Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 You Were SO Great!

Some say we all cycle in years of seven, in my case it's absolutely true. The past few years were difficult in so many ways, not that it was always hard, there were some delights, but, overall more clouds than sun. At the end of each year I was always happy to kick it to the curb. The eternal optimist in me was hopeful the following year would be better. However, each subsequent year ended with a surely me spilling my wine whilst flipping the year end the bird. I was a butterfly with tattered wings, who knew only to keep flyng forward, but, I was running out of wing span. Fortunately, for me and everyone around me 2007 was the end of that cycle - GOOD RIDDANCE 2000-2007!

2008 marked the first year of a new cycle, it was such a wonderful year. If I were at all religious I would say this year has been blessed. I feel like climbing on my rooftop and screaming at the top of my lungs; "2008 you rocked so hard! You were so GREAT! Thank-You! Thank-You! Thank-You 2008!"


* After 8 years together Steve and I began our year with promise in the form of our marriage.
* We moved from Canada to the United States.
* Bid adieu to the SNOW - it can stay in 2007!
* We bought a beautiful historic home - my dream home.
* We were welcomed by neighbours we now are privileged to call friends.
* We sailed in our first regatta.
* We've had a house full of company.
* Bellies full of fresh caught seafood.
* Good jobs in a time of recession.
* Supportive family and loving friends.
* A democratic government!
* And a baby on the way...

2008 leaves me feeling so fulfilled. I can't recall a year recap that looked so good, one that I can truly look back on without regret. It's just the beginning too - this stride in personal growth, mentally, spiritually and in my case physically- is all in it's beginning phases. I feel like a new little butterfly who just climbed out of her cocoon perched on a tree limb airing my wings under the warm sun. I'm ready to step off the branch and fly into 2009. I think I could soar on contentment alone.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Michelley Belly - Bump 6 to 24 weeks

Okay - I give!
Everyone has been asking me for "Baby Bump" pictures and is the progression.  

I WILL post every 2 weeks from here in.

It's astonishing how much skin can stretch.

Enjoy my girth.

24 weeks 1 Day

23 Weeks 2 Days

21 Weeks 4 Days

19 Weeks 2 Days

     16 weeks 2 Days

  14 Weeks 4 Days

  12 Weeks 3 Days

  7 Weeks

 6 Weeks

Friday, December 26, 2008

Baby P's Christmas in the Womb = Spoiled Rotten Already

Steve mentioned to me that his friend at work who is 18 weeks pregnant had bought and wrapped a whole pile of gifts to put under her tree for her baby. I didn't think to buy any Christmas gifts for our baby. I mean I looked at all the cute Christmas outfits for little ones while I was out shoppig but I didn't buy. Was I supposed to? I always think of next year as Baby P's first Christmas - when we will have a little 8 month old crawling around looking all adorable whilst trying to eat the tree ornaments.

We are 25 weeks along and we didn't buy any Chirstmas gifts for Baby P! Unless you want to count 12 pair of FuzziBunz and 12 pair of Bum Genius diapers - butt - those are necessities as we get ready to welcome the baby - not presents.

Thankfully, Aunties Dee, Sue, Smelly Locks, Renee and Grandma Linda were more thoughtful toward our little Baby P.

Check out the loot below!

Clothes and toys!

Books - Which have all been read to Baby P already - as Baby P can hear now.

Auntie Smelly Locks nearly missed her plane out of Tampa for this custom made gift!

Two of MY most hilarious and unusual gifts:

Temporary Tattoos - for when I feel like having a belly rub!
Thanks Smelly Betch XX

A Fancy Tampon Case, it says: PMS is the only time of the month I can be MYSELF!

Thanks Seester XX

Vintage Xmas - 2006

the stars are brightly SHIIIIIIIINING!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I Need A Christmas Miracle!

As most women do, I have a running "Honey Do" list going .  A list containing all the household gack I would like to get organized, moved, thrown out, fixed, bought or returned, mowed, raked and planted.  I am the "HONEY" in this equation. Most women make this list for their Hubby - but- I am the hubby around the house - Shhhh, don't tell mine!  Don't get me wrong, my Hubby loves to work on projects but they mostly revolve around marine activities and boat building...not so much home repair or maintenance.  

Truthfully,  I like to get to the home repairs and take a lot of enjoyment out of learning to do them myself.  But, this is becoming increasingly difficult as my expanding belly begins to get in the way.  I can't lift boxes, or squeeze into small spaces or climb the pull down attic stairs,  like I could,  even up to last week, thus my "Honey Do" list is actually morphing into a real "Honey DO" list as I enlist the help of a very helpful Hubby ... on his terms.

On the top of this list for the better part of a year has been:
  "Sort through remaining boxes, repack into squirrel proof rubber containers, store in attic."

We have been in our house almost a year. We purged big time before moving south so unpacking only what we wanted to keep without sorting made it a lot easier. Still there are the boxes of old photographs and letters you can get lost in - a whole afternoon gone before you know it - dragging out the unpacking process.  

I unpacked and sorted the house out as best I could before company began rolling in to visit, and that's where my organizing stopped.  I had hit a point where everything had a place and the remaining boxes I didn't feel like going through were stuffed into a  closet and an out of the way corner of our home office.  Don't get me wrong - the stack of boxes was an eyesore.  But I had become accustomed to turning a blind eye to them and they didn't seem to bother Hubby in the least.   I vacuumed and dusted around the stack of boxes in the office until the other day when I had had enough.  

