Sunday, September 26, 2010

Halloween Planning

Norah finally decided what she wants to be for Halloween....

She better not change her mind because I just ordered the above costume. She has also decided that I am going to be the diver from Nemo. And BVZ? He has to be a chicken.

It's Hard Work

Being a Niners fan when they suck so bad.

Soccer Star

Saturday was Norah's first day of Daddy and Me soccer. It was in the middle of another insane heat wave. (Listen, I can take a few weeks of 90+ degree weather when it is in the SUMMER. The issue I have is when it is fall and 65 degrees one day and then 90 the next. That's just no good for anyone). Anyway, the class is done through our local Parks and Rec department and takes place at the elementary school about a mile and a half away. Here are BVZ and Norah ready to go. They both look a little ghostly due to their long sleeve white shirts and 12 layers of sunscreen.

I went this one time just to check it out and take pictures. From here on out I plan to spend soccer class time either napping or watching HBO. The class was cute and Norah seemed to have a good time, but I had a couple of issues with it. Mainly, there were TOO MANY KIDS. Like, 20 or so two year olds. That's too many kids. I am hoping that because they are two things will inevitably come up and not everyone will be at every class.

This is the coach. I can't remember her name. Which is especially odd because she referred to herself in the third person the entire time. For the first 15 minutes I kept looking around for the coach she seemed to be referring to.

They learned to 'stomp' on the ball and then ran around touching different colored flags.

Then they kicked the ball from one flag to the next. Norah ruled this exercise.

Finally they got a chance to shoot goals. She had to wait so long for her turn that she got a little disinterested, but still rallied at the end.

It should be a good experience for both Norah and dad. Let's just hope it is much cooler next week and lots of kids call in sick.

After a good nap for everyone we went to a fabulous afternoon/evening bbq at K-Dog Studios. It was so good and so much fun that no one took a single picture. That's the definition of a good time.

Meeting George

These are a couple of months old, but I never got around to posting... Curious George came to our local Pottery Barn Kids and of course we took Norah to meet him. It was a little underwhelming. George was a 5 foot tall woman who was obviously dying from heat stroke inside that costume. Norah would not go up to George until BVZ picked her up and then she was cool with him. Ava? Not so much.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Big Talk

Norah has an amazing vocabulary and command of language, but she gets shy sometimes around people and so not everyone is privy to the hilarity that comes out of her mouth. Lately, she has taken to telling me stories, usually about her day. She told me this the other night at dinner (in one run-on sentence):

"I pooped in my bed. My bed is in Megan's room. Pamma got me and gave me hug and kiss. Then took me downstairs to see Ruby. And fix my poop. And Pamma gave me a snack."

Pam said it was remarkably accurate.

Today we met up with Caleb and Lucas at the park and as we were leaving, Caleb and Norah gave each other a monster bear hug. Which ended with them toppling over and Norah whacking the back of her head against the ground (she's totally fine). Three hours later after her nap, as I was scrubbing the park dirt from under her finger nails, she told me:

"I go to the park and Caleb hugs me and then I falled. And cried, cried, cried. And Aileen picked me up and gave me hug. Aileen so nice. Aileen loves me soooo much. Then I got you and you hug me too. And we sit in the car and I cry, cry, cry. I love Aileen. Aileen gave me cookie."

Again, a remarkably accurate representation of our morning!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Making Up For Lost Time

When Norah slept in her crib I never let her having anything in there with her. No pillows, no blankets, no animals, no nothing. Nothing freaks me out more than SIDS, so the poor kid never even got a bumper. Now that she's a legitimate kid she gets to have whatever she wants. This is the menagerie she chose for tonight:

Big Elmo, armadillo, Buzz Lightyear, Pretend Nemo (ie, the clownfish from the Academy of Arts and Sciences that looks like Elmo)...

...owl, turtle, ladybug nightlight, George, and white tiger.

Not pictured (because they were in her reading chair): Bear, Baby, Baby Jo Jo.

Maybe this is why she sleeps 12 hours a night now?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monday Night Football

Last night the 49'ers played Monday Night Football and BVZ and Norah couldn't have been more thrilled. Although, to be fair, the highlight for Norah was getting to eat dinner in front of the tv. She kept asking which one was her team and BVZ would tell her 'the red ones' and so she would ask which one was his team and he would tell her 'the red ones too.' She wanted the red team all to herself and tried to force him to cheer for the Saints (he wouldn't). She kept asking the names of all the players, but called everyone Frank (as in Gore).

BVZ does really love me and he doesn't watch the games live-rather he DVR's them and starts each one about a half hour in so that we can fast forward the commercial breaks and time outs. We also can take breaks during the game if need be to take particular fans to the park.

Norah now refuses to sit in the 'baby swing.' Shocking.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dr. Norie

Norah is not like most kids in that she LOVES going to the doctor (I guess my $8,000 worth of co-pays in her first year were worth something). She bumps her knee, has a stomach ache, or is just in a bad mood and she wants to go to the doctor. So, it seemed only natural to get her a play doctor's kit. To say she loves it would be a bit of an understatement.


This morning we were reading books and on like the seventh one, Norah said, 'mom, please stop. I HATE this book.' I about died. First, who the heck HATES 'Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel'?? Have you no soul? Second, where in the world did she learn the word hate and what it means? I say a lot of questionable stuff, but I never say I hate anything.

They are sponges, I tell ya!


Today (a Sunday), BVZ was in the office before 9:00 am. He's still there (at 4:00 pm). I told Norah we could either go to the zoo or IKEA and she choose IKEA. I desperately needed to get frames for the professional pictures we had done over a YEAR ago and Norah is always happy to help. We played in the kids section for a while and Norah was stoked to go on the little baby slide. While she was climbing up the ladder, some giant girl (who seriously had to be at least 5 years old) started making her way up the ladder as well, and pushed right past Norah.

I said, 'sweetheart, wait a minute, this little girl was on here first' and she totally ignored me, so I said, 'please wait your turn.' She bullied her way up to the top (mind you this is a LITTLE kids slide and Norah is taller than the entire thing). Then the little brat proceeded to sit on the top of the slide and kick her legs, refusing to slide down. I said, 'why don't you slide down so the other kids can take their turn' and she said 'NO' and laughed. Shockingly, her parents were no where to be found. Norah was confused and starting to get pissed so I said, 'it's okay Norie, we'll wait for her to go down because some little kids have NO IDEA how to take turns.'

As soon as I said that her mom showed up and told her to slide down because 'the store is full of bitchy people today.' I was so dumbfounded I couldn't even respond! WTF is wrong with people??

In other news, as we were about to walk downstairs Norah saw the cafeteria area and point blank asked me if we could have chicken nuggets. Now, my worst nightmare (okay, not really, but you get the hyperbole) is having the kid who will only eat chicken nuggets, but Norah is back to having 3 blueberries and some carpet fuzz for her entire daily caloric intake (she's finally getting those 2 year molars, and man, they're a bitch), so I made a game time decision and we shared a plate of chicken strips-which she inhaled.

We probably would have had the same thing at the zoo.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Haircut and a Train Ride

Norah's hair has been completely out of control lately and impossible to brush without major tears, so we figured she was way overdue for her first haircut. Suzy gave me a recommendation for a stylist at a kid's only salon that had a good reputation for cutting curly hair, so we booked an appointment earlier this week.

Norah's world is completely different now that she is forward facing in her car seat (as of about 2 weeks ago), and I am loving all of the stuff that she points out and wants to talk about. Her number one thing right now is the Caltrain, which has a station right at an intersection we go through multiple times a day. She's been begging for a train ride, and since the salon is only a few blocks from the Burlingame station, I figured we'd kill two birds with one stone.

I am a big fan of Caltrain and commuted from the peninsula to SF on it for years before Norah was born. I loved being able to read or work or just chillax for a bit and not have to deal with traffic. The biggest drawback is that the SF station is about a mile and a half from my office so I would either have to walk for 25 minutes or so or take a bus or MUNI. Once Norah was in the picture that just made my commute too long, so I drive instead (I worry about my carbon footprint, but I figure having a Prius helps-even just a little).

Anyway, Norah was SO excited about the train and from the moment she woke up until we walked out the door she repeated, 'let's GO guys, the train is going to leave!'

As soon as she could see the train coming...

