March 16, 2008

This weekend my friend Alecia flew down from Boston and threw me a lovely baby shower in Fayetteville. The room was full of women I love and admire, some of whom I’ve known since I was a baby myself! (My mom pointed out the wide age range of the group, too — there were women there in their 20s, 30s, 40s … on up through their 80s!)

(From L-R: Anne, who was our neighbor and regular babysitter when we first moved to Fayetteville in the ’70s; me; my sister, Amy; and Laura, Anne’s daughter)

Aside from a huge haul of amazing gifts (Joe is pretty much set now!) we also had a yummy lunch and a delicious buttercream cake.

My only regret? In all the activity and picture-taking, I didn’t get ONE SINGLE SHOT of Alecia and me together. Alecia, please return immediately so we can fix this.

The rest of the photos are on our Flickr account!


27 Weeks Down, 13 To Go …

February 25, 2008

To look at me, you’d think I was due any day now. I can’t imagine how much bigger I’m going to get!

[rockyou id=103850798]

Last week we hired a doula to attend the birth. Her name is Cynthia and she put us right at ease. (Her hobby is going to estate sales and junk shops, and then re-selling what she finds — so right away, we had lots to talk about!) She had her own six children naturally, and helped her daughters bring four of their kids into the world naturally, so she knows what she’s talking about.

But she’s not a stickler for the natural way. If you need pain relief, she’ll help make sure you get it. And if you need a C-section, she can come into the OR with you and tell you everything that’s happening. The key word there is need — if someone comes after me with a needle or a scalpel, I want to know that I did everything I could to avoid it.

When my sister gave birth three years ago, we thought that having a doula was one of those self-indulgent things only my sister would do. But when her very level-headed, no-frills husband said it was great to have one, we thought there might be something to it. In my reading, I found that having a doula at the birth dramatically decreases your chances of having a C-section, so that’s when we started the search. I think it will be nice for both of us “newbies” to have someone on hand who can reassure us that everything is normal.

The next order of business may be to switch practitioners, and possibly even hospitals. My doctor seems resistant to the natural childbirth idea, and if she doesn’t ease up soon then we’re thinking a midwife might be the better option. The only midwives our insurance will cover are at MCV, which is a perfectly good hospital but not as posh as the lovely St. Francis. (One cool thing about MCV: You can see it from I-95 as you pass the big clock tower in Richmond, so it could be an important landmark on family trips. “Look, Joe … that’s where you were born!”)

More on that as it unfolds!

The Van Halen concert we had tickets for was canceled on Friday night, so we stayed home instead. On Saturday, our friend Mike came into town. We went shopping and Mike picked up a sweet new outfit for Joe. On Sunday, Patrick did some chores around the house while Mike and I met Lisa for a lovely brunch at Lulu’s.

Oh, we got a lovely movie on NetFlix a few weeks ago: Once is about a Dublin street musician and a Czech girl he meets and begins to perform with. The music was so pretty and catchy. I think one of the songs won an Oscar last night?

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2008

We went to Fayetteville for a couple of days to celebrate the 50th anniversary of my mom’s mother and stepfather. Mumsey and Grandy came from Arkansas for the occasion and “Aint Naincy” (my mom’s sister) came up from Florida.

At dinner, Grandy (who is 94 and sharp as a tack) shared lots of stories with us about everything from World War II to the various animals he has bottle-fed to adulthood.

We also got lots of time with the niece and nephew, who make us all the more eager to meet this little person we’re waiting for. Seriously, how cute is this:

We came back to Virginia on New Years Eve, just in time for a visit from my friend Mike. The three of us stayed awake long enough to say “Happy New Year” and then promptly fell asleep. Lola was unnerved by the sound of fireworks outside and had a harder time settling down, poor thing. It just breaks your heart to see her shivering with fear.

So today we started another year. It’s going to be a big one for us — stay tuned!

The week before Christmas …

December 18, 2007

… seems like the longest week of the year. Unless you haven’t finished your shopping yet, and then it draaaags. But our shopping is done, so there’s nothing to do but wait. Hurry up, Santa!

We had a lovely visit from our friends Matthew and Alecia this weekend. They were on their way to Massachusetts, where she’ll be starting grad school next month. (While she’s busy with that, Matthew will be spending a year in Kuwait. Fun!)

