Saturday, May 31, 2008

Going Early

I know that by this time in a pregnancy, many women are dying to go into labor early. The discomfort is getting to them and they're getting anxious, and going early relieves them of those last weeks of torture. I am not one of those women. I really don't want to go early. I also don't want to go late, so I'm hoping to hit my due date perfectly. Wishful thinking, I know, but a girl can dream.

There's way too much to do before the baby comes to go early. The baby's room is still in piles around the perimeter of the room, and there's still no furniture. We have it ordered and will hopefully have it in the next week or two, at which point I can start doing laundry and putting things away/in place. But until then there's not a lot of other things we can do. Some, but not a lot. I still haven't packed my hospital bag, but there's a couple reasons for that. First of all, I use a lot of the stuff that I would pack...toiletries, clothes, etc. Second, in most cases we'll have some time to kill before heading off to the hospital...we can't go until contractions are five minutes apart for an hour, and sometimes that takes a while to get there. So I suppose I need to get some sort of bag started, and I can add to it when we have that time to kill. It'll keep my mind off the pain, anyway.

I also have the work issue to deal with...that my goal is to work until the end. I'd rather not go early and leave work undone, you know? Even if my backup is in place and I should have a laptop to bring home with me just in case, I'd rather not have to do damage control in the event I go early. I'd like a nice, clean break.

I may start thinking differently in the next couple weeks as the weather warms up and I continue to get more uncomfortable, but still....there's a lot to do. Like I said, I don't want to go late either, because it will be hot by then, it could screw up my maternity leave schedule, and I'm not sure how I feel about the 4th of July...probably no fireworks and picnic for me this year either way!

I'm optimistic that I won't go early just because I don't have any risk factors, I'm not that big (relatively belly is huge but I know it could be much bigger), and the baby is still really high. I may find out differently this week when I go to the doctor and start my weekly visits (complete with internal exams for the first time since the beginning of this process), but for now I'm just ignoring all of the friendly folks that keep telling me stories about how all of their friends have gone early. I can't do much about it either way, though now I start getting into the "Oh, crap...what if my water breaks in public or in some other really inconvenient place?" fears. Hard to believe there's less than a month to go!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Stay-at-home parents

I am extremely jealous of stay-at-home parents. I probably alluded to this a bit when we went through the day care thing, but in the last day or so jealousy has had a few chances to rear its ugly head. At our last child birth class we got on a discussion of day care. I was generally jealous of pretty much everyone there, because most of them had this nice setup NOT involving a day care center. Some had parents, some had a highly recommended in-home day care, and one is staying home until at least December. Not only did most of them have piece of mind with whomever they chose, they were also paying a heck of a lot less than the places we looked at. I wish we had that luxury...any of those luxuries. Whether it's having someone we trust that much (due to recommendations or having them in the family for years), or paying less, or being able to stay home, even a day or two a week...any of it is eviable.

Then yesterday morning I read one of the blogs that inspired this one (read it here), and the writer is leaving her job to become a freelance writer. She's got plenty to write about, though I wouldn't trade places with her in million years since cancer is what has shaped her life and career, making this move possible. But I couldn't help but be a little jealous that she can afford to give up her steady salary (despite just having bought a house on Long Island) and that it has the added bonus of allowing her to spend time with her 9 month old son. Even the flexibility of freelancing would be be able to work around things reasonably well.

The tough thing for me is that I like my job...I really do. I enjoy what I do, I like who I work for, and I get paid respectably. While my job may not be impossible to do remotely, it's not ideal. I'm the only one that does much of what I do, and it's quite handy to have me in the office when my bosses need to talk through something or need something done NOW. I don't know if it would be physically possible to get in a full work week at home with a baby, nor would it probably be possible to have this job go part time...there's just too much to do. That's not to say there couldn't be some flexibility, but again, the convenience of me being here and available whenever something is needed is huge. There's good news and bad news to being needed, you know? (Call me crazy, but I'll most likely be taking a laptop home with me over maternity leave. I offered, but it's mostly because I'm afraid they won't be able to find something in my filing system and it will be easier for everyone if I can just log onto the server, look through my files, and tell them where it is. Doing it from memory would be impossible, I think. I'd rather be prepared and have that extra safety net than leave everyone hanging. Having the computer up-to-date will also be handy in case the baby's sick and I have to be home for a day here or there.)

Anyway, going part time isn't really even an option financially. I suppose it depends on how the pay cut would compare to day care's cost. Obviously the benefits to the baby are priceless...but if you can't pay your mortgage, that doesn't work either. Hopefully someday one of us will end up with a job that pays a ton and the other can afford to not work...or work less. Or add another kid or two into the mix and it's that much easier for a salary and day care to cancel each other out.

Not that I want to stay home full time, either. I take pride in my career as well, and I think adult interaction is a good thing. I'm not sure how I'd do home alone all day every day...I know it's hard work, and the mental toll is tough. You have to find ways to make it engaging for both of you, which can be a job all its own. Still, it's something I'd like to try someday (beyond the dizzying six weeks of my maternity leave). I know leaving my six-week old baby at day care is going to kill me, but I also hope it won't make me a heartless person if I also take some joy in getting back to work after all that time. Mommies need variety, too. Still, it'd be nice to have the option, you know?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Our last class

Well, the month has flown by and child birth classes are over. Do I feel more prepared to have a baby? Yes and no. I feel a bit more educated, of course, but taking the class brought up a ton of stuff I never really thought of ultimately I'm still just as intimidated as I was a month ago. There's no going back now, though...not that we would anyway.

Last night's class was basically a review. We started out the evening with our tour of the maternity ward. Four couples went last week, four couples this week. It was good to see everything, though a little freaky to think that the next time we're there it will be for the real thing. The rooms are private, which is nice, and everything looked acceptable...pretty homey for a hospital, I guess. Of course, with the rooming-in policy nowadays (where babies pretty much live in their mom's room the whole time) means that the stereotypical nursery window was empty. It was a pretty uneventful tour, though three things brought some reality to the situation: 1) We saw a new mother and her baby getting wheeled somewhere in a wheelchair; 2) We heard some faint medical chatter about someone's labor (and I think a heart monitor) from the triage room; and 3) When we came back down the elevator to start our actual class, we ran into a couple coming in with their pillows, a blanket and their suitcase. Wow.

As I mentioned, class itself was a review of the things we had learned so far, along with a bit about post-birth and the weeks following. We started out with an interactive game where we were given an activity or characteristic of a stage of labor and had to go to a part of the room that represented that stage. It was funny to see people switch midway through the game as things became clearer, but it was a good review. Oh, and it was funny to look around the room at the women this week, for two reasons. First, it's been a month and we're all considerably bigger than we were when class started. Everyone's really popped quite a bit, and it was amazing to see how big some people have gotten. I'm probably the smallest, even though my due date is about right in the middle. Second, by the end of the class, all the women were slumped down in their chairs, bellies protruding, and some had their feet elevated. You can tell we're all getting to the point where comfort is hard to come by.

