Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Adding Some Color

I distinctly remember my first encounter with food coloring. It was love at first chemical-laden sight. Mom and I were icing sugar cookies. We'd made a bowl of white icing. Then she broke out the food coloring. I was memorized by the bright colors and giddy at the thought of mixing them.

Like most six year olds, I believed more was better. So the icing started a lovely pink after a few drops of red. Next came lavender with some blue. Then Mom turned her back just long enough for me to reenact the movie Cocktail with food coloring. Every color was going in and hell with a few drops, more is better. This is fantastic, I thought, as I created a rainbow in the bowl. I stirred with glee until I realized the rainbow was disappearing. The icing was turning a disgusting shade of gray-brown. This was terrible. No one wants to eat icing that looks like poop.

So you're thinking, nice little story Jen. Way to point out that more isn't necessarily better. But that's actually not my point at all. Bear with me.

Last weekend I had to show my old house to a new prospective renter. As I walked through the rooms I became nostalgic. I lived there by myself. No husband. No dog. And certainly no kid. I had hours of quiet time to myself. Cereal for dinner didn't disappoint anyone. Reading a book for hours didn't make me feel guilty. My life was a bowl of white icing.

Then I met Husband. (Boyfriend at the time.) He definitely added some color. Then we adopted Trudy. Then we got married. More color. Along came Baby C. A whole shitload of color, pun intended. All of this in two and half years. And now people have dared to ask are you having another?


I'm trying so hard to keep that icing from turning brown right now, I can't entertain the thought. Another? I barely have a handle on one. (Okay, I don't have a handle. It just makes me feel better to think I do.) I want to shake these people until they lose the ability to ask questions. Another baby. Sheesh.

Then at night when Husband and baby are asleep and Trudy is warming my feet on the bed, I allow myself to consider doing this all again. It would have to happen relatively soon. It would be another giant pain in the ass, among other places. We'd need a bigger house. Daycare costs would be outrageous. We'd be really old by the time the second one graduates. But still I think about it. And admit that brown can actually be quite nice. 

We'll see.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Message to Lululemon

Dear Ms. Lemon,

I have a bone to pick with you. This may come as a surprise because you're pretty much perfect with your fabulous patterns and ability to make most asses look perky. But here's my issue. You've turned yoga class into junior high.

Like Guess jeans and Benetton rugby shirts circa 1988, you are all about status. That little horseshoe-like logo winks at me from the next mat over. "You know you want to own a pair," it says. "Athleta and Lucy are fine and good, but if you are serious about yoga, go with Lulu."

Like most new moms managing a budget that includes one million diapers per month (that's what it feels like anyway) I picked a special occasion to reward myself. I'd get a pair of Lulu's for my fortieth birthday and BAM, I'd be the cool kid in yoga class. My ass will perk, my thighs will tone and maybe even splits will become possible because if I'm going to spend $100 on a pair of yoga pants, they better damn well do the poses for me.

To be fair, Athleta and Lucy pants are no bargain. But here's the thing, Lulu, they have sales. Real sales, not the flippy "We Made Too Much" section of the web site that includes miniscule markdowns on clothing that never should have seen the light of day anyway. I'm talking sales where I can get a great top for under $30 or pants for $40.

Even better than the scouring sales is a new-to-me brand called Mika. Their yoga capris are amazing. And affordable. I know! I just fell out of my chair! When I put on their Mia capris last weekend I felt - and dare I say looked - like the athlete I was pre-pregnancy. Granted, I was wearing a long t-shirt, but who cares? 3athletejen was kinda back. If you'd like to check out your competition, LL, go to www.mikayogawear.com.

It would be unfair for me not to give you props where due. You are nice to offer free, community yoga classes. You do a great job partnering with local athletes and making them ambassadors. You're definitely not a "mean girl" and with the exception of your little Ayn Rand misstep, you may even by sort of nice. But I can't get past how you've created such status in a place where I had hoped all would remain equal.

So I won't be partaking of your snazziness anytime soon. Not that it will make a difference to your bottom line. The new plaza store is insanely crowded and loud. (God, I'm old.) But it makes me feel a tiny bit better using my dollar to support the under - and more affordable - dog. If you need to contact me, my Mikas and I will be in the corner, cursing under my ujjayi breath, trying to do the splits.


Saturday, November 24, 2012


This holiday has also been a weekend of many firsts. On Friday, Baby C rolled from her stomach to her back. This morning she rolled back to stomach. Later in the day she grabbed her toes. And all weekend long she's been a Chatty Cathy, "conversing" with anyone who will indulge her.

I can hear those of you without kids thinking "Big deal, lady, my cat does that all day long and she can completely bathe herself with her tongue. So your kid rolled over. Who cares?" I can say this because this is what I thought when I read about someone's kid rolling over.

Here's why this is kind of a big deal -- it means your kid is not totally void in the development department. It also means you should no longer turn your back on the changing table.

Another not-so-good first happened tonight. As I carried Baby C through the kitchen I bonked her head on a cabinet door. Crap.

Time slowed down. I looked at her. She looked at me. There was a pause. I thought for a nanosecond that maybe it was okay. Then my child unleashed a scream that had the dog crawling under the bed.

I remember seeing a story on TV about kids that can't feel pain. Clearly I can cross that worry off my list. Husband and I inspected the damage, which was more a scratch than bump, and deemed it fairly minimal. That assessment did little to assuage her crying crescendo, but I felt a bit better.

Forty-five minutes of trying to soothe her ended with a bottle finally doing the trick. A nurse told me most baby problems can be solved by throwing a nipple their way. Then she paused and said the trick worked with her husband, too. I'll keep that in mind.

Here's the thing -- you know your kid is going to get hurt sometime. My dad dropped me on my head when I was a baby. Maybe that explains why my head resembles Mr. Potato Head. But for the most part, I turned out okay and fortunately the incident happened prior to my ability to remember such incidents.

Baby C will not remember this either, but I will. It's the first time I felt totally helpless in easing my kid's pain. Unfortunately it won't be the last. However, chocolate cup cookies from McClain's have helped ease my guilt. Maybe she'll like them, too. Once she has teeth. Ugh, teething.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Slow the eff down already

Parenthood is bopping along pretty well. We survived Halloween and dressing Baby C up like Princess Leia. She was not happy about it, but Husband was. I figured he has two years of influence over Halloween costume selection before she has an opinion, so better fit the Star Wars in now.

The daycare drop-off is getting easier. Not easy mind you, but easier. C continues to be her happy, gargling self when she's not coughing up a lung due to her first cold. It took a week in daycare to get to that milestone and I know exactly what kid passed it along. (I'm looking at you over there in the corner, Snotty McButterpants. Yes, you.)

That's okay though, because I can listen to everyone put the positive spin on it by saying, "She's building up immunity!" Right. Let's talk immunity when she's coughing everyone awake at 3 a.m. But really it's not too bad. Husband is even getting pretty deft with the snot-sucker thing.

After all my blog entries bellyaching about how hard it is to have a newborn, I can't believe I'm saying this... she's growing too fast. Seriously. I'm not ready for her to be a kiddo yet. I'm totally smitten with this baby. This is not earth-shattering news, but I've never liked babies - wouldn't hold my friends' babies, never babysat for infants, never understood the big deal about how babies smell. (I assumed they smelled like poop.) They don't.

