Sunday, December 30, 2007


My mother came this weekend to visit and help get stuff ready for BGB, who is now officially due in less than a month. We toured Babies R Us (it's been a while since I've been there) and stocked up on newborn diapers, a new Diaper Champ, some newborn nipples for bottles and lots of other things that I haven't needed in a few years. I still have some stuff left to do, like rent a breast pump and some other exciting details, but I feel pretty confident now that the main stuff is on hand.

It was really good that she was here to help me really think about what we needed to get. While I'm very ready to not be pregnant any longer, the thought of a newborn in the house is actually quite scary. A friend gave me the name of a night nurse she used a few days a week with her daughter that I'm hoping can help me a few days a week when BGB comes. My theory is that if I can avoid the true, all-consuming bone-numbing fatigue that comes with a newborn, I might actually be able to survive getting up three or four times a night for months on end. I swear after having Andy, I began to understand why slept deprivation is a form of torture. It really does mess with your head.

Speaking of my head, I am recovering from an ear infection. If you're counting at home, you'll know that this pregnancy has brought me:
1) Four months of morning/afternoon/evening sickness.
2) Stomach flu.
3) Strep throat.
4) Never-ending cold.
5) Fluid in my left ear that refuses to drain due and makes it difficult to hear.
6) Bronchitis.
7) A middle ear infection.

I'm back on penicillin and I'm hopeful this will knock it out. I went to my internist as opposed to my OB and I'm glad I did. He listened to my lungs and said it's not pneumonia, which is a relief since I've been coughing for two months. The ear was definitely infected so he gave me the antibiotic as well as some steroid nose spray that is safe in pregnancy. He hopes the nose spray will help dry up my sinuses and hopefully dry up the fluid in my ear as well. Fingers crossed.

Andy loved having my mother here for the weekend. She spoiled him by reading him lots of books, helping him work puzzles and generally being his playmate. He was sad when we had to say good-bye to her at the airport although I imagine my mother was ready for a good nap.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

I'm only posting this one of me and Andy because it doesn't look like I'm 35 weeks pregnant here. Sure, I don't look svelte or anything crazy, but I don't look, "Holy cow, you're big!" the way some people seem to think (and naturally say to me, with the exclamation point and everything). Of course, I am sitting and leaning forward, but I'll take it at this point.

The big kids looking tired as Andy is quite chipper blowing through presents and wanting to play with everything right now.

Andy opening blocks from his Grandmother. He spent a large part of the day making a car out of them blocks. Too bad his version of a car is eight inches tall and two inches wide.

The grandchildren with their Fafa after the jultompe came and left presents.

Andy, looking quite dapper in his blue blazer, oxford and gray slacks. Too bad he has decided to squint whenever the camera comes out in anticipation of the flash.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas to the enormous pregnant lady

As an early Christmas present, Andy has managed to use the potty successfully twice in two days. I still think we're a ways off full-blown potty trained and with a baby due in five weeks, I'm figuring whatever we do now will succumb to regression as he gets used to all the changes in the house. But I'm encouraged that his interest has picked up again. Certainly the fuss we make over it and the special cookies (a piece of Cookie Crisp cereal) help.

We're officially ready for Christmas around here. Andy has been loving the Christmas books we've been reading, especially the Polar Express. Bjorn has hidden lots of the presents for their big debut on the 25th and we have a separate special pile to take to his mother's tomorrow for the Swedish celebration. Jennifer and I even went out today to get our nails done -- pedicure for me and a manicure for her. If Santa looks at nails to determine if we've been good or bad, we're all set.

I'm definitely feeling more and more like a pregnant whale these days. When shopping the other day, I had to park pretty far away and found I had to pause half way there. It's wasn't that I out of breath per se, but seemed to develop some type of a walking cramp kind of thing in my side. I know I'm out of shape, but dang, that's harsh. I'm also finding it harder to sleep more than a few hours at a time (cruel irony since I know what's coming). My left ear is still stopped up and the cold is not showing signs of going away. I'm now resigned to the fact that neither will improve until after I have this baby. Now if I could just figure out how to have the baby, take a week to recover by getting lots of sleep and perhaps drink plenty of wine and THEN start caring for a newborn, I would really like that. That's possible, right?

The last piece of office furniture -- the filing cabinet -- is now out of the baby's room and into the basement until we figure out exactly where it should go permanently. Andy and I spent some time getting the baby's closet together and putting some baby clothes away. I haven't packed a bag yet, but it's definitely starting to seem more real. Yikes.

Meanwhile, as a little Christmas present from me to you, check out this really awful school picture over here. The crying kid combined with the bizarre phallic mushrooms and creepy lizard combine to make a portrait that this kid's parents will use for blackmail with friends and girlfriends the rest of his life. It's gorgeous.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas is coming!

It's so much fun watching Andy gear up for Christmas. There are still parts of it he doesn't get, but generally he's excited to help wrap presents and he loves putting presents under the tree. We have talked about Santa and he's dutifully opening his advent calendar, but I'm not sure he's put the whole thing together yet. That said, I can't wait for Christmas morning when he comes down to see that Santa has come. I'm even thinking we should leave some cookies out for Santa Christmas night to help get ready. Well, if I get around to making cookies.

It's been funny talking with Bjorn about Christmas traditions now that we have to worry about Andy remembering and getting it (or questioning us). His tradition is opening presents on Christmas Eve (when the Swedes traditionally celebrate). That evening, the jul tompte (Christmas elf) comes and leaves gifts for the children. There is usually a fun event when everyone goes out to look at Christmas lights or the moon or something and the jul tompte usually comes and leaves presents when we're gone. It's quite fun and involves lots of glogg (Christmas wine) drinking.

For my tradition though, we have stockings over the fireplace and we rush down Christmas morning to see what Santa has left us (assuming we've been good). Usually there are a few unwrapped presents from Santa and gifts in our stockings. Then we settle in to open presents from the family. Bjorn and I disagree on this part though -- I say there are Santa presents and then presents from family, but he says they're pretty much all Santa gifts. So much so that he wants to hide all the presents until that morning to make a bigger impact. You'd think we would have this all worked out with Mark and Jennifer, but by the time Bjorn and I got together seriously, they already knew about Santa so it wasn't a big deal. I think I'm okay with doing it his long as he's the one moving all the presents. I'm not quiet as helpful in my enlarged state.

My cold/stuffed ear continue to nag me, which is making me more pregnant and cranky than I think I would be otherwise. My doctor said to take Sudafed as needed during the day and Benadryl at night to try and dry everything out. It is definitely improving my symptoms and I love that the Benadryl is helping me sleep. All the drying is unfortunately making my throat pretty dry, but I'll take that over the coughing and snot making any day.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mutt, Jeff and now Steve

When Andy was little, he fell in love with a stuffed dog. It was a cute, brown Gund, officially named a Treynor. Once I noticed the love, I made a point to order a few extras. What I didn't realize was they came in various sizes so I ended up with a few little Treynors (that bark if you squeeze them) and a bigger version. Andy saw the bigger one and had to have it, too. We (I) named them Mutt and Jeff.

That worked pretty well for a while. I had spares on hand to wash in case of emergency. It was also nice to know that if one was lost, the world wouldn't end because we had it covered.

When Andy started his new school in February, he had a whole new nap routine. To make it easier, I sent along a Mutt back-up dog for him to sleep with at nap time. That seemed to be going pretty well. Andy didn't really question why Mutt was here and there. Until recently.

Andy pressured me into naming the new dog since it was obvious it wasn't Mutt. So I came up with Steve. Random. And, of course, it stuck. Now he loves Mutt, Jeff AND Steve -- what a happy trio -- and insists that Steve go with him back and forth to school now. Around the house, he now talks to his dogs and takes all three of them with him everywhere. I am a little worried that at this rate, he's going to find the spare Jeffs hidden in the closet and he'll be carrying six matching stuffed dogs any time we leave the house.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Ginger bread house

Jennifer is back from college and babysat Andy for us Friday night so we could go to my office Christmas, er, holiday party downtown. She brought along a ginger bread house and Andy was beyond excited to help her decorate it. I was actually quite impressed with his attention span with it. Of course, it was a new activity and he was excited to see Jennifer, but still. They did quite a nice job. Andy is very proud of himself for having "made" it. I swear, this kid likes to claim credit for stuff he didn't do all the time, but that's another story.

I put the completed project in the center of the dining room table and he keeps talking about how he wants to go inside the house and stay there. Sure, it would be cramped, but come on Mommy, it has a door! What else do you do with a door besides open it to go inside?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Santa Lucia

We were cool urban people tonight and went to the Swedish Embassy in Georgetown (which is new and quite magnificent) for Christmas songs, including a Santa Lucia procession where young beautiful women sing songs with candles on their heads. The weather was supposed to be nasty, causing folks all over the area to stock up on ice and snow shovels only for the area to only get a light dusting...of rain.

Andy enjoyed the singing of the Swedish songs, as did I, especially the few songs I recognized. Afterwards, we sipped glogg and ate Swedish pastries (none as good as Bjorn's mother makes) before dancing around the Christmas tree to more songs. There were tons of little kids of all shapes and sizes. Andy wore his blue and yellow Swedish flag skull cap the entire time we were there. He looked quite cool actually. I only wish my ear would unstop and I could hear things normally

Naturally, I forgot to take my camera. I am clearly in the real forgetful stage of pregnancy, which combined with my intense pregnancy-induced clumsiness, makes me a danger to be around. One month, 17 days, and 17 hours to go.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Much better

Thanks for your well wishes. Andy seems much better. He took a long nap Monday afternoon (so long I even kept checking in to make sure he hadn't died from the anesthesia. What? What's so weird about that?) Since then, he's been chipper and quite darling. Well, he's still 2 11/12 so he has his moments, but he seems to feel pretty good.

The nurse instructed us (well, me, Bjorn doesn't do baths in our house at the moment although that might have to change in a couple of months) to put cotton in his ears just until he gets the all clear in a couple of weeks that the ears have healed properly. Unfortunately, I can't seem to master getting a little cotton ball into his ear without it promptly falling out once he hits the bath water. He is also supposed to be getting antibiotic ear drops for the next couple of weeks. The instructions say five drops in each ear twice a day, but Andy is dead-set against them so it's more like two drops in each ear, each day. Oh well.

As you can see from the picture, he seems to be feeling pretty good. Here he managed to take the furnace air filters, carry them upstairs and proceed to "make a train." I'm not sure what he was envisioning exactly, but it's clear he has an imagination. He loved playing with those filters so much that I finally had to remove them under the cover of night to get them out of view. I love how strange and active his mind is right now.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Today was Andy's surgery for his ear tubes. I was nervous, but it all went quite smoothly. In fact, the folks at the Fairfax Surgical Center were exceptionally throughout and efficient. Quite an operation.

7:00 a.m. - Leave the house for Fairfax City.

7:15 a.m. - Walk in the doors for an 8:30 a.m. surgery, slightly off the 1.5 hours they recommend.

7:20 a.m. - Check in and go upstairs to another waiting room.

7:25 a.m. - Consult with the anesthesiologist who explains that it will be a general anesthesia and it shouldn't be a big deal. BUT he warns that about one in a thousand do have a reaction so they have breathing tubes and other gear on hand just in case.

7:30 a.m. - We go back into an area like an emergency room with curtained rooms to sign papers and change Andy into a gown while they check his temperature and blood pressure. Then they give him a little Tylenol in advance of the surgery to take any edge off. The procedure is technical painless, but apparently all the ear popping afterwards can be uncomfortable. Bjorn is also given a gown to wear over his clothes since he will be the one holding Andy while they give him the anesthesia.

7:45 a.m. - I'm sent to the waiting room, Bjorn and Andy head for semi-sterile toy room while they wait for anesthesia and talk to Dr. McBride about the surgery.

8:00 a.m. - Andy is given the anesthesia mask. After three deep breaths, he passes out. Bjorn is sent to Consultant Room 2 in the waiting room where we wait together.

