Sunday, July 24, 2011

A List of Lists.

I am a list-maker. It's in my blood. My mother is a list-maker, too, and I guess she passed down her love of making lists to me. I make the grocery list every week. I make lists of gift ideas for family and friends. I make lists of sewing projects I would someday like to complete. I actually have a small spiral notebook that is nothing but lists. In fact, at this very moment, I have six lists that I am keeping:

1.) My perpetual to-do list at work
2.) A list of projects for James to complete (things like: sand and paint dresser for nursery, organize garage, and replace all closet doors in the house)
3.) A list of projects for me to complete (things like: sew crib skirt, complete nursery wall collage and make drapes for spare bedroom)
4.) A list of baby names
5.) Baby Shower invite list
6.) A list of pregnancy picture locations

You do realize I just made a list of lists. Somebody stop me!

I see the following lists in my future:

1.) A list of items to bring to the birthing center when I give birth
2.) A list of questions for prospective pediatricians
3.) A list of how long and how far apart my contractions are

I can't help myself!

In all seriousness, though, my love of list-making stems from my need to be organized, and most of all, prepared. Nothing irritates me more than being ill-prepared for something. Like, when you are baking something and you realize you are missing an ingredient and have to make a trip to the grocery store. Hence, the grocery list we make weekly. That list actually has a list of meals for the week and a list of items to purchase. It's a two-fer!! I pride myself on being prepared for almost anything. I research, plan, make a list and then consider other possibilities that could arise. And this all sounds great, right? What could be wrong with being prepared? Well, the thing is, when you're about to have your first baby, you can never be prepared for what awaits. I can do all the research and planning and list-making in the world, and none of it will make a damn bit of difference when James and I are home with the baby those first few weeks. Intuition and practice are probably going to take us further than any research and preparation will. This is a scary prospect for someone who likes to be prepared. So, I'm telling myself to trust my instincts and go with the flow. Do what works for us, and be confident in my ability to be a good mother. And I'm sure somewhere in there is a list feeding times and wet/poopy diapers. More lists! I feel better already.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

34 and more

Today I turned 34 years old. As I get older, I get more ambivalent about my birthday. My birthday is no longer a really big deal. Birthdays are not as much fun in your thirties as they are when you're ten. I'm not celebrating today with all my friends at the skating rink and eating an ice cream cake. Not that birthdays aren't to be celebrated at this age, but they should be celebrated with more...restraint.

Typically, 34 is not a milestone age. Nothing special happens, no new opportunities arise, when you turn 34. But for me, it will be the most important age of my life. It will forever be the age when I gave birth to my first child. Thirty-four will always reside along with 18, 21, 30 and those other milestone birthdays.

For the last few birthdays, I have not been really excited about getting older. I'm not one of those people who gets depressed about turning another year older, but I haven't been jumping for joy either. But today, I was excited and proud to turn 34 years old, because I know it will be my best year yet.

I wanted to be sure and get a few photos on my birthday this year, to document the bump. These were taken at The Domain, a shopping and residential establishment near our house. Note how my dress, which is not a maternity dress, is much shorter in the front due to my ever-expanding stomach. Hilarious.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

23 weeks

I'm trying to get back on track with my weekly photos. Between vacations and wedding season, it's been difficult!

At 23 weeks along, I'm doing pretty good. I've gained about 11 pounds. My midwife tells me that at this point in the pregnancy, I can expect to gain about a pound a week. That means another 17 pounds to go. Yikes. I feel pretty big right now. I know that I'll get much bigger, but honestly, it's a little hard to imagine. I still feel great...not too tired, and no swelling at this point. Which is a pretty major feat if you ask me, since it's been over 100 degrees here in Austin for well over a month! But 17 MORE pounds? I have no concept. It's increasingly difficult to work out, with the additional weight I'm carrying. And my lower abdomen is beginning to get sore, especially at the end of the day. I have really been amazed at how different I feel at night compared to the morning. By nighttime, my abdomen is sore, my belly is much tighter and I feel heavier. Weird.

But I'm still enjoying this pregnancy. The baby is moving more and more each day, and now you can actually see the activity on my stomach. It's like a roller coaster!

My 23 weeks pictures were taken down on South Congress at the Jo's Coffee Shop. Someone spray painted a lovely message on the side of their building, and I thought it was appropriate for how I feel about this baby:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


James and I have decided to cloth diaper. I know, I know. You think we're nuts. Trust me, I hear it all the time. Why the hell would you cloth diaper when disposables are so much more convenient? Think of all the laundry you'll do! GROSS!

I wanted to explain here why exactly James and I have decided on cloth diapering. As with all things baby related (and most others, too), we did our research. And here are a few reasons why we decided on the fluff:

1.) I'm frugal. There's no way you can deny that cloth diapering is cheaper than buying disposables. The average child will go through anywhere from $1600 to $3000 in disposable diapers before they are potty trained. Cloth diapering, on the other hand, can be accomplished by spending a few hundred dollars. Now, there are certainly ways to spend much more on cloth diapers...fancy all-in-one diapers with cute patterns run about $15-$20 apiece. But, even if I spend $500 on a cloth diaper stash, I will be able to use those diapers with multiple children, so it's a one-time cost. And I freaking LOVE saving money!

2.) It's better for the environment. This is the primary reason that James is totally on board with cloth diapering. I'm married to somewhat of an environmentalist. We recycle, have a rain barrel, compost our food scraps, and generally try to reuse and repurpose whenever possible. We create only one bag of trash each week between the two of us. The thought of all the additional trash we would create on a weekly basis with just the disposable diapers, plus the fact that those diapers will sit in a landfill for god knows how long (some estimates are over 200 years!!), well, that was enough to convince my tree-hugging husband. And it makes me feel good, too.

3.) It's better for the baby. Honestly, this is not my number one reason for wanting to cloth diaper, but it does carry some weight. Disposable diapers contain all kinds of harsh chemicals that help with absorbancy, which is what makes disposable diapers so great. But those chemicals can be harmful and dangerous to a baby, and can cause or exacerbate skin rashes. Think about it: it's recommended that parents use a dye and perfume -free detergent to wash babies clothes in, but we put diapers on their butts with chemicals that are carcinogens.

Now, I certainly realize that by cloth diapering, I am creating more work, i.e., more laundry. But since all the parents I know have told me that once you have a baby you'll be doing laundry all the time anyway, I don't see this as a big deal. Plus, I'm one of those weird people that actually doesn't mind laundry. It just isn't one of those chores that bothers me. James and I both are pretty regimented people by nature, so if diapers need to be washed every other day religiously, then they will be.

And yes, I realize there is a bit of "ick" factor. But isn't handling any dirty diaper icky? So dirty diapers will sit in a bin for a day before they are washed. I wonder how often other mothers take out their dirty disposable diaper trash? Every day? I doubt it.

Lastly, neither James nor I has ever diapered a child before, cloth or disposable. So cloth will be our normal. We won't know any different. What we will know is that we are doing the right thing for our little family, regardless of what others think. And plus, we're not the type to really give a shit what other people think!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Opus

I would say that James and I are pretty logical and practical people. When it comes to large purchases, we do our research. We try to really think about how we plan on using something, and what will work best for us. I remember when we were remodeling our kitchen, I would wake up in the morning to the sound of the tape measure snapping shut, James hard at work researching and measuring and planning. The kitchen was his opus.

This baby and all the things that come with it are my opus. I have never conducted more research, read more books, given more thought to anything ever before. And the one item of all the necessary baby items that this has proven more true of is the stroller. I have spent more time researching and reading about strollers than I did when I bought my last car. Deciding on the perfect stroller for our family has been futile. It's all stemming from practicality. See, I really want to only buy one stroller. And every parent I have talked to about strollers tells me they have more than one. But what if I don't want more than one stroller? Is this really necessary? Does there not exist a stroller that will work for a newborn all the way up to a toddler, be built for either the mall or the trail, easy to fold and somewhat lightweight? If this does not exist, how come??

I have currently narrowed it down to two strollers. Problem is, only one is available at a local store for me to test drive. Do I take a chance and buy a stroller that I have not tested? Other decisions like the bassinet and the car seat are dependent upon this stroller decision. And I really do not want to buy a stroller now, only to turn around and buy another one in a few months. I want the perfect stroller. My question is, why is this so difficult?

On an unrelated note, here's the bump at 22 weeks, all the way from New York City!: