Archive for January, 2012

(A few of my) favorite things

I think it’s high time for a visual post. I think I’ve been too wordy and boring with these posts. So here are some pics. They aren’t very exciting pictures, but I’d like to share a few of things that have helped me along in my pregnancy.

My hero, Aaron

Aaron has been a total trooper. He has done a million things that I’ve asked of him and a million more without me even asking. I can’t imagine going through any of this without him — and I don’t want to.

Gracie

There are not words to express how great Gracie has been. She comes to my side (or, more accurately, my belly) every time I cry after a bad day or have a mini breakdown, worrying about how everything will get done. She sleeps beside me at night and cheers me by bringing me a toy every morning. She is truly the greatest.

Body pillow

In November, my friend Andra gave me her pregnancy pillow, which was a Boppy Total Body pillow. The Boppy preggers pillow has quite a unique shape; it’s sort of serpentine with two differently-shaped pillows on each side connected by a very thin, long layer of pillow. If that makes any sense at all. Anyway, within hours of Andra giving me the pillow, I took just about the best nap of my life. I hadn’t slept that well in months. But something strange happened…as I worked my way into the third trimester, the pillow’s magic started to wane. I panicked a little, rearranged other pillows, tried flipping the pillow ends, tried wrapping the pillow all around me…Nothing seemed to work. I was uncomfortable again and there seemed to be no good solution. Until I bought the above-pictured body pillow from The Company Store. Cue music. Hallelujah! Heaven. I had had an excellent prenatal massage the day after my birthday and the masseuse had me use a similar body pillow. I felt like I could have fallen asleep on the table. After the massage, and an excellent lunch at La Baguette, Aaron and I popped in The Company Store to find a gargantuan body pillow on super sale. We bought it, took it home and I again had one of the best naps of my life. I don’t really know what to attribute the new comfort to, except maybe how much larger this pillow is and how it’s not been beaten down by my pregnancy body so it’s still fluffy and big. Whatever the case, I love this pillow.

Prenatal yoga

Prenatal yoga has been dreamy. I don’t always want to go, and sometimes I just do it from a DVD at home, but whenever I am done with it, I feel so much better. I know that everyone says that, but it’s true. It’s not pretty to watch my form (even calling it ‘my form’ is a stretch –  pun intended), but I feel relaxed and looser after I do it. I just recently read an article in the New York Times Magazine about just how dangerous yoga can be. Of course, the article seemed to highlight moves involving headstands and crazy neck-stressing moves, and not the cat/cow poses I love so much, or the squats that hurt and the pelvic moves that help alleviate pain, so I don’t think I have much to worry about on that front. My hope is to do some postnatal yoga, as well.

Cupcake

This gorgeous cupcake was served at the Great Roe/Lund Baby Shower that was held last Sunday and it was even more delicious than it looks. I haven’t eaten a lot of cupcakes while pregnant, but I have eaten many more sweets than I would usually. I’m not sure if I have an actual increase in craving sweets, or it’s just that I let myself have cookies and ice cream far more frequently than I ever did when I wasn’t pregnant. In either event, though, I have enjoyed the sweet treats I’ve had. Yum.

Maps

Etsy. And Pinterest. Both of these sites have given me countless ideas for the nursery, and the rest of our house, and have made me feel more organized and less stressed about cute-ify-ing everything. I bought four of these maps off of Etsy and put them up in the dining area, replacing some ad hoc hangings we had there previously. The two maps shown are Madison and London (not shown, Florence & Rome). I just love the way they look — they have brought a crisp, clean look to a wall that had been really annoying me. I believe buying things like this fits in the category pregnancy-watchers like to call ‘nesting.’

Nursery corner

Decorating our make-shift nursery has been mostly super fun. Here is a picture of a lamp I love (bought from Urban Outfitters), a great radio my mom and Severa got me for Christmas, an adorable rattle from Land of Nod, courtesy of the awesome Tammy, and unbelievably cute mini-Chuck Taylors from Maggie (she had them sit atop the diaper cake she made us for the aforementioned shower). Oh! And a table from West Elm that was almost half-off with free shipping. Although we are limited on space, I think we have done well with what we have. I can’t wait to show you more pics. And that chair that you see in the pic? That’s just a glider placeholder — don’t worry, I will tell you the second the glider arrives.

