Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye, year

2010 was a lively year for us. Ben started a Fancy New Job, we bought a house in small-town Minnesota, I finished school (for what I swear is the last time) and began my illustration career in earnest, and, best of all, we became parents!

It was a good year -- a great and momentous year, really. The changes in our shared life have brought Ben and me* closer together than ever, and the many changes of 2010 are overwhelmingly positive... but they're also simply overwhelming. The baby is a joyful presence in our lives every day, that's for sure, but let me be frank and admit that the girl is running us ragged! No one really tells you how difficult it is to have a newborn, because they know you wouldn't believe it -- couldn't possibly believe it.

But, we are happy. We love our little town and our house, we're happy enough with our respective work, and we've got a charming little girl to dazzle and fascinate us (and keep us awake all night). Life is good!

Our year is ending, though, with rather a muddy puzzle. Doctors are trying to figure out why I started having stomach pain as soon as Bee was born,** and Ben, Bee, and I have been going to the doctor's office every day for the last several days. Doctors thought I was suffering from gallbladder problems (apparently not uncommon after childbirth), but tests don't suggest that that's it at all. I've had blood and urine tests, an ultrasound, and, today, a freaking CAT scan.*** Have you ever had one of those? I ask because what the fuck is up with that stuff they inject into you that makes you feel like you're peeing yourself? Is that strictly necessary??

So we are keeping all things crossed. Hopefully we'll find out soon that I'm suffering from something conveniently curable with a drug that doesn't pass into breast milk--as opposed to, say, something that will leave my baby motherless and my husband wifeless. Sorry to get grim, but one thinks of these things. So here's to a healthy new year, a 2011 that is as happy as 2010 was for us. Warmest wishes to anyone who's still out there reading!

* This is the grammatically correct phrasing of this sentiment; do not give me any crap.
** Due to the timing, I spent weeks thinking the pain was caused by Constant Fear, and the mega-stress associated with new parenthood.
*** Which they now call a CT scan, probably because the words "CAT scan" strike fear into the hearts and bellies of many people. Claustrophobia or whatever. But the machine is not particularly confining... it's shaped sort of like a miniature Stargate, and you move through it while lasers beam through you. When you come out, though, you're not on P2X-416 and you still just have the same old stomachache.

Monday, December 27, 2010


These days, Ben and I take turns sleeping. Here are some things I do to stay awake at night when it's my turn to spend some quality time with our girl:

  1. Play this brilliant game,

  2. listen to Music Through the Night,

  3. look at Facebook and wrestle with important decisions like whether I should edit my "political views" info -- from left to far left,

  4. eat leftover Halloween candy (namely, Jolly Ranchers),

  5. blog (if I can reach the laptop),

  6. admire my perfectly sweet little girl,

  7. read novels by Jack Finney, and

  8. stream Netflix (recently: season 2 of Futurama, season 3 of Eureka, some recent SNL episodes, 84 Charing Cross Road (wonderful!), and a handful of Dolly Parton movies (I love Dolly!). Catching up on years of television and movies is one [dubious] bonus to breastfeeding for fifteen hours a day.

Regarding dinners, cuddling, and
a Dangerously Fluffy bassinet

During the week, when Ben is at work all day, I really don't even try to do anything EXCEPT take care of the baby, unless the compulsive checking of Facebook and a few showers a week count as doing something.

I sometimes get dinner made, usually with the aid of our crock pot -- but the quality of these dinners is such that I cannot refer to them as accomplishments. Not by a long shot. Gone, for the foreseeable future, are the halcyon days of even slightly elaborate foods. Cutting out ravioli with a wine goblet? Are you freaking kidding me? Nowadays we're lucky to get a couple of bowls of ugly but passably flavorful lentils with rice, prepared in the crockpot. And it takes me the better part of the day to get a meal prepared, chopping vegetables or tofu for a few minutes at a time while the baby watches me solemnly from a bassinet wheeled into the kitchen. If I start before noon, I can usually get dinner made by working a few minutes at a time. But if approximately 2 PM comes and goes and I've been too busy to prepare anything, then I know I'm fighting a lost battle. The result is generally Chinese take-out or hastily heated leftovers (although leftovers are hard to come by these days: they're GOLD! Leftovers mean I can eat something other than pretzels and blueberry soy yogurt all day!).

Our sweet girl is an extremely cuddly baby. And I would be a little sad if she weren't -- my friend Tiffany's daughter was an independent and un-cuddly baby, and Tiffany always felt sad about that. But our girl fully expects to be held in someone's arms at all times, day and night, and when she occasionally sleeps on her own, it's a precarious sleep achieved only after I have Tricked the Baby by slowly and painstakingly transferring her from my arms to a specially arranged, ultra-fluffy sleeping surface. (Not recommended for babies, but we're in survival mode here. We never leave her unattended in her Dangerously Fluffy bassinet, I swear.)

My hard-won hands-free time never last very long. Ten, maybe fifteen minutes, most of the time (occasionally, she'll nap for a magical 30 minutes!), and usually only once or twice a day. (And never at night.) Oh, and always within my line of vision, because she'll only sleep on that ultra-fluffy, not-really-safe-for-infants sleeping surface I mentioned.

Constantly aiming to achieve more hands-free time, I try to convince our girl that she would really, really enjoy hanging out in any of these things we purchased and that she totally hates:

the baby swing

the sling

the BabyBjörn

the crib

the infant carrier

the bassinet

Truly, she has nothing but disdain for all of these situations (other than, for brief stretches, the bassinet -- the mattress of which must be elevated 45 degrees, plus, as I mentioned, tricked out with pillows and blankets). As she gets bigger, I return to each of these things, hoping she'll take to one of them so that I can occasionally do laundry or pee without holding an eleven-pound baby in one arm.

It's the middle of the night and I'm tired. So I'll just leave you with what I think is a cute photo.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I bet the Germans have
an actual word for it

Our healthy daughter, a dark-haired, wide-eyed creature, was born seven weeks ago. She's seven weeks old, seven weeks tall, seven weeks fat*! Already this girl, our daughter, is different than when we brought her home: not just bigger, but more... person-y! She recognizes us, she turns her heavy little head in the direction of interesting things, and she states--as it were--preferences. (Preferred: cuddling, opera music; strongly not preferred: scratchy woolen hats**).

My month and a half-long hiatus from blogging is not just a consequence of the intense craziness resultant of caring for a newborn (although having a newborn is RIDICULOUSLY CRAZY AND BASICALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO HANDLE NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE); the lull, to tell you the truth, has more to do with the Too Much-ness of it all. The intensity of the experience of childbirth -- it's Too Much, too momentous, to put into words. The special closeness between Ben and me as we meet our girl and get to know her, and as we work out how to best love and take of her together -- it's Too Much, too enormous, too special, too ours to translate. And especially the love I feel for this little girl, that in particular is Too Much to explain. For now, at least. Maybe coming up with descriptions and explanations will seem less impossible when I start getting more than two and a half hours of sleep a night. Maybe not, though, you know?

