Friday, December 31, 2010

Ringing in the new year

New Year's Eve is generally a time when we reflect on the past year and look ahead to the coming 12 months. This past year has been a whirlwind. And I know the coming year will be even more so. The past five months have gone by so quickly, it's hard to believe this is only the beginning.

As for my new year's resolutions, I have just a few. I resolve to stay healthy. I resolve to not panic when it comes time to deliver my son. I resolve to not freak out about every single thing that happens to me as a new mom. I resolve to not be too hard on myself when I break that last resolution. I resolve to do the best I can. And I resolve to love myself, the S.O. and our new baby with all my heart.

May your 2011 be happy, healthy and prosperous.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Week 23: Sugar sugar

 How sweet. This week, Fit Pregnancy tells me my unborn baby can be compared to a bag of sugar.  

"Weighing in at a pound, and at eight inches long, your baby is starting to really look like a baby! You can compare her size to a box of sugar or a bag of coffee beans."
It also tells me:
"You'll notice now that what began as gentle wiggling will become poking and even sharp kicking."
That's for sure. Little Junior has been doing calisthenics lately, testing out his little arms and legs, and I'm pretty he's been doing somersaults or back flips, as well. He seems to really get active just as I'm trying to go to sleep. I have taken to telling him to just calm the heck down in there.

To be perfectly honest, it's sometimes a bit disconcerting to feel something moving around inside my belly. I can't help but have visions of John Hurt.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Studies and judging

I came across this article recently -- Study: Breast-Feeding Improves Academic Performance, Especially for Boys. Among other things, it says:
In the latest analysis of the academic performance of children who were breast- or bottle-fed, researchers found that breast-fed babies scored higher on tests of math, reading and writing skills at 10 years old, compared with those who were bottle-fed as babies.
While I think that's great news for women who breastfed, breastfeed or plan to breastfeed, I also think it's another way to make women who didn't -- or couldn't -- breastfeed feel really damn guilty about it. It's not as if you're going to start breastfeeding your second-grader based on this study.
I have read that there's not a lot of support for women who choose to breastfeed. And although I haven't had the experience yet myself, it seems there's a lot more guilt laid on women who choose not to breastfeed -- even those who, for whatever reason, physically cannot breastfeed their babies.

I find it interesting that so many people have such strong opinions about what other people do. Sure, I'll admit I find it strange that someone will breastfeed a child that can walk and talk and has a full set of teeth. But maybe that's what works for them. And maybe that kid will end up at Harvard. Regardless , it's certainly not my place to say.

But it just goes to show how we judge. We judge women who don't breastfeed. We judge women who breastfeed "too long." We judge a woman who will have the temerity to breastfeed in public. We judge and judge and judge. And yes, I've been guilty of it at times. I think we all have. In fact, there are apparently some folks who have expressed the opinion that breastfeeding for at least six months should be the law.

I have to admit, even though I know it's the most natural thing in the world, I find breastfeeding a bit squicky. That said, I still plan to breastfeed my baby. If I can. And I'll do it in public if I have to. I'll be like the guy in "Green Eggs And Ham."

I will do what is best for me and my child. And I will try really hard not to let all the noise from the outside world interfere with my decision.

Monday, December 27, 2010

This is a real thing

Earlier this month, I posted a funny video about prenatal pole dancing. Ha ha. Nobody's going to pole dance while pregnant. Right? However, it seems they just might belly dance while pregnant.

I found this DVD while looking for some prenatal workout videos at Amazon. And it gets four stars from customers. What it doesn't get is any kind of description. It's also not the only prenatal belly dance DVD available.

Maybe I'm just really self-conscious, and maybe I wouldn't belly dance if I weren't pregnant, but it seems a little silly to me.  I just can't imagine shimmying my big ol' pregnant belly around the way belly dancing requires. (At least the way I've seen it done.)

On the other hand, if it gets a momma-to-be up off the couch and moving, who am I to judge?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas recap

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas day. Christmas on a Saturday is great, isn't it? Now we get Sunday for more relaxing. I'm not one to run out to the after-Christmas sales, so today will probably be a lot like yesterday. Naps and snacks and watching movies.

Our Christmas dinner was not exactly what most people would consider traditional, but we are making it a tradition in our house. Because we had a big turkey dinner just about a month ago, we're not ready for more turkey at Christmas. And ham isn't really my thing. So we had a Korean Christmas. I made bulgogi, cabbage kimchi, spicy cucumbers and sticky rice -- all from scratch.

I did a lot of prep work earlier in the week, so all we had to do yesterday was cook the rice and meat. For those of you who might not know, bulgogi is Korean barbecue, and kimchi is a spicy fermented vegetable dish. The cabbage kimchi I made is not the traditional fermented variety. It was a quick -- or fresh -- kimchi. It's much simpler because it doesn't take weeks to complete, but it's still tasty.

We spent much of the day watching videos, including "A Christmas Carol," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (the original cartoon, not that Jim Carrey thing) and "A Charlie Brown Christmas." We finished the evening watching "Green Fingers." Which isn't a Christmas movie but is a really good, really funny, heartwarming movie I highly recommend if you 1) like Clive Owen (and who doesn't?) and 2) enjoy British films.

All in all, it was a nice Christmas -- quiet and uneventful. I'm guessing it's the last of its kind for the S.O. and me for a long time. And I'm perfectly OK with that.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

All is merry and bright

Merry Christmas
from the 40-Something First Timer Family

Friday, December 24, 2010

My Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,
        I think if you check your list (Go ahead. Check it again. I know you like to do that.) you'll find I've been nice this year.
        So, for Christmas, I want:
  • Peace and ease for my loved ones who are dealing with conflict
  • Health and comfort for friends who are sick and/or in pain
  • Joy for those who despair
       And could you please deliver my love to all my friends and family far and wide?
       For myself -- besides the usual request for a convertible Mustang and various other frivolous trinkets -- please bring me a healthy son come April. Yes, I know April is more the realm of your long-eared, cotton-tail friend, but I'm pretty sure you can put in a good word for me.
        Merry Christmas, Santa!


Love, Pammeey
(the 40-Something First Timer)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Family Album

I've been trying to collect photos of the S.O. and his family so I can create a family tree photo album for our future son. Unfortunately, we don't seem to have many (any) of the S.O.'s grandparents and very few of his parents. I also have been unable to get any baby pictures of him.

But I did find these photos in one of his albums.

Behold! The S.O. as a boy (such the athlete):

 Pretty darn cute, right?

But check out your humble blogger as a toddler:
So sweet, so innocent, so blond!

And as an infant:
How do you like my little Kewpie curl?

Let me just say, with all lack of humbleness, if our kid is half as cute as we were, he's going to be a knockout.

Although, I imagine I will think that about him no matter what.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Week 22: Grapefruit

This week Fit Pregnancy is back to food comparisons, telling me my unborn is about the size of a small grapefruit.

They also keep saying "she." I understand this is better than saying "he or she" from an editorial point of view, but they use the feminine every week -- and not all of us are having girls.

With my mini-rant out of the way, I'll tell you Fit Pregnancy says:
"Her fingernails are almost fully grown, and her organ systems are becoming more functional and specialized. She has a distinct pair of lips, and her first canines and molars are developing below her gum line. She looks like a miniature newborn. Blood is traveling through the umbilical cord at four miles an hour, fueling her growth with oxygen and nutrients."
Which -- despite the feminine pronoun for my male unborn baby -- is pretty damn cool.

As for my changing body, they mostly tell me about yucky stuff (like yeast infections and anemia) and that "your uterus is certainly growing, but you can probably still bend over, sit, drive, and function fairly comfortably." Define "comfortably," Fit Pregnancy.

While the boy growing inside me is grapefruit size, I'm pretty sure I'm beginning to look a lot like I'm smuggling a watermelon under my shirt.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More name games

The S.O. and I have a pretty good idea of what we're going to name our son. It's definitely not set in stone, and no, I'm not going to tell you here. Because I know one of the multitudes of readers would see it and steal it. Then my baby's name wouldn't be unique.

As I visit various pregnancy Web sites and browse book stores, I find there are lots (and lots) of lists and books of baby names. Do people really have that hard a time picking a name for their children? Maybe, maybe not. Personally, I like looking at the lists to find the meaning of names.

For instance, did you know that Pamela has Greek origins and means "honey?" And that Pamela was among the most popular names in the '60s and '70s?

It's kind of nice to be able to look up the meaning so you don't give your little blond son a name like Daegan. Which apparently means "black-haired." (But is kind of a cool name someone looking for a certain sound, no?)

So I appreciate the name lists for giving me origins and meanings. But do people really just look up random names and choose them? Or do people use these lists to find names that suit their families, to find names that begin with a certain letter, or to find names that fit a certain pattern? If that's the case, I completely understand.

Then again, it's a lot of fun to just look at some of the names out there and daydream about naming my son something really exotic, Kanoa.

UPDATE: Shortly after publishing this post, I received an e-mail from Parenting.com that included a link to this story. See how timely I am? I don't even want to comment on some of the names that are apparently growing in popularity.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas traditions

When I was a kid, the one thing that signaled Christmas more than any other -- more than the tree, more than the onslaught of Christmas specials on TV, even more than the pile of presents -- was Mom breaking out the ingredients to make peanut brittle. She used a recipe given to her by my paternal grandmother.

It was quite a production: bags of raw peanuts, boxes of baking soda, piles of sugar, bottles of corn syrup, sticks of butter, the candy thermometer and her trusty heavy-bottom pan. My brothers and I would stand near the stove as Mom stirred what seemed like a magic potion, waiting impatiently for the moment when she added the baking soda, and the syrupy concoction would turn into fluffy, gooey peanut brittle.

She would pour the molten mixture out on a metal slab in the middle of our huge kitchen table. We four kids would gather round with our buttered fingers and start pulling the edges of the peanut brittle to stretch it thin -- to Mom's cries of "Wait! It's still too hot! Wait!"

But we couldn't wait. The sooner we pulled the peanut brittle out into thin segments, the sooner we could start eating it -- and the sooner Christmas could really get started.

I don't remember a year without this tradition while Mom was alive. She carried on even after all of her children had moved out. She would spend days making batch after batch because I wasn't the only person who thought it wasn't Christmas without Mom's peanut brittle.

Since Mom died, no one has carried on the tradition. But this year, my lovely culinary friend mentioned wanting to make something homemade for family. I shared Mom's peanut brittle recipe with her, and joined her this weekend to oversee and help with its creation. Honestly, I was afraid to try this recipe myself. I worried about having the right equipment. I worried that my inherent lack of patience would cause me to a scalding sugar mess across my kitchen. I worried that no matter what I did, it would never in a million years live up to my memories.

Yet, standing in my friend's kitchen, sipping hot spiced cider, watching her add the baking soda at just the right time, then stretching the candy with her, her husband and the S.O. really did feel right. And the first batch of peanut brittle -- when pulled thin and cooled -- was perfect. It was exactly the way Mom made it.

And it was exactly what I needed to make it really feel like Christmas.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Cuteness

As Christmas nears, I think about my mom singing, "Jump in bed, cover up your head, 'cause Santa Claus comes tonight." This video sing along is just too cute.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

Week 21: Bear cubs!

My e-mail newsletter from Fit Pregnancy this week once again forgoes comparing my unborn child to food. This week, my little one is about the "length of a spoon" -- so not food, but a food utensil. It goes on to say the baby's current weight is about 10.5 ounces. "Ten and one-half ounces is also the size bear cubs are when they are born," it says.

Baby is about the length of a spoon and the weight of a newborn bear cub. And he's spending his time putting on weight by drinking amniotic fluid. His eyelids are developed, and even though his eyes are  still sealed, his eyes are active. That's pretty cool.

As for what it says about my changing body, I have to disagree:
Some women report feeling better and more energized at this stage of pregnancy than they have at any point in their life.
I feel pretty good -- much better than during the first trimester -- but not better than any point in my life.  With all that's happened this week, I am definitely feeling pretty good emotionally. And I'd say that's more important at the moment than how I feel physically.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The little soccer player

Yesterday, the S.O. finally got to feel his future son kick. I wish I'd had the camera handy, because the look on his face when he felt that little push against his hand was priceless.

Between that and seeing those 4D images, I'm pretty sure the S.O. is having to face the fact that he really will be a daddy before he knows it. I'm pretty sure intense fear and over-the-top excitement are competing for the top of his emotions right now. I know they are mine.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Nesting

I spent Sunday afternoon baking cookies. I made gingerbread men and snickerdoodles.


I remember my mom spending days baking and making all kinds of homemade Christmas goodies and I'd like my child to have some of that experience. So, I figured I'd better try to get in the habit of baking.

As a kid, I always left a note and milk and cookies out for Santa, as well as a carrot or two for the reindeer. And Santa always ate the cookies and drank the milk, and the carrots were always gone on Christmas morning.

I told the S.O. that's how it works and I'm sure Santa hasn't changed in the many years since I was a little girl. Santa will be getting milk and homemade cookies at our house in the years to come.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Finding inspiration

Most of the day -- and evening -- Saturday was spent at birthday parties. The S.O. and I went to a party for a 2-year-old and his 3-year-old cousin at 11 a.m. From there we went to a birthday party at a taekwondo center for a 10-year-old. In the evening, we went to a grown-up birthday party. It was a day of fun and junk food.

