Friday, January 31, 2014

Neutral Milk Hotel Concert 2014

We were so excited to get tickets to Neutral Milk Hotel's reunion tour. Even though they broke up in 1999, I didn't really know about them until Kevin put "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" on an old-school mixed tape (CD) he made me in 2006. (Aww.)

Anyway, we had a double-date with Nick and Emily. We started with dinner at Deniz, a Fort Greene Turkish restaurant. I was super excited when the waiter took one look at me and offered to make me a mocktail. After we met up with Briggs at Frank's Cocktail Lounge and head over to the concert all together.

Neutral Milk Hotel 2014
Kevin and me at Deniz restuarant

Neutral Milk Hotel 2014
Emily and Nick at Deniz

This was my first time at BAM, even though I've been wanting to go forever. The Opera House was gorgeous, and the concert was great. Actual quote from Kevin last night talking about band member Julian Koster: "He has three saws to play." He played that saw like magic. And Scott Spillane was awesome. Good times!
Neutral Milk Hotel 2014
BAM

Neutral Milk Hotel 2014
Me, Kevin, Briggs, Emily, and Nick

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Grandma Visits- January 2014

Grandma visited this weekend! I made dinner Thursday night, and she made a much yummier roast beef for us Friday night. A lot of wine was consumed. Saturday she babysat for us while we went out.

Grandma Visits- January 2014
Bathtime with grandma on Thursday night

Grandma Visits- Jan 2014
Reading to James about the horrors of rabies on Saturday

Grandma was still here Sunday morning when we started working on the new shared nursery for James and his sister. We hit some road bumps so it' been taking much longer than I would have anticipated, but it's starting to look really cute. I'll post more about this soon.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Pregnancy Advice: After You Get Pregnant

My last pregnancy advice post was about what I suggest you do before you get pregnant. So it follows that I should discuss what I advise you do when you discover that you're pregnant.

1) Keep taking prenatal vitamins, or start immediately. The folic acid in prenatal vitamins helps prevent neural tube defects in the first trimester.

2) Make an appointment with your OB. (If you don't have one research a good one.) Most OB's won't see you until about 8 weeks because they honestly can't tell you much before then. Record the date of your LMP so they can determine your due date.

3) I don't think you should tell everyone that you're pregnant immediately. Obviously it's your personal choice to make and you can tell anyone you want, especially if you're close to that person. But be aware, approximately a fourth of pregnancies do not work out and you probably don't want to explain to everyone if yours is one of those. Even if you are blessed with a healthy pregnancy, a lot of people will feel really uncomfortable with your early announcement, either because they are worried for you or because they experienced a miscarriage themselves.

4) Don't immediately run out and buy a ton of stuff. Largely for the same reason as above, but also, towards the end of your pregnancy some loved one may want to shower you with gifts.

5) Related to the above, ask a friend who has a young child for help making a baby registry. (I might do a post on what baby stuff to get if I don't run out of time.)

6) Sign up for babycenter.com or thebump.com. Skip "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and the like. If you want to buy a "pregnancy book" I recommend "Your Baby's First Year" by American Academy of Pediatrics. Unlike the authors of some other books, these people are doctors. There's a solidly long pregnancy section in the front, followed by an infinitely more useful section on what to do when the baby is actually here. It's like two books in one.

7) Please take belly pictures. I know a lot of moms who didn't because they were unhappy with how they looked at the time, but you might not always feel this way in retrospect. So if you don't like how you look right now, take the pictures and put them somewhere safe without sharing them. Later in your life if you still hate them you can burn or delete them. But most likely you will like the photos later- or your child will.

8) Don't get too attached to your "birth plan." It may not happen that way at all.

9) Don't eat too much junk food, especially if it has preservatives. The baby does not "need" that, and you'll find most of the weight you gain in the first and second trimester goes to your bum and not to the baby. That's weight you'll still have on your bum after you have the baby.

