Tuesday, December 23, 2008

5 Day Weekend!!

I am about to leave work to start my 5 day weekend. Yay!! The husband is very lucky because he actually doesn't go back to work until January 5.

Here's the plan for my extended weekend: my parents will be visiting for Christmas, I'm baking lots of cookies and maybe even some biscotti, I will do lots of crafty stuff like scrapbooking and card making, and I'll play around with our new camera. Oh, and my new laptop arrives tomorrow so I'll have fun with that.

Happy Holidays!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lots to Do

We had a very busy weekend! We got our Christmas tree on Saturday. Noodles is the only one that really noticed when the tree arrived and he was quite hesitant at first. But now he loves to sit by it, sniff it, play with the water in the watering dish, and knock off ornaments.

On Saturday morning, the husband joined me at pilates. He was quite impressed with the intensity of the workout and was still a little sore on Monday.

Christmas came early this year – we bought a Canon SLR! It’s the Rebel XSi and we love it. Now we are ready for the baby! We got lots of practice taking cat pictures this weekend. The weather was rainy and cold, otherwise we would have taken the cats outside for a photo shoot. And we actually watched the informational video that came with the camera (it’s about 1.5 hours long) and got lots of great pointers.

So here are some pictures:

Noodles likes to sleep in the tent next to the Christmas tree.

Nice picture of Noodles.

I will have more later. Most of the pictures we’ve already taken are in raw format and we still need to install the camera software onto our computer to convert these images.

Over the weekend we also rearranged the guest/baby room in preparation for our visitor this weekend.

And finally on Sunday we watched the Patriots kills the Raiders. We watched the broadcast on our tiny tv at home. The reception was bad, but at least we didn't have to eat bar food this weekend. Oh, and I just found out that Eli Manning got sacked 8 times in the Cowboys vs. Giants game on Saturday. Nice! The Cowboys are now my second favorite team.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Dreams

Another pregnancy change that I’ve discovered is that my dreams are a lot more vivid and … sometimes weird. I don’t have nightmares and I rarely dream about the baby. Instead, my dreams are more about everyday stuff – some realistic and others not really. I had two dreams last night that I remember; one was stressful and unlikely to happen and the other had my husband laughing on our way in to work in the morning. I’m also amazed at who makes an appearance in my dreams. I think most people I know have been in my dreams at one time or another. In retrospect I try to figure out why that person was in my dream. Most likely it’s because I thought about them or had some contact with them (exchanged emails, etc.) during the day.

So let me know if you want to show up in my dreams. I’m sure it will be an interesting story.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pregnancy Tidbits

A few weeks ago, I started noticing that the baby was quite active as I was getting ready to fall asleep in bed. But if I tossed and turned during the night or got up to drink water, I would rarely feel the baby move. I was quite please with this because usually a baby's routine in utero will be similar to a baby's initial routine outside the womb. However, the past week I've been getting kicked a lot more as I fall asleep and it's getting painful. I don't know what organs the baby is poking, but they sure are sensitive. And, I got up during the night last night and when I got back in bed, I got poked. Not good.

To conclude our labor and delivery classes, we went on a tour of the hospital's labor and maternity wards. Our local hospital has a nice facility. You are guaranteed a private delivery room, equipped with rocking chair, tv, shower, tub, and lots of other goodies. You will also get either a private or semi-private recovery room. A typical stay for a vaginal delivery is 2 days and for a c-section is 4 days. Oh, yeah, I really don't want a c-section. But I guess 1 in 4 women end up with a c-section, so I'm trying to mentally prepare for that possibility.

The hospital also allows two other visitors in the delivery room, in addition to the partner. Oh, and most deliveries are not the way they are depicted in the movies - with loads of screaming and swearing. Most likely the mom will become almost entranced as she enters the final stage of labor - pushing - which can last from 5 minutes to 1 hour. By this time, the contractions and urge to push are 3-5 minutes apart.

So there's your pregnancy lesson for tonight.

What Else Have Do You Have for Us, Mr. Bush?

"The Bush administration has rushed through a last-minute gun rule...The Interior Department published a rule last week that will allow loaded, concealed weapons in nearly all of this country’s national parks."

"Right now, the National Parks are among the very safest places in this country, according to the F.B.I. The presence of concealed, loaded weapons is likely to change that, and it also is likely to pose an increased threat to wildlife."

I guess we'll wait until Obama repeals that law to take our Yosemite vacation. From The New York Times.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Another Week

Once again I won more free burritos at Chipotle. Note that I’ve only been to Chipotle twice since the last time I won (sometime over the summer), and I’ve only put my business card in the fishbowl once. I’m starting to get a little creeped out. But my coworkers are always happy with the free food. Maybe it’s just karma for all the loyalty the husband and I (and any classmates who would join us) showed Chipotle during our grad school days – we would eat there almost every day.

Saturday night my friend, Christine, and I made paella. It turned out pretty good. The paella flavor was a little bland so next time we’ll need to add a little more salt (or appropriate spice). Christine went to Spain over the summer and she was our authenticity check. She liked the paella. As an appetizer we made patatas bravas, which is like home fries in a mayo based sauce with lots of different spices – thyme, paprika, Tabasco, parsley. The patatas bravas were really good, but next time I would use a lower sauce to potatoes ratio.