The best part for me is that two of the women we spent time with (the mother of the 2-year-old and the adult having the evening party) are good friends that also happen to be older new mommies. One had her son at 39, the other at 40. Even better is that they are both over-the-moon happy at being moms and don't feel their age is a hindrance.

I have to admit that there have been times when I thought being a older new mom wasn't the best thing in the world -- when I would think about how old I'll be when he graduates high school or when he'll make me a grandma (OK, that one I don't mind waiting for!). But after hanging out with these two amazing older new moms, I realize that none of us are that old. Not only are we not that old chronologically, but we are extremely young at heart. Plus, we all take good care of ourselves.

I didn't necessarily plan to have a baby at 43 but I think everything happens for a reason. I know that I never had the right partner before the S.O. I never had the right frame of mind before now. The thought of being a mom still sometimes scares me but not nearly the way it did 10 years ago -- even less so after seeing images of my wee one.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Isn't science amazing?

I was going to tell you all about my busy weekend, but after our ultrasound this morning, I think you'll want to see this instead.

Here is a 4D image of my future son:



They say there's a potential problem with the placement of the cord, but otherwise everything looks normal. The doctor even said our baby is cute. I think so, but I'm pretty biased.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

How long do I get to blame "baby brain" for my forgetfulness? I should get to blame things on baby brain for at least the duration of the pregnancy. Right? So far it's been mostly little things. And even the sort of big thing I forgot wasn't life or death.

Last weekend Michael Hague (site requires Flash and Microsoft Explorer) was at the local Barnes & Noble, signing copies of his new book "White Christmas." (And yes, it's much cheaper at Amazon but it isn't signed!) I learned of the Saturday-afternoon book signing the Thursday evening before. You'd think I could remember for a couple days. And I did remember! At 5 p.m. Saturday evening. I had missed it by a few hours. I was so disappointed.

I have a Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration poster by Hague on the wall in my office. Something I brought home years ago with the thought that it would someday adorn a nursery. I'm told he would have signed my poster. I also found out that he drew little sketches in the books as he signed them Saturday. More disappointment. Still, the bookstore had extra autographed copies -- sans sketch -- available, so I bought one. It's a really beautifully illustrated book and I was excited to have the signed copy, even if I didn't get to meet Michael Hague and have him draw a sketch.

The S.O. wondered how we would keep the book looking so nice. My idea -- my probably unrealistic fantasy -- is that we'll pull the book out each Christmas Eve and the S.O. will hold the little one while I hold the book and read to them. It's quite a Norman Rockwell -- or Michael Hague -- picture in my head: My wonderful S.O. holding our adorable, well-behaved child in his lap, Mama reading the words to Irving Berling's "White Christmas" and pointing out all the amazing illustrations. The book even has the sheet music to the song in the back, so the S.O. could play it on the piano.

Quiet, you. It could happen.

No matter what it's a book that will be kept in a safe spot until our child is old enough to appreciate the beauty of it. If my kid is anything like me, books will be a big part of life.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What's in a name?

I spend a lot of time thinking about what we should name our future baby. I want something unique but not insane. I don't want my son to be the 15th Jacob in his class or my daughter to be the 12th Bella. But I don't want my kid to have a name that's unpronounceable or just plain silly.

I once heard someone say you should try out Baby's name with the word "Senator" at the beginning. So, where "Senator Mary Smith" sounds just fine, "Senator Mystique Smith" seems a bit off. (Never mind that it calls up images of the X-Men character or -- worse -- a stripper.)

That doesn't stop Web sites from listing "Mystique" as an actual name. And it doesn't stop celebrities from giving their children names like Audio Science and Pilot Inspektor.

I have a desire -- really a need -- to give my baby a name that will honor my mom and/or the S.O.'s father. And I want our child to grow up knowing we put a lot of thought into a name, not just picking what's popular.

When I was growing up, I hated the name Pam (Pamela was worse). I don't really know why I disliked it, maybe because it wasn't exotic. My parents' other choices for me were Patricia (for Mom's best friend) and Rosemary (for my aunt). Both of which I thought of as "old lady names" back then because of my aunts with those names, I guess. I wanted to be Samantha or Laura, not that either of those names are especially "exotic" but they weren't Pam.

I became "Pammeey" (again) a few years back when a co-worker started using that pet name from my childhood. I guess it has sort of stuck. My brothers and I all have names that can be made diminutive -- James to Jim to Jimmy, Joseph to Joe to Joey, Michael to Mike to Mikey -- but I know other people who think adding the "y" to the end of a name is somehow disrespectful. I don't mind. I think it's fun to have a "formal" name (the name Mom yells when you know you're in trouble) and a "casual" name. I'm not sure my child will have that or not. We're still deciding. And until we know the sex of Baby-to-be, it will remain up in the air.

But definitely not Mystique. Or Pilot Inspektor. Or any kind of fruit.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Week 20: And no weird comparison

I'm not sure if I'm relieved or disappointed that Fit Pregnancy isn't comparing my unborn child to food this week. Instead, I'm told permanent teeth are starting to form behind baby teeth and Baby "seems able to differentiate between morning, afternoon and evening and starts to become more active at certain times than at others."

I haven't noticed Baby being more active at any certain time, but I will start paying more attention now.

As for my changing body, they don't tell me a whole lot.
Around now, you should feel a psychological boost: You've made it halfway already! It's a good time to find a childbirth class to educate you about labor and calm any anxieties. Plus, you'll meet other parents-to-be and possibly create friendships for both you and your child in the years to come. Your care provider will now monitor your growth by measuring the height of your uterus with fingers or a tape measure. Your uterus is now about in line with your belly button. From now on, the top of your uterus will grow toward your rib cage at a rate of one centimeter a week.
All I know is the belly is definitely protruding in a more pregnant-looking fashion and people who haven't been officially informed are starting to wonder. I had one woman say to me, "I don't want to be rude, but I want to ask ..." I just said, "Yes!" before she had to ask. She was actually very sweet about it, but I completely understand her reticence. Can you imagine asking someone that question if she's not?

A guy friend of mine made that mistake once. He was dressed as a clown at the time, so I wonder does that make it better or worse?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Probably inappropriate

and mostly NSFW.  Still, I laughed.



At 39, Christina Applegate will become a first-time mom in February. And yep, like other older moms, she's still hot.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Pain and pine needles

I could be in real trouble here, people. I spent most of the weekend hobbling around. My hips and groin were in so much pain. Is that normal? Is it because of my age? Is it supposed to start this early? Because these next four months are going to be rough if that's the case.

I don't know if I overdid something working out or if I sat around being lazy for too long, but I was definitely sore. It's a little better today -- and I did work out this morning -- but there's still some pain in my hip. I didn't expect to be sore like this for at least another couple of months. It's a little discouraging.

