Wednesday, October 31, 2012


In honor of Halloween, here are 17 photos of animals in costume.

My favorite is the pug dressed as a pug:

Followed by the Mariachi hedgehog:

And the lizard dressed as a flying lizard:

The dog dressed as a horse is entirely too creepy:

I dumped a bag of candy in a bowl and turned the porch light on, but I'm not too optimistic about trick-or-treaters.  Happy Halloween!  Anyone doing anything fun tonight?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What I learned in baby classes...

Last weekend/Monday and yesterday evening we attended the first four of our baby classes at the hospital where I will deliver.  We had "Caring for your Newborn" last Saturday morning, the labor and delivery floor tour last Sunday, "Post-partum Care"  last Monday evening and "Breastfeeding" last night.  I probably could have skipped all the classes and just read this helpful cartoon...

but I'll share with you the more interesting tidbits we picked up.
  • Your baby will probably come out looking weird.  It's probably okay.  We went through a list of probably a dozen unfortunately-named conditions a baby can be born with: stork bites, baby acne, mongoloid spots, cone head...  All named to strike fear in the heart of a new mother but none particularly serious.
If the first 30 minutes are any indication, life is rough.  [source]  
  • While the vibe at the hospital is "hotel with reclining beds and flashing lights", there's some pretty hard-core security going on.  After the baby is born, he gets a security tag clamped on his umbilical cord that automatically locks all the doors and elevators when he goes by.  They haven't lost one yet...
  • Everything about post-partum care is gross.  You will be a tired, deflated, leaky water balloon.  Ew.
  • Breast feeding is harder than you would think.  There are more holding positions than a wrestling match.  Anyone who does it until their kid is 5 is in serious need of a new hobby.
We have our final class - labor and delivery - on Saturday morning.  It's an all day event and we're supposed to bring pillows, blankets, and an exercise/birth ball if we have one.  Should be interesting...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Scenes from the weekend

My parents were in town visiting this weekend, and they had such a good time, they've decided to stay indefinitely*.

Saturday afternoon we went to the Wisconsin vs. Michigan St. game.  We parked on the west side of campus and walked through Union South and down Regent St. to say happy birthday to a friend who was out tailgating and see all the revelry.  A fair number of people were dressed in Halloween costumes, although   I didn't see any binders of women, Lance Armstrongs on steroids or chubby Gangnam-stype Korean guys.

We had great seats to the game - 10th row in the south end zone in the medical alumni association block.  

The one funny thing was that this year we had guy who sat behind us who seemed to be deeply offended on a personal level by the opposing team - especially their mascot.  I can only imagine how he yells when he's at work.  "You s*ck, atherosclerosis!  You wear a skirt!".  We stayed until we thought we were going to turn in to popsicles (the start of the 4th quarter) and then headed back home.  Unfortunately we missed the most exciting part of the game.  Fortunately it was the part where the Badgers lost.

Sunday we went out to Devil's Lake, a state park northwest of town.  Even though all the leaves had fallen from the trees, it was still really pretty to hike around the lake, and it was peaceful because there weren't many people around.  No pictures from there (yet) because they're on my dad's camera.  You can actually hike along the bluffs around the lake, but considering how poor my balance and coordination are right now we decided it was not a great idea and stuck to the flat trails near the water.

On the way home we took the Merrimac Ferry across the Wisconsin River.  It was the first time any(?) of us had been on a car ferry before.  

It was actually quite unnerving to get out of the car while the ferry was moving because it still looked like the car was moving, even though you knew it wasn't.

I think a good time was had by all.  It's kind of crazy that the next time we have visitors, we'll be parents!

*Their original flight was through Baltimore this morning, but it sounds like they were able to rebook and get a flight out through Atlanta tomorrow.  Thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by the storm.

Friday, October 26, 2012

32 weeks

Honestly there's not much new to say about me.  I'm starting to get curious and excited about "meeting" the baby.  I want to see this little person I've been carrying around for the last 7 months.  What still feels crazy and a bit overwhelming is that he could come anytime between 5 weeks (or really even 3 weeks wouldn't be crazy) from now when I'm full-term or 9 weeks from now when they induce me at 41 weeks.  When I think about having 8 or 9 weeks to go, actually being prepared for the baby seems manageable  but 3  - 5 weeks from now... yikes.  Must buy car seat NEXT WEEK.

The baby is about the size of a squash, which seems seasonally appropriate.

The ultrasound estimated his weight at 3.25 lbs (I typed 3.5 lbs yesterday, but that's incorrect), which is right on target.  The next weeks are all about plumping up and putting the finishing touches on all the reflexes and functions he needs to live on the outside.  I got to watch him take some practice breaths during the ultrasound yesterday, which was cool, but made it hard for the technician to get good measurements on him.

The only thing that still concerns me a bit is that he's still upside down or right side up depending on your perspective - thought everything I've read and the PA I saw today confirmed - that he still has plenty of time to turn.  If he doesn't turn by 37 weeks, then the options are to try to turn him or to do a C-section.  I'm leaning toward the "try to turn him" option if it comes to it.  The PA said that to do that, they'd bring me into the hospital and hook the baby up to a fetal monitor just in case he had any distress, and then try to push him around from the outside until he aims head down.  She said she had that done with one of her pregnancies, and, while it wasn't comfortable, it wasn't too painful either.    

That's about it... if you didn't see it, yesterday I did a post about my sonogram and included a couple pictures of the babe.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Baby pictures

I had a second ultrasound this afternoon, and, although the baby was being shy and spent the entire 30 minutes trying to hide behind my spinal column, we did get a couple good pictures.

Here's his little arms:

I think he has a future as a boxer.  The entire time he wasn't punching me, he was covering his face.

This is the only profile shot she was able to get.  You can see his fists up there in front of his face.

Although it was hard for me to tell what we were looking at, the woman doing the ultrasound said that he had  a full head of hair.  I guess that thing about heartburn = hair is true, at least in this case.

He's about 3.5lbs now and is in a jackknife position with his head and feet still pointing up.  I'll get more info at my regular OB appointment tomorrow, but the woman doing the ultrasound said that there's still plenty of time and room for him to turn head down.  Otherwise everything is a-ok.  I did ask her to check and make sure he was still a boy... he is :).


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

If you're tired of political ads interrupting your favorite shows on network TV or feeling uninspired by the next DVD in your Netflix queue, let me suggest an episode of the American Idol of Senegal... featuring sheep.

This YouTube video is 30 minutes long, and I know you wouldn't want to miss a moment of this incredibly popular TV show (really... its evidently a huge hit in Senegal), but if you just can't wait to see the winner, skip to about 32 minutes in.  Not that I know anything about sheep, but he's quite an impressive specimen.   I might have to tune in for next season.

Hat tip: NPR

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

You're doing it wrong

I'm guessing most people have seen this already, but if not, some of these are pretty ingenious (all images are from Buzzfeed).

Some of my favorites are:

1. Add a teaspoon of baking soda to the water so your hard boiled eggs peel like this:

Instead of this:

Editors note: I haven't actually tried this to see if it works, but I'm curious.

2. Clean a blender without having to actually wash it:

3. Make a BLT that actually has bacon in every bite.

I don't really like bacon, but that's a work of art.

4. Eat a cupcake without ODing on frosting:

5. Keep a Popsicle from dripping all over you:

6. Make a PB&J sandwich so the jelly won't drip all over you (Does this happen a lot?  I don't make PB&J often, but I don't remember ever having the "jelly bath" problem).

7. Instead of heating up your house by turning on the oven, use solar power to bake cookies in the summer (This one has "risk of food poisoning written all over it.)

The only one I take issue with is "how to squeeze a lemon":

I think the tongs are a good idea, but you're supposed to turn the lemon so the cut side is facing up.  The way she's squeezing it now, all the juice AND all the seeds would go right into the pitcher.

Oh, and there's also one about folding a fitted sheet but I don't think the pictures make the method very clear:

I guess I'll keep using the "ball it up" method of folding fitted sheets for now.

Hope you have a good Tuesday.

