Saturday, February 28, 2009

Online Baby Pool

Found this free web game for a baby pool. Feel free to enter:

My Baby Shower at Work

My coworkers had been planning this for weeks now. I very carefully didn't pay attention as much as possible to all the whispering going on around me, and was pretty successful. I know they had a blast planning for it. I had no idea how much fun the entire floor had with it.

They did a fabulous job with the decorating and the cake.
From Michelles baby shower
Chocolate, my favorite.

Here are some of the party favors. So cute and inventive.

Yep, that's me, the guest of honor at 36 weeks and 5 days pregnant.

I got the first piece of cake. Of course I had to get a piece with a tiny little foot on it. So cute!

I love the hoopy, loopy camel.

My two best friends at work, Jo and Sandy, made this gorgeous baby quilt for me. They were so worried I'd notice all the bags going back and forth, but I guess I'm oblivious. I even missed it when another coworker came in and asked how the quilt was coming along. I think she got shushed pretty quickly. I probably had my iPod on anyway. :) I think it's cool that this actually got them both back into quilting, something neither of them had touched in a couple of years.

Okay, to explain the folks on my floor. First off, I work in Center Operations Directorate. That means our various offices are responsible for keeping the center running. We're not doing glamorous stuff like sitting in Mission Control, or training astronauts in the big pool. But if we weren't doing our job, there'd be no air conditioning, buildings wouldn't get built or refurbished, no moves would get planned, there'd be no water, sewer or electricity, trash wouldn't get picked up, the grounds wouldn't get mowed, and there'd be no environmental protection. So without us, there wouldn't even be a space program. How's that for important!

Each office went together to get me a gift. And they all themed their gifts around what their offices do. And they were all so incredibly thoughtful, meaningful and funny. These guys are great, and I'm so glad to work with them.

The planning office went first. I got a piggy bank, to plan for baby's financial future. . I also got a baby book and a growth chart, and the gift box was decorated with shuttles, rockets and astronauts. I can happily repurpose the box to hold baby stuff at home.

Of course, the construction management office had to get me a building toy. One of the project managers with a 1-year old said his little boy loved to pound that toy for hours. He quickly reassured me that soon, I wouldn't even hear it. I hope so!

From the office that manages the grounds maintenance contract, they got me a bubble mower. So cute. I may have to get out there and play with it to reduce my stress levels long before baby's able to play with it.

The procurement office got together and wrote up a purchase order to get me a new baby. Complete with all the government codes (made up, I hope) and correct forms and everything.

The office that manages the maintenance for the buildings in our "mall" area got me a bottle of baby powder, because everytime they do maintenance in the ceilings, they disturb the ceiling tiles, usually bringing down some white powder. And every time, the building occupants think it's asbestos. He wanted me to remember them at work while I'm maternity leave. And they also got me a gift certificate to the other kind of mall, the one with shops in it.

The utility office got me a bunch of little things, all related to the systems they manage. Gas system (gas relief drops), potable water system (a sippy cup), electrical system (outlet covers), chilled water system (a frozen teething ring), heating system (blankets), and more. Did I mention how creative these guys are?

The construction inspection group got me a cute baby book.

Here's my office. The environmental group has to live up to their word, of course. So I got some organic onesies with Peace and Cool 2 Be Green on them. Plus, they got me some primary spill containment (bibs, diapers) and some decontamination supplies (a bath support, flannel wipes). And they all chimed in to get me a car seat. Wow! Thanks guys!

Of course, you know there's a price for all this wonderfulness, right? There was only one shower game to be played after all the presents were given out. And the only participant was me! My challenge was to don level C personal protective equipment (PPE) and change a make-believe dirty diaper on a doll. It was a timed challenge, and I'd get penalized for various things, like sticking the baby with a diaper pin, dropping him, forgetting to wipe, etc. Did I mention that about 20-30 people were watching? No pressure.

So what does level C PPE include? A Tyvek suit (sometimes called a bunny suit). You have to stick your feet into the legs and booties. Um, hello, I'm 9 months pregnant. I can barely tie my shoes, let along stick my legs in the suit. But I managed.

Next comes the goggles, respirator mask and gloves. Woops, the Tyvek suit they got me was too small to zip over my belly.

Okay, I'm ready to go. I think.

By the way, they missed the shot of me holding the baby by its head. I just wanted to clarify that holding him by his head was not the correct way to hold a baby. It did get a lot of laughs, though.

And....Go! Thank goodness they let me take off the goggles, mask and gloves. I think I might have passed out from the heat, otherwise.

Okay, how does this outfit come off?

They put make-believe poo in the make-believe doll diaper! Ewwww! (just chocolate covered almonds, but still, very realistic when I first opened up the diaper)

Okay, diaper's off. Now what?

I won't say I got a good fit, but at least I didn't stick him with a diaper pin. Of course, as everyone pointed out, the doll wasn't squirming, either.

Success! As long as you don't count that I didn't wipe, forgot to cover his pee pee, and forgot to use a changing pad. According to the totally arbitrary time scale they set up, I fell between "Rookie Mom" and "Call Supernanny". Not bad for a first time.

