Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My other camera is a cell phone: some January photos

As some of you may remember, I got a fancy-schmancy camera in August, no thanks/thanks to a home invasion. I love my camera. It takes superb pictures.

But the reality is that most of my pictures are taken with my iphone.  I guess it's been a year of electronics, because I got a fancy-schmancy new iphone for my birthday.  I'll spare you with the details of how obsessively I waited for the new iphone to come out, and how I read live tweets from the unveiling like it was the moon landing.  I love my iphone.  It takes very good pictures, considering.  I still wish I was taking more pictures with my good camera, but the reality is that MJ moves quickly, and if I run to the other side of the house to find my camera the moment has usually passed.  But my phone is almost always with me.  

So here are some of the recent photos, some of which have shown up on my twitter feed and some of which haven't.  If there's a theme to this month, it's something along the lines of:  oh my she is growing up fast.  I do not exaggerate when I call her independent.  She wakes up and gets her own snack in the morning.  She picks out her clothes and puts them on with minimal help from me; the end result is usually a fascinating combination of colors, patterns and unusual layering.  She puts on her winter coat and her gloves.  Now that she wears pull-ups she changes her diaper by herself, supposing there's no poop.  She brushes her teeth herself.  I am not allowed to help with any of it, unless she gets very frustrated.  It makes me feel much more comfortable with the idea of adding a second child to the mix, and makes me alternately so proud of her and somewhat sad.  I am absolutely loving this age, it's hard to let go of even the smallest pieces.
This smile probably means she was getting in to something.  Either playing with my phone, or she found candy, or a sheet of stickers.
This was a newborn hat.  She was determined to get it on her head, and finally succeeded.  I do not think it is a newborn hat any longer.
Dad, practicing with two. 

This was an ice shanty with dress up clothes (it's a long story, we do things like that here in Minnesota.)  Dad was much more excited about dressing up than MJ was.
But she was very excited about the mouse ice-cycle.  In case you were wondering, we were on a frozen lake.
Even Vito doesn't escape dress up time.
I love this outfit.  She picked it.  What you can't see in this picture is a Wonder Woman leg warmer which she put on just one leg.
This should be the theme picture of the month.  She likes to put her hood on herself, separate from her coat (because it detaches from the jacket).  But in so doing, she manages to look like Kenny.  Every time I look in my rear view mirror, this is what I see.
Teethbrushing time.  Don't you dare put the toothpaste on for me
This was a dad's night when the ladies were out at dinner.  I can't get over how mature she looks in this picture.  Maybe it's just because she's actually sitting still. 
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Friday, January 27, 2012

13 Weeks

It's hard to get her to wear pants.  What can you do.

Due Date: 1 August.

Weight Gain:  5 pounds.  
Symptoms: None this week!  Happy to report I am finally waking up nausea free!

Diet/Cravings/Aversions:   Lots of potatoes.  But only because I accidentally bought too many.

I am loving:  the weather.  I could used to a mild Minnesota winter.  Also, I told my boss this week that I was pregnant.  She was very supportive, and it's nice to have that off my chest. 

Also, we snuck an ultrasound pic this week.  One of the perks of DH having ultrasound access at work.  Not sure how significant, but babe was a lot more mellow than MJ was at this point.  She looked like she was doing somersaults and back flips, while this one looked active but more laid-back.  Maybe we'll have a more mellow second?  Dare I hope?

I am looking forward to:  My first appointment with my new midwife.  I switched clinics, so that I can deliver at a hospital that has a phenomenally good VBAC rate, and had my first nurse visit there this week.  I already have such a good feel from the place, and am really glad I made the switch.

Milestones/Progress:  Peach sized!

Movement: Just more phantom swimming..

It's a...: baby!

Exercise: A few jogs on the treadmill.  Feeling pretty good.

My firstborn:  Is becoming so grown up.  She can wake up and get her own snack in the morning, get dressed (with some prodding) and generally just look after herself.  It's amazing to watch this independence blossom, and gives me hope that we'll be better equipped to handle two young children now that one of them can do so much on her own.

Friday, January 20, 2012

12 Weeks

There are a lot of things wrong with this picture.  1) That it's late January and we still have our tree up (and that this is the best photo I've posted of it.)  2)  That this was me getting ready for work, complete with maternity pants and exposed belly and I expected no one at work to suspect 3) That every picture I post is taken from the "Roar!  I am towering over you!" angle.  Very unflattering.

Due Date: 1 August by my calculations.  When the doc took out his little wheel he said 3 August.  I think 1 August is more accurate.

