Friday, July 31, 2009

Thoughts about my belly

My dear friends J & C always make me feel good about my pregnant belly. We see each other once a week for a playdate and they always say I look cute and have a huge rack (for me, that is--LOL). This is exactly what a pregnant woman wants to hear, whether its true or not. I can tell you that the rack thing is totally not true, but I will take the compliment anyway. They were surprised to hear that I have not taken one single belly photo during this entire pregnancy. Not one. Many women will document each week in photos, but I have just forgotten to even take one. Nothing against my belly. Its fine, a decent, but not too crazy huge size, no stretch marks, no outtie belly button. I really have no problem with my pregnant belly. It does surprise me every once in a while when I catch myself in a mirror--its strange to see the watermelon, especially from the profile. But I don't have an issue with my belly!

That said, I have received way more than my share of strange, stupid and rude comments from strangers. No less than four people have said that I look like I am due any day now and "are you sure you are not having twins??" When it happened the first time, I thought--that dude needs glasses, but he's a man and maybe he is just socially awkward. The fourth time it happened, a WOMAN said it to me! There was another pregnant woman standing nearby who chimed in to tell this rude person that she just said the one thing that no pregnant woman wants to hear. What is wrong with these people? Are you just calling me fat to my face? The thing is, I am not feeling fat at all. Cumbersome and klutzy, yes, but I don't have an issue with my belly!

Then I bought some T shirts for Bill at the Gap the other day and the checkout girl said to me, "I am giving you this coupon--we are about to get our new line of skinny jeans for the Fall--you should check it out!" Look at me chickadee--do I look like I will be wearing skinny jeans any time soon? I am just saying.

While I don't have an issue with my belly, I apparently do have issues with people making me irritated and annoyed. But just to prove it, here are some photos of me and my 7 months pregnant belly for all the world to see. I am even going to be brave and post one of me in my swimsuit! By the way, check out my huge rack--HAHA!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Photos from San Diego

Even though our trip didn't go exactly as planned, we did manage to have some fun times at the beach. We found this awesome, enormous sand castle/village that someone had built the day before, but was abandoned, so we decided to play in it. Everyone who passed us by kept asking us how long it took for us to build it--we laughed about how they all thought we had built it. It was fun to play in though.

We also spent a lot of time at the hotel pool b/c the waves at the beach were really scary to Lana (and to me!) We even crashed a fancier hotel that had a waterslide (but we didn't take any photos). We snuck in, used the waterslide a few times, noticed that everyone was wearing green arm bands and then grabbed our stuff before we got kicked out. This is something I would have never ever done before I met Bill. I am a law-abiding citizen! But, Lana thought going on a waterslide was the coolest part of the trip and even though it wasn't the best example for our daughter, it was fun anyhow. Here are the pics from our hotel pool, which was just as nice, minus the waterslide.

And we went back to the beach for some more sand castle making.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The last thing you want to hear when you are on vacation

We went to San Diego for a few days just to get away after Bill's big exam. We figured it would be low-stress, since we used to live there--we would know how to get around, where to eat great meals and we wouldn't have to open a tour book. Bill was looking forward to this trip so much, even though it was just a long weekend b/c he has been so stressed and was excited about just sitting around.

The flight was seamless, except for the fact that all 3 of our seats were separated and when I tried to get at least 2 of them together, the airline employee said that on paper a 3 year old can technically sit by herself. I tried to remain composed as I explained that this is not a possibility and he suggested we take a later flight if they couldn't switch the seats. Luckily they switched the seats and I sat with Lana and this man didn't have a big red hand print across his face, b/c seriously I was contemplating it. Have I mentioned that I have rage issues during this pregnancy?

We get to San Diego and check into the hotel and Lana says the dreaded sentence, "Mommy, my tummy hurts". I figure she needs to poop and she does and I think its all over. But no, its not. On the drive to dinner, Lana is uncharacteristically silent and as we pull into the restaurant, she says, "Mommy, I have heartburn" and then she starts freaking out in the way that she does right before she pukes. I yell to Bill to get her out of the carseat and car, while I dash to the trunk to grab the plastic pail we just bought for the beach (very handy, I might add). Bill is holding her over the bushes and she is freaking out still and here is the kicker that made me want to cry on the spot: Lana says--"Mommy, don't worry, I am not sick. Don't be nervous." I felt like a horrible person. I have totally projected my phobia and obsessiveness about illness onto her. She is about to puke and the only thing she can think about is protecting me from my incessant worry that is invading my life.

So she didn't puke. We got our food take-out, although I didn't feel like eating after this. We went back to the hotel and she had a few more episodes of nearly puking into the pail, with us encouraging her to spit it out and not swallow it, but she never gave it up. This is also how I roll, by the way--I hover and spit, but rarely puke. I spent practically the whole night lamenting with Bill about how our vacation was ruined by illness, how I was probably next in line b/c I have no immune system, how my anxiety disorder seems to be returning (in the past few weeks I have noticed some symptoms again) and about how he cannot understand it and that makes him feel sorry for me. The next morning she had a low-grade fever and no appetite, but she did take fluids and small snacks and she had a good attitude, so we decided to go to the beach and play in the sand--which was so very fun!

We managed to salvage the weekend into sessions at the beach in the sand (but not much swimming b/c of the waves) and time at the hotel pool. The weather was a little cool, but we like it that way. Lana's appetite has not returned yet, which is so challenging when you travel and are eating in restaurants with limited choices anyway. I will post photos of the beach excursions in another post.

It was an okay weekend, just not quite as relaxing as I had hoped. I think Bill was relaxed, but I wasn't as much as I wanted to be. I see that I am most likely going to be having a repeat performance of treating my anxiety, once this pregnancy is over. I know many many women take SSRIs while breastfeeding, but I am not convinced of the long-term effects and I don't know if I want to do it. No judgement whatsoever about those who do though. I do have a dream of successful breastfeeding, but formula is not the poison that some people make it out to be. Its just expensive. I just don't want to miss out on the joys in life, just b/c I am worried about crap I cannot control. Its a huge huge waste of energy. My brain knows this, but my body does not respond accordingly. It sucks.

So we returned to the Pacific NW to record heat. No joke. Its going to be like 90-95 here, which may not seem very hot except NOBODY HAS AIR CONDITIONING!!!! Its freakin hot. Have I mentioned that I don't like the heat? Oh yeah, and I am pregnant, so my mom predicted it would be the hottest summer on record, just because I am pregnant. At least its not humid. I will never ever forget the disgustingness of being on a CTA bus packed with people in July in Chicago with no air conditioning. Its the worst stink you can imagine, plus with the humidity you totally need a shower afterwards.

I need to figure out what to cook this week that doesn't involve turning on the oven. Any suggestions from you people who live in normally warm climates?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Summer Fun

This past week, I have not been blogging because Lana and I have been having way too much summer fun. The weather has been perfect--around 80, blue sky and no humidity and this coming week looks like more of the same. We are having a freakishly great summer, weather-wise and I am so not complaining! Lana and I had 2 beach play dates with friends on Wednesday and Thursday and since the weather was just so nice on Friday, I took her back to the beach, just the two of us for more fun in the sun. Sitting on the sand, chatting with friends, watching the kids play together or Lana and I building sand castles decorated with seaweed was just about perfect and oh so therapeutic! I felt so guilty when Bill and mom came home from work and I just spent the day on the beach for three days straight. So no housework got done, although I managed to cook dinner each night thanks to my crock pot.

Our town has this man-made island right off the coast that is accessible by ferry only and its only open July-August. It is completely undeveloped and has a lot of nature programs--guided walks, etc. for the kids. But the best part is that the water on the beach is very shallow for a really long way out. If you visit a couple of hours after low tide, the sand gets really warm and when the tide comes in, the water gets super warm too. This is totally key when your beaches are served by the Pacific Ocean--its usually super cold. Its a great sandy beach, fun for digging up clams and shrimp and other sea life. Plus, the kids can run and play in the water and you don't have to worry about them falling on sharp rocks or getting into the water over their heads or pummelled by waves. The tough part is getting the free tickets for the ferry, but we showed up early and got lucky this week. I so wish I took photos that I could post, but I refuse to take my camera, since I spend most of the time away from our blanket and in the water with Lana. Plus, we have had a camera and 2 GPS devices stolen this past year--I am so not taking any chances.

We had picnics all week long and I am so over eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! Since I can't have deli meat (b/c of the pregnancy) and I don't dig mayo-laden tuna that has been sitting out in the sun, I have been eating PB and J nonstop. The funny thing is, Lana ate so many sandwiches this week and loved them. Previously, if you gave her a sandwich, she wouldn't touch it. I think she was totally starving from running up and down the beach and it was the novelty of eating outside, picnic style. She was so happy and well-behaved. I have noticed that her behavior is so great as long as she is engaged in some way. Boredom precipitates acting out. I cannot possibly entertain her every minute of every day, but when she is effectively stimulated with activities, man is she a happy kid and one that is so easy to get along with!

Poor Bill has his oral board exam next week in Chicago. He is studying his butt off, which reminds me of how much I don't miss studying. He is stressed and distracted. Its summer and the poor kid can't even enjoy it! Its almost over and I am trying to give him a lot of quiet study time.

This next week, the weather forecast is looking great still! I am finally fulfilling my wish to enjoy my summer with Lana, before this baby arrives and our lives are turned upside-down. After next week, Bill will be able to join us, on the weekends at least. I hope it doesn't start raining!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cancer pretty much sucks

Tomorrow morning I am leaving my Dad's and going back home. Its always hard to say goodbye, but its been harder in the last few months, for obvious reasons (b/c he is sick). Even when I went off to college, which I was oh so excited to do, I always cried when I hugged my parents at the airport and said goodbye. I am sure tomorrow will be no exception. The next time I see my Dad, the new baby will be here! Wow! I hope this gives him something to look forward to, even though it will probably be six months from now until I feel brave enough to put myself and two kids on a plane for a cross-country journey. Hopefully Bill will come too and I will have that extra pair of hands. My other hope is that my Dad will be done with (or at least on a break from) chemo and that he will have some strength and joy again. It is kind of a strange thing to see your parent age like 30 years in about 3 months--at least that's what it seems like to me. I really feel bad for him that he feels like such crap day after day, but I keep reminding him that its temporary. The thing is, with cancer, the truth is nobody really knows what tomorrow may bring. We all hope and pray for the best b/c what choice do we have but to be optimistic? But its scary. I know he is scared and so are his family and friends. So far with his treatment the news has been good, but if you look at statistics for lung cancer, well don't--its not encouraging.

Ever since his diagnosis all I want to do is SOMETHING. I can't be here everyday or every month. I can't cure cancer, although this is what all naiive college students who embark on a career in biomedical science really want to do. I can't make him feel better with a pint of Ben and Jerrys. I can't do anything, except call and skype and get on a plane when he asks me to come. Its so damn frustrating and scary.

On a side note, Lana seemed to do fine without me, which is GREAT! She is growing up and I am proud of her. We did skype a lot and she kissed the computer screen, which I am sure needs a thorough cleaning now. Bill, Grandma and my inlaws did an awesome job keeping her busy and happy. It means a lot to me that I could come and see my Dad with so much support back home. I am so so so looking forward to seeing Lana at the airport and getting my snuggles I so dearly missed.

Say a prayer for my Dad if you can. I really appreciate it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Did I forget my underwear?

Today I woke up at 4:45am and headed to the airport for my first solo trip back east. I am visiting my dad in VA and I decided that I am too pregnant to take Lana with me with all the gear it requires, especially in the summer heat. I don't know if I just did not get enough sleep last night or what, but I seriously feel STRANGE!!!! Like I left something important at home, like my underwear or my watch. I know what it is that I forgot to bring with me--my daughter! Okay, I didn't forget, but it feels so weird to be without her. Will it always feel like I have lost an appendage when one of my kids isn't with me or is this just a passing phase, something I am not used to that I will eventually grow out of? Maybe I am just being pregnant and all attach-y to my offspring or something. All I know is its weird and every time I saw a toddler with chubby cheeks today I fought back tears.

When I was pregnant with Lana, my friend Stacey (Hi if you are reading) had a conference in San Diego and we met up for dinner. When I picked her up at her hotel, she got in the car and told me it was the first night she ever spent without her girls (she had 2 young daughters at the time, now she has 3, but you can all about that on her blog) and her eyes welled up with tears. I remember thinking, "Aw! That is so sweet!" but truly, I could not relate to it at all b/c when Lana was in my tummy she was such an abstract idea to me. Today as I looked at every other cute kid on the planet, I thought about that moment with Stacey, how it was not so much sweet, but that it was hard for her--its much harder than it looks to be away from your babies, even if you know they are in the loving hands of your husband and grandparents.

My travel was pretty cramped, especially b/c I had a larger woman sitting next to me, encroaching on my seat, our butts touching (ew) and then the dude in front of me reclined and the dude in back of me kept shoving his knees into my seat back. Why oh why are these seats so small?? I am only 5'3" and like 130 lbs at 6 months pregnant and I felt like a sardine in there today. At least I was reading an entertaining book. I would love to say it was all liberating and such to have quiet time to read and doze off and drink 3 cans of ginger ale, without having to answer a million questions and promise chicken mc nuggets, implore her not to lick the window and pick crayons up off the floor. But it didn't feel liberating, I felt like I was missing something.

Seeing my dad is wonderful of course, yet difficult in some ways too. He looks more frail than the last time I saw him, but this is to be expected, seeing he has done like 5 or 6 rounds of chemo with no break. The tumors are decreasing in size and his doctors are pleased, so that is encouraging news, but the side effects have been pretty gnarly. He is losing the acuity of his vision, he cannot feel his feet which makes it difficult for him to walk without a cane. Both of these symptoms mean he should not drive, which renders him pretty useless in his opinion. I tell him to treat it like a pregnancy (which is a dumb thing to tell a man)--you feel a little goofy and useless for a while, with strange symptoms and all that crap, but when its over you will bounce back to your normal self. It is nice, refreshing and liberating though to sit on the sofa and chat without interruption. Of course most of this conversation revolves around that little interrupting person.

Even though I have called home at least 5 times so far to check on my little sidekick, I will try to decompress and enjoy my visit with my dad. I wish I could see him more often and I wish I could help him more. I know Lana is fine. She is a big girl after all. Its me that is having the most trouble--silly mommy.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

She is still quite a mystery to me..

More randomness:


  • does Lana still put everything in her mouth? Toys, fingers, etc. Sometimes she will lick her hands. This drives me crazy, as a germaphobe and all. I thought only babies did this.

  • does Lana still get hiccups so often? Sometimes 5 times a day.

  • won't she poop in the potty? Why, why why???? She is beyond ready--she has been dry all night and in panties for almost a year. Yet, she will not even try to sit on the potty for poop. I have bribed my brains out, but she will only go in a diaper. She is the only 3 year old girl I know who is not fully trained. I think she is either afraid, stubborn or just trying to mess with me. Maybe all three.

  • does Lana enjoy being nude all the time? I mean all the time! Never in public, but at home, she is a nudist. She walks in the door, off come the shoes, then the clothes, then the undies. Buck nekkid. Or commando, if I force her to wear clothes.

  • must she sleep with 50 stuffed animals in her bed? She hoards them and then can totally tell if one is missing.

I know all kids are quirky to some extent, but some things just make me wonder.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Okay, I am better now

Thanks blogfriends for all of your thoughtful and encouraging thoughts on my last bitch and whine post. Sometimes just getting it all out of my head is the best medicine. Blogging is like free therapy--to quote LauraC.

Also, today had lunch with an old friend, from my previous life as a scientist. He was a student while I was a postdoc and we worked in the same lab in San Diego. Now he is a postdoc here in Seattle. He moved here back in September and we always talked about getting together and today we finally did. Lana spent the day with my inlaws, as she does every Wednesday. Usually I take this time to clean the house, run errands I would prefer to do without a toddler, I get my haircut or visit the doctor/dentist, whatever. I very rarely do something purely for me without getting something else done on my list at the same time. But today, I did. I sat outside on a beautiful summer day and had lunch with an old friend--for like 2 hours. We talked about his job, his lab, how he likes Seattle, science in general. My life has changed so dramatically since we worked together, yet having our conversation today really made me step back and appreciate the life I have now. I love living here. I love being at home with Lana. I don't miss the academic environment at all. It was exactly what I needed after feeling several days of stress and grumpiness. It was also nice to eat lunch slowly, to not have to remind Lana to wait her turn to talk or pick up fallen crayons off the floor. Not to mention the adult conversation and I could swear as much as I wanted without spelling the curse words. It was good.

What made my day even better? When I got home, Bill called and told me to go pick up Lana from his parents' house b/c he was getting out of work early--3pm early!!! So the three of us went to the beach for an hour and played in the sand and the freezing cold water. Then I came home and made dinner while Lana and Bill played in the garden. And this is precisely why I love being a stay at home mom.

There is nothing like a good day to bring you back from that grumpy place.