December 30, 2011

41 Weeks- At Last!

I'm going to be completely honest, I thought I was going to have to write a "42 Weeks" post and the thought was not exciting to me! I'm still going to let Miles wear his Christmas outfit when we get home because he did make it before New Year's, but I'll admit I wasn't the happiest camper to be waddling around huge and dodging "Mary in Bethlehem" jokes around Christmas. My sister-in-law sent me a box with eight days of Hanukkah presents and that was a welcome and perfect distraction from anxiously awaiting the arrival of our Miles Henry.

So here I am, in the wee hours of December 30th, taking the time (after a five-hour stretch of sleep- heavenly!) to write Milo's birth story because I don't want to forget anything. His birth is still so surreal and every time I hold him I'm in awe!

Labor began the morning of December 28th- twelve days past my due date- and started around two o' clock as I began noticing very real, timeable contractions at five minutes apart (I'd had plenty of false labor and wondered if I would know how to time them. There was definitely no question when the real thing started). I tried to doze through them and was pretty successful until around seven, when I told Parker that maybe he shouldn't go in to work that day. As the contractions would hit, I would completely relax my body and lie still until it passed. Dr. K had wanted me to wait until I'd had two hours of contractions at four minutes apart before coming in to the hospital so as the contractions were approaching that point, we decided on a quick drive around the corner for doughnuts (the only thing I felt like eating). Eventually, I called Dr. K's office and they gave the green light for us to come on in!

When we got to the hospital around 11:30, my contractions were about four minutes apart. As I tiptoed next to Parker as we walked into the lobby, a woman yelled from her car, "Good luck!" I still wasn't convinced that this was really happening. The nurses in Labor and Delivery started monitoring my contractions and also determined that my water had broken. (I was so surprised about this, as I had actually gone into the hospital the day before because I was certain my water was at least leaking but was sent home.) We were staying! They got me into a room and although I was disappointed to not have a labor tub, there was a shower right across the hall which I enjoyed later on.

Dr. K stopped by around three in the afternoon to check in on us, and told us he'd be back in around six that evening to see how things were progressing; at that point, I was about four centimeters dilated with steady contractions about three minutes apart. By the time Dr. K got back in to check on us, I was in a whole new place in regards to discomfort and exhaustion. I told him I was ready for an epidural, which was surprising to me because I had huge anxiety my whole pregnancy about it and the process- but after eighteen hours of unmedicated labor, it was a welcome relief and I was finally able to rest. I could still move my legs, but I couldn't feel any pain, only pressure. A little after midnight, I was ready to push. I could feel a lot at that point but I was glad because I was able to have more control and feel the progress each time. About thirty minutes in, Dr. K arrived and between contractions we were all making jokes, which really helped me relax. After a few more contractions, Dr. K instructed me to start making small, controlled pushes and then said, "Veralynn, reach down and pick up your baby!" I couldn't believe our son was in my arms and I was so happy and in love. I will never forget the look on Parker's face! And so he was born on December 29th at 1:17 a.m. at 8 pounds and 6 ounces and 21 inches long.

I've thought a lot about the moment I first saw him and I have to say I still can't wrap my mind around the fact that this perfect little baby is my son. He has lots of dark hair and ears like mine, but his nose and mouth look just like Parker's. He loves to be swaddled, and when he fusses his little lower lip quivers in a way that just makes me want to make whatever it is all better. I love his little yawns. I could go on and on but I'm just so thankful that he is healthy and here with us.

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December 20, 2011

40 Weeks

Look at the picture. That pretty much sums it up. This baby is large and in charge- I say in charge because apparently he is running the show and he has decided to be very fashionably late! Little stinker.

That is all.
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December 12, 2011

39 Weeks

Photo via Pinterest
I finally am starting to understand what friends have told me about feeling antsy and impatient towards the end of pregnancy- it feels like time is going at super speed when I look at the calendar (almost halfway through the month already?) yet crawling so slowly when I've crossed the line where I'd be perfectly happy to no longer have this watermelon-sized belly thwarting my every move! I just keep reminding myself to take this one day at a time, because before I know it the day we meet Miles will arrive and I'll have him in my arms, staring into his beautiful little face. Maybe I'll miss being pregnant and maybe I won't (I won't).

I had my weekly appointment today, and to be completely honest it was as non-eventful as all my other appointments thus far. I'm having contractions but they aren't getting closer together or stronger in intensity so it was business as usual as Dr. K and I chatted about baking (his hobby is baking! I'm still not over it!) and the holidays while he measured my stomach and listened to the baby's heartbeat. As I was leaving he said, "Okay, see you in a week- or maybe sooner!" which gave me a glimmer of hope. This last week I started a baby betting pool to see when people are guessing Milo will make his arrival and it's been so fun to see the guesses! Parker's guess is today and I suppose technically he still could be right, but things would have to move along pretty quickly at this point (not that that's a bad thing). He announced to my family that when he was right we could all feel free to call him "The Prophet", but I told him at best I would make him a T-shirt that says "A Really Good Guesser" and leave it at that.

Keeping my fingers crossed that I'll have someone to introduce you all to by my next post!
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December 5, 2011

38 Weeks

This is seriously getting freaky. I keep looking at the calendar and exclaiming, "What! Time to write another blog already?" This last week passed with a blink, it seems. I had my appointment with Dr. K today and breathed a huge sigh of relief that I don't have Group B strep- a perfectly normal thing to have or not have, it just makes a difference during labor because if I did have it I would need to receive antibiotics through an IV, and I have been trying very hard to avoid any needles during labor (I Hate needles...that's right, I used a capital H and italics). Needless to say, I was very happy to hear this news. Also, my doctor is working on Christmas- I just have it in my head that Miles will be a stubborn little boy and come on the holiday-so I am happy Dr. K will be there if that's the case.

This week will be a week of finally getting around to doing things. For example, I finally spent my birthday dollars on some pampering and clothes for myself. I got my nails done and then went out on a limb and got some new tops for after the baby gets here. (I don't really like buying clothes...I'd much rather buy shoes but I have plenty of those...says Parker...!) In another example of finally getting things done, we got our Christmas spirit going in the house by getting our decorations out, stockings hung over the fireplace, and Christmas tree up and lit. (Side note: Did I mention we still love the new vacuum? It works just as well for picking up those pesky Christmas tree needles.) The only other things left to do are pack my hospital bag (I know, I keep forgetting to do that), clean my car and get the car seat installed so everything is ready when Miles is.