10) Prioritize sleep as much as you can. (This is hard, especially if you already have another child.)

11) Be easy on yourself. You just can't do everything you used to do. (This is very hard.)

12) Morning sickness can sometimes be avoided by not letting yourself get too hungry or stressed. Other times it can't be avoided at all.

13) Tums can be really helpful for acid reflux, but beware they can cause iron deficiency. (Learned this the hard way.) Iron deficiency can be really serious because you may lose a lot of blood when you have the baby, and really low iron could result in difficulty breathing and might even result in you losing consciousness.

14) Research any medication (prescription or over-the-counter) people suggest. You should understand the benefits and risks before you take anything (including prescription prenatal vitamins that often contain "extras"). Here's a link I found explains the issue really well: http://blogs.plos.org/publichealth/2014/03/03/tylenol-safe-pregnancy-trick-question/

15) Now might be a good time to write a will, determine who will care for your child if something happens to you and your spouse, and even write an advance health care directive.  I'm impressed if you're motivated though, it took us almost 3 years after James was born to do our will.

That's all I can think of, but comment if you have any questions and I'll try to offer what I can.




Friday, January 24, 2014

Recent James Quotes 2013-14

I can't believe James will be 3 years old in just 3 months! (And we'll have another amazing little person to love then too!) James's speech has been getting more sophisticated and it constantly cracks us up. Some of it is that he can repeat entire sentences we say now, but a lot of it is his own personal stylings on how he views the world or the world of pretend.

J: (Brings over stuffed pug.) "Fudgie loves you. He's a good pet. Read him a book."
-11/19/13

J: "It's beautiful!"
K: "What's beautiful? Mama?"
J: "Nooo."

-12/13/13

Fun at Home- January 2014
Coloring in some bills

1/2/14: I asked Kevin to put butt cream on James after his bath, and after Kevin put it on him I heard James thank him.
Kevin laughed and said, "Wow, that was the most appreciative butt cream application ever!"
Then James said, "You're the best!"

1/18/14: Gets on his bike and says, "Bye, Gonna go talk to Sarah at her house. Bye. See you later, alligator."

Bike in the House 2014 
Biking away

J: (Throwing out a diaper) "Good night, diaper. I love you. See you in the morning."
-1/18/14

J: (After I helped him build a train track.) "Where the train going? Around and around! Woah! You're the best, mama!" Gives me a big hug.
- 1/19/14

Playing trains with a very pregnant Mama

In other news, he started refusing naps about a week or two ago. We had to adjust his bedtime up this week to adjust for how grouchy he got late at night. So now he sleeps from 7:45 p.m.to almost 7:15 a.m. and it's AMAZING. He did pass out while watching the Patriots play this weekend, so it's not a perfect system, but we're going to stop fighting him and let him nap when wants to.

Naptime 2014
Aw, one of his last regular naps in our bed.

He's also super obsessed with the songs "I'm a Little Teapot," "Humpty Dumpty," and "The Wheels on the Bus." He's been pretending random objects are teapots so his Great Aunt Mary sent him a tea set in primary colors. Hey boys drink tea too.

New Teapot 2014
Thanking Mary for the teapot on Facetime

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Casey and Pete Visit 2014

We've had back-to-back visitors for a few weeks, ad the last two weekend we had Kevin's friends Casey and Pete visit. This meant a lot of partying for Kevin. Which taught him that he's too old to go out two consecutive nights in a row. This is something I learned a long time ago.

But both guys got to spend a lot of quality time with me and James too.

Casey trying to potty train James

Pete showing James photos of his daughter Lenny on his phone, 
and sending her funny face pics of James

Thanks for visiting, guys!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Things My Wife Complains About #27: Buying Her Gourmet Cupcakes

My wife complained the other day that nobody brings her cupcakes. She said this not in the tone of "nobody brings me flowers" but in the tone of "nobody brings me oxygen." You are encouraged to imagine my pregnant wife on a respirator of cupcakes, complaining.

I told her to find a place that sells the cupcakes she wanted, and the next day I went to that place. The cupcake she selected was 975 calories and cost $4.50. I used to buy pitchers of beer for less than that in graduate school. Probably, some of you are old enough to have purchased homes for that price.

The cupcake was a complaint-fest from the beginning: It was too big, too sugary, too cake-y (?). Then, when she attempted to consume the cupcake, a series of unfortunate events occurred wherein she was wearing most of the cupcake, and milk was everywhere. This, obviously, was my fault.

I didn't leap to her rescue fast enough. I focused on cleaning the couch, not helping her, and I hadn't even bothered to wipe chocolate off the milk cup. What, she asked earnestly, had I been doing? I had been reassessing the place of the cupcake in my life. It was a soul-searching moment.

Possible solutions!

1) Replace cupcakes with literally any other food item
2) Admit that I forced her to spill the cupcake and, in fact, secretly relished the experience
3) Question a pregnant woman's cravings (hard)

Crumb's Thin Mint Cupcake

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New Years Resolutions 2014

Well, we're half-way through January already, so maybe it's time I got my resolutions in order. This is a lot of stuff but I'm hoping I'll be aided by the insanity of pregnancy "nesting."

Must
  • Complete our wills, powers of attorney,  living wills, and healthcare powers of attorney.
  • Double check our Life Insurance now that we will have 2 kids.
  • Back up entire computer (and try to get Kevin to do the same).
  • Finish James's baby book
  • Take a picture every day of Itty Bitty's first year (because I did it for James)
  • Go for a walk 5-6 times a week after I'm recovered from Itty Bitty's birth until it gets too cold in Fall/Winter 
  • Finish dental work (ugh)
Would like to:
  • Read more (quality) books! My full reading to-do list for 2014 is on my books blog.
  • Cook more quality dinners. I actually started working on this in December, I'll write more about it soon.
  • Baptism- for both kids?
  • Learn Italian! Well, learn a little conversational stuff.
Bonus goals:
  • Learn to bake? Ah, scared of this one. 

Crazy picture of me from New Years Day- Cheers! 


Friday, January 10, 2014

6 Months Pregnant 2014

21 Weeks, December 12-18
Kevin wrapped up the fall semester this week and we started on a long break together. Nana visited and babysat for us when we went out to celebrate Sarah and Lukas's joint birthday, and James W visited us for a week. Poor James had to go back to the dentist.

We had a lot of fun celebrating Christmastime at home with James.  I had many cravings.

Baby progress: Baby is the size of a banana or carrot. Baby's digestive system is starting to work.
She kicks when James cries or when I sing lullabies to him.
Symptoms: Acid reflux!!! Baby kicks feel like ELECTROCUTION.
Cravings: Apple cinnamon cheerios, milk, rice pudding, mint, cinnamon, (ice cream, cookies). Apples, mango juice, strawberry everything. At one point, almost all I ate for 24-hours was apple cinnamon cheerios.
Anti-cravings: Coffee (I want it but it burns me with evil acid reflux)
My Weight Gain: 11 (last time 13-16?)
Compare to week 21 with James or maybe with week 22?

22 Weeks, December 19-25
Andrew came here for a brief visit before we all drove to the Cape together. We celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas Kevin's family.

Baby progress: The baby is the size of a papaya. (Yum.) She's supposed to be settling into sleep cycles, and I can kind of tell. She usually kicks around at night when I'm sitting on the couch with Kevin, and when I go to sleep. In the morning she doesn't "wake up" until 8:30 am, usually after I've been up for a while.
Symptoms: ACID REFLUX. Made it tough to sleep some nights.
Cravings: Christmas goodies, chocolate, chai tea, everything.
Anti-cravings: Not really.
My Weight Gain: 13 (last time up 16-18, but don't forget I started heavier this time)
Compare to week 22 with James

Christmas on the Cape 2013
The 3.5 Clous at the Cape on Christmas.

