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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Two things that made me very excited and then very disappointed. Bring your violin.

Don't worry; they're not TOO serious or sad.  They just made me grumpy.  And no, they weren't holiday inflatables.  They were just two items that seemed like they were sent down from heaven on a cloud for the sole purpose of my making pregnant self happy, but ended up falling sadly short of magical.

Seemingly-Awesome-but-Actually-Sucky Item #1
I generally LOVE Burt's Bees stuff.  I have a serious addiction to their chapstick that involves me having a tube stashed in no fewer than six places: in the bathroom vanity, in the bedside drawer, by my chair in the family room, in one of the rooms upstairs, in the car, and in my purse.  I used to keep several in my classroom, too.  I should probably buy stock.  Until recently, I trusted Burt's Bees unquestioningly, even if they did sell out and become just another brand owned by Johnson & Johnson.  So when I saw that they make a belly balm for the preggo crowd, I was, of course, thrilled.  It even had an adorable name:

Why yes, I thought, I would like to be a stretch-mark free "Mama Bee"!  My belly must have the pumkin seed oil and olive oil!" So I took it home, popped off the lid, and dug my fingers into.......something that reminded me of crumbly Vaseline.  It's so greasy that I have to soap and scrub my hands two or three times before I can touch anything.  And, "Frangrance-Free"?!!! Not so much.  Every time I open the tin, I feel like I have been transported back to the Wild West, where a Native American medicine woman has just handed me her special concoction of bear fat mixed with a pinch of ground-up squirrel bones and a hint of burnt buffalo droppings.  So throw it away, you whiner, I'm sure you are thinking.  Well, I can't.   I paid TEN  $%^# dollars for this little tin, so on my belly it goes EVERY. DAY.  Let's just be thankful the baby can't detect outside smells, or I'd probably be in for a lot more kicking.  Because it sure makes ME want to kick someone.

Seemingly-Awesome-but-Actually-Sucky Item #2
On Christmas Day, Jeromy and my parents and I went out for a nice holiday dinner in Colorado Springs.  It was one of those restaurants that has, in the very front of their menu, a long wine list and a selection of fancy cocktails with clever names.  I started reading through the cocktails descriptions, just to torture myself.  Somewhere between the Mountain Mint Lemonade and the Passion Fruit Cooler, I think I silently cried a little bit.  But then, at the VERY bottom....a MOCKTAIL!  It was supposed to be like a cosmopolitan without the good stuff alcohol.  I was practically bouncing in my chair when the waitress arrived, and had ordered the mocktail before my dad and Jeromy had finished reading the wine list.  I envisioned a pink, chilled, glamorous-looking drink like this:

But instead I got this:

I'll have the kiddie-cocktail, please.  Hold the sippy-cup.

  It was basically $5 cranberry juice over ice in a plain old water glass, without so much as a lime garnish.  Mocktail fail.  The worst part was that my mom ordered the same drink with alcohol, and SHE got the chilled martini glass.  I tried to give my best pouty pregnant-lady puppy-dog eyes to the waitress, but I'm pretty sure she didn't notice.  The restaurant did redeem themselves with dessert, however: poached pear in blackcurrent syrup with sour cream ice cream...Merry Christmas to me!  (And my blood sugar).

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Haircut and 19 week baby belly shots. With stupid mirror self-portaits. Enjoy.

Jeromy and I had a mini photo shoot on the back porch so that I could post the pictures of my haircut as promised.  Unfortunately, in most of the pictures he took, my hair is getting blown around in a less-than-photogenic way.  So I had to go for the idiotic-looking mirror re-shoot after he left for Crossfit.  Sorry, honey.  But you get the added bonus of some baby bump pictures!

Here's the Soccer Mom haircut:
 I guess I'm coming to terms with it.  I just don't love it.  But my hair grows pretty quickly, so it'll be fine. 

Bathroom Belly Shot #1:

Bathroom Belly Shot #2 ( with an actual maternity top)  It must be the angle, but my bump looks HUGE in this one!:

Here's one that Jeromy did take.  I might look like I'm having a sweet belly-gazing moment, but I'm actually looking down at the dog:

You can definitely see the downside of maternity jeans  here.  I have been wearing the ones that have a full stretchy elastic panel that goes up and over the whole belly, but they were in the wash.  These just have an annoying stretchy waistband; they fall down a lot, and, as you can see, they give your belly a weird shape and line.  Like it's sitting on an elastic shelf or something.  Dislike.  My lounge pants from Target that are basically a refined version of sweatpants, on the other hand?  LIKE. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Soccer Mom haircut drama and Baby Updates. (Male readers, you may be excused from the first part of this post to go do something manly if you prefer)

So, this spring and summer, I had a pretty fun haircut that I really liked:
So maybe it DOES resemble the 90s Rachel Cut.  I liked it, ok?!!

It looks pretty effortless, I know, but keep in mind that I have wispy, infant-fine hair.   So this look actually required a somewhat complicated styling situation that involved multiple brushes, sprays, and drying/curling devices.  But, of course, after getting pregnant, I was suddenly in HATE with my blow-dryer, the evil hot-air spewing cousin of the hot shower, and refused to style my hair properly.  Plus, it's pretty difficult to get motivated to do your hair for 1.5 people to see (husband and doggie).  Result? The daily blah-but-easy-and-out-of-my-face ponytail.

I felt like I was starting to let myself go too much, though, and that next I would be wearing my sweats and Crocs out to the grocery store.  Yes, I have Crocs; yes, I know they are hideous, but they are really comfortable.  I only wear them around the house, so you can't judge me.  Anyway, I decided that if I got a simpler haircut, I would be more likely to style it.  So the other day I went to the salon with these pictures:

My hairdresser said something like, "Wow, that's a big change, this isn't a pregnancy hormone decision, is it?" And I was like, "Oh, ha ha, no, of course not."  Yeah.

8 inches later.....I don't know what to think.  Every time I look in the mirror, I'm like, Oh god that is really short, what have I done??!!  Now it's so short that I can't even put it in a ponytail.  I can tell you that my hair has little to no resemblance to the sleek, sophisticated bobs in the above pictures.  Probably because those women have on-call stylists, or are at least skilled enough themselves to use a round brush and a blow-dryer at the same time.  Part of me is afraid that I may have started down the slippery slope of Soccer Mom hair.  Which I am NOT ready for.  Another part of me is having haunting flashbacks to a haircut I had as a child.  In. the. EIGHTIES:
All I want for Christmas is hair wings!
I'm not sure I'm ready to post a picture of my new 80s Soccer Mom hair yet.  Maybe if I give it a few days it will grow out a little bit...

I'm at least going to wait for Jeromy to get home to take a picture.  My attempts at mirror pictures in the past have been.....*special* to say the least.  So, moving on....

 A few baby updates:
  • I am about 97% sure that I am feeling Doctor move around!  For a while I have had some subtle but pretty strange sensations.  I described it to Jeromy as feeling like when you are in a swimming pool and someone moves around in the water near to you and you can feel the motion, even if they don't touch you.  Only in your stomach.  He looked confused, but smiled and nodded to his crazy pregnant lady.  Over the last 4 days, it's been stronger and more frequent; more like repetitive twitches and even a "bump" or two.  Last night I was feeling it a lot, and couldn't decide if A) Doctor was giddy and hyper from my serving of Mint Cookies 'n Cream ice cream or B) Doctor inherited Jeromy's disgust for my favorite ice cream flavor, and was kicking me in protest.  In light of the genetic battle so far, I'm guessing B.

Put DOWN the Ben & Jerry's, Mom.  For the next 5 months you will eat nothing but vanilla, and you will LIKE it.
  • Actually being able to FEEL the baby has brought the whole pregnancy thing to a whole new level of reality.  I keep having WHOAAA Deep Thoughts moments where I'm like, whoaaaaa...there are TWO hearts in my body right now.  AND two brains! (Yet I am still incapable of remembering to put the chicken in marinade a few hours before we need to cook it....go figure).

  • On Saturday, Jeromy and I attended "Meet the Doulas Night" at the office of a doula collective.  It probably deserves its own post, so I won't go into details yet, but for those of you who don't know, a doula is a person with secret earth-mother birthing wisdom that you can hire to be with you during labor.  And a doula WILL be mine.   
Why, YES, I WOULD like someone to rub my back and listen to me scream for 15 hours.
  • The whole no-sleeping-on-your-back-because-the-baby-could-crush-a-major-artery deal has officially bitten me in the ass.  Or rather, the arm,  guess.  Every night, Awake Rebecca tries desperately to get comfy on her side, clutching her body pillow.  Asleep Rebecca then promptly flops on her back and flings the body pillow across the room.  Well, last night I woke up in the middle of the night, laying flat on my back, and my right arm was COMPLETELY numb and bloodless.  As soon as I turned over on my side, it immediately felt better.  How freaky is that???
  • Our BIG ULTRASOUND is in less than two weeks!!!!!  (Yes, it must be put in all caps at all times)  I keep trying to "statistically calculate" what we are having using Super Scientific Reasoning.  I say things like "well, a lot of our friends and acquaintances have had girls recently, so that probably means we are having a boy" or "hmm...BUT....ALL of my cousins who have had or are having babies so far have boys; it seems statistically unlikely that we will have boy #6, so maybe we are having a girl."  All of this drives Jeromy--the person in our family who actually understands math and probability and all that nonsense--CRAZY.  He's like, "No.  It doesn't work that way.  We have a 50/50 shot either way. PERIOD."  Well at least I didn't try to do the silly hang-your-wedding-ring-above-your-belly test, right???  RIGHT?!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The post in which I am both snobby and crafty. Sort of like Martha Stewart.

This is kind of a long one.  Sorry.  But I think it's pretty good and is refreshingly unrelated to pregnancy or babies, I SWEAR.  

Part I. Snobby Rebecca-Martha
It's that time of year again...everyone is eating lots of naughty food, the mall is crowded, and suburbia is being smothered by expensive holiday decor from Sam's Club.  I can handle the first two things; naughty food is usually delicious and eaten in fun social situations, and, because I don't have a so-called "job" anymore, I can go to the mall when most people are at work.  The holiday decor is becoming something of an obsession a slight problem for me, though. 

Don't get me wrong; I LOVE Christmas lights.  When we drive by the nearby mall in mid-November and I see a work crew starting to wrap each branch of each tree with little white lights, I start squealing and excitedly smacking Jeromy on the arm (always a great thing to do to your spouse while he is driving).  I never get sick of seeing those trees all lit up.  I even enjoy over-the-top Christmas light displays like this:

Sure, it can probably be seen from space, and the person who took the time to plan and execute this set-up is probably a little bit nutty, but there is no denying that it took time and energy and holiday spirit. Most of all, it is magical and bright and twinkly and SPARKLY.  I can never have too much sparkly.  

Now here is where I will probably offend someone.  What I HATE HATE HATE and pretty much want to run over are the #%$ holiday inflatables.  They are dopey and floppy and cartoonish.  When people turn them off during the day, the inflatables lay on the ground like some kind of terrible parachute accident.  They are in NO WAY pretty and sparkly.  I don't know what's going on in your neighborhood, but in our neighborhood these things are breeding like a particularly tacky breed of giant rabbits.  Case in point, a house down the street.  Last year, they had this:  

It irritated me, but I could avert my eyes.  Then THIS year, the inflatable suddenly had a mate and adopted child:
The homeowners must have been strolling the aisles of Sam's when they  suddenly experienced a slow-motion/mushy music/shaft-of-light-from-the-sky moment when they turned the corner and saw the perfect match for their Hammock Santa.  I can hear them now: "ANOTHER tropical Christmas inflatable???  It must be fate!"  So Hammock Santa was saved from his loneliness by Sailor-Hat Snowman, who came complete with a wreath-bedecked lighthouse AND a lobster and starfish in Santa hats.  A match made in heaven! I suppose they do get a tiny bit of credit for trying to stick with a theme.  Like one-sixteenth of a point.  

Oh, but THEN.  One of the homeowners must have woken up in a cold sweat with the overwhelming and perhaps somewhat justified fear that the neighborhood might think that they don't take Christmas seriously.  "What if people think we don't KNOW the reason for the season???" the wife probably moaned to her husband.  So they found a little surrogate child for their happy inflatable couple: the glittered white wooden manger scene cut-out.  Although it clearly looks different from its adopted inflatable parents, the decor child is clearly safe and loved nestled between them. Until the wind knocks it down.  Every. Single. Night. 

Not to be outdone in the inflatable-but-also-religious department, the people across the street from this one put up an INFLATABLE manger scene.  Oh yes.  It even had a donkey.  Sadly, I was unable to get a picture of it, because they took the thing down.  Probably the homeowners were upset that the whole manger was always blown over on its back, causing Baby Jesus' head to thump on the ground in a most unholy fashion.

Come to think of it, I have actually had almost 3 months to get fully whipped up in my Inflatable Holiday Decor Fury.  The Halloween decorations are almost as bad as the Christmas ones.  I was completely horrified when I saw THIS ugliness in the yard of one of my favorite houses in the neighborhood:

The picture really does not do it justice. What you are seeing, besides an enormous inflatable jack-o-lantern, is a nearly full-sized inflatable hearse carriage being driven by the Headless Horseman.  Inside, Dracula is laying in his coffin, but pops up his head every 5 seconds or so.  Definitely minus 10 points for not sticking to a theme.  Not even Disney has tried to weave giant jack-o-lanterns and the Headless Horseman and Dracula all together in one storyline.  

I don't remember how it came up, but i mentioned my crusade against inflatables at Thanksgiving this year.  One of my cousins gave me a knowing look and said, "Oh, just you wait until you have a two-year-old.  You will be out walking and PRAY that every house will have an inflatable or two.  Kids LOVE them."  I have to admit that this idea had not even occurred to me.  I had been thinking of myself and not The Children of the World.  But now it is duly noted: inflatables make kids happy.  HOWEVER....can't we contain them in heavily-fenced Inflatable Zoo or something???