Weight Gain:  4 pounds, which is down one pound from last week.  I was hit with a stomach bug early in the week.  Or it may have been resurgent morning sickness, but it has since died down and food is actually tasting good again.  Yet again, my dear daughter's empathy was moving.  While I don't really have any basis for comparison, her genuine concern seems to have a maturity that exceeds her years.
Symptoms:  Other than the morning sickness, I am starting to have a real, hard-to-hide belly.  I need to tell work soon, but there is just no good time to say "Hey!!  Thanks for hiring me, BTW I'm preggers!  Isn't that hilarious?"

Diet/Cravings/Aversions:   Being as I'm just beginning to be excited about food again, I count that as a craving.

I am loving:  My work/life balance.  I'm enjoying my new job.  I'm enjoying the time I get to spend with MJ.  I'm enjoying that I get home and still have enough time to not feel rushed to get dinner on the table.  We can play for a while before doing anything else.  Or, on some days, I can have an hour to myself before I pick her up.  Squeeze in some exercise.  I feel balanced, and it's an incredible feeling.

I am looking forward to:  Highlighting my hair at the end of first trimester.  In general I avoid such things during pregnancy, it just doesn't seem worth the risk.  But my hair is looking so incredibly ratty, and I figure one trip to the salon in an entire pregnancy can't be the worst thing in the world.
I'm spazzing about:  I'm not sure that spazz is the right word, because I'm also looking forward to it.  But I want to get started on rearranging rooms, getting baby things settled.  We need to move furniture, build furniture, decide how things will get situated, and since it takes forever for me to get these sorts of things done (what with the toddler and all) I'm anxious to get started. 

Best thing about this week:  I had a few child-free interactions with friends.  I often forget what a toll toddlers take on meaningful conversation, and while I've been lucky to still see many friends often, it can be hard to give them any real attention when a 2-year-old is also demanding all of it.  So it was nice to have some real, adult interactions with friends. 

Milestones/Progress:  The size of a plum.  That sounds yummy.

Movement: Didn't feel anything that felt like movement this week, so maybe it was all imagined.

It's a...: baby!

Exercise: I think I got in one treadmill run this week.  Maybe two.  I blame it on illness, though I'm sure that's not all of it.

My firstborn:  She seems so grown up lately.  Starting to just look like a big kid.  Get that far off look in her eye sometimes, like she's thinking deep thoughts.  She has decided that she also has a baby in her belly.  She also loves to say "bagina" instead of "lasagna", which makes us stifle laughter and makes her all the more committed to saying it.  So last week when I decided at the grocery store to make lasagna and she shouted "Yay!  Bagina!" I was mortified. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Some Christmas Photos

Looking through all these photos, I realized that they are not representative. My Mom came early in the season and I managed to get very few photos of that (and none that were flattering enough for the internet). and only one lame photo of our wonderful tree.  I guess I'm guilty of taking far more photos when we travel. ::sigh::  But here's a few of the better ones to document our Christmas season.
Mj's buddy Milo.  We are blessed that they both attend the same daycare, and that we adore his parents.  Sometimes the affection appears to be one-sided, but she doesn't seem to care.
Bundled up.
Admiring one of our only snowfalls in December.  For a brief time it really felt like Christmas.
Orange Cookies!  It's not Christmas without Orange Cookies and Mj's uncle helped me make them.
MJ's Grandma, Great Aunt, and first cousin once removed.  (I'm learning my familial relations!!)
Another of MJ's great aunts.  Although she doesn't see this family much, she was immediately enamored (I think the feeling was mutual) and begging cookies off of them.
MJ's first cousin once removed.  (I think I have that right).

Sporting her Syracuse roots.
This was the trip when she really bonded with her Baba and uncle.  It was awesome to see.

There are a lot of incongruities in this picture. 
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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I secretly love memes

They force me to cover subjects I wouldn't normally cover.  But as you can see, this one is a bit overdue.  Maybe I just needed more time to fully reflect?

So here's my 2011 wrap-up, copied from Life of a Doctor's Wife.
1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?  Quit something substantial (my PhD).  I've quit small things, but I can't think of any big things I've really quit.  It was very hard for me to do.  It turned out to be the right thing to do.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't remember if I made any last year.  They're not really my thing, though I probably resolved to get pregnant.  This year, I'd like to be more generous with my spouse.  This was inspired by this story in the NYTimes; I took the quiz and failed.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My friend Elissa gave birth to an adorable baby boy.  Technically that was in 2010 (just barely), but I didn't get to meet him until 2011, so I'm going to count it.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully, no.  Let's keep it that way. 

