Monday, February 27, 2012

A Space for Baby

This weekend Eric and I spent some time making more preparations for Baby Girl - largely, getting her little corner of our bedroom all perfect for her. It pleases me to say that if she came tonight (but please don't, little one - cook for another four weeks!), she would have a fully-outfitted crib to sleep in, plenty of clothes to wear, a place to have her diaper changed (we even have diapers!), and a place to sit and rock with Mommy while she has a little something to eat. I think all the necessities are in place!

It has been a little bit of a challenge for us to make this "adding a baby" thing work with our limited space. As you know, we live in a one-bedroom apartment with the most abysmal closet space you have ever seen. Not only has this created challenges for us storage-wise (babies seem to come with a lot of stuff), but it also kind of bummed me out that Baby Girl wasn't going to get a full-blown nursery to call her own, but rather, would have to share a corner of our bedroom. Not that I mind having her in our room, of course, but as I have seen many friends post pictures of elaborate, beautiful nurseries for their babies, I kind of wished I was picking out carpet and paint samples and really doing it up right for her.

But hey, we're making it work, and I devoted myself to making her corner of our room as beautiful of a "mini-nursery" as I could. Someday we'll have more space and she'll have a room of her own, I'm sure, but for now, I think we carved out a pretty nice little corner for her. Want to see it? (Get ready for lots of pictures!)

This is what you see when you walk into our bedroom:

Ta-da! A space for babies and parents to happily coexist.

 I'm pretty sure it's not possible to fit another piece of furniture in there (this may even be setting some sort of world record for Most Furniture in One Bedroom), but hey, it's working for us!

You can't see it in the above picture, but this chest of drawers is off to the left, and is housing a lot of our own clothes:

This is one over-worked piece of furniture.

That's the only new piece of furniture that isn't actually being used by Baby, but it's a part of our baby furniture set. Also, to the right of it you can see my suitcase to take to the hospital (still unpacked, yikes) and my pretty purple diaper bag, so there's some baby stuff!

Back over by my side of the bed, we have our glider and her crib:

We are now entering "Baby Corner"

You may remember that we found this glider for a downright steal at our local children's consignment boutique. It's not the prettiest thing ever, and I just couldn't justify the cost for a new slipcover for it, but it's great quality and very comfortable. Achilles can vouch for that:

So much change going on in the poor little guy's life, so I figured I can at least let him enjoy the glider for a bit.

You may notice in the above picture that there are a few little things on the windowsill, including Baby's already rapidly-growing book collection (including a set of Beatrix Potter books that were mine as a child), and the box that holds the wooden blocks that my baby shower guests made for her:

Can't wait to sit in that glider and read to her!

If we continue to move to the right, we can check out Baby's crib and dresser/changing table:

The main Baby Area

We got the full furniture set (crib, dresser/changer and chest of drawers) on a great sale from J.C. Penny. It was actually our first baby purchase, which is a funny place to start - no onesies or booties for us, we went straight for the big stuff! But I fell in love with the scalloped edge at the top of the crib:

Baby's bed, pretty in purple

Let's talk a little more about the crib and accessories. First of all, that picture frame above the crib will say her actual name, not "Baby" - but I wasn't about to let the name slip out that easily, so you get the censored version!

The bedding is the Daisy Garden set in lavender from Pottery Barn Kids. Eric and I searched long and hard for bedding that we both really loved, and FINALLY found it in the lavender Daisy Garden set. However, when we first discovered it, the crib skirt was out of stock. Say it ain't so! To our delight, a few days later it showed up on the website again - on backorder, but available! So we placed an order right away and were told it would ship out on March 3. Then I got an email that it wouldn't actually ship until May 29...then July 9. Ugh, that's too late! What to do?!

We just couldn't find anything else we really loved, so we decided to just stick with the Daisy Garden set but in pink/green instead of lavender, even though I had my heart set on a purple nursery. Because my husband is the sweetest, he went up to our Pottery Barn Kids store on his lunch break to pick up the pink/green crib skirt so that I could take it to Michael's that evening to match colors for the craft supplies I wanted to buy. (How thoughtful is he?) He didn't see the skirt on the shelves, so he asked the employees to check for it in the back. To his surprise, they didn't have the pink/green - they only had the lavender! A miracle! So Eric was the big-time hero and Baby Girl's lavender nursery was saved.