She thought it was fabulous. She waved to cars, counted diggers, and told me she could see our house about 35 times (she couldn't).

We got coffee and a snack in Burlingame and played at a park before it was time for the big haircut. Norah tends to get kind of shy and clingy in new situations, so I really had no idea how she would react. This place has a brilliant set up and there is a flat screen tv at each cutting station with kids' movies playing. Needless to say Norah was mesmerized and sat quietly and patiently through the entire cut.

She was so cute. We didn't have the stylist take off much--just cut off the dead and straggly ends and even things up. We also had her cut the front so that it wouldn't constantly be in Norah's eyes. We went to the park right afterward and Norah was happy to show off her new do.

We also went to lunch and got Norah some new Stride Rites (she desperately needed a pair of tennis shoes and since she is starting soccer next weekend (!), I figured it would be good to get them today and let her break them in this week. She wears a 7.5! I couldn't believe it. She has the feet of a big kid.

She wore her new shoes on the way home and told us, 'thanks mom and dad for the adventure.' No problem, my sweets.

Favorite Hobbies

Norah has 2 new favorite hobbies. The first is washing dishes. She fills up the sink with soap and water and will triple wash any dish I give her. It pretty much totally soaks the kitchen, but keeps her busy for a solid half hour. The other night we listened to an old Fiona Apple cd (which she loved), I made a shrimp noodle bowl, and she washed dishes. We didn't even really talk, but it was the best half hour of my day.

Her other new favorite hobby is wearing 'big girl underwears.' She asks for underpants when we are at home and is regularly peeing and pooping on the potty like she's always done it that way. After a few poops in the little potty I knew there was no way we could go on that way (I have major smell aversion right now and diapers are bad enough), so we got her the little seat that goes on the big toilet and we're both in seventh heaven. She still has zero interest in wearing underpants outside of the house, even at Ruby's, which I am totally fine with. I am still not down with the public potty situation, so for right now I am more than happy to push the diapers when we go out.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Big Time Stuff

So, you may have noticed in our Maui pictures that I am looking quite, ahem, large and in charge. The reason for this is three-fold:

1. We ate ice cream every day. Sometimes twice a day;

2. My body is still relatively wrecked from Norah. I blame her (well, her and the ice cream) entirely. Which I feel totally okay with because I know she will blame me for way worse at some point in her life; and

...wait for it...

3. I'm pregnant. Oh yes. Pregnant. A little over 15 weeks, so if you're doing the math, just shy of 4 months. We're completely 'out' with the news now, so I thought I would do a little answer session with the most frequently asked questions we've been getting.

Was this planned or a mistake?
Um, have you met me? Planned. [This was, I kid you not, asked by the ULTRASOUND TECH at my first appointment. You gotta know I filled out a comment card on that one...]

When are you due?
March 7, 2011.

How are you feeling?
I am just now turning the corner on 14 or so weeks of feeling like absolute and total crap. There has been way more puking and general malaise this time around. I am sure that has a lot to do with the fact that last time I would go to work, collapse on the couch, and stay there the rest of the night. Norah isn't into that idea so much, so I am far more tired and icky feeling. I do have to say, I can't imagine how stay at home moms deal with subsequent pregnancies. I have to go to work during the day, but most of the time I can just hole up in my office and lay on the floor if I need to.

Are you going to find out the gender?
Yes. All preliminary indications are that it is another girl. We should know for sure soon. Please start sending BVZ beer now.

Have you chosen a name? Will you tell me what it is?
No and no. Much like with Norah, we will come up with a short list and then wait to decide for sure until the baby is born. And no, we won't be sharing the short list. For a couple reasons. First, we love you but don't want your opinion, and second, since I am a chronic over-sharer it is nice for at least one thing to be a surprise. Right now, we are calling the baby Marty Funkhouser in honor of my favorite character on the show Curb Your Enthusiasm. BVZ is pushing for Norah 2.0.

Have you told Norah? What does she think about it?
We have told her and I am not sure how much she actually gets. She talks to Funkhouser and asks to see my belly every now and again. She really likes babies and is in love with the little brothers of her friends (Lucas and Kevin). Whether or not she'll like a sibling of her own is yet to be seen. She's really into her baby doll, for whatever that's worth. She likes to put paper towels down her shirt and tell me that she has a baby in HER tummy too.

Really? Another one? I thought you were the type to be 'one and done'.
[This was asked by the same person who told me the first time, 'Hmmm. You just don't seem to be the maternal type.' WTF?]
Actually, I struggled with this a lot. I am mildly obsessed with Norah and for a long time couldn't even possibly imagine sharing the tremendous love and affection I have for her with anyone else. Plus, we survived baby with our house, marriage, and sanity intact (sometimes just barely on more than one front), and I couldn't fathom why we would want to do it all again. It was tremendously important to BVZ that, if we were able, we do our best to give Norah a sibling. While I don't feel as strongly about it as he does, I definitely see his point and couldn't have imagined my childhood or adulthood without my sisters. Ultimately, though, I think it comes down to the fact that although we are far from perfect, we are really good parents with a lot to offer. I think our little family is kind of awesome and I am excited to have one more person join it. Plus, we really LIKE being parents and get a lot of joy and contentment out of our roles. Also, we need to double our chances of having someone to care for us in our old age...

How much time are you taking off of work?
Well my agency's policy is to allow you up to a year (awesome), but of course, after disability payments, it's unpaid (not so awesome). So, the short answer is that I will take as close to a year as possible.

Are you going to have that disgusting skin problem again?
I sure as hell hope not. But, that's where things get kind of tricky. Everyone always assumed I suffered from PUPPPS (Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy), especially since it went away for the most part after Norah was born. But, I continued to have random flare-ups during her first year, to the point in which my primary doctor made me go see a Rheumatologist. Lots of blood work, a few skin biopsies later, and it was determined that I have a connective tissue autoimmune disorder. Bear with me, this is where it gets complicated.

Autoimmune disorders (AD's) are ones in which the body attacks itself for some unknown reason. Multiple sclerosis is an AD. As is asthma. There are over 100 different types of AD's, each one affecting different people in different ways. Diagnosing an AD can be extremely difficult because it requires two things-both the positive presence of particular blood antibodies and the presence of identifiable symptoms. I have an extremely high amount of the blood antibodies that are indicative of Lupus and/or Sjogren's Syndrome. I have no symptoms whatsoever of Sjogren's, but I do have 2 severe and reoccurring symptoms of Subacute Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus, namely unexplained outbreaks of rashes/hives and extreme sensitivity to the sun. For a clinical diagnosis of Lupus you have to have 4 of 11 symptoms, which is why my 'official' diagnosis is a non-specific connective tissue AD. Lupus is a shitty, shitty disease and I am very thankful, at least for now, that my case is as mild as it is. You can't cure AD, you just treat the symptoms.

It is likely that I have had this AD for many years now, as I had identifiable symptoms as long as 7 or 8 years ago. Anyway, why this is relevant now is because it makes pregnancy a lot more complicated. There is a chance, albeit small (like only 1-2%) that the AD antibodies I have could pass to the baby in utero. It has the potential to cause a condition called Neo-Natal Lupus. It can cause a skin rash at birth, which is no big deal. But, it can also cause a congenital heart block to develop, which is in fact a very big deal. The heart block affects the electrical impulses that control the flow of blood between chambers of the heart and can be mild (requires monitoring but no treatment), moderate (requires a pacemaker), or severe (worst case scenario). The worst case scenario is so unlikely that right now it isn't even on my worry radar (and you know, I worry a lot).

If, god forbid, there is a heart block it can be diagnosed before the baby is born. Which is why, starting next week, I will be having fetal echo-cardiograms (which is just an extra long ultrasound that focuses on the heart), every other week until the baby is born.

Holy shit! That's intense! So, could Norah have a heart block that wasn't detected because no one knew about all of this?
Funny, that was my very first question when we found out all about this. Yes, she could have, but she has been tested extensively and she is absolutely fine. Which actually bodes well for this kid too.

Do you have to have a special doctor for all of this?
Oh, yes. I am officially considered 'high risk' and so I am going to a practice that specializes exclusively on tricky situations. I have a specialist at Stanford who is the leading expert in AD in pregnancy in the entire country. I will have to deliver at a different hospital this time (Stanford), but I am totally fine with that. I am very glad to be rid of my last OB, who told me 'It's just a rash, what do you want me to do about it?', who I hereby refer to forever as Dr. Douchebag.