5. What countries did you visit?
Our country hopping has diminished since MJ's advent.  She doesn't even have a passport yet.  But we did have the opportunity to visit Oregon, Florida, Massachusetts and New York.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
I actually can't think of anything.  I have everything I want.  As long as this pregnancy continues to be healthy then I wouldn't wish for anything more.

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
June 28th - the day we closed on our house.  Though I'll probably forget that one in time.  And of course, the events that happen every year, birthdays and anniversaries.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Moving forward in my life.  Quitting my PhD (is it weird to call that an achievement?), trying new things. Getting pregnant was a blessing, but I'm not sure I'd call it an achievement.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I need more patience, particularly with the toddler.  My hormones have been out of control lately, and I've been taking it out on those around me.  My temper often gets the better of me.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had a terrible ear infection in May that landed me in bed for a week and caused hearing loss in one ear that is still recovering.  I still can't fully hear out of my left ear, not sure if I ever will.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Our house, of course.  I was sad to leave our old house, but no longer have any remorse.  I can't believe we managed to live so comfortably in our tiny house. I am so happy here.  Even MJ no longer has the need to get out of the house all the time that she did in our old place.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
This one stumps me.  Maybe I'll skip it. 

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Some things are best left unsaid. 

14. Where did most of your money go?
House.  We're finally able to seriously pay down debt: 2 houses, lots of school loans.  DH put together a spread sheet with our assets and our liabilities; I won't bother to share the number with you here, but it was sobering.  So yes, we're paying down debt.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Pregnant.  The joy is overwhelming, and terrifying.

16. What song(s) will always remind you of 2011?
Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier.  This year had lots of tough decisions looming.  We made them, and we're happy with the results.

b) thinner or fatter?  Fatter.  Happy, happy, early pregnancy fatter.

c) richer or poorer? Technically, poorer.  But on a month to month basis, richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Writing in this blog, because I like to look back on it.  Savoring the moment.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Watching TV.  Since MJ was born I find that we (I) spend many, many evenings watching TV after she goes to bed.  I often feel too tired to do much else, but it seems that when I keep it off I actually find more energy.  Also, bickering with the hubs. We do a lot of that.  We should do less.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
We visited DH's family in upstate New York.  I lived near them for 4 years, so I always enjoy seeing them all because I feel like I know them all pretty well.  Also, it dawned on me that I've now known his hometown friends for 10 years, and really feel close to many of them.  Christmas was wonderful, MJ really bonded with her Grandma and Uncle, and it was all so relaxing. 

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?
I think I fell more deeply in love with my child.  It seems that continues to be true, but the explosion of language has really allowed me to learn more about her.  What she thinks and feels.  And seeing her be sweet and kind to other children (as much as you can hope for from a 2 year old) always warms my heart.  Additionally, her fearlessness and inquisitiveness make me both excited and nervous for what lies ahead of her.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
The Borgias.  Yeah for season 2!

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I don't think I hate people.

24. What was the best book you read?
I didn't read many books this year.  But the best was probably Hunger Games.

25. What did you want and get?
Pregnant!  The difficulty made it that much sweeter when it finally happened.  Also, I finally figured out (and fixed!) the source of my ongoing back pain.  It's all about shoe support, turns out.  And a little bit wasn't cutting it, I needed full-on insoles.  When I remember to wear them all the time I feel great.  But so much for going bare foot :(

26. What did you want and not get?
Is it bad to say nothing?  All the things I desperately wanted, happened.  Some things, like a new car, are in the back of my mind, but the expense really doesn't seem worth it yet.  As child #2 approaches, we'll see, though.

27. What was your favorite film of this year?
Tough one.  I didn't watch many movies this year.  Oddly, the one that comes to mind is "The Hangover" but I certainly can't imagine that one's really at the top...

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 31 this year.  We were in Orlando with DH for a conference.  We went to Disney World the day before (which was AMAZING!) and hung out by the pool on my actual birthday.  And DH made me an amazing gift, which I should really post a picture of.  An earring/jewelry rack that has finally brought some order to my jewelry situation.  Possibly the sweetest gift he has given me.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Ummm.... immeasurably?  That's hard to quantify.  Maybe more massages?  

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Getting by.  I am not much of a fashion guru these days.  I recently acquired a purse that I was told by a cashier reminds her of Mary Poppins.  Does that tell you anything?

