Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008


No, I did not pose them like that. 

In other news, my baby has her first tooth.  A tooth!  I'm so not ready for her to have a tooth, although in some ways it was a relief to discover it.  On Thursday afternoon, Maisie woke up from her afternoon nap extremely fussy, and then was awake from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., and she has not been awake for that long at night in, I don't know, weeks and weeks and weeks.  Then, on Friday morning, what do I see?  A faint white line on her bottom gums (gum?  is it singular if you are only talking about the bottom one?).  I touched it and sure enough... a sharp little baby tooth just waiting to come out.  She's practically a grown-up!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Few New Pictures

Maisie and me on Thanksgiving:
Maisie caught offguard on Thanksgiving.  "Who?  Me?"
Maisie, pensive while getting a bath (in my parents' sink).
Maisie with her granddaddy Jimbo.  I'm sure she would be so embarrassed to have photographs of her in her undergarments on the internet, but oh well.
Miss Maisie and her BFF Mr. Powe.  This picture makes me so happy!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Three Months Old

Here is Maisie, looking even more like her granddaddy Greene than usual, wearing her precious apple hat.  In this picture she is three days shy of three months old (three months old tomorrow!).  

She is still a hoot (I mean, look at that face).  She smiles, laughs, and talks to herself (LOUDLY!). Her mobile might be her favorite thing, and it is one of my favorite things too because she will lie in her crib and cackle  and talk happily for a solid fifteen minutes while I take a shower or dry my hair.  Well, her mobile is her favorite thing after her feet.  She discovered her feet a few weeks ago and became quite taken with them.   (She especially enjoys having her feet clapped together to the tune of the Notre Dame fight song, putting her feet on your face, grabbing at her feet, grabbing the dangly monkey on her playmat with her feet, and generally just staring at her feet to make sure they are still there, although I think we are past the hey-they're-still-there phase now that we are in the hey-I-can-kick things stage.)  She will swat at things with her hands, too, and can shove the bottle or her pacifier out of her mouth with great success (and is getting better at shoving them back in, too, depending on where they are after she shoves them away).  She will grab onto anything you place near her hands though she doesn't reach out for things yet.  She does like to hold things.  If she doesn't have a blanket or a lovey in her stroller, for instance, she will just grab ahold of her dress or whatever she is wearing and ball it up in her fists.  She holds my hands when I give her a bottle or rock her.

Her sleeping at night is still great, but we're not on a predictable nap schedule.  She'll do the same thing a couple of days in a row and then do something totally different the day after that. That's okay, though.  I drove myself crazy, napwise, a day or two last week after reading the baby sleep books, but quickly realized that we were doing just fine as it was.  She naps on and off in the morning and we usually run errands (or create errands to get out of the house) in the afternoon, with her napping along the way and when we get back home.  She can still sleep in her car seat, stroller, or the sling (not as much the Baby Bjorn anymore, because she likes to ride facing out now and there's just too much for her to look at that way, nosy thing).  She wakes up happy almost all the time.

Our days fly by.  When we're at home, I just move her around all the time to different "activities" -- we enjoy "table talk" (where she lies on a changing pad on the downstairs table and I lean over her and we discuss things -- she does a lot of the talking nowadays), "sing'n'stare" (where she sits on my lap and I sing to her and she stares/giggles/talk/pulls up/stands, etc.), time in the Bumbo, time on the playmat, tummy time, reading time (she will pay attention through the reading of two board books at a time), bouncy seat time, and general on-the-floor-squirminess time.  We listen to a lot of music, which is great.  What's not so great is that I kind of enjoyed watching television while I fed her, but she likes the TV almost as much as she likes her own feet. Maisie will contort herself any way possible to watch TV if it's on. Consequently, it's no longer on while she's awake. That is really too bad for this television junkie.  

We are going to SC for Thanksgiving (stopping in NC on the way) and I can't wait for our families to see how much she has grown and changed just in the last few weeks. 


Monday, November 10, 2008

Maisie on Sunday

Every morning when she wakes up, I tell her, "I think you got just a little bit sweeter overnight!" 

Thursday, November 6, 2008

And One More

I love this picture because it's such a good shot of her enormous, pretty blue eyes.  I know that baby's eyes can change color, but I think these are here to stay.  I'm glad, because she looks enough like my family otherwise.  The blue eyes are definitely Jake's.

Miss Maisie Recently

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Big Night

Obviously, Maisie will not remember this evening, nor will she remember the inauguration when we take her in January... but she will also never remember a time or a country where a black president seems like an impossibility.  This makes me both jubilant and grateful.  Our household feels a profound sense of relief and hope tonight.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Big Girl

As of her two-month check-up yesterday, Maisie is 13 pounds, 7 ounces (between the 90th and 95th %), and is 24.5 inches long (95th %).  The doctor pronounced her just perfect and commented especially on her pretty skin. 

For her part, Miss Maisie knows that she is a big girl.  Her head control is great, and if you're holding her, she would really like to sit straight up, please, thank you very much.  

She has continued to sleep for six-hour stretches at night but last night slept for just over seven!  I think that was in part because of her two-month vaccinations, though.  I'm not necessarily expecting a repeat tonight.

I think for a two-month-old she's quite an entertaining conversationalist.  She babbles and coos a LOT.  Because neither Jake nor I are exactly shy or quiet, we were expecting this.  My mom is just dying for her to be a talker like I was so I can see what it's like.  I talked so much (and so loudly) when I was little that my parents were scared I would disrupt my own baptism.  Mama said that if they had another child, she would not say a word to that child until it was at least three years old. 

We're Home!

Nope, Maisie didn't get any attention at all when she was in Abbeville!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Overdue Post!

Hello, neglected blog!  I have been meaning to update every day but somehow there is never enough time (gee, wonder why?).  I also have a bad habit of wanting to wait until I have new pictures before I update, but I am not comfortable enough with our new camera to achieve that in a timely fashion.  I figure I should go ahead and write something in the meantime. 

Maisie and I are at home in South Carolina, at my parents' house, and having a big time.  We've been here for a week already and will be here for the rest of this week, too.  Jake flew down to spend the weekend with us because he certainly couldn't go two weeks without seeing his baby. We will drive back on Saturday, stopping about halfway to spend the night with Jake's parents in North Carolina.  This works out perfectly, because not only do I get to stop halfway (thus saving me from ten or twelve straight hours in the car with an infant and Little Sammy), but Maisie gets to see her grandparents and get some extra loving.  

