C'est un blague.

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  • Friday, December 31, 2010

    Best reaction yet

    We've started to tell our families about the baby. We decided to do it all over Christmas (when we'd see people in person) using Christmas presents. As predicted, both my and SM's dad were kinda thick about figuring it out. Took them a while to get it. But SM's aunt (his mother's younger sister) had the best reaction by far so far.

    We gave my dad a picture frame that spelled out B-A-B-Y. In the picture part, we wrote, "Grandma & Grandpa -- See you in July!" He thought it was a frame for my niece (who just turned one). It took my stepmother looking at it and then looking at us for confirmation to get it. Silly dad. SM's dad was similarly dense. We gave him a book "Memories for my Grandchild" that has all sorts of prompts for the grandfather to fill in details about his life for the grandchild. On the cover of the book, under the words "Memories for my Grandchild", we put a sticky-note that said "ETA July 2011". He didn't get it. SM's brother-in-law did, however, and told us, "Congratulations!" That's when SM's dad got it.

    As for SM's aunt, we decided to tell her covertly by giving her a framed picture of Gidget. She is an animal NUT; she has more pictures in her living room of her various pets over the years than her children, and she loves Gidget even though she's never met her (go figure). The picture said "Only child" in large print under Gidget's face, and in smaller print, to the side, it said "Until July".

    When SM's aunt opened the present, unfortunately, the glass in the frame had broken so she couldn't get a good look at it. I had to prompt her to really read what it said. At first, she was confused and wondering if what she thought we were telling her was in fact what we were telling her. Then she half whispered, "You're pregnant?" When we confirmed, she shrieked -- and I mean SHRIEKED -- for at least 30 seconds straight. Then she burst into tears and was beside herself, alternately mumbling and covering her face, for several minutes.

    Even funnier were other's reactions to SM's aunt (who is well known to be melodramatic). A couple of people didn't catch on why she was going berserk, so they were just confused and probably shocked at all the hysterics. SM's aunt kept saying, "We're having a baby! We're having a baby!" Then it became, "I'm having a baby!" (Silly me for thinking this was more about me/SM!) LOL. Then I kept thinking -- hmm, none of our other Christmas presents are going to be nearly as good as that, so she may as well quit opening them now! It was great fun for us, though.

    When SM's dad came to pick us up later, SM's aunt went up to him, gave him a hug and said, "We're having a baby!" He kinda did a double-take and then laughed. She also told us she was going to come down to DC when the baby came and move in with us to help out.

    I'm just glad she didn't invite herself into the delivery room!

    Another interesting, but not nearly as dramatic, reaction was SM's grandfather. When SM told him that we were having a baby and expressed our cautious excitement (because of my "advanced maternal age"), SM's grandfather started comparing our pregnancy to George Bush's experience, that George and Laura were trying to have children but were almost ready to give up and try adoption when they got pregnant with their twins, etc. SM's grandfather (a staunch R, can you tell?) then went off on a tangent about what a wonderful man W. is, etc. SM's grandmother kept trying to steer him back by saying, "I think we should be talking about SM, not George Bush." But SM's grandfather would not be deterred easily. He wanted to tell SM all about W. Ahh, grandparents! LOL. But, of course, they were very happy and excited for us.

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    My re-cap of the Avon Walk last May (because I said I'd post this in the post below)

    (Note: this is the email I sent folks who supported my participation in the Avon Walk for the Cure, this past May.)


    Miles, that is. Although, it felt just about that hot (in Celsius) this weekend while we were walking. Yes, this past weekend, I finally did the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. No, I didn't train all that much for it, but somehow I survived... no thanks to Mother Nature! After all the 60-degree weather during the week, Mother Nature decided to slam us with 90-degree weather on Saturday and Sunday. And oh, the humidity!

    Day one started with my sister and I getting up at oh-dark-hundred to be down at the Washington Monument by 6:15 AM. For those of you who know us, that in itself is a major sacrifice. Ooof. The opening ceremonies started at 6:30, and the walk officially began at 7:00 AM… while many of you were still asleep and I certainly would have been on any other Saturday.