Intimidated by the thought that I had write about things I knew I couldn't properly put into English (who exactly do I think is reading this blog, my expository writing prof from sophomore year of college?!), I took a guilty break from blogging. Now that my explanation of the Too Much-ness is out of the way, though, I admit to feeling rather liberated, and I think that I'll enjoy posting regularly again--an activity I think may be viable during my eleven hours a day of sitting in a chair and breastfeeding. I'm sure my six readers and assorted anonymous lurkers (who I'm pretty sure arrive here after Googling "vegan potpie recipe") will be relieved to hear this.

To conclude this post, I'll just point out that our daughter has ten happy little toes (see photo evidence above). Same with fingers.

* She was on the small side at birth, under seven pounds, but has since gained half a pound a week, which apparently is a lot. At last week's check-up, the pediatrician took one look at our girl and said, "Well, she's certainly not failing to thrive!" -- a weirdly-phrased pronouncement in which Ben and I have decided to take cautious pride.
** Below: Bad hat!!!!! Photo snapped one second before the three-day-old baby completely lost it. As soon as I snatched the hat off of her head in maternal terror, she regained her composure and the angelic expression to which we have already grown accustomed.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chenille sheepie postponed no longer

This chenille sheep with wool embroidery is for our baby. Snuggly! The bottom photo is of its rear end and nubby little tail.

I began knitting this fella about four years ago, when our now-apparently-fully-formed-and-ready-to-debut baby was, as they say, but a twinkle in the eye. Four years! That's how long it takes me to finish anything that calls for multiple knitted pieces to be assembled with thread and a needle, because I kind of hate sewing; the finished pieces knit up quickly enough, but then sat in my closet* for years. Also, embroidery is not my strong suit, so even after assembling him, I put off giving this sheep a face. But there's nothing like the approaching birth of your baby to prompt the eleventh-hour finishing of a variety of long-deferred knitting projects. No more dithering! This week I've got two pairs of baby Mary-Jane bootees to bring onto the front burner!

* At least two different closets in two different cities. Pathétique!

Pompoms and earflaps and stripes

This is the first hat I've made for our baby -- pink and red and peach stripes, fluffy red pompoms, and warm earflaps, 'cause in my mind, our little one deserves the whole nine yards. I'd have sewn on an actual bell or whistle or it weren't a choking hazard.

Two bentos

Our treasured digital camera has been out of commission,* plus I've been a little too busy over the last few months to document the daily bento situation. But here are a couple from over the summer. Lately we've been doing more salads (especially veggie couscous!) and dips (namely a seriously delicious roasted red pepper and cannellini dip that is SO GOOD with tortilla chips and carrot sticks!).

Top: baba ganouj, couscous salad, chocolate chip cake, grapes, homemade bread.
Bottom: cherries and melon and blueberries, chocolate muffin, carrot sticks, veggie-hummus wrap.

* Now we have a new camera with double the megapixels, and I don't like it half as much as the old one. But we couldn't find anyone to repair the first camera, and I suppose we can't very well show up at the birthing center to have a baby without a working camera.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

38 weeks pregnant

Here's me, looking grumpy and disheveled in my studio. I'm burning those pants in two weeks.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sausages and elephants

I no longer have ankles; in their place are a couple of sturdy, sausage-looking things. Only slip-on shoes fit on my feet. I've also developed third-trimester carpal tunnel (not great for an illustrator) and I feel enormous. Truly, truly, truly enormous.

But I'm not wishing for this crazy time to be over, because I know I'll miss many things about pregnancy when it's done: the mysterious movements in my belly -- the fun of imagining what our daughter will be like, and the anticipation generally -- not having to give a damn what I look like or if my clothes are flattering (they're not! deal with it, world!) -- and the momentousness of these final days during which Ben and I are still Just the Two of Us (sort of).

I've been working hard to finish up a large-ish freelance job for a children's magazine (featuring a number of elephants, to whose size I can wholly relate these days), and I admit I was pretty nervous all week about the possibility of the baby making a slightly early debut -- because I was pretty sure I couldn't finish the illustrations from a bed at the birthing center.* Thankfully, it looks like the freelance job will be wrapped up before long (like, tomorrow) and I can proceed to the delivery room without a care in the world (except for the colossal anxieties associated with GIVING BIRTH and then CARING FOR A NEWBORN HUMAN!).

In other news, Ben rescued a cat from a tree yesterday! Honestly, my fella is something else.

* Or maybe I could. They are pretty cool there.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Exercise, belated

I made the interesting choice of doing essentially no exercise during my pregnancy until the eighth month. I have a diaper bag full of excuses -- we were buying a house and moving and packing, and I was busy with illustrations and finishing my third and final degree, and then there was and is the unpacking. (See, they're not terrible excuses, right? But still, excuses.)

Lately I've been swimming once or twice a week at a fabulous indoor pool, and going to a prenatal yoga class once a week. I'm certainly not exerting myself significantly, but it does feel good to get a bit of physical activity. I think I sleep better after exercising, too!

I do wonder if I'll ever have time to exercise after the baby is born. My sources say no!

Friday, October 01, 2010


If you're not familiar with the widespread phenomenon of women who become pregnant and start hating their dogs, you have the option of catching up here and here!

Because the dog is driving me freaking bananas.

She smells like a gas station bathroom. Having lost some marbles in her old age, she compulsively licks herself.* She whines almost constantly whenever Ben isn't home, which, since the man has a job, is ALL DAY LONG. I can't go into the bedroom and take a goddamn nap, because the dog will find something that belongs to me, in another part of the house, and utterly destroy it. She deliberately pisses on our bathroom rug when I have the audacity to go to the grocery store. And yesterday, while I walked to the post office and back, taking the liberty of leaving the house for twenty minutes, she found a handmade merino wool scarf I'd recently finished knitting for a friend, and chewed the hell out of it. It's ruined! And I can't stand the dog!

P.S. I wasn't going to include the above photo of Bella (R) and her buddy Alexander (L), precisely because you'll look at it and think, "but she's so cuuute!" But recall ye, outrageous acting-out and occasional cuteness aren't mutually exclusive.

*I don't like that my unborn baby is constantly hearing her mother scream, "STOP LICKING!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The where

Above: 33 weeks pregnant!

If you're not interested in reading about the cool place where our daughter will be born, feel free to stop reading now. No hard feelings!

