welcome ... enjoy yourself

Thursday, May 28, 2015

late spring (part 2)

I love how spring can feel like a well choreographed dance.  Just as the snow is starting to melt, I know I'll be able to find daffodil and tulip leaves poking out of the ground.  Soon after that the first hosta leaves emerge.  The daffodils bloom, the tulips bloom, and soon after that the lilacs take center stage and the alliums and iris follow.  There's a bunch of other flowering plants that I haven't learned the names of yet that I appreciate watching too.  I try to learn to recognize a few new plants every year.  It's a fun game to play while walking the dogs.  

Next up will be the peonies.  Arguably the big spring show stopper.  Unless you're my mom. Then day lilies take the prize, hands down, every year. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

thoughts on pregnancy (37 weeks)

Paul likes to take pictures of me like the one above.  And then I make weird faces and throw off his pictures like in the one below.  This somehow relates to my thoughts on pregnancy...maybe because life is about to be completely different, and is even a little different now, but I don't think somethings (like my weird faces) will change.

Other current thoughts on pregnancy (in no particular order):

- Somehow Paul and I will both continue to be ourselves as parents but also be completely different.  That boggles my mind.  

- We got confirmation this week that baby is head down but is giving no other indication that it's ready to enter the world yet.  That's a-ok baby.  You can stay warm and cozy for a few more weeks.

- Small aches and pains continue.  Swelling also continues.  No cause for concern, just all the regular fun stuff that comes with the third trimester. 

- We took our last baby class this week: caring for baby.  I remembered a lot of the information presented in the class from baby-sitting and taking care of younger siblings and cousins, but there's something different about getting ready to care for your own baby.  I felt a bit of that panic I've heard people feel on the way home from the hospital -- like, wait, I'm qualified to keep this little person alive?  Shouldn't I have gone through some kind of rigorous basic training - with drill sergeants and ropes to climb?    

- I think Paul is having sympathy nesting symptoms.  Which makes me extremely happy because he is getting all the work done that I had hoped to do but never had the time or energy for.  I'm very grateful to be going into this baby adventure with such a great partner. 

- Speaking of Paul, we've been making time for lots of little mini dates the past few weeks.  We arrived early for a dinner with friends so we could have a (non-alcoholic) drink together.  We've been running errands and going grocery shopping together (dorky but it's our thing).  We've been watching some of our favorite tv shows again (we love you Rick Steves!).  And we've been taking the dogs on long walks around the neighborhood.  All the dates are so simple, but they feel special because we know it's all about the change.  Very soon it will be the three of us hanging out and not just the two of us. 

- I've been able to continue with my prenatal yoga class and walking the dogs, but most other exercise has stopped for me.  I miss jogging and skating and just moving quickly in general, but I'm glad I can find some way to keep moving.   

- This week was the first week where I felt ready for the baby to be here.  I still have a lot of work to finish up at my job before maternity leave starts, but otherwise, this baby could get here at any time and I would be totally happy with it.  So much of pregnancy is about faith and patience.  You have faith that the baby will be healthy, that the birth will go as hoped, that you'll be able to figure out how to be a parent, that you won't go crazy from sleep deprivation, that the baby will continue to grow up healthy and happy --- but you really have no idea. You're essentially signing onto a contract that will change the course of the rest of your life, and you don't get to see the contract before you sign it!  You just have faith that it will all work out and that you'll be able to handle whatever parenthood throws at you.  And while you're pregnant, you're just waiting behind the start line with no idea what you're going to face.  I'm ready to not have to have faith in the beginning of parenthood and to just know how it's going to be.  I'm ready to meet this little baby and get the parenthood show on the road! 

Friday, May 22, 2015

this week in the garden

It's that time of year again, when I can share community garden updates!  I planted seeds several weeks ago at our first community garden work day, and they're all starting to pop up!  Saying that "I" planted them is not exactly true.  What really happened was that friends of mine were kind enough to plant all my seeds for me as I directed where I'd like them.  But it was still a surprise to see where all the seedlings popped up.  I still have no idea what and when I'll be able to harvest things with the baby coming, but I still love any chance I have to watch things grow.  

First, several varieties of carrots.  A carnival blend, some yellow ones, some white ones, and some beautiful dark orange ones.  I don't remember any of the actual names of the varieties, but I have the packages to remind myself when it comes time to harvest.  

Second, lots of beets!  Again, several varieties none of which I really remember.  I know there's an early variety, an old French variety, some dark purple ones, and of course, lots of golden beets.  

Third, a section of kale and swiss chard.  These will have to be thinned pretty soon to allow room for growth.  All the sprouts will go on a nice egg salad sandwich.  YUM. 

A view of all my (vegetable) babies.  You can beets in the immediate foreground, my onions, carrots, kale, and lots and lots of lettuce and some radishes in the background.  

This sage is from our community garden herb circle.  I'm always pleasantly surprised when perennials come back after a hard winter.  

