Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Eating Habits, or Hobbits Eating

I have noticed lately that my husband and I clash a bit over eating habits. We've always been different, but until recently it hasn't been a big deal. Now we're trying to establish guidelines and house rules for Charlotte, and it's becoming more apparent how different we can be.

My husband likes meat. And he can eat a rather large meal at one sitting. That meal rarely includes broccoli. In fact, I think he prefers to get most of his calories at 2-3 meals a day with little or no snacks in-between (we won't count liquid snacks for the moment, though sodas and Starbucks probably should count). He has basically no sweet tooth (except for the aforementioned sugary drinks), so he rarely eats dessert. He is truly one of those people who can be satisfied with a *bite* of a dessert. He also somewhat frequently skips meals. He has gotten much better over the last year or so about eating breakfast every day, and eats a rather healthy one (lately, granola cereal with milk and orange juice), but is known to forgo lunch (or wait until 3pm to get around to eating it). He claims that he gets too busy to have time to eat.

I on the other hand am much more of a carb lover. I love my steak and veggies, and dairy products. I have a major sweet tooth (especially when it involves chocolate). Basically, I like all kinds of food. I eat breakfast every day, no exceptions. I don't skip meals. If my husband skips lunch, he is rather grumpy by dinner time--if I were to skip lunch, I'd be that grumpy by, say, 12:30. I cannot eat 2 or 3 large meals in a day with no snacks. If I eat the 2 or 3 large meals, I will still need a snack 2 hours later. After about 10-15 pounds that I put on when we first started living together, I realized that I need to eat a lot less than my husband does at any one sitting, and plan for the snack later. Otherwise, I just pack on the pounds. If I eat until I'm stuffed and can't eat for 4-6 hours, then I'm quite miserable (between an overly full tummy and low blood sugar, it's just not pleasant going). For me, there is no such thing as being too busy to eat. If folks at work were demanding my time and I was hungry, I would either excuse myself or eat in front of them (sometimes, you just can't get through to people otherwise). Pregnancy makes all of these things a bit worse. Actually, when I was preganant with Charlotte, I ate much more like my husband (didn't want chocolate, downing 12 oz of meat every night for dinner, couldn't touch a veggie, etc)--and I gained nearly 60 pounds for my trouble. This baby seems to be content with a more normal diet for me, and I'm on track for closer to a 35 pound weight gain.

When we were a family of two adults, we merely accepted each other's eating habits and took care of ourselves the way we need to. But now, we have a toddler. A very hungry toddler, who seems to combine both of our eating habits. When I was pregnant with her, I joked that I was having a hobbit--one who ate first and second breakfasts, lunch, noonsies, afternoon tea, dinner, supper, etc. Well, she still does that. And she can still pack away the meat (the kid eats 2 hotdogs in a sitting, or 4-5 oz of steak, and I've seen her down 5 sausage links as part of her second breakfast of the day).

As much as I want to help her develop healthy eating habits that don't involve as much of my sweets and chocolate cravings, I tend to feed her when she says she's hungry. My husband tries to force her to wait for official meals, and tries to discourage her from wanting a snack in-between (even when she ate her meal).

Last night, for example, she ate the bbq pork from her plate, some of her bread (all of the butter...another trait she inherited from me...), and most of her milk. I think the only thing she didn't eat much of was her corn (which is kind of unusual for her). An hour later at a friend's house, she was asking for a snack, and my husband tried to tell her that she should have eaten more at dinner. By bedtime (fully 2-2.5 hours after dinner), she was still insisting that she was hungry, so I got her a bowl of Cheerios and milk (which she devoured). I am trying to respect my husband's desires not to let her snack so much that she doesn't eat proper meals, and not to feed her sugary treats for every snack. But at the same time, I have a feeling that our little hobbit has a metabolism like mine, that requires smaller meals more often. I don't want to force her into feeling like she has to clean her plate full of too-large portions and then sneak snacks later, which could lead to her gaining too much weight later on (ask me how I know). I wish sometimes that there were a single answer or formula that we could use, something that doesn't make us defensive of our own eating habits.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Road Hazard

We've all seen them driving down the road--a rusted pickup truck belching smoke and piled 15 feet high with odd-shaped scrap wood pallets. The pallets are inevitably stacked high enough and crooked enough to resemble a Dr. Seuss illustration, and are tied down with a length of off-color rope that appears to be the same vintage as the car. The rope is never secured from the front of the truck to the rear, always side to side, as if items don't slide forwards and back when a vehicle starts and stops.

Where are these vehicles going with their cargo? And why oh why do they have to drive 80mph in the fast lane of the interstate to get there?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Monkey Business

Toddler antics are amusing....most of the time. Here are some of the week's highlights.

The first thing is more of a lowlight than a highlight. Charlotte has apparently decided that she doesn't like "mommy's house" after school. She likes cooler places, like Grandma's house or going to the pool with her aunt Katie. Or, going on the choo-choo train to find Daddy if he's not already home when we arrive. Since both grandmas are several hours away by car (along with aunt Katie), and you can't actually get to Daddy by choo-choo train, I get to deal with an upset toddler who can't be convinced as to *why* her demands to go bye-bye aren't being met. Nor am I going to let her drive, as she requested last night ("My turn", she said while pulling on the driver's door handle....).

Wednesday night we were outside hanging garlands across the front of the house. Charlotte and I had walked down to the end of the driveway to see the overall effect. Charlotte suddenly paused from her snow-stomping to tell me she had to go potty. I told her to go, expecting a dash for the front door. Instead, she pulled off her pants and pull-up right there on the driveway. I had to pick up a half-naked baby and heft her into the house and to the potty, hoping that she wouldn't pee on me on the way, and trying to explain that she has to go to the restroom *before* removing her pants...

Last night I tried putting her to bed. She was still a bit keyed up from playing, but climbed into her bed all by herself. Then she stood up and started jumping up and down, attempting to sing the Monkey song ("5 little monkeys jumping on the bed. One fell down and bumped her head. Momma called the doctor and the doctor said, 'No more monkeys jumping on the bed.' 4 little monkeys jumping on the bed...."). She actually could sing quite a bit of a verse of it, including shaking her finger when the doctor says "no more monkeys jumping on the bed"...all while hopping up and flopping on her butt. I don't think she quite gets the point of the song.

Later, she got picked out several books for me to read to her. Goodnight Moon has been a favorite lately, and she wanted to read it to herself while I was reading Hippos Go Berserk. She is actually looking at photos and saying some of the words ("Goodnight mouse" "Goodnight Moon" "Cow Jumping over the moon"). I guess that's good, but she didn't seem to understand that I am not reading Sandra Boynton for my own edification and would really prefer to wait until I have her attention before beginning another book.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Reasurring tests

I had another ultrasound yesterday to check the growth of our little boy. This one was quite reassuring. His growth seems to be on track--estimated 1lb 6oz, which puts him in the 41st % for his gestational age. That's a nice, average number as far as I'm concerned, and it means that he doesn't yet seem hindered by the 2-vessel cord. I don't know if they checked his kidneys or not this time--I think I asked but I dont' remember the lady measuring them. I believe the amniotic fluid levels were also fine, so perhaps they won't do a lot of checking until closer to birth (or after). At my last ultrasound, it was pointed out that the length of the baby's femurs were slightly short proportionally compared to the rest of him, which could be a "soft" marker of a chromosomal problem (though our bloodwork had shown that to be statistically unlikely). This time, they are fine. I'm chalking that up to some strange stage of a growth spurt--kind of how my toddler chubs up for a while and then all of a sudden grows an inch taller.

In general, the baby seems to be doing well. He's kicking and moving all the time (including at 1am when I'm trying to get back to sleep after using the restroom). I'm hungry all the time, and tired a lot, and starting to crave more red meat (mmm...steak). And, my belly is really growing rounder, though the rest of me isn't really packing on the pounds (unlike with Charlotte when I'd already hit the 25 pound mark by this time, most of it in my upper arms and face I think....). My only complaint is that my hip joints have gotten really sore since yesterday--probably related to carrying a recalcitrant toddler out of daycare and into the house, plus the extra trip back up 2 flights of stairs at the OB's office to find the ultrasound photo that I'd dropped on the way to the car....

Monday, December 04, 2006

Weekend Power

The winter storm that hit the midwest last Thursday night has had some interesting effects. Apparently, half a million people in the greater St. Louis area lost power. Like with our big summer power outage, we were lucky once again to not lose power at our house. Our daycare, however, did on Friday. So, we had a snow day. Between my husband and I, we did not both have to stay home from work to care for Charlotte, but both of us did anyway.

We had a nice easy morning where I had time to bake a couple of loaves of bread. Our friend S. brought his son G. up to play and the two toddlers spent some time romping in the snow. Charlotte got to wear her new snowpants, which match her winter coat. I normally wouldn't have bought the snowpants, but the set cost about the same as the coats that had no snowpants, and I hoped that she'd get to wear them once before outgrowing them. It turned out to be a good deal. The kids came in and we all enjoyed some hot cocoa and lunch, our friends went home, and Charlotte took a much-needed nap. Friday afternoon, my husband and I tried to venture out to pick up a few odds and ends to complete the Christmas lights for our tree and outside our house, and found both Garden Ridge and KMart closed. Target, which was right across the street, was powered, and we found what we needed (as well as running into S. and G. who were out running errands too).

Saturday we attended a birthday party for one of my coworker's kids, who was turning 2. It was at a place called BounceU in Chesterfield, which had several inflatable bouncy toys, including a giant slide and an obstacle course. After an hour straight of running, climbing, jumping, and squealing, Charlotte (and my husband, who had to accompany the whole time) was quite exhausted. The party finished with pizza, cake, and presents. There were really a lot of other toddlers there, and the whole thing went pretty well for a 2-year old's birthday. It was more than we would have bothered with for such a young kid (we had a quiet, family-only "party" at home), but the kids definitely had fun.