Part II. Crafty Rebecca-Martha
In less-ranty news, this week I spent about 12 hours over the course of 3 days adding to my Housewifey Skills in a very fun and helpful Basic Sewing Class at The Stitch Lab.  I would highly recommend this place to my local readers.  It's this cute little old house in South Austin that is full of fun fabrics and is set up perfectly for small sewing classes.  It's very Austin.  And look what I made!!!
Day 1: Cute little drawstring bag
Day 2: Pillow with piping

...AND a zipper!
Day 3: Tote bag
...with lining, a pocket, and a snap!
I still have a lot to learn and practice, but I feel like I made some serious progress towards earning my Martha wings!

BONUS: Q&A With Rebecca
 Q: Rebecca, are you a little bit terrified that the neighbors whose holiday decor you mocked are going to somehow stumble across your blog and come after you with inflatable clubs?
A: Yes.  
Q: Do you apologize to any of your friends/family/readers who choose to decorate their homes with holiday inflatables?
A: I guess so.  But I also might be tempted to get them a subscription to Martha Stewart Living.
Q: Now that you have awesome sewing skills, can you sew me a tea-pot cozy? 
A: No.  I can do drawstring bags, and maybe pillows and totes.  Baby steps.  But even if I COULD sew a tea-pot cozy, I would refuse to do so on principle.  Same with toilet-seat covers.
Q: Are you outrageously proud of yourself for writing an entire blog post that didn't mention pregnancy or babies even ONCE?  
A: You better believe it.  Gold star for me.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The 1970s Called, and They Said Just Go Ahead and Keep Those Maternity Fashions. They Don't WANT Them Back.

A couple months ago, my mom came to visit and brought with her a few books that SHE had read when she was pregnant with me.  That she had saved them for 30 years is pretty amazing in and of itself; my mom, unlike me, is not a "saver" and is fairly diligent about purging old stuff out of the house.  
The books that helped bring me into this world.  Read on to see why that's kinda scary....

Your child from Birth to Two Years seems to be mostly about what toys will benefit your child's development at each stage.  I don't remember having any of the toys pictured, but that could be because the book, copyrighted in 1971, was already 10 years old by the time I was born, and toy technology had advanced considerably.  Or it could be because I was an infant and didn't have the capacity to remember much beyond what I had drooled on within the last hour.   The only thing that really jumped out to me in this book was that they recommend tying a string of bells inside your child's crib.  If you do this NOW, I'm pretty sure a Child Protective Services SWAT team will rappel from your roof and have you handcuffed on the floor before you can say "strangulation hazard."

Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

Now, the 1977 version of A Child is Born is the one that was REALLY fun/horrifying to look at. I didn't take the time to read over it completely, but I did come across a few excellent nuggets of wisdom:
  • "Alcohol is perfectly safe in small quantities.  An occasional glass or two of wine or a cocktail, will do no harm.  Smoking should be avoided.  It is not known whether smoking actually harms the fetus, but women who smoke often give birth to smaller babies."  Note that the book doesn't say anything about drugs.  Apparently crack is ok as long as you play it safe by not smoking, and only have a few (!!!) drinks.
  • "Few women use maternity girdles any more."  I don't know WHAT in world a maternity girdle is, but considering the fact that I can already barely stand to have even an elastic waistband across my stomach, it sounds like a special kind of pregnant hell.  Like things aren't uncomfortable enough already.
No thank you.
  • In the "Near the Time" chapter, the book describes all of the miserable, awful symptoms that the pregnant woman will be dealing with in the last trimester, and says, "She is in need of a little sympathy.  At home, her husband teases her and says she is expecting quintuplets."  So, just like all women get swollen feet and have a hard time standing up in late pregnancy, apparently all husbands make the same corny jokes and think they're funny.  
But the very best part about this book is the pictures!  Holy 70s hair, Batman.   Here are a few of my favorites:
This expecting couple seems to have taken a break from cutting out bunny shapes in order to admire the woman's incredibly high-waisted pair of preggo-pants.  She was so proud of them, she made sure to tuck her turtleneck in to the waistband so that nothing covered up their glory.

This lady is either REALLY enjoying her prenatal exercise class, or is REALLY pleased with her I-just-laid-on-this-mat-for-a-while hair situation.  Or maybe she just had her recommended "glass or two" of wine before class.

I think we're going to say that this woman is suffering from the infamous "pregnancy brain" forgetfulness.  The poor thing FORGOT to put on her awesome high-waisted pants before she left the house, and had to do her prenatal exercises in her undies.  Her baby needs counseling already.

