Laguna Beach and Crystal Cove State Park

Laguna BeachEric and I always try to do a little getaway for our anniversary–nothing too fancy, just a chance to get out and celebrate with some exploring of a new place. It’s one of our favorite things to do together. This year I made plans for us to go to Laguna Beach and San Juan Capistrano (which is going to have to get its own post because of all the pictures of the beautiful mission there!).

Laguna BeachWe headed down on Saturday morning (almost a month ago) and ate the most delicious and expensive Mexican lunch–worth every penny. Especially to a pregnant T-Rex. And then we set out to explore the town. We stopped by the beach and the historic lifeguard stand, and this picture has me totally cracking up because I look so tiny! Time flies when you’re growing a baby. And so do your belt buckles. I am also laughing because the forecast lies every time we take a trip–it was way warmer than we expected. I think at this point we might just start packing for the opposite of the forecast. Worth a try!

Laguna BeachLaguna Beach started as an artists’ colony, and there are still lots of galleries and an active art community here. (Have you seen Arrested Development? Do you remember the Living Classics pageant? Yeah, this is where it happens in real life.)

Laguna BeachAny town that espouses this viewpoint is pretty rad in my book.

Laguna BeachSome of our favorite things to see in town were the little artistic touches, like this fantastic brick work.

Laguna BeachAnd this guy, working hard to get into the phone booth.

Laguna BeachWhat we were most excited to see, however, was Crystal Cove State Park. It’s a beautiful beach and wildlife area, with tidepools to boot. Tidepools make me so happy–I love seeing beautiful creature flitting around (or just lounging) in such shallow water, right before my eyes.

Laguna BeachBecause we’d dressed too warmly, Eric rolled up his pants and took off his shoes. What a stud, huh? I sure think so.

Laguna BeachWe walked several miles down the beach and then back, seeing lots of tidepools along the way. We saw a few anemones, but it was mostly little crabs. Eric was worried that I wasn’t having a good time because I wasn’t really looking too closely, but I told him I just can’t bend down like that anymore! However, I did really love seeing all the incredible rocks and rock formations. Thinking about how this one was slowly and delicately carved into a perfect circle just blows my mind.

Laguna BeachBy the time we reached the end, Eric was carrying our water bottle too because he is just good like that. It was plenty warm by then, and I have a real aversion to water that is not freezing cold, but he got me to drink it anyway. Good again. And then he bought us a new bottle of water that was ice cold. Even better.

Laguna BeachAfter our big hike we headed to the hotel to get ready for dinner. We went to Habana, a great Cuban place where we actually went for our first anniversary.

Laguna BeachAnd I ordered the exact same thing: ropa vieja. Oh so very very good. And bearing bonus plantains. The next day we headed south to the mission. More on that coming soon!

Adventures in Pregnancy: 37 Weeks

37 WeeksLots to report this week! We had both a doctor and a doula appointment on Thursday, and both of them told us our baby could come any day now: eek! I’m not afraid of labor, it’s just that we have plenty to do to get ready. We did get the furniture moved, thanks to our awesome friends, and we got a few things for our hospital bag and for the early baby days. We’re making progress!

But back to the tiny guest of honor. We were very excited to see him on an ultrasound, but he is so big now that it’s much harder to see what we’re looking at. However, he looked great, and his heartbeat sounded great. The doctor did some measurements to get an estimate of his current weight, and the first thing she said was, “You’re not having a big baby.” We were worried that he was a little small, but she said he is well within the normal range, and it’s nothing to worry about. He currently weighs 5 lbs 12 oz, so she thinks he’ll be about 6 lbs 12 oz when he’s born. He still has a few weeks to grow, but even if he were born right now, he would be totally fine. That’s a relief! I called my mom to tell her the news, and she was in a loud restaurant. When I told her that he was currently 5 lbs 12 oz, she sounded very concerned and was surprised that the doctor had said this was a normal weight. I didn’t know why she was worried until five minutes later in the conversation, when I realized she hadn’t heard the 5 lbs part, and thought he only weighed 12 oz! That would indeed have been cause for concern.

Two slightly less than awesome things: although the baby is now head down (hallelujah!), he is posterior (sunny side up). I can definitely deliver him this way, but it will be significantly harder for him and for me. So we are doing all we can to turn him! Also, I tested positive for group B strep. I am not sick at all–it just means I have the bacteria in my body. There’s only a tiny chance of passing it to the baby, but they will give me antibiotics at the hospital during labor to take care of it. It’s nothing to worry about, but in an ideal world, I wouldn’t be a carrier.

37 WeeksIn spite of both of those things, though, I am feeling pretty ecstatic about where we are right now. I am getting lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions, which don’t hurt at all and are good practice for labor. And I’m also feeling lots of cervical activity, for lack of better term–just enough to let me know that something’s going on, hopefully something that’s helpful preparation for labor.

A few nights ago I had a few real contractions, and Eric and I were both very wide-eyed about it. I didn’t think they were serious ones, and they soon passed, but it’s good to have some idea of what things will feel like when labor begins.

Speaking of feeling things, our little tiger is just as active as always. He actually woke me up a few mornings this week when I’d planned to sleep in a bit longer. I was hungry, so I assume he was too, and his little kicks made me smile so much, as I imagined him thinking, “Hey Mom, feed me!”

Sleep is still going fairly well, and I am feeling really great and SO THANKFUL for that. Three weeks (or more? or less?) to go!

The World’s Most Glorious Goodwill

GoodwillLast week Hillary and I (and one adorable twin) drove past a new and giant Goodwill on the way to the fabric store. We needed to get back home after lunch, but we planned to make a trip to check it out another day. On a whim, I said, “Let me look it up and see if it’s a good one.” And then my jaw more or less dropped because I realized from the pictures that it was A BARGAIN BARN. Those of you who have been around for a while know of my deep love for the Bargain Barn in Memphis, where I have scored all of my leather boots for $1 per pair and tons of fantastic clothes for $1.49 per pound. That’s right, $1.49 per pound. It is the most magical of places for people who love to treasure hunt. You really never know what you’ll find. Among my plunder: a copy of Madame Bovary in French, designer clothes with the tags still on them, and more shoes, purses, and belts than you could shake a stick at. A good 70% of my wardrobe comes from there (except, alas, in these latter days, when I haven’t had the chance to visit as often). I never ever imagined that they would open a Bargain Barn here, though I certainly checked when we moved here. I just never dared to hope! So, you can imagine my extreme glee when I made this discovery. I totally texted my mom in all caps about it. Two days later, unable to resist the siren song, Hillary and I made our maiden voyage. As a point of technicality, this Bargain Barn is called a Goodwill Outlet. But no matter: a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

GoodwillThis Goodwill is actually a MEGA Goodwill. It has the outlet store, a regular Goodwill, a cafe, a career center, and meeting rooms. And maybe even some other stuff that I didn’t notice. It was impressive. This is the entryway. Beautiful, no?

GoodwillAfter a quick look around, we headed over to the outlet store. I could not believe how big it was! At least three times as big as the Bargain Barn, if not bigger. This picture doesn’t even get all of it. I told Hillary as we were walking in that although it was $1.49 per pound of clothing in Memphis, I expected it to be more like $2.50 or even $3.00 here–everything is pricier in California. But it was $1.49! And $0.69 per pound for everything else. Amazing.

GoodwillNow, a bigger store requires a different strategy. In Memphis, my mom and I have a system to thoroughly comb every bin, and we usually hit it all. But here, you have to be more choosy because it’s just impossible to see it all. I don’t like one experience better than the other–they are both fun. One other cool distinction–at the one in Memphis, there is a scale you place your clothing items on to be weighed. Here the scales are mounted into the floor. You just drive your cart onto it, they take off the tare weight, and that’s it!

GoodwillSo, how does this work? As far as I can tell, the items for sale here are things that did not sell within a certain amount of time in the regular Goodwill. I have no idea how they would keep up with that much volume, but I think it has to do with the colored tags (items in the bins have the colored tags, but not the paper price tag). Goodwill always has 50% off a certain color tag every day, so maybe after they clear out most one color tag with the discount, they send the rest of it to the outlet. I don’t know exactly what magic makes it all work, but I am continually amazed at the things I find there. My favorite thing about it is the absolute freedom–it’s so cheap that it’s almost free, so why not take a chance on something? It’s a great place to find items that have great fabric but need some reworking (I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to pay $10 for something that I’m going to dye or alter). I also really love the “found objects” philosophy that overtakes me when I’m there–I buy things I might never have considered in a retail store, and I end up loving them. I will never tire of this adventure. Oh! And a bit of Bargain Barn culture–the people lined up in this photo are waiting for a new bin to come out. They brought out 10 or 12 while we were there.

GoodwillWithout fail, something like this always turns up. I am glad I had my Goodwill supermodel to show it off for me!

GoodwillBy now we had worked up an appetite, so we headed over to the cafe. When I first heard that they had a cafe, I didn’t imagine it would be anything too nice. But I was so pleasantly surprised! They have a really nice and extensive menu, and the food was really good (and so ridiculously cheap!). I should also note that everyone was so tremendously kind that I actually thought I might be in Memphis. Not that people aren’t friendly here too, but there’s a certain openness and sense of welcome that I always associate with home.

GoodwillGuess how much I paid for this enormous veggie sandwich and salad? SIX. DOLLARS. That’s an LA miracle. They also had smoothies and really good-looking pastries, and (be still my heart) a fancy coffee machine. You could spend all day here. And someday we might!

GoodwillThis is the cafe interior. Cute, yeah?

GoodwillI forgot to show you the cool mural.

GoodwillAfter lunch we hit up the regular Goodwill. It was a very nice one, but we didn’t buy too much, still too consumed with the glory of the outlet.

GoodwillWant to know what I got? I love it when other people show off their plunder, so I will do so here. And then you have to guess how much it all cost! This is a game we always play with my dad when we get home from the Bargain Barn. All of this is from the outlet, for the record. I got two pairs of pants (for post-baby!), a skirt, three t-shirts, and a tank top. And yes, that green t-shirt on top depicts a T-Rex biting a reindeer’s butt, so obviously I had to have it.

GoodwillAnd I got a few little things for the baby for when he’s a bit bigger: a playsuit, lion pants, and (most importantly!) a monkey hoodie.

GoodwillI also got a few books. The red one is an old encyclopedia volume with really cool illustrations. So, guess how much all this cost! $30? $20? $15? No! $9.40! That’s right, nine dollars and forty cents. If ever there were a shopping paradise, this is it! (If you’re local, here is the info for this amazing place. And, even though this ode is full to the brim with praise, no one paid me to write it. I just really love Goodwill!)

July 2014 Goals

July GoalsIf it weren’t for my blog calendar, I’d never remember to write these goal posts (haha, nerdy pun intended!) But I am so happy I have them. A new month always feels like a fresh start to me, and that’s worth celebrating. And I always like the rush of setting goals, which for me is really about recognizing that my time is what I choose to make of it. Also worth celebrating!

So, what’s on the agenda this month? The biggest thing is the one that’s hardest to miss (I have referred to myself as both a barge and a land shark in the last few days, but in all honesty, I love this big belly and really love the baby inside it!) He is due July 25th, so, theoretically, he could join us anytime now. But I have mentally added a week to my due date from the very beginning, since first babies are often late. I don’t want to get to the 25th and feel discouraged, so I’ve been imagining him as an August baby for all these months. However, mommy hunches mean about the same as due dates, which is to say: nothing! Whenever he comes, we will be thrilled thrilled thrilled. I’m also including here a few things I’m hoping Eric and I will get to do together before the big day: lunch at Athenaeum, the Route 66 exhibit at the Autry Museum, the new LACMA exhibit, and Shakespeare in the Park!