I began to go through the boxes:
* Four boxes of tax papers to be held for another 5 years. 
* Two empty bankers boxes - collecting dust.
* A rubber container full of fabric samples and a sewing kit.  
* A box of Christmas wrapping paper -yeah that would have been handy to find last week before    I bought 4 more rolls! (Sorry trees - it's the last year for paper wrap I swear!) 
* A box of my shoes ( all 40 pair) I don't have a shoe shopping problem I like to think of it as        more of an ability - really.  
* And finally a heavy bankers size box of my husbands things...which I opened to find, one video
   game three pounds of Canadian pennies, some old pens and pencils, a stethoscope and a few        cross country running medals. 

I am happy to say the office has been cleared of all this gack! The shoes  have been donated - the rest put away, there have been more than a few trips to the garbage and the rest readied for storage in the attic.  Number one Hubby was home, he willingly carried our condensed couple of boxes to the second floor to go into the attic. 

They are no longer in my office or closet!   YAHOOO!

But, they are at the top of the second floor stairs ... in a pile where Hubby left them.  So close to the attic and out of my sight.  So close.  Who wants to place bets on how long they will sit there?

I head back to my "Honey Do" list and write,  "Move Boxes to Attic" once more on the top of the list - right underneath where I had struck a line through the original only hours earlier.  

At some point I will become annoyed with vacuuming around the boxes again and I will head back to Hubby to ask for the boxes to finally go up into the attic. 

But how long will that take me?  

I might just need a Christmas Miracle - to get the stuff to the attic - before another year passes. I might. 


The boxes made it to the attic on December 21st! YAY! Thank You Hubby!

Mom's Christmas Cookies

There is a holiday tradition among the women in my family to exchange Christmas baking. It is a well anticipated gift as each member has their own very special recipes made only at Christmas. Beautifully presented tins filled with the best and most decadent treats you can imagine. Each year the baking presents it's own challenges and the stories that accompany the cookies are as much a part of the gift as the gift itself.

Story lines have included:
* My mixer broke - the motor finally cacked out. ( Aunt Ann)

* I forgot about making mom's Chinese Chews! (Aunt Dianne)

* Did you see the price of almonds this year? You almost didn't get the almond clusters, then I burnt the first damn batch! (Mom)

* The squirrel broke into the back screened in porch and chewed threw the bag of marshmallows, so, I had to make a special trip to the store just to get more and wait in all the lines again! (Aunt Alice)

* I baked an iced and now you have "tree ornaments" -please don't try to eat them. I refuse to pay for your dental work. (Me)

* I baked Martha Stewart's iced sugar cookies ... they all broke on the flight here. Enjoy your tin of crumbs. (Me)

It seems to me, when I look back at Christmas over the years, the one main stay are all the tins of baking. It is also known that over the years my mother spent a lot of time sick and in and out of hospital for various operations and treatments during the Christmas holiday time. In those times the one thing my sister and I knew would make mom happy was to clean her house and help make her Christmas baking. It's as though normalcy in a tumultuous time could be eased by the familiarity of seeing and tasting a once a year treat. If the cookies were there so were we, okay and intact.

As kids, my sister and I were at each other's throats - a lot. But when we chose to work together we really could accomplish a fair bit. One year mom was in hospital for a lady problem operation - I am thinking it was a precursor to the hysterectomy the following Christmas time. Regardless of what it was, mom was not returning home until quite close to Christmas and she was going to have no strength to bake. Sue and I manage to make a double batch of her peanut butter cookies. We decorated each cookie with a slice of red or green maraschino cherry just like mom always did. We were all of 12 and 10 years of age at the time. We kept our baking a secret so we could surprise her when she returned home.

Our mother passed away just before Christmas and so it really put a damper on our Christmases to follow. The second Christmas without our mother was particularily difficult. Living five hours apart, sister and I were on the telephone, I was directing as Sue wandred around the house looking through the cupboards, cookbooks and recipe boxes trying to located mom's cookie recipes. We were going to work on a few recipes each and bring them home to Christmas. A continuity we greatly needed that year. The recipes were no where to be found. We were both annoyed. The cookie recipes are important! Why did mom not put them aside or make sure we had them before she died? We knew of other mothers who were terminal who wrote lovely letters to their children, took them shopping for wedding dresses and did other important mother daughter activities they would miss out on when the time came. Those mothers handed down heirlooms in articles and recipes, and memories as they wanted their legacy to transcend. Not our mother. She did none of these things? Why didn't she, my sister and I would ask each other. Why? We could only surmise that mom must have thought we knew all of these things without having to be told.

Last summer my dad who was preparing to move out of our family home asked me to go through a few things and take what I wanted as he would be doing a thorough clean out when the time came to move. I sat on the floor in front of my mother 's antique cabinet and began pulling out all her cookbooks. She had bazillions! Lo and behold I found a list scribed in my mother's familiar handwriting. Each of her Christmas cookies was written out along with the corresponding cookbook and page number from which she baked from.

I can only figure they were meant to be found some 7 years after her passing because I was ready to find them. Sometimes I just can't see for looking. Likely, I was so deeply routed in my grief I couldn't see until that day last summer.

This year I baked. I was in my new home, my frst marital home, a bun in my oven, the weather a balmy 71 degrees, the windows wide open. I baked my mother's recipes and a few new ones of my own while Pandora Radio played the same 10 Christmas songs over and over by various artists and I sang along, and for the first time I was not sad.

Mom's Thimble Cookies filled with homemade (not by me) strawberry rhubarb jam.

Mrs. Katinis's (Mom & Dad's first landlord) Cookies - A.K.A Almond Crescents

This year for the first time I am able to share my family's tradition with my new family, gifting them with a tiny tin of baked Christmas treats, thus, injecting a little bit of my familiar Christmas into an otherwise unfamiliar one. A small comforting hold on all my Christmases past as I take a huge leap into all my future Christmases.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Miss You Mom

It was eight years ago today that my mother lost her battle with breast cancer.  We always set off fire works in her honor on this day.  Last year it was -27 in Ottawa and the matches wouldn't stay lit long enough to light the fireworks...this year in NC we won't have that problem.

Miss you everyday mom.  Enjoy your fireworks!


Yeah,  so we did have the firework problem in NC this year because...we couldn't get them lit. This time it was not the weather - it was in fact- a gorgeous evening under a full moon.

Steve was outside lighting the firework wicks ...running back a few feet while I stayed a safe distance watching from the porch.  Each wick burnt out and no explosion.   Steve propped the firework behind two pieces of wood to shield the wick from any possible breeze and still the wick would not stay lit.

Then Steve asked me to go into the house to get another firework from the box of 15 I had bought.  I came out and handed Steve another firework,  he shook it and then pulled the "wick" - I covered my eyes - then Steve burst out laughing.  I peeked through my fingers to see streamers and confetti floating through the air covering Steve's arm and the ground around his feet.  

"Michelle you bought "poppers" not fireworks! No wonder they wouldn't light - it's just string!"

We were laughing so hard I could barely breathe.  I ran into the house to grab a few more - we popped them in mom's honour - then we went for the back up plan - sparklers.  We lit the sparklers so we had one in each hand and waved them around spelling out my mothers name in the night sky - under the full moon.  

I took it as a sign/message  from mom  - not to be sad - to revel in the delights and surprises of our life. 

The next day I promptly cancelled my appointment with John Edward - his services no longer required. Okay so I made the last sentence up ... humour does conquer all!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This year I might just be mistaken for Santa...

Who has a beard that's long and white?
Shipley has a beard that's long and white.

Who comes around on a special night?
Shipley's allergies come around almost every night.

Special Night/ Every night,
Beard that's white,
Must be Santa... er I mean... Shipley
Must be Shipley,  
Shipley Sorry Cause.

Who's got a great big cherry nose?
Shipley has a great big cherry nose.

Who has a big belly and a pregnancy glow?
Shipley has a big belly and a pregnancy glow!

Who laughs this way HO HO HO?
Shipley (stuffed up) laughs this way HO HO HO!

Ho! Ho! Ho!
Cherry nose!
Pregnancy glow!
Beard that's white!
Special/allergies every night!

Must be Santa,
Must be Santa,
Oh No!
Must be Shipley,
Must be Shipley,
Shipley Sorry Cause!

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Reflection In A Store Window

Last week I rocked out my ultra stylish "Dark Wash Maternity Skinny Jeans." I tucked them into the black leather slouch boots carefully selected while shopping in Paris. I wore a long sleeve, long waisted fitted black top, a black scarf,  packed my huge green handbag full of food (a mainstay in my purse since becoming pregnant) and set out for a fine day of Christmas shopping.  

I felt beautiful!  I felt stylish.  I felt svelte. Yeah,  I said svelte. Like old yoga body me...and then I caught a reflection in a store window.  HOLY CRAP!  Who's hips are those?  I actually stopped and turned to look to see who was behind or beside me - clearly this could NOT be my reflection?  

There I stood - all by myself - staring into the department store window. 

Yes, that is MY reflection and those are my hips. I turn side profile - thankfully my ass was not wide - I was only growing belly forward and hips wider.  I  guess I don't look that bad I tried to tell myself as my self image and esteem dropped a few notches.  I hear the childhood chide "take a picture it lasts longer" coming from a voice inside my head.  Not today, no pictures of me today. I stood fixated unable to stop staring at the girl in the reflection in the window for a few minutes longer.   She really was me.

Well, so long as my ass and thighs do not grow out to meet the side of my hips - it won't be that bad, I tell myself.  Maybe,  if I keep getting wider I will have to staple a red flag on each hip like they do with lumber hanging out the trunk of cars on the highway to warn people to keep a wide birth. Maybe?  

I reach into my handbag for a granola bar, unwrap it and stare at it before taking a bite.   I vow to wear longer sweaters with these jeans - and bigger boots to offset the pear shape I was quickly becoming.  I can camoflage this with simple oversize accessories!    I vow that for the next week I am only going to teach leg strengthening,  hip and bottom slimming yoga postures in all my yoga classes.  It will be good for the students too, I tell myself...ulterior motives thinly veiled.  Removing my gaze from the window I carry on  with my  Christmas shopping, striking names off my list, forgetting about the window's reflection.  

On my walk home I passed another reflection in a store window. 

This reflection was not of me. The sun was in just the perfect position to remove the object from the frame leaving only a shadow. Standing in the right postion created a most beautiful relfection.  This one warranted a photo! 

The message was clear.  It didn't say,  "HELLO WIDE LOAD" it said "LIVE LOVE LAUGH." 

This time I snapped the photo and happily walked home. Live Love Laugh (no matter how wide your hips are).

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall (No longer stuffed in my laundry room)

I found this heavy solid wood mirror on clearance as it's frame was banged up.  I decided to take it home with me to distress and make good of it.

We had a can of primer kicking around so I gave it a coat.

The detailing in the wood is really pretty.

Let it dry over night and then took it to the workshop to sand it with a coarse paper.

Close up of the wood detailing - distressed version.

Taaaaaaa Daaaaaaaa

It now lives above the dining room fire place.

One more item off my: TO DO List. YAHOOOO!

