Here are some things I forgot to mention in that last post:

We ordered Joe’s crib! It was marked down to 1/2 off, AND we got free shipping. Plus it was getting rave reviews from other people who had purchased it. (And yes, Amy, it has the hidden hardware to protect his little fingers.)


I have to tell you about my new favorite cereal. Fiber One (also known as “Colon Blow”) has been my cereal of choice for a while now. They make a raisin bran that is tasty and filling but not something you spend your work hours daydreaming about. However, they just came out with a caramel-flavored cereal that is SO YUMMY! It still has something like 35% of the RDA for fiber, but it tastes like cookies. Go get a free sample!


We got a DVR! My sister and several of our friends swore that it would change our lives. I wouldn’t go that far, but I will say that we haven’t missed a single episode of our favorite shows and we don’t have to rush home to see them anymore. Plus we can zip right through commercials! I am now all caught up on “Project Runway,” and Patrick has filled up about 1/2 the memory with old movies that he may someday get around to watching.

Tonight is our third “Confident Childbirth” class. We’ll see if we can get through this one without laughing!

27 Weeks Down, 13 To Go …

To look at me, you’d think I was due any day now. I can’t imagine how much bigger I’m going to get!

[rockyou id=103850798]

Last week we hired a doula to attend the birth. Her name is Cynthia and she put us right at ease. (Her hobby is going to estate sales and junk shops, and then re-selling what she finds — so right away, we had lots to talk about!) She had her own six children naturally, and helped her daughters bring four of their kids into the world naturally, so she knows what she’s talking about.

But she’s not a stickler for the natural way. If you need pain relief, she’ll help make sure you get it. And if you need a C-section, she can come into the OR with you and tell you everything that’s happening. The key word there is need — if someone comes after me with a needle or a scalpel, I want to know that I did everything I could to avoid it.

When my sister gave birth three years ago, we thought that having a doula was one of those self-indulgent things only my sister would do. But when her very level-headed, no-frills husband said it was great to have one, we thought there might be something to it. In my reading, I found that having a doula at the birth dramatically decreases your chances of having a C-section, so that’s when we started the search. I think it will be nice for both of us “newbies” to have someone on hand who can reassure us that everything is normal.

The next order of business may be to switch practitioners, and possibly even hospitals. My doctor seems resistant to the natural childbirth idea, and if she doesn’t ease up soon then we’re thinking a midwife might be the better option. The only midwives our insurance will cover are at MCV, which is a perfectly good hospital but not as posh as the lovely St. Francis. (One cool thing about MCV: You can see it from I-95 as you pass the big clock tower in Richmond, so it could be an important landmark on family trips. “Look, Joe … that’s where you were born!”)

More on that as it unfolds!

The Van Halen concert we had tickets for was canceled on Friday night, so we stayed home instead. On Saturday, our friend Mike came into town. We went shopping and Mike picked up a sweet new outfit for Joe. On Sunday, Patrick did some chores around the house while Mike and I met Lisa for a lovely brunch at Lulu’s.

Oh, we got a lovely movie on NetFlix a few weeks ago: Once is about a Dublin street musician and a Czech girl he meets and begins to perform with. The music was so pretty and catchy. I think one of the songs won an Oscar last night?

Mending Fences

We had a full day of really high winds last weekend, and came home from the grocery store to find that the privacy fence on one side of our yard had blown down! We never did figure out whether the fence belonged to us or the rental property next door but it came down to this: If it was theirs, the landlord wasn’t going to fix or replace it, and if it was ours, we’d have to pay a $1,000 deductible to repair it under our homeowners policy. Patrick figured he could do it himself for less than half that, so that was his weekend project.

As you can see, the whole thing was pretty gross and rotted, so he kicked it all into the neighbors’ yard and started from scratch. Look at the finished product, a day and a half later!

(Please excuse the messy yard. Between water restrictions and pregnancy, it’s been pretty neglected for the past few months!)

Lola is so happy to have her fence back. She was on the leash for a while there, and not happy about it.

We did get down to Fayetteville for a day to celebrate Dixon’s 3rd birthday. He had a party at Jumping Time, which is a big warehouse full of those inflatable bouncy house things. Patrick had as much fun as anyone — we might have to do his birthday there as well …

In other news, Joe has been a little kickin’ chicken for the past few days! He may be developing into a morning person (God help us) — yesterday morning he did a whole dance routine in there, complete with high kicks. It never ceases to amaze me. Some days I sit on the couch with my shirt pulled up, just watching these little pokes pop up all over my belly.

We started our confident childbirth class last week. We learned about stages of labor and various positions for dealing with the pain. At the end of the class, we all had to lie on the floor and do this guided imagery thing where we were supposed to imagine ourselves on a beach with the waves crashing and just relaaaaax … It didn’t work. We got the giggles so bad that I thought we might be asked to leave! We have three classes to go, including a tour of the birthing center. Fun!

Patrick has started a blog on Joe’s behalf. ( He’s only got a few posts up, but you may want to bookmark it for future reference. Enjoy!


Yesterday the mailman brought two really cool gifts for Joe.

From Matthew (by way of his lovely wife, Alecia): Joe’s first camel, all the way from Kuwait!

And from Patrick’s folks, a super-snuggly Superman outfit! It’s for 6-12 months, so it will be just the right size for Halloween and cold-weather crimefighting.

What a lucky boy he is, and what lucky parents we are!

Last Weekend

I’m getting behind on these updates!

My sister, Amy, came to visit last weekend. We had a whirlwind tour of children’s consignment stores and then Patrick met up with us to see Ira Glass at the Modlin Center.

Ira Glass is the host of This American Life, a great NPR show that we’ve all been listening to for as long as we can remember. It was very strange to hear his voice and see him at the same time, but the show was great! He explained a bit about how each show is put together and gave the background on some of the more memorable stories. Here he is on Letterman, to help you put the face with the voice:

He even showed a clip from the new This American Life TV show, which I’d never seen. It was a story about Haider Hamza, an Iraqi who was traveling around the U.S. to talk to Americans about how they felt about the war in Iraq. He sets up a sort of lemonade stand that says “Talk to an Iraqi” and waits for people to come up and say hello.

In some places he was pointedly ignored, in others he was met with instant anger and in some he had some really thoughtful conversations with people. I remembered that Hamza had been to our hometown of Fayetteville and I worried that the clips from that stop would be among the most contentious. Instead, he said that of all the people he spoke with, the military families (whose loved ones were there or had been there) were the most understanding of his worries and the most pleasant to talk with. Whew!

After the show, Amy and I went to a few more shops and then had dinner at Panera before coming home to collapse. The next day we got up early and went to do the baby registries at Target and Babies R’ Us. It was great having her along because she gave me the scoop on what we’ll really need vs. what will just take up space, and she knows what we’ll inherit as hand-me-downs from her. (Speaking of hand-me-downs, did I mention she arrived with five huge tubs of baby-boy clothes for us? Sweet!) Anyway, even with her guidance it turns out there is a lot of stuff that one tiny person needs. And that doesn’t even include furniture, which we’re starting to learn our way around now …

Once the registries were all set, we went to see “The Business of Being Born,” a documentary about how childbirth has been medicalized over the past century in the United States. The C-section rate here is up to 40-something percent, about four times the rate recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO?) In Europe and the rest of the world, most births are attended by a midwife and result in healthy moms and babies. Here, with all our shiny equipment and through-the-roof medical costs, it’s handled by doctors — but our newborn death rate is the second worst on the planet. So, more money + more intervention = more deaths. Super!

I went into the movie knowing that I wanted to avoid a C-section (I’ve never had major surgery, and the day that I become a mother hardly seems like the time to start), but I walked out with the realization that so many other things (the beloved epidural, for example) can lead me right into one.

Long story short (too late!) … I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but I’m going to try to have Joe as naturally as possible. Don’t get me wrong, we’ll go to a hospital (I’m not brave enough for a home birth!), but I’m going to be much more wary of all the “standard procedure.” If a medically necessary (i.e., not because the doctor is impatient) C-section happens, it won’t be the end of the world — I will be glad to know I didn’t just get hustled into it.

Wow, that was a long update! Some other small things, just to wrap up:

  • Patrick finally felt Joe move! He had his hand against my belly as we went to bed one night, and just when I started to think Joe had called it a day, Patrick got a big THUMP! against his palm. Yay!
  • I am officially huge. Belly photos coming, as soon as I get up the nerve.
  • Patrick has been busy transferring some of our old VHS tapes to digital so that we can throw the tapes away. There are some old home-movie gems in there — we’ll be posting clips soon!

Inside the Actors' Studio

If you’ve ever seen James Lipton interview an actor on his show (or seen Will Ferrell do a spot-on impression of him), you know that he always asks the same questions. Here they are, with my answers. (This was a co-worker’s idea!) Put your own answers in the comments.

1. What is your favorite word?

Defenestration (the act of throwing someone or something out of a window). I just love that there’s a word for that!

2. What is your least favorite word?

Moist. I just hate the sound of it.

3. What turns you on?

Humor, candor, optimism

4. What turns you off?

Arrogance, putting on airs

5. What is your favorite curse word?

This is a family blog! (But if you ride in the car with me as I make my way around idiots, you’ll probably hear it.)

6. What sound or noise do you love?

The dryer humming away after I’ve cleaned the house, or Patrick belting out a song while he works on something in the other room.

7. What sound or noise do you hate?

The vacuum cleaner, unless I’m the one running it. Also, squealing tires. And the phone ringing at inopportune moments.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Maybe something in healthcare; it interests me but I don’t know how good I would be at it. Ooh, or librarian! That I would be good at.

9. What profession would you not like to attempt?

I would be terrible in the military. I’d make Private Benjamin look like G.I. Jane.

10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

“Well done!”

Uh, No It's Not

Just saw this update on the death of Heath Ledger. The last sentence almost made me spit applesauce on the screen:


Ruling: Ledger died of accidental overdose

By Amy Westfeldt
The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Heath Ledger died of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs that included painkillers, sleeping pills and anti-anxiety medication, the New York City medical examiner said Wednesday.

“Mr. Heath Ledger died as the result of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine,” medical examiner’s spokeswoman Ellen Borakove said in a statement.

The drugs are the generic names for the OxyContin painkiller, the anti-anxiety drug Valium, Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug, and the sleep aids Restoril and Unisom. Hydrocodone is another name for ibuprofen.


Walgreen’s is going to have to lock up all the ibuprofen now!

Yes We Can

Maybe it’s the hormones, but this made me cry. In a good way!

(Plus John Legend is in it.)

It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the destiny of a nation.

Yes we can.

It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail toward freedom.

Yes we can.

It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.

Yes we can.

It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the ballots; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.

Yes we can to justice and equality.

Yes we can to opportunity and prosperity.

Yes we can heal this nation.

Yes we can repair this world.

Yes we can.

We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change.

We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics…they will only grow louder and more dissonant ……….. We’ve been asked to pause for a reality check. We’ve been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope.

But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

Now the hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in the American story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea —

Yes. We. Can.