Thursday, November 29, 2012

What will you give me if I promise NOT to get you one for Christmas?

Because for the low low price of $1200, a Japanese scientist will sell an expectant mother a 3-D printed model of her fetus.  It even comes with a mini version that can be used as a cellphone trinket.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Not today

I was stressing about coming up with something interesting to write about today,* but then I saw this

and laughed and decided "Who cares?".  Not that I'm walking on the moon or anything, but sometimes life has to take priority over fixating over writing about life.

*The most interesting thing that happened today is that part of me has grown so large that I nearly had a wardrobe malfunction in the middle of a meeting.  We're talking Janet Jackson-style wardrobe malfunction.  Yikes.  I do plan to do a follow-up on my time-tracking experiment soon, but I've been trying to get extra work done in the evenings, and that cramps my blog/internet style.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

NOW the baby has everything he needs

Forget Pat the Bunny and Goodnight Moon, thanks to my friend and co-worker Kerri we are now the proud owners of:

This helpful introduction to the subject follows the characters f and x on an adventure through the alphabet.

I don't know if I'd be sad or proud if our baby bypasses "mama" and makes his first word "hyperbolic".

Monday, November 26, 2012

Weekend summary

1. So there was this football game on Saturday afternoon...

I know this is a sore spot for some of my readers (and others are confused but vaguely recalling me saying something about Florida once...), but I couldn't let it go unmentioned.

2. Saturday evening we had a fantastic dinner at Nostrano.  The actual entree was very good, but I give most of my points for the desert, which I have no trouble making room for in my top 5 favorite deserts of all time.  It was called a crepeze, and it kind of reminded me of baklava in a way.  Here's a picture from the internets (not what we actually at at the restaurant):

It had a cinnamon/sugar/honey/caramelized flavor and was served with pears and marscapone sorbet.  Not bad for a last meal  nice dinner out as a childless couple.

3. I think we settled on a name for the baby.  Before we didn't tell anyone a name because we really had no idea what we wanted to call him.  Now we know and are not telling because it's fun to be secretive and smug :).

4. Yesterday I had lunch with a friend who is also expecting a little boy (her second kiddo) this spring.

That picture was taken just a few weeks ago at my baby shower, and I can't believe how much I feel like I've... expanded... since then.

5. We've also been busy with a lot of "around the house" projects this weekend.  Daniel put together a new bookcase for the living room and took down these annoying swinging doors that led from the hallway into the kitchen and always caught on anything you were trying to carry through there.  I repopulated the new bookshelf and did some sorting and archiving in the baby's room as well as the normal house cleaning.  I guess this is what they mean by the nesting instinct...


Friday, November 23, 2012

36 weeks

The fruit of the week is the honeydew.

The prize winning honeydew at the state fair.

To be honest, I don't have much more to say.  I had a regular OB visit this morning and everything looked good.  No signs that the baby will be coming to join us anytime soon, but that was expected.  It's just something that's routinely checked at this point.

We had a nice but quiet Thanksgiving yesterday.  I nearly finished cleaning out the nursery closet in the morning, and then we had lunch and a Downton Abbey marathon couch-fest in the afternoon.

I'm working today but hoping to get some more baby/house related projects finished this weekend.  Saturday evening we have reservations at Nostrano - a fancy restaurant on the square- to celebrate Thanksgiving and have our last real night out before the baby comes!  

Anybody brave the Black Friday crowds early this morning or last night?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving - Thanksgiving is an annual tradition of observing how people used to communicate before the Internet

I don't know if it's the 60-degree weather (until tomorrow when the high is 31 - ick) or the fact it came so early in November, but it's hard for me to believe it's already Thanksgiving.  We didn't travel anywhere this year (not that we ever do - it would mean a very long drive or very crowded flight for not that much actual visiting time) and aren't having anyone over, but we've still planned a slightly upscale meal (roast beef, salad, acorn squash, stuffing for Daniel, Trader Joe's chocolate peppermint bread) for sometime today.

