Wednesday, August 30, 2006

8/28/2006 - Happy Birthday Arwen!

Happy Birthday Arwen!Today was Arwen's birthday as well as our first days back at work. His office is downtown, and I'm working from home in our spare "bedroom" (which is too small to fit a double bed in it!). My colleague, Kelly, and I are adjusting to working at a distance rather than sitting across the table from each other. Arwen set us up with Skype, a computer phone service that provides unlimited free calls throughout the US. So Kelly and I can talk all day for free. Pretty cool!

Today was a tough one for me. I'm not feeling too good. Our place seems full of smells that nauseate me. I'm hungry but when I open the refrigerator everything is repulsive. I'm tired, have a little bit of a headache, and generally just feel like crap. This is all I've managed to eat today:
  • 1/4 box saltines
  • 5 slices hard cheese
  • hot turkey & gouda sandwich
  • 1/4 pint vanilla ice cream (I'm not proud)
I feel bad because it's Arwen's birthday and I wish I had more energy in me to bake him a cake or something. My friend Andye reminded me this weekend, however, that baking is an art form at this altitude. I'm definitely not up to that challenge, and even if I were Arwen would just be miffed I made him something fattening to eat.

Anything but Garlic!I asked him what he'd like for dinner and to my horror he asked for pasta with pesto. "You know, just something simple and healthy." How about something that doesn't make me gag? The thought of all that garlic made my head swim. So I suggested, "I can either give you a birthday massage or cook you a birthday meal, but I don't have both in me tonight." With his back still a little tender from the move, he thankfully opted for the massage.

We went out for dinner to Swing Thai and took his presents and cards with us for him to open. The meal was good - the first decent thing I had to eat all day - and I'm sure the peanut was glad to get some veggies, noodles and tofu. After dinner, Arwen opened his presents and cards. He got several very sweet cards, some cash, a physics book, the newest Red Hot Chili Peppers cd (that was from the peanut) and a tshirt from one of his favorite restaurants in Houston called The Hobbit Cafe. It has a picture of Arwen the elf on the front!

After he opened his presents, Arwen said the sweetest thing.
"This is the best birthday ever."
"Yeah, right," I replied, thinking again about that cake I didn't bake him.
"No seriously," he said earnestly. "I'm going to be a daddy. And I'm sitting here with my best girl. My only girl."

I won't lie. It made me cry. But maybe it's just the hormones talkin.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

8/27/2006 - Back to life

Our New PlaceThe last week has been such a whirlwind, I can't believe tomorrow we go back to work. We still have a ways to go as far as getting settled in. I don't know what we'd have done without having Dad here. He is such a sweetheart. And he worked his butt off to help us make this place feel like home.

He and Arwen spent Tuesday unloading the truck. Then Wednesday it took most of the day finding a storage unit, getting signed in, and moving all our extra stuff into it. The woman at the storage place was a hoot. It was apparently her first time being left alone at the place and she was not entirely sure how to do anything. It took about six tries before she was finally able to give us a working gate code. If I'd had any place important to be I might've gotten peeved, but I couldn't help but chuckle.

Our KitchenIt was sunny and hot during the day (80's probably), but it cooled down nicely at night and in the mornings. We managed to eat at a couple of good restaurants with Dad, but I wished we'd been able to do more "fun" stuff. By his next visit hopefully we'll have the scoop on what's fun to do around town.

Today we got to hang out with some of our new Denver friends - Doug and Amanda. They're the ones who introduced us to this great neighborhood. We're already starting to learn our way around here. There is so much to walk to from our house. Right out the front door you can see the beautiful mountains. Catty-corner from us is Berkeley Lake Park with, you guessed it, a lake. Squirrels, ducks and geese roam around oblivious to all the folks walking dogs, like it's a small animal paradise. In the park is Smiley Public Library and a Rec Center, which offers affordable gym memberships. There's also an off-leash dog park where we take Sasha twice a day.

We live right next door to a charming dive of a bar. Last Wednesday we checked it out with Dad. It was "Ladies Night," and boy was the place hopping. Including myself there were three whole ladies there! The bartender laughed out loud when I asked for a Shirley Temple.

Swing ThaiIn addition to the bar, there are a couple of excellent restaurants within walking distance - one Thai and one Italian - as well as a couple of coffee shops, a yarn store (YES!!), a bookstore, a hardware store, an organic market, and an "antique" shop that looks like it's probably more of a thrift shop. Our car may find itself parked in the driveway much more that it was accustomed to in Houston.