Okay, you got me into this thing. Now someone help me get the Tyvek off because I can't reach my feet anymore.

I did have a blast. And all the gifts were so helpful. Thanks, everyone.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pregnancy Photo Updates

I think my belly really grew a lot in the past couple of weeks.

34 weeks vs 36 weeks:

Look, I finally posed in some different clothes!

I also registered at the hospital today. I guess I have really good insurance. The guy booking me in looked up the codes online, and then he had to call customer service to confirm that I really was covered 100%. No deductible, no copay. No 80/20 split. Pretty nice. Of course, the doctors all charge separately, but at least that's one bill I won't have to pay.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Chewy Granola Muffins

I've been experimenting with a chewy granola bar for a long time now. Found a recipe and kept tinkering with it until I got it the way I like it. I hate crunchy granola, but I love chewy oatmeal, so with these, I think I've found the perfect sort of breakfast/snack bars.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
8 Tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white grape juice concentrate
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 heaping Tbsp ground flaxseed or oat bran
1/2 tsp baking soda

Mix butter, brown sugar, juice, eggs and vanilla. Stir in oats, flour, flaxseed, and soda. This is your base. Use this and add whatever you enjoy. Using non-stick large muffin pans, fill them up until they're almost full. You'll have to push the mix into the muffin cup to smush it down. These are very dense and crumbly. They won't stick together like a regular muffin will. Baking time depends on what you put into them, but generally 13-17 minutes. Let cool minimum of 5 minutes in pan, because these are very crumbly and prone to fall apart when you take them out, unless they're cool.

Here are my two current favorite variations.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins (Daniel's favorite)
1-1.5 cups peanut butter
1-2 cups chocolate chips
Makes 18 full size muffins.
Bake 13-5 minutes.

CCC Muffins
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup of unsweetened flaked coconut and chopped nuts combined, in whatever ratio you like. I use mostly coconut and about 1/4 cup toasted pecan pieces.
1 cup dried cranberries, blueberries, cherries, in whatever ratio you like or have in the pantry.
1 cup chocolate chips.
Makes 12-15 full size muffins.
Bake 15-17 minutes.

Other suggestions include chopped dried apricots with 1/2 cup apricot jam in the mix instead of sugar. Make a fall mix with dried apples, walnuts, cinnamon and nutmeg.

These freeze really well. I'll take one out in the morning and have it for an afternoon snack. They're very dense, chewy, and not too sweet, but full of fruit.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Work *sigh*

It's just been one of those weeks. Nothing horribly wrong, but there are so many little things to do that I feel like I'm being bitten by ants. 2 dozen small things that take up the entire day and then some, and don't leave you time to do the important things. I'm trying to wrap up all the contract stuff for the month of January, but I'm not looking forward to going through the financial statement.

By the way, since when did Technical Monitor come to mean Financial Monitor/Accountant? Can't I just tell my budget analyst that these numbers seem out of line and let him figure it out? Why do I have to spend hours and hours trying to decipher why the costs went up almost a million dollars?

Plus the whole not-sleeping-well thing doesn't help. It seems like more and more often, I'm waking up after 5 hours of sleep, then I need a nap right when I come home. Like today. It was a beautiful day out, and when I got home, I really needed and wanted to go for a walk. I'd been sitting on my butt all day and I know I need to move around. But I was laying on the bed, and I was very honest with myself. I wasn't about to get up and go for a walk, so an hour nap it was. Felt great, too. Even better than eating, which is impressive, because I was starving.

Pregnancy Update: Week 35

Doctor visit this morning. I haven't even stepped on the scale in two weeks, but at the doctor's office this morning, I think I may have only gained 1 pound, or maybe stayed the same. I don't pay a lot of attention to what the scale says there. I prefer to use the one in the gym at work. My blood pressure is still good at 116/62. My doctor made a weird comment this morning when she measured my uterus. She said I'm all baby this morning. I guess he had his butt sticking up against my stomach. When I laid down, my belly was rock hard and had that odd loaf-of-bread-under-the-skin look.

Next week I start going every week. I'm taking next Thursday off entirely since I've got a doctor's appointment in the morning, and a hair appointment in the afternoon. I also finally scheduled a dentist appointment for next Monday morning. Joy. I don't want one, but I need one, and I know I'm not going to be in any mood for one for several months.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I really, really, REALLY hate Paypal

I got so ticked at them last year that I closed my account. Then I needed to send someone some money, and I couldn't find a way of doing it without creating a new frakking account. I probably missed some tiny link somewhere. So instead of actually paying the amount with my credit card, they're charging my card $1.95, which they will kindly refund to my Paypal account in 2-3 days, providing I check with my credit card statement and get the Paypal code.

What a complicated, nonsensical pile of cr#p! Now I have to wait another 2-3 days before this woman gets her payment, I have extra steps to go through to do this damn verification process, and I have $2 sitting in an account I try never to use.

