Thursday, December 16, 2010

Today's the Day

We are literally 10 minutes from heading out the door to the hospital. We finally get to meet this little guy today!

I just wanted to post a quick note to say that we are feeling great heading into this. With Mom & Stephen in town the last couple of days, and with Jen and Micah helping out as well we have managed to get the house in order, get his and Roan's rooms reasonably well put together, pick up last minute supplies, and get the house stocked with food. And they have pampered me endlessly. Foot rubs, facials, gourmet meals, late night runs for ice cream, you name it. I'm heading in to the OR today feeling relaxed and ready.

Next time I post we'll have pictures!

Sunday, December 05, 2010


10 days from now our lives will be turned upside down once again. We'll finally get to meet this little mystery person, welcome him into our family and start to unravel just who he is. We'll once again subject ourselves to sleepless nights, endless laundry, messy diapers, and inevitable worry. And I can't wait!

Remind me I said that in a couple of weeks when I'm boo hooing at four in the morning ok?

We are in the home stretch now, and I'm so glad. Not just because I'm eager to meet the little guy, but also because it gets more and more challenging each day. Physically. I'm just about over the cold I picked up over the weekend. And then this morning starting at about 6 AM Braxton Hicks contractions started. I spent most of the day in bed, hoping that would help them ease off, but it didn't do a darn thing. About 50% of the time my belly is big and round and hard as a rock. Not painful exactly, but a little uncomfortable. And tiring after being that way all day. Ironically, it's the body's way of preparing for labor - a labor that I more than likely will not experience. Wish I could tell my uterus to take the day off.

The physical and emotional challenges of pregnancy remind me so much all the time of the Appalachian Trail. I'm so grateful to have that experience to draw on, to help keep me going. One main parallel is the constant low level discomfort of the AT. It was surprising to me then how a consistent low level of pain can be such a drain on you - not so much physically, more emotionally. It's just frustrating to be uncomfortable all the time. The other parallel that keeps coming up is how so many days on the trail - most if not all of them - you would push and push yourself, and feel like you'd given all you had, and you still wouldn't be there. Over and over there was the sense that you give all you have and then you still have to give a little bit more to make it to where you're trying to go. I'm glad to have had the experience of drawing from the well after you already thought it had run dry.

One thing I'm glad is NOT a parallel in pregnancy is the terrible hygiene situation out on the AT. I will never forget that feeling of being covered in filth from each day's layers of sweat, dirt and sunscreen, one over another, day after day, with no shower in sight. I can waltz down and take a soak in the tub or a hot shower any old time I please!

Friday, November 26, 2010

happy thanksgiving!

Here's hoping you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. We sure did. This year in particular I feel like I have so much to be thankful for. A wonderful husband who never stops thinking about taking care of our family; a bright and beautiful daughter who brings sunshine to my life; a wonderful home that is a joy to wake up in and will be a place to make lots of lasting memories; a sister and brother-in-law who are an endless support; a nephew who has re-taught me the meaning of happiness; so many friends to share good times and bad with; an amazing family, all be it far-flung; and of course our newest little joy on the way, who I can't wait to meet, and at one time thought I never would. I really do feel like all my dreams have come true.

This year Jen and Micah hosted the big dinner, their first ever. They have such a talent for hosting - if they're not careful this may become a tradition. Jennifer picked an amazing menu with a mix of favorite past recipes and new curiosities. Not one was a dud! Some of my new favorites were the butternut squash bread pudding, the roasted brussel sprouts, and the gingersnap cherry cheesecake - to die for!

Micah's sister Angela joined us, with her two cuties Morgan and Brady.

So did our friend Annemarie and her daughter Gracie

As well as Brian & Monica

...and Gavin, Andye & McKinna. (How did I not get a picture of Andye?)

There was good food...


Baby cuddling...

Smack talking...

and sinful indulgences enjoyed by all. What more could you ask for?

I tried to get a good shot of Roan in her holiday dress. She was so particular about the necklace and bracelet she wanted to wear, the side ponytail she had me fix, the whole look really. And then the little turkey wouldn't let me snap a decent picture.

These were about the best I could do.