Holy crap. I actually like this mom stuff. I make up ridiculous jingles. I have a variety of strange voices. I don't even mind the diaper change. Giving her a bath makes my day. How the hell did this happen?

The first week we brought her home, in my hormonal haze, I tried to will her older. Please become a kid so I can understand how to interact with you, I pleaded, while she screamed on the changing table. Please grow up a bit so I can have a smidgeon of my old life back, I guiltily thought.

Fortunately, that phase has passed. I told Husband this morning in an incredulous tone, "This parenting thing is not at all what I expected. It's actually fun."

And just so you know, the baby smell is actually a mix of baby shampoo, lotion and dryer sheets. Best smell ever.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A New Groove

I worried about a lot of things while pregnant. In fact, I mastered borrowing worry. My child was going to be colicky - I was certain. So I read books to prepare. Charley's not colicky. According to my sister, she's the most well-behaved baby ever. (That's an overstate, but she is pretty darn good.)

One of my biggest worries was how I'd get my workout groove back. Husband and I had a nice little system pre-baby. We'd alternate gym days with dog walk days and on weekends I'd swim and yoga while he hit the trails. We each got workouts in about five days a week and felt relatively fit.

While pregnant, I wracked my brain to come up with a system that would work with a baby and dog. I'd get up an 4:30am to accommodate exercise. I'd go to the 8pm swim practices. I'd do extra long workouts on the weekends.

Sometimes good intentions remain intentions.

Getting up at 5am gives me time to feed the baby, get ready for work, pump and get baby to day care. Saturday mornings are such a luxury now. Coffee with my husband, Baby C in her sleep sack until 10am, taking Trudy on a long walk. The last thing I want to do is bust ass to the gym and miss this family time.

To my friends with kids, I owe you a huge apology. I remember one friend bemoaning how hard it was to get to the gym with a kid. My callous response was why don't you go after you pick her up from day care?

Really? I told my friend to take her baby who had been in day care all day to put her in a gym day care for another hour afterwords? I would have smacked me.

I race to get C from day care. This is no reflection of the facility, but I can't get her out of there soon enough. Then I get her home and just want to feed her and look at her and sing to her. Leaving her to go to swim practice doesn't even cross my mind.

A friend asked if I'd start training again for triathlons. I laughed. Training for one sport is far-fetching enough. Trying to do three would make my head explode. For now, my sport is composing jingles that make her smile.

Things will eventually change and she won't be so needy. I'll start running with her in the stroller or Husband will put her in the burley. Maybe she'll swim and I'll train while she's at practice. But for now the sport of being a mom is pretty awesome.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Blink of an Eye

Has it really been eleven weeks? Have I really been a stay-at-home mom for nearly three months? Is tomorrow actually the day I will drop off Baby C at child care and drive to the office to reclaim my pre-baby job? Shockingly, yes.

Last night I teared up while explaining to Husband every milestone makes me nostalgic. I even cried at my six week follow-up doctor's appointment. When sweet Dr. L grabbed my hand and looked at Charley, complimenting her in all her baby-ness, it felt like a door closing. That door opened last December with a plus sign on a little plastic stick. Ten months later with a pat on the back I'm out the door with this creature who has overwhelmed my world.

Let me be clear - I know people have babies everyday. Multiple babies. Some have nineteen and get their own TV show. Baby C is not miraculous in that sense. She eats, poops, sleeps, cries and obsesses over ceiling fans. (This is her new favorite activity.) But for Husband and I, each of whom thought having kids wasn't in the cards, she's surprisingly interesting and even - dare I write it - fun.

I commented to Husband that we met about two and half years ago. We both paused. In that time, we met, got engaged, moved in together, lost family members, got a dog, got pregnant and brought home a baby. That's a busy two years.

I'm all over the place with this entry, probably a reflection of my emotions.

A final thought before wrapping this up will be a little advice. Not that you asked, but it's my blog and I feel like dispensing. Don't wait until you're 39 to have a kid. This is a young person's game. I'm like the chaperone busting a move at the seventh grade dance. When my knees crack standing up from the glider, when my crows feet look more pronounced from lack of sleep, when I do the math of how old I'll be when she graduates - it's difficult. It almost makes you endorse teen pregnancy. (I'm kidding!)

But the most difficult aspect is the realization of how selfish I got to be for nearly four decades. Once you have a kid that comes to a screeching halt. Also coming to a halt is the ability to blog about anything but your kid. I'll try to diversify now that I'm rejoining the real world. One can hope.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Greasy hair, dirty clothes and a vague smell of poop - welcome to maternity leave

Two weeks from today I'll be back at work. Fourteen measly days. While I know dropping Charley off at day care is going to be a mascara-free day, I'm quietly happy to be venturing back into the land of adults. A place where conversation does not revolve around the number of daily poops, generic verses brand name diapers and what brand socks actually freaking stay on a baby's foot. (The answer is GAP.)

Before Baby C's arrival, I was anxiously awaiting maternity leave. Three months of no work. Even with a baby, that sounded enticing. (Stupid me.) I've never not worked since graduating college. This would finally be the opportunity to be the glamorous, non-working person I yearned to be if I ever won the lottery.

As is always the case, my perception and the actual reality were very far apart. Squeezing in the bare necessities around the needs of a being that sleeps, poops, cries and eats continually does not leave a lot of spare time for lounging. (Or even showering, for that matter.) The fact that I'm blogging instead of nineteen other things needing my attention actually pains me, but I miss writing, so the kitchen floor shall remain fur-covered.

Though there's no time to brush my teeth, there has been ample time to watch HGTV, the Food Network and E! while I feed her. I'm on the second round of Property Brothers reruns and I've seen every episode of Chopped. (I still cry at the lunch lady episode.) Now I've started watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians - the horror - and it really is time to get the hell out of the house.

I know I'll look back on this time sweetly as Baby C gets older. I'm constantly reminding myself to slow down and enjoy this because the real craziness will set in when trying to juggle work and being a mom. But the truth is, I will be a better mom because I work. At least I hope so. We'll see what tune I'm singing come October 18.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Week Five Highlights

You may think that when one is on maternity leave, a three day weekend isn't that big of deal. You'd be wrong.

A three day weekend means that husband is off for three days, which means more baby coverage and therefore a pinch more freedom. Fortunately, this weekend included many post-baby firsts.

Friday night we actually watched a movie. Yes, it was in our own living room and a two hour movie took three hours to watch, but there was popcorn so it counts.

Saturday was the first family outing to the Plaza for the opening day of Moosejaw. Baby C settled into the Ergo and slept the entire time. There was a photo booth at the store where we attempted to get a photo of her, quite unsuccessfully. This is a photo of a photo since I don't have my scanner at home, but you get the gist.

Not really an event, but Husband's co-worker brought by a teddy bear for Baby C that is literally six feet tall and completely awesome. Steve, as he has been named, is now helping Trudy with security duty by watching over the nursery.

