Sunday, February 27, 2011

Belly Shots!

This week has been the first week when strangers would ask me when I was due. What an exciting turn of events!

In the next picture you can sort of tell that not only am I "round" front to back but also side to side!

I do still have an arm. I just thought it was detracting from the main event so I lifted it over my head.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Marathon of Birthing Classes

Today, Mr Mammen and I spent six hours at Birthing From Within class. Usually, the sessions are six weeks of three hour sessions but we are doing the "I-just-got-back-from-Brazil-and-my-wife-is-due-in-four-weeks" expedited version. So, our next three Saturdays are devoted to spending time in our cozy little group and doing hippy-dippy things to prepare ourselves for natural childbirth. Fun!

Actually, I was VERY excited to go and rather enjoyed myself. Sam doesn't have his own blog, so maybe you will never know what he thought. (Though, really, he did just fine.) We talked a lot about what women like in labor (confident partners) and what they don't (being touched on the face) - there was some very practical information and a great description of what actually happens in labor. Then, there was some funny stuff.

One of the purposes of a natural childbirth class is to develop pain-coping mechanisms to get you through the birth. To simulate those pains, we did most of our exercises while holding a block of ice and trying to "cope" our way through the one minute "contraction". I really liked that. It was concrete and you could test if things worked more than just feeling artificial relief from your partners words or your own thoughts. I have come home with a long list of things that make me feel comforted. And I am comforted just by looking at the list. Double win.

We also practiced Non-Focused Awareness, which is nearly impossible to explain but basically centers around the idea that you can get through pain by focusing your attention on something else tangibly around you - something you can see, hear, or touch. I had a bit of a break through here. Staring at a lantern, or the carpet, or a spot on the wall, is utterly useless to me. How can a static object hold your attention? What I did discover is that listening to something constantly changing and in the distance - cars rushing by, music from next door, the sound of the fan - really helps me ignore the ice. It takes so much work to hear the neighbors jazz music, that I get lost in the task. If I had learned nothing else today THAT would be a take-away that I consider worth my six hours.

The weirdest part...we had an art project. Yep. Hippy-dippy, no holds-barred, sketching with pastels. We had to portray openness. So, here's mine. There is little Zayd in the middle and an ever expanding cervix that will bring him into the world. We were supposed to write words around the outside - surprise! I went with numbers. In the end, this seemingly ridiculous activity might be useful to me. I wonder how many hours of labor it takes before you will resort to any method in your bag of tricks. At least now, if Sam hears me chanting "10!" to myself, he will have some idea of what the heck I am talking about.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Zayd and the Three Bears

There was once a little astronaut who lived in Texas - the lone star state. He loved the night stars and spent each evening laying in his backyard looking up at Orion's Belt. It was his favorite constellation because as the winter turned to spring, it always appeared just above his chimney. One night, while thinking deep thoughts and gazing at the constellations, he saw a shooting star! The center of Orion's Belt had taken off and was flying through the sky!

He jumped up, threw on his backpack, and started running after the star. He followed it through his neighborhood, past the zoo, and into the busy downtown of the city. He chased it for miles and miles and was able to keep up because he was a very quick little boy.

Finally, the shooting star began making its descent towards Earth. He followed the path it had illuminated in the sky until he just couldn't see it anymore. As he walked around Hemisfair Park, he wondered if he would ever get to hold the shooting star that had touched down in his very own city...

Just then, he heard three lady bears commenting on the same shooting star!
"It was just the fastest star I've ever seen!" said Merri-Bear.
"It was the sparkliest star I've ever seen!" said Sarah-Bear.
"And it made the most perfect arc I've ever seen!" said Ella-Bear

"Excuse me, lady bears," said the polite little astronaut. "Did you happen to see where the star landed? I would like to get a closer look"

"We did!" The lady bears exclaimed in unison. "We were trying to follow it's path but it is too dark to find our way to its landing spot."

Luckily, the little boy had just the thing and pulled his astronaut lantern out of his backpack. "We can use this to light the way!" "Hooray," the new group shouted and began to make their way through the park. They walked and walked, in a single-file line behind the light of the astronaut lantern.

