Thursday, December 31, 2009

No more tears

Just back from another successful trip to the grocery store with BabyT. So far I've only ventured to Safeway because I *know* their carts fit the infant seat securely. Odd, the things you have to consider when you've got to take your baby places. I'm also a lot more sensitive to what people in wheelchairs need to go through - when I've got the stroller, I've got to find the path that has no stairs, or the dip in the curb, a place that's wide enough for me to pass, etc.

But anyway, I am planning to make chicken tortellini stew in the slow cooker. The chili did turn out well, and it is nice to just dump everything in and leave it to cook, as long as I've planned ahead. Unfortunately I need to substitute a leek (leek!leek!leek! - that's the noise they make) for the fennel I didn't find at the grocery. Not sure how that's going to work.

We also discovered over the past couple of days that our baby NEEDS her routine, and does not like disruption. Not surprising, since TJ and I are both pretty sensitive to changes in our day to day schedules. We have spent a few wretched nights trying to get her to sleep for the night, with multiple attempts and lots of yelling (on her part). She'd sleep for 20 min, or an hour, then wake up screaming again. This, I'm pretty sure, is a direct result of us disrupting her bedtime on Tuesday to go out to dinner with John, Jenna, and Ella, and my lunch out with Aimee yesterday (which shot her afternoon naps completely to hell).

So we paid for it, and now we've learned our lesson. Sadly, I think our days of "porta-baby" are over. I think outings now have to happen right after she wakes up and then we need to get home in time for the next nap (or at least very shortly thereafter). Sigh. I'll just add that to the long list of things that are different now.

But on the bright side, following her schedule really REALLY pays off. We get lots of smiles, she wakes up quietly and just makes baby sounds in her crib until one of us picks her up, and she's alert and happy to play with toys by herself. So it's not completely thankless.

Here's a picture of Gorgeous Bean playing with Jacques the Peacock, her Christmas present from her Great-Aunt Susie:

Trillian and Jacques the Peacock

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My hands are small I know

It is cold and dry here. We've all got dry itchy skin, even Peanut. I guess Spike has been spared from it, and Baby Gorgeous Bean doesn't seem to be itchy, just dry. We are running a humidifier in the bedroom, which has the unfortunate side effect of dropping the temperature, so we also run the space heater, which probably counteracts the positive effects of the humidifier. All of which increases our energy consumption, which makes TJ sad.

What is it with new babies and their wacky skin? T has had icky "cradle cap", ie dry scalp since she was a few weeks old and it's showing no signs of going away. And then there was the baby acne, which thankfully has gone away. Fortunately she is cute, so it doesn't render her a social pariah like it would if she was a grownup.
For now we just put olive oil on it so my Darling Bean smells like pizza. (I guess there are worse things to smell like.)

Yesterday I made chili in the slow cooker I borrowed from a friend at work. It came out well, but I'm not sure it really saved me any time or effort. I can see how it would if you wanted to leave the house, though. I bought a slow cooker cookbook by the checkout at the grocery store, so I thought I'd try some of those recipes out before deciding whether we *need* a slow cooker.

Tomorrow Gorgeous Bean and I are going downtown to visit my friend Aimee at the company I worked for a few years ago. We are going to eat at CJ's, which has awesome breakfast-for-lunch options. Yay!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I can trace every line on your face

This has been a great weekend (except for the aforementioned napping/bedtime difficulties). Last night I went to the Tractor in the oh-so-trendy Ballard neighborhood of Seattle to see Star Anna & the Laughing Dogs and Kristen Ward play. I couldn't find anyone to go because it was the day after Christmas, but fortunately my friend Dave (who's also the band's manager) and some other folks who I've met at these shows were there so I didn't have to feel like the loser girl who goes to shows by herself.

It was awesome, and a very late night for me. I left the house just after 9pm and got home after 2am. Kinda like I used to do when I was not so old and not someone's mother. Heh. The best part was that BabyT was sleeping when I left and still sleeping when I returned so she didn't make her daddy work for his money like she did in October when I saw Vienna Teng.

As an added bonus, Mike McCready, the lead guitarist for Pearl Jam, played a few songs there as well. It's neat to think about this guy who has played in huge soccer stadiums around the world, was playing a few of his own songs in a local club for a $7 cover charge. This is why I love Seattle.

I also got to try out my new camera (Canon S90) at the bar - the low light setting is pretty awesome. Not as good as a fancy DSLR with telephoto lens, but pretty darn good for a compact camera. I'm still learning about the features but even without that, the pictures are pretty good, and way better than my 5-year-old Powershot.

Today was a good cooking day, too. I made miso-glazed cod and saffron cream mashed potatoes for dinner, from the big green Bon Appetit "fast easy fresh" cookbook. It was surprisingly easy. I'm not really a cooked-fish person, so I'm not sure I'd make that again (we had frozen cod fillets I needed to use). But the mashed potatoes - YUM! You can't go wrong with potatoes and heavy cream. I'm not sure I could tell there was any saffron in there, except for the color.

I signed up for a digital photography class in January so hopefully that'll get me some practice and some new skills, especially with taking pictures of small wiggly babies.

And as far as those wiggly babies are concerned, I leave you with a picture taken with my new fancy camera:

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I have no gift to bring

Busy couple of days for us at the Creath House! On Tuesday, BabyT and I drove the 44 miles to my friend Wendi's house, where we spent the afternoon with her and her 13-month-old little guy M. It allowed T to get a good nap in the car (she slept nearly the whole way there and back) so it worked out pretty well. She also napped in the restaurant while I had my first sushi since she was born. Yippee!!

We haven't fared so well in the past two days. On Xmas eve, she was woken up at 6am by one of the dogs, I think, and started her day yelling. (Usually when she wakes up on her own, she's mellow and alert and makes baby noises to herself in the crib until I wake up and notice her. She's also usually staring at me through the crib bars, and smiles when I make eye contact. A nice way to wake up, huh? But when she's unexpectedly woken up by a hungry dog at 6am, she is NOT pleased. (Truth be told, neither am I.)

And then, the lady that cleans our house was here, so BabyT had to take her morning nap in the swing, which isn't standard. But on the bright side, I got to watch "Rabbitproof Fence" finally, which we've had from Netflix for WEEKS. Of course it wasn't a cheerful Xmas movie, and thoroughly depressed me, but it was good.

We went out to lunch at Red Robin because TJ was craving their teriyaki chicken sandwich. Normally I'm not a fan of RR (too many screaming kids and it smells like dirty wet dishtowels) but since he had a craving, I agreed to go there. Plus the one at Redmond Town Center is slightly less annoying and smelly. BabyT did ok there but stayed wide awake. We then took her to the dog park, where she slept for a few minutes here and there, but didn't get a good nap.

And of course, in the evening it took us 3 tries and FOREVER to get her to sleep for the night. In her usual cooperative way, once she fell asleep for good, she did stay asleep *all night* but we spent a good 2.5 hours getting to that point.

Yesterday we went over to TJ's aunt and uncle's place for Christmas brunch. Which meant that BabyT didn't get her usual morning nap. She got about 30 min in the car (no traffic!) and then slept a little in the Sleepy Wrap while we were there, but in general, her chi had been disrupted. And again we had a bit of a challenge getting her to bed, but fortunately she went to sleep a little earlier.

And then she slept until 8:30 this morning, so woo hoo! Today's nap situation has been not so great (30 min tops, eating every 1.5 hours, and we're on the 3rd nap of the day). I'm hoping after a couple of days of our "normal" schedule, she'll get back to the usual 45 min - 1.5 hour naps. I know it's our fault for messing with a good thing, but sometimes we have to leave the house!

And as much as I hate the arrogant tone of Dr. W in "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child", I do think some of his ideas are spot-on. Like getting better sleep during the day leads to better sleep at night, and that putting the baby down earlier leads to her sleeping later. And maybe even (at least for our baby) that sleep in a stroller/car/swing isn't as good as non-motion sleep. I know other babies that can *only* sleep in their swings, though, so people have to do what works. Apparently it doesn't work for us.

And as if on cue, BabyT is fussing again. Sigh. I am surely paying for my schedule-disruption. She gets that from both of her parents, for sure. Wish us luck in getting back on track :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Do you see what I see? (2009 Creath Family Holiday Summary)

Trillian Mira in a Santa Hat

Instead of killing more trees than I already am, with the handful of real live Christmas cards I send out, I thought I'd do one of those "year in review" letters online instead.

So of course, the big news for 2009 is that our family of four increased to a family of five. TJ and I and Spike and Peanut welcomed our new baby girl, Trillian Mira, into our family in September. But that's getting ahead of ourselves. I'll start at the beginning.

At the very end of 2008, we were invited by a friend to the recording studio where my new favorite band, Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs, were working on their newest album, The Only Thing That Matters. That was an unforgettable experience, and well worth driving through a few snowstorms.

On January 17, 2009, I found out I was pregnant. I didn't believe the test at first, so I did it twice. Luckily my doctor was open on Saturday, and they confirmed it there as well. We found out for sure while we were having lunch at Matador. That night, our BabyX got to attend her first live rock show - Star Anna & the Laughing Dogs, of course. Since she was just a bunch of cells at that point, I'm guessing she didn't hear anything.