Sunday included several first events. In the morning, I made my way back to the pool. After the first 500 yards when my arms felt like lead, it started to feel okay. Five weeks off isn't too terribly long, but carrying a baby on your arm is not sufficient cross training for the pool. Bummer.

The day also marked Baby C's first introduction to the Tholen side of the family. She was a good sport being passed around such a large group of people and only squawked when hungry. Husband and I met in the finals of the 2012 Cornhole Tournament. I won. (Okay, I didn't win alone. It was a team effort. My partner and I won.) Who knew I would find a new sport at age 39?

Finally, Monday we needed to make time for Trudy. We loaded up Baby, diaper bag, stroller, water bottles and dog and ventured to the new dog park. It is a nice alternative to the Penn Valley DP, which can get a little dicey with owners not paying attention. Once Trudy was sufficiently worn out, we headed to Sonic for a cherry-limeade.

All in all, quite a delightful little holiday.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Day in the Life

For anyone who thinks maternity leave is a luxury, let me give you the real scoop.

Here's my day:

5-5:30am - Feeding

6-8am - Baby sleeps and/or lightly squawks in crib. I do exciting stuff including: brush teeth, pick up house, unload dishwasher and take some Excedrin. (Husband commented life with a newborn includes a constant, low-grade headache, so we're both hitting the Excedrin extra-hard.) This time may include eating breakfast, if I'm lucky. (Today includes blogging.)

8:30am - Baby up for another feeding.

9am - Diaper change. (She dislikes this.) Clothing change. (She dislikes this, too.) A rousing game of peek-a-boo while she's on the changing table. (This is a whole new level of dislike - maybe even hate. But my face super-up-close scares me, too, so I can't blame her.)

9:30-10:30am - Carry Baby around seeing what I can accomplish one-handed. Maybe walk around yard to get her some Vitamin D. Have Baby do "tummy time" which is when she lays on her stomach and practices lifting her head. (She doesn't like this either.)

10:30am-Noon - Baby naps. I pump (TMI, I know), try to get on the elliptical for 45 minutes and shower.

Noon-1:30pm - Repeat activities from 8:30-10am.

Here it becomes less structured. If someone comes by, she naps. If not, she's awake. We may throw in a bath, multiple diaper changes and a brief squawking session.

2pm - Take Baby and Trudy for a walk.

3pm - Feeding.

3:30pm - Diapers, diapers, diapers. This is her high-poop time.

4pm - Husband is usually home. Thank God.

4:30pm - Put her in the swing, leave Husband with a bottle and get the hell out of the house. Yesterday was a riveting run to CVS (my new favorite place) which I wrapped up by eating a Heath candy bar in the car in the parking lot and taking my sweet time getting home.

5:30pm - Follow-up feeding. Pass baby back and forth while the other person gets to do stuff like make dinner or possibly shower.

6pm - Back in swing so we can eat.

7-8pm - Family walk time with Baby and Trudy.

8-9pm - Witching hour usually accompanied by hiccups.

9pm - Feeding.

9:30pm - Put Baby down and keep fingers crossed she won't get back up.

10pm - Write at least two thank you notes for all the kind things friends have done for us in the last month.

No witty wrap up and it's 8:29am and motherhood calls. I love Charley, but miss my adult people. A lot.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Nothing A Chicken Bone Can't Fix

Last night, Husband, Charley, Trudy and I ventured out for a family walk. This wasn't the first family walk that we've taken. However, it was the first walk where Trudy has been, well, Trudy.

Bringing Charley home and combining baby with an overprotective dog gave me pause. Fortunately, things have gone well. We've been consistent with T's walk schedule and she gives Charley lots of sniffs and licks. T has taken to napping under the crib, which is quite endearing. But now I'm getting off track.

As we're finishing the walk, Husband makes the mistake of unclipping the leash before getting in the house. That one nanosecond was all it took. T pulled her fake out move and was in the neighbor's yard in a blink. She paused, looked back at us with the distinctive "eff you" expression and took off.

Baby was hungry, so I was off the hook for chasing, which left Husband. I settled on the couch to watch whatever Gordon Ramsey show is on at 8pm. (The man is on some channel every hour of the day.) At 8:45pm, Husband and dog return.

Trudy had decided to go on an adventure, which included crossing over Paseo and frolicking through the neighborhood on the east side. According to Husband, the chase provided quite the entertainment. He estimated 15 people came out on their porches to watch him try to catch Trudy. One woman pulled over in her car and started calling people, which Husband suspected was how more and more people knew to come outside.

The audience provided helpful guidance such as:

"That dog don't want no part of you!" (No kidding.)

"You think that dog gonna mind you when you call?" (Clearly not.)

"That dog must be part fox!" (We don't know if this is even possible, but we hear it a lot.)

Finally, a kind man pulled up along side Husband with a chicken bone and offered to help corner Trudy. The chicken bone worked and man gave both Husband and T a ride home. However, as punishment Trudy did not receive her nightly popcorn allocation. Sadly, I don't think she cared.

Friday, August 10, 2012

One Thing At A Time

A week before Charley arrived, a kind man at Latte Land dispersed some baby wisdom my way. (Pretty much everyone in the eighth month did this, but this fellow -- Bob -- made more sense than many others.) He said, "A baby takes away everything that was important before and gives those things slowly back, one at a time."

Here's what I've received back this week:

1. The ability to run to Walgreen's and buy hydrogen peroxide.

2. A drive through the ATM.

3. A short walk with Trudy.

4. A quick trip to the grocery store where I still forgot butter.

5. The purchase of a bottle of wine. (That's kind of cheating since it's really due to not being pregnant anymore. Same situation with the ankle bones.) Note I haven't actually had any wine to drink, but it's nice knowing it's in the fridge.

6. And the big attempted finale... a pedicure. I didn't really get this back, but I did go by Oak Nails to see what the wait time was, which they said 10-15 minutes. This is a big, fat lie. There were 34 people ahead of me so I left. That's what allowed for #4.

That's it for today. Time for the witching hour.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Charley and the Sleepless Factory

Well, I have about eighteen topics that are worthy of a blog entry and six minutes to write. So what does that get you? A modified top ten list covering the first nine days of motherhood.

1. I'm not going to horrify any new moms-to-be with a delivery horror story. Mine was actually okay. Not fun, mind you. Not painless. But if you told me I had to do it again next week, I could manage. (After a fair amount of complaining.) Labor lasted 24 hours. An epidural is a tiny gift from God. I pushed through five contractions and there she was - Charlotte Elizabeth Saab.

2. It is quite all right to have the nurses put the baby in the nursery at night. I enjoyed those few hours of stress-free sleep. They may have been my last.

3. If a tan, cologne-wearing security guard knocks on your hospital door and asks if there are any weapons in the room, it's a safe bet my husband will suspect he's a stripper. This scenario was made better by the fact that friends were there to witness it and there was filet knife with an eight inch blade hidden under the mattress. Thanks to the previous tenant for leaving this behind, thus providing a great laugh and good story.

4. There's a moment as you pull away from the hospital with your first child in the backseat and think, holy crap, who agreed to let us do this? Do they know us? Are they insane? Someone has made a horrible mistake.

5. Breastfeeding is really, really hard. And those strange women in the La Leche League, while very nice, can drive you nuts with the skin-on-skin concept. I needed a straight-talking, no-nonsense nurse to just tell it to me straight. Thanks, Julia.

6. Yeah, I'm going to go there and mention what you're not supposed to. Bringing home a newborn is difficult. So. Stinking. Hard. While I knew it was going to be a struggle, it's beyond my comprehension. Every night I have a witching hour - not the baby. I cry and sob and guiltily miss the freedom of my old life. I cry for the dog. I cry for a complete night's sleep. I cry because it is a wall of emotion that makes it impossible not to. Then it eventually subsides and I have a popsicle and tell myself this part is only temporary.

7. Husband changes diapers better than I do.

8. A complete to-do list for the day might be "shave legs." And that's okay.

Well, the Squack Box is awake so a top eight list will have to do.

Okay, 9. There are some moments that are incredibly sweet. Like when she's swaddled in her crib first thing in the morning. Everything is quiet, the sun is coming through the blinds and she opens her eyes and looks so peaceful. Those are pretty amazing.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Get This Party Started

So what do you do when you're reclining in a hospital bed, Olympic beach volleyball on the TV and watching petocin slowly drip through an IV into your arm? You blog.

As of 3:32pm, all is manageable. Ask me in an hour or two and the tune will most likely be different. Petocin scares the crap out me, but as long as it gets the baby out of me, I'm trying to not freak out.

I woke up this morning and greeted the day as a normal Monday. After walking Trudy a few miles and spending 40 minutes on the elliptical, it dawned on me I felt a little crampy, for lack of a better term. And without getting too graphic, I started to wonder if my water had broken. (It was nothing like it's portrayed on television.)

So I called a handful of friends and my sister to get some feedback. All signs pointed to yes, so I called my doctor's office which said just go to the hospital. I took Trudy for a second walk while waiting for Husband to get home and try not to overreact.

At the hospital it's confirmed -- water broken. Doctor tells me I'm lucky to be getting the "get out of pregnancy free" card two weeks early, especially since this is my first. I'm shocked. I was so sure this baby would be late. My laptop is still at the office. I didn't get all my thank you notes out. Damn it.

Truth is, I've been wrong about most of it. I was certain it was a boy, but it's not. I swore the baby would be big, but signs don't point that way. I thought I'd be way overdue. Wrong again. Maybe all this is just preparation for how little I'll have control over very soon.

Well, ice chips are calling. Hopefully the next photo I post will be of someone much cuter than me.

Monday, July 23, 2012

This and That

Blogging when you don't have any significant update is difficult. But I haven't been on here in ten days, so I feel some nagging responsibility to check in. I'm still here, I'm still pregnant, it's still hot as hell and I'm still freaked out about impending parenthood. (Though I'm desperate to be done with pregnancy.)

A few things that are getting me through this final month:

1. The pool. Always my sanctuary, swimming still feels wonderful even though I'm S-L-O-W. I'm even over how scary I look in my Speedo and have ventured back to my Sunday masters practice. The outdoor, 50-meter pool is heaven and if I look closely after a workout, there's still a little tricep muscle to be seen. (Plus it does wonders for the water retention in my ankles.)

2. The Olympics start this Friday. Enough said.

3. One part of being an old mom-to-be is you get to go to the doc twice weekly the last month. These visits include checking the baby's heart rate for distress and fluid tests. It also includes a weekly sonogram, which is pretty cool. The good news is, everything looks great. The bad news is, all the good news doesn't indicate any reason this kiddo is going to arrive early, so I get to practice patience.

4. Husband and I have decided every Saturday until D-Day is date night and are hitting up all our favorite restaurants. Saturday was La Bodega and it was just as tasty as I'd hoped. (Chased with a chocolate-peanut butter sugar cone from Baskin-Robbins.)

5. A sweet baby shower thrown by my co-workers. It really was quite touching how many turned out for this and I highly recommend working in education if you're having a baby. (Even dudes give you gifts.)

6. Air conditioning. I don't venture further than ten feet away from an AC vent at all times.

7. Actual appreciation for the fact this pregnancy was easy to come by and uneventful to maintain. An all-around sandbagger, I love to apply my cynicism and skepticism for the sake of a good story. My pregnancy has provided much good fodder. However, we have friends who's road to family has been drastically more difficult and less successful than ours. I know we're unbelievably fortunate and can only hope every woman who wishes to experience the craziness of pregnancy gets the opportunity. I also hope for their sake it's not during the hottest summer in the history of the world.

Friday, July 13, 2012


I don't know if the final month is really the home stretch - maybe that should be left for the final week - but today is officially one month from due date. While I'm hopeful for an early delivery, I'm doubtful that will be the case. I was a month late. (My poor mother.) However, I was also an extremely sweet baby. (What happened, I don't know.) All I know at this point is nearly everything is out of my control and no amount of house cleaning or freezing casseroles will change that.

This is my last month of not being a parent, which also causes some angst. I've sorted through old photos, reread blog entries and reminisced some about my childless life. I've bemoaned to Husband about missing our Colorado trip this summer. Maybe we should have waited a year before starting a family.

However the concerns and fears are moot; the baby train has left the station. Husband also pointed out we're not exactly spring chickens, so waiting didn't benefit us. As it is, I will turn forty soon after the baby arrives. Forty. FORTY. Ugh. Yeah, I'm thinking the same thing - Old Mom.

While my friends are prepping their kiddos for middle school, I'll be sleepless and smell of spittle. Husband will be sixty when this bundle of joy graduates high school.

There's an additional set of fears when you're Old Parents. If you are fortunate to have a healthy baby, do you roll the dice and try for another or is that selfish? Will people think I'm the kid's grandmother? Will she miss out on strong relationships with her grandparents? There are no good answers.

When Husband and I do encounter someone else in our age range expecting, we're giddy. We're not the only ones starting this adventure a decade behind! Then we invite them to brunch and talk about Bob strollers.

Did I mention the Bob arrived last week? I suggested putting Trudy in it for a trial run, but Husband vetoed. Of course, he also vetoed dressing up T on Halloween, but whatever, I'm not bitter. At least I'll get to dress up the kid.

Monday, June 18, 2012

"I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies."

Neither do I, Prissy. (Gone with the Wind, 1939)

Husband and I attended a childbirth class on Saturday for this very reason. Like most first time parents, neither of us has a clue. However, being surrounded by other anxious and slightly neurotic parents-to-be actually made us feel better.

We did learn some interesting tidbits such as keep absorbent towels and a trash bag in the car you plan to take to the hospital. That way if you leak amniotic fluid it won't get on the seats and ruin the way your car smells forever. (Ugh.)

We also have a better understanding of different breathing techniques, when to leave for the hospital and not to change diapers on the floor as Trudy might interpret that as a literal pissing contest and start going all over the house.

At one point, we went around the room and announced our birthing plan. I resisted the urge to say my plan was to get the baby out of me quickly while inflicting as little pain as possible. However, after listening to several women speak longingly of natural childbirth and wanting to discuss the difference between an episiotomy and tearing, I just said "epidural and husband in the room." Honestly, I don't know how you can have a plan when you have no idea what the hell is going to happen.

Afterwards, Husband and I headed to Houston's for lunch while discussing how much better we felt after attending class - mostly because it reaffirmed our normalcy. The highlight was when one husband asked the teacher how thick the hospital maxi pads are and went on to explain his wife preferred the thinner ones. Seriously.

And I thought I was worried about the details.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Cankles, heartburn and peeing

That's where I'm at.

After my baby shower two weeks ago I looked down to discover Fred Flintstone's feet were in my sandals. Goodbye, ankle bones. Hope to see you again in a couple months. For now, I'm accepting the sausage feet as part of the whole experience. (Don't get me wrong - I complain about it constantly.) But they say water weight is the easiest to lose, so my fingers are crossed.

I remember my dad popping Tums and moaning about something called heartburn when I was a kid. That must be an old man's disease, I thought. Nope. Another fun side-effect of being with child. Last week, even cereal was causing major indigestion. Prilosec to the rescue. Thank God that's allowed during pregnancy.

Now down to less than two months, the morning dog walk has become an issue. Trudy likes a 45-60 minute walk before napping the day away. My bladder can make it about 15 minutes. So in addition to carrying a dog poo bag and Milkbones, toilet paper has become a necessity. Fortunately, my triathlon background prepared me for some aspect of pregnancy. I can pee anywhere at anytime  and do. Many of my spots may be monitored by cameras, but I don't care. Vanity has left the building, folks.

Mornings at the gym follow a similar schedule. Twenty minutes on the stair climber. Pee. Twenty minutes on the elliptical. Pee. Explain to front desk guy I'm not actually leaving, as each time I pass he tells me to have a nice day. Thirty minutes weights. Pee. Ten minutes on treadmill. Look down to see what appears to be a varicose vein developing. Gasp. Immediately stop treadmill. Pee. Drive home. Complain to husband about vein. Have him tell me that it's okay. Tell him to add more money to the post-baby-fix-up-Jen fund. He nods.

On the bright side, the newly-purchased elliptical was delivered and Husband  promised it will be assembled this weekend. That way I can workout and pee in the comfort of my own home.

Friday, June 1, 2012

To the bat cave!

If you've ever wondered where's the bat cave, have I got great news for you. It's in my house.

Maybe you were like me and thought about bats only after watching something vampire-related. As Kansas City vermin, they just weren't on my radar. Mice? Traps. Spiders? Exterminator. Bats? Huh? Who deals with bats around here?

Now I do.

My least favorite thing about moving to Husband's neighborhood (and there are many great things, too) is that I now live in a menagerie of my two biggest phobias - snakes and bats. And they are plentiful. Fortunately the snakes have remained outside the house. (At least so far. Crap.)

The bats, however, make themselves at home. Last summer, after an evening walk with Trudy, I opened the front door to a bat circling the living room. Completely freaked out, I called Husband who was working a rock show. He picks up the phone to me screaming "Bat! Bat! There's a %$(*#@ bat in the house!" He can't get home, so our kind neighbor donned his motorcycle gear, helmet included, and trapped the bat in a light sconce.

To my dismay, this happened several more times last summer. Apparently our chimney is some sort of bat spa when temps get above 90 degrees. This left me borderline hysterical. Husband felt I was overreacting and told me how beneficial bats are because they can eat up to 500 mosquitoes a day. While impressive, this did not ease my fear. You see, there's only one person in the house that isn't  vaccinated against rabies. One guess who it is.

In his defense, he did attempt to fill  holes underneath the eaves and around the chimney. We thought the problem was solved until Tuesday night. As I glance in the living room, I notice there is foil stuffed around the edge of the fireplace insert. Hmmm. Even more disturbing is the fact he's leaving the next day to go out of town. Which leaves me, a nearly seven-month pregnant bat-phobe, and Trudy, a dog who confuses bat time as play time, to hold down the fort.

He caught two and they were babies, which made me feel badly for some reason. (Damn you, pregnancy hormones!) Babies become vicious adult bats. Remember that, Jen. We sealed off the fireplace with a MacGyver-ish barrier of heavy-duty plastic and duct-tape. The next morning, there is was again. Chirp, chirp, chirp. Good god, are they multiplying?

As long as they are contained in the chimney, I told Husband it would be okay. We shall see how the handiwork holds up. We shall also find out the earliest time the Critter Catchers can get here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Melt. Down.

Memorial Day weekend was the first weekend we'd been home in the last month, so that meant one thing - knock some shit out.

Husband spent the weekend preparing for his annual pilgrimage to the Wakarusa Festival in Arkansas where he is responsible for providing equipment for the bands. This is no small feat and frankly, I don't know how he does it. I do know it provides some nice extra income, so I keep my mouth shut.

My weekend focus was the soon-to-be nursery. For the record, I am not a crafty, visually artistic person. I am the person for whom home magazines are printed - here are some pretty pictures of rooms for you to copy. This is the same approach I take with the baby room. I wanted simple and contemporary, but not overly baby-ish. And to keep Husband happy, no pink.

So I find my ideal nursery pic, head to Home Depot for the specific gray paint listed and get to work. After patching walls, cleaning baseboards, taping and moving furniture, I get the first coat applied on Sunday. We head out to dinner. Upon arriving home I want to admire my handiwork. I flip on the light switch.

Tears immediately begin to pour down my face. It's the kind of crying that quickly escalates into huge gulping sobs. Husband asks what's wrong. I answer, the nursery (sniff) is blue (sob) and we're (sniff) having a girl.

He pauses.

"Are you afraid this will give her some sort of gender-identity crisis?"

I pause. "No (sob). It's just supposed to be gray."

"Why don't we sleep on it?"


That night I have a horrible dream about the kid wanting to be on Toddlers and Tiaras. The next morning I determine the color perfectly acceptable, slap on a second coat and contemplate if Star Wars artwork is appropriate for a nursery.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Six down, three to go

It's the start of the third trimester and more musings have been gathered.

1. I am aware that I will give birth during the hottest part of the year. I'm a native Kansas Citian so there's no need to point this out to me. I get it. August sucks. I'm going to be huge and miserable. Thanks for pointing out something I have no control over. However, if you'd like to be helpful, you can bring me a ice cream cake in late July. I like mint chocolate chip.

2. Do not touch my stomach unless you are comfortable with me karate chopping your wrist. My friends understand this, as I'm not a touchy-feely person. However, acquaintances seem to think this acceptable. It's not. You should approach a pregnant woman as you would a dog - ask if it's okay before putting a hand near the bathing suit region.

3. Let me be the initiator of my pregnancy concerns. There's enough to be worried about without someone throwing in additional items. "Have you had hemorrhoids yet?" Really? No, I haven't. But now I can worry about possibly having them. Thanks.

4. There's no need to point out body parts that look different. Again, I'm well-aware. My favorite was a co-worker who said she knew I was pregnant because of how my neck looked. Huh? I have pregnancy neck? That was one area of my body with which I was not concerned. But now I have to add it to the list. (She sometimes reads my blog, so she'll remain nameless. Although she would also vehemently defend her opinion and probably provide before and after photos.)

