Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Oh Boy!

Here are the pictures from yesterday's ultrasound!!

Profile Shot:

Close up of his face...look at that little button nose!!

The creepy Halloween picture...

And a little footsie.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

If You Don't Want to Know Our Baby's Gender, Stop Reading NOW

Giving you time to navigate away from this page if you don't want to know our baby's gender..
It's a .................................................................................................


Yippee!!! I have always wanted one girl and one boy, and so my dreams are fulfilled.

My very first baby dream during this pregnancy was about a little boy, so ever since then, I have just had a feeling that this time around, we would be having a boy. Then, when my morning sickness lingered beyond the end of the first trimester, I started to wonder whether my intuition was wrong and I was carrying a girl. However, I started feeling better, pretty darn great, actually, around week 14, so the boy thoughts kicked back in. Turns out I was right!

And there is NO DOUBT that this baby is a boy. Our sonographer was peeking around down near the baby's legs, and we happened to catch one shot in which the baby's legs were spread and there IT was, sticking up proudly as if the baby was saying, "Hey Mom and Dad! Check it out! No hands!" I know with some ultrasounds there is a shadow of a doubt because the sonographer isn't able to get a good view of the baby's goods...there's no doubt with our little guy.

So, we are very, very excited to be expecting a son. Even saying it out loud is unreal to me...I am having a son. How does one raise a boy? I have a daughter and a younger sister--I have no experience with raising boys!!! Luckily, I think my husband might have a clue on this one.

Another piece of good news came out of the ultrasound--based on the measurements taken and the very detailed look the doctor and sonographer had of the baby, our chances of the baby having Down Syndrome were reduced by 50%. Everything looks perfect structurally, and the baby isn't showing any of the soft markers that Downs babies show. The doctor was not able to find any major defects and told us that he didn't think any further testing was necessary. He wasn't able to rule it out completely, saying the only way to tell for sure would be to have an amnio, but he felt secure in reducing our chances significantly. Double yippee!!

I'll post some photos from the ultrasound once I have a chance to scan them in.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Tonight, on the walk home from school:

Grace: Mama, Aarie grew up in Green Bay.

Me: Yep, he did.

Grace: Know what else?

Me: Hm?

Grace: I grew up in Pink Bay. Really, I did, a long time ago.

I wonder what her favorite color is.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Batman vs. The Penguin

Aaron showed this video to me tonight, and it made me chuckle. Who knew the writers of the old Batman series were so prophetic? Enjoy!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Words of Wisdom

I promise that after the election, my posts will return to dealing with mainly my child and pregnancy and other details of life in general, but until then, I can't help but keep throwing my political opinions and thoughts out there, thinking that maybe I will reach someone. So, here goes another toss...

I was so, so pleased to hear that Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama. I was fortunate enough to be near a TV yesterday morning when Mr. Powell made his endorsement on Meet the Press (R.I.P. Tim Russert) and I was struck by his words and sentiments. Believe it or not, there are a few Republican leaders whom I admire--Colin Powell has generally been one of them (except for that whole Iraq War thing), along with (gasp) John McCain, before this election turned him into Dr. Evil.

See, he has the air quotes down and everything. Totally.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have grown increasingly angry with this whole election. One of the things I admired about John McCain was that during his campaign in 2000 he managed NOT to go negative against George Bush, despite the lashing he was taking by W and Karl Rove and the rest of that pleasant gang. Although I didn't agree with his positions and was a Gore supporter all the way, at least I respected him and felt he was taking the high road. This election, I see John McCain resorting to the same type of fear-mongering and lies that were used against him in 2000, and any respect I had for him is gone. What's worse is that the lies and fear that he and his VP candidate are spreading about Barack Obama are ACTUALLY taking hold--people actually believe and buy into this crap. I see a level of hatred and fear in people that I haven't seen in any election that I can remember, and much of it is due to McCain's campaign unapologetically sowing the seeds of fear and suspicion.

The latest of these attacks on Obama suggests that because of Obama's comments about taxes and "spreading the wealth", he is a socialist. Hearing Sarah Palin call Barack Obama a socialist is enough to make me toss my cookies, but the fact that people actually believe this is even worse. However, I was heartened to hear the following quote from Colin Powell today on CNN :

"...Now I guess the message this week is, "We're going to call him a socialist, Mr. Obama is now a socialist, because he dares to suggest that maybe we ought to look at the tax structure that we have."

Taxes are always a redistribution of money. Most of the taxes that are redistributed go back to those who paid them, in roads and airports and hospitals and schools. And taxes are necessary for the common good. And there is nothing wrong with examining what our tax structure is or who should be paying more, who should be paying less. And for us to say that that makes you a socialist, I think is an unfortunate characterization that isn't accurate.

I don't want my taxes raised. I don't want anybody else's taxes raised. But I also want to see our infrastructure fixed. I don't want to have a $12 trillion national debt, and I don't want to see an annual deficit that's over $500 billion heading toward a trillion. So, how do we deal with all of this?"