Otherwise the day is weirdly wide open. - I have no Thanksgiving plans

 For the past few years I've run the Berbee Derby on Thanksgiving morning, but - for obvious reasons - that's not happening today either.  I have tentative plans to clean out the upstairs closet, write our Christmas letter, work on ornaments and possibly catch some of the Downton Abbey season 2 marathon playing on PBS today.  Then it's back to work tomorrow.  That probably sounds lame, but I'm just not a huge holiday person.  Plus this year I feel like both Thanksgiving and Christmas have taken a back seat mentally to "baby is being born" day.

Anyway, hope you are having a fun-tastic Thanksgiving. - If you didn't want to sit at the kids' table then you shouldn't have seen the new Twilight movie

PS - Thanks for the feedback about the stroller.  It sounds like we are going to be glad we bought it.  There's just so much baby gear out there...  it's hard to know what's useful and what's not. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

One step closer to being responsible parents

It's been hanging over my head for weeks, but we FINALLY bought a car seat last night and had the base installed.

The Chicco key fit car seat in evergreen [source]

The reason we waited is because the local children's hospital has a safety center sponsored by Kohl's where parents can buy safety gear including car seats, gates, latches etc. at a discount (doing a little browsing online, I'd say we saved somewhere around $50-$60 shopping there rather than in a retail store).  However, it's only open a limited number of hours per week and only after work on Tuesdays.  We finally made it in yesterday evening, and it was BUSY, but the staff was very helpful and -although the selection there wasn't large - we're happy with our choice.  There are so many positions, latches, buttons, straps, etc. that I'm glad we had someone just show us how to install it rather than trying to do it based on reading the manual.

We also took the plunge and bought a stroller - or rather a base to plug the car seat into that acts like a stroller.


We went back and forth on the stroller thing quite a bit before we decided to buy this one.  The big "con" is that it only works with the baby car seat.  Once he's too big for the infant seat, he's too big for the stroller.  However, it was so so so so much lighter and easier to push and fold than a stroller that works with both a car seat and converts to hold a toddler.  We decided that at the point it was time for him to go in a toddler-sized stroller, we'd hopefully be able to get one that was just made for forward facing that would be easy to push and fold as well.

Although the car seat was 100% necessary, I am having a tiny bit of buyer's remorse about the stroller.  I guess I'm just afraid that we're not going to use it enough to justify the cost.  A stroller is one of those things that you are "supposed to" buy, but when exactly do you use it?  You can't take it to the grocery store because you can't push a stroller and a cart at the same time.  You can't take it to church because... I don't know... it seems like it would get in people's way.  You can't take it to the mall because once you have a baby, you better stay away from the mall ;).  I can see myself taking the baby out for a walk when it gets warm enough, but wouldn't I just want to carry him in one of those Ergo things?  It wasn't that expensive, but I dunno...

Moms - what do you think about the stroller thing???  Are we wasting our money???  Are we going to be glad we have this thing???  Should we return it?  We still have (I hope - Daniel picked it up) the receipt.  

It's getting real...



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Working out in the 3rd trimester - I'm going to the gym so I can tell you I'm going to the gym.

To be honest, I'm using the term "working out" pretty loosely at this point.  My "fitness" routine at 35.5 weeks pregnant looks something like this: walk about 4 mi 3-4x per week, 30 min elliptical + 30 minutes using weight machines 1-2x per week, and yoga 1x per week.  What I do on any particular day has more to do with schedule considerations than anything else (Do I have a doctor's appointment first thing in the morning?  Then I'd better walk at home.  Early morning meeting?  Sometimes getting to the university really early and going to the gym is the most efficient use of time.)  Because I'm not doing anything strenuous at this point, I try to do something physical every day*.

