Thursday, February 28, 2008

Baby has an eviction date!

If you prefer to be surprised as to when the baby is going to arrive, don't read any further! This is your fair warning!

No, really, if you don't want to know, just close your browser window now. I'm not forcing you to read any further, and don't want to hear you complain about how we aren't leaving you any surprises (we know the gender, we know the date... keep in mind we don't know the name yet, so that and his length & weight will all be surprises).

Okay, if you're still here, this is the scoop...

I am 37 weeks and 1 day now, and saw my dr and the anesthesiologist today. My doctor has been very pro-natural birth this whole time despite my already having had a c-section with Benjamin. But today she finally came around to my viewpoint: why bother making me go through labor when it's very likely to end in a c-section anyway, given my size and the baby's size? We agreed that this baby may be a little bit smaller than Benjamin (he was 9 lbs even at birth) but probably not a lot.

So I now have a scheduled c-section for the morning March 13th (she did ask me first whether I had any objections based on superstition, but I don't). Keep your fingers crossed that the baby doesn't decide to try & show up any earlier than that; I have no desire to see how fast we can make the hour and a half trek to the hospital nor to beg my father-in-law at the last minute to meet us to keep Benjamin if the baby decides to come before my mom arrives March 11th.

I have to do one more round of blood tests and see my doctor once more next Saturday, and then will check into the hospital the afternoon of the 12th.

Even after the months of morning sickness and various aches & pains, Frédéric and I still don't quite believe that in 2 weeks from today, we'll have another baby! I think we are in for a major shock. But the baby's room is ready, he has plenty of clothes (we bought some more 1-month size sleepers after realizing how truly ugly most of Benjamin's were; they were hand-me-downs and I feel bad making another baby wear such ugly clothes even if it's for a short time), and Benjamin has been reading books about "the new baby" that a friend loaned to me. So I think we're as ready as we can be -- other than the whole name issue...

...if you have name suggestions, feel free to leave them in your comments. Jordan, I'm sorry to tell you that I don't think we'll be using Jordan Travis. Sorry! And since you are taking either Cadwalader or Fred Alice, I don't know what that leaves for us, unless Ryan lets us use Pambo.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Baby's room is finally ready

As Benjamin still uses his crib and we are in no hurry to get him out of it and into a real bed, we found a crib for the baby last summer in a second hand shop.

We technically have six bedrooms in our house, which one might think would be more than enough for a family with one, soon to be two, children. In fact, the previous owners had some trouble selling the house because most French people don't know what to do with all that space. Using space is no problem for us, so we easily found a use for all of the rooms as soon as we moved in (1: guestroom, 2: office, 3: our room, 4: Benjamin's room, 5: exercise room/closet, 6: hobby room), so we had to do some shuffling to make room for the new baby. We combined the exercise room & hobby room and the new baby gets the room next to Benjamin's.

Then the baby furniture saga began...
We don't have closets in our house, so we needed a dresser and/or wardrobe for the baby's room. Our main choices here were either real wood furniture or particle board furniture. We opted for real wood when we bought our bed & nightstands, but had several issues with it and in the end had to send back 2 beds and pick pieces from numbers 2 and 3 to make one bed that had non-damaged parts. On the other hand, the particle board furniture doesn't last very long.

So for this baby, we again chose real wood furniture. And like dummies, we chose it from the same line that our bed came from. It took two weeks for the furniture to arrive. We expected to spend a morning putting both the dresser and wardrobe together, but we calculated without the extra time spent keeping Benjamin out from under our feet and without realizing that this furniture had even more steps to go through to put it together than Ikea furniture. Quite a feat, I'm sure you'll agree.

The wardrobe went together without too much trouble, except that the doors closed inwards instead of being flush with the front of the wardrobe, and one of the drawers was not straight. Frederic managed to add a very large number of washers inside the doors to make them close correctly, and sanded down one side of the drawer runners so the drawer would hang straight. No big deal, right?

The dresser, on the other hand, proved a bit more difficult. When we opened the box, we noticed that the dresser top had obviously been sitting in a warehouse for too long; the paint was chipped & peeling off of the top. Still, we thought, after all we went through with the bed to finally get a decent one, we'll just live with that. So we started to put it together. But when all but one drawer was assembled, we discovered that the drawer in question had 2 left sides. It was impossible to just reverse one side.

To send the furniture back meant disassembling everything and putting it back in the box. We hoped to get around this by having them deliver the new dresser first, and sending back the old one later (as happened with our bed). That way we could just take off the top and take the new top from the new dresser.

However, when Frederic called the company, they imparted the very unwelcome news that they no longer carried the dresser at all (even though it appeared in their 2008 spring/summer catalog!) and had no stock to exchange it with, and would not order any more. So our options were to send it back and get our money back (and leave us having to find another dresser, imagining that even if we found another we liked, it would take another 2 weeks to ship and we could have similar problems with it too), or we could find a woodworker to make the right side of the drawer and send the company the bill.

In the end, we chose the "neither" option. Frederic found a way to assemble the drawer slightly differently, to save us the headaches associated with options 1 or 2.

