Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I am a Mommy!

Last Friday, November 6th, 2009, I gave birth to a baby boy that we named Joaquin Porter Ochoa...Since then, my life has been a whirlwind...so many emotions to express and so many stories to share, from the 2 days of pre-labor, where my contractions were coming with such frequency, I thought it might be the real thing, to the actual 19 hours of active labor, to the birth, and then the actual first few amazing days of motherhood...I know it's something that every parent goes through --- the wonderment and awe of knowing that your life is never going to the same…

Anyhow, he is here. And I am exhausted, sore, and in a haze. But more than anything I am completely, deliciously happy.

labor-ready toes? Post from Thurs, 11/5

On Wednesday, I mentioned to my mom that I was meeting Kiko for lunch at his office in downtown Los Angeles. As my mom often does, she asked me what I was wearing. When I told her I had on closed-toed shoes because I needed a pedicure, she immediately became aghast with me, telling me "this close to your due date, you need to maintain your pedicures..." Of course, she has told me this several times in the past few weeks, but who has the time for a pedicure between the nesting, and trying to wrap things up in the office, etc. I tried to do them myself a few weeks ago, but found it too difficult to reach my toes. I ended up with toe nails that were about 70% covered with polish, with lots of polish around the cuticle. Luckily, about 2 weeks ago, I went to my favorite pedicure place in Pasadena, Dashing Divas, so while I could use a touch up, they are not horrendous... Fortunately, I don't think the hospital staff cares what my feet look like --- I am pretty sure they've seen way worse than my slightly chipped dark, vampish toe nail polish...Oh and just for any beauty fans out there, my two favorite new polish colors are Bitches Brew from Lippman and Chanel's purplish Vendetta...delish.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

35 Weeks

We have been remiss in taking a lot of pictures, but here is one from 3 weeks ago, at our 35 week appointment. I am sure someday I'll look back with nostalgia at my pregnant belly, but right now, I barely remember what it felt like to not be pregnant.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Thrill of Buying Diapers

As I pulled into our driveway after work, I caught a beautiful sight out of the corner of my eye: a large, cardboard box sitting proudly next to the front door of our bluish gray Colonial Revival home. Could it be? As I rushed to park the car, jumped from the vehicle and ran to the porch it was indeed the package I was anticipating. Printed on the side of the box in big blue letters it read "diapers.com" which meant that our first order of diapers had arrived! Woo hoo!

What a thrill! I am sure after a few weeks of changing, paying for, and ordering diapers, the thrill will fade fast. But it just made the whole mom-to-be thing seem more real. Then of course there's the debate of what kind of diapers to use: cloth, G-diapers, 7th Generation, gel free, etc. Maybe that will just mean more orders to diapers.com trying to find the best fit for our family, our budget, and our environment...

In any case, there are so many firsts that arise during a pregnancy, and the first diaper order delivery is not one to be overlooked. Because what will soon be wearing those diapers will be the best delivery of all!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

B.I. (Before the Internet)

What did pregnant women do before the internet? Though sometimes I think there is TOO much information on the web, and that sometimes, a neurotic pregnant girl can drive herself mad researching anything from cribs, to car seats and cramps, when maybe instead she should be taking a walk or reading a book…Most of the time, I think the information highway is a gift from the heavens.

Several weeks ago, I started having a horrible side ache in my right side. My husband and I were at our dear friends’ house for dinner and it was a Saturday night. The last thing I wanted to do was moan and groan to our friends about my sharp, debilitating pains, so I just tried to tough it out, knowing we’d be heading home soon.

Once we finished dinner, I gave the “look” to my husband and he knew it was time to say adieu. Immediately in the car, I said “Will you do a Google search for ‘sharp pains in your right side during pregnancy?’”

Of course, being the concerned hubby he is, he said “Well, shouldn’t we just call your doctor, babe?”

“No, no,” I protested. “I just want to see if this feeling is common during pregnancy before I bug my doctor on a Saturday night.”

Rolling his eyes at me, he acquiesced with my request, and sure enough, within a minute, he was reading to me about “round ligament pain” and describing the symptoms and the explanations, and I immediately felt at ease. What he read was exactly what I was feeling. Even though I was still having the pain, which felt like quick jabs to the appendix, I felt so much better knowing this is a common thing during pregnancy as your round ligaments expand to make room for the baby.

There are so many new, strange, and often uncomfortable things happening to my body during pregnancy, so it helps to know that sometimes, a quick glance on the web can help you determine when to just relax and ride it out, and when there might be something more serious occurring that would necessitate a call to the doctor.

