Happy Halloween!

And a blessed Samhain too!

Not a Halloween costume, but close enough! From way back in 2007…

Trick-or-treat happens in about 9 hours and I still haven’t decided exactly what I’m going to dress up as. Whoops! I’m a little mad at myself for that one, too, because there were SO many great things I could have done with the bump. For a while I thought it would be hysterical if Cameron dressed up as Tom Hanks in Castaway and I dressed up as Wilson…but unfortunately I just didn’t sit down in time to figure out how to pull it off. Of course, having pretty limited resources for costume making didn’t help either. I think I’ll end up rustling up some buccaneer garb and going with that. Nothing too special but whatever.

In Estes, trick-or-treat happens downtown at all the businesses on Elkhorn Avenue. This year is particularly special as of course it is one of the first “normal” community gatherings post-flood, and it will be great for everyone to start feeling back to normal. Normally, businesses provide their own candy to hand out, but some amazing people in town found a way to get $9,000 worth of candy donated to the town from candy companies, which is awesome! (It comes out to something like 141,000 pieces of candy, or so I read. Yum!) I’ll be stationed at the Starbucks handing out candy.

Here was last year’s costume:

Zombie chef!
Gosh, look how long my hair was…..
I LOVE gory makeup. Miss when I used to get paid to do it!

As it turned out most kids were TERRIFIED of me…I kind of forgot it was a “kid” event and not a haunted house, which I worked in for a number of years….whoops. But I had fun, so.

The year before last, I went as a Tim Tebow fan….also known as a mindless zombie. I really could not help myself.

Anyway, I suppose I will figure something out for tonight. Probably will be harder to figure out what Cameron will dress up as! I so wish Caroline were here so I could dress her up as something that she wouldn’t complain about…next year I suppose!

Hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween! Eat lots of candy!

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Finally Dry

The crawlspace is dry.

The crawlspace is dry.

I am so excited I just have to say it again.

The crawlspace is finally. freaking. dry.

Everybody now: rip-roaring cries of sweet sweet jubilation!

The laundry “corner” on September 12 when the crawlspace flooded.

Of course, what this really means, more importantly than the crawlspace being dry at last, is that I finally get my washing machine and my dryer back. Sure, sure, we probably could have rigged the setup to co-exist with the pump a while ago, but I just knew that if we took the time to set it all back up again, something would happen and we’d need to move it all back out of the way again (it’s a pretty tight space) to get to the pump in an emergency, such as overloading the drainage pipes with the pump water and the washing machine drainage. And, since I am of little help being the size I am (and unable to lift much) it didn’t seem very smart to try to get it all back into place and working again with just the two of us.

On Friday, though, I noticed that I hadn’t heard the pump in a while. Over the last 6 weeks or so it has gone from pumping constantly down to three or four gallons a minute down to a few cups every so often, so we knew it was finally starting to dry out, but on Friday afternoon I didn’t hear it at all. Of course I worried about a burnout and wanted to check to make sure nothing was backing up, but I couldn’t fit between the wall and the washing machine to get to it…womp. Cameron gave it a check when he got home and it all looked fine. By Saturday, the only thing we could hear was the auto-check hum every minute or so that it does to make sure there’s nothing to suck up. My parents were also visiting, and my mom crawled back there and stuck a flashlight in the hole and declared that the ground was, in fact, totally dry. So, since we had two extra able bodies, we (they) finagled the washer and dryer back into place, shoved the drainage hose down the same pipe where the pump has been dumping into (so that we can keep it running just in case) and voila. I finally have a working washer and dryer.

And the angels sang hallelujah

I was so excited that I could do laundry on a whim whenever I wanted or needed that I immediately threw my big fuzzy blanket into the wash, since it had been a while. (And that night I slept great wrapped up in my soft, fuzzy, nice-smelling blanket…coincidence?) Later that night my mom and I also de-tagged and sorted all the baby’s clothing and blankies and finally washed them (yay!), and got them all organized and ready to go.

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It’s amazing how much more normal things feel when you can just do your damn laundry whenever you need to and you don’t have to cart it out to the laundromat. I feel so much better. Ahhh.

Meanwhile….

