Friday, February 28, 2014

Kevin's Article in The Millions 2014

In case you missed my relentless posting of it elsewhere, here is the article Kevin wrote for the online literary blog The Millions. It was reposted by The Paris Review blog, and retweeted by Law and Order: UK. Awesome!

The Millions : Teaching the ‘Law and Order’ Short Story

"At the beginning of each semester, I gather basic information from my fiction writing students such as major, hometown, and favorite book. Some of this arrives from the registrar before the semester begins, but the information isn’t always accurate, and many students accustomed to large..." 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Girls' Weekend in DC 2014

You guys, I am so pregnant and tired (8 months today!) that I can't write a proper post, but I had a lovely time with some of my college friends at Girls' Weekend Saturday and Sunday. (I only wish I had time to see all the new and not-so-new babies in the DC metro area- next time!

Girls' Weekend 2014
Laurie, Christina, Ash, Megan, Janice, me

Christina and I took Amtrak to DC which was quite the adventure for me in itself since last time I took the train was in 2004 (DC to Boston for the Democratic Convention). The train is over-priced but a much better way for a pregnant lady to travel than the bus (and probably better than flying too).  Christina and I had a lot of extra time to hang out, and used it mainly to repeat stories and snack. Haha.
  2014-02-22 Trip to DC
Clockwise from top: on train, me inside Union Station, Christina outside it 

Ash and Janice picked us up and our first stop was lunch in Shirlington with Megan. We went to T.H.A.I. I think I've been there before and it's yummy as always.

Girls' Weekend 2014.
Megan and Christina at T.H.A.I.

Girls' Weekend 2014
Ash, me, and Janice at T.H.A.I

We had a lot of time to kill before dinner and it was unseasonable warm out so we grabbed some flip flops and got pedicures. Usually I go most of the cold part of the winter without one and it's not pretty. Especially since I can't even reach my feet right now!

Girls' Weekend 2014
This picture reminds me of a scene in Sex in the City, but we're nothing like the characters

Finally it was time for dinner. Laurie made reservations for us at Le Diplomate, and I really enjoyed it. Everything was delicious, and there was a somewhat casual atmosphere that made it really comfortable to be there. We all tried everyone else's food so I can say confidently that everything is good.

Girls' Weekend 2014
At dinner on Saturday

Girls' Weekend 2014
Outside Le Diplomate on Q Street

Laurie hosted us for brunch on Sunday, which was not only super nice but also super tasty. We had delicious quiche,waffles, and lots of fruit and fixings. We also had some of the more meaningful and also the weirdest conversation at brunch.  Long live Girls' Weekend!

Girls' Weekend 2014
Laurie making waffles

Girls' Weekend 2014
Digging in!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Pregnancy Advice: Maternity Clothing

Maternity clothing is kind of a racket. My advice is aimed at making your shopping more cost-effective and comfy.

First trimester- Non-maternity tops and maternity pants
Skip the belly band. You're going to have to give up and buy some maternity pants eventually and they are so much comfier. First trimester you want to wear loose fitting clothes, but not maternity tops or dresses mostly because you don't want people guessing your secret. If your clothing isn't sufficiently loose, it's a better investment to buy loose non-maternity clothing (either drapey or a size bigger than you normally wear) because you will want to wear this clothing again at some point after you have the baby. For pajamas, I have found nothing beats the maternity leggings that go under the belly.

Second trimester- All maternity clothing
Go ahead and buys some cute maternity tops and dresses. I recommend short-sleeve shirts and dresses. You might choose to avoid sleeveless things because your arms might get really not-cute. Skip long sleeve if you plan on having a second child one day because you might be pregnant in a different season. Buy non-maternity sweaters instead (better investment). Long or "boyfriend-style" sweaters will last you into the 3rd trimester.

Note that maternity shirts and dresses with the cute ruching on the side can only be worn when you're pregnant. The shirts without it can be recycled when you're not pregnant.

If most of your pregnancy is during winter in a cold climate you will need a coat- either maternity or a big tenty swing coat (I have the latter). Don't go cold- prioritize the coat. (I kept trying to squeeze into my regular coat during my first pregnancy, so much happier this time with one that fits!)

Third trimester
Oh boy, good luck. One hack I discovered is that if you get really big for maternity shirts, a plain-looking night shirt will look just like a regular t-shirt.

