Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Settling In

We have been settling in pretty well at home over the last few days. I am tired, but recovering from delivery about as expected. Ben has slept well the last two nights and zonked out for most of this morning as well, allowing Dave & I to make a quick Target run while my parents kept an eye on him. Ben's great-grandma Anne came over to meet him this afternoon and she, Dave's parents, and Jeff will be here tomorrow for a New Year's lunch.

Ben had his first pediatrician's appointment yesterday and got rave reviews. His birth weight was 8 lbs, 7 oz. and he was 7 lbs, 14 oz. at discharge on Sunday. In the 2 subsequent days, he has already gained 5 oz., about double what they normally see! This certainly allayed our concerns about whether he was eating enough! Everything else looks good, and the doctor said Ben already has fairly strong head control, which we noticed when we put him down for tummy time the other day and he got so mad he tried to flip himself over. As our friend described it, it was like watching an upended turtle trying to right himself. Ben's next planned pediatrician appointment won't be until 2 months since everything is going well. This office was recommended by 2 of my co-workers, and we really liked the doctor. Plus, Ben got to be in the "Star Wars"-themed exam room, complete with Darth Tater and Spud Trooper, so Dave & I liked that!

We didn't mention this in the earlier posts, but Ben's middle name is a recurring name in Dave's family. Richard was Dave's grandfather's name, and after skipping a generation, Ben is the 5th generation in the family to have Richard as a first or middle name. We didn't know until he was born & we told Dave's family the name that the first person to use Richard was also a Benjamin Richard.

We have a lot more pictures that will be put into a Picasa web album at some point soon, but until those get uploaded, there are a few that the hospital's web photographer took on Saturday on this website. The password is Richard.

Thank you all so much for the e-mails, calls, and notes of congratulations and support. We really appreciate them, even though we haven't had time to respond to most yet! Hope you all have a safe and enjoyable New Year's Eve and that the new year brings you all sorts of wonderful blessings!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Few More Benjamin Photos

We'll be taking Benjamin home today, but here are a few pictures from his first forty hours:

His first photo, notable more for its timing than anything else

A few minutes later, a bit cleaner and a bit happier.

Em and Ben the next day.

Napping with Mommy this morning.

The three of us.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Benjamin Richard

Born 4:51 P.M., December 26, 2008. 8 pounds, 7.8 ounces, 20 inches long.

Liveblogging a Birth

Well, okay, probably not. But this is as good a place as any for a few updates:

8:04 A.M., 12/26/08: So, we're at the hospital. After a nice Christmas spent with the family (both mine and Emily's, as her parents arrived in KC on Christmas Eve), we checked Emily into the hospital at 8 P.M. We've got a comfortable room, and the staff has been very nice and helpful -- due in part, I'm sure, to the fact that Emily brought a plate of cookies for them as a bribe. Em has experienced a few light contractions, and at 7:30 this morning, the nurses started her on a pitocin drip. Currently, she's reading a book and resting comfortably. More updates to come.

8:36 A.M., 12/26/08: Emily's doctor stopped by to check on her progress and break her water. According to Dr. Nguyen, all is well, and she's really pleased with how things are going. She added, however, that this might be an all-day thing, and advised Emily to take naps whenever possible.

10:29 A.M., 12/26/09: Contractions are coming more frequently now, with little pause in between them. They also seem to be sharper than before. Or, as Emily puts it more succinctly, "Labor hurts!" The nurse just checked her progress, and things are still going well. They had discussed giving Em some I.V. pain meds, but instead are going to go ahead and order her epidural.

11:04 A.M., 12/26/08: The epidural gets a BIG thumbs up! Em's verdict -- "Good stuff!"

12:01 P.M., 12/26/08: No news, other than that the baby is making good progress; we've got the sound of heartbeat booming from the monitor, nice and regular. Emily is resting at the moment, and before drifting off, whispered, "I love my epidural." So, that's going well.

I am also doing well. I got a decent amount of sleep on the hide-a-bed, and have been much happier since one of the nurses showed me where the Dad's Smorgasbord is -- I was getting a bit cranky without food or drink. Wi-Fi in the hospital is a nice feature, and some well-timed episodes of "Mythbusters" helped me and Em pass a couple hours.

With that, I believe I'll go scrounge up some lunch.