Getting The House Ship-Shape B4 Baby P Arrives

House Hold To Do List:  Completed Items in Red

  1. Repair leather couch cushion (NEVER EVER BUY IKEA LEATHER)
  2. New glass for coffee table & curio
  3. Stain coffee table
  4. Ground Floor Master Bath - remove ugly paper add fresh paint (Thank You nephew Aaron for going to town on partial wall paper removal...very helpful!)
  5. Move File boxes of year's past tax papers to attic (Hold for 5 or 8 years?)
  6. Take stuff to Good-Will
  7. Grout upper bath -again! (I think I brushed too vigorously in some spots dad...)
  8. Mortar brick foundation
  9. Move suit cases to ground floor closet
  10. Buy shoe rack
  11. Wash kitchen windows
  12. Fix ice maker in fridge
  13. Paint & distress mirror put in dining room
  14. Replant flower boxes (Impatients died in frost last week)
  15. Repair the living & guest room's electrical (Look out wire chewing squirrels Mr. P is coming to get you pellet gun in hand.)
  16. Move area rug from dining room to living room

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mrs. P Baked Some Cookies

Mr. P came home from work the other day and said; "I have to bring something in for the Thanksgiving Pot Luck at work on Thursday.... can you double that spinach salad recipe so I can bring some to work?"  

I didn't have enough ingredients  to double the recipe- and was not in the mood to fight the Thanksgiving shoppers again that day.   So I volunteered to bake cookies.  This idea was well received. And then I  was faced with the daunting task of actually following through with the idea. I am not a precision cooker, and, while I am good at and enjoy cooking, baking and I have never really been compatible.

A number of years ago after a co- worker at Comedy Network was married another co-worker of ours would always ask the newly wed; "Mrs. McKenty will you bake some squares?" This was an ongoing question - a tribute to the new wife - I guess.  There never were any squares baked. 

All week in my head I kept hearing said co-worker's voice only this time she was asking "Mrs. P will you bake some cookies?"

Um, sure.  Can't let hubby go to work empty handed.  And as a mother to be I best get brushed up on baking cookies, cupcakes and rice crispy squares.  My usual success to date in this department has been to make door stops and hockey pucks. 

So I rifled through the Jamie Oliver - I'll Make you into a cook, Martha Stewart Holidays and the Joy of Cooking before settling on a peanut butter cookie recipe from Joy of Cooking.  Apparently this recipe won't be allowed to go to school (peanuts are banned due to allergies) but will be accepted into the office.

To my surprise - in two hours time - I produced 6 dozen cookies. Light, soft, edible peanut butter cookies.  Success.  Maybe it has something to do with being in the family way? Nesting?
At least it was too cold to go barefoot in the kitchen.  Maybe next week ... I'll try my hand at some squares.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I am a newborn.

In week 20 of the pregnancy journey I have really come to understand that I am no longer the boss of me.  Yup. It took me 20 weeks to figure this out.  

I have always been headstrong, independent and able bodied.  I have fought hard for things I believe in, my family, my career, my relationship, my committees. I have been guilty of working too much, playing hard, wearing myself out physically and mentally only to back off and reboot so I could to launch into it all over again.  It's a pattern with me.  In those burn out times I remind myself to get back to working moderately, eating well, exercising and sleeping better. Only the last time I did this - I vowed to stick to it - and I have made the latter my new pattern in a conscious attempt to balance out my life.  Michelle on half speed is still twice as fast as most on full speed.  It's just me. 

This was working well for the most part until ... pregnancy. Suddenly my career, my play, my exercise, my relationship, my sleep - is ours.  Me, me, me, my, has become you, you, you, we, ours. 

I thought I was ready.  I have very new nieces and nephews and have seen first hand the commitment to rearing the young.  I just didn't know it starts so soon in pregnancy.  At week nine my mother in law emailed to ask how I was feeling.  I told her I was ready to move the fridge beside the toilet and just camp out there.  I was wearing a path into the floor between the bathroom and the fridge.  Not to mention I had not slept in days. I was either up to go to the fridge or the bathroom every half- hour. It was SO annoying.  I was annoying myself.  

Each day would start with a plan to clean out the last of boxes in the office, vaccuum the house, plant the spring bulbs, and write an article. But, shortly after my morning shower baby would take over and say  - hey you,  lady, it's nap time, I'm STARVING, or let's skip to the lou...NOW!

Needless to say my responsiblities around the house and work were slipping to lows I had never let my self experience.  The super odd thing was - I didn't even care.  I was so tired.

By weeks 15 - 19 I was sleeping like a baby or so the expression goes. The weather had cooled off,  I was wearing my favorite flannel Pj's and was nestled into bed for perfect nights sleep.  Ah, starting to feel like old me - only fatter - I can handle this.   Baby was cooperating with me - we were sharing the host body quite amicably.   The house became Ship shape,  I did get to the boxes, the articles and to hosting company again.  My world was right. Our world was right.

And then sleep became illusive.  I began awakening to allergy attacks.  No, no symptoms other than a stuffy nose. Oh I hope I am not getting sick. I  dip into the vitamin C.  The next night I am in for a repeat show.  Honeslty this is a nightmare.  It's like being dragged to the worst play night after night and being made to sit in the front row.  Up and down for the nose, the chap stick now necessary due to the new mouth breathing technique I have adopted, then for a sip of water, which leads to the pee break and a new cycle begins.  

Apparently, a stuffy nose in the night is very common in the second trimester.  There is no cold. There are no allergies - but - if you suffer allergies  they will get worse,  I read in my pregnancy guide.  Awesome! 

Last night sleep was taken to an all new high when I awoke choking at 4:30 AM.  

Steve:  Are you okay hun?
Michelle: Yeah, I am pregnant.
Steve: You are! Is it mine?
Michelle: Pretty sure.

