Thursday, December 23, 2010

happy anniversary

Three years ago today, Gus and I got married in the Little White Chapel in Vegas ... drive-thru style! Two days before we got married, we had gotten into a car accident in downtown Minneapolis and had to file a claim with insurance. So, it seems only fitting that no sooner has that accident come off our record that someone hits my parked car last night and smashes in the back door on the driver's side. Happy Anniversary!

Monday, December 13, 2010

disappointed

I had my first postpartum sushi at Hanabi with Jenn and Baby J, and I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. It just didn't taste right. I thought perhaps all the pregnancy hormones were messing with my palate, but my disappointment was confirmed last week after I learned this little nugget of knowledge from our friend D, via Gus.

D is Chinese. D went to Hanabi and heard the employees speaking Chinese, so he began asking about their business. It turns out that Hanabi is owned by a company out of New York that goes around opening Japanese restaurants in towns of less than 100,000 people. Essentially, Hanabi is a chain restaurant. Twice a week C and D grade fish is flown into Duluth from New York and then sold at A grade prices to the unsuspecting residents of Duluth.

While I can't say that it was the worst sushi I have ever had because that statement is reserved for the place in Minneapolis that gave me food poisoning and has since closed, for what it is, it costs to much. It's a pretty slick idea on the part of this company though because people around here think it is fantastic. I'm certainly not going to boycott the place since I can't imagine that Zen House or the new Osaka has better fish (although this is purely speculation at this point since I haven't experienced either), I just wish Hanabi cost less.

rounding the bend

Several moms have told me that things start to get easier at about 6-8 weeks. While my exhausted body was skeptical, I must say, I believe they were right. The first weeks of motherhood were really difficult for me. In retrospect, I think that the fact that it took my body so long to recover physically took a huge toll on me emotionally. On top of which, the sleepless nights were not allowing my body the rest it needed to heal.

But I'm now 9 weeks postpartum, and I am finally starting to feel back to normal both physically and emotionally. I am only about 4-5 lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight, although I'd like to lose another 4-5 lbs after that too. I'm fitting into nearly all my pre-baby clothes - except some of my tops are tight because my boobs got HUGE! I've been able to workout at home, although I sort of took a hiatus last week because I've been tired from working and getting up every few hours to pump.

Baby J gets more adorable every day, if that is even possible. The first time the doctor handed her to me, I thought she was beautiful. As I see her filling out and losing her newborn look, I cannot believe how freakin' cute she is becoming! Her little smiles and coos make my heart melt even at 4:00 a.m., when I am exhausted and just want her to go back to sleep.

The hell that was Baby J's labor and delivery is slowly starting to fade as I see her grow and flourish. She's one healthy baby, who still at 9 weeks old, eats every two hours. Even the memory of the first few postpartum weeks that left me in tears almost everyday is fading away.  And in spite of my overwhelming love for the little life that I have created, I stand by my statement that we are one and done!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

may your days be merry and bright

Joy And Happiness Christmas 5x7 folded card
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

dear santa ...

Dear Santa,

This year I would like a little job security for Christmas. Every time I feel like I'm digging myself out of the hole and getting back to solid footing, we get hit with another bout of bad luck. Yesterday at work, a good portion of the staff meeting was spent discussing cuts to local government funding, budget cuts, possible downsizing of city staff, etc. and it is very worrisome for me. We JUST moved here, JUST bought a house, and JUST had a baby. I'd like to think that I won't need to be looking for another job so soon, but despite all the enumerated reasons in my favor, I really don't want to end up in the situation that I found myself in back in April 2009. At my last job, I was told not to worry and then BOOM, out of a job. I wish they would have been more up front with me about the reality of the situation and at least I could have started networking and getting out there to find a new job. At this point, if I end up losing this job, I think we just give up. I mean there is only so much a person can do. I say this, but at the same time I've been scouring the job websites for both me and Gus. So if you want to drop some job security down my chimney this Christmas, it would be much appreciated. Thanks much!

Nina

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

the good, the bad, and the ugly

THE GOOD ...
  • Juliet has had two pretty good nights, since her three day crying binge. Gus may beg to differ. He said that two nights ago he was jealous of me because in the middle of the night all I have to do is get up and pump. He feeds the baby, changes her, and puts her back to sleep.
  • My milk supply seems to be pretty good and we haven't had to supplement with formula for well over a week now.
  • Juliet is adorable and I cannot believe how much I love her even though she is a TON of work and it is HARD.
  • Gus has bought the fixings for a Thanksgiving feast re-do. I was a bit disappointed in my Thanksgiving Day meal. Not because the food wasn't delicious, because it was amazing - more because I felt like I didn't actually eat enough. I was worried about who was holding the baby and whether she needed to be fed or changed or held by her mom.
THE BAD ...
  •  I'm feeling really badly about poor Carl Rove. He is such a sweet, sweet dog and I know he deserves more attention than we have been able to give him. He really would like to run around A LOT more, but unfortunately for awhile he had taken to running away, which means he is more restricted in his outside time. He has been so good with the baby and so patient with the fact that I have not been able to give him the attention he deserves that I think he should get some sort of reward. I made him an appointment to get a bath next week - not sure if that is a reward though?
  • I've been having a hard time emotionally. Some days are awful and some days are better. Yesterday and today seem like better days. Last Tuesday through this Monday were awful. I've been feeling withdrawn and reserved, like I need to conserve whatever energy I have to taking care of the basic needs of Juliet, Carl, and myself - in that order. I just totally don't feel like myself. I have been trying to find a counselor and am going to go see the OB tomorrow. Hopefully, I can start feeling like myself again soon. You know it is bad when I've stopped even enjoying delicious food and I'm just eating whatever is available for the sustenance alone.
THE UGLY ...

  • The Thanksgiving trip to Chicago was pretty awful. Both mom and baby were left crying at various times throughout the trip. We left Tuesday night and spent the night in Wisconsin Dells. At which point, I was quite certain that Gus hated me because otherwise he never would have forced me to take an 8 hour road trip to Chicago with a 6 week old that necessitated me to have to pump in a McDonald's bathroom.
  • There is this squirrel that has been trying to get in our house through the old - not used anymore - chimney. The opening to the house had been covered but the squirrel was scratching at it. Gus caulked it, but the squirrel kept scratching through the caulk. After being gone several days of the holiday, the squirrel finally managed to get in. Last night I saw it coming up the stairs from the basement and Carl chased it back down. Gus managed to corner it in the laundry room and RIP squirrel. That's critter #2 that Gus has eliminated from our home. I feel badly that it had to die, but I really didn't want that squirrel in my house.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

one month

We've made it one month. Me, Baby J, Gus, and Carl Rove are one big happy sleep deprived (or exercise deprived in Carl's case) family. I feel like I'm always needing to make the statement that I really love Baby J - mostly because I feel guilty that I don't really love waking up in the middle of the night and pumping or nursing. I have a feeling that I definitely won't miss that, when and if it ever passes. Gus told me this evening that he will miss having to stay up with her all night ... which again sent me sailing towards the edge of sanity because it makes me feel guilty. Like am I bad mom because I know I won't miss those things? Gus also holds the baby all.the.time. I love to hold and cuddle with the baby, but sometimes I need to do laundry, feed myself, do the dishes, etc. Gus will just sit on the couch all.day.long. watching television and holding the baby. It gives me a chance to get some stuff around the house done, but it again makes me feel guilty that I don't want to sit still all day long holding the little one. Gus and I are just different. I'm still working on accepting that simply because I don't hold her all the time like Gus is not an indication that I'm a bad parent. I mean, she needs clean clothes too, right?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

mommy's & baby's day out

Baby J and I took our first solo field trip the other day. We had lunch with my good friend and co-worker Jenn at Hanabi for my first postpartum sushi. Baby J was a perfect little angel and snoozed all the way through lunch. While I was happy for sushi, I admit that I do miss Origami and Sakura. Of course, it's better than nothing!

I'm feeling more confident about taking Baby J out on my own now and can't wait to get her out on the town and show her off! Unfortunately, I'm exhausted. So exhausted that I feel like I am getting sick - super sore throat and achy. Yesterday was the first day that I didn't nurse and instead pumped exclusively. I'm pumping every three hours around the clock. We had enough milk yesterday, but we had to dip into the freezer stash, which has since been depleted because it wasn't that stocked to begin with. I guess we'll find out today whether or not my supply is actually going to keep up with Baby J. I've been trying to do some research on pumping to make sure I'm doing everything I can to keep up the supply. I have been taking fenugreek and drinking Mother's Milk tea like it is my job.

