Thursday, December 10, 2009

What? Christmas is coming? That soon?

I know, I know, I just realized how long it's been since I last posted. And just how close Christmas is! The real truth of the matter is that I've been putting all my blogging energy into our food blog, We're doing an-idea-a-day for foodie Christmas gifts. But back to Mr. Leo.
So the relieving news (for my back) is that his growth is slowing down a bit. When we were at his 6 month check-up, he was up to 21.5 pounds, slowing down from the 97th percentile in height/weight to the 90th percentile or so. Which is fantastic. Now maybe he can wear the same clothes for more than two months!

He's starting to get pretty good at sitting up on his own - manages to stay there for anywhere from 3 to 30 seconds before slowly tipping over like the leaning tower of Pisa. And when you put him on his tummy, he manages to scoot around quite a bit. Not crawling yet, but it's clearly not far off. His little butt gets up in the air a bit, but he can't get his tummy up just yet. Still giggling quite a bit when he is tickled (as long as he is in the right mood) which is frankly just adorable.
Leo will be the centerpiece of our Christmas card this year (no surprise there!). We did a photoshoot to get just the right picture, and the one we chose is really great. Here, for your viewing pleasure, are some of the runner-up shots.
Looking forward to doing the Tour De Grandparents for the holidays, starting in about a week - but it's gonna be a long time traveling around. But Leo's been begging to go visit his grandparents, so I guess we gotta go!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

6 Months Old Already!

Yeah, six months old, as of yesterday. Which is just wild. He goes in for his six month check-up next week, so we'll share his updated stats then. I think he will now weigh in at 500 pounds.
Leo just getting over his first cold. Yep, that was fun. Byron had it for almost a week before Leo showed any symptoms, and when he developed a seriously stuffy nose it didn't seem to bother him at all. Except for when we tried to clean it out.... that part, he didn't care for. Any attempt to either wipe his nose, or suction the goo out with the aspirator were met with wild wailing and sobbing. With actual tears, which up till now has been really rare with him. Nothing like making your child really cry to make you feel like a fantastic parent. At least the stuffy nose seemed to be the only symptom, and didn't really alter his sleep pattern much (besides making it louder).
Other than being sick, not to much excitement here - Leo and I have been enjoying almost daily walks, enjoying all the fall colors. Leo continues to get stronger and more dexterous, getting pretty good at holding items with his hands. And he soooo wants to be able to crawl, when you put him on his tummy he tries to push with his legs and pushes up with his arms a bit - just doesn't seem to grasp yet that he need to do all of this at once to move. I suppose we should enjoy this non-mobile stage as much as we can for now, once he starts to crawl I'll be spending my days chasing after him.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

First pool, first ocean, first Halloween!

For Byron's fall break, we headed down to his folk's vacation place in Naples Florida, for a little relaxing beach vacation. Byron's parents came down too, to enjoy a nice chunk of Leo time. Leo was outfitted with a whole bunch of great vacation gear - two swimsuits, a couple of cute hats, and an awesome pool float. He ended up loving the pool, and the pool float, partially because the water was so warm, I think. The ocean, he was a bit more skeptical about that. The waves seemed to make him a little nervous, and the water was pretty cold.

The plane rides were a mixed bag - he did pretty darn well on the way down (a direct flight) and on the first of the two flights home....but then as we started to land on the second flight, he melted down. Not too bad, all things considered.

Then this past Friday, one of Byron's classmates had a little Halloween party, and we dressed Leo up as a lion (we just couldn't resist) and we dressed as his lion tamers. I picked up a basic lion costume at a second hand kid's stuff store, then embellished it with some furry fabric, and I think it turned out pretty well. It was mostly fun just to see him looking cute, he of course had no idea of what was happening. Next year I imagine he'll be a bit more entertained by the whole thing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Baby Byron and Baby Elise

After a conversation with friends about whom Leo looked most like, I decided it would be fun to post some baby pictures of Byron and I and see what everyone thinks. I thought he looked more like Byron until I found this picture of myself, at about a year old (and look how blond my hair is!). Kinda reassuring to see that I had no eyebrows to speak of either when I was a baby. No idea how old Byron is in his picture.

Leo is now 5 months old, and currently enjoying the make-loud-screechy-noise-for-no-reason phase. It's pretty cute, though occasionally very very loud. Sometimes it feels like we're living with a terodactyle. Or a howler monkey. But a cute cuddly one.

Monday, September 28, 2009

First bite!

my spoon, originally uploaded by Click Click Chick.

We gave Leo his first few bites of rice cereal this weekend, and he seemed to like it! Though as this photo shows, he also very much liked the spoon. There are a few more photos on my Flickr page:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

4 Months Old

Our big big boy is now just over 4 months old! We went into the pediatrician last Friday for his check-up, and confirmed that he is indeed gigantic. He is now 19 pounds 2 ounces, 27 inches tall. Yep. Which is apparently the 97th percentile for weight and height, and oh yeah head size too. So it's official, he's enormous, already in the 9 month size clothing range! And about to outgrow his carseat too, that maxes out at 22 pounds. Time to start browsing reviews for the next bigger size.

Leo has become super duper smiley as of late, and has started to laugh too. He LOVES to be bounced up high into the air, and that almost always makes him laugh. He's still drooling like a fiend, and has enjoyed chewing on his frozen teething ring lately. Actually besides chewing it, he also seems to like just licking it.

In crafty news, I'm working on some cute decor for Leo's room: a big felt giraffe and tree to go on the wall. The giraffe is mostly done, and a bunch of the leaves are cut, just need to get the tree cut out of felt and the whole thing tacked up on the wall. I'll post pictures as soon as it's done.

The pediatrician said we could start feeding Leo rice cereal anytime between now and 6 months - given how intently he watches me when I eat and tries to steal my fork, we think he may be ready to give it a try soon. I'm sure it will make for amusing photos!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Roll Over Leo

Roll Over Leo, originally uploaded by Click Click Chick.