I suppose I should take this time to make a general disclaimer also known as TMI Alert. I’m gonna talk about some gross stuff you might not wanna hear about regarding labor and delivery as we get closer to having this baby. If you’re not interested in reading it, turn away now.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Thursday night, I thought Caroline was really taking our doctor seriously when he said it could be “any day now.” I went up to the bathroom after dinner and discovered this huge blob of brown mucus and I was like woah, okay. What the hell is that doing there? I called Cameron up to come look at it and we were both like “Did Dr K say that was okay? Or should we call the triage nurse? I think he said brown was okay. I don’t remember.” I know I had read that sometimes the mucus plug comes out weeks before labor begins, but at 36 weeks? Really? So, just to be safe we called and the delivery nurse called me back a few minutes later and when I described to her what had happened she said, cool as a cucumber, “Yep, that sounds like a mucus plug.” So I was a little bit like, okay…is that normal? And she said it was, sometimes it comes out early and you re-grow part of one or not, but it doesn’t mean you’re about to go into labor. She said the only thing that would be cause for concern is if my water broke, or there was bleeding, or if contractions began in earnest. And, since I have an appointment Thursday, she said to just keep it and talk to the Dr then unless anything else happens before then.

So, yeah. Fun. Since then I’ve really had this feeling that this baby is going to come early and most likely nowhere near my EDD. I’m confident that everything will be fine (especially since this week we hit that “magical” 37-weeks point) and frankly I’m excited for something to happen now. What happened Thursday night left me with this mildly surreal feeling, sort of like, oh yeah. So it IS going to happen sometime soon. I was just beginning to think I was going to be of a whale-like proportion forever. And naturally now I’m stupidly impatient for something REAL to happen. I keep finding myself looking to the animals for cues, since they generally know when these sorts of things are going to happen. This morning Whiskey came into the bedroom and laid down right next to my head and was being strangely cuddly and pleasant (normally he ignores my presence altogether), so I began to wonder if he sensed something was about to happen. As it turned out, he was just trying to butter me up so that I wouldn’t be mad when I discovered the pizza box he knocked on the floor overnight. Hmm.

He cares about nothing except food, catnip, and the fireplace.

I suppose we’ll go back to more of the waiting game in the meantime!

The Best Library

It should come as no surprise that one of the greatest things I cherish is the value of good books. My library is very special to me and I am definitely one of those people who will pick up MORE books even if I haven’t finished the one (or six) I’ve already spent time reading. When Borders went out of business (sniff) I haunted that place like a bad case of fleas and I probably ended up taking home a couple hundred dollars worth of books to add to my library. I love books! (Don’t get me wrong, I love my Kindle too, but there’s just something awesome about real, solid books. A lot of times I’ll buy a book on my Kindle and then buy it again in hard copy because I feel like it needs to grace my shelves.) I can’t wait to pass on my love of reading and exploring to my daughter.

Last night some wonderful friends of mine threw me and Caroline a second baby shower because nobody was able to make it to the first after the flood. What a fun time! We laughed and played games and I think the whole thing was especially therapeutic because there just haven’t been that many chances to let loose and be silly and laugh amongst friends since the flood. We specified that there should be no gifts, but naturally there were, though I was pleased that the majority of them were….books! Caroline is well on her way to a wonderful library and I am so excited!

Just too appropriate after the flood! I think his name should be Rainy. (Or do you think it’s a her? For some reason I tend to inherently see teddy bears as male…)
Are these not the cutest damn things you’ve ever seen in your life?
Sophie!
Books, books, and more books!
More owls!
Definitely THE coolest! It belonged to a friend’s grandfather and was printed in 1905. If there’s one thing I love more than books, it’s old books. I have a mild obsession.

And though I forgot to take pictures, everyone decorated blank bibs, onesies and socks for Caroline which I thought was just the cutest. I also got a basket of bath goodies, because everyone knows Mommy needs to be pampered too. And a 2-year subscription to Parents (Parenting?) magazine! We had such a fun time and had some great food (one of the girls made a pumpkin spice cake with maple cinnamon frosting, OM NOM NOM) and played games…including one where you had to place a large potato between your knees and waddle over to a glass jar on the floor and deposit the potato inside. It was hysterical. Mostly I was glad to have some time to spend with friends, a few of whom I hadn’t seen for quite some time. Caroline will be well loved indeed!

The Magic Words

Ah, yes. The magic words every pregnant woman wants to hear, when she’s late in the third trimester and can’t turn over in bed without looking so much like a breeching whale that David Attenborough is knocking at the door hoping to film a documentary on a new species. If you’ve been there, you know exactly what words I’m talking about.

“Could be any day now.”

