Monday, September 27, 2010

my brother-in-law & cute piglets on CNN

Check out this CNN video of Jason Mann, my brother-in-law, talking about his food philosophy & farm-to-table sustainable burger joint in Atlanta, FarmBurger. Go J!

And if you're in Atlanta, definitely go to FarmBurger (also super-delicious, Farm 255 in Athens). I haven't been yet but I'm dying to go. I hear their onion rings are totally fabulous. Not to mention The Burger, which sounds pretty darn good right now! If only they could airmail me one... but that wouldn't be very local/sustainable/fresh, would it?

Monday, September 20, 2010

random confessions of a so-so-big pregnant mama

my first engagement ring

This pregnancy has really forced encouraged me to re-think my expectations of myself and of my body. Pregnancy this time around has been so different from my pregnancy with Elan. I'm more tired and crabby. I have more aches and pains. Back pain, hip pain, pain places I don't want to talk about on the Internet.

The baby is low, and my back is straining, so I have a back/belly brace to help support my back.

I have a map of veins down one leg, so I have black thigh-high compression hose. After I melted-down trying to buy them at the local medical supply store, my husband googled "sexy pregnancy compression stockings" -- mine are Italian.

I can't tell you how sexy I feel.

All the layers of binding and supporting make me crazy after a while, and I just want to rip them off. Sometimes I do. And some days I suck it up and make it most of the day wearing all this stuff to prop my body up and try to keep it from hurting more.

And now the latest occurrence in the "never happened last time" category: my wedding rings are getting tight. I'm not visibly swollen, but I don't want to take any chances about them getting stuck. I'm trying to be more accepting about all these discomforts and necessary adjustments, relax into being in the "so so big" phase of pregnancy, and remember it's all temporary, and really, in the larger picture, I'm right where I want to be. So I put my rings away and got out my first engagement ring. It's silver, and Mikhail bought it secretly in Bolivia and then gave it to me when we got engaged in Peru - on the top of Huayna Picchu, which is the picturesque peak just behind Machu Picchu in all the pictures of that awesome place.

From life B.C. (before child) -
Mikhail and I got engaged on the top of the peak shrouded in mist.

This ring is just a little bit bigger, so it's giving me that much more room to grow. Plus, it's fun to look at it and remember back to a time when our lives were so different. Soooooo different.

A combination of wearing this ring and a form of late-pregnancy distracted tiredness is making my mind wander. I keep thinking about the time Mikhail and I spent in South America - 5 months traveling, and then we went back to live in Peru for a year. I'd love to write more about the adventures we had there, and the discoveries we made, internal as well as external. It's on my mental list of writing projects. That list I'm not getting to before the baby comes. Someday, someday... I have visions of a series of essays that might someday make up a book. How crazy is that? I can't even believe I'm admitting it here, in "public" of a sort. I guess it's the hormones. These crazy confess-everything hormones.

My nesting urges have kicked in big-time, and I want to DO EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW. As my friend said a week before she birthed her baby: "I want to purge every single drawer!" I have that feeling too. But I am also so easily exhausted; I don't make it very far into my projects before I have to put my feet up or take a nap. It's a strange state: rushing and fretting and do-do-doing, and then zoning and resting and just not caring. Back and forth I swing all day long, and more often than I'd like I wake up in the middle of the night and start listing things in my head.

I keep trying to tell myself that I have time. That no matter when this baby comes, it doesn't really matter what I get done right now. Life will continue after October, and though it will be so so different again, I will adjust. I will still have me, my own interests and passions, my own wants and must-dos. Of course I am telling myself this because a part of my brain has decided that after October, my life is over. That I will never again have time to write, or pursue my own dreams. But I've had one child. I know it's that way for a while, and then it's not completely like that anymore. So I keep talking myself down from that particular ledge.

I tell myself: take a rest. You have time. Someday, someday...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

my husband's nearly-famous pancakes

My sister's BFF Kristina published our family pancake recipe on her blog today. The recipe comes from Mikhail's family and includes our own slight variation in flour types and ratios. Kristina mentions that these pancakes are a staple food for Elan, and it's true. In fact, I made a batch two mornings ago, and he just finished the last one with his dinner tonight. He doesn't like syrup (uck! sticky!) so I don't have to worry about the sugar. We make them with Strauss European style plain whole milk yogurt (or the Trader Joe's equivalent) because I'm too lazy to stock buttermilk. Now you can have the recipe and I don't have to type it out. And Kristina even has lovely pancake photos to inspire you (though is that banana I see lurking inside? that would never fly in my house!).

Artsy pancake photo courtesy of Kristina

Monday, September 13, 2010


I've got stuff to do, and I don't want to do it.

How about I show you a few of our family photos instead, from a shoot we did in July? That seems like a good idea. Just a few. And then, next time I'm procrastinating, I'll show you more. (Just don't tell Mikhail that I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be doing right now.)

Photos by Myron Yeung.

I'm pregnant. I think I'll just go to bed.

Friday, September 10, 2010

34 Weeks

These pictures are actually from two weeks ago, when we were in Washington and I was 32 weeks, but you get the idea.

It's incredible what people will say to you when you're pregnant. My husband thinks I take the comments overly seriously, but I tell him he has no idea how many I respond to kindly. I understand how impressive it is to see what basically looks like a belly the size of a small human being strapped onto another body. I get it. I'm pretty amazed by it too.

But then there are those comments so unbelievable you wonder how these people make it through a day exhibiting so little tact. The species must be more forgiving than we sometimes assume. For example, the other day in the pool locker room, a stranger asked me how much weight I've gained. Seriously. The look on my face prompted her to follow up with: "or is that an inappropriate question?" Yeah...

Yesterday, when I dipped into the jacuzzi to warm up after swimming laps, a woman accosted me: "are you sure it's safe to be in here? what about the baby?" Even after I told her it was fine, she continued to mutter how she wouldn't do it. I snapped and told her I had a doctor already, thank you very much.

And then there was the barista at a Starbucks in Seattle who exclaimed: "Oh my God! When were you due?" Mikhail was there for that one and informed the man that in pregnant-lady speak, he just said: "you are incomprehensibly gigantic." The man then pointed to my protruding belly button and said, "But you popped. Doesn't that mean you're done, like a turkey?" Let's just say he only got away with this because he was clearly gay, so I'm guessing he's not used to dealing with hormonal women. But I did advise him he better be careful with that line of questioning, especially when the pregnant lady in question hasn't had her caffeine yet. Some of us can be a little grumpy.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Whole New World

Elan started preschool last week.

First day of preschool

Which of course left me asking: How has my baby become so gigantic?

It seemed like yesterday he looked like this, and I already thought he was so grown-up:

June 2009

Some parents start their preschool search before their child is even born; some research during babyhood; some figure out their top choices and get on waiting lists the year before they want their child to start. And then there is us. We started our search in August. Whoops. The thing is, we didn't really know that we wanted to move Elan, for a variety of reasons, including the fact that we were all happy with his daycare/nursery school and we couldn't imagine taking on more costs with Mikhail only semi-employed doing contract work right now.

But out of the conversations we had with the parenting coach we saw a few times earlier in the summer, we started to wonder whether Elan would be better off in a more stimulating, school-like environment. If he were more challenged at school, would he be a little less demanding of constant interaction at home? We doubted we could get into a good preschool with school about to start -- weren't they all supposed to have years-long waiting lists? But we decided to go ahead and do some research, sandwiched between all the August travel, on preschools that are walking distance from our house (since having to drive to and from daycare was becoming an issue for our one-car family). We figured it wouldn't be time wasted, since we were planning to move him next year at the latest. And lo and behold, there was one spot left in a great preschool, and through some major luck, we can afford it. And so a few days later, Elan started preschool.

It's amazing when a sequence of events opens up like this, when one action leads to another, and another, and lands you at a destination that seems so meant-to-be you hardly have to agonize over a decision. One of my mothers-in-law (I have two) calls this a flow. We were so lucky to find a flow on this. A conversation that can take months, if not years, was over in a few short days. Decide on preschool: check.

Now, of course, we have to adjust to preschool. It's going pretty well so far. No screaming or crying at drop-off. Elan seems hesitant, excited, overwhelmed, engaged - emotions change rapidly over the course of a day. We are all a little discombobulated as we figure out new routines. Leaving his daycare was sudden, and while we're not completely sure how that transition will ultimately play out for Elan, it's been a little heart-breaking for Mikhail and me. Our little boy is growing up. And though some days might seem never-ending, it's happening so fast.