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.