Thursday, February 28, 2008

Art Gallery: Ode to Charley Harper

(I dedicate this post to AS in honor of the puffy wall hanging conversation)

True, we have no "nursery," but Eric and I have thought long and hard about how we would like to decorate Linus's room when it does exist. If you haven't caught on to a theme, or you don't know us well, we are not particularly smitten with the general aesthetic qualities to most baby items. Eric and I align ourselves with the "less is more," "simple and clean lines" decor. It is nothing personal, just preference. I hope I don't come across "anti-baby stuff," but I feel that a lot of the baby related items on the market are too "cutesy," and I honestly think are designed to appeal to adults more than babies (especially newborn stuff). What I mean by adult appeal is that products are designed for adults to "think" that a 3 month old will appreciate the matching crib set, rocker cushions, diaper holder and curtains. (Exception: don't for a second think, though, that I don't get sucked into "ooing" when I get my hands on any piece of baby clothing. As long as it doesn't have Harley Davidson thematic prints on it, I'll just about melt over all baby clothes). Enter, puffy wall hangings and "themed nurseries." Not my personal choice, but I respect the decision of others to completely outfit a nursery in matching items. Along the idea of adult appeal, Eric and I would love to decorate a baby's room with non-baby artwork: our adult appeal. By non-baby, I am referring to art that "works" in a baby's room, but is not sold under the guise of "nursery decorations." Additionally, we like the idea of using real art that can serve multiple purposes over the span of a child's life, as opposed to having a "baby" theme that becomes passe after a mere 1 year.

After a riveting spot on CBS News Sunday Morning, we found our artist: Charles Harper. I am sprinkling in throughout this post our absolute favorite prints that we have identified. The print names are cute (e.g., Dam Diligent, Prickly Pair, and Jumbrella...guess which prints have those names!) and he has a unique perspective on wildlife and color. True, the palette is not traditionally what one would expect in a baby's room, but when have we ever done anything traditional? What is crazy is that the FIRST site that popped up on our Google search to locate where to buy the prints, was an art store in ERIC's HOME TOWN! (not a well known artistic playground for edgy prints--sorry Mentorians). There are lots of different shapes and sizes, and some prints are signed or part of a series. We figure, these are prints that can be passed down, and we would honestly hang them outside of a nursery. Now, we just have to start collecting them.


-I am grateful (I think) that I have had to retire my first pair of "normal sized jeans." It doesn't help, though, that they are my favorite pair of jeans. I cannot even sport the make-shift belly band as the zipper needs to be completely in "XYZ" position (hark back to elementary school for that reference) for them to fit. If I worked in a nudist colony, it might fly (no pun intended), but even my casual work environment wouldn't appreciate the show. For the first time, I realized that those jeans will not be on my body again for many months. After the initial shock, I am grateful...I guess.

-I am grateful that the sweetie who is dying for more belly pics is patient as I wait for my husband's schedule to accommodate a day time picture of any uterus growth. (We have now identified that taking pictures at night is not a good way to get belly pictures.) T, I promise some soon!

Nixed Names:
BRAXTON, HICKS (they never were on the list, but there may have been some confusion from my last post) Evan, Owen, Abe, Josef, Dylan, Griffin, Jens, Jan, Nevin, Emil, Milo, Luke, Lucas, Simon

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How about the name "Braxton?" What about "Hicks?"

Newest development: I am now experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions. They technically begin at 6 weeks, but aren't usually felt until mid-pregnancy. At this point, they are painless and sporadic. Describing them as uterine contractions is just about as accurate as you can get. When you are pregnant, around 20 weeks you will locate this taut "blob" in your lower abdomen (read: uterus), and at times, it will just "seize" and get ROCK HARD. For me, it is never the entire uterus, but there will be zones of my belly that I feel slowly "cramping" up into a tight muscular contraction. If you touch the area, it feels like I am smuggling a grapefruit--well, maybe not that big; perhaps a tangelo. It's strange, but I am hoping all of this practice makes labor easier (ha!).

Speaking of touching bellies, I have now been "felt up." Believe it or not, I have been aching for someone to reach toward my belly and rub it; perhaps because I still have a hard time believing I am preggo. At a recent after work happy hour (don't worry; I got water on the rocks), we began talking about pregnancy in a rather general manner. One of our new co-workers commented, "is someone pregnant?" I turned to him, and said, "I am!" When he asked how far along I was, and I told him just about 22 weeks, I think his jaw fell off into his Corona. To be fair, it was a guy making the comment (essentially the only guy in our company). In the same 10 minutes, my boss came up and asked to touch by belly. Ah! Redemption! I imagine I am in the minority, but I really don't mind the unprompted and uninvited belly rubs. Talk to me in a few weeks.

Drum roll...we ordered our first baby items!!! Hold the applause, it is actually the combined generous gift of the parental units: car seat, extra base and stroller. The initial idea was to have them help furnish a nursery, but given the fact that we will most likely rock the condo life for a bit longer, we are not going to opt for a crib at this point (and certainly have no room for additional furniture). Instead, we will get the highly acclaimed "pack n play," which is like an all-in-one jungle gym, hotel, bassinet, and changing station for babies. (Seriously, the second you get pregnant, you start throwing around words and phrases like "pack n play," "medela breast pump" and "baby bjorn" as though they were part of every American's vocabulary.) The best part is that the pack n play is a heck of a lot cheaper than a crib, highly portable, and can be quickly disassembled to store away for all of those condo showings. Although we are not solely relying on baby registries to cover all of our needs, we have started rather sad Target, Gaiam, and Babies R Us (BRU) lists. BRU is not anywhere near us, so we were hesitant to use them, but we figured that it may be helpful for shipping items. Truthfully, if you spend time doing the research, you can find far better deals on the Internet (and many times better quality) than the one stop shop with registries. Therefore, our "registry" (Linus's List as it is named), is actually an excel spreadsheet that we continually add to as we do research and find the places that have the best deals. May I also note that there are some items that they suggest not looking for the deals (I'll comment on this related to the car seat, later). For example: used cribs and car seats are generally not a good idea. For other things, my suggestion: craigslist and amazon! I highly recommend craigslist for looking for boxes of barely used baby clothing. We would be more than welcoming of reused, gently worn boxes of baby clothes. I haven't bought any, but I am sure as the time gets closer to Linus's birth, I'll be toting my preggo rear around Atlanta, buying boxes of baby clothes.

As far as the car seat and stroller, after some research, we opted for the Peg Perego brand as it is lightweight, well reviewed, and really safe. The products are from Italy, and the car seat has the SIP (side impact protection) that is now just making waves in the US market. They seem to be the best fit, too, for 3 flights of concrete condo steps as the stroller easily folds up to carry. TIP! We found the set online for sale as we are getting the 2007 fabric. In fact, we like the 2007 fabric better than the 2008 new "bubbly" fabric. I won't use the word "deal" because I don't think there are many deals in the baby consumer world, but we felt good about the quality, style and savings with the purchase. (I would also like to add, much like when I got corrective eye surgery, I don't know that I am always inclined to go for the deeply discounted offers...especially for products involved with baby safety.)

-I am grateful for the ENORMOUS box of baby clothes that were sent by Aunt T. One of her friends had a huge lot of premature and 0-3 mo baby boy clothing and kindly donated them to the Linus cause. Note: we won't need 0-3 mo old clothing! (3-6 and 6-9 is a different story) That is how much we received...onesies galore, hats, pants...all so precious and in perfect condition! I really love the concept of "reusing," especially with a baby. You'll notice that theme with the this Heintz family. There is so much waste in this world, and it is my and Eric's goal to bring Linus into the world as someone who contributes, and doesn't suck the life out of our planet (let me tell you, they make that easy with all the unnecessary baby stuff!).

Nixed Names:
EVAN, OWEN, Abe, Josef, Dylan, Griffin, Jens, Jan, Nevin, Emil, Milo, Luke, Lucas, Simon

Monday, February 18, 2008

Linus the circus performer!

After the last u/s, we were thinking Linus might take up ballet, but after this weekend, we are leaning toward circus performer. Due to the extraordinary generosity of my sister-in-law's brother (Lil D), we were able to go to a "cirque" like performance at the Ferst Center in Atlanta: "The Birdhouse Factory " ("TBF"). Lil D is a master "rigger" and essentially tours with the company, ensuring that the performers don't die. We were treated to a back stage sneak peak before the performance began and met performers, talked to the writer / director, and got to spend some quality time with Lil D. We were amazed at how calm it was back stage, and how the people involved with the production were incredibly "chill," welcoming and let's not forget, extremely talented. Just about 5 minutes before curtain, Lil D casually walked us out the side of the stage and we got to sit up back right next to the lighting area, stage manager and director. (The best part was that the director was just in love with the performance...laughing, cheering, hooting and hollering the whole time.) It is rather difficult to explain "TBF;" it is a blended delight of extraordinary human strength and belly aching humor with the constant undercurrent of Chaplin's "Modern Times" and Diego Rivera's industrial murals .

There are acrobatics, contortionists, German wheels, trampolines, dance, machines, and circus performances (minus the presence of exploited, highly drugged animals). What I appreciated was that it could appeal to the most discerning palates as well as the most innocent child. Even though there were apparently 3 circuses in Atlanta this weekend, I was so thrilled to see that "TBF" was sold out to an audience that awarded the performance with the most eruptive standing ovation.

Eric and I were just so thankful to have the opportunity to go out on a "date" due to Lil D's generosity, that we made a "date day" out of it. We started with some prenatal yoga thanks to CF's library card and Shiva Rea's DVD. Two quick notes on that: 1) Eric and I are so inflexible, it is laugh out loud funny; sadly, Poppy, the 3rd trimester "model" on the DVD was more limber than both of us put together. 2) It was hard to stay "centered" when Eric follows the command, "place one hand on your heart center, and the other on your growing fetus." I admit it--we laughed.

We then spent a good 20 minutes staring at my belly, trying to see if we could see movement. We even tried blasting some "Marriage of Figaro" opera with the iPod. I could feel some pops, but we never saw belly movement. After some shopping at Ikea for, drum roll, MORE PLANT POTS (Eric's gardening obsession is rubbing off on me), we got all gussied up and headed out to dinner at a restaurant we had a gift card to thanks to one of his runner's parents. Then, off to "TBF." During the opening sequence full of tumbling, one of the guys got drilled in the face from his cast mate's boot as he flipped across the stage. He calmly walked off stage, and proceeded to take care of what Lil D told us after the show, was quite a bloody mess. I didn't really notice, but sitting next to the stage manager, Eric was able to hear the commotion going on behind the scenes. The director was just about to go on FOR the cast member (apparently he can perform most of the guy parts in the THAT is one heck of a director), until said injured circus performer rallied and came back in the 2nd act to do the most insane trampoline number. Anyway, I think Linus was asking to go on as a replacement, too, as he started "popping" during that opening sequence. I use the word "popping" because for me, it feels like I have kettle corn in my belly. It does not feel like fluttering, and it does not feel like gas; again, proof that pregnancy is highly individual. It feels like a muscle twitch, or like a piece of popcorn, all hot and buttery, hitting the doughy inside of my belly. Linus was so excited, that I slowly put my hand on my belly, and could actually feel the "kernel" hit my hand. So, in the darkness of the opening act, I slowly reached over and grabbed Eric's hand, and gently placed it on the same area of my belly. "POP!" Eric's eyes widened, and he said "whoah. I felt that!" HOORAY! Although we aren't close to picking a name, I think we have a better idea of his budding career options: circus tumbler or soccer player. We'll scratch yogi and ballet dancer.

-I am grateful that Eric finally got to feel Linus.

-I am thankful for the condo showing that was a "bust." Like most weekends, we got ejected from our condo for a potential showing, and weathered the severe storms to sit at a new coffee shop in Decatur where we FINALLY started an excel spreadsheet documenting all that stuff we "need." (read: OVERWHELMING!). I got a call in the middle of deciding between gdiaper colors (I'll post on this soon), that the agent didn't have time to show our condo. Now, this could be a total "glass is half empty" scenario, but we were forced to sit down and start this I AM thankful for that opportunity.

Nixed Names (newest ones will be in bold and capitalized as the bold doesn't come out too well it seems)
ABE, Josef, Dylan, Griffin, Jens, Jan, Nevin, Emil, Milo, Luke, Lucas, Simon

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Like father, like son, like uncle

First, the not so fun medical update. I now have "gestational hypertension," which I would like to rename "anxiety hypertension." I really don't know that I truly have gHTN, but so be it. Now, I get to go to the OB every 2 weeks, do 24 hour urine samples, give blood, and perhaps get more ultrasounds (THAT I am fine with). On the up side, weight is increasing and I think I am over gagging and although am not hungry that much, am having an easier time eating "normally."

Cupid kindly left Eric and me a package today...all the way from Miami! It was just about the most precious gift. Here it is:

Of course, the Pumas are from Aunt Tracey and Uncle Nick. Nick is "known" for his Pumas, and Eric also sports a pair, so of course Linus needs some, too. We have added them to the pile of 4 or so items that we have received as gifts. Sadly, those gifts are just about the only things purchased for Linus thus far. We are SO behind the 8 ball, and MUST spend this weekend figuring life out. I also just found out that some day cares in Atlanta are booked until FALL OF 2009! Insanity. Who registers for day care BEFORE they are pregnant? I wanted to wait until 20 weeks when we at least had a gender to put on the applications.

And here are some more belly pictures. I haven't grown too much since the last post, but this is more to demonstrate my mad skills at clothing design. I do not fit into maternity pants (even the smallest size), but pretty much all of my pants are too tight to keep closed...what does a girl do? BELLY BANDS! They are this neat contraption that hold up your completely unbuttoned / unzipped pants. Well, belly bands don't come cheap, $25 a band, so I took an old tube top (circa 1999), doubled it over, and voila! A homemade belly band.

-I am thankful for my new Brooks jacket. Eric surprised me with a nice, embroidered Marist Track jacket. I don't run track, am not a "coach," but I'll wear any free running swag.

-I am also thankful for the fact that I was given the "okay" to walk...not run, but walk. I am going to start a schedule, and incorporate this great yoga DVD my girlfriend checked out at the library for me. So thoughtful!

-I am thankful for this video. Again, I don't like putting links to other areas on the web as it won't be helpful when I print this out for Linus, but this will make your day. Why can't we all have British accents? Thanks to my Bristol friend JC for this one.

Nixed Names (newest ones will be in bold)
Josef, Dylan, Griffin, Jens, Jan, Nevin, Emil, Milo, Luke, Lucas, Simon

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The name game

And it really is a game! The 2 big questions after you find out you are having a boy: 1) What's his name? 2) Are you going to have him circumcised? Don't know, and not sure, yet. I have come to realize that Eric and I have quite different opinions on what we should name a child with "boy parts" (to quote our u/s technician). If we were having a girl, it would have been an easy decision. I think we had a girl's name established prior to conceiving; we'll leave that a secret in case we ever embark on this journey again and have a girl. But for a boy's name, we are like oil and water. Everyone loves to weigh in on the name game...and it reminds me of planning a wedding. You'll never please everyone, but everyone will surely let you know their preferences. The difference is, at a wedding, people can get over having just wine and beer over an open bar, but with naming a child, you could be setting another human being up for a life of constant ridicule. If we do settle on a name before June, I am not sure we will broadcast it to the world for fear of rampant dissenting opinions, and I also know Eric probably even hates that I am going to give up as much information on the naming as I will in this blog.

To keep things interesting, I will add a new segment, Nixed Names at the end of the blog. Currently, we have about 20 active names on our running list, and try to eliminate 1 or 2 every few days. Now you can let your minds wander with the 111 trillion other names we have to chose from in your quest to figure out the names. As some additional guidance:
  • We are only looking at boys' names (duh)
  • Eric is generally opposed to names that are either "too biblical" or begin with a vowel (although, we have names that fit both of those categories in our active list as of now)
  • We have a strong preference for German and Welsh names
  • Many of our names are nontraditional
  • Although I love the name, "Jack" never made it on the list; too popular
  • Eric Jr is not an option (per Eric Sr's request)
  • We would love to use a family name, but let me provide you with a short list of the family names that will not make the cut (most are gems from my paternal side): Cloid, Delbert, Homer, Penrose, Maurice, Leonard, Ivor, Warren, Harold, Gideon, Ephraim, Amos, Rueben, Edwin, Chester, Enoch, LeRoy, Toby and Melvin
Linus will probably remain as the "fetus name," but I am not sure it will make the first name cut. Stranger things have happened, though...


-I am thankful for Sunday mornings in bed with Eric, with the sun pouring on my skin, watching Chuck Osgood and Mo Rocca for some classic TV. I know this delight will shortly come to an end in a few months.

Nixed Names
Here are the names that have gone from our joint active list to the "never to be considered again." I am sure it will be fun to figure out which one of us offered which name.

Jens (pronounced like the Japanese currency...honestly, was he serious?)
Jan (pronounced like what lots of new parents do throughout the day..."yawn")
*Please don't mind my interjection: does anyone else consider Jen(s) and Jan to be GIRL names? A lifetime of ridicule I tell you...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

So you wanna read an ultrasound?

It's late, and after a marathon day at the doctor's office and then straight off to acupuncture, we are home! I have spoken to many of you, but knew I had to at least post something on the day of the "reveal." Again, I am resigned to the picture of a picture, and combined with the late night lighting, these are really bad. So, I'll just post 3 or so and save the rest for tomorrow when I can try to get some better light. To add to the fun, I'll let you all figure out the sex by the ultrasound.

What a profile...
Here is your test to read the ultrasound. The answer should be obvious...


-I am SO grateful that the baby is healthy, moving and appears to be quite photogenic. I hope my anxiety wanes a bit...but I did get hit with another appointment next week because my blood pressure is remarkably high. They did 2 tests, and both times my systolic was about 40 mmHgs higher than I am normally!! I usually have extremely low BP. Ah well. Worst case scenario, I get labeled "high risk" and am just monitored more closely. Besides that, things seem to be progressing well. I have gained a total of about 12-14 pounds, now! And can feel slight "twitches" of the baby--almost like a muscle twitch.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

New poll format...

Even though I believe everyone who has read the blog has probably put in their bid in the non-political poll, I discovered a new blogger tool (via my lurking another preggo's blog), and felt compelled to add it for fun. It is a "poll element" and should be on the right side of the blog. It will expire on Thursday (when we go to the doctor's). I think we'll use this tool for future fun posts as well. I am just trying to keep things interesting!


-I am thankful that my father made it to Ireland safely, and that after some insane navigation issues, found his hotel. Maybe it is my mommy instinct becoming more acute, but I worry about people when they travel by themselves over long distances.

-I am also thankful that one of my best girlfriends has crawled back from lingering injury and has begun running again. Stellar athlete I tell you (actually, pretty exceptional at everything she does). If only she could run from the west coast to Atlanta...