Saturday, December 30, 2006

Making the switch

Well, we did it. We finally switched the blog to the new Blogger since it is finally out of beta. We haven't upgraded our template or anything yet...and kinda doubt we will for at least a while... but I'm just hoping nothing strange starts happening now that we've made the switch. It's kinda like getting a new car or something - you're all excited about the cool, new stuff but are afraid to punch all the buttons without carefully reading the directions so that you don't hose something up!

Hopefully, the transition will be an easy and painless one!

- Karen

A week ago

One week ago, I was just settling into the cardiac intensive care unit after having had a heart attack. It still all seems so very unreal to me. What I can tell you that's different is that I seem to notice every little twinge and shift in my body and wonder "is it happening again?". I'm hopeful that this fearful stage will pass and that I don't continue being hyper-sensitive to everything my body does. I find myself caught in this very weird place where all in the same moment I feel fear about doing anything that may cause something "bad" to happen and feel this strong desire to just get my life back to normal the way it was before last Saturday. I suppose that once you get a wake up call like this one, you never really go back to life as it was before, but I really do hope the constant "am I OK?" checks that run through my mind eventually lessen and go away.

I've received alot of blogger notes, calls, cards and a beautiful flower arrangement from my office that I really appreciate. My 6 yr old niece, Emily, sent me this cool note which I adore:

I suppose it'll just take some time to let this whole experience settle in. What I do know is that I am so very grateful for Wendy and our baby and for every precious minute of life I have. As the song says " goes on...".

- Karen

Up for grabs

We interrupt this blog for a brief commercial message.....

Due to more than one recent occurrence - the baby on the way and my heart attack - we've decided to not use our timeshare weeks this year. We have two: one in Mexico and one in Provincetown. So, we'd like to offer up these weeks to any of you who may be interested in a little vacation - or anyone you may know who'd be interested. There are actually several resorts under the same plan in Mexico to choose from. Here's a few links, if you're interested:

Harbor Hill (Provincetown MA) - Main site
Harbor Hill (Provincetown MA) - RCI site

Villa del Palmar - Cabo
Villa del Palmar (2) - Cabo

Villa del Arco - Cabo
Villa del Arco (2) - Cabo

Villa del Palmar Flamingos - Nuevo Vallarta

We're asking $750 for the Mexico week and $550 for the Provincetown week. This is to cover our maintenance fee and the fee to put the reservation in your name. The week in Mexico can be taken at pretty much anytime but the week in Provincetown must be booked between Mar. 30 - May 25, Oct. 19 - Nov. 2 or Dec. 21 - Jan. 4.

If you're interested, please drop us an email and we'll discuss the particulars. Also, we are considering selling these two timeshare units, so if you might be interested in owning vs. renting, let us know that as well.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

- Karen

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Name Change

I officially changed my last name today. I now have Karen's last name. (I really want to type it here but I guess it's more prudent not to). We are now the M***** girls!

I decided to do this because I knew, from the moment I was pregnant, that I wanted to give baby Kylie Karen's last name. And I thought it might make things easier for all of us to have the same last name when we meet with doctor's, teachers, etc.

The process started on 12/8. I had to go to the courthouse, sign an affidavit, pay my $105 fee, and post my notice on a public bulletin board. I then had to wait 20 days to see if there were any objections. Today, I went to the courthouse, stood in front of the judge while she signed my documents, shuffle even more papers and then the deed was done.

I had a big, goofy grin on my face the whole time. I"m so happy to have done this. I wanted to have my picture taken with my cheesy grin and my certified name-change document, but I won't receive my documentation for five more days.

Then I get to start changing my social security card, driver's license, passport, banking and insurance documents and so forth and so on.

But Hurray! I get to start the new year as a "new person". How cool is that?!

[22w, 3d]
[26 Babies R Us visits]

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

How I remember it

Karen and I are so happy to be at home. We're both resting comfortably.

I wanted to take a moment and share some of my experiences and memories of her heart attack and heart surgery.

  • Seeing the ER room fill with 10 people, all poking and prodding and hovering around Karen with her arms and legs spread-eagle and seeing the chest paddles brought into the room.
  • Being escorted to the cardiac surgery waiting room and sitting by myself for the first time. My head was buzzing with questions. When do I call her family? What will I say? When will I call my family? How long will this surgery last? What will the result be? And on and on and on. No answers- just tons of questions and nothing to do but feel the fear.
  • Going home for the first time after her attack, seeing Karen's pillow on the bed and her picture above the bed, and feeling all "what-could-have-happened" crashing in on me like a killer-wave.

    After three hits of nitroglycerine, Karen's pain was down from a 9 to a 4. At that point, the doctor ordered morphine to bring her pain all the way down. When he asked her if she was feeling the effects of the morphine, Karen said "There's Mr. Hand!". (This is a quote from the movie "Looks Who's Talking" wherein Bruce Willis is a baby in his mom's womb. He's received the effects of Mom's painkiller and he says in a drunken voice while playing with his fingers- "There's Mr. Hand"). When Karen said this, the doctor met my eyes and nodded like, "Oh yeah, she's feeling it!" He then asked again, "What's your pain on a scale of 1-10" and Karen replied, "What pain?"

    Yep. Karen puked on me in the emergency room. It was my fault because I fed her a few crackers and ginger ale when she told me she felt nauseous(the pregnant woman's answer to everything) so it was only fitting that I got showered with it.

  • Holding hands and looking deep into each other's eyes and saying our "I love you's" before she was wheeled into surgery.
  • The first time Karen stood up from her bed after her surgery, she held out her arms to hug me and then she "twirled" me as if we were dancing.
  • On Christmas, she squished over in her hospital bed so that I could lay beside her with my head on her shoulders.

    Thanks to everyone for your supportive comments. We love our blog family.

    [22w, 2d]
  • Tuesday, December 26, 2006

    Heart attack...or a very surreal Christmas

    Well...where should I begin? Let's start with a brief chronology of the events of the past few days:

    Saturday, Dec. 23
    10:40am - As I was finishing an hour of Jazzercise, I began to feel lightheaded, nauseous and had some burning and tightening in my chest.
    10:50am - I walked out of Jazzercise and opened the car door, where Wendy was waiting, and told her I needed her to drive us home as I was feeling sick.
    11:20am - Wendy came to a screeching halt outside of the emergency room at the hospital and I was taken inside via wheelchair.
    11:30am - I threw up all over Wendy as they put me in an ER room where within minutes about 10 people were poking, prodding and otherwise doing whatever they do to keep one alive while they're having a heart attack.
    12:40pm - I was taken to the cardiac cath lab where an angiogram was performed and a stint was placed in my left anterior descending artery (which was completely blocked).
    1:30pm - Surgery complete, I was taken to the cardiac intensive care unit for recovery and monitoring.
    1:45pm - Wendy joined me in recovery.

    Sunday, Dec. 24
    I spent the majority of the day in CCU but was sent to the much more restful cardiac floor around dinner time where I spent the night. After being woken every 30 minutes to have vitals taken and blood drawn every few hours, the new floor was like a Hilton in that they only drew blood at 1:30am and then woke me up again at 6am.

    Monday, Dec. 25
    I was discharged around 1pm and sent home.

    I have 4 new prescriptions for various meds to keep my blood pressure down and blood thin and pumping, have been told not to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk for a couple of weeks as well as to limit my activity until I visit my cardiologist on Jan. 23rd for follow-up.

    How's that for a festive Christmas?

    I will say that I never really thought I was going to die. There were no moments of unconsciousness nor any visions of a light from beyond calling to me. I did offer up quite a few prayers for both myself and Wendy but most of all just remember thinking "holy crap...I'm actually having a heart attack!" over and over again. It still doesn't seem quite real to me, but here I sit with a teeny little stint (with a barcode on it to identify it and a card with that info to carry in my billfold) in my heart which now has my arteries all open and the blood flowing. Nothing like a little scare to make for an interesting Christmas!

    Wendy held up beautifully through the whole ordeal and is doing well. We both got a wonderful day after Christmas present when Kylie kicked hard enough for me to feel her for the first time today! We have our next appointment to check on Wendy and Kylie on Jan. 8 but Wendy seems to have popped even more in just the last few days.

    So, here we are....home, resting together and feeling very, very, very grateful to be alive and kicking as we head into the new year.

    We want to wish you all a happy holiday season with your loved ones and we'll be posting more about all our experiences of the past few days and the days to come.

    - Karen

    Friday, December 22, 2006

    Practice your kegels, dear

    I remember the first time I heard about my kegel. I was in my high school Marketing class and I had asked to go to the restroom. My female teacher replied, "Hold it in dear. It will make you a better lover". When she saw the blank look on my face, she went on to define the PC muscle, also known as the Kegel muscle and how if it was strong, I would be able to do interesting things with my urine flow and it would quote "make me a better lover".