5. I now understand why some pregnant women don't share their name choices. When people ask me  and I tell them, they give me an opinion. I don't want an opinion. I don't want to know the name I'm considering is the same name of the girl who stole your bomber jacket in high school. (Actually, that happened to me. Her name was Gretchen and I'm not considering that name.) So unless you can fake it and say you love the name ideas no matter what, don't ask. I don't need anyone raining on my naming parade.

6. Finally, a note to Gap Maternity. Any clothing item that has a nude-colored belly band should not be marketed as "sexy." My "sexy boot cut" white jeans would be an excellent form of birth control for young girls. I laugh every time I see the tag because in my third trimester, I've never felt less sexy. But thanks Gap for trying.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Whole Lotta Nothin'

Two days into vacation and relaxation is finally arriving. This is my seventh time to Seabrook Island, and I love it more each visit. The quiet. The smell of ocean. Wind chimes, which normally drive me batty, do not bother me here. Fortunately, Husband's agenda is similar to my own so it's working out well.

Sunday was travel day and did not start out promising. Once again, I booked flights so the layover in Atlanta was too brief. Last year we got stuck in Atlanta coming and going, and it looked to be the same this year. A delayed flight out of KC had me anxious. Husband and I scrambled through the Atlanta terminal - me running until I hit a large crowd of people and then having to stop and Husband walking briskly and appearing far less maniacal. I made it to the gate three seconds earlier, which convinces me my method paid off.

Once in Charleston, Husband explained to car rental agent that this is our last trip sans baby for the next year and the guy kindly upgraded our rental from a Camry to a Mustang. I commented this gives Husband a chance to experience his mid-life crisis before the arrival of our child.

In the last two days we've eaten the tomato-crab bisque at Rosebanks Cafe (possibly the best soup in the history of the world), walked on North Beach, been offered two unruly golden retrievers (which I would have considered had the guy been serious), and am now enjoying lunch made by Husband before possibly heading to the gym or more likely the screened-in porch with a book.

As we prepared to leave for the airport on Sunday I wondered aloud whether we should stay in KC. My baby to-do list is long and a week off work would have provided lots of time to knock things out. I also struggle leaving Trudy, especially when she gives me that accusatory I-know-you're-leaving-me look. Now that we're here, that consideration seems ridiculous.

Only on vacation do we give ourselves the permission to not feel guilty about lack of productivity. There's nothing that needs to be cleaned, reorganized or mowed. Tide watching is an activity. Husband asked if it's weird that he likes to watch the tide roll in and out. I responded all old men like to watch the tide.

I have not included many photos recently and then read on a friend's blog that blogs without photos suck. I don't want my blog to suck, so here is a pic of high tide taken from the deck. Here is also a rare belly photo taken at near 26 weeks. I may one day regret not having more pics of me pregnant, but it's a risk I'm willing to take. Must sign off. A lounge chair is calling my name.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Breast Practice

While my last post stated I really have nothing to complain about pregnancy-wise, I was wrong. I will continue to post about my out-of-control chest region.

Last weekend was an exercise in futility as I tried to find a swimsuit to wear on my upcoming vacation. Buying a swimsuit when you're not pregnant is less than enjoyable. Buying one while pregnant ranks just above a root canal.

While trying on various options at Destination Maternity, I could not stop laughing. The sales girl popped over to ask if I needed help. My question was do you have any suit available that when I put it on will not scare small children? Her answer? "We don't carry anything with under wire support."

Yeah, thanks. You could have pointed that out sooner and saved me lots of time and discouragement. Mission failed.

Then last night Husband tells me about a discussion he had with the lifeguard at the Y. She commented that she doesn't often see swimmers with breasts as big as mine. He agreed. I asked him if this is a topic of conversation that he's having more frequently. His answer? "Pretty much with everyone. Especially all the employees that I know at the Y." Horrifying.

Today was the high point of the breast debacle. It was the kick-off meeting of my new work project with all the bigwigs - chancellor, vice chancellors, campus presidents. You get the gist. As I cover my part of the agenda, I'm telling the committee chairs that I'll send them a list of best practice institutions. Except I said breast practice institutions. My boss about spit coffee across the table.

After a small pause I say, "I'm pregnant. Now seems like a really good time to play that card." The female campus presidents cannot stop laughing. I then promise to send every one a list of both best practice and breast practice institutions after the meeting.

Afterwords, my boss mentions the best part was watching everyone try to avoid looking at my chest. I have a whole new respect for well-endowed women. Bras off to you.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Over Halfway

I hate to jinx it, but I've been pretty fortunate the first half of my pregnancy. At over 23 weeks, I have not thrown up once, experienced bad acne or had any unmanageable pain. (Okay, I almost threw up after eating at Texas Road House, but that wasn't pregnancy related. My advice is don't eat there, even if your dad has a gift card.)

People ask if I'm still training and the answer is no, but I haven't trained for anything since the summer of 2010. Am I working out? Yes. The pool is the one place I don't feel like a lumbering bear. The extra buoyancy is actually helpful. Once I sprint past the full-length mirror and actually get into the water, I don't even feel pregnant. Magic.

Yoga has also been a regular part of the routine, mostly because it keeps me sane mentally. I've found a couple good DVDs to do at home, which is nice for when I fall over. Some of the prenatal moves are pretty amusing. I told Husband he might actually like the workout, just skip the kegels and hip rolls.

Sadly, this is the time of year I love to run and bike, but I can't. Which makes it difficult to drive by all the folks on the Trolley Trail. I want to yell at them, "I'm an athlete, too! I used to wear short-shorts and have strong, tan legs just like you!" A couple things keep me from actually doing this. One, they could care less. Two, I embarrass pretty easily. And three, the shorts weren't that short.

A neighbor commented to Husband that I did not appear to be enjoying pregnancy. My initial reaction was duh. My second reaction was how can he tell? Do I have a permanent grimace? I've tried to be positive when people ask how I'm doing, but maybe I'm not pulling it off successfully. I wish I loved being in this state - that I walked around glowing, hands constantly on my stomach. But I don't. My discomfort cannot be hidden.

Apologies to all who encounter me in the next four months. It's not going to be pretty.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Plea to the Moms Out There

I'm in desperate need of help. Yesterday, in an effort to prepare for upcoming baby showers, I registered at Target online. Well, I didn't really register. I have a registry. It just doesn't have anything on it. Because there is just too much freaking stuff.

I am completely overwhelmed. I get the essentials like a car seat. Yes, we need one. We most want two seat bases. However, there are literally hundreds of car seats. How the hell do I know which one is good? Do I need a convertible car seat? If I get the car seat that adapts to the stroller thing do I then also need a stroller? Why is this so hard?

It's hard because I'm clueless. Maybe a little internet research will help? It doesn't. Half the suggested baby lists are sponsored by advertisers that are insistent I need a water temperature checker. Hey, Parents.com, I have one of those. It's called my hand. Is an ear thermometer necessary? I still remember the old thermometer in the behind method and it was no fun. Maybe this is something I should spring for?

So, to all recent moms (or moms with older kids who still remember critical baby items) I need help. Please let me know one or more items that you were glad to have. Any advice is welcome, down to what brand name you bought. Also, I know I want to run with the kiddo and dog, so any good running stroller suggestions are welcome.