When we got home, we set up and decorated our Christmas tree. Charlotte was very serious about the whole ornament-hanging part, and kept digging out more and more ornaments to put on the tree. We probably have enough to do 2 or 3 trees because I change my mind on colors every couple of years (currently, we have blues, gold, and silver and a sort of snowflake theme). We had to cut her off (and move some of the glass ornaments up out of her reach after she discovered that some had jingle bells and started testing all of them by wildling swinging them around their hangers).

Charlotte slept in until nearly 9am Sunday morning after such a full day. Sunday was pretty relaxed, with church, lunch and playtime with her aunt & uncle N & S. They babysat while my husband and I did a little Christmas shopping. We drove to the closest Toys R U (which is not close at all), and found them running on generator power. The place was packed, so I guess it made good business sense to be open through the blackout, but its the first time I can remember having to zip my winter coat up inside a store to keep warm (they were funneling all their power towards minimal lighting and cash registers, not the heating system). Charlotte actually cried harder when N&S left for home last night than she did when her daddy and I left to go shopping earlier in the day. Unfortunately, the kid is starting to realize that she can't see all her favorite people whenever she wants (she's also been asking to go to Grandma's house a lot lately...the fact that the Grandma's are 4 or 6 hours away by car doesn't really sink in yet).

Today, back to normal. Daycare's open. We're at work. We need another snow storm.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was good. We spent the long weekend in Indy with my mom and 2 of my sisters. Charlotte was spoiled. She had adoring fans, a canine at her beck and call, and all the pie she could eat (3 nights in a row of both apple and pumpkin pie...never let it be said that we don't feed the child).

We spent Friday afternoon at the Children's Museum in Indianapolis--if you're ever in the area, this is something you really shouldn't miss. For us St. Louisans, it's like a combo of the Science Center + the Magic House (with a bit of the City Museum thrown in as well). She maybe got to see 1/4 of the place in the 4 hours we were there, but enjoyed the Dinosaur exhibit (where she got to dig for fossils), the Carousel (which she did NOT want to get off of), the Playscape (a special area for preschoolers with a huge water play area, sand box, climbing toys, dress up clothes, story time, etc), and ended the afternoon with a trip down the large slide that they make out of the curving entry staircase during the winter.

Saturday included a trip to the YMCA for a dip in the pool, after which she took her first nap of the weekend (yikes!). She fell asleep about 10 minutes before we left town on Sunday, and was annoyed (angered) to realize when she woke up that we were not going back to Grandma's house, as she repeatedly requested(demanded).

Every time we go to visit my mom, I half expect to run into some old classmate, but usually don't. This time, oddly enough, I did run into a classmate. Except it was a college classmate (from Wash U), and I see him every Sunday at church here in St. Louis. Apparently his girlfriend grew up not far from me (far enough away with enough years separating us that I didn't know her). They were enjoying the Children's Museum Friday afternoon too. Strange.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Nursing in Public...a small vent

I heard on the radio this morning that a nursing mother had been kicked off of an airplane. The airline claims that she refused to cover up with a blanket, so they asked her to leave. This sort of story really makes me mad. Why on earth should she have to attempt to cover with a blanket, when she is feeding a child? Do you eat under a blanket? Have you ever tried? It would be a bit uncomfortable, and hot, and stuffy to simply cover my head with a blanket, let alone attempt to drink while I'm under there. Get real, folks.

Breastfeeding is not something that needs to be covered up, like some sort of shameful sexual act. The airline isn't claiming that the mother in question stripped to the waist and then wandered up and down the aisles of a fully loaded passenger plane. She was sitting in her seat (by the window), with her husband immediately next to her. And they weren't attempting to join the mile high club, she was providing food to a baby.

I guess I was just lucky. In the 19 months that I breastfed Charlotte, I was never once asked to cover up, or to leave a room while breastfeeding (I frequently felt I needed to, but that was due to an easily-distracted baby, not because someone else asked me to). I breastfed her at the zoo (in the reptile house, actually), while walking in the March of Dimes walk, at restaurants, at church, in an airplane, and countless other places. I actually even used an electric breast pump on an airplane during a business trip (I was covered up that time--those things are a lot less discrete than a baby's head).

I find it very sad that so many people today find it offensive to breastfeed a baby in a place where there is a chance that, if you're really staring at the mother's bosom, that you might catch a glimpse of flesh. Yet they somehow don't find all of the rubber and silicone nipples on bottles that are designed to look pretty much just like the real thing offensive at all. Apparently rubber replicas of body parts are socially acceptable in places where the real thing is not.....

Thursday, November 16, 2006

More appointments

I had a prenatal appointment this morning. Most of it was the usual: pee in a cup, get weighed, blood pressure, baby's heartbeat, get my belly measured. ofWe discussed birth options, because I had Charlotte by C-section. Basically, I want to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarian) because the recovery time for me should be shorter and easier, which will be important with two munchkins to take care of. But I know that 1) because Charlotte's birth went the way it did, that there's a higher probability that my hip bones won't allow a baby's head to pass through, and I may end up with another C-Section and 2) I am now a much higher risk pregnancy and the baby's safety and well-being come before my ease of recovery. Also, having labor induced or augmented is slightly more likely to lead to complications for VBAC's ("uterine rupture" = a very bad thing) and itself is more likely to result in a C-section. So the result is that I don't want to be induced, so if there's any need to speed up the delivery or birth date, then I go under the knife. Also, assuming I go into labor on my own, if the baby shows signs of distress, then I won't argue about his method of entering the world.

I talked to my OB about the last ultrasound, and am still going to do followup ultrasounds every 4 weeks, but in my regular doc's office and not at the hospital. Nothing has changed with the baby in the last two weeks that we know of, so there's no news to report there. But, my doc said that starting at 28 weeks, he will have me come into the office twice a week for Non Stress Test. From what I understand, this involves me sitting in a recliner for the better part of an hour while they monitor the baby's heartrate and movement (to make sure that he's moving and that his heartrate is behaving when he does). So, we're looking at prenatal appointments every 4 weeks (they get more frequent towards the end, but I don't remember when I start going more often), ultrasounds every 4 weeks, and NST's 2x a week. Have I mentioned lately how glad I am to have good health insurance?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Spam Blocking

I have picked up a couple of interesting commenters lately. Including
one who felt the need to post the same spam comment 3 separate times to
the same post. I'm going to try the word verification and hope that
stops the spammers. Sorry for the extra inconvenience!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Christmas Shopping!

Yesterday I ventured to Garden Ridge for the first time in many months, if not a year or more. I actually really like the store, but it's huge and exhausting, and not somewhere that I could take a toddler safely. If you're not familiar with the place, it's a home decor/craft store that's the size of a large warehouse. Probably a third of the square footage is fake floral supplies--artificial bushes, leaves, flowers, etc of every shape size and color imaginable, plus pots, foam wire, ribbons, etc. Imagine the floral section of your local Michaels. Now imagine your local Michaels *was* a floral section. That covers most of it. They also have huge areas of candles, glassware, framed artwork, furniture, housewares (cookware, dishes, cake decorating supplies), baskets.

At this time of the year, I think at least half of the store is dedicated to Christmas decorations. Actaully, "this time of the year" lasts about 5 months, because I know they had Christmas stuff on sale before Halloween, so it must have been there since like, February. In any case, it's a fun place to wander around. They have a lot of everything--christmas lights in any color, pattern, etc you can think of, 50 kinds of Christmas trees, lawn ornaments of every size, color, and theme. And their stuff is really reasonably priced.

I actually went to buy a pair of "pre-lit porch trees" to put by our front door--we'd like the look last year, but didn't want to pay $50 each for little trees with lights and pots. Of course, I had to wander around the rest of the stuff. Some of their merchandise is really tempting--they have beautiful collections of Christmas ornaments, and an entire aisle of angels for the top of the tree. Their lights are always a good deal, and you can get a particular color or style and know that they have 50million in stock (well, now they do...by Thanksgiving much of it will be gone I'm sure). The huge light-up snow globes and dancing raindeer I can definitely do with out. I was oddly tempted by the 6-foot nutcracker statues, but 1) I have no idea where I would put it and 2) I have no idea where I would store it. (Funny, I have the same reaction to the suits of armor they frequently carry....luckily for my living room they've been out the time or two I'd decided to actually buy one).

I managed to leave the place with just my porch trees, a pair of candle rings and 3 cherub ornaments. If I manage to avoid the place for the rest of the season, then my wallet (and storage are) will probably thank me...

Friday, November 10, 2006

Toddlerisms

Charlotte is really developing quite a personality. Some of her quirks are part of being two, and some are hers alone.

Charlotte is fascinated by the trash truck. I think it started on one of her sick days over the summer when I took her for a walk around the neighborhood (I'm guessing it wasn't one of her puking sicknesses, or we wouldn't have been out and about). The trash truck was making its weekly rounds, and we kept seeing it as we walked around. To be fair, it's kind of a neat process. The truck is big and bright blue, and guys hop in and out and dump your trash into a bin at the back. Every couple of houses the bin lifts over the top of the truck and dumps its contents inside. All in all, an interesting spectacle, especially when you're two. Today, Charlotte even helped her daddy walk around the house collecting trash to take outside. Then, she apparently got mad when he made her stop watching and get in the car to leave for daycare. I'm thinking that we may peruse the Tonka aisle at the toy store this Christmas...

She no longer walks anywhere--these days she runs from room to room, or insists on being carried. Every so often, she stops running to do a sommersault. She has quite perfected these, even before her last toddler gymnastics session started. It's funny when she aims for a corner and gets stuck on the wall, and scary when she's on the edge of the bed, but usually, it's just amusing.

Her other favorite mode of transportation is her "bike", a brightly colored plastic tricycle (more like a bigwheel, but the front wheel is not actually big...). With the seat as far forward as it will go, she can just reach the pedals. It's a lot of fun to ride the bike downhill (our house is halfway down a hill, so you either go up or down out of the driveway), but I end up carrying it back uphill most days. On flat surfaces she can almost move it herself by pedalling, but generally has a little push from the parent-safety handle on the back (a wonderful invention for a kid who tends to aim full speed for the end of the driveway!). She also insists on pushing the thing from the back instead of riding sometimes.

