Friday, September 30, 2011

Lounging ...

In order to enjoy the last day of summer, or so says Matt Sofino, I spent a few hours at Hammerle Park with one of my favorite little men ...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Dog

My dog shit five times on our walk to the dog park this morning. FIVE TIMES! Do you know anyone who brings that many pooper-scooper bags on a walk?!? I do. Me, but just by chance. And by chance, I mean that I stock up (aka steal) the bags from either our apartment complex or the dog park and stash them on the leash, just in case, for instances just like this. No, I don't think Gizzy has an intestinal problem, because this has been a trend. It's almost like she's marking, but with poop. Does she realize how inefficient it is to pop a poop-squat in five different places (and that's just on the a.m. walk)?!? I don't know that Cesar has a way to train a dog out of this. But I have considered not feeding her. Don't go calling animal control or anything just yet. I merely said I've considered it, not that I have acted on it. Although I mentioned my brilliant idea once to Alex, and he will never let me live it down. He's convinced I'm going to do the same thing to our baby. And if by "same thing," he means think of not feeding our baby, he's probably right. I'm just guessing here, but what mother out there, or rather, what breast-feeding mother out there, hasn't thought about what it would be like if they just didn't whip out their boob and feed their babe every time it cried for food? I'm just saying.

Lucky for my dog, and for the babies I know, they're damned cute. Too cute if you ask me. So cute they're almost edible. Another thing Alex won't let me say in public. I think he's afraid I'm going to get Child Protective Services called on me if I say aloud everything that comes to my mind. That's why I blog, I guess.

Here's a video of the adorable Gizzy and her new best friend, the even adorabler Logan:

P.S. Isn't my husband the mostest adorable though?!?

13 Weeks

Thirteen weeks along and feeling strong.

Technically, I'm not quite through the first trimester yet, but am oh-so-close! Aside from a three-day debilitating headache, I have been feeling great for the last two weeks. I am confident I made the right decision to not travel back East, although I did miss seeing my brother, grandmother, and extended family at my cousin's wedding.

This week I'm busy growing my baby's fingerprints. S/he is three inches long, likened to the size of a shrimp, and weighs about 1 oz. I'm still wearing my regular clothes, saving those new maternity clothes for a time of true need. But my clothes feel tighter and my body feels softer. I'm pretty sure that's a product of not working out, not necessarily the baby's fault. I have fewer food aversions, and have diversified my diet to include the occasional green veggie. I never did hear back from Kaiser after the first trimester screen, so I'm just going to assume that no news is good news. Then again, that wasn't the case for Pam and Stephen. Their no-news following Michael's death was a failure of professional communication. Not cool. I'm still really excited to meet Baby, but it feels so far off, so right now I'm most excited to find out the gender. I know lots of people like to keep the gender a surprise, for the romance of it all. But because there is so little I get to control, it's just one thing I can cling to to inspire more specific daydreams. We still have to wait almost two months to find out, but that's my next big milestone. And then I can name that Baby!!! Amelia, Oliver, Ruby, Benson, Francine, Cecilia, Henry, Liam, Emmy, Max, Wyatt, Emilyn, Sylvia, Nora, Nancy ... emailed me a funny cartoon that I wasn't able to find online again to post here. It was something the effect of, "If you look really, really close, you can see that I'm showing."


I recently was inspired to make felt vegetables, and thanks to Logan and his love of the word "carrots," this is what I ended up with ...

A pair of carrots.

My test subject.

The final recipient. The carrot was a hit.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Week 12

I'm starting to show a bit now. Not in the "wow-she-looks-pregnant" sort of way, but in the "you-look-like-you-ate-too-much-pie-last-night" kind of way. I actually went shopping for maternity clothes day before yesterday, and the lady at A Pea in the Pod sing-sang, "Oh, you're so early," after asking how far along I was. I know she wasn't trying to be rude, but it felt like a judgment. My first impulse was to lie, but then I'd have to quickly re-calculate my due date when checking out.

I've continued to feel better this past week, and my lower energy level feels more like a product of summer laziness rather than pregnancy fatigue. My nausea has more or less completely left the building, and although I continue to be a picky eater, I'm not exactly having food aversions. I am, however, experiencing some lower abdominal cramping, but nothing that qualifies as painful. Alex is working long hours, and I've been keeping myself busy ...

