Sunday, October 31, 2010

Second Trimester 2010!

13 Weeks, October 10-16, 2010:
We started telling other friends and family this week, which was lots of fun. A few people suspected, but many were surprised. Kevin got to tell Jon, Briggs, and Lukas in person. They bought him shots for fatherhood. The same does not work for motherhood. I called my close friends, and I got to tell Wendy and Clark in person, as well as my friends from work, Akua, Christie, Adrienne, and Lee. Sarah said I could tell our law school friends the weekend of her wedding, so I waited to make it totally public until we were there.

Milestones: End of first trimester, telling close friends and family about the pregnancy. Our baby book says that the baby is growing vocal cords.
Craving: Cereal
Anti-craving: Coffee
Symptoms: Round ligament pain (still sick but that doesn't count).
Baby-size: Medium-size shrimp, hm
Weight gain: 5 pounds

Burke Wedding 2010
Friends watching the sonogram video

14 Weeks, October 17-23, 2010:
Hurrah! We're public! And it's the second trimester! It was a lovely week of being completely in the open about being pregnant. I finally got over my cough. Dad was in rehab and is improving every day. His leg tumor got smaller so he was able to walk more with a walker, and this put him in much better spirits. His speech is almost perfect, he just occasionally gets stuck on a large word like "obstreperous." But considering most people don't even use words that big, mom and I don't think this is a big problem. The final hurdle to taking him home is that he be able to get up and down the stairs to our apartment.

My clothing is just too uncomfortable now, so I had to give up on just using the belly band and I bought a couple pairs of maternity pants and shirts. Sadly, being short is an even bigger problem when it comes to maternity pants than it is with regular pants. Maternity pants only come in small, medium, and large, and because of this inexact sizing, even the petite sizes are too long.

Milestones: Second trimester! Being completely public about being pregnant! Maternity pants. Our baby book says that our baby might be growing some hair now.
Craving: Fish!, rice, cereal, fruit, lots of water
Anti-craving: Not exactly interested in red meat
Symptoms: Bending over a little when I'm sitting is uncomfortable, acid reflux
Baby-size: Lemon
Weight gain: 6 pounds

Saturday, October 30, 2010

3 Months Pregnant 2010

12 Weeks, October 3-9, 2010

Baby is now the size of a lime, so Kevin tosses me a lime, and I say "this is huge, how would you not feel this kicking around?"  Kevin goes, "throw me back our baby."

Kathy Visits New York 2010
I got a call from the doctor's office that everything was okay with the baby.  Since it was 12 weeks now, that meant we could start telling people, but we wanted to tell Kevin's mom before other people.  We arranged for her to come visit at the end of the week so that we could tell her in person.

I was getting sicker and sicker this week with my cold or flu.  Sniffling turned to coughing.  Dad started getting sick in rehab again so he went back to the hospital.    It took the doctors a few days to figure out what was wrong, and Kevin's mom met us at the hospital on Saturday.

I had to review documents at the hospital, but we took a break to take Kevin's mom to lunch and tell her the good news.  We gave her a card with a copy of the sonogram.  Just like my parents, she cried with happiness.

I felt bad having to leave my dad when he was having another minor surgery the next day, but I had to work the whole weekend.  In fact, I even missed most of Kathy's visit, though it was nice of her to have dinner waiting for me when I came home from work.

Milestones: All our parents and grandparents (the baby's great grandparents!) know we're pregnant.  Our baby book says the baby's bone marrow is starting to produce white blood cells to fight off infection, and the pituitary gland is producing hormones.
Craving: Apples, granola
Anti-craving: Coffee
Symptoms: Round ligament pain, acid reflux  (coughing plus acid reflux means vomiting)
Baby-size: Lime
Weight gain: 4 pounds

Friday, October 29, 2010

11 Weeks, September 26, 2010

Our week started with our ultrascreen appointment, which was awesome. We got sonogram photos and even a video of the sonogram.

Baby Clou at 11 Weeks 2010
Our baby at 11 weeks- he or she is awesome

And active!

Then around the 29th I got sick with a cold or flu. It would last for weeks! Sniffling, coughing, achiness. Dad was moved to a less aggressive rehab and then we were off to Cory and Robin's wedding.

