Friday, January 26, 2007

The House

So yesterday was the inspection of the house we put an offer on. A few big things came up - like the fact that it needs a new roof and that there's a major gas leak in the basement! But we were at least glad to know that it has a sturdy foundation and is a solid place. Today we sent our inspection objections to the seller, and now we have to wait and see what concessions she's willing to give. Hopefully she's willing to bargain.

While I was there I took a few pictures. I'm only going to bother posting the exterior shots because the interior is so pitifully cluttered by the current tenants' crap you can't even see the house behind it. But I think it'll be a good place. It's 2 bedrooms and 1 bath upstairs with wood floors, about 950 sf. It also has an oversized laundry room and two exterior storage units. The basement is 2 more bedrooms, a large living area and a smaller kitchen and bath, about 800 sf. It has tons of storage - linen closet, hall closet, pantry, and good closets in all the bedrooms. It has a large backyard (plenty of room for a swing set) and two covered parking spaces. It's in a great location - from there we can walk to the gym, the park, the library, the yarn store, yoga, two grocery stores, and lots of restaurants & bars. It is by far less expensive than any other duplex in comparable condition in this neighborhood. I mean, waaaay cheaper.

We like it because it'll give us the flexibility of having quite a bit of room with the baby and Jen & Micah and working from home, but it also has a built-in contingency plan. If anything drastic happened to us financially, we could always retract to 1 unit and rent out the other. Which hopefully will not happen. And then some day down the road it will serve as 2 more rental units for us when we decide to move into a more glamorous place. :)

Once we get a few must-do repairs out of the way, the next order of business will to cuten it up a little. Maybe some shutters in the front, definitely some paint and landscaping. It certainly has lots of room for improvement in the curb appeal department, but that's always the fun part of making a place your own.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Another healthy checkup

We had our Week 31 checkup with the midwife today. Everything's looking good. My blood pressure is still nice and low, baby's heart is beating at a good rate, and my weight gain isn't too crazy. I've already gained 25 lbs. so far! The target gain is 25-35 lbs. for someone with my starting BMI, so my guess is I'll be on the upper end of the target range. They say between now and the end you pretty much gain a pound a week. That might explain why I feel and sound like an elephant clomping around the house. The whole floor seems to shake at my every step.

I got one piece of very happy news. The baby has turned, so she is in position for birth. I'm proud of the little darlin for being so on top of things! There's no guarantee she'll stay put between now and showtime, but somehow it puts my mind at ease. If you're baby is breech they pressure you big time to get a C-section, and I would really like to avoid that.

The midwife shared with us another interesting tidbit. She said first babies tend to be late, especially in moms whose normal cycles are longer than 28 days. (I have very long cycles.) She said don't circle your due date on the calendar and think that's when baby will show herself; pretty much add two weeks to your due date. We'll just have to wait and see.

If she is a little later, that might give us a chance to get settled in a new house before she comes. The seller of the duplex we put an offer on accepted our offer! We go Thursday for the inspection, and I plan to take some pictures then. I warn you, it ain't much to look at right now. But it has good possibilities.

Oh and the other nice thing that happened at my visit today was the midwife gave the birth plan I wrote 2 thumbs up. What, praytell, is a birth plan you ask? They're all the rage these days; it gives control freak first time parents like us a chance to put our two cents in with the medical staff before they come after you with the pitocin and the forceps. Birth plans are supposed to convey your wishes for the birth; they have, however, developed kind of a sour reputation among many medical people who get tired of hearing "don't do this" and "don't do that." I tried to write a plan that conveyed our preferences while at the same time acknowledging the expertise of the medical staff. I'm just glad our midwife liked it!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Weekend Roundup

Ah, what a nice weekend we've had. Friday night our friend Amanda invited us to go up to her mom's condo in Winter Park. Saturday Arwen snowboarded with her and some of her buds all day - "shredding the gnar" as the kids around here say - while I hung out with her mom Ruth and her mom's friend Judy. Ruth and Judy had planned a nice quiet weekend of knitting, reading and taking in the mountain views, which was just what the doctor ordered for me. It's kind of funny to hang out with people that are quite a bit older than yourself and think, "This is just my speed!" I even managed to squeeze in a much-overdue nap.

Arwen returned from a productive day on the slopes sore and exhausted. At my prodding we went down to enjoy the condo's hot tub and pool. Don't worry Dear Reader, I only dangled my legs in the hot tub. (Hot tubs are banned during pregnancy.) Mostly I swam in the heated pool. It was so nice. And yes, I found myself far more buoyant than normal.

It was my first time to go for a swim since getting pregnant, partly because I never managed to procure a proper maternity swimsuit for myself. We have a nice heated pool just down the street from us at our gym, but I've felt a little funny about baring the belly for all to see in my bikini. That swim was so nice though - and it's one of the few things on the approved list of physical activity - that I have resolved to put modesty aside and go for a dip regularly.

Let's see... what else. Oh yes, I finished a cute little hat & bootie set for my new friend Molly, who is due 5 weeks before me. And I started in on a blanket for Roan. You can't tell from the picture, but it's incredibly soft. I also have a hat going for Arwen, but since we're down to only 9 weeks left it's time to switch it into high gear on the knitting for baby.

I also baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies this afternoon, in an attempt to satisfy my neverending craving for chocolate. And then while Arwen put together Roan's car seat and looked over its instruction booklet, I dug all the baby boxes out of our closet to put into them the gifts we've received over the past month or so. And tonight I plan to tackle the Baby Book.

Oh... I forgot the most important thing about this weekend. It looks like we may be getting a house! I hate to get too far ahead of myself, but we put in an offer and the seller actually countered! We countered again and hope to end up somewhere in the middle. If we actually end up getting it, I'll post some pictures. It doesn't have the gingerbread charm I was hoping for. Far from it - it's a square, flat looking ranch style. But it is also a duplex on a good sized lot in a perfect location with ample parking and a sturdy foundation. We plan to live in the whole thing - 2 br/1 ba upstairs and the same thing down. It'll be handy to have 2 kitchens. My sister & Micah are moving out here soon, so it'll be nice to be able to give them a place to stay until they're ready to get their own place. And then someday when we're ready to move into that wonderful gingerbread, we'll have 2 more rental units.

The only bummer is that even if all goes as planned, we probably won't be able to move in until after the baby comes. We have to give the tenants 30 days to vacate, and then at that point we still have some renovations to do. But that's alright. It'll just be nice to have a home again.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Week 30 photo

Thought you guys might want to see the latest belly pic. I'm really getting huge now, and loving it! Not feeling overly achey these days, even with all the added girth. I wake up most mornings with a stiff back and sore hips, but a few stretches and a hot shower take care of that. I feel lucky - I think I've had a pretty easy pregnancy so far.

I don't know what got into Roan last night, but she was kicking up a storm! This morning she seems to be sleeping in, but last night she was either disco dancing or doing aerobics. Sometimes it seemed like she was beating on my belly like a drum. Other times there would be this ocean-like wave across my belly. Wish I could've seen what she was up to in there!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Time for a poll

We're overdue for a poll dontcha think?

I've been thinking about getting my hair cut, and thinking about going for more than my usual trim. I've enjoyed having long hair for the last few years, but I'm starting to think that it may not be the most practical choice for after the baby comes. It takes a long time to dry and - when I get really industrious - fix. It also requires a lot of brushing or else it gets dreadfully tangled.

I'm thinking that rather than go months looking like a haggard new mom who hasn't had a chance to look in the mirror much less work on her coiffure, perhaps I'd be better served with a "wash 'n go" type hairstyle. Those of you who remember when I shaved my head know I'm not scared of making radical changes hair-wise. But my hair's been the same for so long I'm sort of at a loss for what to do with it. I'm leaning towards something shoulder length and layered, but maybe that's not realistic. Perhaps I should go back to something more pixie-ish.