Sweet hallelujah! There IS a light at the end of this tunnel, even if I can’t actually FIT in said tunnel. Have I mentioned according to my dr’s records I’ve put on 41 pounds since March? Mmmyep. If that doesn’t make a girl feel good I don’t know what does. Pretty soon I will be squeezing into these puppies:

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Anyway, Dr. said the magic words yesterday at our 36 week check. Now, don’t get me wrong, he said it more as an overall “yep, it might happen” rather than an “expect to go into labor right now.” Just a way of saying, yep, it’s almost that time so don’t freak out in case it does. Obviously, we want Caroline to continue incubating as long as possible, so please don’t think I’m chomping at the bit to have her out tomorrow or that I’m going to start thinking of myself as overdue. I know it’s important for her to bake a little longer. I’m only mostly joking. Nevertheless, it is good to hear from the doctor that he’s confident that if she did come, more than likely everything would be just fine.

That being said…do I STILL really have 4 weeks left till my EDD? Fuck me! (However, Dr did say that babies do tend to be born earlier and somewhat smaller than average up here, I’m assuming due to altitude or barometric pressure or thin air or a preponderance of unicorn farts or something scientific like that. Who knows. But maybe it’s true and it won’t be 4 more full weeks. Fingers crossed.)

After giving me the mother of all horrible internal checks (seriously it was awful), Dr declared she is still head down, growing according to schedule, and her heartbeat is slowing down to a good rate. I’m even a tiny bit dilated! Not like that means much at this point but hey, makes me feel good that my body is responding in roughly the way it is supposed to. I also had my Strep-B culture done and thankfully do not need another internal exam until closer to the due date thankyoubabyjesusbecausethatsucks. So that being said, full steam ahead on the Let’s Get This Show on the Road Train.

Relaxing with my stage-5 clinger of a cat on Mount Caroline.

Caroline’s newest trick, by the way? Planting both feet firmly on my ribs ALL. NIGHT. LONG. I am seriously (as in, not even joking) beginning to bruise on my ribs. When I sit up I can feel one or both of her feet pop around the edges of my ribs and Jesus Fuck does that hurt! This morning I almost could not sit up to get out of bed. Please, please, please drop soon. Please.

Oh, and on the subject of dropping. I have had a virtual crew of complete strangers (you know, people you’ve never met before) look at me and say “Wow, you’ve dropped!” I just give them this look like yeah, tell that to my bruising ribs and my inability to breathe when I lie down. If I hear one more stranger tell me I’ve dropped, I’m gonna drop my palm on their face.

hahanojohn

Oh, we booked a “babymoon”! Or, more like… “last date with the two of us not involving a babysitter.” We were sort of planning on doing that last night, because several months ago I bought tickets to see The Book of Mormon in Denver. But, since getting off Isle Estes these days is sort of a pain we would have had to make an overnight out of it, bring the dog with us, stay at my parents’ house, come back early or take time off work, yadda yadda. It had just become a pain, so we sent the tickets to my parents as a birthday present for my mom instead. I was bummed, but happy that they apparently loved it.

Dad enjoying a little musical sacrilege

So, instead, we are going down next Saturday to see a show in Denver and stay at a nice hotel overnight, since we won’t have to rush to get back home. It’ll be our last chance to chill out together, just the two of us, and be out of Estes for a little while…probably for the last time until the baby comes and/or the roads open up, whichever happens first. (My guess is baby.)

Part of my “postpartum goodie bag” package arrived from Walmart last night. (I was hoping it would be my new pair of boots, but no dice. Just part of the Christmas morning-like joy of doing all our shopping online these days.) Oooh yes, definitely getting close now. Because nothing screams “you are either getting ready to have a baby or perform surgery on a small animal” like a box full of giant thunderpads, stool softeners, witch hazel wipes and doggie tinkle pads. My Depends and granny panties are still on backorder. Shucks.

When I got that tattoo I didn’t actually think I would one day get to BE a whale.

It’s the Final Countdown

…and now you have that song stuck in your head, dontcha? Dontcha? Well at the very least I do…

First snow! Measurable one, anyway. We’ve had a couple dustings so far but nothing major. I think our first snow last year was pretty late, so it’s exciting to see the snow making a more seasonable appearance this year. I know it seems crazy after the floods and all, but we really do need the moisture, because we will dry out pretty fast as conditions return to normal, so as weird as it sounds to say we need the moisture, we do.

Anyway, we are finally in “final countdown mode” as we move into 4-5 weeks till Sweet Caroline can be expected. Still feels impossibly far away, but maybe that’s just because I am in so much discomfort that anything more than a day sounds far away. I am so ready to be able to walk normally again…

We are pretty much finished with the nursery, with the exception of getting a border up (which could end up being such a pain I might just finish the painting and forget about the border) on the wall. I’m overall pretty pleased with it, though I do wish I had a *tiny* bit more floor space. Oh well.

Caroline’s posse
Nursing Headquarters
Baskets for books and toys. Didn’t have enough floor space to get a bookshelf in the room, so on the wall it was.

We have all of her outfits hung in the closet and all of her sleepers, swaddle pods, and blankies in the dresser, along with a whole drawer I’m using as a staging area for diapers and extra wipes. I’m using the bed and the dresser as the command station for diaper changes. We got a box of 650 wipes AND a box of 900 wipes, so I think we will be more than set on those for quite some time. I have a decent stash of diapers going; I didn’t want to buy too many of one kind in the event that she doesn’t fit, doesn’t like them, any of those contingencies. I decided not to start cloth diapering till 8-10 weeks and since I don’t have any cloth diapers already and don’t have a way to get any except ordering them, I decided it wasn’t worth the extra effort to stock up just yet. Hopefully by the time she is ready for them, a road will be open and I can go buy them in person. Just something about ordering them online without seeing them makes me nervous since they are so pricy. I’m committed to cloth diapering, but it’s just hard to get a hold of a decent stash right now and I don’t want to half-ass it….no pun intended.

About the last thing I have to do before she comes is wash all of her clothes, sheets, blankies…but unfortunately I still don’t have my washing machine in use yet (it’s killing me) and I’d rather not use the laundromat for those since the dryers there are so intense I don’t want anything to shrink. Really crossing my fingers we will be able to shut off the pump soon or at least figure out a way to configure both to run at the same time.

The other final piece we were waiting on was the car seat/carrier/stroller, and that arrived yesterday courtesy of my parents. Hooray! Step one was figuring out how to unfold the damn stroller…I really think they should give you that as a test to see if you are allowed to be parents.

So wait, the parent tray is where??

After roughly 10 minutes of trying to figure out where the “parent tray” (also known as Baby Walk Latte Cupholder Area) was, we were finally able to unfold the frame and then it took another 5 minutes to decipher the little drawings to find where the plastic insert that holds up the basket underneath went! So complicated, and the instructions were not helpful whatsoever. The rest of it went pretty quickly though and not long after we had passed the test and were allowed to receive our parenting licenses. Woohoo!

(If you’re curious, the setup is a Chicco Cortina Travel System in Martini…apparently Consumer Reports’ #1 best buy for safety and convenience in travel systems…yay us!)

We still have to get the car seat base installed, which means I have to first clean up my car (murr) and then I think we’ll bring it by the police station since they’ll (I think) install it for free, and then we don’t have to worry if it’s done incorrectly or not. I can’t decide if we should buy another base to put in Cameron’s car. They are not cheap ($85!) and I just wonder if it’s really worth the extra inconvenience of trading cars if one of us needs to take the baby or whatever. Guess we can decide once we determine exactly how much of an inconvenience it turns out to be.

Ooh, I am also set for babywearing. We have an Ergo with an infant insert, but I really wanted a wrap too because it just seemed easier especially if I want to carry her around the house or she wants to be held a lot. I had originally planned on getting a Moby, but after numerous other recommendations and reading it looked like Baby K’Tan was the way to go, so I splurged and bought one for myself. Super cool! It looks to be fairly easy, has a variety of ways to wear it, and looks pretty cute too. (And it’s in a neutral color so Cameron can wear it too.) I had to use poor Bambi as a test dummy again because I didn’t think the cat would appreciate it. (We also used a gallon of milk to test the weight…we are nothing if not thorough product testers.)

Nearly there!

35 weeks and pretty ready to get this show on the road

Dear Caroline

I just wanted to touch base and let you know that you officially have a window for joining us earthside on this amazing planet. I don’t want to rush you or anything, since I know it’s probably a scary idea and you’ll probably be nervous, but I just wanted to let you know that I purchased an outfit for your very first Thanksgiving. And, well, I suppose it would be really nice if you could wear it because I’m pretty sure you’d look stinking cute in it. Also, I know you won’t exactly get to enjoy it quite the same way, but Thanksgiving is an awesome holiday. It’s almost as cool as Christmas!