Words of wisdom that come during a time when it seems like sense and reason have been tossed out the window. Thanks, Mr. Powell, for speaking up for what is right instead of obediently towing the party line. It was a breath of fresh air.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Anniversary Weekend...Chicago Rocks

Last Thursday was our one year wedding anniversary, and to celebrate, Aaron and I decided to head down to Chicago, one of our favorite places, to relax and spend some quality time together this weekend. When we were dating, our very first weekend trip together was to Chicago, and we have many fond memories of that trip, so we figured Chicago would be a fabulous place to go to celebrate our anniversary.

After dropping Grace off with my parents on Saturday morning, Aaron and I boarded the Amtrak train at the airport in Milwaukee and enjoyed a leisurely trip down to Union Station in Chicago. (By the way, the train is the ONLY way to travel between Milwaukee and Chicago--with all of the construction on the way and gas prices still as high as they are, Amtrak offers a low cost and stress-free alternative.) Once in Chicago, we hailed a taxi to our hotel--Aaron had arranged our hotel accommodations in secret, so when we arrived at the Congress Plaza Hotel on Michigan Avenue, I was both surprised and delighted to learn we would be staying at the same hotel we stayed at during our first trip to Chicago together.

The room we stayed in at the hotel was certainly different this trip than it was during the first trip. During our first time, we stayed in a standard room, which was very nice, but this time, Aaron surprised me (again) by reserving a suite on the 11th floor with breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and Grant Park:

After getting settled in our room, we decided grab some lunch and then to walk over to the Art Institute of Chicago, where we spent a few hours enjoying at the wonderful art collection on display. I was particularly impressed by the sculpture gallery at the museum--I had been to the Art Institute before and missed this part, and I was very glad to have experienced it this time around. Then we browsed the gift shop at the museum for a while, and then decided to head back to the hotel to get dressed for dinner.

Our plan for dinner was to head to the Frontera Grill, which is one of Chef Rick Bayless' restaurants in Chicago. We watch Rick Bayless' cooking show pretty regularly on PBS, and ever since we discovered that he owns two restaurants in Chicago, we have told ourselves that we would check them out some time. I attempted to make reservations at the Frontera Grill before we headed to Chicago, but they were booked up. The hostess did tell me on the phone, though, that we could come to the restaurant and be placed on the waiting list, and that the wait was typically an hour to an hour and a half. Not so bad, we thought.

Well, we took a cab from the hotel to the Frontera Grill, and upon arriving we learned that the wait was going to be two and a half hours. It was already 6:15pm and this pregnant mama was hungry, so with heads hung in defeat, we walked out of the restaurant and decided to try and find something else. Problem was, we were in an area of the city that neither of us was very familiar with, so we walked aimlessly back towards the direction of our hotel in hopes of finding a decent place to eat (luckily it wasn't too cold out).

We did manage to stumble across a fabulous restaurant on Dearborn--the Trattoria Ten Restaurant. The place looks very unassuming from the outside, but once inside, we were pleased to find a fine restaurant with a cozy and intimate atmosphere. The service and the food did not disappoint, either. I savored a delicious meal of ravioli stuffed with asparagus and provolone cheese, and Aaron enjoyed pork tenderloin and marscapone potatoes. We lingered in the restaurant for a while, enjoying the quiet and intimate (and child-free) atmosphere, and then decided to walk back to the hotel for the night. On the way, we encountered an Old Navy store, and I was very pleased to find that this particular Old Navy had a maternity section. Score!!

This morning, Aaron treated me to an extra hour of sleep, which was an anniversary gift in and of itself, and then we ordered room service for breakfast. After we got ready, we took a stroll down Jackson Street to a Starbucks and then made our way to Barnes and Noble for some quick shopping before it was time to head back to Union Station to catch our train. Soon, we boarded our train heading back home and back to reality.

All in all, we had a fantastic weekend. A lot of the things we did this weekend were pretty similar to things we did that first trip to Chicago, but this time, I got to go home with Aaron instead of having to head back to Oshkosh alone, and that made this trip a million times better than the first.

Friday, October 17, 2008

For All of You Undecideds...

Because these two women wrote about this more eloquently than I could ever hope to, please take a moment to read these two blog posts about Wednesday's debate and John McCain's infamous air quotes when talking about abortion:

I don't understand how any woman or any one who cares about a woman could vote for John McCain after taking all of this into serious consideration. Anyone who reads my blog regularly or knows me at all knows that I am a Democrat through and through and that there was no way in hell I would vote for John McCain to begin with. However, after watching Wednesday's debate and after some serious thought, I just feel so ANGRY about this and the thought of John McCain possibly becoming our president makes we want to make a run for the border (and I'm not talking about taking a trip to Taco Bell). I am pregnant right now and perhaps that is why this is affecting me so much. As I think about what is taking place inside of me, one thing that scares the hell out of me is the idea that someone else could make a decision about what happens with my baby.

The other thing that I can't figure out is that anti-abortionists tend to oppose government intrusion into other parts of their lives but they think it's okay for the government to control the contents of a woman's womb. Huh? I just don't get it. It seems like faulty logic to me.

