Friday, January 23, 2009

Baby is a kumquat!

Hehe! I am 10 weeks today, and I love getting these emails from that tell me how big our baby is. The pregnancy books we have often use the same examples: blueberry (7 weeks), kidney bean (8 weeks), grape (9 weeks), and now a plump little kumquat. I don't think I've ever eaten a kumquat, but knowing our sweet baby is just this size kind of makes me want to try one (does that sound cannibalistic?).

I am feeling pretty well, except for this persistent tiredness, and an overall sense of blah that visits me a few mornings a week. Afternoons are much better, when I can go on my walk and enjoy the sunny outdoors we've been experiencing the last week or so. I find I am longing for summer -- iced tea, open windows, picnics in Marymoor Park. I am thankful for the sun when it graces us and the many green leaves still magically apparent in the Pacific Northwest. And even though the season out here should be called "winter-lite," I'm ready for the return of warmth.

I'm also thankful for some good blood test results. We learned yesterday that all the prenatal blood tests were normal, except for some mild anemia on my part, which I've had in the past. So I'm simply adding an iron supplement to my already super-powered prenatal vitamin (purple and about half the size of my finger, did I mention that?). I'm grateful for a smooth pregnancy so far, and only two weeks left in my first trimester. I can't believe it!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

If our walls could talk...

...they'd tweet!

Finally we've done something with the big white wall in our dining room area. I originally wanted to paint it a shade of brown, but let's be honest, that was never going to happen. But after Papa died this summer and I found a set of 18 Audubon bird prints in his condo, I'd envisioned covering our bare wall with some feathered friends. I was inspired by this story in Martha Stewart Living's October issue and all these lovely framed ferns:

I'd steal them if I could--I just love the impact of so many prints framed the same way and hung in a huge block on the wall. So here is our rendition:

I really do love these birds. We just stuck them up pretty haphazardly, not really in any order, but I think the overall effect is more important. The coloring (hard to tell in the photos) of the prints as a whole, with the reddish-brown frames, really goes with our furniture and general color scheme. Plus, they remind me of Nana and Papa, and they make me smile every time I walk by.

Now if we can just agree on how to hang some wedding photos on the other giant blank wall by the kitchen...

Wonderful Weekend!

I don't know what it is about the last few months, but I have just been basking in the greatness that is our weekend life. It seems that after our big long trip out east in September, we have really been able to enjoy time together on Tim's days off. Of course, we often argue about how we're going to spend that time--whereas I am the get-out-and-do type, Tim would gladly spend hours upon hours lounging in front of the TV. He wants to "relax," and I want to "take advantage." But we've been able to strike a balance and it's been some really sweet time. I think a big reason for this is that we don't have a lot of household demands like we did in our first year of marriage, buying furniture and all that. There's stuff to be done, but a lot of our time is free!

On Friday I got to plan our date night. We're switching back and forth on who gets to plan what, and we're even keeping a list of restaurants to try and stuff to do. Both of us have veto power, though, so if Tim really really doesn't want to go see the exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum or I can't stand the thought of a Chinese buffet (had enough of King buffet in Ithaca!), that item gets an X.

We had dinner at a really fun and cheap little pasta place on Capitol Hill in Seattle called Machiavelli. I saw it in a cheap eats feature in this month's issue of Seattle Mag, which I didn't work on. The night started out right with a prime parking spot right in front of the restaurant (basically unheard of in Cap Hill) and a slight wait time of 30 minutes, due to our grey-haired arrival at 6:30. And at $9.95 a plate, the pasta was really good!

After dinner we were stuffed, but couldn't pass up dessert at nearby B&O Espresso, an anytime dessert place a la Madeline's in Ithaca, except with a mix of Victorian and Art Deco furnishings. Somehow we managed to gulp down an unbelievably thick cocoa (me) and Chai (Tim), but we couldn't finish our enormous slices of German Chocolate Cake (me again) and some chocolate mousse cake thingy Tim ordered. The atmosphere was totally great, from the light fixtures (a mermaid holding the globe-shaped bulb next to our table, candelabra, chandeliers) to the Toulouse-Latrec posters and railway accents here and there. We'll definitely be back!

Unfortunately, we were too stuffed to go dancing at this country bar I'd heard about across town, but that's another date for another time...