Shortly after finding out, we went to Savannah for a long weekend to visit my parents, but unfortunately I spent most of the time in bed with an awful cold. Sad.

Though we told our families pretty soon after we found out, we kept it a secret from everyone else until we made it past the 12-week mark, in March. That was really hard for me, since I can't keep a secret worth a damn. We had a bit of a sticky situation in January, literally 3 days after we found out. Through a charity raffle at work, I won a free private dinner for 8 people at Crush, a trendy (and yummy) restaurant in Seattle. The first course was salt-cured raw tuna, which I couldn't have, but I had to find a subtle way to let the chef know. I wasn't subtle enough and my friend Jenna (who was also pregnant at the time, but not stealthily) picked up on it. But thankfully she could keep a secret.

We both learned some new skills at the beginning of the year. TJ took an art welding class at Pratt Fine Arts Center (the same place I took my metalsmithing series last year). Around that same time, I took a few months of rock drumming lessons. We both loved our classes, but haven't been able to rationalize getting either a welding setup or a full drum kit for the house. Sad, I know.

TJ went on several trips to Oregon for motorcycle track days in the middle of nowhere in April, May, June and the beginning of August. He took both the Ducati and the Triumph in his fancy trailer. The dogs kept me company at home though they were often confused at bedtime, because TJ was not there. On the bright side, they know that I like to sleep in so I was spared the Food Whining of the Beagle at 7am. He usually waits until 9am when it's just me.

Both of us continued to work at Microsoft. We love living so close to work. TJ can walk to his office in 19 minutes, and it would be even shorter if he could just cut through other peoples' yards.

We found out BabyX was going to be a girl in May, but they weren't sure, so we had them confirm it again at later ultrasounds. Fortunately, they were correct :)

My mom came to visit in June and we did a whirlwind of baby shopping, then TJ's parents visited in July and helped out with some house projects. Both visits yielded us some yummy food as well.

In July, we started our "getting ready for baby" classes. In retrospect we did get some great information, even if it was horribly annoying at the time. I found out that my husband and I are equally squeamish about watching videos about childbirth. I think one of them actually made me cry. I'm really grateful that TJ attended all of the classes with me. That made it more fun, and he convinced me to go when I wanted to bail out.

My friend Kristin came out to visit for July 4. We tried to go to the International Beer Festival at the Seattle Center, but waiting in line for over an hour was not happening for me, especially since I couldn't drink any beer once I got there. So we rode the rickety Seattle monorail instead. Now I can say I've done it, and don't need to do it again.

We didn't do much traveling - we wanted to stay close to home to get ready for BabyX. The end of July was nasty-hot (for Seattle), temps above 100 degrees. At 7 months pregnant it was pretty uncomfortable so I spent a lot of time at work, and the rest of the time holed up with the dogs in our air-conditioned bedroom (the only room with ac in our house). TJ was roasting at a sport bike rally and track day weekend at this time, sleeping outside in Eastern Oregon. Poor guy.

I spent a decent amount of time during those hot, uncomfortable months sitting in our hot tub, which we haven't used much since buying our house 5 years ago. It was nice and relaxing and helped a tiny bit with the swelling in my WALL-E feet. (remember the fat humans on the space ship?) If it weren't so darn funny, I would have been mad at TJ for being mean to me like that.

August and the early part of September were spent with me getting huger and eating lots of apple pie, and TJ and I freaking out about how there was going to be a BABY in our house, and what the heck were we going to do with A BABY?!

And then she arrived, and in an instant changed our life. She's been (knock on wood) a really cooperative baby, and she seems to follow the milestone "schedule" on cue. ie, exactly on the day I was 20 weeks pregnant, I felt her move. Exactly on her 6 week birthday, she smiled at us on purpose (it wasn't gas or poo).

Of course we are thrilled, but we've also had adjustments to make. The pups don't get as much attention or trips to the park. (Wrangling baby, stroller, and two dogs is a bit more than one person can handle.) We're not going to Vegas anytime soon. (I really don't think Vegas is a family vacation sort of place, plus what do we do with the baby when we want to play hours of pai gow poker?) Quick errands aren't so quick when you have a baby in the car too. Even something as simple as returning library books isn't - our closest library branch doesn't have a drive-up book drop, so you have to go inside to return books.

But we're rolling with the changes, and having a great time with BabyT. She got to meet both sets of grandparents, her Aunt Robin, and her great-Granny in late October and early November. She has started playing with toys a little and randomly whacking her head with her hands less. She makes awesome baby noises so we can pretend like we're having a conversation. Now that she's 3 months old, we can take her out to more places, though we're still careful because of the dreaded swine flu. She's been to several local restaurants and a few friends' houses and behaved admirably. I'm guessing that won't continue for long so we should enjoy it while we can.

Like all new parents we've been taking lots of pictures. Our Christmas present to ourselves this year is a brand new Canon S90 camera, which will be much better for baby pics, so we're anxiously awaiting its arrival.

Now that BabyT is a bit older, and sleeping pretty well, I've been able to get back to my craftiness. I've been really busy with orders this holiday season. My work was featured on Good Morning America on December 7. That really boosted sales, and continues to be good for my shops. Woo hoo! And that came from a chance encounter - one of my customers happened to work for GMA and asked if she could feature me.

So things are great with us, and we hope they are for you, too. Merry Christmas and best wishes to everyone in 2010. Happy New Year!!

TJ & Anandi in Santa Hats

Friday, December 18, 2009

Love is a word so small

Yay, Day 2 of blogging about What We Did Today. BabyT has a very busy social calendar, so busy that we had to turn down an invitation to lunch yesterday from a friend and postpone until next week.

Today we went over to my friend Jenna's house for a little while. Her BabyE is about 7 weeks older than BabyT. Which seems like a LOT now, but the gap is steadily closing, and by the time they're 2 or 3, it will probably seem tiny.

The lunch outing today was to Geraldine's Counter, which is an amazing yuppie diner. I had a grilled cheese with bacon and avocado. OMG YUM. Oh dear, there's a bacon trend going on, isn't there. I should probably be careful about that. Again, BabyT slept through most of the meal. I think the car ride and ambient noise in the restaurant puts her to sleep.

The babies are too little to really play together but they were definitely watching each other. BabyT got to try out BabyE's Bumbo seat (an assisted baby-sitting chair thingy), which fit her perfectly. I'm starting to regret my purchase of the main Bumbo competitor, the bebePod, just a little, because it's slightly too large for BabyT right now. But I bought it specifically because I thought she might grow out of the Bumbo more quickly. Oh well. It's hard to know with these baby things, until you try them out with YOUR baby. (Ask me about the 4 carriers we bought before finding one that works well...)

But a good time was had by all and Jenna even got a couple of really nice pictures for me (so I'm off the hook for DailyBaby today! Yay!)

This weekend is going to be a mad scramble for me to get done with all of my pre-Christmas Etsy and 1000 Markets orders. I'm in pretty good shape for those, but still have several to finish up. And I'm still getting a steady stream of after-Christmas orders as well. The luggage tags have been very popular this year.

And now, I'm leaving you with a picture that Jenna took today of me and two babies.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Every day is a start of something beautiful

I really should blog more often, if only to have a quick record of the things BabyT and I are doing together in these early months. My Caltech friend Laura blogs *every day* about her little guys, and she has *twins*. So if she can find time, I should be able to. Geez.

Plus, it's like talking on the phone (which I hate, incidentally). When you don't talk to someone very often, you struggle for things to say because you're not sure what's important enough to discuss. But if you talk to someone every day, you can talk about the most banal random things and it's fine, because they are "caught up" with your daily life. With those once-every-six-month phone calls you have to try to remember the important big stuff to try and do the catching up.

Incidentally, I hate talking on the phone. I think it started after email became ubiquitous, because I spent HOURS on the phone in high school talking to friends I had just seen all day long. In college I discovered email and it was great. I could think about what I wanted to say, and I've always been better with writing than talking. TJ is the same way, so I guess we're MFEO. (that's "meant for each other" - remember the girl in Sleepless in Seattle?) He likes the fact that email is "asynchronous" which means you can respond when you are ready, unlike with the phone where you are literally on the hook to answer questions and make conversation right then. But I even like IM better than the phone - it must just be that I type better than I talk :)

So anyway, banal random things. Today BabyT and I went over to the big city of Seattle to visit our friend Lisa, and the Baby Bacon who's still on the inside. Lisa is due at the beginning of February so BabyT and I are anxious to meet the little guy. All we know about him now is that he likes hamburgers. (Lisa and I had a couple of lunches where we were both pregnant and craving hamburgers.)

Some background on how we know Lisa. She's married to Dave, who we met in college and might be one of the smartest people I have EVER met. Those final exams where the average score was 6/100 and one person scored over 90 and we were thinking "who the heck did that?". That was Dave. He's now a research professor studying quantum computing. Basically, he's smarter than rocket scientists. But once we beat him at Trivial Pursuit and that makes it all good. Apparently Lisa had read my blog before I met her, which was weird when I met her, because she already knew stuff about us. I guess that's what happens when you put your life on the Internet. But anyway, Lisa and I got along, and fortunately she works near us, so sometimes we have lunch.

