Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Yesterday was my first day completely alone with Spencer since he was born, and I think we both did ok. Of course he didn't take any substantial naps, so I was constantly with him, and only managed to get things done in very tiny blocks of time. I guess that is the way things will go from now on. So now it's two days in a row that I got in the shower while Spencer was quietly sleeping, only to turn off the water and hear him screaming because his little t-shirt had gotten wet from a leaky diaper.

And some genius at the city courthouse decided next month would be a good time for me to serve jury duty.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Friday evening Heath & Kim & Chloe came over and we talked about how hard it is to take care of a newborn, and all of the little things you figure out day by day to help make things easier. We also discussed how scary the thought of a having a second child is at this point. To properly manage an infant and stimulate a toddler seems daunting during this time when eight hours of uninterrupted sleep is just a faint memory.

Yesterday we were able to show off Spencer to the rest of the Leach family at Uncle Mike's. It took quite a bit of planning to figure out how to manage his feeding schedule to be able to be away from the house for three hours. He was a champ - staying quietly asleep like a little angel so everyone could check him out and hold him, and waking up to eat exactly when we had hoped he would. I doubt we'll always be so lucky on future outings, but yesterday he made both of us very proud.

Life has gotten significantly better in the past two days since taking demand feeding one step further. Even though mine & Spencer's 24 hours totals (production & consumption) are in check, his demand at cluster feeding time in the evenings far exceeds what I (or anyone) could be expected provide. So now, with a little organization and planning, I pump on a regular schedule (day & night) which allows us to feed him as much as he wants when he wants it. Everyone seems much happier.

Friday, December 26, 2003

Today is Spencer's due date - how inconceivable is that at this point in time?

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Lots of visitors today! Audra came by after lunch to hang out and visit with Spencer (and us!) Then Aunt Ronnee stopped in and was just in time to give her favorite nephew an afternoon bottle. And this evening was special as Spencer got to meet Great Grandma Leach for the first time. (Four generations photo to be uploaded shortly.)

The past three days we have seen a (sort of) pattern with Spencer's eating and sleeping. He cluster feeds in the late morning and prime time in the evening. In between these feeding frenzies, we usually have a decent bit of down time to get stuff done. Last night I was able to make this Pastitsio (sans eggplant) while he snoozed in the afternoon, but unfortunately had to scarf it down because he was waking up to start his evening eating just as we were sitting down at the table. Tonight I satisfied a craving for some fresh baked goods with this gingerbread recipe.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Since our life has indeed changed so much since Spencer's arrival, we decided it was time to change some things on the blog too. We consolidated the pregnancy links (baby's room, ultrasound pictures, belly pictures, etc. into an archive page and added links to Spencer's photo albums on the right side of the page. I also added a few new photos in the December Album.

Monday, December 22, 2003

It's dizzying how the days all just blur together, and how weeks have already started slipping away. Mom went back to NY after spending time taking care us of so that we could focus on taking care of Spencer. And, she of course helped out with the 3am diaper changes as well to present me with a clean baby for nursing. Now her hundreds of home-made cookies have dwindled down to two rugelach, but we are left with a freezer full of dinners for many nights to come.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

I gave birth to Spencer three weeks earlier than my due date - the pregnancy was indeed considered full-term and, independent of his birth weight/length, Spencer is not counted as premature. I know this is not news to anyone who knows us, but it's become our new pet peeve to continually explain this to folks who keep asking if we got our dates wrong. It borders on insulting to ask a couple of engineers, not mention all of our doctors, ultrasound techs, etc. if we made a mistake and counted incorrectly. Our newest pet peeve is folks telling us how their own angel infant started sleeping through the night at some very young age. Spencer is 2 1/2 weeks old and we are not expecting him to sleep through the night any time soon. In the meantime, we're tired from feedings around the clock and those stories really don't help us feel any better.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Our baby is already more than two weeks old!!! On Thursday we both had our two week post-partum checkups and everyone seems to be doing just fine. My doc was pleased with how her stitches are helping me to heal, but thinks my abdominal pain is likely a muscle tear (probably from pushing for two hours) which will take several more weeks to fix itself. Spencer's hearing was re-checked and he passed the test which he initially failed in the hospital (but no one there was concerned because most newborns do no pass right away - fluid in the ears from the birth can prevent proper hearing for a short time.) It was also time to re-do his newborn bloodwork, which really sucked as Jim and I had to hold him down while they drew more blood from his heel by flexing and squeezing the pricked site. By the time we left, his eyes were glazed over and he was exhausted from screaming. Fortunately, we don't have to return until he is two months old - but that trip will involve shots.

Last night was Spencer's first Hanukkah!! The Parkhills all came over to celebrate as we lit candles together (Hunter had a special menorah to 'light!') and ate latkes and opened presents. I think Spencer may have gotten jealous of our holiday meal and insisted on being fed just as we were sitting down to the table. And so began what I am sure will be a long tradition of Jim and I tag-teaming to get through a meal. Check out some pictures!

Friday, December 19, 2003

With yesterday starting just the third week of life for Spencer, it seems that nearly everything is a first. First bath, first walk, first just about everything... except diaper, we are WAY past that first... Here is a new photo album that includes some of those firsts... Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Today is a significant day for many reasons.

First, 100 years ago today, the Wright Brothers (actually, just Orville) flew for 12 seconds and covered about 120 feet. That introduced powered flight to the world.

First Flight

Less than 20 years later, Also on this date, my Grandfather was born. Today is his birthday! In addition to countless other things, he is the one who introduced the world of flight to me. He got me my first flight lessons at the age of 16, and I have been hooked on it ever since. I'm very much looking forward to passing the love of flying on to Spencer in the same way.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Life is good. In fact, we think it's just perfect.

I love dressing our baby boy up in blue every day - he looks so darn cute! We've been bad about keeping up with photos, but will have some new ones posted soon. Right now, I only have a few hours at a time to get anything done, and usually sleep comes to the top of the 'to do' list. Although, things have gotten a little easier since we switched from 'feeding on schedule' to 'feeding on demand.' We're letting Spencer snooze as long as he would like during the evenings, and last night that plan allowed both of us to get some uninterrupted sleep from 12:30 until 5:00 this morning - whoo hoo! But, who knows what tonight has in store for us. We're pretty certain there is still one more feeding to go before we'll get some rest ourselves, and after that it's anyone's guess.

Hopefully the umbilical cord will come off any day now, and with his circumcision healing nicely, we are very much looking forward to giving this kid a good bath. Not that he smells or anything (the parts that get really dirty get cleaned regularly) but I think we would both feel better to wash him up a bit. Unfortunately, we fear that Spencer may very well hate the idea of being naked for an extended period of time.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

It's cute to see Spencer do some of the same things now that we saw in the ultrasounds - like putting his fists up near his face, and sticking out his tongue. Now that he is here with us, we get to learn about his unique sounds as well. For those that haven't yet met Spencer in person, he emits random little squeaks which we find quite endearing.

Saturday was a joint baby shower for Diane and I with all of the hockey girls hosted at Dawn's. It was a tiny bit odd to attend no longer pregnant, but I was so proud that Jim and I were able to show Spencer off to our friends. I know Diane was a bit jealous with still a month to go until her due date. And Tracy informed everyone that she is just completing her first trimester, so in the next several years perhaps our kids will be playing hockey together as well!

Right now days blend together. It's great having mom here to so I can take an afternoon nap, and wake up to full-on dinners like roasted chicken with stuffing, gravy, potatoes, green beans, cranberries...

We're going to get around to re-organizing the links on the side of the blog (remove some pregnancy stuff) but for now we've simply been continuing to add some Spencer photos to the exisiting Ofoto album.

Friday, December 12, 2003

For now, we have been adding more photos, including the ones from the Bris to the same ofoto album. Click here to see the latest pictures...
Yesterday was such a big day for Spencer, and us, as we celebrated his Brit Milah. The day started early with guests arriving around 9:00 and by 9:30, our home was filled with so much love from family and friends. Spencer was a real champ - he didn't even utter a peep during the circumcision. After that deed was completed in the back room, we gathered around in the living room to publicly name the baby, and explain the significance of the names we had chosen for him. The "S" for Spencer is from my grandpa Sidney, and "J" for Jacob is for Jim's grandma Jane - neither of whom are around to be a part of his life, but we hope that their namesake will live on, and that traits we admire about them will be reflected in Spencer's life. It was an emotionally draining event for new parents, as we continue to struggle with the adjustment to our new sleep schedule.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

It would be very easy to use this space to vent about the serious frustrations new parents experience during the first week of their baby's life, all of which are compounded and made to feel infinitely worse by the lack of a full night's sleep. Instead, I thought I would share Jim's funny observation which we have both experienced. As everyone knows, babies need help to burp after being fed. But, at least for Spencer, the burp takes a couple of minutes of coaxing. We've noticed that while we're holding him to our chest, and gently patting him on the back over and over, we often end up making ourselves burp too!

Monday, December 08, 2003

My sweet baby boy! Already I love being your mother and am so thrilled you have joined your daddy and I here even earlier than we had anticipated. We just couldn't be any happier or prouder than we have been since you arrived. Seeing how we can change your mood from utter despair to ultimate contentment simply by changing your diaper or swaddling you up tightly in a soft blanket gives us a ridiculous amount of pleasure. Right now you're sleeping a lot, but during those times when you are awake, it's an indescribable feeling as you stare back at us with those curious eyes. The past few days have been eventful for all three of us, and we are excitedly looking forward to our upcoming journeys together as a family.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

HE'S HERE!
December 4th, 2003
5:23pm
8 lbs. 2 oz.
20.5 Inches long

Click here for photos and here for a few small videos...

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Here is what we learned during the ultrasound: this baby is BIG. Current weight is estimated just under 8 pounds. This will definitely not be one of those wrinkly-looking newborns. He is big and plump everywhere - face, fingers, belly, etc. Also learned that his large size has been squishing the rest of my organs up high, and actually pinching off the ureter causing a build up of fluid on my right kidney. But this is no cause for concern as it is only moderate and all my organs will be able to spread out again in the near future. The ultrasound technician also checked on our baby's lung maturity and pointed out a marker which indicated his confidence that he feels everything would be perfectly ok if he were to arrive now.

Here is what we learned during the PA visit: she thinks this baby is not going to wait until his due date. She was very pleased at his 'healthy' size, and hopes (for my sake!) that labor is right around the corner. She says there is no concern at this time about my not being able to deliver this baby. But they probably would not let me go beyond the due date before deciding to induce. We're going to see the doctor next week for our 38 week visit, so we'll get to hear her plan on how the next few weeks should go. No change in dilation, still 1.5cm for the past two weeks, but effacement has progressed from 30% to 50% so things are indeed continuing to move along. The PA joked that she didn't think labor would be tonight, but tomorrow was certainly a possibility! We are truly in "any day now" mode!

Check out today's ultrasound pics (a bit hard to see because he is really running out of room!) and what we believe to be the final belly pic added to the line up.
I completely forgot to blog yesterday after I spoke with grandma. When mom visited her on her birthday (Monday) she dropped off the scrapbook photo album from her birthday party that I worked on in October and November. She called a few times later in the evening but was only able to leave messages because we were out at the Aeros game. But her messages were so cute - she absolutely loved her gift. We finally spoke with each other on the phone yesterday morning and she just couldn't say enough. That made me feel really good, because it was quite a bit of effort to put my first scrapbook album together in a time crunch and it's nice when people show such appreciation. Grandma had a friend over and was in the middle of showing the pictures off to her when I called, and then they were headed down to one of the common areas so she could show the album to more of her friends! Very cute.

While Jim was out at CAP last night, and I decided to see what I could make to use up the extra cranberries in the fridge that I had bought last week before Thanksgiving. I decided on this recipe for Cranberry Coffeecake from epicurious.com. When Jim got home, we watched Queer Eye together and enjoyed the cake hot from the oven - yum! I thought it would undoubtedly turn into a big pink swirl, but the layers stayed neatly separated in stripes and it even looked very cool! (I've got some here for snacking on this morning and it's still yummy the next day!)
Hopefully we will have some new ultrasound pictures to post later tonight. I hope they are the 4D, but we are not sure what they will use today. We keep getting asked what is the difference between the 3D and 4D, and the answer is motion. 4D is like a video in 3D. I was able to get one of the smaller clips uploaded so everyone can see what it looks like. As you can see, Spencer has a pretty decent right jab that he throws at Bonnie's insides... The clip is big (2mb) and may take some time to load, but its pretty cool to see the movement... Click here to see it.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Well, it looks like we have entered the last month before Spencer arrives (unless he's way more stubborn than anyone thinks he is and hold on until January)... Tomorrow will be the end of the 37th week, so we officially have a full-term baby. Tomorrow is also another Ultrasound and then a visit with the Dr. to take a look at how things are progressing. The ultrasound is mainly just to determine how big he actually is in there. We haven't had an ultrasound that was diagnostic since week 20. At that time, he was about a week ahead of average and Bonnie's measurements have tended to also show him a week or two ahead of growth progress. Check back tomorrow evening to see what we find out. Maybe even a new ultrasound picture or two...

Monday, December 01, 2003

Champions again! (OK, I didn't actually play in the hockey tournament this year, but I'm still happy to share in the excitement from the weekend.) It was still lots of fun to hang out and visit with our hockey friends whom I don't get to see very often any more. It's frustrating to think that it may very well be close to a year of no hockey before I get the chance to put on my skates again.

The long weekend was a nice break away from the office, and now today is just another Monday morning back at work.

Two more days until our next dr. visit for the baby. Plus an ultrasound. We're both very anxious to hear and see the latest updates about our son!

& HAPPY 90th BIRTHDAY to my grandma and Happy 27th to Jim's Brother Rob!

Friday, November 28, 2003

Happy Thanksgiving! We had a great dinner yesterday with Katie and some of her family and other friends. She made a yummy turkey. It was really nice to be able to have Thanksgiving dinner as more of a pot luck style meal. Everyone is able to contribute to the meal, and no one ends up overwhelmed.

Before the big dinner however, there was still a bunch of work to be done around the house. The final major 'project' left was to clean out the guest room, which was where we had piled everything removed from the baby's room months earlier. Jim did an amazing job of purging junk we don't use, and neatly migrating the rest up into our attic, which I'm told is now quite full. I handled some less physical tasks, like wrapping some Hanukkah presents and preparing them for shipping.

Today begins the 4th annual Turkey-dillo co-ed hockey tournament. And, for the 3rd time in 4 years, the Beliveaus will be returning to Texas to stay with us and play. Although it's early in the morning here in Houston, they have already completed one leg of their trip, and I see that the second flight will be delayed about 15 minutes or so. That's just fine, as Jim will get a little more time to sleep in. I have been unable to sleep past 8:00 recently. I now am awakened to pee three times during the night - usually once before 2:00am, again around 4:00am, and when I get up for a third trip around 7:00am, I just can't make it back to sleep. Oh well, I guess just practice for round the clock feedings which are not too far off.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

A few more important milestones are under now under our belt. Yesterday was Jim's final trip out of town for the rest of the year. After the news at last week's appointment that we are in 'any day now' mode, he adjusted his travel plans to ensure he would not be away from Houston overnight. What that translated to yesterday was him getting up at 5:00am to leave for the airport, arriving in Boston after noon, working for a few hours, then flying back and returning to home by 11:00pm. Ouch.

This morning we went to the doctor for our 36 week visit. The PA exclaimed, "I thought you might have had this baby by now!" She continued on that all numbers (weight, blood pressure, fetal heart rate) are just "perfect" and that my belly size measurement is still tracking a bit ahead. Assuming our boy doesn't make an appearance before next week, our 37 week visit will also include another ultrasound to check on his size. The doctor specifically said that she is not worried about a 12 pound kid, but they just want to have a better idea what might be in store. (More pictures for us, perhaps!)

We met up with Heath and Kim and Chloe for a late lunch today. Back at the house afterwards, little Chloe (now 14 months old) was quite interested in checking out the brightly-colored assortment of toys on the shelves of the baby's room! Not too much longer now until our young son will be here to check them out himself!

Monday, November 24, 2003

Man, a ton of stuff has happened since I last posted on Friday. This weekend was just awesome! Tracy flew in from Atlanta to spend a few days, and on Saturday we had a mini Rice reunion. Rachel drove in from San Antonio for the day, and Stacie and Jen were able to drive out to the house as well. It is just stunning to think that it's been nearly 10 years since graduation (gasp) yet hanging out together it was like no time had passed at all. Except for the not-so-small details like the fact that Rachel has an 11 month-old little boy, and Stacie and I are both in our third trimester of pregnancy! What a great day - doesn't seem like too much has changed from the pictures.

So, there was even more excitement this morning. I woke up around 5:30 to pee (not uncommon) and discovered everything was wet, so we rushed off to the hospital. A couple of tests later (they use litmus to detect the presence of amniotic fluid!) they confirmed my water had not broken or leaked and sent us home. Not a bad trial run, I guess, and at least now we know where the elevators are! There are a bunch of mixed emotions running through my mind right now. After getting so geared up early this morning that today was going to be the day, there is some level of disappointment. I've also been a bit worried that my text-book pregnancy is suddenly jumping over to a seemingly accelerated track (not fun to have to tell the hospital nurses that my due date is the 26th... of next month) so I'm also feeling relieved that our son will get to cook a bit more and continue to mature. And, there is a bit of embarrassment in going to the hospital thinking that you're ready to have a baby, only to find out you are wrong. I know I should discount that last feeling, because we did call before leaving the house and were told to come, and before getting discharged from the hospital they told us to come back if the same sequence of events occur again.

Our online baby pool has now been closed. This morning's events don't indicate that the birth will happen any sooner or later (Dr. confirmed no additional dilation) but this week we will officially enter the 9th month, so it's time to close that door. It also means that I'm done going to the gym and spinning (unless I go beyond the due date and hopefully then exercise will help to get things moving!)