Tomorrow is Arwen's birthday. I've managed to pick up a few presents for him but I feel kind of bad that I haven't baked a cake or anything. I haven't been feeling great the last few days. We had our friends Andye and Gavin over for dinner last night and I cooked a big veggie fajita feast, but since then the thought of onion, garlic, salsa or sour cream just turns my stomach. The foods I normally love are repusive to me. I'm hungry all the time but at a loss for what to eat. I picked up a book on nutrition during pregnancy, though, so I just need to make time to do some reading. Hopefully it'll have some good suggestions.
8/21/2006 - Last stop, Denver CO Not our actual truck

Man, I thought we'd never get here. The drive took us over 22 hours. The cab of our moving van was a very small space for two people and a dog who sheds a lot to be crammed for such a long stretch. And the truck, although it's in reasonably good condition, was the bounciest ride you can imagine. Especially through Oklahoma, where they apparently do not believe in paving the roads flat. Luckily I had to pee about every hour and a half, so that provided an opportunity to get out and take a break from the jostling.

We spent almost as much on diesel as we did renting the truck, but finally we made it here. Our first day on the road we stopped off in Austin to see Mom & Ronnie and hand off our cat Blitz to her for safekeeping. Then we stopped again just outside of Fort Worth to meet up with John and Angela for dinner. It was great to see them all and to be able to share our good news in person. We spent that night in a small town outside of Oaklahoma City in a total dive called "Executive Suites" which reeked of cigarettes and lacked any charm whatsoever. We hardly noticed though, as exhausted as we were. Once we figured out how to work the barely functioning shower, we were just grateful to be clean and get some rest.

The second day was an even longer day of driving. Prior to our departure from Houston, our friend Todd had bestowed upon us the most amazing collection of cds he burned for us, intending to help us through the long boring drive. But alas, our big rig moving van didn't have a cd player, so the best we could do was to scrounge up a "Parliament's Greatest Hits" cassette at one of the many truck stops.

Arwen was amazing. He drove the whole way! The truck was so huge - 26 feet plus a tow dolly hauling our car - that neither he nor I felt comfortable with me driving it. So not only did I not lift a box moving, I didn't drive at all either. What a wuss am I!

After a long long long flat drive through Kansas and eastern Colorado we were finally at the eastern outskirts of Denver right as the sun began to set. As we got closer, the sky became more and more striking. Clouds stretched 180* across the sky, tinted at first soft pink, then orangish, then crimson. There were blues and purples too. It seemed like Colorado was welcoming us home.

Not our actual sunset

Tonight we moved a few essentials into our new place and set up a pallet on the floor to sleep on. Tomorrow my dad will get here to help us get settled in. I can't wait!
8/19/2006 - Moving day Our House

Today was moving day. My grandma Dixie started us out this morning by bringing over coffee and enough kolaches to feed a small army. We got a torrential rain shower about 9 o'clock, leading us to wonder whether packing the truck would even be possible. By the time the rain finally let up, we learned that the truck wasn't even in our zip code yet. They were still waiting for it to be delivered from Hempstead. The day was not getting off to a great start.

Finally we picked up the truck at 12:30. Already half a day gone, and no progress made. But lots of friends and family started showing up by then, and there was a buzz of excitement. Arwen's dad and uncle as well as my stepdad and numerous friends were on hand to help with all the heavy lifting. My mom brought over a spread of snack foods and homemade Kahlua brownies (which Arwen tried unsuccessfully to keep me away from). Beryl brought over a delicious assortment of sandwhiches that were so gorgeous I thought she'd had them catered. Our friends Xave and Ginger brought their one-year-old Alessio over and Billy and Jenny brought Berry, who's now about 6 months. So it seemed like a party.

After a few hours of back breaking work in the heat (not my back, mind you; Arwen forbid me to lift anything) we had made substantial progress and were feeling pretty good about the situation. Folks lingered until the early evening, snacking and continuing to load stuff as well as chit chat and hang out. After folks started heading out, making the final goodbyes, Mom suggested that if we could go ahead and finish up, we'd be welcome to stay at her house. She suggested it might be nice to sleep in a proper bed, get a hot shower in the morning and have a head start on the drive. Great idea! So we thought we'd do the "last few things" that needed doing before heading out. Shouldn't take long, right? Ha!