23 Weeks, December 26- January 1
We were still on the Cape at the beginning of this week relaxing with family. Casey and Jaime came up to visit and have drinks with us. We had a good drive back home, and we celebrated New Years Day with Lukas and Sarah.

Baby progress: The baby is the size of a mango or papaya. Her face is fully formed. She's getting used to a lot of the sounds she hears coming from outside the womb.
Symptoms: ACID REFLUX
Cravings: Nuts
Anti-cravings: None.
My Weight Gain: 15 pounds, but still 3 pounds heavier than last time
Compare to week 23 with James-- Holy cow, I looked much smaller last time. Uh-oh.

Jaime visiting- I'm 23 weeks pregnant

Six Months!, 24 Weeks, January 2-8
Nana came over to exchange presents for  "Little Christmas" before we took the tree down. Kevin started the winter semester on the coldest day of our lives.

January Christmas 2014
Lots of cute presents!

Baby progress:  Baby is the size of an ear of corn. She's gaining weight, and her lungs are developing. Her brain is growing quickly now. She kicks when James, Kevin, or I sing, and sometimes when we listen to music.
Symptoms: Acid reflux but it's not as bad. I'm starting to have trouble sleeping already. I was hoping that would wait for the third trimester.
Cravings: Fruits of all kinds, Mango juice, pineapples, mandarins and other citrus fruits that give me acid reflux and BURN. Chocolate and chocolate ice cream which do not give acid reflux and seem to dampen it.
Anti-cravings: None? Everything sounds pretty delicious.
My Weight Gain: 16 pounds, but still 3 pounds heavier than last time
Compare to week 24 with James

Thing I Miss: This is the first week I miss anything which is lucky. To this point I haven't really missed alcohol. This week I thought several glasses of red wine would be sublime. I miss lying on my belly-- particularly while working at home-- to give my back a break. I miss not having to suspiciously weigh the likelihood that otherwise benevolent foods will burn like tequila shots. That's how I ate pieces of pineapple this week, like one evil tequila shot after another. But these are small sacrifices.

Today, I'm 25 weeks, and I'm just 15 weeks (or less) from meeting my daughter!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

"Little Christmas" in January with Nana 2014

We saved our tree for Nana to come over and exchange gifts. Even though Christmas Eve (Noche Buena) is the big family dinner celebration in Cuban culture, presents are actually exchanged on Epiphany morning, after the wise men bring them on the 12th night of Christmas. We never did that when I was growing up (the wise men compromised and came on the same night as Santa) but I understood growing up that we had changed the family's tradition because we lived in the United States.

Well, this year, we got to open some presents pretty close to what the Irish call "Little Christmas."

January Christmas 2014
Nana is very very cold.

January Christmas 2014
James understands the "present" thing now and was pretty excited.

January Christmas 2014
Riiiiiiiiip.

January Christmas 2014
James got a bunch of trains, and he's been playing with ALL of them in equal measure.
(And more than any of his other toys.)

January Christmas 2014
I'm holding a Patriots Mickey, but look around me and you can see that 
Itty Bitty got a lot of fashion items from Nana

January Christmas 2014 
Nana rocking her gift from James. An owl bracelet.

January Christmas 2014
Kevin enjoying his new windbreaker indoors.

Merry Little Christmas! James is still mourning the departure of our tree this week! We told him it went back to the park.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Snow Storm Hercules and Sledding 2014

Snow Storm Hercules dropped about 6 inches of snow on us, so Kevin got all excited to take James sledding for the first time. Plus Grandma gave James a pair of sweet snow pants for Christmas so he was all set.

First Time Sledding 2014
Awesome snow pants

First Time Sledding 2014
Don't worry he's just going to the car- and he can't wear his coat in the car seat

His first attempt on Friday was a little rough. Kevin looked up an ideal spot on Long Island but it was a little far and not that great. Plus, it was a little too cold for James, and he was kind of scared of sledding.