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Since we found out last week that Bonnie's body has already started preparing for the birth, and the next news we get may well be that Spencer's arrival is imminent, we have decided to close the baby pool game. If you want to change you guesses (or fix them... Audra), Monday is the last day....

Friday, November 21, 2003

Definitely a shift in mindset these past 24 hours! To be honest, I am excited, but not entirely happy about the news that this delivery may occur sooner than later. I've said all along that I hope to still be pregnant in January, but now that scenario seems less likely.

My husband is awesome. Just wanted to reflect here about how fabulous it is be able to relax and know there is someone dependable to take care of situations - physical, emotional, or otherwise. I have felt so reassured (through our relationship, and especially during this pregnancy) that I can depend on him for anything. To quote my grandma from a conversation the other week, "It's so nice to hear how he is so involved with everything: coming to Dr. appointments and all of the work in the nursery. In my day, the men really didn't get too involved. It makes me happy to hear how he is so attentive - I like him!"

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Today was a 35-week Dr. visit, and we have been a little apprehensive. At last week's Dr. visit, Bonnie saw the PA who was concerned enough about the fact that Bonnie was tracking ahead of schedule that she asked Bonnie to see the Dr. this week in spite of the fact that we were supposed to be on an every two week schedule for 2 more weeks. Add to that the bruising and pain that the baby is exerting on her insides, the fact that she is noticing the signs of the baby moving down, and some stress over the last few days - we were getting a little concerned. Well, this morning we had an appointment and she is still tracking ahead, but we were SHOCKED to hear that her cervix is 1.5 centimeters dilated and 30% effaced! I was not really expecting to hear that. The good news is that the Dr. isn't all that concerned since she is tracking ahead in size / development she said that if the labor starts anytime from now on that they won't try to stop it. She also mentioned that this could go on for several weeks and not progress, but she called it a "nice little head start". The idea of this happening "any day now" is still sinking in...

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Two different strangers stopped me at lunch yesterday and told me that I looked just "wonderful" and "beautiful" with my big pregnant belly. That made my day. :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

The city is almost dried out - still some standing water on the way to work this morning in areas that were impassable last night. We checked the radar closely during the evening and made a quick round trip back to work to fetch the car during one of the lighter periods of rain so we would have everything home safely. Katie emailed they let everyone at her law firm go home early and it still took her four hours! What a mess in Houston.

Well, I finally saw it this morning when I got out of the shower. The intermittent pain I've been feeling below my right rib cage has now manifested itself into a bruise that is visible from the outside. PA said that area is near my gall bladder, so this will definitely be something to discuss at this week's doctors appointment.

Lunch date today with Wendy - I'm looking forward to hearing how life has been with six month old Paige!

Monday, November 17, 2003

What a crazy past few days. All of the hard work from the past few weeks was certainly worth it, so I was able to relax (?) amid the frenzy of activity the last few days. After a false start due to the canceled flight, mom arrived in town on Friday evening, and we went straight from the airport to Pappasito's. Where else, right?

The weekend was such a blur. No one at the shower knew more than 1/3 of the people, but with mimosas and Katie's original design for laminated nametags the conversation never seemed to stop. Audra and Bari really outdid themselves in the planning details. Now the nursery really seems to be pretty darn complete, just waiting on the baby!

On Sunday mom and I hit Harwin, but no luck. Although mom did find one purse to give as a holiday gift. Then on to Memories to plan some paper for additional gifts. We picked up Jim amid the thunderstorm and were able to enjoy one meal together in Houston before mom headed back out this morning. Her travels were uneventful, thankfully, and our city is now completely soaked from massive rain. Coming home after spinning (which was a super-fun class with Lynn's all-80's mix combined with movie trivia!) was more than a bit scary for me. I followed another SUV who negotiated the higher water ok, Jim had to get a ride home from Heath's truck. Hopefully things will dry out without too much damage to our city.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

I'm tired. It's been a long week. I think I got everything taken care of for this weekend. Mom's flight tomorrow morning was already canceled (gusty winds in NY canceled tonight's inbound planes,) but she was re-accommodated on the next flight and will still make it to Houston by dinner time. Cleaning ladies are coming tomorrow, so it will be nice & relaxing to come home to a clean house at the end of the day. Time for bed...

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

I am beginning to feel like the end of the projects are (sort of) in sight, but there is still a lot of little stuff to do. I've decided I'm not a big fan of scrapbooking. Or, at least I'm not happy to feel that there is a deadline inside of which I have to try and be creative. That doesn't work well at all for me. I am mostly done with grandma's birthday book, but mostly done in this case means about 5 original designs to go. I hope to be able to get it all knocked out tomorrow. Maybe I'll do some web surfing for ideas. (Gee, why didn't I think of that at the beginning of the week?)

Today was a dr. appointment for a 34 week checkup. (Reminder for the rest of the world that doesn't count in weeks, pregnancy due dates are set at 40 weeks, so I still have six weeks to go. Babies born after 37 weeks are considered full-term, and doctors will induce labor after 41 or 42 weeks.) And despite everyone's protest that I am getting unbelievably huge, I weighed in only one pound heavier than I did two weeks ago at the 32 week checkup. So, to those rude folks who asked if I'm having twins, or if I'm due next week - go take a hike. Belly measurement was 35cm which means I'm just slightly ahead. (I was told there is only cause for concern if weeks vary from centimeters by more than four.) From now on, I'll be visiting the doctor every week. Guess that means we're really getting close!

One of the women in the spinning class this week told me she was doing aerobics until the day before the birth. Good grief. I'm not sure how much longer I can ride the bike, my belly is definitely starting to get in the way. Although I felt really good during this last class, so hopefully I'll be able to continue. The baby is usually quiet during exercise, so that's a nice respite from his usual wriggling around.

Monday, November 10, 2003

I finished the pillow this evening. Pics are posted on the updated Baby's Room page. Now I plan to put away the ironing board that has been out in our living room for the past two weeks!
New belly pictures are posted for November!!!

This weekend was full from beginning to end. Saturday we drove down to Jim's dad's to celebrate Jackie's HS graduation. Then drove back home, where I turned right around to head down to Kimi's bridal shower at Katie's. Too bad I could not enjoy all of the different and fun martinis. But it was fun to decorate the martini glasses with the special pens Katie found for the project. As I was leaving, Katie touched my belly to say goodbye to the baby and he gave her a huge kick, right on her hand! Then Kim and Lara tried and he rolled over and rearranged so body parts were just traveling everywhere. Good show, son!

By the time I got home, Jim had cleaned out the entire garage and it looked fabulous! Needing to use most of that space for the various construction projects that have been going on, it was wonderful to see everything cleaned up. One big help was that the truck from the Houston Furniture Bank finally came to take away our sofa donation. Early Sunday morning Jim was even able to install shelves for the hockey gear, and we were able to park both cars in the garage on Sunday evening for the first time in about a month.

I am still continuing to work on grandma's little (7" x 7") scrapbook from her birthday party. Man, when you buy photo paper and use high quality print settings for digital pictures, the results are awesome! I am planning to work on that more this week and I think I'm still on track to finish in time to send it home with mom this weekend. One more sewing project before I put the machine away for a little while will be to make a pillow for the chair in the baby's room. Still trying to decide on what trim to use around the border. That reminds me that we need to post pictures of the Roman shade which was indeed completed last week. Stay tuned...

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Yesterday was a great birthday! With so many other things on our minds recently, I kept forgetting that the day was approaching. Jim surprised me in the morning with a new watch so I can be a "hip mommy." And I received several e-cards and birthday emails from friends and family. A bunch of us from work went out to lunch together and my boss even gave me a present - a cool stone bracelet that perfectly matches the shirt I was wearing. How awesome is it to work for a boss that acknowledges your birthday like that!

After work, we relaxed at home a bit before leaving for dinner at Americas. Jim presented me with a gift certificate for spa manicure & spa pedicure at Derma Technique Day Spa. Of course, not knowing this I had treated myself to a manicure & pedicure on the way home from work, but hardly the spa kind with hot wax and massage up to the knee. Can't wait to redeem those!

AND, the big gift from Jim for my birthday was a pair of diamond stud earings! I was speechless. I had been viewing this birthday as a rather minor event, not feeling much like myself 7 1/2 months pregnant, and all of the focus recently on the baby and projects around the house. Last year was the big 3-0, this was just another birthday. But this gorgeous gift was something special from my sweet husband was also to remind me that all of my birthdays are indeed very special occassions, no matter what else is going on in our lives.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Today is Bonnie's Birthday!

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

My life seems consumed by projects and arrival of new babies. On the 1st Maura's baby boy arrived, then Claus' son on the 3rd. Jen & Thomas went to the hospital this morning to be induced for their son, and I predict Jason's baby girl will be born on the 7th just to round out the pattern.