12:56 P.M., 12/26/08: Well. We've gone from, "This will probably be an all-day thing." to, "You can leave the hospital for lunch if you want, but you might miss the delivery if you do." Either the baby has decided he really wants out, or Emily has put her foot down and is enforcing the eviction notice. Dr. Nguyen expects the baby to be delivered this afternoon.

And for those who asked, lunch was chicken fingers and onion rings from the cafeteria (and no, there was no KC Masterpiece for dipping, Chris!).

2:02 P.M., 12/26/08: It's looking like it might be just about game time. The nurse is calling the doctor to see whether she wants to have Emily start pushing or not, and another nurse is "setting up the room." Everyone is just marveling at how quickly this is progressing, while Em continues to marvel at the quality of her anesthesiologist.

2:05 P.M., 12/26/08: The doctor says first pitch will probably be in half an hour.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

No baby news yet

Baby O has still not made his appearance, and aside from some Braxton-Hicks (fake) contractions, which have been going on for the last few weeks, has shown no signs of changing his mind any time soon. He is still kicking away in what feels like the same position he's been in. We keep trying to tell him that there's no room left, and that he can stretch out his legs much better as an outside baby, but he doesn't seem to be listening. He missed being born on Dave's mom Jerry's birthday (the 11th), and it looks like he's not going to be born today, which is my grandma's it is still looking like the induction on the 26th is the most likely thing.

Dave has been cleaning out some of his boxes in the basement and came across a scrapbook that Jerry had put together. Included in it is the instruction book they gave her when she had Dave at Munson Army Hospital in Leavenworth. The 70s-era tips are hilarious, and they are very emphatic about things like not letting anyone sit on your bed and making everyone scrub their arms with soap and what I'm guessing was a surgical scrub brush for 3 minutes before touching the baby. They were provided with a cardboard bassinet for the baby, which Jerry still has and assures me it's not just a cardboard box...

They also recommend starting solid food at 4-6 weeks! They suggest cereal first, fruit & veggies at 6-8 weeks, and meat (strained beef, liver, lamb, chicken & veal, yum!) by 5.5-6 months! But above all, I think our favorite part of the manual, and the thing that makes it most evident that this was written for a military audience, was this:

"Help your child to fit gradually into your pattern of living. Do not allow everything to revolve around him. Remember that as he grows older he will have to learn to like and conform to society."

Friday, December 19, 2008

Still no progress

We had another doctor's appointment this morning. The baby is still doing fine, but has made himself very comfortable and is making very little progress toward being born. The doctor started talking to us about induction dates. We were having trouble deciding between the two dates she proposed- the 26th & 29th- so she sent us for an ultrasound to see how big the baby is. At this point in the pregnancy, I have heard that the weight estimates are of variable accuracy, but the baby, who they think is about 8 pounds, looked pretty cramped. Once the doctor heard the estimated weight, she immediately suggested the earlier induction date. So if the baby doesn't decide to arrive on his own, I will check into the hospital the evening of December 25th and they will start the induction early on the morning of the 26th.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Photo catch up, part 2: Nursery pics

We are hanging in there, just waiting for the baby's arrival. We have another dr's appointment tomorrow morning and are hoping there will have been some progress. The baby is due in 4 days but still seems pretty high up and feels like he's using my right kidney as a footstool at times. He gets the hiccups a lot - at least 6x yesterday! My doctor says she won't let me go more than 4-5 days past my due date, which seems like an eternity at this point. We are so excited to meet our little boy, and it is getting very difficult to be patient!

We both had work showers last week and our co-workers were incredibly generous, finding all sorts of cute & useful things for the baby. We have now finished setting up & stocking the nursery. One side of the room has his crib (crib skirt to be added later) and bookshelf:

and the other has the twin bed and dresser/changing table. Several friends highly recommended keeping the bed in the nursery, so we'll see how that works out. After he is born & named, we will probably hang the letters of his name above the changing table for decoration, sort of like a simpler version of this (and no, this is not a hint; his name is not Dane!).

His stuffed animals and the beautiful quilt (with great tactile squares!) made by Dena are waiting for him.

We still have to get a few more basics (I accidentally bought short-sleeved onesies the other day, so I have to go back and exchange them for long-sleeved ones), but most of his 0-6 mo. clothes are washed and in the closet or the dresser. It is hard to believe that he will be able to fit into such tiny outfits!