If Baby J keeps up this growth rate, she's going to be huge!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

just a bit more whining

I'm going to bitch just a bit more ... or maybe A LOT more. The whole nursing thing is hard for me - perhaps more difficult mentally rather than physically although I'm feeling pretty physically exhausted and dehydrated as well, which hasn't helped my cankles much.

Baby J doesn't really like to eat all at once. She's more of a grazer like her Mommy. But it results in ultra long feeding sessions. I let her eat off both sides after which she usually falls asleep so I change her and then let her eat off both sides again. After her second feed, I try to get her to go back to sleep or settle down long enough for me to pump whatever might be left so I have a bit extra stored up just in case I am napping and Gus wants to feed her a bottle. It is A LOT of work.

In addition to it being A LOT of work, I don't enjoy nursing. I don't like pulling my boobs out. I don't like having my nips sucked on. I hate the leaking and dripping. I do want Baby J to get all the health benefits of breast milk, but I don't really seem to feel the closeness with her while nursing that some mothers describe. Don't get me wrong, I love to cuddle with Baby J - just not when there is breast milk dripping in places that I would prefer it wouldn't drip. I like my bonding time to be snuggled up under a blanket with Baby J.

I've been pumping and bottle feeding more and more these days. I'm getting to the point where I'd really like to be an exclusive pumper. The only thing I worry about is how it might affect my supply to not have Baby J doing the sucking. Based on the research I've done, there can be concerns with supply, if the mother only pumps. But, I've talked with other mothers who have exclusively pumped and never had a problem with supply. I'm hoping to move towards more pumping and less actual nursing.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

the first two weeks

When we graduated from college, I remember one of my classmates describing her Carleton experience as one of the most challenging experiences of her life. Prior to having my daughter, I would have had to agree with her. But really? The past two weeks have been particularly challenging for me.

The first week, my body was still such a mess that I could barely take care of myself let alone a newborn. Gus did most of the work that week. He changed diapers and stayed awake all night comforting Juliet. It got to a point where not only was I feeling awful physically, but my confidence as a new mom was starting to erode. I would watch Gus with Juliet and he seemed like such a natural and I was setting him as my standard for parenting. He would hold her 24/7, sing and talk to her, play with her, etc. Pretty much all I could handle was feeding her (and I was barely handling that) and trying to get myself to and from the bathroom.

The second week the breast feeding really was sending me to the edge. We had put a chair in the baby's room, but it was so uncomfortable to sit in for hours on end, which is what our marathon feeding sessions were ending up being. I had the laptop in there with me, but our wireless connection is screwed up and would need to be reset often. So if I happened to forget to reset it before I sat down to nurse (which was often by the way), I was stuck sitting in an uncomfortable chair for an hour plus staring at a wall with an infant attached to me. It got to the point where I literally did not want to feed my child and then I felt guilty because I didn't want to feed the baby. It brought me to tears for three days in a row last week.

Fortunately, I think we finally found a plan that works for us. It involves me pumping more often and Juliet getting a bottle every other feeding. Plus we've moved the baby operation to the family room where the comfy couch is located and at least you can watch Netflix on the TV. More comfortable accommodations and less nursing has done wonders for my mental health. I've been getting more sleep because Gus is bottle feeding through the night and that has also helped a ton.

We've made it to week three and I have been feeling much better. However, I did speak with a nurse practitioner yesterday about postpartum depression. She helped me realize that I have been setting my expectations too high. I am doing a good job as a mother and I am bonding with my baby. Just because I don't want to hold my daughter 24/7 or look at her and feel like she is my entire life, does not mean that I am detached or not developing a bond with my child. I love Juliet and I fully intend to keep her safe and feed her, even when I am exhausted and would rather sleep. She helped me see that this is enough and I am developing that bond with my baby. We decided that I probably am not in need of drugs to treat depression, but the nurse practitioner did recommend that I see a counselor, which can't be a bad idea.

So while the first two weeks were really hard for me, I think I'm starting to feel much better and I am enjoying my time with my little adorable one.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

she's here!

Juliet Jean Seri arrived at 8:06 p.m. on October 9, 2010. I've been wanting to start blogging about her, but between nursing, diaper changing, keeping up with the house, and recovering from labor and delivery I've had my hands full. Here's the recap:

October 8, 2010
9:00 p.m.: My water breaks except it wasn't like the traditional gush you see in the movies. It was more like a slow leak that I didn't really realize was amniotic fluid until we did some internet research and called the nurse on call at the hospital.
11:30 p.m.: Check-in at the hospital. doctor gave me a few hours to get my labor started on its own.

October 9, 2010
4:00 a.m. (or so): Contractions weren't producing any cervical change so they started me on Pitocin, which is where the whole thing took a turn for the worse in my opinion. I was able to get a little bit of sleep as my contractions got stronger but I was mostly running on adrenaline.
8:30 a.m. (or so): My contractions were coming about 2-3 minutes apart and they were definitely painful, but manageable. Unfortunately, they were doing nothing for my cervix and so the doctor wanted to start increasing the Pitocin more aggressively.
10:20 a.m.: With the increase in Pitocin every 20 minutes, my contractions went from about a level 5-6 on the pain scale to off the charts in a matter of 10-15 minutes. They started to get so strong that I then knew what people meant when they said it was the worst pain they ever felt in their entire lives. I managed the first 4-5 contractions like this and was continuing to try to "moan" through them like my doula suggested. I was leaned over the bed with either Michaela (doula) or Gus rubbing my back as I moaned, but I eventually could feel myself losing control of the pain and starting to panic. I tried going on the bed on all fours, but it was tough to get there in time for the next contraction and I ended up having one halfway through the transition from standing to the bed. At this point, I was crying because I felt like I was never going to be able to do this and shaking from the pain. I made the decision that I was going to probably need the epidural and so they started me on the bag of fluid that was needed before the epidural could be administered. Well, it takes an entire hour to go through that bag and then you need to wait for the doctor to give you the epidural. The pain is really all a mental game and I think if someone told me that I needed to be in that much pain for a finite period of time, I might have been able to tough it out but I started to panic knowing that it could be several more hours of this.
11:40 a.m. (or so): Anesthesiologist shows up. I was not even bothering trying to relax through these contractions because I knew I was getting the pain meds. I was just tensing up trying to get through each one. I had a hospital gown hiked up to my waist and had to take it off my shoulders so the guy can get at my back. So, I'm naked sitting on a bed trying to do the things they needed me to do - move back on the bed, cross my legs, lift my butt, etc. At one point, when they asked if I could lift my butt up, I just said absolutely not. For crying out loud! Gus was standing in front of me and I had my hands on his shoulders digging my nails into him with each contractions as I struggled to sit still so they only had to poke me once in the spine. I remember the anesthesiologist asking me questions that I couldn't even be bothered to answer because I was in so much pain.
12:00 p.m.: Drugs were flowing and I was lying in bed still feeling the contractions but knowing that they were going to get less and less as the drugs continued their course.
12:15 p.m.: Feeling like a whole new woman. Doctor came into check and found that I had only progressed about 1 inch in dilation, but was totally effaced. So after 8 hours, I was at 3 cm/100%. Seriously? All that pain and I only got 1 cm? Turned out that I had a forebag, which is essentially a second water bag. Because that hadn't ruptured, my labor was not progressing. So doctor ruptured the forebag with what appeared to be a drumstick, but probably wasn't and then said that I should be on my way. He predicted a 9:30 p.m. delivery, which of seemed like hours away ... probably because it was hours away.
3:00 p.m.: The epidural was a godsend and I was able to get some sleep to conserve some energy for the pushing. Nurse checked me and I was at 9.5 cm. I went from 3-9.5 cm in only 3 hours!
4:00 p.m.: My body was ready to push. The nurse suggested I "labor down" for awhile, which essentially means I just lay on my side and let the baby start coming down on its own without pushing.
6:00 p.m.: The real pushing began. Gus holding one leg and Michaela holding the other. The pushing thing was fine in the beginning, but as the time wore on I was starting to get annoyed that it was taking so long. In spite of the epidural, I could still feel the contractions so at least I knew when to push.
7:50 (or so): Apparently, I was stretched to the max and there was quite a bit of blood coming out with every effort to push. I only know this because Gus watched the entire thing and told me later. The whole pushing thing sucked because you could feel how stretched you were and you just had to sit there like that waiting for the next contraction before you could push again. It sort of sucks to have a baby's head sticking partway out of your vagina and then just having to sit there. Anyway, it began to look like an episiotomy was going to be necessary. Gus and I had discussed this procedure at length before we went to the hospital and I had thought that it wouldn't be a good option. However, at this point I just wanted that baby out! That and I was hardly in a position to make a rational decision. Doctor made the cut and baby came out 2 pushes later!
8:06 p.m.: Baby Juliet arrived! I cried. Not sure if it was because I was so happy to see the baby or because I was so happy that pain was over. Little did I know, I had much more pain to deal with but at least that part was done!