So though I much prefer browsing my favorite online boutiques (like Twilite Moon!) when surfing the web, it’s nice to know that sometimes it can put my husband and I at ease on a Saturday night…and I am sure we’re only a few months away from Google searching the term “how to soothe a crying baby…”

Thursday, September 17, 2009

2 months & 1 day from the due date

Today is September 17th, which means that I am 2 months and 1 day away from my due date! Ack! It's so exciting and mind-boggling at the same time. Even though the due date is really just a guess, and he will come when he's ready, there still has been this date - November 18th - in the back of my mind since March. And now, it's swifly approaching...

He continues to become more and more active in my belly every day and I am in awe of his every move. It is the best feeling. Even when it hurts or is uncomfortable because he's pressing hard or persistently, I love it because it reminds me that there really is a little person inside.

We talk to him every night. Coconut and George (the dogs) lay on my tummy, and Coco cocks her head from side to side if she feels him move. It's as if she's saying "what's that alien thing inside you, lady?" and "is it going to take any of my treats?"

In short, he is already such a big part of our lives, and he hasn't even shown himself to the world yet.

And thank goodness I have approximately 2 months and 1 day left to go before he does decide to make an appearance...because there is lots more to do!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Pizza Hut, Pocket Scrabble, & a Pair of House-Shoes

Who says the romance in a marriage dies once a baby is on-the-way? Sure, the mom-to-be is often too tired to even stay awake to watch TV at night, let alone leave the house for a hot night on the town, but there is always time for that unexpected date. And while nights with my husband while expecting a baby might not feel like some of the nighttime adventures from our past, e.g. grabbing dinner at a hip restaurant before meeting some friends for drinks, catching a movie, or even taking a salsa dance lesson, I have found that it’s the unexpected adventures that help keep the spark alive in the marriage. Anyone can go to a fancy restaurant for dinner or buy theatre tickets, but it takes a little creativity and an open mind to make any activity a fun-filled date.

My husband has been super supportive on the nights when I just don’t feel like cooking. Sometimes when I get home from work around 7:30, the baby and I are so ravenous, I feel as if we could eat a whole Thanksgiving dinner for a family of 4 and still not be satisfied. Even though I love to cook, since being pregnant, sometimes I don’t have the patience to prepare a meal after work --- all I care about is eating and eating quickly.

One particular weeknight a few weeks ago, I didn’t know what I was hungry for, but I just knew I was starved. We drove to the closest commercial street which happens to be peppered with fast food restaurants and local dive spots alike, but still I could not decide what sounded appetizing.

Then we drove past one strip mall with various stores and restaurants, including a Pizza Hut. Now this wasn’t one of those Pizza Huts with a drive thru that’s combined with Taco Bell. This was a Pizza Hut that existed purely on its own, and the storefront’s main focus was pizza delivery. We spontaneously decided, “Let’s just get pizza here. It should be quick.”

We parked the car in the parking lot and both got out of the car. In my haste to leave the house in search of food, I neglected to take note of my husband’s outfit: a dress shirt, ripped blue jeans, and house-slippers. Yes, house-slippers! Now, that’s what I call hot date attire. I couldn’t believe it --- here we were in the middle of this crowded strip mall, me with a big pregnant belly and my husband is wearing “old man house-shoes,” as we like to call them. Clearly the days where we both exerted effort deciding what to wear on a date were behind us. And yes, once we leave the house to get food, it’s considered a “date.”

We ordered our meal and were told it’d be at least 15 minutes until the food was ready, so what were we to do? We decided to wait outside in the car like two teenagers sans chaperones sitting in a parked vehicle. Only instead of us being turned on by one another or a smooth love song on the radio, we couldn’t wait to relax in the car together and play our recent obsession --- pocket Scrabble on our iPhone!

There we sat, under the glow of the overhead parking lot lantern, stomachs growling, passing our Scrabble game back and forth, each trying to outscore the other, laughing at ourselves as other cars came in and out of the parking lot to go to the liquor store or the drug store.

All in all, it was probably 20 minutes before our food was ready, although it felt like mere minutes because we were having so much fun. We laughed at what our night had become, but also enjoyed the quiet of it being just the two of us in the car, knowing that it didn’t really matter where we were or what we were doing, just that we were doing it together made it feel like a date.

Finally, my husband had a hunch our order was ready, so his trusty house-shoes took him back to the Pizza Hut counter to collect our cuisine. Instead of eating there in the ambient parking lot, we took our vittles back home and relaxed on the couch, eating pizza, playing Scrabble, and catching up on our DVRed television…and what started off feeling like just a normal weeknight turned into a fun and memorable “date” of sorts…what more could a pregnant girl want? Oh, and next time we go out, he promises to wear normal shoes.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

An Amazing Article by Anna Quindlen

A dear family friend shared this article by Anna Quindlen with me the other day and I just think it's perfect. My friend couldn't have sent it to me at a more appropriate time. The days before she sent it, my husband and I were debating the pros and cons of reading parenting books versus just improvising as you go along...He's the consummate scholar, always reading and learning, and I tend to think in some ways, we should just let our natural instincts and common sense guide us. In reality, it's probably best to have a combination of both...Anyhow, enjoy!

"All My Babies Are Gone Now"
By Anna Quindlen, Newsweek Columnist and Author

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow, but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubberducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.

Everything in all the books I once poured over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach, T. Berry Brazelton, Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education -- all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories. What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations -- what they taught me, was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all.

Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test,then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2.

When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow. I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China . Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.

Every part of raising children is humbling. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the "Remember-When-Mom-Did" Hall of Fame. The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language -- mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover.The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, "What did you get wrong?" (She insisted I include that here.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?(She was thinking the same thing I was, apparently...no Simpsons here either!)But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night.
I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.
Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Love & Basketball?

The other night, baby-on-the-way and I went to a playoff basketball game. No, this was not a Lakers game, or even a high-school game—though it was in a high-school gym. It was a playoff game for my husband’s lawyer basketball league. Lawyer basketball, you ask? Yes. Lawyer basketball. It’s basically a league made up of different law firms from around the city where overly aggressive males release the tension from a day’s work on the basketball courts and strive to recapture their glory days.

The smell of stale, sticky sweat permeated the air. The sound of rubber-soled-sneakers squealed and screeched as the players came to a halt on the shiny wooden floor. I saw the championship banners hanging high on the wall above the bleachers, with the hand-painted “Go Wildcats” posters not far below, and I was instantly transported to another world.

Something within the sounds and smells of the high-school gym took me to a mental place I had never been before during my pregnancy. As I watched these grown men run up and down the court, yelling “I’m open!” and “Come on, man!” with their hands in the air, I started thinking that someday, before I know it, I might be back in a gym just like this. But instead of watching my husband and his over-worked compadres hustle and wheeze their way up and down the court, I’d be watching my own child run, and jump, and test himself against other kids.

Since the early days of my pregnancy, I have spent countless hours imagining what my baby is going to be like—what she will look like, how it will feel to hold him, what it will be like to try to teach her things—but rarely have I thought about what happens when my baby starts to grow up and becomes an actual kid. What happens then?

As I sat in that gym, holding my pregnant belly tightly, I felt a new spirit of adventure. For the first time, I thought that being a mother will go far beyond changing diapers and pushing a stroller. Someday soon, several years away at least, I might be sitting in a gym watching Junior play YMCA basketball, or along the sidelines of a soccer field watching her run, or even in an auditorium watching her dance. Having a baby means more than just having a baby, it means having an actual KID who is going to sweat and compete and test himself or herself against the world, and I’m going to get to watch. That is pretty cool. And if it took a bunch of chubby, sweaty lawyers with inflated perceptions of their own athletic abilities to actually make me realize the depth of experiences I might someday share with this little person inside of me, so be it.

My husband’s team lost the game that night, but I won much more than he’ll ever know. Let’s just hope our baby has more class and sportsmanship than the “adults” on the floor that night who got into a fight because one of them was using too much “D” under the basket. (And no, my husband wasn’t one of them. Thank Goodness.)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hop on Pop

Since about 15 weeks into the pregnancy, my hubby and I have enjoyed reading to the baby at bedtime. Even though we were doing this before his ears developed, it's been a nice routine and gives us a chance to try out our different silly and dramatic voices which will surely entertain him once he enters the world!
Last night, we read our current favorite book, Dr. Seuss' beloved "Hop on Pop," and the little monkey was kicking like a can-can dancer in my tummy. Maybe it's the rhyming of the words, or maybe it's the vibrations of Kiko's deep voice, but whatever it was, he was really hot on Pop's storytelling skills.
Hopefully soon, Kiko will actually be able to feel him kicking when he places his hand on my bump...ah, there are so many milestones worth waiting for in life and pregnancy...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pink or Blue?

Woohoo...we found out last week, on July 2nd, that our little peapod is a BOY!

