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.

Miss Jackson is Spoiled Already

Last Saturday was Miss Jackson's first baby shower, and it was absolutely perfect.  We tried to keep it small -- just family (my grandmother, my mother, my mother-in-law, five aunts, four cousins, and two of my cousins' precious babies) -- and it turned out that it was a good thing because Miss Jackson got so many presents that even one more might not have fit into the car for the drive back to D.C.  Lovely company, lovely food, lovely gifts, and lots of fun.  It was a great celebration, particularly over Mother's Day weekend!  You can see from the pictures:

It really made MJ's arrival seem more imminent, and the shower fun keeps going.  When Mama, Mrs. Sommer, and I got home from the shower, we re-opened all of the gifts so that we could show Jake, Mr. Sommer, and my dad all the pretty things she got.  This morning my task is to finish putting them all away as best I can before some of my very best friends get in town for a girls' weekend, and I can't wait to look at all of the presents one more time.  Our guest room is steadily becoming more and more of a nursery, even though we don't have her crib yet. The one new piece of furniture that we do have already is her dresser/changing table, which is a good thing because we need a place to put all of her stuff.  It is a little bit sick how excited I get to fold all of her little outfits and put everything away.  Sometimes I go open up the dresser drawers just to look at her stuff -- not that I'm that excited about the actual stuff, per se, it's just a vivid reminder that soon a little person will be here to actually wear and use all of it (as if the tummy gymnastics and swollen ankles were not reminder enough).

You might wonder what Jacob and his father did to entertain themselves while Mama, Mrs. Sommer and I were at the shower.  They ate hot dogs and then Jacob bought himself a Wii. Yep. I was pretty happy for him because he has been looking for one for over a year, but it was still a little bit funny -- when he told me what he bought (and he was ecstatic!), I just said, "Well, then, happy mother's day to you!"

Friday, May 9, 2008

Miss Jackson Went to Charleston.

We're all still in South Carolina and having a big time.  Last weekend Jake flew down and met us at my parents' house, where on Saturday my mom and dad hosted some of my mom's family for a luncheon -- to the tune of, I think, 25+ adults and nine children aged four and under.  It was super fun and the children were so cute -- they got me even more excited to think that the next time we do something similar, Miss Jackson will be on the outside to play among all her cousins. 

I think I also mentioned in my last post that I suspected Miss Jackson might come into some borrowed hand-me-downs while I was home -- indeed she did.  We are now the proud temporary caretakers of a beautiful Moses basket that my aunt fixed with precious pink and white pillows and ribbons, and a box of blankets and day gowns, including some with special stories.  One was made by one of my great-aunts for my cousin Susan (who is six years older than I am) to wear home from the hospital, and that will be Miss Jackson's going-home outfit as well.  We will take good care of all of them while they are in our custody. 

After the family festivities last Saturday, Jake and I left on Sunday morning to go to Charleston for our last pre-baby vacation.  We left Miss Fiona at "camp" and took Mr. Sammy with us because he's just too fragile to board, and I think I speak for both Jacob and Little Sammy when I say that we had a great time.  We ate, walked, shopped, ate, read, lounged, ate, shopped, and ate.  I managed to visit with two old friends, read two books, and find some treasures for MJ too.  It was perfect weather, too -- at least, it would have been perfect if I weren't pregnant, but these days, I feel like I am carrying a toaster inside my stomach all the time.  I wore maternity dresses every day which was a good solution, as they were cool and comfortable as cotton nightgowns (and one long maxi-dress that I just got makes me feel like I have the same pregnancy style as Angelina Jolie or Gwen Stefani, at least until I look in the mirror or remember that I got my dress at Target).  

Some moments from when we were in Charleston:  

1.  I bought two adorable bibs for MJ at a baby store in Mt. Pleasant, one of which had her first initial embroidered on it.  The saleslady asked me what her name was as she was wrapping up my purchases.  Yes, we're keeping the name a secret, but this woman was a stranger so I went ahead and told her that we're naming her _______ __________ but we will call her ________.  The clerk absolutely hollered -- "That is the cutest name ever!  I love it!  I don't know anyone with that name!  She just has to be cute with that name.  Has to be."  I was delighted and told her that we completely agreed.  I mean, probably she is just a good salesperson, but I beamed nonetheless. 

2.  I'm now definitely to the point where I am enormously pregnant enough to warrant special treatment.  A woman in a public restroom even offered to let me go ahead of her in the bathroom line!  So nice.  Mainly, though, I just got a lot of stares and smiles and some trying-really-hard-to-be-polite-and-appropriate waitstaff.  For instance -- we went to dinner on Thursday night and arrived about fifteen minutes before our reservation.  The hostess brightly asked, "Do you want to just wait at the bar while--" when she gazed at my stomach and her face fell.  She quickly said, "I mean -- or maybe you don't -- uh."  Luckily, Charleston has gone totally smoke-free so waiting at the bar wasn't a problem; I assured her I could get some club soda.  Then, when I hoisted myself up on the bar stool, the bartender did the same thing -- started to offer us something, stared at my belly, and then looked sort of uncomfortable until I smiled and said, "I'll just have a club soda with cranberry juice."  He looked visibly relieved -- I guess maybe he worried that I could have ordered a shot of tequila and he would have been faced with the dilemma of to serve or not to serve?  Finally, after we had been seated and taken our drinks with us to the table, our waitress offered to get us refills -- and she too looked nervous as she stared at my nearly empty drink and asked, "Can I bring you another, uh, what is that, cranberry and... uh, tonic?"  So funny.

3.  MJ is still as active as ever (knock on wood -- I am totally paranoid that she will stop moving at some point; every single kick or punch is welcome and cherished), but in the last week or ten days I have noticed a new pattern.  Instead of just being really active after I've eaten something, she is also a kicking and punching machine when I am hungry.  She absolutely pummels me when I am hungry.  We think this means she is (a) bossy and (b) crabby before she eats... just like me!  Needless to say, Jake is somewhat disturbed by this new development.  When we realized that her movements were really strong before meals, he sighed and lamented, "Just what I need... another one."  Managing my own low blood sugar and hunger-induced crabbiness is hard enough on him already.  Bless his heart. 

Tomorrow is my first baby shower (hooray!) and then next weekend four of my best and favorite girls are coming to D.C. for a pre-MJ girls' weekend (hooray hooray!), so we have a lot to look forward to.  Miss Jackson will be here in thirteen short weeks.  We know her due date is getting closer because we have started seeing countdown-to-the-Olympics commercials. She is due pretty much exactly when the Olympics start, so whenever you hear "92 days until Beijing" or whatever, you can go ahead and substitute "Miss Jackson" for "Beijing." (I am deliberately ignoring the fact that most first babies are late, just as I am trying to forget how much I hate the Olympics.  They disrupt the television schedule.)