Monday, August 29, 2011

Man of Steel turned Iron

C has secretly been obsessing about doing an Ironman for sometime. His triathlon races were just stepping stones, but he has been increasing his bike mileage, swimming longer, and training harder for a while. He's watched Ironman videos on YouTube and finding ways to increase his speed and endurance. And then he has a wife who has been secretly hoping that he would not start on an Ironman training schedule as she stands on the precipice of becoming a mother of not one, but two little baby girls. As one who is his biggest cheerleader, I rarely try to stand in the way of a goal or a dream, but in this case, I was holding my tongue.

I don't remember how it happened, but somehow he stumbled upon a website that listed a half-ironman race only days prior to the race. He tried to get in, but the race was full, so he joined the waiting list, and only a day or two before the race, he was in! It shifted my plans a bit, but I was delighted at the timing. He got to taste a bit of Ironman, and I got the relief of knowing that would tide him over for a while.

He had originally planned on being gone on a motorcycle trip on the day of the race, but was all-too-happy to come back early. I had planned on taking my little brother for the weekend. This was his biggest event yet, and I was determined to support him, so I took a day off prior to the race to spend the day with my brother and mom at the zoo. It was delightful.

The race day came. C loaded up his gear and headed out early, and I slept as long as possible and managed to get out of the door at my pregnancy pace. I realized I was going to miss his first transition, so I said a prayer that he'd know I was there before returning from his 2 1/2 hour long bike ride. As I turned down the road to the race and saw the bikes coming my way, I had a feeling that he wasn't far from where I was. I pulled off of the road, got out with my golden cowbell, and waited. In the distance I could see a patch of bright green. I was so happy, I almost cried. I'm sure it had nothing to do with being prego. :) I cheered loudly as he passed. He knew I was there, supporting him. As usual, I recruited a few additional fans, one of whom screamed his name followed by, "I LOVE YOU!" The video I captured of the "Huh?" look on C's face was priceless.

The biggest surprise of the day was that C took first in his division in his first half-ironman. We were pretty pleased with that outcome. Way to go, my Ironman (well, almost). I did some homework with the other spectators and found a race where in the next year or two, my girls and I can ALL cheer him on during an Ironman event in comfort. Hang in there babe, we'll get you to the full finish line soon, and you'll have some extra fans by your side!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Are the Birds Dead or Something?

First, Kawi survived his vet appointment. Penny was quite sweet and let the vet check her without much ado, minus a few escape jumps back to me. Kawi was a different story. After a rigorous struggle complete with heart-wrenching cries, the vet checked his wings, felt his breastbone, weighed him, inspected his beak, eyes, nose, then handed him back to me and said, "Well he's kind of dramatic." Indeed.
We were thinking of having the vet bird-sit them while on vacation, but somewhere between the institutional room, distressed cockatiel sitting on the floor, and $600 worth of required medical tests, I had a change of heart. Also, my request for the birds to be taken out of their cages for at least an hour a day was met with some waffling, followed by a rather insincere yes.

On second thought, I think we'd come home to two very distressed birds and a much lighter pocketbook.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bird Beater

I am the official bird abuser. When the birds need their wings clipped, I am the one with the scissors in my hand so they won't fly off and become kitty litter.

Tomorrow I take our 1 year old conure and our three year old cockatiel to their first vet appointment. Sigh. I am already the mean parent. Stay tuned for the gory results of Kawi being handled by a man with gloves on. It's gonna get ugly folks.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

It Happens Every Day...

Every day women get pregnant, but then there are those that want it more than anything, and it doesn't come. What comes instead is a reminder, painful and unwelcome, that shouts the news that pregnancy is still far from a reality. It aches like an echo in the soul that reverberates off of the empty walls of the heart, left unfurnished, unfulfilled by that tiny being that relies completely upon you for survival.

It is that life I have known that makes any ache or discomfort now seem a rich blessing, because I can't forget that many, so many, would give anything to be right where I am today. How ungrateful I would be to forget my fellow sisters who continue the fight to shepherd a tiny soul, to be the source of life for another being, and to know that it may come with great sacrifice. It is this recognition that makes every moment precious and worthwhile. My sisters, I pray for you as you battle the tide of the unknown. May your journey lead you to your heart's desire!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"Buy Me Some Peanuts and CrackerJacks..."


Tonight we picked up a little baseball. Once again, my favorite "salesperson" hooked us up with front row seats, allowing me to keep my feet up for the whole game. My seat buddy was a seven year old girl who fell in love with my embellished pink flip-flops and commented on them several times throughout the evening. It was refreshing to have someone fixate on my shoes rather than the water retention in my feet and ankles.


