Feb 27, 2013


I jumped the Yahoo ship a couple years ago for Google and am now a Google addict. But Yahoo still holds a special place in my heart, one right next to my hubby since we met via Yahoo Personals.

Even with that very special place in my heart, I'm not a fan of their new, and now very public, policy that discontinues remote work environments. If you aren't yet familiar, here's the (admittedly biased) Wall Street Journal article on it.

I could go on a rant, mostly agreeing with WSJ, on the silliness of being anti-flexibility. But instead I want to highlight a moderate suggestion in the article that I think is really smart. It reads...
Asking employees to be “flexible on flexibility” —  setting core hours for meetings, coming into the office for group brainstorms or setting specific hours for conference calls — are helpful approaches.
That's a really great, moderate, win-win and realistic suggestion. The idea that employees more or less need to be available for X core hours in a day makes a lot of sense. Now you aren't going to please everyone; someone will inevitably have pre-school pick-up, or consider those prime napping hours or some other obligation. But like they say, you can't please everyone all the time.

Regardless of what Yahoo does (heck, I don't work there), I'd love to see more companies embrace flexibility and look for middle-of-the-road approaches to balancing business and employee needs.

T Minus 15

I know babies don't always come on their due date (in fact most don't) but still, I'm keeping my countdown based on our due date. Because that's the best I've got.

Tomorrow we go in for our 38 week appointment. There's no reason to expect any earth-shaking news but I guess you never know.

...And that about covers it. Over and out.

Feb 24, 2013

1 More Room = Done

I told you we were getting our butts in gear on putting the house in order. It hasn't gone quite as we expected but the crib is built, the HOA docs have been submitted for the shed and I've been emailing with the glassblower who is doing the pendant lights. (Tangent: his studio is an hour+ away and I was not into driving up there to have a consultation because hello, I'm very very pregnant. Thankfully in addition to just seeming like a nice guy who wants to provide clients with a good experience, his wife is also pregnant so he totally gets it.)

iphone_picWhile it wasn't on the initial list, I'm pleased to report that I think I've finished decorating the downstairs bathroom. And really all that means is I finally hung some pictures. I deviated from my original plan but only by a smidge. Instead of two large photos from Italy, I ended up with a cluster of six.

I definitely wanted several that featured the rust-orange used so much throughout Florence as the handtowels I have in there included that color. I was open to having all three Italian cities we visited included but as it worked out, five photos are from Florence and just one (the little one with the lion carving) is from Venice. Nothing from Rome but considering that our entry way/staircase, which is right outside this bathroom, features a large photo of the Colosseum, I think we're in good balance.

Icing on the cake - because of the cluster arrangement I didn't have to do any measuring. It's also easy to adjust them a bit if I decide the spacing isn't quite right. And because we have a fairly good camera, I have a million other hi-res photos I could trade these out with if I decide my photo selection needs tweaking.

Very Pregnant

37 weeks and 3 days. I am VERY pregnant. Friday's doctor's appointment confirmed it.

Up until now my weight gain has been very low but everything was looking good so I was just chalking it to one of the good cards I drew in the game of life. Well Friday I got on the scale at the doctor and had put on FIVE POUNDS IN EIGHT DAYS. That means 27% of my total pregnancy weight gain occurred in just one week.

I guess this explains mine and Ross' perception that I was looking much bigger by the day.

I'm still in a super healthy, relatively low weight gain range but needless to say, that was quite a surprise. I asked the doc if we should be concerned or what I should change (if anything) and she said no reason to be concerned, just keep up with the normal healthy eating. I take that to mean possibly not eating ice cream seven days per week. Which is really quite sad. I haven't had any ice cream since then but I have every intention of buying frozen yogurt today and enjoying that tonight.

In other very pregnant news, yesterday I was especially cranky. Nothing was comfortable. (And the threat of an ice cream-less existence did not help.) Well last night we figured out at least one contributing factor: I was running a slight fever. We're 95% sure that it was a side effect to the TDAP vaccine I was given Friday (as in fever was among the 6 things you might experience in the days following the vaccine). Thankfully with some Tylenol, my temperature dropped within an hour and when I woke up this morning, 12 hours after crawling into bed, I felt entirely normal.

Here's to hoping today is a more pleasant day in pregnancy, if for no other reason than Ross is at work and the only person I'll have to whine to is myself and I really don't want to hear it from me.

Feb 21, 2013

We made it!

We've officially made it to the promised land. Full-term! 37 weeks pregnant and Baby Cade is likely the size of a stalk of Swiss chard. (I don't think that means chard like chardonnay which is really too bad because that sounds delicious.)

BabyCenter.com estimates 6 1/3 pounds but I know the margins of error are pretty big at this point. I mean some babies are big and some are small, they have to start trending that way eventually.

iphone_picRoss built the glider yesterday and I've finished packing the hospital bag (well at least as much as I'm packing it). We're making progress!

Now it's time to wait.

And wait. And maybe even wait some more.

I'm not pushing (pun intended) for him to come this month but pretty soon we'll start trying out every old wives tale there is to get Baby Cade out of my belly and into the world.

Spicy dinner destinations in North Austin/Round Rock anyone?

Feb 20, 2013

Grandma Caro Knows

IMG_8356While Mom was visiting this weekend, she said to me "I realized nearly everything I've given you for the baby is travel related."

That, Grandma Caro, is because you know me. Car seat, stroller (with tight turning radius for navigating shoe store aisles), clutch-like diaper changing thing, car bottle warmer. Yes these are the things that Cade and I will need. This is, after all, the baby who will have seen both US coasts before his first birthday! (Cali in May, Boston in October - yay weddings!)

Also yup - Grandma Caro! Mom's family has traditionally done "Grandma [first name or nickname]" so growing up I had Grandma Betsy, Grammy Dot, and Grammy O. Caro is the nickname her college roommate and BFF gave her after deciding that Carolyn was simply too long of a name.

And finally, I realize I've become one of those women who only blog/talk about their baby. I promise I know there are other things in the world besides Baby Cade. One day, I may even blog about them.

Feb 18, 2013

What to pack?

Since I'm off work today for President's Day I decided I'd take the extra time and get our hospital bag packed. Here's the conversation with my hubby about it

Me: Most the stuff will be for me of course but I've got a go-home outfit for him. And I thought I'd pack a change of clothes, toothbrush and contact lens case for you. Anything else you'd like to make sure we have on us so you don't have to go run to the store or home? Deodorant maybe?
Ross: Yeah, deodorant. Gum.

So I picked up and packed not one but two packs of gum. How couples ever had babies before gum, I know not.

Among the other things I've been told to pack (and have packed) are a bathrobe, bendy straws (very good suggestion!), shampoo, face wash, socks and a variety of things too personal to blog about.

If you've been down this road or have helped someone down it, what else do you suggest packing?

Feb 17, 2013

Showering Baby

This afternoon was our Austin baby shower hosted by Brittany, Nichole, Erin, Meg and Karen. I gotta tell you, I am lucky to have such fantastic girlfriends because I had another wonderful shower!

They served us delicious food (mmm southwestern egg rolls...mmm hot spinach dip...mmm), a beautiful jungle cake topped with a stuffed giraffe and pregnant lady friendly blue punch which I drank out of a special purple wine glass. We played the "how big is Mommy" game and fellow TriDelta alumna Megan won. I'm 11 sheets of toilet paper fat if you wanted to know.

And then so many wonderful gifties! My friends obviously know me well as books were a big part of today's shower too. They served as the cards and many have little notes to Cade written in them. Especially near and dear to my heart is Make Way for Ducklings from my parents. It is one of my favorite childhood books and when Cade travels to Boston with me in October for my cousin's wedding, we can actually go to the Public Garden and get his picture taken with Mrs. Mallard and her ducklings (well the statue version).

iphone_picToday's gifts were overwhelmingly also of the practical variety. Feeding accessories, pacifiers, swaddle blankets, bath time necessities, all things we really needed. Including, the gift that made me giggle most, a coffee maker. Up until now we've never had one and I don't even know how to work one honestly (I also only drink fancy Starbucks "milkshake for breakfast" style coffee so the lack of coffee maker is no problem in my life). But Ross recently announced that his infrequent coffee intake was going to increase with fatherhood so it was time to get one. His mom came through and now the dad-to-be will be caffeinated for those late night feedings (which I can assure you will be happening now that we have all the necessary supplies).

