Friday, February 25, 2011

Muffy Wuz Here

Time to brag on my sister. It's not every day one's artwork ends up in a museum.
Check it out

7002 submissions. 205 chosen. Top 2%, people!

On display at the American Museum of Illustration in NYC in May. The only thing keeping me from going is my midwife-issued mandate not to travel outside the city after mid-March.

A copy of this piece is going up in the nursery.

Monday, February 21, 2011

As the French Say, Vingt-Cinq

25 weeks. That sounds really pregnant! More pregnant than it sounds when you say that 40 weeks minus 25 weeks = 15 weeks left.


I'm nowhere near the point of starting a countdown, but I've certainly had a few "Uff da: 2nd going on 3rd trimester" moments that make you realize that 40 weeks really is a long time!

At this point I can say I do really feel pregnant, but don't dare proclaim it too loudly because it will surely soon be followed by "Haha! I thought I was BIG at 25 weeks! That was nothing!" I'll just say it's amazing how much can change in a week and suddenly you hardly recognize yourself. I have most recently noticed that my abdomen now has sides. At least my Lady Gaga concert t-shirt still fits! It'll be a sad day when we have to part.

The baby has been getting more and more active and is measuring right on. Sometimes I find myself getting a little more tired than I want to be--like when I want to go shopping to accomplish 20 things-- and most recently have experienced what can only be described as mood imbalances. I haven't become a raging lunatic, but sometimes get more irritable about things I know the other version of myself wouldn't care about. But what else can you expect when your entire chemical makeup is shifting all over the board?

So here I am, makin' lists, makin' more lists, checking stuff off lists, and to be honest feeling pretty good.

I suppose this would be the perfect moment for BabyCenter (sponsored by Nissan) to interject with this little gem of wisdom:

Mom Tip: "I make lists so I don't wander around trying to remember things. My memory is shot." 

Oh. THANKS for enlightening me, Nissan! I'm pretty sure I've been making lists since I figured out the whole vowel thing! I've made lists about writing lists! Key learning: if this is what is offered as sidebar advice in ads on pregnancy sites, what does that say about the website content??

Sorry for the hormonal interlude. But seriously.

So we've gotten quite a bit done lately, including:
-Switching from an OB to a midwife
-Choosing a name
-Ordering the crib
-Attending baptism class
-Registering for baby stuff
-Signing up for childbirth and baby care classes
-Painting the baby's room and installing a dimmer light
-Putting our piano on consignment sale, aka it's not in the house anymore
-Creating a real living room almost out of thin air
-Relocating our home office
-Confirming that my running days are NOT over yet


Switching from an OB to a midwife
Mainly in order to be able to deliver at St. Joe's. The OB clinic I was going to only delivered at Fairview Southdale and after learning more about the different things each hospital can offer, decided that St. Joe's jazzed me the most. My new midwife, Melissa, in St. Paul, is great! I did have a good experience with OB care, and up until our ultrasound we didn't really know if we were dealing with a low-risk pregnancy or what so it was nice to work with them up to the point we did. But since things so far have been fine it only affirmed my decision to switch and enjoy the niceness of a slightly less "medicalized" approach to pregnancy. 

Of course, anything can happen at any time, of that I am constantly aware. But the nice thing about our new situation is that we'll be working with a well-established group of midwives in a very midwife-friendly hospital, and will have access to as little or as much medicine/support as we need for delivery.

Choosing a name
For some reason, all it took was finding out the gender to seal the deal. I know a lot of people want to wait until the baby arrives to make a final determination, but I swear, the moment I found out that the image on the ultrasound was a girl I heard myself saying "That's _______!" 

Micah and I discussed a bit more in the weeks to follow and both agreed that this is the name we both love the most, AND that we are going to keep it to ourselves until she arrives. Because I don't want anyone criticizing the fact that we chose Ludmilla Eunice. KIDDING. That is not the name. 

I will say that the name we've chosen is unmistakably feminine, not common, has family significance and makes me feel very...happy. But of course you can't please everyone. And I'm okay with that. It'll just be more likely that people will keep any dissent to themselves if the baby is already born. 


Ordering the crib
You wouldn't think this would be hard. (Actually, take this statement and apply it to almost any baby gear-related topic.) But really, crib buying should be simple. In a perfect world, you should be able to go into a baby store, see a crib you actually like, have it be in stock, buy it, take it home, end of story. 

But no. First of all, most cribs now look like mini versions of gigantic adult beds with headboards rivaling anything I've ever personally slept in. And now they all pretty much convert to toddler beds that end up having the most unusual-looking high sides (and these are not the sides to protect against rolling out of bed). Where are the CRIBS? Do I need to go back in time to find one? Oh wait, those probably aren't up to code anymore. 