Although I have a huge, HUGE respect for gals who run - at least a little bit - all the way up until they deliver, I'm happy with my decision to stop at 29 weeks.  I know it's going to make getting back in to shape later that much harder, but it was so uncomfortable that I think if I'd tried to continue, I'd have just made myself frustrated and miserable.  I'd also probably have done myself a favor going to the gym and doing the elliptical more to simulate the aerobic benefits of running, but most mornings it's so much easier to be able to just get up and walk from home so that's been my exercise default.  I will say that our new neighborhood is pretty hilly so I suppose I'm getting some benefit from that as well. - I'll start exercising on a regular basis when my body is so out of shape it is impossible for me to exercise on a regular basis.

Working out at the university gym at 8 months pregnant does get you some interesting looks.  The senior fitness class is there in the early morning, and I've had a few of the older ladies ask me when I'm due, but for the most part people steer clear.  The funny thing is that - even though the campus gym is um... maybe "old school" is a good word - I'm actually kind of sad that my workouts there are numbered.  I spent a lot of winter mornings in there running hard and trying not to puke over the past four years.  However, baby care needs + actually having space for the treadmill  where it can be used without disturbing anyone means that having a gym membership really doesn't make sense anymore.  Hopefully I'll have time to clear out my locker and say goodbye before the baby is born, but if not, I've got some locker clean out back up so all my stuff doesn't get thrown away.  Who knows how much of my third trimester I have left to exercise?!  

*Although it's getting to the point where regular activities of daily life like carrying laundry up the stairs, sweeping out the garage, and standing at work can feel strenuous.

Monday, November 19, 2012


The number of hours in a week.  Hours we probably aren't - if we are honest with ourselves- using as productively as we could.  A few years ago Laura Vanderkam wrote a time management book focused on being aware of how we spend each of our 168 hours* and identifying inefficiencies and time-wasters that we can dump to free up more hours to do the things we want and need to do.


Inspired by a few other bloggers, as well as my desire to try to maintain some kind of work-life balance after the baby is born, I decided to conduct my own time audit this week.  It's kind of a weird week to do it because of the Thanksgiving holiday, but I decided not to track Thursday and just use the data from a representative weekday like Tuesday or Wednesday twice to make everything add up.

Some activities are harder to track than others because you can do multiple things at the same time, but my plan is to assign a label based on what I'm primarily doing at the time.  If I'm watching TV but every once in awhile I run up and down stairs to deal with the laundry, I'm watching TV.  If I'm working on my Christmas ornaments and I put on some music or turn on the TV for background noise, then I'm doing Christmas ornaments.  Not exactly scientific, but I think it'll work.

I'll report back next week on the results.  Not that I don't know where I waste time (spoiler alert - after dinner), but I'm hoping that being more aware of what I'm doing will help me make better use of my time - especially after the baby comes.  

*Not 186 hours, which must have something to do with a horror movie because I got some really weird images when I Googled that by accident.

Friday, November 16, 2012

35 weeks

I'm not sure you get the full impact from this picture, but I'm really starting to look BIG.  Fortunately - I guess as some kind of protective mechanism - I don't actually feel that big, but every time I look in the mirror from the side I'm surprised at how far my belly sticks out.  My official weight gain at 35 weeks is 18lbs (2lbs until I cross the 150lb barrier, yikes!).  Although I welcome the baby to stick around as long as he likes, I don't relish the thought of being 40 or 41 weeks pregnant.  I'm still not quite as big as the pillow picture, but I'm not that far off, either.

This week the baby is the size of a coconut (bigger than any coconut I've ever seen), and most of his physical development is complete - he's just spending the rest of his stay gaining weight.

I'm seeing the obstetrician weekly now and she will start checking for signs of labor starting the Friday after Thanksgiving (at 36 weeks).  It's still hard to wrap my head around the thought that the baby could be here very soon!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Three things Thursday

1. My sweet, wonderful coworkers hosted a potluck and baby shower for me yesterday.

They very generously gave me a lot of great baby items including a bottle washer, What to Expect During the First Year, adorable baby clothes, bath items, a mirror for the car so I can tell what the heck the baby is doing back there while I'm driving, a Pack-n-Play, and a gift card to round out the rest of our needs.