8:15 a.m. - Dr. McBride comes to talk to us. Andy did great. The tubes are in place and the fluid that was in his ears have been drained. He's free to take baths and swim in the pool, but he needs to keep his ears plugged if he swims in less sterile water, like in a creek, lake or ocean. After this, he should hear much better. Bjorn and I look at each other wondering how much smarter he'll be now that he can hear. We are due to see the doctor again on December 26 to see how everything is going. In the meantime, he is to finish his Suprex antibiotics and also get prescription ear drops to use for the next couple of weeks to make sure the tubes stay open.

8:25 a.m. - We're taken to the recovery room where Andy is just starting to sit up. He's transferred to my lap in a lazy chair where he groggily cries for his dog and his binky. The nurse gives him a little apple juice and he and I cuddle while watching Clifford the Big Red Dog (a terrible show that Andy doesn't mind today.) The nurse explains again that he might be groggy for a bit, but that by the afternoon he should be himself again.

8:45 a.m. - Get him dressed again.

8:50 a.m. - We're given the all clear and walked to the elevator, which takes us to a door to the parking lot that is different than the one we came in. Andy is still groggy and a little whiny.

9:00 a.m. - Swing through the Dunkin' Donuts drive through to get Andy a chocolate donut with sprinkles and much needed coffee for the grown ups. As Andy eats his donut, he starts to perk up like his old self. Whenever he burps though (and apparently that is several times this morning), he complains that his ears hurt. This must be the popping they were talking about.

9:15 a.m. - Arrive back at home. We put Andy in our bed to cuddle up with his dogs and watch some Little Einsteins (or "Lil Eintines" as his calls them). He refuses to take his hat off, as you can see. I give him the antibiotics and some more apple juice.

10:30 a.m. - He's now wide awake and hyper although he alternates between hyper and saying he's not a little tired, but "big tired." Bjorn administers the ear drops, which Andy says tickle and are cold.

11:30 a.m. - We try to put him down for a nap and count our blessings that this all went so smoothly. Now if only I can arrange for labor and delivery to be this quick and mostly pain free.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

'Tis the Season

Andy is old enough now to understand the advent calendar. Well, sort of. He's old enough to understand counting numbers and the idea of opening the little windows every day (and eat the chocolate). He's not quite old enough to get the concept of what he's counting down toward per se, but it's still fun each day to see him open his window. It's pretty darn cute.

Saturday we had Andy's sibling class at Virginia Hospital Center. It would have been better had we arrived on time and/or not spent 10 minutes trying to locate the room for the class considering it only lasted about an hour. But Andy did instructions on how to gently hold a new baby (using a doll) and sing it a lullaby. We also took him on a tour of the labor and delivery and post-partum floor. We'll need to know where that is soon enough.

We also saw the nursery. The lovely nurse teaching the class warned that we might not see any babies in the nursery since they "really encourage rooming in," but there must have been at least 10 tiny babies in there. Intellectually, I know how small they start out, but it was a good (and scary) reminder to actually see hours old babies. I think it's finally hitting me that we're going to have a tiny baby sometime next month. Wow.

Andy has been a darling most of the weekend, including getting his hair cut (quite short) this morning. In all this cuteness though, I know his ear surgery is tomorrow. I'm trying not to worry about it, but it sort of lingers in the back of my mind. We had the pre-op appointment on Friday with his pediatrician who is always exceptionally nice. She gave me some basic advice, like how it's hard for mothers to watch the anesthesia take effect since the kids often look like they're dying even though they're not (funny, the surgical nurse who called to give me last minute instructions said the same thing). The surgery is tomorrow morning. I'll post something when I get a chance letting everyone know how he's doing.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Last weekend, we went to another birthday party at the Pump It Up indoor moon bounce. Andy was more excited about it since he'd been the week before, but he still was timid about going on the slides. Fortunately, Bjorn came with me this time so he was able to coax Andy onto a couple of the slides and get him into it. Andy has since been asking about going back to the moon bounce place every day.