Here she is with Morgan telling me, "I said NO PICTURES Mommy!!!"

Oh well. I can tell you, she in particular had a blast. I asked her what her favorite part of the night was and she said "Playing with my friends." I believe it too. Those kids had a ball. Here they are horsing around after getting all sugared up on chocolate pudding, spiced pumpkin cake and gingersnap cherry cheesecake.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

the name game

It's three weeks out, and we still don't have a name for this kiddo. Not for lack of trying. We started trying to land on a name as soon as we found out he's a boy. (We waited till the 20 week ultrasound to cut out 50% of the arguments.)

Arwen was pretty excited to learn that the baby is a boy. Right away he started throwing out name ideas. Here are some examples.


You may not be surprised to learn that none of these thrilled me. In my opinion, Roan's name ideas weren't much worse:


This morning I heard them discussing names for baby brother all snuggled up in bed in the morning sun. It was pretty cute. Names for Baby Brother is one of Roan's favorite topics of conversation. They threw out all sorts of possibilities.

Arwen: "What do you think of Gorilla as a boy's name?"
Roan: "No! That's a monkey! I don't like that name. Monte is my favorite name for Baby Brother."

I think what's made a final decision so hard for us is that while Arwen has a handful of names he really likes, I've had a hard time landing on any names I feel any more than lukewarm about. It's so different than with Roan. There really was just that one name, and we both loved it so much - it was easy. This has been really hard.

Arwen is attracted to names that convey strength. I have to admit, given how hard this baby can kick, strength does seem to be one of his defining characteristics. I just don't want to pigeon-hole him into some cliche of masculinity. I get the feeling this kid will be a mold-breaker, much like his daddy.

I think Arwen would say his top 2 names are currently:
Thoran - a derivative of "Theron", which is a family name on both sides, and it means Great Hunter
Blaize - this was a recent contribution from Mom & Ronnie. Arwen loves it.

At the moment I would have to say my favorite names would be:
Grayson - as in the Grayson Highlands, one very special place we spent time in on the Appalachian Trail, where wild ponies roam. It was quite magical. Whatever we name this kiddo, I'd like to take him and Roan camping there one spring to see the new foals wandering about with their mamas.
Paxton - derived from the Latin word for peace. That's because this little guy has brought me such a sense of well being and contentment throughout this pregnancy (minus the aches and pains). Arwen thinks this name sounds too preppy. As in "Paxton, please pass the bruchetta."

Wish us luck naming this little guy. I really hope we have a name for him by the time we head to the hospital!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

3 weeks + 2 days to go

Roan asked me to take her picture tonight. What a smile! She was all camera happy tonight, so all the photos except the one above are courtesy of Miss Roan.

I had my 36 week checkup today. They went ahead and did an ultrasound to take a peek at the baby, since they suspected he's big. Now why would they think that?!

The ultrasound confirmed what we all suspected: he's large and in charge! The first thing they looked at was his head. Arwen commented to the tech, "His head looks pretty big. Is it big?" She replied emphatically, "I would never tell a mom her baby has a big head!" To which I replied, "Oh don't worry. This is going to be a C-Section. You can't freak me out." Right about then I noticed in the corner of the screen a readout that said Head: 97.8 Percentile. Yup. Big.

He's measuring at about 7 1/2 pounds, but they say that could be plus or minus 1 pound. With 4 weeks left (if we were going to 40 weeks) he could gain another 2 pounds. But he's scheduled to come on Week 39. Paradoxically, the doctor explained to us later that because he's so big, it wouldn't be wise to take him any earlier. Apparently big babies' lungs mature more slowly than small babies. She said she'd be happy to work with me to keep me comfortable (ha ha) enough to make it to week 39.

We got to take a peek at his sweet little face, and lo and behold he has some seriously chubby cheeks! The prints they gave us aren't the greatest but I'll try to get one uploaded soon. Though you'd be wise not to hold your breath on that :)

I have to say, I'm feeling great about our decision to go for the C-Section. I'm not sure I'd be getting much sleep over it the next 3 weeks if I was looking ahead to a standard delivery.