Here's a picture of mommy, daddy, and baby ...

It was a long hard road, but we are blessed with an absolutely darling little girl. Sometimes I look at her and can't believe that I have a baby. I love her so much, but don't love the fact that she tore apart my lady parts on the way out. The next morning Gus even said he could see how hard it was for me and that I didn't have to have another baby. He was a champ throughout the whole labor and delivery though. He watched the entire thing and was definitely a participant in the birth process. Our little family is so blessed!

Friday, October 8, 2010

so close yet so far away

I've been waiting for this baby for over a week now. I realize that my due date isn't until Sunday, but for some reason I thought she was going to come early. Every day I tidy up my desk just in case I'm not there the next day. People keep calling, texting, Facebooking, etc. asking if anything has happened yet. I'm so tired of waiting for this. I want to go to Minneapolis so I can go to IKEA, Costco, and Trader Joe's because apparently you can't buy ANYTHING in Duluth. I want to move on with my life. I have been getting lots of positive feedback - doctor said everything looks favorable, doula said that once membranes are stripped that labor usually starts within 24 hours, I'm 1 cm and 80% effaced, etc. But I'm almost at 24 hours since membrane stripping and while my contractions have gotten more intense they have not gotten more consistent. It's such a roller coaster. I feel like it is so close and yet still so v. far away.

Monday, October 4, 2010

i've created a monster

After trying desperately to get Gus to finish certain projects around the house, all of a sudden I can't get him to stop starting new projects. I want to have this baby NOW and I'd like for him to finish up his current projects and then get the house clean for her arrival. I've had to stop him twice today from purchasing more items from Menards to start new projects! Who knew? I think it is his adult ADHD striking again. He simply can't finish one thing before he's on to the next ...

the last weekend of us

Lying in bed on Sunday, the realization hit me that it was probably that last weekend that it was just me, Husband, and Carl. I really enjoy the time I get to spend with Husband and I'm a little nervous of the changing family dynamic. We had a taste of this when we got Carl last winter and it is visibly obvious the shift in family dynamic with just having a puppy. I love to watch Gus play with Carl. Gus is the one that will wrestle with Carl and throw the stick for him for two hours at a time. I'm the one that will cuddle and snuggle with the pup and try to keep him calm. Even just with the puppy, I can see how my relationship with Gus shifted. I imagine it will be similar, but to a much greater degree, with the baby.

I run the gamut of emotions when I think of this baby and how my life is going to change. I'm excited to see what she looks like. Anxious about making sure she is healthy. Scared for labor and delivery. Hopeful that we will be able to give her everything she needs and wants. Unsure of how our life is going to change. I guess it is one of those things you can never be prepared for.

Friday, October 1, 2010

bitchin' kitchen

So the kitchen is about as done as it is going to be for now. And as much as I lamented over the construction time, Gus did a beautiful job. Once he gets the counters cleared of all his nails, screws, tools, etc. I'll post some pictures. We got the kitchen table back in place last night and even went to Home Depot to look at back splash and light fixtures. Unfortunately, we didn't purchase either because we couldn't find any light fixtures we liked and I simply couldn't look at tile any longer. I gave Gus full control over the back splash situation. I just didn't see anything that I fell in love with, but I'm sure that whatever he chooses will be lovely. He's good like that.

Today he is supposed to be removing the carpet from the living room and rearranging what living room furniture we have, which isn't much. We're on the lookout for perhaps a loveseat and a couple armchairs. I think major construction projects will be over by this weekend and then I'd like to focus on maintaining a clean house and nesting a bit before baby gets here!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

waiting ...

As I near the end of my pregnancy, I've started working only 4 hours per day. So far it has been nice to have more time at home, but it has meant that I just need to cram all my work into 4 hours per day, which has been a bit challenging.

I had been meaning to put together some freezer meals so that we will have something to eat when the baby comes and we are too exhausted to make anything. I was putting it off because I've been waiting for the kitchen to be finished. It is now finished to the point of functional, but there are a few details that need to be attended to. But, last night I was able to assemble a lasagna and get that in the freezer. Tonight I'm hoping to make chili and enchiladas.

Also last night I just got this feeling that the baby is going to come soon. I don't know why I was feeling that way but there was just something about how my body felt that makes me think the baby is close to arrival. I even laid in bed kind of just waiting for something to happen. I'm starting to get scared of the actual labor and delivery. I had a dream last night that it was really easy, but I'm pretty sure it won't be a walk in the park.

Gus is trying to finish the floors in the other half of the kitchen today and then needs to tear out the carpeting in the living room. We'd like to get that done before the baby gets here! But, if she comes as soon as I think she is going to, then we might be out of luck!

Monday, September 27, 2010

sunday funday

As we eagerly await the arrival of Baby Chunglund, my weekends have been filled with washing baby clothes, trying to clean and finish unpacking a house that is still under some state of construction/renovation, lots of knitting, and plenty of naps. I've knit three hats in the last week or so and have two scarves underway.

Yesterday, one of my favorite people, Erica, came through Duluth on her way to Eveleth and we had brunch at Pizza Luce. So far, we've had a hard time finding a good place for brunch in Duluth and even my requests for recommendations have resulted in things such as Perkins and Old Country Buffet ... REALLY? Luce was quite delicious though. I ordered the Truly French Toast, which was stuffed with brie and accompanied by pecan banana syrup and whipped cream. Erica had the Portabella and Eggs and since the 'shrooms were so spicy she gave those to me. They were also delicious - smoky, spicy, mushroom-y. I also partook in their Bloody Mary Bar (virgin, of course), which I was impressed with - lots of fixings. The only things missing were beef sticks and perhaps a shrimp. But I managed to load my drink down with lots of good things - cucumber spear, pickle, extra horseradish, cheese stick, pepperoncini, marinated mushroom, etc. Good stuff.

Later in the afternoon, since the house smelled like the disgusting adhesive that Gus used to attach the back of the cabinet, we decided to take a drive up to Gooseberry Falls to look at leaves and take a little walk. I think Carl thought that we were torturing him by letting him dip his paws in the water, but not letting him run free and splash around.



It was a nice relaxing day and even though not much progress was made on the kitchen on Sunday, I'm glad I got to spend some quality time with my husband before the baby gets here!

Friday, September 24, 2010

seven pounds seven days

Seven Pounds is not just a Will Smith movie (side note - I did enjoy this movie), but it is how much weight I managed to gain in the span of seven days. I'm assuming it is mostly water weight because I think I would have had to eat like 20,000 extra calories over the past week to actually gain 7 lbs. I have however used this pregnancy as somewhat of an excuse to eat things that I normally wouldn't eat. Since this started as a blog of shopping confessions, I thought I could expand that to eating confessions as well -- here's the start of the list:

1) Pop-Tarts
2) gas station cappuccino
3) Costco muffins
4) M&M cookies
5) The Tappy at Erbert's & Gerbert's
6) Starbucks pumpkin bread
7) Pumpkin spice latte

I assure you there is more, but that's all I can think of at the moment.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

sibling rivalry

The car seat has been installed in the car for the last couple of weeks. Carl Rove has ridden in the car twice since the installation of the car seat. The first time he was in the back of the car and when I came out from the grocery store, he had both his front paws in the car seat. The second time was just last night and he was sitting in the back seat next to the car seat with his head inside the car seat. I think Carl is ready for this baby too! I just hope he doesn't get too jealous!

Monday, September 20, 2010

busy weekend

Gus got the appliances back in the kitchen at about 7:00 p.m. on Friday night just in time for us to start putting together the food for my parents' 25th anniversary party at the lake. We prepped until about 1:30 a.m. and then hit the sack for a few hours of sleep before we were on the road to Lake Vermilion.  The party was a success! The weather was gorgeous and we were all able to sit outside and enjoy the last bits of sunshine and warmth. There is nothing better than an afternoon of good food and family!

This past Thursday we also had an evening of good food and family. My cousin Krista threw me and my cousin Samantha a baby shower. So on Sunday I spent the afternoon returning gifts and washing baby clothes. Last night, the whole family - Gus, me, and Carl finished putting the baby's room together. I put a blanket in there for Carl and he slept listening to lullabies even after Gus and I exited the room. Last night I really felt ready and excited for this baby. I can't wait to meet Baby Juliet and watch her sleep in her crib. I hit 37 weeks on Sunday so I'm in the home stretch! She'll be here before we know it!

Monday, September 13, 2010

this is what i learned

After having moderate contractions every 4 minutes for about 3 hours on Friday, the nurse on call told us to head to the hospital. Gus finished packing "the bag" and put the car seat in the car and we headed to the birth place. I was hooked up to the monitor for several hours where my contractions were still coming every 4-5 minutes. So here's what I learned ...