On Saturday we drove down to Issaquah and checked out this shopping center called Gilman Village. It's billed as a quaint outdoor shopping center made up of old buildings--homes and barns--the developers moved from around the area to create a little village. It was definitely cute...but dead. No one was around! We went in probably six stores and ran into only a handful of other shoppers. One half of the complex was basically deserted, with empty retail space. It was a beautiful sunny day and we were completely surprised. We did stumble upon a designer-owned children's clothing store (the onesie they made out of a Seinfeld t-shirt was hilarious), and I bought some dishcloths at a kitchen store, but otherwise we felt kind of guilty for even being there.

Gilman Village
Saturday night Tim had a hankering for curry, so he dug up a recipe on for Massaman curry (a fav at our local Thai house of choice, Racha), and we make a trek out to Uwajimaya, the local Asian grocery store, which is an adventure in itself! The results were amazing! I feel like it's so infrequent that gringos like us can make authentic Asian food of any sort (a pad Thai we tried once was basically flavorless) but this recipe was pretty simple (especially since we bought the curry paste and didn't make it from scratch--too many weird ingredients!) and definitely a keeper.
Sunday we ended up having a lazy afternoon and watching Mame on TV. Mom, remember how you always tried to get me to rent that growing up? Well, I finally saw it, and it was hilarious! Even Tim was laughing out loud. An unlikely story about enduring hedonism throughout the Great Depression (hmmm) with a heavy dose of social commentary.
Then we had our friend Dan over for fondue. Delicious, except...fondue does not agree with pregnancy! Or at least that night it didn't. Oh well. Still a good end to a fabulous weekend!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Northwest Fog

This week there have been a couple of days of spectacular fog. I took this shot from our gym parking lot this morning. It made for a magical morning drive!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Random baby name generator

I put a random baby name generator widget on here (lower left) for some mindless fun. So far I haven't liked any names it's come up with, but I suppose it's a decent way to waste a few minutes! We'll see if it lasts (as in, if I get the urge to remove it tomorrow).

Anyway, just FYI we are starting to think of names...but we'll probably keep our top contenders a secret! That's the fun of it, right?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

First prenatal appointment

We got to see our baby today!

I have so many things to be thankful for in this appointment. The office is wonderful and the staff are so personable and helpful. Tim and I both really liked our doctor, who is young and fun and shares our philosophy on seeing how things go with the pregnancy and delivery rather than sticking to hard and fast rules on medication, assisted delivery, etc. She basically said that we could do this baby thing on our own, and she's there pretty much just in case something goes wrong. I like that approach. Also, she was really easy to talk to and had a lot of encouraging things to say about continuing exercise, not having to be a Nazi with writing down all my food, etc. (Though it does make me feel good inside to keep a list!) She also recommended a new prenatal vitamin which is about the size of my finger and is apparently super awesome in terms of having really everything the baby needs. I have a sample pack...we'll see if I can choke them down!

Everything looked normal, and we ended the visit with the ultrasound:

It's hard to see, I know, but the baby is the little blob in the middle. The so-called "yolk sac" (I think this becomes the placenta) is what is attaching it to the uterine wall, and then the head is at the bottom, followed by little arms poking out on either side, the body, and little feet at the top. Baby is upside down!

It was so, SO fun to get the ultrasound, and though I couldn't see the monitor that well the doctor said the baby was moving around a little. Yay! I couldn't have asked for a better first visit, and we are thankful to our friends Lexi and Josh for recommending their lovely practice to us!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Baby announcement!

I can't hold out any longer...we are having a baby!

It was such a joy to announce our first pregnancy to family and friends over Christmas. We are very excited, and it is all very new. I am just over 8 weeks now, and our expected due date is August 21. We go to the doctor for our first prenatal visit tomorrow, which has been long expected, as I thought they wanted to get you in right after taking the home pregnancy test. Nope, I was told--if you think you're pregnant, you probably are. Plus, they want to get the baby's heartbeat on a sonogram during the first visit, and that's what we're really looking forward to!

Meanwhile, we've bought the books--What to Expect and a guide by the Mayo Clinic--and are having fun casually thinking about names and guessing whether it's a boy or a girl. At this point we think we'll wait to find out the gender at delivery, but we might get too antsy and choose to learn it sooner!

I have been blessed to experience only mild symptoms up to this point, the most notable being an increased sense of smell, some wacky vivid dreams, and frequent tiredness. Getting up early is hard, but going to bed early is easier than ever before! My mom (bless her!) had very little to no nausea, so I am very much hoping to come out the same. I have had a little heartburn (making for one very uncomfortable flight back from Ithaca after Christmas) and the most mildest of nausea, usually surrounding a food aversion or waking up with an empty stomach. I'm sure there will be a lot more crazy things in the months to follow!

We'll be taking pictures and chronicling the pregnancy here. Praise God! We're going to be parents!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Which font are you?

My nerdiness really jumped at the chance to take this quiz and find out which font I am:

You are Helvetica.
You're like an industry standard. Classic. Reliable. Okay, maybe a bit boring. But don't let the haters get you down--after all, you've still got plenty of friends who think you're the best.

Nerdiness confirmed.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!

We started off the new year yesterday with a relaxing afternoon--crossword puzzles at Starbucks, checking out neighborhoods in Redmond (we're anticipating a move in the spring), and an early dinner at a new (to us) Thai restaurant. Though we won't get to it until this weekend, we're planning on marking out some goals and "commitments" (Microsoft-speak) for 2009--which thrills me down to my list-making core. On the docket will be plans to attend three weddings so far, a much needed vacay to someplace warm, and where we'd like to see ourselves maritally and professionally by the year's end.

2008 went out in a bit of a fizzle for me as I got caught up in all the holiday preparations, and while I definitely I enjoyed that and our two trips to visit family, I am feeling guilty about putting writing on the back burner since late November. I've actually had dreams about agents and writing in front of a computer screen, so it is definitely calling! My new outlook for 2009 includes plans to submit my first book to a new crop of agents in February if it hasn't gotten anywhere by then; to finish book 2 by mid-spring; and to be more proactive with freelancing opportunities.

As last year ended the realization--spurred on by Tim's office party, of all things--that it is hard to work alone hit me in full force, and while I am not ready to resign my goals and flexibility in favor of a return to the office world, I need to be building up some sort of a professional community. I'm not quite sure how I'll do that, but continuing to attend conferences is definitely one element; and I think putting myself out there to do more freelancing, thereby having regular contact with editors and sources again, is another. It's funny that my volunteer work at church hasn't really provided that surrogate community I was looking for, but it makes me all the more grateful for our small group that meets on Tuesday nights. Some of the couples, who we've been meeting with since August, have grown into good friends, and I'm blessed to have them in my life.

I ended 2008 with a look back at answered prayers from the past year or so. I keep notecards in my Bible as a reminder to pray for different people and the things going on in Tim's and my journey together. It was really fun to see how so many of these have been answered by the grace of God:

Shortly after our wedding and move to Seattle, we were praying for our new marriage and our work situations. Now that we have been married over a year, and Tim is coming up on 18 months with Microsoft, I am so blessed by our marriage's strong foundation and his enjoyment and growth in his job.

Last academic year Tim's sister Anna was in India; we prayed for her spiritual growth and safety. Now she's approaching her second semester as a freshman at Cornell with a desire to study linguistics and pursue the Psiaki rowing tradition. (Oh, we're proud).

Starting with last Christmas and through the spring, we were in prayer for the fledgling campus of our church in downtown Seattle, which has now grown by hundreds of members and is making an impact on the city. We've since moved to the Bellevue campus, which has a new location in a Christian school, is attracting new visitors regularly, and has been a great home for us.

Since fall 2007 we've been in prayer for Tim's brother Dave and his wife Mandy, who were deployed with the Army to Iraq. Dave returned safely a week ago, and Mandy will be home in February. We are grateful to the Lord for his protection over them and rejoice with them in their upcoming reunion!

We prayed for most of 2008 for the health and development of our dear friends Jenny and Matt's daughter Cara, who was born on September 28 and is doing so well! If you don't believe me, check out the pictures a couple of posts down. She is so precious, and definitely growing!

A couple in our community group has had a year of trials with a complicated pregnancy and pre-term birth of their son, who made it home from the NICU in time for Christmas, and is doing well.

There are so many other ways in which God has answered our prayers this year. We are grateful and blessed. We seek his guidance and provision in 2009, and look forward to where he leads us.