... Hangin' out with my favorite babies.

Logan Menne

Harlow Huff

... Picking out paint colors for our hypothetical house's living room and nursery.

Living room colors

Nursery colors

... Drawing and carving a block print.

... And practicing hand-quilting on a smaller wall hanging.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tee Vee


Alex and I recently acquired an antennae for our TV. We can no longer be those "we're-better-than-you-because-we-don't-have-television" people anymore. Bear in mind, we have been the proud owners of a flat screen TV for the past two years, and have maintained a Netflix account for the same amount of time. So our "we don't watch TV" attitude is a bit of a fallacy as it is. Only now, we actually have network television, and found ourselves silently immersed in the horrible CW show, some sort of 90210 remake. But it's not just infiltrated our evening time. For example, right now I am sitting on the couch distracted by The View, which just began. I've never actually seen this program, and am curious how a reality TV star, a great 1980s comedienne, and a well-respected journalist have joined forces for daytime women's programs.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Racing for a Cure

On Sunday, Rachel, Logan, Alex and myself found ourselves at Portland's 20th annual Race for the Cure. We weren't so much racing as we were walking at a meandering pace with our 35,000 closest friends.


Nothing says fall like changing leaves, the smell after a fresh rain, kids heading back to school, and soccer.

Alex coaching the Southridge High School JV team during a game against WLHS.

Maybe, just maybe, Logan will choose soccer over football.

Coach Close's groupies.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Week 11

I always thought I wanted a Latino baby. Maybe that's a racist thing to say, but I just think they are about the world's cutest kids. Turns out, with Alex's Irish/Italian heritage, and my Western European mutt self, a Latino kid's just not in the mix. Then again, at my ultrasound today the baby did resemble something of a Mexican jumping bean. Again, racist? It was bouncing all over the screen. My doctor was trying to point out the faint little grey heartbeat, but the little bean was ping-ponging all over the place, twisting and turning, and flipping cookies in my belly.

"Wow, it's wiggly. Is it normal to move that much?" I asked my doctor.

"Yeah, it's normal for the baby to move like that," she replied.

Time passes.

"Actually, yeah, that is a wiggly little one. But that's a good thing. Dead babies don't do jumping jacks!"

I have to admit I'm a bit worried about what it will be like when I can feel the baby moving around like that. Distracting, to say the least. Or what it will be like when it's born - a baby that's always bouncing off the walls?!? Needless to say, I think I should continue to avoid caffeine and red food dye #4 in case they really do cause ADHD. Sounds like we might be a little pre-disposed to some hyperactivity.

So far, so good. Just a few more weeks and I'll feel like we made it in the clear ...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Idiot! (said like Napoleon Dynamite)

I am SO annoyed with myself right now. I just bought about six times as much fabric that I need for my first quilt. And here I thought I was good at math.

The lady cutting my fabric, Doris, asked me what I was making.

"A baby quilt," I said.

Only now do I realize she was probably thinking, sarcastically, "Oh, sure, lady, you know what you're doing. You're buying 3 yards of fabric for a tiny ass baby quilt."

I spent $75 when I should have spent $20. I think there's a footprint on my ass - I've been kicking myself so hard.

I am, however, happy with my gender-neutral fabric choice. Although it's not necessarily what I want to base my whole baby ensemble around. Then again, that just might have to be the plan.

So peeps, help a sista out, what should I do with the remaining 5 yards of fabric??? Leave your helpful comments here ...

Lofty Goals

I woke up this morning feeling, like, 113% better than I felt yesterday. Both emotionally and physically. I'm not going to go so far as admit Alex might have been right when he "encouraged" me to go to the gym - especially now that my muscles are so sore after lifting weights for the first time in months - but I'm willing to proffer that working out did a little somethin'-somethin' for my psyche. Plus, when I went to the grocery store after the gym, a man asked me if I'm a triathlete. Wow, that must of been a really efficient workout.

I don't know if it makes me a good Oregonian or a bad Oregonian, but I love this weather. The cool overcast seems to have somehow lifted my spirits. Don't get me wrong, I don't look forward to the dark, rainy 9 months that is Oregon in the not-summer seasons, but it's a nice break from the 90-degree heat wave. And sunshine always makes me feel guilty. So now I'm couch-bound and guilt-free! Just kidding. I'm actually going to do more than two things today. I've got a laundry list of ideas that I crafted early in the summer, so maybe I'll be like Superwoman and do them all today:

- Buy cute fabric and make a baby quilt
- Paint the remaining two dining room chairs
- Return all those un-answered voicemails
- Make a doctor's appointment
- Spay the dog
- Vacuum the piles of dog fur
- Finish knitting the white blankie
- Organize my files
- Drop stuff at Goodwill
- Return GAP and H&M clothes
- Shop for maternity wear
- Sand, stain, and finish the coffee table
- Paint the makeshift tv stand
- Hem the IKEA-bought curtains
- Fold my laundry
- Go through grad school binders and papers
- Send my grandmother a card/check
- Merge my 403B into my Roth IRA
- Get life insurance
- Hem my jeans
- Backup my computer with the new external hard-drive

Wow, these are lofty goals. I guess I won't hope to get them all done today, but at least they are now written down, in one place, and make me feel a little more accountable. Especially because I have exactly one month before my life changes dramatically - I rejoin the masses and become a working person. I might as well make the most of these final four weeks so that I can look back on my "old life" with wonderment and joy. Then again, hindsight bias always does that for me.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Apples to Apples

I still can't decide if this is one of the lamer, a-first-grader-could-have-done-that home decor projects I've done, or if it is actually really cute. Either way, it's better than the Tahoe photo we had framed in our apartment kitchen. It clashed with everything. Needless to say, as I post this, I am simultaneously house-hunting on I've had some serious fevers this summer - dog, baby, and now house. Talk about nesting instinct hitting before age 30.

As Expected

As expected, I woke up this morning filled with regret, guilt, and self-loathing. God I'm predictable. Heartbreakingly, it's another one of those times I wish my mother was alive. When I cry, the dog looks at me with her head cocked to the side and her ears sticking straight up, and then she walks to her kennel, confused. Having too much free time for an over-active mind is a curse I didn't know of.

My dad, supportive as ever of his emotionally fragile daughter, walked me through the process of canceling my travel plans. He booked the tickets, so he cancelled them, and I now have a Southwest credit until next July. He agreed to email my aunt and uncle about not being able to attend the wedding. He would call Granny and lay the groundwork for my change of plans. But I was responsible for my brother.

I texted Lauren to let her know that: A) I'm pregnant, and B) I'm not coming to Block Island after all. She was very understanding. I texted Kathleen and Gretch to tell them I wasn't going to make the trip to New York to catch up. And then I called Brian.

"What? Nooooo. It's the only thing I've been looking forward to."
Silence. Sniffles.
"Please don't cry, Bri, I feel badly and it will make me cry, too."
More sniffles. And tears.
"It's been such a hard few weeks," sniff sniff. "Katie's fashion show, and then our friend died."
Now he's really crying. And now I feel like dog shit stuck to the bottom of someone's shoe.
"I just made dinner plans for us. Can't you just come here, and not do the other travel?"
"No, Bri, I really can't. I know it's hard to understand, and I'm sorry to be so last-minute, but I just don't feel up to it. I'm sorry."
"This is just too much to handle right now."
"Okay, well I'm sorry, I'm sad I won't get to hang out with you, and I love you."
"I have to go. I'm sooooo bummed, but I love you. I'll call you Tuesday or Wednesday."

Seriously, the conversation gave me a pit in my stomach and a choke collar around my heart. I HATE disappointing people, especially my family, especially my brother. And I'm still dwelling on it this morning, wondering why I'm letting fear win, feeling particularly lonely and daunted by several more weeks of solitude before work, and missing my mom. If she were alive, I fantasize that I would call her up, cry about it, and then hopefully hang out together and distract myself. Maybe we'd go to a Monday matinee, or go shopping.