Still, I'm not going to let a little thing like excruciating pain keep me down, and the S.O. and I headed out to the mountains yesterday to find a Christmas tree. We purchased a permit and headed out to Pike National Forest to find a good one.

It was a nice day for Christmas tree hunting. The trees in the forest aren't perfect like ones you'll find on lots. But we're not perfect, so it suits us just fine.
The S.O. sizes up his quarry.
The great hunter with his "kill."



There was just one slight problem. I think we had a case of our eyes being bigger than our stomachs -- or in this case, the living room.
We are so the Griswolds.

We managed to cut the tree down to size without making it look silly, and with lights and ornaments, it looks lovely. I will try to get a picture of it in all its glory this evening, so you can see.

We want to start a tradition of cutting our own tree, but it might not start next year. I can't imagine trudging through the forest carrying a baby and a tree.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

New-style Sunday

I got new hair.
Why do I always forget that I really don't like my hair long. After several months of growing it out, I always go back to a short 'do. Plus, I know when the baby comes, I won't want to deal with styling long hair and I would end up with a pony tail every day.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

When racism rears its ugly head and that ugly head is called Grandpa

My father is a bigot -- always has been, always will be. And even though I hate it, there's not a whole lot I can say or do at this point in his life to change him. He's 74 and set in his ways. There was never anything I could say or do to change him, but that doesn't stop me from cringing when he makes a racial slur.

In case you can't tell from his photographs, the S.O. is mixed race. He is half Korean. He also has some Native American blood running through his veins. My heritage is mostly Irish and English with a bit of German and French thrown in for flavor -- but, you know, basically lily white.

My dad has accepted my choice in partner and has never said anything to me about being with a Korean man. But it also hasn't stopped him from using offensive language when talking about other people of Asian descent.

Recently, Dad shared the news that two of my cousins are also expecting babies. An older male cousin recently married a woman from Guatemala, and she is pregnant. More scandalous (to the family, not to me) is the female cousin who is pregnant -- out of wedlock -- by a black man. (I'll wait while you fan yourself on your fainting couch.)

Dad went on to say something to the effect that a half-Guatemalan baby and a half-Korean baby (never mind that our baby will only be a quarter Korean) is better than a half-black baby. Except, of course, he didn't use the word "black." Backhandedly implying that none of them are as good as white babies.

The bigotry is ugly. I hate it. And if one of my friends was to say what he said I would have called her on it. But, as I said, I have tried over the years to change Dad, and nothing's worked. So I say nothing and hope my silence says I disapprove. Not that he cares.

Dad doesn't live nearby so my child won't be constantly exposed to his racism. Still, I hope that when Dad does see my kid, he can rein in some of that ugliness. Because I also hope that Dad is around long enough for my kid to get to know Grandpa ... without having to know that side of him.

Wishful thinking.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Toughest Job

Through all my hopes and fears, one thing rings true. Based on my own parents' experiences with my brothers and me and on the experiences of friends with children ranging from infants to adults, I realize you never stop worrying about your kids.

There are dirty diapers and 2 a.m. feedings and staying up waiting when they take the car or go on a first date. And if your kids sick or hurting -- no matter their age -- you continue to have hopes and fears.

No matter how old you are there always seems to come a time when you still need Mom (or Dad), a time when you want her to fold you in her arms, kiss away the tears and tell you everything is going to be all right -- even if she isn't really all that sure herself. It's what being a parent is all about.

And I'm grateful to have (and to have had) people in my life who have set high standards for that job.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Week 19: More comparisons to food

I made it to 19 weeks, and Fit Pregnancy is now comparing the growing baby to an apple. Wait. Isn't a lobster tail bigger than an apple? Maybe it depends on the apple. More specifically, they tell me the baby is between 5 and 6 inches long and weighs about 7 ounces.

More importantly, they tell me:
Loud sounds as well as any feelings you may have of stress or alarm may be communicated to the baby. The baby responds to these stresses by becoming more active. Practicing yoga and meditation can be good for your sense of calm and balance.
I have been trying to do some yoga, but I've never gotten the hang of meditation. I think it defeats the purpose if you spend the whole time wondering if you're doing it right.

As for the statement, "You may be popping out all over, with bigger breasts and a bulge above your pelvis," that's been happening for a while now. Although lots of people keep telling me I don't look pregnant. Tell that to my pants that don't fit.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Then and Now

That was then:
Boxing on May 15, 2010
 This is now:
Dec. 1, 2010 and 19-weeks pregnant

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Books, advice and my doc

Early on in my pregnancy, I refused to read almost anything related to having a baby. I did pick up the book "You: Having a Baby," but I didn't look at any information that wasn't about the first trimester. I was so afraid of letting myself get excited, because what if ...

After 12 weeks, I became cautiously optimistic -- and those of you who know me well know that means I wasn't completely pessimistic -- and started reading a little more. Now, at nearly 19 weeks, I'm reading lots of stuff. After my last visit to the library, I came home with "Full of Life; Mom-to-Mom Tips I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Pregnant" by Nancy O'Dell (She was/is host of "Access Hollywood," so you know she's an "expert.") and "I'm Pregnant! A week-by-week guide from conception to birth" by Lesley Regan, MD.

"Full of Life" does have some helpful tips -- like make sure you take make up to the hospital for the post-birth photos (eye roll) -- but it also tells me I must sleep on my left side. Which my doctor and nurse both told me isn't strictly neccessary, and older moms have told me they never did it, were never told to do it, and their babies are now grown and having babies of their own.

At first I thought this book could be pretty helpful or at least insightful, but it mostly reiterates things I've already heard or read. And some things are definitely based on the author being a "celebrity." Buy pregnancy Spanx? Really? Did any of you moms feel the need to wear Spanx while pregnant?

As for "I'm Pregnant" I've only flipped through it, mostly looking at the amazing 3-D images of the fetus in the womb. Although I did read some of the birthing information to see if it would freak me out. Amazingly, it didn't. I plan to look at this book more thoroughly.

What I've found with some of these baby advice books -- especially the ones not written by doctors -- is that they act as if your doctor is trying to keep information from you. My nurse told me it's best to sleep on my side (either side) but not to get too worried if I wake up on my back.

The fact is my doctor -- and her nurses -- are pretty laid back about pregnancy, not to the point of apathy, but they aren't fear mongers, either. They present facts. They tell me what is recommended and why they think those recommendations are valuable -- or not. For instance, ever hear a pregnant woman shouldn't eat cold cuts? Did you know that advice was put in books years ago and isn't necessarily true of today? My doctor told me that some recommendations are based on outdated information, and as long as I'm getting my sandwich meat from a reliable source, it will be fine. (Thank goodness I can still eat Jimmy John's!)