Obviously I need some help here. Which is why I'm calling on you, Dear Reader. I thought it'd be cool to try out one of those virtual hairstyle web sites to figure out my new 'do. As you can see below, that proved to be an exercise in humor more than anything else. But I thought you might get a kick out of some of these...

How should I get my hair cut?
Free polls from

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Week 29... again

Arwen & I are spending a long weekend in Breckenridge. Not only did he want to get some more snowboarding in, but it's also time for Ullr (oo-lur) Fest, Breck's homage to the Norse god of snow. There's a parade down main street in which some people wear little more than viking horns and fur bikinis in 10* weather. It's pretty cool! Here's a web site.

I am actually working today and tomorrow, but I'm not complaining. I've got a beautiful view out the window of snow, pine and aspen trees. This whole working from home thing defintely has big benefits.

Oh so I should mention that contrary to past reports I am merely 29 weeks along not 30. I briefly lost control of the facts when I threw out my '06 calander. So as of this coming Sunday, we still have 10 weeks to go.

In the past few weeks I've noticed that I've gone from feeling completely terrified of birth to feeling ready for it, and even looking forward to it. Just a few more weeks and we get to meet our little peanut live and in person. I've been feeling strong and healthy and prepared. Reading books and taking classes has helped, as have the group midwife visits. I'm reading a really good book on birth right now by Ina Mae Gaskin, a now famous midwife who helped deliver thousands of babies on The Farm, a well known commune in Tennessee.

Even though I've been feeling good and strong, I am noticing - well really *Arwen* has been noticing - that my emotions are running higher again. Often when I open my mouth the "nice filter" that softens what I'm about to say has been removed, so I have been rather blunt lately. Maybe the hormones that prepare you psychologically to feel strong for birth turn you into a lioness all-around. I hope I can find a way to stay soft & sweet with my honey and yet still feel strong for birth.

Arwen has been wonderful lately. He is so protective, not wanting me to drive on the ice, cautioning me to watch my step going up and down stairs. At our birthing classes, he has been conscientiously taking notes and making lists. The Bradley classes are doing a good job of explaining all that he can do to help throughout the birthing process - and I know I will need him every step of the way. Things like what to feed me at what stages of labor, how to time my contractions, when to drive me to the hospital, and my personal favorite: how to rub my back!

The baby is kicking a lot more. She is amazingly strong. She also seems to have a personality already. When we try to feel around to locate her head or hands or feet, she usually moves away from us, as if to express her independence. Even still, Arwen distinctly felt her head and her hand a couple days ago. (He was pretty impressed with himself, and so was I!) Last night was the first time she kicked so much and so hard that I found it difficult to fall asleep. Her strong kicks have a strangely calming effect on me. I don't feel worried anymore about something going wrong. She seems so determined to be here in the big bright world.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Guess What: We Live in Frigging Antarctica

When we first moved to Denver we were puzzled by how often people from back home in Texas would ask us "How cold is it there?" "Are you buried in snow yet?" and other such questions. We puzzled at what the heck they were talking about as we relished in the many bright sunny days and the cool crisp weather. We laughed to each other, "What do they think this is, Antarctica?!"

Oh the error of our ways.

Oh sure, the first few snows we got melted off the very next day in the beautiful Colorado sunshine. But things started to change around Thanksgiving. When we returned from our Turkey Day road trip to Houston, we arrived in Denver in the middle of a blizzard. Three weeks later we found ourselves in the midst of another blizzard - this one being the doozy that everyone heard about in the news. A week after that, you got it, another blizzard. And this morning, we woke up to another snowstorm, this time getting about 8 inches!

Everyone we know who lives here says "This never happens!" And from the City's response to cleaning up all the snow, you would really think they're right. Roads haven't been plowed, sidewalks are icy and dangerous, there's a run on milk and bread, and hungry cows are stranded all over the state. People around here are in complete denial of the severity of the situation. When we were looking for a place to live here, one of the things I considered a "must have" because of the snow was covered parking. But so many local Denverites assured us, oh no, it almost never snows here. So we didn't bother with the covered parking. And wouldn't you know it, this winter we find ourselves out there sweeping a foot of snow off the car every time we turn around.