All of her grandparents have been glad to see her.  We stopped in NC on our way here, too, so she had paternal grandparent time then, and my parents have been spoiling her since we've arrived here. My dad left for a business trip yesterday and oh, he was so sad.  He will come home before we leave, thankfully.  He has always had a special talent for spoiling little girls (well, Betsy and me) and Maisie is no exception.  He sings to her and rocks her just like he did for me. On Friday night she sat on his lap, facing out, while he rocked her and rubbed her little tummy.  She was in heaven -- she must have sat there like that, looking all around, wide awake, for more than an hour.  It was especially sweet because she looks JUST LIKE HIM.  The way she was sitting, with her back to his chest -- the resemblance was unmistakable.  It was like one large male face looking at us and then a tiny little female version just below it.  My dad tried to claim that he did not see the likeness, but he has had to reconsider because almost everyone who sees her who knows him immediately exclaims, "Oh, doesn't she look like Jim!" Friday night we were out at dinner and the lady at the next booth stopped my dad as he was carrying Maisie out in her car seat.  She said, "Is that your grandbaby?"  He said yes and she said, "Yeah, I can tell!"  I am pretty sure when strangers notice and comment, that means you really do look alike. 

In addition to hanging with her grandparents, Maisie has gotten to meet great-grandparents (I have three grandparents who all live in Abbeville, too), some of my aunts and uncles, three of my cousins, three of my cousins' children, and a bunch of family friends.  We still have lots of people left for her to meet, too -- that's why I have to come home for more than a week every time I come!   

Through all of the excitement of traveling and a new place and lots of visitors and lots of visiting, Maisie has been just a dream.  She loves to be held and she smiles so often now -- pretty much every time I try, I can get a big grin from her.  I really enjoyed the first few weeks of motherhood (more than I ever anticipated, considering that's supposed to be the hardest part), but as wonderful as those first few weeks were (and really, they were pretty wonderful, especially after she came home from the hospital), the last week or two have been unbelievable. She changes every day -- her hair gets lighter, her eyes get bluer, her lashes grow longer, her fingers grow more and more like mine, she holds her head steadier, she smiles wider, she babbles louder.  It's pretty much sheer joy watching her personality unfold.  She is content and calm -- already entertaining herself by kicking and cooing in her bassinet for long stretches -- and alert and engaged -- really staring at us and babbling and grinning for as long as we are willing.  We think she's pretty much the ideal tiny* companion, right down to how good she smells and how good she feels in our arms.  Is there anything better than cuddling a warm fat sweet-smelling smiling cooing baby?  I don't think so.  

She also now reliably sleeps for at least a six-hour stretch at night, then wakes and goes back to sleep for another few hours.  She's been a good sleeper from the get-go but I now feel like I can get an almost-normal night's rest.  Waking up once is pretty great at eight weeks, right?   I don't have any comparisons, but I'll take it.  (Apparently I was sleeping ten hours or so at eight weeks, but I had also been eating rice cereal and other real food since I was about three weeks old, so... times have changed.)

I don't really think there's a downside to having such a sweet and even-tempered baby, but if there is one, it's that on those rare occasions when she is fussy -- and on the even rarer occasions when she actually cries and screams -- I know that something is wrong and I feel terrible.  It is, without fail, something that I did (or did not do) and I get all flustered trying to fix it.  Luckily this has not happened too often.  Mostly she fusses because she's wet or hungry, and those are easy to remedy.  

Mainly, she is the most fun little* person we can imagine.  Today is my thirty-first birthday and it was wonderful for all the obvious reasons.  I have always been a lucky person but this kind of good fortune is just unreal.

*"Tiny" and "little" are relative, of course.  At eight weeks, Maisie pretty much looks like a four-month-old. 

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Almost Six Weeks

Post-bath.  I have to comb her hair carefully so it doesn't stay that way.  Look how red it looks! In person it still looks mostly just brown, thought it is obviously and considerably lighter than it was when she was born.  When the light hits it right (and the camera light hits it just right, apparently), it is definitely reddish. 
My mother specifically requested a picture of her unswaddled and in "one of her pretty outfits." The above is what Maisie thought about that.
Smiling -- at either her elephant or me. 
Hey YOU.
Either looking toward Fiona or staring at the ceiling fan.  She's a big fan of the fan.

Sometimes I have to stop myself from picking her up while she is sleeping just so I can kiss her or smell her head.  She is hard to resist. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

At Home With Maisie

Last week marked my first week at home with Maisie by myself.  For two of her first four weeks, Jake was home, and either my mother or my mother-in-law were here for the other two weeks. Last Monday Maisie and I went at it alone, and it's been wonderful so far. 

I've tried to go somewhere with her every day.  The first two days, that meant that I was able to make it halfway down the block with her just in time to meet Jacob as he came home from work at the end of the day. The third day I managed to make it all the way to Eastern Market to get a lemonade at 6 p.m.  Last Thursday, we turned a corner and made it to the pediatrician on time and in one piece in the middle of the afternoon, and even went to the grocery store afterward -- no small victory.  I still don't know where the day goes (and how it goes so quickly), but I am starting to feel fairly capable and we have been getting out more and more.  Powe and Nora came over one day, Maisie and I met a neighbor with six-month-old twins who will hopefully be our new friends, I can successfully navigate Target with a car seat and a shopping cart, and we will probably attend our first official playgroup tomorrow.  We are busy and having fun.  

Two main reasons we're able to have so much fun already even though Maisie is only five weeks old:  (1) She is a good sleeper, and (2) Jake is a HUGE help.  HUGE.  He gives her a bottle just before he goes to work so I can sleep a little more, and that makes all the difference in the world (plus he does lots of other things to help out).  He and Maisie stayed at home Saturday afternoon watching the Notre Dame game and I went out by myself (to Old Navy, for some much-needed non-maternity clothes) -- I missed Maisie terribly while I was gone, but I was grateful for the break (and the non-maternity clothes).  (Incidentally, Saturday morning, Maisie and I went to a baby shower.  I was feeling quite smug because Maisie and I were both dressed up, I even had makeup on, I was running only a tiny bit behind schedule -- then I realized, as I was almost at the shower, that I had forgotten the shower gift.  Awesome!)

What else?  Well, really, Maisie just keeps getting more and more fun.  She smiles at us now and has just started reaching for things (usually her stuffed elephant), and she already weighs 11 1/2 pounds -- the size of the average three-month-old!  We are going home to South Carolina in two weeks to meet Maisie's extended family and I am so excited for them to get to see her in person.  Rest assured that there will pictures.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hi There.

Miss Maisie as of yesterday, three weeks old.  She gets sweeter every day.  We are very much in love.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Three Weeks Old!

All is well in Maisie's house.  So far Miss Maisie is a sweet and easy baby -- but I say so far because I know things can change -- and in the words of Michael Scott, I'm not superstitious but I'm a little bit stitious -- so no jinxes and a big knock on wood for that.  So far, though, she fusses when she has a reason to fuss and sleeps and eats well.  

This week my mom left on Wednesday (yes, I cried) but her leaving was eased because my mother-in-law arrived that same day to help through Friday.  While my mom and my mother-in-law were here, we ventured out with Maisie to the pediatrician twice, to Target twice, to Barnes and Noble once, and to dinner once, and Maisie behaved beautifully on all of those occasions. 

This baby thing has proven to be very fun in other ways, too -- we have had lots of company (which has been wonderful, and we have appreciated all of our friends who have come to visit!) and we've been so lucky to have people bring/send us so much good food! We have had so much good food that Jake and I are officially spoiled.  Maisie is getting spoiled, too, because she gets fun packages in the mail just about every day.  (Note to self:  must forgo nap next time Maisie naps and get caught up on thank you notes again.  Note to you:  your thank you note is coming, I promise.  Thank you!)  

We had Maisie's  second pediatrician appointment this week, and Jake's mom and I guessed that Maisie would weigh 9 lbs., 12 oz this time.  (She was 9 lbs., 4 oz. at birth, and 9 lbs., 8 oz. at her first doctor's appointment.)  Well, we were wrong.  She is already 10 lbs., 5 oz. -- a big, healthy girl.  Happy birthday, Maisie!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Just Because...

Two weeks old!  Actually, this was taken a couple of days ago, so it was before her two-week-old birthday, but still.  Today Maisie is two weeks old.  Happy birthday, Maisie!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Maisie's Home; Still Cute

Maisie finally came home on Saturday afternoon, when she was six days old. She was fine, but my labor was long enough that I eventually ran a slight fever, which required both Maisie and me to take some precautionary antibiotics. Her antibiotic course ran through the weekend, so although I was discharged on Tuesday, she had to stay in the hospital nursery until Saturday. We spent the end of last week at the hospital, which was pretty exhausting but did accomplish something -- we are so grateful to have her home that I am even happy about the nighttime feedings and diaper changes.

In addition to coming home from the hospital, Maisie got to meet all four of her grandparents this weekend. My mom is still here for another week and we are SO glad. I don't think I would have slept at all yet but for her.

Maisie is already pretty hilarious. I kind of thought that one-week-olds didn't do anything yet, but she is thoroughly entertaining. She makes the funniest facial expressions, and I have to think that at least some of them are more than just gas.

Fiona has adjusted well so far -- she apparently thinks Maisie is her baby, and likes to be close by at almost all times. She likes to sit with me while I nurse Maisie, with her head resting on my leg, and every time I sit Maisie up to burp her, Fiona sits up and watches, only lying back down when Maisie resumes eating. It's pretty adorable. When Maisie cries, she jumps up and looks at me, like, "You gonna do something about that? Help her!"

Little Sammy has not yet acknowledged Maisie's presence, but he did let me know that he was pretty mad that he felt neglected for a week. We went into the hospital early Friday evening and our dog walker took care of them until Monday, at which point Jake started coming home from the hospital just long enough to feed Sammy and take Fiona around the block. Even when I came home Tuesday night, we spent the next three and a half days clocking in about fourteen hours or more at the hospital nursery (at home first thing in the morning and just before bed, with only one midday visit to feed and walk the dogs), not leaving much time for the pups. By the time we got home with the baby on Saturday afternoon, Sammy had been without his mama for over a week and he was pretty mad. Maisie's birth and subsequent hospital stay were stressful -- I'll spare you the labor details, but it wasn't pretty -- but I think I was as sad to realize how depressed Sammy was as I was to realize that my epidural(s) did not work (!). I have tried to remedy the situation by making sure that anytime I sit without Maisie or take a nap, I scoop Sammy onto my lap and snuggle with him. He is on his way to forgiving me, I think, so all will be well soon.

Really, things are great here already. How could they not be when we have this precious (and funny) face to stare at all day long?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

One More...

Here is one more for now. So far, the general consensus is that she looks like a Greene. I look just like my dad and sometimes when Maisie makes a serious face, Jake says that she looks like a little Jim clone. My dad and I also have the same weird feet and Maisie is already our identical foot triplet. Lucky for her, she is much, much prettier than I was as a newborn. I was splotchy and red and not so cute.

We think we can already see the blonde underneath all that dark hair. I had hair that dark when I was born, too, though not that much of it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Here's What Maisie Looks Like

First picture ever -- minutes old!  Please look at the cheeks and the double chin.  --

Maisie on her birth day -- the hair! --   

Whoa!  Everything is new when you're a baby. 

We think she looks like my dad in this one. 

Hi!  I'm 48 hours old.  

Monday, August 18, 2008

Miss Jackson is Finally Here!

Margaret James Sommer was born yesterday afternoon at 2:27 p.m.  9 lbs., 4 oz., 20 3/4 inches long.  We call her Maisie.  

With unsurprising parental bias, we think she is pretty much the cutest thing that we have ever seen and, as I expected, Jake is so good with her.  They are best buddies already.  She is already really fun and it's amazing to feel like we have  gotten to know her so well after only a day.

Blogger is being ornery about uploading our photos, but I'll work on that so that you can all see her spiky dark hair, big eyes, and REALLY chubby cheeks.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Miss Jackson Has Not Arrived Yet, But Her Friend Has

Yes, I am still pregnant, but... Nora's not!  Sweet little Powe was born yesterday afternoon.  I visited them today and he is perfect.  We are hoping that Miss Jackson will soon want to follow him into the real world. 

I kind of freaked out last night, because I had felt sick all day yesterday and secretly thought that maybe that meant that something was about to happen.  Alas, no.  I was disappointed.  I also started to worry that maybe I should postpone my induction from 41 weeks until 42 weeks just to give her more time to come on her own, while simultaneously feeling like if I had to wait for ten more days I might totally lose it.  Thankfully, I talked to my doctor about it at my appointment today and he feels strongly that inducing on Sunday is the safest and best thing for MJ.  In fact, he said that we could "negotiate" on waiting until I was, say, 41 weeks and 3 days, but that was as late as he would let me go.  When I asked if those extra days were worth waiting on -- i.e., if there was a real benefit to doing it on Wednesday as opposed to Sunday -- he said no.  I feel much better knowing that we'll get this show on the road starting Sunday evening and that I don't need to feel guilty about rushing Miss Jackson out of there.  I love and trust my doctor so I don't have any doubts that this is the way to go.  

And who knows?  Maybe she will surprise us and decide to pop out this weekend after all.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Miss Jackson Is Late!

No baby!  

Nora is still waiting, too.  I can't complain too much because she is a week late and I am only a day late.  

I really believed for several weeks that she would be early, so I was sort of stunned yesterday when I realized that it really wasn't going to happen this weekend.  I was grouchy and cranky, which made me sad because it's such an exciting time and I should be full of happy anticipation and not foul impatience.  I woke up this morning in a much better mood and I'm currently feeling very relaxed.  This will probably change tomorrow, though. 

This morning I had a non-stress test and amniotic fluid check (routine when you go past your due date).  I didn't know I was supposed to eat breakfast beforehand, so I didn't, and I was a little worried when the nurse acted like that might make it more difficult for them to get a good read on how the baby is doing.  Oh, no -- despite my lack of food this morning, MJ was moving all around.  The nurses said she did perfectly and it was the quickest non-stress test they had done all morning.  This is great news, of course, because it means that she's doing well, but... that also means there is no hurry to get her out of there.  My fluid was a little bit low, but not a problem, especially when combined with the really good NST results.  So, for now, she is healthy and thriving and I guess I should let her come in her own good time.  Easier said than done -- I have been pinching her foot when she kicks me because I am ready to see that little foot (and the rest of her!) in the flesh, up close.  I want to hold her and not just pat her through my (ridiculous) belly.