Dave's Uncle Kenny & Aunt Lynn got the baby this fantastic rocking panda. It was tested out tonight by the 17-month-old daughter of our friends, and she gave it her seal of approval.

We got a surprise package in the mail last week from the man who's taken care of insurance for Dave's parents and Dave for years. He works for Northwestern Mutual, "The Quiet Company," so the baby now has a great shirt proclaiming (hopefully truthfully!) "I'm a Quiet Baby!" Dave also got a geeky kick out of the other onesie, which has the equation calculating future value of an annuity.

One of the other things we got was the Diaper Champ, which had been recommended to us by Dave's cousin. I'm sure it will work great and be very useful, but when we got it out of the box, our geeky brains were amused to note its resemblance some familiar robots from science fiction. Surprisingly, an internet search turned up no other fellow nerds who have made/ marketed a skin for the Diaper Champ yet that makes it look either like R2D2 or the Daleks from Doctor Who!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Photo catch up, part 1

We are behind on posting photos, so I'm taking the quick way out and doing a couple of photo update posts.

During my parents' visit in mid-November, we took them down to one of their favorite KC restaurants, the Jack Stack BBQ in the Freighthouse District. Before dinner, we visited the beautifully restored Union Station, which was in the process of being decorated for the holidays.

Dave & I met for our first date 4 years ago under the clock in the background of this picture.

These are a few from the fun shower that Katie threw for me. Katie and Stacey setting up the delicious food:

and the fabulous Red Wings jersey cake that Katie made. Eric was apparently providing suggestions on the appropriate number of spokes and feathers as she decorated it!

Several friends have strongly suggested keeping the twin bed in the nursery as a sanity-saving device. We weren't sure it would fit, but it seems to be okay. The baby has stuffed animals waiting for his arrival - a soft blue elephant I bought, Warren the Bear that Dave brought back from the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders' meeting, and Georgie, the stuffed dog that belonged to Jerry and Dave as children.

The nursery is pretty much set up now, so more photos will be coming!

Friday, December 5, 2008

17 days to go (or somewhere around there)

We had our weekly appointment with our regular obstetrician today. Everything is looking fine, but she said she couldn't be sure whether the baby was in a head down position or still breech, so she wanted to do an ultrasound. Dave & I didn't volunteer that last week the nurse practitioner had said that the baby was definitely head down- we wanted to see the baby again! The ultrasound tech confirmed that he is in a great head down position, and is definitely a boy! In the profile picture above, I think the tech said his head is on the right side, his nose & mouth are those bumpy things (it looks like he's puckering his mouth), and one of his punchy little fists is the circle at the top left.

He was being a little shy at first but she wanted to confirm that it's a boy, so she shook a pill bottle close to my stomach to get him to move, and he could definitely hear it! We could watch him move in response, which was very cool. Dave reads him stories and talks to him and this was just visual confirmation that the baby can hear him. I have also noticed that several times when I'm playing guitar over the last few weeks, the baby has decided it's great fun to kick the back of my guitar! He has been very active this afternoon, moving and kicking, and has another case of the hiccups, which he gets a few times a day.

This weekend we are doing some last-minute preparation for the baby's arrival. We have decided to move our small bookcase into the nursery so we can have a place to put the baby monitor and store his growing collection of children's books. I have found some wonderful ones during my work with kids, so I'm excited to read them to the baby when he is born.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Getting close!

We have been getting ready for the baby's arrival. He is due in about 2 1/2 weeks!! I am feeling pretty good, just continuing to deal with some acid reflux and tiredness. We have our weekly dr's appointment tomorrow morning. At our last appointment we were able to record the baby's heartbeat on my cell phone and play it for the grandparents, which was neat. We have a pediatrician and daycare lined up and have started packing our hospital bag. I made one casserole to freeze, and am planning on making yummy stuffed shells this weekend and freezing most of those so we can have some easy meals after the baby's arrival.

We have had two lovely showers in the last few weeks, one hosted by Katie (while Eric entertained the guys at his place) and a family shower last Sunday over at Dave's Uncle Kenny & Aunt Lynn's house. I only have a few pictures from the first shower, and none from the family one, but I know that Stacey, Cara, and Jerry were taking some, so I'll post some of those when I get them.

The baby's nursery is almost ready, thanks to help from Rob & Angela last weekend. Rob & Dave rearranged the furniture & put together the crib, and Angela advised on furniture arrangement and showed Dave how to install the car seat. I have been washing baby clothes & blankets and getting those organized in the closet & dresser. It is feeling a little more real now that the nursery's mostly complete, and we are getting very excited!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are headed over to Herb & Jerry's house in an hour or so for Thanksgiving dinner, and have been having a nice, lazy morning so far. We are so blessed to have such wonderful families & friends. Hope you all have a great day and safe travels!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Miscellaneous Friday Notes

I will be sticking around the house most of the day, catching up on paperwork and getting things straightened up. Stacey is flying in for the weekend, and Katie is throwing me a small shower here tomorrow, so I want to get the last of the boxes we packed during the carpet installation moved out of the main floor and do a last-minute cleaning. I haven't seen Stacey since her wedding in June, so we are both looking forward to her trip, which I'm sure will involve lots of catching up & eating junk food. She is also going to help me pick out a new, cute pair of glasses to replace the ones I've had for at least 5 years. I am so tired of them, and the frames are starting to show some wear.

Terminix is here this morning to do an outdoor termite treatment. Thankfully, they didn't find any live activity in the house, but there were definite signs that some had been trying to come in the family room through the patio slab and Dave found a mud tube in the cement of the garage. Hopefully the treatment will get that all taken care of.

Dave sent me this article about ABC not picking up full seasons of 3 shows. We don't watch "Dirty Sexy Money," but really enjoy "Pushing Daisies," and I know my mom loves "Eli Stone." I've only watched it a few times to try to catch the fabulous Victor "SpyDaddy" Garber singing. I hope they have some decent mid-season replacements, or else we might be faced with even more frequent episodes of "Dancing With The Stars" (it's already almost as bad as "American Idol" with its normal shows and separate results shows) and entire weekend schedules devoted to Ty Pennington and his hyper yelling and running around.

Recently, Dave stumbled across, a website from Mike Nelson, formerly of Mystery Science Theater 3000. He basically does the same thing he did on MST3k, making the snarky commentary downloadable so you can play it in sync with the DVD. We were already sold when we found out he did a commentary on one of our favorite awful movies, "Roadhouse," where noted thespian Patrick Swayze works as the bouncer at a sketchy redneck bar "somewhere outside Kansas City" and also happens to have a Ph.D. in philosophy. Uh huh.

But the Kansas City Star brings this wonderful news of one of Rifftrax's newest offerings:
The unspecial special

“The Star Wars Holiday Special” aired just once, Nov. 17, 1978, on CBS. It still draws the ire or amusement of “Star Wars” fans.

“I think it’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen,” said Mike Nelson, who, with his former “Mystery Science Theatre 3000” co-stars, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett, recorded heckling audio commentary to accompany the special, which can be downloaded from

“It makes you want to reach behind the scenes and imagine how it all happened,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “You have to ask, ‘Who approved it? Where was the fail-safe point?’ ”

For those of you who haven't been cursed lucky enough to see this wonderful piece of cinematic history yet, read on for a description. And for those of you who have already seen the special, namely Dave's college roommates, I'm still sorry for bringing the DVD down to the ranch. I had no idea it could possibly be so awful. On the plus side, we did learn from the commercials that "TOBOR" is "Robot" spelled backwards, although, sadly, the tape didn't include the advertised "Fighting the Frizzies" segment from the local news that aired after the special.

“TSWHS” was about Chewbacca trying to get back to his family (Itchy, Lumpy and Malla) to celebrate “Life Day” on his planet Kashyyk. The guests include Diahann Carroll, Harvey Korman and Bea Arthur (as a cantina performer).

Put in historical context, “TSWHS” was not all that out of the ordinary, according to co-writer Bruce Vilanch.

“In those days, television specials were all about taking the hottest movie phenomenon and capitalizing on the audience,” he said. “The year before, I worked on ‘The Paul Lynde Halloween Special’ with Margaret Hamilton, Kiss, Florence Henderson and Witchy Poo from ‘H.R. Pufnstuf.’ So a ‘Star Wars Holiday Special’ made perfect sense.”