And really, I love the set - it's so cheerful and pretty!:

A look at Baby's happy floral sheets

That picture above is looking down at the crib sheet through the mobile that I made for Baby this weekend! Look at me, all crafty, eh? I love how it turned out:

Please, be impressed.

I used this tutorial, and for the most part it was pretty easy, although way more time consuming than I expected. And getting everything to hang level was the worst - it took several tries (and several threats to throw the whole thing right in the trash and just buy whatever I could find cheap at Babies 'R Us) before we got it looking nice. This child better like the darn thing, I'll just say that. Personally, I'm quite pleased with it, and it matches her bedding so nicely!

Now, let's continue on...

View of the Baby Area from the glider her dresser/changing table:

A pretty place to change poopy diapers, basically

The dresser is already well-stocked with plenty of clothes, and is topped with her changing pad. The basket next to it holds rattles/toys, with another organizer next to that with all her diaper-changing essentials:

Just a sampling of her many clothes filling the dresser

Above the dresser we hung a shelf for decorative stuff:

Sweet baby decor!

Hanging from the hook on the bottom is the little dress we bought for her when we first found out she is a girl. The stuffed lamb was a gift from my mom, and we bought the Pooh Bear for her for Christmas. In the middle of the shelf there are a few of the blocks that friends and family made for her at the baby shower:

Love the personal touch, so now all our loved ones have contributed to her nursery! 

The pictures on the shelf are of Eric and me as children, and are flanked by my Puddle-Duck figurines that were also mine as a baby:

Eric was the cutest kid ever. (Well, until Baby Girl is born, I'm sure!)

And that's our nursery! It's not big or elaborate, but I think we did a pretty good job making it pretty and adding some personal touches. Now all we need is the baby to use it! One month from today is my due date, so the clock is ticking!

Friday, February 24, 2012


This past weekend wasn't all chocolate-drinking fun - there was also a serious event that took place on Sunday night. Thankfully, it didn't impact us directly, but it was the kind of thing that just makes you think, you know?

Eric and I were sitting at the dining room table eating our dinner on Sunday, when I noticed what looked like a flashing red light atop one of the buildings out our window. I wasn't sure what it was but didn't think much of it. And then, as we were digging in to dessert, I caught sight of the flames. That flashing red light had been a light on top of a fireman's ladder, at an apartment building two blocks over that was quite obviously on fire.

The view from our living room of smoke pouring out of the building

The fire apparently started on the ground floor of the building, which houses a little bodega and a jewelry store, and then moved up through all five floors, the remainder of which are residential.

For a long while, the flames seemed to primarily be pouring out of the front windows on the top floor, and at times, they were even blue. I have never seen blue fire before. It was very apocolyptic.

After some time, the front flames seemed to be under control (after a few bouts of starting back up again), but then the back of the building at the top floor just couldn't seem to be stopped. It would look like things were dying down, and then they would flare right up again. By that time it was officially a four-alarm fire, and pieces of the building were falling to the street below.

Crowds were gathered, but the police and fire department kept everyone at a safe distance.

Luckily, all of the tenants of this building made it out alright. A few were treated for smoke inhalation, but there were no casualties. The building, however, has been declared uninhabitable and the street around it is still closed as they start to demolish the portions of the building that cannot be saved. Hopefully, at least some of the building will be able to be repaired.

As Eric and I watched the building burn, my heart just broke for the people who call it home. We've all answered that question that everyone loves to ask: "if your house was on fire and you could only grab one thing on your way out, what would you take?" But what if that question stopped being hypothetical and became real? What if you really lost everything you owned in an instant? Your home, your possessions, your tangible memories? I can't even imagine what that must feel like.

Watching this unfold reminded me to take a moment and be so grateful for all that I have. Especially lately when my mind is occupied with almost nothing besides thoughts of baby prep and the stress that can accompany that, I needed to take a moment to breathe and be thankful. Nothing should ever be taken for granted, because you never know if it may be taken from you in an instant. I am blessed and I don't say thanks for all that I have nearly often enough.

Hoboken is a great community, and fundraisers have already been organized and donations accepted to help the victims of this fire. I'm sure that nothing can replace what these people lost, but I pray that in time they will be able to rebuild and start fresh. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chocolate Weekend

Last weekend Eric and I took in probably more than our fair share of liquid chocolate. It was glorious.

It started with an outing to City Bakery, a well-known little cafe in the city near Union Square. They have their Hot Chocolate Festival going on during February, with different hot chocolate flavors every day. I saw that the flavor scheduled for Saturday was "On a Peanut Butter Barge," and I am such a huge fan of all things chocolate and peanut butter, I figured that was a winner. So, we went into the city in search of hot chocolate.

I got the peanut butter flavor (duh), Eric got regular, and we both got marshmallows, which were huge and delicious. We also split a pretzel croissant. This hot chocolate was decadent, let me tell you. For my peanut butter one, they basically just put a glob of peanut butter at the bottom of the cup then poured the hot chocolate on top. And they will tell you, this is not hot cocoa, it's hot chocolate. It really was just like drinking melted chocolate - very, very rich. Quite tasty, but so rich that neither of us could finish our cups!

Two hot chocolates and a pretzel croissant at City Bakery

A look down at the action, including a guy pouring that thick, delicious chocolate

My belly makes an excellent hot chocolate holder!

I've been hearing about City Bakery's hot chocolate for so long now, I'm glad we finally tried it!

And, our first hot chocolate outing on Saturday gave me an idea for an activity on Monday - we should finally get Eric to Serendipity (you know, the place with the $1,000 sundae on the menu) to try their Frozen Hot Chocolate. I had already been twice (once with my friend Amanda and once with my friend Megan), but Eric had never been able to join us. So I figured, why not make it a Hot Chocolate Weekend?

So, back into the city we went, in search of more drinkable chocolate. We got to Serendipity around 12:30 p.m. and the wait time was a measly hour and a half. Sigh. We killed some time browsing in Dylan's Candy Bar on the corner, then went back to check on where we were on the waiting list. The rather kind host must have seen my belly and taken pity on a poor pregnant woman who needs chocolate, because he told us to stay close by and he'd see what he could do. Sure enough, we were happily seated at a table in record time. At last! My largeness came in handy for something other than making Eric laugh!

Once again, I ordered the Peanut Butter Frozen Hot Chocolate and Eric had the regular. I love that Peanut Butter one - it's like drinking a Reese's Cup. Eric's regular was delicious, too. We also split a burger. Mmm, mmm. Now that is how you spend a President's Day afternoon.

Checking out the menu at Serendipity

Tell me you don't want to drink those goblets of chocolate, I dare you.

What a delicious way to spend a weekend!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


35 weeks pregnant, 35 days to go.


Yes, I realize that means 35 days until my due date - which may very well pass on by with no on-time baby. The 35 days is just a rough estimate, and really it could be a bit later than that (or a bit earlier!!!), but still. 35 DAYS. At my last appointment, my doctor told me that from now on, if I go into labor, they won't do anything to stop it. I don't expect to go early, but basically, we're on Baby Girl's schedule now - it's all up to her!

I feel like things are really flying by now. I had expected February to be a very slow month, with me being very impatient to get to March. I honestly expected this month to creep by at a snail's pace. Not the case, my friends. February is FLYING. Seriously, five weeks left? How did we get here already? And I don't think we're going to slow down anytime soon - my life is full of to-do lists, projects to finish, phone calls to make, arrangements to get in order, things to organize. This week we have our hospital tour tonight (after touring three others early in pregnancy we're finally going to see the one where we'll actually deliver!), a doctor's appointment tomorrow (I'm going weekly now!), and I have a prenatal massage on Friday (no complaining there). Next weekend will be our last "free" weekend before we start a series of prenatal meetings with our doula on Sundays. We have our next/final ultrasound scheduled (March 8!) and I have all my weekly doctor visits scheduled through the end. Seriously, FIVE WEEKS LEFT?

So let's do a more thorough update, shall we?

- First of all, this is me at 35 weeks pregnant, oh-so-proudly smuggling my basketball:

I'm just very round.

- Houston, we have an outie. My innie belly button and I had a good run, but those days are officially behind us now. RIP, innie.

- I'm starting to get lots of comments, particularly at work. "Oh, you must be just about ready!" "Another month?! Are you sure it's not twins?" etc. Honestly, the attention makes me a little uncomfortable.