Now, I don’t want you to think that you should just rush things and come out at any time. According to the doctors you’re not scheduled to be delivered till the 21st or so, but please don’t think that’s a hard and fast date. If you want to come a little earlier, that’s cool too. Personally I think it would be cool if you joined us during the full moon, but that’s just me. Just don’t think that’s an open-ended invitation. See, your MeMe (that’s grandma) wanted to make sure that she didn’t become a MeMe until after her 50th birthday, which is November 6. She said she doesn’t mind sharing it with you if you really wanted, but make sure you don’t come before then. (She might get a little grumpy.)

So that’s your window of delivery, sweet thing. And I know it would be nice if you came before Thanksgiving, but if you don’t get around to it, that’s okay too, just don’t take too much longer because then the Doctor will MAKE you come out and nobody wants that, especially you. Trust me. But if you could just think about how cute you’re going to look in that outfit for Thanksgiving, that might give you some motivation. (Plus, I’ll be real with you, sweet thing, Mommy really wants a nice glass of wine guilt-free on Thanksgiving.)

With love,

Mommy

Everybody Gets One

I really wanted to be that pregnant lady who kept a calm head and didn’t panic about some little minor event that happened in pregnancy. I really wanted to be the one who didn’t show up at the hospital in a panic only to be checked and sent home by a sagely nodding OB.

And I guess I didn’t do that–but I did go to the hospital yesterday when I didn’t have an appointment scheduled to get checked out. I guess everybody gets one.

Nothing serious, lest you be worried, I was just having some really quite annoying cramping/slightly stabby sensations in the general area where my uterus normally hangs out for the better part of the afternoon, and given that we’d just had a conversation with our OB about diagnosing pre-term labor early so we have time to get me out of Estes, I decided to play it safe, and I called and went over. My OB did the routine 34-week check (since we were supposed to have that appointment today anyway) and then did a whole bunch of poking and prodding, asking me where the pain was, etc, and then decided to do an internal check. It made me a little nervous (why couldn’t he determine what was going on from the outside??) but probably was for the best in terms of my peace of mind. He did a test that I can’t remember the name of now that started with the term “feta” (but had nothing to do with yummy cheese, damn) but is done to determine if there is any risk for going into labor in the next 2 weeks or so. That came back negative, which is good. He also did a cervical check (which was not particularly pleasant, holy ow) and he said that was fine, no effacement or dilation yet and it is still around an inch and a half long. Also, baby’s head was down and she is presenting vertex! That surprised me because I was sure from the movement/placement I was feeling that she was sideways, but I guess not. So, in the end all was well (he said more than likely it was a mixture of being mildly dehydrated, bad Steph, and the baby’s head was probably sitting on an uncomfortable spot on my bladder.) and I’m glad we called because I probably would have been stupid worried all day if I hadn’t. No harm no foul and Dr K is pretty confident that the baby will not be born early (or at least not in the next 2-3 weeks, which is our window for full term anyway) but he did say that if she is, more than likely everything will be fine and we shouldn’t worry much. (Unless she is born before November 6, in which case we have to face my mother’s wrath for making her a grandmother before she turns 50.)

More than anything I appreciated that Dr K took the time out of his day to sit down and listen to my concerns. That really goes a LONG way with me. Normally when we have these appointments he rattles off a list of any warning signs and goes through it all at a normal pace, but yesterday he came in, immediately sat down next to me and went through each issue individually until he was sure that I (and Cameron) were comfortable and worry-free. He didn’t seem annoyed or exasperated with us for pulling that typical first-pregnancy move of jumping the gun and coming in for a little cramp. He was even the one to call an hour later to let us know the not-Greek-cheese test was negative, which he could have just passed off to a nurse to do but didn’t. So that helps a lot in the long run because I honestly feel like this doctor has our best interests at heart and will continue to do so until we are there for labor and bringing Caroline earthside.

Speaking of which, 6 more weeks till the due date whaaaaaat? We finally get our childbirth classes this weekend, yippee! I’m still a little sad that we have to do them marathon-style and probably won’t get a breastfeeding/infant care class, but I guess the labor and birth parts are the most important, and it’s all better than nothing. Plus we (well, I, Cameron already knows her) will finally get to meet the other gal whose due date is only 2 weeks away from us, who I am hoping will be the start of my new mommy network. And, assuming the delivery truck arrives as scheduled today, the final pieces of the nursery should be delivered and I can FINALLY be ready in that room.

And before I go, here’s a picture of my corgi. Because why not.

Personal space is not his forte.