31. What kept you sane?
 My friends.  I became a lot closer to several girlfriends this year, and it has been wonderful.  I feel so blessed by the friends I have found here.  Also, having someone help me clean my house.  I know this is a luxury, but I can't tell you how wonderful it has been, and how much less DH and I fight as a consequence.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I'm not much for celebrities.  I can't think of any that really float my boat.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?
I have become less immersed in politics, I find they just frustrate and infuriate me.  As usual, issues with climate change upset me the most.

34. Who did you miss?

There is one friend in particular that I rarely see since having quit my PhD.  I miss talking geeky science with him.

35. Who was the best new person you met?
If you haven't noticed, I try to avoid naming names in this blog.  But I'd have to say my new neighbors are the best addition to our circle.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
Oh gosh, I'm a stubborn mule, to say I've "learned" may be stretching it.  But this whole pregnancy thing has taught me some degree of patience.  Some degree of "what will happen will happen, so just enjoy life".  It's easier to say this in retrospect, though.  Also, I guess I learned (was reminded?) not to let fear of failure and the unknown trap me in an unhappy situation

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Two come to mind:  "Elmo loves his goldfish, his crayon too...."  and "A b c d e f g..."

11 weeks

First day of work.  My fashion theme for my new office?  Hide the bump.
This evening.  I meant to take this at the start of the day, before I looked so haggard.  But as you can see...

I started this last week.  I'm going to try to keep it going every week, but I'm not going to answer every question every week, because frankly, sometimes there's nothing to say.
Due Date: 1 August by my calculations.  When the doc took out his little wheel he said 3 August.  I think 1 August is more accurate.

Weight Gain:  5 lbs  I have really, truly been doing everything right.  I've been eating better than before I got pregnant and have been exercising.  Still, I'm gaining weight more rapidly than I should be.  I'm starting to think this is my pregnancy destiny.  Last time I gained so much and was so uncomfortable I swore not to repeat my mistake.  So far, same path.

Symptoms:  Most mornings I dry heave for a bit.  MJ often runs to get me Ritz crackers.  My child is so sweet (and she sees it as an excuse to eat crackers for breakfast.)  As for the fatigue, I have discovered that if I get a solid 9 hours of sleep I do pretty well.  That, and if I don't try to spike my coffee with decaf for the day. 

Diet/Cravings/Aversions:   Love: pizza.  I'm pretty much finding that anything my toddler loves I also love.

I am loving:  A dear friend of mine just had her baby on Monday.  We were both trying to get pregnant at the same time and both faced difficulties (of different sorts).  I often felt she was the only one I could talk to about things, and I'm so happy for her.  I also find myself very happy that I didn't get pregnant then, and still have several more months to enjoy my only child.

I am looking forward to:  Meeting a potential doula in a couple weeks.  I don't know whether or not we'll feel that she is the "one", but she's a blog friend and it's always exciting to meet blog friends in real life.
I'm spazzing about:  Adjusting to being a working mom again.  While I've been a working mom, of varying sorts, since MJ was born, this is the first time I feel like the average joe.  I work in an office building.  I can no longer just wear t-shirts.  I have to fill out a time-card.  Etc.  As someone who has had a flexible work arrangement for a very long time, it is a weird thing to adjust to. 

Best thing about this week:  All the well wishes sent my way for this new job were amazing.  It really makes a girl feel loved.  So far the job is going well, but it's all very new.  Lots of background reading, papers and what-not, which is interesting but a bit dry.  I think it will start to pick up soon.  It's been very nice to use my science brain again, though, and to actually have adult conversations.  I feel like I'm starting to get my person-hood back, rather than just being a wife and a mother.

Milestones/Progress:  Apparently the size of a lime.  Sounds kind of big.

Movement:  I'm really starting to think I've been feeling movement.  Nothing substantial, but something that can't be described in any other way.  Last time around I had similar feelings and wondered, and then was finally convinced at about 13 weeks.  In retrospect, those earlier feelings were movement, and this time around I feel more comfortable calling it that.  I know it's early, though, and many people are skeptical of feeling movement this early.

It's a...: baby!

Exercise: Still using the treadmill.  We also had beautiful weather here this week, so lots of walks.   I can already tell how much less activity I get sitting in an office all day than chasing a toddler, so I've tried some lunch time walks.  But the area my office is in isn't... picturesque.  Not a great place to be going for walks.

My firstborn:  Adjusting very well to being back at daycare full time.  In fact, she seems to love it.  She's been napping better, and for that matter sleeping perfectly (8 pm to 7:30 am!!), all of which I attribute to weaning her from the bottle.  She didn't have it at daycare and was therefore not napping well there, and she would lose it at night and kept waking up.  So we took it, cold turkey.  She got up very early for a couple weeks but then adjusted. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

10 weeks

Due Date: 1 August by my calculations.  When the doc took out his little wheel he said 3 August.  I think 1 August is more accurate.