F**k Paypal.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Need more sleep

This waking up after 4 or 5 hours of sleep is getting old now. Fortunately, I can make it up by taking a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon. This morning I was up at 5 and in at 6. I figured if I'm going to be awake, I might as well go to work and get stuff done, and at least get home early. So I can take my nap. :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

My first fluff mail

I got my first cloth diapers in the mail yesterday. Want to see?
From Misc Blog Pics

The top two are Bum Genius All In One (meaning you don't need a cover). Bottom two are Bum Genius Bamboo fitteds (and they need a cover, which I don't have yet), plus a dozen bamboo baby wipes. I prepped the diapers and the few baby clothes that I have today by running them through the wash. It takes forever to dry the diaper. Good thing I'm learning about this now. I still need lots and lots of cloth diapers though. They say you need around 36 for a newborn. I have 4. Yeah. Think I'll be looking for sales and such. Craigslist?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Photo updates

I happened to take a picture of myself at 34 weeks on Sunday. Sort of by happenstance, I had the same clothes I had when I took my 19 week and 24 week pictures, so I thought I'd put them up to compare. Tell me if you think I really look 34 weeks pregnant. I don't think so. I'm sort of glad I don't have a basketball belly, though. I feel like I can still move around pretty well, but I can tell every day it's getting a little bit harder to do stuff.

19 weeks:

24 weeks:

34 weeks:

Promised Update to Our Vegas Trip

I know, I'm a procrastinator. I was too busy sleeping or playing video games to get my pictures sorted.

So here's more of our trip to Vegas.

Me and Daniel at Caesar's, in the lobby. It was Chinese New Year, so all the hotels/casinos were decorated to celebrate. It's the Year of the Ox.
From Las Vegas 2009

In the Bellagio, they have a conservatory that always has different exhibits and themes. It's always absolutely gorgeous. This year it was a giant Chinese emperor figure, 3 amazing topiary pandas grazing on bamboo, a mountain shrouded in orchids, a koi poind and an ox made from over 10,000 living plants.
From Las Vegas 2009

I just had to take a picture of this to prove it exists. In New York, they have an ESPN Zone. We always like going there and playing the various games, like basketball, snowmobile racing, target shooting, air hockey and bocci bowling ball. In the bathrooms, they have a tv over every stall in the ladies room so you can keep watching the game.
From Las Vegas 2009

Our hotel was directly across from New York, and we just happened to catch this photo at dusk one evening. I think it turned out pretty cool.
From Las Vegas 2009

Another site more or less across from our hotel was the new City Center. We were in Vegas about 18 months ago, and it was a huge pit in the ground. Look how much they've built! It's going to be a 60 story hotel/casino (the biggest building in the back), plus a whole bunch of condos and shopping. I don't know how badly the economy is affecting their sales, but it certainly hasn't stopped the building.
From Las Vegas 2009

Here's the lobby display from our hotel, the MGM:
From Las Vegas 2009

And here are the MGM lions. They have several lions, and each 'set' works about a 5 hour day, so they have 2 groups per day. Each lion comes to 'work' 2-3 times a week. They even get a bath before each appearance, using baby shampoo. The display audio told us that the lions are always put in in packs of 2-3, or that if it's a single lion, there is always a trainer in there with him or her. We came by one day and they had a huge male in there with a trainer just scratching his mane. The male looked very content. The trainers use only voice and hand commands, and they have no tools to use. It's all a matter of trust between the lions and the people. The glass is thick and soundproofed, so the lions know that they can't hear or be bothered by the people. They ignore us completely. It was very neat to see all the different lions over the days we were there. Here's a group of 3 lionesses from the last day.
From Las Vegas 2009

From Las Vegas 2009

From Las Vegas 2009

Monday, February 09, 2009

Holy Return of the First Trimester, Batman!

Had a quiet weekend. They were doing something to the interstate that had it so backed up that I turned around on Saturday and didn't even try to go to the gem and mineral workshop. So I came back home and did some chores around the house. Never did get to the garage or moving the lava rocks out of the back yard. Someday, right?

Sunday, I did a few errands around town. Was out for about 2 hours, and when I got home, I was exhausted. It's not like I was hurrying around or walking for hours. I ended up taking a nap for at least 3, maybe 4 hours. I didn't count. I could have slept longer, too, but Daniel wanted dinner.

So I ended up staying up super late, since I wasn't tired, but I did get a lot of cooking done for the week ahead.

I'm also getting really sensitive to smells again, particularly cologne or perfume.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Pregnancy Updated: 33 weeks 5 days

Yep, counting days now. Had a good checkup. She didn't say anything about my weight, so I guess I'm doing okay. My BP was 106/64. I still can't believe it's so low. She said the baby is measuring right on target, so he doesn't seem big right now. Can't tell if he's still breech or transverse or not.

I was able to talk to my doctor about the actual labor and delivery process and how it's handled at the hospital I plan to use. It made me feel a little bit better about having control over how the whole thing will be handled.

We'll take a tour of the hospital next Sunday to see the place. Looking forward to it.