Monday, October 22, 2012


  • Suncrisp and sonata apples
  • Mylanta night-caps
  • Paul's letter to the Romans
  • The latest issue of Runner's World
And wishing I could watch:
  • The last season of Mad Men and Downton Abbey (Dear Netflix, Please making the last season of these shows available on streaming for those of us with husbands who don't like shows "about stuff".)
  • Murdoch Mysteries
Working on:
  • Christmas ornaments
  • A never-ending list of baby and apartment projects
  • All the stuff I've put off at work for the last 6 months that HAS to be done before the baby arrives
Thankful for:
  • A working refrigerator (New temperature control installed on Friday.  Ketchup returned to a liquid on Saturday.)
  • Beautiful fall weather
  • The baby I'll meet in just (about) 2 months (!!!!)
Looking forward to:
  • Running again (Runner's World always has that affect on me)
  • Seeing my parents this weekend and going to the Wisconsin vs. Michigan St. football game
  • Attending a taping of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me in Milwaukee next month
  • Maternity leave (just being honest)

What's going on with you?

Friday, October 19, 2012

31 weeks

While I'm still feeling good and moving around well, I'm starting to see why women are ready to be DONE being pregnant at 40 weeks.  Anything that involves bending in the middle - putting on my socks, lifting something out of a deep freeze (that was exciting, and no, I didn't end up in there head first) and doing a seated forward fold in yoga - have gotten much more difficult.  The other noteworthy thing that happened this week is I crossed the line from having a "normal" BMI to being in the overweight category.  Not that it applies when your pregnant, but I thought it was interesting.  I can totally see why people feel so much better when they lose weight.  Carrying around a bunch of extra weight (even if it's cute, wiggly weight) is HARD.

Also, running is totally out at this point.  I think the last time I ran was at 29 weeks, and it was uncomfortable even with the belly band.  As much as I would have liked to run right up until delivery (I'm amazed at moms who do it), it's actually been a huge relief to not try to struggle through it anymore.  I ran when I thought I was going to puke during the first trimester and when I thought my bladder was going to explode during the second trimester.  Now it's time for a break.  I'm still walking 4mi around my neighborhood 3-4 times per week and doing the elliptical 2x so hopefully I'm maintaining some kind of aerobic fitness.

This week the baby is the size of a pineapple.

He's developing neural connections and is processing information from all 5 senses.  There's lots of movement in there, and I think he's discovered a bulls eye painted on the inside of my upper right quadrant because it seems to be his favorite spot to kick and stretch.

Lots of baby related things coming up in the next week.  Tomorrow is the "taking care of your baby" class at the hospital, Sunday we go on a tour of the labor and delivery unit, Monday is the breastfeeding class, Thursday I have another ultrasound to look at the baby's position, and Friday I have my next OB appointment.  Whew.  I remember when I signed up for those classes they felt like a million years away.  Time really has flown!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Rain Check

I can't think of anything interesting to post today, and I feel like I might be coming down with whatever Daniel had at the beginning of the week (not to mention that it's actually raining), so I'm going to take the evening off and curl up with a magazine on the couch instead.  See you tomorrow for my 31 week update.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Baby Book Report - Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

First, take a deep breath.  I did not pick up this book with the intention of getting serious child-raising tips from it.  I think it came up on a list when I was browsing for something non-baby related to read, and I thought, "let's see what all the fuss was about".

However, it ended up being entertaining (in a "gnarly car crash where no one is actually hurt" kind of way), and there were a few points that came up as I was reading that I thought were worth thinking about and mentioning.

If you don't know/don't care/don't remember when this book made headlines back in the early spring of 2011, it's written by a mother who is determined to raise her two daughters the "Chinese way" (read: dictator) rather than the "American way" (read: Mr. Rodgers).  Amy Chua, the author, caught a lot of flack when the book came out because she talks about how she never let her daughters have play dates (When would there be time for them to learn algebra in the 1st grade?) and documents raging, screaming battles where she forces them to practice the piano and violin while on family vacation.  As crazy as she comes across in the book, it's definitely more along the lines of "I'm glad she's not my mother" crazy rather than "call child protective services" crazy.  Think of a Toddlers and Tiaras mom who shops at Wegmans rather than WalMart.          

But while Chua heaps praise on what she calls "Chinese parents", there are Barnes and Noble shelves lined with books by other authors complaining that helicopter parents (and I challenge Chua to say that her Chinese parents are not one in the same) are *gasp* ruining American society.  Both sides have valid points (you will probably have to MAKE your kid brush his teeth but you should probably not write his college admissions essay), and the challenge is in finding a balance between the extremes of 4-hour violin practice and letting Little Johnny learn the stove is hot through personal experimentation.  And all that depends parents (you can hear the whirring of my rotor blades now) and on the kid.  Kids who want to please or just don't care tend to do well with helicopter parents.  Headstrong kids who want their own way will rebel and parents lose the control they desperately desire.

