Friday, November 27, 2009

8 Weeks


Tomorrow is my first midwife appointment and I am so excited! I am hoping to have a sonogram. I have no idea what to expect. I’ve only dealt extensively with the far other end of this spectrum in labor and delivery. And I am nowhere near there yet!

Last week I was almost (almost) wishing that I had some more intense pregnancy symptoms. I couldn’t get pregnancy off of my mind and yet I didn’t feel pregnant at all. I resorted to taking pregnancy tests at work just to make sure I was indeed pregnant.

Well, be careful what you almost wish for. These days I am in a perpetual state of queasiness. It’s not nausea. I haven’t even felt like I need to throw up. It’s just enough of an upset stomach to take the spring out of my step. But it doesn’t make me miserable. It seems to be worse on an empty stomach. So, I’m trying to eat healthy snacks every few hours.

I’m also exhausted and frequently short of breath. All of these things conspire to make me one lazy nurse at work. But I am taking comfort in the fact that these symptoms are indicators that I actually am pregnant!

Speaking of work. Oy vey! It is hard to keep a secret there. Almost all of the ladies I work with are my mother’s age and they have their minds on grand babies. And it doesn’t even have to be their own grand babies- they want me to have a baby so that they can have one around. There’s one in particular that keeps urging Peter and I to get pregnant now so that she can throw us a baby shower before Peter’s year here is up. And every time I mention a symptom that is even vaguely pregnancy related (eg. “I’m tired”) they try to get me to take a pregnancy test! It is rather ridiculous. And lately since I’ve been feeling a little sick I’ve gotten frequent comments that I don’t look well and am I sure I’m not pregnant?

So, I’ve had to use various excuses and maneuvering to get out of all of these pregnancy tests. But one of the nurses did wriggle it out of me. She began asking me pointed questions about a doctor’s appointment that I mentioned (which is actually my midwife appointment tomorrow) and I found it difficult to lie to her face. So she knows. I hope she will keep her mouth shut for a few more weeks. It will be fun to tell everyone at work. They will all be so excited! Provided that everything goes well, it will only be a few more weeks and then I will let everyone know! I can’t wait for that!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Baby's First National Park

9/7/09- I will have to add the pictures into this post later. For some reason they didn't save and I don't have my camera with me but I wanted to put the posts up in order. :o)

So, baby made it to the Grand Tetons with us last weekend. You can tell in this picture that I’m pregnant by the stereotypically pregnant way that I’m standing. (Otherwise, you can’t really tell. )

I hope this is the first of many camping trips and hikes for our little offspring. I hope s/he loves

nature, the outdoors and wildlife as much as we do. If s/he doesn’t, he’s going to have a terrible childhood with all of those vacations to national parks. And then in some therapy sessions later on in life he’ll probably relate how his mother forced him/her to become a junior ranger every summer and then s/he’ll get a job at a logging company just to spite me.

But hopefully s/he’ll love the outdoors and then s/he’ll have a fabulous childhood! We got him/her this adorable little onesie that says “I moose have a hug.” So cute! Hopefully this time next year you’ll get to see the sights for your self, little baby!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Baby's first addiction

You get a two for one today since I didn't post yesterday. I'm envisioning this "Baby Week" to be like shark week only with fewer teeth (and much less marketing). So, to realize my vision, I feel obliged to post a baby ramble every day. So since I didn't get around to it yesterday here you go!


One of the first tasks I undertook when I found out that I was pregnant was breaking baby’s first drug addiction. Caffeine. I somehow developed a small coffee habit. I think that happened sometime when I was working nights. I think baby had some fast times in utero those first few weeks before I knew that I was pregnant.

So for the first week I switched to decaf. Then I quit altogether. I also decided to give up my beloved diet cokes. Now that I’ve given up everything I enjoy drinking, that leaves me with only one food/drink related vice: salt. If I am eating a meal with you, you might just nonchalantly move the salt shaker away from my side of the table. But you must do this without me seeing you. If I see you taking my sodium, I’m likely to become furious and attack.

Anyways, I thought breaking my caffeine habit would be awful. I thought I would only be functioning at about a 3 on the Glasgow coma scale. For you non medical people that means comatose. But it was a lot easier than I thought. I actually didn’t even feel tired when I quit. I do feel exhausted now but I think that’s more related to the massive growth spurt that my little baby had last week. Apparently he doubled in size. Well done, little guy/gal!

