Monday, August 30, 2010

Routine Weekend

Not too much to report from California.  We had a pretty relaxing, routine weekend.  Jeremy and I disagree slightly about the purpose of weekends, but I think we've been able to come to a pretty good compromise.  Since I work all week (sometimes really long hours) the weekend is my time to catch up on stuff around the house and to do all the get-ready-for-baby chores.  Jeremy is of the opinion that chores really have no role to play in his weekend.  The other day he even said he stopped doing so many chores during the week because he knew I was just going to make him do chores on the weekend (cue sad background music here - it is truly tragic to be Jeremy sometimes).  I then pointed out that if he did chores during the week there would be fewer chores to do on the weekend.  He said that was a trap and if he did the chores during the week I would just come up with new, possibly harder chores on the weekend, so he'd stick with the ones he already knew about. I guess it is hard to argue with that logic! 

The way it ends up working out is that we spend part of each weekend doing stuff around the house and part of the weekend doing fun stuff.  Lately, a big part of our weekends involves tracking down baby stuff.  We have a list of "required baby gear" compiled from recommendations from friends with kids.  We're trying to slowly acquire all the stuff that Bagel will need.  In particular, we're trying to get as much of it used as possible.  A friend of ours uses the phrase "baby-industrial complex" to refer to the pressure/marketing aimed at getting you to buy all kinds of crap for your infant.  All you need is one trip to Babies R Us to realize he's probably right.  There is a lot of pressure to "be a good parent" and spend ridiculous amounts of cash on piles of stuff (much of it plastic) to entertain / protect / clothe / clean / feed / etc your baby.  Not only are you convinced that you absolutely must have all of this stuff, the reality is that much of the useful stuff is really only useful for a very short period of time and then gets discarded.  In addition to the discarding of stuff, the environmental impact of all of this crap is further compounded by all of the packaging/shipping required to get that made-in-Taiwan baby jungle gym to your local Babies R Us.  We're trying to be mindful of both the environmental and budget impacts of having a baby and to reduce our consumption as much as possible.  Not to mention we just don't have the room/money for a ton of unnecessary crap.  We also figure that as the first (non-feline) grandchild on my side of the family, Bagel will end up with plenty of stuff and will in no way feel deprived :)

Several people have asked "but don't you want nice, new stuff?".  Our thought is that nice, new stuff only stays super nice and new if you never let your baby touch it (which kind of defeats the purpose).  Really, once our baby chews on, drools on, poos on, and does other disgusting baby things to our stuff, it is not going to look new (our cats taught us this).  Of course we have our limits.  We'd never buy something used that we thought would endanger Bagel, so we've decided that we'll buy a brand new carseat (or we will potentially time share a carseat with some friends of ours who have a baby a little over a year older than ours will be).  We also have limits on what we think is acceptable to buy used.  For example, there is something about a used mattress that just skeeves us out, so Bagel got a nice, new crib mattress.  Ditto for changing table pad.  Basically, anything that can't be cleaned by either the dishwasher, washing machine, or a good soak in soapy water is something we'd prefer to buy new.  We also got the furniture for Bagel's room new, which we figured was important to do after the recent spate of crib recalls.

What does all of this have to do with our weekend?  Well, a new weekend Gottwood tradition is garage sale-ing on Saturday morning.  We check Craig's List on Friday night to make a list of the sales we want to hit in the area and then head out on Saturday morning.  If Jeremy is good and doesn't get grumpy while shopping, on the way back we stop for lunch at his favorite deli.  We're lucky that our area has tons of good garage sales and since the weather is pretty constant, garage sales are a year-round event.  We've managed to get lots of our big-ticket baby items at garage sales over the last month or so.  This weekend our major find was a great baby swing! 

Another thing we've had a lot of luck with is baby clothes.  Given that infants only wear clothes for about 3 months before they outgrow them, you could end up dropping some serious change outfitting your baby.  Garage sales in our area seem to sell baby clothes for somewhere in the 25-50 cents range which is just about right.  Given that Jeremy thinks it is ridiculous to spend more than $15 on a pair of pants for himself- a pair of pants that he will wear weekly until they disintegrate in the wash - he is definitely on board with baby clothes for less than $1 :)  At this point, we're still trying to buy mostly gender-neutral stuff (actually pretty HARD to find) since we don't know the gender of the baby for sure and it would be great to be able to re-use clothes if we have a second baby (or to dress Danger in them, either way). 

I think that even Jeremy would admit that sometimes we have fun hitting garage sales.  He was sold on a baby bouncy seat when the dad selling it pointed out you could bounce it with your foot while watching football.  If Fisher-Price wants to market to dads, they should start printing information on which baby gear will least interfere with football watching (in particular which gear leaves the most hands free for snacks/remotes). The other benefit for Jeremy of tagging along at garage sales, is that he occasionally finds a really good deal on tools to help outfit his shop in the garage.  This weekend he was practically giddy over finding some $2 clamps.

So, that's how we start our typical weekend - a few garage sales and the deli for lunch.  This Saturday afternoon we came home and took naps in the afternoon and just had a lazy day in general.  Sunday was chores around the house day - we did our grocery shopping and then I made food for the week and did laundry while Jeremy worked on projects in the garage.  Luckily, we also went to a party at a friend's house on Friday night, so we can convince ourselves that we're not completely old and lame ... at least not quite yet. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Four Months to Go!

This Tuesday was August 24.  Given that baby Bagel is due to arrive on December 24 that gives us about four months to get ready.  Yikes!  While we're making slow and steady progress on getting baby stuff together it still seems like December will be here before we know it.  And while the nursery is starting to come together, sometimes it is hard to image that there will be a real live baby in there before we know it.  Jeremy looked at me the other day and said "They are going to let us bring that baby home.  It will be in our house ... forever".  Actually, we really hope that Bagel goes to college and gets a job and doesn't necessarily live at home forever, but the point was well taken.  We are about to become responsible for a whole extra person.

Bagel has started to move around more which is a lot of fun.  Jeremy has gotten to feel her kick a few times which is cool.  Of course it is also a little weird to think there's something alive, moving around in there.  Jeremy likes to draw a comparison to the movie Alien where at one point a live alien bursts out of Sigourney Weaver's abdomen.  Every week we read the online updates of what Bagel is up to in terms of development.  Most of the entries compare the size of the baby to a vegetable - this week I think we're up to the length of the baby being roughly the length of an ear of corn. 

Not too much else going on around here.  Jeremy was sick at the beginning of the week, but he's doing much better now.  It was either food poisoning or the stomach flu, so he's pretty glad to be on the mend.  I started school, so I've been really busy with all the first week craziness.  Students only have two weeks after the start of school to add/drop classes, so there is always a flurry of frantic students needing advising appointments.  This semester I am teaching all of my classes on Tuesday and Thursday (one of them also has a class on Friday).  It is a great schedule because Monday and Wednesday are completely free for meetings, doctor's appointments and getting caught up on grading.  The downside is that my Tuesdays and Thursdays are long and busy.  My last class ends at 7:00pm. 

As much work as it is, I enjoy having the students back.  We really have a great group of students here and I really like that this year I already know some of them.  It is definitely a benefit of being at a smaller school that I get to know a lot of the students and I see them in multiple classes. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Back to school

Today was move-in day for freshman dorms here on campus.  Since I am teaching a section of a class for a dorm-community (where all the kids live together) I worked a shift during move-in, greeting parents and kids and answering questions.  It went pretty well, I guarded a couple of piles of stuff while parents made trips up and down the stairs, and I met several of the students in my class.  My only major failure as a volunteer was when I attempted to give directions to Target.  I kept trying to explain how to get there and finally the dad in the family said "that's ok, I'm sure we'll find it".  But I guess we all know, I am not good at directions.