***Alex notes a financial irony: my grandmother paid for my ticket back East to visit the family for Tim's wedding. When I decided not to go, we are taking a $440 hit for a trip I'm not taking. Huh.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

To Go, Or Not To Go

That is the question of the hour. And I believe my final answer is ...

Not to go.

I fear this makes me a pansy, but being a self-loathing quitter sounds ever-so-slightly more appealing that being an anxious, drug-less, pregnant traveler. And because Dad gave me a kind out, I am taking the $440 airline ticket hit and opting not to visit my brother in Block Island, my girlfriends in New York, my grandmother in Baltimore, and my extended family in Hilton Head. Does this make me a bad person? Probably. But is there a chance it makes me a wise baby-grower? Possibly.

I just don't feel up to it. I never have liked the actual "traveling" part of travel, and for 15 years I have had the wonderful best friend and crutch of Xanax or Clonopin. Only now, because of the little bean, I've got nothing. Not Xanax, not a drink, nothing. Not even my husband, who I have to leave at home for two weeks while I suffer from pre-partum separation anxiety. (Sidenote: I Googled separation anxiety, and supposedly it's a natural and normal developmental stage for young children, and then an unnatural disorder in older children. There is no DSM-IV mention of adults. Fine, I'll invent the thing).

But really, I've spent most of the last several weeks feeling like crap and glued to my one spot on the couch. Of course, there are times every single day when I feel fine. I'm able to socialize, grocery shop, or just do something fun. But those days are nearly always punctuated with "I don't feel good" complaints and the need to be taken care of, at my spot on the couch, by my loving husband. And then there are the occasional night sweats, bad dreams, and middle of the night anxiety, which are uncomfortable and difficult to quell. And there's the fatigue and random diarrhea, which is never fun in the public domain.

Making decisions that impact others has never been easy for me. I'm very decisive when it comes to choosing a dinner option from the menu, planning for a client, or picking a movie. But when I've already made a decision, essentially made plans and given my word, I have a horrible time going back on that. In cases like these, I seek the advice (read: validation) from people I love and respect.

My dad told me, "If you're not up to going, just don't go. You will be missed, but it's probably not worth the stress ... Plus, if they put you in a straight-jacket and sedate you on the plane, those drugs are probably worse for the baby than Xanax." Good point, Dad, well said. No one wants to be restrained in the air for 'suspicious behavior,' otherwise known as having a panic attack.

Alex said, "But what about your brother? He'll be so bummed. And your grandma? What if it's the last time you are able to see her? I think you'll be fine. You're strong and you can do it." Wrong answer. He re-evaluates. "Actually, I think you should stay here. Your number one priority is taking care of yourself and that fetus. And I would miss you too much."

Paul and Chris advised, "If I could, I would forbid you from going. Stress is not good for the baby. Plus, what if something bad happened? You would forever wonder if you shouldn't have gone on a long trip."

Rachel said, "Well, what do you really want to do? Is it worth it? Will you be more uncomfortable if you change plans and stay home? Or if you go and visit everyone for two weeks?"

So I recognize that a million other pregnant women have flown in airplanes, been away from home for extended periods of time, and survived just fine with beautiful babies to boot. But I would guess that most women don't do a whole lot of things that fall outside their comfort zone while pregnant. And this, my friends and family, is too far outside my comfort zone. With no crutch or cushion when I fall. And because of that, I apologize for my last-minute plan change, but am sticking to my guns. I have someone else I have to think of right now - me and the baby.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Deli Delight?

All I wanted was a bagel dog. Not too much to ask, right? Yesterday, I didn't feel well enough to peel myself off the couch and venture out for the New York deli delight. Instead, I gagged down canned low sodium split pea soup. But today was a different story. I HAD to have that bagel dog. Alex left me car-less today, so I couldn't drive down to my favorite Noah's Bagel shop in Lake Oswego. Google to the rescue. I remembered there was a classic New York Jewish deli on NW 23rd. I used every ounce of energy I could muster, dusted off my bike, and pedaled the 1.5 miles. I was treating myself to a solo lunch out on the town, and was even a little excited about it. I picked up the Willamette Week, grabbed a single table, and perused the menu for 2.2 seconds before ordering a side salad with blue cheese, a bagel dog, and a water to drink (that one's for you, baby). A few minutes later the elderly waiter with an East Coast accent returned to inform me that they were, in fact, out of bagel dogs. OUT OF BAGEL DOGS?!? It wasn't even noon yet. How could you be out of bagel dogs? What kind of Jewish deli are you?!? He recommended a kosher dog on a bun, and I silently complied. Also, the elderly-accented waiter brought me a giant tub of pickles as a consolation. How'd he know I was pregnant!?!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