That's all for now!
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November 29, 2011

37 Weeks

Thanksgiving 2011
Yet another week has flown by! We had our appointment with Dr. K yesterday and everything is looking good- we're just waiting until Miles is ready to meet the world. It's a very exciting time, especially with the holiday season upon us (our favorite time of year). Thanksgiving was a fun day with my family in Santa Clarita, and it's only about a week now until my grandparents from Tennessee are back in town with us for the rest of the month.

This year, I was perfectly content to do absolutely no Black Friday shopping (I didn't really feel like reliving the Black-Eye Friday of 2009 where some lady grabbed the towels I was carrying out of my arms because they were the color she was looking for and the rest were sold out), but then we heard of a great deal at Costco for a Dyson Animal vacuum and we decided to go for it since (a) we could get the deal online, and (b) our current vacuum doesn't do much of anything except make a lot of noise. It's supposed to be delivered today and I'm waiting very (im)patiently for UPS to make their way to our neighborhood. I never thought I would be so excited about a vacuum cleaner but when you have two long-haired pups it makes life a lot more beautiful! Ooh, UPS is here! ...Okay, I'm back! The vacuum is amazing! We already took turns vacuuming different rooms of the house- I love it.

So in regards to pregnancy details this week, I'm having a really hard time sleeping and I'm feeling really big! But I'm not waddling around yet (I've been waiting to experience The Waddle) and still able to reach my toes to paint my toenails, so I'm doing better than I thought I'd be doing by now.

Every day is closer to meeting Miles!
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November 21, 2011

36 Weeks

Here I am, another year older, and another week along in baking little Miles. This week Parker and I went on our "babymoon" to Disneyland and enjoyed it very much! There were lots of good eats (Rainforest Cafe, Cheesecake Factory, and Disneyland pretzels) and holiday magic to be had, and we soaked it all up on what probably is our last little getaway before the baby makes his debut.

It was also my birthday week, and I felt very spoiled. I even got to have my birthday dinner made by my favorite Chef Rick, who also spoiled me with my favorite coconut shrimp and a birthday dessert with candles and everything! Even though we took a departure from my normal birthday festivities (the last few years my birthday dinners have been with a group of my friends), this year I really just wanted to spend it with Parker and I'm glad it was only the two of us. I'm really savoring our date nights the closer we get to being on Baby Time.

So, how do I feel this week? The best way to describe it is just large- it is starting to take more effort to get in and out of bed, in and out of the car, etc. but I feel pretty great overall. I can still squeeze into my pre-pregnancy sweatshirts and tops (barely), and can huff and puff my way into pre-pregnancy jeans if I use the ol' hair tie trick. I'm enamored with the crisp fall weather we're starting to have, and have used it plenty of times already as an excuse to pull out my favorite scarves and UGG boots from the closet- these, thankfully, will fit no matter how big my stomach gets!

On a side note, I am so excited the holiday season is here- for so many reasons. I love getting seasonal catalogs in the mail, listening to holiday music, driving through neighborhoods lit with Christmas lights, watching Love Actually, and seeing preparations for the celebration of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas. Additionally, this time of year is memorable for me because Parker and I were engaged in December 2009 and it's nice to look back and remember what a sweet time it was to be newly engaged and excited about planning our wedding and our life together. It's crazy to think that by the time our second anniversary rolls around in January, we'll have our little son!

Did I mention just how much I love this time of year?
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November 12, 2011

35 Weeks

Wow, I was just looking at the difference between this photo and the last one I posted of myself. This child has exploded! I'm starting to realize that this little guy could probably show up anytime now and this is both exciting and freaking me out. Weirdly, it isn't the idea of giving birth that is freaking me out, but the idea of being a mom while still learning to be a wife (I know we're almost two years in, but I feel like a complete novice sometimes!). There are a lot of factors that go into feeling this way but the main one is just that I want to be perfect at everything do as best as I can for my guys- and, like with everything else, I just need to remind myself to take it one day at a time. I'm not very good at that, but I have a feeling that having this baby will force me to learn and I'm up for the challenge.

Let's see, what's new this week. Well, people aren't asking me if I'm pregnant anymore; instead, they're asking me how much longer I have to go! Tonight at Olive Garden, a nice older lady patted my stomach (I didn't like it, but she gets a free pass) and said, "This is your first, yes? Ah, I remember that. Your body starts going places you didn't even know it could go, and that is down. Yes, it surely does." [Insert my nervous laughter here.]

We have our doctor's appointment on Monday, after which Parker and I are heading down to Disneyland for our "babymoon". While I can't enjoy many of the rides, I will be enjoying pretzels, Cheesecake Factory, the Rainforest Cafe, and cable in our hotel room and it will be magical to see Disneyland decorated for Christmas. It reminds me of the very first time Parker took me to Disneyland and I love going there during the holidays. Oh, and my birthday is on Thursday! I love my birthday!

Until next time!
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November 6, 2011

33 & 34 Weeks

Photo from here
Bah! "Pregnancy brain" is alive and well, even though previously I was skeptical of its legitimate existence and thought of it more as a snazzy excuse I planned on using whenever it was convenient.'m pulling the pregnancy brain card! Anyway, it seems like time is flying right now. I'm okay with this, mostly because I've entered in an almost constant state of discomfort. Not pain, I just can't get situated comfortably or sleep soundly and Miles is all up in my rib cage. But don't worry, I'm still able to eat just fine. Humph.

We had our appointment with Dr. K this past Monday (Halloween) and everything is looking good. He was even pretty sure that Miles is head down which is great news! I'm never sure where exactly he's positioned even though I try and guess a lot.

I still haven't had any weird pickle-and-ice-cream cravings, but this week I just had to have (ha) Panera Bread's macaroni and cheese...twice (two different days, thank you- it's not that bad yet). It was so good, and I'm pretty sure I ran right through my dining out budget this week with those two outings. Worth it!