Thank you and good day.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Trudy's New Toy

After the monsoon of a week we had in Kansas City, Trudy was not happy. Her walks were shorter, there were no trips to the muddy dog park and in general, she was bouncing off the walls. Husband and I were desperate to tame the puppy energy. Enter the dog tow leash.

You know when you order something online and have these ridiculously high expectations? Then it's delivered and the results are just, well, meh? That was NOT the dog tow leash. This thing is awesome. Husband had Trudy hooked up in a flash and they were off doing laps through the neighborhood. She was literally trying to pull him up the hills. After 30 minutes, she was exhausted. We were giddy thinking we've found the quickest way to wear her out once the baby is here.

Saturday continued to be Trudy-focused when I morphed into the total overreacting dog owner. Dogs lick their butts. I'm well aware of this. However, Trudy was licking her business non-stop. After a couple hours of this, Husband and I are wondering what's up. Maybe she has a tick? No. Maybe this is some weird after-effect of the dog tow leash? Not likely.

Then I remember the groomer had emptied her anal glands earlier in the week. Maybe something's infected? Shit, it's Saturday. If she has an infection, we can't get her to the vet until Monday. She's going to lick her butt for the next 36 hours straight. This is not acceptable. You may see where this is going.

Husband, Trudy and I were emergency vet bound. If you've ever had the joy of visiting the emergency vet, you know you will pay 82 times what the regular vet would charge. I didn't care. Trudy needed medicine ASAP. I was sure of it.

We get to Mission Med Vet, sit in a room for 45 minutes and have the very kind ER vet explain that when Trudy was shaved with the clippers, the groomer nicked her on the butt. The equivalent of a hangnail. There were people there who's animals had been hit by vehicles, weeping in the waiting room, the vet promising to call them if there was any change.

Then there was me bringing in my dog for excessive butt licking.

Husband did a very good job of not making me feel like a complete moron. The vet was gracious in not charging us, seeing as Trudy was completely fine. I doubt the ER doctors will be so kind when I bring in Baby Saab for excessive thumb sucking. Husband suggested we try to limit ER visits to one per year. I couldn't promise, but said I'd try.

Friday, March 23, 2012

In Defense of Jessica Simpson

Unless you completely abstain from watching entertainment TV or looking at mainstream news web sites, it's impossible not to know that Jessica Simpson is pregnant. Very, very pregnant. I find myself wondering if it's her due date every time I see her photo.

Please understand I'm not judging. One thing I have humbly learned is that every woman has a different pregnancy. All kinds of factors play a role. How active are you? How much of an appetite do you have? What number pregnancy is it? Do you really believe the eating for two philosophy?

Simpson has taken flack for several decisions. Her first was wearing sky high heels while sporting a prominent bump. As long as she's not falling down, who cares? Plus, I can totally relate to wanting to appear taller. Taller gives the impression of narrower. It's simple geometry. (I think. I got a C in geometry.) While her feet may hurt, if she wants to suffer for the sake of appearance, let her. I've found myself wearing higher heels for the exact same reason and I'm sticking with it. Teetering or not.

One thing I don't share with Simpson is the desire (or opportunity) to pose nude on the cover of Elle. I'm not offended by her bare belly, nor am I impressed. She's a singer/actress/designer who's managed to market her pregnancy effectively. I do laugh at those who are offended by this display. If you're one of them, I hope you don't see me on the beach in May. Especially since I won't have the benefit of airbrushing.

Then there's the criticism of the $3 million Weight Watchers deal. The backlash on this is particularly odd. People openly criticize her weight gain, which she acknowledged was substantial. So we beat the poor girl up for gaining pregnancy weight and then are annoyed she signs up for WW? For $3 million, there are a lot of worse things I would do than promote WW. Plus, I'm a little tired of Jennifer Hudson. (You look fabulous. We get it. Move on.)

To the critics, I say leave pregnant Jessica Simpson alone. I, for one, am happy to see a celebrity pregnant and dealing with the same misery as us normal people. I also respect someone who actually eats cake at her shower.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

To know or not to know...

that was the question. The answer - because I am weak and terribly impatient - is to know.

I walked into the ultrasound room today with the conviction that I would not find out the sex of the baby. I'm not sure why, other than already having told everyone we weren't finding out.

The technician went through the standard ultrasound steps - heart, head, spine, appendages. All there. Whew. The baby's face was hidden due to positioning and hands over the face. The shyness must come from Husband's side of the family. (The best pic was of the hands looking in need of some brass knuckles. Pow pow.)

As we finished up I asked the tech if she knew what it was. Sure do, she said. I looked at Husband, who had made no secret that he wanted to find out. He looked at the floor. "Do you really want to know?" I asked. "Yeah, I really do," he said.

So I caved. Also, I sought validation since I was certain it was a boy. My acupuncturist had speculated boy after checking my pulse for some eastern-mediciney indicator. He also said his accuracy rate was over 90 percent. This, plus an online predictor test, put me in the boy state of mind. Husband found my actions ridiculous, implying if I want to know, why not know for sure.

Maybe I should have skipped all the hullabaloo. It was a lot of fun. It was also wrong. We're having a girl.

This was a bittersweet moment. Not because it is a girl, but because Husband's mom passed away last month and she really wanted a granddaughter. (She already had two of the coolest grandsons ever by way of Husband's sister.)

After we processed this, Husband asked if this means we have to have Barbies. I said not all girls necessarily love Barbies. (Only 99.9 percent of them do.) I also reassured him we can still register at REI for outdoorsy girl stuff. His final request was not to "go all pink" with everything. I promised I would not. By the time we walked to the car he was talking about establishing curfews. Thank god we have a while before dealing with that. A teenage girl. Oh dear.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Sophie Day
Dec. 24, 1999 - March 15, 2012

Sheet rock remover, helpful hole digger, poolside lounger, landscaping assistant, rabbit catcher, mole digger-upper, squirrel chaser, golf course roamer, food beggar, front door greeter...the list could go on and on. She was my first dog, my favorite walking partner and my best pal.

We'll miss you more than you'll ever know, sweet girl. Thank you for being our dog.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pregnancy Week 18 - Girl Support

There have been many enlightening pregnancy experiences since I last blogged, several of which are worthy of their own entries. However, per usual, I’m short on time, so here’s the Cliff Notes version pertaining to the chest region.(If you feel this is TMI, I understand. Don’t read it. I just don’t want to sugarcoat my blog. Women need to know the truth.)

1. There is a sports bra named The Last Resort. If you are a runner who’s well endowed pre-pregnancy, you may have to order this lovely piece of – ahem – athletic lingerie. Sixteen snaps, people. That is how many fasteners this monster has, but true to the advertised word, it eliminates bounce.

2. You will have an specific moment when you realize you need The Last Resort. Mine occurred on the treadmill at week twelve. At first running was as appealing as eating a spoonful of mayonnaise. But then I turned the second trimester corner and thought, “I can still run!”

So onto the treadmill I stepped and upped the miles per hour. “This is great,” I thought. “Maybe my legs will stay thin.” That was until I noticed the guy next to me had literally stopped running to watch the show – the “Jen’s sports bra is clearly not cutting it” show. I caught sight of my freakshow in the mirror. Oh, dear. The run lasted 28 seconds.