The picture album contains index cards with funny, sweet and helpful parenting tips from everyone.  I haven't read them all yet, but "Don't mix Mt. Dew in the baby formula" sticks with me.  I'm presuming that's because it clumps.  Don't worry - I'm planning to breast feed, and I'm sure he'll get plenty of Mt. Dew through that.

2. My belly button has officially popped out.  I wasn't 100% sure for awhile because it looks nothing like a normal outie belly button, but I'm thinking this is what I get.  No pictures.  Thank me forever.

3. We are driving to Milwaukee this evening to see a live taping of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me.  I know it's kind of silly, but that show has gotten me through a lot of hours of house cleaning, and I find it pretty funny and entertaining.  I know the time we have where we can just drop everything and go out on a Thursday night is very limited (6 weeks ABSOLUTE max), so I want to enjoy these last few opportunities.

The weekend is coming!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Yoga at 34 weeks pregnant

Even though I've only kept up with it once a week, I'm glad I've continued doing yoga throughout my pregnancy.  Even though some parts become more lax to get ready to make the great baby slip-n-slide, other joints and muscles get an extra workout having to carry a bunch of extra weight all in one spot (although I think I've probably gained a baby in each thigh, too).

Some studios/gyms offer specific prenatal yoga classes, but I didn't go that route for a few reasons.  

1. The classes I found tended to either be offered during work hours or later in the evening, which don't fit my schedule.  

2. I was afraid that a prenatal class would be so "gentle" that I wouldn't get much out of it or that we would spend all our time trying to find the "Earth Mother within".

3. The studio where Daniel and I attend has small classes, and you get a lot of personalized attention from the instructor.  I liked being able to continue doing "regular" yoga with necessary modifications as my body changed.  Plus, there are no mirrors in the room, so even though I'm sure I look like this:

[source - Not a perfect comparison,
but there's no pictures of hippos doing yoga]
   I feel like this:


Right now I can still do most of the standing series (warrior I and II, triangle, reverse triangle, etc.), but I've stopped doing any kind of inversion where I actually kick my feet off the ground (headstand, forearm stand), and a lot of forward folds and twists need to be modified.  Forward folds are pretty easy because all I have to do is adjust my legs to be farther apart to have extra belly space.  For the twists, I usually just twist in the opposite direction.  I still get a good stretch and again, it gives my belly somewhere to go.

Although most women complain of having a sore lower back while pregnant, I've actually carried a lot of tension in my upper back, and I didn't realize before how much you actually stretch your thoracic spine and shoulders doing yoga.

The poses that I've found to be the most helpful in pregnancy - especially here at the end - are:

Downward-facing dog (great for stretching pretty much everything including the hamstrings, lower back, and shoulders):

Reverse triangle (again, feels really good on the shoulders and upper back):

Twisting lunge (stretches hip flexors and - you guessed it - the upper back).  I keep my back knee on the ground because my balance isn't so great anymore.:

I really wish I could get my act together to stretch like this every day.

My plan is to continue going once a week until the baby is born and a couple times after if I still have classes left on my pass.  Although videos/home practice are good, for me they aren't a substitute for the guidance of a teacher who actually knows what he/she is doing.

Do you enjoy yoga?  Think it's boring?  Have a favorite pose/studio/video/book?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The slow loris = the new sloth

Here's your daily dose of cute (hat tip, Kerri for the first video).

Monday, November 12, 2012

All my bags are packed...

Because we're getting to the point where the baby really could arrive at any time, I spent some time this weekend collecting all the items we think we might want at the hospital so we can throw them in a bag and leave ASAP if we need to.

We've got snacks for Daniel in case he can't escape to Subway at meal times.

A couple onesies plus a swaddle sack and some swaddle blankets and a receiving blanket for the baby.

Clothes for me.  All maternity/nursing items.