So after all that, the baby's room is now finally ready! Well... almost. The skylight pane is cracked all the way across, and it would be wonderful to get that replaced before the baby arrives... given that we probably only have 2-3 weeks left, it's unlikely that that will happen in time. But we can always hope, right?

Our new (to us) car

Since our Neon has been much less than reliable since before Christmas, despite having spent too much money on it, and since we only have one car, we decided that we needed something we could depend on not to break down in the middle of the forest at 4 am when Frederic is on his way to work.

So after some searching, Frederic came upon a 1999 Renault Mégane station wagon that seemed to fit the bill. (Maybe next time we will manage to get a car made in the same century we live in.) The only drawback was that it was in Lyon, which is about 6 hours away by car.

He and his dad flew down to Lyon yesterday (definitely an advantage of working for an airline; plane tickets were cheaper than train tickets) and drove it back here last night.

Surprisingly, it seems a bit less roomy inside than the Neon, but it does have more trunk space which is a huge plus when you need room for kids AND suitcases when you go to the airport or the mountains, the seatbelts are much better for attaching carseats, and as an extra bonus it came with 4 snow tires which will be nice for those winter trips to the mountains.

(Incidentally, I think the previous owner must have been colorblind; he called it "green" in his ad and it's clearly more of a sable color.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sunny Days & Amateur Photographers

Benjamin and I took advantage of the sunshine yesterday and went out to play in the yard with the tripod, camera & self-timer. So now you can see how frighteningly big I am at almost 35 weeks - still 5 weeks to go!

Monday, February 11, 2008

La Ferté-Milon

My friend (and former coworker) Delphine came to stay with us this weekend. We used to have lunch together all the time at the law firm, but since I quit working there and we moved out to the middle of nowhere, getting together is much more difficult.

We visited the nearby town of La Ferté Milon Saturday afternoon, where there are castle ruins from the 14th-15th century. Apparently the castle, built by Louis d'Orléans, was never completed.

The town is on the Ourcq river, and there is a little park along the canals.

We really enjoyed the sunshine, which has been around for about a week now, and we hope it stays around a while longer. The long, gray winters get pretty depressing here, so the sun is a welcome change!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Long-awaited Before & After Guest Room Pictures!

This is the guest room (it's downstairs, the other bedrooms are upstairs) as it was when we moved in:
Guest Room - BEFORE

We stripped the wallpaper, moved some walls and the door, painted, laid laminate flooring, bought a new bed, put in a fan/light fixture, and bought curtains and sheets.
Guest Room - AFTER
Guest Room - AFTER
Guest Room - AFTER

The room is slightly smaller now because we made a mini-hallway so the guest room door and bathroom door are across from each other (previously both were in the hallway which is the width of a door, but we will eventually be removing most of the living room wall that makes that narrow hallway, and we didn't want the bathroom door straight off of the living room). The only thing we have left to do now is add some things to the walls so they aren't quite so bare.

We were going to put in a closet where the wardrobe is, but it's Frederic's grandparents' wardrobe and we decided it looked nice there in the end, now that it has its own little niche and isn't just standing on a flat wall. We may still put closet doors someday, especially if we decide to use it as our room later on, but that's not in the plans for the immediate future.

Now that you've seen it, we'll be waiting on your e-mails and phone calls to let us know when you're coming to visit!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The baby's big head

Here is the baby's big head. I have no idea what the colors mean in this picture.

I was 33 weeks 2 days at the ultrasound - most of the baby is measuring at 35 weeks 2 days, but his head is measuring at 37 weeks 3 days. Must be a brainy little guy, right?

Friday, February 1, 2008

assorted news from this past week

We went to Germany Monday through Thursday of this week to visit our friends and their 2 kids and Great Dane. We had visited them in October, and Benjamin spent most of the trip hiding in corners from the Great Dane. This time, while he wasn't completely at ease yet, he didn't run and hide EVERY time he saw the dog, and he played a little bit more with the other kids.

Today I had what is hopefully my second-to-last lab visit for toxoplasmosis screening, and this afternoon we had our third and final ultrasound. This baby is measuring a little bit smaller than Benjamin at the same gestational age; only 5 lbs compared to Benjamin's 5.5 lbs at this point. He has a large head and large stomach just like Benjamin did - I'm guessing that comes from Frederic's side of the family. ;)

Frederic's dad watched Benjamin for us during the ultrasound, and Benjamin was very excited to see his "Papy." We all had lunch at our favorite Chinese place beforehand.

I see my doctor again on Wednesday and I'm hoping that she will give me a c-section date at that point. We should start thinking about names a little more seriously now, we don't have that much longer...

Tomorrow we are going to have lunch with Frederic's cousins Nathalie & Méda and their daughter Nina, and then have dinner with his cousins Christian & Sheila.

Frederic is still on vacation this week and I'm still hoping that some progress will be made on the bathroom before he goes back to work. We should have our first guest in the new guest room in 2 weeks when my former coworker Delphine comes for a weekend, so it would be nice to have it done by then.

One of Benjamin's favorite things to do these days is wear Frederic's or my shoes around the house. Here he is modeling some of mine (on the wrong feet). (In the background, the hallway that also needs primed and painted, and the bathroom that needs finished!)