Of course, we'd be thrilled either way and just want it to be healthy, but it is wonderful to know that there is a little man growing inside of me now. I just hope some day I have a little girl so this little boy has someone (other than his mom) to protect.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


My man has been urging me to take a photo of my belly so we can chart the progress, and I have to say in the beginning I really wasn't into it, because really, it just looked like a full stomach after a big, delicious meal.

But now that I am starting to "pop," I kind of wish I gave in to his urges because it really is amazing to see the changes my body is going through.

We'll see if he convinces me to do it...

Walk A Mile in Another Man's Shoes

I am curious what shoes YOU are wearing today? If you feel it in your SOUL, send me a pic of what your shoes look like today.

Tuesday's Shoes

Tuesday's Shoes:
Black patent Michael Kors Wedges with striped cork sole.
These are usually quite comfortable, but I walked to the mall during a quick lunch today and the black patent on the sole got so hot from the friction of my feet.
Now I am starting to bring 2 pairs of shoes to work everyday: a pair of flats and a pair of heels.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday's Shoes

Oh, and today's shoes are black patent pumps with contrasting white trim. I am avoiding the flats as much as I can...and I am loving my pink toes.

Finding out the Sex...or Not?

"To find out the baby's sex or not to find out the baby's sex"...that is the question.

We always said if we were lucky enough to get pregnant, that we'd want the gender to be a surprise at birth. It felt to my husband and me like this might be one of life's last great surprises...and then, I got pregnant...and something changed.

I HAD to know what was inside me. I needed to know just as much as the doctors knew about my growing baby, and learning the sex before the birth is just part of the information we now can have, thanks to modern medicine.

I did feel a little guilty reneging on the deal my husband and I made, saying we'd wait and let it be a surprise. But I really did realize that the reason I was okay with it being a surprise was because I always thought we'd have a boy first. I don't know why it is, but I just have always pictured us with a little boy. Of course, I'd love to be lucky enough to have a girl someday, too. I am very close with my own mom, and plus, I think girls take care of their moms when they get old. So yes, for purely selfish reasons, I hope I someday have a little girl, but I've always, always always pictured our first baby having a weenie. So I thought, "Okay, let's not find out the gender. Because it's going to be a boy, anyway."

Secretly, for the past couple of years, I have been stashing away baby boy clothing that I find on clearance sale, and my husband has already started a sizeable collection of Star Wars, Lakers, & Dodgers onesies, which I have already informed him will be "bedazzled" if indeed we find out we're having a girl.

So now that we are about a week away from finding out the gender, I cannot contain my excitement. And of course, after all my preconceived ideas that we'd spawn a male child first, for some reason, I keep thinking this one might just be a girl. But therein lies the fun of not knowing yet --- even though we are not waiting until delivery day to learn which public restroom our baby will have to use, finding out next week will be a big surprise, too! And as I am quickly reminded by other new parent friends "Trust me, there are enough surprises that come with a new born that overshadow the surprise of which gender box they'll check."

I think everyone has to choose what's right for them, and who knows? Maybe with the second one, we'll decide to be patient and not find out until d-day. However for now, I am just giddy with excitement to find out what it is. We have already picked out our nursery bedding options, and depending on what it is, we will pull the trigger and make the purchase and then we can really get started on our dream nursery. And I really think I'll connect with the baby more once I know all there is to know about it at this stage.

Apparently, there is a new over-the-counter test from CVS drugs that can detect the baby's gender with an 80% accuracy rate. I just found out about this last week, otherwise, if it was earlier in the pregnancy, I just might have forked over the $35 for a chance to find out earlier...Then I realized, that's at least 1/3 of the cost of the Burberry jacket I am saving up to buy for my baby...boy? Or girl? Oh who knows, either one will both look smashing in it!

Plus, at this point if I can't even have the patience to wait one more week to find out, then I'll never be able to wait the whole 9 months...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Red Shoes

Today, the shoes are red patent, low-heeled pumps. They are uber comfortable and help me with the Monday Blues because just looking at their bright color makes me happy. The pink toe nails are a little too Valentines Day-ish, but I have to roll with it.

We had a wonderful Father's Day weekend, but now I feel very tired. It was special to see my dad and my father-in-law in the same day, although our visits never seem long enough.

I wish everyone a great start to their week and will be writing more soon...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Now Showing --- my bump!