    The first many miles were through the streets of downtown DC. And while DC is a beautiful city, I felt like we weren’t making any progress because we were still in downtown DC after walking for several hours. In fact, it took us 6.2 miles to get from the Washington Monument to Union Station. For those of you who aren’t familiar with DC, it’s actually only about 1.5 miles across the Mall. We definitely took the scenic route – and then some. I was happy to see hubby SM who was at the first “cheering station” to provide lots of moral support, hugs and “atta girls” for us, and then onward we schlepped, past Georgetown Law, through the gates of Chinatown block and near the White House before heading north towards Dupont Circle. (Apologies to those who could care less about the geographic details.)

    We hit the lunch break at mile 9.2 at about 10:15 AM. I have to say that I’ve never eaten lunch at 10:15 AM. But when you eat breakfast at 5:30 AM and have been walking for several hours, you’re ready for lunch at 10:15. We stopped at a middle school in the West End (around 24th/M Street), just before crossing into Georgetown. Lunch was a nice break, but we didn’t want to sit too too long for fear of inertia keeping us down. So onward, onward!

    At this point, the day was really starting to heat up. The streets of Georgetown were fairly well shaded, but that was small solace. We hit mile 13.1 somewhere in NW, and we were both still feeling pretty good physically – definitely better than we thought we would. It certainly helped that many, many people turned out all along the route to cheer us on, provide snacks and give us moral support. Our family as well as friends met us on MacArthur Blvd. for more “atta girls” and a change of socks for both of us. At this point, getting up and going again was getting harder and harder. Whenever we had to cross the street, we hoped for a green light. You might think that we would have preferred a red light for rest, but noooooooooo. That only gave our muscles the opportunity to tighten. Walking was easier than stopping. And hills? Whose bright idea was it to put in the hills after the halfway point? That’s just evil. I never realized what hills there were in NW DC. Ugh. Loughboro Road. Ugh. No fun.

    Anyway, we continued through some very lovely neighborhoods in NW DC, and I saw some streets I’ve never seen before. Eventually, we crossed into Maryland at the Chevy Chase Circle, around mile 19 or so. We continued up Connecticut Avenue and into Chevy Chase where my friend C. and her two babies E. (of the cute toddler variety, in his stroller) and E. (of the cute four-legged doggy variety, on her leash) met us to cheer us along and walk with us for a few blocks. At mile 21.2, still in Chevy Chase, we took a fairly long break at a rest stop. Sis wasn’t feeling so great, so we parked our butts for a bit so that she could get some food and Gatorade.

    After that, we continued along the Capital Crescent Trail and back over to Connecticut Ave up to Kensington Parkway where we picked up Rock Creek Trail (along Beach Drive). At this point, people kept saying that we were almost there, almost there… but they lied! We soon figured out that we still had several miles to go, which just isn't "almost there" when you're walking. Even though some guy told us around mile 24 that it was all downhill from there, it wasn’t. But none of us were going back to chastise him for it. But it was easier in the shade and the cooler temperatures of the late afternoon. We followed Rock Creek Trail past the Mormon Temple, back under the Beltway and then across East-West Highway to Meadowbrook Lane. Despite having grown up in the area, I had no idea there were stables and horses there!

    At this point, the end was in sight. For real this time. SM met us at mile 25.8 to walk with us, and my stepmother (sis's mother) and sister met us too. We walked across the finish line into the “Wellness Village” (where many, but not us, camped overnight – you think I’m going to spend the night in a tent when my own bed is mere miles away? Nooo way. I would have walked home if I had to, to have my own bed and no line for a shower). Then we promptly walked back out and got into our respective cars to go home. I don’t know who was asleep sooner – sis or me – but I do know that I crashed pretty hard after 26.2 miles and being out from 6:30 AM to about 6:30 PM, which is about when we finished. During that 12 hours, we probably walked about 10 hours’ worth in some serious heat. When I got home and peeled off my shoes, I had one monster blister that was more than an inch long! Ouch.