This year, she actually got to go Trick-or-Treating. After the first house, she understood right away what to do and why. She sort of even said "trick-or-treat" but kept calling it "knock-snack", which is probably more accurate anyway :) We haven't let her become too much of a candy junkie (a piece or two a night is her limit), but she knows exactly where her Elmo Halloween basket is (on top of the fridge) and occaisionally pulls her step-stool out of the bathroom in an attempt to help herself (sorry kid, you're still several feet too short...)

Her other favorite new word is "naked". She knows what it means, and rather prefers that state of being to any other. After bath, she tends to ditch her towel and take off running around the house (gigglign at the top of her lungs), much like a wet puppy dog. Luckily she is good at using the toilet before bath, so it's relatively safe to let her run for a few minutes sans-diaper. This morning she got a shower with me, and then insisted on eating her breakfast in nothing more than a pull-up. Considering that breakfast was oatmeal, and it was all over her chest and face before she was done, this isn't a bad thing. Her other favorite clothing (or lack thereof) thing is shoes (her own, especially her cowboy boots, and mine). She'd be happy as a clam to walk around naked with boots on her feet. But I should stop this conversation there, since the keywords "shower", "naked", and "cowboy boots" are already likely to net me some interesting web searches...

Monday, November 06, 2006

More ultrasounds

Last Friday we had yet another ultrasound. Also, the results of our quad-screen blood test came in that day. The result of both wasn't vastly different than what we already knew. It looks like the little man has one kidney that is dialated (which means something is keeping it from draining normally). The other kidney actually looked normal, which is very nice to hear--people can survive quite well with one healthy kidney. They checked my own kidneys as well, because there is a correlation between the defect on my ear and kidney problems, but mine are normal (makes sense, as I've never had problems).

We still have only a single artery in the cord, instead of the normal 2, which means they're going to watch me carefully to make sure that the baby is growing at a healthy rate. The doctor did point out something new, that the length of the femur is shorter than expected. He mentioned that this can be a "soft" marker for Down's syndrome, but we don't seem to have other indications. I don't know if this will turn out to be anything to worry about or not. We do come from small families (one of my grandmothers is less than 5' tall), though I'm sure the expected size takes into account variations based on genetics. I haven't been able to find much online about what this means, so for now we're not worrying too much about it.

The blood test showed a 1 in 9000 chance of having a baby with Down's Syndrome, which is pretty low, so it seems unlikely that we have that to work with. We would have to do an amniocentesis to be sure there aren't any chromosomal abnormalities, but since that test involves risks (from cramping to possible miscarriage), we aren't going to do it at the moment. I believe that it can be done later in pregnancy, and towards the end can give clues to how well a baby's lungs are developing, so we may revisit the question at some point, but not now. We could also wait untill after the baby is born to have him tested, which might be our best bet for now.

What all this means at the moment is that I'll be getting more ultrasounds. I have 3 of them already scheduled, every 4 weeks. They will watch how the kidney is developing, and the fluid levels, and the baby's growth. I guess we may get follow up on the femur thing too.

I guess for now we're relaxing a bit. There's not much more that we can do for the little guy at the moment except to take care of myself and try to project happy, healing thoughts his way. And I get to enjoy every kick and wiggle.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

On a lighter note..maternity clothes shopping

We have several wedding coming up in the next couple of months, and I realized that there's not much in the way of winterish dressy clothes in the communal maternity closet. There are a couple of nice dresses that will fit, but I wanted a bit more variety, and the two main options were ones that also I wore several times when pregnant with Charlotte.

So Friday night we made a family trip to the St. Louis Mills mall (Gasp! We weren't home watching the Cardinals win the World Series! Bad! Bad! Bad St. Louisans). While my husband supervised Charlotte playing in the kiddie area, I trekked down to the Motherhood Maternity store to see what I could find. I gathered one of nearly every dressy outfit that appealed to me and headed into the changing rooms.

The first dress I tried on was a strappy red number that looked beautiful on the hanger and on the photo of the model on the wall. Unfortunately, the cute chiffon ruffle-things decorating the dress made me look like a large red feather duster. I cringe to think what I would look like in this dress in another 10 weeks....

My next attempt involved a pretty velvet skirt (marked down to $10 from the original $50), and a flocked tank top. The top was cute, but the top and armholes were lined with snug-fitting elastic (to help hold up the built-in bra I believe)--elastic works fine as long as your upper chest and arms are solid as rocks. I, for one, have had a hard time getting my 20 hours of weekly weight training in at the gym recently, and didn't think hanging over the top of my blouse was an attractive look.

After several more attempts, I settled on something fairly conservative, and massively stretchy that promises to still fit in a couple of months. I also bought the pretty velvet skirt, betting that I might find a nice top for it later (if not, I'm only out $10). I have a beaded silk camisole from Old Navy that is unfortunately also black, though perhaps with a colored shawl or sweater I might pair it with the skirt.

That brings me to my one whine about the Motherhood/Mimi/Pea in the Pod stores. If I never wear the pretty black skirt, then there's no way for me to take it back. Their return policy sucks. Rather, it's nonexistant. If an item is not on sale, then you have 10 days to exchange it. If it's been marked down at all, then your sale is final. What's up with that? Old Navy (who has provided most of the wardrobe that I've personally paid for) treats their pregnant customers with the same respect as their non-pregnant ones--if the item has its tags, it can be returned or exchanged (they might have a time limit, but it's a lot more than 10 days!). Even stuff you buy off their website can also be returned to the stores, so you don't have to ship stuff back and forth. I just wish they had more variety!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Ultrasound results

Last Thursday, we had our routine prenatal ultrasound. We were asked if we wanted to know the gender of the baby, and said that if it was obvious then sure, but it wasn't a huge priority. We're having a boy. The ultrasound tech got a couple of good views and we brought home two photos--one the typical head-and-body, and the other one of our son's genitalia :)

Unfortunately, the ultrasound tech also got a couple of other views which aren't quite as good. My OB called later that afternoon to tell us that they think that the baby's umbilical cord has only one artery and one vein (instead of the normal 2 arteries), and that his kidneys looked a little dilated (which could mean that there's some blockage keeping things from flowing through normally). He did repeat that the baby's size, heart, and the amniotic fluid levels all looked good. I will be going to Missouri Baptist within the next week or so for a follow-up, more in-depth ultrasound. In the mean time, I also stopped by the lab on Thursday to have blood drawn for the routine "quad-screen" test, which can signal some "defects", including chromosomal ones. We don't have the results of that back yet. So we're in a waiting game.

Thursday and Friday, my husband and I did a little research online, and talked to my Mom (a nurse who's worked in NICU for probably 20+ years), and both have helped. Here's what I've pieced together (I hope I'm getting all my facts straight..please don't use this as positive research!) It appears that the single-artery umbilical cord is somewhat common. In about 25% of the time, it is associated with other chromosomal problems , but the rest of the time it is not. It is frequently associated with renal (kidney) problems, and according to my mom, when a baby is born with a single-artery cord, they typcially need kidney ultrasounds after about a month to see if they would need surgery or any treatment. A single-artery can be capable of sustaining a pregnancy to a healthy, full-term baby. They will, however, watch to make sure the baby is growing appropriately (i.e. probably more ultrasounds, especially towards the end to check the baby's size).

The dilated kidneys may or may not signal some sort of blockage or defect in the kidneys/renal tract. Many times they resolve themselves. One of the big worries here is that in-utero, the kidneys are producing the amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby. Without sufficient volume and quality of amniotic fluid, the baby's lungs may not develop properly. After birth, if there is a kidney problem, the baby may be more prone to infections. Apparently, they frequently are prescribed antibiotics as a protective measure.

The good news that we know so far is that they didn't detect anything abnormal in the baby's size (so the artery isn't affecting growth, at least not yet), the fluid (so the kidneys are doing ok so far), or the heart (many chromosomal problems have associated heart defects).

The other, possibly-unrelated, news that my mom told me and asked me to share with the OB is that I was born with a pre-auricular tag. That's a funny-looking bump on the outside of my ear. Most of it was removed when I was a baby, but I still have what looks like a permanent, cartildge-y zit on my right ear. It's mainly a cosmetic thing. I've known about the silly thing all my life, but didn't know until now that they are sometimes associated with renal problems. I guess developmentally, ears and kidneys are related. My mom said that whenever they see a baby born with a pre-auricular tag these days, the baby generally gets a kidney ultrasound to check for problems. I don't know if I've ever had any myself (a few bladder infections and UTI's, but nothing major), but it might be related.

So now, I guess, we wait. And pray for the health of our little boy. And take a lot of deep breaths because anxiety over what might be won't help a thing.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I didn't even run the marathon

I'm exhausted today, and I didn't even run a marathon. My husband did, though, quite literally. Sunday was the Chicago Marathon which he's been training for since March or April (feels like forever). It turned out to be a crazy, crazy weekend.

We drove up on Friday, leaving later and taking longer than we anticipated. My mom and baby sister also drove up to Chicago from Indy, and were planning to stay at my older sister's place in the city. Since her condo is home to 3 cats and no babies, we decided for everyone's safety that it would not be a good place to house a toddler for the weekend. That hypothesis was proved out Friday night when we arrived in time for dinner with my family. Within half an hour of arriving, my daughter had managed to terrify and/or enrage two of the 3 resident felines, depending on your point of view. She tried petting one that was sleeping, who promptly reproached her rudeness with a nip. That set off terrified toddler screaming, which egged another cat into attacking both the previously-napping kitty and me (why?), and generally racing around the room upset. We instead spent the night with the parents of some friends, who had a basically child-friendly space.

Saturday morning Charlotte got to play with our friends' son Oliver while we managed to not join my mom and sisters as early as we planned for a little sightseeing. My husband opted out of walking around the city on the eve of his big run, so Charlotte and I got to ride the El downtown alone. That part didn't really bother me, since I'd spent some time there for a previous employer, and was comfortable reading the maps and negotiating the various stops. Adding in a stroller was more of a challenge, but generally I found elevators and escalators when I needed them. We spent the afternoon at the Shedd Aquarium, along with seemingly half of the city.

Sometime towards the end of the afternoon I realized that 1) Our car was parked at our hotel for the evening, containg all of our luggage 2) My husband was not staying in the hotel, preferring to sleep a little closer to the starting line with friends who would be heading to Grant Park at an insanely earlyhour, 3) My husband had the only key to the car that contained all of our luggage, and 4) it is nearly impossible to unload and transport various suitcases from a parking garage into a hotel by myself, with Charlotte. That prompted a confusing effort where my husband met me at the platform of one of the subway stops to hand off the key before heading out to his rest stop, and my Mom and sisters came to the hotel to help me check in and heft the luggage to the room. That was not our best planning.

Sunday morning, Charlotte and I tried to head downtown to watch some of the great run. We arrived at the 12 mile marker much later than I anticipated, since half of Chicago was taking the same train. We missed my husband completely, but found my older sister and her boyfriend, whose sister was also running. After a nice warm-up at Starbucks (Decaf Soy Caramel Mocha with Whip...sound confusing? pretty much matched the tone of the day), we headed to the 25 mile marker to watch for runners. We probably missed my husband by 10-15 minutes, but did manage to spot another friend who was running, and my sister's boyfriend's sister. We attempted to meet up at the finish line, but a small group of people including a pregnant woman with a stroller just don't walk the last 1.2 miles that fast, and my husband ended up taking off for the hotel before I could say hi.

Charlotte and I did finally see my husband again after taking the train back, much to her delight. She had been confused the night before about where he was, and upset during the race when we would walk away from the runners ("No, more daddy!"). The rest of the evening was more peaceful--a snack at Panera and dinner at a Wolfgang Puck restaurant near the hotel. Monday we took a dip in the pool and hottub before packing the car (yes, I was a bad pregnant mommy and sat in an actual hottub for a while...I got out when I got warm though, so I doubt the babe's been boiled too badly). After lunch with my older sister, we drove home.

Oh yeah, I got stopped for speeding. I only got a warning, though, probably because I've never ever had a ticket in my life. I was following a long line of traffic at probably 7-8 miles over the limit, and the cop was in an unmarked car. I guess it was just my lucky day.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Pantyhose

I've never been a fan of pantyhose. I think the manufacturers use metal tubing as fit models when designing the things, because they never seem to actually work on something as exotically shaped as a human leg. I have tried some of the more expensive hosiery--paying $10 or 15 for a pair (ok, so my idea of "expensive" may not be the same as others....), but those things fit just as poorly and run just as fast as the cheaper ones.

I don't wear a lot of skirts normally, so I don't generally dwell on the topic. When you work primarily with computers and men 1) No one cares if you're wearing a skirt (your coworkers don't generally notice what you wear, as long as you're dressed) 2) If someone does notice that you're wearing a skirt, it's going to be someone who makes you feel very uncomfortable for having exposed your ankles, let alone your knees, and 3) You occaisionally have to climb under your desk to fiddle with wires and cords, and that's neither comfortable nor easy while avoiding runs and over-exposure.

This weekend, I got to delve into this lovely topic, with a twist: maternity pantyhose. I had successfully avoided the subject with Charlotte, since I was pregnant mainly in the summer when bare legs are expected. Unfortunately, Saturday was cold, windy, and we had a wedding to attend.

I tried looking at Target for somethign appropriate first, and could not find either soemthing labeled "maternity" or something that was "low-waisted" (in the hopes that they would ride under my bulging belly instead of cutting it in half at the midsection). Just in case I failed elsewhere as well, I did grab one pair in a vageuly flesh-toned color that at least claimed to have no "control-top" (those things are the devil...they squish your abdomen and make what fat you have bubble up around your waist and look even bigger....I have never understood how that's supposed to make you look slimmer). I then stopped by the maternity store in the Galleria. After spending probably 10 minutes reading 3 or 4 different package types for sizes, colors, and "features", I settled on the least expensive option--basic nude-colored hose.

The first pair I tried on at home was the "maternity" hose. I had picked the size range that seemed to correspond to my height and weight (I was smack dab in the middle of the range, so in theory they ought to be sized correctly). These things could have been made of denim for how much they stretched. It was a struggle to get my legs into them. When I got as far as my tummy there was enough length in the "panty" section to pull up and over the top of my head--if only it would fit over my belly. These suckers looked like they were made for a pre-pubescent, 8-foot teenager, not an average-sized preganant woman. Looking closer at the package, I realized that it claimed to be "full support" which is supposed to help reduce fatigue in your legs....funny, I'd have thought that cutting off your blood flow would make your legs more tired, not less.

The backup pair weren't much better around my tummy, but at least they actually stretched. I couldn't quite pull them up to my eyebrows (a common problem I face with pantyhose when I'm not pregnant), but the waistband was still really uncomfortable over my belly. I ended up wiggling them down under the belly, and spending the rest of the evening worried that they would slide right off my hips.

Maybe next time I'll go with thigh-highs.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

...and then her head started spinning around

Monday night was not fun. Charlotte went to bed, grudgingly, around 9pm. It was a little later than usual, but not that bad. Around 10:30, she woke up, and my husband comforted her and put her back to sleep. Around 11 or 11:30, she woke up again, and this time he gave her some ibuprofin because she seemed to be running a fever. He tried rocking her, and just as she was calming down again, she all of a sudden stiffened up and screamed bloody murder, like she was in massive pain. She told him that her eyes hurt (a headache maybe?).

He brought her into our room, and I (wide awake at this point), tried comforting her for a while. She was fine for a while, and then, out of nowhwere, started screaming bloody murder again. She was hard to comfort, and had a long list of demands--go to the potty, take a bath (which was indulged for a brief time between screaming sessions), ice (wrapped in a washcloth, which she heled to her neck and shoulders), etc.

The screaming was intermittent--would last a couple of minutes at a time, and didn't seem to have any external trigger that we could find. Best of all, thanks to her wonderfully improved vocabulary, she kept telling us she was being bitten by snakes. In fact, at some points shadows would seem to scare her (as did the sight of her changing pad on her dresser, orperhaps the diaper that was sitting next to it?) She didn't want to be put down, kept changing which parent she wanted.

About an hour after the ibuprofin, we checked her temperature and she was still at about 101. At this point we called our pediatrician's exchange number, and ended up talking to a nurse. The nurse didn't think it sounded like we needed to bring her to a hospital (she wasn't inconsolable for an hour straight or more), but recommended we keep her head elevated in case her ears hurt (laying flat is murder on an earache), and call the doctor in the morning. By 12:30-1am, the screaming/hallucination fits seemed to mostly end. I ended up propping myself up with pillows and holding her on my chest. Somewhere around 3 or 4, she was sound asleep enough and already laying flat enough (she kept sqirming into more comfortable positions), that I was able to let her sleep on a pillow next to me, and I could lay down and actually rest. Her fever had broken by then, and though occaisionally she would warm up a little, she didn't need any more medicine.

Apparently hallucinations with fever isn't that unusual, as the ped wasn't particularly worried. She did have a sore throat and swollen glands (which I'd already guessed since Charlotte barely touched the sweet rasberry/chocolate coffee cake for breakfast), but does not have strep. The lucky kid could also get her last vaccination (due at 2 years, but her 2 year appointment was a month too early), so she got a shot. Apparently the sore throat wasn't bothering her that much by the time of the dr appointment (basically lunch time), because she was requesting to "eat" and asking for "taco". In fact, we successfully distracted her with talking about tacos while she was getting the shot, so she barely registered the needle (she did like the ducky band-aid, though, and kept lifting her pant leg in the car to look at her "boo-boo").

What a strange day that began with a possessed toddler screaming about snakes, and ended up with a trip to Taco Bell....

Monday, October 02, 2006

What I hate about professional sports

I am not a big sports fan. I am not much of a sports fan at all. I don't mind watching an occaisional game, but I don't think I've ever followed all of the stats of any team in any sport. I actually used to pay a little more attention to at least the large goings-on in sports, enough to make polite small-talk with my (mostly male) coworkers (well, enough to add one or two semi-intelligent ideas to a conversation before letting them do the rest of the talking), but lately I have trouble doing even that.

I think that this summer's Cardinals baseball season pretty much sums up why. Since about midsummer, all I've been hearing from baseball fans is how bad the Cardinals are doing. I hear cracks about "maybe St. Louis will get a professional baseball team" and such. But from what little news I've managed to watch, they've been basically leading the division the whole time. It sounds like they've come close to slipping into 2nd place in their division, but they just recently became the division champs. This is what everyone's been complaining about? A team that has been either headed for the World Series, or barely missing it? You're kidding right? So they lose games sometimes. Apparently they're still doing better than all of the other teams they're up against for the Championship. Gee, our team doesn't win every game by a landslide. They must SUCK.

Then this morning I actually saw a sports report on the early news, and they had an interview with a fan from the stands at yesterday's game. I can't honestly repeat what he said about the Cardinals, but it involved a lot of "We've got to do this", and "We've been doing that". Um, excuse me, but "We"? As far as I can tell, this was Joe Blow sitting in the stands drinking a beer. He's not on the team, doesn't work for them, or anything. Pride in a local team is great, but don't project yourself as part of that team--just because you bought a jersey doesn't give you ownership. This actually reminds me of how some parents do the same thing with their kid's sports games. I'm talking about the parents who are not coaching, just the cheering squad. They get this serious expression on their face as they talk about all the work "we have to do". Um, your kid is the one playing. If you want to do the "work", then either sign up to coach, or join an adult intramural league. Otherwise, buddy, you're just a cheerleader. If you don't feel like cheering on your kids beccause they're losing (or because they're not winning fast enough), then you need a serious attitude adjustment.

I guess the main point of my little rant here is that people take sports way too seriously. They're GAMES. They're supposed to be FUN. The pros are there to ENTERTAIN you. I'm talking about both teams here, not just the one that you're rooting for. Only one team will win any one game. And no, not every player will play his/her best game every time they take the field. But, unless you're one of their teammates, chances are they're much much much better than you will ever be. Learn to accept it, and then sit back and enjoy the show. Athletes are paid so well because they can do things that the rest of us just can't. It should be a joy to watch men and women in prime physical condition performing impressive feats. Even when they lose, the feats are still impressive, because they're losing to other men and women in prime physical condition performing impressive feats. If you're just not impressed by a team that's their division champions for 2 (or is it 3 now?) years in a row, then I think your standards are just a little too high for me.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Soda Pop

What do you call those fizzy, sugary beverages, generally sold in cans, plastic bottles, or from a fast food restaurant with brand names such as Coke, Pepsi, Dr Pepper, etc?

Growing up I called them "pop". As in, "I'd like a can of pop". Or, "What kind of pop do you have?" My parents are from nebraska, and I grew up in central Indiana. I didn't generally get funny looks when I said these words. Though, truth be told, I rarely saw the word "pop" on a menu--that section was generally called "drinks" or "soft drinks".

When I started college in St. Louis, I started getting some funny looks when I'd talk about pop. Waiters would think I was speaking a foreign language until I'd clue them in with a brand name ("Do you have Coke or Pepsi?"). And everyone here called the fizzy stuff something rather silly "soda". Soda to me meant either club soda, baking soda, or it was one of those old-fashioned things that our parents remember--getting a "soda pop" at the local "soda fountain". Well, times change, and peer pressure really gets to you, and now I call the stuff "soda" also. And, I get snickered at by my one remaining Hoosier sister for doing so (no, I don't mean "hoosier" in the Missouri sense, but in the "resident of Indiana" sense....that's a whole 'nother post).

I didn't think Charlotte had had much experience with the stuff, since we limit her menu options to milk, water, and the occiasional juice. She's sampled tea and coffee, both of which she liked (to our dismay..we thought she'd stop begging if we gave her a sip). I have been relatively caffeine free since she was breastfed (and colicky and reflux-y), and my husband has been watching his diet more in the last several months since he's been marathon training. So we just aren't drinking much soda at home, and when we do, we generally call it "juice" to Charlotte (so she doesn't realize we're having something she's not).

We had to do some shopping on Sunday afternoon, and as we were leaving Walmart (our 2nd stop of the day), my husband stopped at their row of vending machines to buy a drink. He got a bottle of Code Red Mountain Dew, which Charlotte immediately pointed to and said "pop". Huh? Did she really just call it pop? Where on earth did she hear that? I thought perhaps she was trying to say something else (her pronunciation's still at that 2-year old level, you know). But then our next stop was to another Walmart (yes, 2 in one day..I don't recommend it). On the way out, she pointed to the soda machines and clearly said "pop" again. This time there was no mistaking the word or her meaning.

I'm guessing that one or more of her daycare teachers must call it pop. In the infant room, especially, I've seen the ladies have their bottles of soda/pop stashed on high shelves while the kids play (which doesn't bother me as long as they don't share with the kiddos, and I doubt they would want to do that...). Oh well, at least Charlotte's aunt won't laugh at *her*....

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Freecycling

As I mentioned yesterday, our new washer and dryer are being delivered today. I hated to think of our old washer just being tossed in a landfill somewhere, since most likely it's fixable. We just weren't willing to spend the money on it ourselves, given its previous track record. So I found a St. Louis "freecycle" group. They're a email group on Yahoo (freecycle-stl) where people offer or request stuff for free--no selling or trading. It's kind of like how my mother-in-law appears in town with a trunk full of things they're never going to use again, but that she hates to throw away (like a little handpainted mirror with a mouse and a piece of cheese on it...it has sentimental value to her, so now it's ours....). Speaking of which, we probably shouldn't tell her about the site...she'd drive FIL nuts with the free stuff she'd collect...

So, yesterday about 10am I signed up with the Yahoo group and was able to post my offer of a free, broken washer around noon. By 4pm, I had a taker. The guy came and picked it up last night. I guess he was a little disappointed that the controls are on top instead of on the front, but otherwise quite happy to take the washer off our hands. He appears to be the handy sort, and from the sound of his conversation, likes both projects and good deals (something about buying a foreclosed house and all the fixing up he's working on). In other words, it was a perfect match. He can get some use from our washer (and might be up to handling the bi-annual floods and failures that it seems to bring), and we got it removed from our laundry room in time to do some tidying before the new stuff arrives.

I might just be taking more advantage of the freecycle group. I'm not quite the garage-sale shopper/bargain hunter that I'd have to be to take a lot of the items that are up for grabs, but we might have a few things around the house to offer up (including a few thanks to my MIL) :) And, we'd know they'll get a good home that way.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Buy the dryer, get the washer free

No, this isn't some fantastic deal I just found, it's one I'm offering *you*. But only for a limited time (till Tuesday), when the nice appliance delivery people haul away the washer. Then the offer becomes just "Buy the dryer".

I hate Maytag. Let me start at the beginning. When we bought our house 6 years ago (in September actually), we bought ourselves a new fridge, washer, and dryer from a local Maytag store. The brand seemed to have a good reputation, and we splurged a bit to get a nice washer--their "Neptune" line. Our fridge was labeled as Consumer Reports "best buy". All seemed well. Then the appliances were delivered. The delivery was a nightmare--they brought the wrong fridge at first (an ivory top-and-bottom one instead of a white side-by-side). The installers left greasy handprints all over our laundry room walls (later prompting our pepto-bismo pink paint job), and to top it off, the washer spewed water all over our brand-new kitchen and laundry room the first time we turned it on (thank goodness it's positioned over the sump pump in the unfinished side of the basement, or our newly-built finished basement ceilings would have been ruined already). They had to replace the washer after 2 failed service calls.

Fast forward 2 years, to the month. One day the washer starts up, fills with water, and then just stops. We call the repair people and take half a day off work, twice. The "control board" was fried. We paid $100 in labor, and the $200 part was (barely) still covered by the warranty.

Fast forward 2 more years, again to the month (Charlotte was about a month old at the time). Same deal. Washer starts up, fills with water, then stops. Almost the same week I get notice in the mail about a class-action lawsuit pending against Maytag for just this problem in our washer, plus a little mildew issue that we'd also noticed. This time, I was home with the baby, so I didn't lose any work, and the repair was handled for free due to the lawsuit. We eventually got our initial $100 repairs "reimbursed" from the lawsuit in the form of a $12 check and $80 in credit towards a new Maytag appliance. Gee, thanks.

In between there, while I was still preganant, our fridge stopped refridgerating for several days. The repair people (this time from Sears) had numerous issues in actually showing up for their appointments to repair the thing, and my husband ended up installing the $20 part that controls the defrost cycles. I mentioned it at work, and found that of the ~17 employees at that job, at least 5 of them had the same problem with a Maytag or Jenn-Air fridge after 3-4 years of use....hmmmm...

Now comes this past Saturday. I started a load of laundry. I walked in later to get a cleaning wipe off the shelf and there was water all over the floor, but the washer was still going (with the "door locked" button still on). I grabbed towels, and told my husband that we had to watch it. I don't think the thing ever got to the spin cycle. He tried a couple of times to force it to drain, and ended up shutting off the water to the the thing. In the mean time, the "locked" door (it's a front-loader) flew open and our laundry room and part of the bathroom and kitchen got an ample sudsing. (I really like our "floor mate" hard floor cleaner...it sucks water off a vinyl floor nice and fast).

We discussed our options over the weekend--1) Take 2 (maybe more) days off work to wait for repair people and spend upwards of $300 to fix the darned thing. 2) Buy a new washer. 3) Buya new washer and dryer and get a set that can be stacked to gain us some space in our teeny-tiny laundry room (it's like 5x5). After weighing the various costs and benefits (and the fear that $300+ in repairs now will have to be repeated in September '08 and '10, etc), we went with option 3. We have a new, stacking, Kenmore front-loading set ordered that will be delivered Tuesday.

So, back to my title. If anyone wants it, we have a broken Neptune (super XL capacity, energy star, front loader, yadda yadda) washer that you can have for FREE if you haul it away before the Sears people arrive (they will remove it for us otherwise). We also have for sale, the matching electric XL capacity dryer, which has never given us a day of trouble (1 of 3 appliances bought that day). It has a nifty sliding temperature control (anything between "air fluff" and high), a variety of cycles, etc. I love the dryer---it has a huge door that easily handles a king sized comforter. It's only crime is in not stacking with the new washing machine. The dryer cost ~$800 new, I'd be asking about $300 for it.

Ok, so there probably aren't enough folks reading my blog to actually sell this stuff too (unless we're unbelievably lucky). So, I guess I get to figure out how to place a classified ad in the Post Dispatch.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

August 23, 2006

August 23, 2006

Yesterday I had my first prenatal appointment, and had an ultrasound this morning. Everything looks good and on track, and my dates are right (well, duh...you could set a watch by my cycle). My weight is definitely still down from normall--with jeans and my shoes on, I weighed 144 at the dr's office (139 naked before my shower). The Dr tried to find the baby's heartbeat with the hand-held doppler thing, but had warned me that it was a little too early. So I got an ultrasound instead. I did not get an early one with Charlotte, because he found the heartbeat immediately at my 10 week appointment. So far, ultrasounds seem to be harmless to babies, so I'm not complaining a bit about getting an early photo of the pillbug.

I haven't been overly emotional yet (probably a bit b*tchier than normal, but that's more from discomfort than hormone-mood swings), but I definitely misted up when the tech turned the volume on so I could hear the heartbeat. The photo is a white blob in the middle of a black blob in the middle of a gray blob, but if you know which end is the head, you can also sort of make out 4 points that are the leg and arm buds.

Time to spread the news is getting really close. We intend to tell our families this weekend when they're here for Charlotte's birthday. I have a baby shower to attend also, so I'll probably spill the beans there too--plus, the shower's host is in possession of my maternity clothes, so hopefully I can take them home afterwards.