The other issue that comes up in the book is that, while Chua repeatedly says her parenting style was for the benefit of her daughters and not for her own personal gratification, it doesn't take a psychology degree to tell that she has a lot of her self-worth tied up in her daughters' successes.  Chua takes this to an extreme degree, but I think that's a temptation that every parent must struggle with.  I know that thinking about the kind of mother I want to be makes me reflect on the decisions I've made in my own life and my own relationship with my parents.  What if I'd done X differently?  Would my life really be better?  Would I want something different for my child?  Would that really be better?  For example, as long as Baby Sniglar-Moonpie shows any interest, I'd like to start him taking (age appropriate) piano lessons at a pretty early age (like early elementary school), which is something neither Daniel or I did.  On the other hand, I'm not convinced that obsessing over sending him to Harvard as an undergraduate would really improve his or our lives.

So parents, future parents, people who know they never want to be parents... what do you think?  Where do you fall on the helicopter vs. "let the kid learn on his own" spectrum?  Do you think feelings about your past color the way you raise(d) your children?  Any advice for someone who wants to be a good mom who is involved in her kids lives but knows she will probably be tempted to go overboard?        

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Three Things Tuesday

1. The fridge man came out and looked at our fridge today.  He moved some things around and spun the temperature controls in the back and pronounced it "stuck on".  Evidently the compressor is still blowing cold air in the fridge even when the control appears to be turned off.  The anti-gravity turnips agree.

Since the fridge is old enough to be my brother's older sibling, the part has to be ordered (from eBay?  Kazakhstan?) so it will take a few days before the repair is complete and we can store raw veggies and milk again, but I'm happy it's getting fixed.  And I'm happy that the part that's broken doesn't involve pulling the fridge away from the wall.  There's probably some scary stuff back/down there.

2. I bought a package of heavy duty page protectors from Amazon a couple days ago (sorry, environment, but free shipping means one less errand to run), but instead of a pack of 200, they sent a pack of 50.  50 is probably more in line with what my actual page-protecting needs are, but I didn't want to pay for something I didn't get.  The only problem is that, like a fool, I opened the package just to make sure that the 50 on the front really did mean 50 and not 200.  It meant 50.  So I violated the return policy and was afraid I couldn't send it back.

Anyway, it took me FOREVER to find a link (this should get you there) to contact the customer service center, but once I did, I was really impressed.  I chatted with a nice young man who probably wished he was asleep rather than sitting in a call center at 3am in Bangalore who issued me a refund and sent me a return mailing label even though the pack was opened.  Two thumbs up, Amazon.

3. Do you want to know why your last hospital stay was so expensive?  This is why:

Because the UW health system was ranked the #1 hospital in Wisconsin, all hospital and med school employees got a free gift (we were expecting coffee mugs) that turned out to be a fancy backpack.  It has 27 different zippered compartments, at least 3 of which I've identified as laptop/iPad sleeves.

There are all kinds of crazy pockets and compartments.

And this thing... I don't even know what this is, but you can bet someone paid $50 for a Band-aid so I could have it.

The only part that I understand how to use (the part where you stick pens and... baseball cards???  Actually I'm not sure what that thing on the right is for...) is labeled.  This backpack is not for the pen-using class.

While I obviously drank the backpack Kool-Aid with the rest of the masses, with healthcare costs as crazyinsane as they are, I'm not sure this was the best use of UW hospital resources.  No word on how much $$$$$ this ranking will bring in for UW hospital or how little the Chinese peasants who made these things were paid.  Life is easier when you just enjoy your backpack in lieu of raise and don't ask too many questions.  And just as long as they keep taco bar Tuesday and Diet Sprites in the cafeteria, I probably will.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Nursery 1.0

There's still a lot to be done in the nursery, but I think we're ready to do the initial reveal.

Here's the view from the door:

And the (somewhat more boring) view of the other side of the room:

At first we had the chest/changing table and the crib swapped, but I kept coming back to wanting to be able to look into the room and see the baby in his crib without having to actually walk all the way into the room.  Really there are several ways that the furniture could go, so we can try out this set up and change it later if necessary.  There was some concern about placing the crib over a heating vent, but I'm pretty sure we're not going to rotisserie our son.