And I will feel even more enthused about his arrival once we’ve got the nursery all ready. We have everything we need (just about), but furniture still needs to be moved. We’ve been working on prepping our room and the nursery for the last few days, and it feels good to be making solid progress. Of course, if he comes before it’s all ready, that will be okay too. But I have this dream of having the nursery all ready and rocking him in the glider (still in my belly) while I tell him all about it. Of course, I can do that after he comes too!

I am having SO much fun with the quilting part of the quilt process. I realize that sounds totally redundant–what I mean is that actual stitching of all three layers together. After that’s finished, I’ll just need to put the binding on, and it’ll be ready.

I have been so busy with nursery stuff in the past few days that I haven’t done any painting, BUT in that fallow field some fresh ideas have sprung up. I think I can see a path to finishing two out of three of them, and I have some thoughts on next steps for the third one too. I would love to get them finished and hung before the baby comes.

It’s more critical at this point in the pregnancy than any other, I think, for me to keep moving in preparation for labor. Walking on the treadmill has been a good compromise with the heat setting in, and swimming has been fabulous. I’m doing my best to keep it up in this final push.

And, one way or another, I am sure there will be jillions of pictures!

June goals have been updated here, and here are my July goals from 2013 and 2012.

Update, October 2014: Well, July, you were full of happy surprises! I was oh so comically wrong about being overdue, and our sweet baby arrived one day early! Thankfully, the nursery was finished (though I was folding and putting away baby clothes as labor began). I finished the quilt two days before he was born, which was excellent because otherwise it would be gathering dust right now, I am sure! I did finish two of my paintings, but the third one is still awaiting some new directions. Hopefully I can get outside and work on it as the weather cools off for fall. I was walking and swimming up to the end, and I am so proud of that. I have to think that it helped with my crazy short labor. And I am not sure I have ever taken more pictures in one month. Micah is already so different, and I am so happy that I have all of them. Even if they make me cry! Happy tears are the best tears.

Adventures in Pregnancy: 36 Weeks

36 WeeksWhat a difference a week makes! Now that I’m down to only a handful of outfits, it should be easier than ever to tell how much my shape is changing. I think I look considerably more pointy than I did last week, and hopefully this is because the baby has descended a bit. And I have to be honest: I kind of love being this huge. Because I am growing so gradually, I don’t ever really feel like I can tell a difference, until I look in the mirror or see a picture, at which point I think, “Whoa! I am seriously pregnant!” I also kind of enjoy the “pregnant lady coming through” kindness of others.

36 WeeksMiraculously, I am still feeling great. I am certainly waddling, and picking things up off the floor is a thing of the past, but otherwise I feel about the same. Mild heartburn, a bit of increasing insomnia, occasional pains from kicks or punches, but all of this feels very manageable to me. I’ve also started having some Braxton-Hicks contractions, but they don’t hurt at all, and I’m happy for my uterus to get some practice for the big event. My ankle swelling even went down! I think a combination of swimming and drinking even more water than usual deserves the credit, but I will say that I’ve never been happier to see those pointy ankle bones. As far as the insomnia goes, I am usually up for about an hour and a half during the night. This has gotten easier to deal with since I’ve just decided to get up and read rather than tossing and turning. And I am sure it is good practice for the nights ahead! I have not even been feeling especially tired lately–some days I nap for an hour, but never more than that. I am amazed at this eleventh hour burst of energy.

It’s being well spent. This weekend we made a lot of progress on prepping our room and the nursery for furniture moving: consolidating things, clearing them out, getting rid of old stuff. Eric came up with some great space-saving ideas. He has really been on a roll!

We were supposed to have our 36 week appointment on Saturday, but our doctor was called to a delivery. This is totally understandable, but I was super bummed because I was so looking forward to seeing our baby on the ultrasound. But now we’ll go on Thursday and start the long weekend with some extra joy.