We went to the Five Spot, which is one of my favorite restaurants in Seattle that I never remember when we're trying to find somewhere to eat. Every quarter they feature a cuisine from a different place. Right now it's St. Louis. I didn't know they had a special cuisine :) But I think they try not to repeat places, so they've probably done a lot of the interesting ones already. But since they had pumpkin pancakes on the menu, I got those. I'm pretty sure they're not a St. Louis specialty but boy, were they yummy. BabyT hung out in her infant seat looking around for a while, and then fell asleep for most of the meal. She's cooperative like that.

Then we hung out at Lisa's house for a little while, because BabyT needed to eat. She snorked down 8 oz of milk which was pretty impressive for one so tiny. We also got to see Baby Bacon's room, which is quite awesome. Lisa is creative and talented and has put together a roomful of vintage treasures and bright colors that don't scream "baby" but look cozy and perfect together. I really admire people with those design skills, which I am sorely lacking. And BabyT got to try out the changing table. She approves.

Which reminds me of why I like living in Seattle so much even though we've started the season of 9-months-of-grey-yuck. We have some really great friends here, who also happen to be in the same life stage as we are. (and some just ahead so we can get advice and hand-me-downs!) Though as TJ will tell you, our trial period in Seattle isn't over yet. And in the darkest depths of winter, on the 37th day in a row of grey drizzle, sometimes I fantasize about living somewhere warm and sunny. But that would mean making new friends, and I'm not excited about that. What is it about getting older that makes it so hard to make new friends? Sigh.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sleep with one eye open

OK, I give up. Since I've been home now for nearly 10 weeks with BabyT, I really don't have much of a non-baby-related life to write about. So excuse my descent into "all baby, all the time" posting. Sigh. I didn't want to become *that* person. I'll try not to be that annoying in person. At least with the blog, you can choose not to read it.

T is a pretty mellow baby (and I knock on wood every time I say this!), and we've been grateful. Around 4 weeks, she started the Period of Evening Wretchedness, which started around 7 and ended at 9 or 10 when she'd go to sleep. This is pretty common, it seems, and is known as the newborn "witching hour". Fortunately, she'd only get this way about 50% of evenings or less, so I did think it might be something we were doing/not doing to cause this.

Having been trained as scientists and engineers, TJ and I naturally look for cause/effect and solutions. I'm thinking this doesn't always work with babies - they seem to have their own reasons for doing thing, not all of which are easily discernible or predictable.

Anyway, the Evening Wretchedness was supposed to peak around 6-8 weeks and get better after that. I sort of noticed that she seemed to be fussy on days where she didn't sleep much during the day, but wasn't really tracking sleep vs. wretchedness.

Until last week, when we had a particularly awful day where BabyT napped for 1 hour the entire day, had a long period of Evening Wretchedness and then woke up twice at night. Except for her first 2 weeks at home, she *never* woke up more than once to eat at night. That was a bad night for us, and a bad next day for me. (I do not handle limited sleep very well.)

So I put out a request to my "Caltech alumni parents" mailing list to find out what other people did regarding naps and tiny babies since all the "expert advice" seems to say not to do anything with a schedule for 3-4 months.

I got some good information back, most notably, that if I get her to sleep more during the day, she'll sleep more at night and that if we put her to bed earlier she'd probably sleep longer at night as well. The biggest thing was to look for her "tired signs" like eye-rubbing, baby zombie eye, and yawning and then try to put her in the crib.

So for the past 4-5 days, I've been tracking her sleep on my handy iPod, using the awesome TotalBaby application, to see if there are any patterns. We've also been trying to get her to sleep before 9:30pm, and during the day, I try to get her to nap if she's been awake for 3 hours.

And OMG. I thought our girl was sleeping great already - 7 hours of sleep a night, plus another nap of 2-3 hours in the morning is pretty awesome at 9 weeks, and she's been doing that for a few weeks now, waking up to eat once about 50% of the nights. We thought we had won the baby lottery. (I'm sure that we have.) So I was skeptical that we could really make things better, though I was really hoping to avoid tired Evening Wretchedness.

Guess what, for the past four nights, she slept 10-11 hours and didn't wake up to eat(!!!) Of course, babies are unpredictable and things will change, but this is amazing. She also takes about 3-ish naps during the day, for 45 min to 2 hours. And there has been no Wretchedness.

But of course, this is a work in progress. Today she and I went out to Redmond Town Center, an outdoor mall, that also has a nice walking trail behind it. We started our walk on the trail and then walked for a while in the mall portion. She napped on and off in the stroller, but I think that threw off her sleeping chi.

Once we got home, she alternated eating and sleeping for the next couple of hours, and it has been pretty difficult to get her to sleep. Here we are around 10pm, and I think she just fell asleep. So it remains to be seen what happens tonight. I've got my fingers crossed that it'll be an uneventful night, and that she might even get 10 hours of sleep, but who knows? These babies, so unpredictable!

And of course, another cute baby picture. Baby Eeyore is sometimes happy!

We got this outfit in the giant bag of baby clothes I bought from someone on Craigslist. I wish I had remembered it at Halloween, but with a baby, it's never too late to play dress-up!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

And then she'll surprise you

There are days where I wake up and my previous life seems completely foreign to me. You mean I used to have hours of uninterrupted time to work on my own projects? I used to go to work and attend meetings with other people? I could just dash out to the store or make plans for lunch based on just *my* schedule?

So, 9 weeks into my maternity leave, I'm fully immersed in the "stay-home mama" life. The most surprising thing? I am enjoying it. I feel so much more calm and zen than when I was working, and had tons of appointments/errands/projects going on at the same time.

That doesn't work now because BabyT runs my schedule. When she's hungry, she gets to eat. And sometimes it's every hour. Sometimes she naps for 4 hours between feedings. But the thing is, I never know how long it's going to be, so I always have to be ready to drop what I'm doing to attend to her.

At first this was hard for me. Especially at 3am. But once I stopped *worrying* about when the next feeding would be, it got so much better. I just take it as it comes. We have a webcam pointed at the crib so I can be somewhere else in the house and see if she's still asleep. Maybe I'll have 2 hours, maybe only 45 min. And that's ok.

I've started making a short list of items I want to get done in a given day. If I can get those things done, then I'm doing well. My expectations are so much lower than when I was working. If I can get a load of laundry done and put away, and get a shower, and maybe answer some email, that's a great day for me. Again, it took some getting used to. But now, I love it. I feel calm like I never did before.

With some trepidation, I reopened my Etsy and 1000 Markets shops to custom orders a few weeks ago. Of course it took a while to get orders again after being closed for a few months. But now I have several open orders - yay! I get to be crafty again, which is great. But I have to segment my work into the times between feedings, when BabyT is napping. That's teaching me to be more efficient and waste less time.

And with that, I leave you with a calming picture of Peaceful Sleeping Baby:

Sunday, November 01, 2009

It's only natural

Happy Daylight Savings Time! Unfortunately babies don't know about clocks so we were up at 6am today. Which isn't entirely a bad thing since the Chublet went to bed last night around 9 and didn't get up to eat in the middle of the night. This has been going on for 3 nights in a row now so I feel like a normal person who gets to sleep at night. Woo hoo!

And speaking of eating, I am proud to say I have made it to 6 weeks of breastfeeding the Chublet. My first goal was a month. Well, actually, it was a week, then a month. My next goal is to make it to 2 months. (When I think about the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation of a year, it makes me want to crawl into bed and not come out.)

Even though the Great Breastfeeding Propaganda Machine doesn't ever mention the sheer suckitude of it, I had enough honest friends to know that it was going to be rough. And fortunately, for us it wasn't as bad as other people have had it. But it still sucked (pun intended). And honestly, I still don't love it.

It's not that beautiful soft-focus bonding moment between baby and mama. It's boring. It takes a long time, several times a day (and sometimes at night). At first, I was spending 4 hours a day feeding her. Now we're down to 2-2.5 hours. And I know this because I keep track. So I know whether I have time to shower/eat/nap before the next time Angry Chublet demands food.

Chublet usually has her eyes closed so it's not like I can gaze lovingly at her while she eats. Plus, did I mention it's boring? On the bright side, my Internet-connected iPod Touch has saved me. I am up to date on everyone on Facebook, I can Tweet, and I have the complete New York Times electronically. So I'm more or less up on current events. That NYT app is phenomenal. And free. I've watched the first 2 seasons of The West Wing on DVD. And the first season of Gilmore Girls (I know, guilty pleasure.)

I guess what annoys me most is the major propaganda. Starting when I was pregnant, complete strangers would ask if I planned to breastfeed. As if it was their business. If you read any of the "helpful" websites, which admittedly I have consulted with questions, they all beat you over the head about how amazing it is, and how it is the BEST way. And that pacifiers are the devil and will screw everything up. As will feeding from a bottle, even if it is breast milk. And of course, formula is like poison. And the answer to nearly every question is "nurse more often". Which doesn't always work, especially in the early weeks when you JUST CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE and your baby is doing that horrific screaming that just rips your heart out.