Yesteday Audra and I drove down to the Scrapbook Village so I could get started on grandma's birthday album last night. With her help, I think I made good progress in mapping out some page designs, and will be able to continue for the next week. My plan is to finish and be able to send it home with mom next weekend.

Today I was able to get the rest of the hardware for the roman shade and have almost all of it put together! If tonight wasn't a hockey night for Jim, we certainly would have had it hung before going to bed. I feel good knowing that it will be complete by tomorrow. Pics to follow!

Monday, November 03, 2003

We're relaxing on the couch after an evening out downtown to celebrate Kimi's enagagement at the Twelve Spot. Baby was pretty quiet all night, but now seems to have developed the hiccups. This week should continue to be productive working on stuff for grandma's birthday party scrapbook, and making a Roman shade for the baby's room. We've watching them do it a dozen times on Trading Spaces so hopefully that can be knocked out fairly quickly. The "k" initial purse Katie bought when we went to Harwin on Saturday was hugely popular (especially with Kelly, Kelly, Kim and Kimberley) and a few girls are planning to pick up ones for themselves later this week. I may try my hand at making one out of the leftover material from the ottoman. Or, I may decide I have enough projects on the table and just get one for myself from Harwin (although when we went on Saturday none of the stores had any "b" purses.)

Sunday, November 02, 2003

As promised, I added photos of the bumpers, and the new living room set-up to the baby-room page... Check them out...
No new baby pics to post, but more as projects are being completed there will be some additional photos to share. Stay tuned for some updates on the new ottoman (which coordinates with the new sofa & rug in our living room) and the crib bumpers which should be completed this week. After a couple of false starts during the week, I turned my back on the pattern instructions to figure things out for myself. In sewing class yesterday, the instructor concurred that sometimes those things are just written stupidly and should not always be strictly followed.

The show was certainly more of a success than the previous one (earned back the both fee at least!) but it's still a bit puzzling to figure out how to sell, when the product is obviously good. Last night at dinner Jack reasssured that it takes about two years of putting your name out there before people will start coming to you. Jim and some hockey buddies had gone golfing together during the day and we all met up in the evening for dinner. I had never met Jonathan's wife before, nor their adorable little kids (ages almost 2 and almost 3.) It was great to meet another couple who said they hadn't gone to any pregnancy/birthing classes either. I'm a bit tired of people giving us that look when Jim and I say that we haven't, and aren't planning to, take a class.

Later this morning I will be going for my first professional massage ever - a gift from Deena last Hanukkah that I'm just getting around to redeeming now. And Jim will be driving me to & from so I won't have to deal with west loop traffic right after I get all relaxed. Not much else on the calendar today, perhaps I can finish up the bumpers before the weekend is through.

Friday, October 31, 2003

The projects continue to mount. Mainly because items get added to the list, and not much is getting crossed off. Last night's efforts on the crib bumpers ended up resulting in an equal amount of time required to rip out stitches and re-think an approach to deviate from the pattern so I won't go crazy. Hopefully I'll be able to get more work done this evening in between trick-or-treaters ringing the door bell. It's been four years since a Halloween with no dogs at home - should be relatively relaxing for a change. I think last year was when we had a pair of wire-haired Daschund puppies and had to put up a baby gate at the front door to keep them from tumbling out each time it was opened. Hopefully I can get enough work done to possibly (?) be able to finish during sewing class tomorrow. It's going to be a busy morning with another B & B Creative show. I'm sure this one will be significnatly better than the crap-fest at St. Timothy's last month.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Omigosh! Tonight I headed out to our monthly Girls' Night dinner, only to arrive at the restaurant and discover that was the cover used for everyone to assemble for a baby shower! I was caught completely off guard, and just too surprised for words. Thank you guys!!! It feels really great to have friends who do special things like that for you.

This afternoon's 32 week check up (check in) was wonderful as well. All numbers were good, and my belly measurement is still tracking about one week ahead. That's about all the info we have to share to help make your guess in our online baby pool. We'll be locking it down before the end of November so be sure to get your guess in now! Our game name is "leachbaby."

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

October babies #5 and #6 have arrived. Diana's son and daughter-in-law welcomed Isabella at 1:06 Monday afternoon. No pics just yet. Just a short while later, at 6:11pm, Brett and Liana welcomed their daughter (no name yet!) after only a couple hours of labor. Seems like newborns are everywhere!

Here are some pictures of the purses I completed over the weekend.

Monique and Grant came by last night to complete our area rug deal, and the new sofas will be here later today. Old sofas will be in the garage waiting for scheduled donation pick up until Friday.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

We are becoming very aware that there are only two months left until our due date. This weekend has been so incredibly busy. We had hoped to go down to Cuero, TX today to celebrate Kim's engagement, but there was too much to do to leave for the day. (It's not like we won't have two more opportunities to celebrate with her during the next two weeks.) For Jim and I, our only 'outing' together for the weekend was Friday night's Aeros game. The game itself was a bummer as the good guys lost 5-2, but the new Toyota Center is very cool, and Malinda hooked us up with some amazing seats which included access to the club. Very nice! Yesterday Jim was teaching a class for Civil Air Patrol, and I was continuing my sewing class where I finally completed the purse I have been working on for the past week. My first sewing project! Next one (already underway) are bumpers for the baby's crib which I started in class and have been working on today as well. Today has been consumed by tons of errands out of the house, and many more projects at home. Jim has done a tremendous job completely redoing a rocking chair - stripping it down to the wood, changing the shape of the frame, and building everything back together. This weekend included working on the exterior upholstry, and now we can really see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thank goodness for the end of Daylight Savings Time - we needed that extra hour today!

Friday, October 24, 2003

Allergies are no fun, really no different than being plain old sick. I think I've turned a bit of a corner as the sore throat phase gave way to the runny nose phase, and now I'm just left feeling run down with a big stuffy head. I'm going to blame the physical drain as one of the contributing factors to nearly passing out at the brit milah (bris) of Alan & Carol's son. That, coupled with a very hot room, plus knowing that it would soon be our little boy's turn for this ceremony, seemed to have the deck stacked against me. And it was more than a bit embarrassing that Alan's dad had to rush across the room with a chair as he (and others, I'm told) observed me going pale and slumped over on Jim who was keeping me from falling. From this experience, Jim and I determined that it's ok if we are not in the 'front row' for our son's ceremony.

Speaking of babies, Jim's hockey teammate confirmed the arrival of October baby #4 earlier this month. The brief version he relayed to Jim of the hospital circumcision underscored how glad we are to have a mohel perform this procedure, rather than the hospital's technique. Oh, I should jump back to Brian Hal Green's bris and state that Jim and I were very relieved to note that the baby did not fuss or utter a peep when he received the anesthetic injection, and was completely numb and unaware of when the actual circumcision occurred. If our son gets through his own ceremony this well, we will be thrilled. I hope as the emotional parents, we'll do ok too.

After the hockey carpool this week, Lori sent Jim home with a chocolate & caramel covered gourmet apple for me. Yum! Thanks Lori!

Tonight is the Aeros home opener!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Highs and Lows...We're told that the 9 months will be full of them. I guess we are having a low spot as Bonnie is getting more uncomfortable, and is having a bad stretch of allergies causing even more discomfort for which there are very few effective meds that are safe to take right now. I guess we are just going to have to plow through it...

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

I completely forgot to blog about how awesome it was to see Alli & Dave (a.k.a. Dr. Baker & Dr. Brain) during their <24 hour visit to Houston over the weekend! Best of luck in their move from Boulder to the Bay Area!

After weeks of missing each other online, I caught up with Kim and she shared some photos of her new place in Dubai. It's HUGE!

I'm pretty bummed these days that I'm starting to outgrow some maternity clothes already. I'm just finishing up week 31 of 40 (roughly 6 1/2 months) which means there is plenty more to go. And, it really doesn't help that I'm such a klutz these days and am managing to stain the limited number of clothes I do have!

Monday, October 20, 2003

What a busy weekend! Still so many projects on our plates! One of the big 'to do' items we checked off of the list was picking up the crib and mattress - a very generous gift to us from mom. Thanks mom! We had already made our selection about a month or so ago, but didn't want to do too much too far in advance. (Besides, even though the store does have a generous 90 return policy, we thought we should wait until our due date was closer than that!) Our Honda Pilot proved invaluable in transporting everything home from the store. And although Jim was feeling a bit under the weather yesterday, he just couldn't help but assemble the crib and get everything set up. We think it looks great - see for yourself! I've taken two sewing classes so far, and hopefully I'll be able to begin working on crib bumpers from the pattern I bought when mom was in town earlier this month. Should be fun!

Friday, October 17, 2003

Last night was the second half of "So, You're Having a Jewish Baby" class and it was quite informative. With all but one of the pregnant women expecting boys, the audience was keenly interested in the presentation by the Mohel (a ritual circumciser, rhymes with 'oil') who will likely be the one performing the circumcision at our babies' bris. He even brought along some tools for visual aid as well! It wasn't the most pleasant topic, but knowing this is something we will be participating in in the near future, it was very helpful to be able to ask questions and attempt to become a little more comfortable with the details of the ceremony in advance.