After hearing a million horror stories about women's negative experiences with hospital births, and after reading lots scary pregnancy-book chapters about how every freaking detail every goddamn step of the way will involve fighting to have our wishes respected, Ben and I toured the birthing center where we'll be welcoming our daughter into the world. It was such a relief to see for ourselves how progressive and welcoming the place is! It's a birthing center within a hospital, which is becoming more common these days. I feel good about being in a hospital in case anything goes wrong, and about giving birth in a birthing center that gives us the opportunity to customize our experience.

They don't ask you to wear a hospital gown! You're allowed to eat and drink during labor! The place is full of yoga balls, bars, whirlpools, rocking chairs, and anything else a pregnant lady might need. I'll be encouraged and expected to get up out of the bed as I wish. Rooming in is 100% standard. Would I like to listen to a CD or watch a DVD? Enjoy some aromatherapy? No problem.

I don't think I'm a crazed, demanding pregnant lady (although you should check in with me again around the due date), and I don't think Ben and I have any unusual or extreme instructions* for the birthing team. Whenever I'm asked what kind of birth I'm planning, I say something along the lines of, "My plan is to just see how it goes." I mean, I've never done this before, so how can I possibly know, for example, how I will react to the pain, or what position I'll want to be in? Flexibility seems to be the best policy. I'd love to have a drug-free labor, but making that decision beforehand seems a little weird. How can I know what I'll want before I know what labor is like?

All of that being said, there are a couple things I know I want, or don't want -- I want to be able to move around, for example, and I don't want our baby taken away and vigorously scrubbed before Ben and I have had a chance to meet her! So seeing the birthing center and finding that I don't have to worry about these kinds of things has given me (conflict-averse me) considerable peace of mind.

* Although I suppose no one, even the most crazed and demanding pregnant ladies, think that their unusual and extreme demands are either unusual or extreme.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Update and pupdate

I won't bore you with the particulars of how we're still getting the new house in order. The details of carpet-cleaning, linoleum-scrubbing, shelf-hanging, repair-doing and yard-taming are not funny or fun. Instead, I'll simply note what has been observed by new home owners since time immemorial: that there's a ridiculous and overwhelming amount of stuff to do, and most of it is expensive, and we'll never finish it. At least, not by the time our baby arrives. C'est la vie!

Our new town is really a wonderful place, and every day I'm happy that our house, and all of the chores and repairs and upkeep that come with it, is located here. We can walk almost everywhere, there are a billion trees in our neighborhood, people know one another, and it's just... pleasant. And for now, the weather is gorgeous -- cool and crisp and sunny. The Minnesota winters are long, so we cherish these comfortable autumns and springs.

I'm 33 weeks pregnant now and the baby moves and wiggles a lot. Apparently needing a change of scenery, she has already relocated to the all-important head-down position, and it's awfully weird to be able to feel (with our hands on my belly) what we believe to be certain body parts (head, spine, feet) stretching my abdomen. For the last several weeks, my belly has been moving of what seems like its own accord, and resting a glass of chocolate soy milk on my belly has proven potentially messy. In other news, I bought a kick-ass stroller this weekend from a Craigslister in our new town, and I like it even better than the one Ben and I were looking at in the store! And it was such a bargain! Also, this week I begin the once-a-week doctor's office visits already. As a band I loved in high school wondered in a song, "Where does time go? I don't know."

Ben and I had an action-packed evening yesterday when I managed to give myself chemical burns on both hands by chopping and seeding a jalapeño. Despite having chopped many, many jalapeños in my life with no adverse effects, this time was baaad! It burned with increasing intensity for hours until, as we read the desperate online comments of others who have burned themselves by trifling with jalapeños, Ben decided to whip up a healing concoction that gave me enough relief that I could fall asleep -- quite a pathetic scene here last evening. (If you're curious, Dr. Ben's Special Fancy Cure-All Solution involved an entire box of baking soda whipped into a wonderful, messy paste.) I slept with my paws coated in the stuff (you should have seen the sheets and blankets when I woke up the next morning -- they are in the washing machine at this very moment). I have to admit, it was all pretty funny despite the pain and the pathos. Today, my hands are sore and feeling sunburned, which is about a hundred times better than the intolerable burning of evening last. I've learned my lesson -- never chop jalapeños without wearing gloves.

Pupdate: the dog and I are getting along a little better these days. Ben wondered if she might be misbehaving more because a) I'm pregnant, b) we're in a new house, and c) she senses that I'm irritated with her very presence. I can't do anything about a) and b), but I can try being a little less disgruntled whenever she walks into a room. So that's what I've been doing, and it has actually helped a little. Although I'm not willing to
spend all day, every day reassuring the dog that she is Special and Loved, I am happy to treat the dog with less exasperation, and to act less aggreved, if it means that we're both a little less nettled each day. I'm putting effort into walking her more (which is good exercise for both of us), as well as not recoiling in disgust when her drooly mouth approaches me. She's whining far less and there haven't been any Urine Transgressions since I started this new course, so that, at least, is good.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


My wonderful parents-in-law visited over Labor Day weekend and spent the entire time doing home improvement projects on our new house. (Are we great hosts OR WHAT!) One of those projects involved painting the nursery this peachy-cantaloupey color (chosen by me, so be nice). It's very pretty in real life, I promise.

When they weren't mowing the lawn or desperately trying to make the nursery walls ABSOLUTELY PERFECT so that their moody, pregnant daughter-in-law would not freak out, Ben's parents checked out our new town (which they had visited many times before we moved here, actually), did some birdwatching, and enjoyed Chinese food with us. It was a nice visit. Oh, and there were chairs: we now have Ben's BEAUTIFUL wooden high chair (our girl will be the third generation to fling mashed-up banana from it!), and Ben's folks bought us a ridiculously comfortable (and pretty) white Shermag rocker/glider for the nursery. So nice!

We still aren't fully unpacked, because we haven't established our storage and shelving solutions for the studio (and for our ungodly number of books) yet. So almost all of my studio stuff, and absolutely all of our books, are still in boxes. And, you know, looking at those boxes inspires pain, but not as much pain as actually putting up shelves.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I passed! I passed!

As a result of [just barely] failing a standard glucose screening at an ob/gyn appointment last week, I spent this morning taking the extended screening at the doctor's office. Failing this one would have meant that I'd somehow developed gestational diabetes, despite not having a single one of the risk factors. Apparently this type of diabetes goes away after pregnancy, but for the remainder of your nine months you have to do all of the testing and pricking and monitoring and dieting associated with the non-gestational variety of diabetes. Obviously, I was really, really hoping to avoid this.