So, when I read something that sounds a little iffy or when I read something that makes me go, "Holy crap! I've been/not been doing that!" I give my doctor's office a call or make a note to ask at my next appointment. Because one thing I've read over and over is that my stress and anxiety can effect Baby.

And we all know how relaxed and de-stressed I am.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Skip this post

Today is not a good day. I don't feel good. Everything aches. Everything. My neck and head hurt. My shoulders and back feel stiff. I'm hungry and I just ate. Yesterday wasn't much better. I was bored but didn't have the energy or motivation to do much, and my emotions were kind of all over the place. The S.O. doesn't really get the whole pregnancy mood swing thing and forgets to be a little more sensitive.

Then this morning, on Facebook, my cousin mentioned how my mom used to send his kids Christmas ornaments each year around this time. Which made me feel kind of like a jerk for forgetting that lots of other people miss Mom.

Yes, I know it's the pregnancy. And, yes, I know it will pass. But ugh. I really don't like the aches and the big ol' pity party I feel like having right this minute.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tiny dancer

Last night, the S.O. and I watched the movie "The Good, The Bad, The Weird" on Netflix Instant. It's a Korean gunfighter film. Yes, that's right: Korean gunfighters. During the climactic chase scene, Baby was going nuts, moving all over the place. It felt like I had a little tap dancer in my belly. I like to think Baby is going to be just like Daddy (who is half Korean) and Mommy (who loves Asian action films).

On the other hand, maybe Baby didn't like the shouting and the shooting and was trying to protest. But because Baby sure seems to move around more when I'm happy, I'm going to go with the idea that Baby LOVED this movie as much as Mommy and Daddy did.

Check out the trailer:


As I said, it's on Netflix. And it is a ton of fun.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Week 18: Lobster baby and hoping for help

Apparently, I fell off the Fit Pregnancy newsletter mailing list, because they didn't send me my weekly update this past Tuesday. With Thanksgiving preparations -- and my baby brain -- it didn't occur to me until now that I haven't posted anything about Week 18. And it's almost over!

After a little searching, I found the information they normally send me. (Do they really need to frustrate the pregnant lady?)

So, this week Baby is about the size of "a lobster tail" (OK, what the hell is up with these comparisons, Fit Pregnancy?) and "may be able to detect a glow if you shine bright lights at your belly."

As for my changing body, they're spot on when they tell me, "You may have aches and pains in your legs, tailbone, and other muscles."

But my favorite part of the week 18 information is this bit:
Now is a good time to talk to your partner about how your house will be managed once the baby comes. For the first few weeks, until you establish a new routine with your new baby, you'll be too occupied to cook meals, take care of pets, open the mail, pick up the phone, or do anything but breastfeed, soothe the baby, and sleep. We hope your partner is up to the challenge. If not, prepare to move your mother or another relative in for a time. Also consider hiring a postpartum doula or baby nurse to help out.
They "hope your partner is up to the challenge." I think I need to do more than hope, especially considering my mother can't move in with us, and I can't think of any other relative who could. And we certainly don't have the luxury of hiring someone.

I actually feel pretty confident about the S.O.'s abilities to deal with a little one. He spent quite a bit of time entertaining our friend's almost-2-year-old son on Thanksgiving while she finished preparations and I put my feet up. It was really endearing to watch him play with the little boy.

At least I know he'll be helpful in a couple years.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Nobody told me

Nobody told me there would be no room for food! Nausea in the first trimester? Sure, I knew about that. Heartburn in the third trimester? Yep, heard all about that one. But not having enough room to eat a normal meal during the second trimester? Come on, people! Nobody told me about that.

Sure, yesterday was all about overindulging, but I didn't. Not really, because as soon as my tummy started to get a little full, I felt stuffed -- more stuffed than the Thanksgiving bird! And it wasn't just yesterday's holiday meal. Earlier in the week, a sandwich filled my stomach beyond capacity. Even my normal breakfast of plain yogurt and granola feels like I ate too much. So eating for two is definitely out of the question.

Why didn't I know that shortly after getting my normal appetite back, I wouldn't be able to actually eat? Even looking through some of the books I've picked up, that seems to be something that happens later, when the bump gets much bigger.

It's not fair. Most people get to be miserable Thanksgiving day because they went back for seconds (or thirds) or drank too much beer. My tummy was overfull with just one normal-sized plate of food. Is Baby really taking up that much space all ready?

What else aren't people telling me?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you have many, many things to be thankful for today.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kickin' it

For some reason I didn't sleep well -- or much -- last night. I felt like I couldn't turn off my brain, even though the things going through my head weren't worrisome. So I don't think it was thoughts keeping me awake. I had trouble getting comfortable. My hips hurt and my nose kept running. It was probably the combination of all those keeping me awake.

I'm pretty sure Baby was awake with me, because as I lay there about 2:30 a.m., I felt a tiny little flutter in my lower abdomen. This was the first time I felt something that I'm pretty sure was Baby moving around. I would have written the flutter off as gas, but it happened twice more in exactly the same spot. And I've heard that first-time moms-to-be sometimes mistake baby's movements for gas.

I have to admit -- as much as I said I wasn't going to let things I read get to me -- that I was a little concerned over not feeling movement from Baby. So I was pretty happy to feel those little flutters, even if it was at 2:30 in the morning.

Does that mean Baby is going to be up at that time once he or she actually joins us out here in the real world? Should I start preparing for 2 a.m. feedings? Well, it seems I'm awake anyway.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bonding with the bump

Because I suffered a miscarriage in the past and because I am considered "advanced maternal age," a lot of things about this pregnancy have freaked me out. I spent the first trimester in an almost constant state of worry ("almost constant" because nausea has a way of pushing other thoughts out of your head).

I know my anxiety isn't good for the baby and have been able to find ways to calm my fears and start to look ahead.

Recently, I read this article from WebMD about Bonding with Baby Before Birth. I found this part interesting:
Studies have shown that babies -- who begin hearing by the 18th week of pregnancy -- prefer classical music (Mozart and Vivaldi are good standbys), or any music that mimics the mother's heart rate of 60 beats per minute (lullabies and New Age music, for example). Hard rock is not the way to go here, especially since the amniotic fluid amplifies the sound.
I was always kind of skeptical about people playing classical music for their unborn babies, but now that I'm a mom-to-be, I think I'll have to try it. I know that listening to classical and/or New Age music helps me sleep when my mind doesn't want to turn off for the night.

Maybe I shouldn't be playing guitar or singing for baby -- I'm not that talented. And I had no idea the amniotic fluid amplifies the sound.