This week I've started reading The Vaccine Book by Dr. Sears and am re-reading Ina May's Guide to Breastfeeding by Ina May Gaskin. (If I were to ever fully to commit to hippiedom, I'd want to be like Ina May- but alas, I love my sodas and processed carbohydrates too much. Also, I hate Birkenstocks. Sorry, Mom.) A year ago I don't think I would've even given these books a second look, but hey, I'm going to be a mom next month (I am so loving being able to say that)!

Less than two weeks until my birthday! Wee!
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October 25, 2011

32 Weeks

Today my grandparents started their journey back to Tennessee after visiting with us for almost the whole month of October! It was pretty great having them so close-by, enjoying meals together, and having good talks with Grandma in person instead of over the phone like we usually do! It was also a lot of fun being able to have them over to our house to see all the baby things we've accumulated over the last few weeks- Grandma and I had fun sorting, washing, and folding all of the baby's little clothes (how long does it stay fun is what I'd like to know)! Anyway, they'll be back the first week in December in anticipation of the arrival of Miles.

I would say we're at the point now that we've got all the baby gear for Miles that he's going to need. Although, I'm pretty sure he'd be kosher with just a warm blanket, diapers, and me. My friend Marissa is letting us borrow quite a few things, and that was such nice surprise and a weight off knowing I didn't have to worry about buying those anymore. The nursery is finished and Milo's dresser is stocked with little diapers (I bought Nature Babycare diapers on Amazon for an even better price than Costco!), bibs, clothes, swaddling blankets...I just can't wait until he's here!

The highlight of my week was probably the delivery of The Stroller. Since I began working as a nanny, I've taken notes on which items I didn't care for and which ones I absolutely loved- the UPPAbaby Vista was without a doubt my dream "big ticket" item. We were able to get it on sale for almost half off and when it arrived on our porch, it felt like Christmas to me! I can't wait to take Miles out and about, and Parker is already planning the baby's first Disneyland trip in April.

This week I've been feeling pretty good other than having a hard time getting comfortable for sleep, but I figure that's part of the whole pregnancy deal and it's not too bad. I've started an iron supplement this week after Dr. K called me to let me know that I was severely anemic, and thankfully our local health food store had a whole food supplement that's been easy to deal with!

All in all, it's been a good week, the weather finally feels like fall, and I'm just looking forward more and more to meeting this little boy. I'm pretty sure the next month is going to fly by!

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October 18, 2011

31 Weeks

Third Trimester Love- Reese's Cheesecake
Yikes, I'm getting tardy on these weekly posts- part of the joy of having family in town! The good news is since I'm a few days late, I can catch up on important things that technically happened after I reached 31 weeks.

I had my doctor's appointment on Monday, and was happy to find out that I don't have cholestasis. This was a big relief (although it doesn't explain why I've been so itchy)! We also discussed the fact that Miles is still breech- Dr. K said that we won't start worrying about it until I hit 34 weeks or so. The doc also gave me a stern face for putting off having my two-hour glucose screening done to make sure I don't have gestational diabetes (I went in bright and early at 6:30 this morning to have it done, and I passed! Celebration via cheesecake to happen shortly). All in all it was a great appointment, and I've graduated to appointments every two weeks until the end of November. It's all going so fast!
Me after too much Third Trimester Love

We've got almost everything we need for the baby and I've started making a list of things that needs to go in the hospital bag. I know I'm being a paranoid first-time mom, but I don't want to forget anything.

I will upload a photo of the belly soon, I promise!

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October 12, 2011

30 Weeks

Oops! I got so wrapped up with having my family in town and being so excited for my baby shower that I forgot to post last Friday. Well, here are two pictures to make up for that. The first one is a collage of photos from Milo's 3D/4D ultrasound at right after 30 weeks- we got to take family from both Parker's and my side to get a sneak peek of our little (or maybe not so little) baby. Right now he is still breech, folded in half with his legs and feet up by his face. This made it tricky for the ultrasound technician to get a good shot of his face, but in the last five minutes or so of our session, she was able to get some amazing pictures!

The second photo is of me at my baby shower. My friends Becky, Morgan, and Janelle hosted this amazing circus-themed party to celebrate Miles and, can I just say, they are crazy talented! There was a candy bar with lots of yummy treats, popcorn, lemonade, and crazy games (normally I'm not a game-lover, but these were fun and had me giggling the whole time). I was so happy to have family and friends under one roof, laughing and having a good time.

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September 30, 2011

29 Weeks

As you can see from the pictures this week, we finally installed outlet covers in the nursery and have made real progress in regards to hanging the knick-knacks we've acquired for Milo's room. Our theme is Adventureland (from Disneyland, of course!), and while we were originally going for the jungle/Amazon aspect, I've shifted gears a little bit to make it just generally about adventure. I think that's a good theme for a boy! We have our poster of Adventureland (not pictured), two Adventure of Mister Toad posters, and a handmade sign from Etsy with a Dr. Seuss quote from "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" It's really coming together. There's only a few things left to do, like buy the curtains and bedskirt for the twin bed we have in the room as well as some plastic storage drawers for his toys and clothes. I definitely love working on the room and imagining our little guy in it!

I'm feeling pretty good this week, and finally have my appetite back. I lost some weight when I couldn't keep food down for a couple days, but I have a feeling the pounds will make an appearance again shortly. This week in How Pregnancy is Kicking Veralynn's Tush, we have a possible pregnancy-related liver problem called Cholestasis that I'll hear back about early next week. Hopefully I don't have it, but if I do then it's a serious situation where Miles has to be born no later than 36 or 37 weeks tops and I will have to be monitored very closely until then. So! I may have a November baby, but I care not one little bit as long as he is healthy.

My grandparents from Nashville are about an hour and a half away from arriving today, and I couldn't be more excited! They've had some very scary travels while driving across the country in their RV the last few days (blown out tires, brakes stopped working!), so we're all breathing a sigh of relief that they're close. I may try to guilt them into staying in California since in my opinion it's just too risky to drive that RV all the way back to Tennessee. Just saying!