There is just so much to do when you are a) moving out of state, b) only get one go at packing everything up, and c) are also preparing your house to be rented out after you leave. Mom and Stephen stuck it out with us till about 10 pm, at which point I was so exhausted that Arwen ordered them to take me home. None of us had even had dinner. It was pitiful. Our friends Jough and Sarah were even more heroic. They stuck it out with Arwen until the bitter end, sometime near 1 in the morning. They painted two entire walls in our house (due to a tragic paint mix-up) and did heaven knows what else.

In the end, Arwen and the Pentonys (Jough and Sarah) got us 90% of the way there. There was still one hallway needing touchup paint, the entire house needed to be cleaned top to bottom, and oh yeah, one of our two cats had gone missing. Luckily we have a great realtor who has someone on hand to help us with the painting and cleaning, and our next-door neighbor happens to be in cat rescue. So one way or another it would all work out.

I knew that moving "ourselves" instead of hiring a proper moving company would be a lot of work, but neither Arwen nor I had experienced that depth of exhaustion in a very long time. And the thing is, it would've been completely hopeless without all the people who were there to help us. There's just no way we could've gotten it all done without the friends and family who worked and sweated right beside us. So to all of you, we say a huge THANKS!

8/18/2006 - The experts weigh in

It's official: We're having a baby! Arwen and I went to the doctor today and everything looks good.

They had me pee in a cup and then ushered us into a counseling room. Then the nurse came in, handed us a pregancy information kit, and unceremoniously blurted out "Your due date is March 25th." Arwen looked stunned. "Wait a second, Does that mean we're actually pregnant?" The nurse looked askance at him. "Yeeess... we just ran a pregnancy test and it came back positive." I could see the wheels turning in Arwen's head. "Damn! Not a virus? And I was so sure!"

Then they brought us into the procedure room, where they did an ultrasound. You could see our little raspberry in there, and its heart was beating away! Everything looked normal and healthy, the doctor said. Arwen looked like he was about to faint. I seriously thought for a moment that he might throw up. I so wish we had a video camera in there with us. He had me cracking up. I'm not sure why it was such a big surprise to him, given those two positive pregnancy tests, but maybe he was suddendly confronted by the full force of the reality of the situation.

So they sent us home with the first ever pictures of our little bean and a sonogram report for our new doctor in Denver (which we of course have not yet found). The doctor urged us to find our new hospital and doctor as soon as possible - preferably within a week - so that should be interesting with everything else we have going on moving and getting settled.

I am so excited. It may not be the most convenient timing, but I really could care less. And once the initial shock wears off Arwen, he will throw himself into this completely like he does with everything he cares about. He will make a great dad! Already he has made a list of all the things he will take care of so that I don't have to, in order to protect the baby. No painting, moving boxes, or pumping gas for me. He is a good protector.

I am thrilled that we were able to get confirmation of this pregnancy and its viability in time for me to share the good news with (some of) our parents and my brother in person. That means a lot to me. And I even have cute little snapshots to show them! We decided that initially we will only tell parents and siblings. Once we reach 12 weeks we will share the news with work and the rest of our family and friends. The doctor said that at this point our chance of miscarriage is only 5% but still I think it pays to be cautious.

I already called my sister and told her. Right now, outside of us and our doctor she's the only other person who knows. It was so great to hear the excitement in her voice. This is a truly happy day.

8/17/2006 - Counting down the hours

Man this sucks. I just can't stand it! I don't know how I'm going to pass the time between now and my appointment tomororw. I am DYING to tell my sister and my moms. I had lunch with mommy 1 today and it was SO HARD not to blurt it out. Even if things didn't turn out at this point I would still want to share this with them. But Arwen and I agreed to keep it to ourselves until after tomorrow's appointment, and I'm going to stick by that agreement. In one way, it's kind of neat having this secret shared just between me and him.

But between the fatigue and being distracted waiting for tomorrow to get here, I am not getting much done at work. I feel like a narcoleptic with ADD.

I wonder how my moms will to take it. Guess what, you're finally going to be a grandma, but I'm taking your grandbaby 1000 miles away. Yippie. I mean, I'm sure they'll be happy - thrilled even - but sad too. Same for my grandmas and Jim & Beryl.