The article also tells me it's a good idea to touch my belly, either resting my hands quietly or gently massaging. I've done that. Something I haven't done that the article suggests is talking to Baby.
Talk to the baby. Say goodnight before you go to bed, good morning when you wake up, and talk to it throughout the day. "Newborns know their mom's voice after birth," (Marilee Hartling) says. "That's the voice they will turn to."
So, let me give it a try:

Good morning, Baby. I hope you slept well, because -- and this isn't a criticism -- you are really starting to make my hips hurt and make it hard for Mommy to sleep. But you know, I'm sure you're going to keep me awake a lot more than that and sooner than it seems. And I'm really looking forward to it. I can't wait to meet you.

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Gratitude List

My good friend Lisa over at Grandma's Briefs has a lovely post today, and I am going to follow her lead and create a gratitude list.

It's a good idea to remind ourselves of the blessings we have. With that in mind here are some of the things I am grateful for right now:
  • Normal test results
  • Friends who cook delicious meals and entertain me with goofy cover tunes
  • Friends who read my blog and listen to my rants, worries, joys, fears, etc.
  • My family -- Though far flung, they are close to my heart
  • My dog who is a constant source of entertainment
  • Space heaters and fingerless gloves
  • Decaf coffee
  • Internet shopping and free shipping
  • My expanding belly
  • My new food processor
  • Stretchy pants
  • Tylenol PM
  • PreNatal Gummy Vitamins
  • Body pillows and Sqush pillows
  • The S.O. who took me on the vacation of a lifetime, takes care of me daily, lets me cry on his shoulder, allows me to take long afternoon naps and only complains a little when I don't fix dinner or clean the house
  • And all the things that I normally take for granted, like indoor plumbing, modern medicine, a roof over my head and access to safe, healthy food and water

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Funny

It's Sunday. And while I'm always fairly lazy, I'm especially lazy on the weekends. Still, I'm not about to give up on NaBloPoMo this late in the game.

So in lieu of an actual post, I'm linking to this: Regarding Advanced Maternal Age. It's funny and totally fits with the theme of my site.

Here's a sample:
Male doctors, especially, are behind the times on this relatively recent older-mom trend. If your OB/GYN used to be your mom’s pediatrician, smokes a cigar while performing your exam, or insists that pap smears are “nothing but hoodoo,” it’s time to find a new practitioner–one who’s a little more “with it.”
The entire Let's Panic site is pretty darn funny -- whether or not you're pregnant or a parent.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

When negative is positive

Last week, at my doctor's appointment, I had blood drawn for a Quad Screen. It's a simple blood test that screens for:
  • Problems in the development of the fetus's brain and spinal cord, called open neural tube defects. The quad marker screen can predict approximately 75-80% of open neural tube defects.
  • Genetic disorders such as Down syndrome, a chromosomal abnormality. The quad marker screen can predict approximately 75% of Down syndrome cases in women under age 35 and over 80% of Down syndrome cases in women age 35 years and older.
The good news is my Quad Screen came back normal. And, WebMD tells me:
"In over 98% of pregnancies, normal quad marker screen results predict healthy babies and births without major complications."
Those sound like pretty good odds to me. The Web site does go on to tell me "there are no prenatal tests that can guarantee your baby and pregnancy will be completely healthy or without complications."

But, you know, they have to cover their WebMD butts, so they're going to be Negative Nancies. I, on the other hand, am going to focus on the positive.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Nesting

We haven't done too much nesting in anticipation of the baby, but we did make one major purchase. We bought "The Original Christmas Classics; 7 Holiday Favorites." The DVD set includes Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town, Frosty the Snowman, Frosty Returns, Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, Little Drummer Boy and Cricket on the Hearth.

Truth be told, we probably would have bought this collection anyway (we had a coupon!), but now we have a real reason to add to our DVD collection that includes quite a few Disney cartoons -- from "Aladdin" and "Beauty and the Beast" to Pixar classics like "Up" and "Wall-E."

We also recently purchased a set of three Muppet movies. You know, for the kid.

We haven't looked at baby furniture at all or really even decided for sure which room will be the nursery. We figure we've got plenty of time for that. But a sale on some of the all-time-best Christmas specials? That's important business.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I wish ...

The other night, as I walked through my local Barnes & Noble, I saw this "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" book. It is a Record-A-Story book.*
From the Web site: "Children will delight in the sound of a loved one's voice when they open this book. A recordable dedication page lets them know this is a story just for them. Each time they turn the page, Christmas music plays, and they hear the familiar voice of a loved one reading the classic holiday story."

Because I was technically working -- my job for the Children's Literacy Center takes place in the bookstore -- I wasn't really supposed to be shopping and don't normally when working. But this book stopped me in my tracks, and I had to pick it up and look at it.

I wish I had had this book three years ago. I wish I could have had my mom read this book for my as-yet-unexpected child. I know there are other ways for me to teach my child about his or her grandmother, but I wish I had something like this so "Grandma Weezy" could read a story to my baby.

I think a book like this is a wonderful way for a distant grandparent or aunt, uncle, parent (absent for whatever reason) to share time with a loved child.

And yes, I was almost crying right in the middle of the stupid Barnes & Noble. And yes, I'm almost crying right now as I type this.


*Other books in this vein include "Guess How Much I Miss You" and "Elmo Together at Heart."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Are parents stupid?

Seriously, I want to know. Because Parenting.com posted this story about 10 violent video games to avoid. The slide show starts out saying, "These are the worst video games for kids this season--be sure they're not on your list."

Click through the slide show and you'll find that all but one of the games is rated M for Mature. The lone exception is rated T for Teen. So, not one of these video games is actually supposed to be for kids.

I'm not a parent yet, so I don't know. Do parents not pay attention to ratings? Are parents buying these obviously violent video games for their kids then acting all shocked when a zombie gets bashed with a baseball ball covered in nails?

It seems to me the game's cover would be a dead giveaway. (Pun intended.) Look at it. Dude's got a chainsaw on a stick.

Do these same parents take their kids to R-rated movies then wonder why little Susie is dropping F-bombs at pre-school? I really want to know.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Week 17: More weird comparisons

It's time for my weekly update from Fit Pregnancy. As has become the norm in these updates, they compare the baby growing inside me to something I would never want growing inside me. This week it's soap!
"Your baby is about as wide as your palm, about six inches tall, and weighs about four ounces—about as much as a bar of soap."
As for myself, according to Fit Pregnancy: "You're looking pregnant, but not so much that it's difficult to put your socks on. You may even get that pregnancy glow, a radiance that comes from extra blood flow to your skin."

Frankly, I think I just look kind of fat. And tired. I don't think I have enough of a baby bump for people to think I'm pregnant. Imagine my horror when I imagine people will just think I've let myself go.