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September 23, 2011

28 Weeks

I can't seem to have a normal, uneventful week in my last trimester, it seems! This week I had to go to the hospital for dehydration due to what my doctor thinks is a bout of gastroenteritis (I didn't know what that was until be honest, I would've been okay not knowing). I felt at the lowest of lows- Miles was a busy little one, kicking away, so I knew he was fine- and I've never felt more thirsty or gross. Parker didn't get home from work until three in the morning, but when he saw me insisted that we take a trip to the hospital, where they hooked me up to an IV and some anti-nausea medication and I started feeling more like myself. They also had me attached to a fetal monitor to make sure the baby was doing okay, and discovered that he likes to play hide-and-go-seek! I can't even remember the number of times the nurse came in to readjust the monitor because Milo had moved a completely opposite direction to where he had just been (eventually, they gave up on him staying put because even though they couldn't consistently find his heartbeat, he was kicking quite loudly on the monitor- silly baby). I felt so bad that Parker couldn't get comfortable or any kind of good rest, but he was taking such good care of us. The hospital wound up discharging me in the morning with instructions to just drink liquids and a bland diet until I gradually feel like my normal self again. I'm still not feeling 100% better, but hope that I will soon since my grandparents are coming from Nashville and will be here in less than a week!

Sorry for my lack of picture this week- I don't know how many people would keep reading my blog if I were to post a picture right now! I might add one later.

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September 16, 2011

27 weeks

Ignore the outlets...I promise we will babyproof them!
Today I am 27 weeks pregnant! Or, as I would like to think, 13 weeks away from meeting little Miles Henry (me being optimistic!). This week did have some eventful happenings that left me with a knot on my forehead and a bruise on my "assets", as I heard someone say last week. You may be wondering what the heck happened- well, I fainted at the bank. Can I just say something? I've read in books about "fainting couches" for ladies back in the days of corsets and three-foot high hairstyles, and these books always make it seem somewhat glamorous and ladylike. But there is nothing glamorous about fainting onto hard tile at a bank. And I felt anything but ladylike waking up sprawled on the ground with the entire bank staff standing over me! Thankfully I didn't land on my belly (and thankfully I wasn't wearing a skirt), but I was still dazed and confused as I looked up at these unfamiliar faces and said, "...Hey guys! happened?" Apparently I was in the middle of giving the poor customer service guy my account number when I just fell over. How embarrassing! And banks always have tons of security cameras. I better not end up on America's Funniest Videos or something.

Anyway, Parker came and picked me up from the bank and took me home, where I called Dr. K to see if I should come in right then, go to the Emergency Room, or what. He had us go in this morning, and said he says that Miles/my uterus is squishing my veins, cutting off circulation to my heart- no biggie or anything. So now I'm not allowed to stand for long periods of time or wait in lines (yay!) and if I start feeling woozy, I'm supposed to sit down wherever I the middle of Target, at the gas station pump...I can't help but giggle. Milo is doing great, which is all I care about, and being a little troublemaker. I wonder where he gets that from?

Other than that, we're all doing well. We took our hospital tour today, which was fun. It was crazy to think that the hospital is where we're going to meet our baby! I'm very excited.

And, as you can see, my stomach is getting bigger. I would be okay with it not getting any bigger than this, but I will just have to suck it up (not literally- I can't)!

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September 11, 2011

Things That Go Boom in the Night

Early this morning as I dozed from half-asleep to half-awake, I noticed what I assumed to be our neighbors rolling out their garbage cans for Trash Day. Then I thought I heard Parker rolling our garbage cans to the curb. I thought, "Did everyone forget to put the cans out this week? Sheesh." In my drunken half-sleep, I didn't realize that (a) it wasn't Trash Day, and (b) we were having a thunder and lightning storm (obviously that doesn't happen around here very much if I get thunder confused with garbage cans)! Parker and I let the dogs into the house, and we stood outside for a minute watching a sudden downpour of rain in our backyard. He teased me as I got startled every time lightning flashed outside our window (normally I love watching lightning but I was still drowsy!), and I enjoyed feeling Milo's reactions to hearing the thunder. He woke up and started moving around like crazy, and when the thunder would start he would become very still. As soon as the thunder stopped, he got back to wriggling and getting all wound up. I couldn't help but think of how fun it will be when he's a little boy who comes running into our room during a storm to cuddle up next to us... Sigh. I'm turning into such a mama.

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September 9, 2011

26 Weeks

I've decided that in my last trimester of pregnancy I will do weekly posts (I know, some people say the third trimester starts at 27 weeks, but you know I'm impatient). There will probably be belly pictures, such as the one here, for your entertainment.
Right now I am just starting to get to the point where I understand what some ladies mean when they say the last trimester is just plain uncomfortable- admittedly, I'm a little worried since I have about three months left 'til Miles makes his grand appearance. But starting this week, I've:

  • Been waking up every hour, on the hour (is this my body preparing me to wake up during the night with the little guy? Who knows.) 
  • I've started the whole, "Oh, my aching back!" spiel, and enjoyed not having an aching back after my visit to the chiropractor, who called me a "hard-headed bohemian" (Parker and I have decided that this is a pretty accurate description of me) for not coming in sooner. He also described to me what exactly my body is doing to prepare for the baby's birth...whoa...and how that will explain any discomfort I feel from here on out. 
  • For the first time, maybe ever, I've actually felt like cleaning, and took advantage of that feeling while dusting, arranging, and sweeping away to my heart's content. This is what I imagine nesting must feel like.
Also, Parker did an amazing job of painting the baby's room and assembling the crib and mobile. I enjoyed getting the crib bedding set up and putting Milo's books and toys on a little shelf between the crib and the bed in his room. I can't wait to see the end result, with our little guy living comfortably in it!

Off to prenatal yoga!
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September 2, 2011

Goodbye, Feet!

The other day I had an eye-opening moment; glancing down at my baby bump, I realized that I could no longer see my feet. It was a little scary (can my belly really stretch like that?) but a whole lot more exciting because I felt like I was never going to reach that moment where I was sporting a bona fide Bump. And now here we are, only fifteen weeks away from meeting our little son. I'll admit, I'm still a bit worried about how my stomach will actually grow to accommodate this bebe, but I am 100% ecstatic and confident about giving birth. The day Milo will be born is filled with more anticipation for me than Christmas (sorry, honey) and my birthday combined (and I love my birthday!). I can't wait to meet him.