    Later in life, aerobic teachers would remind me to practice my kegel exercises. My favorite suggestion was to kegel while standing in line at the supermarket. My aerobic instructor confided that she got a small, perverse thrill as she smiled and made small talk with others while flexing her "love muscle".

    Now kegels are back in my life. The Bradley method book that I'm reading recommends 300 flexes (done within five minutes) a day. A more advanced kegel exercise is to flex the muscle and hold it for 10 seconds at least 36 times a day. The gold-medal round is to flex and then release the muscle in thirds (high, middle, and low). Try that one out!! I dare you!

    But enough about that.... it's time for a belly picture.

    See that distracted look in my eye? Can you guess what I'm secretly doing?

    [21w, 4d]

    Thursday, December 21, 2006

    Show and Kiss and Tell

    Karen made it safely home yesterday. I loved showing her the deliveries that had been made in her absence (furniture, bugaboo, etc) and she enjoyed showing me the gifts from her family. You can see the gifts here.

    And now we are ready to settle in and snuggle for the holidays.

    [21w, 3d]

    Wednesday, December 20, 2006

    Headed home

    I'm in the Cincinnati airport awaiting my flight home. I've spent the last 10 days in TN with my family and seeing my dad through his two surgeries. He's recovering still but from all indications, things were successful and he should experience great results from having this done! I'm glad to have been there for it all although it was a bit tiring and stressful at times.

    It was fun to also be home and share my excitement about Kylie with my family. My sister and mom are both tickled and showered us with some wonderful gifts. We'll post the pix on our Flickr site once I get home and Wendy and I take photos of everything.

    Right now, I'm sitting in the Delta Crown Room (a nice perk for folks like me who travel way too much!). My flight leaves in about an hour, but it's quiet in here and I can get to email and the internet while I wait. It sure beats sitting at the gate.

    I've managed to pick up a bug while away and was worried enough about how it was progressing that I started on a round of antibiotics on Monday. My mom assures me that after 3 days of taking the meds I shouldn't be contagious and that I shouldn't pass along anything nasty to Wendy. Keep your fingers and toes crossed that is the case! After not having seen my sweet wife for 10 days I'm ready to slather all over her, but am horrified to think I might make her sick. Send healthy, non-germ-sharing vibes our way!

    - Karen

    Tuesday, December 19, 2006

    Santa rides a Bugaboo

    Christmas came early to our house. The Bugaboo stroller we ordered arrived today! It will sit by the Christmas tree for the rest of the holidays. It's freaky how much I like looking at this thing and playing with it. Chloe, our younger cat, had to jump in it immediately upon arrival and sniff it out. She deemed it acceptable for "her" house with a quick cat nod.

    I also finished knitting a stroller blanket for the Wee One. To make this lovely blanket, I had to learn intarsia knitting (see those colored hearts? The process to do that is called intarsia). And I'm addicted. I knitted this blanket in under a week! I had hoped to finish it before the Bugaboo arrived and I made it! I guess having one's girlfriend out of town tends to speed up progress on one's projects.

    For those few knitters who read this blog, here's those knitterly stats we love:
    Yarn: Blue Sky Cotton
    Needles: Size US 9 circular
    Finished size: 28 x 28 inches
    Pattern: Heart blanket found in the "Knits from the Heart" book by Kristin Spurkland - modified to include intarsia hearts

    [21w, 1d]

    Monday, December 18, 2006

    Karen's dad is okay

    Karen's father had another surgery today wherein they ran the electrode wires down his neck to a pulse generator inplanted in his chest cavity. Once again, he sailed through surgery. He is home resting from these two incredible procedures.

    Thanks again to everyone for their thoughts and prayers. We are so thrilled that he is home safely (albeit very sore) for the holidays.


    Childbirth Prep

    I was talking with my Mom the other night about how when she was pregnant the choices for childbirth were either 1) take a new class called "Lamaze" or 2) get knocked out and meet your baby when you wake up. Nowadays, the choices are mind-boggling: Lamaze, Bradley, Hypno-birthing, Birthing from Within, or your standard hospital class.

    My friend, RSG, let me borrow lots of her books that explain the different approaches and I'm slowly working my way through them. I read one thing recently that made a lot of sense: that my job as the laboring mom is to relax during contractions and to not tense up and fight them. I told Karen that one thing she could say to me as my coach during labor is "Your job is to relax".

    Well I got to practice this method last night.

    I stayed up later than usual last night. My ab muscles were tight from holding me up all day. And when I had a hard sneeze, I felt the immediate pain of a pulled muscle/tendon/whatever.

    Hard as I tried, I could not get comfortable in bed. Laying still hurt and shifting around hurt more.

    So I got to practice taking deep belly breaths and relaxing my body. Let me tell you... it's not as easy as it sounds!! (You knew this and I knew this... but still!!!) Your natural inclination is to tense up against pain and to hold your breath. Then you realize you've been holding your breath and you overcompensate making yourself dizzy. "Your job is to relax; the way through is to relax" I chanted over and over.

    I managed to get some sleep and woke up resolved to practice this active-relaxation stuff every day!


    Friday, December 15, 2006

    Good Lovin' and Burp Cloths

    I've started to feel the baby flutter more often these past two days. And I almost always feel her between 6 and 7pm.

    She made me giggle as she unexpectedly started fluttering when the song "Good Lovin'" by the Rascals (can be found on The Big Chill soundtrack) was playing. I guess she was telling me "All she needs is lovin'....good lovin' baby!"

    Some of you may remember that I was looking for an excellent burp cloth (see post here). I found the perfect cloths at Kohl's. It's strange how a small success can make one so happy.

    Have a great weekend everyone!

    [20w, 4d]

    Thursday, December 14, 2006

    Dad is home

    Whew! The big brain surgery is over and my dad is now back home and resting comfortably (well...comfortably is a relative term when you've just spent half a day having a hole the size of a dime drilled in your head and had electrodes poked around in there). We were so excited to get the word from the doctor after the surgery ended saying that dad had "sailed through" and he felt that his prognosis for relief from his Parkinson's symptoms of heavy shaking and rigidity in his hands was in the higher end of what they'd hoped for.

    Dad stayed in recovery for about 2.5 hours and then we met him in his room after that. The scary and yucky part happened just after he got to his room and the local anesthetic they used for the surgery wore off. In a matter of minutes, he went from talking with us and looking pretty good to barely being able to move, grunt or anything as the pain gripped him. He said on a scale of 1-10, his pain was an 11. And...the nurse wouldn't get him any pain meds until she spent f-o-r-e-v-e-r asking him about a zillion medical history questions that he had answered that morning when he was admitted. Somehow, those records didn't make it to the floor and the nurse was just "doing her job" in asking all the questions, etc. OK... I get it that she has to "do her job". But, what I don't get is how a man has just undergone brain surgery and the nurse asks him "why are you here?"!!!!????!!! Is this a philosophical question? Duh! HE JUST HAD BRAIN SURGERY!!!! I thought my sister and I were going to whale on the woman trying to get her to give him something for the pain that was getting worse by the second. By the time she did give him something it was so bad that it took 2 shots of morpheine before he felt any relief at all. took about 8 more hours and 4 more morpheine shots to get him to the point where he qualified his pain as a 4 on a 1-10 scale!

    Needless to say, we were not happy with how all that came down, but by the time the doc came to check on him this morning, he was managing his "4" pain with aplomb and was just ready to go home! We had them give him one last pain med and then made the 3 hour drive home. He's now resting in his favorite chair in the den.

    There's something in this whole process that I noticed. When my dad is well I call him dad or pops when I talk to him. But, when he's sick or in the hospital, I always call him daddy. I think it's the little girl in me that thinks of her daddy as the strongest, biggest and bestest man on the planet and is ready to yell out to the world that "my daddy can do anything"! All in the same moment, I feel the sense of wanting to care for and protect him and at the very same time, wanting to curl up in my daddy's arms and just be his little girl once again. I'm just so very grateful that he is home and this phase of the process is over!

    Just to give you an idea of what they're doing to my sweet pops, here's a picture that shows a bit about Deep Brain Stimulation.

    There are still two more steps before he'll be able to experience the full benefits. He has to go back on Monday to have the "battery pack" inserted (this is the control unit where all the electrodes in his brain are connected and controlled) and then a final appointment to actually turn on the unit and get the juice flowing so that he gets the relief from his symptoms on a permanent basis. The whole thing won't be over until mid-January. But...for now, we've made it through the toughest part and are very hopeful about having him dancing a jig within another month!

    Thanks again to everyone for your thoughts and prayers!

