drumroll please.

I won't get wordy on you -- at least on this first post. Just a simple introduction. I started this blog to make it easier to keep in touch during an extremely busy time. It's hard to send personal updates these days, as instead I'm trying to assess neighborhoods from 2,100 miles away and select a doctor to deliver the baby based on unflattering photos from a hospital web site. I'll do my best to post updates so you will know where we are in the relocation and baby-having processes, and when to send a sympathy card when I lose my sanity.

Thank you for checking out my blog. I hope you bookmark it and come back again. We have been so encouraged by the support from friends and family, it has helped get us through some tough times already. And there's surely more to come, so please leave a note when you visit. :)