Other than that I will admit I've been feeling a bit rough the past few days. Lots of panting, lots of feeling like my belly might just fall right off, and also lots of painful kicks from the little guy. Roan never kicked me like that. Sometimes she'd stretch in a weird position and stick out really far but I could usually coax her back. He, in contrast, sometimes goes on a tear where he kicks my guts mercilessly. Sometimes I'm doubled over in pain. The doc says there's not much she can do about that.

We are still on the hunt for names for the little guy. Hopefully we can land on one we both love soon.

Here are a few more photos from Roan's snapping tonight. She loves Daddy's bug collection.

She found a willing subject in Sasha

One more of me

And one of her daddy-o

Tomorrow Roan is off from school for the Thanksgiving holiday. We plan to hang out at Jen & Micah's and help with the prep work for our big Thanksgiving dinner. We will be thinking about all the family and friends far away. We love and miss you! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Week 35

It's been a while since I posted a belly photo. Here are two Arwen took this morning.

With the shirt down didn't seem to fully capture the eye-popping, gravity-defying spectacle that is my midsection, so we did a retake. This kid is like a torpedo shooting out of my belly.

And he's still just as active as can be. I tried to catch some video of his "sackful of cats" routine he likes to do in the evenings, but I've not been successful in catching him at his best. It's amazing how much he can move around in there still. They say babies slow down as they get more cramped, but he hasn't gotten the memo.

Friday, October 22, 2010

catching up

4 weeks and 6 days to go until our Baby Boy is here. Can you believe it?! The C-Section is scheduled for the morning of 12/16. We have to get to the hospital by 5 AM (not thrilling) but by that evening I may be able to take my first steps, have solid food again, and have Roan come visit. In the mean time, we keep working through our to-do list and I try not to have a panic attack about all that remains to be done.

It's definitely a challenging time. Don't get me wrong, I have my moments of prenatal bliss where I'm overwhelmed with the magic of it all. But those moments are punctuated with a lot of exhaustion, aches, pains, short patience, and general discomfort. I got past a rough patch a couple weeks ago when a bad cough and my pulled groin kept me pretty much on bed rest for a week straight. Some physical therapy and antibiotics got me back in the game. But it's day to day as far as how I'm feeling. That "special" time is upon me when it seems just about everything hurts or itches or bothers me. When it starts coming at you from all angles. The reflux, the backache, the foot pain, the lack of breath, the pulled groin muscle. Some days it seems like getting up, walking, lying down, eating, and sleeping are all monumental tasks.

I'm trying to slow down and accept this point in the pregnancy for what it is, and remember that this will all pass in short time. (Yes and then I'll move on to recovering from major abdominal surgery, feeling like my guts are about to spill out at the slightest move, and being a sleep-deprived around-the-clock milk machine... but then after that. Yes after that it will get better...)

Enough whining. There have been a lot of fun things and beautiful fall weather that I haven't posted. A few weeks back Roan's school had a "Fall Break" which meant I stayed home with her for a whole week. I traded off with another mom so I kept her daughter two days and she kept Roan for two days so I could get a little work done. But on my "off" days I was feeling well enough back then to make the most of them. We went to the dinosaur museum with Uncle Micah & Logan, we went to the Butterfly Pavillion with Audrey and Gracie, and we went out for ice cream and to Cheesman Park with Emma and Gracie. That whole week we were graced with gorgeous fall weather, as you can see from the pictures.

Welcome to the Butterfly Pavillion

The girls all got to hold Rosie the tarantula.

Checking out the starfish

Audrey & Roan

On the hunt for prarie dogs

Prarie dog sighting!

At the park

We scream for ice cream

These girls are growing up!

We also had a really fun Halloween. Lolli flew in to share the holiday with us. Roan went as a kitty cat, and Logan was a cute little monkey. There were tons of neighborhood events for the kiddos. Roan has finally caught on to how awesome candy is. "Just one more piece, ok Mama?" was the refrain I heard all the following week. Or "How about this. How about just one bite of candy, and THEN I'll eat my dinner?" She has become quite the negotiator.

Our friends Gracie and Annemarie, and their amazing bumblebee costumes

Roan took a turn in Logan's stroller

Roan & Logan in Halloween shirts from Great Grandma Carolyn

Trick or treating

Our little cuties

Stopping by Tyler's bike shop for a few treats

Look Mommy -- Candy!!!

Cade, Claire, Roan & Camilla

Jen and Micah threw an awesome Halloween party. It was the first time I stayed up past midnight in recent memory. I really paid for it the next day though. I spent most of the following Sunday laid up, with Jen and Mom running themselves ragged looking after me. I really don't like to be on the receiving end like that, but it's so nice to have wonderful women to lean on like that when you're in dire need.

The other thing I was going to say is we've gotten a chance to hang out with Jen, Micah & Logan a little more often than usual lately, which has been fun. I can't get over how much Logan looks like Jen did as a baby.

In two weeks we go back to the doctor for a 36 week checkup. (I just had my 34 week checkup last Thursday.) So far I've gained 42 lbs - ouch! My blood pressure is a little higher than normal, I have some swelling and I'm measuring about 2 1/2 weeks ahead. The doc decided it would be nice to do another ultrasound at 36 weeks so we can see how big this little guy is. Hopefully I'll have some new photos of him to post after that! And hopefully it won't take me months to get them posted. Keep your fingers crossed.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Wow, it sure is hard to keep up the blog when you're in the midst of a move. I found this post from a couple of weeks back (9/30):

I woke up the other morning and hopped on the scale, only to discover - to my horror - that I managed to gain 10 pounds in 20 days! Now, if this change in weight were going the other direction I'd have a new hit diet on my hands. Instead I'm wondering how I've managed to put on 30 pounds with 3 months still left to go!

But today I got a checkup at my doctor's office and she reassured me that all is well. "You're all baby," she said. That and cankles, I thought to myself. She pointed to my low blood pressure and my negative test for gestational diabetes and pronounced me healthy as a horse. "Don't worry about it," she said. Excellent. Looks like ice cream is back on the menu!

Here's a photo from then.

Here's where I am now (30 weeks tomorrow!).

I would say I'm currently about the size I was with Roan at 40 weeks. (This is from then)

The astonished comments keep coming. "You're not due till Christmas?!? You poor thing! How's your back?" and so forth. For the most part, I'm still laughing along. Although I am starting to find myself getting tired out more easily, having a harder time breathing, straining myself more easily, and being a little more uncomfortable in bed. I still feel pretty cheerful though. This time around it's easier to keep in perspective how short this period is. With Roan it just felt like it was going to drag on forever. I think it helps significantly having that C-section date on the calendar. I know with certainty that the finish line is right there. The not knowing was so hard with Roan.

Ok, truth be told, for the most part I'm my chipper happy go lucky self. But from time to time when things stack up - like this evening: stabbing abdominal pain, a crick in my back making it hard to walk, a lack of hot water for a restorative soak in the tub, a stove that inexplicably stopped working one day after making an exhausting trip to the grocery store with Roan in tow, and a missing cookie sheet making it impossible to heat up some toaster oven nachos - then I suddenly find myself near tears just trying to make it the last couple of hours till Roan is in bed and I can put my feet up.

But ya know, the difference is this time around I can say "Wow, tonight sucks!" or "The last couple days have been rough" whereas with Roan my mental state was more like, "Oh crap it's all downhill from here on out, and by the way, when the h3ll is this baby coming?!?!"

In other news - we have moved into the new house. That is, all our stuff is here, whether we can find it or not in the boxes strewn about every inch of floor space. So we still have a lot of unpacking and settling in to do. We have a few pieces of furniture to buy (like a big girl bed for Roan and a crib that's not recalled for our precious unborn), a ceiling fan to install, now a stove to replace and some more suprise electrical work to do. We also have some touch up to do on the old house before we rent it out. Plus we need to have a garage sale. I think that's the plan for this weekend, though we're not organized at all yet. Other than that we're just sitting around with nothing to do.

But every morning we wake up in our beautiful (cluttered yes, but I can see past that) bedroom with 10 windows and see actual mountains lit purple in the morning sun. And on our way out the door we smile as we get a noseful of lavendar growing along the walkway. (And try not to stress about all the trimming and cleanup that needs to be done before snow is upon us.) But it is a really special place we feel so lucky to call home, and every day brings us closer to being settled in here.