I just happened to catch this footage of Leo rolling over this morning - maybe the third time he's rolled himself over on a flat surface. He's getting big in a rush!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Thumbs Up

It's finally happened. Our little man has discovered the thumb on his hand, and its apparent deliciousness. He had seemingly accidentally found it and sucked it a few times in the last month or two, but in the last two days (and especially today) he has really gone to town on that sucker. Which, as a breastfeeding mom of a baby that hates pacifiers other than the mammary variety, I am A-OK with. When he needs soothing and won't take a pacifier, I've always had to nurse him. Now hopefully he can soothe himself a bit and give Mommy's parts a rest. I know everyone has their own opinion about thumbsucking. Byron has confessed that he was an avid thumbsucker as a kid, a habit which was apparently hard to break. Personally I don't remember being one myself (but I do remember chewing on my hair... which of course sounds gross now). We'll see if this thumbsucking continues - given his love of sucking on my pinkie, I'm pretty sure it will.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

flying with mom

flying with mom, originally uploaded by Click Click Chick. an attempt to stop some fussin', I lifted him up into the air above my head. Which did indeed stop the fussing. But what this photo misses is the glob of drool which dripped onto my face from his drooly mouth just moments later....Ah, babies.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A happy drooler

a happy drooler, originally uploaded by Click Click Chick.

This photo is a testament to just how drooly our little man has become - note the drip about to come off his chin! This photo also shows just how smiley he has become - he'll almost always smile back at you when you smile at him. And he gets especially smiley when Byron comes home from school, he just grins and grins at him. He has also inexplicably taken to smiling at the ceiling fan above our bed. Go figure. Developmentally, things are progressing well too - Leo is really becoming much more aware of his surroundings. Those mobiles and crib toys have become mesmerizing for him. There's one musical sun toy that we have attached above his changing table, and if you change him without turning it on he get visibly disappointed. He's just about achieved complete neck control, and pushes himself up quite well when on his tummy. And he loooooooves to stand up, with just his hands held for balance. An early walker, I bet. He's just starting to be able to control his hands well, and he loves to suck/chew on them. He gets noticeably better at grabbing things with each passing day. Pretty soon he'll be handy enough to mow the lawn or something and earn his keep! :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

3 Months Old!

toes in the grass, originally uploaded by lisiegrin.

Yeah, he's three months old now. Wild, eh?
Yesterday we had lunch in Notre Dame Stadium's press box, as part of Byron's orientation. We then got to tour the locker room and field, where Leo enjoyed putting his toes all over the field's grass. More pictures can be found on my Flickr page:
And of course, everyone in the MBA program loves Leo - he's been a happy, calm baby at every event we went to this week, so they all think he's miraculously good! They just don't see him in the car on the way home, wailing....

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Well the last several days in the Kern household have been less than idyllic. Leo has been pretty fussy all day long, and has become suddenly incapable of napping for any reasonable period of time. Sigh. Which has been compounded by the fact that he has suddenly become pretty chompy when eating, which has put dear old Mom in an unpleasant state of pain, and less enthused about nursing him when he fusses. Overall, a real dandy couple of days. On the upside, he's continued to be pretty good at night (thank god), just taking a little longer to fall asleep, but not waking up more than usual. I don't know if it's teething pain (our little man has become quite the drooler, which is supposedly a symptom of teething) or what, but let's all hope it stops soon, and our cute pleasant baby comes back.....

Monday, August 3, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Daddy Chair

Yes, I've found that Leo's favorite chair is me. the Boppy pillow provides a nice leg rest and he can just lean back on my chest. Comfy for both of us, and daddy's arms get a rest from holding him.

Leo continues to be more and more interested in the things around him - he's even managed to pull the little ring on the musical toy in his play pen to start up the tunes a few times. We're pretty sure it's only partly intentional, but he definitely looks over at it when the music plays.

His hair is getting a little darker day by day too... looks like he's gotten some reddish coloring like I have in my beard, so he may be a blue-eyed, auburn-haired charmer before too much longer!

Other news of the "Yay!" variety - Leo is pretty consistently sleeping very soundly at night, only waking up a few times, and many nights doesn't even require a diaper change. Exciting stuff! Now if we could just get him to nap on his own instead of needing to be in a lap...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Grinning at Dad

grinning at dad, originally uploaded by lisiegrin.

Just took this adorable picture of Leo, and had to share his cuteness right away. Funny that he's smiling at his daddy while wearing a 'Mommy and Me' onesie.....

Just finished a short visit with Gram, who drove over from Chicago to play. We made peach jam, went to the zoo, and enjoyed Leo's antics.

If you're interested in seeing more pictures, I upload all the best of my Leo pics to my Flickr page - many of them make it here to the blog, but not all of them. Here's the link:

Monday, July 13, 2009

The cutest photo ever

So our DSL internet is FINALLY up and running in South Bend, yahoo! And just in time to share this absolutely adorable photo I took of Leo a few days ago, smiling up at the black & white animals I velcroed to the bar above his portable crib. He just loves them, and will smile up at them when we place him in there during the day. Anywho, it's definitely the cutest picture we've taken of him, and might appear on his birth annoucements if we ever get around to sending some out.

Leo had his two month visit with the pediatrician's practice that was recommended to us here today, and is now a whopping 14 pounds 14 ounces. Yeah - that's in the 97th percentile for his age. And he's between the 85th and 90th percentile for his length. Big big boy! The new practice seems good, the doc examined him while he was on my lap, which was really nice. And Leo barely freaked out while getting his shots - just a brief wail then done.

Leo has had quite the social life in the last two weeks - got to meet his cousins Thomas and Elizabeth while at Grandma's in Missouri, then hang out with Grandpa here last weekend. And it looks like Gram is on tap to visit this weekend, and then maybe Grandma will drive up the weekend after! Grandparents everywhere!!!! :) And he just loves it. And so do we.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Smile!