After my appointment, Nora and I went to see American Teen.  This is our fourth movie since last Saturday, and after tomorrow (when we will probably see Wall-E), the babies better get here because we will have run out of movies.  

Friday, August 8, 2008

Miss Jackson is Still Waiting to Come Out

The Olympics are here, and Clay Aiken's insemination baby is here, but MJ is not here yet, at least not on the outside.  I'm getting increasingly cranky, which is really very whiny of me considering that her official due date is still two days away.  

I'm getting a prenatal massage and another manicure today, which should help the impatience. Yesterday I had an awesome long lunch with an old friend (my freshman year of college roommate -- thanks, Facebook!), did some grocery shopping, folded lots of clothes,  bought myself some more cute postnatal pajamas, and drank two cups of midwife-recommended raspberry red leaf tea (which is not helping anything so far, but it can't really hurt, either). 

Additionally, I'm scheduled to be induced on the evening of Sunday, August 17, if MJ doesn't appear before then.  August 18 is my parents' 35th wedding anniversary and my cousin Sam's fifth birthday, so maybe she wants to wait until then to fit in with the rest of the family.  At this point, though, I am going to suggest that if she wants to be born on anyone's anniversary, Jake and I are celebrating five years tomorrow and it sure would be nice of her to come on out and celebrate with us.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Miss Jackson is Still Inside, Going to the Movies

No, she's not here yet.  Miss Jackson is still just biding her time, and I am biding my time by going to the movies, which is pretty much the perfect activity when you are enormously pregnant in August, as it provides a chance to sit down, an air-conditioned distraction, as well as delicious concessions.  (Though strangely enough, the only movie concessions I have wanted lately are enormous Diet Cokes -- which are not really strange for me -- and hot dogs -- which are.  I'm a popcorn-and-Junior-Mints girl usually, but I guess MJ isn't).  Saturday Nora and I saw Mamma Mia, today we saw Brideshead Revisited, and tomorrow we will likely see The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2.  I am sure we make quite a sight considering Nora was due yesterday.  Today as we left the theater a homeless man asked us who was going to go first.  We told him it was a close race.

Jake and I did have an unfortunate distraction over the weekend in the form of Miss Jackson's canine brother, Little Sammy, getting sick.  Poor Sam is old, mostly blind, and has a myriad of chronic health problems, but he had been doing really well lately... until Saturday, when he had what I will just call a bad night.  We worried and fretted all day Sunday and took him to the vet yesterday, by which point he appeared to be pretty much fully recovered.  He is the spunkiest, feistiest four pounds of scraggle that I have ever seen, and needless to say, we adore him and are glad that it seems that he has rallied once again.  Resilient doesn't even begin to cover what all he has been through.

So, now we just continue to wait, cuddling on Sam and trying to stay cool.  I should have known that if Miss Jackson takes after me at all, she will wait until the last possible second to arrive.  I am nothing if not a procrastinator.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Miss Jackson is NOT Here Yet

But oh, how I wish that she were!

I will try to keep posting so you can tell that I'm not in labor, but at this point, there is not that much exciting to report.  Right this second I feel calm and relaxed and patient.  In the last couple of days, though, I have had one hormonal crying jag and at least three instances of wondering whether castor oil actually works, so I'm not zen all the time.  I am filling my time by laundering everything in the house (including our shower curtain... which, maybe you wash your shower curtain all the time, but I really don't), folding baby clothes, writing, reading (currently:  The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, which is going to be magnificent if the first 100 pages are any indication), and going to the movies (weekend before last:  The Dark Knight and Mamma Mia; last weekend: Step Brothers; tomorrow: Mamma Mia again with still-pregnant Nora, who is due on Monday!; still on the horizon: Hellboy 2, Wall-E, Brideshead Revisited, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2).  

At this week's appointment (on Wednesday), my doctor said we could discuss induction at my 40th or 41st week appointment if nothing had happened yet.  I told him I do not intend to have a 41st week appointment.  He laughed.  I did not; I was quite serious.  He also told me that maybe he'd see me tomorrow (as in, yesterday) in labor and delivery because he was on call that night.  So, basically, none of us have any idea when M.J. is getting here.  

Jake is being very very sweet as usual.  He brings me lemonade and fountain drinks on a regular basis, and yesterday he even bought me a bag I have been coveting/lusting after (which will be here courtesy of's miraculous free overnight shipping any minute now, a thought that makes me almost delirious with joy).  I'll say again, I am most excited about seeing her and her tiny little baby toes with my very own eyes, followed closely by watching Jake interact with her.  (Jake is most excited about seeing her and then seeing Fiona's reaction to her... not kidding.  He says he knows how I'm going to react to her, but Fiona will be a surprise.  Good point.)

We just really want to meet her (and tell everyone her name!). 

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Miss Jackson is Due in Two Weeks

This weekend was the first weekend in months that Jake and I had absolutely no plans.  It's been glorious, and we actually feel prepared to welcome Miss Jackson whenever she decides to make her appearance (as prepared as you can be, I guess).  Her clothes are washed and folded.  Her diapers and bottles are organized.   The house is super clean.  All of our adult laundry is done. The house is full of food.  Basically, she needs to get here ASAP before the house gets dirty again and I feel the need to reorganize all of her belongings once more.  

This nesting thing is real, for sure.  I've done a ton of writing/revising the last few weeks (after just as many weeks of not doing much because of pregnancy distractions and the aforementioned nesting), I just got a fresh manicure and pedicure, I've picked out her baby announcements already, and on my list of things to do today is "wash makeup brushes" -- is someone looking for projects or what? My errands tomorrow are to get an oil change and the car washed -- oh, and I must finish thank-you notes.  I was (only) two thank-you notes behind until this weekend, when M.J. got more gifts from sweet friends at lunch on Friday and an incredible package from Caroline's parents yesterday afternoon (such cute stuff that I wish I could show you, but everything was monogrammed and I can't give her name or initials away yet!).  Everyone has been so, so sweet -- so yes, finishing my thank-you notes definitely ranks as more important than washing the makeup brushes, though rest assured that in my current nesting frenzy, the makeup brushes will be taken care of, too.  I think even the dogs are going to have to be bathed and groomed. Everything else is shiny and clean, so they should be too, right?  And we've already made the arrangements for them to be walked/fed whenever the big moment comes.

We even have a brand-new MacBook, although that has much less to do with getting ready for baby and much more to do with the fact that our previous much-loved and much-abused computer finally died last weekend.  (Although the new computer's webcam/video iChat is going to make M.J.'s grandparents VERY happy, even if my parents don't it know it yet because they are not particularly tech-savvy.  Jake is going to install a webcam for you, Mama and Daddy, and teach you to use it and then you can chat with us and see M.J. live, for free, all the time!)

The only important thing that I haven't done yet is pack my hospital bag, though I have cute brand-new nursing pajamas and a stack of trashy magazines set aside and ready to be included. I know this should have been done weeks ago, but I guess I must subconsciously want to save it for the excitement of the moment.  I love to pack for any trip, and packing a hospital bag to go have a baby is pretty exciting, so I guess I'm trying to savor it or something.  (Plus, I've been over all the lists of what to take to the hospital and it's not that complicated -- pillow and pajamas and toiletries and something to wear home and something for the baby to wear home and stuff to entertain me during labor -- what am I forgetting?  Jake's in charge of his stuff and the camera.)  

The doctor said last week that they would likely not let me go more than a week past my due date, which means that we have three more weeks of waiting at the absolute most.  That actually seems like an incredibly long time considering that I would be just delighted if she decided to show up tonight.  In the meantime, though, I have still more writing/revising to do on my book, lunch plans on Tuesday and Thursday, an Old 97's show on Tuesday night, book club on Wednesday night, a neighborhood party next Saturday night -- plenty of things to do to keep occupied before our daughter finally decides she wants to come out and see what we look like.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Miss Jackson Listens to A Lot of Music Already

This is at least the third or fourth playlist I've made in honor of the baby, but it's my current favorite and what I am listening to right this second. It's called, uncreatively, "Tunes for Miss Jackson," and here's the tracklist, in alphabetical order by song title. (And no, not every song is completely baby-appropriate, but what are you going to do? I'm not going to not sing "Baby Driver" to her just because of the "sex appeal" line -- we'll just assume for awhile she won't notice and worry about that stuff later.)

1. A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall -- Bob Dylan
2. Baby Driver -- Simon & Garfunkel
3. Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy -- The Tams
4. Born For Me -- Paul Westerberg
5. Brand New Way -- Rhett Miller
6. Crazy About You -- Whiskeytown
7. Daughter -- Loudon Wainwright III
8. Don't Think Twice It's Alright -- Bob Dylan
9. Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love) -- Swingin' Medallions
10. Downtown -- Petula Clark
11. Dream Baby -- Roy Orbison
12. Everyone's In Love With You -- Steve Earle
13. Ferry Across the Mersey -- Gerry & The Pacemakers
14. Fiona -- Lyle Lovett
15, First Day Of My Life -- Bright Eyes
16, Flowers In The Windows -- Travis
17. For You -- Bruce Springsteen
18. Frank Mills -- The Lemonheads
19. Happy Kid -- Nada Surf
20. Head Over Heels -- Tears for Fears
21. Here at the Right Time -- Josh Ritter
22. Here Comes My Baby -- Cat Stevens
23. Hold You In My Arms -- Ray LaMontagne
24. I Believe -- R.E.M.
25. I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever) -- Stevie Wonder
26. I'm The Man Who Loves You -- Wilco
27. I've Been Waiting -- Matthew Sweet
28. If I Needed You -- Townes Van Zandt (with Emmylou Harris)
29. If It's the Beaches -- The Avett Brothers
30. The King Of Carrot Flowers Part 1 -- Neutral Milk Hotel
31. Love Me Do -- The Beatles
32. Lucky Ball and Chain -- They Might Be Giants
33. Lullaby -- Starsailor
34. Make You Feel My Love -- Adele.
35. Me And Bobby McGee -- Kris Kristofferson
36. My Love For You is Real -- Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
37. Nothing Can Change This Love -- Sam Cooke
38. Red Rubber Ball -- The Cyrkle
39. Romeo & Juliet -- Dire Straits
40. She Will Have Her Way -- Neil Finn And Friends
41. She's A Star -- James
42. Sing Your Life -- Morrissey
43. Sleep Tonight -- Stars
44. Soul Deep -- The Box Tops
45. Star Star -- The Frames
46. Sweet Darlin' -- She & Him
47. Sweetness Follows -- R.E.M.
48. Take Me Home Country Roads -- John Denver
49. These Arms Of Mine -- Otis Redding
50. Tiny Dancer -- Elton John
51. To Zion -- Lauryn Hill
52. When I'm With You -- Sherriff
53. You Got To Me -- Neil Diamond

Monday, July 14, 2008

Miss Jackson Doesn't Mind if I Tell On Her A Little Bit

I have had a really easy pregnancy so far (knock on wood) but I don't mind, and I don't think MJ will mind, if I admit that it's not all rainbows and glowy skin over here. I'm officially in the uncomfortable stages of pregnancy. I don't want to complain because these are all minor, routine annoyances that pale in comparison to the pay-off -- Miss Jackson, as we assume she's going to be worth it. In the interest of full disclosure, though, I'll go ahead and vent here about some of the not-so-pleasant aspects of being hugely pregnant. Rest assured I am leaving out some things that I promise you don't want to read about. (Poor Jake. He has to hear about every single thing, even those things that I will spare you.)

1. I waddle. There is no hiding it. Walking normally is almost impossible. I walk like a penguin now and there is nothing I can do about it.

2. I used to have ankles. Well, sort of. They were always cankle-ish, but right now, they are nonexistent. I am scared to try on real shoes because I am pretty sure that they wouldn't fit. (Bonus to summertime baby -- flip-flops, so I don't have to confront the unfortunate reality that my feet might have grown.) I already wore a size ten before I got pregnant, so needless to say, I have to hope that these tootsies go back to normal eventually. Even my fingers are swollen enough that they are now dimpled. Yes, dimpled. Drinking Diet Coke makes the swelling worse (the sodium), which is a shame because on a list of Things I Love the Most, fountain Diet Coke would be right up there with poodles, television, and books. (Note: I have not stopped drinking Diet Coke. Who's looking at my swollen digits anyway?)

3. Getting up off of low or soft furniture is a real challenge. Forget getting out of the bed. As Jake says, that's a three-step process. Roll, hoist, lunge. Usually the last couple of steps are accompanied by involuntary grunts.

4. Speaking of getting out of the bed, I have to do that at least twice a night now, to go to the bathroom. AT LEAST twice. Sometimes three times. I usually go to the bathroom right before I get in the bed, read, go to the bathroom again right before I go to sleep, wake up twice during the night, and then have to go immediately upon waking in the morning.

5. And it's not like I can sleep very well in between bathroom visits. You have to sleep on your side when you're pregnant, which hurts your hips when you have a bowling ball strapped to your belly. A pillow between the legs helps, but that just makes it more difficult when you inevitably have to roll yourself over and/or get up in the middle of the night.

6. I'm tired!

7. I burped out loud, on the street, yesterday. Out loud! On the street! I couldn't help it! It just slipped out! This had to be Miss Jackson's fault.

8. I have heartburn for the first time in my life. It's not that bad, but I still liked it better when I didn't have it.

9. I have had a few terrible nightmares, which I think are normal, pre-baby anxiety dreams. For awhile they were dreams that something bad would happen to Jake, but last night I dreamed that MJ came out and she was only a head with a tiny, malformed itty bitty doll body. (We know this is not true because (1) we've had four ultrasounds during which her limbs were present and accounted for, and (2) I can feel her kick me ALL THE TIME. It was still a sad/scary dream, though.)