I'm so vain.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Practicing

Yesterday morning, at 5 a.m., the dog decided we needed some practice being parents. I don't know what she got into but it gave her diarrhea. She was scratching frantically at the door to be let out. Naturally, we didn't quite make it. So there was that to clean up.

Then, she threw up on the floor, too. So there was more to clean up. I'm quite happy to report that the S.O. stepped up and cleaned the messes while the sleepy pregnant lady dealt with a dog that didn't want to go back to bed.

Of course, just a few hours later she was napping quietly in the sun.

I know it's not the same as dealing with a sick baby ... or a hungry baby ... or a sick, hungry baby. But I think she wanted to ease us into it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Baby Bump update

The photo on the left is the first Baby Bump photo I posted slightly less than a month ago. The one on the right is what Baby Bump looks like today.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ewww! Really?

As I've probably mentioned before, I think there's a lot of crazy crap out there about pregnancy, so I avoid reading too much. I try to look for specific things -- nutrition tips, exercise info, etc. Still, I picked up "The Real Deal Guide to Pregnancy" and have enjoyed the straight-forward way things are presented in it.

Today, though, I open to the page entitled "Body Language: Common Pregnancy Peculiarities." Some of the "peculiarities" I've heard about. Others, not so much. "Just for fun," the book says, "check those that apply then flip to Chapter 6 to find out how to get rid of some of them, make others more tolerable, or at least find sympathy and the humor in them."

I'm not going to share the entire list here. You really don't want to know some of them. I have been lucky to not experience some of these -- especially the ickier ones. But I imagine the joy of pregnancy will bless me with many as the months pass.

I have experienced nausea, a change in my sense of balance, exhaustion, dizziness, forgetfulness, food aversions, frequent urination, hip aches, itching and a stuff nose. I have not experienced -- and hope not to -- bleeding gums,  spider veins, pregnancy mask, skin tags, darkening of my freckles or some of the other things they list that I'd be embarrassed to admit.

And please don't tell me I definitely will experience those things. Ignorance is bliss.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I shop

Despite some of the advice I've read, I went ahead and bought some maternity clothes. Yes, I know it's early. But the coat I was looking at was more than 50 percent off and wasn't going to be available long. So I ordered it. It's very cute and not totally maternity looking, meaning I may be able to use it for more than one season. And I ordered some maternity leggings, which are great for now, and because they have a very stretchy waistband and aren't too tight, they'll work when I get bigger and will probably be perfect for right after the baby is born. So, I just got a couple things to help me get through until the bump really starts popping out and I have wear real, honest-to-goodness maternity pants.

I've also been looking at some maternity tops, mostly t-shirts, because that's the kind of person I am. Here are a few of my favorites.

From ThinkGeek.com
 
And from CafePress.com:



Yes, I'm a geek and a dork and not all that fashionable. But I love weird and/or goofy t-shirts, and becoming a mom -- with all the responsibilities that entails -- isn't going to change my dorkiness.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Heartbeat and more

I saw my doctor today for my 16-week appointment. I love my doctor. She makes me feel great. She's excited about my weight gain. I have to keep reminding myself that it's OK -- no, necessary -- to gain that weight. So many years of obsessing about my weight are hard to overcome.

I had blood drawn today. We're checking my thyroid level again and checking risk factors for some other stuff, including Down Syndrome and Spina Bifida. The scariest part of that test is they are quite often wrong. So, despite the nurse telling me not to freak out about a positive result, you know I will.

I have another ultrasound coming up in the next couple of weeks. We'll have that one with the experts in advanced maternal age, so they should be able to tell some of that kind of stuff, too.

Now, on the upside -- and not at all scary -- we got to hear the baby's heartbeat again. It seems a lot louder now, and the heart rate is 150. Which according to the wives' tales, means I'm carrying a girl. On the other hand, according to the wives' tales, other things I'm experiencing point to a boy. For instance, the headaches, dry hands and dad-to-be packing on weight (don't tell him I told you) mean Nubbin is a boy.

A few years ago, I did a story for Pikes Peak Parent about these methods of determining baby's sex and was told by experts that these "tests" don't stand the test of time. Looking back at that story, I see that some of the things mentioned in the story contradict methods I've read of recenty. One thing the experts I talked to agreed on though, was that the mother's gut feeling about the baby's sex  is often correct. We'll see.

I'm off to hold a ring on a string over my belly now to see if it's a boy or a girl.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

You're getting sleepy ...

In case you didn't notice, I'm a worrier. I worry about lots of stuff. I even worry about how much I worry. (Heck, it's right there in the subtitle of this blog.) I get anxious. I get anxious that I'm too anxious. It's a vicious cycle. But I recently realized that I worry to protect myself. Somewhere in my twisted logic, I have decided that when I worry and things turn out OK, it's because I worried so much. The trick is for me to learn to accept that I'm a worrier and that just who I am.

All this came from an appointment I had yesterday. As I mentioned a while back, a friend gave me a hypnosis CD and a certificate for a session with the therapist. I finally got around to making the appointment and saw her yesterday. It was enlightening. We spent about half the session discussing what I wanted to get out of it and the other half actually doing some hypnosis. We decided that the worrying wasn't really a problem because it actually works for me. Like I said before, it may be twisted logic, but worrying protects me, so why change that.

Instead, we decided that something I needed to work on was "living in the moment," being "present" in the here and now rather than always looking at what comes next. So, instead of thinking about all the possible problems I could have during the remainder of my pregnancy, all the things that could go wrong during childbirth, all the issues that the child of an advanced-maternal-age mother could have, I need to just enjoy the pregnancy and live in the moment.

There was a time in my life I would have written that -- and hypnosis -- off as psychobabble and a bunch of hooey, but at this point in my life, I know I need to do something different -- for my own sanity. So, after a discussion about how hypnosis isn't like what you see on TV -- she can't make you act like a chicken, there's no swinging pocket watch, you don't get sleepy, very sleepy -- I got comfortable and prepared for the session.

You have to be open to hypnosis. If you don't believe in it, it won't work. As she explained it, some people are very receptive and go deep into their subconscious. Most people, however, kind of drift in and out. Which is what happened to me.

Whatever the explanation, calming music combined with her soothing voice and peaceful images definitely made me feel more relaxed -- a feeling that lasted throughout the rest of the day. She even recorded the session so I can listen to it again and again.

Being pregnant at 42 is pretty damn scary, but I'm grateful to find a way to relax (even just a little) about it all. I know being less anxious is better for me and better for the baby. But up until yesterday I couldn't think of a way to calm my nerves. I'll still worry. But I'm not going to worry so much about worrying.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Week 16: Gerbil baby

I totally skipped the Week 15 update. One reason was that I was off on my babymoon and not really thinking about exactly what was going on in there. I figure Baby was happy getting sunshine and fresh pineapple. Another reason was that the update from Fit Pregnancy was kind of generic and not worth sharing.