Olivia and her tooth

This is a picture of my cousin Olivia, who was one of the greatest shower guests ever, helping us open all of the presents we were so lucky to receive. But I mean for the picture to represent my family in general because they have been indispensable and unparalleled in their love and support. We are so very, very lucky.

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Back to the drawing board

And let’s bring another edition of Naming Names to the table.

Wowsers. People are really bonkers about names. What’s in a name? Well, a quick google search can certainly answer that question for you. Or, at the very least, give you hundreds of opinions full of misspelled words, misplaced punctuation and confusing grammar.

As the due date approaches, the more I realize we do probably need to figure out a name besides Sweet Potato for the little sweet potato. As I think hard about a name for our baby girl, I have tried to be increasingly honest with myself. As I do so, I recognize how much I truly like the name Gertrude and specifically, the nickname Gertie. I mean, I really like these names. I know that many people, including several members of my own family, seem to think Gertrude is possibly the worst name ever created. Given such opposition, I decided to take my dilemma to the ultimate source: the internet. I googled “Should I name my daughter (my daughter!!) Gertrude” to see what the interwebs would tell me. Ok, I left out that parenthetical in my query, but let’s just pause: my daughter! Anyway, the answers I got were not pretty.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. Some people chimed into others’ similarly posted question with responses that indicate that the entire world is not quite of one opinion on the name Gertrude. A few people are like me: they actually find it charming, full of character and truly sweet. Others, though, and the vast majority of the commentators, actually despise the name. In an effort to illustrate just how awful of a name Gertrude is, people pointed out the name contains the word ‘rude;’ the name is too heavy on consonants; and some 20th century murderer was named Gertrude (this same type of fact, though, doesn’t seem to stop people from naming their child Charles or Jeffrey or Andrew). Many people hinted that a mother who would name her daughter Gertrude should be simultaneously referred to social services and institutionalized. Someone actually stated that she would rather die than name her (fictional) daughter Gertrude. She. Would. Rather. Die.

Well. Now I know what the internet thinks of Gertrude.

As much as I love the name, and as much as Aaron really, really loves the name, I don’t want to give our daughter a name that the world almost collectively seems to hate. I especially don’t want to give her a name that she may hate. I’m not ready to complete scrap Gertrude, but I’m not sure I can get over all of the venom out there. Argh.

To epidural or not to epidural

As I mourn the passing of the Packers’ glorious 2011-12 season, I am trying to keep my mind occupied with other things. After drying my eyes and taking out some crankiness on Aaron, I watched the Golden Globes. This effort was only moderately successful as the show wasn’t quite as entertaining as I needed it to be (though I probably expected too much by asking it to raise the bar in the wake of the worst Packer game of the season). As that’s now over, and I’m still feeling pretty morose (and AO is sleepily breathing quietly next to me), I’m going to try my hand at a blog post. A Blog Post to Move Forward with Life in the Offseason.

Lately when I hear the word ‘epidural,’ I find myself singing — to myself, in my head — “Epidural, Epidural, Ep-i-dural,” which is sung to the tune of ‘Rock Me Amadeus.’ Is this because epidurals and Mozart are two peas in a pod? Or maybe because ‘epidural’ and ‘Amadeus’ are the only four syllable words I know? Whatever the reason, the song in my head is quite catchy. And its existence also — not surprisingly — coincides with my rapid approach to the finish line. I’m staring down the barrel of under eight weeks until Baby Girl Sweet Potato makes her post-womb debut and I generally prefer to talk and think about and research mobiles on Etsy and Pinterest than read about what’s actually going to happen on The Day o’ Birth. I don’t think I can be that unusual in this regard. For one thing, I have always loved design and decoration more than human anatomy. For another, mobiles are cute and sweet and — to me, at least — gobs of goo and blood and who-knows-what and a baby coming out of me are anything but. This is not to say that I’m a complete ignoramus when it comes to birth; it’s just more that I’m not in love with the idea of what I need to do to get the Sweet Potato from one side of my body to the other.

