Our Kids!

Cassius Daniel:


Friday, February 26, 2010

Deep thoughts...

Friday, February 26, 2010
Last night I overheard Ross on the phone with our friend Dwayne, telling him about how our apartment was now overloaded with baby books. He started telling him how one book in particular, Who Am I, had caught his interest because he thought that maybe it was too advanced, introspective, and philosophical for a baby. How is a baby supposed to ponder who he is as a person at such a young age, Ross wondered? Then he opened the book and realized it was a book showing different animals asking "who am I". So rather than learning the Socratic method, the baby will be learning his animals.

I'm not sure if Ross was disappointed or relieved.

100 days

Looking at the babygaga.com ticker at the top of my blog today, I saw that it is now only 100 days til Cash's due date. Ironically this milestone coincided with my first major emotional baby-induced panic attack last night where I told Ross that 3 months was not enough time to "learn how to take care of a baby, breastfeed, and overall figure out what the hell I'm doing." Poor Ross. Today, I feel much better though the ticker is a stark reminder that Cash will be here before I know it. But overall my feelings are of excitement, anticipation, and joy(all floating within a bubble of mild anxiety).

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Working out while pregnant

Thursday, February 25, 2010
As my second trimester comes to a close, I've tried to become more diligent with my working out so that once I turn into my apartment's heavyweight champion in my third trimester I'll have a routine well in place to motivate me to keep going. Before getting pregnant, I was a 5-6 times a week gymgoer, usually taking cardio/weight classes, dance class or hopping on the elliptical for 45 minutes at a time. The first trimester fatigue forced my usual pace to stop dead in its tracks and take a few weeks hiatus from the gym. However living in NYC forces me to walk at least 30 minutes every day so I figured that was enough activity during those lazy times in the first trimester when my day consisted of going to work and going to sleep (with eating frequently mingled in between).

Since gaining my energy back around week 15, I've invested in a few prenatal workout dvds that have been making me keep up with a 3-4 day a week "workout" routine and feeling pretty good. I put workout in quotes here because really, I don't break a sweat with any of them, although since the apartment has thin walls and floors, I'm sure my neighbors below think that a herd of elephants is running around in my living room every time I go to town. I occasionally still go to the gym, but usually I just walk on an incline on the treadmill for awhile and read a magazine. Really, I'm the worst at motivating myself so thank god for the following dvds that have helped me keep my weight within range and my energy up:

I think my personal favorite is Summer Sanders Prenatal Workout. It consists of one workout for each trimester and you have the possibility of breaking it up into a 30 minute or 50 minute session. It starts you off with cardio but mainly focuses on toning the lower and upper halves of your body using a tension band (though I use 3 lb weights instead). Summer is beyond perky and frequently talks about her lack of coordination which is endearing. She also takes frequent water breaks which is key. The only downside is her "personal trainer" who is there leading her through the workouts. She's a bit of a dud, though during the stretch session it becomes clear that she's Summer's sister-in-law so I guess her participation is based on nepotism.

As a dancer I've done my fair share of Pilates, inside and outside of the studio, and enjoy it for the focus it forces you to bring to each move and the core work. However when I first got pregnant, I wrongly assumed that you couldn't work out your core anymore. I'm not sure why I thought this - maybe I thought if I crunched too hard the baby would shoot out - but anyway, it's not true. Pretty much every prenatal dvd I've tried focuses strongly on strengthening your core as an important piece of getting ready for labor. The 10 Minute Solution: Prenatal Pilates has an entire 10 minute section devoted to the Core along with sections for Standing Pilates, Butt and Thighs, Total Body, and Flexibility. I tend to do all 5 of them when I do the workout though I have thought about doing one or two of them after going to walk at the gym (but once I get home I never follow through). The instructor moves fast with no breaks and I'm not even sure she introduces herself. However I do know that she will be naming her daughter Sienna Chili(?) and I always wonder if it's after the country or the pepper.

My original plan upon getting pregnant was to find an actual yoga studio with prenatal classes and take them and find pregnant friends and all would be very crunchy and namaste-like in my pregnant world. Then I saw what prenatal yoga classes cost in NYC and hence, my purchase of Prenatal Yoga with Shiva Ray. Unlike all my other dvds, Shiva isn't knocked up herself in the video though she has a couple of lovely preggo assistants named Britta and Poppy. The total workout is 50 minutes with a 10 minute meditation linked onto the end that I usually skip. The yoga is pretty standard and very relaxing. Britta and Poppy silently show you the modifications for each trimester like round, silent mannequins in the background. Perhaps the weirdest part of the dvd though is the lengthy section devoted to working on kegels or your "pelvic floor" muscles. I realize that kegels are important to do, but it's a bit offputting hearing Shiva's mannish monotone voice tell me to spread my legs and start squeezing.

I totally saved the best for last. Erin O'Brien Prenatal Fitness Fix is quite hilarious but a totally fantastic workout. Apparently Erin's claim to fame is that she is the wife of "Mike" from Desperate Housewives, and yes, that is mentioned on the cover of the dvd. He also makes an appearance in a 20 minute partner workout session where he silently and begrudgingly helps Erin do essentially the same workout as in the first 40 minute portion, but with a partner. However, her 40 minute workout is a great mix of cardio and toning and is the only dvd I have that actually makes me a bit out of breath. Sometimes though I think it's from laughing because frankly, the lady is crazy. Her eyes are kind of buggy and she talks very fast and gets really excited as her heart rate goes up. The dvd also pauses a couple of times because apparently Erin had to pee in the middle of the workout, no joke. Lettering comes up on screen to explain that. The production values are quite low for the dvd which makes it even more hilarious but I keep doing it because it is a good workout and it also includes a 30 minute Postnatal workout dvd as well. Two for the price of one, I guess.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hello my name is Hope...

Friday, February 19, 2010
and I am a baby clothes shopaholic. I can't help it really. Everything is so tiny and adorable...and on sale. I can't resist a sale. And last weekend at Old Navy, I let my guard down and pulled my credit card out.

Yes, that is a baby camo jacket. Don't judge me.

Jeans and khakis. Now he has the exact same types of pants as his dad.

Like mother, like son...

In our small living room, I have somehow managed to compile a vast library of books throughout the years. Some are leftovers from my college years as a Lit major, others have been acquired through my participation in a monthly book club over the last 5 years, and the rest are impulse buys from Amazon's used marketplace. Most New Yorkers don't acquire and keep books - as my fellow book clubbers claim every time I come to the meeting with my own copy of the book in hand, it is simply a waste of limited space. However, for some reason, I treasure mine and can't seem to let them go.

(This is just one of what used to be two full bookcases in my apartment)

So of course one of the things that I've been trying to develop for Cash is his little library. I plan to start reading to him right away and hope that reading is something he enjoys as much as I do. Due to a big 50% off sale at Barnes and Noble the other day, his library is starting to take shape.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

24 week belly shot - Fancified edition

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Here I am before my big date night with Ross for our 10 year anniversary. As you can see, the belly is pronounced. Luckily, my flowy pirate blouse and heeled black suede boots helped me to not look too ridiculous out on the town. I would have to say that I'm pretty noticeably pregnant now although I have very nice friends who continue to tell me I am "small" and "don't look pregnant at all". To all of my friends - I appreciate it and I will also lie to your face when it's your turn.

I just ordered my last batch of maternity clothes so my shopping is complete. Old Navy was having a huge sale on their new spring stuff and since I realized I was going to be without clothes for the last couple of months (as well as the first few months postpartum) I went a little crazy with ordering maxi (that's for you Erica) dresses and nursing tank tops. And metallic silver ballet flats. Not exactly for maternity but they were cute. I made one last effort today for maternity shopping at TopShop, the London import that opened last year and that I hadn't checked out yet. However, on the one wall of maternity clothes they had, I spotted harem pants and made a beeline for the door. I figured any place that would actively encourage more volume in the hip and crotch area for a pregnant woman was probably not my style.

Cravings: Breakfast dessert, lunch dessert, and dinner dessert.

Weight Gain: +15. It kind of jumped at this past appointment but apparently I am very much on track. I neglected to mention how much dessert I was eating.

Belly Size: Large enough to notice however half the time I think the size is due to my constant eating.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy 10 Year Anniversary!

Friday, February 12, 2010
Ten years ago today, Ross and I became an official couple. He surprised me by cooking pasta primavera in the Taylor House kitchen and setting up an actual table and chairs in his single dorm room for our dinner. Over a fine glass of "red" Carlo Rossi, he asked me to be his girlfriend. It was a sweet gesture and a very fitting way for us to start what we really didn't realize at the time would be the rest of our lives together.

Tonight we are celebrating at Artisanal, a french bistro with amazing cheese and wine (the wine of which I won't be partaking in) and I'm grateful to be there with the same sweet, generous, funny and completely original man who is now my husband and father of my child.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Apartment Overhaul Update

Tuesday, February 9, 2010
When Ross and I moved into our little apartment on St. Marks Place back in April 2005, we thought it was a little slice of heaven on Earth. I mean, considering that we moved from a basement apartment in Astoria, Queens, we were excited that we were ceasing to be mole people and moving above ground into an apartment with windows! We didn't care that those windows led out to an alley or that the apartment looked like it hadn't been cleaned since the years that Abby Hoffmann lived in the building and plotted the uprising at the '68 Chicago Democratic convention (true story!). I did care a little that a week before we moved I saw the hotel on the corner of our block featured heavily in an HBO documentary entitled "Cranktown" but since there was about 5 new Citibanks being built in a 10 block radius, I decided that gentrification was around the corner and the ratio of punk kids to urban professionals would soon flip (which did in fact happen until the dollar pizza place opened up next door, then we got some young and surly new neighbors).

Overall though, this apartment and area of the city have treated us well and we have loved living in it. The apartment is rent-stabilized, has 3 separate rooms + bathroom, and the kitchen actually has more cabinets than many homes I've seen. For people not living in New York or a similar urban area I know this sounds a bit crazy, but really, 3 separate rooms is kind of a big deal in somewhere rent-stabilized and as the eloquent plumber for our building once told me, "this apartment is an oasis in a sea of crap."

However completely baby-ready, this apartment is not. Ross and I have found many nooks and crannys for our books, vast amounts of gourmet cooking supplies, and ample bar area but space for toys and baby furniture was going to be a big problem. So when I found out I was pregnant I nerded out and made an Excel chart, as I am apt to do, of all the things I needed to overhaul in this apartment by June 2010. I've tried to divide things out into months but when I looked at the chart and realized that I hadn't done a single thing marked "January", I forged ahead last week and tried to knock many things off of the list. Accomplished so far:

- Clear out full shelf in largest cabinet for bottles, dishes, etc.
- Buy microwave after years of resistance for bottle sterilization and late night popcorn cravings.
- Pack up glasses from cleared shelf and put in odd storage area in ceiling.
- Replace trash can and recycling bin with matching slim fit, foot pedel-operated trash cans. Try not to freak out when foot pedel on new recycling bin stops working after one day.

- Get eloquent plumber to fix tub faucet since the tub has been confined to "showers only" for a good three years.

Living Room
- Clear off 3 shelves in bookcase for baby stuff.
- Either throw out or pack up books from cleared shelves from storage space.
- Fill two of the shelves with bins for toys.
- Move Ross's board games (including but not limited to two separate versions of Risk and the Sex and the City game) from couch seat storage to make room for baby blankets and Froggy quilt.

- Rearrange clothing storage situation and make room in my "closet" (really a closet organizer bolted to the wall with a Chinese screen in front of it) for Cash's hanging clothes.
- Buy bin for under crib linen storage.
- Replace side table lamp since it is becoming cumbersome to plug and unplug current lamp when we want to use it.
- Use old recycling bin for photo album storage. Realize that it would probably have made more sense to digitize entire photo collection instead of keeping around half full albums.

Still left to do:
- Child-proof the cabinet under the sink that contains baby hazards like plastic bags and cleaning chemicals.
- Set up bottle drying rack area somewhere on over-burdened countertop
- Try to convince Ross to pack away weird skull art piece with candles that currently occupies the space of our kitchen window so that it can potentially be the carseat storage shelf. Remind Ross that many people have commented that it looks like some sort of voodoo ritual set-up.
- Actually clean kitchen floor instead of systematically pushing dirt around with swiffer.

Bathroom -
- Get tub regrouted where the tub meets the tile so the baby can't try to eat old, dirty grouting that falls into the tub.
- Replace regular trash can with diaper pail. Hope that somehow our entire apartment doesn't start to smell like poop.

Living Room
- Childproof electrical outlets and surge breakers. Tie together massive amounts of wires running the perimeter of the room and probably look like interesting things to chew on to an infant.

- Move furniture into proper location; get rid of current tv stand, set up crib.
- Buy bins for decouppaged punk bookshelf/Cash's clothing area. Continue to answer question of "are you really keeping that bookshelf?" with a resounding "YES, WE LIKE IT"!
- Continue to doubt decision not to establish a changing area.

There are probably other little things I'm not thinking of but it seems like we are halfway there. Hopefully I will be able to accomplish most of this by March so that April can be completely reserved for childbirth clasess and the mental preparation that is needed for having a baby because that whole part hasn't really been tackled yet.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New photos and new shoes

Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Today Ross and I went to our 20 week checkup even though we were two weeks late. So I guess, technically, it was our 22 week checkup with Dr. Musalli. Our schedule is still off due to the holidays but the doctors don't seem to care so we figure it's all fine. Our last appointment was the 20 week anatomy scan where we got a lot of pictures, but Cash didn't cooperate for many of them and had his back facing to us. In the two weeks since that appointment, he's gotten a lot more mobile and for this appointment, he was hopping around in there the entire time. We got some great pictures of his face which was looking straight at us on the ultrasound. At one point we saw him open and close his mouth and we could clearly see the eyes and nostrils. Since he did so well this time, I decided to get him a little present on the way home - new shoes! I mean, that's what I always buy myself as a present for a job well done, or when I get good news, or when it's Tuesday. I found a pair of Robeez shoes with bulldogs on the toes. I read that you shouldn't put your baby in hard soled shoes until he starts walking. I have no idea if that's true or not but Robeez are all soft soled and beyond cute.

Here's Cash looking straight at us:

Here you can see his chin, mouth and nostrils clearly:

His heartbeat was "perfect" according to Dr. Musalli:

All in all, a great job with the pictures and well-deserving of some shoes: