Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone had a nice Christmas. We did! Josefa & Charles arrived in town Saturday evening, so Sunday (Christmas Eve) Charles & I went out early to do the Christmas dinner shopping and then that afternoon, Arwen, Josefa & I went out on The Epic Adventure to Find the Last Christmas Tree in Denver. I had no idea that every store in town would actually sell out of trees by Christmas Eve. It seems like in Houston there are always zillions of trees left over at the last minute. It was looking pretty discouraging, but we perservered and finally succeeded at good ol' Home Depot. We got out of there with a tree AND a stand for $16!

So we spent Christmas Eve drinking cocoa, stringing the tree with cranberries and popcorn, and listening to Christmas carols. Then Christmas day we opened presents, took a walk on the snowy streets of downtown, came home and ate a wonderful turkey dinner, a la Charles. We got a couple of cute things for Roan - a tiny dress with ladybugs on it, and a matching hat and coat (Arwen is wearing the hat). Oh and I forgot to mention the snowwoman Arwen and Josefa worked on together. She has a fully scuplted face, a full bosom, and flexing deltoids. I'll post a photo.

Babywise, things are going well. The peanut keeps growing - and of course so do I. We are in Week 27 now, officially the Third Trimester! As you can see from this week's belly photo, we have relocated her adorable rocking bassinette to our bedroom. This was a hand-me-down from my cousin Ashley, whose beautiful daughter Kayleigh is about 9 months old now. It rocks, vibrates, plays music and has a mobile. It even has a remote control! I think it will keep Roan very happy.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Snow Day

Wowee! This city has really come to a standstill in the face of this storm. The Governor has declared a state of emergency, snowplows may not reach some areas for two days, the airport is closed till Friday, bus and light rail service has completely stopped, all schools and Post Offices are closed, the malls are closed, mail and newspaper delivery have been suspended, and the local hockey and basketball teams have postponed their games!

Our front yard is totally inundated in 2-3 feet of snow in some places.

The backyard is completely unrecognizable. You'd never guesss there's a set of wrought iron patio furniture under there. And check out how deeply our car is buried (last photo)!

We don't have a TV and we haven't turned on the radio lately, so all this was kind of news to us, even though we live here. It was only once we started getting phone calls from friends and family that we actually bothered to check the news and get the scoop.

This is the first time in recent memory (going back at least 10 years) that chain laws have been in effect for Metro Denver. That means you're not allowed to be on the road unless you have 4-wheel drive or chains on your tires - a rule that usually only applies in the mountains.

The streets are totally quiet, pristine and white. The air is cool and crisp. The snow has stopped blowing, so now we can go outside and enjoy the magic. The city is hosting sledding parties at 4 parks around town and handing out free hot cocoa! What a cool city!
It's the snowstorm's fault

In case you haven't heard, Colorado has been hit by a big snowstorm. It started yesterday in the wee hours of the morning, and it's supposed to keep on dumping till this afternoon. The city of Denver is supposed to get at least 12 inches - which, according to my friend Amanda who has been here a while - only happens every 3 years or so. So the city has been turned into a Winter Wonderland just in time for Charles & Josefa's visit!

As magical and beautiful as it is though, the snowstorm has thwarted the sending off of our Christmas gifts (I actually got them made!!). After spending hours wrapping, packaging and addressing them all, I braved the blizzard yesterday afternoon only to find the Post Office closed! So much for "neither rain nor sleet nor SNOW nor hail..." Oh well, what could I do but laugh. So our apologies to anyone getting a package from us - they most likely won't be there on time.

In other news, on Monday I had an appointment with one of the midwives. Everything seems to be going well. She actually referred to me as looking "petite," which totally threw me for a loop. Not that I have a complex about getting bigger - I keep telling Roan how cute she is in there.

Well everything has been going well except for one thing. On two different occassions I have almost fainted. I talked to the midwife about it and she feels it was probably a combination of low bloodsugar, low bloodpressure, being out of breath, and going from the cold outdoors into an overly warm room. Both times - once at home and once at Target - I just sat down and waited for the spots to clear from my vision and my hearing to come back.

The midwife said that actually fainting isn't so much of a concern; it's more what you hit on the way down. She said to just keep an eye on my eating - make sure not to go for my dog walks or head out to go shopping without a snack, and I can keep exercising, going for walks, doing yoga and generally causing trouble. So that's good.

I will try and post some pictures of this epic snowstorm soon! Love to all.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

She's a Freak, Ow

Week 25Ever have one of those days where you take one look at all the stuff that keeps piling up on your To Do list and have a minor Freak Out? The holidays can be for so many of us poor fools not only the Season of Lights but also Freak Out Season. I dunno, maybe it would've helped to have glanced at a calendar sometime *before* mid December. I literally just discovered today that this weekend is the last one - aaaagh!! - before Christmas. In my defense, only yesterday did I finally dig myself out of the enormous mountain of baby shower thank you notes that I was buried under. I emerged feeling a gratifying sense of accomplishment for mere milliseconds before being inundated by all that remains to be done.