October baby #3 arrived earlier this week. Congratulations to Alan and Carol who welcomed Brian Hal Green on Tuesday evening!

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Man, it has been an exhausting few days! Mom and I had a great visit here in Houston over the weekend - shopping for shoes, sewing supplies, baby stuff, etc. Kim was kind enough to meet us out at Babies R Us and help navigate through the maze of stuff. The sheer volume of products in that place is still a bit daunting to me.

Today was a 30 week check up appointment. "Perfect" was the word used to describe my progress at this point. We even had the opportunity to get back into the ultrasound room for some more 3D pictures of Baby Leach. This time he was definitely awake - opening and closing his eyes, sticking out his tongue and wiggling around. His hands and cord are still up by his face, but we had more photo opportunties today. His head is already down, and the strong movements I've been feeling on the right side of my rib cage were identified as his knees and feet.
Its been a while since either Bonnie or I had a chance to blog. Bonnie's Mom was in town this weekend and I was in NY visiting a Karl and doing a little flying. Time seems to be the main thing we just don't have much of these days. I understand that sleep is what we will be missing most in just over 2 months. Today is the 30 week Dr. visit. The schedule calls for little more than the heartbeat check and some measuring of Bonnie's belly and a new weigh-in. We are hoping, however, that the technician that did the 3D ultrasound will not be too busy to take a quick peek and see if Spencer is feeling photogenic today. We are not getting our hopes up, but its possible.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Friday we met up with Diane and Marcos for lunch after their 3D ultrasound appointment at our doctor's office. It was nearly a two hour drive for them to get a chance to see their baby. Unlike baby Leach, theirs cooperated and moved all around and they were able to get some great pictures! My favorite of the bunch is this one.

At night, Chris and Katie came over to the house. The boys watched the Penguins opener and the NLCS (much thanks to picture-in-picture along with ReplayTV) while Katie and I worked on invitations for Kimi's wedding shower.

Crafts continue with our first sewing class this afternoon, and mom arrives later today so we'll do some baby stuff together over the weekend.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Someone did bring my pills back to the pharmacy and we picked them up last night on the way to "So, You're Having a Jewish Baby" class at our temple. It was a fun discussion with six pregnant couples and the rabbi. Due dates ranged from two weeks, to me (two and half months) and I observed that I was not significantly smaller than anyone else in the room. We covered topics including baby naming traditions and significance, as well as the covenant ceremonies that will take place following the birth. It was great to see Jen back in the country! After class we went out for dinner with her and her folks to catch up. With an induction scheduled less than a month away, it's very exciting for her to be able to count down to a real date. (As opposed to our countdown on the right which has a standard pregnancy error of -3 weeks / + 2 weeks.)

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Pregnancy is full of highs and lows. Just spoke with someone at the doctors office who confirmed that each of the interval results from the glucose test were within the normal range. Yippee! This means I do not have gestational diabetes and do not have to avoid all the wonderful desserts in November and December! Yesterday I suffered from a pregnancy moment at the grocery store. I paid for my refill prescription for pre-natal vitamins at the pharmacy, picked up a few groceries and then proceeded to leave the pills in the basket when I checked out. I hope that someone returned them to the pharmacy and that I'll be able to pick them up later today.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Today was round two for glucose testing to see if I have developed gestational diabetes. They drew blood, then I had to drink a sweet orange soda. Following the drink, they drew blood again every hour for the next three hours. Since I waited 45 minutes before I was called back the first time, I was at the lab for nearly four hours this morning - not fun. I guess I'll call this a bonus of pregnancy (one of very few) which was that since bloodflow has stepped up in my body, I was a pretty easy stick for the technician. My veins are usually a big pain - frustrating the tech and leaving me black and blue for several days afterwards.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Yes, definitely not what we would have scripted for our only anniversary alone as a married couple, but memorable nonetheless. When the cantor was carrying the torah around during the processional in the morning service, he stopped by us for a few extra seconds and told me to make sure that the baby had a chance to 'kiss' it too. A few of the people sitting near us laughed a bit. Only our congregation's cantor could tell jokes on a day like today. Quite contrast to the emotional sermon delivered by our senior rabbi this evening. As Yom Kippur also focuses on remembering our loved ones, his words brought about more than a few tears, and sniffles could be heard throughout the sanctuary.

We did talk about our fabulous wedding that took place one year ago, but decided we need to set aside some dedicated time to focus on each, other without other events piled on top. Our anniversary was certainly not forgotten by others - mom's card and gift arrived via Fedex this morning before we left for temple. Grandma couldn't decide on the perfect card, so she decided to send THREE! And we were touched to receive an anniversary card from the Ruhlman's, so we fondly remember as the couple (after us) who had the best time dancing together at our wedding.
Today was one of those days when the planets aligned and pretty well ruined what would otherwise have been a great day. Today was to have been not only to be our first wedding anniversary, but also to be our last without children. However, today is also Yom Kippur and a day that carries with it an obligation to fast (just for me, Bonnie, being pregnant was obligated to eat and to drink for the obvious health reasons) from sundown (last night) to sundown (tonight)...Not exactly the way you want to spend your anniversary. But, we knew about that for several months, and sort of just decided that would make the meal later tonight, all the more enjoyable. Little did we know that I'd get to start off the day by going into work to notify one of the people that works for me that their position is being eliminated and they are being let go. Not a fun way to begin the day. That all said, we decided to push out our anniversary to some later date and enjoy the full day without all the other stuff.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Since I had no fewer than 10 requests this weekend for more pictures of the baby and for the update to the belly, I have added two more ultrasound pictures on the 28 week ultrasound page and the October Belly picture.

Saturday, October 04, 2003

It was great to be able to celebrate with Tracy and Oriol at their Houston wedding reception yesterday evening since we were unable to attend their big event last month in Victoria, BC. I guess haven't seen many of my hockey friends in a while (understandable since I haven't skated in six months) so many were surprised to see how big I had gotten during the summer. Dawn instantly checked out the belly with her hands when we arrived, then gave Jim a hug hello, and finally it was my turn to be greeted!

Later in the night Katie and Kimberley got to see and feel the baby squirming around, and today Monique got to feel him move too. He's done a decent job of moving around when people want to check him out - except of course on Wednesday when we were trying to take some video. He's quite an active one (though I have no basis for comparison.) We were told that the head is already down, so most of the kicking and moving can be seen higher up on the belly.

The glucose screen from earlier this week indicated numbers just barely above the range they like to see, so I will be going back to the lab for a comprehensive test this week. (Drawing blood four times in three hours - ugh.) Nothing to be concerned about at this point, as only a relatively small percent of people who have to take the full test actually have gestational diabetes. The bummer is that following a 'better safe than sorry' practice until this next test is complete, I am keeping an eye on my sugar intake which has put a severe crimp in my fondess for desserts! We went to the Greek Festival for lunch, and that was where I had my one sweet for the day. And we bought a few pastries to take home so I could enjoy one during each of the next two days.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Last night's dinner with a bunch of our Canadian friends revealed how woefully sad our U.S. based healthcare plans are when it comes to time off for new mom's. Not that we thought we got a good deal by any means, but it was sad to hear specifics about how Canadians can receive 75% of their pay from the goverment for a year. And that mom and dad can each take advantage of this benefit. Six weeks...

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Figures that as Baby Boy Leach is normally super active, he decided it was nap time about 10 minutes in to our 28 week ultrasound today. He curled his arms up to his face, crossed his legs and dozed off. Before that happened, we were able to clearly count 10 fingers and 10 toes, a few clear glimpses of the boy parts, and some cool 3D images of the face. We never got a great frontal shot because of his arms and the cord obsuring the view. He did flex his little baby muscles a bit and punched a few times, but mostly quiet.
Its only Wednesday and its already shaping up to be a week of extremes. Yesterday, I went flying an airplane that was built in the 1960's with 1930's technology. Its a Belanca Citabria, a plane with a tailwheel and made of a combination of metal tubes and wood and covered in fabric. Quite a technology throw-back. Today, we are getting ready to hit the other end of the spectrum. We are scheduled to experience one of the coolest new technologies, the 4D ultrasound. I'll be posting some of the fruits of this as soon as I can get them converted to a format that will be viewable online.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

It didn't really matter that I waited about 45 minutes to see the doctor today for a visit that lasted about 60 seconds. That was all the time it took for her to look at my recorded weight and blood pressure, listen to the baby's heartbeat, measure my belly and announce "Perfect." At the lab, the drink tasted exactly like orange soda (not my favorite, but not bad) and for the first time in years they stuck me successfully without using a butterfly. During the wait between drinking and drawing blood, I was able to check out Monique's fabulous new home just 2 miles away - it is really awesome!

"Baby 411" arrived yesterday and I'm keeping busy buried in this newest book.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Back to work after a "girly" Sunday - catching "Under the Tuscan Sun" in the middle of the day, then lunch and shopping (at Central Market!) with Kate in the afternoon. Pretty great day, overall.

The next two days are filled with baby stuff. Tomorrow includes a heartbeat checkup (every two weeks now, until month nine when we go weekly) and glucose testing for gestational diabetes. (I've heard this can be a bit gross.) On Wednesday we go the hospital to fill out paperwork and get pre-registered, then the event which we've been looking forward to for such a long time now: our 3D / 4D ultrasound! Baby Boy Leach will be 28 weeks along in development, so it's the preferred time to take some images now that he has started to store some fat (more baby chub, less alien) and before things get too much more crowded inside when his face might be obscured by a foot. We (and by 'we' I mean 'Jim') will work to get some images, still pics and possibly some video clips, out on the website shortly afterwards.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Happy New Year! We've been off to a pretty fine start so far. During Friday night's service we saw the new rabbi for the first time. Jim and I tried to guess where she was from by her accent. I initially thought Chicago area, but as soon as Jim said Michigan, I knew he was right on. During her sermon on Saturday, she relayed a personal story from "summer camp in Detroit" and we smiled at each other.

After services on Saturday, we celebrated with a meal at the Zoll's. Knowing we would meet up there afterwards, we had parked at their place and walked back and forth to temple, which was quite wonderful. They are the most gracious hosts, regularly including us in their family's holiday celebrations. The food was wonderful (we took home some noodle kugel - yum!) and so was the conversation. We especially enjoy swapping tips and stories with another family friend, Michelle, who is expecting her first baby just two weeks after us. Having only sisters and female cousins - all of whom had given birth to girls, Michelle told us that she too was expecting a girl. Jim and I were almost embarrassed when her father came over to say hi and her first comment was "they're having a boy!" We learned the Zoll's daughter, our friend Jen, will be flying back from Zurich to deliver her baby boy here in the states in a little over month from now - how exciting!

Seems that everyone is pregnant now - I don't think a day goes by that I don't see at least one other pregnant woman. It's possible I just wasn't aware of it before, but part of me thinks that pregnant women are magnets for each other.

Friday, September 26, 2003

The home stretch is upon us: the third trimester is officially underway. Today is the 26th and our due date is exactly three months from now. One of the online pregnancy calendars I was reading through described my feelings pretty well, as a mix between feeling like I've been pregnant for a really long time now, and a bit of anxiety knowing that the event of the birth isn't too much further away.

My new favorite TLC show "Clean Sweep" has me very inspired to put some of their organzational suggestions into practice. When Jim and I moved in nearly 5 years ago, we expanded to fill our house. Having to clean out one room entirely for our new bundle of joy has made us realize that we simply do not have the space to store items that we no longer need.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Two other guys on my hockey team are also expecting, but both are in the "any day now" time. We all got instructions last week to listen for the cell phone on the bench to ring. And it was on the bench again this week. I guess that when I get into that situation, I'll have my cell phone there too, and no more car pools to hockey. Even still, that day can't come soon enough for me.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Girl's Night tonight at Mia Bella - yum! Unfortunately, their bellinis came out of a big machine, and with no blender behind the bar I couldn't enjoy a virgin version. Oh well. Food was awesome. I'm so full right now - just relaxing here on the couch. We said goodbye, for a month at least, to Kim who leaves for Dubai on Monday.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Well, I am officially starting to outgrow some of my maternity clothes. Popular opinion was that even though my jeans cover my belly just fine, the shirt I wore today didn't quite come down far enough to not look silly. Sigh. In fairness, it is one of the tops from Wendy's generous contribution, and I had her beat by a good 6 inches and 25 pounds pre-pregnancy, so I guess I shouldn't feel too bad about no longer fitting into this top. But it's frustrating nonetheless, especially with so much longer still to go.

Monday, September 22, 2003

The first of the "October babies" arrived on Friday. Janet & Rich welcomed daughter #3 into their lives: Halle Ann Sanders. How exciting!

Last night's dinner, a version of penne ala vodka from Rachel Ray, was quite yummy and we agreed that it will definitely be made again.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Man, our craft fair adventure really sucked. Too pathetic to really put into words. We sold next to nothing (ddin't even make back the booth fee) meanwhile folks who were selling crap (literally crap - windchimes made from soda cans, painted wooden lawn ornamnets saying "welcome bunco queens," etc.) were staying constantly busy. Bari decided this whole event would make an excellent mockumentary like "Waiting for Guffman" or "Best in Show" and we kept ourselves occupied through the hours of idle time by compiling a list of outstandingly bad and cliche things from the day. We definitely need to seek out a different (i.e. less trashy) location for the next event.

Following such a depressing morning and afternoon, I would have really enjoyed a beer at Chris and Katie's that evening before we went out to the Rice v. UT game, but had to pass. Pat was so sweet to bring a baby gift! And I couldn't believe that she would not let anyone pay her back for the tickets either. It was very exciting to be at the game in person at the stadium, too bad the final score wasn't less embarassing.

Jim and I got to say hi to each other around 2:30am on Saturday, and again around 6 something this morning. Between the craft show, football game and hockey tournament, it's just one of those weekends with out of sync schedules.

Plans for my day include searching for a sewing machine. I know I've been talking about this for about a month now, but it's time to take action. I found a class to sign up for in October (which Katie would like to take too) but we have to bring our own machines to the first session. I've still got enough time to get one, but definitely need to make a decision pretty quick. I've heard Wal*Mart is a good place to shop for a basic model. If it ever stops raining, I may try to get over there today.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Time to get ready for a busy weekend in the Leach house! B & B Creative will have a booth at St. Timothy's crafts fair on Saturday from 9-4. If you live in Houston, come check it out - no admission fee! Bari has been a sewing fiend lately getting ready. And Jim is playing in a hockey tournament all weekend, on a team hand-picked by GM Audra. Plus, Rice plays Texas in football on Saturday night. Katie's dad secured tickets so I may be wearing my Rice hat in the UT section. Can events of 1994 be repeated?

Not much opportunity for baby stuff until Sunday and we're bummed about missing Chloe's 1st birthday party tomorrow as well.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Kim is engaged!!! Last night Katie, Heidi and I met her out to look for a wedding gown. I have to confess to giving the first saleslady a bit of a hard time asking if they carried any wedding gowns in my size! (They didn't.)

What a year - now I'm referencing Baby Bargains daily, and last night I was telling Kim how I was living by Bridal Bargains last year. Both great books, for anyone needing info on either topic.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

"Textbook" was the word my ob used to describe my progress at yesterday's appointment. All measurements were exactly in line with where they should be for my weight, shape and fetal heartrate. That made me feel good.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Later today, as you can see on the right, we are about to hit the 100 days 'til our due date mark. That also means that we are just about in the 3rd trimester (aka: the home stretch). We are doing pretty well on getting things done, and crossed off of our list, and one of those things that is done is settling on a name. Now, while we do maintain the right to change this at any time and we love to hear what you think about it, we are pretty happy with the name. I also added a link to the sidebar. If you cant see it, let me know and I'll help.

Monday, September 15, 2003

We're back in Houston now after a great long weekend in NY. Saturday all of the family came up to celebrate Grandma's 90th in great style!! It was a truly elegant affair at La Panetiere with amazing food. I don't think that grandma could have been any happier, and definitely got a bit misty when the cake was presented with "we love you, Evelyn" written on top. It was so great to see all of the cousins who made the trip and also see how much the "little cousins" have grown. Alex was telling about her girls' night in Knoxville, where they take turns hosting & cooking every month, unlike how our group in Houston chooses to eat out all of the time! 6-year old Sophia is quite the artist, and in the year since our wedding, Ethan seems to have turned from 3-year old toddler into 4-year old boy. He seemed excited to learn that he would soon have his first boy cousin to play trucks with.

On Sunday we attended another fabulous party to honor Adam & Ariana before their wedding later this year. It was a magnificent brunch at the Red Oak Mansion in the Westchester Renaissance Hotel. What a difference a year makes - in September 2002 Jim and I were finishing up the final details for our upcoming wedding which Adam & Ariana attended as guests, boyfriend & girlfriend. Now we are coming up on our one year anniversay, expecting a baby a few months after that, and they have since gotten engaged and have their wedding to look forward to in November. Whoa. Among the 150 or so guests were dozens of old family friends Deena and I knew from temple growing up. It was so much fun to re-connect with "the best of Bet Torah" (as one person put it!) and catch up on the past decade or so. One got a bit choked up to see "Bonnie grown up & married & pregnant!" Jim made fast friends with Ariana's family who had traveled from Pittsburgh (the Steelers tie was the giveaway!) and he passed along score updates from the periodic text messages he was getting from Karl! Fortunately, the Steelers were still winning when the party ended.

I think the single funniest part of the weekend was on Sunday morning when we went to pick up grandma for brunch. It was a repeat plan from Saturday when we picked her up for her own party - meeting in front the main entrance to her place to ensure that everyone would see her all dressed up. On Sunday morning's pick up, grandma had just gotten into the car when a friend of hers came out to say hi and asked "are you just getting back home now?"

