June 30, 2010

Smarty Pants

I just have to brag on my husband for a minute. He just finished his first year in the graduate program at the NewSchool of Architecture and, believe me when I tell you, he worked his butt off. Last quarter he put together a portfolio of his work in order to apply for the Presidential Scholarship. This award presents students with scholarships in varying amounts up to $10,000 based on their leadership and portfolios. 

Well, we've been waiting and waiting to hear back from the scholarship committee and finally Paul got an email from them today. Not only did he get the scholarship, he was awarded the highest amount!! Even though I knew he totally deserved it, we were both in shock! He called me at work to tell me and Mrs. Prego-Emotional here started crying at my desk. I am SOOO proud of him! And with the baby coming this year, this scholarship couldn't have come at a better time. What a blessing! 

Here is just a little bit of his work from the past year...

June 29, 2010

Don't Forget to Water the Baby!

Our neighbor is this little 60-ish Chinese man named Fong (at least we think that's what he said when he introduced himself). He barely speaks English and his wife doesn't speak English at all. He doesn't work; I know this because after I told him where I worked and asked what he did, he goes, "Ha ha ha, no one hire me!" He lives in a fairly large house though so we think he must have been pretty wealthy in his country before he immigrated to the US and now he's just retired. 

Anyway, this guy has like the magic touch when it comes to growing things. His backyard garden is incredible: tomatoes, peppers, all kinds of flowers, everything you can imagine. Here's a picture but it really doesn't do it justice because this is only a fraction of it and there's a brick wall between our houses so I had to sneak the camera over the wall to get the picture (yes, I'm a nosy neighbor): 

All along the wall he has planters with I don't even know what growing in them too. He's out there at least a few hours a day planting, building trellises, and watering. But the crown jewel of his garden is something he planted on the other side of both our fences (on city property, haha). It's a winter squash plant, we finally figured out, and he planted it less than two months ago. In that time it has grown at least 20 feet in both directions and we have been amazed watching it. It seems like every morning we wake up and look out there and it has grown another foot. This picture doesn't really do it justice either because there's no way to show the length of the thing or get the whole thing in the picture for that matter:

Just trust me when I say this thing is a freak of nature. It goes even farther in the other direction. I am simply amazed at people who can grow things. This is what we "grow":

Succulents! Succulents are my friends because they are happy when I remember to water them but won't die on me when I don't. My thumb could not be any blacker. I either water way too often or don't water at all, and I never plant things where they should be. I'm just starting to learn that location matters when it comes to growing things; but that doesn't mean I pay attention to that when I plant them. I put plants where I need foliage, not where they will get the proper amount of sunlight/shade, etc.

This is one thing I really wish I was better at. I am in awe of people who can grow gardens or flowers. This is what it looks like when I attempt anything other than succulents:

Yes, I still have this hanging in our yard, even though it looks like this, because I'm still hoping for it to come back to life each time I remember to water it. Hey, there's one little flower still on it :)

I just hope my utter inability to keep a plant alive isn't an indication of my future parenting skills. At least a baby can cry to let me know when it needs something, right? Maybe I should take a gardening class in preparation for child-rearing just in case.

June 26, 2010

Pregnant Girl Can't Hang

Well, we had a small scare today... Paul was going with some of our friends to a bar/restaurant down the street to watch the US vs. Ghana soccer game. Initially I wasn't going to go because I wanted to lay out this afternoon, but when we woke up this morning it was overcast so I decided to tag along. We were in a hurry to get over there because we knew it would be crowded and we wanted to get a spot so I didn't end up eating anything before we left the house. We got over there at about 10:30 and by 11:30 I was starving. Luckily I had some soy nuts in my purse so I snacked on those a little bit. 

An hour later was halftime and a friend of ours left to pick up some food for the group. Not soon enough, apparently. The bar was super crowded, all those people were sucking up all the oxygen, and there was nowhere to sit down. I started getting really hot and lightheaded so I decided to go to the restroom if only to sit down for a minute. Well of course there was a line (even though there were twice as many women's restrooms as men's haha) so I stood there leaning up against a walk-in cooler trying to get my body temperature down while I waited. I've gotten lightheaded before but it always passed really quickly; this would not pass and kept getting worse. 

I looked across the room, luckily caught Paul's attention, and motioned for him to come over there. When he got to me, I said "I feel like I'm going to faint." ... And then I fainted, right there in line, in front of half the bar. The next thing I remember Paul is holding me in his arms, like my knight in shining armor, and I said, "Put me down, I lost my shoe." No idea why I was concerned about that, but I seriously had no idea what happened so I guess I was just confused. 

Of course, everyone thought I was just really drunk so Paul had to explain I was pregnant over and over as we made our way out to the patio. Finally I got to sit down, get some air and some food, and I felt perfectly fine. It was really scary though for both of us. And poor Paul, the US scored our only goal while he was taking care of me, haha oops!

I definitely learned my lesson. No more crowded, enclosed areas when I haven't eaten. Oh, and don't ever not have eaten, and soy nuts don't count. I guess I just can't hang like I used to. 

June 23, 2010

El Perro Es Terrible!

Posey made a little Mexican boy cry at the park today.

There are two kinds of people Posey inevitably barks at: homeless people (because they shuffle around creepily) and people approaching from a distance. My theory to explain the last one is that the poor dog is nearsighted and everyone far away looks like a blurry monster.