So we've completed our move to South Bend, and our internet is not fully functional yet (grrrr to you Earthlink!) but we do have dial-up, and I have to share this cute picture with you. Little Leo is smiling at us on a daily basis, and I got some cute video of him wiggling and cooing, but that will have to wait until the DSL is up and running. We're settling into the new house, and slowly unpacking. Leo seems to like it just fine so far, and in fact loves the window right next to his changing table. We're off to his first social venture this weekend (a friend's wedding) down in St Louis, which should make for an interesting road trip. Cross your fingers for us that we survive it!

Friday, June 19, 2009


Well mom (a.k.a. The Boobie Bar) is tied up at the moment, so dad's on blog duty today.

The changes are already coming fast and furious with Leo... he's spending more and more time alert and awake, and seems to love being held upright either standing or kneeling on a lap so he can hold his head up and look around. He's totally enthralled by the crown molding in the living room - it must be the contrast of the dark wood against the white ceiling, but we've also thought that since babies are rumored to be able to see ghosts, maybe our living room is haunted by some previous crown molding and he can see that. He'll just sit (or stand) and stare up at it open mouthed and wide eyed for minutes at a time though - too funny!

He's already fitting perfectly into the 3 month sized clothing (he's a serious hoss!), and I'm guessing it won't be long before he outgrows some of that too. The cute little ND outfit is from his great-aunt Becky, and he looked ridiculously cute in it. We'll be moving to South Bend next week, so it's good to get him started with his allegiances now. Go Irish!

Mom and dad got to go out for an actual date yesterday thanks to some great babysitting by aunt Kristin and uncle Rickie, which was awesome. We went to a movie and had a nice lunch out (complete with a margarita), then topped it off with a trip to Target for more diapers and wipes. It was great to get out, but then lovely to come home to our little man. We think Leo intentionally balanced his cuteness and crying time for Kristin and Rickie while we were gone, because he knew if he acted too cute then they would likely abduct him.

And Leo is nearly smiling now! He has smiled in his sleep for weeks, but in the last two days he has started to get really close to smiling back at us when awake - his dimples appear and his lips start to move, but he hasn't quite mastered the skill just yet. Soon! Then mommy and daddy will probably melt from the cuteness...

Friday, June 12, 2009

12 pounds?!?!

Leo turned 4 weeks old this week, and we went to his 4 week checkup on Tuesday. Not only has his head grown 1/2 inch and his height 1/2 inch, but he is all the way up to 12 pounds! He gained two pounds in two weeks. Whew! I mean it felt like he was getting heavier but seriously. He has also outgrown some of the newborn size outfits already, no surprise there.
He is also starting to enjoy the occasional bottle of pumped breastmilk, which is a win-win for all of us. That allowed me to get out of the house last night for a girly-girl beauty event that Kristin organized at a salon downtown, while Byron was a superdad and wrangled Leo all evening. A real treat for me! And now our major project is working on packing up our apartment for our move to South Bend in a week and a half. Whee! If only Leo would start pulling his weight and pack up his room for us.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Three Weeks Old!

Hard to believe, but he's three weeks old today. Hooray! He's started to be a bit more awake during the day (and kinda fussy in the evening) then sleeping longer stretches at night (four hours for a stretch last night) which is nice. I mean, the fussing in the evening is not so nice, but the longer sleeping is good. Other than that, he's currently enjoying some baby acne, which is apparently quite common at this stage. He looks like a little teenager.
We're taking him out for little walks almost every day, mostly for our own sanity. He generally falls fast asleep about 30 seconds into any outing, from the motion. Which is fine with us! The other day we went out to the lakefront at Montrose Harbor, and walked out on the pier. Handsome Mr. Leo got to don his brand new hat, and looked very cute in it.
He also continues to smile in his sleep occasionally, which is frankly the cutest thing I think I have ever seen.
Developmentally, he seems to be ahead of the curve with his hands - he keeps them open much of the time, which apparently is not common until the third month. And he's gaining more and more neck/head control, which is great. He's definitely growing, and is already giving daddy back pain - more of that to come I'm sure!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Two weeks old and growing

Our little man turned two weeks old a few days ago, and he is already back above his birth weight. Whee! As some of you know, newborns tend to lose some weight in the week after birth, then rebound. Well our Leo has been eating (and pooping) like a champion, and is now back above his birth weight. In fact, he is almost 10 pounds now. Big boy!
He's occasionally sleeping up to 4 hours at a stretch at night, which is delightful. Hopefully we can start to see some more of that kind of activity. He's also spending longer stretches of time during the day awake, and looking around at everything.
He also seems to be enjoying bathtime (hooray!) After the first bath with the water a bit too cold, we've warmed it up and he loves it. Just sits there with his eyes open, checking us out.
And I think he may end up having curly hair - while there's not much hair there yet, we're starting to see a bit of a wave in the back.
We've also started enjoying almost daily walks, which seem to put him right to sleep. And make Mommy and Daddy happy too, it sure is nice to get out of the apartment.
So overall we're doing quite well, all three of us figuring this out. I'm getting comfortable breastfeeding, and Byron has become an expert diaper changer. And we're almost rested up - hooray! Our little family Kern is coming right along...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dad's Take on This Whole Birth Thing

Well Elise did a great job recapping the birth, but I thought I should share my perspective too. I figure since she's already touched on how it all went down I'll just keep mine to more free-form comments than a step-by-step timeline.