PJs and slippers.  I know I'm not going to want to be in the hospital gown any longer than I have to.

Reading material in case we're there for awhile plus the iPAD so we can communicate with the outside world.

Breast pump (were were told at baby class to bring this in case there are problems with feeding), storage bags, a nursing cover, and nursing pads.

Toiletries like lotion, toothbrush and toothpaste, some minimal make up, extra contacts and solution, my glasses, etc.

Notably missing is the car seat, but that's really really really really on our list of things to get ASAP.  

Can you think of anything we're missing?  Should I have more blankets in case he needs help being propped up in the car seat on the way home?  Other suggestions?

Friday, November 9, 2012

34 weeks

And going strong.

The fruit/vegetable of the week is the butternut squash.

This week his testicles started to descend (I'm sure you wanted to know that...), his fingernails have reached the ends of his little fingers, and he can recognize songs and things that he hears within the womb*.  34 weeks is a big milestone because most babies who are born even this early have few complications and are usually able to go home with only a short stay in the hospital.  The baby is, of course, welcome to stay as long as he likes**, but it's comforting to know that he'd probably be fine on the outside.

Nothing new is going on with me.  I've got the same old heartburn but fortunately no other complaints to report.  The standing desk set up is working out really well.  Being able to stand an hour and sit an hour has allowed me to not feel so squashed in the torso but also not have tired feet or an aching back.

This should be a fun weekend because a friend made a surprise visit to Madison, and Daniel and I are going to a Sacred Harp singing tomorrow morning.  Otherwise we'll just do normal errands and chores and maybe some shopping for a few post-partum-type items (nursing bras and tanks, etc.) to stick in the hospital bag.  I feel like I constantly have to remind myself how fast the time is going to go!  

*I always feel like statements like this are kind of voodoo.  How can scientists possibly know this is true?
** Or until Dec 31.  We need that tax deduction!  :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What English sounds like to non-English speakers

Skip the first 30 seconds.

All the lyrics are nonsense words except for "all right", but it really does sound like a song you just can't quite hear.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Three Things Tuesday

1. Vote, election, patriotism, duty, honor, service, country, blah blah blah.  Secondary to hoping the guy I want to win wins, I really hope that the outcome the election is clear enough that this doesn't drag on beyond tonight.


2. It's official.  I can't sit all day at work anymore.  If I lean forward in my chair, the baby wiggles to get me to stop squashing him.  If I lean back, he squashes my lungs.  And sit up and use good posture all day? Right...  So I got industrious yesterday and adjusted my keyboard and monitors up so I could alternate standing and sitting (on a tall chair).

The set up is kind of ghetto right now - everything is balanced on plastic paper trays - but I'm liking it so far.  I've been alternating about an hour of standing with an hour of sitting, and I'm much more comfortable at the end of the day.  I didn't want to make any permanent changes until I decided if I liked standing, but I think I might pull the trigger and get an actual standing desk after the baby is born.

3. Check out this radish that kind of looks like a runner (hat tip, Daniel).

Monday, November 5, 2012

Birth plans

Last weekend we went to our final "getting ready for baby" class on labor and delivery, and I think it was the most helpful one that we took.  It was worth the commitment of almost an entire Saturday because I really do feel a lot more prepared for the whole childbirth thing.  I definitely have a better understanding about what is going to be happening to me physically and what will be going on at the hospital once I arrive.  Although I have read some books that cover childbirth, I thought the teacher did a great job making the whole process easy to understand and remember.  Here are a couple things I picked up from the class that I plan to do/start doing in the coming weeks.