Eventually, they came to a clearing, pushed past some trees, and were surprised to find...the Alamo! With a perfect shooting star resting atop it! The group clambered up the cottonwood trees and on to the roof of this famous Texas structure. They were amazed to be so close to such a beautiful object from space. It was indeed the shiniest and the prettiest star any of the admirers had ever seen.

Zayd wanted to take the star and put it in his backpack for show and tell at school. Merri-Bear wanted to take the star and use some of its sparkliness to make the rivers in Texas sparkle with luster. Ella-Bear wanted to hang the star high in her dining room so her family and loved ones could eat below it's marvelous light. Sarah-Bear wanted to write a long ode to the star right along its edges, and share this poetry with the world. Everyone in the group knew they wanted the star for themselves, but they also knew how much their friends wanted it. While they stood around it, making plans for how they could keep the star for themselves, they were all overcome with the same wonderful idea.

"Are you thinking what I am thinking?" asked the astronaut.
"Yep! But how can we make this work?" asked the lady bears.
"I have just the thing," replied the little boy.

And he pulled a giant parachute from his bag. Merri-bear and Sarah-bear laid out the parachute on top of the Alamo roof, while the astronaut and Ella-Bear carried the precious star to the center. They each grabbed a corner of the silky parachute, looked each other in the eye, counted to three, and launched the star back into the night sky. 3, 2, 1, BLASTOFF! The sparkly star flew through the air in a perfect arc, landing precisely back in the center of Orion's Belt, where it shone like never before. The star was so happy to be back home, and the new friends were all glad to know that they could still enjoy the constellations every night before bed.

Showered with Love

Hello friends,
Zayd and I have had a whirlwind week - sorry for no posts!
Sam came home! That was awesome thing #1! Ella came home! That was awesome thing #2! Zayd and I got to spend the weekend with my favorite ladies (Mom, Sharon, El, Ju, Andie, Crystal) and my favorite husband! We had a fantastic shower in Houston! All in all, it was fantastic. But I have been exhausted and just trying to catch up here at home.
I want to tell you all how amazed I have been with the generosity our little Mammen family has received lately. We've gotten an incredible number of gifts, lots of love, and quality time with our favorite people. I have really been touched and surprised by the people I love lately.
So, thank you everyone, from the bottom of my heart, and Zayd's tiny fluttery heart, as well.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

34 Weeks - That's Z-6weeks!

Well, I have to start this post by telling you that weeks 32/33 were much harder than 33/34, and I have no idea why. Anything that sounds horrible - that was last week. This week I feel pretty great.

What's new with me?
  • I have gained a lot of weight so far (36 pounds) and everywhere I go people say, "You are HOW far along? You are tiny!" Someone asked me if I was five months last week. (?) I am not sure if this is their attempt at flattery or if I am really significantly different than other pregnant women but I feel good, the baby is above average in size, and I can still move around, so its all excellent as far as I am concerned.
  • I distinctly don't feel like this: (The below is named Week 34 on one of my favorite sites

  • I waddle while at home and walk upright like a ballerina outside of the house. Sometimes down the long empty hallway at work I let my hips loose, but only if NO ONE is around. I presume at some point I will lose this talent for concealment. Though, with Sam returning home, I am not sure about the waddling at home anymore, either. It feels like a very private thing this waddling.
  • Last week, I had one night of consistent and debilitating "cramps". It felt like my legs were connected straight to my torso and I feared for a short while that I wouldn't make it to bed. A few steps off of the couch I had to sit down and wait for them to dissipate. The "cramping" didn't and so I crawled to the dining room and waited a bit longer. Eventually, my womb let go of my legs and I managed my way into bed. I can't wait to not be living alone anymore.
  • I attempted to stray from my regular Vegan One-A-Day prenatal with disastrous results. In fact everyone at work can tell you how much my body rejects the new vitamin. A run to Whole Foods tomorrow will remedy the situation and I can recommend an awesome vitamin when you folks need one. :)
  • It's been raining and that hurts my knees and my right ankle.
  • The most stressful thing in my life is the idea of having to go back to work full time - many many months from now. I am dreading it. I think about how many diaper changes I will miss. I think its because it is a number that is calculable.
The Babe! What's he up to?
  • Zayd is huge! He is also convinced that there is a trap door under my left ribs and earnestly attempts to burrow out that way about every other day.
  • Mister Z could be 20" by now. As a 17" newborn, myself, this blows my mind. He should weigh as much as a pineapple.
  • The little man is distinctly less prickly than a pineapple and is covered in a white slippery (icky) coating called vernix, but he's lost his monkey fur!
  • I'm not sure how to say this, but his testicles are descending. Yay! I presume the scrotum is the ideal location for them.
  • Zayd likes U2! On our drive to Houston today he perked RIGHT UP when U2 came on the radio.
  • Zayd keeps his eyes open while awake and closes them when he goes to sleep! (He doesn't close them much, I am willing to bet.)
  • He is getting more and more adorable by the second.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Newborn Photography

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Zayd and I tried to put together a really nice care package for Sam/Dad a couple of weeks ago so he would something to open on V-Day. Alas, we made one heck of a package, but the shipping was unreliable and apparently completely unpredictable - so it stayed home with us, waiting for Sam to return.

Sam will be getting:
A mushy card that says how fantastic we think he is!
Packets of Flavored Water Mix - very useful for being overseas, less useful once you land back in the USA.
Heart Shaped Cinnamon Red Hots
Candy! There used to be Chewy Sweet Tarts too, but someone ate them!

The main event was going to be a 3-D ultrasound so Sam could see his darling baby even while he is so far away. Of course, I should have known that Zayd would be difficult. Just like his father, he doesn't like photographs. The first time we went, Zayd put both feet and both hands in front of his face. How he fit all of that between my bones I will never understand but he was scrunched up tight. There are no photos worth showing from that adventure except for this one. I will let you guess what it is - hint, it isn't a face, feet, or hands...
So, Zayd is definitively a boy! What else did we get? A shot of the bottom of his foot - not polite in Arab cultures, young man!

Since Zayd was so uncooperative, the nice Ultrasound tech allowed us to come back for a free re-try. This time, Zayd was face-planted into the placenta and sucking on the umbilical cord. I got a ton of horrible shots, a few of the cord, lots that are completely blurred by the placenta and then this one. It isn't great (maybe not even decent) but for now, its the best we have. (If you need help, he is looking to the right, and you have a pretty good shot of his nose in the middle of the picture. His eye is blurry but there and you can see his peaked top lip.) If I had to pick someone, he looks like Jon. Ha ha.

Zayd and I are going to do one more trial with our favorite Sonogram Tech and see if we can get him smiling and hamming it up for the camera. Cross your fingers for round three!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Roosting and Nesting

I am just praying that when Sam walks into the room next Monday he is shocked and impressed! You all should warn him and start practicing "oohs!" and "aahs!" with my un-emotive husband!

What should go on the top shelf? It needs to be stuff I won't need often because I definitely can't reach up there without a stool.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Day with Zayd

The littlest alien and I went to Chocolate Day at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens today. On the walk over I told him all about the sensory garden - mommy's favorite part of park. I promised to take him to see my favorite plant - the Pineapple Sage - and described its amazing smell.

When we walked in, we headed immediately for the Plant Sale. Shopping = Nesting! I picked out a bleeding heart vine (so pretty and V-Day appropriate) and a lovely succulent basket. I explained to Zayd that it would be up to his dad to keep them alive. That is one of daddy's strengths. It was a great opportunity to talk about diversity and team work!

Then we headed to the chocolate day festivities and enjoyed some Hazelnut Ghiradelli Squares - delish! There were children running in a chocolate maze, budding-engineers crafting buildings out of marshmallows and toothpicks, and a station where kids (or me!) made paper flowers with a lollipop center. Zayd wasn't quite old enough to partake in any of the exercises but I promised him that we would come back next year.