First Time Sledding 2014
Playing with snow- notice the lack of sled.

They tried again on Sunday though, and it was much better. They found a closer place to go, the weather was a little warmer, and this time James loved sledding. He can't wait to go back!

Sledding 2014
Cute red cheeks

Sledding 2014
Weeeee!

Sledding 2014
Bye-bye.

Sledding 2014
Snow bunny pose with Rogers-family-face.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Year's at Lukas and Sarah's 2013 --> 2014

Sarah and Lukas invited us over for brunch on New Years Day, which is also Lukas's real birthday (as opposed to the fake one we already celebrated).

New Years Day 2014
Brunch in Lukas and Sarah's kitchen

They made a delicious spread of waffles, bacon, sausage, and fresh strawberries and bananas. We brought the mimosa fixings. I think it was more of a treat for us than them.

New Years Day 2014
The Clous enjoying the New Year

New Years Day 2014
Sarah letting James blow out the candles

James loves playing with Sarah and Lukas. They engineered some toy car speedway for him out of huge cardboard rolls and their furniture, and then showed him how to shoot the car out. Between the food and the playing, I'm pretty sure he just wanted to stay and live with them for a while.

New Years Day 2014
Where did the car go?

New Years Day 2014
The top of the track

New Years Day 2014
Catching the car at the bottom


New Years Day 2014
Happy birthday Lukas!

And Happy New Year! Yay 2014!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Baby Maxwell S. 2014!

Another New Years baby! Anna and Mike had their fourth child and first son Maxwell Anthony last week! He is a big cutie face! Look!

2014 01 02 Maxwell Anthony Shaw 01
Anna, Maxwell, and Mike

2014 01 02 Maxwell Anthony Shaw 02
Meeting his three older sisters: (l-r) Clara, Abigail, and Lydia

I still haven't even met Clara yet. I am seriously falling behind!

Four kids!
Abigail 2006  
Lydia 2008
Clara 2011
and Maxwell 2014!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Review of 2013- Part 2

And the rest of last year...

July
We celebrated the 4th of July in Long Island with my friend Jaime. Then we did 35 fun things for Jaime's birthday in New York! Cory and Robin also came up to visit and we capped off the long weekend with a trip to Jones Beach and a back yard cookout with our friends.

Jones Beach- July 2013 
Jones Beach with friends

Kevin and I got the wonderful news that his collection of short stories, We Were Flying to Chicago, would be published with Black Balloon Publishing! Due out in May!

Isaac and Eleanor had a playdate with James that included a stuffed animal fight! I had a little playdate with Akua in the city. We visited my grandmother Daisy and my mom in New Jersey. Kevin and Jon's friend Nick visited from Austin. By now, James was speaking in sentences and acting like a complete little person.

We went up to Cape Cod and celebrated Ellen's 6th birthday, and Mike's 30th. We had to leave the festivities a little early to head to our next party. Victoria threw Casey a surprise party on the beach. Kevin and Jon had made previous plans to see Casey in Boston for a Red Sox game, so they went back but were rained out. We went to Baltimore to visit Katie and catch a Red Sox and Orioles game at Camden Yards.

Casey's 33rd Birthday 2013
Our three families celebrating Casey!

August
Jeff, Inga, and Silas visited all the way from San Diego (where they had recently moved from San Francico). Grandma Kathy visited and we all went to the Nassau County Art Museum. We had a fun night out with friends in Manhattan. On the way home, I complained about Kevin not being able to read my mind. (TMWCA #24)

More good news: I got a consulting job. Then mid-month, we got a positive pregnancy test! Yay! Due date: April!

Jeff and Caroline had a baby boy, Christopher! Sarah T. and I had a SuperFly time in Astoria. We drove up to visit Aubree, Patrick, and Avery in Vermont. We had an eventful drive back and then went to visit Wendy and Clark at their new house in Upstate New York.

