Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Our baby has a smile

Last week was a busy one for all three of us - three doctor's appointments, one weekend trip to Oregon for a best friend's baby shower, a mass scour at most of the Goodwill stores in Eugene for maternity clothes, and a visit from Adam's parents who are staying with his brother here in San Jose.

We completed our prenatal group "class" from Kaiser, which mostly consisted of a powerpoint presentation of do's and don'ts for pregnancy. It wasn't a waste of time, but much of the information we had already gleaned from our trusty copy of "What to Expect When You're Expecting." We did learn a few new things and I was just glad for Adam's company. It was nice to have someone there to squeeze my hand and write funny notes when the father-to-be in front of us asked questions such as whether or not pineapple is safe during pregnancy. (Really? Pineapple?! The list of dangerous foods during pregnancy is growing everyday, but thankfully pineapple has still not made the list.) After our class, we decided to pass the next three hours before our 12-week checkup by doing something delightfully non-baby-related and took in Thor at a nearby movie theater. It was Thor-oughly entertaining (sorry, had to do that) and helped take my mind off the anxiety of all the appointments. Actually, our next one was fairly uneventful and consisted of the standard routine: pee-in-a-cup, fill out the same intake form which asks questions such as "Have you ever had sex?" (to which I am always tempted to check no), and a visit from the doctor to talk about any questions or issues. We had another quick ultrasound which showed a strong heartbeat but no fetal movement. I was worried at first but was reassured by the doctor that we were catching the baby during a "sleep cycle." In any case, it looked very peaceful resting there and I hoped we weren't waking the baby from a good dream. If the baby is anything like me I'm sure it fully enjoys a nice, uninterrupted afternoon nap.

The next day was our scheduled Nuchal Translucency scan, which is a special ultrasound done at around 12 weeks of pregnancy used to screen risk for birth defects. It was part of an optional, non-invasive prenatal testing program administered by the state of California. This ultrasound is best done on a full bladder, to ensure the uterus is pushed up to the top of the belly for the sonographer's viewing pleasure. After a good twenty minutes of pushing the ultrasound wand against my delicate, *ahem* full abdomen, the technician found just the right angle and we got to see some great pictures of the baby. That afternoon, the baby was very active practicing its skills in swimming, bouncing, dancing, and generally looking very cute. Even though I was quite uncomfortable, I was sad when it ended because I loved seeing the baby so much. As I mentioned, however, the real purpose of the test was to measure a small pocket of fluid in the back of the baby's neck and provide a risk level to us for birth defects. I was thankful to hear we screened "negative," which means we are very low risk and thus won't be opting for more invasive tests such as amniocentesis.

In this profile photo, you can just barely see the outline of an eye, nose, and yes, a smile:

I flew up to Oregon over the weekend to attend my best friend Liz's baby shower, which was a lot of fun and a great opportunity to see some of my Eugene-based friends. Liz is due in late July, and I am excited for the possibility that our kids will be close in age and get to grow up together. One of the special things about the shower was there were actually four pregnant attendees including myself and Liz, so we posed for a line-up in order of our due date. My friend Liz is the cute one with the blond hair and purple shirt, and I'm at the end next to the painting of the unnamed Russian fellow:

Also on the agenda for my short trip was to find some pants suitable for my slightly-larger waist size. After visiting three different thrift stores, I found four pairs of maternity pants, one shirt, and some pajamas that all cost less than only one pair new in a department store. I love bargain shopping and am definitely am enjoying having some new clothes that fit better. I'm convinced that maternity pants are pretty much one of man's greatest creations, or at least in the top five with the likes of sliced bread. After straining to button my pants for weeks, it feels positively heavenly to have a nice, stretchy panel on the top of my pants. Such relief and comfort! I should say a big thank-you to my mom for helping me with this task. Just like when I was twelve, I sometimes complain about trying on clothes but am always glad in the end to have something nice to wear.

We are enjoying some nice weather here and will be seeing Adam's parents tomorrow, who are visiting Adam's brother's family in San Jose for the week. Sadly, my weekend has officially ended and I'm off to bed.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Surprise! One more Pruett is on the way!

You read right...we found out recently that we are expecting our first baby this fall! We're really happy to share the news with you all and show off our first baby photo. I'm not going to make this blog entirely baby-centric, but am feeling re-inspired to write about all the big changes going on in our lives and what we are looking forward to. I am exactly 12 weeks along today, which have flown by. Or, considering I slept more in those first 8 weeks than in my entire life, I might have just slept through it. In any case, I think it will be fun to look back and remember this time and our blog might be a good way to record some of it. Since I've announced my pregnancy, I've learned that people tend to ask similar questions. Here are some of our most popular FAQs:

1. Were you guys trying to have a baby? How did you react?
It wasn't out of the realm of possibility, but we were surprised since it wasn't something we expected. The day I found out, I was shocked and very emotional. It was terrifying and overwhelming, even though it was something we had always talked about and looked forward to. I had made a doctor's appointment because I knew something was "off," though didn't actually think I was pregnant. Once I found out, I drove around a little bit and walked through Target to clear my head. I had always envisioned doing something really special to tell Adam we were having a baby, but when the day finally came, all my plans went out the window and I decided to buy a simple "I love Daddy" bib to share the news. Adam was all smiles from the very beginning and couldn't have been happier.