Well, I think I am officially showing...Passerbys on the street might think I just downed a few too many Sam Adams last night, but I know better. What I am rockin' is not a beer belly, a one-two many milkshakes belly, or just some extra fat (although I am sure there is some of that, too), but rather it is a tummy with a baby inside. Weird...
Getting dressed for work in the morning is starting to be a challenge because my regular clothes are getting tight and my maternity clothes are still too big. I am sure this won't be the case for long.
I have just discovered Old Navy Maternity clothes --- and while I have yet to try any on, they seem to have a great selection and are affordable. I also love browsing at the gorgeous maternity clothes at Twilite Moon and Isabella Oliver, but these are a bit pricier and part of my nesting instincts is a new found frugality. (Sorry, hubby, but this probably won't last after the little baby arrives...or maybe it will...we do have to pay to raise this child, after all?)
Anyhow, I thought since this blog is called "Shoe-zen" I would post frequently what shoes I am wearing, just for fun. Today's shoes are not very exciting at all, but they are comfortable, trusty black pumps made of faux snake skin. The say you can't really know someone till you've walked around in their shoes for a while, so here's the next best thing to wearing my shoes - checking them out!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Thoughts on being pregnant...

Is it weird that I sometimes forget that I am pregnant? I mean, can this really be happening? Is there really something growing inside of me? Just writing the words "I am pregnant" feels so strange and unreal.

It makes me wonder, at what point will it feel real? When will I really feel like a bona fide mom-to-be? Will it be when the first visible sign of a bump starts to appear? Or will it be the first time I feel my wee one kick, a possible sign that a mini-Beckham is growing inside of me? (Secretly, I am hoping for a Tiger, Kobe, or A Rod because I much prefer watching golf, basketball, or baseball to soccer….but of course, that’s not up to me…) I really want to know when it will sink in because right now all I feel is tired, hungry, and oh, did I mention exhausted?
I am cutting myself some slack, because after all, by some miracle called life, I am making another human. I joke with my husband sometimes when he gets home from work, “How was your day, honey?” I tease. “What did you do today?”

He answers with some pat answer, and I respond, “Oh, really, because I made some toes.”

All joking aside, it really is amazing that all this is going on inside me and I have little to do with it. Other than eating right (isn’t ice cream a grand source of calcium), exercising (online shopping can burn up to 100 calories an hour – more if you use Ebay), and trying to get as much rest as possible, I am taking a back-seat to what Mother Nature has been doing for centuries. It’s like being on pro-creation autopilot. I know there are a lot of maneuvers happening beneath the hood, and though I am in the driver’s seat, I may as well be asleep at the wheel because my body is just doing its thang. You go, Mother Nature. Let me know when I need to push or do something else strenuous…but until then, I get to be along for the ride as new changes happen everyday for my growing baby.

I have a new sense of calm and peace, and while my life is not perfect, I am making a baby and nothing can feel more significant in my life than that right now. The fact that my husband might be sent away for 4 months for work, or the fact that one of my huge projects at my job might get pushed until the month I am due, well I can’t really worry about those things right now, can I? Normally both of those predicaments might send me into a frenzy, but now what good is the stress going to do me? All I can do is wait until I know for sure what is happening and then deal with the situations as they arise.

But what I do try to deal with on daily basis are the new and constant changes my body is going through, like my acne-of-a-6th grader, my expanding waist, and my uncomfortable stomach pains due to the digestion problem-of-the-day.

So far, I have been blessed not to have bad morning sickness or any other dramatic health problem. I realize what I have is a gift and I am intent on not taking it for granted.

The first week I knew I was expecting, I think I listened to Maxwell’s “This Woman’s Work” about three dozen times on repeat. I needed to hear a song like that to help me focus in hopes that the reality of the situation would hit me. But the truth is, even when my belly is so big I can’t see my own feet, or when the baby is kicking so much in my tummy I feel like it deserves to be grounded for acting with such aggression, I still feel like none of it will actually seem believable until I am in the delivery room, trying to bring this tiny baby into the world…and when I feel those contractions and hear that tiny cry, that is I imagine when it will feel so real I won’t even remember the acne, exhaustion, or feelings of some surreal creature existing inside me…it will finally feel…real.

Joy Feast Love

This is a picture of my fabulous writers' group, The Joy Feast Club, at Tula's wedding. We need a blond in the group, no?

Baby's First Wedding

On Saturday, Peapod attended her first wedding. Our dear friends, Tula & Steve, wed in style at the hip Marvimon House in downtown Los Angeles.

