Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Many Faces of Miss Eloise

Many people think newborns are just large intestines that sleep 17 hours a day. Well, our large intestine fits quite a bit into her 7 wakeful hours each day. Brakes and I are happy to report she has many, many skills. Below isFont sizephotographic evidence of said talents:

Yawning... or sardonically hinting at boredom

Giving orders

Fitting inside things

Modeling party dresses and looking like a drunk old man (dual tasking)

Taking a break (looking like a drunk old man takes a lot of energy)

Doing a baby-bird impression
As you can see Miss Eloise has us on our toes over here in baby-land! We haven't been getting massive amounts of sleep yet we are still finding the energy to take copious amounts of pictures. Eloise is in danger of mistaking us for the paparazzi.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Teaser...

Let us introduce you to our latest creation:

Eloise Grewe J********

March 20th, 2009
1:50 am
7 pounds and 2 ounces (Thank you, Jesus!)

We are finally home and thrilled to be here with our little girl! A more detailed update and pictures are soon to come!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Knock, knock! (Who's there?)

I am fairly obedient. I generally follow directions; sometimes it just takes me awhile!
My daughter has apparently inherited my sense of timing. Eloise is finally listening to my orders from St. Patrick's Day! My water just broke! We are going to cool our jets for a little while then head to the hospital! We are VERY excited!
Also, FYI: the inappropriate laughter I experienced during the birth class has returned. So far I think labor is HILARIOUS! Lets hope the good times keep rolling!
We'll keep you posted!


Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Upon marrying Brakes it was not my freedom I mourned; the wild oats I never sowed, the carefree days of my Singleton youth. It was my last name I missed. Not that I wasn't thrilled to join the giant clan that accompanies my new, very common, last name, its just that I was sad to give up my Irish maiden name.
I am Irish. I identify culturally as Irish. I come from a big Irish-Catholic family. I've sung Irish songs on a bridge in Doolin, for goodness sakes! And I, of course, love St. Patrick's day.

When I was a little girl, I would stage elaborate Leprechaun hunts with the other neighborhood kids. We would spend hours building fairy-houseboats that we floated in the hot-tub and wrestling over imaginary pots of gold which were pretty difficult to find in the mostly dry and rainbow-less climate of Arizona.

As I got older I really embraced St. Paddy's day tradition and drank entirely too much green beer. I had a whole collection of jaunty green fedoras and I know a dozen Irish drinking songs by heart. (I've been known to Karaoke a few of them year round!)

As I've settled down, St. Patrick's day doesn't necessarily mean wild parties, and drunken parades anymore. Now I celebrate in simple ways: face-paint and stories with my students, gooning Brakes out by making dinner with a heavy-hand of green food coloring (who doesn't love green mashed potatoes?) , and my very favorite St. Paddy's day tradition:

Conference Call Irish Car Bombs (CCICB)

When Meghann (my sister) and I followed our men to Utah (where Irish Car Bombs are hard to come by) and Patrick (our brother, we really are Irish!) went off to college, it was tragic for our clan to be split up on our favorite holiday. My brother-in-law Scott, sensing our sadness, managed to score some Irish Whiskey, Bailey's, and some Guinness for our first St. Patrick's day alone. We called my dad on the phone and a tradition was born!

Since then, every St. Patrick's Day, no matter where we are, at a pre-determined time (It's always 5:00 pm in Ireland!) we draw a Guinness, poor a shot, and pick up the phone. Daddy says a few words of toast (generally in several different languages, he is also very cultured) and with a "Sláinte," we drop the shot into the Guinness and drink up!

Last weekend I optimistically bought some Guinness, hoping that Weezy would make her debut in plenty of time for me to get in on the CCICB action... so listen up, Weezy! Your Mov has not had a car bomb (nor so much as a wine spritzer!) in the last nine months! Cut her some slack and come out today!

Dad, Mov, Scott, Meghann, Jessica, Patrick; wait for me! If my daughter follows directions I may be able to toast St. Patrick's day ''09 with you yet!

Eloise, you have 13 hours... get going.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Honey Do List

Last Wednesday I went to the doctor because on Thursday I was scheduled for some dental work that could "potentially start labor". I wanted to double check that Weezy was big enough for her grand premiere. The doctor weighed and measured me and said, "Tada! She's done." Apparently at 37.5 weeks I am already measuring at just under 40 weeks. Conclusion: Weezy could come at anytime. And, if Weezy waits until her due-date, she will be ginormous. Dr. Kahn seemed down-right giddy at the idea of me delivering her on Thursday and said that it would be "the best case scenario," if I had her a couple of weeks early because she is going to be so big.