I get up for easily the 10th time in eight hours. 

I am pretty sure this is newborn baby boot-camp. Only I am playing newborn now. Nature has an interesting way of teaching us new patterns.

Friday, November 21, 2008

20 weeks = Half Way

Today we celebrate our half way point to baby's arrival.  It's really gone by quickly.  I can't believe it's me saying this after thinking that week 8-14 were the longest hangover crossed with motion sickness I have ever felt. That part was so tough yet seems so far away. It's been completely replaced with excitement and curiosity over what is to come.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Baby Daddy Builds Baby Pram (boat not stroller)

The Plans

The Frames

The Stringers


Baby Boat is Half Way Done - So is Baby!

Little Blue & Steve - Kincardine Harbour

Shortly after we found out Baby P was coming to live with us.  Steve pulled out his wooden boat building books and began skimming through the pages.  Then he began to surf the Internet for plans.  This is not unusual for Steve  - he loves his boats - a few years ago he built a 17 FT wooden Skiff we call "Little Blue."  He is always on the look out for a new design and there is always talk of our NEXT boat.  

But this boat proved a different story.  Steve told me he wanted to build Baby P a cradle in the shape of a dory.  Really!  I loved this idea so much.  Steve showed me some plans for a dory and upon pulling some numbers realized the dory would be too narrow.  New plans were found and few weeks later he was underway  in his workshop scaling plans to begin Baby P's Pram.

The Pram is an exact replica of a 8 ft pram - only scaled down.  Had Steve used marine grade plywood this little pram would actually be seaworthy!   

My heart melts over how lucky Baby P is to have Steve for his/her daddy and it melts even more to know he is this Ship's mate.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Baby P Has Mastered Uterine Baby Sign. So Smart Already!

                   Baby P - looking at us.

                          Baby P's Feet


                                    Thumbs Up!

On Wednesday November 12th, 2008,  Steve and I went for our ultrasound.  
We were both SO excited to see our Baby P.  The last time we saw Baby she/he resembled a Gummy Bear more than a person.

We have decided not to find out the sex of the baby.  We are greeted by mixed reviews on this by family and friends. Most have a very strong opinion of this on one side or another. I was not the kid to snoop through bags before Christmas or unwrap and re- wrap gifts just to see what I was getting.  I like a surprise.  Steve was the kid who opened presents before Christmas, so, Steve took some convincing - he thought he could know and not tell me.  But, then he too, was won over! (Thank you Adam & the ED gang for your persuasions!)

Our ultrasound technician & midwives were excited by our request to not know the gender. "There is no medical reason to go and look for the baby's boy or girl parts - we can't change the sex.  Let's enjoy the surprise! " They said.   They also made every effort to not know the sex either. And so we did not go near the nether regions....which is why we have pictures of body parts but nothing full length to show off.

Much  to our delight Baby P gave us a show!  What a wiggly baby.  We watched baby yawn, swallow, look right at us, give us a peace sign, rub it's eyes with both fists, stretch so that both arms raised over head and push back at the ultrasound wand with it's feet.

Baby P is measuring a week larger than our dates but they say it's not enough to move the due date.  Baby has a pretty head & spine according to the ultrasound tech. We saw left & right brain, four chambers of the heart, kidneys, ribs and the umbilical chord attached to baby's belly.  

Baby P 's weight is approximately 10 oz.  If you made the hang loose sign with your hand you would have Baby P's length head to toes. Pretty Cool!

Everything at this point looks good - we were told.  But, we knew that already because Baby P gave us the Thumbs Up!  

We have another ultrasound at 28 weeks to determine the position of the placenta - I am carrying low which at this point is no cause for alarm. But, If baby does not move up there is concern the placenta will grow over the cervix which would mean I would not be allowed to labour.  This has an 80% chance of correcting itself.  Pretty good odds we think.

Friday, November 7, 2008


I am absolutely a few days late in reporting this - but - I felt the baby move! I have been waiting, wishing, asking little baby to give me a sign and then baby responded!

While I join the whole world in a shared history of the final day of the USA Presidential Election November 4th, 2008, marking the day Mr. Obama a Democrat, and the first black president of the United States, was elected into office. I will say forever that feeling you flutter in the base of my belly Baby P, for the very first time, was more remarkable.

So cool and already so much love.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Placenta Brain

Just when I thought the placenta brain was wearing off ... I poured orange juice into my coffee. And not just a splash - I poured orange juice all the way to the top of my cup when it slowly occured to me that the coffee was not turning a creamy colour.  I decided to take note of which container I was holding in my hand. "Aha. That explains it!"  I say aloud, as though I had figured out the last factor in the syrum for the cure to cancer. Quickly followed by, "you're such a nob" and laughing at myself.  Progress.  Early on this move would have frustrated the hell out of me. Now, I guess, it's going to be par for the course.   

My friend Renee (who is also expecting) introduced me to the term "Placenta Brain".  She mentioned it early on in her pregnancy as a reference for how forgetful and foggy she had become. I laughed thinking she was cute and that placenta brain was a Renee-ism.  Then I got it. 

Placenta Brain had me in a daze wading through a thick fog. I lost my words. I lost my memory. I lost my meticulous self somewhere into the abys of placenta brain.   How could a baby the size of a Gummi Bear wreak so much havoc on my brain?  

I would do things like; enter the kitchen open a cupboard then leave the room only to reenter some time later to see the cupboard door open.  Hmmmmm. I am home alone.  We have ruled out our house built in 1910 is haunted - so - I must have done this. I have no recollection.  Who am I? 

The list of things goes on - too many to mention for this one:

Craving a piece of chocolate cake I drove to the bakery across town to buy a slice.  I made sure to take a fork because I was not going to be able to make it all the way home without first tasting the cake to appease the craving.  It was delicious.  As I backed out of the parking lot of the bakery I notice a lady waving and running after me.  I stopped. She caught up to me, reached to the top of the car, "You forgot this" she said , handing me the cardboard box containing the coveted cake.  Oh no, when did I place the cake on the roof?  Do I tell her I am pregnant? Is this universal? Will she "get it?" I decide to say nothing but thank you and smile before driving away.

Other mothers sympathize when I tell them of my placenta brain.  They tell me it gets worse. Oh great I think attempting to smile but feeling like a slowly deflating balloon.   

One sketch we created for my TV Series GWBG was of a mother placing the infant car seat on the roof of the car then driving away.  We taped bystander's reactions.  How far away from this is my reality?  Am I going to hell for making such terrible jokes?  Is this what is meant by "nemesis?"

Gawd, I hope I don't leave the baby somewhere when it gets here.

Monday, November 3, 2008

We Passed the Triple Screens!

This just in!

The OB Doc called me personally to give me the test results from the Triple Screens.  He formally introduced himself to me over the phone.  Why? Because I have been seeing midwives and will only get to meet with this doctor at my 19 & 36 week ultrasounds - so we have yet to meet.

OB Doc said he calls all mothers over the age of 35 to give test results in person as women over 35 have a 1 in 230 chance of having a child with Down Syndrome.  He said my results were excellent - we passed! PHEW.  My test (based on hormone levels) showed a 1 in 900 chance which was very good given the actual numbers for may age group.  He then said he was required to offer me an amniocentesis. I declined the amnio based on the test results.  OB Doc agreed with my decision but could not council me one way or another in advance of hearing my response to the offer.  See you in a week for your ultrasound - I look forward to meeting you he said.  We hung up. 

I exhaled deeply for the first time in a week (since the blood for the test was drawn)  which says a lot about how I was feeling about the results of this test.  Especially, given that I teach breath work in 5-6 yoga classes a week!   Don't forget your breath I repeat in all my classes. You too Shipley!   I have learned I am always the student.

Friday, October 31, 2008

BPA & Bottled Water = BAD

Steve and I have been advocates for drinking tap water for quite some time.  Why?  Tap water is regulated and good for you, and, we have a very hard time thinking about how many  plastic bottles previously containing "water"  end up in landfill.  Last year while visiting Paris and Amsterdam there was a noticeable movement in restaurants toward tap water,  presented in a glass decanter, rather than selling a bottle of water.  The production of plastic bottles to carry "filtered" or "remineralized tap water" last year alone used 17 million barrels of oil, produced 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide and used three times the amount of water used to fill each bottle. Shocking hunh?  Especially given that we live in a country where clean water is accessible everywhere.   

The next big dilemma presents itself in the form of what type of reusable container we should be putting our tap water into.  Everyone has heard that Plastic Number 7 is BAD.  It's a hard clear plastic found in many reusable containers, from what I have read, it's a catchall number meaning the #7 plastic is made from several types of plastics some of which contain BPA and some of which do not. Still how are you to know?  

BPA is a synthetic sex hormone similar to estrogen which is used to harden plastics, however, it has been known to leak into the container's contents.  Scientists studying BPA in animal research have found it can cause various health problems including cancer, diabetes, hyperactivity, obesity and early onset of puberty.   

So we play safe and rule it out altogether which is what the FDA in Canada has done declaring BPA a TOXIN. YAY CANADA! 

With Baby P on the way I have begun to really look for  BPA free bottles, sippy cups, utensils, pacifiers and toys.  While it will  be fine if Baby P lives a lifetime singing show tunes I really don't want to be buying Baby P's first training bra at age six, or carpooling to chemo treatments instead of hockey practice,  if I can help prevent it.

So what can you do? 

If you are heading out for the  day, pack a bottle of water to take along. There are a number of great BPA or Bispenol-A FREE reusable stainless steel bottles on the market specifically made for toting water. Companies like Klean Kanteen,and Siggjust to name two brands who have taken the lead on the market in eco friendly reusable containers for kids and adults.

For baby items look for the BPA FREE logo in the packaging.  I recently bought a set of spoons made by Munchkin who had a big BPA free symbol on the front of the package. Although,  not all of thier products are BPA free. Careful consideration is still at the buyers discretion.  Other great companies making BPA Free products like bottles, sippy cups and pacifiers for babies are Born Free,  AVENT, Evenflo glass bottles, Dr.Brown's glass bottles, thinkbaby, Nuby and Sassy MAM.

We all have a choice. 

Thursday, October 30, 2008

3 Birds in 6 Months Flew into Our House ... A Wive's Tale or Truth?

The bird is in the left corner of the window behind the bamboo.

This spring I had the back door propped open while I hauled a couple of new wicker chairs and a club chair into the house from the back of a rented  pick up truck parked in the drive way.  I was so excited about the furniture's arrival I began running around inside the house snapping photographs of our new house WITH furniture to send home to my aunts.  

On a photography roll I headed out the front door snapping photos all around the exterior until I came to the back of the house only to discover I had left the back door propped open.  Duh. Oh well no harm I thought - it's not bug season quite yet. 

Looking through my lens framing another shot I see something dart past the kitchen window - ON THE INSIDE.  What the hell was that?