1) When administering a cervical exam, technique is very very important. I've had them about three times throughout this pregnancy and while uncomfortable none of them were painful, much less left me feeling violated until the first one I had administered by a resident doctor. What the nurse practitioner and attending OB-GYN could do with two fingers took this guy TWO HANDS! WTF. I could have sworn his entire arm was in my vagina digging around there for what was probably less than a minute, but felt like forever. When he left, I actually cried thinking about how they would probably have to do that several more times before this baby is born. I mean, I literally was sobbing. I told Gus that I would need an epidural just to get through the pain of a cervical exam. Take home message - don't let the resident doctor do the cervical exam. As both my cousin Sam and I pointed out, this guy probably isn't getting a lot of action with the ladies if that is truly his "technique."

2) When you are in labor, you will not be smiling. While this is my first baby, I don't really know what labor is supposed to feel like. Apparently though, if you are truly in labor and ready to head to the hospital you will likely not be smiling nor will you be talking v. much. Good things to know. The doctors and nurses told me that while I appeared uncomfortable, I was a bit too "smiley" to be having real contractions.

3) Don't go to the hospital until you have stopped smiling or until your water breaks. Now that I know how much fun it is to have a resident doctor stick his entire arm up my vagina, I seriously do not intend to go to the hospital until I absolutely have to. I figure the longer I wait, perhaps the more my cervix dilates thus eliminating a few extra cervical checks?

4) ASK QUESTIONS! The nurse came in towards the end of my stay and told us that the attending OB-GYN had ordered this medicine for me that was supposed to stop the Braxton Hicks contractions. It was in the form of a shot. I HATE SHOTS. Like they literally scare me so I really didn't want one. So Gus and I were trying to ask questions to figure out if I really needed the drug. Turns out the drug is primarily given to alleviate any of the mother's discomfort and to put her mind at ease because the contractions have stopped. Since the contractions weren't harming the baby and the pain was manageable, I opted not to have the drugs. I did have to wait for another hour in order to have this conversation with the attending doctor, but in the end I got out of there drug and shot free.

5) I have the best husband in the world. While he can't possible understand how awful it is for a resident doctor to dig around up in your lady business, he made a point of telling the attending physician that the last internal exam I had was less than pleasant. As such the attending physician told us that it was all technique and that I could let him know if it was painful. When the experienced physician did the exam, it was obviously uncomfortable but not painful and definitely did not leave me feeling violated. Like I said ... two fingers versus two hands - you do the math. So I'm really glad that Gus spoke up for me and I think he will make an excellent birth coach when the time FINALLY comes.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

hey good lookin'

Whatcha got cookin? Kitchen renovations are well underway. I can't believe I forgot to take before pictures of the kitchen so the new kitchen reveal won't be quite as dramatic. I'm starting to get excited though! The cabinets and counters were delivered yesterday. The counters look really nice. Gus even started putting up the drywall yesterday! I'm looking forward to dinner parties at our house and cooking and baking in my new kitchen!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

it's the great pumpkin!

Fall is definitely in the air here. The temps have dropped and I'm starting to think about sweaters, boots, and fall flavors - especially PUMPKIN! I love all things pumpkin - ice cream, bread, cookies, pie, cheesecake, etc. Here are a few things I'm looking forward to enjoying (or have already enjoyed) this fall.

Starbucks - Pumpkin Pie Latte. I had my first one last week! Hopefully, a few more to come. Get the 12 oz with no whipped cream and non-fat milk for only 200 calories. Get 1/2 the amount of syrup and I'm sure you'll shave some more calories off this one too!


DQ Pumpkin Pie Blizzard. I love this Blizzard.Vanilla soft serve blended with pumpkin pie pieces. What's not to love? It's ice cream and pumpkin pie! My tummy doesn't always cooperate when I eat an entire Blizzard so I'll need to indulge in moderation. Moderate indulgence. Oxymoron?


Frosted Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts. This is apparently new and limited edition to boot. I'm on the hunt already. I think I'll try Cub and then Target. I told Jenn that I'd share with her if I find them. Typically, I'm not a huge Pop Tart fan mostly because they can't really be all that good for you. But this is special, right?


I also started burning my mulled cider candle, which has made my house smell delightful and takes my mind away from the fact that all my kitchen items are in my living room, there is no drywall in the kitchen, and I have no kitchen appliances to speak of.

Monday, September 6, 2010

it's done (almost) ... finally

There was a lot of complaining and a few tears on my part - just ask Jenn, but the nursery is finished (almost) and it looks amazing. I'm so happy with how it turned out. We have a couple more pictures to hang and then it will be complete. Now I just hope that the last two ultrasound techs were correct and we are having a girl - or that our little boy likes pink and likes the name Juliet ...

I think we are ready (or as close as we will ever be) ... bring on the BABY! Next up is the kitchen. 6 layers of wallpaper, 2 layers of wood paneling, and 3 layers of linoleum on the walls and floors, respectively. And Gus is also rewiring the kitchen before the new floors, cabinets, countertops, and a dishwasher! Let's hope this turns out well.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

39 days and counting

I've been feeling the wonders (*sarcasm font) of pregnancy recently. I dread going to lay down in my bed despite being exhausted because I know I will wake up one bazillion times in the middle of the night with a sore right hip and will probably be almost physically unable to waddle myself to the bathroom to pee for the umpteenth time that night. I truly think my body was not designed to handle all this weight that has settled in on my abdomen. I CANNOT WAIT for this baby to be outside my body. The discomfort, pain, and lack of sleep has brought me to tears more times than I care to count over the past two weeks. 39 days and counting ...

Monday, August 23, 2010

adventures with the chunglunds

This weekend we went to Minneapolis to say farewell to friends and attend a baby shower thrown by my two best friends. Carl Rove made the trip with us because he was going to see his puppy friends at Downtown Dog for the weekend. We were also going to return the crib that Gus's parents had given us because it had gotten damaged during shipping. Unfortunately, the Rav4 is not really that big so Carl Rove spent Friday night in a car sitting on a crib box. Every time we went around a curve or had to brake, his little puppy claws made holes in the box. On top of which, I was feeling bad for the little one anyway because he hadn't had his dinner so I decided to share my sandwich with him. BAD IDEA. A short while later, I noticed an odd smell in the car and when I turned around found that Carl Rove and barfed all over the crib box. Poor pup. Luckily, Babies R Us takes back items that have holes in the boxes and barf all over them. I say, kudos to them.

Aside from puppy barf and the minimum 1/2 hour we lost after stopping for gas due to Gus getting on the freeway going north instead of south and driving at least 15 minutes in the wrong direction, we had a pretty awesome weekend. We got to say goodbye to friends, enjoy some delicious food and drink at Bradstreet Crafthouse, watch the Twins game at the new ballpark, and be showered with gifts at a baby shower on Sunday. Oh and sleep in the wonderful-ness that is the beds at Graves 601. Add to my wish list the pillows and sheets from the hotel. They were heavenly!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

wishin' and hopin'

If I wasn't as large as a bus and waiting to birth a baby, these would be on my fall fashion wish list

Over the knee boots - these Via Spiga ones in particular


This sweater from J Crew. It looks comfy and cozy, like something I would put on every day after work with my sweats.


Talbots seems to have stepped up their game in my opinion. They seem to be coming more in line with Ann Taylor and J Crew and trying to cater to a younger crowd, perhaps? I thought this bag looked like a fun way to add some color to my fall wardrobe.


That is my wish list so far ... I'm sure there are other things that I will be coveting, but I should probably make sure that I can diaper my baby before I blow half a paycheck on a pair of boots, huh?

Monday, August 16, 2010

the weekend

This past weekend was one of the two weekends this month that we were actually in town. I got my shower thank you notes written for my last shower and also got to see my long lost friend Dina (of Dina & Nina). We caught up at At Sara's Table Chester Creek Cafe. We actually haven't had much contact in close to 10 years so it was awesome to catch up and since we are both living in Duluth I hope that we will be able to stay in touch. She's even offered to house- and dog-sit for us when we are away.

Gus has made some progress on Baby Juliet's nursery. Friday afternoon after finally finishing the stripping of the windows, he learned that the previous owner(s) had painted over a wallpaper border near the top of the wall. He spent Saturday steaming the wallpaper off and Sunday he sanded the walls. I'm hoping that while I'm at work today he is at home taping and painting. Although given all the setbacks, I've learned not to expect too much.

Carl Rove even got some quality swimming time in. We went to Wisconsin Point, where there weren't that many people out and let him swim off leash. He was quite happy. He didn't even want to come back in when called. He looked at us for awhile then turned around and kept swimming.