Will you have another c-section?
Undecided. If you had asked me 16 weeks ago I would have said 100% yes. But, the new practice I am with is very pro-VBAC and has some of the highest success rates in the country. But, this post is already ridiculously long so we'll save that topic of conversation for another day.

So, yay for new babies! Any other burning questions? Send 'em my way!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Maui Saturday (Day Six)

Saturday was our last day in Maui. We have traveled enough with Norah to know that we need to allot a LOT of time to get to the airport, through security, buy water, etc., so we figured we needed to leave the Westin by 10. I thought that would give us plenty of time to go for a swim, maybe a walk on the beach, eat breakfast, pack, shower, and be on our way. BVZ brilliantly put the kibosh on my plan and said we had enough time to get smoothies and get ourselves and Norah packed and ready. I should listen to him more often.

This one didn't help much. She slept in, drank my smoothie and then watched Finding Nemo while we packed.

She was in charge of her backpack and her juice. Serious responsibility.

Usually, by the time vacation comes to an end I am very ready to get home, sleep in my own bed, etc. But leaving made me completely and totally sad. Like I wanted to cry kind of sad. Norah did in fact cry and said she never wanted to leave Hawaii. BVZ may have done the same thing. We had such a good time and Norah was such a good kid the entire time. It was just really nice to be able to spend so much time just the three of us and devote all of our attention and love just to her. It was good for our souls.

Thanks, Maui. We'll be back.

Maui Friday (Day Five)

We had planned to go to the aquarium at the Maui Ocean Center on Friday, but at the last minute we scrapped that idea and let Norah decide what we should do. Her first request was to sit on the frog.

(She was so tired of having her picture taken by this point.)

And her second request was to go back to baby (aka, big girl) beach. By this point in time she and ducky were all on their own and she wouldn't even let us touch her. Also by this point in time I was having some sun issues. Basically, I am allergic to the sun. Like actually allergic. The sun gives me hives. Usually I am good with lots of sunscreen and staying in the shade, but by the fifth day it was starting to get to me. Rarely does BVZ surprise me, which is a good thing for him because when he does it's a biggie. Thursday night he went out and bought me an SPF swim shirt. I am not sure why I didn't get one before. Mostly because I am cheap, I think, and I figured I could just nut up for the vacation (it isn't like I go swimming regularly). But the shirt is awesome and I was so grateful to him for figuring out what I needed.

Here's Norah not letting me touch her in the ocean.

After lunching and napping, Norah's third request was to go back to the pool, which we happily obliged.

While we were in the water BVZ and I were talking about getting Norah into swimming lessons since she seems to enjoy it so much. I was telling him that Ruby is so good now that she can dive down for rings and jumps off the side. Norah was listening and decided that SHE was going to jump off the side.

She insisted upon jumping with ducky (and the pictures don't do it justice), but I was shocked at how bold and brave she was and how well she hurled herself off the side of the pool. Of course, she was jumping on me, not into the actual water, but I was still impressed.

We stayed in the pool for hours and had to pry Norah out of it to feed her. She got dolled up but refused to let me take a good picture of her. This is the best I could do.

Friday night was pretty happening and most restaurants had a bit of a wait. Norah actually said she was hungry and wanted to eat (this NEVER happens), so we tried to distract her with the sunset.

How painfully sweet is this?

A woman gave her a beautiful flower which she carried around for the rest of the evening. I had to say 'smell it, don't lick it' at least 37 times.

The view from our table was pretty incredible.

This view too.

This doesn't do it justice at all, but you could see Venus very clearly and it was brilliantly bright.

We took a nice walk again after dinner and let Norah run on the beach for the last time. Both BVZ and I stopped to use the restroom before we left the restaurant, so Norah came in with me. While we were in the stall (with about 10 people in line), Norah announced "Mom, your butt STINKS. Peeee-ewww!" I about died. (For the record, my butt did not in fact stink, rather that's what BVZ told her earlier in the day when changing her loaded diaper.) Again, the lesson learned that she listens and understands way more than we think she does.