Sunday, May 31, 2009
I love finding great restaurants. This place had fabulous breakfast and the rest of the menu looked amazing. They also had a cool bar, pastry shop and little market with delicious gourmet things. Such a treasure for downtown. We really want to go again.
Then we got to work walking the district in search of the perfect ring - and we found it! Here it is:
As if the day wasn't fun enough already - we then went to a great little cheese shop by our house and got a sampling of delicious cheeses. We also went to Santa Monica Seafood and got the makings of a great cold platter, one of our favorite things to eat. I felt okay eating the fresh stuff from there and also I didn't have any oysters. The crab, tuna & shrimp was precooked so I think that's fine. I had a little bit of Veuve because it just wouldn't be an anniversary without it. Here are pictures of our feast!
We topped off the night by eating what remained of our wedding cake. John & Heather came over for that - I had a little champagne then too. All in all a fabulous day!!
Friday, May 29, 2009
Last night I went to Santa Monica Seafood with some girlfriends and I had a piece of hamachi sashimi. Whatever. I have only gotten food poisoning once in my life and it was from a cooked piece of halibut with some cooked shrimp jambalaya type stuff on top. It was at a nice restaurant too - Gulfstream in Century City. It was too bad because up until then I had really liked that place and now I don't feel like going there.
I was feeling pretty liberated and proud of myself but going with my theme on this blog of being educated about choices, I decided to dig up a little more research on what the deal is with listeria (the infection you can get from deli meat).
AH! The results were kind of scary. I found a big study about pregnant women and listeria on the Food Poisoning Law Blog that was sufficiently scary to get me worried.
There was a study done on guinea pigs and basically it seems that although listeria isn't usually deadly in non-pregnant people, in pregnant people the listeria tends to invade the placenta. The mother's body cannot get rid of the infection without expelling the placenta, leading to miscarriage and sometimes still birth. This is terrible! Ah!
What is even more of a bummer is listeria can be in other food items. I looked up this listeria blog and found a big list of recent food recalls from listeria. There were all sorts of bagged salad blends and lots of sprouts. I am going to avoid the sprouts for sure but it's hard to avoid salad. I guess the main thing is to wash all veggies as much as possible.
So, I don't know what my verdict is on this. I guess I'll continue to be careful and just try to avoid the deli meat as much as possible.
I am still holding off on the alcohol and caffeine. I know lots of pregnant women don't see this as a big deal and my mom definitely had a glass of wine now and then when she was pregnant with me. Look how good I turned out! But I feel like alcohol and caffeine are different because they travel through the blood stream and would go straight through the umbilical cord to Baby C. I guess I am going to have one exception. I am going to have a little champagne on Saturday. DH and I are celebrating our one year anniversary and we're going to eat the top of our wedding cake which we've saved all year in the freezer. I just can't possibly eat that wedding cake without some champagne. I really hope I don't end up getting heartburn, which can happen to me sometimes with champagne. We'll see how it goes.
Saturday is also a special day because DH and I are going to the jewelry district to check out some rings. I know some people really look down on "push presents" and things like that but I just see it as a mother's ring and a way to commemorate this big life event - and really, do you ever need an excuse for diamonds? I really like those Tiffany's celebration rings - I want to find something kind of like that. But we'll see what they have. Here are some pictures of what I'm hoping to find - I like the ones that have pink sapphires too:
DH's "push present" (ha ha) is his new camera. He loves it and I have to say it's pretty awesome. It's a Canon DSLR - I don't know much else about it but it takes much better pictures than our lame old point and click. It also takes HD video! We tried it out at Theo and Lisa's wedding and I really like it. We want to get a better lens for it eventually but right now he's just trying to learn the camera in general. It's pretty slick. Baby Cummings will definitely have her life documented. DH already took like 150 pictures of the cats. Hilarious. Cats are actually good practice subjects before taking baby pictures because it's impossible to get them to pose or look at the camera. You just have to work with what they feel like doing. Well, that's about it! I am going to Sara's baby shower this weekend and I'm looking forward to that. Lots of things to celebrate lately!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Here are some samples from the inside:
This is a great empowering poem for girls and women alike - I love it. The poem was written by Neil for Tori Amos when she was pregnant with her daughter Natashya and I found out about it when I was reading an interview of Tori. I have loved Tori since Little Earthquakes so I had to find out more about this book.
It does not disappoint! The poem is wonderful and the illustrations (as you can see) are beautiful to look at. I hope it will be a family treasure for always.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
So last time I was at SMPL I stumbled upon the biography section. Ahhh, what joys I found there! It will take me a long time to run out of things to read in that section. I have been working on three books, one I finished already, and each tells the story of three very different women and their times. Each has caused me to think about how we are a product of our environment, not only the larger social world that we live in but also our family and the friends we associate with.
The three books are:
The Smart Alec & The King of the Beats
by Joan Kerouac
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
by Maya Angelou
The Letters of Frida Kahlo
Compiled by Martha Zamora
I felt bad when I read about the tough time Joan Kerouac had of it. She was a free spirited girl who followed a man into New York City from the burbs at the young age of 17. She was able to support herself through various jobs, from waitressing to sewing. She married Jack Kerouac at age 20 and he was a really awful husband. For all the praise he gets for being the forefront of the Beat Generation with his book On the Road and all that - I can't believe what a loser he was at the time he married Joan. He had actually already written On The Road and was living with his mother with no real income. When he married Joan he lived off her meager savings until they had to again move in with his mother.
Joan had aspirations of going to school to learn about genetics, she only had a high school education. Jack was really negative on the idea of her getting an education and believed that she existed to make him happy and even at the end of a long work day, cook him whatever he desired. Even though he wasn't working! (He was sort of writing but at this point none of his books were really producing any income.) Infuriating. She tried to leave the marriage but he would have none of it until she got pregnant - then he was out in a flash. She was better off.