We enjoyed a delicious Chinese banquet and had a splendid time with close friends, eating, laughing and dancing all while celebrating the marriage of a couple very much in love. Watching others drink wine was a bit torturous for me in my condition, but I did steal a few whiffs here and there. Also, it felt so crazy to dance with a little person inside of me. When my moves got a little rough, it felt like I had a swallowed a submarine sandwich whole and it was just rocking back and forth in my belly. Weird! The bride has a very cool design blog of her own, www.whorange.net, so you can get a sense of the wonderful & stylish vibe of the wedding.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

We enjoyed a nice holiday weekend in town for a change.  A lot has happened in the past year.  A year ago today, we were on a plane headed for Tokyo, and then to Hawaii to celebrate our first anniversary.  Now, we are sticking much closer to home - saving money we'd spend on flights and vacations for our little pea pod and trying to nest as much as possible.  It still feels so early to start getting the nursery ready, but there is a lot of home organization that I need to take care of before the tiny infant arrives.  

Luckily, this weekend I was able to make some headway cleaning out my closets and our desk area.  Those that know me well know I am a bit of a pack rat, especially when it comes to sentimental items or clothes.  If it still fits, it's just hard to get rid of, but I am getting more ruthless lately and my "to donate" pile of clothes is growing everyday,  possibly thanks to the pregnancy nesting hormones.  

We wanted to make sure we had some fun this weekend, too.  On Sunday morning, we enjoyed brunch at Duke's in Malibu with our friends, Justin and Kelly.  We were so excited to learn that Kelly is actually pregnant with her first baby, too, and she is due about a month before me, so naturally we had tons to talk about Sunday morning.  Sitting by the water at Duke's, eating waffles and fresh fruit and trying to spot dolphins in the Pacific was a great way to spend the morning and made me appreciate living in Southern California.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Palm Springs for Jessica's Birthday

This photo was taken last weekend in Palm Springs.  Kiko and I ventured to Palm Springs on Saturday for our friend Jessica's 30th birthday celebration.  Some day we'll tell pea pod about the wild and crazy party it attended while in utero, but I think we'll save the full story until it's in college.  I actually managed to stay out until midnight which was amazing, and it was wonderful seeing some friends I hadn't seen in a while...and since I was one of the only sober ones, I can now fill them all in on everything that happened that they might not remember...

I think this picture makes me look more "pregnant" than I really am.  Kiko is urging me to take photos of my belly, but I haven't given in yet...I am sure by the time I really "pop," I'll regret not documenting what I looked like before...we'll see...


Today is the anniversary of my maternal Grandmother's death. We called her "Dado," (pronounced dad-oh) and even though the name sounds similar to "dad," she was 100% lady. My oldest brother, Robbie, named her that when he was about 2 years old and the name stuck. I never knew her as anything else. Even friends and neighbors that had known her for years referred to her as Dado.

I could write for days about her and what she meant to me, but for some reason, now that I have a little person growing inside of me, I find myself thinking about her more and more in a different way than ever before. She was so many things to so many different people, but at her core she was a true southern woman who just wanted to make those around her happy. She brought me so much joy as a child and always made me feel special. It was a gift to spend time with her because she showered me and her other grandchildren with attention. One of my favorite activities we did together was making doll hats out of Styrofoam cups. It was a simple, and probably highly toxic process: we'd melt the Styrofoam cups in the oven until the bottoms of the cups curled up like little hat brims, then we'd dig into her sewing box for scraps of ribbon, silk flowers, loose sequins, buttons, and other treasures. Each hat we'd make would be unique and I don't know what was more fun - making them with her or putting them on my dolls later to admire our handy work and creativity.

We also loved making mud-pies (out of dirt, not coffee ice cream), doing Shrinky-Dinks, playing the piano, watching "The Fall Guy," and taking outings to the 99-cent store, Fed Co, and Mc Donald's. She sewed doll clothes for all my dolls, got me hooked on cream cheese on raisin bread sandwiches and used to get mad at me when I'd say, "I have to pee."

Her pat response when I'd use a vulgar word like "pee," would be: "Tootie, that's not very lady-like. You should say 'I need to use the restroom.'"

We also had to refer to "farts" as "fanny burps," which in my opinion is way more tortuous to a little kid than just getting the short word "fart" out and over with. Fanny burp just seems to linger on the tongue. Yuck.

But now that I am going to give my own parents a grandchild of their own, I can't help but get excited over how they'll influence my own kids. I know their relationship will be special and I know they will share something far different than my relationship with them.