Whatever your political tendencies are, I would encourage you to research all of this a little further and consider the real danger that was lurking in John McCain's statements regarding abortion.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

One Year Ago Today...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pretty Fall Pics

Although I'm in denial that Summer is actually over and we are beginning the rapid descent into Winter Ickiness, I managed to pull myself together enough today to snap some pics of the changing leaves as Grace and I joined some extended family members at our cabin in the Northwoods.

Yeah, Fall is pretty, I suppose. :-)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

S.O.S. and Other Happenings

Tonight, Grace attended her first peaceful protest rally. The Milwaukee Public School Board in its wisdom (read: stupidity) has proposed merging Grace's wonderful elementary school with another school in the Bay View neighborhood. This is a much bigger school located in a not-so-friendly area of the city and unlike Tippecanoe (Grace's current school), this other school does not have an arts and humanities focus, so that aspect of Grace's education hangs in the balance. And, the building that Tippe is housed in now would be used to house an at-risk school for overage students. I suppose this merger thing isn't all the school district's fault...lack of funding has forced the district to make some tough decisions and many small schools district wide have been forced to merge with other schools in order for the district to survive. It just sucks all around.

There are many reasons why our family (and many other families with children at Tippe) oppose this new merger. As I mentioned, Tippe is a specialty school, focusing on the arts and humanities, and even though the arts program may continue as part of the merger, I hate the thought of Grace not having this as part of her education. At Tippe, Grace gets to participate in all kinds of cool things--she takes regular field trips to see a variety of children's shows, her school has a special partnership with the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Milwaukee Symphony, and in first grade, students start learning to play a string instrument. I have a hard time believing all of those things and the other great things happening at Tippe would survive a merger with another, much larger school.

One of the other great things about Tippe is its size. Tippe is a small school, but it houses children in K4 through grade eight, so each class size is small and everyone knows everyone else. It amazes me every time I pick Grace up at night to see her waving at kids in different grades or to hear teachers in the upper grades calling her by name. It is a very close knit school, and it's a great feeling to know that my child is not just a number...she's cared about and known throughout the school.

Another huge benefit that Tippe offers us is its location. We can literally see the school out of our living room window. Aaron walks Grace to school each morning, and every night, I park my car in our driveway and walk over to school to pick her up. We don't have to worry about bussing Grace across the city, driving her to school in inclement weather, or having to find parking at drop off and pick up time. It's so convenient, and having Grace at Tippe makes us feel like a real part of our neighborhood. If this merger happens and we end up having this at-risk school for overage students a block from our house, you can rest assured that our house will be on the market faster than Sarah Palin can say "maverick".

When Grace and I first moved to Milwaukee, I was hesitant to have Grace attend one of Milwaukee's public schools because I have heard some not-to-great things about the district. However, from the moment we toured Tippe almost a year ago, I knew that this would be the right school for Grace, and I felt secure sending her there. If the district decides to close Tippe, not only will they be doing a huge disservice to the students and the neighborhood at large, but they will be losing one of their families--I'm not sure I could send Grace to another MPS school.

Tonight we attended a protest rally at Tippe that was intended to draw media attention to the merger in anticipation of a vote coming up on October 23rd. My heart broke watching my little girl holding a sign and chanting, "Save Our School."

Much to my surprise, I am sorta enjoying pregnancy this time around. My pregnancy with Grace was this point in my pregnancy with Grace, I will still puking my guts out daily and generally feeling terrible every single day. The first trimester of this pregnancy had me worried that I might have a repeat performance of pregnancy #1. But, although I still have my moments where I feel like crap, I have noticed a pretty significant energy boost within the last two weeks, and I'm actually able to enjoy food again. The key for me has been a combination of eating almost continuously throughout the day and sleeping as much as possible. Turns out this pregnancy thing is actually pretty tolerable. And, I have been feeling some gentle baby kicks over the past week or so, and that makes it all worth it.

I'm almost ashamed to say it, but I fell asleep during the debate last night. I couldn't help myself...Barack was doing pretty well and I was lulled to sleep by the old dude with the shiny head. The one thing in the debate that stuck out for me was hearing John McCain refer to Barack as, "That one." OMG...could he BE any more condescending and disrespectful? McCain looked like a desperate, angry old man who was hosing down a pesky kid whose was trying to retrieve a ball out of his yard.

And seriously, John, I am NOT your friend. So stop calling me that.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

This Debate is Making Me Want to Pull My Hair Out

Either I am going to pull my hair out or lob my lap top at the TV. I've always been a huge Joe Biden fan so I have a bias here, but watching Sarah Palin at this debate is literally making me crazy.

How about actually answering the questions that are being asked instead of telling us what a "maverick" you are.


Get those bangs under control.

Wipe that contented, self righteous smile off your face. You probably think you look and sound smart. Guess don't.

Yes, Alaska is a big state. GEOGRAPHICALLY. As Aaron just reminded me, Alaska has a smaller population than the city of Milwaukee. Get over yourself.

I think it's so sad that Sarah Palin will be looked at as a success in this debate just because she didn't embarrass herself or her party. It was clear that she was coached on a set of talking points and she stuck to them. But I am left feeling like we deserve more than a set of talking points.

And Joe Biden kicked ass. Just my opinion.