And this little strawberry flower is from our strawberry bed.  I'm going to be keeping my eye on this plot a lot in the coming weeks.  Because those strawberries need to be in my belly, not the squirrels'. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

when lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd

When I was in high school, I sang in the choir for three years.  I could hit notes well enough that I could blend in with other people, just not well enough that I'd want to sing solo anyplace other than my shower.  My freshman or sophomore year we sang the song "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" - an adaptation of a poem by the same name written by Walt Whitman after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  

Here's an excerpt. 

When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d,
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,
I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.

Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,
Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west,
And thought of him I love.

O powerful western fallen star!
O shades of night—O moody, tearful night!
O great star disappear’d—O the black murk that hides the star!
O cruel hands that hold me powerless—O helpless soul of me!
O harsh surrounding cloud that will not free my soul.

The melody of the song was beautiful and matched the mournfulness of the song.  Now every spring when I see the lilacs blooming, that song pops into my head.  Funny the random associations you end up making in your life isn't it?  I probably couldn't name five songs that I sang in high school choir, but I see a lilac, and all the harmonies of the lilac song come back to me.  

Luckily I don't feel mournful when I catch the beautiful scent of lilacs.  Just nostalgic.  Which is how I feel about most spring flowers.  

Monday, May 18, 2015

today i'm grateful for...

sleeping with the windows open

a French style picnic in a German Biergarten

a weekend catch up phone call with my mom

prenatal yoga

satisfaction from checking things off my before-baby-to-do list

time on the porch

a nice long walk with Paul and the pups

homemade iced chai lattes

grocery store dates

fresh fruit (can't get enough!)

picking the first baby lettuce from my porch garden

baby kicks, punches, and hiccups

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

one month to go

Have I mentioned that our due date is June 13th?  That means that as of today, we are one month away from our baby's due date!  

I have it on pretty good authority (my own inability to be anywhere on time) that our baby will not be joining us before or on his/her due date.  This baby's mom (me) came into the world at 41 ½ weeks.  So if our baby takes after his/her mom, he/she will be joining us much closer to June 20th than June 13th.  I keep thinking it would be fun if the baby was born on June 21st, Father's Day, but we'll just have to see.  Baby's dad (Paul) was so ready to get into the world on time that he arrived in an ambulance!  So which set of genes will win out?  Only time will tell.  

The third trimester aches and pains officially set in last week.  I was trying to convince my mom that I was getting ready to go into labor (despite my gut feeling that the baby will be late), but she reassured me that everything I was feeling was just a normal part of the last few weeks of pregnancy.  She is determined to see me go to 40 weeks!  

In my more comfortable moments I really want to get to 40 weeks, and I honestly don't mind going beyond if the baby needs more time.  I'll be working until June 12th, and I'm hoping work plus finishing up things around the house will keep me distracted and not too impatient.  Really, a few days off to relax and hang out (maybe in the garden!) before baby comes sounds pretty fantastic to me.   

I'm excited to meet you soon baby!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

happy mother's day (belated)

This mother's day I was more grateful than ever to have my mom.  

Getting ready to have my first baby has reminded me just how much I love her and need her.  I text her several times a day to update her on something that's happening with the baby, to ask her questions, or (on my not so selfish days) to see how she's doing.  We've developed a silly tradition of texting each Saturday to proclaim a new week of pregnancy (27 weeks! 30 weeks! 35 weeks!).  I get so much comfort from our little conversations, knowing that someone is so interested and invested in how my pregnancy is going and how our little babe is developing.  I feel so loved, and I feel so connected in our mutual love of the baby.  

I've seen a whole new side of her start to come out - the grandma side.  She's been knitting blankets, prepping a baby room, and even starting a little library.  I know she has lots of ideas about adventures she'll be taking our baby on.  It's been a long time wish of my mom's to meet her grandchildren, and I can see so much joy in her knowing that her wish is going to come true.   

I'm so grateful that I get to share my motherhood journey with my mom.  She has been so kind and supportive and gracious in listening and responding to my concerns, excitements, and wishes.  I hope someday I'll be able to pass on this same love to my little babe.  

Somehow this is the most recent picture I have of just me and my mom (from last summer).  What are we doing when we're on our mom/daughter dates?  Obviously spending too much time being present and not enough time taking selfies.  Let's work on that mom.  

Friday, May 8, 2015

late spring

Late spring is by far my favorite time of year.  If it's not yours, we can still be friends, I'll just think you're a little crazy.  (But I think lot of my friends are crazy.)  Nothing beats all the colors, all the flowers, and just how vibrant and alive everything feels.  I took my camera on one of my morning walks with the pups last week to capture some of the current beauty around our neighborhood.  Hope you enjoy!  And hope you have a great weekend!  (Regardless of how crazy you may or may not be.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

first community garden work day

Late Spring is one of my favorite times of year.  It brings with it rebirth, constantly changing colors, and the beginning of the garden season!!  This year, I stepped down as the community garden leader and am just serving kind of part time on the community garden committee.  I'll still have a plot but I have lots of people ready to step in to water and harvest after the baby is born. 