The girls took lots of pictures and I promise to share as soon as I have them. Thank you to my wonderful hostesses and to our many friends who helped us get ready for the arrival of the wee baby Cade!

Update: Picture Proof!




Feb 16, 2013

This Baby

This baby, he wiggles. A lot. Wiggling with every inch of his body he must be because I can feel him up, down, right, left. How can you be in so many places at once little boy??

Feb 15, 2013

Ladies Who Lunch

Well I'm about a week behind the game on this but better late than never right?

Last Friday the girls at work had a baby shower for me at the always delicious Austin Cake Ball Kitchen & Bar (sadly we did not enjoy the bar part). It was a book shower so Baby Cade already has a healthy start on his on personal library. Among the books were classics like Green Eggs & Ham and Go the F*ck to Sleep.

Yes, variety might be one way you would describe it.

iphone_picEven more awesome than the books was the group of gals, including cameos by some of my favorite Convions - Jenn, Lori and Blair!

Feb 14, 2013

Melon, Valentine's, Nursery

At 36 weeks Baby Cade's the size of a crenshaw melon (what is that??). That of course is just a baby generalization. We got the real deal in terms of info for our Valentine's Day celebration.

We had our 36-week ultrasound this morning. There's a pretty significant margin of error, 15%, but Cade is looking like about 6 pounds of baby thus far. Everything looks just as it should and he's even in position to make his grand entrance (or exit depending on your perspective). As my doctor told us, if I start having contractions we're now at the point where that'll mean it's on. And I'll have a baby. Holy guacamole.

Speaking of guacamole, Ross made me a delicious Valentine's Day dinner that started with a chips and guacamole appetizer. It might not sound super romantic but to a pregnant Texan it was a love poem. It might have been the first time he's made guacamole and it was tasty. Different from mine, less lime, but he's keeping his recipe a secret. Oh well, guess I'll just have to let him be in charge of the guacamole making from here on out.

Our delicious dinner also included pork loin, rice pilaf and asparagus. I am even fatter and happier now.

Post dinner I finally finished a happy task I hadn't gotten to all week. The nursery! With the exception of purchasing a glider, it is done! Yay! Enjoy the pictures of my two loves and the little home we're building for our soon-to-arrive love.




Feb 13, 2013

In Honor

Yesterday the funeral procession for Navy SEAL Chris Kyle extended from Dallas to Austin. As part of honoring Chris's life, Ross and other members of the Georgetown Fire Department displayed the flag and saluted.

Feb 10, 2013

Not the Same but Equal

Tonight I heard about a friend's (male) coworker who was suspiciously let go very shortly after taking 6 weeks of FMLA. If this were a female coworker all hell and lawsuits would break loose. Because its a guy, not much of a grumble is being created.

This inspired a mental soapbox but soapboxes aren't any fun if they stay in your head. So here it comes guys and gals.

Discouraging men from taking FMLA is one step in a vicious cycle that sets both sexes up for failure.

Here's how I figure: Women having babies take maternity leave. In a culture where men don't also take paternity leave, this means women become comparatively more expensive and riskier employees. Therefore employers are less incentivized to hire, promote or otherwise reward women employees. Conversely, men are forced to choose their careers over their children literally from birth.

Like I said, this is one piece of an overall problem. It starts with the double standard of mothers can take leave but fathers cannot. It's not a huge leap to see how this manifests down the road when it is socially acceptable for mothers to take time off of work for doctors' appointments, parent-teacher conferences and so on. Meanwhile fathers, who have been forced to choose work over kids, continue to do such and risk becoming less engaged parents. If Dad is less engaged, Mom has to pick up the slack or the child suffers (though you could argue that the child is suffering purely from Dad's lack of engagement, regardless of if Mom picks up the slack).

And so the cycle: women sacrificing time, energy and thus reward in the workplace and men sacrificing involvement in their children's lives. Women being treated with kid gloves at work, men climbing the ladder at a disproportionate rate. