Thursday, June 30, 2011

30 Weeks: Blame it on the Brain

"Blame it on the rain, blame it on the stars, whatever you do don't put the blame on you"~ Milli Vanilli

You know what's convenient about being pregnant? Not much. But it does allow you to blame any and all of your shortcomings over those gestational months on pregnancy brain. Forgot to call a friend back? Preggo brain. Misplaced a bill or two? PB. Transformed into a weeping puddle of goo? That's your brain on pregnancy. Can't get it together to post weekly updates with perfectly composed pictures? That's probably just me.

I didn't think my hands were swollen until I saw this.

Yes, I've been meaning to post more preggo photos, particularly when I'm wearing what I consider to be a cute "maternity but not actually maternity" getup, and more pregnancy updates in general. But I've been tired. And living my life with Q while T was away in D.C., which was lovely and not as challenging as expected. And I just need more naps. When I'm not working, I need to make it a top priority to nap when Q naps.

Also, I've been thinking about how everyone always tells you to sleep when the baby sleeps. Which is truly wonderful advice for your first baby. But how do 2nd time mamas (and 3rd and 4th, etc.) do it? When do you sleep? What if your toddler naps when your baby is awake and vice versa? I'm imagining that 2nd time mama brain is much more intense than pregnancy brain. Well, at least there will be some sort of excuse for my antics over the next several months.

So, holy crap, only 10 more weeks. Or possibly less, according to both my OB and my doula. Since Q came 9 days early, it's likely that she may come early as well. Some women have shorter gestational periods apparently. Time to work on that baby prep to-do list.

Some thrilling updates while I ponder the future of my mental health...

At 30 weeks(!)

Fruit/veggie size: Head of cabbage (Cabbage Patch Kid) and about 3lbs.

How baby's doing: Already head down and pushing against the center of my belly on the regular, trying to make more room I'm thinking

How I'm feeling: At this point the one-two punch combo of hormones and discomfort are supposed to bring those lovely mood swings back. I don't think they ever really left me, so I'm guessing that I'll just be a full-on bitch for these last couple of months.

Cravings: Have I mentioned sleep? Also, Fleur de Sel ice cream (my new favorite)

Aversions: Riding the bus. Hello, nausea-fest!

Looking forward to: My last ultrasound next Thursday before meeting baby face to face!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mixtape: Summer of Sweaty & Swollen Me

Happy Summer, dear readers! It's my favorite time of year and the very best time to make a mixtape or two, in my opinion. There's just something about the soundtracks of summers past. The nostalgia that hits when a track that you played on repeat three summers ago or an artist that you were just discovering in the summer of '95 comes on and takes you right back to that sun-soaked season. Ah, summer music. Nothing like it. Plus, I like recalling that I listened to Santigold a ton during the summer when I was pregnant with Q. And now I want to create some equally fun musical memories for my pregnancy with LL.

I have two mixes that I'm working on at the moment -- it's been a slow process as there have been some, ahem, distractions to take me away from this task -- but I'm looking forward to finishing them and turning the volume up as I roll around the Bay with the windows down.

The first mix consists of newer discoveries. Here are some of the tracks that I'd like to recall fondly along with the feeling of LL groovin' in my belly. Mind you, these aren't your typical lullabies.

I've been pretty much obsessed with this remix. The original is great, too. In fact, I wholeheartedly recommend the entire Cults album. Think '60s girl group innocence with an undertone of dark desperation.
Cults - Go Outside (The 2 Bears Remix)

Beastie Boys have made a surprisingly strong showing as old fogies, but I especially love this reggae-tinged track featuring one of my favorites, Santigold.
Beastie Boys - Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win (ft Santigold)

This album dropped last summer, but T recently got a hold of it and we've been playing it regularly. Takes us back to the good ol' days of early '90s hip-hop (pardon the intro).
Dr Oop - Safe In Sound ft Rogue Venom

I'm a big fan of most everything Danger Mouse does and Norah Jones' smoky, bluesy voice fits the Spaghetti Western vibe of the production perfectly.
Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi present Rome - Season's Trees (ft. Norah Jones)

And then to get extra nostalgic, a track from my '80s summer mix that goes down like an ice cold Sunkist. (This one also makes me think of The Karate Kid and I had major crush on Ralph Macchio back then.)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

F is for Failing: A Much-Needed Gratitude List

"You really want to hole up? You really want to stay inside and sleep the light away?" ~ Cults

I don't know if every mother experiences this feeling. This feeling of utter failure. Like you're not trying hard enough. Like your child's world is imploding and you're not strong enough to handle it. To be a sane role model. To be sane, period. Like when your 2 year old gets diagnosed with pneumonia and you can't get him to take his medicine. When he spits it out all over himself and you multiple times and you break down. When you're so bogged down by his illness that you can't get it together to give your husband a proper Father's Day gift or spoil him. Failing at wife-dom, too. When giving yourself a mental beating just feels pathetic. What time is it? It's time for a freakin' gratitude list.

Tonight I need to remember what really matters. It's time to cease and desist with the pity party already.

I'm thankful that Q is on the path to recovery and that his situation is not as bad as it could be. He has every right to be irritable and frustrated. He doesn't understand why he feels so horrible and why I can't just make it better. At least he is getting better.

I'm grateful that today was a beautiful day in the Bay weather-wise. The sun was shining, the sky was a clear blue, and it's hard to be mad at that.

I'm thankful that Q gets to spend the day with his Poppa tomorrow. Q and I both need a break from each other, and my dad looks forward to every Monday with his grandson. They have the most precious bond.

I'm grateful that T is incredibly understanding. That he remembers that my emotions are on overdrive right now and that we've all had an insane week.

I'm thankful that so far all is well with this baby girl growing in my belly and that I have much to look forward to as she enters the world.

I'm grateful that this weekend is over. Real talk.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Nefarious Pneumonia (or How to Terrify a Pregnant Mama)

When Q came down with a sudden cough on Tuesday afternoon, I worried that it might be croup. I called the advice nurse, did some research online, and came to the conclusion that it was just a bad chest cold. Hearing your toddler struggle through breathing is scary, but Q appeared to be in decent spirits, had a very mild fever, and slept through the night. I figured if his symptoms didn't improve in a couple of days, I would take him into the doctor just to be sure. So, this morning when his coughing fit turned into vomiting, I decided it was time to check things out. Plus, a wise friend advised it's better to take your kid in on a Friday than be forced to go to urgent care on the weekend. Such a good point. And I'm so glad that I listened to her.

Q was diagnosed with pneumonia this morning. PNEUMONIA. The word alone sent me into a shock spiral. In the distance, I could hear his pediatrician assuring me it was a subtle rattling in his lungs and therefore we had likely caught it early. Also, this didn't mean that his lungs were weak or that he was necessarily more susceptible to these types of illnesses. Still, the shock. I forgot to ask questions. I was simply trying to hold it together until we left the office. She sent us home with a prescription for antibiotics and instructions to call her if he didn't improve or if his conditions worsened in a few days. Okay, no big deal, right? Well, I made it back to the car where I dissolved into a pathetic puddle of tears. Poor Q didn't know what to make of me. He gave me a pouty look and said "Cry. Mama." I wanted to be strong for him. Like my mom always was in front of me. But I simply could not stop crying. I tried to breathe, realizing deep in my heart that Q would be fine. But I kept flashing back to this sweet girl who I had befriended in preschool who was hospitalized for pneumonia and got very close to not making it. I must have been 4 years old and it was terrifying. She ended up recovering fully, but pneumonia still held this horrifying mystery to me. A potential death sentence. Also, pregnancy hormones make me just a wee bit more emotional than usual.

After calming down and getting T to come home from work to help this crazed preggo mama care for her ailing toddler, I realized that the best thing I could do for Q was to give him as much love and attention as possible. Extra cuddling. A bit of spoiling on the food front. Sitting in a steamy bathroom and singing nursery rhymes. Cheering on his coughing because that would be the best way to get rid of all that nasty mucus. Showing him that there was no need to worry. We were together and that was what mattered.

For some reason, I have this thing about not wanting to overreact about Q's health and take him to the pediatrician for every sniffle or cough he experiences. I guess I don't want to be one of those parents. Now I realize how ridiculous that sounds. Better safe than sorry, right? A cliche has never been truer to me. Why take chances with your kids? Who cares what the nurses and doctors think? I'm sure they experience parents who are much more anxious than I am on a daily basis. And really Q has been pretty healthy, only having a mild cold here and there, so I just never knew what it was to experience my child having a true health scare. Now I know to not risk my child's health for fear of appearing a certain way. I'm a mother. One who nurtures. I have to trust my intuition. And always put my child before my ego. Lesson learned.

In the meantime, please send Q a bit of healing energy if you can spare it. Let's hope (and pray, if that's your thing) that the meds work and he is well on his way to recovery.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Father's Day Special: Introducing T!

"Daddy, you make me feel like a star" ~ Big Tymers

In honor of Father's Day, T has agreed to contribute to his very first guest post, so you can visit us both at Monkey & the Bug today! He's giving some advice to Q and our soon-to-be baby girl. What a dynamite daddy. I'm hoping I can get him to contribute to this here blog on a more regular basis, too.

Also, make sure to check out the Monkey & the Bug shop for super adorbs kids' clothing as well as chic picks for the mamas and daddies.

Happy Father's Day week to all of you daddies out there!

Monday, June 13, 2011

27 Weeks: Goodbye 2nd Trimester

"Here I am, baby. Come and take me, take me by the hand." ~ Al Green

I can't believe it's almost over. The glorious 2nd trimester. Possibly the very last honeymoon pregnancy phase I will experience. But more than dreading the discomfort of the 3rd trimester, aka the summer of sweaty and swollen me, I'm in true countdown mode. Only three more months until I get to meet my baby girl! Will she be a mini me? Will she be a mini he? Will she be a mini combo? Will she be all pink and fairies and sparkles? Or rough and tumble and trucks like her big brother? Perhaps a bit of both? Even though my belly is hindering my view of my toes and I can feel her kicking and jabbing on the regular, it still seems so surreal that we will soon be a family of four. But I am getting oh so very excited for her to make her debut. At the same time, there's still much to do to prepare -- I probably should feel less complacent than I do.

In the meanwhile, at 27 weeks . . .

Current fruit/vegetable size: A head of cauliflower (hard to picture, I know) and about 14 and a half inches long with her legs extended

Cravings: Still the cinnamon cereal with extra milk, almonds, ice cream cones

Aversions: Mushrooms (usually a favorite of mine) -- I'll still eat them but sometimes too many of them in one dish make me want to throw said dish out the window.

Symptoms: Lower back pain, shortness of breath when walking up stairs, some trouble sleeping (already)

Movement: She likes to move it move it when her big bro is right next to us. Q still isn't patient enough to keep his hand on my belly to feel all of the action.

Looking forward to: Making some progress on the nursery; there's not much happening in there except some of Q's old baby stuff tossed around.

Not feeling very photogenic this week (as if that's something new), so here's a shot of my pretty "The Tasmanian Devil Made Me Do It" pedicure in Tom's wedges. My feet are not yet swollen and I'm hoping they stay this way.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Shady Shades

"96 degrees in the shade, real hot, in the shade" ~ Third World

No, I'm not talking about stunnas this time. (Although I am lusting after these Marc by Marc Jacobs oversized cat eyes right now. Push present to myself perhaps?)

It's been a while since I've talked about gussying up Guido, but as summer quickly approaches, we've realized that, beyond an aesthetic upgrade, we mainly need some blockage of that hot fireball blazing into our family room all day long. Yes, our family room gets a full wall of southern exposure, thanks to two side-by-side sliding glass doors and two angled windows above those. We have a phenomenal view and don't need much privacy, so we've lived without any window treatments for about a year and a half now. But we're in desperate need of relief, especially since I'll be ready-to-pop pregnant during the warmest months. And I'd prefer not to melt away as my method of giving birth to this baby.

Anyway. We are in the midst of shopping around and getting quotes. We are looking at putting in honeycomb shades since they help quite a bit with heat transfer, although everyone wants to sell us solar shades as to not hinder the view. Solar shades are cool, but not cool enough. Ya feel me? I still think we'd get too much sun. Plus, we only have single pane windows and can't afford new windows just yet. While the heat doesn't usually bother me terribly, T starts complaining of sun stroke if it gets to be over 70 degrees. And again, I have a suspicion that my hot preggo bod can't take too much more heat.

There are so many options when it comes to this shade business. Grand cell, twin cell, or petite cell? Single, double, or triple? Color? Blockage? Top down/bottom up? Cordless or child-safety cord? Shimmery or matte? Gold rims or platinum? Oh wait, wrong upgrade. I wish someone from HGTV would come over and make all of these decisions for me. And while they're at it, just make over the whole dang room. I want to be HGTV'd! I'm hoping that installing shades will be the first step in improving the look of our family room. I realize that shades alone aren't very thrilling, so I'm thinking of adding a couple of drapery panels at the ends for something more aesthetically pleasing.

So, here's a little look at our naked windows before. And once we've decided what we're going with and the shades are installed, I will do an after shot. (Don't even get me started on that awful UV film on those angled windows from the previous owners. We're obviously in the tedious process of removing it.)

Sorry for the tilt -- I guess I needed a V8 (dating myself much?).