2. How far along are you? When is your due date?
Today we are exactly 12 weeks and nearing the end of my first trimester. Our most recent "guess" due date is November 29th, though we have also been told November 27th and November 24th. He or she will be joining the ranks of many other fine Saggitariuses in our family. This baby seems to do things on its own schedule so I'm sure it'll make its appearance whenever the time is right. The only thing I'm sure of is this Thanksgiving will be a memorable one.

3. Any pregnancy symptoms so far?
Yes, definitely lots of fatigue, and nausea early on. I'm grateful to say I only threw up twice and I think I've had a very easy pregnancy so far (thank you little baby!). I do have a small baby bump and have started using a special band to hold up my unbuttoned pants. My friend Jennifer kindly pointed out that I pretty much look like I've had "too many brownies." It'll be nice to finally have a more solid belly bump so the world will know I have a much better reason for looking the way I do.

Emotionally, there have been lots of ups and downs and the extra hormones running through me have made for quite a ride. One night, Adam was planning to take me out for a nice dinner and I felt too nauseous to go, and just started sobbing for no reason. Adam has been totally supportive, patient, and kind. He does a great job of laughing and reminding me when I'm just being ridiculous, too.

4. Any food cravings or aversions?
Yes - both. I have been eating fresh fruit of all kinds, and strawberries and mangoes taste better than ever before. No matter how I feel I'm always in the mood for fruit! I've also craved mashed potatoes, tuna noodle casserole, and chocolate milk.

Foods that don't sound so good: pretty much most meat (especially chicken), and raw vegetables and salads (which I sometimes force myself to eat anyway).

5. Are you finding out the sex of the baby?
Yes, we are excited to find out - though neither of us care at all and would be over the moon to have a son or daughter. For whatever it's worth, Sarah is thinking it's a boy. We may be able to find out in early July at our 18-20 week ultrasound.

6. Have you thought of any names yet?
We have a few names we like, but probably won't be sharing until the baby is born.

7. Any highlights so far?
Definitely the few times we have gotten a sneak peak at our adorable little baby. It was amazing to see the heartbeat, and watch it bounce around moving its little arms and legs. Finally, it wasn't just two lines on a stick or an idea in our heads, but was clearly a real baby. It is truly miraculous to think of a tiny baby existing where only cells did just weeks earlier.

I am already overjoyed with love and wonder for this beautiful new person we can't wait to meet. Actually, I can wait a while longer - our baby has a lot of growing left and our to-do list is growing everyday. Not to mention my waistline...hmmm....

Sarah - all smiles after our six-week confirmation ultrasound. We saw a perfect little "sparkle" of a heartbeat.

10 weeks, 5 days

Our little lovebug! You can see the head (on the right), waving its hand, and the rest of the body on the left. Our baby seems to be saying "Hello world! Here I am!" :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The *real* California giants

Earlier this month, dad flew down for some bay area adventures. We had a fun time eating Thai food in the city, hanging out in North Beach, and driving up to Marin to see the Muir Woods National Monument. Muir Woods has been on my bay area bucket list and it did not disappoint. It is quite popular, and yes, crowded even on a weekday, but on the trails you can hike for miles in near solitude. The park was named in honor of John Muir, naturalist and founder of the Sierra Club.

Sequoia sempervirens.

The average age of redwoods in this park are between 500 - 800 years old, and the oldest is 1,200 years old.

Muir Beach overlook

Monday, May 9, 2011

For the love of strawberries

Strawberry season is in full swing and the ones I've bought this year are fantastic. I put them in oatmeal, cereal, fruit salsa, have them with whipped cream, or just by themselves. I was on such a strawberry kick last week that I bought a half flat and baked a strawberry rhubarb pie - one of my favorite things. We love this pie so much we had it served it at our wedding. I've tried making fresh strawberry pies but prefer the tartness of the rhubarb in a traditional baked double-crust pie. I use the standard recipe from my Joy of Cooking cookbook and love it.

For all those of you out in there in the blogosphere who bake pies, I'm curious to hear what type of pastry crust you use. I recently tried a variety of pre-made pie crust in the box at the grocery store one night when I was feeling lazy and was pretty unimpressed with the results. I almost always make my own since it only takes a few minutes and I sort of enjoy doing it myself anyway. Anyway, I was taught to make pie crust the way my mom does - plain flour, shortening, and minimal ice water. I've also experimented with all-butter crusts and have known folks who use lard with good results. Which kind do you make and why?

Here are some photos of Adam & I cutting into our ceremonial pie at our wedding reception. It was not without some laughs.

Strawberry rhubarb and blueberry pie - our favorites

Someone (*ahem*) was trying hard to stick to our wedding budget and bought a pretty inexpensive cake cutter. Turns out, it didn't work so well with the pie and actually snapped in half. Right in front of everyone! What else could we do but laugh and dig in anyway...

We were finally successful, and pie was had by everyone.

Also...if any of you have a fantastic strawberry recipe, please share!