In the meantime, I've been studying up on everything related to birth and babies. I never thought I'd be so interested! From nursery decor (you can see some of what I'm planning on Pinterest) and baby gear to breastfeeding and the idea of how to introduce solid foods later next year, I am covering all my bases just in case I'm so in love with Miles (and sleep) at that point that I have no desire to read.

So, here I am at 25 weeks, and loving it. I can see Milo's kicks from the outside now which is super crazy, and feel them even more on the inside. In two weeks I'll begin the third trimester, which I'm also calling the Final Countdown. My baby shower is in a little over a month, and I'm so excited to have family and friends together to celebrate Miles! I'm really looking forward to being pregnant during fall and wintertime, my favorite seasons, and I plan on enjoying many a pumpkin scone under the guise of a pregnancy craving (you must know this is a joke, as I have consumed just as many of these scones in non-pregnant years!). Hopefully all my prenatal yoga will balance out the scone intake...but I doubt it.

Until next time!
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August 9, 2011

Bucket List

Yesterday, my friend Morgan blogged about her bucket list, and it inspired me to think about my own! I'm sure there's more, but here's a good start on my Bucket List. I'll even mark off which ones I've done already.

1. Live in a foreign country: done! I will never forget how challenging and awesome it was to live in Munich! Oh yeah, and best. pretzels. ever.

2. Actually finish learning a foreign language so I can teach Miles a foreign language: so, this is tricky. I love learning foreign languages. At one point or another, I've set out to learn French (which I actually do have a pretty good grasp of, but am by no means proficient in), German, Russian, and Mandarin. I know it sounds bad, but I have no interest in Spanish even though it would definitely be the most useful language to know in California. Hubby thinks we should teach Miles either French or Spanish, but I secretly have my heart set on German. We'll see.

3. Perform in an orchestra: done! I absolutely loved being a part of a community orchestra when I was just starting high school, but I would love to be able to be involved in something like this again! There's nothing quite like it.

4. Purchase a real designer item: done! It took a lot of saving up, but earlier this year I was able to buy a Prada handbag and I love it. In the future, I think I would still like to save up and get one pair of designer shoes. Just for funsies.

5. Learn how to make germknodel: when I was living in Germany, I took two separate mini-trips to Austria. It was in Austria that I discovered my favorite dessert ever. Yes, it has a funny name. No, it has nothing to do with germs. Yes, it is freakin' delicious! Someday I hope to be able to whip up this awesome dish at a moment's notice.

6. Visit more of Europe: Italy, England, Ireland, France...all of them! Growing up, I've always assumed places like Paris were a must-visit. After reading Julia Child's My Life in France, it became a fact. Plus, this fits right in with Parker's plan for us to...

7. Visit all the Disneylands- that's right, all of them: this includes Disneyland USA (done!), Disney World, Euro Disney, Tokyo Disney, Hong Kong Disney, and Shanghai Disney.

8. Visit the East Coast: In the words of Liz Lemon, "I want to go to there." This includes New York (the site of many of my favorite TV shows such as How I Met Your Mother and 30 Rock, among others. I also want to go to the Met, experience the New York Philharmonic, a Broadway show, visit Julliard, catch a glimpse of the Real Housewives) Boston, and others.

9. Adopt a child: in the far distant future, I would love to be able to adopt a sibling for Milo. Even though I've never wanted a ton of kids, I've always thought it would be great to adopt. (Plus, my two little sisters are adopted and I can't imagine life without them!)

10. Meet our sponsor child: we are sponsoring a ten year old boy from Gulu, Uganda through World Vision. Even though previously I haven't really had any desire to travel to Africa, I would love to meet Calvin. It's so great to get his progress reports and see a new photo of him each year!

11. Challenge myself to new, daring culinary feats: I always smile when I open the mailbox to find my current issue of Bon Appetit, but I don't often go out of my way to try new recipes. By the end of my days, I want to be a seasoned and well-traveled foodie.

I know there's way more to this list, but that's all I have time for now. What's on your Bucket List?

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August 8, 2011

Monday Musing

I stumbled upon this quote the other day: "When people walk away from you, let them go. Your destiny is never tied to anyone who leaves you, and it doesn't mean they are bad people, it just means that their part in your story is over." In my recent experience, this is easier said than done.

I've been thinking a lot about friendship lately, and I've come to the conclusion that I need a refresher course on how to be a truly good friend. Sure, I love people, love talking, love being social. But when I really think about it, I sometimes love these things for really selfish reasons. When it comes to friendship (and marriage, and pretty much all relationships with all people), it's important- but actually takes a concerted effort- to keep reminding myself that (gasp!) everything isn't about me. It's so hard to admit, especially when I think I'm so amazing (ha). My hope is that after working on "taking my thoughts captive", it will become like second nature to be concerned about others more than myself.

This leads me to something else I've been really, really having a hard time with but actually am starting to understand: forgiving yourself. I think in the past I've misunderstood "forgiving yourself" as letting myself off easy when I make mistakes, or loving myself more (which, as aforementioned, I don't need any help with). But, I think I'm starting to get it. As I've been reading and trying to understand what it means to really be a good friend, I find myself embarrassed and, on more than one occasion, smacking my hand to my forehead while thinking (sometimes out loud), "You idiot!" as I remember times that I have walked away from people when I shouldn't have, and times that I have caused people to walk away from me because of stupid things that I've done. I know that God has forgiven me, and even if the person I offended hasn't forgiven me, it isn't healthy to rehash the guilt and regret from those mistakes. I just need to learn the lesson and work so hard not to let it happen again.

So, these are just my thoughts- and lately, there's been a lot of them. I've been working on a lot of issues (some new and some old) in myself as I've come to the realization that I've got a lot of work to do if I'm going to be a good example and mother to my son. I want him to go through the least amount of pain and "D'oh!" moments as humanly possible. 'Til next time...


July 30, 2011

Halftime Report

Yesterday marked twenty weeks along in this pregnancy with little Milo! At times I felt as if this time would never get here (I've never been so sick!), but sometimes I look back and wonder how the weeks passed so quickly. One thing you may or may not know about me is that I'm a planner; I have little mental checkpoints to help me stay focused on each project or day (or long car drives to, say, Disneyland) I set out on. Now that I have about twenty weeks left until Milo enters the world, I have new little checkpoints set up along the way until December arrives. These include my monthly doctor's appointments, getting the baby's room ready, my grandparents visiting from Tennessee and my baby shower in October, my birthday in November, Thanksgiving (mashed potatoes are always something to look forward to), and then- voila!- December will be here.