After the baby is born
You will likely be wearing your second trimester maternity clothing and your loose-fitting non-maternity clothing for a while. You'll probably be sick of maternity pants, so celebrate when you can fit into your fat pants again.

My last pregnancy advice posts were about what I suggest you do before you get pregnant, and when you first find out that you're pregnant.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Tiny Tots Winter 2013-14

James doesn't go to daycare or attend mom groups, and while he goes to the park probably more than any other kid in our town when the weather is even remotely warm, he's been a little cooped up this winter. So Kevin started taking him to "Tiny Tots" classes at a nature preserve in Long Island. Every week they have a theme that they loosely follow. They play with other kids, go on "nature walks," learn about animals, and make seasonal crafts. Here are the cute photos Kevin took during his classes.

Tiny Tots- November 2013
Building towers in November

Tiny Tots- November 2013
Nature walk through the preserve

Tiny Tots- November 2013
Random dinosaur at the nature preserve

Tiny Tots- November 2013
He loves feeding goats

December 2013
Made his first Christmas ornament!

Tiny Tots- January 2014
January- Snow crafts

Tiny Tots- January 2014
Made a cotton ball snowman

Tiny Tots- February 2014
February- petting animals

Tiny Tots- February 2014
Sill talking about the lizard's blue tongue!

Valentine's Day 2014
Made his first Valentine

Tiny Tots- February 2014
Painting a penguin?

Tiny Tots- February 2014
A very depressed angry penguin

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Kevin's 34th Birthday & Sochi Winter Olympics 2014

Kevin had a laid back birthday this year. Having a winter birthday is particularly a disadvantage this cold and snowy winter.  I let him sleep in and made him breakfast. We enjoyed coffee from the new coffeemaker that Grandma Kathy got us for our birthdays (mine is in a few weeks).

Kevin's 34th Birthday 2014
Breakfast with love (blame Pinterest)

I gave him a sweater to expand his wardrobe this cold cold winter. He ran out and picked up some beer for himself that just became available locally.

Kevin's 34th Birthday 2014
Gift to himself

It snowed a little the night before (Snow Storm Quintus- really Weather Channel?) so he took James out for a little shoveling and snowman building. Common recreational activities for them this month.

Kevin's 34th Birthday 2014
James and the driveway Snowman

Kevin's 34th Birthday 2014
Notice that the snowman is drinking (thanks to our recycling bin)

Kevin's 34th Birthday 2014
Snowman's hungover now.

Then Lukas and Sarah came over for dinner and Winter Olympics games. I especially enjoyed the ice dancing. I could have lived with less commentary on Bode Miller's love life though, and miking his wife Morgan was especially unnecessary. They treated Kevin to a delicious apple strudel with birthday candles. Happy birthday, Kevin!

Kevin's 34th Birthday 2014
Watching the Winter Olympics

Kevin's 34th Birthday 2014
Sarah and Lukas with strudel

Kevin's 34th Birthday 2014
Blowing out the candles

Kevin's 34th Birthday 2014
Hope he gets his wish

Monday, February 17, 2014

Valentine's Day 2014

Happy Valentine's Day! We had one of the best yet. Kevin takes James to a toddler group on Mondays and James made me his first ever Valentine there! I get so excited by this stuff. Kevin got me a dozen red roses and a really sweet card. I also discovered Kevin's short story collection dedication to me this week while perusing the pages on Amazon, and I totally cried. I love it.

Valentine's Day 2014
Valentine's Day family picture

Valentine's Day 2014
My first Valentine from James!

We started our day with a view of our new little Valentine. I had my 30-week sonogram. She's not so little. She's got huge chipmunk cheeks and the sonogram technician estimated that she's 4 pounds 8 ounces which was a little bigger than James's estimate was at that age, and is more normal for babies that are 33 weeks along. My dreams of avoiding a repeat c-section are dimming.

2014 02 14 Sonogram 139
My littlest Valentine at 30 weeks. She wouldn't stay still.

In the evening, we were planning on going to a chain-style family restaurant because we didn't have a babysitter this year and we were bringing James with us. Unfortunately when we got to our chosen Long Island location, even though we got there very early, we discovered lots of families had the same brilliant plan. Suddenly we found ourselves driving to the scene of our 2012 Valentines Day dinner to get sushi. But this time we picked another sushi restaurant, Kaji (right next to the one we went to in 2012, Sushi Ya).

Valentine's Day 2014
Kaji Sushi

Valentine's Day 2014
Smelling the roses, so to speak

We got home a little late but I squeezed in a brief Pinterest-inspired photo shoot. Dada did not approve.

Valentine's Day 2014
Blame Pinterest.

Valentine's Day 2014
Kisses after bathtime and before bed.

Valentine's Day 2014

I feel really lucky for my 2.5 Valentines. I love you guys!

Last year we had sushi in Brooklyn...
Valentine's Day 2007-2012

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Winter Storm Pax- Snow Day 2014

Snow day! Kevin got his second snow of the season, but the first of the spring semester. I was really rooting for it. I don't like him driving in the snow and he walks to the farther away train station. Plus, I just wanted his company at home. One time I explained to someone that doesn't know us that well that I work from home and that Kevin works from home 2-3 days a week, and James doesn't go to daycare, meaning we are all home together 4-5 days a week. She looked at me aghast and asked, "Don't you get sick of each other?!" Nope, I root for snow days.

Snow Day- February 2014
The boys coming back from a walk

Snow Day- February 2014
James trying to shovel out the car in the driveway (fail)

Snow Day- February 2014
Tuckered out from all the shoveling, he fell asleep on me.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Visiting Regan and Family 2014

This weekend we went to visit Regan, Chris, Morgan, and Payton. We had a very successful pizza playdate with James and the girls. He talked for three days after about "the girls" and kept insisting he wanted to  "go back and play with the girls."

Visiting Regan 2014
Payton, Morgan, and James in a group hug

Visiting Regan 2014
Payton and Morgan- awesome sisterly love.

James is a modern boy and has no issues about "girl toys" nor is he anti-pink. He simply viewed their playroom as a toy wonderland. He played inside their castle and tried out their costumes. The girls were extremely hospitable and sweet to him.

Visiting Regan 2014
Trying out Morgan and Payton's sense of style.

Visiting Regan 2014
Regan offers other hat choices

Visiting Regan 2014
James likes being a cowboy

Payton is just about 8 months older than James, and she developed quite the fondness for Kevin. It was only a matter of time before she had Kevin wrapped around her little finger.

Visiting Regan 2014
Kevin reading to Payton. She referred to me as Kevin's sister (in an effort to oust me?).

Visiting Regan 2014
The rest of the kids join story time.

Chris was there too, and though we somehow failed to photograph him, he and Regan told us some hilarious stories about the girls getting into mischief as babies. Regan and Chris generously passed down the girls' baby clothes so that we'll have girly clothing when Itty Bitty arrives. I had been afraid that people would constantly mistake her for a boy dressed in James's hand-me-downs but now she will look adorable in the girly onesies and dresses they gifted us. Thank you guys!

Visiting Regan 2014
Me and Regan

We had to leave to avoid a little snow that was hitting New Jersey around 3ish, and it followed us to Long Island around 5 or 6. So much snow this season it's crazy!

Friday, February 7, 2014

7 Months Pregnant 2014

25 Weeks, January 9-15
I was supposed to have a doctor's appointment at the beginning of 24 weeks, but because of Snow Storm Hercules, we had to reschedule for this week. I met a new doctor in the practice and he surprised me with an unscheduled sonogram. I think I scared Kevin that something might be wrong when I called him into see her. She was hiding her face under her little fists, but the sonogram could focus past her arms so we could see her face anyway.  As the doctor pointed out, being able to see the entirety of her big eyeballs makes her sort of look like the Terminator right now. Kevin called her "cute." It must be love! She looked leggy to me, but all signs still say she is currently normal size, and the official file in my doctor's office still says my due date is April 24! So that's good.

25 Weeks Pregnant 2014
25 Weeks on Thursday- I'm huge already!

Baby progress:  
Baby's now the size of an cauliflower or rutabaga. Head to heel, she now measures about 13 1/2 inches., and she's about a pound and a half. She's beginning to exchange her long, lean look for some baby fat. As she does, her wrinkled skin will begin to smooth out and she'll start to look more and more like a newborn. She's also growing more hair. Her sense of equilibrium is also kicking in, and baby's learning to distinguish right side up from upside down.

Symptoms: Stuffy and runny nose, everything smells bad, trouble breathing, bad acid reflux. Also, I threw up (the nefarious cupcake) and I thought it was random, but since then I've been throwing up about once a week
Cravings: Chocolate, sugar, fish, beef, cupcakes
Anti-cravings: Cupcakes
My Weight Gain: 17 pounds, but still 3 pounds heavier than last time
Thing I Miss: Not worrying about the acid content of foods
Compare to week 25 with James

26 Weeks, January 16-22
Baby progress:  Itty Bitty is still size of a cauliflower or a head of lettuce.She now weighs about 1 2/3 pounds and measures 14 inches from head to heel.

She is soaking up antibodies, getting her immune system ready for life outside the womb. Her eyes are forming. The network of nerves in her ears is better developed and more sensitive than before. She's inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid, which is essential for the development of her lungs. These breathing movements are also good practice for when she's born and takes that first gulp of air. And she's continuing to put on baby fat.

Symptoms: Lots of trouble breathing, bad acid reflux, everything smells bad, stuffy and runny nose. Threw up again. This time I was eating a frozen fruit bar.
Cravings: Oatmeal, raisins, grapes, granola in various forms
Anti-cravings: Anything that looks even a tiny bit old totally grosses me out. Super sweet things (even though I want them) make me feel a bit sick
My Weight Gain: 19 pounds, 4 pounds heavier than last time
Thing I Miss: Sleeping!, breathing
Compare to week 26 with James

27 Weeks, January 23-29
Neutral Milk Hotel was baby's first concert this week, and she kicked through all the music- to the beat! Kevin and I signed our wills on Monday, so now we can rest easy that our kids will be taken care of even if something happens to us. I also finally told my boss I'm pregnant at the end of the week. I work remotely so it's easier to hide the belly than if I had an office job.

A bit over 27 weeks, rocking my swing coat (thanks, Ash's mom)

Baby progress:  Itty Bitty is the still size of a cauliflower or rutabaga. She weighs almost 2 pounds and is about 14 1/2 inches long with her legs extended.

Her lungs are developing, which combined with the opening of previously plugged nostrils means she's now able to practice inhaling and exhaling. Every "breath" is filled with amniotic fluid. She's sleeping and waking at regular intervals, opening and closing her eyes, and perhaps even sucking her fingers. With more brain tissue developing, her brain is very active now. While her lungs are still immature, they would be capable of functioning — with a lot of medical help — if she were born now.

Symptoms: Lots of trouble breathing, bad acid reflux, stuffy nose. I threw up after eating just a small amount of canned peaches after lunch. The I had to get up at night to throw up the ice cream I had after dinner. I see a pattern developing. I worry that this does not bode well for my glucose test at the end of the week.
Cravings: Protein: Hamburgers, BEEF, peanut butter, beans, seafood, fruit, peaches
Anti-cravings: peaches, veggies with a bitter taste
My Weight Gain: 19 pounds, 3 pounds heavier than last time.
Thing I Miss: Living Tums-free, eating sweets without puking, warm weather walks, hugging normally, jumping up from a sitting position without sucking wind
Compare to week 27 with James

7 Months!, 28 Weeks, January 30-February 5
Third Trimester! Final stretch!  I did my lucose test on Friday and it came back normal. But then I got a call a few days later that my iron was low so I was a little anemic and my vitamin D was low again. That explains my beef and hamburger cravings the last few weeks! So I'm tired from low iron, but I've also been working a lot this week- so I'm really really tired. And since James gave up naps in January, that means I had to give up naps in Jauary. Well, with another baby on the way, my napping days were numbered anyway.

28 Weeks
Baby progress:  Itty Bitty is now the size of an eggplant! She weighs 2 1/4 pounds and measures almost 15 inches from the top of her head to her heels.

Her lungs are mature enough that, if she were born right now, she has a great chance of being okay. Her skin is still pretty wrinkly (one byproduct of living in amniotic fluid) but will smooth as fat continues to deposit. She can open and close her eyes, which now has lashes.

Symptoms: Throwing up after eating sweet things, acid reflux, trouble breathing, trouble sleeping
Cravings: COCONUT, chocolate, Fruit loops?, Coca-Cola but I haven't indulged the last two.
Anti-cravings: Tatsoi is the grossest vegetable ever. I also don't like fennel.
My Weight Gain: 19.5, only 1.5 pounds heavier than last time- the closest I've been yet to my weight during James's pregnancy!
Thing I Miss: Being able to roll over. Not being constantly tired.
Compare to week 28 with James

Snow Day- February 2014
Is it just me or does this snowman look a little pregnant?

I'm 29 weeks now. I'm looking forward to seeing Itty Bitty in a full sonogram next Friday!

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