Now, I have to tell you that some of the most entertaining/shocking/horrifying pictures are NOT ones that that I can post here.  Because I don't want to have to add the "Adult Content" or "Graphic Images" warning to my sweet little blog.  Let's just say that when I flipped to the last chapter of the book, Jeromy made lots of loud EWWW YICK noises and quickly left the room.  I was a little less traumatized, but DEARLY wished that I could send a good bikini waxer back in time.  For everyone's sake.

***GEMS FROM Jeromy***
The other night we were laying in bed and watching The Daily Show before going to sleep.  Jon Stewart (because he is brilliant and amazing) said something that made us both laugh.
Rebecca:  "Oww!  I just got a weird, sharp stomach pain!  What the heck??"
Jeromy:  "You were probably just getting your cord yanked.  You know, Doctor was like, "Hey!  Lights out!  It's bed time, Mom!"

Friday, December 10, 2010

What to Read When You're Expecting (and Really Intense About It)

Check out my impressive stack of baby homework:
An O.C.D. Pregnant Lady's Paradise!

Reading a book is pretty much my answer to everything.   Getting married?  Read a book about wedding planning.  Getting a puppy?  Read some books about dog training.   Running to grocery store for some milk?  Maybe consult a book about savvy shopping strategies before getting in the car.  So, OF COURSE when we got on the baby train, I started burning up Amazon. 

I probably should have added another book to the picture; I actually bought What to Expect BEFORE You're Expecting about a year ago.  I'm sure it was written for women exactly like me who are all, "I don't just need to be told what to do when I get pregnant, I need to be told what to do when I'm just thinking about getting pregnant!! I need to be prepared like a good Girl Scout!"  So the book is basically like, All right, O.C.D. thinking-about-getting-pregnant lady, start taking prenatal vitamins.  Eat healthy food.  Don't smoke. Start taking your temperature and getting WAY too familiar with your own body to figure out your fertilty.  And, of course, I was "OK!!!! I. am. ON. it!!

And THEN, in September, I got to graduate to What to Expect When You ARE Expecting  Yessss!  I had been super tempted to buy it ahead of time.  Every time I walked by the book section in Target, it was like, Oh, go on, Rebecca.  Just pick me up and take me home.  You finished reading the training-wheels book, now read the REAL pregnancy book.  But I was noble and strong.  I held out until after we saw the magical double pink lines. About three hours after, to be exact.

And now, 3 months later, I have not only been religiously reading the WTEWYE chapters that correspond with each stage of my pregnancy, but my highlighter, underling pen (What???  The teacher force is strong in this one, ok?) and I have worked our way through 4 of the other books, too. 
You can take the girl out of teaching, but you can't take the teacher out of the girl...

I was very excited about the Consumer Reports baby product guide.  This is definitely a Consumer Reports household.  We will do and buy pretty much whatever they tell us to.  Which was the only problem with the book: they didn't tell me EXACTLY which products to buy for each category.  It was more like, "here's what to look for, and here are some of the options."  Not acceptable.  I don't want a ratings chart for just the big stuff like strollers, I want one for EVERYTHING.  Including pacifiers and burp cloths.

The Baby Name Wizard was pretty fantastic.  Again, tailor-made for people like me.  It doesn't just have names and their meanings, it has GRAPHS of each name's popularity, so you can try to pick something that isn't gaining in popularity too quickly.  I LOVE a good graph, as long as I don't have to answer an SAT question about it.
If Rebecca's train left Colorado in 1981, and Jeromy's train left Indiana in 1977 via Tennessee, when will the two trains meet up in Austin?  You may use a 4-function calculator to help you.

Raising Baby Green was also worth reading, because I am fairly paranoid about pesticide-laced food and BPA-ridden plastic and everything that is made in China.  Early on in the pregnancy, I had a freak-out after reading an article about all the nasty wireless signals flying around our whole world.  I think Jeromy half expected to come home and find me huddled in a corner with an entire box of tin foil wrapped around my abdomen.  Hopefully this book will help me deal with those feelings.  I do realize I will have to be careful not to go overboard with this book, though.  I don't think Jeromy will go for it if I tell him that we are going to grow our own bamboo and then fashion it into a crib using spit and mud in order to avoid toxic glue fumes.  
Doesn't QUITE fit in with my vision of the perfect nursery....

I haven't read Superbaby or the childproofing book yet. I still have almost 6 months to go, so I'm trying to pace myself.  I think Superbaby is all about teaching your baby sign language and Spanish as soon as they pop out of the womb.  I'm sure I will be all over it.  