First off, mom is a rock star! 53 hours of labor, and never once did she yell "You did this to me!" By the time we were, I dunno, 36 hours or so into this, by body started shutting down. I hadn't been eating and obviously hadn't slept, and I felt like I had the flu. After they gave Elise the little bit of narcotics to help her get a little sleep I was able to get an hour of sleep myself, then take a shower and grab a bite to eat. Later, at the end of labor (before the pushing) I was so tired again that I could barely function, and our doula Victoria and I took turns passing out on the fold-out chair for 20 minutes at a time or so. The amazing thing is that I felt like I was on the verge of collapse, and I wasn't going through any contractions... how Elise managed to get through all that is beyond me!

Second, for any moms and dads to-be out there, get yourself a doula! Our experience was obviously a more difficult one than average, but even if it had been a "mere" 24 hours of labor, having that extra person who can provide experienced support and let dad have a moment to eat or sleep without leaving mom alone is invaluable.

Third, I have to say that for anyone wanting to go the natural route for childbirth, if you are using an OB you're shooting yourself in the foot (high risk prenancies aside). If we had been at a different hospital or hadn't been with midwives, Elise would have been almost guaranteed to have gotten a c-section. Even with her water broken, the midwives stuck with their philosphy of "let nature take its course". She wasn't running a fever or showing any other signs of infection or fetal distress, so there was no need to go to drastic medical interventions, but in many practices they would have sent her off to get sliced open as policy after so many hours of having the baby exposed.

All told, despite the difficult labor the experience we had was pretty darned positive, considering the circumstances. The exception being the nurses! I was about ready to start slapping the nurses who came in while Elise was having tough contractions to just poke through drawers looking for something they needed elsewhere, and if one more nurse came in and then left the door open after going out again I might have lost it. They seemed to be, by and large, very blaze about something very difficult and momentous for us, with the exception of a few very caring nurses. Luckily the midwives and our doula were all from a very different cut of cloth, and all ended well.

As Elise mentioned, I got to catch Leo as he was born, which was an absolutely amazing, if slippery and slimy experience. When his head was crowning the midwife said she thought the next push would be "the one" and had me put my hands over hers, and sure enough on the next contraction out he came and into my hands. It's hard to imagine I wouldn't have been deliriously happy anyway, but I was already deliriously tired so it was a short trip!

Our little man is impossibly cute (especially when he yawns), and he's sleeping longer and longer as mom's full milk is coming in, so hopefully the three of us can get a little more sleep during the night... so far it's been tough trying to catch up on all the missed sleep from labor while being up with Leo at all hours of the night, but we're doing well enough and it gets a little easier every day.

Anyway, that's dad's quick-ish perspective on this whole thing!

5 Days Old

5 Days Old, originally uploaded by lisiegrin.

Our little man, in a milk-induced sleep coma.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Introducing Leo Lamadrid Kern

Well the day finally came, and our son has been born. He made his entrance into the world on May 3rd at 3:03 AM, weighing a substantive 9 pounds 5 ounces (a full 2 pounds more than the average tot) and measuring 21.5 inches long. He's a beautiful little boy, with a light head of hair and (currently) indigo colored eyes. Both Leo and myself emerged from the process healthy and with no medical concerns. That's the short story.

But the long story is more entertaining... Sunday evening at 10:30, after a celebratory birthday dinner with Byron's brother Peter, I sat down on the couch to find that my water had broken. Not the big old dramatic, sitcom gush of puddles by my ankles, but suddenly I was all wet and was quite sure I had not peed on myself. So what an exciting development - a few days before my due date (Tuesday) and on Mother's day, no less. So we called our doula Victoria to let her know, and headed off to bed, knowing that these things take time and that rest was a good idea. Little did we know. I had contractions on and off throughout the night, but they never really picked up in terms of frequency or intensity.

In the morning we called our midwives to let them know, then waited for things to pick up during the day. Which they didn't. Which wouldn't have been a problem, except for the risk of infection starts to increase 24 hours after your water breaks, and most practitioners want to get you in and have you delivered by that 24 hour mark. We knew that once we went to the hospital, the pressure to give into medical interventions would increase, but by Monday evening, we knew we needed to go. So off we went, with Victoria coming with us, to a packed Family Birthing Center at the hospital. Seems our boy had picked a popular time to show up, and we got the only remaining labor & delivery room.

The midwife on duty, which of course Murphy's Law dictated was the one midwife in the practice that we didn't really like, got me started on Cervedil, to soften/ripen my uterus which would hopefully get things moving. But this drug is an insert, not an intravenous drug, so they had to wait 12 hours after inserting it to make an assessment. Once they put it in, contractions started to ramp up, but slowly, and by 11am on Tuesday, they were finally able to determine that I was up to 5 centimeters dilated. Yay progress! But - with the contractions ramping up, I had gotten zero sleep all night, was in alot of pain, and seemed to be moving very very slowly. I was so woozy from pain and sleep deprivation that I felt like I was on LSD or something, and was about to the edge of my rope. At that moment, natural childbirth, which had been our goal all along, seemed like the most foolish pursuit, and I asked for some sort of relief so I could at least get a few hours sleep. The hour and a half between making the request and getting the narcotics was honestly one of the most miserable of my entire life, and I was practically whimpering. But I finally got two hours of sleep, before the contractions were strong enough to punch their way back through.

We marshalled the troops (and our will) and kept along this way, getting to 9 and a half centimeters by mid afternoon. Happily I was showing no signs of fever or infection, and baby's heart rate was consistently strong, so they let me continue to progress without getting too worried about the baby's state. But after I got to 9 and a half centimeters, everything stalled, and I stayed there for for hours. Back at mid morning, the midwife on duty had rotated to our favorite member of the practice, and we agreed in the early evening to give me a small (but steadily increasing) dose of Pitocin, to bring the strong contractions back. Not a decision I was happy with (because I had been in labor for two solid days at that point) and I knew it would make things pretty painful. But it did the trick, and by about 2:30AM I was fully dilated and ready to push. And after about half an hour of effort, he decided to come join us, and Byron was allowed to catch him as he arrived.

Finally, after 53 hours of labor, our baby boy was put on my stomach, covered in fluids, where he took his first breath. And opened his eyes to look right at me, which was a really powerful moment. Byron cut the cord, and we basked in the glow of the moment. If only our story capped off there. But it doesn't - the postpartum wing they were supposed to whisk us off to was full, so we were left in the labor & delivery room for several hours, which we were then kicked out of about an hour after we finally fell asleep, to be moved to a triage room until our postpartum room was ready. Lovely, right? And oh yeah, no bed for daddy in this room. So there we are, after several days of no sleep and substantial physical exertion, sitting in this temporary space until they finally found us an empty room at 7pm. Poor Byron even resorted to sleeping on the floor for a while. But we finally got a room, and it was definitely an improvement. And while we could have stayed longer, we got ourselves checked out of the hospital on Thursday afternoon to gratefully come home for a little peace and quiet. And we've been slowly settling in ever since. The End. :)

So yeah, labor and delivery was a looooooong, tough, painful, gruelling process. But it was all worth it in the end. Not everything went as planned, but hey it never does. We're now the proud parents of an adorable boy, and ready to start this next phase.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Painted Belly

Check out my blossoming belly at left, with artwork courtesy of my lovely hubby. It's hard to believe, but I'm just a week away from my due date. Though of course, the term 'due date' is a misnomer, this little man will surely show up whenever he feels like it, calendar be damned.
I'm still feeling pretty good, though in the last few days I have been overcome with itchiness. At first it was just the stretch marks on my tummy, but now that I'm trying not to scratch those it's everything else that itches. Not quite sure what's going on with it, but it's annoying. I'm doing my best not to completely destroy my skin with scratching, but it's really hard.
Other than all that, just enjoying maternity leave so far. I'm getting all the sleep I can, and enjoying the glee of watching the terrible traffic reports on the morning news knowing that I don't have to drive in that mess. It's the little things. :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


At work, that is. Yesterday was my last day at work, and I am now officially on maternity leave. Wheee! I must admit, it's pretty fantastic. Slept in this morning (well, if 7:45 counts as sleeping in...) then went out for breakfast. Gotta enjoy having a life while I can.
We had my 38 weeks appointment yesterday, and everything continues to look good - blood pressure, weight, etc. The midwife thinks the baby may have started to drop (as they do around this time) so that's a good sign. I'm occasionally feeling twinges of painful sort of cramps/contractions, but they're very short-lived and sporadic at this point, so right in line with standard pre-labor expectations.
And, because I'm anal-retentive like this, we're headed for a second tour of the Family Birthing Center at our hospital this evening. We did the tour right after we found out I was pregnant, and I want to make sure we are still familiar with the place with the due date approaching. And we've done alot of research and learning about what we want since we did the tour, so we'll be able to ask some better questions this time too.
Then tomorrow, I'm headed to a breastfeeding class at the hospital. And Friday our lovely doula, Victoria, is coming over for another visit to go over all our plans and preferences. It's a packed week!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Baby Shower!

This past Saturday we enjoyed my second baby shower, courtesy of super party organizers Kristin and gram-to-be Anita. You can see on the left an adorable pair of little sneakers we got, though in order to more accurately represent reality, I should have placed them kicking me in the ribs. :) The shower was lovely, with piles of super cute stuff. Little Bubba now has enough onesies to poo, pee, and vomit all over himself for a nice long stretch before causing Daddy to do laundry. My mom and grandma came up for it, so it was adventures in grandma-land as well (hence the second photo.) Happily, at this point we're basically all set in terms of the basic stuff we need for him. Just plan to stock up a bit more on diapers and order the baby sling I want, and we're ready to rock and roll. Which is great, because this little man is currently rocking and rolling all over the place in my midsection, potentially doing the Macarena or practising his kick-boxing warm up routine. Either way, he is all over the place this evening. Even Daddy putting his hands on my belly, which usually quiets him down, had no effect. Maybe he's about ready to party his way on out. At this point, I am now 37 weeks, meaning he's technically fully baked, and would be considered full term if he showed up right now. But I've told him that would place a serious cramp in Mommy's plans to see Star Trek and Wolverine at the movie theatre.
Can't believe we're just weeks away from being parents....

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Holy Cankles Batman!

Yesterday evening, after a stressful day of worrying about our cat being sick (and unsuccessfully trying not to let my preggo hormones get the best of me and make me cry) I got home to discover that A.) according to the vet, our cat's prognosis is quite promising, and B.) I have developed super-cankles. Byron insists that they're really not that swollen, but I know the truth. And of course, this is all just in time for the warming weather and the seasonal retreat of boots and pants...lovely!
I'm 35 weeks now - whoopie! Just 5 weeks to go, and just 3 weeks left at work. Which, I admit, is delightful. Little junior continues to get the hiccups almost daily, and seems to enjoy throwing his elbows around. My belly button looks like it will disappear in the next few days, and the angry red stretch marks continue to develop just underneath it.
We were in South Bend last weekend for Byron's Welcome Weekend for the Notre Dame MBA program, and our friends in the admissions department were already eager to start recruiting the little tyke. We met some other couples, a few with kids, that will be Byron's classmates this fall, which was great. Baby enjoyed his first campus visit (including a special performance of the ND fight song by the marching band's trumpet section, very rousing) and we looked at several housing possibilities. Of course, the one we liked most is more than we want to spend, but there are additional possibilities on the horizon. (Must find a big place with room for visiting grandparents!) I also discovered that my ability to stand/walk/talk for more than 30 minutes without discomfort is diminishing rapidly.
We're getting close - just 5 weeks (or so) to go....

Monday, March 30, 2009

Just 6 Weeks To Go!

Well assuming little junior shows up on time, that is. Yep, I'm at 34 weeks now. And this morning, I must confess I had a very sad moment. I found my very first stretch mark. Yes, I know, I shouldn't be complaining. Here I've made it this far without a stretch mark on my belly. But the last week or so, the skin on my lower tummy had been feeling sore, and today it finally manifested in a pink streak across my skin. I guess I should be grateful I've made it this far without one, meaning my skin is pretty stretchy. But still.

We spend the weekend down in Potosi, MO at my mom's place, for my first of two baby showers. We got our car seat/stroller travel system (Byron's most wanted item!) and tons of cute little clothes. But the 6 hour drive each way taxed my ability to sit comfortably in one place for very long - thankfully Byron did all the driving so I got to squirm and stretch as much as I could.

Little Bubba continues to grow at an exponential rate, but has yet to outgrow his hiccups habit. I'm pretty sure he's doing it on purpose at this point. According to the sources that know these sorts of things, he is now about 5 pounds, and packing on a half pound a week. People continue to tell me I don't look all that big, which is reassuring I suppose, but I feel like I have small watermelon strapped to my tummy. A watermelon with a large squirrel suffering from ADD stuck inside it...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

32 Weeks and growwwwwwwing

Check out this big ole' belly! Can't take credit for the cute pose (ah, the internet), but love the pic anyways.
We had my 32 weeks appointment this morning, and everything continues to come along swimmingly. My tummy now measures 34 inches from top to bottom (the number of inches is approximately equal to your number of weeks of gestation). I think the slightly higher measurement means this kid is more likely to be early than late, but that may be wishful thinking on my part. (And besides, that would mess up our plans to see Star Trek in the theater before our tot arrives!)
The midwife says his head is downward, which is good, but explains why my ribs are suffering constant assault from his kicky little feet. Sometimes it feels like his toes are curled around the edge of my ribs, which I can assure you is a bizarre feeling indeed. Our little booger has gotten the hiccups several times in the last week or so, which goes from cute to annoying pretty quickly. A quick belly jiggle has scared him out of them on occasion. I imagine he thinks it's a sudden earthquake.
We've started working on the nursery, and are both begin to feel the onset of nesting fever. Also suddenly the intrinsic cuteness of baby items is becoming overwhelming. We headed to Ikea last weekend to pick up a dresser/changing table, and both said " cute" to about a dozen things in the kids area. And this from the woman who is not normally touched by cuteness. Now just the sight of a ridiculously small onesie is enough to get me misty. Hormones, I say. Yeah, hormones. Once we've made a little more progress on the nursery I'll put up some pictures of that for your entertainment.
Just 6 more weeks of work to go before I get off for maternity leave! WHEEEEE!!!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My first baby dream

Last night I had my first baby dream. This was after hours of dreaming about cooking (we went to a cooking class yesterday evening). So I dreamt that our baby was born, and that I was out and about at the mall with Junior in a baby carrier. Then our little infant develops the amazing ability to speak at 2 days old, and looks at me and says with confusion "my butt just exploded," which apparently meant that he had pooed. At which time I realize I have made the ultimate new mom mistake - I went out without a diaper bag! And my poop-y little boy keeps telling me about his messy situation. I had just threaded my way through a huge clump of hoodlums and finally found a bathroom where I hoped to jury-rig a paper towel diaper, when the alarm went off. Whew. So in thinking about it, I guess it's a good thing that kids don't learn to talk until after they have better bowel control, otherwise our days would be filled with alot of, ahem, potty talk.

In other preggo news, I enjoyed a faaaaaabulous expectant mother massage over the weekend courtesy of my thoughtful hubby's Valentine's Day present. D-lightful. And we had my 30 weeks checkup yesterday, which went smoothly. Still have great blood pressure and all that jazz. And, for the record, still getting kicked and poked internally on a regular basis. And getting bigger every day! I'll try to get another picture up in a day or two to show you my blooming figure.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Childbirth Boot Camp

Well it's been a fun weekend. We had all-day childbirth classes at Birthways, a pregnancy/birth education joint here in Chicago. It was all pretty useful and interesting, but alot to absorb in two days. Not to mention alot of sitting on uncomfortable chairs for two days... Before you ask, no we didn't learn how to breathe. Or how to relax. The theory behind the way this class is taught (which is intended for those wanting natural birth) is that information and understanding is more useful than artificial breathing techniques, and that your instinctive responses to each stage (be it moaning, or moving around, etc) are generally the most helpful. And we got to enjoy a whole lot of birth videos, which all seemed to have been made in the late 80's and early 90's. As you can imagine, this meant a whole lot of fantastic hair and fashion. Good times. As we are wont to do, Byron and I enjoyed finding humor in some of the videos, like one where a laboring woman stood in the shower and was hosed down by her husband. I mean maybe that water spraying across her body felt good, but she looked like a prison inmate being processed with an involuntary shower.
Overall I'm feeling pretty good lately, getting more of those delightful irregular "practice contractions." Not so much fun, not only do my belly muscles get all hard and tight, but I also feel a little out of breath. I feel a little out of breath alot lately, surely because someone is trying to take over my entire torso. And doing a bang-up job of it so far. Someday, someday my internal organs will all return to their rightful homes.....

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I passed!

Just thought I would share the good news from my 28 week appointment today - I passed the glucose tolerance test with flying colors! She said I had a perfect response and zero hint of any diabetes. Which is fabulous. So we can cross gestational diabetes off the list of potential pregnancy worries. She did note that my ankles were somewhat swollen, which I can live with. In the last few weeks my fingers have occasionally gotten swollen, but I must admit I had not been checking my ankles. So I could be on my way to getting cankle-y. For those of you who may not be aware, the term cankle is used to describe your ankles when they are very large and indistinguishable from your calves. Ankle+calf=cankle. Which led Byron and I to wonder out loud, if you already had cankles, how would you know if your ankles were swollen?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mmmm, orange glucose drink....

Today I went and took my 28 week glucose tolerance test. Which, for the uneducated, involves limiting what you eat beforehand, then drinking a delicious (by which I mean nasty) orange sugar drink, then loitering in the waiting room for an hour, then having your blood drawn. The whole point is to see how you handle the surge in sugar, to get an indication of your likelihood of having gestational diabetes. We'll find out in a few days if I passed. The orange drink is decidedly unpleaseant, basically tasting like a can of orange soda that has gone flat. Yumm!
Thursday we head in for my 28 week appointment, at which point I have to start going in every 2 weeks instead of every 4 weeks. Guess that means we're getting closer! And I am most certainly getting larger. Mostly I'm feeling pretty good, except for the continually resurging heartburn and the not-quite-going-away lower back stiffness. All things considered, not too bad. And apparently I'm not as big as I think I am - two people I know casually at work just asked last week if I was pregnant. The one told me that I'm so tall it just isn't as obvious. Yeahhhh. I wonder how long they were thinking to themselves "hmm, she's put on a few pounds...."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Well at least when I get huge...

I won't get THIS huge!

Just saw this photo online of the mom of those octuplets. If nothing else, at least this part of her story will make all us other preggos feel better. Seriously, how do you even stand up and walk around with that?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Please God let me not be a waddler

Not that I was ever capable of doing somersaults and backflips, but in the last week or so I have started to really feel heavy and unwieldy. And I often wonder, where did my center of gravity go - as it is no longer where I left it. I swear it was right here....
Now when I stand up it actually takes a certain amount of effort because of that dastardly force, gravity. And the really fun part is knowing that it will only get worse! It's not like I've packed on 50 pounds (I've gained 11) but they are all, how shall I put this, distributed between my top front and lower front. No counterweight at the back, which I suppose is a good thing. I'm doing my best to still walk like a normal person, although I know the day will come when I adopt the standard preggo waddle. I hope that day is still in the semi-distant future....

In other fun news, we met with our doula Victoria last week, which was great. She's very relaxed and groovy, which is essential, and, this is the best part, quite compatible with our senses of humor. I find alot of release in humor (as does anyone I chose to be friends with!) and I just know that it will be my sanity saver during labor to have someone who can sass it up with me the same way. And in two weeks we are headed to childbirth class bootcamp - a full weekend of class to ensure that we sort of know what we are doing.

Little Bubba is still quite active, and has definitely taken a shining to my ribs. He also seems to prefer assaulting my right side versus my left. No idea why. It would be awesome to have some sort of belly cam to see what in the world he is doing. Breakdancing, I bet.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Setting a High Bar

Well our kid is going to have quite the educational legacy to live up to - Byron was just accepted to the MBA program at Notre Dame (and offered a huh-uge scholarship too)! Pretty damn exciting stuff. So little Junior could spend his first few years in South Bend, hanging out on campus and starting his indoctrination into the Irish mindset. And planning ahead, if both his parents are alums then they would have to accept to the university too, right? :) Besides the obvious fabulousness of the MBA program at Notre Dame, it would also keep up pretty close to family and friends, since it's less than two hours from Chicago.

That kid is going to look so cute in a toddler's ND football uniform....

Sunday, February 1, 2009

26 Weeks tomorrow

I'm 26 weeks tomorrow, and here's my latest pic. All is going along swimmingly, and I feel pretty good except for some unpleasant lower back stiffness. In fact, it hurts to bend over and pick anything off the floor. Or to, say, bend forward to shave one's legs. Byron suggested I duct-tape my razor to a stick to accomplish that task, but I take it as a handy excuse to avoid that drudgery.

Our little boy took great delight yesterday in repeatedly poking me in the rib, like he was trying to figure out what it was. I'm all for encouraging his scientific inquisitiveness, but my ribs however seem to be against the idea. Unfortunately for my ribs, I think Junior will keep up his poking.

It's really hard to fathom that in just three months, we'll have a child. Wild crazy stuff.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Baby dreamin'

So the other night I had what I assume will be the first of several dreams about being in labor and giving birth. I’ve always had vivid dreams, and they often strongly reflect what’s going on in my life, for better or worse. By worse, I mean that any time I am the driver on a long road trip, I dream about driving all night long the following night. Which, as you can imagine, is not the most restful thing. But I digress.

As I was saying, I dreamt the other night that I was in labor, and frankly it was fabulous. It didn’t hurt at all, and it was actually quite sensual. I remember feeling warm and giggly, and very powerful in a crunchy-hippie-earth-mother sort of way. I woke up before actually giving birth, but the whole thing felt very happy and warm. I think what struck me most about it was that none of it hurt.

All of this sort of makes sense given what I have been reading lately – Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, by Ina May Gaskin. Ina May is a goddess of midwifery, and this book is fabulous. Actually I read the whole thing before getting pregnant, but am re-reading it again now. The section I’m reading is about the process of childbirth, and discussed briefly the expectation vs the perception of pain during the process. One study which compared women in the US to women in Sweden found that the proportion of women who expected unbearable pain during childbirth was the same as the proportion of women who needed an epidural or other similar pain relief during childbirth. And this percentage of women was much much higher in the US than in Sweden. So the expectation of pain was directly related to the experience of pain. Interesting, eh? I mean it makes sense – if you think something is going to really hurt, and you get tense in expectation of the pain, then you will really feel it. The Swedish women, who entered childbirth expecting it to be challenging but not unbearably painful, were more relaxed and better able to manage the experience.

So what does this mean to me? Mostly that it’s really important to be relaxed and confident in your ability to handle childbirth. Fear of the pain will only exacerbate the pain. Go with the flow. Ommmmmmmmmmmmm. :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Burnin' it up!

Dad here again -
I finally got all of the artwork transferred to the front of the toy chest and have started the woodburning. Certain spots are a real struggle against the wood grain (the little grooves of the grain want to grab the tip of the burner). It's interesting how some parts of the wood are less dense and the burner moves through it very easily and burns a nice, wide line, while other parts are harder and the burner just moves across the surface, not making much of a line. I'm getting better as I go though, so by the time I finish this whole thing maybe I can claim to be semi-skilled. Anyway, here are the recent shots of the box, and one shot of me hard at work (thanks to mom/my photog).