We had our first work day of the season this past weekend.  And even though I can't carry heavy objects and can barely bend, I couldn't resist helping at least a bit - mostly with weeding and moral support. 

We got all our beds weeded and prepped for the season.  Plus we shared a delicious potluck lunch and had fun catching up after our winter hibernations. 

This picture cracks me up!  How many guys does it take to fill a bed?


The mostly finished plots!  Nothing's happening here now, but it will be exploding in a couple of months!  I'm really hoping I'll get to enjoy it a bit this summer with our new baby. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

thoughts on pregnancy (33/34 weeks)

This post would really just be thoughts on pregnancy from 34 weeks, but I don't have a good picture from this week yet, so we're combining weeks 33 and 34.  Sound good?  Ok, good.

- I've reached the part of pregnancy where my weeks can correlate with bra sizes.  Not bra sizes that I can fit into anymore, but bra sizes none the less.

- The top questions I currently get asked: When are you due?  [Mid June] Do you know what you're having? [Based on ultrasounds, I'm pretty sure it's a human baby.]  Is the nursery finished yet?  [Not yet, but it's getting there!]  How do you feel?  [Fantastic!]  Are you excited/happy/nervous? [Yes, yes, and yes.]

- We decided not to find out the sex of our baby, and it's lead to a lot of people sizing me up to guide their guesses on what we're having.  It's pretty funny to hear how people make their decisions.  People will use the same evidence to guess both boy and girl.  Everyone is pretty evenly split, so it's not helping me guess either.  What do you think it's going to be?

- This is the best I've felt in any part of the pregnancy.  I love how pregnant I look, and I love that people don't have to give me the up down to figure out if I'm pregnant or bloated.  The weather is so nice now, and all the exercise and walking I've been able to do have made me feel really great.  I finally want to eat healthy food again which helps too. 

- The baby is gaining half a pound a week now, but I don't seem to be getting that much bigger.  My clothes and my stretch marks tell a different story though. 

- I've started thinking a lot about labor and delivery, and I'm trying to keep these thoughts calm and positive.  If I do get nervous or scared picturing myself delivering the baby, I try to just sit with these feelings and work through them.  Hoping this helps the labor go a little smoother. 

- My sleep has started to get restless and dreams have started to get weird.  Last night I dreamt that the baby's foot had somehow travelled down to my foot, and I had to push it back into my abdomen.  Weird.

- We've decided on a beautiful girl name, but we can't figure out a good boy name.  Which is the best evidence we have so far that the baby is going to be a boy. 

- The baby moves so much now.  I feel kicks and movements throughout the day, and it's so comforting - though sometimes a little startling since the baby seems to get stronger and stronger everyday.  I finally understand what my mom was talking about when she said she felt a little empty and separated after me and my siblings were born.  She missed the feeling of always having us with her.  I didn't think that I would miss sharing my body with the little baby, but I'm definitely going to have to adjust to having that little piece of my heart outside of me now. 

- Baby hiccups are the best.

Monday, May 4, 2015

today i'm thankful for...

It's been a long time since I did a gratitude post, and something about this time of year made me want to recognize a few things that have been making me very happy lately.  What are you thankful for today? 
the first community garden work day of the season
receiving help in planting all my seeds
little baby kicks and hiccups
inspiration received from rediscovering Today's Letters archives
the arrival of my favorite part of Spring (finally)
a pedicure and lunch date with a good friend
drinks and desserts (outside!) with other good friends
the random lady who told me how good pregnancy looked on me
talking with my mom on her birthday
sunshine and open windows
seeing the baby's nursery come together
my husband who makes me a cup of tea and walks the dogs every morning

Friday, May 1, 2015

porch garden beginnings

It doesn't look like much now, but in a short time, this porch space will be a beautiful urban oasis.  I loved spending time on the porch last summer, and I plan on doing much of the same this summer.  The major difference is that this summer I'll have a small baby to keep me and pups company.   

Diego's pretty excited.  

The pots have all been moved up from the basement and are staying safe on the porch table until I can figure out a way to keep the dogs from eating all the soil out of them.  Yes, in addition to bones and library books, my beagles also love to eat dirt out of my garden pots.  It affected plant growth last year, so hopefully this year, some chicken wire will discourage any digging. 

Some pots will be filled with some plants I started inside a few weeks ago.  They'll come outside when threat of frost is gone (hopefully not too much longer).  My mom has promised me a few tomato plants, and I'll plant the rest of the pots will small starter plants.  I really liked having different herbs (like lavender, mint, basil, and rosemary) easily accessible last summer, so most of those will be bought at nurseries before the baby comes.  

The long planter is going to be a home for my lettuce supply.   

I planted about six different varieties of lettuce, and they've all since sprouted (these pictures were taken a couple of weeks ago).  

This planter looks totally different now.  It's full of baby lettuces and all the names have worn off the markers.  

So who do you think will win this summer?  Mary and plants and the chicken wire?  Or Diego and Pedro and their persistent beagle nature?  For my post-baby sanity I really hope that me and the plants pull out ahead.