Tonight, we're going birthday shopping for Charlotte, while her aunt and uncle babysit. It's going to be hard not to say anything to them when they get there, especially since my husband hasn't seen the photos from the ultrasound yet, and they're in an envelope marked "Congratulations from XYZ Center Ob/Gyn". I already put away the pile of free baby magazines and goody bag the office gave me yesterday. We might still tell them tonight, but probably will wait to share the news with my inlaws at the same time.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory -- Not worth the wait

It could have been worse. Our family attempted to go out to dinner last night to the Old Spaghetti Factory on Laclede's Landing in St. Louis. There were 7 of us for dinner--my inlaws were in town, plus my SIL and BIL, my husband, Charlotte, and I.

We arrived right around 6:30, and were given a pager and told that it would be about a 20 minute wait. So far, not bad, since that place is notorious for 2-hour waits. They meant every minute of that 20 minute number, but at least there was plenty of room for Charlotte to run around and climb on chairs.

We were seated at a booth that might have held 6 people comfortably if 4 of them were children--with 6 adults, it was a pretty tight squeeze, and then they pulled a highchair up to the end for Charlotte. Eventually, a guy came by, introduced himself as the "assistant server", and poured us water. He asked if we wanted an order of garlic bread as an appetizer, which we answered yes. Several minutes more went by and our actual server came over for a drink order. She repeated our bread order (apparently the first guy hadn't actually placed the order?) , took drink and dinner orders, and walked off.

While we waited for our drinks, Charlotte colored, played, fussed, bounced on my lap, and then went potty (in the restroom). We got back from the bathroom and still had no drinks on the table. Our dinner was supposed to come with regular bread, in addition to the one appetizer order, but we had none of that either. After a total of probably 15 minutes, the server finally brought our drinks (how long does it take to pour drinks?), and eventually the garlic bread arrived, and then salads/soups. We polished off the garlic bread, and most of our drinks, and saw neither hide nor hair of our server. Our "assistant server" was busy bussing tables nearby and would not make eye contact with any of us to come refill drinks or bring us bread.

The food finally arrived, and my MIL needed additional butter with her meal, but there was no one around to ask. She finally got up and found a manager to ask him to have someone come refill our drinks, bring bread, and her butter. Our server never stopped back by to see if we had gotten the right meals, or needed anything (which clearly we did). By the time we finished eating, we had to wait quite a while longer to get our checks (the server did bring those, eventually). I had already speculated outloud that perhaps after a certain amount of time, we should consider our meals free and just leave, since they were clearly in no hurry for their money.

At that point, Charlotte was beyond patient (she's 2, and we'd been seated for like 1.5 hours), so I took her upstairs to run off some energy. She climbed the stairs, giggled at babies, and ran like a madwoman in circles in the restaurant's entryway. After a good long while (another 10-15 minutes), she tripped and fell and popped her balloon dog (that she had refused to let go of), and got very upset. I had no idea where the rest of the family was (we had 3 checks total--one gift certificate, one cash, one credit card...I wouldn't think it would take long to process that), so we went back downstairs in search of family and/or the balloon animal guy. The family was still waiting for their change, and the balloon guy was nowhere to be found.

Dinner took over 2 hours. For a mediocre pasta meal. Processing the checks took upwards of 20 minutes all by itself. There was not a customer comment card to be found anywhere when we left (maybe they got smart and removed them when they realized what a poor job they were doing). Apparently the manager was hard to find as well, since he or she was the hold up on processing the gift certificates. So, the best we could do was leave a bad tip and a half-dismembered balloon dog to show our displeasure.

And, of course, I can blog my complaints and hope it turns up on every Google search for the Spaghetti Factory!!!

August 16, 2006

august 15, 2006

Well, I'm pretty sure I'm still pregnant, but miraculously my stomach is barely bothering me. Today is Wednesday and I haven't had to throw up since Saturday, which was still in the middle of the stomach flu that I was suffering. My weight is still low, 139ish, but that's ok. I'm not craving french fries all the time, so that's definitely a good thing.

I'm 8 weeks pregnant today, and my collection of pants that fit is getting smaller and smaller. I did manage to buy a couple of pairs of early-pregnancy maternity clothes last week, but the one pair of jeans I wore this week are still huge on me. Thank goodness some of my regular clothes are pretty low-waisted--my khaki's today even button, but I normally would have to wear a belt to keep them up.

My first prenatal appointment isn't until next week, and we won't probably tell any of our friends until after the following weekend, when we can make our announcement to our families. Both my mom and my inlaws will be in to celebrate Charlotte's second birthday. We haven't really talked about what to say to Charlotte yet. I have looked once or twice on Amazon to see if there are any good books for small kids about pregnancy and/or new babies. There are a couple of them, but I think I'd really need to read them myself before deciding. There's a Sesame Street dvd that talks about Baby Bear's new baby sister (Curly Sue?). That might be worth a look too. Maybe the library would have a copy of it...

Charlotte looked at my "Pregnancy Week By Week" book with me the other day--it has illustrations of the embryo/fetus through all the stages. She pointed out the first couple, alien-looking ones and pronounced them "fish" :) After about 12 weeks or so, they look like babies with arms and legs and no tails. I didn't explain what was going on or that there was a baby in my tummy, we just looked at pictures of babies, which she enjoyed. At the baby shower over the weekend, she didn't really object to me holding a baby either (though she did object to her daddy doing so). She even wanted to hold the baby herself (with my help). We're going to get her a nicer doll for her birthday, and try to keep fostering themothering-instincts she's got going, in hopes that she'll be more interested than jealous of her new sibling.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Like greeting old friends

I'm back to real-time for a post, instead of my August series. The topic is more of the same, however. I think I've mentioned in other posts that there is a roaming collection of maternity clothes that has been shared by 4 (possibly 5) different women over the last several years. We're all a little differently sized, and our pregnancies have covered different seasons, but we've all been able to borrow heavily from the group collection and just add a few pieces of clothing as we need. I had gotten about half of the clothes a couple of weeks ago from the friend, P., who was most recently storing them. I was disappointed at the time that several things that I had bought with Charlotte were not there. Last night, we finally had time to load up the other half of the clothes, plus a few additional things that P. had found in her closet. While my husband was putting Charlotte to bed, I got to open the treasure chest.

I found quite a few more of the clothes that I had worn frequently in this half. My favorite Old Navy jeans were in there, along with two different dresses--one that my mother-in-law bought me the weekend we announced our pregnancy, and one that I wore for both my grandfather's funeral and my baby shower(that sounds kind of morbid grouped like that). I also found a linen top that I had sewed myself (and that actually turned out quite nice). That top I stashed away in my closet with tops that my mother-in-law and her mother had worn during their pregnancies--I'll pass them all to Charlotte one day.

Most of the clothes are summer clothes and are *huge*. Granted, I was huge when I wore them, but still they look like tents right now. My favorite jeans are still too big, though not a lot worse than anything else I'm wearing (my regular pants are all too small, but I'm wearing belts with maternity pants to keep them on..go figure that one out). I believe that they were uncomfortably small after about 6 months last time...maybe this time I'll mostly gain baby instead of everything else :)

I had fun pulling out clothes and remembering where I bought them, or what I did while wearing them. I also found a couple of new things that had been added, including a pretty floral skirt and matching tank top (which I probably won't wear in the winter), and several beautiful and warm sweaters and pairs of corduroy pants (which I'll probably wear a lot of). It is also fun to try things on and see the slightest hint of a bump in my shirts (I think my tummy sticks out more than "slightly", but maternity tops are meant to cover a lot more than what I've got so far). Maybe in the next week or so I will get up the nerve to wear an actual maternity shirt.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

8/14/2006

August 14, 2006

It appears, much to my relief, that my morning sickness is not nearly as bad as I feared. I had awful days Thursday and Friday last week, into Saturday morning. I was keeping nothing down, and unable to drink much (any) liquid. By Friday night into Saturday, the issue had moved lower in my digestive tract than my stomach (if you catch my meaning), and I was up half a dozen times overnight emptying what little food and beverage my body had, and then some apparently. Saturday morning, I got on the scale, and saw to my horror that I was weighing in at a number I haven't seen since college--137. 140 is a pretty hard lower limit for me when I'm healthy, and a week ago I'd inched closer to 142-143. My weight doesn't fluctuate much normally, and I think the lowest I've seen in about 5 years on this particular bathroom scale is 139.8. Basically in a matter of 2 or 3 days I was down 5 pounds, which is a lot when you're worried about sustaining another life on what you're eating. I was beginning to worry that I would end up on an IV in the hospital from dehydration--I was a little fuzzy-headed, but not dizzy and no headaches yet. It was probably just a matter of time at that rate.

Sometime around mid afternoon, I was able to keep down one of Charlotte's pedialyte popsicles. An hour later I had a little less than half a cup of ice cream. An hour after that I had one of Charlotte's kid-sized yogurts. Things stabilized. I was able to sip on ice water. We were invited to the baptism for the son of some friends, and managed to make the 5pm mass and dinner afterwards. When it was time to eat, I found I could actually eat a plate of food--not french fries either--they had a nice array of salads (lettuce-based, chicken salad, one with various beans and corn, fruit salad, one with veggies and slices of meat). It was all very healthy, yummy food and actually felt really good. This is stuff I wouldn't have touched when I was pregnant with Charlotte (when french fries, red meat, and ice cream reigned supreme).

Sunday I didn't get sick at all. I had plenty of queasy moments, but also plenty of nearly-normal times and kept all the food that I ate. Today is more of the same so far--queasiness and excess saliva, yes. Puking, no. Charlotte had a stomach flu a couple of weeks ago, followed a week later by bad diarrhea (blowing out several diapers while we were out of town--not fun), and I think it just took longer to hit me. Morning sickness + stomach flu = really bad. Here's hoping I don't have any more of this. Ever.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

August 11, 2006

Friday, August 11, 2006

You are hopefully reading this at some point later than I am writing it. As of today, we're not ready to make our announcement, though it will likely be in the next couple of weeks. I am now 7 weeks pregnant with our second child. I don't know how long we'll be able to keep the secret, since I'm having a heck of a time fitting into any pants I own, and am sick as a dog the last couple of days.