I head for the kitchen with Cecil our three pound Yorkie on my heels, closing the back door behind me.  There in the kitchen are not one but two birds!  One male and one female. The female flies toward the side kitchen window while the male takes off through the dining room toward the front of the house.  Cecil is losing his mind barking at the bird in the kitchen window, who is by now completely terrified and repeatedly slamming itself against the glass looking for an exit.  I take off in search of the male bird.  I find it perched on our computer monitor in the office.  I close the two glass doors to the office keeping it contained while I head back to try to save the female.

Since we had just recently moved in I had a few rather large boxes left unpacked standing in the corner of the room off the back entrance - I placed Cecil up on this box knowing he can't get down so I can try to catch the kitchen bird. (I then totally forgot Cecil on top of the box)  But first - I have to take the bird's  picture!

Eventually I throw a towel over each of the birds releasing out the back door to freedom.  I then have to retrace the bird's steps and clean up the guano left behind. I now under stand the saying "scare the shit out of me" as it pertains to birds.

I retold this story to my aunts who both told me "It's good luck to have a bird fly into your home - especially if it leaves a dropping!"    Okay I'll take the luck.

Last night the weather was dipping to the freezing point  so I decided I had better bring in my plants from the front porch.  I was worried that if we did get frost the plants would suffer.  In came all the tropicals in terracotta pots and then I decided I would bring in my hanging Boston Ferns.  I unhook the first one, turn on my heel to step just inside the front door, when something comes flying so quickly out of the fern and into the darkness of the house.  Ah!  What the hell was that? A bat?A giant bug? Too small for a bird. I place the fern on the door mat and turn around to get the other one.  This time I tap the base of the pot making a little noise and giving it a push - out comes another flying object - it graces my head and I scream. It's so fast and so small I have no idea what it was!

I decide I am not taking in the Boston Ferns and put the other one back outside.  Of course I have to tell Steve this story as we proceed to walk all around the house turning on lights and shaking curtains trying to startle whatever it was back out.  Nothing.  We found nothing.

A good hour later Steve heads off to the main floor powder room when I hear him call me.  Hey hon, I found your bat slash bug!  Come see.  

There on the chair rail in the powder room is a tiny fluffy black bird.  It's so pretty with spots on it's head and a long pointed beak like a humming bird.  Once again the dog is removed from the scene,  a towel is thrown, and the bird is released back outside.   This little bird was a winter wren who like to make nests in grass like areas...hence the Boston Fern.  Of course we had to consult our bird book ... we are nerds.

So this whole  "if a bird in flies in through a home's open door or window good luck wives tale" has me curious.  I decided to look into it a little further.  This is what I found out on Yahoo Answers:

It's a very old piece of folklore dating back to ancient times.

The ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians all represent the soul as a bird.  In paintings of death the bird is seen flying from the body. The reverse is also true, the appearance of a bird brings new life. The most common modern folklore reflecting this is the  popular image of the stork delivering the baby to the house!

So if this happened with one bird I might pass it off as coincidental ... but ... we have had THREE!

3 Birds = 3 Babies (in our family!)
Steve & I are  due April 10, 2009
Steve's sister Dawn due May 3, 2009
Steve's sister Jen due June 13, 2009.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Baby P's First Gift

The mail man came to deliver this tiny box to the door post marked to Steve and I.  When we opened it we realized the gift was for Baby P as none of the clothes would fit us!  Kidding.  

Auntie Lucky sent Baby P (his or her) very first H&M Green Flower cotton outfits in such beautiful colours, a foot jingle and Baby's first teddy bear...and the cutest socks I have ever seen! 

The clothes are newborn size...Steve was holding them up commenting on how tiny the pants are and I had a sudden realization that no matter how tiny the pants are someone big enough to wear them is going to  exit this body......YIKES!

Thanks Lucky we love them! 

Triple Screening

Today I have to pop into the Lab at my OB office to have some blood drawn for the "Triple Screening Tests." A triple screen is a blood test that measures three things called alpha-fetoprotein, human chorionic gonadotropin and unconjugated estriol. These are tests to look into whether or not the baby is at an elevated risk of a neural tube disorder or Down Syndrome. It's highly  suggested for women 35 years of age and over to take this test. It's pretty standard in North America.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Telling Family & Friends

We decided to tell our immediate family about Baby P after we had our "Confirmation Ultrasound at 9 weeks" and then elected to sit on the news until we were safely in the second trimester at 14 weeks to announce our news to extended family and friends.

Family Quotes:

Steve's Dad and his wife Kelly (Pepe & Meme) in Person:
"We are very happy and of course we will keep your news to ourselves. This is your news to share with Grandma (Mae) when you are ready."

Steve's Mother (Grandma Linda) in Person:
"Really! Well that's going to be an easy Due date to remember! How are you feeling? This is exciting!"
(Steve's two sister's due dates for their first babies were April 10th as well - neat hunh?)

My Dad (Grampy) By Speaker Phone:
" Really? Go On?! Well I never thought I would hear that from you two!"

My Seester By Phone:
"I am going to be an Auntie?! Really?!!!! A "real" Auntie!!!!" ( She said this over and over with increasing volume )

Steve's Seester Jennie in Person::
" Really? But I asked you earlier and you said no? Wait, you were drinking a coffee! Are you joking?"

Steve's Seester Dawn in Person:
"Yeah, I know. Jennie can't lie!"

Greg in Person:
"Really? You are gonna be a great mom. You are gonna be so fat, fatter than you have ever been."

Kathy in Person:
"No, I don't believe you. I was just asking Greg on the way here if you two were gonna have kids and he said probably not! Okay don't tell Greg let's see if he can figure it out."

Renee by Phone:
"Nooo really? How long have you known? I can't believe our babies are gonna be so close in age!  Who knows? Who can I tell? Jeff,  Shipley &  Steve are pregnant! When are you gonna tell Trish?"