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Photo Fever: Week in Review

"I've been looking so long at these pictures of you that I almost believe that they're real." ~ The Cure

Top row: Babies & mamas at Fi & Ana's graduation party, Q and his favorite Ana
Second row: Sarah with Camille's 2-week-old Travis, Grabby babies
Third row: Birthday girl Autumn Skye, Sir Elroy
Fourth row: Q and T at A's game, Q pointing at everything
Bottom row: Q looking all big and stuff, Pagoda in Japantown, SF

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Making Memories: 5 Ways to Keep Passed Loved Ones Alive for Your Family

I am so honored to be guest posting over at Mommyhood NEXT RIGHT today. Jessica and I became fast friends as we began to navigate the mom blogosphere and parenting in general at about the same time. But we formed a closer connection when we discovered that each of us had lost a parent in 2009. Parenting in the midst of grieving for your own parent's passing is beyond surreal and to say that it is challenging is quite the understatement. Particularly if you're just getting started in the mom/dad game. But as time passes, the whirlwind of parenting a newborn dies down and the pain of loss is not so raw, we realize what's truly important is that our kids know where they come from . . .

Please check out Jessica's blog for my tips (and reminders to myself) on how to help your little ones get to know loved ones who are no longer with us.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Happy Birthday, T: Our Story So Far

"Everybody's wishing (T) a happy birthday, everybody's wishing (T) a real good time" ~ Jimi Hendrix

In honor of my husband's birthday, I decided to revisit our 5-year anniversary post. Boy, do I love this man of mine. He's a little over a year younger than me, so at times I feel like a cougar as I have to teach him the ways of the world. (I kid.) But truly he has taught me so much about being a generous, loving person. I feel incredibly lucky to have him in my life. And we continue to evolve as we're expecting our baby girl in September to become a family of four.

Also, I'm linking up with Mommyfriend and Life Without Pink's Project Marriage to share our lovey dovey story. Check it out and link up your very own gush-fest.

In front of Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Five years ago when T and I were putting the final touches on our wedding CD favor, the whole wedding event was stressing me out more than I wanted to admit. The ridiculousness of the wedding industry had gotten to me. Honestly, I was living for Costa Rica. I already knew the wedding day itself would be anticlimactic. But the honeymoon? Oh, I was counting down. And when I think back to October of five years ago, visions of table centerpieces and our special champagne flutes do not dance in my head. I think of the glorious honeymoon.

You might have guessed by now that I wasn't one of those girls who always dreamed of her perfect princess wedding. I never had a wedding wishes binder. And it's kind of surprising when I think about it since I was pretty much a girly-girl. But I was never a planner. So, when T popped the big question on my birthday in March, I knew that I wanted to just do it already and not be agonizing over the little details for over a year. We decided on a fall wedding and figured we could whip everything together in 7 months. If I had realized the frenzy this short time span would send us into, I'm sure I would have drawn out the engagement a bit more. We didn't have a whole lot of time to "enjoy the engagement" as people say -- I thought they were crazy when they suggested this. No, it was just me. I was the crazy one.

People told me my wedding day would be the happiest day of my life. It wasn't. I doubt it was the happiest day of Toby's life either. Not that we didn't have a blast with our family and friends. Not that it wasn't a beautiful, incredible memory. Not that we didn't feel the love that day. We certainly did. But there's too much pressure surrounding that day. Kind of like the pressure to have a perfect New Year's Eve party, as if it sets the tone for the rest of the year. It was a wonderful day. But not perfect. I think our marriage has improved with each passing year. In all honesty, we were going through a rough period back then. We're working up to perfection. I mean, what's the fun in starting with perfection anyway? So, I'd rather focus on how far we've come and why I love this Tobdog/Godbot guy.

We started dating in college when I was 19 and he was 18. We exchanged mixtapes. He left graffiti-inspired love drawings around my apartment. Bombed around town in the wee hours. Hey, young world -- it was a hip-hop courtship. Late night Cartoon Network provided the backdrop for our first kiss. Romantic! We spent one year living in different cities when I graduated, then knew we couldn't be apart ever again, and moved in together in SF when he graduated. Then we moved to Oakland and cosigned on a condo. We worked, and, when we could, expressed ourselves through art, dance, music, and writing. We got married after 8 years of dating. We got pregnant after 3 years of marriage. We have evolved together.

The Fam at Sly Park

Q's arrival kickstarted the next phase of our lives. We found and bought the house we hope to live in as a family forever.  And now we celebrate 5 years of marriage in our family of 3. We are different people now. But still trying to figure out our lives. Living in the moment as always but starting to look forward more and more. Still evolving.

I love my husband for infinite reasons. I will try not to induce a gagfest (too late!), but allow me this day to indulge in a bit of cheese. I love my Tobdog for always making me laugh. For knowing me better than anyone and still telling me he loves me every day. For making me feel beautiful when I need it most. For keeping me sane -- or at least attempting to. For his genuine work ethic, for working so hard for his family and for himself. For his generous spirit. For his pizza addiction that I publicly lament but secretly adore. For the yellow spot in his blue eyes. For being such an affectionate dad to Q. For lub, oil, and filter. Forever.

Here's to creating our own perfection year by year!