    Day two started, thankfully, a little later. The walk started at 7:30 AM, and since we didn’t have to go far to the starting point, I got up at 6:30 instead of 5-something. Yay for the extra hour! Sis and I started out in the disgusting humidity of Sunday, but since the sky was overcast and it had recently rained (ground was wet), it wasn’t too too hot... yet. Just muggy – and buggy! We were definitely taking a slower pace on day two. I was proud that I even made it out to the course. If sis had said that she wanted to bail on day two, I would have been right there with her. But we didn’t. We walked. However, I knew it was gonna be “one of those days” when I heard an “excuse me, may I get by?” from behind, only to be passed by a woman in a wheelchair… . (But we passed her again later.)

    We walked down Rock Creek Trail but took a more direct route back to NW DC. I don’t remember the exact route, but we spent some time on Western Ave and down Nebraska to Fort Reno. We saw Dad’s alma mater, Wilson High, home of the Tigers. Somewhere along the way, as the sun started to come out and the temperature go up, I made the decision that I was going to call it a day at mile 7. I knew I could finish the whole 13.1 miles if I pushed myself, but I decided I didn’t want to. My blisters were hurting, and I admit it, I didn’t want to walk during the hottest part of the day (and Sunday was a doozy!!!). So I called SM and asked him to meet me at the cheering station at mile 7.1. With that decision made, it was much easier getting through the rest of the little stroll through NW. Sis hadn’t decided what she wanted to do yet, but I knew that I wanted to preserve the rest of my day from sheer exhaustion and my feet from further injury. We came down Nebraska Ave. to Tenley Circle where we picked up Wisconsin Avenue. I kept looking for the damned mile markers because – I swear – mile 6 was at least two miles long! We kept looking and finally saw the cheering station – with SM and a troupe of Chinese lion dancer (way cool!) – on Wisconsin Ave. Our family drove up, and I said my “hellos” and my “good-byes” because I ended my walk there – for a total of 33.3 miles over 2 days.

    I have to say that the marathon (I’ve now done a marathon!!!) was easier than I thought it would be -- but that doesn’t mean I’m in any hurry to sign up for it again next year. My feet suffered tremendously on day two, and I am still hobbling around because of some very serious blisters. It was fantastic to have so many folks cheering us along the route, and SM spent his entire day on Saturday (and Sunday too) as our moral and logistical support. I can’t thank him enough.

    And, as many of you may know, I was inspired to do this walk by SM's parents. SM’s mother had breast cancer, and SM’s dad cared for her for many years as they fought the disease. Sadly, SM's mom died from it at 51, and I never met her. But they raised a tremendous son, and for that, I am grateful. This was my small tribute to them.

    (BTW, it took nearly two months for my feet to fully heal. I'll spare you the details, but I'm sure you can imagine the mangled toes, etc.)

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    Christmas Day at St. E's

    Longer-term readers of this blog know that I try to do some kind of charitable event every year around my birthday to celebrate another year of good health, prosperity, etc. This past year, I participated in the Avon Walk for the Cure, which is a full marathon walk the first day and a half marathon walk the second day. I had to raise a chunk of change to participate and then walk whatever part I could walk. I didn't blog about it because I wasn't blogging at the time, but I'll look for the blurb I wrote and post it, if I can find it. For the record, I did finish 33.3 miles -- the full marathon on the first day and 7.1 miles on the second day before I surrendered to my blisters.

    Anyway, I have also always thought I'd like to be one of those really generous, giving types who volunteers during the holidays. I'm actually pretty self-centered, but with a baby coming and whatnot, I'm trying to get past my essential me-ness. Well, I heard about an opportunity to spend some time with some patients at St. Elizabeth's Hospital on Christmas Day and decided to do it. I even roped in SM and my mom, too.

    Basically, the idea was to spend time with patients on Christmas. That's it.

    And St. E's, for those of you haven't heard of it, is a pretty famous psychiatric hospital.

    I had no idea what to expect, but we signed up for the afternoon shift.

    We were three of approximately two dozen volunteers. This was the first year they had volunteers in over the holidays, so the plan was pretty basic -- play games, do crafts and just hang out with the patients. The organizer told us that the patients' lives consisted of having things done *for* them and *to* them and that having people do things *with* them would help ease the institutional feel of spending Christmas institutionalized.