So I'm relieved and happy that I scraped by, but I have to complain a teeny bit... because I think it's pretty cruel not to let a pregnant lady eat anything for fifteen hours,* and then make her give blood four times in three hours (from the same vein, in my case!). If you're pregnant and you haven't been experiencing quite enough nausea, light-headedness, and unbearable, gnawing hunger -- then the extended glucose test is for you, my lady friend!**

* Fasting when pregnant just doesn't seem right. Baby's hungry! Would you starve a baby for the better part of a day?
** Also, get out your tiny, invisible violin, because I had to sit in a hard wooden chair for three hours and watch multiple episodes of something on Nickelodeon called "iCarly." That's right, had to.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Not itsy-bitsy

Today I finally spent an afternoon at our town's amazing outdoor swimming pool. I loved it! The water was gloriously cool, and there were plenty of lounge chairs, and they have a climbing wall... when you fall off, you fall into the pool! There were about a billion kids loving the heck out of that climbing wall.

Mostly, I floated. I had read that being in the water is nice for pregnant ladies because, during the heavenly half hour or whatever you spend in the pool, you feel relatively weightless. I'd been going about feeling very weighted indeed, so that was a nice sensation. I floated and floated, when I wasn't being smacked by the flailing limbs of local children (I'm used to the flailing limbs of our unborn daughter, but that's a different sensation). As I floated, buoyant in spirit and body, I imagined our baby, floating in her little space as I floated in the pool. We both wiggled, suspended, and I wondered if her floating-within-floating felt any different to her, or if floating, at some point, is just floating. If you're already floating, can you be any more floating?

I haven't posted many belly photos here, and above is one that might make you glad I've spared you until now. I figure since this swimsuit is basically a pair of loose shorts & a modest tank top, I can feel free to post pictures ALL OVER THE INTERNET! Don't worry, in public it covers my belly. But that makes for a boring photo.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Take my dog, please

Our dog is the sweetest, best dog in the world. Everyone who meets her loves her. She is loving, gentle, and friendly.

But ever since I became pregnant six months ago, I can't stand the dog! Her obsessive, repetitive paw-licking drives me totally freaking bonkers, for example. She's been neurotically licking this one spot on her paw for the last four and a half years, and nothing we've tried can deter her from her task -- but now that I'm pregnant, I lose my mind when I hear her licking that goddamned paw.

And she probably doesn't smell any worse than she did before I was pregnant, but now her terrible odor, including her offensive breath (which you can smell as soon as she ambles into a room), has actually brought me close to puking. And speaking of puking, I seriously cannot deal with cleaning up the vomit that results from the dog eating any sort of crap/carcass she finds in the yard or (this is her fabulous new stunt) in the trash can. (The trash can even has a lid that she has figured out how to remove, a maneuver that might have impressed and entertained me six months ago, but now seems like an act of deliberate malice designed to afflict me in particular.) If we're lucky, she eats something that's actually sort of a food, like moldy rye bread from the trash can, but more often it's something indigestible like a dirty sponge (I know, you've been hearing an awful lot about this sponge). I don't know if you've ever cleaned up dog puke after your animal companion has eaten a Pinesol-soaked scrubby sponge, but it won't make you feel any closer to your dog.

Now that she is fourteen years old, the dog can't control her bladder. The fact that she pisses all over everything is one that used to annoy me, but I shrugged and thought, "well, she can't help it. We'll all get old one day." Now, when she pisses on my floor, I think, "I hate you, dog."

I can't help it. I don't know why everything she does infuriates me now that I'm pregnant -- the desperate licking of her empty food bowl for ten minutes after she has scarfed down its contents, the ubiquitous string of drool* that hangs from her mouth (it's like a quarter inch in diameter, I swear to god), all the times she whines to go outside at 4 AM and then just stands in the driveway staring a you, the single "let me in the house" bark she issues after being in the yard for like 20 seconds.

Becoming pregnant and then hating your dog(s) seems to be a very common phenomenon. I don't feel good about suddenly hating the dog, and my guilt impelled me to do a Google search ("I'm pregnant and I hate my dog") that revealed HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS of stories from pregnant women who used to love their canine "babies" and now can't stand the sight/smell/sound of them! Many of them are really, really funny. One woman said, "I take a shower three times a day just to get away from the dog." SO FUNNY!

This blog post in particular made me shake with laughter, tears streaming down my face. Laughing about it, and realizing that what I'm experiencing is an actual thing,** made me feel better -- although I am still livid over the giant puddle of piss I found on our bath mat this afternoon (why was the dog even IN the bathroom? I swear to Christ she deliberately peed on that rug!).

There are a few Internet theories about why so many pregnant women start detesting their pets out of the blue. For example:

#1 Our heightened sense of smell might make us extra-sensitive to how f-ing foul dogs smell.
#2 Hormones are making us all-around more irritable.
#3 The dog senses an impending change and is acting out (i.e. behaving like a real a-hole).

For me personally, I don't believe it's #2. Honestly, I don't think I'm irritable with anyone or anything else, just the dog. There might be something to #1 and #3, I don't even know any more. I'm inclined to think there are biological and evolutionary factors. Regardless, I can think of a couple of things that seem true -- first, the idea of my newborn baby having to breath air that smells like dog urine into her tiny, new lungs makes me freaking flip out. The dog has already peed and vomited on the carpet in our baby's future nursery, a fact that seriously makes my head explode. And if this dog is still alive when our baby becomes mobile, our floors cannot be coated in drool, scented with urine, or dotted with eight-inch balls of shedded fur. Would you want your baby crawling around in that germy muck? Like I'm really going to have time to clean and disinfect every inch of my house every day! Which brings me to number two: I won't have the time or energy to deal with dog-related stressors, or this dog's ultra-neediness, when the baby arrives. This week alone I've cleaned up vast puddles of dog piss at least once a day, almost every day -- a task I am certain to resent even more monumentally with a new baby. Oh, and as a freelance illustrator, I work from home (which is awesome and a privilege), which means that I never -- will never -- get a break from the dog, until the sad day she leaves this world and I'm left feeling guilty as all hell for having felt constantly and intensely annoyed with her.

Some women say that they start liking their dog again after the baby arrives, but most seem to believe that, if anything, the resentment deepens once the baby is outside of the womb. I really, really hope that I come back around to liking the dog, because... well, because it doesn't feel good to experience feelings of hostility toward a creature who loves you so devotedly. I know I love the dog -- I vividly remember loving the dog -- but for the last six months I've wanted a vacation from her smelliness, whininess, and general grossness.

Although her mere presence exasperates me, I promise, I'm never, ever mean to the dog and she lives really well. She eats and drinks like a happy hog, sleeps on a fifty-dollar bed, gets at least two walks a day, enjoys the run of a big plot of land, eats lots of treats (in addition to what she snorfs out of the garbage), occasionally works up the vigor required to chase a squirrel, and is lovingly petted (albeit not by me). Despite the current friction, she does have a loving home.***

P.S. I can't believe I forgot to mention the farting! Oh my god, the farting!

