heads or tails?

So we went in for our 36ish week visit this past week, and at that point they check to see whether the baby is head down or not. In case it's not obvious, you really want the baby to be head down, so they come out head first. They've been checking just by feeling Sharayah's belly for the last several visits, but this was the more official check. Every time they've checked, they've said he was very obviously head down. They tried to show us, but we couldn't feel any difference. From the outside, I guess a baby head feels the same to us as a baby butt. Anyway, he was always head down, at least as far as they could tell by that method. The last time they checked before 36 weeks, it was a little harder for them to tell (usually it was instantly), but they eventually decided that, yes, he still felt like he was head down.

Now we come to the 36 week visit. At this point they have to do a more thorough check, and if he's not head down then you have to talk options. Ultimately, if he's not head down by labor time, you can't deliver at the birth center (breach is not low risk). So, first they check like they always do, by feeling Sharayah's belly. Very strangely, he seemed to be butt down. He was too wide at the bottom for it to be his head, and they thought they felt a head up. More evidence from his heartbeat, which was much easier to hear around her bellybutton. This was not good. He was supposed to be head down, and they said it was very rare for a first baby to flip after being head down. They were starting to talk options for trying to get him to flip. She thought maybe it was his shoulders down below and his head was too far down to feel from the belly, but the heartbeat seemed to be against that theory. Heartbeats are not in the butt.

Well, of course, feeling the belly isn't perfect. They still have to check the other way (you don't want to know). And, thankfully, using the more reliable way, they were 99% sure he was head down. He had just lowered enough that his shoulders were all they could feel through Sharayah's belly. I guess he's getting prepped to come meet us. Of course, the heartbeat was still odd (hence 99% instead of 100%), so they sent us for an ultrasound just in case.

We like ultrasounds. You can barely see anything and it's still just the coolest thing ever. Every tiny little glimpse of him is amazing. You spend most of the time just looking at black and white blobbiness, but there's tiny little moments where you can see he's a baby, and he's in there, and he's your baby, and oh there he was again, oh man, that was a foot, and look at his fingers! He has a nose!

Yes. So, we like those. Not to mention we got immediate, definite confirmation that he's head down, ready to go. *hoof*

From here on, it's just a waiting game. He's now officially allowed to be born, but it could be several more weeks. It's any-day-now-but-probably-not-for-a-while. So we're getting our last few ducks in a row and waiting for that awesome day.

I have made my first Dad joke:
Q: What does it sound like when a duck barks?

I'll let you know how he likes it.

Dear tiny little half-Asian kpluBlet,
We're getting more ready for your arrival all the time. We got all your clothes washed and sorted. Your socks are seriously really small. Are your feet really that little? The socks are pretty cozy so I think you'll like them. Warm feet are happy feet.
I got to see you again! It was pretty cool. You have your mom's wavy lines. I'm glad you've got your head down and bottom up. But this reminds me of a talk we need to have, and now seems to be the appropriate time. We had to talk about this eventually, but now that we know your bottom's up... In the words of Homestar Runner, "When someone says 'What's up?', don't tell them about your butt."


the 'shroomiest of moods

So, I think we have reached the point where it is safe to declare that Pregnancy Food Cravings is yet another thing I apparently will not be experiencing with the growing of this kpluBlet. The jokes of "...who knows? Pregnancy may make you crave bacon!" can officially be put to rest. [Not even a tiny little human can persuade me to eat a 4-legged animal. Whew!]

I still like all of the same foods I have always liked. I have not had even one abnormal food desire [mustard and sauerkraut sandwiches are "normal" pre-pregnancy cravings for me]. I consume about the same portion size as always. I suppose the only thing that may have changed is the amount of time that passes between the moment I finish one meal and the moment that I begin anticipating my next meal. Pre-pregnancy, this amount of time would fluctuate between one to three hours, with the exception of breakfast anticipations which [logically] could begin at bedtime the night before. Now, however, I find myself finishing second breakfast, digesting it for about 10 minutes, and then feeling the tendrils of excitement for elevensies nearly immediately. It's not that my stomach is immediately hungry, but my mouth/brain is. You know how it is. Luckily, with the growth of this tiny person taking up all kinds of space in my normal food storage area, I am forced to wait an appropriate amount of time before consuming my next meal just for comfort's sake. Truth:  There is a finite amount of space inside of my torso.