While I know* that it's super dangerous to put pillows or comforters in the baby's crib with the baby, I put out one of our pillow sets/duvet covers for decoration until he comes.  We got two animal-themed blankets and one that's striped with primary colors.  Here's a close up of the one I have out now:

While we bought enough toys at Ikea to stock a pre-school, I decided just to get out the ones that are age appropriate for now.  Here's the crib gym with a couple other squishy/fuzzy toys:

That grey thing is an elephant.

Close up of Mr. Hedgehog:

The exception to the toy rule is my monstrous Cragslist impulse buy** - the Baby Einstein home entertainment center:

Can you picture me here at 2am?

Now what we really need are some decorative items for the walls.  We have one shelf that was in Daniel's childhood bedroom that we are planning to put up plus a mobile for over the changing table, but we don't have anything else.  Sounds like a good excuse for a little Etsy browsing...

*There was a giant sticker on the side of the crib that took me 30 minutes, 2 fingernails and 1/2 bottle of Goo Gone to remove that told me so.

**Which will probably end up downstairs anyway.

Friday, October 12, 2012

30 Weeks

Seeing a "3" feels like hitting a milestone.

For comparison, here's me at 20 weeks.  I commented in that post that I'd "grown a lot".  Um... yeah...

And 10 weeks.

I really do look as bad as I felt back then.  I may have had the tiniest bit of a waist remaining, but it was all I could do to remain upright.  I wouldn't trade an ounce of lung capacity lost to go back that point.

Still not quite here yet (this was the pillow you could wear to try on maternity clothes):

But actually it's not far of either... I'm thinking I might hit that by 40 weeks.

The vegetable of the week is the cucumber:


The baby is continuing to grow and mature.  I got a thumbs up from the doctor at my appointment yesterday.  The baby's heart beat was strong, and I was measuring on track, but we were going to wait a few more weeks for the baby to move around before we check on positioning.  As for me, I got my Tdap booster so my arm is pretty sore.  We talked about doing movement checks throughout the day and signs of early labor (eeek).  But yeah... everything is going well, and I start going back in every 2 weeks.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012



One of the fun things (at least in my opinion) about working in a small office is that every employee gets to be involved - at least a little bit - in all the parts of the work we do*.  Right now we're gearing up for a new exam phase for our diabetes study, and as part of our quality control processes, our study examiners take practice measurements on practice participants (read: other employees) to ensure they are doing things in a standard way.

Last Tuesday it was my turn to go in to have my height, weight, waist-hip ratio, blood pressure, and grip strength measured.  The examiners, who are all women so they are attuned to body-image type things, told me that it was perfectly fine if, because I was pregnant, I didn't want to be weighed or have waist and hip measurements done.  If for some reason knowing how "big" I was (or maybe more importantly having other people know how "big" I am) would make me feel self conscious.

Actually, I think the opposite has been true.  While I felt somewhat self-conscious during the early weeks when no one knew I was pregnant and I really did just look chunky, for the most part I've felt that being pregnant has been very liberating from body image issues.  Sure I didn't want to gain a zillion pounds, and I know eating a healthy diet is the best thing for both me and the baby, but as far as what I look like goes, I haven't really cared that much.

So I weigh a hundred and forty (cough, cough) pounds?  I'm supposed to gain weight.  So my waist to hip ratio is 2 - 1?  That space is being rented out though December (but not after, my darling little tax deduction).  I would have cared way more about how much I weighed before I got pregnant, and you better believe I'd have been mentally converting those waist and hip measurements from cm to inches.  Tuesday I didn't even try to look at the forms.  The number was what it was, and that was fine.  In fact I find it novel to see how much my body can/will grow.

The other thing about pregnancy weight gain is that, maybe I have gained some extra squish on my legs and behind, but my body shape is so different and my clothes are so fabulously comfortable and stretchy that I honestly can't tell.  All secrets will come to light in January, and I do want to get in shape again after the baby is delivered, but I have to say, it's been nice to take a multiple month break from the body drama we all experience from oh... middle school on.

And that is worth a lot of heartburn and midnight trips to the bathroom.

*We run two population studies on eye disease.