It seemed to me that she had the drive to make her life better but none of the wisdom or the tools. Also, the men she seemed to get involved with (there were others before Jack) thought that a woman was to be seen not heard and primarily good for work around the home. But they had no problem with her also making a few bucks outside the home - as long as she still shouldered all the housework.
I can see how the women of 2nd wave feminism revolted against their roles as homemakers - shoot! I would too if I was responsible for ALL the cooking and housework and treated like an inferior creature. And some of these women, like Joan, also worked outside the home to bring in income!
When I read about the life of Joan Kerouac I am thankful for women like Betty Friedan who revolted against that awfully opppressive life.
Frida Kahlo, on the other hand, had a remarkably liberated life. Although she came of age in the 1930's, she was well educated and free to do as she wished. She did have some troubles in her marriage to Diego Rivera, mostly due to his philandering, but she loved him and chose to be with him as they were soulmates. She triumphed over huge physical disability to be a renowned artist. Amazing. I am not sure if the differences in Frida's opportunity came from her parents being more open-minded, living in another country, or if the 1950's could possibly have been worse for women than the 1930's in some ways. Frida also tended to live on the fringe of society so perhaps she was able to reject social mores much more freely than someone like Joan Kerouac.
I am only half way through Maya Angelou's first autobiography, but it also describes the 1930's. Maya's situation is vastly different because she is black and lives in segregated areas. Still, her female role models are strong women: she lives with her paternal grandmother who owns the only store in town, and her maternal grandmother is a powerful elected official in St. Louis. Since this book is mainly about her childhood, it is hard to tell how these influences will turn out in her development as an adult but it's safe to say we all know she ended up making a huge impact in the world.
Sorry! It must seem like this is a book report! If anyone is still reading - let me know if you would give me an "A" grade. Ha! It's hard to explain how these three books are bumping around in my head and causing a commotion. I just have been thinking so much about my own life and choices, it's fascinating to see what other women were able to do with theirs.
I guess the main thing I'm getting from this is the lessons we can learn from other lives and times and that I want stories like this to offer good and bad examples to my daughter as well. I truly hope that she will love reading as much as I do - that is one thing I really hope to teach her.
I will leave you with a funny saying from DH. He is in NYC this week and I was dissappointed to learn that he will be in Dallas next week. He is going to miss our doctor appointment! This will be the first he has missed. :(
I told him that all this travel is making me sad! He said:
June is my last big push before your big push.
Thanks for the patience. I have one more week after the Texas trip, and then things should quiet down quite a bit.
Ha ha, the last big push before my big push. I thought that was cute.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Also, DH and I celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary this weekend! Hooray - we have been together a year! We were actually up in Berkeley this weekend for Theo & Lisa's incredible wedding so we're going to celebrate our anniversary this coming Saturday. I saved the top of our wedding cake and we're going to eat that - it will be fun. Here we are - 1 year strong:
As you can see - I went with the dress I wore to Lindsay's wedding a month ago. It just was the best choice. The other two dresses that friends loaned to me looked kind of scandalous with my cleavage. Definitely not wedding friendly cleavage!
For the pink dress, I couldn't even fit a bra in there but luckily the top of the dress had some lining so it wasn't too bad. I was even able to wear high heels for part of the event - once I got to the reception I had to go put on my Clarks tennies because my feet had swollen a lot and I couldn't really walk. But I put forth the effort.
Here I am putting my feet up after rocking some sweet dance moves:
And here is a picture I just like:
Aww! Our little family!
Friday, May 22, 2009
My friend was 15 days past her due date so the decision was made to induce. This goes along with what my doctors would have done. She came into the hospital and instead of starting right away with pitocin they gave her a "miso pill" to administer vaginally. She didn't really think much of it and went ahead with it. She was not presented with the risks and benefits of the pill which is again, why you really have to ask these things. The pill did start her contractions so it worked, and she had a normal vaginal birth. However, she did some research after the fact and was upset to find out some of the side effects.
Here is the FDA Alert on Misoprostol (marketed as Cytotec)
An excerpt: There can be serious side effects, including a torn uterus (womb), when misoprostol is used for labor and delivery. A torn uterus may result in severe bleeding, having the uterus removed (hysterectomy), and death of the mother or baby. These side effects are more likely in women who have had previous uterine surgery, a previous Cesarean delivery (C-section), or several previous births.
So my friend wasn't in the high risk group for this drug as it was her first birth and all ended up going well, but still, she would have liked it if she had been more informed.
The drug was originally approved for ulcer treatment and using it for labor is "off label". The ICPA has an interesting article that explains more about Cytotec, Pitocin and C-Sections. Again, just good to know as much as you can.
My friend also sent me this article she found on Cytotec.
So I'm going with a theme here if you can't tell already - just find out your options and don't feel afraid to ask the medical staff questions. This goes for birth but also any medical procedure.
Have a great holiday weekend everyone!
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Seriously my boobs are starting to be an issue. Last night I tried on the dress that I JUST wore on April 18:
I was really hoping to wear it again this weekend at another wedding. It TECHNICALLY fits but I can't even wear a bra because there is no extra room in there. Everything else is fine but the bust is actually painful. I think I can wear it but also the back looks all stretched. Terrible. I paid $150 for this stupid dress and I was really hoping to get two events out of it. Luckily I went walking with my friend Monique yesterday and she is going to bring by a dress she wore when she was preggo that might work. If not, I also have a dress my friend Tiff loaned me that I just remembered or maybe, just maybe, I will squeeze myself into the dress above. We'll see.
Well anyway - just a short little post today. In other news about my appearance, my hair passed an important test today: the going to sleep with wet hair test. When I woke up this morning I just had to wet it down a little, blow dry and curl. It took hardly any time at all. This haircut grows on me every day!
Until next time!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
My mom and DH were both there for the ultrasound. I have to say that I was relieved. I know I would love a little boy or girl equally but I just had this huge desire for a girl. I guess because I grew up with only a sister - a lot of my visions of childhood are girl-centric. I just imagined that we could have little matching outfits and be buddies.
Although DH said that he would be excited about either sex, I was really concerned about how he would feel when we found out we were having a girl. I kept asking my mom if she noticed him being disappointed when the doctor made the announcement. My mom said that he seemed fine. He also corrected me minutes later when I referred to Baby C as "it" and he said "she". He also refers to her as "our daughter" a lot which is really cute. I guess that's about all we can refer to her as since we STILL haven't picked out a name. (We do have a middle name though - Louise - which is my mom's middle name. My mom's father's name is Louis and my mom's brother's middle name is also Louis so it's definitely an important family name.)
So eventually I forgot about all about the gender anxiety thing. But what keeps bringing it to the forefront is other peoples' reactions to it. I know people just think they are being funny but I can't believe how other guys treat DH about the having a girl thing.
When DH mentioned we're having a girl to one friend, he said "yeah, how are you holding up?" This friend has 2 boys. DH didn't really know what to say to that - he said "I'm thrilled!" Which is how I think he really feels. Another friend told DH that he couldn't "shoot boys" or something like that - like his sperm is somehow defunct because we're having a girl. I am sure DH will have to deal with these kinds of comments forever, especially if we get pregnant again and have another girl.
I seem to remember people expressing similar comments to my own father. He had both my sister and me and then 25 years later he had another girl. People gave him grief about it, mostly men trying to be "funny". What is up with this? These are modern times - you'd think we'd have come further as a people and be able to recognize the value of both genders. Although I am such a hypocrite to say that since I've stated right out that I was hoping for a girl.
I found some articles online that deal with sex preference and gender disappointment:
One from Pregnancyinfo.net
One from About.com
And this discussion on About.com from parents who had gender disappointment.
It's interesting. I had a few friends who cried when they found out the gender of their babies - at the ultrasound of course and not the birth. I guess everyone just envisions that their baby is going to be one gender or another and when you find out you are either right or wrong - I guess being wrong can sometimes be a shock. And yes, all of those friends are so happy and in love with their babies.
So anyway, just another thing to ponder! I think the thought I'd like to leave people with is to be careful what you say to preggos when they tell you about the gender of their baby - it's a tender subject for many! Too bad I don't think many men (if any) read this blog - because they could benefit from hearing this too. So I guess ladies - tell your partners that they should try to be sensitive to their buddies who are having girls.
Until next time!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Here is a chart from the article - you can click on it to see a bigger picture:
Man, I don't know what Italy is doing there with an almost 40% c-section rate. One thing that stood out to me about this article is that it was in the business section - not health. The cost of a c-section is obviously much higher than a vaginal birth and a very profitable operation for a hospital. You can see on the map that some states have much higher c-section rates than others.
I have said before that the way a woman chooses to give birth is absolutely her choice and choosing a c-section is a fine option if that is what you really want. But it seems to me with rates this high not every woman is choosing it.
Here is a quote from the article descrbing some of the problems that can arise:
The problem, experts say, is that the cesarean -- delivery via uterine incision -- exposes a woman to the risk of infection, blood clots and other serious problems. Cesareans also have been shown to increase premature births and the need for intensive care for newborns. Even without such complications, cesareans result in longer hospital stays.
Inducing childbirth -- bringing on or hastening labor with the drug oxytocin -- also is on the rise and is another source of growing concern. Experts say miscalculations often result in the delivery of infants who are too young to breathe on their own. Induction, studies show, also raises the risk of complications that lead to cesareans.
The woman profiled in the article chose to have a V-BAC (vaginal birth after c-section) - which means that her first child was a c-section birth and then she had a vaginal birth. She preferred this because she has an active toddler at home that she needs to keep up with. Many hospitals won't even do this so she had to change doctors to find one that would support her. I had a friend in my quilting class who was going to Santa Monica UCLA (my birth place) to have a V-BAC after having a c-section for triplets. She chose SMUCLA because her regular hospital refused her wishes for a V-BAC.
OK - this is where I'm going to get a little opinionated. Please stop reading at this point if you don't want to hear about my views on birthing. I was very strongly affected by the Ricki Lake movie - The Business of Being Born. I've mentioned it before on this blog.
I have not even let DH watch it yet because I wasn't sure if he would get mad and think it was too biased. He sometimes doesn't like to watch documentaries because he thinks they are biased. But the thing is - if you are filmmaker and you care enough about something to make a movie on it - you are probably going to have a bias. So I can watch a documentary with a viewpoint and still be able to say what part applies to me and what part doesn't. Or maybe I think the whole thing is crap -that's fine.
Anyway - one of the points that really affected me in the movie was how we routinely medicalize birth in this country. So many mothers are given pitocin to induce labor and I don't think this is always necessary. The movie showed a birth ward in New York and the nurses had a little matrix showing all the mothers who were in labor. All of the mothers were in different stages of pitocin administration.
I think sometimes it's a matter of convenience for the mother or the medical staff. As much as no one wants to admit it - hospitals are a money making operation. If you have a mother in there who has been in slow labor for 20 hours or so - the medical staff might want to juice her up with some pitocin (synthetic oxytocin) to get things going faster. Unfortunately, most of the time, pitocin makes contractions much stronger and often the baby goes into distress. Guess what - you have a baby in distress - what do you need? C-section. Bang bang boom.
And it's not like pitocin can't have harmful side effects! Read these (from Wikipedia):
Oxytocin is relatively safe when used at recommended doses. Potential side effects include:
- Central nervous system: Subarachnoid hemorrhage, seizures.
- Cardiovascular: Increased heart rate, decreased blood pressure, systemic venous return, cardiac output, and arrhythmias.
- Genitourinary: Impaired uterine blood flow, pelvic hematoma, tetanic uterine contractions, uterine rupture, postpartum hemorrhage.
- Going one week past your due date (it can harm the baby to stay in the womb too long)
- Your water breaks and labor does not progress after 12 hours (once your water breaks, the chance of infection increases... I was told this only comes into play in 15% of births so I'm hoping to be lucky. Also, most of the time if your water does break, labor comes on fast.)
Anyway - the whole point I am trying to make here is that it is important to be educated about your choices and think about the factors that may be coming in to play. It's important to know what decisions you may have to make during the birthing process and it's okay to ask your doctor to explain the risks and benefits of suggested procedures.
If you are interested in reading more about this, below is a list of links that I got from the Business of Being Born website. I have visited some of the links but not all.
ADVOCACY & BIRTH RESOURCES
Childbirth Connection: 212.777.5000 - www.childbirthconnection.org
Choices In Childbirth: 212.983.4122 - www.choicesinchildbirth.org
Citizens for Midwifery: 888.CFM.4880 - www.cfmidwifery.org
My Birth Team - www.mybirthteam.com
Birth Works: 888.TO.BIRTH - www.birthworks.org
Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) - www.motherfriendly.org
American Association of Birth Centers (AABC) - www.birthcenters.org
Perinatal Education Associates - www.birthsource.com
Birth Policy: The Big Push for Midwives - www.birthpolicy.org
Better Birth America - www.betterbirthamerica.com
Giving Birth Naturally - www.givingbirthnaturally.com
Understanding Birth Better - www.understandingbirthbetter.comOK, I am getting down off my soap-box now. Have a good one!
Monday, May 18, 2009
Delicious Cherry Apple Crisp
- 5 big granny smith apples, peeled & sliced (you could also cube)
- Basket of fresh cherries, halfed & pitted
- 3/4 cup hard packed
- 1 cup quick cooking oatmeal
- 3/4 to 1 cup flour
- 1 stick of butter, melted for like 20 secs or so in the microwave
- Little bit of water
- Lay the fruit in a baking dish - each layer should be sprinkled with cinnamon and a little salt
- I poured about 1/4 cup of water on top of the fruit but I think you could add a little more. It tends to make things bubble and the fruit more soft
- Moosh the sugar, oatmeal, flour, 1 tsp cinnamon & melted butter in a bowl, moosh it until it's crumbly. I used a spoon.
- Sprinkle the crumbly mixture on the fruit
- I sprinkled some chopped walnuts on top but I think they would also be good mixed in with the fruit layers
- Bake at 350 for 45 minutes
The before shot - taken on 4/30/09:
The after shot - taken 5/18/09:
So there you have it. I really cut a lot off! But, I do like it. It was an adjustment but it takes a lot less time to blow-dry and style. It also is not so hot. It's funny to hear the reactions of people. Most people say they like it - which is nice. Girls with really long hair say they like it but they couch it with "it always grows back". That's funny. But I think when you are a long hair person you just really get into the long hair mindset. I haven't had my hair this short in like 10 years or so - I think I had that long hair mindset going on. It was kind of a relief to just cut it all off. You get strangely attached to your hair - it feels freeing to just get rid of it.
Also in the "after" picture you can see one of my new dresses. Planet Blue on Montana was having their big sale this weekend. I forget about stuff like that but DH is on top of it because he loves new clothes and he loves sales. So I went there with him on Sunday. I actually found 3 new dresses. The sale was pretty great - everything in the store was 75% off. So the poppy colored dress I'm wearing was $37.50 - marked down from $150. Whoa. It's so comfy. It's kind of Mrs. Roper but just so great to wear. I think it might be meant for a belt but I like it fine how it is. I also got a great dress by Velvet that I hope to wear to my shower if it still fits by then. We'll see.
DH made a funny comment when I tried on all my new dresses for him - "you are really going for a theme with these clothes". (Everything I bought is empire waist and cotton.) I said "uh yeah! Things that fit over my belly!" What does he think, I'm going to get some fitted button down dress? Hilarious. We laughed about that quite a bit.
After going to Planet Blue for my high fashion I went to Rite Aid for some new makeup. I was out of my Smashbox foundation and I am over paying $38 for stuff like that. I picked up some on sale - Almay Brand - 2 for $13.99 or something like that. So maybe the Smashbox stuff is a little better but for me it's not worth paying the difference between $7 and $38. That's 5x more expensive! I also got some new mascaras - 2 for $7.99 - the BOGO sales are pretty great. Again - $3.50 for a mascara vs. $15 or $18 at Sephora - not a tough decision.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Okay, the first thing I got, the mother lode of product advice, is from my friend Sascha:
This thing is huge, you have to click on it to see it in its full glory. This sheet really got me going on my registry. I've been working with it and crossing things out, it's been fun.
I showed this sheet to one of my mommy friends at work and she offered another suggestion - My Breast Friend:
I think one reason I like it is because the name is so funny. She said it's way better than a boppy pillow for breast feeding because it attaches to you so you can get up if you need to. Also, it has a "convenient pocket for nursing and other accessories"... what's not to love?
My friend Tiffiny sent me an email with a cornucopia of knowledge on baby products:
- Diapers-I started out using Swaddlers (really liked) and then just continued to like Pampers diapers. They seemed to work better.
- Wipes-I used the 7th generation wipes for the first month (even when we first brought her home) and then I switched to the Huggies Sensitive (we still use these for Ella). The Huggies are so much bigger and thicker than Pampers wipes.
- Baby Wash/Shampoo-I swear by the California Baby brand (Whole Foods). I have tried and other natural washes, but California Baby is the best and very sensitive! She has never had a reaction and she is ultra sensitive.
- Baby Lotion-I like the Burt's Bees Baby lotion. Again, no negative reaction and I love that it's so natural.
- Diaper Cream-I have tried them all and I love, love, love the Burt's Bees. We put it on her every night before bed and she rarely has had a rash. The few times that she has started to rash up, this clears it up immediately!
- Onesies-Since you will be having a summer baby too, stock up on these. Buy some really cute ones, not just the plain whites. This was all that Ella wore during the hot summer months.
- Receiving Blankets-Carter's Brand wins hands down. They are bigger than most and the perfect size to swaddle really tight. Their thinness is great when it is hot during summer.
- Nursing Tea-Mother's Milk Tea by Traditional Medicinals. I found it at Whole Foods, although, I've seen it online. This really helped me early on when I wanted to make sure that I was producing enough.
- Labels-When Ella went to daycare, I had to label all of her bottles. I found the best stickers ever! They are washable and really stuck to all of her bottles and cups, etc. They are from the website stuckonyou.biz. I bought a pack of the vinyl stickers-shaped. They were really cute.
- Teething tablets-Ella didn't need these until she was about 4 mos. Hyland's Teething Tablets work wonders. They are homeopathic with no side effects. I still use them with her big, crazy molars!
Tiff also wins the awesome friend award for loaning us her Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper. That is definitely key! Thanks Tiff!!!
Just yesterday I got some more great advice from my friend Monique, she actually checked out my registry and then offered some ideas of stuff I didn't have on there...whoa! Nice, huh?
- Sleep sacks- Since you can't give a baby a blanket, and the burritos often comes undone as they start to wiggle, a sleep sack was our favorite and to date that is what Hudson wears over his PJs. Reduces SIDS. As a baby, th eone I loved was and it was the only long sleeve one I could find. Ours came from Right Start but it is also online. The type Hudson uses now (short sleeve) http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2479332
- http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3012847 - We opted for the booster style that fits in our chair & love it. It is by First Years.
- Loved our blue chair- this allowed Hudson to grow in it from infant to when he liked to sit up. My sis had a nice one too but Jager has already outgrown it and he's only 8 months old! We have one like this:http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3247576
- My sis got this one (great for baby but now he's outgrown it) http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2265136
- Playmats are nice but again, they outgrow them quick (packed ours away after he started sitting up)
- We also had a saucer bouncer (I don't see it at baby's) but again, used it for a couple of months and now it's packed away.
- Bottles- It is helpful to get a couple of brands and see what your baby prefers. We use Avent and really like them. We also had a couple Born Free.
- First aid- ours is similar to this but I think has a gum tool (hard to see) http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2437591&isTopSellingItem=true
- under mat (to protect your car)http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2401511
One really interesting piece of advice I got was at my friend Erika's shower. Her friend Deborah learned this from her pediatrician. I will put the picture first and then you can guess what it's used for:
Ha ha ha!! Crisco!! Really? But actually it makes a lot of sense. Deborah said to put some in a little tupperware and keep it at the changing table. Smear a little of the Crisco lovin' on baby's tenders after changing and it will keep the area dry. Very clever! Also it is vegetable based and not petroleum so it's much better! Genius! I am all for solutions like this.
This info was passed on to me by my preggo friend Sara, whose sister-in-law was kind enough to share:
- I strongly urge you to add the "Milk Bank" system and storage bottles to your list. They are by far the best way to keep your pumped milk fresh, and the bottles never leak. Avent is pretty good too, but Milk Bank does everything Avent does, and better. Medela and Born Free bottles are known to leak - just check out the reviews on babiesrus.com.
- Also on the bags, I recommend Lansinoh, not Medela (after my own trial and error), because they are double-walled and double-zipped, and thus keep the milk fresh longer.
I have got a lot of reinforcement on our choice to purchase the Frog:
Yes it is expensive but it can last for two babies and also it's just sturdy. I have a friend who worked her way through three other strollers before settling on the Frog. So it must be good. My friend Shawna (another Frog proponent) is even going to loan me the thing that connects your Graco Snugride carseat to the Bugaboo frame for the first months. We got it our Frog for $500 (crazy sale, no tax, no shipping) so I don't feel so bad. But good news for people who want a Frog and haven't purchased yet.... they have lowered the price! I think they are like $630 now. So that's much better than before.
Also I got tons of great product recs from the book Tiff loaned me:
And I had two preggo friends recommend the Baby Bargains book - my friend Khalilah even sent me some chapters from an online version. Very cool to look at. Since I've been making so many purchase decisions already, it was nice to reconfirm with Baby Bargains because they rate everything.
I also check on things online with Consumer Reports - a great service.
So is your head spinning yet? Sheesh! Babies sure need a lot of STUFF!!! But it's all fun. It's great to talk to other women about what works for them and see how their own research panned out. My friend Monique even recommended a pediatrician - but I haven't been able to wrap my head around that yet! I have to get going on that. I have two pediatrician recs and one does appointments and one does information nights - I guess next week I'll have to get on the ball with that.
Have a great weekend everyone!!!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Out of all the childhood / pregnancy / parenting books I have read so far, this is my favorite and it has really got me thinking.
I love this book so much because it keeps coming back to the theme of raising children the way that's best for you and being empowered to make your own choices. It's fantastic.
The most recent chapter I read was so interesting, it discussed our female friendships in the context of being mothers. It looked at both how we continue our relationships with our friends who are not parents, as well as with our friends who are. Also, meeting new friends through parenting groups and things like that. (Like my Mommy & Me class in October - it will be so fun!)
As a non-parent, I tried to keep in touch with my mommy friends and not let them get out of touch too much. I am fine with having outings that include children or just doing a girls day to give them time off. Now that I am pregnant I really cherish those friendships because these mommy friends are full of great stories and advice. I know some of my friends who are not pregnant or mothers are concerned that once baby comes, I won't have time for them anymore. But I really don't want that to happen. Friendship always takes effort and with a baby it will just take a bit more.
An interesting point the book brought up was that sometimes advice from your parent friends can be difficult to listen to and sometimes just totally wrong for your situation. Amy Richards tells the story of her first baby, and how all her friends told her she'd be just totally buried once the baby was born. She went out and stocked up like she was preparing for D-Day - she got printer ink cartridges, stocked the cupboard with food, toilet paper - you name it. Then she came home with her little one and she was totally fine. She did not feel overwhelmed at all. I discussed this with my mom a bit and my mom said that she felt the same way. Of course, she was more tired because of the sleep deprivation but she never felt overburdened or out of control.
Of course I get all sorts of advice "wait until the baby gets here" and doomsday stuff like that. But you know - attitude is a big part of how your life goes! Like Amy and my mom, I'm a pretty resilient and low stress person and so is my husband. I think we're going to have a great approach to parenting and I think I'll be able to handle it fine.
It's the same thing with birth stories. I have really been avoiding hearing a lot of peoples' birth stories. It came up at the shower here at work. One man said - "you want nightmare? My wife was in labor for 32 hours and she maxed out the pitocin!" Whatever that even means. I am always hearing of these labor for x amount of hours crap stories from people.
You know, I have read more than one book with true birth stories and most of the labors were longer than 12 hours and some went over a few days. It just started slowly and the women treated it as a natural process - stayed in their homes, ate, slept, relaxed. Then the midwives came when the labor progressed. I do think it could be tough to labor for many hours at the hospital, not in your own home environment. That's why I'm hopeful that our doula will be helpful. Of course, there are situations when you have to go to the hospital earlier: your water breaks, you have group B strep, etc. So yes, I will be flexible. But I am just trying to tune in to positive birth stories and not these war stories that many men and women have. I am going into it with a positive attitude - it's an exciting day!
So anywayyyy.... back to the friends thing....
Besides your friends giving you advice that can be off base for you - it's also important to recognize how we are often competitive with our female friends. It's a natural human thing to experience and it's just good to be aware of it. I know that I feel competitive more with some people than others and I just have to try to see it for what it is and moderate it.
One thing I really liked was that the book stressed the importance of female relationships and having a community of support. To me, this is the most important thing. I am grateful for my friends and even though there are ups and downs, they all have so much to offer me and I hope I am as helpful to them. I get so many great perspectives from them, even when I don't agree. Taking a closer look at the dynamics I have with my friends helps me to glean what I can from them but in the end, make the decisions that are uniquely mine and best for my lifestyle and family. Be good to your friends and be true to yourself!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
UGH! Everything hurt! I just felt so crammed into the pants and then my legs were so sore from walking on the wedges. Even though I don't walk that far - 5 blocks to work and 5 blocks back - it was just terrible. I got home from work and couldn't get off the couch. We had to order dinner instead of making it because I just couldn't help. DH was very nice and massaged my poor tired legs for me.
So my new favorite thing to wear is dresses. I have acquired quite a few of those stretchy type dresses over the years and they work beautifully. I may have to go pick up a few more at the Maxx Studio Outlet.
It is hard for me to imagine that I am going to get bigger - and I know that I am! I feel so big already! Every day I step on the scale and I've gained more. I gained 0.2 pounds between yesterday and today. And I didn't even pig out yesterday! My body is just on a growing mission I guess.
In other news about how I look (like anyone cares), I am getting a haircut this weekend. The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy says you shouldn't do anything drastic to your hair during pregnancy, so at my last haircut I just got a trim. But my hair is soooo long!!! Too long! So I am going to see what they can do about giving me a little more of a style and chop off some of the length. I decided that the Girlfriend's Guide is funny but I definitely can't follow a lot of the advice in there. Just like any book. You have to find what works for yourself.
Have a great day!
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
The glucose test is when you drink this bottle of very sugary syrup water and then they test your blood one hour after to see how you react to it. It was not fun to drink. I love sugary stuff so I thought I would be fine but towards the end of the bottle I was having trouble. I mean, drinking an orange Fanta (kind of like what mine tasted like) is one thing but having to pound it in five minutes first thing in the morning with no food is another thing.
The test checks for gestational diabetes. I am glad I don't have to worry about that now. A friend of mine was close to the border line and she has to watch even her fruit intake. She can't have as much fruit as before and not before lunch. I always have a fruit snack around 10 am and also I just love fruit, chocolate and candy. For breakfast I have raisin bran usually and today I had raisin bread with cottage cheese and some strawberry preserves. So it would be really hard for me to cut back on the sugar. I don't feel I do excessive sugar but I do like sweet things and especially fruit.
I am now 26 weeks and I've gained 26 pounds. I hope this doesn't mean I'll be 40 pounds at 40 weeks. Friends have told me you stop gaining towards the very end because your stomach is so smooshed you can't eat that much. So we'll see. I really haven't been exercising besides walking to work and back and occasionally walking around on weekends. So I'm sure if I start exercising again post-partum it will be an uphill battle.
Last night I plowed through most of another baby book, The Science of Parenting:
It looks like a big book but it's written kind of like a 5th grade text book with lots of pictures and call out boxes and things. Also since I've read so many baby books now, I can gloss over a bunch of stuff because it's repetitive. Yesterday was actually the first day I discovered the HUGE section of the libarary devoted to child rearing methods. Up until now I'd been browsing around in the pregnancy and childbirth section which is much smaller. It was kind of ridiculous how many books there were on raising kids. I think I'm about done with all the baby book reading for now. I'm going to look into some sleep training books and then I'm going to ease off for a while. I think I've absorbed almost all I can. Set a reading addict like me loose in a big library like ours and I just go nuts.
So the Science of Parenting was interesting, it explored some research of the infant and child brain. It repeated some things I've read before but with more of the brain science twist to it.
The book really went along with the attachment parenting themes and I think a lot of the research quoted in attachment parenting books (Drs. Sears) may be the same research from this book. Again, this book really came down hard on sleep training. Since I have not read any sleep training books yet, I cannot really say myself what I think of it. I definitely think that just leaving an infant to cry it out for an indefinite time period is not helpful to them. They learn to soothe themsleves but perhaps at the expense of their later mental health. Some friends of mine taught their baby to sleep with a modified cry it out method:
At first they let the baby cry for 5 minutes, then came back and reassured her. Then 10 minutes, etc. I am not sure what the best method is. Some babies are fine being left to sleep in their crib from the get-go. I have the Weissbluth book on order at the library and have also read the Happiest Baby on the Block. We have the Happiest Baby DVD too so that will probably be useful when the time comes. We'll see. Maybe Baby Cummings will just fall right to sleep but then again, she could also be a high needs baby. Babies are like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to get!
Oh, one new interesting thing I learned from this book is that if the mother is stressed during the last three months of pregnancy - the stress hormones can pass through to the baby. So if mom is stressed, that increases the chance of having a high needs (fussy) baby. That was really interesting. So now I have even more incentive to just chill out. I am not too worried about it, I have pretty low stress levels in my life in general. So I am just really going to keep focusing on that because I have 14 weeks to go, just over 3 months.
Well okay then - have a great day everyone!
Monday, May 11, 2009
The only kind of funny thing about the shower was the food provided was these rolled up deli wrap things - all deli turkey. I have been trying to avoid deli meat - the whole listeria thing. But, I just ate the wraps anyway. I also ate a deli meat sandwich on the plane to Hawaii because that's the only decent thing that was available and I was hungry. I think that the not eating deli meat thing may actually be a little ridiculous. I think the not eating sushi thing might also be a little ridiculous - perhaps for my next pregnancy (if we have one) I will just eat both of those things. I have only gotten food poisoning once in my life and it was at Gulfstream in Century City. I ate halibut or something - cooked - with cooked shrimp jambalaya type stuff on it. So that's not even something you are supposed to avoid. So I think most food around here is pretty safe.
Saturday I went to a shower for my friend Erika - her second baby - another boy. I have heard mixed opinions about showers for second babies. I checked out a few online etiquette sources and all of them say showers for second, third, etc. babies are totally fine. I agree with that. Each baby is special and to be celebrated. There were cute ideas as to having a book shower or a pamper the mother shower if she already has a bunch of baby stuff. But anyway, bottom line is I think showers for babies besides the first are AOK. And this shower was so fun! The decorations were great, delicious food - and all capped off with a super tasty red velvet cake. Mmmm...cake.
After the shower I drove out to see Super Auntie and bring her to my mom's house. She surprised me with a Mother's Day gift! It was so cool and unexpected! She gave me the cutest little baby hat and bug baby booties - I will have to get a picture of them, so cute. Also she gave me the hard back book - Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs! Yeah!!!
This is a book I really loved as a kid and I'm so excited to add it to our baby library!! I read it last night and really enjoyed the story and illustrations - so fun.
Also, Super Auntie got her first kick from Baby Cummings - Baby Cummings really let her have it! Super Auntie was a little freaked out! It was pretty funny. We were sitting out enjoying the evening and Baby was really dancing. Everyone could see it and Super Auntie got to feel it!!
Sunday we had a delightful Mother's Day bruch at the Claremont Botanical Gardens. Super Auntie made the plan and we took Grandma & Mom. We had four generations there counting Baby Cummings!
This is the best picture we could get - taken with a cell phone - we were all boneheads and forgot a camera. There was a professional photographer there taking family pictures so I'm excited to see how that turns out. It will be a really great souvenir of a really nice day. Super Auntie really outdid herself with this great plan. I also got a little gift at the brunch - they had gifts for all moms and the nice woman running it decided that I count as a mom too! So that was great!
After the brunch, my fam all pitched in and bought Baby Cummings two stuffed owl puppets so that was even more gifts! It was so neat! What a great weekend.
One thing missing from this great weekend was DH. He was actually in Mexico for his brother's bachelor party - he really was living it up! I am happy they were able to have so much fun. Regarding the whole swine flu thing - I had him go to the doctor before the trip and he got a prescription for Tamilflu - which he took the whole time and will take for the next week. So I think we covered our bases there. I am looking forward to seeing him tonight and hearing the stories of debauchery.
Until next time!
Friday, May 8, 2009
So anyway, back to Opting In:
I wasn't quite sure what I was getting into with this book. Amy Richards is a third-wave feminist. I didn't even know what that was so I had to research it on Wikipedia. Turns out there are three waves of feminism, basically:
1st wave = suffragettes
2nd wave = 1960's feminists like Betty Friedan (The Feminine Mystique), women's lib
3rd wave = 1990's and later - a reaction to the 2nd wave and trying to adjust things they thought the second wave did wrong
There are also post-feminists, which believe that the goals of the second wave have been achieved and there is no longer a need for feminism. All this was very interesting to me. I never really thought about whether I identified as a feminist. I do read some feminist blogs, like Broadsheet at Salon and Feministing.
So I started reading Opting In and began to realize how important these issues are to me. I have not finished the book yet but it's interesting - it is done in a journalistic style with a lot of references to research and studies. So far the book supports a woman's choice to retain her career as well as being a mother - more to keep up her personal identity and validate her life's work before her child-bearing years. The book is interesting in that it offers different ways to do this - flextime, part-time, reduced hours, even taking a few years off and then going back. It says that often women look at their careers a little differently and see the importance of work-life balance more.
I definitely agree with that in my own life. I have my undergraduate degree in business and MBA but I haven't pursued the fast-paced career that many MBAs choose. I have a great position at a small company but I don't really have any more of the corporate ladder to climb unless I leave to go somewhere else. But I'm okay with that. I have a good handle on my job and I like the people I work with. I know that I can handle this job along with the challenges of motherhood and I look forward to returning to work.
Another really interesting point in the book was how many people often judge more well-off mothers for going back to work. People seem to okay the choice of lower income mothers to go back to work because that's what they need to do to make ends meet. But someone whose husband makes what people view as "enough" to survive - then that mother is selfish for choosing to return to work - a bad mother.
I've actually had more than one person question my desire to return to work on this basis. Yes, we are very fortunate that DH makes enough to support us. But it's more than the money. I went to school for many years and contributed a lot of money to get the degrees that I have. If I take off for 5 years or so and come back - I know I will not have the position and responsibility that I have earned by my continued work on the career track. Also, I enjoy contributing to our household finances and feel that my work is valued. In addition, my work affords us to save more money for Baby Cummings and her college fund, and other extra-curricular things she may enjoy. But I still think I can be a great mother and find fulfillment and enjoyment in that role. So I guess I am a feminist.
With all these ideas rolling around in my head, I seem to find more things that are related. It's so interesting to see the way society works and how different people view parenting.
Ayelet Waldman's blog - Mind Your Own Kids - talks about judgements she receives from other parents everywhere she goes. It has some interesting stories like how when she gave her son a bottle at the store - a woman behind her poked her nose in her business and said "you know, breast is best." Ironically the bottle was filled with breast milk - her son had trouble latching on and she'd been going through hell with the process. But she was outraged that someone would butt in like that. She also talks about how opinionated the Attachment Parenting people can be and how they are always telling other parents how to raise their kids. Of course, the AP books are really popular and the Drs. Sears are very critical of other ways to raise children. Are you an awful person if you try to train your child to sleep through the night? I don't think so - but many people do.
I also stumbled across this article by Jennifer Block - The Backlash to Breast is Best - which examines why breastfeeding is under attack. It is a retort to the Atlantic article I mentioned in this blog previously. If you are interested, I will let you read it for yourself. But I thought it was a great piece and it definitely supportive of breastfeeding.
So it appears that parenthood, as in many things in life, is full of opinions. It is just like religion and politics. How you act and what you choose as a parent is such an ingrained part of who you are that everyone has strong beliefs about what is right. We have already been faced with choices about what kind of parents we will be and we try to make those decisions with the most information and thought that we can muster. So far we've chosen:
- nursery furniture
- registry items
- disposable diapers
- vaginal birth (if all goes well)
- breastfeeding (again, if all goes well)
It's Mother's Day this weekend so don't forget to do something special for the moms in your life.
Have a good one!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
But for us, we are not only content to rent, we are happy about it. We do feel like our rental unit is a home for us and our new family. We like that we don't have to spend any time or money on maintenance - every time something goes wrong, we just call someone and it's fixed, no problem, nothing out of our pocket. Yes, we have older appliances but they all do their jobs just fine. (OK, our washer is REALLY loud and I wish we had a new one.)
I don't worry much about the carpet, the walls, anything - because we will eventually move out and start over. We have an interesting situation where we will probably only be able to stay in our place two more years - the owner of our unit is a young girl who may want to move back at age 18. This is fine with us too - we enjoy a change of scenery.
Both DH and I do think that we will buy some day when the time is right for us, when we are ready to commit to a neighborhood and really settle somewhere. But now is not the time. For now, we value the freedom of renting more than the security of owning. To each his own!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
I think Baby Cummings enjoyed herself! She certainly enjoyed all those desserts I ate. Sugar really puts her in the mood for some dance moves.
If you would like to see more trip pics, you can view the album by clicking here. (I think you may have to sign up for Facebook but why not? It's a nice tool to use and it's free.)
So the trip was great. The plane ride was fine, I just made sure to get up and go to the bathroom a bunch of times - not like I had a choice! As all you preggos know, the frequency of bathroom visits definitely increases during pregnancy.
On our last day on the island, we ended up sitting next to a newborn specialist for a little bit. She was kind of like a post-partum doula, she goes and stays with new families at night and helps baby to sleep. She had a couple of book recommendations so once I'm done with my current set I have a few more to look into at the library.
I am now at the point where I am obviously preggers. I have people everywhere asking me when I'm due and things, this is fine. One strange thing is that no strangers have tried to touch my belly. I have heard this happens to a lot of preggos so it's funny that it hasn't happened to me. But that's fine, I'd rather have the personal space.
Today we had another doctor's appointment, I had to drink the glucola drink - sugary orange syrup, and then they took a blood test. I get the results in 3-4 days. I think I'll be fine though because it didn't really affect me.
Our next appointment is in 4 weeks and it's with the only doctor in the group we haven't met yet. They have all been fine so far. Also, after our next appointment I'll be going more often than every four weeks. I will also be in the third trimester! For me, the third trimester starts on May 25. Wow. Things are really moving along!!!