Thursday, September 27, 2012

It Takes a Village

"It takes a village."

You hear this phrase all the time when people refer to raising a child. I believe it takes a village to raise a pregnancy too. These last few months would have been impossible without the love and support of others. Throughout this process, kind souls have kept us going when times were less than easy. Family and friends have of course played a vital role in keeping us sane, but I have found outside communities to be just as precious. Just this morning the Barista at Starbucks, who serves me *many times a week, exclaimed, "Oh my gosh, I didn't realize you were pregnant! When are you due?" I bet she was wondering why I was eating so many pastries. Now, I was not having a bad day, but it also wasn't an awesome day...hence my needing a pick-me-up. However, just seeing her eyes light up when she glanced at my belly made me feel special, and in turn made my morning special. It is interactions like these that make all the twinges and pains worth the [literal] headaches they truly are.

Communities of Pregos

Jeff and I don't have too many friends who are pregnant or have been pregnant, although the list is slowly growing longer (c'mon guys, you know who you are, and you know you want a baby). In the early stages of pregnancy, so many weird things were happening to my body, I felt I had to talk to someone going through the same experience. I turned off my shy switch, and signed up for prenatal yoga classes at a couple studios.

On Sunday nights, I take a prenatal yoga class at Lila Yoga Studio. Although the instructor is not pregnant (he's a dude), he has some crazy knowledge about the human body, as well as a profound respect for life and creation. Going to his studio is quite the experience. Upon entering, you are welcomed by a dog wagging its tail, the smell of incense, candles everywhere, and the sound of passionate meditation music. Honestly, I have NO idea how this guy ended up in Spokane, because he totally belongs in a commune in South America. He goes by the name of Bear, and I'm pretty sure he is able to levitate. And he knows. It's hard to explain, but I feel like he can look at me (and perhaps maybe into my soul?) and see exactly what I need to make me feel better. I have never seen a stronger intuition! His instruction also comes with advice for living life, and you have to listen because he is telling you what to do with your body in the middle of his spiels. At first, I thought this was just a quirky part of his personality. However, his message is finally starting to sink in, and I find myself thinking about his words during the week. When I feel overwhelmed or hormonal, I think WWBD (What Would Bear Do), and am immediately better in mind and body; the tension is gone! I want to write him a thank you card after each class because it is a fantastic way to start the week. And the best part of his prenatal classes: spouses are welcome to join, so it is also the best way to start Jeff's week. Bear doesn't know it, but he is my guru.

Here they are! My yoga instructors/life coaches. Jeff says I should talk more about the dog because she's equally as important. So just know the dog is cool too.

I have mentioned many times that yoga has been essential during my pregnancy. When the hips and joints are aching, a prenatal yoga instructor knows poses and stretches that will make you feel like a whole new woman. In addition to this awesome benefit, each week at my other yoga studio we have "Circle Time." I know it sounds like a kindergarten bible school thing to have, but I enjoy it because each woman in the room says how far along she is, and any ailments she had during the week. Turns out that not only are my symptoms normal, but I also get helpful advice from the instructor on how to combat them.

My favorite part about any prenatal yoga class is the end, where all the women are instructed to lie in shavasana, a pose where you do nothing but close your eyes and relax. Since pregos aren't allowed to lie on their backs (as I learned the hard way), we are either propped against the wall sitting up, on our sides with a leg elevated on a chair, or surrounded by bolster pillows in a reclined position. I can assure you, after stretching and holding poses for an hour, a prego can't get much more comfortable than when she's in shavasana. Since none of us are really sleeping at night, after about 5 minutes you will likely hear the sound of snoring from across the room (or maybe from your own throat...happened). Each time I hear this rumble begin I think, "Don't worry honey, and certainly don't be embarrassed. I know exactly how you feel."

By the end of each class, I feel a strange bond with the other pregnant women; a bond that can only be found when women are going through important, life-changing experiences together.

Another place we found fantastic community was in our Lamaze class. Knowing full well that this was a free service offered by our doctor's office (which is notorious for charging low-income women as little as $10 for their entire prenatal care), I was expecting there to be a lot of interesting characters. And I have not been disappointed. When walking into the classroom, one is greeted by a much different atmosphere: Winnie the Pooh flannel pajama pants, three wolves t-shirts, classy tube tops that do not quite cover the swollen belly, pregnant teenagers accompanied by their moms, thick black eyeliner, the smell of unwashed bodies, the sound of women burping up their heartburn, a baby daddy applying what looks to be Neosporin to a canker sore in the back of his mouth, and the list of quirky sights, smells, and sounds grows every week. True to the stereotype, I saw half the class at Walmart when Jeff and I were shopping for office furniture the other week. And I must say, even though this is not the crowd we usually swing with, they have a special place our hearts. These eclectic individuals are just as desperate for pregnant interaction as I am, and there is a certain camaraderie amongst the husbands. Maybe these couples can't afford to pay for a cat nap in a fancy yoga class, but they are the kindest spirits you will find in Spokane, and together we are all learning how to deal with our fast approaching births.

Actual interaction with someone from the Lamaze class when we ran into each other at Walmart:
Me, "How are you doing?"
Girl, "Great! We're looking for a Diaper Genie, but can't find one."
Me, "I saw some at Babies R Us the other day."
Girl, "What's that?"

I guess Walmart is the only place to shop...

Communities of Professionals

Our office may have an imbalance of female hormones to testosterone, but it is wonderful knowing I have a supportive group of women (+man) that has my back 5 days a week. I may be 15 minutes late to work because I cannot physically get out of bed in the morning, but no one utters a word. I may say something bitchy and hormonal in a staff meeting, but I get nothing but a wink and a smile from my boss. In fact, sometimes there will be little treats waiting for me on my desk when I arrive in the morning, or someone will sneak into my office with a special little something "for the baby." I feel so blessed to have a caring group of ladies (and one gent) who are there to watch over me. And they got us a BOB!!!

Because I wanted to put my music major to some use, I have been leading a church choir for the last few years. Although it has been difficult getting out of bed and driving across town on my days off these last few months, everyone in my choir is so excited for us that it makes the time commitment worth every minute. Having them as a support is fantastic, and I've taken advantage of our piano player's knowledge of all things baby. He is the highest rated OB in Spokane, and his business partner is my doctor. I would have the piano player himself as my doctor, but I thought that change in our professional relationship would be a little weird:

"Hey, could we maybe slow it down a bit more at the rest?"
"Sure! How is your cervical mucus looking these days?"

Okay so that conversation wouldn't happen, but I would still like to avoid talking about music ideas for Lent during a pap smear. That being said, he has given me some helpful advice, and was the one who encouraged us to take the Lamaze class, which Jeff and I are so glad we are doing. I do feel bad for asking him work related questions on his time off, but feel cared for when he and I joke about my growing belly and awkward gait:

Doc: With an approving glance at my stomach. "Getting a little harder to breathe?"
Me: "That obvious eh?"

This pretty much sums up how I feel.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Celebrating Baby at 31 Weeks

I have some really great coworkers. This week they threw me an awesome shower to celebrate Baby Wirth. I was overwhelmed by all the love and support, and feel so blessed to have such wonderful, caring people in my life. Here are a few highlights from the party.

Look at the awesome cake they made.

Games! And they were actually fun.

One more picture before we cut the cake.


In case you didn't get the point already, our nursery theme is whales.

Look what they got us!

Time to sign up for my first post-baby half marathon!
How do I feel?
Despite all the negative third trimester pregnancy symptoms I previously mentioned, I feel exceptionally well. The thing is, feeling like crap has become the norm. Even though I am most likely attempting to keep my food down, or endeavoring to make my legs move without peeing my pants, I am still able to go about my daily business. Coping with everything gets easier over time, and I continue to grow more comfortable (and less clumsy) in my new body. Even though I am unable to do any aerobic activities (like jazzercise), I am still able to waddle around the neighborhood with Willow and Jeff, and for that I am grateful.

Weight gain?
I'm guessing around 20 lbs.

Food cravings?
I could eat pumpkin bread every day of the week, but I feel that way when I'm not pregnant. I did smell bacon when I was walking into work this morning and really wanted some, but who isn't distracted by the smell of cooking bacon? In conclusion, no pregnancy cravings this week.

Food aversions?
I am actually glad I've had such bad reactions to disgusting, greasy foods in the last few weeks. I have been eating much better since then.  

Been doing okay in this department. Jeff gave me permission to use a reading light when I wake up in the middle of the night. Now the hardest part of my nighttime experience is clumsily rolling out of bed when it's time to wake up - it's definitely a process that would make a funny youtube video.

LOTS of kicking in my right ribcage.

Stretch marks?
Not yet.


Man package.

What have I learned?
I was driving down the road the other day and started thinking about Vanilla Bean Frappuccinos. I said (out loud) to myself, "I should stop and get one." Then, I got to thinking about how my pregnancy is swiftly coming to a close. Soon I will not have an excuse to justify all my crazy junk food runs. In lieu of stopping at Starbucks or making myself hot chocolate, I decided to have a cup of herbal tea instead. I have to start building back good habits sometime.

31 weeks

Monday, September 17, 2012

Vicious Cycles


This week Jeff had many adventures. First he got electrocuted, which almost set the house on fire. But then he also got the go-fer-it to move into his new office. This means he can start seeing clients! Since our budget is currently being governed by medical bills and baby prep, the idea of purchasing all new furniture for his office was extremely overwhelming. As luck would have it, my mom just so happened to be getting rid of her couch at this very moment in time! It is comfortable, durable, and high in quality. Also, my dad's recent retirement meant we could borrow a couple of his old waiting room chairs.

A couple problems: the couch looks like it belongs in an old lady's home (no offense mom, it looks great in your living room), and the chairs are clearly from the 1970s with that oh-so-comfortable burlap fabric. Now since I had never seen the office before, I had no idea what the ambiance was going to be like. I assumed white walls, gray carpeting, fluorescent lights, all the basics you would expect to find for an office located in a building erected in the early 1990s. This furniture will be fine until we can make a trip to Ikea...right?

With the help of  our friends, we spent MUCH effort getting the furniture from Point A to Point B. When I walked through the front door of the office, I was taken aback. The first thing you see is the company logo, which is a classy, modern design that immediately makes one feel like they are in a safe space. The lobby furniture was black leather, and the walls were painted one of my favorite colors, a neutral gray-blue. "Wow!" was all I could say.

Oh dear...well, some of the floral print in the couch is the same color as the walls. We can still make this work. We will obviously need to reupholster the chairs, which will be a fun project anyway. Then, we made our way back to Jeff's counseling space. Just when I thought our furniture couldn't get any more embarrassing, I saw the very modern accent wall in the hip color of burnt orange.

"We need new furniture!" Anyone walking through the doors of Jeff's office would be so put out by the pukey color combinations, they would never come back! Is there anyone blind enough to feel comfortable bearing her/his soul in this gross office? This should give you an idea of what we're looking at right now:

Looks good right? "Tell me how that makes you feel."
Yeah so it turns out country chic doesn't go with modern sleek.

Health -> Hunger -> Heartburn

I had every intention in the world to maintain a healthy diet during pregnancy. Before I got knocked up, I was eating mostly vegetarian and vegan meals, and did a pretty good job limiting my sugar and junk food intake. Nowadays, my life has been dominated by heartburn. When I get my 10am hunger pains in the midst of a heartburn attack, I just can't seem to stomach eating nuts, carrots, and apples. The only thing that sounds good is a pastry. 

For the most part, my heartburn is manageable during the day. I can get by eating a sandwich and healthy snacks (with an occasional trip to Starbucks for pumpkin bread). However, by 4pm I start feeling the day's food intake start to rise in my chest. By dinnertime I'm starving, but the idea of eating anything quickly turns my hunger into a grimace. How am I supposed to choke down pasta when I know I will be fighting to keep it down for the next 10 hours? So my solution: eat ice cream and drink hot chocolate.

Here's a diagram of the internal organs for those of you who are visually inclined. Jeff did not fully understand the pregnancy heartburn plague until he saw this comparison of the digestive tract in our Lamaze class.

Why do these selfish babies steal all our nutrients, then keep us from eating by shoving their asses in our digestive tracts? AND while doing the one physical activity I can do well pregnant (yoga), I am trying not to lose it all over the mat. It's really not fair.

Sleep: Will It Ever Happen Again?

I have been waking up at 1am with severe heartburn for the last few weeks. And I am able to fall back to sleep at 5am when I'm finally exhausted enough to sleep through it. My alarm goes off shortly in the future. I would gladly use this time to get up and do something productive, but I feel so terrible the only thing I can do is lie in bed in uncomfortable positions that cause my hips to cramp. On the rare occasion, I roll out of bed, waddle around the house, then end up lying back down.

Since I have been struggling with eating in the evenings, I decided to try a new angle last night. Rather than starving myself, hoping I would sleep through the night without heartburn, I experimented by eating a huge meal from the Mexican restaurant by our house. Turns out this was a mistake. Not only did my heartburn get even worse, but I woke up with swollen hands and feet from the...whatever it is...they put in the food, and I was somehow ridiculously hungry at 2am. So I guess fried and greasy foods are definitely out (I had a similar experience after consuming those disgusting, greasy curly fries at the fair last weekend...and they are not as good as the long line would have you believe).

This week it is my intent to shove my face during the day, then eat a light dinner (and maybe have a cup of cocoa) in the evening. We'll see how this goes.

Things that do sort of help the HB situation: Papaya Enzymes. GNC was having a 2-for-1 deal on them. At first I thought two bottles was a little overkill, but now I'm glad I have the extra supply. I've been popping those suckers like candy (as the saying goes...but in my case "ice cream" is more fitting).

Productivity  =  Pain

These days I get little bursts of energy at the most unusual times. What started out as a relaxing Saturday turned into the following scenario.

I should bake a pie - while the pie is baking I should hand wash the throw pillows - might as well wash the throw blankets too - while taking a load of laundry downstairs I see those books should be reorganized: nonfiction on this shelf, fiction on this one, sci-fi on these three shelves (we have a lot of books in this genre) - on to organizing my craft supplies - I should reorganize some kitchen cabinets now - time to eat pie! - brief pause on the couch - shoot I need to dust and vacuum again - the dust on the front door has been bugging me so I'll wash the front door - the baseboards look pretty dirty too - time to windex everything! - make appointments for the week (poor Willow now has a grooming appointment) - look at all those dishes I need to do now - stare at the sunflowers in the garden - mop the floors - sanitize the kitchen - bring a few more things downstairs for storage - start another load of laundry - finish that craft project I started the other day - Jeff's home!

Jeff: "What did you do today?"
Me: "Ummm..."

It sounds productive, but I was so distracted by all the activity I did not realize how much I accomplished until it was over. I would literally walk into the laundry room with a basket of dirty towels, then ask myself "What was I doing again?" Eight hours later I was on the couch watching The Vampire Diaries and watching Jeff eat a colossal slice of pie. I guess I broke my Only Three Chores a Day Rule.

The next day I was in bad shape. I had troubles moving around, standing, and bending over. Even putting on my shoes was excruciating. And it wasn't just my back that was aching, it was my everything. It's funny to think of my abilities from the same time last year. I could accomplish all the above tasks, then go for a 10 mile run without any problems. However, would I have even cared about doing half these chores last year? Probably not. Oh the incredible nesting instincts! These days I am definitely limited in my physical abilities, BUT the house sure looked fantastic, and the pie tasted amazing.