Sunday we finally got to go to church again after a three week hiatus. We attended the second service and found that it was well attended by the younger crowd, which made Gus v. happy. I think that we'll become members there.

I'm currently at 32 weeks with 2 more months to go! My good friend Jenn gifted us a newborn photography session compliments of her husband Matt. What a lovely gift and I am super excited for the photos! Oh yes, and the weather has cooled off tremendously making me one happy expectant mommy!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

weekend in chicago ... sort of

Gus is from "Chicago" and by Chicago we mean a suburb of the city that is like an hour away from the city so when we say we are going to Chicago, we are essentially going to something along the lines of a larger version of Maple Grove, which in all honesty ranks second as my personal version of hell. My first version of hell being my un-air conditioned cube at City Hall, where I sit and swelter as I type this.

We headed to the Windy City (sort of) on Friday and rolled into town about 4:00 p.m. We had to get Gus's mom her birthday present, a laptop, and then we took her out to eat. We had Asian buffet where there was lots o' sushi and I even indulged in a couple pieces. I got so excited about sushi that I way overdid the wasabi, which cleared out my sinuses for sure.

Saturday we got up early and it was grocery shopping for the baby shower. Gus's brother, Paul, was in town. Paul is a chef at The Breakers hotel in Palm Beach, FL. Paul with Gus as sous chef did all the cooking for the party - Thai beef lettuce wraps with lemongrass and ginger oil, braised short ribs with sweet chili sauce, sweet and sour pork ... it was so delicious! It was great to see family and also my good friend from college, Kristen, who is also expecting a little girl, was able to make a guest appearance since she lives nearby. The present opening was a little chaotic because all of the cousin's small children were clamoring to help tear paper, but not necessarily open cards and remember who gave what. But we made it out alive with some good swag - car seat, changing table, crib, and mattress, among other things.

Sunday was my day for Chicago style food. Lunch at Portillo's for an Italian beef sandwich with hot peppers. Then dinner at Lou Manati's for real Chicago style pizza. The Italian beef you can get in Minnesota, but I'm skeptical whether you can get a pizza like this. The cheese is on the bottom and there are fresh tomatoes on top. We had 1.5 pieces leftover and I was super disappointed on my drive home yesterday when I realized that I had forgotten them in the refrigerator. In fact I must have said, I wish I had that piece of pizza about 10 times on the way home. Last night I even checked Old Chicago and Green Mill to see if they made something similar, but no luck. I guess I will just have to wait until next time.

It was a busy weekend and I'm still exhausted. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

farmer in the dell

We are slowly adjusting to our new small town life. Gus spoke with his best friend on the phone last night for the first time since probably February and his friend commented on how domestic Gus has become - moving to Duluth, having a baby, fixing up the house, coaching soccer, etc. Today I decided to check out the Duluth Farmer's Market before heading into work. I picked up some cute flowers for Jenn's birthday and 2 lbs of green beans. There are not a whole lot of vendors or selection at the market, but it is also kind of nice that it isn't as busy as the Minneapolis Farmer's Market. I do however miss those bratwursts in Minneapolis with the peppers and onions. I still haven't gotten one this summer. Those are so good!

Monday, August 2, 2010

moved ... AGAIN ... ugh

Carl Rove became part of this family at Christmas last year and since then he's lived in FOUR different houses. We are finally in what I like to call our 10-year house so hopefully he will start to feel settled and can get used to it. So far he loves the running up and down the stairs chasing his tennis ball, as well as sitting in the backyard chewing on all the sticks he can find.

We closed on the house last Thursday and spent the rest of the weekend moving, unpacking what we can, and preparing to get the kitchen renovated and the baby's room painted and ready for baby. Our third bedroom has officially become my walk-in closet, complete with nearly 16 linear feet of hanging space and room for all my shoes ... I hope! I'm not sure what this means for a second child though. I have no idea where we would put him or her. Of course I'm again putting cart before the horse, since we don't even have the first kid situated yet. So for now I'm just going to enjoy my gigantic walk-in closet.

It feels good to be moved in, but a little overwhelming to see the work that needs to be done before the baby gets here. We've picked out cabinets, floor, and counter tops for the kitchen and they need to be ordered by Thursday. Gus says that he is going to do the work himself, so I'm really hoping he knows what the hell he's doing. While we wait for all the kitchen materials to come in, Gus will be busy painting the baby's room. Finally found fabric for the baby bedding and then we were able to pick paint colors. I'm excited to see how it turns out!

We've got four days in the house this week and then it's off to Chicago for our first baby shower!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

showered with love

I'm feeling pretty fabulous today. I love my outfit. I should probably take a picture of it. I actually feel cute today instead of feeling like Shamu's twin sister. Lately, I've been feeling extra large and have needed quite a bit of reassurance from Gus that I don't look like an elephant ... and I have to say he's not entirely good at white lies.

I'm starting to freak out about having this baby. I can't believe she is going to be here in like 2.5 months. I can't decide if it is going to go by fast or slow. We are closing on the house today and our first priorities are nursery and kitchen. Then we'll have to see how finances go until we can get to remodeling the basement. As of right now, we have none of the baby necessities - no car seat, no stroller, no crib. I feel a bit unprepared and despite everyone telling me that with 2.5 months to go I have PLENTY of time, I'm still feeling rushed.

I'm getting excited about upcoming baby showers though. Our first one is next weekend already in Chicago with Gus's family. The registry stalking has begun! I feel a little bit more prepared every time I see something added to the "purchased list." Then my two best girlfriends are hosting a shower for me in Minneapolis, which I'm so excited about too. In our hurry to leave the city, we didn't get a chance to say goodbye to many of our friends. We've got a whole weekend planned in Minneapolis - complete with using up our 2-night stay at the Graves hotel. BTW those beds are heavenly. In the past, I've only spent one night at a time there so I'm looking forward to a 2-night stay! Maybe Gus will even let me get some room service. Did I ever tell you that room service is seriously one of my FAVORITE things? Love it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

oh happy day

I've got three upcoming baby showers! Super excited! Unfortunately, my maternity wardrobe is limited and I didn't think I had enough dresses to wear. Last weekend when we were in Minneapolis, I tried on just about every dress at the Motherhood Maternity outlet at Albertville and then on Monday I tried on every dress at the Motherhood store in Duluth. It was pretty disheartening, especially when your husband looks at you like a beached whale in EVERYTHING you walk out in.

Luckily, Erica was in town today for lunch. After a delicious lunch at Mexico Lindo, we stopped to check out the sale at the Benetton store. I found two dresses that are not maternity, but look super cute over the bump. SCORE! Plus, I was able to buy both in size small, which means hopefully I can wear them PB. I do need to get some undergarments to wear under them while sporting my baby bump, but I'm super excited that I found something to wear. Cheers!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

you hit the nail on the head

I'm loving the nailhead detail of clogs ... here are some of my favorites. Unfortunately, I think these might be dangerous in my current condition. Perhaps I will pick up a pair for PB (post-baby).

1) Thaddea PT Clog at Target $19.99

2) Mossimo Pembroke Pump Target $29.99

3) Gugliuzza Aldo $90 - I really like that these have a heel strap

4) Steve Madden Grifin $169.95 - These also come in black. I can't decide which I like better

Monday, July 26, 2010

wax on wax off

I had another little adventure in Duluth on Friday. I am absolutely in love with the Refinery Day Spa in Dinkytown for waxing. Seriously. Amy is the absolute best and I've also seen Autumn, who did a great job too. Plus their prices CANNOT be beat ... $35 for a Brazilian is practically unheard of, as can be demonstrated by the fact that the cheapest place I could find in Duluth for a Brazilian is $50+. You, like myself, might wonder what the "+" means. In order to clarify, I placed a call to the salon that went something like this:

Me: What does $50+ mean? What would cost more than $50?

Salon: Well, like if you want more hair taken off ...

Me: But a Brazilian is getting all the hair taken off, what more could I want?

Salon: Let me check.

Me: *waiting patiently*

Salon: It would be $50.

Me: OK, I will make an appointment.

Well, fast forward to my appointment where, as it turns out, "+" does not refer to the amount of hair you are having removed, it is a reference to the skill, expertise, and experience of the person removing the hair. Apparently, the woman who did my service is so skilled and experienced that she charges $60. Nice. While she wasn't horrible, she did take kind of a long time and I definitely don't think the service was worth $60 regardless of her skill and experience. The hunt continues to find a reasonably priced salon that will wax my lady parts.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

full house


I literally feel like I'm living in this early 90s sitcom. My cousin Alex moved in on Monday. So now it's Krista, who owns a house, her daughter, Gianna, myself, Gus, and Alex. Oh yes and two pups, Carl Rove and Lulu. We are quite the little family. Last night I came home to everyone sitting around the kitchen table eating Gus's delicious fried rice. He's got dinner ready when I get home, just like a good stay at home husband. Love it! Then it was off to watch Gianna's last regular softball game of the season. We've become regular softball fans at these games. Plus my aunt and uncle, Gianna's grandparents, are always there and Uncle Chuck loves to talk to Gus. Next week we'll be moving out of the full house, but I'm so happy that we are living closer to family!