Neither is a particular surprise--I threw up for the entirety of my pregnancy with Charlotte, though with her I started feeling queasy at about 3.5 weeks instead of 6. I got a good 2 week reprieve this time, though it is hitting me harder. Last time, my record was 3 barfs in one day, not counting the weekend I had the stomach flu (thanks to a friend's kids, who were also barfing that weekend). Yesterday I did 5. I'm on ~4 today--really 5 sessions of hovering over a toilet seat, but 2 were dry and very quick. No, I have no qualms about sharing the details of my puking with the world. Just wait till the baby comes and all I can talk about is the color and consistency of various diaper contents :)

Today I finally broke down and re-discovered one of the few foods that seems to calm my tummy and fill the aching void at the same time--McDonald's french fries. I barely touched the hamburger that also came in my happy meal, but the fries made my tummy quite happy for over an hour. Hooray! Of course, this is the start of the slippery slope that leads to a 60 pound weight gain, but I think I prefer to diet later rather than pass out of combined nausea and hunger right now.

Since this isn't my first pregnancy, you would think the clothing situation wouldn't be an issue. I do have some clothes that are a couple of sizes bigger than what I've been wearing, but that wardrobe was from my psuedo-stay-at-home days and is limited and exceedingly casual (some jeans, and sweats). It will not get me through a workweek. For maternity clothes, I shared in a sort of communal maternity clothing collection that at least 3 or 4 other women have also partaken of. One of my friends is currently in posession of the box (or boxes by this time) of clothes where my favorite maternity jeans (nice low-waisted ones with a wide elastic waistband from Old Navy--no big panel, and not overly maternity-looking) are currently housed. In order to request the clothes, I'll have to tell the secret, so it'll wait a bit longer.

I realize that all of the books and most of the women you talk to claim that you don't need maternity clothes till closer around the second trimester, and that you can get by with a size or two bigger of regular clothes for quite a while in the meantime. Apparently I am not built the same as these women. I sport narrow hips and a short spine from hips to ribs, and of course all my extra body fat collects around my belly to start with. So my waistline barely fits in the same jeans that are falling off my hips, and that's without a uterus the size of a grapefruit squishing all my innards up and out my belly button. Add in the constant queasiness, and the last thing I need is a tight waistband digging into my midsection right now--there's enough pressure down there as it is. If I bought pants in say, a size 16, to fit over my belly without compressing it, then I would look like a clown the way the legs would be bagging over my thighs.

In other words, I'm off this afternoon to look for a pair or two of "0-6month" maternity pants--the kind with an elastic-enough low waist to get me through until the basketball pops out and I need enormous underwear and big stretchy panels. My one such pair of jeans from last time worked until about 4 months (I look huge in a hurry--see my earlier comments about lack of hip room), but were well worth the minor investment. Unfortunately, they're in the box with the rest of the communal maternity closet.

Now I just hope that my tummy stays calm for a walk through the mall, and that I am able to find refreshments and restrooms in a timely enough manner :)

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Zoo

I like the St. Louis Zoo. I never really thought about a zoo as being anything overly special. I grew up in Indianapolis, which also has a nice zoo, though theirs is not free. But still, we probably went one or more times a year, either with my Mom or some school or girl scout event.

Over the weekend, we attended the wedding of some friends in Minneapolis. We stayed until Monday to enjoy some of the sights, treating it as a sort of mini-family vacation. Before we headed to the airport on Monday, we spent some time at the Minneapolis zoo, which was also nice, though we didn't really see much because we were more pressed for time than we wanted. Because we're members of the St. Louis Zoo, we actually got free admission--it saved us $24 in entrance fees. Way to go, Zoo membership!

While we were there, my husband commented that he'd been there once or twice growing up. He's from northern Iowa where Minneapolis, Chicago, or St. Louis are the closest cities with a zoo. His family spent a lot of time here in St. Louis visiting his grandparents, so he got to visit the zoo here quite a bit. But it certainly made me think about all the kids who grow up in areas like that and might get to see a tiger or elephant close up only on a rare trip to somewhere else. That's kind of sad.

I was thinking about how lucky we are to not only have such a nize zoo, but that the regular admission is completely free. It makes me even more glad that we did pay for the zoo membership to help support it. To be fair, we didn't do it completely selflessly--we get free parking in a close lot, free railroad passes, free admission to the petting zoo, and apparently, a hefty discount to some other zoos around the country. So, I guess this post has turned into a bit of a plug for the zoo and for paying to join it, but that's ok. We're lucky to have the opportunity to do so.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The big girl bed

Over the weekend, we went out of town for a wedding. For the first time, we got a hotel room with two double beds instead of a king bed and rollaway crib (which means cheap play-pen these days...). Charlotte took to sleeping in the big bed with no problems. We didn't expect any, since she's also quite a fan of sleeping in our bed. She has a bad habit of stretching out in whatever direction she feels like, frequently horizontally. That's a problem in our bed since it means that one of us is getting kicked. Of the three nights we stayed in the hotel, she slept one night with me, one with her daddy, and one all by herself. The arrangements varied by wherever she happened to be when she finally sat still long enough to fall asleep (unlike at home where we can shut the door to her room and give her 5 or 10 minutes to put herself to bed, which she normally does without much fuss).

Once we got home Monday night, I threw her brand-new sheets in the wash, and stripped her big-girl bed of its guest-room bedding. We put a pair of bedrails up, though she's never actually fallen out of a bed that we're aware of, and added a step stool so she can get in easier (she gets down with no trouble). We didn't actually get her sheets dried, so we threw the quilt on and figured she'd get to test-drive it the next night. But, the little princess insisted on sleeping on the big bed instead of her little toddler bed. She slept right on top of the quilt, with her Pooh fleece blanket nearby (I think it started out covering her, but she uncovered herself overnight).

I had figured that by Christmas we'd have her transitioned to the big bed and be able to move the toddler bed out of her room and turn it back into a crib for the new baby. It doesn't look like that will be much of an issue at all.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Surprise!

I suppose I can finally admit via cyberspace that I'm pregnant. We started telling people a week or so ago. I haven't told everyone I know in person, but many of the people we see frequently have heard, and our families know. I could keep the info off my blog, but it has been hard enough not to complain about various things, and, as you have probably noticed, I like to use my blog to whine and complain about my life :)

I'm about 11 weeks right now, due in March. Technically the date (the magic 40 week number) is at the very end of March, but given that Charlotte came at 36 weeks, lets just call it March. I'm not counting on going past the due date because 1) my dates are really darned accurate (You can set a watch by me, so there is no fudging the numbers) and 2) I had a C-section with Charlotte, and I suspect the chances of my doctor letting me get 1-2 weeks "post-date" are slim, especially given that there' s no question of the date. My doctor is open to the possibility of a VBAC, which is probably what I would prefer to try, though I have a good friend who swears that scheduling a repeat C-section was the best way to go (we had similar experiences in our first births--long labor + pushing followed by a C-section). I'm probably not up for scheduling things, but won't cry if I end up with a repeat C-section either, as long as we all come out of it healthy.

Let's see, other vital statistics: so far I have actually lost about 4 pounds :( Charlotte brought home the stomach flu a couple of weeks ago, and I hit a weight I haven't seen since probably college. That took a week or two to really get out of my system, and I've actually felt pretty darned good for about a week now. This is amazing, since I puked right up to the end with Charlotte (and gained 50lbs in the process....). We had an early ultrasound right at 9 weeks--standard practice since it was too early to find the heartbeat externally. The little black and white blob apparently measured fine for the dates, and has a beating heart, which is most of what they check for at that point. And, there' s only one. Twins don't run in either family, so that's no suprise.

I have a series of posts that I haven't yet published that ya'll may get to read, whenever I get around to posting them.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Hairless

For some reason that I do not quite understand, electric razors for women are shelved with the disposable kind in health and beauty, and the men's ones are in the home electronics section. At least, that's the way they are at my local Target. I was actually shopping for a men's electric razor, but for myself. The womens' ones are crap. I don't think that the manufacturers really believe that women buy them, or the reasons why.

I cannot shave my legs with a regular razor--not in the shower, not in the bathtub, not dry, not with any sort of shaving cream/gel I have ever seen. It hurts, it cuts, and I get razor burn (nothing is sexier than pink-polka dotted legs). The fancy creams tend to make me break out in a rash (itchy, red, polka-dotted legs). Nair and similar products might take some hair off of someone, but not the hair off my legs. And, for the record, just because I'm blonde on top of my head doesn't mean that my lower leg hair won't show up. It used to be a nice, fine, white fuzz, until I turned like 10.

I have tried a home waxing kit once. I got through about half of one leg before I was in too much pain to continue. I have seriously considered setting an appointment at a salon, and getting drunk first. But I'm not sure that drunk and in pain is a better route to beauty (or at least social acceptance). Laser hair removal sounds like a lovely idea...whenever I have a couple of extra thousand $ laying around and free time on my hands, I might try it.

I have used a men's Norelco brand razor (the kind with the 3 round heads) for years, but my most recent model is a cordless one that will not run on the cord. And it will no longer charge enough to actually finish shaving even a single leg. My husband recently replaced his old one, which was a corded or cordless razor. Unfortunately, its cord stopped working altogether.

So last night, I found myself perusing the shelves of men's electric razors. They had like 4 models that were less than $100 (I didn't even look at the $200 one...for that price I could have a couple of wax jobs and some good champagne). The first was $30 and was only corded. I had one like that before, and since the cords are like 6" long, you have to be a bit of a contortionist to get your leg onto the bathroom sink where the razor will reach. Some days, you're just not feeling that flexible. They had a $60 one that was just cordless. Wrong answer--that's the same trouble I had with my last one. This particular model also dispensed lotion while you shave. I'm sure that's an appealing feature to someone, somewhere, but shaving lotion problems helped drive me to this aisle in the first place. I ended up with the $90 version that is corded or cordless, and can be rinsed out in running water in the sink. It did not come with the monstruous dunk-tank cleaning system that the more expensive models have (and my husband has...that thing takes up half the counter), and I'm ok with that. I don't know what the $200 one did...probably steamed your dress shirt and polished your shoes or something.