    - Karen


    Some nursery furniture has arrived!!

    While it was being delivered, I had to refrain myself from squealing like a kid at Christmas. After it was delivered, I sat in our glider and had a lovely little cry. "It's so beautiful," I kept whispering to myself.

    The crib bedding is a gift from our realtor/builder/friend Candace. Our house was part of a small parade of homes before we bought it and our builder had this room outfitted as a little girl's room (a bit prophetic don't you think?). When Candace learned that we were having a girl, she announced that she had never sold/returned the crib bedding that she used during the show and that she would like to give it to us as a gift. WOW! We were blown away. So we are the proud owners of this lovely Wendy Bellissimo teaberry bedding.

    The crib is a lifestyle/convertible crib from Europa baby Peyton Collection. The window treatments and lamp are from Pottery Barn Kids. And the toy chest was purchased at a lovely local store called Goodnight Room.

    Right now, the furniture is on gliders so that we can move it around on the carpet. Our changing table/dresser will be delivered sometime in January. And I still have to pick out a nightstand.

    Here's some pictures. I think Kylie (aka The Biscuit) is a lucky little girl. I know I feel blessed to have a nursery like this for our little one.

    On another note, last night my friend and neighbor Heather and I went out for an early dinner. I had the quesadilla explosion salad from Chili's and an appetizer. About 15 minutes after Heather dropped me off at home, my belly "blew up". My belly always gets larger at night but this was phenomenal expansion. I would have loved to have seen it on time-lapsed photography!

    I walked around the house, rubbing my belly and saying over and over, "Holy Crap!". Finally, I could take it no longer. Someone had to see this belly. I called Heather and asked if I could come over so that she could witness this freak of nature. She took one look at my belly and said, "I guess that was an explosion salad!"

    I don't know if it was the pregnancy hormones, or the stress of worrying about Karen and her Dad, or what but I melted into hysterical laughter. I just laughed and laughed holding my tight-as-a-drum belly. Heather took several pictures as I giggled. Here is one of them:

    I know it doesn't look that big but trust me... it felt twice it's normal size.


    Wednesday, December 13, 2006

    Karen's Dad

    Just a quick post to let you know that Karen's father made it just fine through his brain surgery for his Parkinson's. She'll post when she can but she wanted you to know how much she appreciates your thoughts and well wishes for her Dad and family.


    Tuesday, December 12, 2006

    Plank girl

    I can no longer easily bend at the waist. In fact, I don't have a waist anymore. I have hips which suggest where the waist used to be but the waist itself is gone!

    This morning, as I sat and bent to tie my shoes, I noticed that in order to tie these shoes I had push my legs out to the side in order to bend over. Uuggghhh. Not the prettiest of pictures.

    And when I sit and read or knit, I'm only comfortable when I make my torso straight like a board.

    Here's a picture from a few days ago. See...... no waist.


    Monday, December 11, 2006

    Too much orange...

    If it's possible for there to be too much of the color orange in the world, I'm in the place where possibility becomes reality and where orange is freakin' everywhere! Here in east TN, even at Christmas time, the place is still painted in Univ. of TN orange. It's a bit much even for a TN girl born and raised...particularly for a girl who moved to Oregon and just came back home for a visit!

    I got here all safe and sound and will be doing hospital watch Wed and Thurs while my dad has his surgery. Thanks for all the well wishes and prayers! But, I knew I was certainly back "home" when the first shop I passed in the airport upon landing had an orange Christmas kidding! Then today, my mom and I made a trip to Babies R Us and I'll be darned if right as I walk in the door there's an entire rack of orange sleepers and orange Santa Santa outfits!

    So, now I'm taking respite in a Starbucks where I can use the wireless internet connection (my parents have dial-up...heaven forbid!) and pretend I'm back home in Oregon and all is calm and oh so *not* orange!

    - Karen

    Saturday, December 09, 2006

    The week in review

    This week has seemed to fly by for me as I've been really busy with work and getting prepared to be out of town (visiting family in TN and to be with my dad who's having some surgery) for the next 10 days. We've found out our biscuit is a girl on Monday, gone nuts ordering the furniture we'd picked out for her and then on Friday got a further thumbs up from our doctor about the continued health and well-being of both Wendy and Kylie.

    I hate to even think of leaving Wendy here for 10 days but think she's surrounded herself with a pile of knitting projects, a new scrapbook project to begin and a mound of chocolate chip cookies and Hostess cup cakes for those moments when nothing else will soothe. But, we decided that she'd stay here with the animals and just nest. I'll miss her horribly but am looking forward to a visit with my family and also to seeing my dad safely through his surgery. He has Parkinson's disease and is having Deep Brain Stimulation surgery to help relieve some of his more annoying symptoms. While the thought of having some neurosurgeon poking wires into my dad's brain is a little frightening, our hopes are high that it will give him some much needed relief from the constant shaking and other symptoms this horrible disease have brought to him. He's had to shave his head in preparation for the surgery (which will be this Wednesday) and I can tell he's feeling pretty upbeat about the whole thing because he told me he was going to attach an old TV antenna to the back of his neck and head and go walking into church with it to try and get a laugh out of folks. That's my dad! Please send your thoughts and prayers our way as he makes his way through this whole thing.

    Right now, Wendy is laughing hysterically while listening to a recording of Elvis laughing his way through "Are You Lonesome Tonight" where he got so tickled he could barely sing. Wendy loves Elvis and is just cracking up over this! If you have any inkling you'd like to join in the laugh visit here and enjoy!

    The other really funny thing that happened this week is that Wendy freaked both the cats and me out on Wednesday with a bad case of the belly growls. You can't even begin to imagine the sound that came from her belly! It was so loud, I thought the cats were fighting but when I turned in the direction of the noise, Phoebe (our older cat) was staring at Wendy's belly with this horror-struck look on her little cat face. Her sister Chloe, made a quick exit as she fled the noise and Wendy could only laugh and gasp and point at her belly. Of course, all this happened while I was on a work conference call!

    We had lunch with our friends RSG and HG and they brought us a sweet little girl outfit and some books for Wendy. Our dear friend Heather has also been showering us with sweet gifts for Kylie as well. Thanks ladies! Wendy's posted photos of their gifts and a bunch of other "girl stuff" we've already been given at our Flickr site if you want to pop over and have a look.

    Anyway, it's getting late and I've put off packing as long as I think I can. My flight leaves at 7am in the morning so I've got to make an early start. I'll try to post a couple of times while I'm away just to say hi and update about my travels and my dad's surgery. In the meantime, I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season!

    - Karen
    [25 Babies R Us visits]

    Friday, December 08, 2006

    Doctor's appointment

    We had our regularly scheduled doctor's appointment today. Everything is just fine with me and the baby.

    All the ultrasound results came back completely normal.
    My blood pressure is 112/64
    Baby's heartrate is 140ish (manually calculated)
    Belly growth is 20cm (which corresponds with 20 weeks - how cool!)
    Placenta is at the back of the uterine wall (which may make it easier for Karen to feel baby's kicks).

    I really like our doctor. She has a wonderful smile and good bedside manner. However today she slightly freaked me out.

    If you recall from many posts ago, I've been having pain in my ribs on my left side. An upper abdomen ultrasound and complete blood work didn't reveal any problems.

    So for now, we are labeling this pain as costochondritis. On a good day, this just amounts to a feeling like a stitch in my side but in my ribs. On a bad day, it feels like my friggin ribs are being pulled apart and broken. There is no treatment except anti-inflammatories or steroids, neither of which is viable while I'm pregnant. So mostly I just grin and bear it and get on with my day-to-day stuff.

    But this week I developed a new sensation - a pulling or tugging feeling in the center of my body in the space between my belly button and my sternum. It feels very much like a pulled tendon or muscle or like some unknown internal organ was bulging forward in the middle of my body. I mentioned this to the doctor today and she just smiled at me and said that this is normal because of how the uterus is expanding and all the organs start to get smushed.

    Now I realize this is true. I've read about it and it makes sense. The rational Wendy knows all this.

    But COME ON! Palpate my abdomen for goodness sake!! Reassure me that the pulled-muscle feeling isn't my stomach or intestines getting ready to burst through like some freaky aliens. Palpate my abdomen and let me say, "Ouch!" when you poke at it and you say, "Poor baby but you'll be just fine".

    Don't just smile with your sweet darling smile-- you might irritate the hormonal woman on your table.

    And then there is the inevitable let-down as you leave the doctor's office. Because somehow, totally unrealistically, you expect the doctor to say that you are the most incredible pregnant woman on the face of the Earth. And that your baby is beautiful and perfect in every way. And because you are so very special they want to see you once a week simply to praise you.

    Instead, you are told that everything is "normal" and we'll see you a month from now.


    Deep Sigh.

    (Please tell me I'm not alone in the after office-visit let down phase).


    Wednesday, December 06, 2006

    Stationery and Snoogle

    I'm fortunate in that my grandmother (mom's side) writes me a letter several times a month. I treasure her letters! She tells me about her days, the weather in TN, how her garden in doing and how much milk/gas costs. She is a frugal lady and doesn't care much for frivolous gifts.

    When I moved to Oregon, I started a tradition of sending her stamps for Christmas (quite the practical present!). This year, I thought I would send some lined stationery to accompany the stamps. Well, guess what?! It is incredibly hard to find stationery these days!

    I checked at Target, at Hallmark and at a stationery store! All I could find was thank-you cards and invitations and small card-stock note cards. No boxed sets of writing paper and envelopes.

    And for some reason this shocked me. I was amazed that the advent of the personal PC has caused us to stop hand-writing letters to the degree that stores no longer stock writing-paper sets.

    Anyway, I got over my shock when I found some lined stationery at my local drug store (of all places!) but it was a wake-up call to remind me how quickly things change.

    (And part of me laughs at the thought of me as an old lady saying to my grandkids, "In my day, we had to write each other letters. We didn't have those new-fangled computers when I was a youngster!)

    On another note, I broke down and purchased a snoogle pillow. Oh! I"m so glad I did!! I'm sleeping much more comfortably. So thanks to everyone who recommended this very wonderful pillow.


    Monday, December 04, 2006

    Two lines are not balls

    Wendy and I were up before the sun this morning, anxious and nervous about our ultrasound. I think Wendy woke up a bit before I did but not by much as we were both awake by 5:30am. Before every appointment, Wendy gets nervous and a bit on edge about the baby's health and well-being but this was the "big day"...the day we were to find out boy or girl so we were both nervous. But, you know how it is when you first wake up and aren't sure if your partner is awake yet, right? You kinda shift around in the bed and maybe reach over with a little pat to see if you get any response. Well, I barely shifted and Wendy's whisper voice says "It's Christmas!" Yes...yes it certainly is!

    Now, being the planners that we are, we have spent inordinate amounts of time at every baby store in the area trying to pick out the baby's room furniture, the stroller, the car seat...well...pretty much everything. So, today was to be the moment of truth: did we buy the girl stuff or the boy stuff? And, you know that we've been holding off on buying much during our previous 23 visits to Babies R Us, right? Well, the itch to go buy something was about to kill both of us.

    So...on with the story... In retrospect, perhaps Wendy started drinking the 30+ ounces of fluids that she was to consume at least one hour prior to the ultrasound a bit early (since we were up and awake so early). I say this because by the time we got to the hospital, she was already floating in fluid and needing to go pretty badly. We had to wait about 20 minutes before the tech came back to get us and when she got up to walk back with the tech, it took her a good 30 seconds to stand and push herself forward...I think all the clenching she was doing made it just a bit difficult to walk! :)

    Anyway, the tech had a trainee with her who was going to watch and also do a bit of the scan so we got Wendy settled and began. The ultrasound jelly is usually very cold and Wendy was v-e-r-y pleased when it was toasty warm instead! Her bladder was so full that the baby was smashed in there pretty tight and for the first few seconds didn't move at all. But then, the tech moved over and we saw the heart beating strong and wonderful...whew! Within the next few seconds, the baby kind of spread her legs and rolled up on her shoulders and Wendy squeezed my hand tight. I knew what she was thinking...we didn't see anything dangling besides two little legs. However, the tech didn't proclaim gender at that point...sigh.... Here's the first picture...a lovely little profile (we both think she's got a cute little nose!):

    When the tech snapped this next picture Wendy kind of giggled and said "it looks like an alien baby"....hee hee....

    The scan progressed with views of the arms, hands, legs and feet and all the in-between parts. The heartbeat was 150 and it was quite a sight to watch it beating away. She even waved at us:

    After about 10-15 minutes, Wendy was so uncomfortable, they told her she could go relieve the pressure...but only a bit...and gave her this teeny cup and told her she could eliminate just that much. Come on people! When you've gotta go that bad, how do you stop?!?!?! Well...somehow Wendy managed and felt better after and was able to finish about another 25 minutes or so before they finally let her completely relieve herself. Yow!

    During the intervening time, the student tech took over for a bit and was much slower than the original one. And, the student tech was also a bit more heavy-handed and pressed down on Wendy much more. Within a few minutes, Wendy announced that she was getting really light-headed and they had to roll her on her side to let her recover a bit before we could continue. But, continue we did...

    Now, at this point, we'd been watching the biscuit intently and watched as the techs measured and labeled and pointed to all the parts, but they hadn't said a word about the gender. Finally, the main tech (now back at the controls) asked "so do you want to know the baby's sex?". Well, duh! "You bet we do!", we both scream at her! And, with a simple twist of the little ultrasound wand thingie, she got the angle, locked the view in and here's what we saw (I know it's hard to see but you gotta love the label "Special Parts"):

    The tech is pointing and says something to the effect of "here's what we look for...these two little lines here"...and Wendy says "...and lines are not balls, right?". Guffaw! "Yes...that's right. Those are the labia. You have a girl!", says the tech. And that's how we came to first officially greet our little girl! I have to admit...I teared up! The tears were as much from laughing as from tears of joys and relief! I'll admit that I had really hoped for a little girl...had felt the baby was a girl from practically the moment of conception and had just tried to hold the thought of "healthy baby" (regardless of the gender) in my head during all these weeks of waiting. But, to actually know that what I'd thought and believed to be true, really was true, was just amazingly sweet.

    The techs left the room to have the doctor take a look at things and gave us a few minutes alone and we both just hugged and laughed and shed a few little tears of happiness together. Our little girl has made herself known and we are so excited, happy and grateful.

    We've had her name picked out from the beginning and today made it official. So, let me formally introduce her to everyone: ladies and gents, I give you, Kylie. We're pretty sure her middle name will be she'll actually have the same initials as mine as it turns out. :)

    There's a couple more ultrasound photos on our Flickr site if you'd like to take a peek, but unless we decide to get a 3D/4D (which we're considering), that'll be the last peek at the little nipper until her birthday.

    OK...I know this post is long but hey...I'm on a roll!

    After the ultrasound we made all our calls to parents, family and friends who were waiting to hear the news and then made a quick stop at home before heading out to shop, shop, shop! So, the damage today was pretty hefty...we ordered the crib and changing table/dresser for Kylie's room, ordered the stroller we've been coveting since before Wendy even got pregnant and even scored our car seat (which we had a great discount coupon for at, you guessed it, Babies R Us). I'll have to post pictures of the furniture after it arrives: the crib will be here within a week and the dresser in about 4-5 weeks. The stroller is the extravagant Bugaboo Cameleon

    and the car seat is the Britax Marathon convertible

    We decided on the Bugaboo because we just loved it!! We decided that if we could drive a previously owned SUV (which we do) and buy alot of baby clothes at the consignment shop, we would splurge and treat ourselves to this grand indulgence. Go ahead...laugh if you will, but we are tickled to pieces with our extravagent new baby Rolls Royce!

    Finally, we had to buy a few "girl things" to put in Kylie's closet. Fortunately, Babies R Us had a few clearance racks and we found some really cute things that should come in handy in the spring and early summer after she arrives:

    And last, but not least...the woobie. This cute little thing caught our eye a couple of months ago. It's a blanket shaped like a little stuffed bear without the stuffing. It's so soft...we hope Kylie will love it as much as we do.

    OK....that's it....whew! Thanks to everyone who sent their best wishes and were waiting to hear the news and for all the excitement you've shared with us. We're both tired and happy and as Wendy says "I'm as full as a well fed tick". (Yes, we are from the south...can't you tell?)

    - Karen
    [24 Babies R Us visits]
    ...and one baby GIRL in the oven!

    It's a girl!

    All of you who guessed "girl" were right on target! We have a beautiful, healthy little girl growing well and strong inside Wendy...yay!!!

    Pictures and more info to come later, but now...we must shop!

    - Karen

    Tomorrow - the biscuit is unveiled!

    It's late Sunday night and I'm wondering if I'll be able to sleep tonight. Tomorrow morning at 8:30am PST, the biscuit's gender is to be unveiled (as long as the little nipper cooperates and spreads his or her legs for the camera)! Wendy and I both are nervous and excited and have lots of folks anxiously awaiting the news.

    So, keep your blog ears on out there for the results we'll have to share sometime tomorrow! You know of course that we're leaving immediately from the ultrasound and heading out to order our stroller and crib. We have made way too many trips to Babies R Us and restrained ourselves for way too long so we plan to go spend some $$$ and get a few things we wanted to wait until we knew the gender before we bought. Woo hoo!

    To entertain you in the meantime, here's a couple of photos of Wendy and I. We're including a photo of us in our Christmas cards this year. However, neither of these will be going out...but dang, aren't we just cute?!?

    First, the belly....

    Then, the boobs!

    Who'd a thunk the top parts would grow as big as the bottom parts!?! Personally I love it all!

    - Karen
    [23 Babies R Us visits]

    Friday, December 01, 2006

    More ramblings

    One of my neighbors has rented a CRANE so she can put up her holiday lights. As I type this, she is dangling from her roof and stapling lights to her trim like some crazy person. I'm getting quite a laugh out of it.

    We plan to put up our tree and such this weekend. I hope that our youngest cat, Chloe, will not climb the tree this year but I believe this is just wishful thinking.

    I'm pleased that as of last night, I've finished all of my holiday knitting. I'm sending packages home instead of traveling to TN for the holidays.

    For the past two days, I've felt a bit drained of energy. I tell myself that it's probably a growth spurt for the baby. Plus the belly seems to be growing by the hour. When I bought my maternity pants, I was told by the clerk that they should last the entire length of the pregnancy. Now I'm not so sure.

    I've been amusing myself by looking at lists of favorite children's books and then reserving them from my local library. I found a great book this week. It's "Over in the Meadow" by Olive Wadsworth. It's a counting rhyme book with beautiful illustrations.

    I'm Jazzercising around 3 times a week but I still get breathless every time I walk up the stairs in my house. I've started to get my "fat Wendy" double chin again. And my newest food addiction is Strawberry PopTarts. They have absolutely no redeeming food value but Oh My Gosh they taste great!!

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

    [18w, 4d]

    Tuesday, November 28, 2006

    Burp cloth hang-ups

    I need your recommendations on burp cloths.

    Our good friend Heather uses Circo-brand burp cloths for her baby boy. You can buy these burp cloths at T*rget. And they work really well - super absorbent. It's freaky how well these suckers work.

    However, the cloths are sold as a two-pack. One burp cloth has "I love Mommy" written on it and the other has "I love Daddy". I like these cloths so much that I've bought several packs and have given Heather the "I love Daddy" cloths. I know I'm being stubborn about not wanting "Daddy" burp cloths in the house, but then again, you already know that I'm stubborn.

    I watched Heather's little boy today and went through several burp cloths. Which hammered home the point that I'm going to need many, many, many burp cloths.

    But I'm so hung up on the Circo brand that the other brands pale in comparison.

    So I need your help. If you use burp cloths, what is your favorite kind? Thank you!

    (PS - Just so you know how completely hung up I can get about things.... I just spent one hour trying to find the "Mommy" ones sold online, on Ebay, etc. I also looked for burp cloth reviews online and didn't find anything either. Dang! I'm used to finding anything I want on the Internet. However, the exasperation I'm feeling gives me an excellent excuse to curl up with a Hershey bar! You know chocolate makes everything better. Even stifled Internet buying.)


    Monday, November 27, 2006

    Flutterings & giggles

    I seem to feel the baby flutter mostly when I'm hungry. Almost as if the Biscuit was jiggling or kicking around saying, "Feed Me!" Is this true for anyone else?

    On another note, I don't believe I've written about the joys of our zero-gravity recliner. Well.... it is bliss! We are so fortunate to have this sucker. When you sit in it, it feels as if you are floating. And I've found that it really helps alleviate my back or neck pain. I may end up spending every waking moment in this recliner before too long.

    However, it can be a bit tricky to get in and out of this chair. Especially when you are 4 months pregnant and your girlfriend wants to take your picture and you get tickled and you realize suddenly that you need to pee....NOW!

    I've got a few pictures on our Flickr site of me struggling to get out of the chair while laughing raucously. I thought I'd share them with you so you can have a laugh along with me.




    1. Yourself: pregnant
    2. Your partner: sherpa
    3. Your hair: thicker
    4. Your mother: seeker
    5. Your father: dependable
    6. Your Favorite Item: movie
    7. Your dream last night: hair
    8. Your Favorite drink: dietcoke
    9. Your Dream Car: RV
    10. The room you are in: office
    11. Your Ex: martyr
    12. Your fear: depression
    13. What you want to be in 10 years? mommy
    14. Who you hung out with last night? Karen
    15. What you are not? employed
    16. Muffins: lemon
    17. One of Your Wish List Items: furniture
    18. Time: inconsistent
    19. The Last Thing You Did: cleaned
    20. What You Are Wearing: sweats
    21. Your Favorite Weather: Spring
    22. Your Favorite Book: King
    23. The Last Thing You Ate: cereal
    24. Your Life: incredible
    25. Your Mood: happy
    26. Your best friend: Karen
    27. What are you thinking about right now? food
    28. Your car: Luna
    29. What are you doing at the moment? blogging
    30. Your summer: surprising
    31. Your relationship status: married
    32. What is on your TV? Matrix
    33. What is the weather like? rainy
    34. When is the last time you laughed? yesterday


    Sunday, November 26, 2006

    Freedom...thy name is new pj's

    Ain't she just cute?! After finding this wonderful nightgown, I surprised Wendy by catching her with my camera in hand as she came forth wearing her new PJ's. She got so tickled! Isn't it priceless? And you know...she's doing it Scottish-style....nothing on underneath! And that makes the ever expanding belly feel w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l!

    - Karen

    Friday, November 24, 2006

    Observations from the sherpa

    Today has been one laugh after another. Wendy is obviously experiencing the euphoria of the 2nd trimester "honeymoon". She just finished a laughing fit where she laughed hysterically for several minutes all the while snorting out something about her belly and gas and something else of which I'm still not quite sure.

    Earlier, we braved the crazy day after Thanksgiving world and went out. While I had a hair cut, Wendy sat at Starbucks and knitted and I met her there after I was done. She had planted herself next to the sunny windows and smiled brightly as I entered with my newly coifed do. She finished a very wonderful scarf while I read and had a cuppa and then we decided to truly be brave and go to a couple of stores. We successfully navigated the traffic and the crowds and obtained the couple of items we wanted and then decided to go for an early supper. We went to Chevy's, a mexican place that we hadn't been to in a while. Wendy's had Taco Bell on her brain for a couple of days (we even went so far as to go out yesterday - on the holiday - looking to see if a Taco Bell was open!) so we decided on Chevy's as a bit more upscale alternative. Well, her meal wasn't exactly what she wanted. As it turns out, we'd have been better off to have just gone to Taco Bell to start with, but alas - we did not. So, to help soothe her I offered to take her to Cold Stone Creamery for her favorite ice cream delight - Peanut Butter Cup Perfection (chocoloate ice cream, fudge sauce, peanut butter, Reese's Peanut Butter cups and a brownie all mixed together). As we pulled out from Chevy's on our way to Cold Stone, Wendy glanced across the street and noticed the Deseret Book store. "Hmph" she says. "A whole book store with dessert books? How do they ever sell enough to stay in business?". While smothering a laugh (since I have learned that it is not a good idea to laugh hysterically at the pregnant woman), I say "'s Des-er-et...not dessert". She cracked up! She laughed and laughed and laughed...and I laughed with her.

    Now, this little word faux paux is only the most recent in a long series of word oddities that my sweet one has proclaimed. First, there was the word pseudo. The official pronounciation is like "sue dough" but my Wendy says "sway dough". Then later today, "summarily" became "summer-air-alee". The funniest part is how hard she laughs when these little pronounciation slips happen. I suppose you just have to be there to get the full effect, but dang it's cute!

    She's fascinated with her growing belly and the flutters she's feeling from the baby. She just giggles with delight when they start. Tonight after the ice cream splurge, the baby was really getting jiggy with it in there and Wendy just starts laughing and saying how the baby must be on a sugar high. I think mommy was on a sugar high too!

    We're having alot of fun these days. Our big ultrasound is just a little over a week away and we'll soon know if the biscuit is a boy or a girl. There's so much to look forward to and yet each passing day is so very precious. Each moment is an adventure and this journey is just so miraculous that I find myself in awe over and over again.

    We've been thinking alot of our many blogger friends who are sharing this adventure with us. We feel we have lots of friends out there and everytime we check your blogs and read your comments here, it's as if we're sitting down with our dear friends over coffee and catching up on the day and enjoying each other's company. It's pretty cool to find that in this great big world, there are so many ways to connect to those who share similar journeys. We're so grateful to be on this path and to have found this community to share it with. Thanks everyone!

    Happy weekend everyone!

    - Karen

    Wednesday, November 22, 2006

    Time is speeding up

    In our first trimester, time slowed down to a snail's pace. Each day seemed interminably long. Now it seems that days are back to their normal pace.