Amazingly, none of these things, even in toto, outweigh the good stuff. My hair is thick, my skin is good, I can wear elastic-waist pants every day if I want, strangers are nice to me, I have an excuse to indulge cravings, and I get to feel Miss Jackson move inside me all day long. Even the heartburn isn't that bad because it makes me think about what she'll look like -- the old wives' tale is that the heartburn means she'll have a lot of hair.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Miss Jackson Went to Childbirth Class

Jake and I just returned from the first day of our two-day, "weekend express" childbirth class at the hospital, and it turned out to be quite an adventure. We had rescheduled it from about a month ago because a month ago, Jake had to work, and I sort of feared that this weekend, at 36 weeks, we would be the most pregnant people there. But no! There was one couple due two weeks before us and at least three couples due within a week after us, so apparently we were right on time.

The class was pretty good. I don't know that I really learned anything brand new, but it was a nice overview of what is going to happen (soon!) and absolutely worth it for the peace of mind. And Jake was really cute this morning when he said to Miss Jackson through my belly, "Today we're going to learn how to get you out of there!" I don't know why that amused me so much, but it did.

The highlight, though, and the inspiration for this post, was one particular couple who attended the class with us. They were (1) an hour late, (2) distracting, (3) gross, and (4) crazy, but all of that put together made them very interesting and we are sort of excited to see what stunts they pull during the conclusion of the class tomorrow morning. Today, they:

--giggled when the instructor said "cervix." More than once.

-- whispered so loudly and so much that I had to ask them (politely) if they could be quiet.

-- talked and laughed through the breathing and relaxation exercises, to the point where the instructor had to diplomatically discourage husbands from joking during your laboring wife's calm, cleansing breaths.

-- nuzzled, fondled, stroked, and caressed each other, and generally engaged in foreplay throughout the class, to the point where all the rest of us were looking at each other in disgust/amazement. There were moments during the class when I thought they might mount each other. I won't tell you what they looked like because then you would have the same upsetting visual that I still have.

But! That's not all! It was mainly the male half of the couple who was the rudest and the grossest and the most distracting -- he was the one who laughed the most when the instructor said "cervix" (I mean, seriously? It's a childbirth class, and this guy was at least 35), he was the one who was nuzzling his wife's ears and rubbing her thighs (so.gross.), and he was the one who was talking through the lecture and audibly mocking the relaxation techniques -- so OF COURSE he's the one who, at the very end of class, decides to start a fight about epidurals with our very nice, very competent instructor. We weren't even discussing epidurals yet, but he raised his hand and said, "There's basically no real reason for a woman to ever have an epidural, right?" Our teacher suggested that the intense pain of childbirth was a valid reason. Our winner disagreed and continued to argue -- "But that's the only benefit, right? Just pain relief? There's no other reason, and there are so many risks, so really, no one should have one, right?" His poor wife just sat there looking miserable. I'm all for natural childbirth if you can have it (and I'm going to try to go as long as I can without an epidural myself), but I am also all for routine medical advancements that make women more comfortable. You could see all the other men in the class shifting uncomfortably, glancing apologetically at their pregnant partners as if to communicate, "Thanks for having this baby for me -- the epidural's up to you."

Then -- when our sweet teacher tried to explain that you had to discuss all these options with your doctor, that it was really different for each woman, that it really should be up to the woman or at least a joint decision by the couple together, that again this is something to be discussed with your doctor, etc. -- our winner interrupted and said, "Well, can I bring my own doctor to the hospital to deliver her? My brother?" Uh, no, genius. Our sweet teacher kindly explained that no, it's not Bring Your Own Doc, that Mr. Winner's brother could come as a coach or a friend just to watch, but that he should not come as an adversary to the attending doctor, and that if you didn't trust your current doctor, you should switch caretakers to someone with whom you felt more comfortable. Mr. Winner didn't like that at all. He said, "Well, my brother went to medical school over here in America." Well, then. No clue whether Mr. Winner's brother had hospital privileges at GW or was even an obstetrician (I'm guessing no to both).

Y'all, people are crazy.

UPDATE: Mr. and Mrs. Winner, Day Two.

1. They showed up half an hour late. This is an improvement over yesterday.

2. She sat ON HIS LAP for almost all of the class. There were plenty of seats to go around. Lap-sitting was not required.

3. While on his lap, they held hands.

4. With their free hands, they caressed each other's faces and looked into each other's eyes. The rest of the class just sat in their own seats and listened to the teacher.

5. Mr. Winner decided to make jokes. Our teacher was explaining how it can be difficult for many women ro realize that even after giving birth, their bodies may not be the same for a long time, and how important it is for their husbands to be complimentary and supportive. Mr. Winner piped up, "But you can have a girlfriend on the side during this time, right?" I think Mr. Winner was only half-joking. His touchy-feely wife did not laugh.

6. During the hospital tour, Mrs. Winner draped herself over Mr. Winner's back and caressed his chest and kissed his neck.

7. Jake and I will not be joining a playgroup with the Winners.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Miss Jackson is Still Huge, May Be Giantess

At my doctor's appointment this morning the obstetrician demonstrated to a medical student how to palpate the baby and estimate size and weight.  After cupping the baby's head and bottom and showing how she was positioned, the OB said breezily to me, "So I would say your baby is no more than seven pounds or so now... which is good since you are only 35 weeks."  Seven pounds?!  I kind of half-laughed, half-choked as I said, "Isn't that big?"  

I'm actually not worried because (1) I know even ultrasound size estimates are far from accurate, much less an OB's estimate just based on feeling my stomach, and (2) not to get super crunchy but I also believe that my body probably will not grow a baby it can't deliver... it's just funny to think about how she might be huge.  It's funny for now, I should say.  Probably won't be if she actually is gigantic, but we'll worry about that when it's time for her to arrive.  Jake is inexplicably proud that I am growing a "large Polish baby."

Nora also reminded me that some people say large babies are good sleepers, which is a nice comforting thought, although right now she doesn't seem very sleepy at all.  She seems more like a freakishly large insomniac gymnast at this point.  Always moving, this one, and large movements to boot.  It's not a stretch to think that she might wind up being a tad dramatic. The thing is, we just don't know!  We don't know what she'll be like.  This is the most exciting part of pregnancy... wondering about her personality.  We are, needless to say, ready to meet her (although I do want her to wait to come out until (1) her lungs are fully developed and (2) I have a chance to see The Dark Knight in the movie theater).  

Jake's been giving me a hard time about not doing a great job of keeping her name a secret -- I made the mistake of running down a list of people who already knew her name and I had to admit that her name hasn't been as closely guarded as the "Miss Jackson" pseudonym would suggest -- but we were out with friends on Saturday night and Jake slipped and referred to her by her real name TWICE.  I felt vindicated.  