Kelly by Email then Phone:
"Betch! As if you just email me that ultrasound pic and don't even call me? Am I the last person to know?"

Lucky By ichat:
"Ohmigawd I am so happy. I am turning into my Aunt who cried at everything. You have to share every bit of this with me."

Ann By Phone:
"Oh yeah, were you pregnant when you were home? Are you feeling okay?"

Aunt Dianne By Phone:
"That's wonderful! Do you have any names picked out yet?"

And we would really like to have the first hand quotes from the following people to add here BUT we were not given the opportunity to share our news because SOMEONE did it for us. So the rest of the "ANNOUNCEMENT" ran the gossip lines over the's actually quite funny to us, that all these people called each other for confirmation, and, not once did our telephone ring!

David called Grandma Mae to tell her that " fill in the blank" called him and told him Steve and Michelle are expecting a baby. Grandma Mae called Jennie to ask if this is true. Jennie can't lie (see Dawn's quote above) especially to Grandma. Jennie called me & Steve to tell us the telephone gossip - and there you have it. We can expect that the rest of the family knows now too.

The only reason we wanted to wait until we were firmly in the second trimester to announce was because we didn't want to run the risk of upsetting a whole pile of people should this pregnancy fail. Reasonable? We thought so.

And Then There Were Three

August 4, 2008

A normal morning - Steve was on the couch watching a movie and I was in the office setting up a dentist appointment and my first mammogram - just to determine a baseline for future tests my OB recommended. Apparently they do this yearly with all women beginning at age 35 who have an immediate family history of breast cancer. What a legacy - thanks mom! Incidentally this date was also my mother's birthday (she died December 12, 2000) how fitting today to be making an appointment to have my boobs squished I thought.

I headed upstairs to have a shower and for some reason decided I would try a pregnancy test. Clear Blue Digital. It did not have enough letters to say NOT PREGNANT as it has shown me a few times before the the previous months. It read PREGNANT. Immediately. There were no need for taking multiple tests. I went back down stairs and handed Steve the stick and said. "Uh-Oh I drank a bottle of wine last night." Then headed back upstairs to shower. Steve came upstairs a short while later and said "Hun this is great! And by the way don't worry about the wine I looked it up and it's fine - but- no more."

After Steve the first person I said "I am pregnant" out loud to was the woman who had just an hour before booked my mammogram appointment to tell her I was pregnant and ask if it was safe to have the mammogram. "Congratulations" she enthused - I'll cancel your appointment - please let your OB know why we are returning your referral. Sweet - I am out of the mammogram...but now I am gonna give birth......

In the next few days I set about finishing the paint (it's nontoxic) on the interior walls of my house. I still had the powder room, yoga studio, and back entrance to finish up. I was grateful for the distraction. I am positive many women have funny stories to tell about all the things they did while pregnant before they knew they were pregnant. Mine will include sailing our first regatta (with unexplicably swollen hands and feet -a sign of pregnancy I have since discovered), deep sea fishing, almost playing paint ball in 100 degree weather, stripping wall paper and painting seven rooms in our home all in a matter of 15 days. Look out Baby P - you have one set of overachieving parents.

August 25, 2008

Steve ad I went to the OB to have a confirmation of pregnancy test. They do this at 8 weeks - I was actually 8 weeks and 6 days on this date. Considering I have never missed my lady days, was eating 17 times a day, I had outgrown my bra, had super sensory sense of smell, had wicked headaches and occasional nausea I still wanted scientific proof of a baby.

Steve joined me for the ultrasound which was internal - yeah- not expecting that. Of course Steve was not phased at all. We both looked up at the TV monitor...then we saw it. Steve squeezed my hand. I said, "There's the little trouble maker!" We all laughed. It's heart beat was 170 beats per minute. Which is supposedly perfect and healthy.

It's all for real now. This our little is Baby P. Due April 10, 2009

BBP=Before Baby P

I was recently gifted with a "Maternity Journal." Since I journal everything and have for my lifetime in various ways, I really can't think of a better gift. The coolest thing is that when the journal is done I get to pass it along to Baby P - when Baby is grown. Thanks Kel!

This is an excerpt from the 1st Journal Entry back dated BBP = Before Baby P.

August 2 & 3, 2008

We had an eventful weekend. Saturday was to be a giant paintball game with Steve's coworkers followed by a BBQ at our house - but- it was 98 degrees so - thankfully it was cancelled. I was afraid of pulling on coveralls, gloves and a full face mask in this heat...but to be honest the recollection of welts incurred on my body from the last time I played was scaring me more than heat stroke! Steve and I went for a casual sail and anchored out to do a bit of crabbing. A whole school of porpoise swam by -which is a very cool sight anytime, but, quite a rarity on our river which is a mix of salt & fresh water. Steve took a picture of me & a crab - I told him to erase it - I looked so fat! Upon arriving home - I dipped into a bottle of Midol.

Sunday morning the alarm went off at 4:30 AM - we headed to meet a friend of Steve's to go off shore fishing in Morehead City for the day. The water was rough - we spent a good 4 hours slamming up and down - Steve's friend laughed at me because in all the thrashing around on the boat - I fell asleep sitting up- while trolling. Today we caught a handful of small Spanish Mackerel and a 2ft MAKO Shark!?

Arriving home Steve set about making Ceviche with the Mackerel and I proceed to open a bottle of wine. "Just giving you a heads up - I am a little over due for my lady days." I am pretty sure I am speaking aloud to myself more than to Steve. He smiles at me and refills my wine glass.

P.S My boobs are huge. The Midol worked everywhere but there. Hmm...