They don't mention that there's also Mark Hamill in eyeliner, a clearly stoned Carrie Fisher, and an utterly embarrassed Harrison Ford looking like he wants to sink through the floor. And 10-15 minutes of unsubtitled Wookie grunting. Seriously. It is just incomprehensibly bad, and vast quantities of drugs must've been involved in the writing and production.

And despite all these warnings, Neilam has requested to borrow our copy, which Dave just got back from his now-traumatized co-worker. So it'll be in the mail in the next few weeks, Neilam. I don't think I can send enough brain bleach to go along with it, so that you'll have to supply yourself.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Death to Stumpy

I posted in September about our Miracle-Gro Weedy Stump of Evil in the front yard. The tree removal company we called thought it might be the remnants of a mulberry, and put us on their waiting list to remove it. Here it is in its weediest state:

and slightly pruned down (a state which usually lasted about 4 days before it exploded again).

We were thrilled to come home from work on Monday and find a conspicuous space in the flower bed:

YAY! No more Stump of Evil!! Obviously, the flower bed and the incredibly dense clay soil in it will still need a lot of work to make them viable planting spaces, but getting that awful stump out makes a huge difference. The crew did a fantastic job of stump removal and also pruned the 2 large trees on the other side of the house.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Things We've Handed Down

I recently stumbled on a children's CD called "Down at the Sea Hotel" recorded by various modern folk singers. It's kind of a hit and miss collection: some beautiful songs that are new to me ("Midnight in Missoula") interspersed with covers that I was already familiar with but aren't quite up to the originals' standards ("Dreamland" and "Goodnight, My Angel"). My favorite track, though, is a lovely, poignant John Gorka cover of a Marc Cohn song called "Things We've Handed Down." I couldn't find a video of the Gorka version, so here is the Cohn version. I keep getting choked up while listening to it, wondering what our little guy is going to be like.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Weekend in Cinci

We are way behind in posting- since the last post, we finished painting the guest room, I flew to Cincinnati for a wonderful weekend with my college roommates, we bought a crib, and got new carpet. We will work on posting the backlog of pictures!

I will be 34 weeks pregnant on Monday - only 6 weeks left! I am feeling okay, but have not been sleeping very well (it's becoming difficult to get comfortable for longer than a half hour) and the baby apparently thinks my esophagus & stomach are great squeeze toys, leading to acid reflux. But he's also still kicking up a storm, which is fun (and sometimes surprising, when he kicks all of a sudden) and the doctor says everything is looking good. We go in for our next OB appointment next Friday and also will be stopping by the hospital for our pre-admission appointment, where we fill out a bunch of forms and start the paperwork for the baby's birth certificate and social security card. We do not need to have a name to start the forms, which is good, since we're still undecided.

So a few weeks ago, I flew out to the Cincinnati area to spend the weekend with my roommates from UD. I was so happy that all 6 of us were able to make it. I guess I need to make some sort of offering to the traffic gods that preside over the freeways between the airport and the 427 Irving girls' homes, because I have obviously offended them in some way and have been cursed for it. The last time I flew out there was the same weekend as a huge, late-in-the-season blizzard. Poor Stephen picked me up from the airport, and it took us about 2 1/2 hours on snow-covered roads to make what is normally a 1-hr. trip. This time, traffic was pretty light until we got north of downtown.There was an accident on a major exit ramp, and the highway was a parking lot for what seemed like miles. It took Sarah & me somewhere between 1.5-1.75 hrs to make it to her house. Maybe next time I'll just try flying into the Dayton airport!

But we had a lovely, relaxing weekend. On Saturday, the girls had a baseball-themed shower for me. Sarah K. got creative and made a delicious baseball-shaped cake out of brownies and the rest of the food was ballpark-themed (hot dogs, peanuts, pretzels, etc.). They even made little baseball cards with mock statistics of what Baby O. might be like. I am praying very hard that the card that predicted his birth weight at 11 lbs. does not come true!!

Most of the 427 Irving kiddos were there, too, and "competed" in a hybrid bowling/baseball game where they attempted to knock down plastic pins by hitting the toy bowling ball with a bat. Here is Julia taking a turn:

They were assigned to represent different teams and Dana even coordinated them having team shirts!