- I'm also starting to get pretty physically uncomfortable. I feel big and waddle-y and unwieldy. As a general rule, I'm tired, swollen and sore. I don't sleep well most nights, thanks to acid reflux (I sleep with 3-5 pillows behind my head every night, no joke), very regular bathroom visits and sore hips/back. My feet are swollen by the end of the day, and my wedding rings have been replaced by a larger cheap band from Target thanks to my swelling fingers. I just feel BIG. Honestly, I'm afraid that by five weeks from now, I'll be falling over forwards if this belly keeps getting bigger. Where is this child going to go?!

- My larger size makes it pretty difficult to bend down and pick things up off the floor. As that has been getting more challenging, I seem to also be getting clumsier and dropping more things. Oh, sweet irony! That means that I spend a lot of time watching things fall to the floor and cursing under my breath.

- Riding public transportation and seeing who will or will not offer an 8-months-pregnant woman a seat on the train continues to be a rather interesting social experiment.

- This child has now perfected the art of both being all up in my ribs and on my bladder at the same time. For a while, it was just one or the other at a time, but now she's really going to town in there. And yes, she's still in my ribs, which means I still can't breathe very well. Honestly, I feel like I haven't taken a good, solid, deep breath in about three months.

- She really is an active little thing. I love to sit and watch my belly roll from side to side as she moves, and feel her little extremities sticking out all over the place. Sometimes she's downright violent and it can hurt a little bit, but it's also the coolest feeling ever in the whole wide world, so I certainly can't complain about that! My most favorite time to feel her move is in the mornings, when I am just waking up but not out of bed yet. She seems to wake up along with me and I always just say, "good morning, baby!" and it's a great way to start the day - it (almost) makes me forget all about the lack of sleep from the night before.

- Eric and I have been trying to interact with her more. Eric has started reading to her in the evenings so she can learn his voice, and she LOVES IT. The very first time he read to her, she moved right over to my right side, where he was sitting. You could see the huge lump in my belly as she scooted over closer to her dad. And every time since then, she may be still and sleeping when he starts reading, but as soon as he gets going she starts wiggling all over the place. She really only responds like that to Eric reading, or to Darren Criss singing. The girl has good taste in men, I'll say that.

- I have started singing to her a little bit myself. I'm not sure how she feels about that, but I know the dog doesn't care much for it.

- Speaking of the dog, he HAS been kicked by his sister now. He wasn't sure what to think!

- I have four weeks left of work (unless Baby has other plans). I think one of my more recent pregnancy symptoms is irritability (particularly at work), so I'm pretty ready to call it quits!

- We've been doing lots of work on the "nursery" to get her space ready for her, but I'll have to share all the details of that later when it's complete enough to share pictures.

- We've also been doing a lot of other stuff to get ready for her - reading, talking, planning, practicing relaxation techniques for labor/birth, etc. This past weekend we also took a Newborn Care and a Breastfeeding class, so now I feel at least slightly more prepared. At the very least, I can rest assured that our baby will be well-swaddled because Eric is an excellent swaddler.

Practicing bottle feeding!

Bathing baby

- I think we officially have a name!!! Her first name has been decided for some time now, but her middle name was giving us trouble. I think we have settled on something now, which is such a relief. I'm still keeping it quiet until she's born, though, so this bullet point is just one big tease!

- I'm just really, really excited. As crazy as it sounds, I am actually even excited about labor and giving birth - I'm trying to just approach it as a physical challenge, and I'm really eager for the end result. I can't wait to meet this little girl, and hold her, and feed her, and cuddle her and kiss her. I can't wait to call her by name and tell her I love her. I can't wait to see her interact with Eric, who is going to be such an incredible father. I can't wait to show her the world and introduce her to the rest of her family. I'm just EXCITED.

So that's where we are now. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I'll be able to share pictures of the "nursery," and you know I'll be sharing ultrasound pictures after our appointment on March 8th. And then, we wait!

