38 weeks

T-minus two weeks until baby. But really it could be any time in the next four weeks. So far everyone in my Bradley class that was due before me has gone past their due dates, some by more than a week. Even though we all knew that was a possibility, I don’t think anyone is dealing with it well. There is definitely a point of pregnancy fatigue.

I feel like I am getting comically round now. Sometimes I catch sight of myself in a mirror and I can’t believe that’s what I really look like. A Target employee practically chased me down an aisle the other day to offer me a cart for the things I was carrying. Finally, good service!

Mike and I have checked a whole bunch of items off our to-do list in the last few weeks. We did tour the hospital, which was, well, hospital-y. They deliver an average of 16-18 babies a day! (It used to be 24, but I guess people have fewer babies now.) I was glad to know that the hospital nursery is virtually a thing of the past, as pretty much everyone rooms in now. And they advocate a lot of the things that are important to us — changing positions out of bed, using the tubs/showers, skin-to-skin contact — and “not just because we are hippies in Berkeley”, according to our tour guide.

We’ve packed a bag and the car seat is in the car. The crib should arrive early next week, along with a bunch of other stuff we ordered for the nursery. I’ve put off closing my etsy shop because I haven’t felt the slightest signs of labor. But pretty soon I’ll have to say that’s it. I have plenty of other things to work on, and pattern sales are giving me a little extra income.

I’ve had a few days of feeling really exhausted, really heavy and puffy and just out of sorts. But I seem to have come through that and now I have at least intermittent energy and I’m getting around OK. I’m still hot all the time (and hungry and thirsty), but I think that’s normal. My midwife assures me that I won’t get a break from that for a while, as soon I’ll have a “milk factory” on my chest. I can’t get over how extraordinarily hard a pregnant woman’s body works. I just have to be thankful for mine.

Any guesses on when this baby will come?

8 months

One month left. Holy crap.

At this stage of pregnancy, every day brings something new. Some days the baby moves like crazy, other days she’s mellow. Some days I have plenty of energy, other days I need a nap (or two). Heartburn, sore hips, swollen fingers — I’ve had it all at some point, but it all comes and goes. One thing I haven’t really had is (faux) contractions. Not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. What’s up uterus?

My feet are starting to disappear.

But even though I feel like a gigantic version of myself, I haven’t gotten any of those ‘wow you are getting big/you must be ready to have that baby tomorrow’ sorts of comments. Actually I’ve gotten more of the opposite, which has really made me feel good some days.

Remember when my belly looked like this? Ha!

Back in July.

Now it’s more like this.

I’m down to my last clothes that fit. I’m thinking of going to a kinder swap this weekend to look for a few things. It’s only $5 if you bring items to donate. I’m saving my money for nursing bras and tanks, which I’ll have to buy soon.

It’s crazy to finally be staring down that checklist: figure out the carseat, tour the hospital, make a birth plan, etc. The nursery is almost finished. We’re just missing the crib and a few finishing touches. Someone asked if I was feeling “nesty” and I said definitely yes. I’m trying to do all the things I won’t have time for later. I got my hair cut. I really want someone to paint my toenails. I can’t reach!

The belly button has definitely popped.

Every week I seem to cycle through a different set of fears. How will I deal with a change that is so permanent? How will the dogs react? What if we can’t afford everything we need? But I’m excited too. The midwife told us the baby is head down, so now we can tell what is a little foot or a little butt. This little girl is so close to coming into the world.

One interesting thing about being this pregnant — it seems like everyone you encounter wants to talk to you about it. I’ve never had complete strangers be so friendly here. Babies just seem to make people happy, so I don’t mind telling everyone and their mother how far along I am. Maybe it’s practice for telling everyone and their mother how old the baby is.

7 months

Those newborn blocks are coming up fast! Where did the last month go?

Thankfully I passed my glucose test and everything else is going well. (Side note: If you have to have the 2-hour glucose test with fasting, in which you cannot leave the whole time and the bathroom is locked, pray that you don’t have to be squeezed in a tiny waiting room next to a 300-pound man who reeks of pot.)

At least I can still see my feet.

I feel pretty good, though more tired as time goes on. After last weekend’s craft show I was totally beat and I had swollen ankles for the first time. Renegade will definitely be a challenge this year, but I am so excited for it.

I bought a whole bunch of maternity tank tops at Old Navy with a 30% off coupon last weekend. They are so comfy and great for layering. I pretty much don’t have any clothes left that fit that aren’t maternity at this point. I hope they last me two more months!

I will wear this puffer as long as it zips!

I’m starting to be able to feel lumps in my belly that feel like an arm or a foot, but I can’t quite identify them yet. We’ve switched from baby TV to the identify-that-body-part game. She kicks hard now, but I still love it. Pregnancy is definitely one of the coolest things that’s ever happened in my life (and strangest and most mysterious and most uncomfortable).

My belly button hasn’t quite popped out yet, but it is trying to. The scar I had left from having a belly button ring (oh yes) is now about an inch above where it used to be. Sexy.

We’re just starting to put together the nursery, piece by piece. I’ll have some photos for you when it looks a little better. Random question – did you get a bumper for your crib? Is this some kind of suffocation hazard? We were trying to pick one out and then saw these mesh-y ones that are supposedly safer and now I don’t know what the heck to get. These are the dilemmas these days. 🙂

Baby blankets

I finally made something for my own baby! I finished my first baby blanket for her, and I love how it turned out.

Though I am not usually too crazy about pink, I like the combination of pink and brown, so I went with that. It hardly took any time to knit the blanket and crochet the edges.

I am pretty much guaranteed to never have to buy a baby blanket, as we have received many beautiful ones already.

Every member of this household must know to cheer for the Jayhawks.

Just look at the hand-stitching on this quilt from my friend Amy.

I also received the loveliest print from my friend Brianne. She knows I love me some vintage Pyrex bowls.

I thought it deserved a place right above the cookbooks. As for my Pyrex collection, it will have to find a new spot in our home since it currently lives in the nursery-to-be.

All the babies

And now for your much-delayed Thanksgiving recap.

First, we flew to Minneapolis and then drove on to Eau Claire, Wisconsin to stay with Mike’s family. (And it only took one car ride, two trains, one bus, two planes, and another car ride to complete our trip, yeesh.) I finally got to meet my niece, Grace, who is now 8 months old and impossibly adorable.

I learned many things about babies at this age, such as: they love crinkly things, they put everything in their mouths, they crawl fast (and thus can really use a pair of baby legwarmers!), and they will put their drool-y hands all over your face, and that’s OK.

I mean seriously. Who could resist?

We had another shower where we acquired several cloth diapers (woo hoo!) and lots of other sweet goodies. And of course we ate all the Wisconsin essentials.

Before we flew to Kansas we had to make a stop at our friends’ place in Minneapolis to meet their new baby, Aldo. At just 2 1/2 weeks, he was so tiny I was afraid I would break him. But we all got to hold him while we learned about how little sleep we’ll be getting in a few months.

Also learned: little babies really will scratch their faces with teeny fingernails. Ouch!

In Kansas my mom loaded us down with more baby clothes and my dad with things from his house since they’re moving to Colorado. We succeeded in bringing all of these items home with the bag-in-a-bag technique (pack an extra one inside your checked bag), which I highly recommend for holiday travel. We flew Southwest home, so it was all free.

At my cousin’s house in KC, we had Thanksgiving #2. Man, it was good.

She and her husband just had their baby girl 5 weeks earlier, so we got to hold little Isla, too. It was fascinating to see how much babies change in just a few weeks. She was pretty patient with us all banging pots and pans and passing her around until she reached maximum stimulation. Then people, including my Aunt Lark (chef extraordinaire) took turns keeping her moving.

Note to self: get these.

We learned so much about what to buy/not to buy there that I redid a bunch of our registry when we got home. Having so many new parents in our life is infinitely helpful right now. Also, how amazing is the aptly named Buy Buy Baby?

Speaking of baby things, I have to show you this picture of Sadie, who decided the giant box our playpen came in would make a good bed for her. We found her sitting in the box after she had ruffled the paper inside to her liking.

Now we are back, listening to the rain and getting ready for craft shows. And maybe we’ll get out the Christmas decorations one of these days!

6 months

Coming up on 28 weeks now, and let’s just say I feel a lot bigger. It’s like all the sudden I crossed over some line and I am round. I notice little things like bending over and fitting through our garage door (which is partially blocked by our dishwasher) are getting harder. Doing yoga with an extra 20 pounds is not so easy. And oh how my hips have been aching at night. Fortunately my yoga teacher gave me some advice on piling up pillows and I slept much better last night. I’m sure I look ridiculous sleeping with every pillow in the house, but oh well.

Next week we take our last big trip before baby — to the midwest to see our families for Thanksgiving. I’m really looking forward to taking a break, meeting all the new babies that have come along in the last few months, and of course eating!

I have my glucose test before I leave town, and then once I get back I will start seeing the midwife more frequently. It’s really hitting home that we will have a baby in 3 months. It seems both like a really long and a really short amount of time. I’m starting to get curious about this tiny creature that kicks me all the time.

I wanted to mention some things I have loved so far during my pregnancy:

Old Navy maternity tanks, like the one I’m wearing in the pictures, are awesome, and so affordable.

Also Liz Lange for Target’s maternity jeans. I have two of her long-sleeved tops, too, but I can’t seem to find them online. (By the way, I’m kind of in love with maternity pants. For a curvy lady who always has problems with pants that fit on the hips but are too big on the waist, they are great. Someone may have to take them away from me in a few months.)

Belly butter, as I mentioned before. So far it’s working.

I got a belly band, but it’s been pretty much useless, as it sort of rides up over time. Believe it or not, plain old Hanes underwear are awesome for an expanding booty.

The book Great with Child: Letters to a Young Mother. It’s a quick read, and it’s full of honest advice and reflection.

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Rooibos tea. I drink it every morning. TJs also has a great variety of sliced cheeses that make great snacks for when you need extra protein.

That’s all I can think of for the moment, but I’m sure I’ll have more later on.

On enjoying pregnancy

I’m 25 weeks pregnant now, and I have to say I’m really enjoying this time. I was kind of worried that there would be a long period of time in which I couldn’t do my work easily or was really uncomfortable, but I still seem to be able to do pretty much everything I was doing before. I just brush into more things. 😉

I think I’ve reached the point where there’s no doubt I’m pregnant. I have a long torso for a woman, so it’s taken a while for the baby to really get high enough to stick out. I had my first stranger ask me how far along I was. And she even seemed to know I was having a girl, which was weird.

I was trying to capture the roundness of my belly, but I ended up loving this for Sadie’s expression. She has no idea what’s coming.

Our Bradley classes have been going well, and I started a prenatal yoga class. I am so grateful for the exercise that is catered to a pregnant body, and the set times I know I am going to have some relaxation. It’s also nice to be around a lot of other pregnant women. It kind of plugs me into the holistic pregnancy scene, which I was much more familiar with in Des Moines. I now know more than one person who does belly henna and several doulas. It seems like everyone in Berkeley is a doula!

So far the videos we’ve watched in class have been really dated and sort of funny. But also kind of terrifying. We all look at each other like, “oh wow, we’re actually gonna have to do this.” But it’s been interesting to learn about all the things you can do to help your baby get and stay in the right position and what to expect during labor. I was a little bit afraid that choosing holistic mentors would mean a lot of out-there advice, but so far everything has been exceedingly practical.

I can’t believe I am almost to the third trimester. Now that is crazy!

Another good thing — I have had some of the best sleep of my life in the past couple weeks. I can only guess that it’s my body preparing for what’s to come. Also, I’m working more and I don’t take naps like I did in the first trimester, so I’m more tired when I go to bed. I know I’m sleeping well because I continue to have such bizarre dreams and I remember a lot of them.

The Bradley classes have you track what you eat, and I have learned that I can (and should) have two eggs a day now. Some people hate that part, but I love an excuse to eat more eggs. I also found the most amazing yogurt that has quite a bit of protein and not too much sugar. Have you tried this?

I don’t know if you other pregnant women and mamas have experienced this, but it seems like every time I say I’m liking some part of pregnancy, people respond with something like, “enjoy it now because it’s about to get a whole lot worse.” Which may be true, but it’s like, let me have my happy time. I know it’s limited and so much about our lives will change and get harder in a few months. I like this time when I get to watch my belly get rounder and wiggle (mostly at night). I like imagining how tiny her little toes must be.

It’s interesting how your hand instinctively reaches down to touch your belly. It doesn’t take long to start feeling protective of your baby. Mike and I were talking about how we both felt ready to move from the part of our lives where we think so much about ourselves —overthink is probably a better word — and start caring for someone else. I think we all want to feel like someone else needs us that badly.

Sales have picked up again and I’m getting ready for pre-Christmas craft shows, but I’m really starting to want to make some baby stuff for myself. I’m thinking about a seed stitch blanket (pink with brown trim or maybe no trim at all), similar to this:

Or a soft striped one with some leftover yarn I have. Once I get started, though, I don’t know if I can stop myself from making little hats and little shoes, and on and on. Some patterns I’d like to try:

Jen’s newborn baby hats
This adorable striped cardigan – though I’ve never made a sweater
Yarn mobile
• Canvas baby shoes
• Felt baby shoes

This is the pattern I use for baby legwarmers and here’s the one I have used to make a chevron baby blanket. Let the nesting begin…

New car!

As much as I loved the Yaris, I had to let it go. That car sure did see a lot in its time with us.

The giant sequoias.

Driving west from Iowa to California.

The top of Mt. Evans in Colorado.

My first day with it!

But when it came down to it, I was more ready to move on to a bigger car than I realized. Maybe it’s some form of nesting, but I really wanted us to have a car that was the right size for our (new) needs. So here she is:

We found this ’07 Subaru Outback at, of all places, a Toyota dealership in Marin County. Marin is sort of notorious for being the land of the overpriced, but we got a really good deal.

We did have to get one thing repaired on the car, and while we were waiting we hung out at this fancypants shopping center that was actually a really nice place to spend a fall day.

They even had a giant pumpkin! It reminded me of the Iowa State Fair.

I resisted buying any pumpkins there, but I did get some more flat ones at Trader Joe’s.

I had to do something to perk up the porch area. Last year my plants were flourishing at this time, but this year everything is pretty much dead.

Last year:

And this year:

The only thing that seems to be thriving is the orange tree.

We moved it out of full sun into a spot that gets partial shade and it seems to like that way better. After almost completely dying, it’s sprouted a whole bunch of new leaves and buds.

I did manage to successfully grow this epic thistle on the side of the house.

This guy was hanging out around there.

Our neighbors have a cute little garden on the other side of our fence. Their tomatoes are so tall they’re peeking over.

This year has just been dry as a bone. But guess what — last night it rained! For the first time since May. We even got a few claps of thunder.

In the annoying news department, there was some kind of refinery issue in southern California and now our gas prices are insanely high. Just in time for us to have bought a bigger car, of course.

We start our 12-week Bradley class tonight, so I’m curious how that’s going to go. As we near the 23-week mark, I’m definitely getting rounder.

I’ve surrendered to the elastic waistband.

I can tell the baby is getting bigger because her kicks have moved up higher in my belly and they’re stronger. The other night I was enjoying baby TV, which consisted of me staring at my belly as it jiggled with kicks. I am still loving those.

In the kitchen I have decided I need to start sorting my recipes by those that can be made in a short period of time. (This butternut squash mac ‘n cheese is not one of them, but I tried it the other day and it was really good.)

I love my recipes, but many of them take a lot of prep time that I don’t think I will have in the next few months. I’ve been making a list of ideas, like this one for make-ahead breakfast sandwiches.

You package them individually and freeze them until you need them.

Any other ideas for me?

KC – DM – SF

Finally I am getting back to normal after an epic vacation to the Midwest, followed by an epic tour of San Francisco with my good friend Rachel, who was visiting from New York.

Of course I had to visit my sweet Charlotte.

I planned a trip home to Kansas for my Nana’s funeral. But I ended up adding on a cleanout of my other grandmother’s house — where we had an estate sale — a baby shower, and a trip to Des Moines to see my good friends. I do not know where I found the energy, but I managed to feel great the entire trip (as long as I got to sleep well at night).

I got to see most of my entire extended family and all my Des Moines friends, which made the trip so worth it. They even gave me a Fiat 500 to drive at the rental car place!

I also got to admire Erin’s Subaru Outback, which I think is the car we will be getting soon. As you know, I am in love with my Yaris, but it’s simply not big enough for two adults, a baby (and all that gear), plus two big dogs.

In Des Moines I even took a Nia class, which I needed more than I realized. I soaked up all the Midwestern things you don’t get so much out here, including a few rainy nights (I so love that sound of it hitting the grass), hospitality, good service at restaurants, trust of strangers, and last but not least, giant water glasses.

It’s probably silly to complain about a water glass, but they are seriously so tiny in restaurants here. And now that I’m extra thirsty all the time, I appreciate a big glass even more.

Oh yeah, I had to have some potato oles while I could get them. 🙂

The baby shower was a real treat. My sister pulled out all the stops to make food that a pregnant lady would love, including pickle bites, deviled eggs, and red velvet cupcakes.

My mom found some adorable vintage items to use as decorations.

And I loved our host Rae Ann’s idea to decorate with baby clothes that were also gifts.

I wish I had photos of our diapering-a-baby game because it was hilarious. At least I won my round!

I adore this photo. My mom, sister, and I with my grandma.

The next day I drove to Des Moines, where Brianne had gathered some of our friends at her adorable house for apple picking.

I got to hold my friend Arin’s new baby, Jonah, who is just the tiniest sweetest little guy.

I also got to meet my friend Karen’s new puppy Charlie (I’m in love with him!) and my friend Amy’s little girl, Linden (darn me for not taking pictures of them). I so wish I could have stayed longer. I miss those ladies so much, especially now that we are all going through such major life transitions.


It was nice to get back to California, though. Business has been busier than ever, so I can’t be away too long.

P.S. How cool is it that the electric car chargers at the Oakland airport are actually getting used?

Rachel came to visit the day after I got back, and we took her on a quick but totally packed tour of the bay area. She got Bette’s breakfast, Tony’s pizza, and fig bars at the Berkeley Bowl. Then we went into the city all day Saturday. We were foiled by a foggy Golden Gate bridge, but I think we did pretty much everything else.

We started out at the Ferry Building, where we got Vietnamese lunch from the Slanted Door’s takeout place.

Then we saw the sea lions at Pier 39 and took a streetcar back to our car. We stopped in the Mission for some shopping on Valencia, including Paxton Gate, which is the craziest store ever. It’s like part taxidermy, part science experiment, part secret garden.

Then we attempted to get some Bi-Rite ice cream, but were foiled again by a street festival and long lines. Fortunately, I remembered that you can buy it by the pint at the Bi-Rite market, so we did that and ate our ice cream in the grass at Delores Park.

After we rested our feet for a while, we grabbed some desserts at Tartine and then ate at a Mexican restaurant that I can’t remember the name of. We slept good that night!

Luckily, Rachel got a good bridge view the next day. Our doggies sure did miss her when she left, but hopefully it won’t be so long before we see her again.

It is so crazy to think that next time I do all these things I’ll have a baby with me. (By the way, you’ve got to read this.)

I was also thinking that I wonder if I will ever go to those small Kansas towns where my grandmothers lived again, now that they don’t live there anymore. So much is changing. Some chapters are closing and new ones are opening. I’m just trying to take it all in.

19 weeks and counting

We’re almost halfway to baby! Today marks 19 weeks. That means next week at our ultrasound we get to find out the sex of the baby. I guess we are not too patient because we are both dying to know.

I took some really bad iPhone pics of my belly over the last few weeks. I’ve basically gone from muffin top to beer belly, but I don’t think I’ve reached adorable bump status yet.

One cool thing, though. I think I can feel the baby kicking now. Mostly at night or when I’m sitting still. It’s pretty much the coolest thing ever. I’m sure I’ll be singing a different tune later, but I’m like, come on baby, kick me!