Thursday, April 26, 2012

Week 26: English Cucumber

Man I swear the time is just flying by. I can't believe I'm already at 26 weeks! I'm still feeling great though and can't believe how easy I've had it. I have to say I expected much worse. I expected crazy mood swings filled with crying and irrationality and outbursts. Nope. Nothing. I swear my chemicals are pretty much the same as they are normally. I also haven't had any cravings of any kind, which I have to admit is a little disappointing. I thought I'd at least be able to get away with a midnight pie demand or two.

I am definitely slowing down as the days progress. I walk slower and notice my feet start to hurt from standing a lot earlier than they used to. At my last appointment my doctor mentioned how I'd "blossomed" since last time. Meaning I'd gained a bit of weight. But after man-handling my legs he chalked it up to fluid retention. I've definitely gotten puffier these last couple weeks. My wedding ring barely fits and I've had to skip a couple days because my finger was just too fat to get it on (and have any confidence I'd get it off again!). I'm also starting to get some serious cankles, especially on my left side. I tried to put on a pair of strappy sandles this last weekend and could barely get the thing done up because my foot was so chunky! And speaking of strapping on shoes... it's getting to be almost impossible for me to bend over that far. Tying my shoes, putting my pants on, & picking things up off the floor is starting to be quite the challenge. I either have to stand on one leg and balance or do a sumo squat to get down far enough. I look very graceful.

My sleeping situation continues to be going well, although the rolling over from side to side is becoming more of a challenge. Sometimes I feel like a turtle stuck on its back. Every night when I get in bed and shift around to get comfortable it sounds like I'm running a marathon or lifting a 200 lb. barbell over my head.

I failed to mention we have a name picked out! Sylvia Kay Hanson. I think it's got a nice ring to it!  I think our little Sylvie likes it too from all this kicking she's been doing. Seth finally got to feel a good kick or two. He's also taken to doing tummy blows on me as his way of saying "hi" to his baby girl. He's such a good dad already! I also finally picked out some colors for the nursery... here's a swatch of the fabric I got for the crib skirt. I'm probably going to add some yellow/green accents in the room too so it's not too pink. 

As the weeks fly by I find myself getting increasingly worried about our girl coming early. It seems like there's so much more to do and I hope I can get it all done by the time she gets here. Extreme preemie babies aren't uncommon in my family so I'm hoping she'll listen to me and stay in there until at least week 36 or so. We'll see how well she listens to her mother!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Retain Submitting the Very Good Function

I thought it'd be funny to use lines from spam comments as titles of posts. Thus the nonsensical gibberish you see above. Moving on...

I recently started reading Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers," a book about how/why people become successful. It's been hugely enlightening to me so far and I've really enjoyed it. There are several patterns researchers have stumbled upon as to why people are successful in different areas, and one of them involved analyzing the so-called "naturally talented." People like Mozart or Michael Jordan. Those we look at and are amazed at their skills. I always thought a lot of that was due to inborn talent. Apparently that's not really the case. Turns out practice really does make perfect. 10,000 hours of practice, that is.

That's right. 10,000 hours. Researchers analyzed many amazingly talented people and determined that it takes on average about 10,000 hours to become an expert at something. So of course I had to figure out how many hours I'd spent doing various things to see how much farther I had to go. I thought I'd spent quite a bit of time practicing the piano... on average about an hour a week for the last 25 years. That amounts to 1,300 hours. Huh. A little surprising. No wonder I haven't progressed very much. Moving onto something else, I figured out how many hours I had spent on cooking. This one is a little harder to determine, but I figure if I went with 5 hours a week for the last 5 years, that would be pretty close to a lifetime total. Oddly enough that also came to 1,300 hours. Geez. Ok so no career as a professional chef in the near future for me!

I wondered how long it would take to get to rack up all those hours if I were to really dedicate myself to something. Well, if I were to spend 8 hours a day, 7 days a week practicing, it would take 3 1/2 years to become an expert. Or if I wanted to slack off and just do 4 hours a day, it would take 7 years. After looking at those numbers, it's not too surprising that there aren't very many Michael Jordans out there.

I've decided that there isn't anything out there I care about enough to spend that much time on. It seems like it would be easy to get burned out on something after spending so much time on it. To me, having a wide variety of interests is more exciting than being really good at just one thing. Plus, I'm really, really good at being average. I've got over 270,000 hours of practice under my belt after all!

“Practice isn't the thing you do once you're good. It's the thing you do that makes you good.”  
-Malcolm Gladwell

Monday, April 16, 2012

Book Review: Confessions of a Prairie Bitch

Confessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being HatedConfessions of a Prairie Bitch: How I Survived Nellie Oleson and Learned to Love Being Hated by Alison Arngrim

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I didn't know anything about Alison Arngrim before reading this book... just what I saw from watching Little House. This was a great insight to her life and all the trials and triumphs she experienced. I really admire her attitude. She was dealt some pretty crappy stuff early on and didn't let it destroy her. I like that she doesn't have a chip on her shoulder from playing Nellie Oleson. In fact she embraces it and uses it to her advantage. This book made me want to watch Little House episodes again just to see her. Probably one of the better memoirs I've ever read.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Book Review: The Elegance of the Hedgehog

The Elegance of the HedgehogThe Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is about the intertwining lives of a young, super smart, rich girl and the older, intellectual, social recluse of a woman who is the concierge in her Parisian upscale apartment building.