Pie made with fresh peaches from Greenbluff. Yes I cut all those leaves by hand.

Friday, September 14, 2012

30 Weeks - Nursery Painting Party 2012!

I really do have the best friends! Two of my loveliest friends volunteered to spend their Saturday helping me paint the nursery. We enjoyed popsicles, Malibu rum beverages (mine was virgin), and fun conversations. AND the nursery got painted! Since the bedroom was previously used as our storage/office space, we spent the entire week prior getting the room ready, including Jeff having to move a huge bookshelf and dozens of books to the basement by himself...I'm useless when it comes to manual labor, but at least I'm still good at cleaning things.

The downside of having 4 huge projects going at once? The whole house basically looks like this right now.
We used Valspar paint in Cliveden Gray Morning. It is such a soothing color, which is important in a room that will soon house a crying infant. When we were done, I kept peeking my head through the door, loving how peaceful the walls looked with the new shade. I cannot wait to rock the baby to sleep as I stare at these walls. 


We had too much fun

After the girls left, I walked around the room multiple times with a paintbrush in hand, looking for any spots we might have missed. I could just see myself three months down the road rocking in the chair and staring at a spot we missed, but not having the energy to fix it. So I decided it was best to just be a psycho painting lady and quadruple check my work before I officially sealed the paint can.

And guess what...Jeff just finished painting the entire basement. I helped a little, but he did a majority of the work on his weekends. Since we need to move much of what was in the spare bedroom to the basement, we thought it would be a good idea to make the downstairs space more welcoming. Before, the area was raw concrete. Since finishing the basement is currently not possible with our time limitations or our finances, we just threw on a layer of paint to make it look less like a dungeon.

How do I feel?
Pregnancy is a funny thing. Once you start feeling great, a whole new [weird] symptom pops up. I woke up screaming Friday night because I was experiencing my first pregnancy leg cramp. OhMyGawd it was excruciating. My calf is still sore days later. The next morning, I looked down to see my entire left thigh had turned into a...I don't know how to describe it. It looked like varicose veins, but it was a red and blue spiderweb that was about a foot long and four inches wide. It looked like all the blood vessels in the leg had popped. It went away after a few hours, and luckily I figured out the cause of both these episodes. Pregnant women are encouraged not to lay on their backs because the weight of the baby can cut off circulation from the heart to the lower extremities. When I woke up with the cramp, I had rolled onto my back in my sleep. Before my weird leg thing on Saturday, I was laying on my back for about 10 minutes so I could feel the baby moving. I always thought people were being dramatic when they said you should not lay on your back while pregnant. Live and learn. On the bright side, I think my hips are done expanding for the time being, meaning my waddle has lessened dramatically.

Weight gain?
19.8 lbs. The nurse was impressed with how much bigger I looked without having gained much weight from my previous appointment. I guess the 2 donuts I ate earlier that day - as well as the three huge cookies from the day before, and the 5-large-meals-a-day plan I've been on for the last month - did not do as much damage as I thought.

Food cravings?
I really need to start eating better. I seriously cannot stop stuffing my face with cookies and pastries. I'm still eating my grains, fruits, and vegetables, it's just that I have to chase anything healthy with a bowl of ice cream. Also, I can't stop thinking about Belgian waffles. Know of a good place? Don't say Ihop.

Food aversions?

I think I've slept through the night once in the last few weeks. I am usually up in the middle of the night for at least 2 hours. I just lay there and think about things I can do the next day. Turns out nesting instincts are annoying.

He's still moving. It's pretty fun to feel, which is why I was laying on my back when the veins in my leg almost exploded.

I decided to add the next two sections now that my belly is getting bigger.

Stretch marks?
Not yet, but I definitely had a dream about them last night.