    We met some interesting folks. Some were less than interactive; some were very articulate and well-spoken. I met one guy named David who had been at the hospital for 35 years. He was a writer who grew up in DC. Liked playing ball and still had family in the area. We had a pretty good conversation. He was very articulate and, except for the setting, there was nothing immediately apparent about him that suggested that he needed to be institutionalized. He was the one who told me that most of the patients in the activity area were made to come down and participate and that I shouldn't take it personally if folks had no interest in me or the craft project I was doing. Meeting David surprised me because he didn't match all my preconceived notions of what I thought a "psychiatric patient" would be like. Whatever I thought it was, it didn't include someone like David. Of course, I don't know why he was institutionalized, but he taught me that as open-minded as I would like to think I am, I'm not. And I need to get over myself and do more things that I've never done to get more experiences with different kinds of people.

    I also talked -- or tried to talk -- to a number of other patients. Then dinner was served. The volunteers helped with the food and the clean-up, and then we left. We were there about 3.5 hours.

    I don't know if I'll go back again next year -- not because I had a bad experience -- but because I don't know that my being there was worthwhile. Which begs the question of "worthwhile for whom"? For me? Well, then, it's still all about me, isn't it? And isn't the point of volunteering to get outside yourself a little bit and do something for someone else? So if the measure is "worthwhile for me", then I need to put on my big girl panties and shut up. So, was it worthwhile for them? I dunno, but I also can't be the judge of that, can I? (See above comment about big girl panties.)

    So, we'll see. Of course, next year -- knock on wood -- I'll have a baby, so things will be different. Maybe just SM and I will volunteer and mom will stay at home with the kidlet. But I do want to do some kind of volunteer activity again next year. And maybe it will be at St. E's, if the coordinators thought things went well and want us back.

    Monday, December 20, 2010


    This is what we spent several hours doing yesterday.

    The size of a salad plate!
    Check out the Ninjabread men...
    Six kinds:
    Sadly, between Li'l Pea and staring at the cookies for hours and hours, I had no stomach whatsoever to eat them! Maybe tomorrow? Maybe a plate for our nice neighbors?

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    Friday, December 17, 2010

    Hi Guys!!!

    I'm sorry for the long absence, even after my teaser post a few weeks ago. I do have stuff to blog about, and I've been wrestling with how to much to tell.

    Ya' see... we learned some news about a month ago, and we've been keeping it mostly under our hats. Haven't even told our families yet...

    So on the one hand, I feel terribly guilty about letting the cat out of the bag here, before telling my fam. And I've also been terribly anxious... and superstitious and, therefore, cautious. But, on the other hand, I'm just about bursting..

    I'm sure you can guess what I'm getting at. And you're right.

    As of December 15th (one month after finding out), I am now 9 weeks preggers. Yup, I'm with child. Got a bun in the oven. Knocked up.

    Way to go, SM!!!

    Given my age (and this being the first kidlet to be hatched), I spent the first month worrying incessantly about everything. It got to the point where I had to tell someone because the anxiety was just overwhelming. That's why I came back to my hibernating blog. I needed an outlet, but couldn't discuss it with the usual suspects. But you'll keep my secret, right? We aren't broadcasting this yet, and we aren't telling the fam (except my mom) until next week. It's going to be a Christmas surprise for our families. So, shhhhh!

    What made for the change from anxiety to excitement? I had my 9 week check-up on Wednesday, and the sonogram showed that Li'l Pea (making SM Li'l Pea Daddy) is doing his thing on schedule. At the prior 6 week picture-fest, he wasn't quite where he should have been -- thus the crazy worry. And believe me, I know how to worry. Now that he's back on track with a good heartrate, I feel more reassured and am actually starting to feel excited about our future tax deduction!

    So that's my big news. I don't intend to spend the rest of my blogging life talking about all the fun things involved in being pregnant, but I am finally interested and excited about writing again. Yay!

    And here's a picture of Li'l Pea, who is due to make an appearance on July 20th.


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