We DID hit up the sensory garden, but I was very sad to see that the herbs didn't survive our freezing Texas winter. Next time...

As we walked up the hill back, I made a distinct observation: I have contractions while walking up an incline. Yay! Since I have already decided to spend my earliest labor at the botanical garden, walking and waiting for the "real stuff" to hit, this was a welcomed discovery.

When I returned home, I was happy to introduce our newest plants to the heartier ones that have been fighting off this winter without much help from mom. I was shocked SHOCKED to see life returning to some of the greenery that I was CONVINCED was dead and gone. Here is the chive plant popping back to life:

And here you can see the flowering plant that my ladies gave me at my unofficial Zayd luncheon last fall. The flowers are all dried up but the stem returned to a bright green and new leaves are taking shape:

By sundown, I had one additional ray of life to add to the house: 15 gorgeous roses sent from my parents to brighten my Valentine's Day!

All of this birth makes me so excited for Zayd's. I can't wait to meet him and I can't wait to see how lively all of these plants will have become by then.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Rockets and Planets and Aliens - Oh my!

Happy Day! Dearest Auntie Shabana (and family) sent us Zayd's bedding! It is so cute! See!
There was a knock on the door at like 8 at night and I was sure it was a murderer. But, nope! It was the delivery man! I couldn't have been more ecstatic. Maybe if he brought bedding AND a banana split but otherwise there is no way. Granted, I don't have a mattress in the crib yet, but the sheets and bumper and everything are up on display! I will post a picture this weekend.

(I know you aren't supposed to use a bumper but the baby isn't sleeping in there for QUITE SOME TIME, so I can at least have it up as decoration now.)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rocking Chair Custom Cushions

Right now I am leaning towards navy blue for the cushions on my rocking chair. There are tons of lovely ladies on Etsy that make custom slip covers and I just have to pick a fabric. So, think navy blue. I might change my mind after hearing everyone's votes for the rug, but here is where I stand now. What's better: plain navy blue in whichever fabric I like, symmetric (slightly Americana) stars, or "Peter Pan" stars?

The Rug Doctor!

Hey ladies and gents, I need some opinions! I am nesting like a freak! And I am about to impulsively buy a rug! So, I definitely need to get opinions from you all! (I recognize how insane all of the exclamation points are but you have NO IDEA how much I have accomplished tonight!)

Solid Green and Slightly Funky
A solid green rug is a good option for the room. It is easier to clean than white and matches the bedding and the little aliens spaced throughout the room. The first rug is a little more expensive than the shag but it is also funkier and plusher looking! I really like the texture and I think it might feel nice between your toes. The shag rug is an easy option - it will definitely match and they aren't very expensive. The one I have included below is chenille which is a nice touch. I have also seen a few at Home Goods. My fears about these rugs are that the little monster will be able to pull out the yarns and that playdoh or food or WORSE can be ground into the pile.

Pottery Barn and Land of Nod - Preppy Baby
So, from Pottery Barn kids or Land of Nod there are tons of high quality, slightly preppy rugs that I like and that I think match the room. The first green rug might be a little too light. A non colorblind person really needs to make that call. The second photo is maybe my favorite. It is called the Rugby Rug and I think that is so cute too! The green seems right on but I am not sure if having both colors might throw things off or make it too busy. There is navy blue in the room - planets and aliens, the loveseat, and possibly the cushions on my rocking chair. Too busy? What do you think? The last photo seems like an easy sell. It is cute without having too much personality. I think I have to be careful not to overwhelm the room with different textures and patterns and this rug is far from overwhelming. That is the problem and delight with not having a right-out-of-the-box nursery set. But, I *think* this green is too light. Again, how the heck would I know!

Space Theme
I am pretty sure that this would be too busy but I want to know what you think! There are a few space themed rugs out there. Here are the best few that I have found. Thoughts? The upside: space. The downsides: they introduce new colors, they are busy, the last two look very childish (as opposed to the vinyl aliens all over the wall). If you love them, though, let me know!

Foam Rug?
Land of Nod has one additional unexpected option- a foam rug! Obviously, it would be easy to clean and comfy to crawl around on. It even looks like planets! The problem - you can't pick the colors and these just don't go. Boo! I don't see how this could work but it is cute and affordable and people should know about it!

So, what do you love? Now more than ever I want comments! I want to buy this ASAP!


These are tile carpets that you can put together. Check out Hannah's comments about the quality below. I wouldn't do the second one exactly like that - I would mix it up with some solid lime or solid navy or both!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Just a typical night...

So, I spent the last hour wrapped up in this...

That's right. To add to my stressful third trimester, I just spent the last hour thawing pipe in front of my house. With a hair dryer plugged in via an newly purchased extension cord run through the guestroom window. While wearing Sam's clothes because they are warm and fit over my new body.

I imagined lots of problems with my eighth month - pains, sciatica, itchy skin, fatigue, maybe even stretch marks (!). While I am glad that most of these have remained at bay, I have to deal with things like a broken dishwasher that overruns in the kitchen, a bathtub that won't drain, the coldest winter in San Antonio's history, a car that refuses to take gasoline, rolling brownouts in San Antonio, and a pipe with an icicle frozen straight out of it. It's unbelievable the number of problems I have had these last three weeks. It's physically exhausting but worse than that it is stressful beyond words. I am trying to remain calm, breathe deeply, and remember that there are much MUCH better days to come.

At this point, I feel pretty good. After all, with a little internet research, a short run to CVS, and a hairdryer, I got that stupid pipe flowing! I had almost determined that the pipe was already busted and free flowing somewhere under my house when less than a minute later it sputtered and started gushing water! Success. There is nothing I can't do. Even eight months pregnant.

FYI, I left a sputtering "stream" dripping from the pipe, wrapped it in two beach towels, and will check on it in the morning.

It's supposed to snow tomorrow. Wish me luck.

The Life of a Cloth Diaper Stalker

Hello ladies and gents. Probably, most of you have never heard of a cloth diaper stalker, so I thought I would tell you about this weird world of WAHM Diaper Stalking!

First WAHM? Work at Home Mom. These are mothers who make diapers for a living. (Well, I suppose they are all types of women, but IN THIS CASE, they are sewing phenoms!) They do some custom work and also stock up on dipes to sell to other LESS CRAFTY cloth diaper mommas! Making a diaper apparently takes some time. So, they tend to have "Restocking events" whenever they get a sizable number of diapers made. The WAHMs advertise through their Facebook fan pages and on Cloth Diapering forums on sites like Baby Center.

These restockings often sell out quickly. We are talking minutes! One of the newst WAHM diaper-istas I am coveting accidentally posted that her restocking would be at 2am. You wouldn't believe how many momma's were completely willing to stay up till 2am just to score a diaper. (Mind you, these aren't free and they are usually more expensive than the big company diapers but they are SO cute!)

Anyway, 2am was a typo - its 7EST. SO I have about 8 hours to decide what I want. These are each All-in-Twos - which means there is a shell with snap-in inserts. So at diaper changes, you have to change the inserts (they'll be gross) but the cover should be clean - divine!

What do you love?

Pirate Stripe Dr Suess Stripe
Fish out of Bags Japanese Winnie the Pooh

The link is EggTooth Diapers. And its awesome. :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Email to Sam

Subj: Ah!

Your son is hurting me. I can feel his leg kicking my left side. I can physically FEEL that it's his leg. It feels like a long skinny leg THROUGH MY STOMACH. I actually got out of bed because he is so active that there is no way I can get any sleep like this.
I just can't believe how strong he is getting. He seems to have muscle-y legs like his momma!
So, its 10:30 and I am watching an Oprah show about going Vegan for a week. Maybe we should try it when you get back. Or you at least. :)
Love you,

Now! It wasn't until after I sent this and came here to post it that I realized that I dreamt about this two nights ago! Nearly the same! His feet coming straight out of the left side of my body. And here we are. I am such a super mom that I am psychic in my sleep. Let's hope the rest of the dream remains in the dreamworld. We don't even have a bassinet yet!