Anyway, so yes, general desire for food has increased, but room for said food and/or strong desires for specific foods have sadly not been present. I say sadly because I was actually looking forward to experiencing the stereotypical "Husband, I don't care that it is 3 a.m. Go fetch me wasabi-flavored cheerios!" phenomenon. It sounded like fun. Sigh. I suppose I will have to settle instead for these strong feelings of food enjoyment, which is to what I attribute my constant thoughts of food: Everything just tastes delicious, so I want lots of it allthetime allthetime! It makes grocery shopping quite a task as Jason has to guide me through Costco and try to keep me from buying one of every new product. He's a talented man.

With the end of August in sight, and Fall right around the corner, and holiday season excitement just peeking above the horizon, and Food Brain on full steam ahead, naturally I have been constantly thinking about Thanksgiving and all of the tastiness that comes on that grand day. Mashed potatoes, crunchy stuffing, melty corn, green been casserole, sweet potatoes, tofu salad, wasabi-ed sushi, banana nut bread, fried rice with bean sprouts, jalapeno cornbread, lentil stew, flaky potpie... Huh, I think I accidentally got off the Thanksgiving Bus and ended up in Sharayah's Food Wonderland. My pregnant self apologizes. ANYway, Thanksgiving foods have been on the brain. And out of nowhere, I realized what was missing from my ideal Thanksgiving spread: 'Shroom Gravy Goodness.

Now, I know absolutely nothing about normal gravy. I don't know what it is. I don't know what is in it. I don't know how it is made. I don't think I could ever identify the taste. It's one of those things that actually makes me reflexively crinkle my nose when asked if I want it, even though it has never been a nose-crinkling experience whenever I have tried versions of it. At Thanksgiving, it is put into the same category as the turkey: I will probably try some, but I could take it or leave it. My mouth and stomach's happiness would not be drastically affected if it was not on the table.

But. Mushroom gravy. Now that, that, is another story. Despite not having had it for years, as soon as I realized what was missing in my life, it was all I could think about. The mouth watering could not be contained until the 'shrooms were gravy-ed. The 'shrooms had to be gravy-ed NOW.

As mentioned earlier, I had zero inklings about the gravy-ing process. This necessitated some quick skimming of interweb gravy recipes and I was set. Mushrooms were purchased, chopped, and dumped in a pot with a little butter. Onions and garlic were liberally added. Some spoons of flour were thrown in. A couple cups of broth and various dashings of herbs later, I settled down to wait. The apartment filled with the intoxicating smell of Thanksgiving Fungi Heaven. Oh.My.Gravy. I felt like a salivating dog and Jason can attest to my hopping and squeaking. It was intense.

When I get an urge to cook something in particular, it really is pure speculation whether it will come out how I envisioned it to look, smell, and taste as I have an aversion to following recipes. Squinching my eyes and just throwing a hodgepodge of things into a pot is how I prefer to cook, so I realize I'm solely to blame for the less than ideal meals that I have created. They have all, mostly, been completely edible, however, so I feel little need to change my style. I just have to deal with the possibility of being saddened by the chasm between What I Imagined and What Actually Resulted.

But. This mushroom gravy. OhGoodness. My hypercritical self couldn't find one single disappointing thing. It was absolutely delicious. The flavor was perfect; there was even a nice little kick from the cayenne and red pepper flakes that I felt compelled to add towards the end. The consistency was 100% recognizable as gravy. It was exquisite. Yes, one of my concoctions turned out exquisite. I wanted to eat it by the spoonful. I poured it over some baked red potatoes and then slipped into a coma of deliciousness.