Anyway, we watched the same video we had seen in child care class about delivery basics (how the baby will look, cutting the cord, nursing right away), then got into life after delivery. There were some really unfortunate topics that came up (mostly having to do with the things our bodies will go through to recover) that gave both the women and men reason to cringe. I think it's safe to say that we saw the world's largest maxi pad. It was part of a three-part cringe-fest as the instructor showed the hospital-issued underwear, maxi pad and ice pack that will be given to us after delivery. Really sexy, as you can probably imagine. Oh, and I never thought of the fact that, as the instructor said, "Charmin doesn't make toilet paper soft enough, girls..." and that we'd basically have to use a squirt bottle and a towel to, ummm, clean up after using the rest room for a week or so. There were a couple other iffy subjects, but we did manage to laugh about most of them. The whole post-baby sex thing was quite funny, actually. Oh, and one girl announced she was 1-1/2 cm dilated already (due June 8th...second baby), while another couple was conspicuously absent. No idea if they were actually tucked away upstairs or not!

We talked about pediatricians, day care, and a couple other topics, as well, before class finished up. We "graduated" and were given a silver spoon as a token of our achievement. I'll probably miss going each week because even though there was always something to freak me out, there was usually something to get me a little more excited, too. I'm glad we went...but I can't believe we'll be back there in another five weeks or so for the real thing....

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pics from shower #3

I got the disc this morning with pictures from shower #3, my work shower, so I figured I'd share a few. There's not much to show, because honestly, this shower was pretty low key...I mean, it was a really nice shower, but how exciting is it showing people sitting in a conference room full of food and a few decorations? And some of the artsy shots my boss attempted probably wouldn't communicate the big picture, you know?
So anyway...

This is the haul from this shower. Lots of good stuff as usual, and in a manageable amount to get down to the car in one trip. Thank goodness. It's nice working with mostly women, because they're so good about wrapping things pretty :)
Ah, yes, me prior to unwrapping. Gotta love the hot seat. Showers in a big room like that are weird because half the people care what you're opening and half the people are engrossed in their own conversations. So, you don't want to be too sheepish and not project your voice (so as to offend those who do care, particularly when you're opening their gift), but you also don't want to be loud and center-of-attention-ish (so as to annoy those who are just there for the food and socializing). I will point out, though, the coolest baby shower decoration ever hanging up in the background across the front of the flat's a Hawaiian-ish garland, complete with flowers and paper lanterns. I saved it to hang in the baby's room, once I figure out where it'll work. It's that cute. Oh, and you should have seen me trying to get those balloons home...
And finally, me with the cake. Black is a wonderful color, I'd say, since you can't even tell I'm pregnant in this picture! The cake was awesome, by the way. It was covered in fondant stars (fondant's the stuff that makes those picture perfect wedding cakes you see in magazines all the time, for those of you who don't know), and it said "Best Wishes Amy". It was a pretty periwinkle color (a purplish blue, in case you don't remember your Crayola colors), and inside it was marble...and really, really delicious.

I had some really great showers. It's so nice when people are so caring and generous, especially when you're facing something so momentous. As I've mentioned before, bridal showers are odd because they're very "me" oriented, but baby showers are all about the baby (or at worst, making the parents' life a little easier as they take care of the baby), so getting the things you registered for (or other thoughtful gifts) really means so much more, because it's equipping you for the next phase of your life without you having to break the bank (too much, anyway). It's a load off your mind with every gift you get. And these days, that's a good thing!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Every weekend should be a three-day weekend...

Why? Because I'd like every weekend to be this pleasant and productive. It's nice to have time for a little of everything...from relaxation to family time to productivity. Craig was on the road Friday and got home at the crack of dawn on Saturday. I managed to do a couple things Friday night--nothing big--but enough to make me feel like I didn't just sit around here and do nothing. I put the wheels on the stroller, for example. Saturday morning I went to pick up my new new car. Yeah, the car saga never really ended when I posted the picture of it on here. Turns out they could never get the trunk hooked up to the keyless entry so they had to get me a new car. I lost the CD changer but gained my beloved keyless entry (if it wasn't for the baby I probably would have lived without it, but knowing my hands will be full for the next, oh, two decades, keyless entry won out). The frustration for the last month was really annoying, but I did go another month without a car payment and I got a car with about 600 less miles on it. My payment is also going down about $9 a month. Not a bad deal overall, I suppose, but I'm just happy the frustration appears to be over (knock on wood).

After that, I stopped at Target (first of four times this weekend--for various reasons) and Babies 'R' Us and discovered that the crib we wanted to buy is on stop-sale...which means it's not discontinued, but they're not selling it right now either. So...back to the drawing board on that. I came home, broke the news to Craig, and spent some time online finding a replacement. I think we've got something psyched out, but let's just hope I don't go early because we'll need all the time we can get to make sure that we have a crib and dresser ordered, delivered, assembled and full by the time the baby gets here!

After a productive trip to Wal-Mart (finally found my favorite flowers to plant, got a birthday gift, some cards and a photo album), we headed off to Buffalo for some family time, first with Craig's parents, then on to my family's yesterday for a Memorial Day picnic at my parents'. My Aunt Sue (a faithful blog reader!) and my cousin Kristi were in town to be there for my grandma, who had hip replacement surgery (#3) this week. My cousin Kevin, who lives in Reno, was also in town. It was good to see them and to hang out with the rest of the family. It was a beautiful day, finally (and I have the sunburn to prove it). We finished things off by going to Target, getting our crib mattress, and heading back to Rochester. Lots of researching for that purchase, so I'm glad that's over. On a funny note, we paid 10 cents for it. We had gift cards that covered the rest, and rather than break into another gift card, we just shelled out the dime :)

This morning I woke up early and decided to go outside and plant some flowers before the weather got bad, as was forecasted. I got that done and got back into bed for an hour or so, then Craig and I got up and did more yard work. He mowed, and I trimmed and cleaned up the disaster of shoots under our lilac bush. It was pretty hot out by then, but I didn't push myself...don't worry! We did some running around (we have a LOT of birthdays to buy for in the coming weeks, especially since I'll be out of commission once July hits) and did our returns at Babies 'R' Us. We now officially know what kind of gift card money we have left, so we can get organized and go buy the rest of what we need between the two stores...and whatever's left will go to diapers and whatever else! Then we made Craig's weekend by going to see a matinee of Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. He's been waiting patiently since Thursday (and is still eagerly anticipating the Lego Indiana Jones video game release next week), so it was my wifely duty to go. Don't ask me to review it, because I don't remember the originals well enough to judge, but it was entertaining...a little weird, but entertaining. We came home, grilled some chicken for dinner, and are settling in for the night. It never did rain, by the way. Those weather forecasters are crazy.