UPCOMING POST TOPICS (Just to get you all excited!)
  • A look at the baby books that my mom saved from the early 80s.  Frightening AND hilarious!
  •  A rant about my biggest pet peeve with holiday decor.  Hopefully with pictures.  I think it will be a non-pregnancy-related post...try not to fall out of your chairs.
And now.....HE'S BACK!!!
Discussing Christmas gifts: 
Jeromy: "I don't know what I gonna get you yet. [Pause]. Wait! I forgot!  I already got you something!"
Rebecca: "Oh, come on.  You did not."
Jeromy: "Yes, I did!  I got you a bun in the oven!  I'm covered this year!"
How do you argue with that?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

3 Signs That My Body Is, in Fact, Being Taken Over By a Tiny Person with Jeromy's DNA

  1. In my non-pregnant life, I take showers that are just a hair cooler than scalding.  I LOVE hot water.  If there was a way to take a book, my computer, and some snacks in there, I'd wallow in a hot shower all day long.  Jeromy HATES hot water.  He likes his shower water just a hair warmer that the penguin pool at the zoo.  After getting in the hot tub at the ranch one time, Jeromy laid on the couch gasping like a dying fish for the rest of the evening and was overheated and whimpering for like two days.  Since I've been pregnant, hot water has become my nemesis.  I want to go in wearing a scuba tank that feeds me cold air to breathe, because the hot, damp shower air makes me feel like I'm suffocating.  I find myself pondering just how necessary it really is to wash my hair.  There is no more contented lingering in the steamy goodness.  Rebecca Genes: 0; Jeromy Genes: 1.  (BTW...if you do a Google search for "Hot Shower" images, you get a lot of less-than-appropriate hits.  I probably should have known better.)
  2. For the last 15 years or so, I've had at least one hot beverage almost every day.  When I was teaching, I was pretty much incapable of starting my day without either stopping at Starbucks for a latte or making a mug of tea as soon as I got to school.  Pre-hot drink Mrs. Smith was not the sharpest piece of dust-free chalk in the box.  Jeromy, on the other hand, will only drink a hot beverage if it's below freezing outside, chilly inside, and you're offering him gourmet hot chocolate.  Since I've been pregnant, I haven't been able to stomach my morning tea, even decaf peppermint.  I had to start buying juice just to have something to drink with my breakfast.  Even though we're headed into the winter months, I'm still hitting the heavily iced water and Italian soda instead of my impressive tea collection.  Rebecca Genes:0; Jeromy Genes: 1.
  3. In my "real" life, I enjoy Mexican food about as much as the next Austinite.  I'd be up for going to one of our local Mexican restaurants once every few weeks, but mostly because we were meeting friends and I knew that a prickly pear margarita or pitcher of sangria would be involved.  When it comes to the actual food, I usually prefer Italian or Asian dishes.  Jeromy, however, LOVES Mexican food--the spicier the better.  He usually eats Mexican food (often at lunch) at least twice a week.  If he won the lottery, Jeromy would fulfill one of his most cherished dreams by hiring a Mexican grandma to make tortillas just for him. If I ever won the lottery, I would hire an Italian grandma to make fresh pasta for me (as well as a full-time personal trainer to help me burn all those calories!)  Well, since I've been pregnant, Mexican is the only type of food that has NOT disgusted me at one point or another.  Italian food has often been on my "I don't Even Want to Think About It" list.  Many nights when Jeromy has left it up to his picky pregnant wife to pick the restaurant, I've picked a Mexican place (despite being in the No-Margarita Club) and attacked the salsa like Sarah Palin going after air time on TV.  Needless to say, this is one pregnancy symptom that Jeromy has been genuinely thrilled about.  Probably the only one.  Rebecca Genes: 0; Jeromy Genes: 1. 
Yes, I did make Jeromy take my picture at the Mexican restaurant.  He was super mortified excited.
Final Scores:
Rebecca Genes: 0
Jeromy Genes: 3.
Jeromy Genes win.  For now.

***Gems from Jeromy***
I am running out of Gems.  Jeromy has caught on to the fact that I secretly write down the crazy things he says, and now either says things that are inappropriate enough that he knows I won't post them, or he restrains himself from commentary.  Blog-party pooper. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

5 Reasons Why I'm Glad I'm Not Mixing Teaching and Baby-Gestating

 Several people expressed confusion and/or surprise when I quit my job before getting pregnant.  One extremely helpful neighbor even told me that I was "doing things backwards" and that "most women work right up until their water breaks!"  (Thank you, sir.  I am no longer going to keep my dog out of your perfect front yard.  Enjoy.).  We knew that we were sort of putting all of our eggs in one basket (hah!) by making the decision not to renew my contract, but our feeling then--as it is now--was that it was the best plan.  I know that most people don't have to luxury of staying home while they are pregnant, and I am completely in awe of the ladies I know who managed to teach--and be great at it--while they were pregnant.  That said, here are my