It is Saturday. My dental work did not jump-start labor and I am beginning to develop a fear of gigantic babies. Brakes asked me what I wanted to do this weekend and I said:

1. Have sex.
2. Walk my ass off.
3. Eat spicy food.

Is there anything else I am forgetting? What are your tricks to entice Eloise out of my womb?

They are agile alright!

For the last six-months we have been "trying" to make it to our vet's Tuesday night shot clinic to get the girl's shots squared away before the baby comes. Every Tuesday something has come up; its rained, American Idol was premiering, Darby was "not in a good place" emotionally, etc. There is always an excuse.

You may wonder why we dread taking the girls to the vet so much. Well the answer is simple; they are rotten dogs. Big rotten dogs. They don't listen, Darby sheds hysterically, jumps, and whines. Tess is into everything, always manages to get off leash, and generally takes a huge poo on the floor in the middle of the office (she has a nervous sphincter). In short: they are hard-to-manage, strong, stinky, destruction machines. Experience has taught us that "going to the vet," is a two-person job. We always leave with cheeks red with embarrassment (and exertion), raised eyebrows from the receptionist ("those two have no business owning dogs!") and a fistful of training pamphlets forced upon us as they rush us out the back door.

This week, I got fed up with our excuses and I decided to be brave. I devised a plan which included a new vet (I think we all needed a fresh start!) around the corner from our house. I would walk the girls to their appointment, therefore avoiding the logistical nightmares of squeezing my belly into the backseat to buckle Darby and Tess into their seat belts, sandwiching the newly installed car seat between their hairy, slobbery hides. Plus, I would get a jump start on #2 of my weekend to-do list (see above post). In theory, the walk would tire them out enough that they would actually behave in the vets office and we would arrive there calm with clean colons (at least from Tess) so that no unfortunate accidents would take place in reception. The doctor and nurses would fall in love with Darby and Tess, give them a clean bill of health, complement me on my exemplary parenting practices, and we would all bask in the glory of knowing that we had another year before we began this nightmare again.

Well, I am proud to report: Our proactive strategies worked! This was the best vet visit the girls have ever had! No one pooped, there was marginal jumping, and the vet (who looked just like Uncle Rusty and had vintage Rock&Roll posters decorating the walls) even agreed that Darby bears a striking resemblance to Julia Roberts. Yay! As we walked home, I congratulated the girls on their excellent behavior skills and I looked forward to giving a good report to Brakes this evening.

As it turned out Brakes had made plans to meet up with our good friends, M&E for dinner. I thought this was fortuitous timing, as I was still on a high over how well-behaved our girls were at the vet and I was looking forward to bragging about them to M&E. You see, M&E adopted a dog last November and the transition has been far from easy. Brakes and I have enjoyed commiserating with them and sharing some of our "tails" of doggy-woe. It was going to be nice, even inspiring, to have a good story to report tonight. At dinner, I introduced the subject by asking for an update on Miss Baily and M breezily said, "Oh she's doing much better now. In fact we are starting agility training tomorrow."

WTF! AGILITY TRAINING! I was just stoked that Tess didn't take a poo on the floor; our girls are nowhere near agility training. (In fact, Tess failed out of two obedience training schools. It was recommended we seek private coaching.) Sigh. I am trying really hard not to get caught up in this whole competitive parenting thing but seriously: Agility training! I guess I can still take comfort in the fact that their dog doesn't have any celebrity look-a-likes. So there. Humph.

Here is a picture of Darby and I. Please tell me you think she looks like Julia Roberts:

There is something about her eyes and that smile! Do you see it?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I got skillzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..........

One of the number one complaints I hear about pregnancy is lack of sleep. Now, I don't want to brag, but I have a very special talent: I have always been a truly gifted, really a quite marvelous, sleeper. I get this extraordinary ability from my Dad who puts my sleeping-skills(z) to shame. (Thanks Daddy!)

I am very pleased to report that this talent has carried on into pregnancy. Here I am, 9 months pregnant, and still comfortably sleeping 8 hours a night. Like all people who have a potentially nine-pound parasite dancing on their bladders, I do get up four or five times each night to ehmm... powder my nose... but I go right back to sleep. I've also made a conscientious effort not to disturb Brake's sleep during these nighttime sojourns.