Also Roan is doing so great. We just had her first parent/teacher conference at school. She is doing great in all the areas they evaluated her in - 8 different subjects from language to math to grace & courtesy. She has apparrently set a school record for the youngest child ever to be placed in a kindergarten aged reading group. She has taken to it like a fish in water. We are so grateful to her teachers, who all are so kind and thoughtful in their dealings with the children. She's blossoming under their care.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Howdy there. Missed me? I've been missing the blog, that's for sure. We are living out of the old house as the renovations continue at the new place, and we only have an Internet connection at the new place. My work schedule has shortened to just 5-6 hours per day, so I can't manage to squeeze in time to get any blogging done. And it's been killing me because there's been so much exciting stuff going on.

I continue to get bigger and bigger - big suprise right? This photo is from 2 weeks back, week 25. I'd like to think I've plateaued but it's possible I may be kidding myself. In any case, my mobility is good (if a little waddle-y) so my spirits are up. I am getting a kick out of seeing how big this little troublemaker can make me.

Also, I have some video updates for you.

Here's Roan playing with her friend Gracie at her first sleepover at our house.

And here they are horsing around playing hide & seek

Roan has also recently taken a shine to her Fancy Nancy doll. One day she got a wild hair and decided she wanted to dress up just like her.

But she's still got a touch of tomboy in her, as you can tell by how much she likes catching & playing with bugs from the yard.

And here are a couple of videos of her reading. Here's her vocabulary list.

And here she is reading her first book, Jan and Pam.

More soon, I hope!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


Life is chaotic but good at the moment. Roan had a rough start to her second week of school but caught her stride by the end of last week. She is doing GREAT. We are so happy, and feel like we've found a new second home for her.

We closed on the house last Thursday!!! And since that time we've hardly been able to tear ourselves away from this place. Initially the plan was just to move our basement stuff to the new house, and stay put at our old house until all the repairs we need to do are done. But instead we've found ourselves camping out over here sleeping on mattresses, eating take-out, and soaking in the new scene. I'm astonished that Roan could care less about her old room with all her toys and the bed she's slept in her whole life. She's so excited about her new room and the sparkly turquoise paint on the walls. And so are we... we'd rather sleep on a 3 inch foam mattress on the floor of our dining room and wake up to the birds and the frogs and the dew on the flowers than stick with the comfort and routine of our old house. How... illogical!

Arwen had a birthday over the weekend. We spent last saturday doing house fix up/ moving type stuff, and then that night had a small gathering here with birthday cake, before he and a friend headed down to a neighborhood pub crawl. The birthday boy had a great time and didn't come stumbling home till the wee hours. I figure he deserves a chance to cut loose a bit with all the hard work he's got ahead of him.

Roan had a traumatic 2nd swim lesson and since then has not really wanted to go back to class. But we're making improvements every couple of days. She's back to having fun in the water now, and tonight she even joined in with her classmates a little (with me right next to her). Apparently a purple noodle was all it took for her teacher to lure her back.

Logan is apparently crawling! What a big boy! His Aunt Heather is sure proud of him. Hope I'm not stealing your thunder Jen.

And - incredibly - Roan is starting to read. I wish I hadn't left the camera at the old house, so I could've gotten it on video tonight. But she actually read a bonafide book to us tonight, sounding out each word carefully. On her 3rd day of school her teacher had exclaimed enthusiastically that Roan already knows all the shapes and sounds of all her letters (duh, I was thinking) and that she was ready to start the reading program. This involves a series of dozens of "reading boxes" which contain little cards with pictures and words the kids sound out. After completing 7 reading boxes then they start them in on little phonics reader type books. It's quite a structured system. And Roan has blazed through the first 7 reading boxes. Monday Ms. Bridget told us "I just can't hold her back. She's going to be ready for reading homework soon! This is highly unusual." And today when I picked her up from school her teacher was practically aglow, as she explained how the books work and what we are to have her do.