* for some reason that rope of drool makes me mental, oh my god.
** documented by a bazillion anecdotes, which isn't nothing.
*** even though the majority of that love is currently provided by Ben.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Not a thing in the world...

to complain about. Although the unpacking is going slowly because I'm huge and sleepy, I now have time to do it and can even (sort of) enjoy the process of putting things in their new places.

And... we have a hammock! Two perfect hammock-hangin' trees stand at the front edge of our green and ample backyard, and yesterday Ben hung up my new favorite place to luxuriate:

The dog, who seems to have a new lease on life since we moved out of the city, likes to sleep underneath the hammock while I'm in it, which is not what I expected. (If ever I fall out of the hammock, neither of us will be happy.) I knew Bella would appreciate having company outside, but... directly beneath the low-hanging* hammock? She is really insistent on staying close. Although this dog has moved many, many times in her long life, she is still responding to our recent change of locale with some uneasiness. We good-naturedly assume that it is in fact the stress of moving that caused her to eat that kitchen sponge the other day.

In other news, Ben and I signed up for childbirth classes at the local hospital. The reality of my situation of affairs begins to sink in: I actually have to give birth to our baby! Nobody else can do it! Only me! Based on the materials I've received beforehand, the terrific reputation of our hospital and its doctors, the thoughtful and thorough needs assessment I filled out this morning, and the unmitigated niceness of every person I've talked to at the new hospital, I think our class will be a good one that will tell me more or less how I'm supposed to do this thing. And I don't want to get my hopes up too much, but maybe we'll even meet some other couples we like. We need friends in our new town!

* At least, low-hanging when there's a pregnant lady napping in it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Thunderbolts and lightning

When we lived in Seattle, I did miss the spectacular thunderstorms of the Midwest. It rains in Seattle, of course, but there's almost never a true thunderstorm -- instead, it just kind of drizzles a bit every day for nine months, and that's how the Pacific Northwest gets its reputation for raininess. In actuality, Seattle doesn't get any more rainfall than, say, Cleveland (another former home of mine).

Tonight we're having one of those dazzling thunderstorms here in our prairie town. Honestly, I've never seen such lightning! I'm awake in the middle of the night, partly because of the storm,* and the lightning illuminates every room of the house with its quick white flashes. The land here is so flat, and the sky so dark (without the streetlights and tall buildings found in cities), that the lightning becomes really breathtaking. I walk through our still-bare rooms that continue to be filled with boxes, and our as-yet uncurtained windows light up -- at 4:30 AM! -- with impressive flashes. And the thunder, and the wind -- they're pretty awe-inspiring, too. The trees are shaking, somewhat terrifyingly. I found myself lying in bed, wide-eyed, certain that our house would be crushed by the fall of one of our mighty oaks or pines.

I gave up on sleep around 4 AM, having been lying in bed, wide-eyed, for a couple of hours (see * below). I was feeling kind of nauseated anyway, a phenomenon that has returned with a grand vengeance in my third trimester. Otherwise, the pregnancy is still going remarkably smoothly. I'm happy, healthy, and getting good and fat! Plus, I'm done with school, I love our new town, Ben has a job he likes, I just finished a great freelance illustration job, and we're homeowners. All is bright!

* and partly because I am haunted by the sound of the dog vomiting all over the carpet at 2 AM. Apparently I'll have to get better at predicting which inedible objects our 14-year-old dog will decide to eat next (for example, a sponge used to wash the insides of all of our kitchen cabinets).

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Boxes, curry, tired

We are slowly unpacking. I'm working on a freelance illustration at the same time, which means the unpacking doesn't have my full attention, plus Ben and I are both still exhausted from the move. It's not like when we were in our 20s and felt up to moving every year or so; we have more stuff now, and we are certainly in less awesome physical condition than we were as 20-somethings, so moving is now a grueling enterprise.

But we're getting there, and someday soonish our lives will start to feel more normal again (just in time for our baby to be born, I'm sure!). Tonight I look forward to making a breathtaking curry for dinner... Ben and I have been preparing less elaborate dinners lately, as we try to survive this move. But today I unpacked a jar of curry powder and a favorite rice pot, so all systems are go and we will feast on curry instead of angel hair and jarred pasta sauce with pixie dust.

I know I said I'd blog about our lovely new town and home, but I'm too tired to do anything but what comes easily right now -- namely, complaining about how I can't find anything, and about how sure I am that The Boxes Shall Never Get Unpacked, and about how tired Ben and I are. But, I promise, sometime soon: plum trees and country roads. There are so many wonderful things to describe, and I'll do it soon.

Monday, August 02, 2010

The big move

Ben and I moved into our new house this weekend. The move was fairly harrowing, as big moves generally are, and we're both exhausted -- despite having the extremely generous truck-loanding and -unloading help of many friends (THANK YOU, Leah, Eric, Evan, Ben, Tom, and Finn). Many of our helpers even loaded our crap in their own cars and drove an hour into the Minnesota countryside to put the crap in our new house!

Being six months pregnant, I didn't do any of the heavy lifting. Awkwardly trying to be useful, I fetched bagels and coffee, walked our whiny dog to get her out of everyone's way, and attempted to express encouragement and gratitude while others carried all of my stuff, much of which was heavy, to a moving truck. Always uneasy in the role of expert, I avoided acting in any sort of supervisory or directorial capacity. Then, when everyone left, I stayed in the old place and cleaned the hell out of it, finishing up just before Ben returned to fetch me. I spent those spare 20 minutes or so passed out in exhaustion* on a camping mat covered with a not-too-dirty fitted sheet. Ah, moving day.

But, we're in our new house. Our sweet little house. I love it! Next time I'll tell you about our small town, the house, and our FRUIT TREES!

* exhaustion, and I didn't even load any boxes! But that's pregnancy for you.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I've honestly never felt more showered with love than I did on Sunday, at the baby shower thrown by my mom in Cleveland. I got to catch up with family and friends, some of whom I hadn't seen since high school graduation 15+ years ago, and we all ate plenty of cake, falafel, and strawberries. And folks lavished all sorts of generous and delightful presents upon us! It was absolutely enchanting!

Friday, July 09, 2010


"Proper names are poetry in the raw. Like all poetry they are untranslatable." --Auden

Although we've decided to keep the baby's name to ourselves until she joins us in the outside world, Ben and I are enjoying being able to refer to our girl by name. (She just kicked me as I typed that.)

As I've mentioned elsewhere in the archives, we'd probably still be at the drawing board had we learned that we were having a boy. Don't get me wrong, we would have been just as overjoyed to get that news, but we didn't have a name waiting in the wings, and Ben wasn't convinced about either of the only two boys' names I find acceptable -- so, in that regard, we got off a little easy.