So remember how I had that rash on my stomach a couple weeks ago? Well, I recently learned this symptom is most common in women having boys. Science is cool.

What have I learned?
During this crazy time of transition, it is important to maintain some normalcy in life. This means you shouldn't hole yourself up when you have a baby bump. Even though I cannot drink when I go out with friends, I sincerely love being a designated driver. Drinking a Shirley Temple is just as much fun as it was when I was 10! We have been busy getting the house ready for the baby, but we have also been busy making connections while we are able. It gives me so much joy to be around friends and family, so our calendars have been booked with many-a social affair. I am glad I made this decision. I have a few friends who dropped off the face of the earth once they found out they were pregnant. I can completely understand why. In fact, a few weeks ago, I thought about quitting my book club. But why would I do this when it gives me a great excuse to hang out with good friends? Maybe I won't have time to finish the book, but at least I have a social outing planned in advance.

30 week long work day, pre yoga class. I don't usually look this greasy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Making a Yard

Although Jeff and I have lived in our house for nearly three years, updating the backyard has been an arduous process. It started out looking something like this, except completely covered in knee-high weeds:

So we had a sod rolling party! [Tip: do NOT get the cheap sod from Home Depot, Ace Hardware, etc. Find a reputable company in your area and invest in the high quality stuff. Our front yard (not the one shown here) was done with cheap sod, and it is so thin that weeds easily take over. You WILL end up spending much more in the end on turf builder and weed spray.]

Which also coincided with Willow's 1st birthday.

Funny story. When I asked the grocery store to write "Happy 1st Birthday Willow" on the cake, they assumed it was for a baby. So they also gave me one of those one-year-old cakes for free. You know the ones made specifically for the baby to destroy? Yeah so the lady at the bakery probably thought I was a trash ball because my cart was filled to the brim with beer, which was shortly topped with cake for a "little girl" named Willow. Class.

Even though we have worked hard over the years to get the rest of the yard put together, we just couldn't seem to tackle the weeds in the perimeter of the yard without additional help, especially since my pregnancy significantly held back my ability to do yard work this year. It seemed like every time we made progress, the weeds would be back by the time we were finished. Jeff's parents saw our need, and graciously made the trip up to Spokane to give us some helping hands. Jeff Sr is an animal! Anyone who knows him is aware of this fact, but I was still blown away. A task that would take me hours of backbreaking work was finished in a matter of minutes. AND this was accomplished weeks ago when it was 100+ degrees outside. Jeff's mom, a master gardener, was able to plant perennials that would complete our yard. Here is what they were able to accomplish in two days (I say "they" because I was mostly just getting in the way):

After - those plant cages would soon house my thriving pumpkins and cucumbers
The brick border around the grass was also a great investment. Depending on how big your yard is, it could be upwards of $150 to cover the whole border, but it looks much better than plastic.

Jeff's mom planted the hydrangeas, azaleas, boxwood, and a few more shrubs I can't remember the names of. We planted the hostas last year, but you could barely see them underneath all the weeds (see before picture). The lavender was planted from seed 2 summers ago, and is now one of my favorite things about our house. Now the trashiness of our yard no longer matches the trashiness of our neighbor's fence!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fall Is Upon Us

The evidence is clear. Fall is swiftly approaching. For months now, Jeff and I have been looking towards Fall as a significant turning point in our lives. After the weather has cooled and the leaves have fallen, a little baby will be joining us. How marvelous and exciting!

Cool Breezes: The first evidence of Fall comes when you walk out the door in the morning, then immediately need to walk back in for a sweater. Although the Spokane days in Fall can get up to the 90s, the mornings can be as cool as the 40s. One can always tell the Spokane Fall is here when layering clothes becomes a mantra before walking out the door in the early morning.

School Starts: They're BAAAaaaccck! Those silly, loveable, and sometimes idiotic students are back on campus for Fall semester. The hallways are crowded again, and the public restrooms are in shambles, but it's great to see the smiling faces and inspiring fashion statements those crazy kids bring every year.