Matthew was craving Ethiopian food and was considering a stop in D.C. on their way up — but when he mentioned it to us, we told him there was an Ethiopian place in Richmond we’d been dying to try anyway. So off we went to Nile. We’d never had Ethiopian food before, but we’ve heard lots of people rave about it (including Patrick’s sister!). It was really good, and fun to eat. We all waddled out of there full and happy.

Ooh, and I made a special dessert for their visit: Chocolate Guinness Cake. (Chocolate for the chicks and Guinness for the dudes. What’s not to love?) The finished product is supposed to look like the top of a pint of Guinness, and it really did! The cake part comes out really spongy but not too sweet, and the icing is cream-cheesy and delicious. I suspect we’ll be whipping up another one soon.

I wish we’d taken photos of their visit but it didn’t even occur to me until after they’d left. They’ll have to come back as soon as they’re able to. (Especially because Lola is now Matthew’s biggest fan!)

Last night we had a nice dinner at Patrick’s boss’s house. I ate entirely too much, but people seem to love that when you’re pregnant!

Patrick thinks that I laugh more now that I’m pregnant, but I think it’s because he’s been especially funny these past few months. One morning when I rolled out of bed, he waggled his fingers over my tummy and cooed, “Good moooorning, baby. How are yoooou?” Then he looked up at me and said (in a much lower register), “Hello, host.”

It’s fun being married to a comedian!


October 30, 2007

Yesterday we got a yummy surprise from our friends Alecia and Matthew. It was a fruit arrangement from Edible Arrangements, complete with strawberries, flowers made of pineapple, and chocolate-dipped apple slices. We tore the mess out of it, but I did get a photo first:

As an added bonus, Lola is terrified of the balloon that came with it. So we’ve had some fun tormenting her with that. Hey, it’s Halloween.

Here are a few links to help you kill some time:

Weekend in Greensboro

July 26, 2007

Last weekend I went back to the Triad for an old friend’s wedding shower. Carla and I worked together at the ill-fated Triad Style magazine before it crashed and burned in 2003. She stayed on as a graphic designer with the daily newspaper that owned it, and has worked there since.

This company boasted of never, ever laying anyone off, despite tough times in the newspaper biz, in all their long history. So, at the end of Triad Style, they offered to find me a new position at the big daily newspaper. After some research, they took me into the HR office to tell me about the exciting possibilities in my new position: emptying the change from newspaper boxes around the city.

As intriguing as that “opportunity” sounded, I declined. And I let them know that it would have been kinder to lay me off than attempt to demote me from associate editor to change-emptier. Hmph.

So the wedding shower was full of people who work with Carla at the paper, and they had horror stories about the past month at work. Guess what happened to 40 or so people, including a lot of reporters and photographers? They were laid off.

And the way they did it! One Thursday afternoon, the publisher sent an email out that said something like, “We have to lay some people off, and it’s happening right now.” (I guess when you’re doing that in a newsroom, there can’t be a lot of advance notice.) As soon as everyone had read and absorbed the email, they looked up to see people getting tapped on the shoulder and led into the auditorium. There the unfortunate employees got an official apology, and a team of security guards led them all to their cars. They couldn’t even clean out their desks or say goodbye to anyone. One reporter had moved from out of state to take a job there — she started on Monday and was laid off on Thursday. Cold!

Anyway, Carla’s job is safe. I’m so glad I left there, though! It forced me to move back to Fayetteville, which led me to Patrick and a very happy life. I do cringe when I see those newspaper boxes, though.

After the shower, I met up with my old roommate Mike for a night out in Greensboro, just like old times. We were both astonished at how different everything is. We made our way in from opposite sides of the city, and stayed on our cell phones, yelling, “Oh my God, there’s a Costco on Wendover!” “What is this big building at UNCG?!” “Is that the deli?!”

Our old apartment is still intact, but the house where Mike was living when we met was torn down and replaced with an H&R Block. The Rockola where we worked our fingers to the bone is a drive-through bakery! And our beloved Babylon, where we danced ourselves silly, is now a burrito restaurant. It ain’t right.

Downtown is booming, though! It used to be a bit of a ghost town, but now it’s got loads of restaurants, shops, a huge park and a giant baseball diamond. I wish I had taken more pictures there before, because now I can’t remember what any of those spaces used to be.

After taking it all in, we ate at Natty Greene’s (the former Paisley Pineapple) and bored the waitress with our memories. Sigh.