We have our prenatal meeting with our doula tomorrow, and two more childbirth classes in our series. I am going to miss those Tuesday nights. I totally adore our teacher and feel like we have learned so much. I am feeling so much more prepared and excited for the birth, and I feel like these classes have been seriously invaluable. Eric and I are also working our way through our birth books and sharing what we’re learning with each other. Every now and again I’ll shout, “Hey, remind me to blow raspberries during contractions!” or Eric will say, “Oh, I am supposed to be practicing squats with you!” I love that we’re working on this together, and so thankful that Eric is such an amazingly intuitive and calming presence in my life. Even practicing for labor with him makes me cry. I’m a lucky lady.

Also! We had our Name Summit and are actively discussing names. We haven’t firmly decided yet, but it’s good to be talking through some ideas and preferences. And I think we were both encouraged that we seem to like the same kind of names. Whew!

Baby’s Quilt: Progress!

Baby's QuiltThis post is so hilariously overdue. I was waiting for good light to take pictures, I was waiting to finish the quilt top, I was waiting to buy finishing materials. And then I meant to post it last night, but abruptly fell asleep at 9pm. Such is the life of a pregnant lady! In any case, I am excited to say that the quilt top is finished! I am kind of amazed at how blanket-like it is already, and I kind of can’t believe I pulled it off. This is definitely the biggest quilting project I’ve ever attempted.

Baby's QuiltBut let me tell you all about my super classy quilting method. I am pretty sure this is not the way it’s traditionally taught, but I just laid out a big sheet of plastic on the floor to set out the pattern of triangles. Then I sewed triangles into squares, squares into strips, and strips into one large piece. Well, that part of it is pretty kosher. But to keep the pattern the way I wanted it, I just took a lot of pictures of the fabric with my phone and consulted them every time I sat at the sewing machine. I think most people just sew the triangles and squares more randomly, but I kind of got attached to the pattern I created, and I liked doing it that way.

Baby's QuiltAnd so I have a bunch of pictures on my phone like this one. Whatever works, right? I have so enjoyed the process. I think that my favorite part of making anything is watching a ton of little pieces of something turn into one big awesome piece. There is a lot of instant gratification with quilting. A stack of triangles becomes a stack of squares, and suddenly you’ve got strips and then a whole quilt top. Sewing the triangles was a little bit tedious, but I loved every other part of it.

Baby's QuiltThis week Hillary and I (and one sweet twin) went to the Big Fabric Store to get the rest of the supplies and for general merriment. I was thinking of getting a yellow for the backing or binding, and then was thinking of getting some kind of subtle pattern, but then I saw this Kona turquoise and knew it was the right one. I loved this vibrant green thread too. The tutorial I’m following and my quilt book both suggest buying fabric to make your own bias tape for your quilt. I can see that this would be very valuable if you wanted to use a pattern or something beyond the range of bias tape offerings. However. That is a lot of cutting in straight lines and a lot of ironing. Those are my least favorite parts of quilting (but I would take ironing over cutting any day–I’m just not very skilled at it!). I decided that since this is my first quilt, and I have a baby coming in a month (!!), I would cut myself some slack and use some bias tape. Luckily, I found some in a cheerful color that I loved. (Of course, there is more thread and bias tape–just showing off the colors here). It’s important to me that the quilt look vibrant and joyful, and I’m glad I was able to find colors that feel that way to me.

Baby's QuiltI have a little bit of repair work to do on the quilt top (a few seams need reinforcing), but after that I’ll be laying out my quilt sandwich (top, batting, backing), pinning, and sewing! I can’t wait to hold this soft and chunky blanket in my hands. And I can’t wait to watch our little boy play on it or snuggle up with it when he gets a bit older. One of my favorite things about it is that it’s so imperfect. That said, I’m amazed that it still looks so good, given how many spots there are where the triangles don’t match up evenly. Who knows, maybe those wonky corners will become his favorite parts. And I hope that it will be of help someday in teaching him that there’s value in things that are made by hand, things that show the imperfect traces of their imperfect maker. And I hope it will help with another lesson that’s close to my heart: if you’re having fun, you’re doing it right.