So yeah, it was a productive weekend but with just enough relaxation to make it enjoyable. We got some baby stuff done, which we need to do pretty much every weekend now to get ready in time. But really, every weekend should be like this! Unfortunately, it's back to work tomorrow...but at least it's a four day week. The bad news is that I keep wishing away my weeks to get to the weekends, but the more I do that the closer we're going to get...and I really don't want to be wishing away our last few weeks of normalcy. It's a tough balance!

And get this...tomorrow is our last childbirth class. Time flies when you're having fun, I guess! But wow...once upon a time it was so far off, then it was here, and now it's almost over. Unbelievable...and I hear it only goes faster once the baby's born. Hold on to your hats...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Babies of the non-human variety

Those of you who know me or frequented my old webpage know that I have a thing for webcams. Not the creepy personal kind, but the cool ones that look at cities and other neat European town squares, midnight sunsets in Scandinavia, and even the canal in my hometown of NT. This time of year my webcam watching takes a different turn, because it's baby bird season. There's a ton of cameras out there that look at nests around the world, and it's neat to watch them. Here are the best of the best lately: - This is the famous Kodak Falconcam, right here in Rochester at the top of the Kodak tower downtown. The peregrine falcons have been there for years now, and the five babies are about two weeks old. - This site has lots of cameras in Italy, but this one is the best right now. I'm not sure, but this is most likely a peregrine falcon nest, too. There's live streaming video, and it's really zoomed in on the nest. I think there are five babies here as well, about a week old. - This is a white stork camera. There are two other cameras at this site, but this one has the most activity right now...four rapidly growing storks that are probably about a month or two old. - This is another stork cam, and this one has live video. There's four babies in this nest right now, about a few weeks old. - This camera changes views periodically, from hatching eggs to maturing chicks. There might be turkeys, chickens, ducks, or other types of birds, depending on the day.

Anyway...the point to all of this is not only that baby birds are really neat to watch, but it takes on a totally different feel this year when I'm getting ready to have a baby of my own. You wouldn't think there would be much to compare, but in some weird way, there is. For one, there's the anticipation...first of the eggs being laid, then of them hatching. The good news is, the whole process is a lot more predictable and a lot shorter with birds than it is with humans. Second, watching the birds grow up is really amazing. Again, birds mature a lot faster than humans, but it's neat to watch them grow and change. Even watching the parents is interesting. When eggs are laid, the parents do everything they can to protect their nest and incubate the eggs. Once the eggs hatch, it's neat to watch them alternate between keeping the new babies warm and tearing apart prey to feed their new brood numerous times a day. The live video cams really make you appreciate it, since you can see how the baby birds are simultaneously awkward and yet increasingly in control of themselves. It's so cute to watch them get fed and do that neck-craning thing that baby birds do. They flap their wings to practice flying, climb over each other in the nest, pop their heads up and look's fun to watch. It seems a lot like what it's like to watch your own baby. They grow so quick, and even in their helpless state early on, they're already learning and observing and getting used to their body and the world around them. I know human babies are a heck of a lot more impressive, but the birds provide a cool little example in the meantime, until we have our baby here to keep us amazed. Anyway, I just thought it was cool...and for best results, check out the links above in the afternoon, because a couple of them are in Europe and it'll be dark there long before it is here. Enjoy...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Work Preparations

You never really realize how crazy and twisted your brain is until you have to explain it in depth to someone else. Welcome to the last three days of my life.

My maternity leave replacement at work was in town this week to get equipped to take over when I go out. Stephanie actually did part of my job for 2-1/2 years before leaving a couple years ago to move back home to Texas. She was a whiz with the mapping and with Excel, and I learned a ton from her. I was panicked when she left because I wasn't sure I'd ever figure things out without her. Our jobs basically merged after she left, and the position involves a lot of trial and error to find ways to give people what they need. Turns out I've done pretty well these last couple years. The problem is communicating all that I've learned back to her. It's not easy to teach your teacher.

Not surprisingly, she's forgotten a lot of stuff. Totally not her fault, though. Two years is a lot of time, and if you don't do this stuff on a daily or weekly basis, it's technical enough that it's easy to get out of practice. As it is I'm scared enough about what I'll forget in just six weeks away. In addition, the job has definitely evolved since she left, and there's a lot of stuff she never did before at all, because either I or the person before me handled it. Trying to figure out what to teach in our limited time and how to communicate it in an understandable way was so hard. Our styles and strengths are definitely different, so refining my methods to fit her strengths and capabilities was tough. Like I said, the job takes a lot of trial and error, and sometimes you just have to find ways to get the job done, even if they seem to be a little labor-intensive or backwards. If it works for you, great...but it's tough when you have to convince someone else that this might be the best way to do it.

It's still better than having someone starting totally from scratch, and she's such a fun girl to hang out with that it was nice having her around for three days. Regardless, I'm happy to get back to normal. My hope is that now that she's been here, I can look at my job with a new eye toward things I have to remember to pass along. I have a running list of notes and reminders for her already, but hopefully in the next five weeks I can really focus and organize all that she needs to know...because honestly, trying to think about all the stuff I do during these three days was tough. Hopefully over these next weeks I can focus on putting together a more organized list and prepare her even better for my time away. It's only fair to her, and it will put my mind at ease, too. It's not easy letting go of something you've put so much effort into for so long. Regardless of how valid my reason is, it's still tough to step away and risk disappointing the people I work with and for, or to make their lives more difficult in any way. They've been good to me, and it's tough not being able to return the favor this time around. I know things will be fine, but it was a crazy few days and right now I'm just a little nervous. Just one more thing, I guess :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Childbirth Class #3

Last night was the third class in our series of four childbirth classes. Last night's topics ranged from pain relief to birth assistance methods to C-sections. The instructor and a video both went over various methods of easing pain, from drugs that take the edge off to an epidural. We also talked about using forceps or a vacuum to help the baby out, and of course, if that doesn't work, how C-sections tend to go. In and around those topics we talked about complications that might bring about use of those methods. The worst it got this week was probably discussions about episiotomies (where they proactively cut the opening where the baby is exiting, to make it a little prevent it tearing on its own). It's a pretty scary concept. We also talked a bit about what our bodies will go through in the aftermath, from bleeding for weeks to excess fluid to care of any incisions we might end up with via an episiotomy or a C-section. It's all pretty nasty, but what can you do? Like it or not, it's coming! Oh, and we did a mock pushing session. Nothing too in depth, just learning how to take three breaths, push as long as we can, quickly exhale and inhale, push again, and on and on, until the fake contraction was over. Not really anything we can learn beyond that, though...just something we'll have to experience.