On Sunday we watched the Patriots vs. Seahawks game. It was great to watch the Patriots win, but they really need to work on their defense. The Pats defense made Seattle look good (and not like a 2-10 team). We also watched bits of the Cowboys vs. Steelers game. The bar was full of both sets of fans and it was quite an exciting game. However, I was really disappointed that the Steelers won. This was a hard game for me to pick a side, but I decided I hate Steelers fans more than I don’t like the Cowboys. Plus, I kind of like some of the Cowboys fans (Jaime, Pablo), and I’m happy when they are happy.

Over the weekend we tried to install the car seat and we had a really hard time. I’m afraid our car seat won’t be compatible with our old, 1996 Toyota Corolla. We got the top of the line car seat (highly recommended by Consumer Reports), but maybe now we need to get a better car (I vote for a Toyota Rav 4). On Wednesday we have a consultation with a car seat expert at Stanford’s Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital. It’s a free service in case anyone in the area is interested.

During our second labor and delivery class last week, we discussed all the drug options – narcotics, epidural, etc. Before the class I was convinced I wanted to get an epidural as soon as I checked into the hospital. Now I want a drug-free delivery. An epidural would be the best option since it only affects the mother. But there is a narrow window of administration (not too early nor late), it takes a while to take effect, and it will usually draw make the labor longer. Narcotics can be administered at any time, but they have a potential of suppressing the baby’s respiration. But what motivates me to have a drug-free delivery is the challenge. I know this sounds kind of morbid, but I feel up to the challenge of labor and feel that I can get through it. The class has prepared me with great techniques for getting through painful contractions and having my husband around as my coach will really motivate me.

But then again, I’m trying to keep an open mind and trying not to equate my use of drugs as a failure. I’m sure that after 16+ hours of labor, with slow progress, I (and my doctors) might be thinking differently. The husband, on the other hand, thinks epidurals should also be administered to spouses.

Here are a few more tidbits/observations:
Last week we had spotty internet service, at best. It was ok for the first couple of days. But as the week progressed and we lost our networking ability (no access to our computer cluster, the printers, etc.), it got really difficult to make any progress. My coworkers and I were walking around the office with our memory sticks, trying to get files from each other. On the other hand, our Google wifi at home has been working great.

Gas is so cheap nowadays. We paid $1.89 on Friday. Wow! How low can it go?

In the last few months I’ve noticed that drivers have been worse than usual. Cell phones are usually the reason, although California has a law that you can’t use your cell phone as you drive (you must use a hands-free device). I see cars swerving, not yielding correctly, getting cut-off by another car and purposely cutting-off the car back for revenge – on the freeway!

We had sushi for dinner tonight. I mostly stuck to the cooked rolls, but I did cheat a little. It was sooo good.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Monkey is Sooo Bad

She came home without her collar last night. That's the second collar she's lost.

Monkey slept on top of me all night. Any time I moved she would scream, hiss, and growl.

Gotta love the Monkey.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Holiday Weekend

Thanksgiving was great this year. We headed south about 1 hour to hang out with the husband’s cousins. The wife is a horse vet and they have a nice, new spread with lots of land, 4 horses, 4 dogs, and 2 cats. Most of the dinner ingredients were either grown by the cousins or bought locally and you could really taste the difference. Dinner included turkey, stuffing with andouille sausage, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, fresh baked bread, squash soup, roasted squash, roasted beets, green beans, asparagus, and cornbread. Despite the copious amounts of food, the 6 of us at dinner managed to make a big dent in the food. For desert we had a pumpkin roll and a pumpkin-chocolate-pecan cake I made that was actually quite good (NY Times recipe). And of course, there was a lot of great wine (I sniffed a lot of good wine). The wine provoked a couple hour discussion on the biggest American band of all time. I’m not sure what the consensus was.

There weren’t a lot of Thanksgiving leftovers, so I didn’t have an over-fill of Thanksgiving food, and now I’m craving turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy. I don’t expect any restaurant will have food that’s as good as what we had over the weekend.

The rest of the weekend was spent doing not very much. I had a super long to-do list but didn’t get many items crossed off my list. My friend Christine and I went shopping in Union Square in San Francisco. We checked out the huge Macy’s Christmas tree and hit a bunch of stores. I didn’t buy any Christmas presents, but mostly bought goodies for me. I used to think I wasn’t much of a shopper. And I’m not when it comes to clothes for myself. But I love shopping for house stuff. I bought a paella pan and a Spanish paella and tapas recipe book. I can’t wait to try out my new toys this weekend.

I have some pictures. These aren’t relevant to anything I’ve written about in this post, but I haven’t put up pictures in a while, so here you go:

Here’s Monkey sleeping on the warm dishwasher door. She has a funny way of sleeping where she likes to place her chin flat on the ground, instead of propping it on her paws.

And here is Monkey wearing her Santa’s Little Helper shirt.

To end on a depressing note, did anyone watch the Patriots vs. Steelers game on Sunday? The first half was good. The second half was a joke. I lost track of the Patriots’ turnovers and horrible plays. The worst thing about the loss was losing to the Steelers. I really don’t like Steelers fans. The Steelers are a good team and they deserved the win, but the Steelers fans went crazy happy when Welker was taken out of the game with a late hit. The hit wasn’t that dirty, it was just late. And it was little Wes Welker vs. a huge Steelers’ player. Still, a good fan would not cheer when a player is injured. But then again, I am talking about Steelers fans.