Dave was excited to hear that Gideon (representing the Royals) had the highest score, although if you ask Gideon, he'll tell you that he and Leanne both won :) Gideon also did a great job keeping the secret of one of the shower gifts- an electronic dinosaur toy with a Royals logo on it. It's kind of like a Roomba- you turn it on, and it chugs across the floor with lights & music (we're still not sure what song) until it hits something, then turns around and heads in the other direction. Dave & I stood in fascination & watched it motor around the floor for about 10 minutes after I got home! (Yes, we're easily amused.)

We forgot to get a photo of all 6 of us together before Heather had to go home; we took the above one on Sunday morning before Robin, Dana & I headed back to our respective states.

The weekend's other excitement was the safe arrival of Heather & Jeremy's beautiful daughter Eliana! They were all exhausted from jet lag, but said she was an excellent traveler on the long flights back from Taiwan. I was very honored that H&J asked me to be Elli's godmother, and so thrilled that I got to meet her while I was in Ohio! Here she is with her overjoyed mommy, exploring those fascinating toys known as fingers:

She was still getting used to non-Mommy & Daddy people holding her, so the Sarahs & I waited until she fell asleep and then got to cuddle.

It was a lovely weekend, and seeing all my girls was so much fun!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Weekend notes

We had another OB appointment on Friday. We are now at the point when the appointments switch to every two weeks instead of every four. I passed my gestational diabetes test by a large margin, which was comforting. The baby's heartbeat was strong and in the normal range, but the nurse practitioner wanted to try to hear it with a little less static or something. The baby didn't much care for this continued pushing on him with the microphone-like doppler, so he started kicking up a storm and fidgeting. It seems we already might have a stubborn little guy on our hands!

We think we have decided on a crib from the same collection as the dresser. We have a furniture coupon from Babies 'R' Us, so we will probably be ordering it (or picking it up, I'm not sure if they stock cribs at the stores) in the next few weeks. We have also been researching daycares and I toured one on Friday.

We had the wonderful opportunity to see master violinist Itzhak Perlman in a sold-out concert at the Folly Theater last night. He is celebrating the 50th anniversary of his American debut, which had led me to think he was older than he actually is, and for this reason, I really wanted to see him perform while I still had the chance. It turns out he made his American debut at age 13(!) and is only 63 this year. The Folly was a great place to see this concert- it's rather intimate, with good acoustics, and from our seats in the right balcony, we had an excellent line of sight to see Perlman's fingers flying over the strings. He had works by Leclair, Beethoven, and Stravinsky scheduled, and for the last quarter of the concert, he and his pianist brought out a stack of music and he chose shorter works on the spot, giving short introductions and telling jokes as if there were 20 people in the room instead of 1100. He is a very expressive musician and made even the most complicated passages seem absolutely effortless.

The next few weekends will be pretty busy. Next weekend, we're going to the annual steak fry at Dave's grandma's church and then painting the guest room. The following weekend, I'm flying out to Cincinnati to spend a few days with my college roommates. One will be flying back to Cincinnati on the same day with my beautiful little goddaughter Elli, whom she & her husband are adopting from Taiwan. They fly out this Wednesday, so please say a prayer for their safe travel & smooth final adoption proceedings. Dave & I are headed to Dallas the weekend after that for a visit with some of his friends from college, and that will be the last traveling for quite a while, as I'll be under doctor-mandated travel restrictions until the baby is born.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Straight Outta Osborne

I'm not one who's big on the whole "Buy Local" concept ... with one notable exception. The family-owned Shatto Milk Company of Osborn, Missouri (about an hour outside of Kansas City) has provided my milk of choice for the last six years. Their skim milk tastes better than the higher fat varieties produced by the large dairies, and they produce excellent flavored milks as well (especially the chocolate milk, a surprisingly good root beer milk, and, around Christmas, eggnog). Since moving back to KC, Emily has become hooked on Shatto milk as well, and it's a given that one or two distinctive Shatto glass bottles can always be found in our refrigerator.

