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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Friday Update: Week 25

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Mr. Handsome and I have been using the tools a lot this week with all the projects we’ve been working on. This hammer is about 13-1/2 inches long which is now comparable to baby’s length. Apparently she went through a good growth spurt!

This week I have been crazy busy working on the projects I wanted to accomplish and having fun with Kiddo1. I’ll post an update on Sunday about everything that got done, all the fun and what’s left on the table (because you know I couldn’t get through that whole list in a week).

While I was working on my projects, I had a lot of time to think. I’m not so sure that’s a good thing! Every once and awhile I’ll have a mini freak-out in my head about the fact that we’re having a girl. Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly excited to have a girl and couldn’t be happier, but still, it’s a brand new experience (since our only other child is a boy) and new experiences can be unnerving sometimes. I think Mr. Handsome has had these in-the-head-freak-outs as well because every now and then he says, “So it’s a girl, huh…” We don’t really talk about it but I’m pretty sure we’re on the same level here.

My mini freak outs are probably for different reasons than Mr. Handsome’s. I mean, with our son, I never worried too much about being a role model. Of course I’ve tried to be a good example of what kind of human I want him to grow up to be, but not necessarily the man I want him to be – I tend to leave that up to Mr. Handsome (who, by the way, does a fantastic job and I couldn’t ask for anything more). A gender role model, I am not. I don’t do much of the bathroom stuff, I will take part in the “birds and bees” conversations but I won’t get into as much detail as Mr. Handsome will, I don’t do too much sports stuff (I play catch, kick the soccer ball, all of that, but Mr. Handsome does way more), and I’m generally not a male role model in any way. And I’m totally, completely okay with this.

With a girl, though, it’s like a bit of a role reversal for Mr. Handsome and me. I’m the one that will teach her to sit on the toilet and wipe herself. I’m the one that will help her with her ballet moves (or gymnastics or softball or whatever she wants to do). I’m the one that will talk about menstrual cycles and STDs and teen pregnancy. Of course Mr. Handsome will participate, I can count on him as he counts on me, but she will look to ME for those things just like Kiddo1 looks to Mr. Handsome for the guy counterparts.

She will look to ME to learn how to be a woman, and that scares the crap out of me! Am I a good example of a woman? Am I a good example of what women should be?! I have no freaking clue!

But just when my freak-out-in-my-head gets to this point, I take a step back and remind myself that I’ve been a competent mother with a competent child up until this point at least, so I know I can continue as not only a competent mother but a competent, good example of a woman and proper gender role model for my daughter. I think I can, I think I can.

I’m currently reading Choosing Waterbirth by Lakshmi Kertram (which I will review in a few weeks) and she has a paragraph from the birth story of her first daughter that captures some of my thoughts on the subject of having a girl:

I take the baby into my arms and snuggle her close to me. … So many thoughts run through my head as I look down at her. I know what she may go through as a woman in this world. I know what pain and happiness await her as she grows. My heart already aches in anticipation of the challenges she will face, and warms with the knowledge of the joy she will have. It is such a different feeling from what I felt when the boys were born. I recognize the difference and realize I have become a new mother once again.

Powerful stuff! I am working on channeling my freak outs into excitement – we’ll see how that goes.

Here’s a few more things to freak out about:

  • Total weight gain: 20 pounds. The official weigh-in at our latest midwife appointment  was 19 pounds, but I do go by my household scale and I cannot lie to myself for two weeks in a row. So 20 pounds gained with 15 weeks left to go. Deep breaths (and fewer carbs).
  • Cravings: Ice cream. Damn you ice cream!
  • Coolest symptom: Random strangers have started noticing my bump and will do nice things for me like hold the door open and point out hazards (at the ice cream shop a worker made sure that I specifically knew that the floor near the register was wet and could be slippery). People can be nice.
  • Lamest symptom: I had a bunch of Braxton Hicks last Friday night. It was really annoying and poor Kiddo1 was stuck entertaining himself because I confined myself to the couch with my water bottle for several hours. I haven’t felt any more contractions since then but I have noticed myself getting physically worn out more quickly this week. My body is saying slooooooow dooooown, the person-making is taking priority.
  • Exercise this week (the goal is 210 minutes): Well I’m throwing out this week altogether because I pretty much did nothing. I was too focused on my projects to get any real exercise in. Kiddo1 and I went on a couple bike rides, I took Max (dog) to the park a couple times (Mr. Handsome takes on the bulk of that task – sorry lover!), I did a lot of shopping and spent several hours walking around the zoo and science center, but no yoga time, no elliptical, no arms. Bad me, super bad.

Baby2 got a lot done this week. Here’s what’s new with her, courtesy babycenter.com:

Head to heels, your baby now measures about 13 1/2 inches. His or her weight – a pound and a half – isn’t much more than an average rutabaga, but your baby is beginning to exchange that long, lean look for some baby fat. As this happens, wrinkled skin will smooth out and your baby will start to look more and more like a newborn. Your baby is also growing more hair – and if you could see it, you’d now be able to discern its color and texture!

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Book Review: Exploiting My Baby *Because It’s Exploiting Me

I’ve been looking for pregnancy memoirs lately – books that I can relate to and maybe even get a laugh of association from. I found Jenny McCarthy’s book but, honestly, it left me wanting. I needed more substance, more entertainment, more humor. Then I stumbled upon Teresa Strasser’s book, Exploiting My Baby (Because It’s Exploiting Me).

At first, I have to say, I was a little turned off by the title. It just rubbed me the wrong way, you know? You et that feeling sometimes and you’re like nah, I think I’ll pass. But I read some Amazon reviews and they were all pretty solid and the book was available at my local library so I figured, what the heck, it can’t be any worse than Before, right?

This decision to jump into this book anyway reaffirmed the old saying, don’t judge a book by its cover (or title), because this book has everything Jenny’s doesn’t.

PhotobucketFirst off, the book has substance. Teresa doesn’t just give quick anecdotes and then move on to the next thing. She weaves each little nuance of pregnancy throughout her stories, with themes of loss (ie, “I miss you toxins”), worry (she might worry a bit too much, but what first-timer doesn’t from time to time?), obsession (her Google search history is pretty hilarious), realism (sometimes it sucks to find out you’re having the gender opposite of what you wanted, but then you realize it’s cool), the desire for companionship (her search for pregnant ladies to befriend) and always, humor. This girl is funny, and I laughed out loud which is really my measurement of how actually funny a book is, of course. Because sometimes books are funny but they don’t actually make you LOL, you know? The real funny books, the real ones, make strangers wonder what the heck is so funny and how can they get their hands on it.

I read this entire book in one Saturday, and not because it’s short because at almost 300 pages I wouldn’t call it a brief read at all. I read it all because I could not put it down, it was so good. Maybe I’m biased because I’m coming off the heels of Belly Laughs and Before, but this book is exactly what I was looking for in the pregnancy memoir genre. I only hope to find more books just like it.

Next review: Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.

Tie Tuesday

Happy Tie Tuesday! As always, you can learn more about why it’s called Tie Tuesday here.

PhotobucketMonday

I purchased these Gap maternity jeans off Ebay a few months ago. They were huge back then and now I’m afraid they barely fit on my waist! They’re the “real waist” style so there’s a real zipper fly and pockets and everything! Although the pockets are a lot closer to the side seems, but whatever I guess. There are elastic pulls on the inside of the waistband so you can adjust them but I’ve already got them on their loosest setting. Oh well, at least they fit now!

This bright pink shirt is from Old Navy and it is also maternity. I put all the maternity clothes in my closet about a week ago so I’m actively using them now. Especially since so many of my non-maternity clothes have gone in “the box” of unfittables, I need the maternity clothes to stretch the wardrobe possibilities a bit!

The purple heels are from Steve Madden – I love their purple color. And, of course, the big white necklace is from Forever 21.

PhotobucketTuesday

Continuing the trend of pants-that-didn’t-fit-months-ago, I also bought these Old Navy black work pants and they were HUGE when I tried them on. But they were my size and they have the same “real waist” and elastic pulls on the inside so I went for it (I probably had a coupon code or something too).

Now, they fit like a dream. The waist is just a bit loose and nice and low so they’ll last for awhile. Thank goodness as they’re the only “work” pants that I have now. Being able to wear jeans to work is like my saving grace for this pregnancy!