Our Map-Themed Baby Shower

Map-Themed Baby ShowerA warning: this will be a photo-heavy post because there is just so much awesome to share! And I want to brag about the many talents of my amazing friend Hillary, who threw the shower for us. Look at this adorable display! And also, I just want to remember as much as I can about this special day, which I can only describe as completely luminous, filled with love, and one of the happiest times I can remember. We are so lucky to have such wonderful people in our lives!

Map-Themed Baby Shower

Hillary and I worked together to make the map bookmarks (more on those soon), but my jaw dropped when I saw all the other things she had added to the party favors. These adorable bags with their own air mail tags, and map coasters and magnets! And yes, they are nestled in a suitcase.

Map-Themed Baby ShowerThe coasters were a total surprise, and I think everyone’s were specific to them. Ours featured Memphis, San Francisco, and Russia!

Map-Themed Baby ShowerThese are a few of the magnets. Aren’t they awesome?! Hillary has promised to show me how to make them.

Map-Themed Baby ShowerWe had been planning and working on crafts for the shower for a few weeks, and on Friday we went on a huge Costco run to get the food. I had no idea she was planning anything else, and I have no idea how she found the time to do it on top of the regular party prep, but feast your eyes on this: a customized scrapbook station for the baby!

Map-Themed Baby ShowerThis just totally blew me away, and I was so incredibly touched by it. The pages all had maps and travel themes, and the scrapbook (in the briefcase) was so perfect. I treasure every page, and it is so sweet to have these wishes for our baby. I can’t wait to show them to him someday!

Map-Themed Baby ShowerHillary’s girls made pages too, and they were so very sweet.

Map-Themed Baby ShowerBut let’s rewind to the beginning of the party! Here is the spread, but only in part. There was so much more, and I am not ashamed to say that I ate a LOT of it.

Map-Themed Baby ShowerThis is the lemonade stand, next to the girls’ playhouse in Hillary’s glorious backyard.

Map-Themed Baby ShowerA certain princess enjoyed stomping on the shadows of the lanterns.

Map-Themed Baby ShowerOur awesome friends Jack and Juliette, who we are thrilled to have as our baby’s godparents.

Map-Themed Baby ShowerHillary suggested that I sit in this chaise lounge and hold court as queen, and I was happy to oblige. Some kind princesses even lent me their wand.

Map-Themed Baby ShowerRevelers enjoying the beautiful backyard.

Map-Themed Baby ShowerI wore this beautiful white dress that Hillary lent me. Two ladies in white! Isn’t she lovely?

Map-Themed Baby ShowerThe present pile! Please note that awesome Katie made us a decorative newspaper baby, complete with umbilical cord. I loved it.

Map-Themed Baby ShowerEveryone came inside for the (sweetest ever) champagne toast (and sparkling water for me), and the girls got to feel the baby move.

Map-Themed Baby ShowerAll our beautiful friends, and my favorite in-home art gallery on the left.

Map-Themed Baby ShowerWe received so many thoughtful and lovely gifts, and the girls were my expert helpers in unwrapping. They made me laugh too. A lot.

Map-Themed Baby ShowerA new addition to the baby’s library.

Map-Themed Baby ShowerAnd fox pajamas!

Map-Themed Baby ShowerAfter present time, I was really hot from sitting in the sun, and Carmen gave me her seat, which was directly in front of the air conditioner. Pregnant ladies love a good arctic blast. (I am sorry that Eric isn’t in any of these pictures–he was the photographer!)

Map-Themed Baby ShowerAfter the festivities, Eric and I and Katy and Kostas stayed for some afternoon relaxation. The girls just fell in love with both of them, and I cannot blame them one little bit.

Map-Themed Baby ShowerProof that Danny is always, always making me laugh.

Map-Themed Baby ShowerThese are my people. I love them so much. I always thought that the term “shower” referred to a shower of gifts for a baby or a bride-to-be, but what I understood after Saturday is that it’s really a shower of love. I was just totally awash in gratitude and wonder that we have so many incredible people in our lives, and that they all love our sweet baby so much, even before he’s here to charm us with his little smiles and laughs. Each person who came made the day so special, as did everyone who was there in spirit. All I can say is thank you, thank you, one million times thank you. Thank you for loving me, thank you for loving Eric, thank you for loving our sweet son. I am more grateful than you’ll ever know.