This was fairly successful until Wednesday night. Around 9:00 Brakes and I got down to business practicing our labor positions and deep-breathing (Birth Midler would be so proud!). I guess I stretched too vigorously because I was having mad Braxton Hicks contractions by bedtime. Nonetheless I fell asleep soundly and was happily snoozing along 3 hours later when all the sudden I was rudely awoken by searing pain in my left heinie. I cried out and felt frozen by the sensation. Brakes shot out of bed, turned on the light, and went into super-birth-coach-mode (it was really quite immpressive). He helped me breathe and got me into a squat position until the pain dissipated. We decided that I had either had my first painful contraction (centrally located in my fanny?) or that the baby had sat on some nerve. I took the opportunity to take a tinkle and then went right back to sleep. I assumed that if I were going into labor, another contraction would wake me up so I certainly didn't need to stay awake waiting.

Brakes, not so much. Poor guy slept the whole night with one ear cocked for the sound of water breaking. He got up Thursday morning with bluish bruises under both eyes and that half-dazed sleepy look that I secretly find endearing. He hasn't really had a decent nights sleep since then and he looks at me as if I am a gigantic ticking time-bomb waiting to go off. Kaboom.

I wish that there was something I could do to help, but I find myself unable to relate to his problem. Anyone have any suggestions? While you're thinking about it, I think I'll go take a nap...

Here is a picture of my secret weapon to great pregnancy sleep (besides my good genes and natural affinities; those can't be bought):

It is a snoogle-pillow and as you can see, Tess also finds it soothing. Maybe we need another one for Henry?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Body Dysmorphia

Brakes just reminded me of another interesting little tidbit we learned in birth class: I apparently am suffering from Body Dysmorphia. This is a serious psychiatric condition dealing with the way people view their bodies. Symptoms include having an inaccurate view of what your body actually looks like to other people. We discovered this condition at lunch when I casually mentioned to Brakes how amazing I think it is that, even though I was the first one due among the 10 women in birth class, I had by far the smallest belly. I went on and on about how "uncomfortably pregnant," those other woman look and how lucky I feel that I am likely going to skip that phase because Weezy's due date is right around the corner and my stomach is still so relatively small. Brakes looked confused for a moment and then quickly corrected me:

"Bug, you legitimately think you're smaller than those other woman? Umm, you're not. Definitely not."

I tried to disagree but he was awfully (yet gently) insistent. Apparently I do not see myself the way others see me (I think I am a lot thinner).

You be the judge:

I think I look very thin... or is that just the dysmorphia talking?

Birth Midler

Brakes and I went to birth-class yesterday. Brakes is nothing if not efficient so he insisted we do the all-day-marathon-birth-class/hospital tour special! Shazam!

We arrived at 9 am sharp without pillows (that we were apparently supposed to bring) to a full class already seated and ready to learn. Apparently 8:45 was the start time. Brakes and I were already the birth-class dunces. This sort of set the tone for the day.

I got the giggles every time a picture of a pachina (usually with a baby head sticking out of it) was shown. I had to excuse myself during the deep-breathing exercises because I kept thinking how hilarious it would be if someone tooted really loudly. I had to go try to regain my composure in the hall and I left poor Brakes in the room deep breathing by himself. Any chance laughter is a hormonal reaction?

Brakes was too embarrassed to do the "hee-haw" noisy breathing and he thought everything our teacher said was meant to be funny. Which it was most decidedly not. I am pretty sure he and I were the only people in the room who cracked a smile all day.

Our teacher was a real character. She calls herself the "Diva Doula" and she is extremely biased towards med-free/intervention free births. This was unfortunate because 7 out of the 10 couples there were planning on getting epidurals in the parking lot. She was also quite anxious to get everyone on their knees grunting and practice moaning. She called everyone sweetie and had no compunction about slapping people on the fanny to emphasize a point. Brakes was especially disturbed by this personality quirk. She looks and sounds exactly like Bette Midler. By the end of the day, no longer caring that we were alienating the other future parents, Brakes began to narrate the last video for me. He invented extravagant drama behind all the laboring mothers and every time Birth Midler came on the scene he tried to incorporate a Beaches reference (which I'm pretty sure is the only Bette Milder movie he's seen). Apple juice (which was generously provided) came out my nose and I nearly lost control of my already-compressed bladder. As soon as the movie was over we gratefully booked it out the door.

Overall, it was a good experience. I think we both have a better idea of what to expect when Miss Weezy decides to make her grand debut. We've come up with a birth-plan we feel comfortable with and we had many of our questions answered. I probably could have done without the crotch-shots galore, and Brakes is seriously concerned about our ability to make friends with our daughter's peer's parents, based on the humor-less sampling we encountered at birth-class, but generally, we are feeling prepared and ready to usher Eloise into the world, hopefully in a med-free and relatively quick (fingers crossed) way.

Here is a picture of Birth Midler (who despite her bias and distracting celebrity resemblance, was actually quite knowledgeable and patient with our dunce-like shenanigans):