Grandparents are just special, and today especially I remember Dado with love and fondness. She is always a part of me and even though I wish I could have made her a great-grandmother, I know somewhere she will be looking down on me, making sure I teach my kids to speak like proper young ladies and gentlemen, and encouraging my own crafty activities with my kids. Her gentle-loving spirit calms me when I worry about the future. Somehow I just feel comforted knowing that she loved me and remembering what she was like.

Friday, May 15, 2009

It's Friday...I'm Pregnant

Oh, the many joys that come with being pregnant. Yes, it is a beautiful thing but there are so many things about making a little human that no one tells you. And luckily, I am not going to tell you either...because most of those details aren't fun to read or write about. But it is just amazing how my life is affected already by this unborn child.

For instance, the timing of popping my prenatal. Ask anyone who takes a multi-vitamin, and they will likely tell you that you should not take a vitamin on an empty stomach unless you are hoping to feel junky and you enjoy puking. Being pregnant only heightens this sensation of dizziness and nausea. And you are always hungry. So not only do I have to remember to eat my Wheaties, some fruit, AND yogurt before I swallow my pre-nate to keep from ralphing, but I have to keep continually eating throughout the day otherwise I start to feel sick. (not the vitamin's fault, I don't think...) If I don't eat every couple of hours, I start to feel dizzy, and it's like the little pea pod is sitting upright in my stomach, with a fork in one hand and a knife in the other, banging the utensils on the imaginary kitchen table in my uterus, chanting "Me want food...me want food..." Okay, little guy. Tranquilo...1 Gala apple and some Sun Chips coming up.

Now I am not complaining, actually. I love food, but there are just so many things you have access to in a Century City high rise that sound good. Why isn't there an ice cream man in the vicinity of my office? Oh, to hear those bells chirping down the street.

Luckily, our office manager keeps a stash of Ritz Bits, Sun Chips, and granola bars on hand in our office, but when I really want a cup of mashed potatoes or a mini-pulled pork sandwich smothered in bbq sauce, what's a working pregnant girl to do?

I have been very fortunate with the nausea and have only up-chucked once so far, and I am positive it was because I took the vitamin on a mainly empty stomach, so I am not complaining. It's just that who knew someone could feel hungry ALL DAY LONG...and I still have 6 more months to go...

Too bad I work at A&E and not the Food Network...would write more but need a snack....

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Peapod / AKA Alien Baby

Foreword: Okay, first off please note the previous two posts were written in late February/early March, before I knew I was exepecting....

Here's our baby timeline:

3/13 - The day after I got back from being in NYC on a business trip, I found out I was expecting.

4/8 - First prenatal doctor's appointment where we saw the heartbeat & had the first ultrasound.

5/8 - We heard the heartbeat the first time, which sounded like a freight train. Crazy!

5/13 - Then today, we had our second ultrasound and Kiko and I were both in awe of the little dude or dudette as we watched it on the monitor. We saw the little peapod actually moving around, which just made it seem so much more real. For the most part, he/she was sleeping but the dr. kept moving the machine around trying to wake it up so he could see it from other angles. It really does look like an alien (but a cute alien!) because of the big, buggy eye sockets. Ah, the miracle of life...
Most of the time today, the doctor said it was sleeping. We saw its little legs which were crossed at the ankles, almost like it was in a meditation pose. A couple of times it waved its arms and the doctor said it was doing the Macarena. Lord, let's hope not! Ha!
The only bad thing from today was that the nurse told me I needed to stop wearing high heels...Hmm...I think NOT.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I want an Oompa-loompa....NOW...

I want a baby. It’s hard not to obsess over something once you’ve decided you wanted it. Whether it’s a certain job, a man, or a new pair of shoes, I like to set my sights on a goal and then work hard till I achieve it. Maybe the same will be true with the process of trying for a baby. I know it’s not always easy and it doesn’t always happen right away (or ever, sometimes, I need to be realistic.) But it’s important to make the process of trying to conceive fun.

Side note: I like to get lost in thoughts of what my baby will look like. Will he have dark beautiful curls and smooth tan skin like my husband? Or will he inherit my family’s prominent nose and deep set eyes? What will his voice sound like when he cries, because I am sure occasionally he’ll cry….and what if he is actually a she?

While it is fun to daydream about what characteristics our love child will have, first we have to get him here. So what’s the best way to do that? Well, duh. I know how…but how often and when? Is there any truth to a special fertility diet? And positions? How do you get “to work” without actually making it feel like a job? I feel like it's something you just "let happen..." but we'll see...

My good girlfriend suggested getting my female parts checked out before we really get into it, like taking your car in for a tune-up before a cross-country drive…but do I just need to give it a try and then check our progress? I've never really been into to preventative autocare. I like to be more reactionary...