4-5 weeks


Right now my baby is 4-5 weeks. S/he is between 1/16 and 1/8 of an inch- about the size of the tip of a pen. What a petite little thing!

I am so dizzyingly happy. I have been smiling for days, walking on air, just thinking about that word “Pregnant!” The vulnerability of the situation has also struck me. That little being with no shelter, no protection except my own body which now seems so fragile... so unequal to the task. Even though this whole process is taking place inside of me, I feel very helpless. I feel like I should be doing something. But really all I can do is wait. It is a strange feeling to be in the midst of such an enormous life change and yet... nothing has actually changed.

I think about it when I'm on the train. There are actually two people sitting in my seat but no one knows that! It's not just me anymore, I'm two! But in response to that mind blowing idea (that there are now two people where there was formerly only one) I'm still riding the train to work everyday like I normally do. Life is so eerily normal! But the changes will come soon enough I'm sure. I might as well enjoy the last vestiges of "normal" while I can. And there is comfort in the waiting. Or at least in the knowing that I truly can't control anything that's happening but I can entrust the entire process to the Author of life.

We have decided to wait until I’m 13-15 weeks along before we tell anyone that I am pregnant. From my experience as a Labor and Delivery nurse, I know that the possibility of miscarriage is very real during the first trimester. So, I want to wait to get past that. Of course, there are still no guarantees, I know. But I also enjoy letting this news mull and simmer in my mind while the knowledge is still just ours. It’s kind of fun to have a secret!

But at times I feel like I might explode; it is a difficult secret to keep. It seems like October (when I will be getting into the 2nd trimester) is an eternity away! Last night we got a call from Peter’s brother Jacob. I heard Peter on the phone exclaim “number three!” I knew that probably meant Jacob and his wife Daniele are having a third baby. And sure enough, Daniele is pregnant and due in early May! (I'm due April 28th.) Wow! We were beside ourselves with excitement. It will be fun to tell them. If all goes as planned, I will by having my oldest and they will be having their youngest both in early May. They say it will be their last but they’re both still young and I have my doubts…;o) So, we’re locked into a 40-week marathon. May the best baby win (of course, both babies will be "the best baby." It will just depend on which set of parents you talk to. :o)!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Some things I can't do

Hello everyone! It's been a little while!

Next week is going to be "Baby Week" around here. Every week is Baby Week in my mind. And if you so desire you can join me in my pregnancy-soaked ramblings. Over the first trimester, before we were telling people that I'm pregnant, I wrote several things that I am going to try to post next week. It fits in with Thanksgiving because I couldn't be more thankful to have my little womb buddy with me all the time!

Anyways, I've been continuing to swim for exercise and I really enjoy it. (Change of subject, no segue. Poor writing! Sorry!) The hardest part is the mental anguish that occurs when considering getting into a cold swimming pool when it's in the 30's outside. Once I'm in it's not bad. But getting there requires much mental cajoling. Last weekend I was actually in the pool and it started snowing outside (the pool building has a wall of windows). Just seeing the snow made the water temperature seem to plummet. Following my workout, I had to leave the pool and wait for the train with wet hair in the snow. Which, again, wasn't that bad when I got there but was so painful to think about that I was attempting to wait out the snow. But the snow prevailed, lasting several hours. I just didn't have it in me to do that many laps.

Anyways, I've been trying to learn breaststroke. I'm wondering if perhaps it's one of those things that will forever elude me. Like finding my way around by cardinal directions. Or doing any math in my head (or on paper for that matter...).

I've just been working on the kick and I actually end up going backwards. Does that not somehow defy the laws of physics? I'm displacing water in a forward motion and yet I'm going the opposite way? If it does defy physics perhaps instead of failing I'm actually demonstrating some sort of magical skills.

This all goes against the theme of my "nothing is impossible!" marathon post. But I know there are things that are impossible for me, just not everything that I once believed to be impossible. I can't whistle, I can't roll the letter "r" and I just might have to add breaststroke to that list. But maybe not! I'll keep working!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Look Out Meb Keflezighi*!

Way to go Jake and Julie! These two completed the San Antonio Half Marathon today! What an accomplishment! Congrats!