For a long time now, well before I was with child myself, I thought, “Why not have an epidural?” I went through a period, when I was a child, when I would refuse pain medication or allergy meds — for things like headaches and, you know, my eyes swelling shut and things like that — because I thought that I was *strong* enough to just deal with it and that being so — strong enough — somehow meant something. I’m not entirely sure when I grew out of that stage, but I am so glad I did. I now take Advil when my head or uterus hurts (not while I’ve been pregnant, people – calm down), I take Zyrtex (the brilliantly affordable Costco variety) daily and in the last month I’ve been popping Tums — for the first time in my life — like nobody’s business. And I am glad that I feel comfortable and am able to take these brilliant examples of modern medicine. So, maybe not naturally but certainly not unnaturally, I also thought I’d go for an epidural and never look back. I had long been confused by women who rail against the epidural as somehow dangerous for the baby. Granted, I am obviously no doctor and, frankly, have a fifth grader’s sense of my own anatomy, but I still wasn’t sure how there would be nearly enough time for any harm caused by the epidural to reach an about-to-be-born baby. I now understand, though, that I was being too simplistic and not appreciating that anti-epidural women, or even women who are trepidatious about drugs and childbirth, have a range of concerns with medication at the time of birth. Of course there’s whether the baby will be affected, but also — and this seems to be the concern I hear most often — whether the drug will affect the woman’s experience with childbirth. It seems there are serious concerns about whether the epidural will prolong labor, increase the likelihood of a c-section, or cause the woman not to have the full range of her sensations and mental capacities so that she isn’t fully aware of what is happening.

I do think there is another component to the current and common aversion to epidural-y-ing it during the child’s birth. I think there are a lot of women who feel like I used to feel when I got a headache as a child; women who feel they *should* be able to labor without drugs or, “naturally” as they fancy calling it, and that they are a stronger or better or more womanly or certainly more motherly person for doing so. I think, though, that there are also a lot of women who choose to go drug-free for all of the reasons listed in the previous paragraph, and probably a million more I don’t know about, and because they simply want to know and feel what it is like to bring their child into this world uninhibited by any alteration.

I admit that this last possibility only recently occurred to me as I began to really think, for the very first time, about what I wanted to do when the time comes. Because, it seems, that the time is coming no matter how many mobiles I look at, no matter how many Packer games are won or lost, and no matter how much I worry about whether we are ready. And as I think about whether to epidural or not, I realize that I just don’t know. I definitely want the epidural as an option on the table, and I still tend to lean toward making the whole experience the least painful that it can be, but I also admit to a curiosity about what it will feel like, how much I can handle, and whether Baby and I would fare better meeting face to face, for the first time, drug-free.

So, I continue to read things like this. And I appreciate hearing from my friends who made the choices they made — I have friends who have epidural-ed, c-section-ed, vaginal birthed sans meds, and home birthed and I think they are all amazing. I try very hard to understand and respect women who feel very strongly about these issues, while recognizing that I cannot manufacture concern for issues that don’t worry me so much and that it doesn’t make me an insta-bad mom for concentrating my worry on things other than whether Baby Girl will be affected by an epidural.

The thing is, I don’t have to please or impress anyone else. Life is hard enough without adding unnecessary pain and stress. So, I think I’ll just keep reading and thinking and listening and, in the end, make a decision that I think is best for me and for Baby. And maybe even Aaron.

And … scene!

Ok, I know this is probably a dreadfully boring topic to you, but I feel compelled to complete the story and then I promise I will move on to something perhaps equally boring, but unrelated. After canceling the glider from Hayneedle that I was feeling luke warm about, we went to Babies ‘R’ Us on Friday evening to see if there was anything there we could work with. We found a glider from Klaussner (which is a US company but, from what I have read, assembles some of its frames in Italy and has some of its upholstery cut in Mexico) that was relatively cute, inexpensive at about $400, and available in a very cute robin’s egg blue fabric. We decided to just go for it, buy it and move on with life.

Klaussner Virginia glider

We sat at a desk with a saleswoman who filled out a form for our request and then, as she was asking us to sign said form, said, “And that will be ready for pick-up in about 10-12 weeks.” Zoinks. What a total glider buzz kill. The glider’s gestational period was longer than that remaining on baby’s! While this wasn’t the end of the world, it was far from ideal and led us to scratch the deal and, again, start over. Only it wasn’t exactly starting over, because, as you well know, I had been down this glider research path previously.