The first picture is of Bjorn on the ride. Dang, those slides are fast. I was bitter that I couldn't really jump on them myself since clearly they're sturdy enough for adults. The slides are really quite fast for anyone who weighs over 100 pounds though. All the adults that went down the slides found themselves not stopping at the bottom as is intended by the bumper at the end, but instead halfway across the room. It was really fun though. We decided they need to open it later in the day and serve drinks.
Meanwhile, this second picture cracks me up because it seems like Andy is purposely not listening to the instructor that was telling them what to do. Likewise, Mia looks downright pissed to have to endure the talk.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Andy brought this home from school this week. From what I gather, it's a little baking tin with some purple baking soda-esque paste in it -- it's still a little mushy, but not wet. Then there is a purple fuzz ball off to one side and on the bottom, is the Little Jack Horner rhyme:

Little Jack Horner sat in the corner
Eating his Christmas pie
He put in his thumb and pulled out a plum
And said, "What a good boy am I!"

Is that supposed to be a Christmas pie with a plum in it? Random. And pretty scary actually. Bjorn wanted to throw it away immediately, but I rescued it in order to take a picture. It will soon make it's way to the trash again. Before you get outraged, I do try to keep a lot of his art, certainly for a few days at least, but some of it is just so bad that it has to go very quickly.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

What? Is a baby coming or something?

Just today, my friend Jenn returned a bunch of Andy's stuff and my cousin Frances sent me some stuff from her daughter. On top of the crib we already had, glider I bought from a friend, rug Bjorn bought, shoe moulding I installed and a dresser, suddenly the room is looking just about ready for a baby to go in it. How crazy is that?

What's weird is with all the baby stuff taking over the house in combination with all the Christmas decorations out, suddenly my house is feeling exceptionally full and disorganized. I'm not especially clean and organized to begin with so that's saying something. It just seems that in every room there is an extra chair or table -- hopefully temporarily.

And since I'm clearly nesting (and therefore somewhat hyper and manic), what stinks is that a lot of it is too heavy for me to realistically be lugging up and down the stairs. That means my frenzy is dependent on someone stronger than Andy being around and willing to move things for me at a moment's notice. Yeah, Mark and Bjorn don't think that is getting old at all.

One month, 28 days and 15 hours to go. Not that I'm counting. (Actually, I'm not technically counting either, but my Yahoo! widget is counting for me.)

In case you're curious, this is what the room looked like a couple of weeks ago.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

More antibiotics

Andy goes in for his ear tube surgery a week from tomorrow. That didn't stop him from developing yet another sinus infection (as identified by the prodigious amounts of eye goo he had this morning) and reinforcing that this in indeed the right thing to do to keep him healthy and happy. Once we saw the goo, I put in a call to the pediatrician's office who called in a prescription for Suprex (at a cool $50). Hopefully that will clear him up until the surgery when the new found ear drainage should help prevent every cold from turning into something more severe. In this case, I think this is the same infections he's had for weeks that we just can't seem to get rid of.

As he's on his antibiotics, I am on amoxicillin for the cough I've had for weeks now. The doctor said it sounded like bronchitis, but she's an OB and not necessarily an expert at diagnosing regular stuff like this. I haven't noticed a difference since I started taking the medicine on Friday, unfortunately. It could be that like Andy, I can't seem to shake illnesses these days either. Apparently pregnancy weakens my immune system so that my body won't reject the fetus as a foreign substance. Yet another side effect I'm having these days. I'll admit it's been tough, being big and pregnant (read hormonal and cranky) is trying enough without adding on all the infections that make it harder to get through the day and sleep at night. The most irritating thing about this most recent illness is my left ear is totally stopped up so I have difficulty hearing as well as telling if I'm talking too loud. At least we're coming into the home stretch -- only eight more weeks to go to my due date. And that means just five weeks until I'm 37 weeks and considered full-term. Yay! (And shit! There is a lot to do between now and then, including Christmas.)

Meanwhile, I'm on Bjorn's computer tonight and found this old picture of Andy. I think it's from summer 2006. I love how round and babyish his features are. And I laugh to think I thought he was ready back then for finger painting. If I recall, he really only succeeded in getting his hands covered in paint and never really got the point of drawing on the paper and making a mess everywhere.