Adventures in Pregnancy: 35 Weeks

35 WeeksI am writing this post in the afterglow of the most wonderful weekend. Our dear friends Katy and Kostas came down from Berkeley to stay with us, and we had the baby shower at Hillary’s on Saturday. I will share shower pictures tomorrow, but honestly, it was just so overwhelmingly wonderful. So many fantastic people, so much love in one space. Everyone who was there means so much to us, and we had such an awesome time catching up with them, eating delicious food, and laughing about anything and everything. It touches my heart so much that so many people love our little baby even before he is here with us.

This week was a busy one, punctuated by several car mishaps, which definitely led to some hormonal crying jags. However! It has mostly all been taken care of, and crying always makes me feel better.

35 WeeksMy ankles are definitely swollen this week, but getting better some days. Walking helps, as does swimming. We went to the pool today, and as I glided like a blimp into the wall, I told Eric that I felt like a hippopotamus. But a graceful one! I am slooooow, but I feel like breaststroke is very helpful for the swelling. And this is very convenient because it is the only stroke I can still do. The funniest thing to me is that there isn’t anything physical about this pregnancy that has really bothered me yet. Well, I was not a fan of the first trimester, but I love my big belly, and I don’t mind a single pound I have gained. My arms are thicker, and my face is fuller, and I do not mind in the slightest. But when I noticed that my ankles were swollen, it just totally weirded me out. I called my mom and told her that I have Shrek feet! And she laughed. After I broke a pair of my flip flops this week, I bought a new pair at Walgreens for $3, and they make me feel like I’m walking on a cloud. So comfy! And, by the way, given the direction my feet are going in, I decided to go ahead and take off my rings, before it’s too late. Eric said to watch out, since hitting on pregnant ladies is a big thing. Ha!

My sweet cousin Laura, who has two boys, told me that she wasn’t really uncomfortable until 34 weeks in her pregnancies, and I started to understand that a bit last week. My feet were hurting, the heartburn reached a new level, and I kept finding myself wanting to go to bed at 8pm. But I still wouldn’t say I am really uncomfortable, which is good, since I have five weeks to go. My belly for sure gets in the way of some things, but I am so happy that I am still able to move easily and walk comfortably.

35 WeeksAlso, I finally broke down and did some maternity shopping to add to my meager collection of things that still fit me. Ironically, my constantly falling-down maternity jeans now fit me, but…it is way too hot for jeans. I got this black and white dress and a good handful of shirts to go with my skirts and shorts, and I hope that will hold me, at least for the next few weeks, after which: muumuu time!

Our sweet baby is kicking and wiggling almost all the time, and I love feeling him move. One morning this week he was especially quiet, which made me a little nervous. I had Eric talk to him and play some music on my belly, but still nothing. Finally I leaned forward (his least favorite position), and I felt a little kick! He’s been kicking almost non-stop since then, which I do not mind in the slightest. In fact, as I am typing this, he is wiggling from one side to another. My belly is rather hilariously lopsided, and I love it.

This weekend we’ll have our 36 week appointment and an ultrasound to check his position. We haven’t seen him since 20 weeks, so I am beyond excited. And beyond excited to hold him in my arms in a little more than a month!


FriendiversaryOne year ago today I was checking my email over breakfast as usual, when a familiar name popped up in my inbox. There was an email from Hillary, whose blog I knew and loved. I had read about her adventures with her adorable twin girls, and, gasp, had figured out that she lived in Pasadena. I was hoping to meet her, and I always secretly looked around for her when I went to the library, a location I knew we both treasured. The email was so sweet, offering to give me some craft supplies she wasn’t using anymore. I have never been one to turn down free craft supplies, but I was mostly so excited to meet her! We arranged to meet at the library (of course!), where she gave me a huge bag full of goodies and some gorgeous tomatoes from her husband’s garden. And I got to meet the sweetest and most brilliant four-year-olds in the world (now five-year-olds!)