Now I believe I will be able to make it to Thanksgiving. My palate has been appeased.

To top off the perfect cooking experience, I have some leftover gravy that I think will go ridiculously well with some ravioli or a nice bowl of rice. Yes, 18 hours later, I am still ecstatic. And I cannot stop thinking about what I will have for dinner. Spoiler:  It will undoubtedly contain mushroom gravy.

I must stop typing about my gravy else it will become my afternoon snack. New topic!

Another reason I am in a particularly exhilarating mood is because.. I am officially on Vacation. Yes, vacation. I transcribed my last report this past Friday. I tipped my figurative hat in the direction of Miami, Florida, and bid farewell to the handful of doctors* whose dictations have made the past few years rather enjoyable work-wise. I shut down my Firefox browser [whilst better than IE, it was still annoying to have to use Firefox for work everyday since my work program didn't support Chrome] for the last time. I closed out my drug reference program and exited the little timer in the bottom left corner of my screen. No longer is my task bar filled with a dozen open applications. It looks a tad lonely with just Chrome and Skype open, but my insides are rejoicing. Vacation has begun.

Yes, I already hear it in my head. The well-meaning laugh and the inevitable remark of "Just wait until the baby comes. I don't think 'vacation' is how you'll describe those first few <period of time>." And, in my head, my response is to chuckle knowingly and remark, "Oh, yes, it is. Trust me."

I'll be honest. I don't really care for the "Just wait until...!" comments. You know the ones. The ones that are given with the good intentions to spare new parents from being surprised by all of the not-so-positive or not-so-happy things that occur when you have kids. The ones that are made to make sure you realize that having a baby may not be as rosy and perfect as you seem to think it will be. It is done out of kindness, I am sure, but I still don't care for them. [I am aware that I am sometimes guilty of doing this kind of comment (about various other topics, not babies/parenting), and I feel this is sometimes why they tend to irk me more than they possibly should. It is a trait I am working to fix.] It may sound rather offensive, but I let 99% of the "Just wait until...!" statements just float in one ear and out the other.

Do I have an unbelievably positive and giddy and perfect view of how life with a kpluBlet will be? Most definitely. Do I have an unquenchable excitement about the plans galore that are in store for this little person? Oh, indubitably. Do I think life will be filled with balloons and exclamation points and bright green pogo sticks? YES.

But I am also 100% cognizant of the flip side of parenthood. Will annoying things come up? Sure. Will many of my plans get derailed? Most likely. Will there be inconveniences and frustrations and sleepless nights and molehills of both founded and unfounded worries? I know better than to assume otherwise. But does this have any kind of meaningful effect on all of the positive, awe-inspiring, squeal-inducing aspects of parenthood? For me, every single negative thing that can be conjured up in a "Just wait until...!" statement doesn't affect even an iota of my outlook on the adventure that is ahead of us, an outlook that I firmly believe is completely realistic and practical.

There are going to be ups and downs, but how is that different from any other part of life? There are going to be feelings of utter elation and utter exhaustion, but who says they have to negate each other? Mistakes will be made, but who cares? In the big picture of things, life will continue to progress as life has always progressed. But instead of my world consisting of two people, there will now be three. It will just make things that much merrier and that much more fulfilling. I'm not expecting an easier life when the kpluBlet comes along, just an even more joy-filled one. When I declare how perfect life will be once the kpluBlet arrives, I 100% believe it. However, my definition of Life Perfecto realistically includes the exhaustion, the frustrations, the mistakes, the inconveniences, and every single one of the poopy messes. I am looking forward to every minute of it. I really am.

So yes, back to the commencement of Vacation. With my last day of work in the books, I am in full-time vacation mode. It is such an incredible feeling to know that vacation will last for the indefinite future. I get to use all of my time in dreaming about and then, in a month or so, living out my life ambition. Yep, being a mom is sure to require some work, but it will be "work" with a purpose. Vacation doesn't have to mean napping all day. Can a vacation consist of climbing a mountain in harsh weather? Can it consist of setting up tents and foraging for food? Can it consist of a grueling task that you have dreamed of conquering your entire life? It can. And mine does. My much anticipated indefinite vacation from work consists of pushing a person into the world and then making his life as joy-filled as possible, even in the midst of cleaning up his poop and him subsequently spitting up on me and not letting me sleep as thanks. It's going to be so much fun. Seriously. I love vacation.

To celebrate the beginning of vacation, we went to Longwood and explored their new meadow area. It was lovely. They've added a couple miles worth of trails through the meadow and it is such a peaceful place to be. It was a gorgeous day and we had a lovely time.

That dimple is the property of the Asian.

Mr. Butterfly posed for me!

So, that's that. Happiness and 'shrooms all around.

*You probably don't know who you are, but surely you must suspect. Because you are excellent dictators and have saved my work week dozens of times with your timely influx of dictations during my shifts. You deserve fireworks and cakes in your honor. 


the great pumpkin

You may remember that last fall we went to a pumpkin patch and got ourselves a couple pumpkins. What we didn't tell you was that these were not just any pumpkins.

They were... *dun dun duuuuun*

Magic pumpkins.

But I've gotten ahead of myself. So, last year we bought a couple pumpkins. There was a little one, and a medium one. We figured the medium one would be some kind of decoration, and the little one could be used in some sort of pie, or bread, or maybe also just as decoration if we never got around to cooking anything with it. Well, that's what happened. We didn't make anything, but they were nice to have in the apartment - made the place look all autumny. That's autumn-like. It's not a word, I just added a "y" to the end of autumn. We just wanted them to make our place look more festive.

So there we were, with a couple of regular pumpkins. Right? Well, it seemed like that for a long time. A long enough time that it started to seem like maybe they weren't regular pumpkins. Eventually the little one got a bit droopy, and we sent it on to the next stage of pumpkin life. That is, we put it outside under a tree. It stayed there for a long time too, but eventually the weather took it. But the medium pumpkin... That pumpkin never aged a day. A couple days ago we took a picture of the pumpkin:

It's kind of unreal how much it still looks like it did last year. The picture through the link above (or here, if you can't be bothered to scroll up) is the same pumpkin last September. Somehow this dude has survived almost a year. This led us to conclude that perhaps the medium pumpkin was, as I said before, magic.

But, of course, there are no magic pumpkins. And if you look at the back of that pumpkin (just print the picture and turn it over?) you'll see that, even though it lasted far longer than it should have (I read a pumpkin is supposed to last 8-12 weeks if it was healthy), it does look a little funny on the back. Not necessarily rotten, but funny. Maybe a little soft to the touch. So, after nearly a year of sitting up there, we sent the medium pumpkin on to the great beyond. That is to say, we put it under that tree to let nature do the rest. It's only a matter of time.

Speaking of pumpkins, the little-guy-on-the-way is currently between our two pumpkins in size. Hopefully closer to the little pumpkin. That's called a segue. Now we're talking about the baby instead of pumpkins. So.

Dear tiny little half-Asian kpluBlet,
When we got that pumpkin, you were so small we were still imagining you. Now you're so big you're almost ready to come out and see us! This year, we'll take you with us and find another magic pumpkin. We'll even let you pick it out. I'll just hold you over the candidates, and you drool on the one you want. Deal? Deal.
We're fast coming up on your arrival. It's all we can do to wait patiently to meet you. Then we can see your reactions to all the books we're reading you. Did you like New Cat? I don't really know. You wiggled, but you wiggle a lot. Speaking of which, your mom would really like it if you let her bladder go more than 5 minutes without being squished. Just a request.
Most important, just keep growing strong and healthy. We'll see you soon!