10 Weeks

I'm feeling rather proud, today, seeing as how I'm busy growing a kumquat. I can't believe my baby still weighs less than an ounce and is about one-inch in length. Although I hear my uterus is the size of a grapefruit (rather than the usual pear-sized uterus I carry around), so maybe that explains why my jeans feel tight? Then again, I think I always complain that my clothes feel tight, unless I'm wearing Alex's size XL flannel penguin PJ pants and his brown hoodie.

My baby's limbs can bend! That's why I'm tired. Although I'm not doing yoga, per se, I think the little bean is. Baby Beluga's skin is translucent and its forehead bulges in the front. I think its cute like a cartoon. Then again, I'm crossing my fingers and toes that he/she gets a little less alien and more humanoid by the time we meet him/her.

I'm still oscillating between feeling mostly fine, and nearly-dead on the couch with a headache like that adorable baby hippo in People Magazine is sitting on my skull. I'm training myself to gag down more water, although that appears to be my one major food aversion. Still no barfing, but enough nausea to qualify as all-day sickness. I never have been much of a puker. I was one of those kids who needed to throw up, but held it in instead, at least for as long as I could. Doesn't work with the Devil Baby, though. Gross.

Alex and I decided that we, too, would join the masses and take "belly pics" (sidenote: that term for taking profile photos during pregnancy horrifies me; it sounds so trite). Here I am, 10 weeks along. As you look at the picture I want to remind you not to tell me that I "look pregnant." I'm pretty sure I look exactly the same as I did three months ago, which is not to say I'm happy with the pre-natal figure. But yes, my boobs have gotten bigger, and I don't want to hear about that either. Next time around, let's start about 20 ell-bees skinnier, k?

On a less whiny note, Alex is about the cutest baby daddy that could have knocked me up. Everyday when he returns from his 14-hour workday, he walks in the door, puts away his bike, gives me a kiss, and lifts my shirt to say hi to the baby. Last night I caught him with my iPhone video-cam giving the little bean a pep talk of sorts. Although he made me promise that I wouldn't post it, because "it's for us, not the world." It was fruitless to remind him that less than .000000000000001% of the world even knows I exist, let alone that I blog. But out of respect, I'll hold off from posting the adorable video - at least for now.

Labor Day

It's hard work, being on vacation.

For the holiday weekend - the hoorah before losing my husband to the 14 hour days of bike commuting, teaching, and soccer coaching - we joined our friends Jake and Amy at their mountain cabin at a lake out past Willamette Pass. Not that I hadn't already indulged in three months of sleeping in, lingering over breakfast, or leisurely strolling in the sun, it's been awhile since I've gotten to do it in the fresh mountain air - and it felt good. We had amazing, non-stop food, fabulous weather, and great company.

Alex, Amy and Jake lounging and reading in the sun on the dock.

Alex trying to throw Jo overboard.

How can you not love this face?!?

Close's and Clifton's.

Wedding Daze

On August 27 we helped Alea Waterstreet and Brian Johnson, one of Alex's OSU soccer buddies, celebrate their union. It was a beautiful day - very, very hot, as you can see by Alex's armpits - and a fun party. Happy Trails, Johnson's!

Alea's dad walking her down the aisle to meet BJ

Alex is a hot mess.

The soccer boys.

Boyz in the hood with Alea.


Alex and Pete, coolin' off after heatin' up the dance floor.

Beach It

A few weeks back we got to spend the weekend at Rach and Trevor's beach house in Manzanita with their good friends Emmy and Josh. We had just found out we were pregnant, and this was an interesting-slash-scary preview of our future. We left thinking, "Are we really ready for a;;this?!?" Needless to say, the kids were adorable.

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