The process of choosing a name is such a funny and onerous one. Early on, I provided my husbeau with a verbal outpouring of the many girls' names I'd been filing away since approximately the age of 20: Esme, Willa, and Winifred, for example. Nodding politely, Ben came back with names like -- wait for it --


Stunned into silence, I felt quite sure that my normally pensive, sweet, and brilliant spouse was either pulling my chain or putting absolutely no thought into this... otherwise, how could he insult me by suggesting a name like Caitlin? Who was this man I married?! And how were we ever going to reconcile our two vastly different naming aesthetics? But, you know, in the face of the tribulation that was Caitlin, I concealed my "that is never going to happen" expression (as he kindly did when I proposed Minerva). And honest to god, before long we came across a genre of name -- and, indeed, a specific name! -- that somehow met with emphatic approval by both of us. It kind of happened out of the blue, taking both of us a little by surprise, and we basically shook on it right there and then. And so our girl has a name.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Already with the tantrums

Unlike most parents-to-be, Ben and I were lucky enough to get an in-utero photograph of our baby apparently screaming in anguish.* This is not what we expected at my 20-week checkup yesterday, but we also got a handful of tranquil, less terrifying images of her (that's right, WE'RE HAVING A GIRL!). I'll post those below so that you don't have to have nightmares about our baby looking like an Edvard Munch painting.

* Or, as the technician put it, "yawning."

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pregnant, in a cute apron

In just a few days, Ben and I will find out the sex of our baby! We're dying to know, not so that we can paint the nursery or buy a bunch of dumb gender-specific onesies or whatever, but because there's just so little to be known about this little creature right now! We want to know whatever can be told to us! It will be fun to start calling her by her name* -- or to get busy coming up with a name for him.**

* Although we are keeping the names a surprise for everyone else until The Big Day.
** Why are boys' names so difficult to come up with? Everyone seems to think so. I'd love to have a son, but what on earth are we going to call him? (I can tell you what we're not going to call him.)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Tripping through whatever kind of
flower this is

I've never seen so many flowers in all my life! Our Minneapolis neighborhood is covered in them this spring and [early] summer! I really don't think its just the wide-eyed wonderment speaking, either; there really are more flowers than you can shake a garden hose at.

To satisfy my desire to document this amazing display, I'm making ink out of flower petals this week. I've been wanting to photograph (done!) and illustrate some of this fabulous flora for a while now, and painting them with petal-ink is the sweetest way I can think of to allow content to inspire form. The only problem so far is that it's virtually impossible to make green ink from green plant materials, although it is very easy to make smelly, unusable, yellow-brown ink from green plant materials.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

19 weeks

I've already moved on to the babydoll-style tank tops phase. God help us!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Love in a wormhole

In between taking some intense summer classes, buying a house, preparing to have an actual career, and being pregnant, I intend to read an ungodly number of time travel romance novels this summer. You heard me, time travel romance novels. (It helps me to think of them as "literary" romance novels, but with some of these there's quite a fine line between literary and trashy, let's just be frank.) If this is a side of me you've never seen, well, what can I say? I've been enchanted by the time travel novel (okay, it doesn't have to be romantic -- but it helps!) for many years. One of my favorites is the YA novel Charlotte Sometimes -- have you read it? Another is, of course, Madeleine L'Engle's series about the Murray family (Wrinkle in Time and its companion novels). I must have read Wrinkle twenty times between the ages of 10 and 12... and a few more times since then.

Some of these books are quick reads, and in the last couple of weeks I've polished off two time travel romance novels that have been on my list for a while: Portrait of Jennie, which I loved and actually is rather literary, and the wonderfully lower-brow Summersea. The latter is set in the mid-seventies and is so fabulously descriptive of that time period that I found myself reflecting on the always-amazing fact that reading a good historical novel is in itself a form of time travel.

Right now I'm reading the public library's copy of Jack Finney's Time and Again, which so far is more science-fictiony than romantic, but the story is so captivating* that I don't mind. Earlier this month, I tried on Daphne Dumaurier's House on the Strand but got a bit bored (plus I desperately wanted to start Summersea!) and set it aside -- which is too bad, because I love Dumaurier and her unrivaled merging of the literary and the trashy.**

Today I actually spent the entire day working ahead in my classes so that I could spend the entirety of tomorrow morning with the Finney novel. It is going to be wonderful. Until next time!

* intrigue! secret government experiments! time travel training centers disguised as ramshackle extra-urban warehouse buildings!
** imagine my exhilaration upon learning that she'd written a time travel romance novel!


I'm nineteen weeks pregnant now, and these months are slipping by with slightly alarming speed. I know time might seem to slow down toward the end of these nine months, as things get, you know, BIGGER and MORE UNCOMFORTABLE, but right now I feel a sort of desperate guilt about not documenting these months more closely -- in, I don't know, some sort of [private, non-blog] journal or something. I wish I could slow down time in order to appreciate more fully this special period of time that is destined to come to such a complete and definite conclusion in November.

I suppose I could at least be documenting this time a little more devotedly. I'm already forgetting some of the details of things that happened at the beginning of this pregnancy, and maybe it's not important to remember exactly what happened the morning I got up in the middle of the night because I was so excited about peeing on the pregnancy test stick -- but maybe it is important, somehow -- that's the feeling that badgers me a bit. It's crazy... this nagging feeling that something utterly irretrievable will be lost if I don't remember exactly what time I got up that morning or precisely what we said to our friends when we finally shared the news.

But it's been hard for me to find words, or to feel the necessary drive to do the work of writing things down, except in a cursory and public* manner, with everything else that's going on in our lives this summer. And anyway, I so often find myself thinking, what can I possibly say about this experience? Not only because I surely can say nothing that hasn't been voiced by a billion pregnant ladies before me, but because, if you'll pardon the wide-eyed wonder, I am frequently, these days, left speechless by the beauty and marvel of it all. Perhaps I should at least be keeping copies of my letters to friends, à la Clarissa Harlowe, but I've not taken the time to do so. It may turn out that this silly blog, and some illustrations** I've done this summer, will have to be documents enough.

* Theoretically public, if anyone were to actually read this blog.
** The uterus, above, isn't really one of them. It's just a little thingy I cut out of black paper and thought was cute.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Hey, Baby

This week I did a self-portrait with acrylic, cut paper, and Photoshop. I'm not quite this enormous yet, but definitely growing! And one of the books* says that our baby is now the size of a lobster tail (?), because apparently the authors couldn't come up with a normal household object for a size comparison.

* Probably my favorite of the handful we've got on hand, actually. I've found the much-celebrated What to Expect When You're Expecting to be much too glib and perky for my tastes. Its written in the cutesy, punny style of one of those insipid women's beauty mags. It does have a great index, though, so I go to that book when I have an ultra-specific question.

Meet Your Miso, part 2

I love miso soup for a light lunch or a precursor to the main event at dinnertime. This one calls for yellow miso paste, which I've started to prefer to the red for simple soups like this one. Tofu and fresh spinach, combined with the protein found in the miso, really pack the nutrients.

Miso Soup with Spinach

2 T. olive oil
1/3 block extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes
1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 t . ground pepper
2 1/2 c. potato water
2 1/2 T. mild yellow miso paste
1/2 c. finely chopped onion
1 T. wheat-free tamari
1/3 c. finely chopped fresh baby spinach*

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a pan. Add the tofu and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté the cubed tofu for about ten minutes, stirring every few minutes until the cubes are golden.

In a small pot, whisk together the potato water and miso paste. Add the onion. Bring to a boil, then add tofu and tamari and reduce to a simmer. Stir occasionally. When onion is soft, stir in the spinach and remove from heat.

Serves two.

* I like to cut the spinach into thin, fine strips using this method used for chopping basil.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Wacom tablet bag!

I finally commissioned a custom bag for my beloved, indispensable Wacom tablet. Observe the cuteness! The talented Sarah Rose designed and created the bag, which has specially-sized interior pockets for the stylus and its holder. She might do a commission for you if you e-mail her!

Finding a nice bag for this piece of equipment is notoriously difficult, and even the bag manufactured by Wacom specifically for these tablets has garnered vitriolic reviews all over the interwebs because the tablet doesn't really fit properly into the bag (oops), doesn't have a carrying strap, and isn't padded. So I'm thrilled to have this specially made, ultra-cushiony, one-of-a-kind solution.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Ten-pound gerbil

A certain baby book says our little one is about the size of "a small
gerbil" right now, but I don't know... I think I look more than sixteen and a half weeks pregnant, so maybe gerbil was a typo. Maybe they meant full-grown male marmot. More likely, I need to cut back on these and these.*

I was prompted to make a note of the gerbil issue after a friend who is in a more advanced stage of pregnancy told me that her forthcoming baby is now the size of Toto from the Wizard of Oz.

* And definitely these.

Monday, May 24, 2010


I ate my first whoopee pie at the age of 19 while doing the summer camp counselor thing at a sleepaway camp in New England. When whoopee pies were served for dessert in the dining hall, I'm not kidding, joyous shouts of "whoopee!" were emitted by kids and 'dults alike.*

I came up with these vegan banana whoopee pies last week, having at my disposal a pan like (but not as expensive as) this. And I whipped together a variety of things you'd expect** to create the creamy filling, with the hyper-banana-y flavor being owed to actual bananas and some cheating. Since this was sort of a baking experiment (successful, unlike sometimes), I didn't really keep track of what in god's name I was doing, so I can't share a recipe, but next time I'll write something down for my banana-lovin' comrades.

* This is one of the happy memories of my various summer camp jobs in Connecticut, Ohio, and upstate New York. There are plenty of less idyllic memories too, such as complete and utter exhaustion, living with a dozen children in a tiny log cabin (not as cute as it sounds), and being taken to the emergency room after a camper-caused cycling accident somewhere in Vermont. But still... whoopee!
** Like this and this. Just because it's vegan doesn't mean it's healthy.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Visible changes

I know it looks like I'm purposely jutting about my belly in this photo, but I assure you that that is not a) the case, or b) necessary!

I'm almost sixteen weeks along now, and this photo is from a week or two ago. Ben and I aren't particularly busy with baby-related stuff right now... busier, instead, with looking for a house to buy, and with arranging Ben's forthcoming job change. 2010 is full of changes for us, and we just haven't had time to get obsessed with buying baby things or even take our class at the hospital... but really we're waiting to do that because we'll likely be switching doctors and hospitals as a result of moving to the country!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bento, still

Ben claims he still loves these bento lunches and doesn't
find them at all embarrassing, so I keep making them. We
both like it!

Orange slices, spice cake, carrot sticks, and falafel with lemon-tahini dressing.

Canellini bean salad with fresh spinach, chocolate muffin, carrots and edamame, and sweet potato fritters.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Baking bread, buying house

I baked ciabatta from a recipe in this book of bread recipes. It tasted good, and was great for some picnic sandwiches we lugged (in the most idyllic little wicker picnic basket*) on a recent daytrip to a charming little town that I'll just call CLT for now, but the bread wasn't really ciabatta-y. Despite taking all day to make, there was little chewiness payoff. The crust was nice and crisp and the inside good'n'bready, but that's not ciabatta, know what I mean? Oh well. Ben thinks the starter needs to ferment longer than the four hours prescribed by the recipe. He's probably right, but tell that to Paul Hollywood!

We were in CLT for the day because we were looking at houses. We're seriously considering moving to a small Minnesota town surrounded by countryside! CLT is a pretty special community. It's in the midst of the rural midwest, but for some reason has two prestigious liberal arts colleges (one of which Ben attended for undergrad**). I can totally live with an intellectual community surrounded by countryside; in fact, it sounds darn near perfect right about now. Ben and I have always valued the great things that cities usually offer (for example, diversity, arts, music, restaurants, job opportunities,*** and liberals). But every city has its disadvantages, too. Like, if we moved back to Seattle, we wouldn't be able to buy a decent house. Crime, too, has become an increasing stressor to me. Since we moved to Minneapolis less than three years ago, we've already had a couple of things stolen, including our car from in front of our apartment. Then there's the traffic, the vast number of rude city-dwellers (yes, even in Minnesota) and, you know, not being able to walk around outdoors alone after dusk if you're female.

Don't get me wrong, I've read Sinclair Lewis and know all about the potential defects of small-town life: neighbors knowing your bidness, nobody around who isn't white, not as much to do as in the big city. But there's something so peaceful about our potential new town, and we're having a baby soon, so, frankly, don't really plan on "doing" much anyway. We like the town, so the pros have started to roundly outweigh the cons: we'll be able to afford a lovely house, send our forthcoming child to a good school, attend tons of great local concerts and intellectually stimulating lectures, and probably even be able to afford the extras we've given up in the last five years, like going to the movies more than once every sixteen months or (and, like some of you, we have forgotten what this is like) going on a vacation! (I can hear you playing your tiny invisible violin right now.)

If we do move, I'd like to do it soon. This baby is coming in November whether we've settled in or not, and I'm ready to be where we're going to be. I want to see CLT's reknowned baby-havin' center,**** meet our new obstetrician, and just, you know, get ready. It's probably because of this.