In other baby news: A big congratulations to my cousin Erin and her husband Brian on the birth of their second child, a beautiful baby girl, born in the wee hours of the morning (in a snowstorm and power outage, no less!) on February 20! Erin is amazing and we're so excited to welcome the new little one into the family! Congratulations to them!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Dog Day in NYC: The Westminster Dog Show

On Monday, Eric and I went to the Westminster Dog Show at Madison Square Garden. This was all Eric's wonderful idea, and it was awesome! I've watched that dog show on TV many times before and thought it would be fun to go in person, but never really thought about making it happen. Eric did, though! That's because he's the best. He bought us tickets to Day #1, which included a couple of my favorite groups: the toy dogs and the hound dogs. On Sunday night, he even hunted down the schedule for Day #1 online so we could come up with a plan of attack to see my favorite breeds. I mean, he thought of everything!

So, we were well-prepared when we arrived at Madison Square Garden on Monday morning. We made our way right to the Theater level to catch some chihuahua action. Cuteness!

The set-up in the Theater: Two rings, side by side

Chihuahuas in the ring

One of the chihuahuas being judged on the table

The Theater level wasn't my favorite, because it was free-for-all seating and very small, so it was hard to see the action from the stands. After the chihuahuas, however, we went up to the Arena level, where we actually had assigned seats. Eric managed to purchase the most perfect seats ever, right in front of the ring where the beagles were. The beagles were the breed I was most excited about, and we had a great view! They were next on our Must See Breed List, so we settled in to our seats just in time for me to start squealing over 13" beagle cuteness.

The Arena level was much larger, with four rings set up on the floor


One of the winners getting his/her photo taken

Let me tell you, I am pretty good at picking winning dogs. As we sat in the arena, I would call out my picks and I rocked it. My picks almost always pulled out for some sort of award. Clearly, I missed my calling as a dog judge.

There was another breed in between the two beagle categories, but we patiently waited for the 15" beagles to come on out. Let me tell you, they were worth the wait. I right away called out my favorite as the one who kept sitting up. He was just so focused on the treats in his handler's hand, and whenever they were standing still (waiting for their turn at the table or to run around or whatever), that little pup sat right up and just stayed like that, staring at the hand holding the coveted treat. Then they would move a few more steps ahead in line, and as soon as they stopped moving, that dog would sit right back up again. He honestly sat up more than he just sat, and it was so adorable, I nearly stole him. And wouldn't you know it - he won the 15" beagle group! That dog is awesome!

A whole beagle line-up!

My favorite! How precious is he?!

Finalists posing as the judge looks them over


After the beagles we went back to the Theater level for some more toy dog action, this time for pugs. I do love me some squishy pug faces.

Pugs in the ring

This one won an Award of Merit

We then stuck around for the pomeranians, but this time we came down out of the stands and went down to the ring level for a better look.

Oh, hi, puppy

Pomeranians in action

We then walked around the Theater benching area, where they get the dogs ready for their big moments. I was seriously getting a kick out of watching the dogs get pampered.

Many of these dogs had more product in their hair than I usually do.

Comfy pug

What does a dog have to do to get some peace and quiet around here?!

We then went back to watch from the Arena level for a bit before checking out the Arena benching area. Again, more pampered pooches! Some were getting their hair done...

I suspect this one requires a BIG brush.

Accessories can really make or break an outfit.

...some were just resting up...

Relax while your hair sets, of course

Don't be afraid to sprawl out!

...some were playing...

This little one was having quite a wiggly wrestle session

...some were hitting the media circuit...

Even dogs can give interviews, apparently.

...and some were just practicing some adorable poses.

What a sweetheart!

You already know of my beagle weakness. Love the kid pinching the poor guy's side - such patience! What a good dog!

We also did some walking around on the ring level in the Arena, for a little closer look at the action.

Down at ring level

Props for the winner photo ops

Eric enjoying the dog show

I think baby liked it, too!

We could have stuck around for the rest of the day and the final judging in all the various categories that evening, but that part was televised and we were beat. So, we watched all that from the comfort of our own couch. I was cheering for my beagle again, of course, but no such luck for him in the Hound category (the dachshund won that one), and the Pekingese won the Toy category (and ultimately, Best in Show). Better luck next time, Beagle! You just keep sitting up and you'll go far! And even if my favorite didn't win, we had a blast anyway.

What a fun day!

And that night, even the Empire State Building had gone to the dogs:

The ESB lit up purple and gold for the Westminster Dog Show

What a fun event! Thanks so much for having such a great idea, Eric!