So, considering how much we like the milk, you can imagine how excited Emily and I were when we learned that the Shattos had started making ice cream. Unfortunately, it didn't appear that our nearby Price Chopper was carrying it (yet, if we have anything to say about it). Further investigation revealed that only three area grocery stores currently carry Shatto ice cream. Undeterred, we made the twenty-five mile journey to Lenexa, Kansas, and came home with these:

Needless to say, it's just as good as we'd hoped. And, no, we're not sharing.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Humans 2, Wallpaper 0

While my parents were here, we took down the wallpaper in the nursery and guest bathroom and repainted both rooms. They look so much nicer! We also have paint for the guest room (aka Eric's room) but haven't had time to repaint that yet.

Dave's computer room/2nd guest room, soon to be nursery

A closeup of the wallpaper border:

Now, especially as far as this house is concerned, this was not awful wallpaper. But it was kind of dreary and outdated, and the height at which they had it hung made the ceiling feel lower. We were surprised at how airy & bright the room felt without it and with a new coat of paint.

Mom, Dad & I cleaned off the copious glue that remained after the border came down, then Dad & Dave repainted it with a Behr version of Sherwin-Williams' Rhythmic Blue.

Dave's computer room/2nd guest room, soon to be nursery

That's Dave's childhood stuffed dog Georgie and a new elephant acquisition waiting for the baby. The guest bed & Dave's computer stuff are staying in the room until closer to the baby's due date and after the carpet gets replaced. We are hoping to have a new valance and maybe curtains for the window made from the striped fabric I posted a link to earlier.

Guest bathroom

A closeup of the outdated, flowery wallpaper shortly after beginning tear-down. The wallpaper ended up being a real pain to remove, but ripping off the top layer in shreds was therapeutic!

Wallpaper removal in progress. The top layer wasn't that hard to remove, but it sometimes came off in small sections. To take down the brown papery underlayer, we had to spray it with a vinegar/water/detergent mixture and scrape with a putty knife, then clean the walls with TSP.

Dad & I had a lot of spackling to do. There was just no way to get the wallpaper off without making a lot of dents, but luckily, most were pretty shallow & easy to cover up. I still say that even this state was an improvement over the wallpaper!

Dad repainted in Behr's White Clay & we got a new towel rod, door handles and a Nautica shower curtain to bring in a little more color. It is a small room, so it's hard to get good pictures of it.

Guest Bathroom

Look at how clean & wallpaper-free the walls are! Isn't it beautiful?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Family Photos

A few family photos from my parents' visit. This is pregnancy week 27, 3 months to go!

Dad & I in front of the Clavinova that they disassembled & drove out to KC for me. I am so excited to have a piano to play again, and Dave even puttered around a little on it this week, trying to figure out a lovely piano instrumental by the Smashing Pumpkins. (Yes, seriously, those Smashing Pumpkins!)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Busy weekend!

My parents were in KC from Thursday until this morning and we had a very busy & productive weekend. We all worked hard and Dad showed us lots of tricks & tips for painting. We got the wallpaper border stripped from the nursery & repainted the walls a beautiful light blue. The room looks so much bigger and more open now! We also stripped the outdated pink floral wallpaper from the guest bathroom. It was much more of a task than we had anticipated, but it is now off and the room is a nice, neutral beige. We got a new blue & brown shower curtain and new towel bar & cabinet handles, so it looks like a totally different room. We have the khaki paint for the guest room but Dave & I will paint it later as the bathroom took so much time. It should be pretty easy to do - no wallpaper to remove, and the walls are in pretty good shape.

Mom & I ventured out to Babies 'R' Us Monday (leaving Dad at home to veg out in an Arthur Bryant's food coma!) and nailed down a stroller/car seat choice. It is hard to believe how many different choices there are! It is totally overwhelming. She got the baby a couple more cute winter outfits as well. We have also been bargain hunting again, picking up a high chair & some clothes at a neighbor's garage sale this afternoon and making arrangements to buy a Snugli baby carrier & bouncer from friends who are cleaning out their baby stuff stash in preparation for moving to a new house. Yay!

This week marks the first week of my third trimester. The baby has been kicking up a storm tonight. One of our pregnancy books says that he is now about 15" from head to foot and just over 2 pounds! We have our first class this Saturday- child & infant CPR. We are taking a Baby Basics class (diapering, feeding, etc.) the last week in October & then 2 other prep classes closer to the due date.