Reading all that has a nice way of making sleep-deprived new mamas a little crazy and a lot guilty for doing any of the above to maintain peace/sanity/baby weight in their house. I HATE this. Nearly as much as I hate the sites/books that tell you that it's bad for your baby if you opt for drugs during childbirth. As per my previous post on baby care/parenting books, is it really so hard to provide information without being preachy?? And if I hear the phrase "nature's perfect food" again, I'm going to slap that person too.

I am happy to say I no longer dread feeding time. Chublet has obviously figured out how to make it work for her, since she gained 3 lbs in her first month. And it doesn't hurt anymore, mostly. But it's still weird, having to chop my day into 2.5-3 hour intervals. And figuring out what I can wear to easily feed her in the middle of said fragmented day. And don't even ask about the weirdness involved in using the pump to store milk for bottle feedings. Though convenient, it's just strange.

I know, I'm a horrible mother for not loving this. And when she's 16 and we're waiting up for her to come home from an evening out, I'll look back fondly at the time when my baby was with me 24/7.

Of course, when my baby wins a Nobel Prize, I'll be glad, because of course, it was the breastfeeding that was responsible for that. *snicker*

Friday, October 09, 2009

What's my name?

A few weeks ago someone suggested I post a Baby FAQ to answer the question of how we came up with Trillian's name.

The short answer is a kickass female character in Douglas Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" series. But though we both like the books (I confess I haven't read all of them yet, only the first 2), we aren't major obsessive fans or anything.

The long answer is that it took us nearly 9 months to decide on a name for sure. TJ and I had wildly different opinions on what sorts of names we liked. And of course, one of the more fun things to do to get ready for a baby is to go through the name possibilities. So we started early with a spreadsheet. of course. We'd each add names to it when we came across something we liked. There was a column for each of us to make comments.

Oddly enough, we had 2 boys' names we liked pretty quickly though we each had a different one as our top pick. Actually, my top pick was relegated to #3 but I liked my #2 enough to give up #3. I suppose we will never have a child named Xavier. Then he really would be BabyX, right??

In all honesty, after last night's awake-fest by Trillian at 3am, I am not at all inclined to consider having any more babies. Heh.

Once we found out we were having a girl, we got a little more serious about the names, though being a planner, I was glad we had backup boys' names as well. One of my fears was that the ultrasounds were wrong and she really was a boy.

There are a zillion baby naming websites, and my mother brought me a hefty book of Indian names so we had plenty of resources.

But of course, it wasn't that easy. Everything I liked, TJ hated. He didn't care for names with "too many vowels" or that sounded too "girly". That rules out quite a lot. (Never mind we were trying to name a GIRL.) We also both agreed on not wanting to choose a name that had obvious nicknames.

I had some notion of trying to find a name that was both an Indian and American name, or at least easily/obviously pronounceable from the spelling, but all of the Indian "crossover" names were just way too popular, in my opinion, and several of those names belong to people (or dogs!) I know, so that would have just been weird.

So we were kind of stuck for a while with some choices that we both felt "bleh" about and nothing that really felt right. I was waiting for that "hell yeah, that's it!!" moment when we came across a name. And in my ideal world, it would have some sort of meaning that resonated with us, or some kind of relevance to our lives. A tall order for a name, and for two opinionated people to agree on.

So a few months went by, and I spent hours poring over lists of names. I added some to the spreadsheet. One day, TJ suggested a name that nearly knocked me off my chair. I had always liked it but somehow hadn't thought of it, or come across it in my search. That ended up being our #2 choice though I waffled for a long time between that one and Trillian.

Trillian came up because TJ was rereading "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", which had been on his bedside table for months. One day he just said "What do you think about Trillian?" And that was IT - the name I had been waiting for.

I liked the names Lillian and Jillian, neither of which he particularly liked, so Trillian was perfect, because it is also much less common than those two, which are rapidly climbing the lists of popular names. It also doesn't have an automatic nickname like the other two, so bonus points for that. And no, you can't call her Trilly. Really, I mean it.

The other thing that's cool is that there's a cut of diamond called "trillian", kind of a cool triangle shape. Technically I think it's supposed to be "trilliant" but a lot of places refer to it as "trillian". Since I am a jewelry-making addict, this was another layer of coolness to this name.

Also, the general geekiness of it as a sci-fi reference was kind of neat to me, but also concerned me a little. We're not the kind of people that go to Star Trek conventions or quote movie lines from Star Wars so I didn't want to inflict that on my kid. But I think the reference is obscure enough that not everyone will know where it comes from - judging from the number of people that ask me how we came up with it, I think that's pretty accurate.

Oh, and another layer of complexity - there's an Instant Messenger client called Trillian. Which wouldn't matter, except that TJ works on IM technology. So we thought some people might think that was odd. So far no one has said anything about that, so I think we're in the clear.

Her middle name was a little easier to narrow down once we got the first names down to just 2. We had to eliminate any names where the initials would spell something odd, and eliminated anything that was too "rhymy" or just sounded awkward with Trillian on one end and Creath on the other. I had a bunch of 2 syllable Indian girls' names from my mom and some websites, but my favorite for a long time has been Mira. Most Indians spell it with 2 e's (Meera) but I like it better with an I, because I'm contrary like that.

Also, I think in some European languages (including Russian), the root word is "mir" which means peace. And I dig that too. Plus it meets the criteria of easy to pronounce and not confusing when you see how it's spelled. And as it turns out, there's a science geeky angle to Mira as well, though that was not a consideration for us.

My friend Jasmine pointed out another really neat thing about her name, one that neither TJ nor I picked up on. Within "Trillian Mira" are the letters for Raman, my maiden name. Pretty cool, huh?

So there you have it. More than you ever wanted to know about how we named Baby Raptor. Oh, and in case you're wondering about the nickname, it's because she makes some crazy noises that sound just like the baby raptors in the Jurassic Park movie - squeaking and honking. I had no idea babies were that noisy. (Apart from the crying, of course.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

In the desert of my dreams I saw you there

Trllian Mira
OK, so I'll try not to turn this into a "mommy blog" because I know no one wants to read tons of posts about the mundane details about somebody else's kid, but of course I can't avoid the subject entirely, being completely taken over by this new person in our house.

So on Friday Sept 18, on a bright sunny afternoon in Bellevue, Trillian Mira made her debut to the outside world. I honestly *could not* have asked for a better experience.

We had a choice to make a few days before that, about whether we wanted to induce labor, or schedule a C section, since her fluid levels were fluctuating, and it was safer for her to be delivered than stay in. I was not at all attached to the idea of a natural childbirth, and in fact, spent a good deal of my pregnancy being terrified of what was going to happen at the end. I wanted quick, painless, and preferably to not have to be there at all :)

So when my fabulous doctor said she definitely saw medical reasons to do a scheduled C-section, I jumped on board right away. I'm a planner, and oftentimes the anticipation of something bad is worse than the actual event. So we set up our appointment for Friday and went on our merry way. Well, I did. TJ stressed out about it for the 2.5 days, enough for both of us.

We had to get to the hospital a couple of hours early and of course we were a bit late because I couldn't sleep much the night before. After getting shuffled around between buildings due to the various remodeling projects we ended up in the pre-op prep room. At about that time, I decided I didn't like it at the hospital, and wondered if we could just go home. Side note: I've never been in the hospital for *anything*, except to visit other people, so being the patient was weird. TJ, having injured himself many times, was a big help in keeping me calm.

So they did the usual stuff - got the IV hooked up (yuck), took lots of blood pressure readings and blood samples, and the anesthesiologist and my doc and the assisting doc all came by to talk to us before the procedure. Of course, at this point I was internally freaking out, but time has a way of moving along so it was time to go into the OR.

And let me say, that the OR was nothing like Grey's Anatomy. It was *very* brightly lit, unlike at Seattle Grace, where I'm amazed any of the surgeons can see enough to get things done. And there was a ton of stuff in there - coolers with meds, chairs, stools, tables with instruments. It almost looked like a very clean storage room for tons of medical stuff just lying around in random places. I'm sure there was an order to it, of course.

I won't go into the gory details here, mostly because I didn't have any idea what was going on myself. TJ and I specifically asked all of the doctors *not* to give us the play-by-play of what they were doing because we're both horribly squeamish. Oh, and I should back up, for those who don't know, they do a standard C-section delivery with a spinal block, meaning I was numb from about the chest down. Which means I was awake during the whole thing. I tried not to dwell on that before the surgery, hence our request to *not* have the play by play analysis.

The doctors were amazing. The anesthesiologist was about our age, and 36 weeks pregnant, and she was friendly, and gentle, and calm and patient even when I couldn't get relaxed enough for her to do her job easily. That was the roughest part - for her to get the anesthetic in the right spot.

During the procedure, TJ sat next to me and we talked. About what, I don't really remember, but it was a nice distraction. The doctors were working behind a curtain and talking amongst themselves about random stuff, which oddly, made me feel much better because it seemed like this was a normal, routine, procedure. I really did not feel anything, which was GREAT.

And then my doctor announced they were ready to get the baby out (woo hoo!) and we heard that first cry. You always see this moment on TV and everyone gets weepy, and I'm cynical and not particularly sentimental, so I figured it would be no big deal. But I took one look at TJ and got all weepy. In fact I'm a little weepy now just thinking about it (of course, that might be the hormones, too.) They did confirm she was a girl, and I gave silent thanks that we would not have to buy a whole new wardrobe or repaint her room.