I've also been spending some time writing my thoughts to Milo in a little journal that someday he will hopefully enjoy reading and realize that I love him so much, even if he did make me lose my lunch on countless occasions. He's definitely worth all the trouble!

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July 16, 2011

Miles Henry

Today we had an ultrasound to find out the gender of our baby, and we're having a son (it's so weird to even say that)! The ultrasound technician took lots of pictures and spent about half an hour with us- we enjoyed every minute. At the beginning of the ultrasound, he was moving and stretching his little arms and legs like crazy and had the hiccups (I thought it was so cute to see his little body make a quick little movement with each one). In 2D, we could see his spine, hands, feet and "boy parts" as he was clearly having a great time in there, moving all around! We got to take a look at little Milo in 3D as well, and could see him sucking his thumb, waving his hand, and moving his fingers all around (I told Parker that he's going to play the piano, just like Mommy). It was crazy getting a little glimpse of his face and knowing that I'm already almost halfway there to meeting this little guy!


June 23, 2011

The H Word

No, I'm not talking about hell- although you may think, "Tomato, tomahto" to describe what Parker has to deal with since the word I'm talking about is hormones. Parker had to go on a one day trip for work to Oregon: tears. I drop a fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie on the floor: tears (don't worry, there were only eleven cookies left), and stomp stomp sob to the trash can. Gus and Roscoe napping next to each other in the afternoon: tears, because they are just the cutest dogs in the world. True story: A (strange) lady comes up to me at the store today and puts her hand on my stomach and says, "Aww! What a cute little bump!" so I reached over and put my hand on her stomach and said, "Have we met?" Hormones make you do crazy things.

When can I expect to feel normal again?

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June 10, 2011

Coffee Time! (Sadly, Sans Coffee...)

Bill and Jim with the C&C group at Jim's birthday breakfast
I don't want to jinx anything, but I think I'm slowly starting to feel better. This morning, I was excited to restart my morning habit of meeting up with friends at Coffee Time (previously Coffee & Company) after a seemingly endless month-and-a-half hiatus (thank you, baby!). Sometimes there's a full table of people if we all happen to wander in at the same time, and sometimes there's just one or two. Today, Bill and Jim were there and they had plenty to grumble at me about- oh, how I missed the grumbling! As usual, they had lots of worldly wisdom to bestow upon me while I sipped my iced tea, for example: Bill told me a story of how he made a sign to hang up outside his home when he and his wife brought their newborn son from the hospital that said, "Welcome Home, Son- Now Take Out the Trash!" and Jim warned, "Now, I hope you know that thing ain't gonna come out as much fun as it was to make..." (...thanks. I burst out laughing.)

It's good to be able to leave the house again!

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June 8, 2011

Three Months Down!

This Saturday I will be done with the first three months of baking this baby and I couldn't be happier about it. We had our three month doctor's appointment yesterday and had a couple highlights- we got to hear the heartbeat for the first time (so exciting) and got a new ultrasound picture. I love seeing the baby. Parker asked the doctor at the ultrasound if he could determine the gender and he said that if he were to guess based on what he saw he would say it's a girl! Of course, we won't know for sure until probably the end of next month but it's exciting to think about.

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June 3, 2011


Normally, summer is my least favorite of all the seasons- it's hot, the beaches are overcrowded... it's hot...but really, I have a lot to look forward to this season.

  • I will be in the second trimester and hopefully feel a little bit more like myself. 
  • My friend Estee and her sister are visiting from South Africa and I get to see her when they come through Pismo Beach next month (I haven't seen her since we lived in Munich, three years ago!)
  • Taking more walks with my man and the pups
  • Try out some new pie recipes
  • Taking my little sisters to the beach (I took them each individually last year and we had so much fun)
  • Celebrating my hubby's birthday (...and my sister's, and my mom's!) in July
  • Finding out the gender of the bebe! 

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May 27, 2011

Currently Reading (Again): Diane von Furstenberg's "Book of Beauty"

One of my favorite thrift store rituals is to go through the book section. Although often futile, sometimes I find gems tucked between numerous discarded copies of The South Beach Diet and dusty 1980s romance novels. A few years ago, I picked up a copy of Diane von Furstenberg's Book of Beauty and found it extremely informative and interesting- especially considering the book was published in 1976! She writes of many things like exercise and healthy eating, all the way down to the specifics of applying makeup, but I found her chapters on making the most of our time (yet taking a day each week to just relax) and being confident in our life choices the most enjoyable. The tidbits and photos she includes about her early life, loves, and career in fashion are an added bonus.

Definitely worth the $1.99 I paid for this hidden gem!

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May 23, 2011

Basset Hounds and Breakfast Burritos

This morning, my man and I had an adventure. We decided to take the scenic Highway 1 to Pismo Beach because I had just been dying for a PBL (Pismo Beach Locals- it's not on the menu!) breakfast burrito from Hoagie's (when I worked in Pismo I used to get this for breakfast nearly every morning- so delicious). We were winding our way towards the beach when suddenly we noticed a dog standing smack in the middle of the road! Parker pulled over and as we both got out of the car, the dog immediately starting trotting towards us. He was the cutest little Basset Hound, and after we helped him into the car (his little stubby legs couldn't get himself up unassisted) I called the phone number on his tag. It was for a veterinary office, but they weren't able to find his owner's information and suggested taking him to the pound. There was no way we could do that, poor little guy. So we kept driving, and noticed an animal care office up ahead- we pulled in, took the dog inside and the girls at the front desk shook their heads and said, "Hi, Bentley..." as soon as he waddled in. Thankfully they were able to keep him and get in contact with his owner without him having to go to the shelter- I hope he'll stay in his yard from now on!

After that little detour we continued on to Pismo for my burrito and then on to San Luis Obispo for a leisurely stroll through Barnes & Noble. It was nice to have a little outing with Parker today, especially as I have been feeling not as sick (I hope I didn't just jinx it!). Today was a good day.