Reasons Why It's a Good Thing I'm Not Teaching While Pregnant 
  1. The morning all-freaking-day sickness, obviously.  In all of my teacher training, "routine vomiting" was never listed as an effective classroom management technique.  I can't imagine being "that teacher who barfed on her copy of The Odyssey" for the rest of the year.  It would definitely lead directly to reason #2....
  2.  The crying.  In my real life, I'm not really much of a crier, unless I am watching Steel Magnolias or The Notebook (after we watched this one, I didn't stop blubbering until Jeromy promised to read to me when we get old).  However, the magical pregnancy hormones make you into an emotional sad-sack.  To be fair, the only time that I've really, truly cried was when I, a PC-user for 25ish years, couldn't figure out how to get my Mac to do something I really wanted it to do and had a meltdown (Jeromy thought this was HILARIOUS when he came home from work and I told him).  However, several things have had me lip-quivering and teary in the last 3 months, including:  a seeing-eye dog, every single Project Runway elimination, reading strangers' birth story blogs, and Jeromy not wanting to buy a new mattress yet.  I can only imagine the waterworks that would occur if I had been forced to read a nasty parent e-mail or grade a huge stack of essays while I'm in this state.
  3. The need to pee every 10 minutes.  Even if I could have brought myself to use the girls' bathroom on our hall (nightmare) instead of the farther-away faculty restroom, I still would have been in trouble.  It is DANGEROUS to leave a room of 9th graders unsupervised.  You'd probably come back to find one of the principals wanting to know why Little Timmy just used his cell phone to call his mommy to tell her that he'd been taped to a chair.  "Because I had to pee" probably wouldn't cut it in that parent conference.
  4. This is what my classroom would look like if I left the room for more than 45 seconds.
  5. The at-home grading and prep time.   I can't be grading essays and re-reading Romeo and Juliet!  These pregnancy and baby books aren't going to read themselves, hello!
  6. The stomach hokey-pokey. Some of the older teachers I know used to swear that, towards the end of their pregnancies, the students could SEE the baby moving around and would be mesmerized.  That's just what I would have needed while trying to keep 14-year-olds focused on grammar! No.  
Please Note:  I would never wear this outfit.  There's just a limited selection of "pregnant teacher" pictures out there.
I will say that the "so, what do you do?" question now makes me wince. Being about to respond with "a high school English teacher" usually elicited comments like "wow, that's great" or "gosh, I could never do that" and I always had a steady stream of crazy teaching anecdotes to make small talk with.  But now I have to say, "oh, I stay at home" or something awkward like that.  Which does NOT get the same response.  People look kind of uncomfortable or mildly disgusted.  When I explain that I'm a Stay-at-Home-Mom-in-Training, several women have made a point of listing all of the reasons that they don't or didn't stay home with their kids.  It's hard not to interrupt them with, "Look, I'm not judging you, working mom!  You made the decision that you thought was best for your family, and I'm doing the same!  Just because I didn't think *I* could effectively juggle my job and a baby, doesn't mean that I think YOU can't be awesome at it.  Now settle down and go back to your two-salary household!"  I think once I actually have said baby in hand, it will be a little easier to answer the profession question, but if any of you stay-at-home-moms out there have an suggestions on handling this issue, I'd love to hear them! 

FOUR MONTHS pregnant tomorrow!  Woohoo!!  Happy Weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

33 Day Countdown!! (and meet my new bed buddy)

Today I had my third appointment with the OBGYN.  Since it was supposed to be fairly short and uneventful, Jeromy opted not to come with me this time (shocking, right?).  When we went in last month, the nurse couldn't find the baby's heartbeat using the doppler, but it wasn't a big deal, because we had just heard it on the ultrasound a few minutes earlier.  She said it would be "much easier" next time.  Great.  But today, she played the same fun "gee, I can't find the heartbeat" game with me again.  After mashing the doppler wand into every corner or my stomach (ouch) and spreading cold goop all over my abdomen and the top of my jeans, she finally gave up and said she'd let the doctor try.  She did say that she could hear the baby moving and kicking back at the doppler wand, which surprised me.  I was pretty calm, having had the same experience last time, but I definitely would have flipped out if the doctor hadn't been able to find it, either.  Luckily, when my doctor came in, she found the heartbeat in about two everything was good!

I also found out today that I have RH negative blood, which means that I'll have to get some injections later on to make sure that my blood doesn't attack the baby's blood.  Sounds like something from a freaky sci-fi movie to me, but ok, whatever you say, doctor.  

The most exciting moment today was getting to schedule our BIG ultrasound!  We'll go to a perinatalogist on January 3rd for the anatomy ultrasound.  Yay!!  Several people have asked us if we're planning to find out the baby's gender.  Ummm...YES.  While I totally admire people who can wait and be surprised...we're too impatient and excited!  And by "we," I mean mostly me, but Jeromy is definitely in favor of finding out sooner rather than later.  Hopefully it will work out; we talked to someone recently who couldn't find out because the umbilical cord was between the legs when they did the ultrasound!  NOT Ok!  So now you can watch the Ultrasound Countdown Clock on the right side of the blog page AND vote in the Smith Baby Gender Poll!  That's right, my blog is cool and interactive like that. 

I think my nausea has mostly gone away, which I'm really excited about!  Now my biggest challenge is trying to train myself to sleep on my side.  I'm pretty much to the point that I'm not supposed to lay on my back at all, because the weight of the baby could cut off a major blood vessel.  I've been trying to sleep on my side for a while, but I always end up on my back.  Jeromy even pulled the mattress off our bed in order to try to fix our squeaky bedframe; he's a little tired of my tossing and turning.  I went out and got a body pillow--hopefully it will help!

Me and my new favorite bedmate
On paying the bill at Maudie's, our favorite Mexican restaurant: "This is WAY cheaper than it used to be.  We're going to be able to pay for the baby bed just by saving on Mommy's drinking bill." (After he'd had a goldfish bowl sized Dos Equis and I had "gotten a little crazy" by ordering an iced tea instead of a water.  Nice.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

The dark side of shopping, becoming a good housewifey, and why I'm not excellent at yoga

Here are some less-than-earth-shattering happenings around Casa de Smith lately:
  • Last weekend we went car-shopping.  Right now Jeromy is driving the 1991 Lexus that we got as a hand-me-down from my grandparents, but its days seem to be numbered; some of the recent repair costs have been almost as much as the value of the car itself.  So we ventured into the world of slimy car salesman to start looking for a replacement.  We've decided that we want something pretty small with really good gas mileage, but that is "fun to drive" for Jeromy, who gave up his bachelor sports car baby right before we got married.  Right now Jeromy's top choice is this:  
Volkswagen Golf GTI
        It may look sort of petite and bashful, but Jeromy was having no problem driving it like he stole it. I mean, when we got on the highway, I was Soccer Mom Arm-ing myself.  But, apparently an even more exciting version of the car is available in Europe and is rumored to be coming to the U.S. this summer, so of course Jeromy wants to wait for that one.  I told him that if we bought an infant car seat before we buy a car, the car will have to accommodate the car seat, and not the other way around.  
  •  We have also been going mattress shopping.  After lots of complaining from me about our current mattress--which is about 10 years old--Jeromy agreed that it might be time for a new one.  He's pretty certain that 95% of my discomfort is pregnancy-related, and that I'm still going to get up at 4 a.m. to sleep on the chair in the family room, and he may be right.  But what I say is, when you roll from one side of our bed to the other, you have to get up enough momentum to make it over the hump in the middle, it's time to put that mattress out to pasture.  So far, all I can say is that mattress shopping, like car shopping, involves overly-talkative salespeople and fake prices that you have to harass them into lowering.  At this point, it's looking like the mattress decision will be more difficult that the car decision.  Boo.

  • Today I signed up for a 3-day, 10-hour Basic Sewing class.  After taking Home Ec. in 6th grade, I was actually pretty decent with a sewing machine, and had about 525 scrunchies and a nifty "locker caddy" and matching tote bag to prove it.  But 6th grade was a loooooong time ago, and I need a refresher.  I'm hoping to get to the point where I can make some curtains and simple baby stuff without destroying the fabric, machine, or myself.
This whole "cooking" thing is hard...maybe I'll try sewing instead.
  • I am trying to get into a routine of doing prenatal yoga regularly.  It's supposed to be really good for pregnancy discomfort, labor stamina, and, according to the lady on my video, "connecting with your baby on a deeper level" (imagine Jeromy snorting in the next room).  The first time I did the video, which was about 5 minutes after finding out I was pregnant, I thought it was ridiculously easy.  When I did it yesterday, I definitely felt the stretches a lot more and even got a little dizzy.  But, I really enjoyed the close-your-eyes-and-empty-your-mind part at the end....until it was interrupted by the sounds of machine gun fire from upstairs.  Which brings me to perhaps the most important piece of news from the Smith household:

  • Jeromy recently got the newest version of his favorite video game, and our house sounds like a war-zone.  Awesome.  I mean, if it wasn't for this:
Husband Mesmerizer
         I might have been able to get into the yoga zone enough to do this:

Yeah, right.
"This whole 9 month thing is no good for impatient people.  It's like ordering something and then having it walked across the country to you.  I want it delivered NOW."