Friday, September 12, 2003

Continuing to eat very well up here, which can always be counted on when coming to visit the family in NY. Including home-grown tomatoes from pop's garden with breakfast. It was great to see grandma tonight for dinner before her big celebration tomorrow! Baby Boy Leach cooperated afterwards and gave a few good kicks when she felt the belly. Grandma has already received a couple of letters from Bide-A-Wee thanking her for contirbutions which friends have made in honor of her birthday.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

We have now settled in at mom's house and are getting ready for bed after a day of travel. Pop picked us up from LaGuardia and treated us to a special dinner at Peter Luger's. "It's not every day you get to have dinner with your pregnant daughter!" On the drive up from the city we saw that NYC again created virtual twin towers with light beams shining into the night. Many aircraft hovered overhead keeping watch on the city, and Jim added that many more were standing by on the ground, if needed.

Time for bed, lots to do during our short trip here this weekend.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

I just finished the floor in the baby's room, and am pretty pleased with it. As promised, there are new photos added to the Baby's Room page showing the latest work...
For some reason, I don't want to think of myself being a victim of the "classic" pregnancy symptoms. I still knock on wood everytime someone asks about nauseau and I can say that I got to skip that one. Yesterday Jim said that I was guilty of having food cravings and I didn't like hearing that. Truth be told, I have definitely had a yearning for something sweet after each meal. Last night, coupled with laziness of not wanting to drive back to the grocery store, I made this macaroon recipe to satisfy my sweet tooth because I had everything on hand. (Although I did adjust the recipe down because I only had two eggs in the house.) They did the trick, but they were a bit too crunchy on the outside, and didn't follow the classic formula of making a merengue base first. I think nothing is as good as the recipe in Rosie's cookbook - Bari's personal favorite, for sure! And, truth be told about another pregnancy symptom, I have been victim to heartburn occasionally in the evenings. Sigh. I think I was definitely unprepared in just how many different ways my body would change, beyond simply getting bigger.

Monday, September 08, 2003

I don't know why I am still a bit bothered by this... because I know there is little to no thought put behind the hostess and waitress asking: "smoking or non-smoking?" or "would you like to start off with a margarita today?" It's obvious that these are perfunctory questions, but one might think that perhaps they would not be asked of an obviously pregnant woman. Or, sadly, perhaps it is because there are many pregnant women out there making different choices, and restaurants can not assume what the answers to these questions might be.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

OK, as promised, here is a link to a page that I will maintain that shows the progress on the baby's room... The room and the page are both Under Construction. The video on the page may take a while to load, so be patient... Today I plan to rip out the carpet since I'm told that the new flooring material will be in Monday. So, depending on how that all goes, expect more updates to the page by mid-week...

Friday, September 05, 2003

Looks like the weekend will likely not be as productive as I might have hoped. The materials for me to install a new floor in the nursery have not arrived, so it looks like I'm not going to be able to work on it, and the rest of the room is dependent on the floor being complete. Oh well, I'm still recovering from adding all of the stars to the ceiling, and I am free to go watch the Steeler game Sunday...

I'll be adding a link to the webpage I am building to allow everyone to get a look at the nursery as I work on it. That should be up this weekend, be sure to check it out, I think its coming along quite well. We are going with a stars and planets theme complete with (600) glow-in-the-dark stars and planets on the ceiling...

Thursday, September 04, 2003

OK, after a night of dinner made from whatever I could create with what was already present in the fridge using this recipe I found on epicurious.com and dessert from the same M.O. (yummy Dagwoods from Rosie's cookbook) - tonight we're heading out to Heath & Kim's. Isn't it wonderful when you're wondering what the heck to do for dinner and friends call and invite you over?

New belly pics taken tonight - I'm not sure I'm really pleased to see how others see me...

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Last night, we got to bed a little late, and I guess it was time for the baby to wake up because he was really moving all over the place. To me , when I feel it, it seems like it's a twitch or a muscle spasm, but I'm sure to Bonnie it's more like a full on kick...

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

I've never been a tan person, pretty much among the palest of my friends. But now that I'm pregnant, I am even more aware of the blue-ness of my veins as my body steps up the bloodflow required to support both me and the baby. We're finishing up week 24, so that's about 60% of the way through. But, of course, this is all very hard to calculate when the end date is unknown.

Sunday, August 31, 2003

So this morning I'm relaxing on the couch reading up on Baby Bargains (checking out ratings and recommendations for infant carriers today) and had the book propped up on my new shelf/tummy. Apparently, our son didn't think that was ok with him and began rhythmically bumping that area causing the book to bounce up and down. Hmmm.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Well, I spent all day yesterday painting our spare dresser (priming, not even painting yet) and building a changing table, so today I was free to go golfing (I'm sure that will stop soon). Based on my score, I should have stayed home and painted. Had a blast, and the 3rd 9 holes we played were $5 per hole, and luckily, I came out even in that too... Back to painting and sanding tomorrow I guess... I get to have Monday afternoon free to fly some more cadets around if I play my cards right...

Thursday, August 28, 2003

The belly is definitely starting to get in the way. Yesterday at the gym I was trying to squeeze between two weight machines and I got stuck. I tried for a couple of seconds to gracefully push my way through, but realized that wasn't going to happen and had to back up and go around. I'm sure some people witnessed the event, but at least I didn't hear anyone laughing out loud!

Tonight included a last minute trip to the Astros game w/ a couple of Jim's hockey buddies. Great seats just four rows back right by third base! Too bad the home team couldn't pull out a win this time.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

We have been quite productive on the baby front during the past 48 hours. Yesterday we met with a pediatrician who we liked very much, got all of the 'right' answers to our questions, and is very conveniently location only 10 minutes from either home or work. Today we met with the senior rabbi at our temple just to chat and ask a few questions and make sure there wasn't anything we were overlooking along the way. One big question on our minds was the tradition of Jews to not have baby showers or do much of anything to prepare a nursery in advance. This came from times when infant mortality rate was much higher, and such tangible items might add to the parents' pain. Our rabbi assured us that nothing in Jewish law expressly prohibits gifts for an unborn child, and that attitudes about this tradition are much more relaxed outside of observant Jewish circles. So, with that assurance, we'll now get a bit more serious on figuring out what we need (aggressively consult ratings/recommendations in Baby Bargains) so we can get started on registering. We stopped on the way home and bought a light for the baby room, which Jim has already installed in the time it has taken me to write this blog entry.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Today is 8/26, our due date is 12/26. Five months down, four months to go (more or less) which is another way of saying this baby is definitely coming sooner than later.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Well, neither U.S. team could pull it out in the Little League World Series championship Sunday. They finished 4th to Curacao and 2nd to Japan. BUT, it was great to see a championship game without any tears, as the two teams celebrated together in center field after the final out.

Even though I know I'm on track with weight gain, I'm still a bit concerned. Using one of the online calculators, I input my pre-pregnancy height & weight and it determined I should gain 34 pounds (even breaking it down by how much of that is baby, fluids, fat, etc.) Ouch. So, I guess the 15 I've added so far isn't even half of what I'll end up with. Not a fun thought at all.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Last weekend, I went flying gliders. Today, I spent the morning out at the airport teaching Civil Air Patrol cadets (12 - 18 year olds) to fly. To be more precise, I exposed them to flying as this was their first real flight in a small airplane. They had a great time, and so did I. Plus I get to fly and the US Air Force picks up the tab! The kids I flew with today were pretty eager, but we kept it pretty basic so as not to overwhelm them. They got to taxi the plane around (in open areas) and then once we got above 2500', they got to steer the plane and we even flew over their houses. I'm looking forward to flying these kids around some more, and am even more looking forward to teaching our boy to fly. I hope to have the chance to expose him to aviation early and often, so when it comes time to learn to fly, he wont be overwhelmed by being in the plane like the kids today were. That alone is enough of a reason not to get away from flying when so many other things are demanding my time.
Yesterday's appointment made me feel good. Although I am aware that I have gotten much bigger lately, I was initially horrified to see them record a gain of 10 POUNDS since my last visit exactly four weeks ago. But was then quickly reassured that this was indeed normal to through a growth spurt during at time, and that it will level off. (i.e. I won't be gaining 10 pounds a month for the next four months!) I felt even better when the PA measured my belly and it was exactly in line with my pregnancy. Diana had just told me earlier in the day that the measurement in centimeters should equal your number of weeks. For me, both numbers were 22 yesterday, so I am exactly as big as I am supposed to be at this time.

Friday, August 22, 2003

The Little League World Series is awesome! It was so exciting to watch the boys from Texas (just outside of Houston) battle back from being down 10-2, to tie it up 10-10 and send the game in to extra innings. We cheered as they pulled ahead 13-10 in the top of the next inning and watched their disappointment return as New England pulled out a 14-13 victory in the bottom of the frame. How crazy to be a parent at this event - emotional highs and lows like the kid has probably never experienced before. As the lead changed back and forth in the late innings, kids on both sides were visibly crying in the dugout from despair.