The Smell of Cider: This might sound ridiculous, but for the last two weeks I have been randomly picking up the scent of apple cider. Whether I am walking into work or slumping on the couch at home, the scent of mulling apples will often surprise me at the most unusual times. Perhaps this is just wishful thinking, or perhaps my super sonic pregnancy nose can smell the cider being made on Greenbluff. (Yesterday I was certain someone in the building was eating apples with peanut butter...turns out I was right. Never underestimate the power of the pregnancy nose!) Either way, I am eager to visit the mountains to pick apples and pumpkins - and maybe stand in line for an hour to get pumpkin donuts - and to enjoy a warm cup of apple cider.

The Pumpkin Spice Latte: Even though it is technically still summer, Starbucks likes to cash in on the PSL market as soon as school begins. And this girl is one willing participant. It's funny because I don't necessarily like the taste of the PSL, but the idea of it is always oh-so enticing. So why do we love it so much? It's not even that good. I think it's because Fall holds a special place in the hearts of many. It is a time when we can imagine ourselves returning to school at Hogwarts, drinking Butterbeer as we dress in costumes for Halloween, and reuniting with family for a bountiful Thanksgiving feast. It is a symbol of all things that are near and dear to our hearts. For me, this year the Pumpkin Spice Latte represents the official changing of seasons for our family, a mark of the time when things will never be the same again. A time when the nearest and dearest gift will be introduced into our hearts.

A Trick of the Light: It's a subtle change, but the light in Fall is different. Almost like you are looking at the world through a lightly shaded lens. The sun is not as harsh, and the trees are starting to recognize this. If you look close enough, you can see greens fading to yellows, browns, and reds.

Frost on the Windshield: This morning I had frost on my windshield for the first time since April. Though it is a charming side effect of Fall, it also means I will need to start getting up earlier for the eventual window scraping, and (hopefully not too soon) the brushing and shoveling of snow. For now, I am happy to see it melt away as I make my way to work. But SOON will this be a part of my life as I bundle up my little Bundle of Joy and get us ready for the day ahead.

Shenanigans: Like clockwork, every Fall the neighborhood hooligans are out vandalizing properties of innocent, naive homeowners. Oh the joys of living in a neighborhood! Last year our tire got slashed, the year before our cars got egged. Last night someone threw packaging peanuts all over the neighborhood. It was kind of a funny prank, and at least I don't need to buy 4 new tires to provide someone with a night of fun. The only thing I need to fix this mess is time. But time is not on my side. There is so much to do in a day already, and my mind is swimming with all the things that need to be done to prepare for Bebe - company after work on Thursday, preparing the nursery to paint after work on Friday, paint the nursery on Saturday, repainting and organizing the basement, and the list goes on. Where on earth am I going to find the time to pick up a million packaging peanuts from the yard?!

Harvest: Each spring I plant vegetables and sunflowers in my garden, mostly as a form of therapy. I love watching them grow and produce food for our family and friends, and the sounds of dozens of ravens thieving the sunflower seeds brings me an eerie sense of joy. Like summers in the past, the hot Spokane air stunted the growth of many of our plants. However, the cooler temperatures of late August and early September always seem to bring bounty to our garden. Suddenly we have the most food we've had since last harvest. So for the next few weeks I will be researching recipes for all those beets, kale, tomatoes, beans, carrots, berries, cucumbers, and zucchini I can't seem to get rid of.

The Bump: It is finally obvious that I'm pregnant. The belly has officially popped. Coworkers, students, and strangers on the street are starting to look at my stomach, smile, then look at my face. Sometimes I'll even get a friendly little hug. Our baby is almost ready for harvest too!

Those sounds and smells are here. The end of summer is near. Soon I will be decorating our table with pumpkins, and leaves will be decorating the yard. Before we know it, we will be decorating a tree with ornaments that say "Baby's First Christmas." Fall is upon us indeed.

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