Weight Gain:  4 lbs

Symptoms:  Tired.  All the time.  The morning sickness has mostly passed. I have a few mornings that it's appears before I've eaten, but food is finally starting to taste good again.

What's different this time:  I don't remember being this tired last time.  I didn't have to take Progesterone, which was nice.
Diet/Cravings/Aversions:  Carrots, maybe?  Actually, it's probably the ranch dressing I eat with them that I've been craving.  Aversions: anything slightly ethnic.  Pretty vanilla food in these parts.

Sleep:   Good when I can get it.  But toddlers never sleep in.
I am loving: I took out the maternity clothes this week, and feel much better.  My belly was awfully squished.  But gosh, I forgot how scary some maternity clothes can be, particularly the ones that are the only things that fit in late pregnancy.  Also, yesterday during breakfast, MJ patted my belly and said "Baby.  Baby in mommy's belly."  That was pretty cute.
I miss:  Lunch meat.  A simple turkey sandwich sounds superb.
I am looking forward to:  Movement, I think.  But mostly this time I'm just trying to appreciate where I'm at, because I remember how tough it got for me later in pregnancy last time.  Also, looking forward to starting to work, sort of.

I'm spazzing about: Hmm, nothing.  I feel like I've mostly passed the high risk miscarriage phase.  Oh, I did spazz about labor the other day... but then put it out of my mind.

Best thing about this week:  Yesterday was my last day of Progesterone! 

Milestones/Progress:  Baby is now a fetus!  Sounds grosser than being an embryo, though.  Also, busting out all the maternity clothes.  And being asked if I was pregnant, that's a first so far.

Movement:   Phantom movements, even though I know it's too early.
It's a...: baby!

Exercise: For DH's birthday I got him a treadmill, which is now inhabiting our basement.  I thought it was ridiculous and would never get used, but I actually love it.  I've been able to do some light jogging while MJ sleeps and watch cheesy romantic comedies at the same time.  Feeling much better, and I hope to keep this habit up.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Since everyone in the real world can apparently tell...

Big strike out for the daily posts over here.  I guess I increased my post numbers, but failed at my goal.  I think next time I'll aim for every other day, and just not tell y'all.  So if I succeed, I can just say "Hey, look at that!" and if I fail I won't have to draw attention to it.  Maybe December wasn't the best month as well, what with Christmas and all.

Anyway, on to the obligatory-blogger-year-in-review.  And the BIG REVEAL.

Notice anything different?  The hair is notable.  The rest is harder to capture in a picture.  As DH put it, she now gets interested in things.  Last year at this time, she had two primary interests: eating, and running.  Now she will actually sit for (short) periods of time and focus on things. Communication is the other biggie.  We have full conversations, sometimes about abstract concepts like "air" and "boys vs girls".  And she seems to get it. 

As for our year, it's been a big one.  Last year at this time we were debating where to live.  Even as far as what city we wanted to end up in.  We were convinced we would get pregnant any day and need a bigger house (hah!) and started the search.  We are now settled in that house, in a wonderful neighborhood with wonderful neighbors.  DH started his real job, after (only) 12 years of school and training.  I quit my PhD, a very scary move but an ultimately wonderful move.

And we ended the year expecting a new kiddo in August.  Yep.  I've been meaning to tell you all, but just couldn't bring myself to do it.  We've had a few ultrasounds, everything has been measuring well.  The morning sickness has been uncomfortable but not crippling.  We've told many people in our day-to-day lives, but the fear of miscarriage still lingered (and still does, really).  But I'll be 10 weeks in a few days, and was called out at a party last night.

We went to our neighbor's house for New Year's Eve, which turned out to be wonderful.  Although all of our new neighbor's have been wonderful, there is really only one we've gotten to know well (and not the one having the party).  So we didn't know what to expect, but it was perfect.  Lots of little kids for MJ to play with, actual adults to talk to, and just good people. 

At any rate, one of my neighbor's came up and asked "Is there any news that you're thinking about sharing?  About...." then she got a terrified look on her face that perhaps she'd been too presumptuous.  After all, you're never supposed to ask women if they're pregnant.  But, we assuaged her fears, and I came to realize that I am already starting to look pregnant.

Which will be interesting when I show up at my new job, a week from Monday.  The timing is not exactly what we aimed for, but life doesn't like to work according to plans.