Pictures of the repainted rooms coming soon!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Yet another reason we love "Pearls"

Another great "Pearls Before Swine" comic by Stephan Pastis. He is also terrifyingly skilled at really, really bad puns.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday, Monday

I am enjoying my lazy day off after 7 days straight of working. Camp went well; the kids wrote some amazing, touching, and heart-wrenching songs and hopefully we helped at least some of them to learn some skills & have opportunities to work through their grief with other kids in similar situations.

The campers were divided up into 4 groups, a younger group for 5-8 year olds, a tween group, teens, and adults. I led the songwriting for the 2 younger groups and the other music therapist led the older groups. I think the songs we found to rewrite for the tweens & teens were really great this year, so I thought I'd share them.

The tween group piggybacked on Yellowcard's beautiful "One Year, Six Months." I was introduced to the band by a teenage client who brought in this song and "View from Heaven," both of which blew me away with their lyrical appropriateness for a bereavement setting.

The original chorus is:
"I'm falling into memories of you
And things we used to do.
Follow me there, a beautiful somewhere,
A place that I can share with you."

We changed it slightly to:
I'm falling into memories of you
And things we used to do.
I'll remember the stories & special times
These things that I have shared with you.

The teens rewrote LeAnn Rimes' song "What I Cannot Change."

They changed the verses to reflect memories of their loved ones & ways that they're coping, but decided to keep the original chorus:

"I will learn to let go what I cannot change.
I will learn to forgive what I cannot change.
I will learn to love what I cannot change.
But I will change, I will change,
Whatever I, whenever I can."

Rimes notes on her website that this chorus is inspired by the Serenity Prayer.

(For an alternate video, you could watch someone's bizarre slideshow tribute to the Monkees set to this song. I have no idea why you'd want to, or why the author felt that it was a good match, but that's part of the fun of YouTube. There's also one paired with Alias scenes of Syd, SpyDaddy & SpyMomski!)

On the homefront, we had a guy come out this morning and give us an estimate on shaping up the big trees in our front & back yards. They hang down kind of low, especially the maple in the front, and make mowing a pain for Dave. Katie & have both hacked some of the lower branches off over the past 2 summers, but it needs more work than we can do. They're also going to get rid of the Evil MiracleGro Stump on the side of our front flowerbed.

The tree guy thinks it's the remnants of a mulberry. I just know that the ugly leaves grow faster than tomacco, and I will be very happy when it's gone!

I think we're just about done with making the baby shopping lists/registries. Our big buying decisions left are crib, rocker/glider, and car seat/stroller combo. We are working on scheduling a few final trips before I'm confined to the KC metro area. My UD roommate Dana (who just got a promotion & will have minions reporting to her!) is also going to come out for a weekend visit from St. Louis some time in October or November, so that will be great!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Quick update

Friday afternoon I will be headed off to work at our hospice's yearly camp for grieving families. It is held at a nice wooded retreat center in Parkville, north of KC. The families get there Friday night and we leave after lunch on Sunday. The other MT & I are both going, so we'll be able to split up group songwriting duties and actually get to spend a little more time with the groups this year. It is utterly physically & emotionally exhausting, but also very worthwhile and rewarding. Working 7 days straight is also very draining, and I will probably be in bed by 7:00 on Sunday and sleep late on Monday, which I've taken off.

My parents are coming into town next Thursday and we're going to visit a local chocolate shop they saw on Food Network & hopefully finally take them to the fantastic Arthur Bryant's. They have also sweetly offered to help paint some of our rooms, so I'm really looking forward to that. I think we have a fabric chosen for the crib skirt in the baby's nursery (blue & green stripes), and Mom has the same fabric in her craft room and already has a paint color to match. The guest room & guest bathroom will probably be in khakis. I will try to remember to post before & after pictures of the rooms.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

25 week picture

Tomorrow is the beginning of my 25th week of pregnancy. I wasn't really showing too much until the last week or two, but I think the baby has had a growth spurt and my belly kind of popped out. Depending on the clothes I'm wearing, it can be less noticeable than it is in this picture. According to the week-by-week baby blog Dave & I read, the baby is about 1 1/2 pounds and 13 1/2 inches at this point.

Went to Babies 'R' Us this afternoon and tested out strollers. There are way too many choices! Even with all the research I've done, it's still overwhelming. I think we are almost done with registering, though, and then we can move on to other fun and confusing things like choosing a day care and figuring out what we're going to do with the stuff that's currently in the room we'll use as the nursery.