I picked up a little ice cream. The cone was big enough to catch the attention of a passing baseball player on the field, captured in this shot. It also caught the attention of the seven year old AND the woman sitting next to us who put her foot in her husband's beer.


On the way home, the moon was gorgeous, and I managed to pick up this shot with my little Canon PowerShot. Not too shabby for a point-and-shoot camera with no tripod, no?

As we approached home, we pulled up next to a little red car, maybe a Yaris? Our windows were down, taking in the perfect evening air, and so were his. "I think I can take him. No, I KNOW I can take him!" C said.

I giggled, and then shouted loud enough for the other driver to hear, "He thinks he can take you!" The little red engine revved and the driver took his racing stance. The light turned green and...

Have you ever heard a four year old mimic a race car? That little red sounded JUST like that! Rasperries and all! I almost laughed, but of course, we let him win.

Monday, August 15, 2011

My Best Friend

Last night I looked through the dim light at the peaceful face beside me. I thought about all of his kindness, generosity, willingness to serve, and goodness. I wondered how in this great world I managed to find such an amazing friend, companion, and father-to-be?

This weekend was our twelfth anniversary. Being pregnant on an anniversary has its limitations, but that didn't stop C from being an absolute knight in shining armor for me. We went to a movie on Saturday night, and noticing that I was shifting around from a sore back, he put his arm behind my back, alleviating the pain entirely. I won't share all of the kind things he did, but here are a few:

He asked around about the perfect anniversary gift for a pregnant lady, and was told that a glider rocker was the ultimate. Knowing that I am not your average lady, C first asked if a glider interested me. I am afraid that the look on my face gave away my true feelings. Glider rockers have no sustainable use and wind up as yard sale fodder once children reach toddler age. My solution: Get the perfect football recliner that fits a twin nursing pillow for the first couple of years, and continues its use for years to come.

After a busy day yesterday, I sat in my new rocker/recliner with my feet up, and was served milk and fresh baked oatmeal cookies by my sweetheart.

C splurged on this bit of bling for his wife who has expanded beyond her size 5 real wedding ring. It came in just under $15.00 rather than the 15K that something like this COULD cost. We bought it big, knowing that my puffy fingers still have a way to go.

Tonight's events involve 3rd row tickets to Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, my surprise gift to C. There may still be something up my sleeve, but shhhh, don't tell. Finally, C was serious when he offered a trip to Seattle on my "Searching for Seattle" post, so we will be heading to cooler and more humid places, a foodie's fantasy. I look forward to temperatures in the 60s and 70s, sleeping without a humidifier, and spending some alone time with my eternal buddy.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Silicon Valley

I work for a Silicon Valley company, but have the great privilege of also working from home since I live in close proximity to a critical affiliate relationship. It's the best of both worlds. My company is so good to me that it's hard to find the words to describe. My recent trip to the Silicon Valley was delightful and productive, minus the torture of being a pregnant woman trapped in a tiny airplane seat. I stayed at the Sofitel while visiting and in addition to taking in some networking opportunities, I also enjoyed room service since no other restaurants were in the pregnant-woman-on-foot vicinity.

I took a car straight to work. The work environment is a perfect reflection of one of its designated rooms, complete with Yoga mats, air plants, and a peaceful view of the outdoor gardens:

Visiting the Silicon Valley is like going to an enormous workplace where everyone is mentally running at full capacity all of the time. Most employers try to find ways to keep employees at work all of the time, and will even pay you more if you live within 10 minutes of work. Employees are treated rather well. I have seen more Porsches, Audis and Beemers in a collective space along with chaufferred luxury Towne cars this week than in a year.

During my visit I addressed a large group of some of the brightest minds, all graduates of Stanford or Harvard, and all new employees of my company. I presented what my team's role is in the company, and quite frankly thought that they would be bored to tears. Our session went 30 minutes long because they were so interested and asked so many questions. It was so refreshing! I realized that I have a deficiency of truly mentally stimulating conversations in my life.

I always look forward to the fabulous on-site work environment, but I am always grateful to return to my own Zen home, complete with hammock, husband, and birds content to perch on my shoulder while I flit around the house.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Aaand the Winner is...

The results are in. We had our ultrasound this morning. The brains were healthy. The spines were closed and healthy. Each heart contained four perfect-looking compartments. Internal organs were all in their proper locations and nothing was visibly incorrect or out of place. The babies' weight and size was good, and neither had a cleft palate. They were wiggly, and one even waved, a good indication of strong mental capabilities.

My mom eagerly awaited the news. She had the perfect role models for grandparents. She felt unconditionally loved, doted on, adored, cherished. My mom couldn't wait to be a grandparent. It's what she lives for. She especially loves doting on the girls, perhaps because as a child she was an "only grandchild" for many years. Every Easter she was given a new complete outfit, muff, gloves, shoes, dress... and a huge Easter basket. I have the photos - the proof year after year.

For Christmas the living room overflowed with gifts. It was so full that you couldn't walk through the room. Her grandparents kept her at their home as often as possible. During the summer she lived with them. Her grandmother adored her so much that she even asked if my mom could live with her all of the time.

"I don't care how much money we make. Our kids are going to learn how to work." C said. Needless to say, there are some conflicting philosophies going on here.

We made it through the inventory of Baby A, head to toe, and then we had a perfect view of... a little girl!!! C had the biggest smile on his face. I wish I had a camera to capture that smile.

Baby B was squirmy and very active. Everything looked perfect. Once again we had a shot of the legs and we both were surprised to find that it was another GIRL! Miscellaneous from Missy, way to go! You guessed it!

Mom's response to her two new girly-grandbabies?

"FABULOUS!!!!! All pink! :) wow I can go crazy! I'm so thrilled for you both." Yep. They'll be spoiled alright.

Needless to say, we are very excited to welcome our baby girls in the next 16-18 weeks.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

For Your Viewing Pleasure...

If you haven't had a good laugh today:

I had a visit from my dad yesterday, who introduced me to Kid History and helped advise us on a household repair. We have been knocking out a few home projects lately. We finally installed our third car pad outside (previously gravel) and we are looking a little more civilized. The repair was a leaky pipe. I can't imagine trying to tackle larger water damage restoration projects. C was quite the handyman and knocked it out right away.

We also replaced our shower head on Saturday. I am not a big fan of hoses in a shower, but when you think about trying to bathe two babies at the same time, you are willing to compromise. The new shower head looks like an old fashioned microphone. I am sure someone will find a use for it in their shower serenades.

In the next 12 weeks we are also planning on remodeling our Master Bath. I am excited about this one, but not nearly as excited as I am about the ultrasound day after tomorrow! Good thing I am on a business trip or I'd be going stir crazy.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Speaking of Being Content...

Last night I woke at 3AM. I was overheating in my well-insulated shell. I downed four full glasses of water before I started to cool down, and by then I was very awake. Once awake, I have learned that I might as well do something more productive than count the minutes on my clock in bed. Sometimes I write in a journal (real paper ones), or read something interesting. This time I blogged.

At long last my eyelids grew heavy. I had been sitting in a cool part of the house, and my feet were cold just like I like them. I snuggled back in bed with my Boppa pillow and my bestest buddy, and started to drift off to sleep. Baby B had other ideas. Now was a perfect time to kick-kick-kick-kick... Soon Baby A was awake, too, and decided that kicking sounded like a fine idea. I rolled onto a different side, but on they went. I was so tired that I finally fell asleep in spite of my kick-boxing babies.

Not long after I fell asleep I woke with a terrible jolt of pain. It felt as though some fierce beast was gnawing at my right calf. I had forgotten to take my prenatals for the first time in forever, and those babies decided that they would suck every ounce of potassium right out of me. Where are bananas when I need one? C helped massage the Charlie horse until I could fall back to sleep.

Despite my restless night, I had a reasonably productive work day today. Instead of a thrilling evening out on the town, I am opting for a recovery nap. I might as well enjoy them while they last... Alas, I am content.

The Art of Being Content

When we were first married, my sister (who isn't much more than a year older than I am) gave me a story for my wedding present. It told of a quest to find the happiest couple in all the land. Throughout the story, the seekers encountered those with many children who felt burdened, those who compared themselves to others, those who complained about a spouse for this reason or that, those with none or not enough children, and each one was unhappy. At last, after thinking that is was impossible to find this happy couple, the seekers encountered a small, poor, couple who considered themselves blessed above everything else. They were content with what they had.
The very simple moral of this story was the secret to a perfect marriage. It was wanting what you have while you have it. Early in our marriage I encountered many who were like those in the story, looking forward or looking backward discontentedly at what they didn't have, or comparing themselves to others. They were never happy for themselves, and they certainly weren't able to be happy for others.
I am always surprised at how easy it is to find those around me who are eager to see others unhappy and miserable, as if it would somehow bring them great satisfaction. I wonder if they realize how much peace comes in hoping for the best for others as well as for themselves. There is peace in knowing that you treated others with the kindness and love that they deserved, so that should you lose them at any moment, you may look back with no regrets.
Life is short, and we don't know what curve balls we'll get. Life is a continual waxing and waning of the tides, full of apexes and nadirs; giving at times, and then taking at times. There is magic in embracing what you have at the moment, seasoned with eternal hope: the pain, the happiness, the struggle, the sorrow. It is liberating. It is the very thing that makes us feel alive.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

In Search of Seattle

I was in a bit of a funk today. I have been missing the Northwest lately. There are some things you can't do in the Northwest. You can't walk in your Vibrams to Pikes Place Market without the risk of getting your feet wet. You can't count on a perfectly sunny day or dry camping conditions when you visit Mt. Rainier to roast marshmallows. You can't travel to the most beautiful parts of the state without taking a ferry boat. You can't find half-naked men and women basking like baked potatoes in the sun on Northwestern beaches. You can't avoid crowds of unique and unusual persons while visiting the "foodie" district.

Come to think of it, those are the very reasons I DO like the Northwest. Oddly, I feel a little homesick not having visited there this year. My conference was one deterrant, and then a new job, pregnancy, well, there are a few reasons we haven't made it there this year. I decided I needed to find a little piece of Seattle to tide me over.

While traveling home from a short trip last night, I passed what appeared to be a potential foodie joint. I stopped by an interesting looking bakery, but found that my high expectations were dampened. It was a far stretch from Sluy's bakery in Poulsbo, but I managed to locate something worthwhile (white, powdery, Argentine pastry filled with dulce de leche).
On my way to the bakery, I also noticed a new Thai restaurant.
It looked reasonable, and very clean, so I stopped in for an order to go. It wasn't Long's Vietnamese restaurant, (below), but...
   their Massaman Curry was delicious.

Finally, I was craving a huckleberry cone from Steamers something crazy. Here, too, came the compromise. While driving home, behold! Arctic Circle was offering Huckleberry shakes!

It wasn't quite the same (Steamers cone below),

 but scooping the huckleberry shake into a reasonably tasty waffle cone (not from Arctic Circle) was a decent substitute. Unfortunately, cookie-monster Penny photo-bombed my pic, but somehow it made it look a little more tasty.

Aaand... let's just be honest, locating a group of eclectic, diverse, unique, and unusual individuals near my home? Well, you can't have everything...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pink, Blue, or Pink and Blue?

You have one week left to guess what we are having. We have held off purchasing much of anything because we still don't know what we are having. Unlike certain individuals who stray far from my way of thinking, I have never been a fan of being "surprised" at birth.

We haven't seen the babies for 6 weeks and I am going a little stir-crazy. At the recommendation of my OB/GYN, we are waiting until the full 20 weeks for this ultrasound; something about being able to see the brains, liver, kidneys, and other "important organs." For some reason she didn't list reproductive organs among those, but of course, those will be visible as well.

So here are our guesstimates. These are no reflection of what we WANT them to be, rather what we THINK they will be. We would both be absolutely delighted with healthy, happy babies of any gender:

I think we are having two boys. C thinks we are having a boy and a girl. What do you think? 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Of Cankles and Calando


I have experienced a surprising burst of energy in my second trimester, which means that I ride it like an entertainment park ride. I have been cleaning, cooking, and organizing my own home, and then I go and clean and organize someone else's home, and cook dinner for them as well. After all, it's just as easy to make two lasagnas as it is to make one.


My normal speed is rapido, and my normal energy level is Energizer Bunny. I guess that's why I love speedy music, don't use recipes when I cook, and listen to books on tape at up to five times their normal speed. I like life to move fast because you can get so much more accomplished in this flash of an existence. Time is so precious and should be used with abstemious measure. Unfortunately, when your belly looks like this, even high levels of energy don't mean you are capable of being quick on your feet.


At C's event this past weekend, I ran along the full length of his mile swim, and then ran back along it in the high temperatures. In addition to running a couple of miles, I walked an additional mile or two, and was on my feet almost the entire time. By the end of the day, I no longer had legs, ankles, and feet; I had cankles and sausages. I couldn't even see the bone structure in my feet. I was perplexed, but tried to cool them off in the river while waiting for C's trophy, and then just kept going.


A friend came to visit on Sunday and noticed my still very swollen legs and feet. She's a nurse, and commented on my oversized, edema-stricken pedes. She prescribed staying off of them (a novel idea that hadn't occurred to me), and the next day, behold! I could see my ankles again! So the moral of this story is, "Energy to do everything while you are pregnant does not mean you should do it all at once." So, here's to merging into the slow lane for the next several months.


I'm sure there's SOMETHING good about the slow lane. I mean, that IS where the Cool Bus hangs out... 

Monday, August 1, 2011

How Smurfs Saved the Day

Some may say it was the hours of swimming that helped C take first place in his event division this weekend. 

Some may say it was the cranky old swim coach who offered unsolicited technique tips one day at the pool. 

Some may say it was the 50 mile uphill bike ride he did prior to his race. 

Some may say it was the fact that he lost some weight, and still others may say it had to do with the extensive detail he paid to hydrating prior to the race.

The truth of the matter, however, lies in a ritual that almost no triathlete has ever attempted the night before a major event:

Smurf Dance-Dance Revolution!

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