Friday, February 29, 2008

Drumroll please...

It's a BOY!!!

The very first shot we saw of the baby was of his butt and goods...so we know we don't have a modest one on our hands. We have a video of the ultrasound, but I need my in-house tech pro to take a look at it before blogger will post it. Stay tuned for our on-camera reaction to the good news.

P.S. We are absolutely thrilled about having a boy and can't wait to tell you all the name once we have it 100% decided. Some of you know the contender name, so shhhhhhh for a little while longer.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tick, tock, tick, tock...

Check back here tomorrow afternoon for THE announcement of the year! What? This isn't the most important event taking place in your life this year? Well, thanks a lot, you just broke my heart. Last chance though to vote for boy or girl!

We met with our future pediatrician this afternoon. He's a lovely man, and we like him all that much more because he takes Tim's cheapo insurance. (I mean, who doesn't have Blue Cross these days, sheesh.) (insert sarcasm because I am on partially unemployed sucky person government mandated Cobra insurance.) (awesome.) Anyhow, insurance aside, he was a really nice guy, and I felt immediately comfortable with him. I know I can come to him when my nipples are bleeding and raw from feeding the kid, and he won't blink an eye. But he did say one thing that kind of set me on edge. He told me to...relax. To stop reading books and websites and "paint the nursery" or "some other calming activity." ?????????? Relax? Someone tell me what this curious activity called relaxing is all about because I am not familiar.

Ok, my brain is one tracked at the moment and I am not funny nor entertaining. I will end this before you have to suffer anymore. See you on the flip side.

(Edited to add: Tim's response to me "relaxing" is to go to yoga. Curious, since he was the one who gave me the big budget lecture and yoga was one of the things to go. )

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Care to wager?

Three days until Gender Unveiling Day. Would anyone care to wager a bet? Leave what you think the gender is in the comments, and, if you're right, I'll send you a virtual present. Virtual=NOT REAL, but it's the thought that counts right? (And all you people who read this, and I KNOW WHO YOU ARE, leave me a comment and say hi, with your vote of course!)

Will it be a BOY? Or a GIRL?

I'm guessing BOY.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Happy/Week 20 Belly

The most perfect Sunday night: The Oscars Red Carpet, pepperoni pizza, and vanilla bean ice cream with crushed Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies. And my perfect and completely accomodating husband on the couch next to me. Sweet, sweet heaven.



(The baby is only in the lower half of that awesome protrusion, if you can believe that. The rest? I don't know, but it's definitely NOT fat. Right? Right?)

Friday, February 22, 2008

What looks like a rat, smells like a rat, but isn't a rat?

I just came face to face with our resident opossum. Oh, you didn't know we had a new pet? ME NEITHER. I've seen this disgusting creature a couple of times before in our backyard, always at night, and I've only seen it because Lily goes positively mental when she spots it and won't shut her yapper. But tonight, I actually came within a foot of it, sitting on our fence, beady eyes staring at me like "Yo, beyotch, what's shakin'?" I don't think I've screamed like I just did in years, possibly decades. Have YOU seen a opossum up close before? I don't think they even have them at the zoo because they are so absolutely gross, and all manner of kids would scream and run away and never come back to the zoo again. Opossums are no monkeys let me tell you.


Anyhow, our opossum, who I have named Stan
seems to have taken up residence under our deck. Probably with his family of a 100. Did you know female opossums can carry up to 13 of their young in their front pouches, like kangaroos? The problem here is not that they are marsupials and still ugly as all hell, but that they can cart around THIRTEEN just like them. So, I suppose I need to call some animal control people to come out and trap Stan and his ilk. Honestly, I am all for loving the wild animals and we need all kinds to make the world go 'round, but opossums are just overgrown rats and are infested with all sorts of diseases and I don't really give a rat's ass (ha!) if Stan gets a beebee bullet between the eyes.

If I was nine months pregnant, I probably would have gone into labor. THAT'S HOW FREAKED OUT I WAS.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Week 19

Dear Squishy,

You are such a good listener! Mama is so proud of you already--you started kicking me right in my belly, and I didn't even have to ask that many times. We went to the doctor on Monday, and she said you have a good, strong heartbeat. She also asked if I had felt you kick yet, and as of Monday, I wasn't so sure if what I was feeling were kicks. Now, you are definitely kicking and making your presence known. So, good job Squishy!

Our dilemma these days is what to name you if you turn out to be a girl at next week's ultrasound. I've got your nursery all figured out for a girl, but the name thing is just causing me major headaches. Every name seems to be attached to a person I know, knew, or have heard of. I am kind of kicking myself that we used such a good name on our dog. I bet you would be such a cute Lily, if you're a girl. If you're a boy, your name is pretty much set in stone, and I am only lost on how to decorate a boy's room. Ok, so you pretty much won't care at all. As long as there is a place to sleep and eat, you'll be set.

This week your brain is working overtime to create connections and designating special areas for taste, smell, touch, hearing and vision. You weigh 8 ounces and measure about 6 inches from crown to rump (today's vegetable is an heirloom tomato...very specific). And the best part! Your hair is starting to come in on your head. Will you have dark hair like me, or lighter hair like your father? Oh wait...he only had lighter hair when he had...highlights. The horror! Don't worry, we made sure to get rid of those a long time ago. Just so you wouldn't be embarrassed.

We're also starting to pick out a pediatrician for you. Who knew this was such an involved process? But we want to make sure we find a doctor who will take the best care of you and also of me. Goodness knows I'll be calling over every little thing. I'm a first time parent--it's my right.

But seriously, can you believe we're going to see you again next week??? I have been looking forward to it since we started this journey (ack, I just used the word journey, hello cliche). I think you'll seem much more real to us after we get another glimpse at you and how you've grown. And then to be able to give you a name. I can't wait to see you again next Friday little one!

Love,
Mama

Monday, February 18, 2008

We've got the beat, yeah! We've got it!

video

Here is Squishy's heartbeat at 19 weeks. It's 130 beats per minute which is average...of course that made me think that our baby is not average! The horror! The competi-mommy is coming out already. (Please disregard the terribly pale belly, ick.)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Avocado is the name of the game

Ok, so I had to get that last post off the top of my page. It was just too negative and sad for me to keep looking at. Rather, let's discuss what I am going to do if this child is determined to be a girl. By do, I mean, name. We have a handsome boy's name picked out (of which we are 90% sure will stick), but if by chance the ultrasound reveals a little lady in my uterus, we are completely shit out of luck. So, friends, leave me some comments with your pick on girls' names just so I don't have a totally empty list going into the doctor's appointment next week. Squishy just won't work forever.

And from the girl who has cried wolf for the past couple of weeks, I am proud to tell you that Squishy has finally made it's presence known and given me a few tiny jabs. We saw Definitely, Maybe on Friday night with our lovely friends A & M, and during some of the scenes I would get a little jab whenever Ryan Reynolds was looking particularly dreamy. I don't know if that bodes well for a male child, but quite possibly he was just making sure I didn't lapse into a deep state of overinfatuation and risk his happy family unit on a pipe dream of making out with RR for the rest of my life. Or I am completely making that up, and the burger I had for dinner was making me gassy.

Also, I received my newest Chicago mag late last week and just started reading it today. The main story brings parents together with Chicago-area kid-friendly activities, stores, and information. What really suprised me was the article on the Chicago Public School system and the kindergarten application process for your local CPS school. You have a couple options:

1) Send your kid to the local school in your 'hood. Your kid is automatically accepted.
2) Apply to a magnet school. These students are picked from a random computer lottery, and you don't need to live close to the school.
3) Apply to a magnet cluster school. This program can fill slots with kids from outside its neighborhood boundary and from the lottery.

The applications are due in December, and the notice of acceptance/decline is sent in March for the following school year. What I glean from this article is that the application process for KINDERGARTEN is highly competitive, when you're looking to send your kid outside your geographical boundary. The article goes on to suggest that the parents send letters to the principals of the highly-desired schools, and let them know why your kid deserves to get into their school, and why you want him/her there. I don't know about you, but if I was a principal receiving hundreds of glowing letters about 4 year olds who can read French, and write in Chinese, and do advanced calculus, I might shoot myself.

So, of course this led to a deep discussion between myself and Tim about the pros and cons of this system. The cons are pretty self-explanatory: its simple to get your kid into your local school, but near impossible to get him/her into the highly desired schools. An example the article used is the LaSalle Language Academy in Lincoln Park...800-900 apps a year for 60 spots in kindergarten. That's like sorority rush on crack.

Tim made an extremely powerful argument for the system though, one that didn't occur to me (I admit it, he's smarter than me). The fact that, as a parent, you actually have a choice when thinking about a public school for your child. That choice is not available to suburban parents, unless you go private. In the suburbs, you go to the school in the district where you live, regardless of how good or bad that school may be. In the suburbs, you might pick your home based on a specific school district, which can be limiting. In the city, your geographical location does not necessarily determine what school your child attends. That is a pretty powerful pro for the city in the city vs. suburbs argument.

This is not to say we're staying in the city forever. It just makes me a little more comfortable with the idea of staying here long enough to see Squishy start school. I have choices, though I don't usually do well under the pressure of those choices. At least we know the Latin School is out...$17,425 tuition per year for PRE-kindergarten makes me throw up in my mouth a little.

(all facts courtesy of Chicago Magazine, "It's Elementary", March 2008)

Friday, February 15, 2008

I didn't want to really get into the shootings at NIU yesterday, because it was a holiday of love and all, but frankly I am pretty pissed off about it. Of course it is tragic and the death of anyone at the hands of someone else is a terrible waste. I don't know if the families and friends of these young people will ever find solace or comfort after one person so forcefully ripped them apart. But what truly angers me is the fact that guns are so available. What would have happened if the shooter had not had such easy access to guns from his local dealer in east central Illinois? Would he still have planned such a rampage if he had only had access to knives? Probably not. My guess is that you can't maim as many people as quickly with a knife. Just a hunch, as I am not of the mass killing persuasion and all.

Why are guns given to the general public? Let's review what guns are used for: killing...and, ummm, more killing? Defense? For law enforcement, sure. That makes some sense to me, I suppose. And for the military. Fine. But why can any man or woman or even child (and please, 18, and even 21, is still a child in many ways) walk into a gun dealer, hand over ID, and 5 days later come back to pick up a gun, or 4? Who really NEEDS to own a gun? By need to own, I don't mean just someone who wants to flex their second amendment rights. No one really NEEDS to own a gun. Those that buy guns buy them for sport and for personal use. Hunting animals is an entirely other issue that I take offense to but for the sake of this argument I am not going to go there. Specifically as not to offend my father or father in law, both avid hunters. But I am speaking of those individuals, like the shooter in this case, who go to the gun dealer and purchase weapons that can feasibly kill another human being. Even a scared parent who purchases a gun because they worry about a break-in at night must know that when they bring that gun home they fully intend to use it to end the life of another human.

And those guns fall into the hands of children who take them to school and a) accidently shoot their best friend in the back while showing it off, or b) use it to harm another male student because he seems "gay" and wears nail polish to school or c) go on a rampage and kill their fellow peers for nothing more than a cheap thrill. A thrill that can never be classified as cheap. Where would we be if our general population did not have access to guns? We wouldn't have to worry about "protecting" ourselves if no one else has a gun in which to shoot us. Doesn't that make more sense? Would the students at Virginia Tech have died last year if that young man hadn't been able to obtain a gun? No. Or those shoppers out for day of browsing the mall in Omaha? Not them either. How about the 5 young students at NIU yesterday? No. Or the 5 women at the Lane Bryant store in Tinley Park, IL? Nope, not them either. I can think of hundreds of examples and could go on all day.

Maybe I care so deeply about this because I am on the cusp of being a parent myself. I know I would sleep better at night if I knew my child wouldn't have to grow up in a world where a local shooting makes the end of the news hour because its just not that "big of a deal". Maybe its because my precious little sister is about to embark on her big college career, and I would stop breathing if I got a phone call like the families of the NIU students received yesterday. Or that my dear brother is currently at college where there is no way for me to protect him from this kind of violence.

It is my hope that the second amendment is repealed at some point. The argument that "once you repeal one, you can repeal them all" is bullshit. Many amendments are there for our freedom and are put to good use each and every day. But when one specifically allows for the deaths of thousands of innocent people every year (day, month, etc.), why do we need to keep it? Aren't the lives of our peers more important than the right of a (wo)man to buy a gun to hunt a deer? The government can throw any number of laws out there that they claim "hinder" the general population's access to guns, but nothing will stop someone who is hell bent on getting one. Can you imagine getting that phone call?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Squishy loves you, but me most of all

"Your baby is also developing a bond with you, even in the womb. Studies show that his heart will beat a little faster at the sound of your voice. It's something that will excite and comfort your child now and for years to come."

Thanks a lot, BabyCenter. That statement made me cry for ten minutes over the sheer beauty of it. My little Squishy's heart beats faster when it hears me? Oh my god, it just melts me into a puddle of weepy weepiness. They go on to tell me all about oxytocin and its powerful "love" effects on the human brain. I don't care what kind of naturally manufactured chemical makes me feel this way, because for all that is holy, do I love Squishy more than anything. Even more than Lily! Is it even possible? I didn't think so.

Happy Valentine's Day to my dear husband...the man that gave me Squishy. You've made my world a perfect place, and I adore you always. I won't ever stop loving you the most.

And Happy Valentine's Day to you too...thanks for reading my random thoughts and following along on this little journey called life.

(Do we think the oxytocin is flooding my veins? I'm trying very hard to not make this into a schmoopy moopy lovey dovey post BUT I JUST CANNOT HELP MYSELF. MAH BEBE LOVES ME!)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Two things

Thing the first:

I want to wish my baby sister, Hilary, the happiest 18th birthday. I missed posting it here (her big day was the 7th), but I didn't miss it in person! She's a beautiful young woman, and she astounds me with her presence. She's off to college in the fall, and I couldn't be more proud of her and all she has accomplished.

Also, as I am a slacker, I missed posting my little brother's birthday (right?) He turned 21 on Jan. 15th, and I hate to inform you all, but he had his first drink many moons ago so this day was not anointed with any extra-special imbibing. Chris is away at college so I'm sure his frat buddies showed him a good time. He's a fantastic little brother, and he'll always be my little "bubby". May he graduate college sometime this decade (time is a-tickin' my friend) and pursue all his dreams. Happy Birthday to my sweet siblings.

Thing the second:

The baby has an in-utero nickname. Meet Squishy. Can you believe how original we are? It truly blows me away. I liked Niblet, but that made Tim think of the Green Giant Corn Niblets which then made me think about my friend Jenny who always ate those out of the can in college which led to remembering things college-related which equals things that my baby does not need to know about. In my convoluted brain, Niblet=debaucherous activity. So Squishy it is.

Week 18-Belly Photo

Compare.

Week 13:


Week 18:



I didn't think I looked that much bigger until I saw that. I'm not going to lie. That makes me just so damn excited. This little one is getting bigger everyday, and I am hoping the little pops I've been feeling are the baby moving. Hopefully I'll be really able to tell in the next couple of weeks...so by the time we find out what we're having I can call it by a name and tell it to knock it off in there, mama is trying to sleep :)

Dining room pictures to come. I'll do a before and after.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Tale of Two Charts

So, do you remember when I told you about the Chinese Gender Prediction Chart (I can't find the original link to the chart, but I think it was from babycenter.com) Per that chart, we are firmly in BOY territory. Which, yay! Little boys, so cute! However, thanks to Ariana over at Becoming Mom , I clicked through to a different chinese gender chart. Lo and behold this one claims we are having a GIRL. Which, yay! Little girls, so cute! But now I am confused. How can the Chinese claim to have these mystical predicting powers and yet they are split 50/50. The odds remain at 50/50 until the mystical predicting powers of the ultrasound technician will reveal a mini penis or no mini penis. Then I think I can correctly say that the ultrasound technician wins.

Unless my mother's dreams/nightmares prove accurate, and we're really having twins. Oh help me god.

Monday, February 4, 2008

I hate being tickled

Is it a kick, or is it gas? Someone please tell me. I'm so tired of hearing "its like a butterfly tickling your insides" or "like little popcorn popping". Please, people. Give me something more concrete. I don't know what a tickling butterfly feels like nor would I be able to distinguish that sensation. I can hear popcorn popping, we all know what that sounds like. But I don't know what that feels like. I suppose I could go buy some of that pre-packaged popcorn that you put over the fire and give it a whirl. Though that seems slightly dangerous, yes? And I don't want to hear "you'll know when you feel it". No, most likely I will dismiss it as gas because that is exactly what this little bugger has been causing for three days straight. I can't blame Tim for the smell in our room anymore. *Sigh*

Happy news...we just found out some good friends of ours are expecting their second little bambino...woohoo!!! We are so excited to hear this news and wish them all the best. Maybe I will be asking her what I should expect in the feeling it kick dilemma I seem to be facing. She'll give it to me straight. In the meantime, I will be studiously monitoring my abdominal activity...just for you.

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3 posts in one day? Could you BE any luckier?

Early retirement

Tim signed a lease for office space. My job here is done. I am officially retired.

No more pink walls

So here we are on Day 2 of the painting extravaganza. Day 1 was superbly successful what with the painters being on time, working hard all day long, not taking ridiculously long breaks, and cleaning up when they were done. Now here we are on Day 2, at approximately 11:40 am, and the painters are already 2 hours late. And yes, I already called and complained. However, one's options of complaint are limited when the painter's understanding of the english language is what you could call....oh I don't know....non-existent? Last Friday was a fluke, and I bet this is much more their style.

I'm looking forward to posting pictures of our finished rooms. So far, I am very pleased with the results. For those of you who have done the home improvement thing, minor or major, its pretty amazing to me how much more picky I can be when I am paying someone else to do the work. When I, or Tim, are doing something to the house, I'm more willing to allow for mistakes and sloppier work. But when I'm paying someone mass amounts of green, I expect absolute perfection. Oh that is annoying. Why is my work graced with ignorance?

Oh and by finished rooms, I really mean that the painting is finished. We have a dresser picked out for the master bedroom, but it will be a little while before I can grab that bad boy. But the results from the painting makes me so giddy. The immediate transformation of the room from a new coat of paint amazes me every single time. I just have to jump and clap my hands.