* I made pink walnut pâté as a spread for the faux-ciabatta sandwiches, with carmelized onions and some spinach and tomatoes. We also had jelly doughnut cupcakes from the world's most formidable vegan cookbook, Veganomicon. We enjoyed our picnic on a riverbank. Keep in mind that I'm on vacation right now, so I have time to do this sort of ridiculously cute thing.
** And if you'd told him he'd someday be moving back to CLT with his pregnant wife, I doubt he would have believed it.
*** If we make this move, Ben will commute to the Cities (we'll have to start calling them "the Cities"!) for work. As a freelance illustrator, I can work from anywhere.
**** Affiliated with the Mayo Clinic!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Food and its Discontents

Fourteen weeks into pregnancy, my relationship with food has
changed slightly. I haven't had any real cravings*, but I have been extremely... suggestible. Anything I see anyone eating on
television becomes an immediate semi-obsession, and once, early
on, I wanted nothing but Eggos after watching a sitcom in which
the characters kept referring to frozen waffles... they didn't even
eat or show any frozen waffles, just kept talking about them. I
ended up satisfying that lust with homemade pancakes and maple syrup, which is so much nicer than Eggos anyway.

One of my first clues that Ben and I are having a baby was a strong aversion to my cherished morning coffee. The smell and taste made me want to retch. And, man, un-pregnant Aimee really loves coffee. But this is one of those aversions that's a boon to pregnant women, since we're really not supposed to have coffee anyway.** Recently I've had a couple of run-ins with what I think of as "spontaneous aversions" -- this, of course, is when I thought I really wanted to eat a certain thing, until I put the thing in my mouth and started chewing. I won't explain further.

Overall, my diet hasn't changed a lot, though. I still eat a healthy vegan diet full of veggies, beans, tofu, and other soy products. Ben and I continue our "Spinach Challenge" each week, buying an enormous bag of baby greens every seven days and challenging ourselves to finish the whole damn thing within the week (which we almost invariably do, by adding spinach to everything from pasta sauce to casseroles to soups).

There have been just a couple of other changes and additions. Instead of coffee, I drink a glass of chocolate soy milk every morning.*** And I've been eating oranges by the bag, because they are so gloriously sweet and delicious lately! Oh, and edamame with a little salt. I've added tomato juice once a day, because that stuff is seriously good for you. But it's not all roses... sometimes there's cake, and sometimes there's mango sorbet, and sometimes there's ice cream. I am pregnant, for Chrissakes, and the baby has informed me that he or she wants--nay, requires--more mango sorbet.

P.S. Sorry about the "puking" tag. I figure I might as well get that one established before our kid is born, so I can be ready--if one can be at all "ready"--for all of the vomiting children do.

* I accidentally typed "crazings," which is also appropriate.
** Some experts say a little bit of coffee is okay. But who wants a little bit of coffee? And why risk it?
*** Still has some caffeine, but apparently far less than coffee.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

And THAT is why I love my MacBook

I coaxed Ben into recording the baby's heartbeat at yesterday's
ultrasound. Surely, I conjectured, we won't be the first couple
to show up at the obstetrician's office with a white laptop and
some editing software. Ben agreed (what was he going to do, say
no to his pregnant wife?), and here is what he recorded! Babies'
hearts beat really fast in the womb (175 beats per minute at my
first check-up, and 150 BPM yesterday!) -- "Like a hummingbird,"
as my sweet husbeau phrased it.

Monday, May 03, 2010


Ben and I can finally share our big news, which involves a baby:
we're having one!

Keeping my mouth shut for the first twelve weeks was a challenge, but at the same time it's quite nice to have a special secret, isn't it? Well, today I had a 12-week ultrasound. Ultrasound isn't standard at twelve weeks, but we got a freebie because my obstetrician's office is working toward certification in some sort of fancy extra-advanced sonography technology, and since they need to submit a series of "perfect" ultrasound images with their application they asked if we'd like to come in and get an extra glimpse at our little one. We wanted to, and we did, and it was pretty wonderful. And our baby kind of looks like a cute little turtle!

Everything was totally normal at the ultrasound. So, the rest of this post might be really boring unless you're one of the baby's grandparents (just a warning). So: our baby seemed to be sleeping, or was at least immersed in quiet meditation, when we began the ultrasound. He* wasn't in the position the technician needed for the baby's closeup, so about thirty minutes of tapping my belling commenced. I wasn't convinced the tapping would accomplish anything, but the baby started rolling around and changing position right away. At one point the poor thing was standing on his head. Still: wrong position. I hopped around a bit. Still no profile shot. Just when I began to worry that we were harassing the poor baby a bit too much, the technician gave up on the glamour shots, reassuring us that all looked great nonetheless. We left with some new snapshots, no worse for the wear. And I thought the baby had Ben's nose.**

Two more things: a few times, the baby rubbed his face with his hand! I mean, are you kidding me? I thought I might die from cuteness overload. Also, the baby had his legs crossed at the ankle, which the ultrasound technician*** found remarkably funny and cute.

P.S. Is it just me, or do ultrasound images always look weirdly like 1840s daguerreotypes?

* We'll just say he, because the pronoun situation is already getting cumbersome.
** Right now you're looking at the ultrasound image and saying "Nose?!" But I swear, the live show was way better than the photos! We saw fingers, toes, the aforesaid handsome nose, eyes (well, eye sockets), a ridiculously tiny and amazing ribcage, and what the technician termed "a beautiful spine."
***Pat has been an ultrasound technician for thirty years; imagine the changes in technology she's seen in her line of work. While I was in the restroom peeing to give the baby more room to roll into the desired position, Pat told Ben that when she first started, they basically had to use their imaginations. Which I imagine didn't result in the most satisfying ultrasound images.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Snuggly-buggly treesie-weesie

I came across this Random Act of Crochet in the Whittier neighborhood of Minneapolis, right outside the doors of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. I'll spare you the photo
of my friend Alexa hugging this cuddly tree.

P.S. I know the tag says knitting and the photos say crochet. And I know knitting and crochet are different; trust me, I know. Let's just roll with this so I don't have to make a new tag I'll never use again, okay? xooo.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bento blast!

You have been bento blasted. Click to enlarge.

From top to bottom:
Spicy tempeh fingers, chocolate cake, oranges, and pasta salad with tomato-tahini dressing.

Creamy pasta salad, chocolate chip coconut pumpkin muffin (thassright!), carrot sticks, and salt and pepper fried tofu.

Tortilla chips, red pepper hummus wrap with veggies, brownie, and a cute little pear.

Carrot sticks, edamame, chocolate chip cake, and potato-spinach squares.

Cantaloupe, zucchini muffin, spinach and red pepper pasta salad, hummus, and Ben's favorite crackers.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

More like this

Months of studying Swiss typography resulted in this type-forward poster for a screening of the films of this guy. My typography instructor informed the class that he'd like to see all of them designing posters "more like this." SCORE!