We had such a big day today - friends in from Breckenridge, a short trip to the zoo, a swim lesson - that I wasn't expecting much with the book. I figured there was a good chance she'd just not be in the mood. But instead she wanted to read it over and over. First to Arwen and then to me. I could see she was sleepy, but still she wanted to keep going. It was so incredible to hear her sound out each word. "Jan is a fat cat... Jan has a pan of ham... Pam is a pal of Jan's." Amazing!!!

Oh and I am unbelievably enormous. Even close friends can't help but gape in wonder. I have had to resort to buying a 3-part maternity belt with straps and vecro and support in all sorts of places. It bears a slight resemblance to a medieval torture device, but it has helped with back & round ligament pain. I am LITERALLY the same size around as the beach ball I tote each week to swimming class with Roan. I have my 24 week doctor's visit tomorrow. Looking forward to posting another belly photo as soon as I can be bothered to bring the camera over to the new house.

That is all... reporting from a whirlwind of happy chaos, yours truly.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

a lot to report

A lot has happened in the Vaughan household over the past week. Last Friday (well, two fridays ago now...) was Roan's preschool graduation. It was such a sweet ceremony. I will admit I was a bit dismissive of it initially. Before we left for it, Arwen asked me whether I was going to cry. "Oh give me a break. The whole thing is silly to begin with." But wouldn't you know, the minute I saw her rounding the bend, wearing her pink cap and gown I started bawling. Oh how our little baby is growing up!

(These are her the morning of her graduation. She looks so contemplative doesn't she?)

Here the kids are on the stage. They were so precious. Notice Roan is the grumpy looking one at the top far right with her hair all messed up, sitting by herself and pouting. Apparently she woke up from her nap just not quite herself. She snapped back to her usual sunny disposition right after all the cameras stopped snapping and the videos stopped rolling. Oh well!

The ceremony was so sweet. They called each child up to get their diplomas, which were watermarked with a photo of them in their cap and gown. They gave each child a chance to say what they want to be when they grow up (adorable!!!). And they performed several songs and dances. Then we had snacks and kool aid, and each child got a ballon and prize bag with coloring books, crayons, bubbles and other fun stuff. But the most touching thing was that each child was given a "Like Book" where Mom and Dad can write down something they like about the kiddo every night. And for the past several months, their teachers were doing that for them once a week. Some of the entries were very touching.

Here's Roan with one of her best buddies Gracie


Us with her teacher Mrs. Martha. What an amazing woman she is!

Giving the new coloring book a spin

Sharing kool-aid

Blowing celebratory bubbles

Then we went out to celebrate at a kid friendly pub down the street, complete with ice cream sundaes. It was a wonderful! [PS. I hope to post some videos soon, but they need a little editing and I didn't want to hold up this blog entry any longer.]

On Sunday we got to meet Roan's new teachers, see her new school (Compass Montessori), and meet some of her new classmates. She got a chance to play on the playground and see the fish that live in her class. They also have fire-belly toads that will be returning to the classroom soon. She was really excited about her new school and wanted to go immediately.

After the meet & greet, Compass hosted a picnic at a huge park, complete with bouncy castle, snowcones and cotton candy. It was great to meet some other parents on the playground and give her a chance to make some friends. I have to say it was quite impressive to see the kids playing - in general - very well together. They seem well behaved and respectful, even the older ones. (Roan's campus goes up to 6th grade, and the other campus goes through 12th).

We also did some babysitting for Logan while Jen & Micah were at the Mile High Music Festival. These two cousins love each other so much, it's adorable!

I thought I got a video of them, but apparently I only snapped this one photo of Roan feeding Logan. She so enjoyed herself. Someone's ready to be a big sister!

On Monday Roan had her first swim lesson. I didn't manage to capture much at all, just two short clips before class started. She was SO excited. It was great. I think it's 5 or 6 other kids around her same age all with a 20-something young man named Isaac. At first glance he didn't strike me as someone very experienced with kids, but clearly the guy knows what he's doing. He had all the kids paying attention, doing as instructed, and Roan at least was doing things I never can seem to get her comfortable with. We saw her raise her hand to be the first one to "swim" on her back (with his help) -- something she usually fights us on. It was great to see her really enjoying herself.