And of course we go to Babies R Us a month ago and see a very cute, small-scale, and affordable white Jenny Lind crib...but we don't buy it. Rule #1: if you see it now, buy it now. Otherwise, IT WILL DISAPPEAR. I'm getting ahead of my story. So we go back to buy this crib last weekend and not only is it out of stock in stores, but also online. And so I check everywhere else online...also out of stock. What is up with this crib?! 

Only after commiserating with my mother on the phone--and considering buying a non-white crib on Craigslist and spray painting the whole thing white--do I chance upon "4 in stock!" in the exact model on cribs.com last night. You are kidding. And with FREE shipping? That just doesn't happen with furniture. So finally, a crib on its way. And I totally don't want to hear about my being particular. I can just never believe it when the simplest of one's crib options is the hardest to procure. 

Attending baptism class
We are now ready to sign up for a baptism slot sometime in the summer. The 75-minute class involved watching a video from the 80s about "water in its various forms" and then had some simple discussion about the process, and before I knew it, it was over. 

There were three other couples there and all of them had already had their babies. I thought we were supposed to do it before the baby was born. We are. But it was kind of cool to be around people who had just had babies a month or two prior--and maybe it was just the group, but they were very positive about how much they loved being parents, which was nice to hear instead of the usual ball and chain act everyone gives you. I know I have no idea how much life will change. But it's just always nice to hear people focus on the positive and not try to freak you out. 

Registering for baby stuff
We are now registered at Target and www.pacifieronline.com. Pacifier is a super cute small store with two locations in Mpls. Home of the black Jon Stewart onesie. 

So far I've been able to procure some items from friends, which is always welcome. But I'll admit I, in my ever-wild imagination--can potentially see the "items from friends" approach turning into a battle of tact when someone offers up their "perfectly good condition" car seat with Cheerios smooshed in every crevice and a lingering smell like a Plymouth Voyager left in the Florida heat with some kind of perishable inside. Okay, I don't actually know who would do this, but you just never know. But I will say we have already been the recipients of ridiculously generous offerings of a few things from my brother- and sister in-law who have a two year-old. In other words, I owned a breast pump...before I was even pregnant. 

Signing up for childbirth and baby care classes
Pretty self-explanatory. We're going for the 9-4 on a Saturday option instead of multiple weeknights. When I volunteered at a hospital in junior high I never really thought the day would come when I'd be the person toting two pillows and a blanket into the hospital for class. I'm really looking forward to it, though. 

Painting the baby's room and installing a dimmer light
Light blue in the front bedroom is now Martha Stewart Buckwheat Flour, a very nice neutral that's not too dark or too yellow. I'm thinking it will be a good backdrop for whatever furniture we find. Plus, I've always liked decorating rooms with other elements besides paint because they're a lot easier to change out. The room won't have a theme, like monkeys or sailboats; I'm just hoping for nice ambiance with interesting elements that don't overwhelm the senses. And if you didn't guess, "Princess" isn't high on our list of Concepts to Perpetuate. Pretty sure every girl reaches this stage on her own by 6 or 7 anyway.  


Putting our piano on consignment sale, aka it's not in the house anymore
Yes, it's true. The Steinway was played for the last time last week and picked up by piano movers to be taken to its temporary home at Schmitt Music. I remember the day it arrived at my family's house in 1985. It's the piano I grew up playing on and have since gotten a lot of enjoyment out of it, even in its most recent days in our current home. 


But the reality is that it wasn't earning its space anymore. (Which I'll admit is is hard to do in a little bungalow.) I played it sometimes, but not nearly like I could have. And on top of this, its presence in the living room was keeping us from having a functional living space where people could actually sit and talk. 

So we put it up for sale through Schmitt. If anyone can move it, Schmitt can. It's in great shape and just needs some touch-ups on the exterior wood. I did have a few sentimental moments over it, but came to realize that it was a positive thing in my life, I enjoyed it, and now we can pass it on to someone else who will enjoy it. Storage was an expensive option that didn't really make sense.  

Creating a real living room almost out of thin air
So can I tell you how exciting I am to have a living room now that the piano is gone? It completely changes the way we live in the house. We pulled existing furniture out of the previous TV room, picked up a TV table at Ikea, bought a few pillows, and the difference is incredible. This is the kind of space we need as we become 4 tenants instead of 3 tenants. Yes, I include Gus. If you see the way he utterly inhabits rooms, you wouldn't disagree. 