* Meb Keflezighi was this year's winner of the NYC marathon. He ran it in 2:09:15. That's the amount of time it takes me to get out of bed in the morning sometimes.

Friday, November 13, 2009


My good friend Jennifer came to visit last weekend. Along with Kyle and Vanessa. The four of us were nearly inseparable in high school. And now we're all living thousands of miles apart! Having them visit was a wonderful time to catch up. And for me to show my awesome skills at Apples to Apples. :o)

Anyways, Jennifer works in publishing in NYC (doesn't that sound so sophisticated?!?). On one of our hikes we discussed the publishing business for a bit. Books and book gadgets like the kindle and such. Jennifer told us that Amazon is like the Wal-Mart of the publishing world. It is a huge behemoth that is poised to push the smaller, independent bookstores out of business. I'm sure the economy of the whole situation is more complex than what I just described but that is the gist of it as I understand it.

I'm really not a fan of big corporations that can afford to bully all the little guys. I don't want the world to turn into one huge Wal-Mart/McDonalds/Starbucks combo. In Texas I used to buy books at 1/2 priced books or check them out from the library. But 1/2 priced books really only works if you're not picky at all about what you're going to read. When I wanted to buy a specific title I usually bought online from Amazon. I really didn't know where else to buy used books online. But Jennifer recommended some sites that I think I will try to use from now on.

One is Better World Books. It is a company that collects books that would otherwise be thrown away and sells them online. They donate a portion of their profits to various global literacy organizations. And here's something really awesome: They ship FREE in the U.S.! I bought three used books from the site today- books that were not even in the SLC library system. So they seem to have a good selection.

The other site we discussed is Powell's Books. Powell's is one of the largest independent bookstore in the world. It's in Portland, Oregon. I visited it several years ago when I was in Portland. It is a paradise for readers. I considered moving in. I didn't realize that they also sold online. I didn't find what I was looking for when I was searching for today. But I'll keep looking because I think they have a good selection. I just couldn't find what I wanted used.

Perhaps you can check out these sights when you're Christmas shopping for that book lover in your life.

Happy reading!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fall Favorites

Okay, for all you bakers out there, especially those of you who love seasonal food, here is a good recipe that has recently been inducted into my fall favorites category. It's a caramel apple cake.

I got it out of a recipe book that was compiled by Central Baptist Church, which is where Peter and I went to church in College Station (at Texas A&M). He gave me the cookbook as a present Christmas of 2004. We had very recently began dating again (after breaking up at the end of high school). It was our senior year of college and we got married about 8 months later.

Anyways, we had just started dating again and he gives me this cookbook. At first I'm like "what are you trying to say? Why don't you get in the kitchen and cook me something?!" I had never really cooked anything before in my life. But then I tried a few recipes and realized, "hey, I love this!" And thus began what will hopefully be a lifelong romance with the culinary arts.

We had some people over a couple of weeks ago and I made this cake for dessert. I also served some hot cranberry-apple cider. Pretty soon there were trees sprouting around us whose leaves were turning hues of orange, gold and red.

Okay, that didn't really happen. But if eating a fall themed desert could cause such a thing, I'm sure it would have. If anyone tries this, let me know how it turns out!

Here's the recipe:

Caramel Apple Cake

1.5 c vegetable oil
1.5 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
3 eggs
3 c all purpose flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3.5 c diced apples (usually 3 lg or 4 med.)
1.5 c pecans
2 tsp vanilla flavoring

Combine oil and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Combine dry ingredients reserving 1/2 c of flour; then add the rest of dry mix to batter and stir well. Mix reserved 1/2 c flour with the apples and nuts. Fold in apples and nuts to batter and add vanilla. Pour into greased and floured tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1.5 hours or until cake tests done. Cool in pan for 15 minutes then remove onto wire rack to cool completely.

Caramel Apple Icing

1/2 c brown sugar
1/3 c light cream
1/4 c butter
dash of salt
1 c powdered sugar
chopped pecans to garnish

In top of double broiler over simmering water, heat brown sugar, cream, butter and salt until sugar is dissolved. Cool to room temperature. Beat in powdered sugar until smooth and drizzle over cake. Sprinkle with nuts.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


The other day at work there were these two cute old ladies. One was having cataract surgery and the other was her friend that had accompanied her to drive her home. After the patient's surgery and recovery, she changed to go home and her friend helped her fluff her hair. Those bouffant hats that are required in the OR are not good for hair! A little hair fluff is usually necessary before venturing out wearing those stylish eye patches. Anyways, it was such a cute gesture that I could tell that they had been friends for a while. I asked how long. They replied that they'd been friends since their sons, who are now in their 50's, were little boys. How sweet! Friends that stick by you like that are such a gift.

I had some very dear friends come visit last weekend and we had a wonderful time! I hope mine are still there to fluff my hair after my cataract surgery in 50 years!

Here we are "conquering" a "summit." And by summit I mean the place where we decided to stop for lunch and turn around. It was a fabulous view!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

One Year Ago

One year ago yesterday (November 2nd) I was visiting my friend Jennifer in New York City to run the New York marathon. I've been reminiscing about it because my brother in law, Jacob, is going to run the San Antonio half marathon this month (in two weeks I think). Sometimes when he calls to talk to Peter he'll ask to talk to me and tell me how he's doing and how his training is going.

0.2 miles to go!

When I talk to him I can't help but feel a little envious! He's very excited and he's enjoyed training for a half so much that he's considering doing a full marathon. He's experiencing the exhilaration that you feel when, never having run more than a few miles at a time, you're now running 10. Previously you thought 10 miles might be impossible but now that you're doing it, your mind begins to flirt with the idea of doing 26.

New York was my second marathon. The first marathon I did was in January of 2008 in Houston. I'd started running maybe a year before and let me tell you it was painful. Peter will verify this. I just wanted to get into shape so we started running around a 3 mile loop at Rice University. We chose running because it was a very easy and cost effective thing that we could do. Actually, running is the wrong term. When we started it was more like a combination of walking, staggering and wishing for death. I hated it.

But after several excruciating months I could run all three miles! This in and of itself was a ginormous accomplishment for me. I didn't even like running and I could go three miles! So as time went on I realized I needed a goal in order to stick to my exercise. So I set my sights on the Houston Marathon. It makes no sense that I made that my goal. That's like someone who just rowed a boat across a pond declaring that they would next be rowing across the Atlantic. But I guess I was up for a challenge.

So I gradually started increasing my distance and before I knew it I was running 10, 12, 15 miles. And along the way, something really great happened: I started to love running. I loved it! On the nights before my long runs sometimes I couldn't sleep because I was nervous and excited and dreading it all at the same time. And afterward there was such sweet, exhausted relief at having accomplished the week's run. I was not an athlete, never a runner, and I was running more miles than I ever thought possible. I've told Peter before that this experience changed my life in some ways. I still struggle to put into words what was so transforming about it. But one aspect was the fact that whole new worlds of possibilities opened up in my mind. I began to consider that perhaps other things I'd always thought would be impossible for me might actually be achievable with some hard work and "pounding the pavement," so to speak.

I ran the Houston Marathon in Jan of 2008. It took me 5 hours. I loved it. I felt so great the whole time. I ended up doing the final training runs and the marathon alone because my running partner had to drop out due to injury. But I didn't mind that. I actually kind of liked the solitariness of it. The fact that I was the only one that could keep putting one leg in front of the other. Yet at the same time drawing strength from the hundreds of people around me that were in the exact same position.

I loved that marathon so much that I signed up for the New York Marathon for the November of that same year. That experience was not as exhilarating since I'd been through it before and the marathon itself was more difficult because I had more aches and pains (and bowel and bladder issues which I won't go into here). But it was still deeply enjoyable and the fact that it was in NYC made it very exciting.

Anyways, I'm here to tell you that barring any serious injuries or disabilities, if I can do this ANYONE can do this. Anyone. Literally. I'm not a gifted athlete. At all. Ever. Still after running for three years, I'm not a great runner. But if you've ever thought about about doing a marathon, you can! Or if not a marathon, there's probably something else that you consider impossible that might not be after all.

If you're a runner or you might want to be a runner or even if you're neither of those things you might like this video. It's a Nova program called Marathon Challenge. You can watch the full episode online. When Peter and I watched it, we both cried at the end. It chronicles several people who overcome significant obstacles to do the Boston Marathon.