And then Tuesday was Roan's first day of school. She was excited, and so were we. We had all her school supplies together, her lunch packed and her clothes laid out the night before. She picked out a dress Lolli made for her with her name on it, so all her new friends at school could learn her name on the first day.

She also took along a new school bag I sewed for her. It was a fun project. The school asks that you get a small canvas bag for your child and decorate it together. I had intended for her to pick out patches that I could either iron on or sew with minimal effort. But the store had a really lousy selection, and they were pricey to boot, so I decided to just do it all from scratch. The best part of this project was I didn't have to buy anything other than the bag -- the rest of it was all scraps I had lying around. She said she wanted an ocean scene, so she picked out what sea creatures she wanted and what colors they should be (a brown & green jellyfish, a pink shark, a yellow fish, a red eel and a blue whale). I think she had as much fun with it as I did.

Being the classic Type A parents we are, she was the first kid in the classroom on the first day. Her teachers were all so sweet (there are 3 for the 27 children). Here's a photo of the classroom before the other kids arrived. It's full of inventive and inviting materials that spark the natural curiosity every kid possesses. The room is also very thoughtfully prepared to enable the kids to be very independent. They are responsible for carrying their own school bags, putting them away in their cubbies, changing into their school shoes, and selecting a work mat and an activity to play with until the school bell. Then at exactly 8 o'clock a kindergartener (the class has 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds) rings a little bell and politely tells the children to put away their playthings and sit in a circle together for "First Meeting." It is a pretty impressive thing to see in action.

This is Roan on her first day, playing with the pink playdoh she picked out and making a new friend, Storey, who is a kindergartener. When we tried to give her a hug and kiss goodbye, she could have cared less. She was in the zone. She is really ready for this next big step!

And in other news, I keep getting bigger. My weight gain isn't too bad, but my circumference is overwhelming! It's weird though how the pics don't always convey the full story. These two photos were taken 1 day apart. And it's not like that grey dress really hides things-- I looked much bigger in the mirror than in the photo. The one in the blue shirt is much more true to life.

This is from this week, Week 22

Literally everywhere I've been the past two days -- post office, grocery school, Roan's class -- complete strangers have made comments like, "Oh when's the baby due, any day now?" And I'm like, "Uh, no, I still have FOUR MONTHS to go, but thanks. A lot." The first 5 times were kind of funny but it's starting to make me self conscious. And it's not coming from clueless bachelors. It's always women. Usually who are toting one or two kids along behind them. WTF?!?

Maybe I'm reaching a plateau. I've heard that with the second you show much sooner, but you don't usually end up much bigger than the first time. At some point the expansion slows down. This is what I have been told. But this is a Schlobohm boy I'm carrying here, so all bets are off. Will the growth curve remain exponential, or will it level off? It's gonna be what it will be so I might as well sit back and just hope I can still fit into my elastic jeans two weeks from now. All I know is if things keep going like they are I'm going to grow out of my huge fabulous maternity wardrobe in no time.

He is kicking a lot more. Today in yoga class he was dancing the samba or something. It was nice. This past week I've also experienced some not so great pregnancy side effects. One morning I woke up with a mystery bruise on my belly. Probably all the extra blood flow and stretching popped some blood vessels near the surface. And then for the past few days I've been experiencing what is apparently "round ligament pain". I had heard of this and always envisioned it would feel something like a tight hamstring, only in the baby belly area. But it's quite different. It feels at times like an intense stabbing pain that in some cases is so great it caused me to cry out involuntarily. Sometimes it's more mild. When it happens - always in the same spot - the surface of my belly there feels incredibly tender. But then it goes away. I'm under the impression that this is pretty typical for around 20+ weeks and that it won't necessarily stick around till the end. I'm starting to wear a maternity belt for support, which should help. Anyway that's it for The Pregnancy Report.

In House News, we have done our final walkthrough on the house, and now have a close date: this Thursday August 26th, just 2 days before Arwen's 37th birthday! Our To Do List has grown quite long as you can imagine. But we'll get through it one thing at a time. This is an exciting time of so many new beginnings for us!