Monday, July 19, 2010

the simple life

Despite still living in my cousin's basement, Gus and I are adjusting quite well to a bit quieter life in Duluth. Our weekends have been relaxed with errands to run, groceries to buy, etc., but no crowds at Costco to fight and no trying to decide where we want to eat because there really aren't as many delicious restaurant options here.

We've found a church and met some of our fellow churchgoers. We are a bit like senior citizens I think because we prefer the traditional church service over the contemporary outdoor church service, but are assured by the older generation, who have been very friendly and welcoming, that there are some young people at this church. So our past two Sundays have been church, grocery shopping, napping, and then maybe a walk in the early evening. Last night after our nap and some overall lazing around, we headed to Jay Cook State Park to check it out. It was kind of late so we didn't hike around much, but stopped at the visitor center and looked at what the park had to offer. I think we'll get our annual permit next time we head out there. Then we took Carl Rove to the dog park where he met a Newfoundland puppy, Hugo. That puppy was L-A-Z-Y! It was cute to just seem him lumber around. At 6 months his owner said he was 100 lbs and ate 9 cups of food each day. Carl Rove has 1/4 Newfie in him, but luckily he only eats 4 cups/day and he is a bit more energetic.

We are taking advantage of our low-key weekends because next up is a whirlwind of activity. Closing on the house, moving, heading to Chicago, nesting, renovating, etc. But overall, I think we are going to be happy here together. I am blessed to have the husband that I do. I really enjoy just being with him and it makes me happy and hopeful that we are starting this new life adventure together. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

back to basics

Let's bring this blog back to where it started originally ... FASHION and SHOPPING! Being nearly 20 lbs larger than I regularly am along with scrimping and saving for a house for baby, shopping really hasn't been my focus lately.  Unfortunately, the number of things I have to wear has been quickly dwindling as I come sailing into the third trimester. I've picked up a few new maternity shirts from Motherhood, but I find that store to be waaaay overpriced. I did get a couple maxi dresses from Old Navy that I'm hoping will still be wearable PP (post-pregnancy). But, I was excited to find out today that Forever 21 is doing is selling maternity wear. It's only in few select stores, but can also be purchased online. They don't have a ton of stuff, but it's all much more affordable than Motherhood. And in my opinion, maternity clothes are like trendy clothes, buy 'em cheap because they don't have to last long! Here are some of my favorites ...

Seamless Maternity Tank $12.80 - the perfect basic

 Striped Jersey Maternity Top $10.80

Striped Faux Wrap Top $17.80

 Maternity leggings $12.80 - 
I love leggings. So comfy. And yes, I wear them as pants. Deal with it.




Thursday, July 15, 2010

congratulations tarcy!

Moments ago, I got word from my good friend Tarcy that she landed a job with the Department of Homeland Security. She has had a tough time finding work after getting her J.D. and her M.B.A. I am so so so happy for her right now. We struggled together at the cube farm and I'm so happy she is finally getting out. Plus she gets to move to D.C., which I'm kind of jealous about. It is going to be so good for her to have a new adventure. So congratulations Tarcy! It's been a long time coming and I couldn't think of anyone who deserves this more than you!

And here's a quick baby bump picture ... 27 weeks and 4 days and counting.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

baby brain

I take great pride in my fantastic memory. No, really. I have a really good memory. My dad used to tell me what was on his list when we went to the store because he knew that I would remember it. He used to say I had a mind like a steel trap. So, this baby frying my brain leaves me a bit frustrated - especially since Gus likes to use it as the reason his recollection MUST be correct. I do admit that I have had my pregnancy brain moments. I locked my keys in the car at Cupcake a couple weeks ago and my friend Laura had to drive me home to get my spare set. Most recently, I was reviewing some mortgage documents and they just seemed so complicated that I gave up and made Gus review them last night. To my credit, even he said it was complicated. I'm sort of looking forward to having my brain and my body to myself again, but I'm only 27 weeks so I guess I will be waiting a bit longer.

Monday, July 12, 2010

good weekend

Our first full weekend in Duluth together was lovely. We babysat for my cousin's nine year-old on Friday night and took her to Park Point for some swimming. Saturday we hit up the Taste of Greece at the Marshall High School. Kind of expensive, just OK food, but for a good cause so I don't feel too ripped off. Then we proceeded to attempt to finish registering online and in-store. We ended up starting a Babies R Us registry for Gus's family in Chicago. His mom decided she wanted to have a shower for us while we are there in August. I'm hoping my friend Kristen, who lives out in the 'burbs of Chicago and is also expecting will be able to join us. Saturday night we took Carl Rove for a walk on the lake walk. He went down by the water and was a sad little puppy when he couldn't go all the way in and swim. Really sad puppy. But he'll be out at Jenn's house next weekend so he can swim in their river to his heart's content. Sunday we tried out a new church, made some homemade eggrolls, and then had lunch at Va Bene with some friends from Minneapolis. Of course I got the P.L.P., which even Gus said was more delicious than his sandwich. 

Overall, a good busy weekend. Since neither of us knows that many people here, it is kind of an adventure to explore and find little things to do with Husband. For some reason, I am extra tired today though.

Friday, July 9, 2010

total recall

I am still getting used to seeing my stomach move when the baby moves around in there. I spent several minutes last night just watching my bump. It reminds me of this scene from Total Recall.



This was the conversation a few nights ago:

Me: Why does the baby have to be inside of me? It's kind of weird

Husband: What do you want to do? Lay an egg?

Me: Yes, I would like to lay an egg.

Husband: Your mom did it, Carl's mom did it ...

Me: Yes, but then Carl's mom got a super cute puppy out of it.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

26 weeks 2 days

And here is the 26 week 2 day belly ... starting to feel huge, but am assured that I can only get bigger. LOVELY.

happy 4th of july

We had a wonderful 4th of July. Time spent with family and friends, good food, lots of swimming, some cribbage, and a few boat rides all meant for a great weekend. It was pretty hot at the lake so sleeping was a bit on the miserable side, but it is always nice to spend some time with family and friends. Carl Rove learned how to leap off the dock to fetch sticks ...

video
And he spent a TON of time swimming with the kids. That dog LOVES to swim. He would just swim circles around the kids while they were splashing in the lake and jump off the dock after them. I think he may have thought he was "saving" them. Even my big pregnant self donned a bikini and hit the water to cool off a couple of times. So after a long weekend of playing, Carl Rove was tired out.

Hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

25 weeks 4 days

I've managed to keep a baby alive inside my uterus for a total of 25 weeks and 4 days now. This morning Gus woke up while I was getting ready for work and said "look how pregnant you look." He also said that in case he hadn't told me before that I was doing a really good job growing this baby - which was actually a cute thing to say - but it is really true. I feel pretty huge and I imagine it's just getting bigger. When I was first trying on maternity clothes with one of the fake bellies, my friend Suzanne insisted that there was no way that I was ever going to get that big. She now feels the need to amend that statement.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

moving forward

After being an what seemed like a never ending holding pattern, it finally seems like things are moving forward. Last weekend, after two trips from Minneapolis in the 16' Budget moving truck, we got ALL our stuff to Duluth. This required stops at our Minneapolis storage unit and at Andy's house to get EVERYTHING. I feel good about that. Gus has spent the last three days in Minneapolis finishing cleaning the apartment and packing the last few boxes that will hopefully fit in his vehicle. Apartment inspection is tonight at 6:30 and then he's headed to Duluth, permanently! We are living with my cousin for the interim and are scheduled to close on a house on July 29. Then the extreme home makeover can begin ... provided we have some extra cash. At the very least, the baby's room needs to be ready!