Week 16, on the other hand, seems a little more exciting. My e-mail newsletter from Fit Pregnancy tells me:
"Your baby weighs about 2.8 ounces (79 grams) and is about 4 1/2 inches from crown to rump—roughly the size of a small gerbil. At any time, you will begin to feel fetal movement as your baby's bones harden, and she starts a big growth spurt. Your baby has plenty of room: At this point, she could fit in the palm of your hand. This is a great time to be a fetus. At any given time, she might be playing with the umbilical cord (which she's now able to grasp), putting her thumb in her mouth, or kicking at the amniotic sac."
I'm not going to get too anxious if I don't feel the movements of a 2.8 ounce gerbil inside me. It's probably already shown some movement that I just attributed to gas. There's plenty of that -- something nobody told me about before I got pregnant.

At the library this weekend, I picked up "The Real Deal Guide to Pregnancy." Other than, "You: Having a Baby," it's the only pregnancy guide I've read. It's filled with advice from real moms and not overloaded with horror stories. The best part of the book is that it says there's no such thing as a normal pregnancy. That doesn't stop me from comparing myself to the women in the book and worrying when things aren't happening that the book says may be happening.

I'm working on not worrying about worrying so much. Worrying is what I do.

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Aloha Babymoon, the final day

Our final day in Hawaii turned out to be the sunniest. Lucky for us, our flight wasn't until 6 p.m., so we had time to soak up some sun by the pool before check out.
We spent the afternoon doing a little tourist shopping at a place called Hilo Hattie. After that, we drove around a little and spent some time at a beach, watching the paddle boarders.

From there we had to return our rental car and head to the airport. The trip home is never as exciting or fun as the trip to a destination, is it?
Well, that's it for my Aloha Babymoon. I hope you enjoyed reading about our adventures and seeing our photographs. Tomorrow, it's back to the reality of living my day-to-day life and preparing to become a first-time mom in my 40s.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Aloha Babymoon, part 6

We didn't plan much for this particular day. The S.O. was still kind of wiped out from his surfing experience the previous day (cue "Wipe Out" music). We checked the map and drove to see Wailua Falls. We'd thought there would be a bit of a hike to reach the falls, but there was an overlook at the side of the road. The falls were very pretty but didn't take up the time we thought they would.From the falls we drove southwest to the Kauai Coffee visitor's center. We took a walking tour of the area and sampled some coffee (decaf for me, thank you).
The coffee plantation was built on the site of an old sugar cane plantation. All the coffee they roast and sell is grown right there.After lunch and consulting the map again, we went to check out the National Tropical Botanical Gardens. We walked around the gardens a little while but decided to skip the actual tour. It was $20 per person for a self-guided walking tour, and at the risk of appearing really cheap, that seemed a bit pricey. We took some pictures of a little lizard and a huge spider.

We went back to Old Koloa Town because the S.O. decided I was right and he should have a Poipu Beach surf t-shirt. We also bought some lotion and shaving soap from the Island Soap and Candle Works, as well as some dog treats for Ripley. After sharing a shave ice (not "shaved" mind you -- it was "shave ice" everywhere we went) we headed back to the resort to watch the rain from our porch.

We had a nice dinner at a restaurant in a nearby hotel. For dessert, I had star fruit sorbet with coconut ginger biscotti. Yum.

Before bed we found a teeny tiny gecko in our room. Not wanting to wake to a gecko in bed with us, we caught him in a cup and put him out on the porch. (I don't think he was trying to sell us insurance. But he was really cute.)
We went to bed feeling a little sad that this day was our last full day in Hawaii.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My Aloha Babymoon, part 5

A mostly uneventful -- but very relaxing morning -- led to a drive to Poipu Beach, where the S.O. took surfing lessons. I didn't think the Nubbin would appreciate all the falling and sucking in of salt water surfing seems to involve, so I sat in the sun and took pictures.



As you can see, the S.O. had a great time but was exhausted at the end of the lesson. It was a good reason to just lay in the sun for a while longer. It was a very pretty beach.

After leaving the beach, we walked through some of the Old Koloa Town shops and had ice cream (taking photos can really build up an appetite, you know).

As we were leaving to do a little more shopping, the S.O. asked the girl at the counter if she knew of a good noodle place. She directed us to a little restaurant in Lihue. It was a tiny hole-in-the-wall place, and there were just two other people when we entered. By the time we'd finished our meal, a long line of customers was waiting for seats.

Even though not a lot happened on this day -- granted a Colorado boy surfing is a pretty big deal -- it was one of the best days of the vacation.

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Aloha Babymoon, part 4

It was raining when we woke up on this day. By the time we finished our breakfast and headed out for coffee, it had stopped, leaving everything clean and shiny. We went to see Opaeka'a Falls.Despite the early morning rain, the island hasn't seen a whole lot of precipitation lately, so the falls weren't nearly as impressive as we'd heard. It was still an extremely pretty view. We crossed the road to look down on the Wailua River.We spent some time walking through the shops in Old Kapa'a Town, then had a lunch of fish tacos. The sun came out while we were eating lunch, so we hurried back to the resort to change into our swimsuits and hit the beach. We spent the afternoon lounging in the sun. I took a nice long pregnant-lady nap to be ready for the luau that evening.

We went to the Smith Family Garden Luau. Yes, "Smith." But as our host explained, Smith was his great-grandfather. He came over from England, fell in love with a Hawaiian woman and married her. All of the staff and dancers were part of the family, and it really did feel like a family affair.

The evening starts with a tour of the gardens.
Next was the buffet-style dinner of pulled pork (cooked all day in a pit right there in the gardens), Teriyaki beef, fish and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. We even tried poi. Which isn't awful. It just looks like wallpaper paste and tastes like nothing.

After dinner, we move to the open-air theater for the dancing. The dancers performed traditional dances from Hawaii, Polynesia, Samoa, Japan, China, New Zealand and the Philippines. It was a lot of fun.
A review on Trip Advisor called the luau "cheezy" (yes, they spelled it with a z) and said the meal was "cafeteria food." I thought it was all very entertaining and the food was really tasty. I only have two criticisms of the evening.

First, the Mai Tais were watery (according to the S.O. I didn't have any for obvious reasons). However, that's a very small criticism, as there was a bar serving beer and wine (at no extra charge) so if you didn't like the watery Mai Tai, you had another option. Plus, there was punch and soda and plenty of ice water.

The second criticism is that they wanted $20 for a copy of the picture they took when we entered the gardens. Twenty dollars for a picture of my significant other and pregnant me, standing next two pretty, skinny girls in coconut bras? I don't think so.