The highlight of the day for me was when I was talking to one of the dads.  He had hauled all his daughter's stuff up the stairs and was just shuffling around the hallway waiting for her and her mom to get everything unpacked.  In an attempt to make conversation, he asked me "So, are you a sophomore?".  HA HA!  I think he was pretty relieved when I said "no, I'm staff".  I can't imagine that any parent would feel that great dropping their precious oldest child off at a college full of knocked-up, 30+ year old sophomores :)

It was kind of fun to see all the crap that the students were trying to cram into their little dorm rooms.  A couple of the guys showed up with just a comforter and a duffel bag full of clothes, but most kids had a ton of stuff.  One girl brought her grandfather with her to move in and he kept going on and on about all of the refrigerators and microwaves.  There were several stories about dorm rooms back "in the day" and musing about what the university must be paying in electricity for all these kids. 

This is my last weekend "off" before classes start on Monday.  I still have some work to do to get my classes ready, and then we'll probably spend most of the rest of the weekend taking care of stuff around the house.  I get to do my school supply shopping trip to Staples on Saturday, so that is always an exciting day for me.  We have it all worked out this year where Jeremy will drop me off at Staples and then go kill an hour at Home Depot before he picks me back up.  He's pretty adamant that he'd rather remove his own appendix with a rusty spork than spend time in an office supply store with me.  It's not my fault he can't appreciate a quality office supply!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

4 years of the Gottwoods!

Today was our fourth wedding anniversary!  I celebrated with a day full of meetings - I had meetings scheduled from 8:15 am - 6:00 pm.  Luckily I had a break for lunch and Jeremy brought by sandwiches from our favorite deli.  When the deli guy found out it was our anniversary he gave Jeremy free carrot cake - which caused Jeremy to declare the deli guy his "second favorite person in the world".  He clarified that I still had the number 1 spot, but by a fairly narrow margin.  I mean, I may be carrying his child, but we're talking about FREE CAKE.  I think if it had been pie I might have been out of luck.

After my late meeting we went out for a nice dinner in Pacific Grove.  It is amazing to think that this is the last time for quite a while that we can go out for an anniversary dinner without having to find a babysitter!  It was a delicious dinner and we really enjoyed having a nice night out before we both head back to school.

The other exciting thing that happened today is that Danger felt the baby kick.  After my alarm went off this morning, Danger sprawled on top of my belly.  Right as he settled in, Bagel gave a big kick.  She's still pretty little so the kicks aren't super-hard, but it was enough for Danger to lift his head and look at me accusingly, as if to ask "what just happened?".  Jeremy says he can't wait for Bagel to get bigger and for the kicks to get harder because he wants to see if Danger will fight back.  I can't say that I am particularly looking forward to baby-cat show downs with me caught in the middle.

The other memorable event that happens in the middle of August is my mom's birthday.  Happy birthday Mom!  (Actually it was the 17th).  On Tuesday I got a phone call from my brother (well, actually Jeremy got a phone call from my brother's best friend, but that's a much longer story) chastising me for dropping the ball and not calling him to warn him about mom's birthday.  Apparently he and his friend found out about her birthday when they stopped by my parent's house because it was half way between the liquor store and their final destination.  Although, as his friend pointed out, John had thoughtfully picked up a "bouquet of a dozen Bud Lights" to commemorate Mom's birthday - THAT'S thinking on your feet!

Happy birthday Mom and happy anniversary Jeremy!  Here's hoping for many more of both!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What's in a name?

If you haven't heard, baby Bagel is ... a GIRL ... maybe.  The only thing we're sure of about Bagel is that he/she is uncooperative and would not let the doctor get a good shot of the parts that are important when determining gender.  So, the doctor offered up a guess (based, I'm guessing, on NOT seeing some particular equipment) that Bagel is a girl with 90% certainty.  Luckily, she also offered to throw in a freebie ultrasound to double-check at our next appointment.  The doctor also said that she's relatively sure she's right, but (GRANDMOTHERS PAY ATTENTION HERE) not to go out any buy any pink stuff just yet, because there's definitely a chance that the next ultrasound might turn up some evidence to the contrary. 