The other thing on my mind - not that it even should be at this point - is that I hope hope hope it's not twins. That would just be insane wouldn't it? It'd be one thing to figure out the parenting thing in a new town in a new state where you don't know many people but two bambinos instead of one? In our teeny tiny barely 2 bedroom apartment? We'd never get a baby sitter. It just seems like it'd be a recipe for disaster. But then some other part of me deep down has some kind of morbid fascination with the idea. It thinks it would be so 'cute' to have two for the price of one.

So you know what else. There is this bizarre phenomenon where I wake up in the morning barely pooched out at all in the tummy area, and by afternoon I'm like a beach ball. Well, I exaggerate, but still. It is truly strange. I saw on an expectant mothers' bulletin board someone asked whether anyone else was experiencing the same thing, and wouldn't you know it, everymom and her grandma chimed in. So weird.

So I suppose sometime between now and tomorrow I ought to think through how I would handle the worst case scenario: a non-viable pregnancy. I know that on one hand I would be sad and disappointed, but then on the other hand, with so much going on I would hope I could take it in stride. I did kind of have my heart set on learning to snowboard this winter. Things would just revert back to "the plan". And at least now I know for sure that "the plumbing" works. If we can do it once, we can do it again, and perhaps at a more convenient time.

And if tomorrow's news is the good kind... Well I'm going to do my best not to think too hard about that. I will take a cue from Arwen and reserve judgement until then.
8/17/2006 - Is this for real?

I am so tired I can hardly stand it. Now that I know I'm pregnant I don't have to wonder why. This past monday I took a pregnancy test, not because I believed I was pregnant, but simply to put my mind at rest.

According to the judgements of my temperature charts, ovulation predictor kits and my doctor, by all accounts I did not ovulate this past month. No ovulation, no baby: simple. But then my boobs started to swell, and I began to feel aches in my ovaries. Oh and my face broke out like a cheese pizza. The thing is, every month for the last two years I think I feel pregnancy symptoms coming on, and every month I am disappointed to learn that in fact, I'm not pregnant. So this month, knowing I hadn't ovulated, I wasn't having it. I had many stern conversations with myself: "You know you can't be pregnant. It's as simple as that. End of story."

But when I started to have more symptoms, I just had to rule it out officially. Perhaps my grossly enlarged stomach was not due to over indulging in chips and queso after all. I picked up a home pregnancy test at the grocery store, and first thing monday morning I took a pee on the stick. Insisting on an absolutely incontrovertible result, I opted for the newfangled kind of test that displays the result in actual words rather than in incomprehensible colored lines. I nearly fell off the toilet when, within seconds, the word "PREGNANT" stared back at me. "Holy sh*t!" were the first words out of my mouth.

That first day I was in shock. Not only had I been convinced that I couldn't get pregant this month, we would be moving out of state 5 days later. Brilliant right? Turn up pregnant and then immediately move 20 hours away from all your friends and family. Show up in a new town, not really knowing anyone, fetus in tow. I thought guiltily back on this month's past transgressions. Tequila shots on vacation in Breckenridge. The margarita machine I overindulged in at a friend's going away party. The glass of wine or beer I've imbibed many nights with dinner. The lack of fresh veggies in my diet lately. Well, I thought, if the little bean had survived all that it must be a fighter.

While I researched prenatal nutrition and searched for a birthing center in Denver, Arwen cautioned me to slow down. "Let's wait till we see the doctor. You just don't know. Maybe it's a virus." I'm still laughing about that last comment. A virus that causes abdominal swelling, a missed period and two positive pregnancy tests. Uh huh. But my dear husband does have a point. Let's not get too carried away until we have some reassurance that things have a reasonable chance of developing normally.

Since that first day of feeling like a deer in headlights, I can't help it - the excitement has been building. We have been trying for a kid for so long and now it seems it is finally our turn. It is so hard not to say anything to my parents or my sister. I know how excited they'll be. Our first doctor's appointment is tomorrow - TOMORROW - and I just want to fast forward through today. They promised to do an ultrasound, so hopefully we should get some reassuring confirmation that things are normal. Arwen's going with me, so he can see for himself the little virus. I'm trying not to get ahead of myself, but I can't help imagine relaying the happy news to our immediate family. Until tomorrow morning I'm going to exercise every shred of willpower I have not to engage in "what ifs". At this point, everything beyond what I eat and drink and how much rest I get is outside of my control.