Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone!

Jack O'Melon 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!