Monday, June 30, 2008

Miss Jackson Has a New Ride

MJ's stroller and car seat arrived today, and I am just about beside myself with excitement. I was worried that the car seat was a different color than I wanted but thankfully that was not the case. It's just as adorable as I remembered and is, in fact, the right color. (What color, you ask? Well, her stroller and its bassinet attachment are orange with red piping, and there is a car seat that matches that is also orange and red... but when I was in Charleston, I found one that was not only orange and red but had patterned flowers on it. So cute. Sold! Then when it came today, the box made it look hot pink and lo, I was worried... but no. It has some pink in it, but it definitely has the orange and red that match the stroller and bassinet. And with that description, I realize it sounds hideous, but I promise it's not. At least not to me.) (Edit: Okay -- here is a picture of it, because I re-read my description and indeed, it sounded gross. It's cuter in person, too.)

The stroller was the one piece of baby gear that Jake got really involved in selecting, so while he is probably not as worked up about its arrival as I am, he's pretty stoked too. We walk and metro enough places and will be trekking over rough Capitol Hill sidewalks enough that we needed a stroller that was both sturdy and light, and of course I wanted one that was cute, too. And orange or green. For some reason, I really wanted one that was orange or green. (Hey -- it's arbitrary but I'm not that embarrassed. Safety and quality first, but aesthetics matter too.)

With the delivery of her car seat, I think most of the big things are done and we could safely and happily bring her home tomorrow! She has a place to sleep (actually several -- we're not sure what we're doing about that yet. Crib right away? Moses basket in our room? The stroller's bassinet attachment? Unclear... but surely one of those will work, right?), a way to get home from the hospital, and some diapers. That's pretty much all babies need, right?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Miss Jackson Had An Ultrasound

Tuesday we had what was probably Miss Jackson's last ultrasound (knock on wood, assuming everything is fine from here on out).  I was 33 weeks and a few days, and it was ostensibly to check on her growth.  I felt abundantly certain, based on the size of my stomach and MJ's ability to kick far, far into my ribs, that her growth was fine, and indeed it was.  She is a big one.  She measured at just over 35 weeks -- so two weeks ahead of my actual dates -- and the ultrasound tech estimated her current weight at 5 lbs., 6 oz.   She's huge!   I know those weight estimates can be way, way off, so I'm not too terribly freaked out at the prospect of having a huge baby, but it's just funny.  It was a regular 2D ultrasound so we couldn't get a perfect picture of her, but we did all notice and comment on (starting with the ultrasound tech) her pudgy, chubby cheeks.  The tech must have said three times, "She really does have chubby cheeks."  We're happy about that -- who doesn't love a fat little baby?  

She's also definitely a girl.  Obviously we knew that already, but it was nice to have it confirmed again.  I had a tiny little smidgen of worry that we'd show up on Tuesday and the ultrasound tech would say, "And there's his penis..." and I would have a heart attack thinking of all the girly baby things that would have to be returned.  But no.  Miss Jackson is a miss, alright, thank goodness.  (Not that we wouldn't want a boy, of course -- it's just at this point, that would be a lot of pink baby clothes we'd have to sell on Craigslist.)

As of this weekend, I'm 34 weeks, and I simultaneously can't believe that we are this far along already and that we still have six weeks to go.  We are almost ready for her.  As soon as her car seat arrives (it, along with her stroller, has been ordered and should be on its way), almost all of the big pre-delivery necessities will be taken care of.  We have decided to use cloth diapers, and while I was completely and totally overwhelmed at all the different cloth options, thanks to my friend Gwen, I got a great tutorial and was able to overcome the steep learning curve and take the plunge.  Her diapers arrived last week and, let me tell you, I realize that "cute" is not an adequate reason to choose cloth over disposables, but holy cow are these cloth diapers cute.  They are teeny and fluffy and pastel and so soft that even Jake had to admit that they are basically adorable.  This also goes to show how excited we are about this whole new baby thing -- even the arrival of her diapers was thrilling.  Dorks.  I know.  

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Miss Jackson is Going to Confuse Our Dog

So, yesterday I had lunch with one of my oldest friends and her gorgeous almost six-week-old baby.  After lunch, we came back to our house to visit, which provided our standard poodle Fiona with her first EVER glimpse of a human baby.  It didn't even occur to me until we walked in that Fiona really had never seen a baby before.  She's been around toddlers, but not infants. We walked in, Fiona careened down the stairs and toward the front door as she always does, but instead of jumping up on me like the crazy dog she usually is, as soon as she saw my friend and baby E., she stopped suddenly and sat down in the middle of the floor.  She could not stop staring at him and was visibly confused.  Every now and then she would look at him and then look at me, like, "Do YOU know what this is?"  

Usually when someone comes over to visit, Fiona tries to make friends immediately.  She has no idea how large she is and doesn't have a lot of respect for personal space, but with H. and baby E., she was extremely sweet and cautious.  They sat on the sofa but instead of jumping up there with them, which she would usually at least try to do, she stayed on the floor and just approached slowly and sniffed carefully, from an appropriate distance (well, almost appropriate.  Relatively speaking, appropriate).  Then she walked around to the other side and did the same thing.  Every time baby E. made a noise, her ears perked up and she looked back at me, like, "Is he okay?!"  She was confused, a little bit scared, and totally transfixed.  

We can't wait to see her meet Miss Jackson.  Yesterday's encounter made me even more excited about that, because although she was perplexed, she was very sweet and interested.  We expect that she might experience some jealousy, but mostly we think she will be very protective.  

Sammy, of course, did not acknowledge our guests in any way.  We expect he will similarly ignore M.J.  

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Miss Jackson Gets Attention From Strangers

Today while I was getting a pedicure, my pedicurist asked me (1) whether the baby is a boy or a girl, (2) whether she is our first, and (3) how much weight I've gained.  The first two questions are fairly expected.  I have to say the third one surprised me.  I told her, though -- about 30 pounds, okay, I am nothing if not forthcoming -- and she grinned and nodded enthusiastically and said, "Good, good, good," like that was exactly the right answer.   I guess if you are going to ask someone how much weight they have gained, it's nice to act like they have gained exactly the right amount.  She gave me maybe the best pedicure I have ever had so I would have been willing to discuss all manner of intimate details had she pressed on, but she didn't. 

It wasn't the first sweet but awkward conversation I've had with a stranger lately.  When I was in New York last weekend, I had an interesting conversation with a lady selling art on the street in Soho.  I was buying a Chinese zodiac painting of a mouse for M.J.'s nursery because she is going to be born in the year of the rat -- it's really cute -- and the Chinese woman selling it was really excited that I knew what it symbolized.  We had a little bit of a language barrier, but I am pretty sure she was predicting that M.J. is going to be a lucky and wonderful genius.  She pointed at my stomach and said that year of the rat babies were "VERY smart, very, VERY smart."  She then said, "Girl, right?" (I totally look like I'm carrying a girl -- very high and wide).  I said yes and she clapped and beamed and said again, "VERY smart."  Then she said, "First baby, right?"  I said yes again and she looked extra delighted.  She said, "First girl best.  Then boy, okay, but girl first, yes, yes!"  Um, okay?  I just smiled and nodded.  At least she didn't inquire about or announce how much weight I've gained. 