But the real piece de resistance is the Oriental rug procured from my parents. I probably learned to crawl on this rug since my parents bought it a few months before I was born and it was always in our den. It's amusing to think how much life has passed over this very fabric: birthday parties, sleepovers, "Quiet Times." And I know for sure it has been graced with some passionate dancing to the Fame soundtrack in my leotard. (I was four, max.) In the past few years it was up at the cabin but Mom & Dad went up to retrieve it for us a few weeks ago. It really makes the living room. 

Relocating our home office
The baby room was previously our office/guest room. Now the TV room becomes the office/guest room. Micah just installed a bunch of shelves on the wall for our books and it's all starting to come together! We still have a ways to go with this room, but it's off to a good start. 

Confirming that my running days are NOT over yet
You heard me correctly, I'm still running. I thought the wicked side aches I was getting in Weeks 21 and 22 while running were here to stay, but when I told a runner friend about it, she said the same thing happened to her at the exact same point in her pregnancy and that it goes away. Who knew? I wonder if a lot of runners reach this point, think it's going to stay that way, and stop running. It would make enough sense. 

But after some follow-up questions with my midwife (also a runner), she said that it's a condition called diastasis recti and most people don't notice it because their cores aren't being engaged through sports during pregnancy. It's when your abdomen, which has been stretching bit by bit all this time finally reaches a point of "we need to take this further" and...well, you get it. It hurts. I was even feeling it when I swam or biked, which was confusing. I thought non weight-bearing exercise wouldn't be affected, but it was. But at least it was still do-able, unlike the running. 

However at this point, after a few very gingerly executed jogs, the pain isn't there anymore. It takes a little longer to get warmed up, but then it's fine. But as an added measure I did purchase a full-on maternity support belt at the advice of my midwife since everything "body" for me is in a state of constant change at the moment and I can't count on anything staying the same for too long. And actually, running in this support getup is great! (As long as no one can see it, that is!) It totally takes your mind off putting strain on your stomach and improves your posture. So we'll see how it all goes. It was just nice to find out I have this option!


Family Brunch
And the last thing--we had a fun girls-only family brunch, or rather, baby shower at W.A Frost a couple weekends ago! Super fun!


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Someone Turned 4 Today!

And is already canoodling with his birthday present. 

Still young and spritely as ever! Though I've spotted a few white hairs on his chin. (Sob!)


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Lutsen and 23 Weeks

Okay, so I haven't figured out the whole new-fangled photo editing quite yet since it involves fiddling with HTML, so for now I revert to my traditional means of adding pictures. 

Micah and I spent the weekend in Lutsen on the North Shore and it was really, really fun. I'd been waiting for this for a while! Every so often I get this strange urge to go up to Duluth and that area...there's something about it I love. 

Of course, the weather could have been just awful and cold and there's no way to predict it when you make your reservations, but we somehow lucked out and ended up with a weekend that could even be called warm: a consistent 30 degrees. 

Highlights: 

The Drive Up
Between Forest Lake and rough Sandstone there's pretty much nothing to look at, and suddenly the landscape transforms into something very lovely and dramatic around Duluth. Even huge heaps of coal look starkly beautiful along Hwy 61. 

Of course before this, we stopped at Tobies for some artery-clogging delights. Nothing like being the driver and handed huge caramel roll fragments dripping in sin while navigating a sleet storm. 





Lodging
Lutsen Resort. Actually the site on which Lutsen was founded by Norwegian Charles Nelson. The town was named after Lutzen, the spot in Germany were Norwegian King Gustavus Adolphus II (or something) was killed in battle. I can't remember the year the town was founded, but I'm sure it's a year in the 1800s that sounds old in America but is laughably juvenile by the rest of the world's standards. Either way, it felt very quaint. 

The resort was very cute and the staff is super friendly. Like friendlier you think they'd deem necessary. They had an onsite spa where we both got massages, and the whole place sits right along Lake Superior. 

I'd eaten in the lodge's dining room with my dad and sisters in like, high school, and had thought it was super charming then with its chandeliers that look like stacks of Jell-O. So I knew this is where I wanted to stay when I started planning this trip in my mind a while ago. Plus, they had a highly enjoyable piece of awkward bear taxidermy in one of the back hallways. 


 


Baby's First Snowshoe
So she may not be "on land" yet, but we were definitely a snowshoe party of three. I think (hope) Babe Turman will be outdoorsy because our 80-minute trek up Carlton Peak on snowshoes set off some really fabulous kicking that I will choose to interpret as rounds of applause. 

I'd been hypersensitive to the fact that she'd be less active for several days leading up to our trip and was getting a little like "Hello? Are you still there?", but all the fresh pine air and trekking must have revved her up because she was going nuts for the rest of the trip after I took off the snowshoes! It actually got to the point where we could see the kicks. 

Exhibit A: what appears to be a non-pregnant snowshoeing person.