I'm definitely starting to get concerned about stamina. The pain can hopefully be handled with medication, and any other complications are just things you have to be aware can't worry about them at this point. However, every time we're talking about any sort of labor, talk is of six hours after arriving at the hospital, this woman was 4 cm dilated. Twelve hours later, she was ready to push. That's an awful lot of uncomfortable waiting. I know labor generally isn't quick (and too quick is bad, if you're looking to be drugged), but when I think about how long and painful the process is, I just hope I can summon the energy from somewhere to get through it reasonably well. I think how long a work day can feel sometimes. I might be completely comfortable all day and still be a little miserable by the end of the day. I can only imagine my mood after 14 hours of labor. Yikes. Let's hope adrenaline and excitement are enough to push through it all.

Next week's class is our tour and a review of everything...should be a nice way to wrap things up...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Finally some progress!

At long last, I made some progress with the baby stuff this weekend. Quite a bit of progress, actually. You might not be able to tell from looking in the baby's room, but it's much better than it was. Piles of bags and boxes spread all over the floor has been transformed into organized piles up against the walls. All of the stuff to be washed is grouped together, all of the toiletry items are together, and everything has just been organized so I can see things when I need them. It was nice to get into it all and see what we had, and get a better idea of where things stood.

We made a quick run to Target last night to take back a bunch of stuff (mostly duplicates), and then grabbed some of the stuff we didn't get with the store credit we had amassed from the returns. We were in and out in less than 20 minutes, and we made a lot of progress in that time. We still have a couple more Target returns based on my findings once I went through all of the clothes and bedding, not to mention a handful of things to exchange at Babies 'R' Us (all of that is going toward the furniture at this point), but by the time we get that done, we should be in good shape. We still do need the furniture, which is sort of important to start organizing things to actually look like a nursery, but at least we're getting there. It felt good to get through everything, and I'm making good progress on thank you notes, too, which felt good as well.

In other news, we have a pediatrician! We went for our little pre-natal visit today, to make sure the place that we selected was what we were looking for. We had picked it based on a few factors--first, that one of the doctors there was suggested by my doctor...though we actually have a different one; second, the location...less than five minutes from home; and third, that they are affiliated with our hospital, so our doctor can come check the baby when it's born. They sort of randomly assigned a doctor since we didn't have a specific preference, and I was really thrilled with her. She's young (probably mid-30s), very friendly, and is a big breastfeeding booster, so even though they don't have a specific lactation consultant (thanks for the tip, Corrina!), she has a lot of experience and would be more than happy to help me through things if I have any issues once I'm out of the hospital. That's nice to know. The best part about the practice is that they have amazing availability. They're open from 8am to 8pm, Monday through Friday, and mornings on the weekends. That is awesome, because we won't necessarily have to miss work to take the baby in. Beyond that someone's always on call, so that's good to know. They also have the ability to do some urgent care stuff, to keep you out of the emergency room if at all possible. They can do stitches or glue, and other things like that, right there in the office. Let's hope we won't need that service, but it's nice to know it's there. And how cool are they that the waiting room had two flat screens playing Madagasgar when we walked in :) They also had a sick child/well child separation in the waiting area, and there were no toys to spread germs...definitely a bonus.

So, yeah, one less thing to worry about for now...I guess we'll know for sure when we actually have a baby to treat, but the doctor seems really genuine and interested in making sure we're comfortable, so I can only assume that will transfer over to the baby's treatment as well. A nice relief on a Monday, that's for sure!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A New Body Issue

I used to think that at this point in my pregnancy I'd be obsessing over how big my belly is. And, to some degree, I am. It's really getting big and it's very round. Luckily I still haven't really expanded anywhere else, but I've been thinking it's starting to look like I stapped on a fake belly or something. Last night I decided to do some clothes shopping, since warm weather is surely around the corner and I don't have much. I had a 30% off coupon at Kohl's and hadn't been to Target in a while, and with Craig on the road I figured it was a good time to go.

As I shopped, I discovered something that is giving me trouble when it comes to a lot of maternity tops--I'm carrying too high. I never would have thought that would be a bad thing--after all, when you see a pregnant woman whose belly is hanging low and looks extra heavy, don't you usually feel bad for them? Well, I'm about as high as one can get, and it seems to keep the cute, compact pregnant look going. However, a lot of maternity tops have a band (empire waist) that theoretically fits between the chest and the bump. Well, I don't have much space, if any, between those two areas, so things don't lay right. I think I had noticed that before but it didn't really click as to why that was happening. It was just an odd little discovery. That said, I had just as many shirts that looked funny because my belly sticks out so far and they hang off of it weird...but I did get a couple things and hopefully I'm almost equipped for the summer. A couple more bottoms would be great, but I have issues with things that cover my belly, and it's tough to find things cheap that have under-the-belly waists. Oh well.

Hopefully today I will finally tackle the mess that is the baby's room right now. Lots of sorting and organizing to do, but I still need to figure out the best way to do it without sending it into further chaos. I'll let you know how it goes...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My last real workout

Tonight was my last official class at the gym. I started going to this strength training class over three years ago, overweight and out of shape. I had really gotten out of the habit of going to the gym, and I had probably put on about 10 pounds from my average weight...and more if I think back to what I weighed before I was married (though I don't blame the weight gain on was the major culprit). The class kicked my butt from the get-go...I could hardly walk for 2 or 3 days after every class, for a very long time. Eventually I was only sore for a day most of the time, but to be sore after class every single week for three years was pretty crazy. I don't know if that means I should have been working out more, or if the class was just that good that it worked all those muscles every time. In any event, in the first year I lost about 10 pounds and toned up legs, my arms, my shoulders, my abs. I will be eternally grateful to the instructor because of that. I changed jobs about a year after starting the class, and I think that solidified my commitment to being in decent shape, because I now had the time and energy to go to the gym. But regardless of how many other times I went to the gym during the week, I always had class. It was an appointment, in essence, and missing it meant being that much sorer the next there was a lot of motivation to go. My goal became to get in the best shape I could before getting pregnant, so I wouldn't have as much to lose afterward.

When I got pregnant I knew I wanted to keep going to class. I had to watch myself early on, to make sure my heart rate stayed low enough and to make sure I wasn't getting overheated. I had to battle through my month of nausea early on (I never got sick, but class made that funny feeling in my throat that much worse), but for the most part it felt good to keep moving. As time went on my belly got in the way more and more, and I had to keep altering certain exercises to avoid laying flat on my back. The hardest thing was losing my core strength. I stopped doing abs a while ago, on advice from a pregnant fitness instructor, and eventally your muscles just change and can't support you as well. Nothing like laying on the floor and not being able to roll up like I used to. However, I never went down in weights. I kept my 8-pounders all along.

I wasn't sure how long I could keep doing it, but the instructor helped make the decision for me. She's getting into a critical time in her quest for her Masters in Nursing and can't make the time to do the class anymore. Tonight was her last night, and it seemed like a good stopping point. Turns out the timing probably couldn't have been better, because I struggled a bit tonight. Nothing major, but it just seemed like I've reached a point where my belly's just too big and I can't stay at the level I'd like to be at. So, that's it. There's another class starting up in its place, but now is no time to start a new class...but I'll be glad it's there after I'm cleared to go back to real workouts.

I know I've done well, but I can't help but be a little nervous about what might happen to my body without its weekly dose of squats and lunges and lifting over the next seven weeks (and however many more beyond that), but I will keep trying to do cardio (or at least a nice neighborhood walk) as long as I can. I guess I've done all I can do up to this point. I'll miss class, but a break might not be so bad. It'll probably make me appreciate it more when I go back, and by then I'll have a new goal to work toward. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed the latest picture of my massive belly... :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Childbirth Class #2

Our second childbirth class left me with two lasting, that childbirth relaxation and breathing techniques are way more work than they should be; and two, that childbirth is downright disturbing.

We finally got into the breathing and relaxation stuff last night, and seriously, it's not my thing. Maybe I will rethink that when I'm in the midst of labor, but honestly, if I don't like doing that stuff when I'm completely comfortable, am I really going to feel like doing it when I'm in pain (even if, in theory, it could help?)? First the instructor tried to get us to relax...laying down, breathing deeply, imagining ourselves on a beach somewhere...and just like when I've tried stuff like that in gym class yoga or some class that I can't remember back in school, I stunk at it. Having to think about my breathing and breathing through my nose when it's allergy season and I can't take any meds just didn't help. We got into some massage stuff and positions to help us get comfortable during contractions, and that was ok, but when it came to the breathing techniques, I rolled my eyes...a lot. Maybe they will work, but doing stuff like that when you're not in pain and can't really understand the benefit is really awkward. I have this feeling that instinct takes over anyway, and you just find the best way you can to deal with the pain. Suggestions are fine, but the thought of practicing this stuff just seems odd. I don't think it was just me, either.

The beginning of the class was spent watching the end of the video we started watching last week. The video had taken us through different stages of labor, and we stopped watching last week before the final stage and delivery. The instructor said she didn't want to overwhelm us in the first class, and now we know why. Remember how Craig doesn't want to watch the delivery from anywhere but up near my head so he didn't end up with any horrible images in his mind? Well, he still won't go anywhere near that end, but the images are probably already there. Yeah, we watched actual delivery footage. If you thought the scenes from Knocked Up were bad, that's nothing compared to what we saw. It's reminiscent of the episode of Friends when Rachel was pregnant and Chandler accidentally watched the tape of a friend of theirs giving birth, and was completely scarred by it. Even though we all know how babies are born going into this, actually seeing things stretch like that was pretty awful. I'm not sure what was worse, though...watching the birth or watching them deliver and sift through the placenta. We've all seen newborn babies, but I can't say I've ever seen a placenta...and yeah, it's pretty icky. I have no idea why anyone would really want to see that, though the mom in the video did. Speaking of the mom, why would anyone volunteer to have their delivery filmed for a documentary like that? I'm sorry, no one needs to see that area except for me, Craig, and medical personnel...certainly not tens of thousands of people who are inevitably going to be grossed out by it. And yet, there seemed to be many women in this video who were more than willing. On a smaller scale, I can't figure out why anyone would want to document that event for their home movie library. It's one thing to whip out the camera moments later, keep the mom shots above the waist and otherwise focus on the baby...but for those people who film the delivery, I'm sorry, that's just a little sick. I for one would not want to relive that...and if I don't want to relive it, who else is going to want to watch it? Some things should just stick to being memories, and childbirth appears to be one of them.

Next week we get into C-sections and drug options...that sounds much better, strangely.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Day Care Day

It's been quite a day so far. Craig and I took off today to check out day care centers. It's a process we'd both been dreading, because there's nothing like looking at day cares to make you feel guilty about being a bad parent...and we're not even officially parents yet. As nice as it would be to have one of us be a stay at home parent, we just can't afford it. Our salaries are pretty close to even, so one of us not working would mean a 50% drop in our income. And at what we make, it's just not enough to live comfortably...even if we watch every penny. We're already pretty good about that sort of thing (we could always do better, I suppose), but no amount of scrimping and saving could make up a salary, let alone what we're going to be paying for day care.

We visited four places. The first place is pretty close to us and came recommended by two of my co-workers. The pricing was competitive and the place seemed really active. Lots of kids, a little chaotic, but probably very stimulating. The setup was a little odd (it's a converted little church building with a large addition off the back), but it wasn't too bad. The infant care people seemed nice. The place had a lot of pros, including a nice play area outside.

The second place we visited is also very convenient. They seemed to have the best record by far as far as the Office of Children & Family Services website was concerned, and I liked that the place seemed a little less chaotic than the first. It just seemed a little more put together, from the fact that the people who greeted us wore shirts with the center's logo, to the way that the kids' stuff was organized. Their pricing was also very competitive, and cheaper if you pay by the month.

The third place we visited isn't really an option for us, because they don't have availability right when we need it, but we figured we'd check it out anyway. We could probably get in there a couple weeks after I go back to work, but the place was the most expensive out of all of them. Nice place, though.

The fourth place we went to is owned by the father of Craig's assistant. Of the four, the place probably had the fewest bells and whistles and is the most out of the way for our normal commute, but it's also the cheapest, probably by over $1,000 a year. While we weren't blown away by the toddler rooms, the infant setup was good and the woman working there seemed really nice.

There's so much to consider, from which centers include food and diapers in their cost, to the feel of them, to the people working there, to what we've read about past violations (they all have them, and most have been corrected), to whether we'd be comfortable keeping our child there through all stages or would prefer one place now and another later (and how that would impact the child socially at that point--a lot of places were proud of the fact that some kids started together as six-week-olds and moved up the ranks together for years). It's absolutely mind-blowing. The cost is another issue altogether, but we can't really avoid that no matter what, and ultimately it should only be a minor consideration when it comes to the well-being of your child. We have a lot to think about.

The second half of the day was about taking care of our house, getting outside in the beautiful weather and cleaning up. Craig did the lawn, I weed-whacked, hacked up our bushes (the ones I mentioned in the before-and-after house pictures in most post a few days ago), and raked leaves out of the flower bed. It was a lot of work (especially while pregnant), but it felt good to get it done. And with the weather this nice, it would have been a shame not to get out and enjoy it. Tonight we have baby class, so we're just vegging out for a couple hours before that.

One more quick thing...Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the Knighthawks' championship. It was funny to look at the picture on my desk (see below) and know that it was taken exactly one year ago...and beyond that, to know how much our world has changed since then. Who'd have known a year ago where we'd be today? I mean, I suppose I knew then that my opportunity to do something like that probably was limited, that we'd be heading toward kids sometime soon...which is why I defied my usual cost-conscious mentality and booked a last-minute flight to Phoenix. One year later I'm probably even more convinced it was a good decision, because that weekend was really a great last felt very independent to hop a plane to Phoenix alone, and the celebration with some of my favorite people from the staff (and the team, of course) was awesome. While it would have been fun (and cheaper) if the Knighthawks could have played and won it in Rochester, the fact that we were in Phoenix made it that much more unique. We celebrated by the hotel pool in perfect 85 degree weather (dry heat is so great), in a fairly low-key, pleasantly tipsy state away from any crazy fan celebrations. I'd like to experience a championship like that someday, with all of the craziness, but the experience was one I will never forget, and I'm glad we got to do it together before moving into baby-land...but while it might as well be yesterday, it all seems pretty far away these days...

Monday, May 12, 2008

To celebrate or not to celebrate...

Yesterday being Mother's Day brought up an interesting situation. Obviously by definition I'm not quite a mother yet, but it's not that far away either. People see the belly and equate it with motherhood, but like I said the other day, I don't feel like I've done anything worthy of being honored as a mother yet. Regardless, I was wished a Happy Mother's Day by quite a few people.

Taking extra care of my body (and by extension the baby) has been about the extent of it...that, and any time spent preparing. Admittedly, the preparation time probably hasn't been what it should be yet either. Every time I get asked if the nursery is ready, or we're in a baby class and people start listing off all the things they've done, I start feeling guilty that we haven't done anything. We haven't bought, let alone assembled, a piece of furniture. We haven't painted or hung a border--not that we're necessarily planning on it. Craig felt inspired to go around and baby proof some outlets the other night, but I discouraged him from going crazy because I don't want to spend the next six months removing outlet covers when the baby isn't mobile (or even born!).

Now that we have all of our shower gifts at home and in our possession, I can start working on that, but right now if you looked at the baby's room now you'd see that it's not even close to resembling anything baby-like. Just stacks of boxes and bags waiting to be emptied and organized. We'll probably ease some of that preparation guilt tomorrow, because it's going to be all baby, all day. It's day care day. We have appointments to stop into four day care centers to get some info and check them out. I'm afraid it's going to be a bit torturous, just because every time I think about sending my six-week old baby off to day care, it kills me. However, maybe some of them will look good enough that I won't have to feel that guilty...until the first ear infection pops up, of course. Ugh. Then tomorrow night is childbirth class #2. Hopefully it is as good as the first one.

So much to do, and so little time...

Friday, May 9, 2008

I am beat!

Well, as I mentioned in my post yesterday, it's been a pretty hectic 2-1/2 weeks since I cracked up my car. This weekend will continue the craziness since we've got some Mother's Day visiting to do. We do have a bit of a reprieve tonight and tomorrow morning, however, and it is desperately needed. We almost had to get on the road immediately after work today, but between my work schedule, some back-and-forth on what we were actually doing (meaning, I hadn't packed yet and would have had to do it quickly before we left), and trying to get my work baby shower gifts packed up and home, it just made more sense not to push it and to stay here tonight. Whew. And thank goodness, because this afternoon I was downright exhausted and not sure I could survive a long drive or the theater production we could have gone to (no matter how funny). I'll be lucky if I can stay awake long enough for my baby shower lunch to digest (6 hours and counting...). I do have some minor running around to do tonight, but that shouldn't be too bad. It will keep me awake until bedtime, if nothing else.

My baby shower at work was really nice. My bosses did a great job. I hope to have pictures to post at some point, but right now they're on my one boss's camera. There was a good turnout and a LOT of food. I have a bunch of it sitting in my refrigerator as I type. Despite being full, I kept going back to fill up on fruit--pineapple, watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, grapes--because if that stuff is there, I'll eat it. Thank goodness fruit has been one of the closest things I've had to a craving during this pregnancy. We got more stuff, but thankfully a manageable amount. It was more of the same stuff, though it was nice to get our second car seat base, because that was one thing we would have had to buy no matter what. But my co-workers were good to me, which was nice, because sometimes I don't have a lot of interaction with them...either because they don't need my research services or because I'm on a completely different side of the office than the rest of them. On the bright side, I suppose that decreases the possibility of them having a reason to not like me, right? :) But it was really nice...I'm really appreciative of everything.

But honestly, I'm glad the run of showers is over. The bad news is that there's still a lot out there that we have to buy--furniture, crib mattress, Diaper Champ, changing pad, diaper bag, and lots of little stuff. My next task is to go through everything, figure out what we have, what we don't, what needs to be exchanged, and how we can go about buying what we still need in the most cost efficient manner. Then I can figure out what stays in the baby's room and what will have to be stored elsewhere, either because it belongs somewhere else or because the baby won't need it yet. Quite the task, but I think things will become clearer once I get into it all.

In case I don't get to blog this weekend, Happy Mother's Day to all of you mothers...and also to the mothers-to-be (even if I don't feel worthy of celebration quite yet!)!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

What an improvement!

As I mentioned, we got our new garage door today. To be fair, the before picture was shortly after we moved in three years ago, and the dead, mid-summer grass makes it look that much worse. But seeing these pictures side-by-side really makes me realize all the good that we've done! The garage door is definitely the biggest change, but the windows, front door, and the lack of ivy around the lamp post are huge as well. I do see that I could stand to chop down our holly bushes a lot more though...can't believe how big they've gotten! Anyway, we were so excited by the change that I had to share...even if it wasn't baby related :)

My New "Mama-Mobile" :)

After a couple weeks of craziness, I finally picked up my new car on Tuesday. It's a nice new Toyota Corolla. I originally wanted to get it in a dark grey color, but unfortunately I had a few specifications for the car (not the least of which is that it had to be one made in the USA by the UAW, to keep the peace with Craig's family), and all of those specifications together meant that I had to compromise on the color. Oh well. Of course, the salesperson screwed up a bit anyway and the car didn't have keyless entry (why any decent car in this day and age doesn't, I have no idea), so that had to get installed, but the place that did it didn't hook up the trunk button so now I have to get it back there sometime soon for that. All of these issues made this car-buying process a lot longer and more difficult than it had to be, but I'm just happy it's almost over (and that I got an in-dash 6-disc CD changer that I didn't have to pay for, due to the dealer picking out the wrong car without keyless entry).

Picking it up Tuesday was crazy, because I had to run to FedEx after work to send something out, then I had to run to the dealer to do all the final stuff and pick up the car, before heading back to the city for a quick bite to eat and childbirth class. We ended up having to eat our dinner while waiting for class to start. It was such a crazy couple hours, and I can tell that my body just isn't up for that stuff anymore. While my energy's been ok in this third trimester, I definitely have my moments. And I'm not sure if it was just that crazy spurt that wiped me out, or the culmination of a disorienting couple of weeks.

Let me just say that pregnancy isn't the ideal time to get in a car accident and have parts of your life on hold or off their routine, because "pregnancy brain" makes it all that much worse. Mentally I was pretty sharp up until recently, and I think with the car accident and all that resulted, it's thrown me off completely. Way too many extra details to deal with on a daily basis. Between having to work out carpooling and coordinating things at our house (Craig has been awesome, meeting with garage door people (finally--new one was installed today) and exterminators (slight mouse issue in our attic and walls)), arranging trips to the car dealer, baby classes, workouts, two showers in Buffalo, and whatever else, it left me completely out of sorts.

It's amazing how much not having your own car can throw you off; particularly me, who was never a "live out of my car" sort of person. I felt lost when I forgot my garage door opener in my old car and had to drive the rental car around without it for a few days. Then I was paranoid that I'd leave that or my work parking pass in the rental (or temporary Corolla I got after we realized the keyless entry issue), so I kept carting that stuff around in my briefcase and forgetting to have it handy when I needed it. Oy.

It was quite a relief to get my new car and be able to keep my opener and my parking pass in the right places, though I have yet to settle in completely. I still have to go through all of the stuff I took out of my old car (maps, etc.) and put them in my new car. I guess that's where the energy loss gets to the end of the day it's the last thing I want to do!

Long story short, I'm just hoping my brain returns to normal now that things have settled down a bit. Of course, I still have a ton of stuff to do, but now that I have my own car back and don't have to worry about carpooling, borrowing Craig's, or buying one to begin with, I'm hoping it'll all get a little easier. I suppose all of this is just preparing me to be a mental spaz when the baby comes and I have a million new things to remember...yikes!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Much better!

Last night's child birth class surprised was actually good! As I had mentioned, we were a tad nervous about the whole thing, and to be fair, we didn't actually do any breathing stuff this time around. We will eventually, and that will continue to make me a little apprehensive, but for now, I'm ok. The other couples in the class were (finally) normal. Everyone seemed to be approximately our age, and no one seemed particularly odd. There didn't seem to be the hyper-researchers or anyone whose appearance would throw you off. All of the other seven couples looked and acted pretty much like us. Whew. We didn't get into much socializing, but there's still three more weeks for that. The weirdest thing about anyone there was that there were two couples that were on baby #2, and in both cases, baby #1 was about nine years ago. Yet both couples looked pretty young and child #1 sounded like it belonged to the same guy that was there, so it didn't appear to be a "previous relationship" sort of thing. Those two women actually brought some interesting experiences into the mix, because one had only four hours of labor, and the other had 27.

We did some sharing to start out, to get to know each other and provide a good jumping off point for the class. The girls shared what they do to relax, and the guys shared their thoughts on impending parenthood. The women then got to complain a bit about our physical and mental ailments resulting from pregnancy. I continue to consider myself lucky, because I don't suffer from half the stuff that ended up on the blackboard. Whether that's just good genes, good luck, or the result of keeping in good shape through this process, I have no idea. But thank goodness.

We watched the beginning of a video about the labor and delivery process (to be continued next week with the end stages of labor and the delivery, I guess). This was all very interesting stuff to know at this point, so it kept my attention pretty well. I will say I could have done without the repeated showing of a computer generated image of the baby's head causing the cervix to dilate, but that's just me. After the video we discussed a number of things about the early stages of labor, packing a bag for the hospital, and other random things. We had some good laughs as the instructor brought up some potentially humorous situations amidst an otherwise stressful using the tennis balls you should bring to massage your back to not-so-subtly catch your husband's attention when he's started watching the ballgame...or the pitfalls of calling family before you head to the hospital...or how to encase your home in plastic in case your water breaks while you're there. I wish I could remember the rest, but it was nice we could laugh while talking about what will be the toughest experience of our lives. But overall it was good to get a working knowledge of the process, because I suppose it has just been glossed over a bit until now.

I enjoyed the class, and I think ultimately Craig did too, but he seemed a little unnerved by it all. I'm sure he found out more about labor than he really wanted to know, and realized more than ever how immensely difficult the process will be for me. While I have no real concept of just how bad it will be (I know it's bad, but everyone says it's pretty much beyond comprehension, so how could I know?), I can't really do anything about it so I try not to focus on it. I came out of class feeling pretty good, just because I felt like I actually learned something. The class really focused a lot on the women taking care of themselves and how the men can help them. I feel much more comfortable with the concept of taking care of myself than I do with taking care of a helpless little human being, so maybe that's why this class didn't freak me out quite like the child care classes did. Craig, on the other hand, probably came out of the class extra worried because labor is completely out of his control. He's just going to have to watch me go through it and do what he can. I'm sure he'll do fine, though again, he's better off staying up by my head...because anywhere else, and all bets are off!

So yeah, class was good. Our hospital tour isn't until the last week, so I'll be interested to see what more we learn in the meantime...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Class is back in session...

Last night marked our return to baby classes. We took our third child care class, which is actually the first in the series. The theme was "Preparing for Baby". It was taught by a different instructor with a different set of couples. This group seemed even odder than our last group...definitely more diverse if nothing else. One couple was Asian (like, directly from there--thick accents), another couple had a woman from Grenada (who, incidentally, is going back there with the baby after birth for a few months for school--her poor husband is staying here), and another couple included (from what we could tell, based on the presence of their guide dog) a sight-impaired woman. For some reason we just haven't felt particularly drawn to any of the couples in these classes. I have no idea why. As a whole we seem to be among the more laid back folks at any of these classes. It always feels like a lot of the couples are baby research junkies, popping up with random facts or questions that would never have occurred to us. It's not a bad thing, but it's just odd. Most of the couples seemed like they were way more prepared than us, regardless of how far along they were. I guess that's good, but seriously, I am in no rush to strap the car seat base into my car yet, nor do I feel like the nursery should be totally ready yet...and yet, many people seemed to be right about there. I know that the more we do now, the less we have to do later, but still...I'm not going to make myself crazy with it all.

This class disappointed me a bit, though. I would have liked to see how our previous instructor would have handled it. This instructor was more into ice breakers and sharing with the group...which is fine in some cases. However, I'd rather be taught the facts than rely on casual conversations to cover all of the important topics. However, like the past two classes, there were a couple nuggets of good information, including an instructional video on car seat installation and a reminder to lower our hot water heater temperature. My biggest beef with the class was that the vast majority of the actual instruction was 1) depressing and 2) seemingly geared more toward toddler life than newborn life. There was a lot of safety video footage...picking up small objects from under furniture to prevent choking, preventing fire hazards...all very important stuff, but it made me feel like there's a million dangers out there and no matter how much caution we use, something's going to get us when we're not looking. Ugh. In addition, a lot of it was geared more toward mobile toddlers than a newborn baby. We had already covered a lot of the safety type things in our Baby's First Year class, so this just didn't quite do it for me. Since the class was supposed to be about preparing for a baby, I was hoping instead for some helpful nursery organization tips or baby registry must-haves. Not so much.

We have now officially completed our child care series, though I don't know how much more prepared I really feel. As a whole the classes provided some helpful information, but they could definitely be improved. Tonight begins a whole new ballgame, though...childbirth class! We're a tad apprehensive about it all. Maybe it's the 2 pillows and comforter we're supposed to bring. Maybe it's the Hollywood image of a bunch of women sitting in a circle practicing funny breathing with clueless/overeager fathers-to-be. Maybe it's the concept that they want me to have an object to use as a focal point during labor. Again, I'm sure the information they'll present will be useful, but some of the methods they use to communicate that might drive me crazy. If nothing else the hospital tour should be interesting and useful, whichever week that comes along. Should be interesting...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Shower #2

I survived shower #2! It wasn't that bad, actually...even though the not-necessarily-knowing-everyone's-name thing is a little awkward. But the place was beautiful, the food was awesome, and we got a lot more of the stuff that we need. But here are the highlights:

The food was amazing...mostly breakfast foods. Fruit, danishes, croissants, breads, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, homefries, waffles (with strawberry sauce, syrup and whipped cream), and some sort of chicken ala king-type stuff over puff pastry. Yum. It's times that like that pregnancy is wonderful, because not only do I have a few extra calories to work with, but my stomach is nearly a bottomless pit. The cake was great, too, and my co-workers are enjoying what's left of it today.

We had quite the load of gifts, and almost got all of them home. We still have a couple bags and a basket to pick up next weekend. Not bad considering the pile...

Despite the bounty of gifts (which we're all extremely grateful for), there's still so many things we still need. We figured we'd eventually have to buy our furniture, but there's a lot of simple, important things that we still haven't gotten. Needless to say, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for my work shower this Friday, that people will stick to the registry and use it correctly! There's plenty of useful stuff left to buy!

We did get our "travel system" (stroller and car seat), so that was good. At least we know that if I went into labor tomorrow we could actually get the baby home from the hospital. Very important. We also got pack-n-play sheets, so the baby would officially have a place to sleep, too. :)

Overall it was a really nice shower. Craig's mom and sister-in-law put together quite the event, and our niece Madeline was very helpful in making the gift opening go mercifully quickly. Extremely grateful on all counts. One more shower to go, and then it's time to figure out what we still need and how best to spend the cash and gift cards to get it all.

And I have to share this little story as well...When we got to Buffalo on Saturday evening, we had to deal with some windy, rainy weather. As we got closer to Craig's parents, we saw a gigantic tree down. Ultimately, when we got to Craig's parents, their entire backyard was a disaster area. Everything from the patio table to the grill was blown over and scattered. They had some damage to an outdoor lamp, their umbrella, and a section of the fence around their pool. The fence baffled us, because we couldn't figure out why a chain-link fence would blow down. Come to find out, the fence was a victim of a trampoline a couple houses down that blew across a couple yards, hopped one side of the fence, blew over the pool, bowled through the other side of the fence, blew across two more yards and over someone else's fence. Think that's bad? The first communion party a couple doors down pretty much literally blew away...tents, food, drinks, everything. The chafing dishes started a couple minor fires in the midst of it all, too. Crazy, huh? They say it wasn't a tornado, though the neighbors did see some sort of funnel...but probably it was just some crazy winds whipping up dust. Seems like that isolated area had to have more than the 50mph gusts that were reported, though. Their neighborhood even made the news! Anyway, before we actually got there, we were driving along the lakeshore and you could see exactly where the clouds ended. As we drove, the sun peeked out from underneath. It was still pouring, so immediately I started looking around for a rainbow...and I was not disappointed. It was the most amazing rainbow I have ever seen. Not only that, but there were two! Check out this picture from when we drove into Craig's parents' neighborhood:

You can just see the second rainbow off to the left. The picture doesn't even do the main rainbow justice...the colors were so vivid. And it was a full, huge arch all the way across the didn't just disappear halfway across like a lot of rainbows do. It was truly an unreal sight. Just wanted to share...

Friday, May 2, 2008

In a retrospective mood...

Craig and I went to see 27 Dresses tonight. The cheap theater is such a great thing...we both got in for the price of half a normal ticket. Anyway, it was a cute movie. Predictable in some ways, but that's what romantic comedies are all about, isn't it? In case you're unaware, the movie is about a woman who's been in 27 weddings--none of them her own--and her crazy, crooked path to her own true love. I've only been in two weddings besides my own, with one coming up, and I've never had to hold up the bride's dress while she peed (nor did anyone have to do that for me--I still consider it a small miracle that I didn't have to go from the time I put on my wedding dress until the time I took it off that night...either that or dehydration masked by adrenaline), but it was still fun. Still, it made me think back to my wedding day and how long ago it seems. In some ways, of course, it doesn't seem like it was that long ago. I can't believe it's been almost five years. However, we've crammed a lot into those five years, so sometimes it feels like I've been married forever (and I swear, that's not a bad thing). It was such a great day. Everyone should have that day where they feel like a princess, or at least the prettiest girl in the room.

Not surprisingly, that prettiest girl in the room feeling is a little extra far away these days. Not that I don't feel attractive at over 7 months pregnant, because I know I'm still looking pretty good, but let's face it...this belly is a long way away from the cute 24 year old in the pretty white dress. It's just more proof that life is a journey, and the scenery is always changing. Obviously our lives are going to get infinitely more complicated in the next couple months. It'll be considerably harder to do anything spur of the moment...even a nice little date night like we had tonight. We've probably had less of these than most couples, just because of our crazy work schedules for all those years, and now we'll have to plan ahead and find a babysitter and get over our guilt for leaving our baby home for an evening. It's definitely not going to be easy. I'm pretty used to keeping myself busy on weekends when Craig's working by running random errands and taking little shopping trips, but that will get considerably harder with an infant whose schedule and disposition won't necessarily match up with how I'd like mine to be. Even my beloved girl weekends are at risk. At least a couple times a year I'd get together with my two best friends from college for a little shopping, chick flick watching, and reminiscing. We haven't had one of those weekends with all three of us in almost a year thanks to crazy schedules on all sides, and despite my best efforts to try to get one set up sometime in the next couple months, I'm getting worried that our last girls weekend for a long time took place 11 months ago without our knowledge. We'll still have the aforementioned upcoming wedding in September to see each other, but obviously that's not going to be our usual weekend spent shuffling between the mall and the couch. Who knows when things will be settled enough for me to get away for a weekend like that again? I guess everyone's lives change, to the point that even good friends can't find a couple free days for each other. Sad, isn't it?

I know that priorities change, and bringing a baby into this world willingly accelerates that process a bit. I also know that having kids is one of the most rewarding things that a person can do. But there are definitely moments where I'm worried I'm going to miss the old me, with my old life and my old freedoms. That's probably been one of my biggest (selfish) concerns in this whole process. You just never know how you're going to deal with change, and I suppose tonight is one of those times when I'm a little less optimistic. Maybe it's just the hormones talking. Or maybe I'm just in need of a little girl time to escape from normal life for a couple days. Not much I can do about either right now, so hopefully my busy weekend this weekend will take my mind off everything and remind me how lucky I am right now. I already know it, but every little bit helps :)