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May 19, 2011

Majorly MIA...But For a Good Reason

When can I expect to look like this?
Oh how I've missed you, blog o' mine! It's been way too long since I've posted, but I'll admit I've had other things on my mind. You see, exactly one month ago my hubby and I discovered that we've officially got the stork on holiday duty- my eggo is preggo, no doubt about it! This is pretty fantastic news, and while we've had an ultrasound (just to confirm everything is A-OK in there), there is still not a confirmed due date so we're thinking somewhere between Hanukkah and Christmas (the perfect combination of me and Parker!). Right now I'm ten weeks along, and I'm starting to see the light at the end of the first trimester tunnel; however, I'm not out of the woods yet as far as morning sickness is concerned. Let me tell you something, there is nothing pretty about morning sickness- the joy I may feel when someone tells me I have that "pregnancy glow" all goes out the window when I can't even keep Cheerios down. But I am trying super hard not to complain and keep a happy face because in all honesty I am so happy. I just miss enjoying cheese, meat, and pretty much everything I loved a month ago! Sigh. I miss food.

I just want to take a second and point out that I may, in fact, have the best husband ever. He's been even nicer to me than normal, which is saying something! When I've got that "I feel disgusting and not pretty and fat and I'm hungry" look on my face he knows that I need a hug and a smooch and he pats my tummy and I feel better. I'm really so lucky.

Things to ponder in the months to come:

How will Parker's phobia of pregnant bellies come into play when I start showing?
Is it a boy or a girl? (Yes, are you kidding me? Of course we will find out!)
Will I still be able to wear my cute shoes?


May 4, 2011

Video Wednesday

I was excited to see that a friend of mine, Andrew, was featured on Conan O'Brien's show last night! Take a look!

April 30, 2011

Very Happy

I'm so happy for Prince William and Kate Middleton!
Their wedding was perfect, and they look very much in love.

Watching the Royal Wedding, I was in awe of the dresses, the shoes, but most importantly- the hats! Have you ever wondered why we in the US don't wear hats for special occasions? I love them. Well, not all of them.


March 23, 2011

In Full Bloom

This morning I met up with my friends Bill, Candice, and Jackie for a late breakfast. While I was feeling pretty famished, I was more excited to see Candice because she brought me two pair of what will no doubt be my favorite colorful spring accessories (still fighting the urge of the Dark Side): her handmade rosette earrings, in Haute Pink and Canary, from her new Etsy shop Handie Dandies! They are the perfect bursts of color to brighten any outfit (or rainy days like today), so lightweight, and I am in love. That being said- drumroll please...

I'm announcing my very first giveaway! Enter to win two pairs of Candice's creations in the colors of your choice (I've heard she will make custom colors upon request if what you're looking for isn't currently listed). Visit Handie Dandies on Etsy, then leave a comment below! I'll announce the winner on Monday, March 28th.

Handie Dandies is also offering a special discount to my readers- enter promo code "Be3thoven" (did I mention that when she's not making jewelry, Candice loves singing opera? So talented.) at checkout to receive free shipping.

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Update: the winner is Britt+Whit! Congrats!


Violet Eyes

When I heard that Elizabeth Taylor passed away early this morning, I knew there were likely going to be innumerable blog posts about this Hollywood legend. But as I sat there thinking about the crazy life she must have lived, there were many thoughts that came to mind. Firstly, I love her eyebrows. Second, I don't particularly enjoy the way White Diamonds smells. Thirdly, how weird is it that I'm reading a book called Committed right now? As Elizabeth once said, "I am a very committed wife. And I should be committed, too- for being married so many times."

From what I can tell, she was original, funny, and certainly was a fixture as a public figure that people won't soon forget.

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March 20, 2011

Weekend Film Review

This weekend was the first of the Spring season, yet has been absolutely heavy with rain. (Ironically, Christmas day was as bright and cheery as springtime! Go figure.) Feeling like I had a sore throat coming on, I cuddled under the blankets and movies became my best friend as the rain poured outside and the dogs lay warm in the hallway. I recalled my yet-to-see list and was thrilled to find I am Love (Io Sono L'Amore) was available instantly on Netflix. After watching this film, I couldn't help but be intrigued by Tilda Swinton- who knew she speaks Italian? It was definitely a change in character from her version of the White Witch in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but a transformation I quite enjoyed. I also thought the scenes of Italy in I am Love were just decadent! From Milan to Sanremo, the architecture and views were constantly beautiful (and had me regretting that I did not travel there when I lived in Munich) and enhanced the story of the wealthy but repressed Emma Recchi, a woman who has kept her family together for so many years yet ultimately watches it fall apart as she seeks personal freedom outside her marriage. Perhaps the most enjoyable experience of this movie was in the way the story was presented; the plot wasn't made obvious or spoon-fed to the audience as many are lately. There were more looks and knowing glances and less words. I had no idea how the story would end and that is just how I like to feel while watching any film- captivated.

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March 16, 2011

Back in the Cockpit

We arrived back home this afternoon to beautiful weather and happy dogs. It was a welcome rest to the three hours it took to wind our way from Los Angeles back to the Central Coast. Parker and I unpacked the car and, after a joyful reunion with the pups, went our separate ways- me for the laptop and he for a work call. He returned to find me cozy on the bed, laptop up and running. "Back in the cockpit already, I see!" he said, not one bit surprised. I tend to do a lot of different things in bed- pay the bills, make phone calls, write- and it is kind of my desk even though we have a really cute Ikea desk in the living room. I should make the transition to the living room soon, though- slouching or curling up all the time is going to have me back at the chiropractor sooner than later.

Oh, I can't forget to tell you all about my last morning in Redondo Beach! Let's backtrack. Parker headed downstairs for the final session of his conference while I packed up our room. On his break, he came upstairs to help me make sure we weren't leaving anything behind. We took our bags to the car, and with a goodbye smooch I was off in search of a "not Starbucks" for breakfast. (Side note: I've had a few people ask me, "Why not Starbucks?" and while I certainly admire their origins as a local chain, I always try first to support local businesses. They are often so passionate about the quality and details of not only coffee and tea but also connecting with their customers- not to mention the boost to the local economies these shops provide. I used to be a huge Starbucks fan, but I've gone local and there's no going back!)