So not only is it the dreaded Last Weekend Before Christmas - and I have not even *started* on what I hope(d?) would be lovely and thoughtful - though modest - handmade gifts for my beloved diaspora of friends and family... but I also have a major code release to get out for a very important client, which may have me working over the weekend... and Arwen is hell bent on going snowboarding this weekend.

Not that I'm complaining. I'm not! I am determined to march into the New Year with a big fat happy face on. I am making a Girl Scout Pledge not to let getting ready for the holidays ruin the holidays. That would be stupid. Whatever gets done, great, and whatever doesn't, oh well.

Screwing up Christmas is one thing; screwing up your motherly duties is on a whole different level as far as panic and guilt factor goes. Monday I suddenly vividly recalled a conversation I'd had a week earlier with another March '07 mom in which she said, "You haven't signed up for birthing classes yet? I did weeks ago and they were almost booked up then!" Greeeaaat. Yet another thing I'd failed to do. I still hadn't finished researching what classes to take or where - but I realized with horror that the birthing method I was most interested in, the Bradley Method, requires 12 whole weeks of classes... and there aren't much more than 12 weeks left in this entire pregnancy! (We are at Week 25, btw, which means only 15 weeks to go!!!)

All's well that ends well though. We found a Bradley instructor who teaches downtown - which is convenient for us - and has a class that just started. We missed the first couple, but she will give us a makeup class. She sounds really nice. I'm excited to get started. I don't know anyone who's taken the Bradley classes, but they sound great. They emphasize natural childbirth, trusting your body, and the importance of the dad's role as coach. Arwen has said that a lot of times he's felt like dads are just left out of the picture of this whole pregnancy thing. Apparently Dr. Bradley, the guy who came up with the Bradley method, was one of the first obstetricians decades ago to extol the virtues of having fathers present in the delivery room. I think his "Husband-Coached Childbirth" philosophy will be a good one for Team Vaughan. They also encourage a number of other things we agree with: good nutrition, breastfeeding, and continuous contact between baby and mother after birth. You can read more here: http://www.bradleybirth.com/WhyBradley.aspx

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Family portraits

While we were in Houston we were lucky enough to get in front of Beryl's camera. We wanted to show off the peanut bump without going totally nude (not my thing). Actually at one point we tried to get Arwen to take his shirt off but he demurred saying, "I will have no part in pornography!" Not as the subject anyway, heh heh. Anyhoo, we are just thrilled with how they came out - there are some pretty good ones in there I think.

You can see the whole gallery online here: www.pictage.com . Search for the event "arwen and heather" in November 2006 and then when prompted enter the event key "Roan". You should see a gallery of about 60 photos.

So what's new... I don't know. I keep thinking I don't have anything new and interesting to say. But here's what's on my mind lately. Every time I walk in front of a mirror and see the day's new crop of zits I think "aarrgggh." But very time I walk in front of a mirror and see the growing bump I smile and think "aw Roan, look how cute we're getting." (We're thinking of naming her Roan, for Roan Mountain in North Carolina.)

I've had a few good baby dreams lately. I dreamt we went to the Dr's office and they gave us permission to take the baby out and play with her for a few minutes before putting her back in utero. Kind of weird huh? But getting to see her sweet little face was wonderful. I also dreamt that we went to the hospital to deliver the baby early and realized we hadn't brought any of our stuff -- none of my personal items or baby clothes or the car seat. It was an "oh no we're not prepared" dream.

I regularly take a peek into our spare bedroom where all the baby stuff is stowed in bags and boxes. I marvel at the incredible generosity of our friends and family, and I daydream about getting to put this stuff to use. And I think about how much we need to find a friggin house already and what a bummer it is that there's nothing good currently on the market. It would be so nice to be able to put all of these sweet things away in a dresser and a closet and hang things on the wall.

Arwen's had some news recently: He decided to make a job change. He's leaving the company he's been with for 5 years and is going to work as an independent contractor primarily for my company. This will give him the flexibility to work from home and also the ability to work for other clients as well. I am really happy for him. This is a choice for quality of life. Since the day I first met him Arwen has worked harder than most anyone I know, and I don't expect that will change. But I'm thrilled he'll be able to work hard in an environment that lends itself to a better work/family balance.

Our little girl is making her presence known more regularly now. I would say that I feel her move every 3-4 hours or so. Not in an uncomfortable way, just in a "Hey Ma, what's kickin'" sort of way. And starting about a week ago about once or twice a day you can actually feel her kicking from the outside. Which is sooo cool to share with Arwen. I just wish had she starting doing this a week or two earlier for the Houston crowd.

So that's all for now. More soon. Hugs to everyone out there.