3. Regular bras are not exempt from this process, but I was in denial until week 14 when my bra straps started talking to me. “This is far too much responsibility for us,” they pleaded. “You can only push us so far until we snap in the middle of a meeting, most likely with someone important.”

Fine. I optimistically stopped by Victoria’s Secret, knowing full well this was not the best choice for my situation. What I needed was the very largest size they carried. The ones kept at the back of the store in the bottom drawer on the right. Those bras. One style and three color options were offered. Woo-hee. I am bringing sexy back with these babies. And if I don’t need them later, I can use the cups as mixing bowls.

If the griping of all things body image is bothersome, email my Husband. The man is a saint for putting up with my constant chatter about weight gain, unwieldy boobs, too tight clothes and the like. Of course, he’s the one that got me into this situation, so he really has no choice. Forget the saint comment.

Friday, February 24, 2012

"Would you like a cookie with that?"

After ordering a sandwich, lemonade and chips the lady at Einstein Bros. Bagels asked if I would like a cookie. I paused. When - especially as a pregnant woman - do I want a cookie? The answer is always. However, considering my limited pants choices right now, the correct answer is no. I reluctantly shook my head, but did gaze lovingly at the cookies letting them know, it's not you, it's me. And my ever expanding ass.

Pregnancy has not brought about my finest culinary choices. Last week I stopped at the CVS at the corner of Linwood and Prospect because I needed strawberry pop tarts, stat. I barely had the car door closed before I tore open that shiny foil. No need to toast them; they're just find cold. The urgency of these cravings is shocking.

I heard a story about a pregnant woman who just craved ice and fruit. Really? Who is this woman? I would like to punch her. My cravings swing from pickles (yes, I'm a cliche) to Houston's hamburgers, onion rings to bacon, frozen waffles to lasagna. Sadly, fruit and ice just never seem to be atop the list.

I made the mistake of perusing the internet about what's happening at the beginning of the second trimester. It said, "At this point, you may have gained two to five pounds."

Cherry shake sprayed across the key board. What? Hell, I'm chalking up five pounds alone to holiday weight gain. I work in education which everyone knows is a dessert mine field. In December, a co-worker even brought in a different batch of cookies every day. Like I can pass that up.

On a positive note, there was a three day window during week 14 when I felt great. Energy was up. Workouts were strong. The urge to pee was manageable. Then the crud that is sweeping across town came to rest in my lungs. Much coughing, nose blowing and napping has followed. But I am still buoyed by the myth of the feel-good second trimester. I just might feel normal again. Someday.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Bin of Broken Dreams

(January 18, 2012)

Around week ten my wardrobe became a problem. Deciding what to wear to work became less of a decision based on preference and more dependent on what would actually button. My previous "big girl" pants were now fitting snugly. My expanding chest (which needed no help to begin with) was difficult to contain in my normal tops.

As I would stand in front of my closet, getting increasingly frustrated that what I wanted to wear was not a possibility, I decided the only option was to put the too tight clothes in the basement. Husband brought me a large plastic bin and left me to the task.

It was more emotional than I had anticipated. (Or maybe I'm just more emotional in general.) I felt the need to have private goodbye conversations with various pieces. My favorite going out jeans, party dresses, work pants and finally, the short skirts. The skirts were particularly hard. Since I'm knocking on forty, the skirts had limited shelf life anyway. But throw a pregnancy on top and by the time I lose the weight (hopefully lose the weight) the ship will have most likely sailed unless I want to end up on What Not To Wear.

Husband checked in to find me longingly staring at the full bin.

"What is this?" he said. "The bin of broken dreams?"

"I was thinking the long goodbye, but broken dreams is better," I said.

Then I laughed until I realized laughing makes pants even tighter. So I switched to smirking. There will be much more smirking until August 13.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Define Huge

(This was written January 12)

I met with my new OB/GYN today. While I had a perfectly lovely gynecologist for the last ten years, her location is no longer convenient, especially when I may be in labor. So after asking around for referrals, I settled on Dr. L.

Dr. L is a sweet, grandpa type. Admittedly, there were some nerves about going to a male doctor. My first experience in the OB/GYN world was in high school and included a Dr. Hyman (seriously), a med student and a nurse. It was horrifying and I've made sure to have a female doc every since.

After starting the appointment with an ultrasound (175 heartbeat, woo hoo) I met with Dr. L in his office to discuss family history, health issues, etc. One of my major concerns - besides how much weight I'm going to gain - is how big this baby is going to be. The conversation went like this:

Me: I was a huge baby and heard that is hereditary. Is this true?

Dr. L:
Well, I've delivered more than 5,000 babies so we may have a different definition of what's "huge."

Me: Over ten pounds.

Dr. L:
Yes, that's huge. How big are your parents?

Average. 5'6 and 6'.

Dr. L:
Let's not worry about it now. It's difficult to determine the baby's weight in the womb, but absolute worst case scenario there's always a cesarean.

Is it too early to schedule that?

Dr. L is slightly appalled, but chuckles. Next I move to the pain management discussion.

Me: For the record, I'm pro-pain management and embracing of the epidural.

Dr. L: I would be, too.

Me: And don't worry I'm going to change my mind and become one of those women who want to feel everything. I want to feel as little as possible. If there is an option to knock me out and wake me up once the baby is here, I'd be okay with that.

Dr. L.: That's really only an option if the situation is very bad, but I appreciate you letting me know.

Me: Do you need to record this somewhere in my file? You have a lot of patients. You may forget.

Dr. L: I won't forget. Plus, we'll probably meet a few more times before the baby arrives.

Me: That's true. And I'll be sure to remind you.

Dr. L: I'm sure you will.

Also, because I'm 39 my pregnancy is labeled a "premium pregnancy" which is much better than the previous "high risk" and "advanced maternal age" labels that were thrown around. Premium pregnancy makes me feel like really good ice cream.

Yum... ice cream.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Positive, baby

Well, it's been a while. But I have a good excuse. As of today, I'm officially 12 weeks so Husband and I agree it's okay to go public -- another Saab will be joining the family sometime around August 13. Yee-haw.

Being pregnant is not really an excuse to take a blogging hiatus, but it does seem to take over a large amount of brain space. Literally the first thing I think every morning since finding out is "holy s*($, I'm pregnant." Usually muttered in an effort to get to the bathroom quickly.

We are not an emotional family, so calling to tell my dad was awkward. My words, "I'm knocked up" were met by a long pause then a "Jennifer, you are not knocked up. You are with child." Um, okay. Then my sister pointed out that you're knocked up when you're not married. Okay. I still can't say I'm with child.

Another thing Husband and I agree on not saying is "we're pregnant." The reason is obvious. He will not be gaining a large amount of weight and then delivering the baby after a long and exhausting labor. (I plan for the worst.) I'm pregnant. At this point, his work is done. Except for going to Winstead's to get cherry shakes. He still has to do that.

I thought about changing the blog name 3athletejen to something more suitable for a woman with child. But then pregnancy is not unlike an Ironman. You train nine months for one day of immense pain. Sadly, I won't quite be in the shape of my life after crossing the finish line with a baby, but there's always a baby jogger.