I drove through Redondo Beach, past all the pretty oceanfront homes, and wound my way through Manhattan Beach as well. I found a place to park and started looking around for meter money when I realized that I had left my wallet in the hotel room. Oy! I drove back to the hotel, dreading the walk back up to our room (while it had an amazing view, it happened to be the second to last room furthest away from the elevator). Bribing the valet guy to let me leave the car there for just a minute, I ran upstairs, down the hallways, grabbed that pesky wallet and was soon on my way again. Walking aimlessly and determined not to use my Droid for directions, I found The Tea Exchange.

This place was wonderful. They were chatty and they even had Bavarian pretzels (!). It felt like I was sitting in a beach house, complete with a copy of the Street Art Doodle Book: Outside the Lines and local art hanging on the walls. I sketched away while waiting for my drink, people watching out of the corner of my eye (there were some great outfits today in Manhattan Beach, let me tell you!). They even had a sense of humor- a sign on the wall read, "Unattended children will be given espresso and a free puppy- they break, you buy." I was sad to leave...

...but so happy to be home now!
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Joie de V: March Book of the Month

Last year, I read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and couldn't believe how quickly I tore through it. It may have been because, to my relief, I discovered that I wasn't the only one questioning life's little choices in light of the grand scheme of things. It was also comforting to realize that someone in this world just may love Italian food as much as yours truly. My conclusion: live an adventurous life, and eat the darn breadstick.

This month, I'm reading Gilbert's follow-up book Committed. I'll let you know how it goes!

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March 15, 2011

The Day Puppy Made Three

One year ago today, I woke up at the crack of dawn and drove to Bakersfield for the best reason ever- to adopt a puppy (I can't really think of any other reason to drive to Bakersfield, actually...)! I had seen him on PetFinder and knew instantly that it was meant to be.

While on our puppy search closer to home, the shelters told us we'd have to schedule an interview, take a personality test to see if our traits matched with the dog, and have our home evaluated by a shelter staff member. The animal shelter in Bakersfield told me whoever showed up first with the cash to adopt him would have dibs. I was determined to get there first (did I mention I like winning?).

I was so excited to see no one else was at the shelter that morning at seven (they were still in bed, like normal people). As the clerk lead me to the kennel and opened the door, little Augustus came bounding out, much larger than I was expecting but more perfect than previously imagined! I oohed and ahhed in excitement- little Gus peed in a frenzy, all over my shoes. I didn't care! He was my pup!

A year later, he still roams the backyard like he is king of the world. He has an uncanny way of being calm and cuddly when I'm sad, and some of my favorite memories are of us sitting in the backyard together in the sunshine. I never knew I could love a dog so much!

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Redondo Beach: Itinerary Day 2

This morning, I drove to Century City in search of H&M. This is the first time I've been to one of their stores since living in Munich, and I wasn't disappointed. I limited myself to just one "must-have", and it was so tricky deciding but I finally settled on a pair of linen high-waist trousers. They are perfect to wear with any tops and I plan to wear them as much as possible!

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March 14, 2011

Beverly Hills: What I Did (and Who I Saw!)

Where to start, where to start! After deciding a rough idea of what I wanted to see today, I set out to Röckenwagner Bakery for a German pretzel. I wound up buying the last three they had made, then hopped back in the car and took to the Hills!

I stopped by Brighton Coffee Shop and enjoyed a delicious latte (the lady who helped me at the counter was so friendly. I'm sure she checked at least three times to make sure I was happy!), then wandered down Brighton (past Villa Blanca- it looked so pretty but it
was full to the brim with people) on my way to Sprinkles for a red velvet cupcake to save for later. Only a few doors down from Sprinkles, I stopped for a manicure. Worst manicure I've ever gotten. I could've done it myself, the result would've been at least the same, but less painful and with me keeping my money!

Heading back outside, I walked back down to Rodeo Drive and walked up and down the sidewalks among the shops at least four or five times. I stopped into Prada- I was carrying my Prada, after all- to look at the new Spring/Summer clutches. Amazing. I didn't look at one price tag and I didn't want to- I just pretended the store was my closet and was blissfully happy.

Content, I was headed back to the parking garage when I was able to check the one box on my secret agenda- celebrity sighting! Tia Carrere (most famously known as Cassandra from Wayne's World) was walking with her daughter towards Rodeo Drive.

Now super content and getting ready for dinner with my hubby. What should I do tomorrow?

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Redondo Beach: Itinerary Day 1

So, while hubby is at his conference, I have the day to explore! Yesterday, we arrived in Redondo Beach and settled into our room. After walking the boardwalk and pier, we ventured to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner.

Today, I'm tackling Beverly Hills. What's on the agenda?

Röckenwagner Bakery (okay so it's not in Beverly Hills, but I need a pretzel)
Brighton Coffee Shop
Sprinkles Cupcakes

Pictures after my adventure!
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March 12, 2011

Puppy Love

I was reading an article the other day that completely intrigued me, and it had to do with the role pets now play in fashion and our lives. Prior to reading this article, I never really pictured my pups being my best accessory. I don't think I've ever spent more than twenty dollars on a collar or leash. They've never worn clothes (although I did think about dressing them up for Halloween). I want them to be well-groomed, of course, but I can't imagine styling them like a panda bear (how cute are those panda/Chow puppies, though!).

Did you know that this year was the first ever Pet Fashion Week in New York City? Or that some pet owners are now dying their pet's fur to match their own personal style du jour?

Let's be honest- if I had $1,200 to spend on Hermès, it definitely wouldn't be for the dogs!

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March 11, 2011

We're Not in Kansas Anymore

Oh boy. I'll admit, after taking a look around (and by that I mean searching through French, German, and Italian Vogue's websites as well as this month's US issue) at what to wear this spring, I'm a bit nervous. It has nothing to do with the style or the pieces themselves. It's the color. Many of my friends tease me because whenever we go shopping I say begrudgingly, "I really should wear more color..." as I reach for something- anything- black. You see my problem. This going to be like The Wizard of Oz- stepping out from the world of black and white into a bright place outside my comfort zone. I'm shooting for a happy medium somewhere between the Olsen twins and Richard Simmons.

Photo credit: Gilt Groupe
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