Monday, June 28, 2010

exhausted

We spent our weekend moving from Minneapolis to Duluth. Saturday we had some help, but Sunday Husband did an entire load by himself. He did an awesome job. Despite being pregnant and not having to move much, I'm still exhausted from driving back and forth from Minneapolis to Duluth and just the sheer anxiety of hoping everything goes smoothly. Carl Rove had a tough day for the Saturday move ... all day in a car and a minor incident of having his tail stuck in the car door. Sunday wasn't much better because he spent 9 hours in his puppy jail aka "crate." But he got to run out at Jenn's dog park aka "her yard" on Sunday night and burn off a little energy. So it was a busy, exhausting, not super fun weekend but it's DONE. If all goes as planned, we'll be closing on our new little house on July 29 and then the moving process will start all over again!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

dear juliet

Dear Juliet Jean Se Ri,

First, let me apologize for giving you so many names. I also have two middle names, but I had a choice where you do not. Hopefully, you can live with it. I'm going to be completely honest with you, I don't love being pregnant nor do I feel a real connection to you yet - even though I think I'm starting to feel connected over the past couple days. Luckily, your Uppa (Daddy) already loves you and talks to you when he sees my tummy. Don't get me wrong, I want to have a baby. Although, perhaps it would be nice to not have the baby inside my uterus squishing all my other organs and making it difficult to eat, sleep, and breathe, all activities necessary for me to live an ordinary life. But I digress ...

Just today while driving to rent a storage unit so that Uppa and I can actually live together, I had this realization that I'm excited to be a mom. I'm excited and beyond nervous. I had the best mom that any person could ask for - the absolute best. I get teary eyed just thinking about how wonderful she was and I'm sad that she won't get to meet you because she would absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE you. I want to be the kind of mom that your grandma was to me and I promise you that I will try to be the kind of mom that will make you want to tell people that you had the best mom that any person could ever ask for.

To start with, Uppa and I are really close to finding a place for you to begin your little life. It is overwhelmingly, offensively ugly and I'm sorry about that. Hopefully, by the time you develop some aesthetic taste it will have been remedied. I do promise that you will have your very own nursery. It's going to be the first room Uppa will tackle once we get into the house. See how unselfish I'm being? I'm going to live with the ugly Brady Bunch wood paneling so that you, my little one, can have a super cute nursery. I promise that it will be super cute even if it means I have to have a breakdown and cry so that Uppa will paint it to my (and your) specifications.

I think the idea of us finally having a house has really made all of this more real for me. I want you to have a safe and not offensively ugly place to grow up at least for the next ten years until I can pay of some of these damn student loans and we can afford a little more house. However, you will be happy to know that we will not be house poor - I know you don't know what that means, but trust me it sucks - and perhaps that means Daddy will let us buy more shoes or go on vacation! Your Grandma and Grandpa Berglund live in St. Lucia, which is in the Caribbean and it is warm and gorgeous. So maybe we can go visit them when you get a bit older.

Daddy's parents will be called by their Korean titles, which according to WikiAnswers is:

Grandma= Halmoni (hal-muh-nee) Grandpa= Halapoji (hal-ah-puh-jee)

Now, I do not condone getting information from WikiAnswers, especially while growing up. But as I've told your cousins, Avi and Lilly, when you are 30 and older, you can do things like this because you realize that WikiAnswers is not necessarily the best place to get information from, but it is acceptable as long as you realize that there is probably a certain margin of error in their information.


Back to your Halmoni and Halapoji, they will teach you Korean (your dad will too) and will probably only speak to you in Korean. You will have an advantage over your Umma (Mommy) because I can't speak Korean and sometimes do not know what Halmoni is saying. Halapoji doesn't talk to me much anyway, but he is a very nice man and they will both adore you. I promise. You are their first grandchild and they are very excited about you.


I am looking forward to seeing what you look like because Korean babies are so cute. I'm sure you will be adorable. When Uppa sees our reflection in the mirror, he always says that we will have adorable babies. I think he is hoping that you look like me and for the sake of my lady parts I'm hoping your head isn't as big as his. I can't wait to read to you and already have several books picked out for you, including this one and this one. Uppa said that you wouldn't be my child if you didn't like sushi! Umma still sleeps with her baby blanket so I am going to be very discriminating in picking one out for you because perhaps you will have it for 30 years or more like me.


It's OK if you end up not loving fashion and shoes as much as me. However, until you are able to exercise free will over your apparel, I'm going to make sure you look adorable and have super cute dresses and such. Uppa says we can only shop at Target for your clothes, but I'm sure we can sneak some other things into your wardrobe. When Uppa asks if it is new, you just tell him that you've had it for a long time, you just haven't worn it.

I hope you are enjoying your stay in Umma's tummy because it's only going to last a few more months and then it's ready for you to make your debut. Then you will get to meet Carl Rove. He's your brother, although Uppa doesn't like when I call him that because he is a puppy. He's the sweetest puppy and you two will be good friends I think. He likes to play fetch and cuddle. He might be too rammy for you at first, because like you, he's just a baby. Umma really loves Carl Rove so she's pretty sure she will love you too.

Anxiously awaiting you,
Umma

Monday, June 21, 2010

everything happens for a reason

When I got laid off in April 2009, I was pretty devastated. The firm could not afford to pay my salary any longer and they laid off me, the most junior associate, one senior associate, and two secretaries. Shortly thereafter, L, a senior associate and friend of mine, left because she found a new job. L and I had breakfast yesterday and I learned that the firm has recently hired a new junior associate. So just a little over a year after they couldn't afford to pay me, they have replaced me. I tried to think whether I would have wanted that old job back and I can honestly say that I would not have wanted to work there again. Don't get me wrong. It was a fantastic place to work, but while my life right now is stressful with new job, moving, baby, etc., I am pretty happy with the position we are in. While not getting laid off would have prevented pools of tears and mountains of stress, I don't think we would have been entertaining the though of purchasing our first home together either.  That's right! Our home inspection is tomorrow and if all goes well, we will close at the end of July. Carl Rove will have a fenced in backyard to romp in and Juliet will have a nursery waiting for her when she comes home. 2009 was a challenge for us, but suddenly I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. When they say that everything happens for a reason, I think people are right. Unfortunately, when it happens you don't realize the reason and you can't even begin to fathom that everything will turn out well. But, it does. I promise.

Monday, June 14, 2010

packing

So it *looks* like there is a taker on the loft. I hate to put it out there in case it falls through, but I'm feeling pretty optimistic about it. Background check cleared and are waiting for landlord to sign a lease with new tenant. We are tentatively moving out June 26 with a final inspection on June 27.

This weekend between late night at Barbette, stroller shopping (more on that later), and birthday drinks for a friend at Bar Lurcat (water for me, yay!), I managed to pack up most of my dresser, 1/2 my closet, and 1/2 my shoes so Husband doesn't have to do those things for me during the week. I managed to try on most of my clothes to see what I can continue to wear with a growing belly and what needs to be packed away with a label such as ... "Pre-pregnancy jeans that my hips may NEVER fit into EVER again." This was an EXHAUSTING venture, but I'm glad I did it. Having less and less to wear makes it much easier to decide on an outfit every morning. However, I am feeling pretty good about the size of my maternity (or non-maternity but fits me while pregnant) wardrobe.

Getting out from under this lease is a step in the right direction except Husband will be left homeless in Minneapolis for the time being. I'm hoping that he can lean on friends or perhaps my family and live somewhere for free so that we aren't throwing more money at rent, but I know he's reluctant to ask favors of anyone. I'm the same way, so while I understand I'm hoping that our situation is tight enough that he will swallow some pride and ask for help.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

overwhelmed

I've been feeling overwhelmed lately - to the point where I can't talk to anyone even Husband. Last night I didn't even talk to him on the phone because I'm feeling so overwhelmed and stressed with everything that is happening with life that I can barely talk to anyone about anything. I really hope that this decision to relocate was a good decision. Right now, it doesn't really feel like such a good decision. We've got a baby coming in a few months, Husband doesn't have a job here (nor are we even living together), I'm making less money than I was previously, and we have nowhere to live. When it rains, it pours.

Monday, June 7, 2010

timing is everything

First, let me say that we are truly blessed. While I feel like I'm drowning in the sea of circumstances that has become my life, we are much luckier than some and have opportunities that others do not or may never have. However, I've still been feeling a little stressed finding the right house for our budget so that we get the most bang for our buck. After feeling a bit disappointed about not getting as much financing as we thought we might, I have done a complete 180 and now all I want is a cheap house in a safe neighborhood that will fit our little family. Getting the best deal (on anything, really) requires loads of research and lots of patience - the latter which I possess very little of. I *think* we are making an offer on a house soon. In fact, Gus said he was calling the real estate agent today, but since I don't talk to him all day long, I guess I will have to wait until this evening to see if he really did it.

We *might* have a taker on the loft too. Someone submitted an application, which includes a $40 fee, so I assume they are serious about the place. I am not so patiently waiting to hear about the background check and whether or not they are suitable tenants. Gus has probably already heard and unfortunately, I have to wait until I talk to him. I wish he was a better communicator of news, but that's a whole other can of worms. Our next few weeks may be packing and moving to who knows where. Then Gus needs to find an interim place to live until his contract runs out at his current position. Everything is so up in the air! I was pretty stressed out about it all on Sunday morning. I feel like I'm living in the in-between.