This white shirt from Old Navy was a clearance find. It is maternity but I fear how long it will last because it fits really well right now. It’s a little thin but I just put a white tank underneath and it was no biggie.

I layered the black necklace from Target with a few silver chains from Forever. The black heels are by Rampage I believe.

PhotobucketWednesday

Whoa this dress got short! And I didn’t really notice the extent of the shortness until now! Oops. I guess this really is a tunic from now on… But hey, no maternity clothes today!

The dress, I mean tunic, is from Urban Outfitters. I’ve had it for maybe five years or so and have only recently discovered it again and have started wearing it. It’s v-neck is very deep but with a white tank it works great.

I also just recently rediscovered this jean jacket too – I think it will come in very handy this summer as a quick shoulder cover for the office. I think it works really well with some of my spring dresses!

I also decided to go tights-less on Wednesday (I hope my white legs aren’t too blinding!), which was a big gamble because it was not exactly warm, but my Doc Martins kept my feet toasty at least!

PhotobucketThursday

More maternity on Thursday! The tee and skirt are both from Old Navy. I think the cotton skirt is better for spring and tights-less weather, but my legs were cold yesterday so… out came the tights again. Even though I didn’t really like the skirt with tights. I just feel like it’s too flowy – I guess I like my winter skirts more structured.

I do like this skirt and I think it will come in handy this summer. Thank goodness it isn’t too short! It has a fold-over waist, too, so I can make it even longer if I need to. I like that the hem is cut so that the front is a little bit shorter, that way it looks even when I wear it under my belly.

This shirt is nice and comfy, but it bothers me that the only neck options in maternity seem to be a scoop neck (by far the most available) and v-neck. Where are all the crew neck shirts? I can’t seems to find them.

Anyway, and these, of course, are my Rocket Dog flats. A week can’t go by without them!

PhotobucketFriday

Another non-maternity day – that’s two this week! Yay! Small victories, I tell ya. I’ll take what I can get!

I’ve always professed my love for the blazer. Without it I’m in jeans and a tank top here. This Banana Republic blazer is probably my all-time favorite. It fits the best out of all my blazers. Although it doesn’t really button anymore, but I don’t need it to (actually this guy at work noticed me trying to button it and he said, “Don’t worry, my blazers don’t button anymore either.” Ha!).

These are my $10 Forever 21 black jeans and I love them so, so much because they still fit really well. I don’t see them going away too soon – I hope they stick around forever!

I threw in this purple scarf for a little bit of color against all the black and gray – some of the gray is from these Report flats.

Until next week!

Cloth Diaper Class

Today I went to a class all about cloth diapering with my moms group. Actually, Mr. Handsome and Kiddo1 came along, too! (Mr. Handsome asked to come so Kiddo1 was drug along by default.)

It was a great class about the overview of cloth diaper types, cleaning/care and overall “poop management” (what do I do with the poo?-type questions/answers).

It was encouraging for me in a number of ways. One, I was happy to actually not learn too much new information which means the books I’ve been reading (mainly Changing Diapers) and Googling I’ve been doing has paid off! I already had a good handle on the different types of diapers and washing methods. The class did help to fill in the gaps about what types are good for specific situations. For example, the All-In-One is great for when grandparents or babysitters are doing the diapering because it most resembles a disposable diaper. Also, prefolds with covers are great for hanging out at home and a pocket with a disposable liner is good for being out-and-about because you can flush the poop away instead of taking it home with you.

Two, I learned some great washing tips. For example, our instructor told us that the dryer lends a hand in sterilizing diapers so the don’t start to smell. I had no idea! I was very gung-ho about line drying in the sun (at least in the summer when we have sun in the PacNW) in order to naturally bleach stains. Now I’ll probably balance the machine-drying and line-drying sessions so we get the best of both worlds.

Three, Mr. Handsome got to hear about all things cloth from someone other than me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure he’s absorbed the knowledge that I’m passing along, but it certainly helps to have another person explain it all. I have no doubt that he’ll be a great cloth-diaperer – probably better than me when it comes down to it, as he’ll be doing a majority of the diapering after my maternity leave is over. Plus I think he’s totally into the diaper-sprayer concept and will probably be rigging one up in our bathroom soon (I think this will come in very handy during those early postpartum days too!).