    I'm writing all of this as my little excuse for not posting since last Sunday. So here's what's happened over the past few days:

    Hospital tour:
    Last Sunday, we toured the hospital where I will deliver. There were seven other couples present and I had the smallest belly there. The other couples were in their 30+ weeks. When asked how far along I was, I meekly answered, "four months". I have to hand it to the tour guide-- she smiled at us and said that it was always nice to be well prepared. I was grateful that the guide used the term "partner" and "spouse" instead of husband. And she made great eye contact with Karen and I. We didn't feel at all out of place. I love living in this "friendly" city.

    The hospital rooms are beautiful and spacious and filled with lovely amenities like a mini-fridge, DVD player and TV, and jetted tub. The room was so large... there was room for all 16 people to fit comfortably. Someone commented that the room felt more like a hotel suite than a hospital room; the guide smiled and said that was their intention. The nurses were very friendly and spoke at length on the family bonding that takes place the first hour after the baby's birth. We are very pleased with our choice of hospital.

    We had the waterfall in our backyard taken out. Before you gasp too loudly, you should know that the waterfall-while beautiful--was a royal pain in the rear. It clogged a lot and we could never get the water clear-even with lots of effort and maintenance. So three burly men came and dug up all the huge rocks and filled in all the holes with smaller rocks and dirt and mulch. Now we have a 12 x 16 patch of mulch in our backyard.

    And I'm itching for the Spring so that I can landscape it. April and May are my favorite months to work on landscaping. I could spend all day with my knees in mulch, planting perennials and flowers. Since I'm due in May, I'm already lamenting the loss of gardening time. Karen assures me that I can pick out the plants and arrange them and she will plant them for me. Perhaps I'll be able to help a little bit??? We'll wait and see.

    I don't know if I'm experiencing pregnancy congestion or a slight cold. I sniffle and snort and blow and talk funny thru my nose all day. Just lovely.

    Other baby stuff:
    We got our baby monitor and a fun, baby massage book. We are at 21 Babies R Us visits to date. We don't buy anything. We just walk around and point and discuss. It's a sickness really.

    Happy Feet:
    Just saw this movie tonight and we loved it. It's delightful. Go see it.

    Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

    [17w, 2d]
    [21 Babies R Us visits]

    Sunday, November 19, 2006

    What I have lived for

    I really liked this when I read it, so I thought I'd share.

    - Karen

    What I Have Lived For
    (The Prologue to Bertrand Russell's Autobiography)

    Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a great ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.

    I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy - ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness--that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what--at last--I have found.

    With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved.

    Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate this evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.

    This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me.

    Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) won the Nobel prize for literature for his History of Western Philosophy and was the co-author of Principia Mathematica.

    Friday, November 17, 2006

    Everything's Fine

    We're thrilled! We heard from our doctor. Our quad screen tests for the Biscuit came back normal. No additional tests will be needed. I'm so relieved and happy. Whew! Hurray!

    I've also started to feel the baby. The little flutterings are amazing!

    Here's a picture of me at 6 weeks and at 16 weeks:

    PS - Does pregnancy make you shorter? This picture makes me look like I've shrunk.


    Reading Aloud

    How often do you read aloud? I'm reading aloud more and more.

    Karen and I go to Starbucks to read several times a week. This is when I'll do my "homework" or non-fiction reading. Many times, I'll want to share something I've read with Karen. As I begin to read aloud from my book, I'll sometimes stumble over the words. I think this is due to the fact that I'm a fast reader. I think my eyes are jumping ahead in the material or skimming over the words rather than really reading them. Here: let me show you what I mean. This is a test from author Harlan Coben.

    Read this sentence:


    Now count the F"s in that sentence.

    I did it and ended up with four. The real answer is six. My eyes just skip over some of those ofs.

    Reading aloud slows me down so that I can really see what I'm saying. These days, I'm enjoying reading aloud to our neighbors' 4 month-old boy, Ethan. I'll read his board books to him slowly with lots of enthusiasm in my voice and I'll pause to gauge his reaction. Reading aloud and smiling with him is such fun.

    I'm really looking forward to reading aloud to our own child. Karen and I have such a love for reading; we hope our child will too. We're already collecting books for the Biscuit's library.

    By the way, I'm currently reading "The Read-Aloud Handbook" by Jim Trelease. I heartily recommend it. This book has an inspiring message and wonderful anecdotes as well as the latest research on reading aloud to your children and which books to choose.


    Thursday, November 16, 2006

    Email from heaven!

    I opened my work email yesterday morning and found this at the top of my Inbox:
    Now...tell me...if you saw an email from "christ" with a subject of "its time", what would you think?! I was amused and while having a pretty good idea this was a creative spammer's work, I have to admit to just a moment of pause as I considered the possibility that a divine being was attempting to communicate with me via email. What, my mind pondered, would I need to be told "its time" for? Time to become a mom, time to win the lottery, time to pull a muscle in Jazzercise class that morning...or something so unthinkable as time to depart this world for the next?

    So, after a brief pause to ponder the possibilities of if I was being communicated with from on high, I double-clicked the email to open it and see what it held. And....

    ...there it was! A lowest price guarantee on the drug of my choice should I require pharmaceutical assistance with sexual dysfunction, if I'm over-anxious, can't sleep, am depressed or otherwise in need of a little pick-me-up!

    I do believe that G*d works in mysterious ways, but I don't think direct marketing spam is one of those ways! Well, at least I had a good laugh.

    - Karen

    Wednesday, November 15, 2006

    Fertile Myrtle

    Online shopping can be scary fun. I found this fabulous shirt at

    This shirt is wonderful for several reasons. Karen has been calling me Fertile Myrtle since before I got pregnant. AND the shirt has a great illustration. AND the illustration has a pregnant knitter. Ha-Ha!!

    It will take around 2 weeks to get here. I can't wait to wear it.

    [16w, 2d]

    Tuesday, November 14, 2006

    10 Questions

    I stole this meme from Calliope at the Erstellen Mutterschaft blog.

    1) If someone said you were like a breakfast cereal, which one would you be and why?
    Wendy: Fruit Loops because I'm colorful and loopy.
    Karen: Special K because...well, you can figure it out, right?

    2) How do you take your coffee/tea?
    Wendy: Black coffee at home. Coffee all kinds of ways at Starbucks.
    Karen: With 1 Splenda or Sweet-n-Low and cream. Starbucks Cafe Mocha.

    3) Your bedroom is on fire. You can only reach in & grab ONE thing. Do you grab your photo album or your journals?
    Wendy: Photos
    Karen: Photos

    4) When I see ______ I wish I could ______ so that everyone else would know that _______.
    Wendy: When I see war protestors I wish I could jump out and join them so that everyone else would know that lots of people think this war should end.
    Karen: When I see weddings in progress I wish I could legally get married so that everyone else would know that marriage is about love and commitment not about sex (gender).

    5) Got porn?
    No comment.

    6) If I could meet _______ and explain why I _______ I would never ______ again.
    Wendy: If I could meet Brad B. (president of a company I worked for) and explain why I quit the way I did, I would never have that conversation with him in my head again.
    Karen: If I could meet Martin Luther King or Ghandi and explain why I don't always speak out for causes I'm passionate about, I would never remain on the sidelines of activism again.

    7) What is the worst pet name in the history of your family?
    Wendy: This one's embarrassing. My parents had a black cat named Sambo.
    Karen: Muffet

    8) I would eat a bowl of _____ for free, but if you want me to eat a bowl of ______ you'd have to pay me $_____.
    Wendy: I would eat a bowl of ice cream for free, but if you want me to eat a bowl of beets, you'd have to pay me $5,000.
    Karen: I would eat a bowl of chili for free, but if you want me to eat a bowl of black-eyed peas, you'd have to pay me $500 (and pray I don't throw up).

    9) What 80's tv star would make you giggle like a school girl?
    Wendy: Any character from The Muppet Show
    Karen: Tom Selleck (I so had a crush on this guy)

    10) What age was your best and why?
    Wendy: Now. I have an incredible life.
    Karen: Agreed on now but also had a great year at 30. Getting out of my twenties brought alot of ease about who I am and where my life was going.

    - Karen and Wendy
    [16w, 1d]

    Monday, November 13, 2006

    Random list

    Part of me wants to write an interesting post about.... well, anything. But all I can come up with is a list of stuff.

  • Sleeping exclusively on one's side hurts. During sleep, my hands go numb and my shoulders scream. Moving from side to side rocks our entire bed and every time I rock the bed I worry that it's only going to get worse as I get bigger. I now realize how much I LOVE sleeping on my back. But now I can't do it too much because it's not good for the baby.