Um, still 24 weeks.

So the midwife totally shot down the ultrasound tech's pushed-up due date. So I'm back to my original May 12th estimate. She told me that studies have found that after the first trimester, ultrasounds are actually quite inaccurate when it comes to evaluating fetal age. Apparently a mother's instinct about her due date (ie., will it be early or late) is actually more accurate than an ultrasound. Wild, eh?

And my evaluation of our little Bubba's physical activities as 'constant' and 'energetic' were confirmed when she went to listen to his heartbeat. Little tadpole wouldn't stay in one place for more than 5 seconds. She was chasing him all over my belly with the Doplar, moving that thing like a little kid playing with Match cars. Happily, his heartbeat is good, my blood pressure is staying perfect, and I've now gained a total of 9 pounds. So we're doing well on all fronts! If only this kid hadn't learned to punch me in the ribs and kick me in the bladder at the same exact time.

I think we're hitting a big growth spurt right now, because I'm starting to get hungry again a few hours after eating. Speaking of which, that Passion Fruit ice cream I made last night (yeah that's right, I made ice cream, and it is damn good) is calling my name...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

24 Weeks!

Here I am in all my getting-larger glory. Depending on the accuracy of that ultrasound, I am now either 23 or 24 weeks. I'm going with 24 weeks, because it makes me feel better. As you can see, I'm rounding out nicely. I told Byron I was on my way to looking like as house, and he assured me that I still look like a brick house. Yeah. What a good husband. :)

We headed back to Babies R Us today and did some more registry work. Kinda felt like we knew what we were doing there this time! I mean kinda. Not really. But it was still productive.

In other fun developments, I'm starting to enjoy those lovely Braxton-Hicks contractions. For the uninitiated, they're like training contractions, normal at this stage. So every once in a while it feels like my ab muscles are doing sit-ups without telling me. Then my belly feels like a rock. That's right, rock hard abs. Yeah, not really. But that's what I tell myself anyway. Other than that, the world keeps on turning, and my little Scooter keeps on kicking. Alot.....

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Yes, there is a father, too...

Okay, so dad's first post! I can go ahead and say right off the bat that my posts won't be as funny and entertaining as Elise's... I'll try not to put anyone to sleep though!

So this big thing up above is going to be the munchkin's 0th(?) birthday gift from me. It's a bare wood toy chest that I'm going to woodburn and then stain with pigmented stains to make it into what hopefully will be an heirloom piece for him. It's ambitious, to be sure, but I'm really happy with how it's progressing so far, and if there's a better way to stay on task than doing something for your unborn son I don't know it! The banner at the bottom will have his name, but I'm not ruining that surprise here!

I'm planning to document the process here (I'm guessing it's going to be a long one!). I made the design for the front of the box in Adobe Illustrator and printed it out (on 8 sheets of paper), then tiled it together and taped it to the box. In the first photo the box is laying on its back, so the wood you can see is actually the bottom of the chest. Step two is the 2nd photo - I'm transferring the design to the chest by using carbon transfer paper and tracing over the printed design. If it ends up looking half as good as it does in my mind it'll be a great final product!

In other baby news, I stumbled upon a group that does modern bands' music as instrumental lullabies -
Most are decent, but the Radiohead one is truly amazing - I bought it on iTunes and have been listening to it myself! ...Have to make sure the baby likes good music from the start!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Correlation, Causation, and Babies R Us

First of all, here is a pic I took on Christmas day (in pajamas, of course) to show how I see this whole situation. It's my literal view of the growing mound on my midsection. Notice, you can still actually see my legs below the belly. Won't last too much longer I suppose.

But back to the subject line. Our little Bubba's kicks and aerobics have been quite constant and noticeable. The analyst in my head got to wondering: does the kid kick because he knows it makes me move/jump/rub my belly, or are the two factors (him kicking, me reacting) just independent? Meaning is my moving reaction an example of causation or correlation? Whether I am in fact encouraging my unborn child to kick me by rewarding him with movement or noise isn't going to stop me. The real point of this musing is not to find the answer, but to demonstrably prove to you, my loyal reader, that I am in fact a nerd.

In other fun developments, after I experienced a quasi-desperate moment of panic over the fact that we have done zero planning for little Scooter's arrival, we spent about two hours at a Babies R Us last Friday starting a registry. Which, as other new parents can attest to, is an overwhelming experience. At least when you register for your wedding, it's just about your taste. Now, there's the added elements of safety and complete inexperience with 90% of the product offerings. I mean, when you're looking at toasters, you know what it's supposed to do and yeah you might look at reviews, but basically you just need to choose one based on how much toast you make and whether you plan on, say, baking a turkey in this toaster or just reheating day-old pizza. But car seats and strollers.... that's a different story. Your ability to predict just how many thousands of times you'll take that puppy in and out of your car, and just how necessary that cup holder for Momma's coffee actually is, not to mention the likelihood of you venturing into Bad Parent land by picking the "wrong" one... all these factors conspire to make every choice a challenge. Sure, you know that everything they sell is basically safe. Or they wouldn't sell it, right? But if you choose the one, right, perfect item, it may prove to be just helpful or easy enough to keep you from snapping in the middle of a Target parking lot some day. Not that I see the value in buying the $700 Perego stroller. I mean really, I'd rather be able to afford a house. But do the cool features in the $250 stroller/car seat "travel system" not only keep your kid safe but make your life that much easier? Obviously a calculated choice. So we picked a bunch of stuff, and will continue to pick some more, and surely not all of it will turn out to be god's gift to parenthood. But I'm pretty sure all three of us will live through it regardless. Cross your fingers.