I did do one good thing today though. I had signed up for the once a week childbirth class, which would have required Gus to drive up to Duluth once a week. Today, I canceled that class and signed up for the one-day 9 hour class. It's a lot of information to fit into one Saturday but it will save us loads of gas money and while I was looking forward to seeing my husband once a week, I decided to do the unselfish thing and save us some money and save Gus some driving time. So I feel pretty good about that because I think it will make him happy.

Friday, June 4, 2010

no pants

The other day I made a proclamation that I was going to go pants-less for the rest of this pregnancy. It came about because the maternity pants are all still too big and this baby girl is more than halfway done in there! First I was having a problem holding the pants up and I solved that with a Bella band. Then the legs and butt were getting all stretched out, making me look like a bag lady. I did shell out some dough for a really nice pair of black maternity pants from Hot Mama. They came in XS and are pretty fitted. I love them, but now that it is finally nice out I'm wishing I had them in capris. Since I didn't want to spend another $60 on maternity pants, I thought I'd try Motherhood (again) and Kohl's. In both places the S was still too big! I so wish these places made XS. I did try on a pair of regular sized black capris at Kohl's and needed a size 10. I simply could not bring myself to buy a size 10 so I saved my money and went home.

Luckily, my friend Tammy came to my rescue. I stopped by her house last night and not only did she give me two garbage bags of maternity clothes, she also fed me dinner and I got to hang out with her adorable kids. She had a couple pairs of capris and several pairs of jeans. I need to get the jeans hemmed, since Tammy's has legs for days and I'm not quite so blessed. But, it looks like I might be able to wear pants again after all, which makes me happy because there are some cute maternity shirts out there. Although, I'm really trying NOT to buy anymore maternity clothes until I absolutely cannot fit into anything else I have and have to either buy new clothes or skip work because coming to work naked is likely prohibited.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

one more!

Here's my baby bump! Do I look pregnant, finally?

happy memorial day

One day late ...

It's back to work, but we had a fantastic weekend. We played lots of Scrabble and cribbage and Carl ate lots of sticks, went swimming, and ran around the island. I think he had the best vacation out of any of us. It's so fun to see him exploring. I was surprised when he went to swimming just to swim and not to chase a stick or a ball. I was even more surprised when he just kept swimming farther and farther from shore. Had to call him back or he might have swam clear across the lake!

Haven't had a picture for awhile, so here you go.

Shoes: Steve Madden wedges. These are a sensible height. I wore those Cynthia Vincent for Target wedges a couple weeks ago and had a mishap in the parking lot. Not sensible or practical shoes. After some alcohol wipes, hydrogen peroxide, and lots of screaming, my wound was cleaned and now it's all healed up! But those shoes are kind of messed up.
Dress: J Crew. This is one of my absolute favorite dresses. It's navy (because I know you can't tell from this picture) and it is so comfortable. Plus it still fits my growing belly!
Cardigan: Gap
Necklace: Target. I've been wearing this necklace a lot lately because I didn't bring that many necklaces to Duluth and I haven't been back to Minnie for a couple weeks now. I asked Gus to bring me 19 pairs of shoes this past weekend and figured it was too much to ask him to dig through my necklaces too.

Enjoy your Tuesday!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

what i want ...

So usually what I want is a cute new pair of shoes or a dress, but today's list is of the things I want but can't have because I'm pregnant ... and perhaps Gus will bring me some of them in the hospital after Baby is born.

1) Sushi - Spicy tuna rolls, negihama rolls, salmon and tuna nigiri. Both Gus and I love sushi and would eat it at least once a week, if we could afford to. Too bad we don't live in NYC. You could always get cheap sushi, cheap pedicures, and cheap flowers. Cooked and veggie sushi just doesn't do it for me. I need raw fish. I like the texture the taste - everything about it.

2) Champagne - Veuve in particular. I love champagne and sparkling wine. I hope there is a split of Veuve waiting for me after I deliver this kid!

3) Bloody Marys - I love bloody marys! I like it when it has lots of "stuff" in it, shrimp, celery, pickle, olives, onions, and especially the beef sticks. I love a bloody mary bar so much that some weekends I would set my own up.

4) NY Strip cooked medium rare - I know I can have steak cooked well done, but again that is like eating cooked "sushi." We went to Las Vegas shortly after I found out I was pregnant. The last time we were in Vegas, which is when we got married, we had THE MOST DELICIOUS steak dinner. Of course I ordered the filet but Gus ordered the NY Strip and since it was more delicious than mine he gave me the rest of his. He always gives me the best stuff ... ALWAYS. I'm not kidding either. He gives me the last bite or drink of delicious things, when he picks out two flavors of something he always lets me pick first, and he's v. good at sharing (which I am not good at doing).

5) Seafood tower - At the same delicious steak dinner mentioned above, we had a seafood tower. Oysters on the half shell, lobster, shrimp, etc. So yummy! I love oysters and since raw is out, I have not had any of them either. Plus I have been limiting my fish intake and so haven't had much delicious seafood either. I'm hoping that P.B. (post-baby) we can go to Sea Change at the Guthrie and try the raw bar there.

6) Diet Coke - P.B. I am going to drink Diet Coke with reckless abandon! I have really been limiting my Diet Coke intake, which is AMAZING for me since Gus really thought I was addicted, which clearly I am not. I dropped it cold turkey in the weeks right after finding out I was pregnant and have only had one here and there ever since.

7) Not food related, but I will be v. happy when I can sleep on my back again and not feel guilty about limiting the blood supply to my brain and to the baby.

That is all.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

all quiet on the home front

It's been quiet on this blog because it has really not been all quiet on the home front. There are no pictures of me because 1) I'm not really cute and pregnant and 2) the bathroom continues to skeeve me out.

Having a baby, saving for a house, student loans, etc. has made me into one giant whine fest and I hate to put it all out there since it probably makes for not.fun.reading.at.all. But, some good things have happened and I'm starting to at least get things in order so that my life can proceed in the best most efficient way possible.

1) We are saving aggressively for a house that we would like to live in, but still haven't found. I did find one that I really liked so hopefully we can get it for the right price! We're just waiting to see how things shake out since it just went on the market.

2) Carl Rove busted through a door at my cousin's house and it was looking like it would cost nearly $200 to replace it, but Husband has stepped up and now has confidence that he can stain and hang a door on his own. I'm rather proud of him since I was feeling like perhaps I married someone that wasn't very handy. I'm not handy at all, so I can't imagine I would have chosen someone who also was not handy. Disastrous!

3) Since Carl Rove broke the door he has been relegated to a kennel during the day while I'm at work. I felt really badly about it yesterday, but this morning he went in there rather willingly, making me feel much better about locking my dog away for 9 hours. He did get to go for a half hour walk with me this a.m., which helps to alleviate puppy mom guilt.

4) We are having a GIRL! I'm so excited! I can't wait to start buying things - except see #1. I will not be buying anything until we save enough for the down payment and move into the house.

5) I *think* if I can get my doctor to prescribe me a breast pump, I can get it covered by insurance as "durable medical equipment." Super excited about that because who wants to spend $400 on a breast pump? I can think of an infinite number of things I would rather spend my money on. Trust me.

6) I had been feeling really disappointed about Duluth's lack of dog parks. Last night I took Carl Rove to Keane Creek because I really didn't have anywhere else to take him. Jenn had said it wasn't very nice so I was skeptical. While it isn't fabulous, it was certainly better than nothing. The dogs (and people for that matter) there kind of sucked, but Carl and I just played fetch and at least he got to run off some energy. It is actually bigger and nicer than the park in the Warehouse District in Minneapolis where everyone in that 'hood takes their pups. So, I'm feeling better about Duluth hating on dogs.

7) We decided last night to file our taxes separately this coming year so that I can get on an income-based repayment plan for my student loans. I did the math and when I started repaying my loans I had almost $125,000 in student loan debt. This is more than we expect to offer on a house at this point (mostly due to student loan debt). Thanks to the College Cost Reduction and Access Act and my new employer, I'm hoping to get these loans paid off in 10 years. This feels amazing since I have been living with the idea that I would be paying $1,000/month for the next 30 years.

8) And one more thing! Husband has agreed to let a broker market the loft and see if he can get it rented. Thank goodness! They charge 1 month rent, which would mean our security deposit could go towards that. I don't think Husband has been doing a diligent job of advertising the place so am hoping that the broker can do a better job. He better do a better job if I'm paying him!

So after a 44 minute telephone conversation with Husband about money (one of my least favorite topics), I feel good that we have a plan, or at least we appear to. Enough of a plan to give me some peace of mind and help me enjoy the time I have with my puppy this week. Carl Rove is looking forward to going to Jenn's on Wednesday!