Truth be told though, we love the snow. It is so much nicer than the frequent rain we got in Houston. It's nice the way it brings a hush over the city and slows life down. It makes the whole city look sparkly and magical. It's lots of fun to snowshoe in. Arwen especially loves the cold, and I think just as much he loves having an excuse to be a homebody.

But we couldn't help laughing today as we were running errands, scuttling around like penguins on an iceberg. Arwen just blurted out, "Oh my gawd, we DO live in Antarctica!!"

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

What's New

Boy I'm getting sloppy about posting the "weekly" belly shots. This one is from this past Monday. I think we're 29 weeks now... We're really getting there! I am still feeling good and staying active for the most part. Although all the snow and ice on the ground has discouraged me for getting out and taking my walks. Don't think I mentioned it, but I had a little whoopsee the other day. We went out to try our new snowshoes out (super cool dude!) and one minute I was standing there and the next minute I was on my rear. It stung my pride more than anything - didn't come close at all to bumping the belly. But ever since then I've taken more care on the ice, Arwen points out every remotely slippery patch, and I've been known to take a walking stick with me.

I must say the City of Denver has not exactly done a stellar job of removing the snow and ice. All the major streets are clear, but most of the neighborhood streets require 4 wheel drive to navigate, and it's so bumpy it's rather unpleasant. Plus not all the sidewalks have been cleared, and even where they are clear there are big piles of snow at the curbs so crossing the street is a bit of an event. I'll admit that we haven't done our part either. I did shovel the front and back walk after the first snowstorm (and was mighty proud of myself!) but didn't bother with the last snow. Now that's partially melted and refrozen so it's pretty treacherous for our poor mailman, and I think the forecast is calling for more white stuff tomorrow or friday.

Anyway, like I said the cold and snow has not exactly been conducive to taking nice strolls through the park. So yesterday Arwen and I went to the gym to try to get back into our regular routine. For me it seemed a little pathetic. I felt I was really pushing myself just to do 20 minutes on the bike and 30 minutes walking on the treadmill. It's funny. I've seen a gradual decline in my ability to be active over the past month or so. A few weeks back I went snowshoeing up and down hills for 2 hours and didn't break a sweat. Compare that to last weekend when I could barely make it across the park and back without taking a million breaks.

Breathing has definitely gotten to be more difficult. Sometimes I find myself out of breath just from walking across our little apartment or even - if you can believe it - standing still! There have been times I've just been sitting here on the couch and suddenly feel like I need to catch my breath. It's an odd thing, but seems pretty common for at this point in pregnancy. More and more, baby encroaches on your diaphragm and lungs.

She has also been making her presence known more often and more forcefully. I'm not to the point yet where she's waking me up in the middle of the night, but it is beginning to feel a bit like that scene from Alien where the creature makes it's debut. An active baby is a healthy baby, and it always makes me smile to feel her moving.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy 2007!

What a year it's been. Arwen and I catalogued our favorite moments of 2006 over two big plates of food at our new favorite neighborhood Mexican restaurant. This year Arwen learned how to snowboard, we moved to the greatest city on the planet, we finally got knocked up after 2 years of trying, and he finally gave himself permission to make a change in his career for quality of life.

And we have so much to look forward to in the coming year. Micah and Jen will be joining us here in Denver, we will (hopefully!) be buying a house, we will cross over the threshold into parenthood together, and there will be a special new person in our lives. It doesn't get much better than that.

I love the coming of the New Year because it always makes me pause to appreciate what's come to pass and what lies ahead. It makes me take stock of where I'm at and where I want to go. Both Arwen and I are filled right now with a sense of contentment and optimism and security about where we are. Life is good right now. There is the sense that all hell may break loose in a little less than 3 months, and that is just perfectly ok. For everything there is a season. Now is a time of happy calm, come what may in the future.

May the coming year bring you much joy and many new beginnings.