Exhibit B: not sure how the illusion from Exhibit A was even possible. 

The funny thing is that I've had this Asics vest since my high school cross-country days and it was always a little too big but had elastic at the bottom to make it fit better. Even though I don't usually hold on to things that don't fit right, for some reason even in high school I thought it would probably be something I could wear while pregnant. Well hasn't that ship just come in?

Mitten-Optional XC Skiing
The lodge includes afternoon XC ski excursions in their room rates and they even include gear. So of course we took advantage and headed up Onion River Rd. with Lucas the instructor, and two other couples. Micah, being the champ of coordination that he is, got the hang of it in about 15 minutes and eventually caught up to his 6-months pregnant wife. 

To be honest it's been a while since I've truly skied, since waxing combi skis from high school is no longer my ideal way to spend a Friday night. But it does come back to you like riding a bike. 

The baby was kicking up a storm before I was even done skiing. Kind of unusual because typically exercise is supposed to rock babies to sleep and they don't move around nearly as much as when you're sitting still. I could read into this, but I'll just say she's adaptable. 

This was was one of the best (read: vigorous) workouts I've had lately, and yet the lack of pavement pounding made it seem nearly effortless. I fear my running may be cut short sooner than I'd like because I'm finding that my body is not at all liking even the seemingly gentle up and down of the easiest of jogs anymore. I'm not totally calling it quits yet, but when you rediscover something like skiing that gives you a way better workout and doesn't  strain the stomach, it makes you think about reconsidering your options. Maybe I'll be digging out my skis again.

Meals
This would be the Finnish pasty (PASS-ty) I had in the cafe at Lockport Market. Yes, most pasties are Cornish, but this is not the land of the English. 

I'd somehow never had tried one of these before, nor one of the ingredients: rutabaga. Not that you can blame me. Rutabaga kind of screams "Food you eat when there's nothing else!" But overall it was pretty good. Pretty much like meatloaf in pastry. Improved 20 times over with ketchup. I'll admit I was kind of jealous of Micah's burger, which he proclaimed "The Best." 


Gondola at Moose Mountain
I'm obviously not a prime candidate for downhill skiing at the moment, but I didn't want to miss wowing Micah with the view of Lake Superior from the top of the mountains, which he'd never seen before. So we beat the morning ski crowds and took the gondola to the top of Moose Mountain. 

It's no Colorado Rockies, but it does instill some state pride. 



Dessert Redemption
Try as they might, Lutsen Resort's restaurant rice pudding was bad. Like "Ugh, they put raisins in it!" bad. I was envisioning some nice Kozy Shack and it was instead a hardened puck of pudding with 50 raisins crammed into a standard ramekin, and festooned with enough strawberries and whipped cream to border on corny. A bit incongruous, if you ask me. 


That was Friday night. Saturday night, we fared much better.  Unbeknownst to us the Bluefin Grille in Tofte was hiding a nice little secret: the chocolate chip cookie topped with ice cream. They don't even advertise the cookie as warm. And what comes out? A mini skillet of cookie batter that barely held its shape, measuring 350 degrees in temperature, covered with a huge scoop of vanilla. 

Oh Lord. I'm not usually one to be taken at the mere mention of a warm cookie, but this was heaven. I would have licked the skillet but it would have scalded my tongue. Rice pudding long forgotten. 


And of Course
No vacation is complete without Scrabble. 


Monday, February 7, 2011

Lutsen

More details to come, but here is a quick pictorial recap of our weekend in Lutsen, thanks to experimentation with some new photo software.

My technique will eventually come around after I figure out how to manipulate image width, but this is regardless kind of an exciting new way to share pictures!

Photobucket

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Two Things, One Post

This photo reminds me of one of those contests in Travel & Leisure called something like "Where Are You?" where they give an obscure picture and a bunch of clues about where it is, and then readers guess and one of them wins a million dollars or an all-expense paid trip to Bulgaria.

This may be one of the most out-of-context travel pictures I've ever taken...and it would be the view standing atop Cardiff Castle. But it could be anywhere, right?



Pregnancy cravings? How about GREEN NATURE?

In other news, a stranger stopped me in the elevator at work today and asked me if the picture on my badge was really me.
  • "Um...yep! That's me!"
  • "OMG well it just doesn't look anything LIKE you!"
  • "Nope...I guess it doesn't."
  • "Bye."
  • "Bye."
So I don't exactly look the same as May 31st, 2005. I'm just amazed that it was enough to elicit response from someone I don't know.

My first day as a diligent worker...the day they took my badge picture
(Side note: freaked out)
5 1/2 years later
I guess I'm just one of those people for whom hairstyle makes a big difference.