  • My nose is no longer 100% clear. Seems like I'm sniffing and blowing a lot. I've read that pregnancy can cause congested nasal passages. But does anyone else feel like their nose is growing WIDER?

  • We can consistently hear Biscuit's heart beating on our doppler (the heart rate is around 160 - 179). Thank heavens we bought that little machine.

  • Karen vacuumed the house this weekend. I was caught between being very grateful and wanting to scream, "Stop it! This is my turf. My turf!

  • The author of "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" was obviously never pregnant.

  • We bought a rocking moses basket holder (to go with our beautiful moses basket). This will be our crib for our bedroom and it is the perfect height for the bed. I'm so pleased with it.

  • There's been a power shift between our two cats. Our older cat, Phoebe, has let the younger cat, Chloe, be the alpha cat. Chloe just turned a year old. She has new side whiskers on her face. My fictitous (but fun!) theory is that Phoebe let Chloe work on her attack sequences and let her think she was winning. But once Chloe grew her side whiskers, Phoebe said, "Your kitten days are over my little friend. Time for you to learn who is boss. I'm going to kick your but". All I know is that Phoebe is Alpha cat again.

  • I'm knitting my mom what may be the ugliest shawl ever knitted in history. When I started it, I thought it was going to be beautiful. I had such delusions of grandeur for this shawl. Now I worry that it's just gaudy and ugly. I just want to finish it and get it out of my house. I'm sorry Mom for your ugly Christmas present. I asked Karen what she thought of it. She replied, "It's highly unique". I forget sometimes just how SMART Karen is.

  • We have two vials of paid-for semen. Our reproductive clinic will not buy it back. We don't want to pay for storing it since storage is so expensive. We could sell it but are afraid of the legal ramifications (even with contracts involved) and we don't want to know about any potential half-siblings. We paid a fortune for it and we have no idea what our clinic will actually do with the stuff. If you told me a year ago that I would be thinking about issues like this, I would have said you were crazy.

    Thanks for your guesses on the baby's sex. We love reading your comments.

    - Wendy
    [18 Babies R Us visits]

    UPDATE from Karen (added after Wendy's original post)

    I thought I'd add a few items to Wendy's list from the sherpa's side of life.

  • Sleeping with a pregnant woman trying to get used to sleeping on her side with a large 6 foot pillow is an interesting challenge. Wendy hasn't quite worked out the particulars of the extra large pillow (lent to us on trial by Heather ... thanks!) and my experience of it is well...odd. The first test run felt like I was sleeping with a large catepillar smooshed up against me all night. Fun. :)

  • Pregnant women make unusual noises they didn't make pre-pregnancy (well at least one pregnant woman in particular does). Wendy makes these little breathy grunts and moans quite frequently and doesn't even realize she's doing it. Well...she realizes it after I start laughing.

  • When your dear one asks if her nose looks big, the appropriate response is NOT to laugh hysterically.

  • It is a daunting challenge to do household chores while under the gaze of the usual "owner" of those chores. When she mentioned that the stairs were the dirtiest part of the house, I took that to mean that I should be particularly diligent in my efforts. So, I spent an inordinate amount of time going stair by stair making sure every little cat hair and dust bunny were eliminated. Dang...that's hard work! I won't miss handing that little fun chore back over to Ms. Clean. :)

  • The shawl Wendy is knitting is certainly highly unique, but in it's current form with several loose ends hanging off, it looks more like Zsa Zsa Gabor tried to glam up a bear hide.'s cool...really.

  • Blogger says the new version is ready. Does that mean they've gotten rid of all the Blogger Beta troubles some of you mentioned running into? Should we change over now or what?

  • I have a Babies R Us store floorplan permanently locked into my brain. While in Dallas on business last week, a co-worker and I went to B-R-U to buy a gift for a guy in our office whose wife is expecting at the end of the month. We got the registry print out and my friend looked at me in complete confusion as to where to go. I simply asked her what she wanted off the list and then proceeded to take her straight there. I found my items and we were outta there in 5 minutes. She just shook her head and told me I needed to get out more (and not to Babies R Us)!

    Life is good. The baby is doing well. Wendy is doing well (except for a few minor things like sleeping on her side and having that weird rib/side pain). I'm home for a month before I travel again. The holidays are coming. We find out the biscuit's gender in 3 weeks. is good.

    - Karen
  • Friday, November 10, 2006

    16 week appointment

    Today we had our 16 week appointment. I had my blood pressure taken (104/60), belly measured (14.5 inches), and we got to hear the Biscuit's heart beating which is always a joy.

    I usually get nervous before going to our doctor's appointment. And now that I'm pregnant, when I get nervous, I get nauseous. Karen was a sweetheart hugging and reassuring me and putting a cool cloth on my neck. I've always thought that I was a nerves-of-steel, burly kind of girl but I've found that parts of being pregnant just rattle me!

    I've been having a consistent pain in my left upper abdomen. It extends from my ribs all the way back to my spine. I've had this pain off and on for two years now. It pretty much subsided when I lost 20 pounds, but now it's back. Some days, it hurts so much that I have to lay down to get some relief. And one day we wrapped my ribs with ace bandages! I was pleased when our OB agreed to help us diagnose this. I had a full blood work drawn today (CBC, thyroid, and complete metabolic panel). And I'm having an upper abdominal ultrasound on Wednesday. Karen and I joked afterwards about offering to tip the ultrasound tech some bucks to also give us a baby ultrasound picture (we're so anxious to find out the baby's sex!). But I guess we will have to wait until our baby's diagnostic ultrasound on December 4th.

    By the way, feel free to comment with your guess of the baby's sex!

    We finished up the appointment with a flu shot and a talk about the joys of round ligament pain. We went to PF Changs to celebrate with some amazing lo mien.

    [15w, 4d]

    Monday, November 06, 2006

    Appetite changes

    I'm so pleased that week 14 brought an end to the nausea (hurray!). However, I've found that the foods that sustained me during my first trimester are repulsive to me now. I can no longer eat (or even look at) Ritz crackers, sugar honeycomb cereal, oatmeal cream pies, nilla wafers, and Eggo waffles. I've had to hide them all out of sight. Just thinking about them puts an unattractive "Eeewww" look on my face.

    This reminds me of the time when I went away to Girl Scout camp only to experience torrential rains for 7 days straight. We lived on boiled hotdogs for lunch and dinner over a wet campfire for several days. It was years before I could look at a hotdog without gagging.

    I don't know about any of you other people who are currently or who have been pregnant, but I've found that my water consumption has gone way down. I used to drink at least 10 glasses of water a day with no problems. I keep reading (and people keep telling me) to drink lots of fluids. How can I? I take three sips and it seems that my stomach is full of water and is sloshing around and the water backs up into my esophagus. It seems like forever before water "goes down". Do you know what I mean? I think that I'm getting enough to not get dehyrdrated but I'm still not drinking nearly enough.

    In non-bodily news, I had a lovely birthday filled with wonderful gifts. Thank you to everyone for your well-wishes. And as a special treat I got to visit with Lisa O who is visiting her friend Heather. Lisa enjoys reading our blog from her home in California. She gave us this wonderful present of these two "family-friendly" onesies and another shirt. Aren't these fabulous! I just love how the blog creates connections with people all of the world.


    Sunday, November 05, 2006

    Falling back - the time change

    I really don't like the fall time change...really. It's totally dark by 5pm (actually it's almost all the way dark by 4:30pm) and I find myself wanting to just curl up and go to bed. What is it about that one hour that shuts my body down and starts sending signals that I should put on my pj's and go to bed? I mean, it's just one hour different!

    Right now it's just a bit before 7pm and I'm yawning and nodding like it's 10 or 11pm. Wendy's nausea seems to have past but she gets the sleepies in the afternoon and will often take a nap before supper. I'm afraid if I ever nap with her, I'll end up sleeping right on through till morning.'s gonna be a long winter!

    - Karen


    Friday, November 03, 2006

    Happy Birthday Wendy!

    I wanted to wish my sweet Wendy a public Happy Birthday today. She's my best friend and my partner and I can't imagine my life without her in it. She makes my days brighter and sweeter and every day I find I love her more than the day before. I love you my are my sunshine!

    And...I think she can even eat some birthday cake since her pregnancy nausea seems to have subsided...yea!

    - Karen


    Tuesday, October 31, 2006

    A hermit, a bonnet, and Stephen King

    Can pregnancy accelerate your imagination? I'm beginning to think so. (I'm feeling much better by the way. No nausea! Yea!)

    Karen is teaching in Seattle this week and I have tagged along. Karen travels about 1/3 of the year and I have been fortunate enough to travel with her many times. When I first started accompanying Karen on her business trips, I would keep our rental car and see the sights of whatever city we were visiting. But then one day it dawned on me that I was driving around looking for some famous views, not because I really wanted to, and not because I really enjoyed doing it alone, but because it was something I felt I was "supposed" to do.