But the best thing Hillary gave me was her friendship and the gift of a place in her life. It is really a special magic to find someone who loves all the same things you do, and on top of that is overflowing with kindness and wit and wisdom and joie de vivre. Soon we were having craft nights (and crafternoons!) and picnics and going thrift store shopping and scheming about how to bring our grand artistic ideas into fruition. We took (the most fun!) road trip, had a good handful of pool dates, and I became a regular with her, dropping off and picking up the girls from school. We celebrated Easter and Thanksgiving together with our families. I came along to the girls’ dentist appointments, and Hillary got a babysitter so she could come with me to my glucose test. We took a painting class together, shared so many delicious meals, and talked and talked and talked (and laughed!) about anything and everything.

FriendiversaryThere are people you meet later in life and wish you’d always known, and that’s definitely the case here. I kind of can’t believe we’ve only known each other for a year because we are already family, and I can’t imagine my life without her, or her wonderful daughters and hilarious and kind husband, who also happens to be an amazing cook. She’s my favorite thing in Pasadena. You know the kind of friend who makes everything fun? Like even a Costco run or a cleaning session? That’s the kind of friend Hillary is, and I thank my lucky stars for her.

I think you really only get a few friends like this in life, enough to count on one hand. I hold onto my little friend bouquet extra tightly, and extra gratefully. I love that today, one year later, we are going shopping for food for the baby shower, which she and her family are throwing for us. I have no doubt that, like the 365 previous days of our friendship, it will be a raucous good time! Friendship, like love, carries within it all the richness and joy of life. This one has been a gift straight from heaven, and I am so thankful for it.

Three Blissful Years

Three YearsBlissful is definitely the best word for these past three years. I can’t type that without smiling. Being married to Eric has been the most fun I have ever had in my life. What other adjective could you use to describe getting to hang out with your best friend every day? I still jump up to hug him when I hear his key turn in the lock. He’s my favorite.

When I was in high school, my best friend and I used to rank boys based on their knowledge of obscure Doors songs and their willingness to discuss poetry with us in arty coffee shops (bonus points if he wrote his own poetry!). We were silly, and we (mostly?) knew that, but our ranking system did have an override function. When someone rose far above our petty criteria, he was good. These boys were, of course, largely unattainable, but that didn’t stop us from murmuring to each other, “Oh, he’s very good.”

I have been thinking for months that that’s the perfect word to describe Eric. He is just so good, in every way. He is so compassionate and patient and intelligent and funny and caring and faithful. A friend of mine from college happened to go on a date with Eric before we were dating, and Eric told me about it as soon as he realized that we were friends. When I told her I was dating him, the first thing she said was, “Oh, he’s very upstanding!” And yes, he is. I love that about him so much.

And I love that he makes me laugh all. the. time. Last night we got our birth ball in the mail, and I requested that he say, “I will pump you up!” in his best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice while filling it with air. And he did. I love that we have our own private language and a slew of inside jokes that never fail to crack us up (isn’t that one of the best parts of being in love?)

And I love the everyday part of being with him. I love being part of this team, I love making decisions together, I love discussing our days over leftovers. I love going to the farmer’s market every Saturday and walking down to the gym together. I love tag-teaming the dishes and having lazy afternoons. I love fancy dinners and romantic getaways and flowers and surprises too, but it’s this everyday building of a life together that I really cherish.

This isn’t to say that there haven’t been hard times in the past three years, but, thankfully, they made us even closer instead of driving us apart. We’ve had our fair share of illnesses and stresses and all the other things that are just a part of a life, and every time we have said, “There’s no one else I’d rather go through this with than you.” When I think about the things that Eric has patiently seen me through, I can’t help but cry. He is seriously the most dedicated and supportive person I’ve ever known.

I can’t wait to see him as a dad. I know I’m going to fall in love with him all over again. Happy anniversary, baby. Here’s to so many more!

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