I think we've got a while to wait, as we have some time before Baby Boy Leach is walking, let alone able to swing a bat. This afternoon is another doctor visit where they will check the baby's heartbeat. Early on, that was the only reassurance that things were on track, but in the past two weeks or so I have been able to feel him regularly moving, squirming, rolling, jabbing, etc. so I am constantly reminded that he's alive and kicking in there. They will also check my weight to see how that is increasing. I have a feeling I will have gained a few pounds since they last checked four weeks ago. I step on a scale every few days at home and at the gym, but it's hard to discern gradual changes across different scales. Although, it is clearly on the rise!

Thursday, August 21, 2003

I rememeber the month or so before Chloe entered Heath and Kim's lives last September that we saw many movies together, knowing that going out for the evening would soon be a thing of the past for them once she arrived. Last night Jim and I checked out S.W.A.T. with Jack & Lori and Todd & Nana. While it was not a very original plot, I did find it to be a fun movie. But then again, I'm also looking forward to seeing Marci X which opens tomorrow, despite the fact that I know it was made a few years back, and apparently some scenes have already been "copied" in movies that have already been released. (One mentioned this morning on 104 was about Lisa Kudrow threatening to unload her Tae Bo, sounding similar to that memorable catfight scene in Bringing Down the House.)

Tom Viney's baby girl arrived on Monday. Congrats!! He says he is already missing his sleep time. I think she is all we knew about for summer babies. So it should be quiet until the onslaught of October deliveries...

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Girls' night for August was a fun rendezvous at Vietnam Restaurant last night. Kellys, Kims and Bonnies were in attendance, along with fellow bloggers Katie and Heidi and others. The 10 of us were the ONLY people in the restaurant for the entire night! (We think perhaps that is the reason they will be moving to a new location in 3 weeks.) After ordering invididually, we shared everything from the giant lazy susan in the middle of our round table: beef, shrimp, pork, chicken, crab - absolutely everything was fabulous! Looking forward to our next outing in September!

Once we both made it back home, Jim and I watched Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Man, I think that last night’s episode was just about the most hilarious one yet! This bald cop from Staten Island was just too funny! So many one-liners from the show had us laughing out loud. Too many to recount, but the first one I remember is from one of the opening scenes when Thom (a.k.a. gay guy responsible for interior design) is surveying the apartment and states, “this room is just dumb.”

Speaking of gay guys, Katie and I were discussing Boy Meets Boy, and neither of us could believe last week’s reveal which indicated that Dan was straight! He was quite a cutie, but I was so sure that he was quite gay. And speaking of men’s bodies, I was checking out my husband’s belly button last night. I remember when mine used to look like his – round and having some depth. Now mine has flattened and turned into a little more than a horizontal line. Not that I was na├»ve enough to not know this was certainly coming, but I read on the daily pregnancy calendar that this is the week when it might start to turn into an outie. I can’t believe how much my body has changed already – and I still have MONTHS to go. Today is the final day of week 22 (out of 40) but for the rest of population that counts in months, that means I haven’t even finished 5 months yet.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

I think we are finally turning a corner. So far, just about everyone we know has some advice about the baby, and mostly its useful. But, I think that over the last few weeks we have reached the point where we are getting the same advice over and over (not a bad thing as this tends to reinforce some important stuff to us) and also getting other advice that is totally contradictory (from this, we learn that some things are just a matter of preference and we wont know the right answer until we try something ourselves). I have gotten some great tips from unlikely sources. I was having a beer after my hockey game Sunday and a few of the "experienced" fathers (those that have survived the sleep-deprived first 3 months at least) that are on my team offered some key tips... Dont buy expensive diapers until they can at least crawl... make sure the ceiling fan in the room is a contrasting color to the ceiling, its a cheap and effective mobile and provides white noise... Pay whatever you have to to get the quietest crib and travel seat since accidentally waking a sleeping baby is a HUGE mistake... Get the all-black backpack diaper bag since you will be carrying it and you dont want to be toting around a pink bag... Toys are a waste of money until they hit about 6 months... All good things to know, but not the conversation I expected to have after hockey...

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Yesterday was quite a trip! Kim was kind enough to meet me out and help me navigate through my first trip to Babies R Us and serve as the voice of experience. Whoa. Talk about overload at the store. We did a good job staying focused on the task at hand: nursery furniture - cribs, dressers & glide rockers. This was good, because I think I might have not been prepared to walk down an aisle filled with nothing but different kinds of pacifiers. I had no intentions to buy or register yesterday, just get an idea of what's out there, and get a better handle on what our bundle of joy is going to cost. I think the outing was a productive one, because I found that I kept gravitating towards the desigs of one particular crib manufacturer (who scored well in Baby Bargains, which you know I was carrying around in the store with me!) While there we ran into Stacie! One of my Rice buddies that I haven't seen in forever. How funny to randomly run into an old pal, only to find that since the last time you visited (they came to our house right after we moved in nearly five years ago) you have both since gotten married and are now both shopping for baby stuff! She's due in February, so not another one to add to the ever-increasing October total!

Speaking of October due dates, last night was a shower for Brett and Liana at a phenomenal home out in High Meadow Ranch. They are both such good people. I went solo to this huge event, where I knew zero of the ~50 people, and they both made sure to introduce me around to their friends to ensure that I would have a good time. Dinner was wonderful, and their friends were so warm - it was a fun evening. Brett and Liana joked how this was the first time that their parents have seen each other since their wedding nearly seven years ago. (And added that they both asked to be reminded of the others' first names on the trip in from the airport!) Cute. As Liana opened her gifts, she made sure to point out items recommended in Baby Bargains. To which all of the other moms of toddlers nodded in agreement, "oh yes, that is good to have!"

Saturday, August 16, 2003

I feel as if I'm not really entitled to complain, as I have been feeling so well during the pregnancy, and I understand that is really not the norm. But I am VERY frustrated about the fact that I have become increasing forgetful and clumsy. Actually, that's not quite accurate. It was more like someone flipped a switch more than an increasingly gradual change. This morning I picked up my bowl of cereal and sloshed the milk out on to the floor for the second time in a week. It is frustrating to not be able to trust your hands, or your brain.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Jim made it home from NJ yesterday, which was earlier than expected! I know he missed me, but part of me knows that he is also looking forward to using his new toy to install wainscoting and moulding in the baby room this evening!

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Unfortunately, I missed the dinner tonight for Bari, but it sounded great. I spent the day in Raritan, NJ. I was visiting the computing headquarters for Johnson & Johnson. I'll be there again tomorrow, but I did get to spend the evening out with friends in NY. I'm staying with Karl in Manhattan, and we went to a great Czech beer garden in Queens. On the way there, Karl and Heather FINALLY guessed the name we are leaning toward for a baby boy with the initial 'S', but admitted that it took looking at a list to figure it out. I guess that means that it's not too popular. That is a good thing. Funny thing was, that at the beer garden, over a couple of pitchers of German beer, a few of the guys asked if we knew what we were having, and I said, yes, that it is a boy, and the reaction was just like that in Houston, "YEAH!, First try too! good job!" Funny that everyone assumes that a boy is what we were shooting for. I guess that 5000 years of evolution is hard to fight, and I have admited that AFTER finding out that its a boy, I am pretty excited about it, and even though I can't say that I'd be any less excited about a girl, I guess I just know boys better.
What a wonderful day! It was capped off by a fun dinner out at Pappasito's with a surprise celebration for Bari's 30th birthday. Super-yummy cake from R.J. Goodies which I haven't had in years; since leaving the mechanical team when we brought one in monthly for birthday celebrations. Despite telling our waitress that Bari didn't want singing, they came over anyway and planted the big sombrero on her head. Somehow I got blamed for this because I had been getting up and down to use the bathroom so often that Susan and Julie figured I had said something to our waitress during one of those trips.

This morning the guys came to replace our bedroom carpet. It was so wonderful to get rid of the carpet containing nastiness from 30 or so foster dogs from SAFE House Rescue and Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary during the past three years. The new carpet is clean and soft and lovely to walk on with bare feet! The day continued going well when I went outside at lunchtime - it was 76 degrees!! I swear that must be a new record low for Houston in August! I think May was the last time the temperature went below 80 in the evening, let alone mid-day! The nasty storm that came across Texas yesterday left Houston feeling wonderfully and unseasonably comfortable. At the end of the workday I won an ebay auction for a second pair of maternity jeans identical to the ones I bought new at Old Navy over the weekend. (Sale price for jeans at Old Navy = $32, ebay price for same (used) jeans = $13.)

Only low point today was stopping by Noah's Ark to return a dog crate that we have been using to foster dogs. I learned from Heather that their lease was not renewed, and they have been unable to secure a new location. The Houston Chronicle ran a story over the weekend about how they will essentially have to close down most of the operation before this week is over. Very sad news.

Monday, August 11, 2003

It's amazing how your mind can fast forward. Watching one of tonight's regional games for the little league world series, I can't help but wonder about what the future may hold for Baby Boy Leach on the diamond...