Anyway, we were walking at the park and both dogs were off leash, because, lets face it, I can't walk those big galoots on leash by myself, and this little Mexican boy about 4 years old was riding his little razor scooter just as happily as can be at the bottom of the park. Well, as we approached him, he caught Posey's attention and she starts bounding toward him giving him a couple of her best deep barks. Not menacingly, I thought, but more of an announcement that "There's some little blurry blob scooting around down there!"

Well, apparently he did take it as menacing, and seeing as how she's as tall as he was, I guess I can understand that. He got this terrified look on his face, turned that scooter around, and scooted away as fast as he could. A minute later I hear him crying hysterically to his mother; you know, that awful scream-cry kids do. So they go to leave and have to walk past us on the way out, him hiding behind his mother and still hysterically crying at just the thought of Posey who was curiously, I'm sure he thought ferociously, watching him the whole way.

I tried to call out to them that she's friendly, but they didn't speak English and the only Spanish adjectives I could remember at the time were "grande" and "terrible," both of which he would have agreed with; but I'm pretty sure that yelling "El perro es terrible" wouldn't have helped my cause. "Amistosa" apparently is the word I was looking for there, but unfortunately my four semesters of Spanish in college were to no avail.

So anyway, this incident started me worrying all over again about the dogs and the baby. They have never been around kids, ever, and granted he won't be approaching them from a distance on a razor scooter but he will be living with them on a daily basis. The dogs have ruled the roost for so long, I'm not sure how they'll handle being bumped down a few notches on the totem pole. My friend Tiffany, who has two dogs and a baby, assures me that they'll do fine, and I probably am overreacting a little but I'm still worried that this kid's feet won't be able to touch the ground until he starts kindergarten. I'm just hoping they'll turn over a new leaf and learn to be gentle once they meet the little guy; maybe even be protective of him; maybe he can even ride them like horses, since they are so "grande" after all. :)

June 21, 2010

The Pants Problem

I always worried about all the weight I would gain when I got pregnant. I've never been one to workout, regularly or even sporadically, and I didn't think I would ever be able to motivate myself to do so. So when my doctor told me I should start getting at least 30 minutes of exercise every day I thought that sounded like quite a tall order; not so much the 30 minutes part but the every day part. I really have trouble doing something, anything, consistently day after day. I'm usually able to get in about 3 or 4 days in a row, and then I get so sick of it I stop for a week or two. It's really a problem. 

But luckily, or unluckily, for me "The Pants Problem" has solved that problem. I have a coworker who is super sweet and nurturing; she always asks how I'm feeling and if she can do anything for me. I really genuinely like this girl. However, a few weeks ago I got to work and she couldn't wait to show me what she had picked up for me... a pair of maternity jeans. And not just any old maternity jeans, these maternity jeans...

They are embellished like that all the way down both sides. She said she had gotten them for me from her Mother's Club at church and added that she never wore anything that embellished when she was pregnant. And instead of saying the first thing that came into my mind, which was "Then why would you think I would want to wear something 'that embellished'?" I had to pretend that I loved them so as not to hurt her feelings. She obviously doesn't follow my same rules of gift-giving, one of which mandates: "Don't give someone something you wouldn't wear/use yourself."

Now don't get me wrong, I honestly appreciated the gesture. I even tried to convince myself on the way home that maybe they weren't that awful, and maybe I could wear them to work a few times so she didn't feel bad. But then I showed them to Paul and the look of horror on his face, plus his flat-out statement that "You're not leaving the house in those," convinced me otherwise. 

My only salvation in this situation is that they really are too big... and I plan on keeping them that way. The only way I can get out of wearing them and still not hurt her feelings is if they don't fit. She can't argue with that, right? Therefore, I have most definitely, without fail, been getting my 30 minutes of exercise every day. I'm like a woman possessed when it comes to working out. Walking, lifting weights, yoga... they're all on the agenda. I cannot, will not grow into these pants! Thank you, well-meaning coworker, you have solved my laziness problem in one fell swoop. :)

June 20, 2010

While the Cat's Away the Mice Will... Start a Blog

So, while Paul is out of town for a couple of days at a Rammed Earth workshop in Arizona I decided to start a blog... partially out of boredom in his absence but mostly as a way to keep our family and friends back home updated on our life out here in Southern California. I've started blogs in the past and never stuck with them, but now that we have something exciting to talk about, i.e. baby on the way, I promise to try and update the site at least once a week.

This is a 3D ultrasound picture of Baby Taylor at 15 weeks (about 2 1/2 weeks ago). It was so amazing to see him in 3D and of course to find out that he's a "he." We were high-fiving and crying with joy at the news because we both had secretly been hoping for a boy :) I loved being able to see his full face and his little grin... I think he looks like Paul already.

This week has been the first time I haven't been able to button my pants, which under normal circumstances would cause me to panic, but in this case is very exciting! Over the next couple of weeks the baby is supposed to double in size so I expect to be outgrowing more clothes very soon. Also this week, today actually, is the first time I've been able to feel him moving. I felt a few pokes this morning while laying in bed, but then this afternoon it felt like he was doing flips in there. For a couple of hours I kept feeling these crazy flutters and pokes like he was literally bouncing off the walls. We already knew he was an active baby -- on one of our first ultrasounds we caught him wildly flailing his arms around and kicking up a storm -- but it's so amazing to actually feel it. It makes everything just a little more real.

We go for our 20-week ultrasound on July 1st and we can't wait to see him again. We could stare at that ultrasound screen for hours!