Now that the gender question is close to being settled, everyone wants to know about names.  So, were just going to come out and tell everyone - WE'RE NOT TELLING.  Why?  Pretty much the only unanimous unsolicited advice we have received from our friends is to keep the baby's name to ourselves until the baby is born.  Our friend Joe gave this advice best - it involved many emphatic hand gestures and the use of the phrase "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD" at least three times.  His point was basically that before the baby is born, everyone is going to have an opinion on the name of your baby - probably negative.  You will hear things like "I hear that X is the most common name for serial killers", "A kid named X stole my lunch money in the third grade", "I got a great lap dance by someone named X once", etc, etc, etc.  However, once you have an adorable baby and present it with its given name, nobody and I mean NOBODY is going to bring up their stolen lunch money or tell you that with a name like that your bundle of joy is going to grow up to be the best tipped stripper in  the club (just like nobody is going to tell you that your baby isn't really all that adorable).

We considered this advice and decided it seemed pretty wise.  Also, it allowed us some flexibility in case we decided to change our minds about the baby's name.  We then had many (I'm sure many more than Jeremy would have liked) conversations about what to name Bagel (other than Bagel).  After a while, we decided on a girl name and a boy name that we both really liked.  In fact, we were particularly fond of our girl name.  BUT, then ... we did the unthinkable ... we did not follow Joe's advice.  We let the names slip.  The inevitable happened.  Our carefully chosen girls name got TRASHED.  Trashed to the point where we couldn't really use it any more.  By someone who we thought would actually be touched by the reasoning we used to select the name in the first place.  At the time, we still weren't sure about the gender, so we clung to the fact that our boy name was still (relatively) untarnished and we were probably not going to need a girl name anyway.  And then we got the ultrasound. Joe, we will never doubt you again.  If you tell us that the best sleeping position for a baby is upside down like a bat, we will immediately purchase bungee cords and make it so.  You are a wise, wise man. 

While we most certainly will not tell you what we're planning on naming Bagel, we will tell you what we are NOT naming Bagel.  We are not naming our baby girl Maxine.  We originally chose Maxine because we thought it did a great job of honoring both of our families.  My grandmother is Maxine, and Jeremy's great-grandfather was Max (which is what we were going to call her as a nickname - although Jeremy did at one point argue that it would be cooler to call her Mad Max).  We both liked the name, we thought a girl called Max wasn't going to get any static on the playground, and we looked forward to telling her stories about her families and how they both contributed to her name.  Then, we accidentally told some folks about our plan (the part where we did not listen to Joe).  It turns out Max Gottlieb was a real SOB, nobody liked him, you don't want to name your kid after him, etc etc etc.    While we were hoping that both of our families would eventually tell Bagel about where her name came from, we were not envisioning those conversations involving quite so much use of the word "jerk". 

So, we are back to the drawing board for a girl name.  Luckily, there's an app for that.  Seriously, we downloaded an iPhone app of baby names.  Every night while we're brushing our teeth and getting ready for bed, we go through a few more pages of baby girl names and we're keeping a list of names that we both find acceptable. We'll wait until after the next ultrasound and if the gender gets confirmed we'll narrow down to a few contenders and will probably put off the final decision until Bagel is born - unless we find something else that we both really, really like which hasn't happened yet.  At least we're having lots of laughs making fun of some of the ridiculous baby names out there, and even more laughs making fun of each others' selections.  Jeremy thinks I tend to like "old lady names" and has unequivocally outlawed any name including the letters "wyn".  I think Jeremy tends to pick names that belong to women who in middle age still shop in the juniors section and dot their "i"s with hearts.  But I'm sure we'll find something we both like, if we don't our fallback name is "George Foreman" :)