So, on Friday night, after writing my last blog post, I spent almost six hours looking at nursery gliders online. This may not have been so excessive, but I had already spent at least this amount of time looking at most of these same gliders on various other nights over the last couple of weeks. Basically, I was glider-ed-out and felt resigned to buy something I wasn’t in love with in order to close the book on the Glider Chapter of my life. I felt we had two final options: buy a made-in-the-US Little Castle Valentino glider in Pebble Grey (a soft, light grey ) fabric from the Posh Tots site for about $500 (which would take about 5-6 weeks to arrive, according to their website) or trek around to local furniture stores in the slim hope we could find something better that also wouldn’t take 12 weeks to arrive.

Little Castle Valentino glider

On Saturday morning, fortified with a mocha and a delicious egg, cheese and sausage sandwich (being pregnant is great!), we headed out for the Great Glider Search. We started at the inimitable Century House, where almost all things are beautiful, serene and beyond our price point. Actually, that last part is not exactly true. I have bought many a lamp from Century House — I believe I have six (I’m a bit of a lamp lover) — and many small gifts there, as well. It really is just a great place to look around and enjoy good design. Century House also had a couple of gliders that I had seen online from Monte, which I believe is a Canadian company. The gliders were nice, but at $1k they were just too expensive and, frankly, I wasn’t in love with them in person. I believe both were covered in microsuede and, while they may have been available in other fabrics, that is a turn-off for me. Oh, who am I kidding? If we were going to spend over $1k on a chair, it was going to be the beautiful Room & Board chair I mentioned in a previous post. We checked the sale area, but there wasn’t anything there that came close to fitting the bill (though Aaron was very attracted to a rustic-looking — unusual for the CH — hutch-type thing). After examining all of the gorgeous nursery decor at the adjacent gift house, we left and went to Target. This part of the Great Glider Search was really more about nesting (read: OCD organization for various areas of the house unrelated to the nursery), but we did manage to see one ugly glider in the baby area.

The next store we hit was The Comfort Shoppe out on Mineral Point Road, which used to be two stories of space overflowing with furniture, but  has turned into a space that is more like a dark, depressing warehouse with a few living room scenes sprinkled here and there. Although there was no ‘Going Out of Business’ sign, the mood to the place suggested The Comfort Shoppe’s best days are behind it. We found only one rocker, which was also a recliner. Neither one of us was particularly keen on the idea of a recliner, but I liked the chair more than Aaron. The fabric was kinda cute and the scale of the chair was nice. It was also marked as 40% off its $900 price tag. Still, we didn’t love it, and barely liked it, so we moved on.

Next up was Slumberland, which was my idea and I knew was probably a ridiculous one, but I had visions of finding a diamond in the rough and telling a grand old story about my spectacular find. As soon as we walked in, we were accosted by a pushy saleswoman. I really hate to be rude to people, but I find the approach of salespeople at stores like this rude in and of itself. I very much appreciate a greeting and a general, “May I help you with anything?” or, preferably, a “Let me know if I can help you with anything,” I truly appreciate being acknowledged and salesfolks informing me that they are available to help me, should I need it. I cannot stand, though, seeing a salesperson running towards me, greeting me and, when I continue to walk around instead of stopping to ask a question, following me around with a ridiculous question such as, “Have you been here before?” What is the point of that? Is there something complicated about the showroom that renders it impossible to navigate without instruction? It feels only like a manipulative query — one designed to draw people into conversation, which is something I was actively seeking to avoid. I understand, both as a consumer and as a former salesperson, that there is balance to be struck, but I really don’t think it’s complicated. Anyway, I was already down on this Slumberland idea of mine and the first two seconds in the store did nothing but underscore my negative feelings. As you can probably guess, this is not going to be a story titled The Glorious Overlooked Glider We Found in the Corner of the Furniture Superstore. We did, though, find one semi-decent glider amidst the oversized monstrosities that took up much of the floor space, but the fabric choices were heinous, it wasn’t made in the US and, truthfully, ‘semi-decent’ is probably an overstatement.

As we walked back to the car in the parking lot, I told Aaron about a glider I had seen in a nursery scene on Pinterest that looked so cute and perfect. The nursery designer had found the chair at a thrift shop for $9 and had a gorgeous slip cover made. I raised the topic of stopping at the closest St Vinny’s, but acknowledged repeating a story like that seemed next to impossible. We also ran through the idea of going to American or Steinhafel’s, but Aaron rightly pointed out that I wasn’t going to like anything those stores offered us. Frankly, I was pretty exhausted by this point and down on Madison’s nursery furniture options, so we decided to finish out our errands, head back home and buy the Little Castle glider online.

On the way, though, I turned left from Schroeder Road onto Whitney Way and I saw Rubin’s on the left-side of the road. I said, “Let’s just pop in and see if they have anything for us.” I had thought of Rubin’s before, as I had with Iconi Furniture on West Wash (a store I absolutely love), but was pretty sure they wouldn’t have any gliders. I figured Rubin’s would have leather recliners, but I didn’t anticipate finding any fabric gliders. Oops. Almost as soon as we walked in, Aaron spotted The One. The clouds parted, the sun came out, birds started singing and we just knew. An incredibly nice saleswoman came up to us and said, “Is there anything I can help you with or would you like to just look around?” Brilliant. Normally, I would have quickly taken the latter option, but I found myself saying, “Well, we are looking for a glider and are wondering about fabric choices for the one over there,” pointing to the chair Aaron was comfortably seated in. She showed me where the fabrics were, told me about the prices for different grades of fabric, showed me the other fabric glider they had (which was also a recliner, but the reclining lever was nicely hidden in the inside part of the chair — genius!), showed me the leather recliners they had (no thanks) and got me a flyer on the chair, which had a pic of the chair along with its dimensions. And all of this conversation and information was relayed in fewer than five minutes. She left us to look through fabrics, to sit in the chair and to look around — all the while, we knew she was aware of us, but not hovering and, in fact, helping others with their shopping. She was just the perfect salesperson — blending sincere charm and helpful information all in a warm and incredibly non-smothering way (if that makes sense). The chair was $809 and would take 6-8 weeks to make in North Carolina, but we were in love and told ourselves (a) the chair is just comfortable and smart-looking; (b) it’s made in the US; (c) we’d be buying at a local shop, which we didn’t think we’d be able to do; (d) while the chair is more expensive than the Little Castle model, it is cheaper than the Room & Board chair and we love it just as much as that one; (e) the chair is clearly a quality chair, not one we’d be unloading to St Vinny’s or on Craigslist in three years (something we were both pretty sure would happen with the Little Castle model); (f) we had already saved so much by buying the crib, mattress and dresser at Ikea, we could justify splurging a little on the chair; and (g) again, we just loved it. So, we picked out what I think is a gorgeous blue-grey fabric and declared ourselves sold on the chair! The incredibly sweet salesperson went ahead and knocked the price of the chair down to $750 because, she said, “It’s just so cute!,” pointing at my belly. Now, how do you not love that?

Younger Lucy glider

I am so in love with this glider that it’s ridiculous. I know part of my love comes from being done with this decision, but I think most of it comes from feeling so good about the decision we made. We were able to achieve our goals in buying this important piece for Baby Sweet Potato’s new room: a US-made product bought at a local shop, Rubin’s, with simply excellent customer see at a very fair price. I’m happy and relieved. And thus ends The Great Glider Search. Thanks for riding along with me on the tour.

**I apologize for the craptastic pics, but I couldn’t get to show up when I copied the image from another site, so I ended up taking pics of the computer images of them. Not ideal, I know.

And nursery glider…take two!

So, after all of my fretting and griping about the glider, and after finally making the decision to pull the trigger on one, I came down with a serious case of Buyer’s Pre-remorse. I can’t say it was a full-fledged case of Buyer’s Remorse because I didn’t have the actual product in front of me to rue. But I was pretty sure I would be full of rue (rueful, if you will) when the glider arrived on my doorstep. As I was swimming in the flood of these feelings, I got an email from Hayneedle (the company through which I bought said glider) apologizing and informing me delivery of my purchase was going to be delayed until January 13. With the baby due in March, and the glider ordered at the end of December, I realize waiting until mid-January could hardly be called an inconvenience, but I took it as a sign (read: opportunity) to cancel my order and begin my search anew. I emailed Hayneedle to ask if the order could still be canceled and I was  surprised to receive a reply from a real human being almost immediately. Real Human Being told me she would check with the vendor and get back to me in two days’ time. Well, the very next day there was an email from Hayneedle telling me my order had been successfully canceled! How awesome, I thought. What a great company, I exclaimed. And now I get to search for the perfect glider all over again, I mused.

Shoot. Now I *get* to search for the perfect glider all over again. Oops.


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