I really liked the depth of characters in this book. The old woman, Renee was my favorite, maybe because I could kind of identify with her introverted ways. And the fact that she loved her cat, books, and good food. She also seemed a little more believable to me than the 12 year old Paloma. While I understand part of Paloma's character is being extremely smart, I just don't see a twelve year old having that deep of thoughts about life, politics, and society. Her character seemed much more believable when talked about from Renee's point of view.

I found myself tuning out during some of the more intense/long philosophical thoughts of both the main characters although I still found this to be a very enjoyable book. I'd say it borders more on the line of 3 1/2 stars, but I'll give it the extra bump, especially because the audio version was so good.

Full disclosure: I hated the ending.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Week 23: Eggplant

These last few weeks have been really low-key and easy for me, which I definitely appreciate. I can tell this little girl is getting bigger by the day. She's a regular mover and kicker and seems to be most active in the later morning hours, always kicking me when I'm sitting at my desk at work. She isn't quite big enough to feel her regularly on the outside though. I've only felt her kick a couple times and Seth felt her once.

My belly continues to grow and the stretch marks and itchiness have definitely come on full-force. They seem to be spreading out all over... my belly, inner thighs, hips, & bewbs. I was always scared of the stretch marks but now that they're here, they don't bother me like I thought they would. I see them as a sign that my daughter is getting bigger and they've become kind of a badge of honor. She's definitely worth a couple battle scars.

Along with my belly getting bigger, I've found that normal sleeping positions just don't work for me anymore. A few weeks ago when I was sick, I slept propped up on pillows to keep from coughing, and found it was actually more comfortable to sleep that way instead of flat. So, these days I sleep on two pillows and get much better quality sleep. I can get my normal amount of sleep without waking up with an aching back.

I've started trying to plan what I want to do with the nursery and finally got the room completely cleared of office junk. Now it contains one large dresser (complete with one adorable newborn outfit from one of Seth's co-workers) and one large upholstered glider chair & ottoman. I've taken to using it as my reading room as the large window lets in a ton of sunlight and the glider is super comfy. Gracie also took an immediate liking to the chair and spends just about every morning snoozing away in it. Good thing the cat hair vacuums off easily. Anyway, I'm hoping I can pin down the rest of the decor in the next couple weeks. I think I'm going to go with a light aqua/turquoise and add some coral, light green, and/or yellow. Something gender-neutralish, colorful, and not too cutesy. Because I can tell you one thing, there's no way during all those hours of sitting and rocking and feeding my baby, that I'm going to stare at some garish huge vinyl cut-out of Winnie the Pooh on the wall (I hate Winnie the Pooh, can you tell?). Gotta please mom first, then baby!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Book Review: Paper Towns

Paper TownsPaper Towns by John Green

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My friend, Rob gave me this book and told me to just read the first 100 pages because after that it went downhill fast. Well, I got done with 100 pages and really liked it, so I kept going. I thought it was good for about the first 1/2 to 2/3 of the book, but then it just dragged on. I got to the point where I didn't care about "Margo Roth Speigelman" and what happened to her or where she was, I just wanted to be done with the book. I guess I mainly didn't understand why Quentin would be so obsessed with this girl, and why, even if he did care about her, he'd give up so many important events in his life for her. They go on one adventure together and all of a sudden he's ready to turn his life upside-down? I guess I could have overlooked all of this had the ending been worth it, but I was pretty disappointed. Very anti-climatic. Anyway, I'd say the first half of this book is 4 stars, the last part, although it had some funny moments, was too drawn out so it gets about a 2.5 or 3. Overall this was a 3.5 star book.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

A Series of Scars: Incident #3

Alright kids. Pay attention. This one is for you:

I was sitting in my bedroom one afternoon playing with matches (right away you know this isn't going to end well).  I honestly have no idea how old I was, though definitely old enough to know better. I sat there next to my bed holding the box of matches, looking around the room for something I could set on fire. Something that wouldn't go all crazy on me or explode and that wasn't attached to the main frame of the house. But I came up with nothing. Until I looked down at my rose colored carpet. BINGO.

I immediately got out a pair of scissors and snipped off a fiber from my carpet. It couldn't have been more than a 1/2" long or so, but I held it between my fingers and struck the match. As soon as I lit the piece of carpet fiber, it started to melt. I looked frantically around for something to catch the drip of polyester that would fall at any moment. But I was too slow. Before I knew it, the liquid carpet dripped down onto my leg and bored a hole about 10 feet deep into my skin.

The deep, circular burn mark was just above my right knee and hurt so bad I could have screamed. But I didn't scream. I didn't make a peep. I immediately acknowledged the idiocy of my actions and swore to myself that I would not say a word to anyone. That's the worst part about doing stupid stuff as a kid. If you end up hurting yourself, who are you going to go cry to? Your parents?! 

So there you go. Kids, if you do not learn from my idiocy here, I cannot be responsible for the failure that your life will become. When the grown-ups tell you not to play with matches, THERE'S A REASON. And the reason is: You're a dumb kid who's going to burn the house down. I know. I have the scar to prove it.