In anycase, my legs are sufficiently hair free for public viewing this morning, or at least for going to work in a skirt.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Bedding found

We found a quilt and sheet set for Charlotte's bed. It's the Bugs collection from Bombay Kids. We ate lunch yesterday at Little Maggiano's which is in the same shopping center as a Bombay Company and Bombay Kids stores, and they had the set in stock in the right size, and on sale. It was still expensive (we might have spent more on her set than the bedding for our own, king-sized bed), but it's cute and looks like a nice quality. Now we just need a waterproof mattress pad, a step stool, and some curtains for her canopy, and her big bed will be all set. We already have a pair of bed rails. She can climb down from the bed by herself with no problems, but I don't think she's tall enough to get back up without assitance.

The bed is a full-sized canopy bed, with the sort of arched-canopy that is sweet and feminine. Instead of one of the ruffled canopies that I saw a lot of when I was little, I plan to go with white sheer (or sort-of-sheer, depending on what I find) tab-top curtains at each corner, tied back. It will hopefully look cute and cozy without being too overpowering in her room.

In the mean time, Charlotte had a second Christmas, with all of her birthday gifts from this weekend. She is quite spoiled, or maybe I should say lucky, to have so many family members willing to spend their time travelling and their money to buy her things to play with and wear :) Her daddy and I do our fair share of spoiling our little princess, too--hopefully we're successful in teaching her to not *act* spoiled. Even if she does have a nicer bedroom set at age 2 than her parents....

Friday, August 25, 2006

Party girl

Did you know that they serve beer at Chuck E Cheese? Something about that just seems wrong to me. That, along with the crowd of smokers we had to walk past to enter the place (at least the inside is smoke-free). Granted, after about 5 minutes of screaming kids, assorted video game noise, and the Chuck E Cheese video displays, I can sort of sympathize with the parents who were drinking. I just hope they don't decide to crawl around the tubes with their little ones after tossing back a couple.

We took Charlotte out last night for an informal birthday celebration, along with her friend Gavin and Gavin's parents, S&P. The kids definitely had fun. The pizza's really not bad, and for $25, we got pizza, drinks, and more tokens than a 2-year old can use in one night. She rode all the toddler rides--cars and fire trucks, soemthing that looks like a green flying saucer with buttons that make cow sounds. She played the munckin version of whack-a-mole (no tickets, but it was her size). We got "sketches" made (kind of like a mall photo booth, but the printout is black and white and looks sort of hand-sketched), and she rode the photo-car ride. We tried some of the bigger kid games--helped her toss mini basketballs in the vincinity of the hoop, and attempt to net plastic ball "bees" into a honey pot for tickets.

She crawled through the tubes, and though I expected Gavin to join us, his parents weren't comfortable with him navigating them yet and weren't up to the task of following him around. *Shrug* We've been taking Charlotte through similar playground toys for probably a year or more--one of us goes with her, these days mostly for moral support since she can do pretty much all the climbing by herself. Though their tube-maze was better ventillated than the one at McD's that we usually stop at before long car trips, it had a definite eau d'kid sweat.

At the end of the night, we dumped our remaining tokens into a slotmachine-esqe game that gives tickets based on where the coins fall. For our efforts, she left with a pair of purple cheap-o pom-pons and a fake plastic ring (probably a choking hazard, but we've let her play with them before and she's ok). She got a balloon upon entering, since we were there for her birthday, and I'm surprised at the way it was put together. Instead of the opening being tied, there was a thin plastic tube used as a stopper. It is another choking hazard, and Charlotte kept sticking it in her mouth in the car trying to help blow into the balloon (she's been fascinated by inflatable toys)--I finally had to remove the thing and tie it by hand to keep her from eating it. Maybe if I were more motivated, I'd write a letter to the restaraunt's management complaining about their handing out choking hazards to little kids--I'm sure it was some kind of "time-saving" device to make inflating lots of balloons faster.

You'd think that Charlotte would have been sound asleep by the time we got home, but alas, no. She was apparently too excited to go to sleep easily, and then refused to wake up this morning for daycare. Apparently I'm raising a party girl.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Happy Birthday!

Charlotte is 2 today! She has gotten to be such a big girl--well, maybe in development if not stature. She woke up this morning and asked to use the potty right away. She then had probably 3 breakfasts worth of food in front of her--wanted her usual fruit-n-cream oatmeal, plus some of my cereal, plus some of her daddy's granola (all in separate bowls, with multiple spoons). She's off at daycare today, and I'm a bad mom who did not send in a birthday treat :( We went shopping for her last night, and ran out of time for me to make cupcakes like I intended. I'll bring them in tomorrow, which will make for a nice little party at the end of the week for the kids. Charlotte's real birthday party at home will be Saturday with grandparents and aunts & uncle in attendance. Tonight, we're considering taking her to Chucky Cheese or someplace similar where she can have a good time playing.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

kids and beds

Charlotte's 2nd birthday is this week, and her daddy and I haven't actually bought her any birthday presents yet. We have a babysitter (her aunt& uncle) lined up for Wednesday, so we should be able to wander around a toystore in relative peace. We did do a little looking around over the weekend, but since she was with us, we were focusing on bedding instead of toys.

Charlotte's been sleeping in a toddler bed (her crib with the moveable side removed, and half-rails installed), and is doing great. We already have a full-sized canopy bed for her to sleep in as she gets a little bigger--it belonged to my husband's sister when she was growing up. We got the bed moved into Charlottes room a month ago when we had friends riding out the big blackout, since we had the extra hands. But now, it needs bedding. We have a comforter set on it, but it was picked 5 years ago for the guest room (we have a matching twin set for the twin bed that used to be in there with it), and it doesn't go with Charlotte's room at all.

I didn't realize how hard it would be to find kids bedding that I liked to fit a full sized bed. Bed Bath & Beyond had nothing appropriate--their styles are all adult or dorm-related (we need full, not extra-long twin). Ditto for Target. We tried the Pottery Barn Kids store, and found one set that we really liked. Unfortunately, it's being cleared out and all they have left are twin-sized quilts. I checked their website, and they have even less in stock. They have a couple of other possibilities that come in full-size with colors that won't require us to re-paint and re-drape her room (pale green walls and buttery yellow drapes, to go with her Classic Pooh crib bedding), but the one I liked best cost $200 just for the quilt (it's pretty, and embroidered, and machine-washable, but still...). I tried Penny's website yesterday, and they have a good dozen possibilities--except that they only come in twin size. Don't other little girls have bigger beds?

I guess I always have the option of making something myself, but quilting is not my forte, and I'm afraid she'll be 6 before I get something done. If anyone has any suggestions for places to look, please let us know!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Pride and Prejudice

I watched the new Pride and Predjudice over the weekend, and while I enjoyed it, I don't think it's quite as good as the A&E version.

As far as characters went, the actor playing Lord Bingley made him seem like too much of a simpleton or, well, a dork. I thought from the book that he was just generally a good natured, open kind of guy--at worst a bit naive, but I thought this actor carried that too far. I think the only scene where he looked to have a normal intelligence was when he proposed to Jane.

I definitely liked the Elizabeth Bennet from the A&E version better as well--she was beautiful without looking like a Hollywood toothpick, and made me connect better with her. That's probably because I myself will never be called a toothpick, and it's nice to see folks in the over-110 pound category onscreen :)

I'm not sure which Mr. Darcy did a better job--I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Colin Firth's rendition (mmmm...Colin Firth), but Matthew Macfayden also has the right combination of good looks and brooding eyes.

The scenery was beautiful in the newer version, and they had fun with interesting camera angles, but at some points I think it actually distracted you from the story. Also, in order to cut the story down to fit in a 2-hour movie, they breezed right through some plot points, which made parts of it feel rather rushed.

If I hadn't read the book and/or owned the A&E version already, I probably would have enjoyed it a bit more. But it's hard to really judge a movie on its own merits when you have other versions to compare it to. I think overall it was a good, romantic movie. Despite the now-historical setting of the plot, the story line easily relates to folks today (well, maybe not all of the husband-catching, but if you relate it to dating, then yes). It's also very family-friendly with only a very few innuendos (the scene where Mr. Collins accidentally blurts out "intercourse" while preaching, the scandal caused by the youngest sister, which isn't explained in detail). If you're a romance fan, it's definitely worth renting.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Hall Pass

Apparently the theme of August is dirty diapers. After her exploding pants routine a couple of weekends ago, she's now back to having the runs a bit. I'm sure that's just what you wanted to hear. She had some trouble (as in, quite a few rather watery dirty diapers) Tuesday night. Wednesday, she had like 4 that daycare called "loose". Wednesday night she was fine however. Yesterday, she had 3 more, 2 of which were classified "loose", and we were told that she'd have to stay home today unless she got a doctor's note. We heard this news at 3:30, when I was actually packing to leave for the day, so I gave her pediatrician a call and got a 4:20 appointment (which I could almost make).

I rushed to daycare, grabbed my happy, smiling, energetic daughter, and headed for the ped's new office. This doctor is great, but when we started seeing her she had an office about 10 minutes from our house. She has since started her own practice in the middle-of-nowhere-suburbia (that part of town where they plant corn on one side of the highway and new houses on the other, and the new houses take less time to grow). Since it was rush hour, and apparently many thousands of people work here and live there, I hit some traffic on the way. I actually got there by 4:30, which isn't really too bad I guess.

Charlotte was weighed (24lbs, fully dressed--seems high to me) and examined. She dutifully soiled a diaper during the examination, so the pediatrician got a first-hand look at the "looseness", which really wasn't bad--not watery at all, more like a newborn's cottage-cheese (hey, if you're not interested in the consistency of dirty diapers, then you shouldn't have read this far). She said that Charlotte was not contagious and looked to be on her way to recovery. She wrote us our "hall pass" for daycare, and instructed us to give no juice, and more bananas and fibrous things. She also gave us a couple of samples of diaper cream for her diaper rash (we have more at home, but I had none in my purse at the time--not something I generally carry to work).

So, much to the joy of her diaper-changers, Charlotte is happily playing at daycare today.