  • Dedicate a bag as the "going to the hospital" bag and start filling it up with stuff.  That way every time I think of something I want to bring, I can just throw it in the bag rather than having to try to remember as we're running out the door to the hospital.  We've been given several lists of things to bring, but some of the items I wouldn't have thought of are: 
    • The breast pump in case there are issues with feeding
    • Snacks for Daniel
    • PJs to wear if I want something more modest than the hospital gown but don't want to put on my regular clothes just yet
    • The iPAD and books/magazines in case we're there for awhile
  • Write a birth plan.  I was reluctant to do this before the class because I don't want to be "one of those moms" or a difficult patient, but after yesterday I think it's absolutely the right thing to do.  It's not about trying to script the event, "I will labor for this long and have this medication at this time and I will absolutely not have a C-section" which is obnoxious because it isn't realistic, but it's about laying out your feelings about the birth experience on paper for a time in the future when you might not be able to articulate them yourself.  It would be one thing if I could just talk to my doctor about my wishes ahead of time, but there's no guarantee that she will be the one who delivers the baby.  In fact, because there are several doctors on the call schedule, it is likely that she won't.  Here's what I'm thinking about putting in the plan:
    • If I'm having trouble coping with labor pain, I want to have suggested to me/ be reminded of different positions, breathing techniques, etc. first to see if those help.
    • If I'm not getting enough relief from non-medical intervention and ask for an epidural, I want to have my progress checked to see how far along I am.  If I'm in transition or getting close, I want encouragement to keep going and to be reminded that it will take awhile to get the epidural and have it start working.
    • If I get to a point in labor where I'm exhausted and distressed and delivery is not going to happen any time soon, I want to have an epidural so I can relax a bit and regroup to push later on.
Obviously all of that goes out the window if there's any concern about the baby's (or my) safety, but I think those are reasonable requests for a normal delivery... right?  Not too dictatorial or obnoxious?  

I actually really do want to try to deliver without medication, but I feel like it's just so hard to know what it will actually be like until I'm in the situation.  "They" say it's the worst pain of your life, and when I think of the worst pain I've experienced up to this point, it's probably being burned by the oven, but is having a baby like being burned by the oven for 24 hours straight?  I don't think so...  

Any moms want to chime in about things to bring to the hospital, birth plans, labor pain, etc?  


Friday, November 2, 2012

33 weeks

Time really is flying!

This week the baby is the size of a durian (I guess when you have to come up with 42 different fruits and vegetables some are better than others).

Not much else to report.  I'm feeling good.  The baby has been active.  Sometimes I feel like he's an octopus trying to climb out of the top of his tank.  He's still gaining weight, developing his brain and immune system, and his bones are hardening.  

Tomorrow we go to our all-day labor and delivery class.  We're supposed to bring blankets, pillows and an exercise ball if we have one.  Should be interesting...

Thursday, November 1, 2012


First things first - we didn't get any trick-or-treaters last night.  I was a little disappointed but not really surprised, and - glass half full - was able to console myself with a huge bowl of fun-sized Reese's pumpkins.

On a completely different topic, I don't remember where I found it, but here's an interesting video series geared toward runners showing ways to self-massage and stretch to promote recovery and eliminate the tightness that can turn into injury.  The guy in the videos sounds like foam roller dungeon-master who is 3 cups of espresso past the legal limit, but he seems to know what he's talking about.  I played around with doing some of the exercises last night, and they were that perfect combination of hurts so bad/so good.  Here's one about working out tightness in your calves and Achilles tendon.

Because I sit at a desk and type/use a mouse for way more hours of the day than I do anything physical, I actually have a lot more tightness in my upper back and shoulders than I do in my legs right now.  Curious to see what he had to say about upper body mobility, I went searching for shoulder exercise videos, and found this one:

Although it's geared toward weightlifting-type people, all the problems he's talking about are exactly what I call "computer shoulder" and are responsible for all of my illicit* Advil consumption.  We have a foam roller and a couple tennis balls at home, and I'm curious to try out some of the moves when I'm at home this evening.  One thing I miss about doing yoga more often is how much better my neck and shoulders felt when I was doing regular upper back and shoulder stretches.

Do you stretch?  Foam roll?  Often?  Love it?  Hate it?

*Advil is on the "no-no" list when you're pregnant, but I think it works waaaayyyy better than Tylenol for computer shoulder.