    It would be foolish to be in a new city and not see some landmarks, right? Well, I quickly got over it. Now when I travel with her, I usually stay within 20 miles of our hotel. I'm a hermit by nature and traveling doesn't really change this fact.

    And I really enjoy being a hermit when I have a new, exciting book to read. I purchased Stephen King's newest book, "Lisey's Story" last week and started reading it on this trip. I love Stephen King. I've read almost all of his books. I'm not a horror buff but I love his style. I enjoy how King writes about the inner dialog that goes on in most people's heads (including my own). I think his insights on human nature are scary yet true. Nobody can pull me into a story or scare the beejesus out of me like King.

    But it's easy to get pulled too deeply into his stories. I begin to suspect complete strangers of being bizarre (and maybe evil?) and start jumping at every sound.

    Case in point... yesterday afternoon, I was lounging in our hotel room, reading King, when the housekeeper knocked on the door to see if she could clean our room. I agreed, thanked her, gathered my book and went to the lobby to read some more. Several housekeepers walked by and made their hellos.

    One housekeeper scared the crap out of me. She sort of snuck up on me and when I looked up from my book, I must have jumped a foot. She had the typical housekeeping uniform on but she had a bonnet on her head. An honest-to-God BONNET. Like a Little-House-on-the-Prairie bonnet. And she didn't look Quaker or Amish or any other kind of person who wears a bonnet for a cultural/spiritual reason. She looked like she wore a bonnet because she was crazy as a loon!

    "You shouldn't read Stephen King," she announced, hovering boldly over me and leering. "Oh yes?" I croaked, trying to keep my voice level and not squeak.

    "Yes", she firmly stated. "You should read CS Lewis" she said.

    "Oh sh*t!" I thought to myself. You look like a character right out of one of King's books! Some bible-thumping crazy lady who will attack me the moment she realizes I'm a child-bearing, King-reading lesbian. You are a bonnet-wearing, greasy-haired loon like Kathy Bates from King's "Misery" book.

    "I've read CS Lewis", I said, trying to appease this crazy-ass*d Nelly. "He's good," I add.

    "Then stop reading King", she commands once more and walks away, looking back at me with a horrid grin at my wide-eyed shock.

    At this point, I got up (looking over my shoulder the whole time), went back into the hotel room and double-bolted the door.

    For the rest of last night and today, I've been as jumpy as a rabbit. I keep expecting her to lunge out at me as I'm walking down the hotel hallway. "No more King!" she'll scream as she goes at my throat with her claws.

    Sigh... I should know better than to read King on Halloween. My active imagination is scary!

    [14w, 1d]

    Friday, October 27, 2006

    My first experience

    Today I had my first ever experience with getting a bra that was "custom fit" to me. You can bet there will be no pictures included in this post! But wowsa...what a difference a "real" bra makes!

    Good friend Heather mentioned a place called Just Like A Woman that Wendy might want to consider for maternity/nursing bras when she's ready. When we looked at the web site, I noticed that the place did not just cater to maternity needs but to women of all hard to fit sizes. Since I recently noticed that a picture Wendy took of me while I was sitting in our new glider for the baby's room looked as if my boobs were sitting in my lap, I thought maybe this place might be worth a look. So, today we made a visit.

    Now, first let me say that I'm relatively modest (more so than this post may lead you to believe), so this little adventure was going to be out of my comfort zone if I really decided to go for it. I'm tall and a good sized woman (although as I noted in a previous post, there's about 50 lbs less of me these days than there used to be) and for the last decade I've worn "Just My Size" bras. I think these are made to try and make us women of size feel a little less sizey because with that brand I have always bought a C cup. But in a "real" bra, I had no idea what size I might wear.

    Well, after we drove all the way over there, I figured I may as well go for it so I put myself into "gyno mode" (I kinda go someplace else in my mind in an attempt to forget about what's actually going on down there while the doc does her annual probe and poke) and allowed helpful salesperson Erin to whisk me into one of their private sizing and dressing rooms. She asked me about my preferences and what I thought I was looking for. I told her I was basically clueless, but that I'd really like to give the girls a little lift (if possible). After a few more questions, I was then measured (no shirt and wearing only my current bra). This wasn't too bad as I simply stared at the wall over Erin's head until she finished. She then slipped out the back (employees only) door and said she'd be right back.

    She reappeared within a couple of minutes carrying a boatload of different bras. She looked a bit surprised when she returned to find me, once again, fully dressed and had to ask me to remove my shirt and my bra this time so "we" could try things on. While I'm quite sure "we" weren't going to be trying things on together, I complied as she readied the first of about a dozen different bras for me to try. She'd simply pull out the straps and have me slip my arms through and allow me a moment to adjust the girls then she'd lock me in and point me toward the mirror. She'd then make a comment here and there about look and feel, tighten or loosen a strap or make a suggestion to "just lean over and shake 'em into place" and then we'd assess and move on to the next one.

    I am fully certain that while this is likely the best way to try on bras (i.e. have someone size you then fetch a bunch for you to try and provide helpful commentary), I have to tell you, it was still a bit unnerving. I mean, nobody other than Wendy has seen my girls in all their radiant glory (other than my gyno) recently. So, to have this professional bra saleslady going about her work in a very easygoing yet clinical way while I slipped in and out of all these different apparatuses was well...odd.

    In the end, she left me with a room full of choices and told me that if I wished to wear one home, to just remove the tag and bring it out to her at the register. It was at this point as she first left me alone, that I actually glanced at the cup size of what I'd been trying on. Oh my sweet Dolly! There were D cups of one style, DD of another and even a E or two in the pile. That'll make your head swim to walk into a place in a C cup and within minutes be moving through the alphabet of sizes like nobody's business!

    So, with a gulp and a grin, I called Wendy in and had her check things out with me...or check me out in things as the case may be. In the end, I settled on two for daily wear and two for workout wear ( the way, this is also the very first time I've ever owned a "sports" bra even though I was a collegiate athlete way back when and now workout regularly). These new sporty models actually hold the girls still! I've gotten so used to seeing the girls bounce up and down (usually in the opposite direction I'm bouncing) that I'm not sure what I'll do when I next bounce up and the girls actually go with me! I even chose to wear one out! I did pick all D's as they really were my favorites and I just don't think I was ready to be the owner of a DD or E cup!

    Now here's the best, most surprising and wonderful part for me. My girls are "perky"! Yes by dickens, my girls have lift! I don't think the undersides of my boobs have had air in 15 years or more and today as I strode out of bra nirvana in my new bra, I felt the breeze, looked down and saw the ladies lifted high and proud as never before! Can I tell you what a fascination this was/is for me?!?!?! I mean, who knew my breasts could live 3-4 inches higher up my body (OK..maybe that's a bit exaggerated, but you get the idea)? So, as we drove home I kept commenting on my new heights and told Wendy she'd just have to put up with me talking about my boobs for a few days until I got used to things being relocated. It's truly like having a whole different set of knockers in place...and it really feels good! that I've likely shared way too much I'll close with just one last thing. Ladies, if you've never been custom fit for a bra...go do it....especially if you're particularly well endowed or of slightly different proportions than the average gal. The brief embarrassment is worth the result. Trust me!

    - Karen


    Knitting News

    On Wednesday, I finished knitting my clapotis scarf/shawl. Strange name, I know.

    The pattern was inspired by French women's scarves (which are big enough to also be worn as shawls). It is knit on the bias so the variegated yarn makes diagonal stripes. And stitches are carefully dropped to make a pattern in the opposite direction. It's named after an ocean wave pattern.

    This scarf was all the rage in 2004. Groups and groups of women all joined together in person and online to knit their clapotis. (Sounds kinky doesn't it?) I was just a beginning knitter at that point and the pattern intimidated me. So I'm really pleased that I was able to knit it now.

    Yarn: Lorna's Laces Lion & Lamb (50% silk, 50% wool) color: embers
    Needles: Size 8 circular
    Pattern: Clapotis on
    Finished: 10/25/06
    More pictures here

    It's amazing how eating two packs of Little Debbie doughnuts will inspire you! I had been dragging around the house all day. But after wolfing these wonderfully sugar treats, I put on my new maternity outfit and asked Karen to take some pictures of me and my newly finished shawl.

    One last thing...after my shower today I called Karen to the bathroom. "Poke around my belly button!" I asked/demanded. I was shocked at how hard and taught my belly is. I knew my uterus was growing but feeling it today and seeing today's pictures was shocking. That little mound isn't belly fat... it's a baby! WOW!

    [13w, 4d]