At this point I need to give a shout out to the delivery nurses as well - it was brilliant to watch the efficient, practied, expert way they handled my baby, got her cleaned up, and made sure she was healthy in those first few minutes. One of them even took all the early pictures for us, for which we are really grateful.

And the cool thing is that they do all the baby prep (is it like dealer prep when you buy a new car??) so that TJ and I could watch it, which is a nice distraction again from the rest of the surgery. I think the second half was actually longer, but we barely noticed because we were just watching our baby get ready for the world.

My doctor informed me that I had "abs of steel", which I guess I should be pleased about if I can ever get that nice flabby cushion out of the way for anyone to see them ;)

Trillian's baby feet
We hung out in the recovery room for a while with our new baby while various people came in and checked on both her and me, and eventually were taken to our "real" room for the rest of the weekend. Again, I was really impressed and thankful for all of the amazing nurses who took care of us. Clearly they love babies, and were so patient with our dumb questions, and spent lots of time educating us on how to feed and take care of this new little person, and how I could speed up my recovery. I am sure that we would not have gotten such a good start without all of these amazing women around to help us out. It was very tiring to be woken up every hour or two for vital sign checks, pills, and feedings, but I definitely think it's the reason I feel so good now.

So here we are, new parents for 5 days. We're pretty lucky because Trillian sleeps for 2-3 hours at a stretch, and has only had a few loooong crying episodes, both of which were fabulously handled by her daddy who seems to have the secret baby juju. He's also a much better baby burrito-maker than I am.

So there it is. More later once Princess SnuffleFlower has eaten and gone back to sleep. Everything gets done in tiny blocks of time around here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hey baby hey baby hey

An & TJ July 2009I figured I'd post my thoughts on being pregnant, given that if all goes well, I won't be anymore at this time tomorrow and BabyX will have made her jailbreak. Freaky!!

I really, truly thought I'd hate it. The idea of this foreign invader in my body, all the restrictions, and of course becoming as huge as a planet was *not* appealing to me in the least. Throw that in with pretty low tolerance for lots of noisy children and I figured I'd never do this. Except for the fact that I *love* babies. I don't know why. Maybe it's the same gene or chemical reaction that makes me love all dogs.

After having some conversations with friends who are also not "kid people" they made me realize that you will actually really like your own kid, but it's ok not to like all kids, and that probably won't change.

That and the fact that there are some kids that I know that I really do like and the twinge of I-don't-know what when I saw a coworker dropping off his kid at preschool - a tiny little guy with a huge backpack. "I want one" flashed across my mind like a bright shining billboard at that moment. And then I nearly fell over because I had never once felt that way in my 30+ years before that. So I guess for some people the dormant clock just wakes up randomly. Heh.

So here we are. I've been pregnant for pretty much all of 2009, though I didn't know it for the first couple of weeks. I was lucky enough not to have a lot of nausea, though it did rear its ugly head a few times when I didn't eat often enough. I quickly figured out that skipping breakfast was NOT an option (even without the 'helpful' admonishment from the What to Expect While You're Expecting author about how I should feel like a horrible person for "starving my baby").

For a week or so at 5 months I had a horrible backache that was only resolved by waiting it out, and sleeping on the not-so-comfy couch in our living room. And right around that time, the grotesque foot swelling started, and I've been wearing the same pair of $8 JCPenney flip-flops for literally 4 months while staring longingly at my other cute shoes every morning. On the bright side, besides those flip-flops I have not bought a single pair of new shoes this year. TJ's happy about that.

And of course there was the occasional heartburn that's made me give up Thai and Indian food for the past couple of months, and the sheer hugeness of my belly that gets in the way of pretty much everything and makes most things awkward.

But before I complain too much, let me say that really, it was not that bad. Minor annoyances, all of them, and most had some kind of solution. It also gave me an excuse to buy ridiculous T-shirts and wear them late in my pregnancy, with slogans like "I Think I Might Be Pregnant" and "Bowling balls are really hard to swallow". Because really, if I can't have fun with it, what's the point?

One of the things I LOVE about being pregnant - not stressing over every calorie that I eat. Admittedly I've had more than my fair share of apple pie, and traded artificially sweetened drinks for ones with real sugar, and not turned down dessert very often. The beauty is that I have no idea how much actual weight I gained due to all the water retention. I guess I'll find out in a few weeks once the water goes away.

I know I'll have some hard work to do to get back into shape. But that's cool. I bet it'll be good for the baby after a while for us to get out and walk. And I know the pups will enjoy it. But I'm living the guilt-free lifestyle and loving it. If I'm hungry, I eat something. If not, I don't. Last night we went to dinner at Canlis (YUM) for the last time in what will probably be a while. And we didn't get dessert. And that was fine because I was full. Amazing how that works.

Oh and the other thing I love - the niceness from total strangers. They hold the door, they let me get off the elevator first, they actually slow down in the work parking garage when I'm waddling to my car. (Believe me, normally, these things don't usually happen where I work). And my favorite "We are the World" story - I was unloading groceries into my car. Next to me, unloading her groceries was a Muslim woman in a hijab. She insisted on returning my cart for me. So nice!

Some people really enjoyed feeling the baby move. I'm not really one of those folks, though I am glad she does move so that I know she's ok. But I'm kind of "eh" about the movement itself. It's not so intense that it hurts, which is good, but it still creeps me out, because really, stuff inside my stomach is supposed to stay put.

So, well, sometime tomorrow we'll finally get to meet BabyX. It seems pretty unreal. Because even though I'm enormous and round, I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that there is a PERSON inside of my belly. That's just too weird.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Don't tell me what to do

So here I am, a few weeks before BabyX arrives, and feeling pretty good that we have all the stuff we *need* to get us through the first few weeks.

Especially since my brand new 64GB iPod Touch is on its way!! That's the essential stuff, right? I actually bought it to use as our baby webcam receiver, plus the App Store has some great programs for tracking feeding/sleeping/poo etc. Yes, we apparently need to track diaper changes. I'm so glad we got dogs first to get me over some of the ick factor, though I suspect babies are FAR worse.

One of the other things I've been doing since I've been spending a lot of time with my feet up to combat the hideous swelling, is reading various baby care/parenting books. Or at least skimming them until I get so frustrated I'm ready to throttle the authors.

Apparently it is VERY difficult to write a baby book without having a sanctimonious tone about how YOUR WAY is best, or without a lot of YOU SHOULD DO THIS OR YOUR BABY WILL BE MESSED UP FOREVER statements. Even better is the infighting where one author disses the others right in the book. It's like watching those icky political commercials around election time.

So most people who know me well are aware that I HATE being told what to do, or given unsolicited advice. I'm independent, I like to research and figure things out for myself. Unless I ask you for help. Then, for the love of god, please help me :)

This doesn't help when I'm reading these books. I got about a chapter into Dr Sears' Baby Book before I was ready to shove him, his saintly wife Martha and their 8 perfect children off the top of a very tall building. (Mostly just him, though, for his self-righteous writing style.) His clear disdain for working mothers, and his fanatical devotion to breastfeeding AT ALL COST drove me nuts (among other things).

Prior to that What to Expect When You're Expecting got the Wrath of An. Because they advised me that every now and then, I should enjoy a bagel as a treat. And if I go on vacation, I might be able to have dessert. Once. Oh, and I should stop going to rock concerts because we don't know if the music is too loud for the unborn child, for which I am just a vessel.

I had high hopes for Baby 411, written by the same folks who wrote Baby Bargains, which helped me navigate the mountains of BabyStuff that we needed (or didn't need) to buy. But alas, the doctor they chose for that book is also another judgmental one. Slightly less fanatical than Dr Sears, but the kind of guy to criticize all the others out there. And a little snotty about his medical degree, I must say, when sniping about the baby care books written by (quel horreur!) people without an M.D. Because apparently, having an M.D. makes you an expert at getting babies to sleep and how best to discipline a child. I didn't realize they taught those things in med school. I wonder where they get the kids to practice on.

I'm really glad that I'm not 18 and bewildered about the path ahead because the conflicting advice in these books would make your head spin. From pacifiers to feeding to diapering to "sleep training", everyone has an opinion. And you know what they say about opinions...

So I'm done reading. I've got books as reference, for questions like "what is this weird rash?" or "do I need to call the doctor", but other than that, we're going to figure out our own path as we go along. But the minute I hear "you should do..." my brain shuts off. Unless of course, the preceding statement from me was "hey, what do you think?"

On the bright side, I've found a couple of good places for advice. The (mostly quiet) Facebook group I started for Caltech alumni parents, and just reaching out to those folks individually. Can I just take a moment to proclaim my love for Facebook? <3

The other one, more for parenting advice than baby care, is Ask Moxie. I love that it's not at all judgmental and you learn as much from the posts as from all of the various people around the world who leave comments about *what works for them*. Not WHAT YOU SHOULD DO.

Mostly about pregnancy but has a little bit about newborn care - The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy is AWESOME. That guy has learned how to write in a non-judgmental way, so clearly it can be done. They have these 'Decision Guides' on all sorts of things like feeding, delivery options, etc that clearly lay out the pros and cons, without the sidebar of THIS IS THE BEST CHOICE. Some people might argue that it leaves too much up to the reader to decide, but hello? this is your own life and your own kid so you SHOULD be the one weighing the info and deciding. I love this book and will give this Dr a big hug if I ever meet him.