To celebrate our confirmed and new-found knowledge (and use a coupon we were given at the class – I can’t resist a coupon!) I indulged in some new hemp/cotton cloth wipes and some of the aforementioned flushable liners for when we’re on the town with Baby2.

I also got another coupon from Kelly’s Closet for a free one-size diaper (this is quickly becoming my new obsession) so I bought a couple more covers today so I can use the prefolds we always register for (we got these with Kiddo1, too, even though we weren’t cloth diapering then because they’re great for spit-up rags, burp clothes, etc). Since my first purchase, the collection has grown by these four pocket cuties:

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

You can probably tell that I’m trying to scoop up the prints as they go on sale! The yellow diaper was a freebie! I can’t wait to see what today’s freebie brings me. At this rate we should be well supplied by July!

Friday Update: Week 24

PhotobucketContinuing with last week’s baby’s-size-is-a-shoe theme, this week baby is about as big as a shoe box at almost 12 inches long! Here’s a picture of a Rocket Dog shoe box because I love my Rocket Dog flats!

This week I have noticed some nesting starting. Very light nesting, and it is mostly interior decorating thoughts than cleaning and organizing.I can feel myself starting to obsess – I know it’s bad when I have dreams about the supplies I’ve bought and the things I want to do with them. Fabric has been dancing in my head – it’s taking over!

Next week I’m off work for Spring Break, which is probably a catalyst because I want to get so many projects done in that time. Here are some of the things I’m hoping to accomplish:

  • Frame two new posters: I bought two new Degas prints because I didn’t think any of the art I already had fit the color scheme we’ve chosen for the nursery. Also, my currently held prints and general vision for the space isn’t very girly, so I figured some whimsical Degas dancers would feminize everything a bit. I’m excited to post pictures of those when I’m done!
  • Start the giant mobile that I’ve been talking about: I have a bunch of paper lanterns being delivered today and I already bought fabric for the poofs so it’s time to get started. I have two lanterns that I dion’t have to do anything to, two lanterns that I’m covering in a specific color with tissue paper, two lanterns to make poofs of and two that I’m going to cover in paper flowers.
  • Make a crib skirt (I foudn yet another awesome online tutorial): After weeks of obsessing and searching, I finally found what I think is the perfect fabric for the crib skirt, pillows and who knows what else. I ordered it from Mountain of the Dragon on Etsy. Monica was awesome and helpful, plus it looks like the shipping will be really fast. I was going to buy a crib skirt already completed from this fabric, but I wound up getting twice the fabric AND a used sewing machine on Craig’s List for even less than I would have paid for the crib skirt.
  • Since I want to make a crib skirt I’m going to have to buy a crib: I kind of wanted to put this one off, mostly because it’s going to take up space and looking at an empty crib for three months could be kind of weird. However, we need a place to put the stuff we’ve started to accumulate so I guess an empty crib isn’t so bad.
  • Get started on a crochet project.

I think that should keep me busy, but if it doesn’t I do have a few things to finish from my second trimester to-do list, including writing our living and final wills with Mr. Handsome. Plus doing a bunch of fun stuff with Kiddo1! Visiting the zoo is a given, probably the science center, taking the dog to the park, building legos, reading, bike riding, getting exhausted just thinking about it all, you name it!

Anyway, here are some things that actually happened this week (as opposed to things I’ve just thought of):

  • Total weight gain: 18 pounds (maybe 19, but I’m probably low-balling again this week). At least a full pound of that is all baby though, depending on which pregnancy app you trust the most. Baby will gain a quarter pound a week (!) for the next six weeks or so. Good luck to me in keeping my pound-a-week goal.
  • Cravings: Junk food, any and all matter of junk food. And not just the chocolate stuff but fried foods, cheesy/creamy foods (Mmmm, Panera Mac ‘N Cheese…), processed foods, all the good stuff. I’m forcing myself to eat a big salad for dinner tonight.
  • Coolest symptom: I feel like baby kicks have dominated this bullet for the last few weeks. This week they’re still pretty darn cool and I have noticed that they’re getting a bit higher in my abdomen. Other cool things also include the thicker nails and softer hair that I noticed a couple weeks ago. Mr. Handsome would probably put the huge boobs in this bullet too.
  • Lamest symptom: The linea negra is totally here, as I had speculated two weeks ago. This isn’t really lame, but it is the lamest thing I could think of. I had a very dark linea negra with Baby1 so I was expecting this! Also, the last two nights I have been woken at 2 am with what I can only imagine are Braxton Hicks contractions. I need to look into this further…
  • Exercise this week (the goal is 210 minutes): 215 minutes! This week I got a much healthier balance of cardio, yoga and weights, too, with 105 minutes of cardio (all elliptical except for 20 minutes of vigorous vacuuming), 90 minutes of yoga and 20 minutes of arms.

Finally, Baby2’s happenings, courtesy babycenter.com:

Your baby’s growing steadily, having gained about 4 ounces since last week. That puts him or her at just over a pound. Since your baby is almost a foot long (picture an ear of corn), he or she cuts a pretty lean figure at this point. But your baby’s body is filling out proportionally and it will soon start to plump up. His or her brain is growing quickly now, and taste buds are continuing to develop. Your baby’s lungs are developing “branches” of the respiratory “tree” as well as cells that produce surfactant, a substance that will help air sacs in the lungs inflate once your baby hits the outside world. His or her skin is still thin and translucent, but that will start to change soon.

Tie Tuesday

Check out this post to learn more about Tie Tuesday.

This week you’ll notice a couple things:

  1. It was St. Patrick’s Day last week so I wore green all week in keeping with my annual tradition to do so. Green is my favorite color so I own a lot of green clothes. It only seems natural to me to wear them all during one of my favorite weeks – I love when everyone wears green! Of course, though, on St. Patrick’s Day itself I forgot to wear green (it was on Saturday). What’s that all about?
  2. You’ll see that the wall decor that serves as my background has changed. I framed this poster last week and it is loosely hung for now (I need to install a better hanging device on the frame and put some actual nails in the wall – right now I’m using push pins so I only have the frame up when I take my picture!).

Let’s get to it!

PhotobucketMonday

It’s been a while since I’ve broken out the long sleeve shirt and scarf combo, which was known as my lazy outfit. I guess I haven’t been feeling all that lazy lately, so I haven’t been using this combo!

This felt really comfortable though. This long sleeve shirt from Old Navy is getting a bit short (in fact, it just made it into “the box of unfittables” over the weekend) so I put a white tank underneath just to make sure the maternity band was covered all the way. It weirds me out when the band part of my jeans starts peaking out. It’s like people know I’m cheating or something…

These jeans are from Old Navy. They’re the under-the-belly style so they have about a five-inch wide band of stretchy fabric that sits under my belly. This is by far my favorite style of all the maternity bands on pants. I don’t really like the constraining feeling of the over-the-belly bands. But I have friends who swear by that style, too, so it’s just a matter of preference.

My Rocket Dog flats finish it off!

PhotobucketTuesday

I’m so happy this Banana Republic skirt still fits! I come back to it every third week or so and I’m shocked every time I can zip it up. This is probably the last wearing – it’s starting to pucker in the back a bit because it is not meant to be worn so high. It probably isn’t used to my new bubble butt either!

I actually pulled this green Gap shirt out of “the box.” It is far too short to wear anymore but with this high-waisted skirt it totally works. Yay!

I got this necklace on clearance at Target. At first I wasn’t sure about it – the black pieces are kind of sparkly which normally I wouldn’t do – but it works just fine I think. Not too back for $8.

Another thing I wasn’t sure about were the fishnets I’m wearing. Usually I don’t feel like wearing fishnets to the office. I know there’s nothing wrong with it I just couldn’t do it all the same. For some reason I felt differently on Tuesday and took the plunge. I think they worked out pretty well with these Report wedges!

PhotobucketWednesday

I feel like I just wore this green sweater, even though it was nearly a month ago on my birthday. So I put this black Banana Republic blazer over it to make myself feel better. I suppose it works out pretty well. It’s been cold here lately, too, so the extra layer was pretty nice. Luckily it’s a lightweight sweater so it wasn’t too bulky.

These are my $6 Forever maternity jeans. I finally went to a tailor over the weekend to get them altered so I don’t have to roll them anymore. The alternations cost $20 which is more than I’ve paid for all but one of my four maternity jeans (and that one pair is Rock & Republic and was $80 so I guess it all evens out). I don’t get the jeans back for two whole weeks though! I hope it is worth it!

I wore this sort of bronzey necklace that I got from Target a couple months ago so I thought it would pair nicely with these bronzy/goldy shoes that are also from Target (pairing due to color, not store. hahaha).

PhotobucketThursday

Yeah this cardigan is waaaay too short but I didn’t really care on Thursday – I needed something green to wear! I probably could have worn it open but I felt like it made my belly look like it was way sticking out so I didn’t. However wearing it closed kind of made my belly disappear a bit… only a bit though! I can’t hide the belly anymore even if I wanted to.

I can’t believe these non-maternity jeans from Forever still fit (they’re my black $10 ones, as opposed to my regular blue $10 ones that no longer fit). I’m down to just these and one other non-maternity pair. I’m so happy these do still fit, mostly because they’re my only jeans that are a color other than dark blue. I miss my gray jeans so much, I even thought about trying to find a cheap pair of red jeans or something and having them altered to maternity (although if hemming alone is $20 then altering to maternity is probably not worth it). When you wear jeans to work it is important to have options!

Of course a week can’t go by without these black Rocket Dog flats.

PhotobucketFriday

This is one of my favorite dresses, mostly because it is green. I wanted to wear it on my birthday but I found a small stain on it (it nearly ruined my morning!). Luckily I was able to get the stain out! Thank you, Shout Stick. Yay!

I was so unsure about the tights with this one – I think I changed tights like three times on Friday morning. I would love to start going without tights (especially since I have to wear them so low so that they won’t constrain my belly). It’s just too cold here still in the Pacific NW to do that, at least for me. I like warm legs, what can I say? Hopefully in a month or so I can start going bare… Anyway, I suppose these tights worked out fairly well, I just felt like there was a lot of black going on this whole week I guess!

This is another necklace from Target (I’m having a Target accessories week I think). I like it better than the one I wore Tuesday. It’s a less sparkly and less flashy all around. I tend to like relatively simple accessories, for the most part. Anyway, thanks to Target for being my accessories wing man this week!

New week: probably no green at all! But no guarantees…

Book Review: Before: Short Stories About Pregnancy from our Top Writers

Full disclosure: I only read a little over half of this book. After the story about the baby girl that inhales meconium and struggles for survival, I just couldn’t go on.

It isn’t often the I run across a book that I don’t like. I feel like I can find positive things about a lot of books (except for maybe a couple that I was forced to read in high school).

This book, however, is awful. Really, truly, awful.

I hate this book!

The first story was, by far, the best one. Two friends pregnant at the same time, enjoying their time together. Simple, nice. Of course one of the friends had a dead husband (in the past, not the current husband and baby’s father), but that was the only negative aspect of this story.

From there, things just get worse and worse! A story about a woman whose first baby died in his crib at five months old. At least she went on to have another baby several years later, so it did have a happy ending.

A story about a woman who gave birth to her own elderly mother. Not a dream.WTF?

A story about a woman who finds random body parts throughout her home, sews them together into a baby boy, then buries him in an unmarked grave in her backyard.

I am not making this stuff up!

What kind of twisted person would A) write this stuff and B) market it to pregnant women?!

I’m all for some whimsical, cerebral, even someone morose writing. I’ve read Miranda July, I can take some weirdness (I know, she’s really not even that weird, she’s just the first “off-beat” author I thought of). I just don’t feel like pregnancy needs a freakish spin while I am so heartily absorbed in it. I like happy stories about pregnancy while I’m experiencing pregnancy.

This is an awful, haunting book that I wish I had never picked up.

Please, do yourself a favor and never read it.

Next review: something much, much better than Before: Short Stories About Pregnancy from our Top Writers, edited by Emily Franklin and Heather Swain. (It will be Exploiting My Baby *Because It’s Exploiting Me by Teresa Strasser.)