So, I guess the moral of the story is LISTEN TO JOE.  Although, his other piece of parenting advice was that as a guy, it is best to have all girl children because then when you get in the minivan, you can turn around and say "hellllll-oooooo ladies", so, you know, the jury might still be out on that one. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Stakes are Raised

It is no secret that Jeremy and I have a small wager on the sex of baby Bagel.  However, yesterday Jeremy announced that he has prepared a choreographed "I'm Right" song and dance number to perform at the OB's office if he wins.  I'm sure that's something the doctor doesn't see every day.  Of course, I guess you can't blame Jeremy, he is right so rarely it truly would be a reason to celebrate :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

How I spent my summer vacation

I've been pretty swamped this summer with work related things.  This past week I was at a workshop on remotely operated vehicles (underwater robots essentially) and how to teach students how to build them for a competition and classroom projects.  It was a lot of fun, but pretty exhausting - we had really long days and in addition to all the lectures we went to, we had to build a robot in groups and then show them off on the last day.  We did everything from soldering circuit boards, to waterproofing our robots to writing the control software.  All in a week!  I am pretty exhausted, but excited to share everything I learned with my students.  Here are a couple of pictures of my team's robot and control station:

Yay!  It doesn't leak!

ROV control station
The robot itself is made out of PVC pipe, but that's what makes it affordable for classroom use.  One of the best parts of the workshop was meeting all of the cool people involved.  Our workspace was at a local community college's auto shop and the guys that run the place did an amazing job of hosting us.  One night, during a late robot building session, they even hosted a cook-out on their custom BBQ:

Auto-shop BBQ
That's an old Honda Civic and the engine has been replaced with a huge BBQ pit.  It was pretty amazing.  The trunk was full of speakers too so that while you grill, you can enjoy some tunes.  Pretty impressive.  I can't believe John hasn't done something like this!  If only he had somewhere he could get an old beat-up car that doesn't run ... :)

Bagel's New Digs

This Friday, I'll be 20 weeks pregnant which is half-way through.  It seems like Baby Bagel will be here any day!  While Friday is the half-way point, Thursday is even more exciting because it is the day that we find out if we are having a he-Bagel or a she-Bagel!  There has already been some trash talk, so we're hoping we can contain things at the doctor's office.  It would be a little embarrassing to be known as the couple that found out the sex of their baby and then one of them started gloating about being right instead of paying attention to the ultrasound :)

Since we know we'll both be ridiculously busy once school starts in September (I go back August 23 and Jeremy goes back a month later) we've been trying to get things ready for Bagel now.  The first thing  we did was clean out the room we are using as a nursery.  It is the smallest of our two extra bedrooms, but it is also the closest to our room.  It had a desk and a bunch of random crap in it before, so we had to re-assign everything to other rooms.  We also cleaned the carpet, although with three cats, that is kind of a losing battle.

Once the room was all cleaned out, we painted.  We specifically chose to paint before we knew the sex of the baby, because we wanted to make sure we picked something gender neutral.  If we have another baby, we sure don't want to have to repaint!  Since both Jeremy and I like blues and greens, we found a nice turquoise that we think will work well for either a boy or a girl.  We spent a small fortune on the environmentally/kid/pet friendly paint from Sherwin Williams, so we hope Bagel appreciates it!  Here is the nursery with its fresh coat of paint:

Chez Bagel - sans furniture
We tried to do a good job and (mostly) followed my dad's extremely type-A painting process (with a few shortcuts - for example, we only washed the walls once and there was no bleach involved).  We also used painters tape around the top and bottom, but it didn't stick so well to our textured walls/ceiling.  This led to a some-what less than perfect edge around the walls, but we figure Bagel won't care.

We also bought some furniture for the room, but that is a whole separate post :)