Visiting Vermont 2013
In Burlington, Vermont with Patrick, Avery, and Aubree

This week began badly. My mother called to tell me that scans had revealed she had a growth on her kidney. We didn't know yet if it was cancer or not, but it was obviously a big concern for all of us, and we had to wait  two weeks for an appointment with a urologist to find out more. The connection to my last pregnancy is hard to ignore, since my dad had been diagnosed with kidney cancer around the time I got pregnant with James. I saw my mom over the weekend, and we all went to Ash's barn party.

September
Brady visited over Labor Day Weekend.Jaime visited and we went out for dinner and karaoke to celebrate Rachel and Christina's birthdays, and they figured out I was pregnant when I refused sake bombs.

The doctors confirmed my mom had renal cell carcinoma, and scheduled surgery to remove her kidney for October 9. I was now 2-months pregnant and got my first sonogram of the baby mooning us. Then we surprised our moms by inviting them both over to tell the moms the good news at the same time. It was a little early but after our first sonogram we were feeling pretty good and thought we could share the news with just our moms since we didn't want them to guess before we told them. And my mom needed some good news.


Old Westbury Gardens 2013
Our moms are happy because they're getting another grandbaby!

Cathy visited on Saturday, and on Sunday people came over for football and food. We took James's to his first dentist appointment.

October
Sarah and I went to Fall for Dance and I loved it. I want to go again!

Mom had her surgery and it went well! We had some extra genetic testing this week since I'll be 35 when the baby is born, but it's fancy new testing that's non-invasive, and tells you the baby's gender early! So a week later, I knew we were having a girl! I was now 3 months pregnant, so we had another sonogram, and then announced we were pregnant to the rest of our friends.

We had a fun trip to the farm with Rachel and Christina's families. We also told our immediate family the baby's gender. James turned 2 and a half, and we took him to the dentist to get his baby teeth cavities drilled. Um, happy half birthday?


Queens County Farm- Oct. 2013 
The farm with friends

We went to Virginia to celebrate Brian's 30th birthday! We also visited with Jaime, Janice, and Darren which resulted in James celebrating Halloween in both Virginia and Long Island.

The Red Sox won the World Series for the second time since Kevin and I have been together! Kevin drove up to Boston to watch the final game in the bar that lets you look right down to the field at Fenway. To paraphrase Kevin with a lot of license, "Someday my unborn second child will ask what I remember about her pregnancy and I will say, 'The Red Sox won the World Series!'"

Halloween in Arlington 2013
Celebrating Halloween early with Fudgie, Darren, Janice, and Jaime

November
We announced to everyone that we were having a girl! Ash visited for the weekend, and Christina and Sarah came over Saturday for a girls' night of sushi and Miss Universe. We also had our first snow here on 11/12/13. I was now 4 months pregnant! We also went with Sarah to the Museum of the Moving Image.

We had an epic trip to Key West to celebrate Andrew's 30t birthday. Andrew had family and friends there, and obviously his family partied the hardest. We had a quiet Thanksgiving with my mom and some of her friends. Jackie and Rob got engaged!

Andrew's 30th in Key West 2013
Partying in Key West with friends and family

December
Jon and Becky celebrated Ben's 1st birthday in Brooklyn before moving to Hoboken later in the month. We more snow! I was now 5 months pregnant with baby girl and I had many cravings. Casey visited us had to deliver instruments to Carnegie Hall and visited us for a couple of days. Nana visited too and babysat for us when we went out to celebrate Sarah and Lukas's joint birthday in Queens. We had back to back visitors and James W stayed with us for a week. Andrew stayed for day and Kevin took him to a terrifying Russian bath house.

We had a lot of fun celebrating Christmastime at home with James. We had a wonderful Christmas on the Cape with Kevin's family. We left the trip open-ended and stayed a week enjoying Grandma Kathy's hospitality and even visited with Jaime and Casey.

December 2013
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Read about the first half of 2013 here.
Read about the first half of 2012 or the second half of 2012
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