Milestones: According to our baby book, the webbed fingers and toes have split into separate fingers and toes with nails starting to grow.  The nose has little nostrils.  If the baby is a girl, she's starting to develop ovaries.
Craving: Cherry-flavored anything and citrus, granola. Honey nut cheerios, tea
Anti-craving: Figs? Hm.
Symptoms: Round ligament pain
Baby-size: Fig
Weight gain: 4 pounds

9-10 Weeks, Mid-September 2010

Rachel's 30th Birthday 2010
With baby Eleanor
9 Weeks, September 12, 2010:The week began with Rachel's 30th birthday surprise. I got to hold Eleanor finally, and she was so quiet and wonderful. It was such a shame not to be able to share the news with Rachel, Janice, and Christina in person.

Becky and Brandon had baby Connor 14 weeks early this week. 

Later in the week, My dad was in aggressive rehab when his leg pain increased. Mom had to bring him back to the hospital and the doctors decided to perform another leg embolization because the leg tumor had grown again. The first embolization was done with wires and this second one was done with alcohol at a different hospital in Teaneck that specialized in it. They used a dye that would affect his kidney the following week.

Milestones: Our baby book says the baby is starting to grow muscles to move his arms and legs on purpose.
Craving: Fish Vitamin C in any form, though orange juice and grape fruit juice make me queasy
Anti-craving: I guess the baby hates red meat forever
Symptoms: nausea, sciatic nerve pain
Baby-size: Grape
Weight gain: 2 pounds

10 Weeks, September 19, 2010:
The weekend was really tough as my dad's kidney failed, and I gave up on trying to keep my stress down. I took sometime off work and joined my parents at the hospital. Kevin and I had been waiting until after next week's appointment to tell our mothers, but the circumstances were scary enough that I thought it would be best to tell my mother on Monday night so that she could discuss the news with dad. Dad started his dialysis on Monday, and afterward he felt a little better than he had during the weekend, and mom was in okay spirits. Mom started crying and hugging Kevin and didn't let go, until I insisted on my turn for a hug. Dad pretended to be surprised, but I busted him. Unfair since I’m the one who asked him to keep it a secret in the first place. I showed mom the sonogram picture, but dad was interrupted by a follow-up ct-scan, so I showed him the following day after his second dialysis treatment. His kidney started working again on its own by the end of the week.

Milestones:  Our baby book says the baby is starting to grow bones and cartilage.  The baby can bend its elbows. The kidneys are now producing urine. If the baby is a boy, he's producing testerone.
Craving: Peanut butter, cranberry juice, granola (I saw a picture in a magazine of granola and became obsessed), Honey nut cheerios, tea
Anti-craving: Meat is back in, coffee is still out.
Symptoms: Sleepiness
Baby-size: Kumquat
Weight gain: 3 pounds

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

8 Weeks, September 5-11, 2010

We had our first doctor's appointment and the doctor did a sonogram! Once he told us, I was so excited about baby's first picture! But what I wasn't expecting was that I would see a little leg kicking and arm punching out. I didn't expect that the baby already had some sort of volition. I instantly fell in love.  And so much cuteness in 2.45 cm from head to rump. But clearly I was already extremely biased. Kevin was equally excited to hear the heartbeat.

Baby Clou at 8 Weeks 2010
First picture at 8 weeks and 3 days, September 8, 2010

Mom called while I was at the doctor, so I pretty much assumed she was on to me by now. But I asked the doctor and he said in no uncertain terms not to tell my family until Week 12. Sorry, mom.  Dad moved to rehab after the brain surgery, and started speaking again little by little.  But things were still extremely tough.  Ash and Janice visited that weekend to cheer me up, and I really wanted to tell them too, but I kept quiet even as I had to subtly ignore the wine they kept pouring for me.

Milestones: First sonogram! Baby kicking and punching spontaneously.
Craving: Fish, cottage cheese, and fake fruit candy
Anti-craving: red meat (though pork doesn't seem gross anymore this week), coffee
Symptoms: nausea
Baby-size: Kidney bean/ raspberry
Weight gain: 2 pounds

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dad Progressing in Rehab 2010

October 24, 2010:

Dad took a walk outside and enjoyed the sun

The Shute Grandparents 2010
Dad and Mom

6-7 Weeks, End of August 2010

Flowers for being Pregnant 2010
Flowers for being Pregnant 2010
6 Weeks, August 22, 2010
This week was truly awful. Chrissy's mom passed away from cancer, which made for another very sad week. I felt personally sad about Maureen missing from the world, I felt awful for Chrissy, and I felt awful about telling my parents who knew and liked Maureen and were also fighting cancer. I cried a lot again this week.

Due to my dad's brain radiosurgery he was on antiseizure medication. But the doctor's made a mistake on his prescription and he had a seizure on Thursday, and he again lost his ability to speak or walk. The doctors advised us to up his antiseizure medication and wait for him to improve again. With my dad in this state, I went to Maureen's funeral on Friday. Heart-breakingly sad. I had to leave after the funeral to help my dad who had not improved after his seizure yet.

On Saturday, Kevin and I went to Patrick and Aubree's wedding, which was lovely. I had trouble eating the yummy wedding dinner and could not dance much because of Baby Clou, so I spent the time chatting and taking pictures. Mom called during the end of the wedding reception and told me that dad was getting worse, so I encouraged her to call an ambulance to bring him to the hospital. Kevin and I left the reception so we could get up early and go back to New Jersey.

Milestones: According to our baby book, the baby's organs (kidneys, liver, lungs, eyes, and ear canals) are forming.
Craving: Cereal, Red fruit, Strawberries (which I never especially liked before), cranberry, raspberry, red grapes, etc. I tried looking this up, and I think I must have been after flavinoids
Anti-craving: Anything fried, fatty, or red meat.
Symptoms: Very thirsty, very hungry (waking up at 4 am hungry), nauseous
Baby-size: Lentil bean
Weight gain: 1 pound

7 Weeks, August 29, 2010
We visited Dad in the hospital on Sunday, while the doctors tested him and decided what to do. Despite his brain radiosurgery, the doctors determined that he needed a regular invasive brain surgery to deal with the swelling around his brain tumor more quickly. The doctors said that if he remained without his ability to walk or talk for too long he might not be able to regain his abilities so it was important to take action now.

He was scheduled for traditional brain surgery on Wednesday. We followed dad all the way to just outside the operating room, and when mom stepped out right before dad went in, I told dad I was pregnant. He couldn't speak but reacted very emotionally and sweetly and seemed happy. I didn't expect him to have such a big reaction though and then I felt bad about getting him worked up before he went into the surgery. It was a very long day of sitting in the waiting room. When he came out, he felt awful, and he didn't show any signs of knowing, so I wasn't sure if he remembered.

Milestones: Telling dad about the baby.  According to our baby book, the baby is growing brain cells, a mouth, tongue, arm and leg buds.
Craving: fruit juice
Anti-craving: red meat, coffee
Symptoms: Nausea
Baby-size: Blueberry
Weight gain: 1 pound

Saturday, October 23, 2010

5 Weeks, August 15-21, 2010

San Francisco, CA 2010
Of course, morning sickness decided to strike on the delayed flight home from San Francisco. For the record, Kevin offered to give me his seat and be the one who stood, but I thought it would be quicker if I was the one without a seat. While I was standing around waiting for the flight attendant to give me a seat on the plane, she kept commenting on my bad-attitude face. "What's wrong?" "Nothing." "What's wrong?"

Oh-let-me-see. I am on hour 24 of my travel home, I barely slept last night because my shuttle to my scary hotel was mislabeled, and now I get on the flight to discover my seat is missing. Probably for all these reasons, today is the day that my morning sickness has kicked in and all I want to do is bend over at the waist, or – I don't know – take my seat on the plane. Instead of getting me a seat you want me to stand in the back of the plane and smile.

"Just nauseous."

And that is how I got her to rip the seat cushion off someone else's seat and give to me. Score!

Nonetheless, I had to throw up in the plane bathroom later. I didn't really mind, as it was a sign that I was really pregnant and I felt better immediately after. I lost my appetite but now I figured I had to eat frequently enough to avoid nausea.

When we got home, I took another pregnancy test just to be sure, and I made a doctor's appointment with the doctor Kevin selected for excellence in baby-delivering. Then we went back to the hospital with my dad for an embolization.   The sadness and stress of the situation with dad also made me throw up again.

Mostly I was really tired the rest of the week, unfortunately I couldn't tell Jaime when she visited and wanted to walk all over creation.  Also, this is really random, but I was no longer able to sit for stretches at time without my bum being sore. This symptom makes no sense. I was a champion sitter before pregnancy! I am guessing it's another bad consequence of all my muscles being relaxed. The preggo blogs call it sciatic nerve pain, but sometimes the sites say it's not actually that unless it's severe.

Milestones: First morning sickness. According to our baby book, baby's heart is forming and starting to beat.
Craving: Lots of water, Annie's organic mac and cheese, and eel
Anti-craving: Coffee
Symptoms: Nausea!, very tired, sciatic nerve pain
Baby-size: Sesame seed (I was a week off before on size, so sesame seed again this week)
Weight gain: 1 pound

Friday, October 22, 2010

Baby Bets 2010

People have asked if we're going to find out if the baby is a boy or a girl. While I always thought I would wait for the surprise, the reality of our family's wishes and the difficulty of shopping for cute gender-neutral outfits have convinced us that we should find out. We will probably find out in two weeks, so now seemed like a good time to put up the Baby Game. I got this idea from Chrissy and her baby Owen's blog.

Please click the ExpectNet link below, enter your name, and your guesses for the baby's gender, weight, length, and birthday (expected due date is April 17, 2011).  We will come up with a small and appropriate prize for whomever wins.  Kevin and I will not be guessing in case we have some special insight and because giving ourselves a prize is not cool.

Warning: Pick a gender before you click the link so that the other guesses don't affect yours.

i love gambling

Thursday, October 21, 2010

4 Weeks, August 8-14, 2010

This week started with my dad's brain radiosurgery.  Under normal circumstances my mother probably would have noticed my 4 trips to the bathroom in 4 hours.  I didn't like keeping the secret from them, but it wasn't a good time to share the news.   The baby was perhaps about two weeks old at this point, and it had been an extremely difficult two weeks for my family, and would continue for months.  Reading Origins definitely makes me nervous about the effect of these weeks of sadness on the baby.

I started referring to the baby as Sesame Seed based on its approximate size.  Kevin researched the best OB/GYN in all of Long Island.  Of course he did. The hormone headaches came on with a vengeance.

Sonoma, CA 2010
Sonoma, August 13, 2010

We went to San Francisco for Jeff and Inga's wedding, and instead of adjusting to the time difference I went to bed at 7 pm and got up at 8 am PST. Yes, that's 13 hours of sleep.  Kevin and I discussed potential baby names while waiting for the San Francisco trolley.  It was such a long wait that we picked out names we're fairly confident about, but it's a secret for now.  Food tasted amazing.  It felt as though my pulse went up.  Since the baby's heart was supposed to start beating this week, I drew a heart on twitter.

My First Halloween 1979
Ericka, October 31, 1979

I bought the baby's first outfit in Chinatown, inspired by a little outfit I had when I was a baby.  Walking long distances, which is what we mostly did in San Francisco, was fairly painful in the abdominal region, and brought on some nausea. Apparently this also made me very grouchy.

In wine country I found creative ways to avoid wine so no one would notice, but I am told that Briggs, Cory, and Robin noticed anyway. (Okay, I sipped a tiny amount of the delicious pinot noir at the wedding, but the NY Times says that's better for the baby anyhow.) 

Milestones: Picking a boy name and a girl name, baby's first outfit- Chinese shirt, pants and shoes!
Craving: Nuts (and San Francisco's clam chowder and sour dough)
Symptoms: Extreme sleepiness, headaches, abdominal pain when walking long distances, all food tasting delicious, some nausea
Baby-size: Sesame seed 
Weight gain: 1 pound

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

3 Weeks, August 1-7, 2010

First Sign- Almost 4 Weeks
Then I had a little more dizziness. I felt like I had slightly pulled a muscle in my abdomen. During that week I became sleepier and sleepier, until on Friday, I slept from 9:30 p.m., to 9:30 a.m. the next morning. After that I routinely napped and went to bed early whenever I could. By now, I was 80-85% sure, a percent I arrived at when Kevin questioned me to see how much I was getting my hopes up. Still I did not have the more classic symptoms you hear about such as being nauseated.

On Saturday, August 7, we spent the day at the beach and we returned, I could not hold out to take a test. Even though the baby was planned, Kevin still looked surprised and maybe a little confused. According to the books, the baby should have looked somewhat fish-like at this point, so I drew a fish in its twitter account. ><)))*> I started referring to the baby as Poppy Seed, based on its approximate size.

Milestones: Positive pregnancy test, baby is an embryo now with cells rapidly dividing.
Cravings: Milky milk shakes, salt, salad, nuts
Symptoms: Extreme sleepiness, dizziness, slight abdominal pain
Baby-size: Poppy seed

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

0-2 Weeks, Mid-to-Late July 2010

For those of you who don't know, since it's difficult to pinpoint when the magic happens, doctors typically count all the time when it would be even theoretically possible. That means that usually one to two weeks are counted when there is probably no baby or even egg present. So 0- 2 Weeks (in mid-July) are largely irrelevant except that I had been hoping to get pregnant that month so I started a twitter account for the potential baby. (Yes, my baby has a pre-birth twitter account, and yes, I know how absurd I am.)

But then, my dad got sick, and I figured it wasn't going to happen after all this month. The morning after I returned from the first hospital visit, I got so dizzy I almost passed out. I figured it was the stress of the event, but now I think it could have been stress or a pregnancy symptom, or both.  Things were so sad and awful in July, that I couldn't concentrate on anything else.

Around 2 weeks, before I even knew I was pregnant, my appetite increased, but luckily I was mainly interested in healthy food. Well, except for ice cream, but ice cream suddenly seemed incomplete without milk mixed into it. Runny milkshake anyone? Kevin assumed (feared!) I just wanted an excuse to eat more. Also, that week, Kevin and I reached 4 years together, and just a little over 1 year married.

Boston 2010
Boston, July 31, 2010 - Is it possible to show immediately?

When we were in Boston and Marblehead, my body started feeling strange, but I did not think too much of it until the symptoms persisted. (It's hard to discuss pregnancy symptoms without quickly delving into TMI, and I have decided to err on the side of somewhat tasteful but incomplete.)

Milestones: Baby went from zygote (fertilized egg) to blastocyst. Once it implants it will be an embryo.
Cravings: Milky milk shakes, wasabi peas
Symptoms: Increased appetite, dizziness?, TMI

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Things My Wife Complains About: #15 Pregnancy

For someone who complains about how heavy her coffee is, my wife doesn't complain that much about being pregnant. On the whole, she enjoys carrying my powerful unborn child. I believe Baby Clou is a good influence on her.

Still, my wife does occasionally complain about the way certain food tastes. She thinks the Panda Puffs cereal she's been eating for 1,354 consecutive days tastes like Thai food, and while she likes Thai food, she doesn't like it for breakfast. Good thing she's not Thai, or she'd only eat two meals a day, which would be down from the four meals she currently eats. She invented a second breakfast. Take that, Taco Bell Fourth Meal.

Much of my wife's complaining centers on eating, which isn't new; it's just much more violent. It's also considerably more challenging, as my wife's tastes change on an hourly basis. Here is an incomplete list of things she's craved in the first trimester:

Condor Egg
Red Fruits (e.g. Cherry)
Peanut Butter
A Single Plum Floating in Perfume Served in a Man's Hat

Just kidding. She's been craving rum. Lots of rum. On French toast.

Mostly, my wife complains about my inability to carry my powerful unborn child. She likes to poke me in all the places she feels extreme discomfort. I get poked in the abdomen every day. It brings us closer together. That's another thing my wife complains about: physical contact. The weight of my arm hairs is oppressive. She complains in equal measure about the absence of physical contact.

There are no possible solutions. But the good news is that all my friends with children have assured me that pregnant woman become increasingly rational, fair, and kind throughout their pregnancy and into the subsequent decades of child rearing. So that's a relief.

Simpsons- "A Single Plum Floating in Perfume"
"A Single Plum Floating in Perfume" from The Simpsons

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sarah and Donald's Wedding 2010

Sarah and Donald got married in Sarah's hometown of Huntsville, Alabama. Needless to say, it was the first time many of us had been to Alabama. The wedding ceremony was at a Catholic church. The bride was beautiful, and both the bride and groom looked very happy. Josh was a groomsman, and he was wearing a tuxedo and proper dress shoes, which is a huge step up for him from his tuxedo t-shirt. I did a reading from the Book of Ruth, and rocked it.  But the flower girls were really the most outstanding participants aside from the bride and groom.

Burke Wedding 2010
Mr. and Mrs. Burke after the ceremony

Burke Wedding 2010
Isabel tries to steal the show

Burke Wedding 2010
Rosie keeps it professional

The reception was very fun. A lot of the traditional wedding reception elements were there but in a somewhat less formal way- quicker or more relaxed. The band was solid- at one point I was wondering why Cyndi Lauper was there, and I turned around to see a man doing a perfect version of True Colors. I went to the buffet a little after my friends had gone and I got several different recommendations about the tasty things I should not miss.

Burke Wedding 2010
Oh my gosh, how cute were they?

Burke Wedding 2010
The UVA Law friends

One of the most lovely parts of the wedding was how wonderful and welcoming both the Hughes family and the Burke family were. They were not just the average polite families you would expect at a wedding, but the parents and siblings were truly loving and friendly to all the guests. I found myself wishing I were also joining their families, and I was not the only one that felt this way. Donald and Sarah are doubly blessed now.

Burke Wedding 2010
Sarah's sister and brother

Burke Wedding 2010
Donald's sister and brother

Burke Wedding 2010
The bride and groom dancing the night away

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Law School Love Story 2005-2008 plus forever

This weekend I have the last wedding of six weddings this year.  They were all between May and October, and it's otherwise been a hectic summer, so it's been extremely tough.  But this last wedding is special because I got to watch the bride and groom meet, become friends, and finally fall in love.

Sarah and Donald met when they were randomly placed in the same section in law school. A "section" is a group of students who take a number of classes together first year.  And at UVA, sections are encouraged to help each other and compete against other sections.

Legal Research and Writing 2006
Our Law School Section B, Class of 2008, First Year 2005-2006

A few of us became particularly close (below in all the photos). But over the first summer, many people got internships all over the country, and four of us stayed in Charlottesville to work: Donald, Sarah, Josh, and me.  We spent a lot of time together going to restaurants, bars, playing games, and just watching television together.

Holiday Party 2006
Donald, Sarah, Josh, and me the following Christmas 2006

There were times when people saw something and said that they would be perfect together because they were both smart, had the same witty sense of humor, and had the same interests, but they were both also shy, so things remained friendly for another year.

Christmas Party 2006
Christmas 2006

We tended to hang out as a group. But things were getting a little friendlier between Donald and Sarah as evidenced by the photos.

Barristers 2007
Barristers Ball, February 2007

Donald's 24th Birthday 2007
Donald's 24th Birthday, February 2007

Libel Show 2007
Libel Show, April 2007

Visiting Relay for Life
Playing games outside, April 2007

SBA Office During Finals
Studying for finals, May 2007

But it wasn't until summer 2007, when Donald and Sarah were both in Northern Virginia, while the rest of us had jobs elsewhere, when Donald started upping the pressure. They hung out all the time, and Donald even started making nice with his future niece Rosie to get on Sarah's good side. Of course, I wasn't there for that part, but the pictures tell the whole story.

Hanging with Rosie
Donald, bribing Rosie with beer, summer 2007

But I was there the night the finally fell for each other. We were all at a party for our friend Sarah M's birthday and sparks flew.

Donald and Sarah
September 8, 2007

They've been inseparable ever since.

Donald and Sarah
Public Interest Law Association Semi-Formal, November 2007

And we couldn't be happier for them.  Wooo!

UVA Law Graduation 2008
Our law school friends at graduation, May 2008

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday's 30th Birthday 2010

We went out with Wendy and Clark because we hadn't seen them in a little while and Wendy turned 30 last weekend but I wasn't free to see her.  We caught up on some important stuff including the progress of her band Pigeons. They're going on a national tour starting this month!

Wednesday's 30th Birthday 2010
At Momofuko

Here she is being gorgeous in a video:

Pigeons "The Paradise"

The tour dates are updated on the Pigeons website:

THURSDAY,OCTOBER 28th: Union Pool, Brooklyn w/Electroputas

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 31st: SPECTACLE, Boston w/ Many Mansions, Invisible Circle


TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 2nd: EMPTY BOTTLE, Chicago w/Wet Hair, and Running



FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 5th: CLUB MED, Minneapolis, MN w/ Wet Hair & Robust Worlds

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 6th: HEXAGON BAR, Minneapolis, MN w/ Leisure Birds, Brute Heart

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 7th: The Manor, OMAHA, NE w/ The Praries, Hominoid and Wet Hair

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 10th: Missoula, MT location TBA

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 11th: The Business Records, Anacortes, WA,

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 11th: NoHouse Bellingham, WA w/ Jazz Magazine and PRND

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 12th: Josephine, Seattle, WA

Pigeons 2010

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 13th: The Know, PORTLAND, OR w/ Monopoly Child Star Searcher

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 14th: Lil Red Lion, Eureka, CA

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 15th: Holland Project HQ, RENO, NV

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 16th: The Hub, Sacramento, CA


WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 17th: Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco, CA w/ Donovan Quinn & the 13th Month



SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 20th: The Dressing Room, Phoenix, AZ w/ Eddie Detroit


Wednesday, November 24th: Circle Bar, New Orleans, LA w/ Hosannas FREE!!!

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 26th: The Handle Bar, Pensacola, FL w/ Heavy Kid

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 27th: location tba, Gainesville, FL

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 28th: Far Side, Tallahassee, FL

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 29th: Wonder Root, Atlanta, GA

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 30th: NIGHTLIGHT, Chapel Hill, NC w/ Dan Melchior und Das Menace (

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 1st: Location tba, Richmond, VA

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2nd: TBA? Somewhere between Richmond and NYC/

Monday, October 11, 2010

Kathy Visits 2010

Kevin's mom visited this weekend. Unfortunately, I had to work all weekend. I volunteered for an assignment because I need billable hours. I worked remotely from the hospital Saturday morning, then went to lunch with Kevin and his mom who also stopped by to visit my dad. Then Sunday I had to physically go into the office all day, so I checked in with mom and dad regularly on the phone and Kevin took his mom to see the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry and then for a walk in Central Park.  She was really sweet and understanding and even made me dinner. She seemed to have a nice time anyway, and hopefully we'll get up to Cape Cod to spend better quality time soon.

Kathy Visits New York 2010
Kathy in Central Park on 10/10/10

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dad's Kidney-Bladder Stint Surgery 2010

The urologist thought that a stint between his kidney and bladder might fix his problem. He had surgery early this morning. The surgery appears to have been successful. Mom is ecstatic. Dad seems to be in high spirits as well, making jokes and looking forward to returning to his non-intensive physical rehab.

Happy 10-10-10!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dad's Mysterious Ailment 2010

So dad is still in the hospital.  They don't know what's wrong because he's still having kidney failure-like symptoms.  They wanted to release him yesterday because "his numbers look okay," but my mother knew he wasn't okay and argued until they ran more tests. She was correct.  His new test numbers are not great.  They don't know if there's a problem with the kidney, a blockage in the kidney due to blood clots, a problem due to the infection, or the theory that I am leaning towards that he is having side effects from Sutent such as swelling and blood clots.  The oncologist dismissed the blood clots part of my theory, but did agree that taking him off Sutent while they figure it out makes sense.

I was frustrated that the oncologist didn't realize that dad had been on the higher dose of Sutent for only 4 days. (Around the time when all of these symptoms started.) Let me explain why this drives me crazy.

Here is the way this works: Mom and I get here around 8 am or earlier and talk to dad about the night before, then we meet the new nurse for the morning shift and she fills us in on any events during the night shift (important because dad is on a lot of pain medication and isn't always accurate) and any blood test results. If we're lucky we haven't missed any doctors because some of them sometimes come before 8 am, and dad is neither the best advocate for himself nor the best reporter on what the doctor said.

On a day such as today where his problem is complex or confusing we can expect unscheduled visits from a general doctor, a urologist, an oncologist, and a nephrologist (kidney specialist). Each doctor only knows about his particular area, and can only offer tests and theories based on his areas. Let's say the urologist is here, and I have a cross-over question such as "can the problem with urination (urologist) be caused by the kidney cancer (oncologist) drug?" The urologist will promptly throw his hands up and tell me that's a question for the oncologist. No one can tell me anything even a little out of their specialty even when my question seems to require both specialties.

So when the oncologist comes in, here's what I want from the oncologist: I want him to be a master of all of my dad's personal oncology-related information. I don't just want him to know that dad is on Sutent, I want him to know the entire course of my dad's Sutent treatment, including the fact that he started a higher dose 4 days ago, and that's when the symptoms started.

I am an attorney, and my job is arguably less important than that of a doctor, because if I mess up, probably no one will die. But it would be unthinkable that I would not know all the facts of my case, because if I don't know the facts, how am I ever going to apply the correct law? So that's what mom and I do, we talk to all the doctors and 1) remind them of the facts in dad's medical chart, 2) form a unified theory based on what all the different specialists say to us, 3) ask them leading questions regarding what we think might be wrong, and when all else fails 4) mom just flat out argues with them that dad cannot be released.

Anyway, dad is getting a kidney sonogram right now and that will tell us whether he has a blockage and we'll take it from there. Kevin's mother is also on her way to visit us today so she'll come see my dad at the hospital too.

Update: He has a blockage in his kidney and will have a minor surgery to let the blockage pass. It may or may not work. All these procedures are extremely frustrating to my dad and our family.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Cathy and Mike's 5th Wedding Anniversary 2010

Congratulations on five years of marriage! And this is the first anniversary you can share with your daughter Madison!

Steffan Wedding 2005
Mike, Cathy, me, and our friend Anna at Mike and Cathy's wedding in 2005

People say that Catholic wedding ceremonies are dull.  Well, Mike's childhood priest certainly livened up the day with stories about other married couples, questions about Mike and Cathy's travel history and plans, and observations about the wedding guests. I continue to ask Cathy for a copy of the wedding ceremony tape recording but she continues to politely decline.

Steffan Wedding 2005
The Catholic church where they got married

Steffan Wedding 2005
Mike and Cathy during the ceremony

The reception was really fun, and one thing I remember all these years later was that the couple danced one-on-one with a lot of the wedding guests.  It was a fun and personal way to spend more time with the bride and groom.  I took a turn dancing with Mike, but I think due to the presence of some beverage shots at the wedding, I might have accidentally cut a long line of female guests. Well, you snooze, you loose.

Steffan Wedding 2005
The wedding party dancing during the reception

I first met Cathy through my sorority sister Becky.  The two of them had gone on Semester at Sea together during college, and Cathy moved to DC after college in 2001. Cathy didn't know many people in DC, and Becky was living in Las Vegas at the time, so she asked if we could get to know Cathy. I'm so glad I did because Cathy became one of my closest friends.  I first met Mike a little while later at a party in January of 2002. Before they were even married, they'd been at my side for birthday parties, a graduation, and even break-ups. I was so pleased to be able to attend their wedding in Pennsylvania.

Steffan Wedding 2005
Becky and me (Becky moved to Charlottesville the next year!)

Steffan Wedding 2005
Secret reception sneakers!

Steffan Family - August 2010
Family Picture of Mike, Madison, and Cathy, August 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dad's Sutent Side Effects 2010

Dad was moved from rehab back to the hospital.  He was having some unpleasant symptoms, possibly from the Sutent, that looked the way the kidney failure looked.  After two days the rehab sent him to the ER.   Mom was there with him until 1:30 a.m.  He doesn't appear to have kidney failure, but he did have a fever and some of his other levels were of concern so he's staying over night.  His ct-scan showed no change from the last scan which is good since he's only been on the second round of Sutent for a few days.

Of course, in the meantime, his old job is in the process of changing insurance companies, so he's not showing up on either insurance and I'm trying to sort out the new insurance for my parents. This process is not fun considering that dad has many doctors and needs so much care.  I'm worried that a wrong move will mean much larger bills.

Update: Dad has an infection. He's staying at the hospital on antibiotics while they watch him.  He's going to keep taking the Sutent.  He's not feeling too bad, and he's eager to return to rehab which I think is a good sign.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cory and Robin's Wedding 2010

Boone Wedding 2010

Robin and Cory started dating in 2003, after meeting at job where she was temping and he was interning. I met them in 2006, shortly after Kevin and I started dating.

Washington, DC 2006
Picture from when I met Robin for the first time, October 2006

Robin and Cory's wedding took place at the Briar Patch Bed and Breakfast in Virgina. The ceremony was outdoors on beautiful Saturday afternoon. The ceremony was very touching, and Kevin and I were both thrilled to participate in the wedding. Kevin was a groomsman, and the bride and groom had the significant others of the wedding party come down the aisle right before the wedding party came down the aisle. And I believe that our best friends' loved ones are our family too. So it's fitting.

0054_robin & cory wedding-177
Bridal party and spouses

0552_robin & cory wedding-816
Everyone, yay!

Everything was very personalized. Robin's sister designed the wedding invitations and the design on the wedding favor mugs. On top of that, she brought back lovely pashminas from Turkey for all the ladies. I have worn mine every day since the wedding. I chased around the server carrying cheese rangoon during the cocktail hour for seconds, and oh, fourths. I have seen photo booths at weddings before, but the booth attendants put copies of the photos directly in an scrap book and guests signed next to their photos. Best guestbook ever.

Lukas and Kevin gave beautiful and funny speeches at the reception.  (Sadly, Jinsoo did not give a speech.)  And I loved when Robin and Cory danced, Cory's parents danced, and Robin's parents danced all at the same time. Almost as beautiful as when Dancing Queen came on and all of the UVA men ran out to the dance floor and sang and danced together while the UVA Wives Club stood back and watched transfixed.

Congratulations Robin and Cory!
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