I keep putting off posting on the blog because I have lots of pictures to post (girls weekend, M.J. at 30 weeks, the nursery!) but we have a new camera, much fancier than what I am used to, and I am a little scared of it.  I'll wait and let Jacob handle that when he gets back in town (he's in L.A. on business, where he is tooling around in a convertible, dining at places I read about in US Weekly, and generally making me a little bit jealous).  Sadly, I forgot to take any pictures during Miss Jackson's last pre-birth trip to NYC, but I promise we had fun.  She got to see her Aunt Caroline, who both witnessed and felt her move, and we also got the chance to visit with my brother-in-law (who just moved to Connecticut), another pregnant friend (who looked incredible despite being about five seconds away from delivering), and one of my cousins (who lives in the most incredible West Village apartment and regaled us with tales of some incredible recent celebrity sightings.  Ryan Gosling!  Twice!).  It was a wonderful trip and I kind of can't believe that the next time I go visit Caroline, M.J. will be with me, as we say, on the outside.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Miss Jackson Says Hi!

For awhile there I was really doing better with keeping up with this blog, but alas, I guess that had to change.  I'll try to get back to posting more often.  I was waiting until I had lots of time so that I could tell you all about Miss Jackson's girls weekend, which was two weeks ago already.  (Where did those two weeks go?!)  It was, to put it mildly, A BLAST. 

Two weeks ago, Manisha (pregnant Manisha!), Stephanie, Julye, and Caroline came to D.C. so we could hang out and play for a weekend before MJ's arrival.  (Have pictures; will add.)  On Friday we visited at our house and then had dinner at my favorite neighborhood restaurant, Sonoma.  On Saturday we had a huge brunch, followed by shopping in Georgetown and, perhaps most importantly, cupcakes.  Saturday night we went out with lots of D.C. friends for Mexican food -- and including our other friends, including the men, made girls' weekend even more fun -- and then  on Sunday we had lunch at Montmartre and walked around Eastern Market.  Basically, your all-around perfect weekend with your best girls (could only have been made more perfect if everyone had gotten to come!).  

I had assured them that I did not need any presents and that I just wanted to see them, but they totally ignored me and came bearing a baby shower's worth of big gifts anyway (from sweet Blakely too!) -- baby monitor, Baby Bjorn, Gymini, LeapFrog Learning Table, oh, AND an exceedingly generous spa gift certificate for me -- oh my.  I thought Miss Jackson was spoiled before, but now?  Without question.  Jake and I were thrilled and appreciative, especially because while I had heard words like "Gymini" and "Leap Frog" before, I would not have known what to actually purchase.  And that's not all! Manisha also brought us a book, especially from Nikhil, one I read to him the last time I was visiting them.  Stephanie made MJ her very first super awesome mix CD.  And Caroline made Miss Jackson -- wait for it -- a onesie and a bib, each featuring the likeness of the original Miss Jackson -- that's right -- Janet.  The onesie features Janet circa the Control album; the bib (my personal favorite) features young Janet as Penny in "What's Happening."  Don't worry -- I will definitely post pictures of those too.  

So yes.  It was a great weekend, more because of the company than the presents, although we were pretty grateful and overwhelmed by all the stuff, too.  One of my most fervent hopes for MJ is that she grows up to have good friends like I do.  As an adult, it is kind of a miracle to love and be loved by the same people who knew you when you were a ridiculous teenager.  

Last weekend, then, was our first weekend in a long time with no plans, so we began preparing the nursery in earnest.  I am pleased to report that we got quite a lot done.  We got rid of our guest bed, an old desk, and an old sofa table via Craigslist.  (Note:  if you have any of the ubiquitous Target Dolce collection furniture that you would like to get rid of, people on Craigslist will flock to you to take it off your hands.  Seriously.  People went nuts when I listed that console table.)  Jake made two trips to Goodwill, during which he disposed of approximately six boxes and an additional six garbage bags full of (my) old clothes.  Yes, I was ashamed by the amount.  I cleaned out my closet, our linen closet, and our laundry room/basement, and Jake cleaned and rearranged our shed.  

Most importantly, with the guest bed gone now, MJ's room is starting to look like more like a nursery.  Her crib arrives this coming week, her dresser/changing table is ready, and we are buying her (already selected) chair and ottoman tomorrow.  I have grand visions of having the nursery ready in about three weeks.  This weekend's project is whittling our book collection, which is a task I have been putting off even though we have no more bookshelf space as it is and I want to clear a bookcase and the built-ins in the nursery to make room for MJ's belongings.  For the first time in a decade, I'll be actually getting rid of books.  I HATE getting rid of books.  It pains me.  I plan to give away only the books that I have read and didn't like (and wouldn't recommend), and store many others until we have space for them again.  

What else noteworthy?  Oh, I went to my first neighborhood moms get-together -- it was the women from my prenatal yoga class, some of whom are still pregnant like me, and some of whom have given birth since our class ended several weeks ago.  It was lots of fun and there is talk of it becoming a monthly gathering.  Since I will be staying home after MJ gets here, I am all about meeting other mothers with babies who live close by, so we will definitely continue to participate.  (Even if this doesn't last, though, our neighborhood is absolutely full of playgroups and baby classes and playgrounds and lots of opportunity for interaction.  I'm not worried about getting enough social stimulation, for me or for baby girl.) 

The only bad development of the last week or so is that I have started to experience some lower back pain.  It comes and goes, but sometimes it is bad enough that I walk with a distinct limp and can't get around very well.  When I asked my doctor about it at last week's appointment, he just beamed and said, "That's because of your hormones!  Your hormones are loosening your ligaments so that your bones can shift during delivery!"  He actually seemed pretty excited about it.  As for me, while I am sufficiently in awe of the body's capability to grow and birth this baby, I'd like to do it without feeling like I have to drag my left leg behind me as I lurch down the sidewalk.  On the bright side, I think a prenatal massage will be not just a luxury but maybe a medical necessity in the near future.  

And now, I have to write some thank-you notes.  I am so behind, and my mother is ashamed.  

Friday, May 16, 2008

Miss Jackson Has More Pictures for You

MJ, her daddy, and me (27 weeks).

MJ's daddy, me (26 weeks), MJ, and my cousin Ben.  My college friends might remember that we used to refer to him as "Baby Ben," because when I went away to college, I always had lots of pictures of him.  He was almost five then.  Yeah, he's seventeen now.  Two other things to note about this picture:  look how wide I am!  Also, and I don't want to embarrass any men who might read this site, but I now appear to have breasts.  Those are new.  I never had those before.

Margaret, me, Susan, and Susan's Caroline.

Me, Betsy, Susan, and Susan's daughter Caroline.

Me, Mama, and Margaret's daughter Hannah.