BabyX almost-38-week update: According to this week's ultrasound she weighs a little over 7 lbs. I'm hoping she's not going to get much bigger... You can't see much on the ultrasound with everything all squished in there. She gets the hiccups very often - at least once a day, poor thing.

And we saw her practice breathing. Apparently babies practice moving their diaphragm around so they can breathe when they're not underwater anymore. How crazy is that? So hopefully she's healthy and strong. I'm still a bit in denial that we're going to have an ACTUAL BABY in less than a month. Yikes.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dress you up in my love

Long time, no post, I know. Long enough that my advertising network suspended their ads for me for not posting. Oh well, a girl can't do everything, right?

I'm at 34 weeks now, and my "pregnant buddy" Jenna had her baby a couple of weeks ago, so it's beginning to seem REAL, especially since we met baby E yesterday (so cute!). I'm looking forward to it, but only once we finish some of the remaining house and cleanup projects.

We've gotten rid of a ton of unused house stuff through charity donation or Craigslist, and also acquired a bunch of baby stuff, as you might expect. I've been extremely lucky to have generous friends who have given me clothes, toys, feeding stuff, and a fabulous crib so we didn't have to drop thousands of dollars all at once. (I'm sure that'll come later...)

As per my baby shopping Bible, "Baby Bargains", I've also been scouring Craigslist and the Microsoft internal baby and kid classifieds for good deals on new/used baby stuff, and I'm pretty darn proud of what I've gotten. I don't have the patience to go picking through garage sales, but responding to Internet ads is no big deal since I'm in front of a computer all day.

Yesterday we *finally* found a solid wood secondhand dresser. It's sort of a midcentury modern looking thing and at some point I'll probably paint it, but for now I'll just clean it up and use it for BabyX clothing storage and the top for our downstairs changing station. I could have spent $1500+ on a solid wood, fancypants new dresser, but it's just not that important to me in the grand scheme of things, and surely BabyX isn't going to notice for a while. Plus I'm guessing she'll want to have a say in the furnishing of her room at some point.

TJ painted her room this weekend, in a lovely shade of pale peach called vomitously "Blushing Belle" from the Home Depot Disney color line. It's a really nice warm luminous shade, and I'm hoping it'll look good even during a long cold grey winter here. That's why I didn't pick green, like I would have preferred - I was afraid it would make the room too cool and dark.

Sometime during the week, or next weekend, we'll put up the dog prints and very cute paw print vinyl wall decals I bought from Etsy and 1000Markets.

The other big score from the ads was 4 huge garbage bags of baby clothes in 0-3 mo and 3-6 mo sizes. I knew that I wouldn't want everything, since I'm super-picky about my baby not wearing what I consider annoyingly girly stereotypical stuff. I'm just not finding new baby clothes shopping that fun, except on Etsy, but those items are a bit too expensive for me to outfit BabyX in them entirely. (The regular retail stuff is just way too blah and pastel typically.)

So I kind of liked the "grab bag" idea and the price was right. Of course, there's some buyer beware when you buy used stuff - someone else's "like new" is not quite the same as mine, and of course there are widely differing tastes. But I took a chance.

I was starting to worry that I hadn't bought enough clothes given my friends' stories of diaper blowouts and spit up episodes that necessitated multiple outfits per day. And honestly, if I could go 3-4 days before doing laundry, that would be awesome.

And so I sorted out those bags of clothes last night. Out went the "Drama Queen" and "Daddy's Little Girl" and "Pretty Princess" onesies, along with a lot of the cotton/polyester stuff that just doesn't hold up well through washing. I'm a firm believer in 100% cotton, yo, but I do also have an unhealthy love of fleece living in Seattle - that's the one polyester exception I'll make.

Clearly the woman I bought these from loves pink more than me, so some items went out
just because I didn't think my daughter needed *that* much pink, esp in that shade of Pepto-Bismol I especially hate. I can do pale pink and fuschia no problem, but it's the in-between shades that get to me.

Also tossed in the charity bag: little tiny old-timey flowery prints (like you find on bedsheets), things with excessive lace and frou-frou, itchy synthetic fabrics, elaborate outfits with dresses, bloomers and tights (on a tiny baby?? really??), and icky sickly sweet words like "sweetheart", "cutie", "pretty". I hate the idea of labeling my kid already. What about things that matter like "smart" or "strong" or "ambitious"? I'm only half-kidding.

The funny thing was that all the stuff I loved in those bags seemed to be hardly worn - the blues, yellows, greens and purples. I bet those were gifts :) Those stayed. Now I have a nice collection of onesies, cotton sleepers with feet, fleece sleepers with feet (which look REALLY too warm until I remembered that my baby doesn't get to have a down comforter in her crib at night), a couple of cotton dresses and little romper thingies, and some more baby socks. It was a screamin' deal, and I'm guessing that BabyX might not even get to wear some of these things more than once or twice before she outgrows them. And of course she has the new stuff her grandmas (and great-grandma) bought for her, plus the handful of adorable dog and geeky onesies I bought on Etsy.

So now I feel confident that BabyX will be outfitted well until she weighs about 15 lbs or so (maybe more - who knows how these baby sizes work??) and I can save up doing laundry for at least a couple of days.

Today I'll be playing catch-up on lots of Etsy and 1000Markets orders. I'm agonizing on how/when to close my shops as I don't want to miss out on the Christmas season, plus *not* making stuff for months will drive me absolutely batty. I think I'm going to stop taking custom orders around mid-September, but leave the shop open for the pre-made items until I'm ready to start making tags again, probably in late Oct/early Nov.

And yeah, yeah, yeah, I know having a baby will change everything. If I hear that again, I'm going to poke that person in the eye. Affectionately, of course :) But I don't intend to give up everything I love doing now - I am determined to make it fit.

OK, now have I made up for not posting in ages? Because it might be a while before I post again!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

At 29 you'd think I'd know better

woo hoo, I'm at 29 weeks! Almost 3/4 way through (or maybe already, depending on when BabyX decides to make her appearance). So far, I still say it's not as bad as I thought it would be.

The childbirth class through our hospital IS as bad as I thought it would be, and maybe worse, unfortunately. And I signed up for the 7 week series thinking it would be better to spread it out. Sigh.

We spend part of the time pretending like we're in labor and contorting ourselves into different positions on chairs, exercise balls, and the floor. On the bright side, our partners rub our backs. The other part of the time is spent staring at various posters around the room with pictures I'd rather not see, "sharing our feelings" in stupid small group exercises, or watching disgusting movies. And this is after only 2 classes... I can only hope it gets better.

This week's topic is "pushing and delivery of baby", plus as an extra added bonus, episiotomy (if you don't know what that is, do yourself a favor and DON'T look it up), and medication. I will say I am genuinely interested in DRUGS, so I'm wondering if it might be worth showing up late. Because there is no way I am going to watch a movie of women giving birth. Last week's movie of women writhing around in labor pain (with no drugs!) was bad enough. TJ and I actually left the room at one point (and we weren't alone.) Ick.

In a few weeks we'll actually cover some useful topics like "hey what do I do with this thing now that it's here?" and "hey, how do I feed this screaming bundle of joy?". That I'm actually looking forward to.

My company also offers a short list of FREE baby-related classes, so we're signed up for those. The feeding one was surprisingly useful and non-touchy-feely and not disgusting, despite the unsettling presence of a reversible anatomically-correct plush model of a breast. But I did take about 4 pages of notes there (in my awesome new pink Moleskine notebook!) so I'm glad we went.

Once again, I respectfully request that no one leaves any childbirth stories in the comments, unless it is something like "it was so easy, and better than Disneyland". kthxbai!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wherever I lay down to sleep

Spike is awesome. In any given room of the house, he'll zero in on the comfiest place to nap. I think his first preference is in a sunbeam, because I've seen him lie on the hardwood floor just to get some sun. If that's not available, he'll find the softest, squishiest place to sleep - the couch, or if there is a pillow on the couch, on top of the pillow. He's also been known to sleep in a little nest of clothes at the bottom of TJ's closet. I guess the fleece sweatshirts were too much to resist.

We recently bought Peanut a new bed for our bedroom, because he had been repeatedly waking us up in the middle of the night to try and entice us to go downstairs and sleep with him in Dog Bed (the only bed he's allowed on in the house). Of course, TJ being the softie he is, actually gave in a few times, which encourages Peanut to do this often. But we thought the root cause of the issue might be that Peanut's current bed wasn't squishy enough, and in his old age (all of 7 years old) he might like a more cushiony bed. So we used our handy giftcard to Petsmart (gift from Mom and Dad - thanks guys!) to buy him a big new foam bed.

Turns out this bed is very popular these days. Spike decided to claim it for his own, even though it's about 4x his size. (It's sitting in front of the baby's crib, to give you an idea of how big this bed is.) TJ tries to get Spike to stay off it, but I don't really care, as long as Peanut sleeps in it at night. (Peanut doesn't typically nap in his bed during the day - he prefers to nap wherever he falls down, or in dark corners.) Also, I think Spike looks adorable sleeping in the upper left corner of this huge bed. He sprawls out on it like he's a king.

Peanut is nonconfrontational about sleeping space, so we do need to boot Spike off the bed when it's nighttime. But during the day, everyone seems to be happy with this shared arrangement. You gotta love beagles :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Dancin days are here again

Another season of "So You Think You Can Dance" is upon us. And I am oddly compelled to watch it. Thank god for TiVo so I can fast forward through all the crying and Mary Murphy's heavily-botoxed screaming.

But it's perfect guilty pleasure TV, and it turns out I'm not alone in watching it - lots of my Facebook buddies do too, and amazingly, some of my geeky coworkers as well. Awesome.

The dancers are pretty amazing - I guess as the series does more seasons, more (and better) people try out. And I can sit on the couch with my round pregnant self, eating pie and watching other people exert themselves. Yippee.

So I'm somewhere around 6 months now and I think I finally *look* pregnant, not just like I'm hitting the donuts too hard. It's still not as bad as I thought it would be, but I'm also still not like "OMG! Miracle of Life!" BabyX and I have a peaceful coexistence, but someday I'd like my normal size feet back.

Thanks to the miracle of the Internet and sheer luck, I've got 30 Etsy orders pending. Which is scary and cool at the same time. So I'm gonna stop wasting time and work on them. Yay.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

There is a season

Hey! I think it might actually be spring in Seattle. Or, god forbid, SUMMER?! We've had the a/c in the bedroom running for the past several days because it's 80 degrees plus in the house (and of course our bedroom *would* be on the top floor, with all that rising heat.)

So my friends Carl and Shannon had their triplet babies last week and all seems to be well with them. How exciting!

BabyX is doing fine. If all goes well, we won't get any more ultrasounds, so I just have to believe that something is going on in there. If it weren't for the increasing roundness and weird occasional pokes from the inside of my belly, I still mostly wouldn't realize I was pregnant. Very odd. But this is the best possible scenario for me given my previous lack of enthusiasm for *being pregnant*. (I'm still waiting for the day when Amazon Fresh can deliver one fully-baked BabyX.)

I had a meeting at work today with some of the technical architects that I work with on a regular basis, and told them I was going on leave in Sept. As usual, it was me in a meeting room full of guys, so I knew they wouldn't get all squealy and stuff (other women seem to get all squealy and excited when I tell them about BabyX). But they were very nice about it, and said they would miss me, and couldn't I postpone until December :D So that was cool. It's hard to believe that I'll only be working for about 3.5 more months before I go out on leave for 5 *whole months*. Seriously, I've never had five months off from work or school, since I was about 4 :)

Of course, it's probably not going to be all that much fun, or relaxing. Surely educational, though. And interesting.

But I digress. I finally washed some of the baby clothes I got - the hand me downs from friends and the one new outfit I bought, which was a very adorable dog-print onesie (100% cotton, of course).

And of course, as with all sexist baby clothing, the cute mutt dogs are printed on what's clearly meant to be "boy's" clothes, with their blue and brown accents. The "girl's" clothes are always pink with butterflies and flowers. So annoying. I love pink as much as the next gal, but don't little girls like dogs? If you find a dog at all, it's usually some snooty little poodle, or *maybe* a scottie dog. You never see cute bulldogs or Rottweilers on baby girl clothes. Grrr.

But that's why I love Etsy - there's a ton of cute onesies there, with dashchunds and all sorts of puppies. And geek sayings! So awesome.

My mom is coming this weekend and of course we'll do some baby clothes shopping, and on the list is the Hanna Andersson outlet - lots of bright primary colors and less of the "pink for her, blue for him" philosophy. At full price, it's really expensive stuff, but I'm hoping we can find some cute things at the outlet. Wish us luck!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Give it away, give it away, give it away now

I'm sure there's some more elegant way to cross-post between blogs, but I've written a new post in my 1000 Markets blog about my crafty charity project this weekend.

In other news, my fabulous husband cleaned out our hot tub this weekend so I could soak in it. It's got a temperature control so we've got it set low, because among the other 87,000 things you're not supposed to do when pregnant, sitting in a 101+ degree hot tub is another. They should issue some sort of handbook with a positive pregnancy test - "The HUGE List of Things You Can No Longer Do". Of course, maybe that's a consequence of having kids, too. Sigh.

I'm getting rounder and huger by the minute, but am looking forward to wearing my shiny new maternity clothes.

Must go pack up a couple more Anandi's Laboratory orders. One from (finally, yay!), one from 1000Markets, and one from Etsy. Yippee.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Faster than the speed of light

Wow, lots of things happening at the House of Peanut. So many that blogging has fallen by the wayside, not unexpectedly. I almost feel like I should be geeky and make a bulleted list :D

Most excitingly, we just found out that BabyX is a GIRL! YAY! And though TJ won't let me dress up our dogs, I sure am gonna dress up our baby. Woo hoo!

I also seem to be growing larger by the minute, quite alarmingly. But I still have a few pairs of normal pants that fit so I'm ok for now :) I have busted out the cute new maternity clothes, though, and they are *so* comfy. They should make all womens' clothes that comfy... Though I will say I was startled to find out that most maternity jeans have no buttons or zippers. So they're kind of like old-lady pants with all that elastic.

Otherwise, I'm surprised to find that I don't hate being pregnant like I thought I would. Of course, it's still early, and being 8 months pregnant in the middle of August may change my mind :) A friend of mine said it was like being a "walking science experiment". Which describes it perfectly.

Handmade Periodic Table Keychain or Pendant from Anandi's LaboratoryOn the crafty front, I've been having a GREAT time. I played around with a new technique last weekend, and will post pictures soon. I set aside some time to make some jewelry, after making 15 pet tags (!) and had fun with that too. I loooove making jewelry, even though it doesn't really sell in my shop. I figure I can just keep it if it doesn't sell after a while, right? :)

And in super exciting news today, Etsy featured my Periodic Table keychain in this blog post which is currently rotating on the front page. Not only that, but it made their weekly "Etsy Finds" email that goes out to their subscriber list, so I've gotten a *ton* of hits on this item, and a handful of sales today. And something like 30 people have added me to their Favorites list. Yippee!

Of course, with the good comes the bad. I have sold nothing on Amazon yet. I'm probably going to cancel my account at the end of this month (you know, that thing about not throwing good money after bad, or whatever.) So I'll need to find alternate strategies/venues that work better for me.

And then our Windows Home Server machine chose this weekend to die. Well, maybe not die, just give up in protest of the hot weather. My smart husband figured out it was overheating which made the drives fail. We didn't lose data (yay) but now need to build a machine with more air circulation/bigger fan so this doesn't happen again. It's got all of our digital pics on it, as well as our ripped music so we *really* can't afford to lose it.

But all in all, life is good. Really good. Yay! Thanks to everyone for their good wishes!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sleep my darling

So I guess in preparation for BabyX's arrival, my sleep schedule is already all out of joint. I can't get comfy, it takes me forever to *fall* asleep, and then in the morning I *DO NOT* want to get out of bed. Sigh.

I can only imagine it's going to get worse from here, which is sad. Cuz I'm a girl who looooves her sleep. Like a 10-hours-per night, plus a nap looooove. Sad.

I got your "miracle of life" right here, buddy. :P

On the bright side, I have discovered that Trader Joe's makes the best, and least expensive apple pie of all the area grocery stores. I have been eating apple pie like it's going out of style. And the one I like best has the most apples, and the least sticky goo. Very odd. Yay pie!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Don't forget me

Yesterday, while I was wandering around Kirkland on a gloriously sunny day, I happened upon a clothing consignment store. They didn't have any maternity clothes but they did have shiny baubles so I browsed. And happened upon this marvelous silk top for only $22! It's a plus-size top, unstructured, which will make it a perfect maternity top at least for a couple of months. It's pretty, light, and has a great pattern - everything else I've bought has been a solid color shirt. I'm so excited about wearing it. It's a little big above the waist but I figured out I can tie it back with a long sash I found in my closet and it'll fit better that way. Yay!

Yes, that is a picture of me. And yes, I'm getting larger by the minute. That, and retaining water like a sponge. Sigh. But that's the miracle of life, right? But it is an indicator that *something* is going on in there. I'm almost halfway, at 19 weeks, so that's good. It's been relatively painless so far, though of course I like to complain. And eat pie while doing it.

Today was another day of some cool bargain finds. There's a church near us that has various sales (rummage, garage, craft, etc.) from time to time to raise money for various charities. I got some awesome vintage jewelry there last time, so I thought I'd check out the garage sale they're having today. And what fun! For only $3 total, I got tons of stuff.

A 100% cotton onesie with a space theme for BabyX, for 25 cents. And boo to anyone who says this must be for a boy because it has a space theme. Girls like space too! It's clean, and soft, and of course I'll wash it like crazy before it gets anywhere near BabyX:
I think that's the first official piece of clothing I've bought for BabyX. Woo hoo to it being geeky!

I also found a very cute children's book called "Round the Garden" by Omri Glaser. Everyone knows I'm *not* an outside person, or a gardener, but this book was so cute and colorful, and only 25 cents so I figured it was worth it. Plus it has a page with all the different kinds of clouds (cirrus, cumulus, etc) and this awesome page about growing an onion. The biologist in me couldn't resist:

Another purchase was this fabulously orange ball of yarn which I think will be used for packaging my pet tags:Also, I'm learning how to use Photoshop Elements, and that was my first experiment using layers, and getting rid of a photo's background. I know the yarn looks weird and disembodied, but hopefully I'll get better at using the tools.

We've needed small plates for a while (for eating small pieces of cake or pie, or a couple of cookies), so I got these large saucers, 8 for $1 total:

In addition to all this goodness, my $3 bought me a full box of staples, a small galvanized steel box for craft supplies, a couple of bits of ribbon, and a binder *full* of various kinds of graph paper - log, engineering, quadrille, etc. Good graph paper is pretty expensive, and I know how my husband loooves graph paper, so I figured for 25 cents it was totally worth it. And I was right. He saw the log paper and was all "ooh, is that log paper in there". I love it.
So it was a fun shopping trip. I worked hard not to bring home useless things, like cool vintage glass bottles or tealight holders, because we need less of that kind of clutter around here. Everything I bought has a purpose. Yay!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cry me a river

I want to grow my tiny business of handmade shiny things. Not that I have illusions of pulling in a six-figure income with it, or ever outsourcing production and becoming a household name (like the woman that started the Spanx company, for example).

And speaking of which, how cool is it that Spanx come in maternity sizes too?! Hopefully that means I can still wear cute skirts and dresses for a while until I'm just too big to want to be compressed like that (which is probably at the same point I will retreat to sweatpants until it's all over, like when BabyX is 18. Just kidding, TJ.)

But I digress. Growing my business, right. I'd like to put my effort into becoming successful as an online seller. Because I dislike selling in person. I'm just not "sales-y". It makes me deeply uncomfortable. Now, in order to be really successful, I may have to change my attitude and try it again, but for now I'm focusing my efforts online. Because I can do other things while my items are hanging out waiting to be bought by that right person.

So my new experiment, for the next three months, is opening a shop on No small feat, as it turns out. It costs a fairly hefty monthly fee, and also required some cash outlay on my part so that I could purchase UPC barcodes for each of my items. So I'm in it for some money. But you gotta spend money, to make money right? (That's what I tell myself, anyway.)

My last job at Mercent gave me a surprising education in the world of online retail. I never thought I'd *use* that info for myself. But having helped several customers get up and running on Amazon has given me a lot of great insight in getting my own shop going. Granted, I can't afford nifty automated data feed tools, and I enter my products in one by one, but the principles are the same.

Now is the hard part - waiting to see if I'm successful, and tweaking things as needed. I've only gotten a handful of products uploaded, and after a day of being "live" have no sales yet. I know I shouldn't expect much - it took me about a week on Etsy to get my first sale and they were few and far between for the first 6 months or so.

But for some reason I had these visions of orders just streaming in on Amazon. Hehe. My handmade pet tags are more expensive than most of the mass-produced ones currently listed on the site, so I suspect it's a special set of buyers I'm targeting. Now I just need to figure out how to reach them.

It's kind of nerve-wracking but also exciting. Wish me luck on this wild ride, and let me know if you have any good advice. I know I need to list more products, and work on getting the images into Amazon's format rather than the artsy Etsy format. And I *definitely* need to work on search terms, SEO, and all that. Would love any pointers to good articles/books on those subjects, for sure!

So I'm waiting for that elusive first sale to happen, so I can then begin to obsess about the second and third. But in the meantime, there's a lot of work I need to do over there.

Anandi's Laboratory on Amazon

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Can't return it cuz you bought it

For those who read my blog and don't have kids, and don't want any, I apologize for the recent baby-focused posts. It's sort of all-consuming and I need an outlet to vent.

One of the more pleasant aspects of being pregnant is the cute baby stuff I get to shop for, and buy. Thanks to Rachel on my Facebook group, I found out about the Baby Bargains book that really narrows down what you need to buy, and what brands are best (hint: not always the most expensive ones). That's been a great roadmap for the shopping extravaganza.

Between this book, and my generous friends who have lent/given me a bunch of baby stuff, I figure we've saved a *ton* of money already. Which is good because a significant part of my maternity leave is unpaid.

Besides buying things from big-box stores and, I've been able to find some really cute handmade things on 1000 Markets and Etsy. One of my recent favorites is this baby sling from GorgeousBaby:

Of course, as an idealistic person with no babies yet, I love the idea of babywearing, but we'll see if BabyX cooperates. But the kimono fabric of this sling is just *gorgeous*, and it's well-constructed and padded, so I'm hoping it'll be a viable solution for both inside and outside of the house. I'm sure it'll take some practice. Maybe Spike will volunteer to be the sample baby :D

A few years ago, I met a friend for coffee and she had her brand-new baby with her. Since babies get hungry on their own schedule, and not when it's convenient, she had to feed him at the cafe. She had this cool thingy to use as a cover so as not to be exposed in public. I hope to be able to leave the house someday too, so I found this cool cover by nursing undercover on 1000 Markets:

She allows you to choose from a huge set of retro print fabrics, so I got mine in this very cool geometric pattern, and I love it:

I'm also having a hard time finding maternity shirts in anything but solid colors. I wanted something cute and patterned. But not ugly and muu-muu like, or nasty polyester, either. So I was thrilled to find Flaunt It! Maternity and this cute 100% cotton long sleeve T-shirt:

That's just a small list of stuff we've managed to acquire so far for Project BabyX, but I thought I'd share since they're just so pretty. Now I'm off to scour Craigslist for a good wood dresser for BabyX's room. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

World shut your mouth

One of the crazy pregnancy symptoms I had during the first trimester with BabyX was becoming *very* angry for either no reason, or very little reason. Now generally, I have a low tolerance for stupidity and/or incompetence, so the hormones just made it worse, I think. I spent a lot of time at work in my office with the door closed so I wouldn't be mean to people who didn't really deserve it :)

But the one thing that annoyed me enough to take action was the lack of intelligent conversation on pregnancy-related message boards and websites online. Unlike a technical forum, or even a crafty/business forum like Etsy or 1000 Markets, the pregnancy sites attract a wide cross section of people, a lot of whom seem to be the sort you *don't* want to procreate. Yes, I know that's rude. That's regular me talking, not Angry Pregnant Woman. Deal with it.

A few years ago, I remember a couple of friends from Caltech talking about starting some kind of mailing list for Caltech alumni parents, because Techers are a unique bunch, but also generally a cohesive bunch. At the time, the conversation sounded to me like "blah blah blah kid blah blah baby blah" because I just wasn't ready to think about that stuff.

Of course, when I got pregnant it was like flipping a switch. I now wake up in the middle of the night wondering if we should send BabyX to private school or if public schools around here are good enough. Or whether BabyX should be a vegetarian. Or if BabyX should be allowed to watch TV, and how much. Or any number of things I don't really need to think about for a long time. (Because I'm crazy like that.)

So I reached out to some Caltech friends on Facebook and started a private group to chat about baby and kid-related topics. So far it's been great. It's nice to know that other people are annoyed by the sites out there, and the tone of some of the baby books as well. I've gotten some great recommendations on books to read, baby stuff that is essential (plus what's not) and just general info on what worked for others.

So that's all fine and good, right? In the "community" spirit, TJ and I attended an overview meeting about a local program that exists for new parents to get together and chat about baby stuff. They put you in groups based on where you live and how old your babies are. It all sounded good, so I thought we should get more information by attending this overview.

And wow, was it not my thing. If there was ever anything that underscored my introvert tendencies, that was it. It also confirmed that I do not want to discuss intimate details about my body with complete strangers. While I know I'll have to confront these details eventually with this whole childbearing thing, I still know I'll feel no need to discuss them with anyone except maybe my doctor. Literally 15 minutes into the orientation we got to hear about peoples' breastfeeding issues, cervixes, baby poop, and other things. It was all I could do not to get up out of there and run away screaming.

It also didn't help that TJ was only one of two men in the room and we were the only couple that attended together. Sigh. I know that people need support, and they need to share with others in the same situation, but I was hoping the oversharing would be limited to the *actual* meetings, not the orientation. Some people just like to talk, I guess, and don't realize that others might actually be uncomfortable.

It did confirm that if we are going to participate in this program, we are definitely going to do the couples' one, rather than the moms-only one that meets during the day (which incidentally, annoyed me, because there actually ARE stay at home dads too, duh). I'm hoping that the couples one, and the presence of men, will limit the oversharing of bodily fluid details, and focus more on the parenting aspects.

The facilitator mentioned that the first meeting consists mostly of people sharing their birth stories. OMG, that is about the last thing I want to hear once the ordeal is over. It's *certainly* not something I want to hear now. I'm actually dreading our childbirth and labor course because I am so squicked out about the whole thing. Just drug me and get it over with as soon as possible. I don't need any "miracle of life" here. Better yet, maybe Amazon Fresh could just deliver one BabyX to our house when s/he is ready.

So maybe this support group thing is not for me, and I should just stick to my comfy cozy little Facebook group. We'll see.

And P.S., please don't leave your birth story in the comments. Thank you :)

sharing is nice

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