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Bitten by the Baby Bug

“Beautiful linen crib sheets…100% organic cotton bumper...Ooh, click for alternate images. Wow...” Repeat after me: I will not look at nursery bedding online. I will not look at nursery bedding online, while I am in my office and need to be working. I will not look at nursery bedding online…and fantasize about my dream nursery…My dream nursery with Wedgewood blue colored walls, hand-painted animal silhouettes on the wall above the white wooden crib painted in lead-free paint, and the cozy eco-friendly glider strategically placed by the window…I will not do any of this…before I am even PREGNANT.

My name is Susan. And I want a baby.

Let me back up. I wonder if there are other women like me: young(ish), professional women who have always dreamed of having a family but have never actually been certain about when the right time would be to take that next step. I always figured the steps would be fairly simple: I’d have a stimulating, fulfilling career, marry a handsome, hard-working and compassionate man, and eventually we’d just know when the time was right to begin having a family. (Side note: I was raised and married in the Catholic church, so technically the time to begin having a family was right after the honeymoon, but that was never our plan.)

In this moment, I am more concerned about my own decision as a woman to know when the time is right to become a mom. And I am beginning to think that, like other things in life, there is no predetermined “right time” ---it just happens and you feel it and it’s right. And I think that time might be now. The signs are everywhere. About a year ago, my doctor started gently nudging me as my 30th birthday approached, hinting that I should really start thinking about starting a family. I was aghast. Was she joking? I didn’t feel like I was in the right place professionally or financially to take on the responsibility of motherhood. Then, she looked at me with her warm brown eyes and poker-face medical professional facial expression and said “Susan, it will never be the right time financially or professionally to have a baby. You just have to go for it. It will always mean sacrifice and it will always mean juggling priorities, but it will always be worth it.” Her words stuck with me as I left her office, but it wasn’t until now, almost a year later, that I began to think that maybe I am starting to believe her.

The strangest thing now is that while my husband has been ready since about 2 months after we said our vows, I have been the hesitant one. Because it is my career that will be most affected. Because though I know he’ll be a wonderful, hands-on father, I also know that ultimately a bulk of the responsibility will fall to me. I’ll have to figure out how much time I can take off work. I’ll have to obsess over whether we let the baby cry it out. I’ll have to decide what to feed him (or her!), etc. There are just certain things I think always fall primarily on a mother’s shoulders.

So without a lot of forethought, suddenly, incredibly, I feel like Ally McBeal with that damned dancing baby…I am suddenly and completely obsessed with the idea of having a baby. It started off gradually when I would notice myself becoming inappropriately overly enthusiastic when I’d learn that an acquaintance was expecting. I’d want to know all the details – how long before they knew they were pregnant, what symptoms they were experiencing, were they going to find out the sex, what style did they want for the nursery décor, etc. Then this excitement evolved into longer stares at strangers’ babies at the mall or in restaurants, detours at the book store to the maternity aisle, quick browses through informational sites like
babycenter.com and thecradle.com. Gradually, I started positioning myself to be spending more and more time with my friends who had babies and I was growing ever more inquisitive and bold with each visit. When I stayed with a friend and her three month old for a week and I found myself pleading with her to let me change his diaper I knew something was going on…something that I hadn’t consciously thought about or something that I hadn’t really decided on, but it just happened.

Something awakened inside of me and I can’t put it to rest.

It manifests itself in the endless online searches for the perfect nursery bedding and the tireless research of how to chart my basal body temperature. And while a lot of my desires to be a mom seem to present themselves through the urge to spend money on material items like baby clothes, bedding, books, etc. what I really realize at the heart of everything is I just want a baby to snuggle. Some little creature who will be a part of me and my husband, who I will care for and raise into (I hope!) a creative and compassionate human being. When I dream of the perfect nursery it is only because I picture myself in it, rocking my little one to sleep, looking into his or her squinty eyes and hoping the kid knows just how loved and adored he or she really is. And when I picture those walls it’s not because I am obsessed with home décor, but it’s because I love the idea of a home filled with busy toddlers and dogs, bustling with energy and intrigue and just generally full of life.

So here’s to the realization that maybe my life is about to change, if I am so blessed. Maybe someday soon my online shopping sprees will shift from shoe sales at Saks.com to burp cloth sales at Babies R Us. Either way, it feels good to acknowledge what is really going on and that somehow, slowly, I’ve been bitten by the bug…that pesky, persistent, want-to-be-a-mom bug. . .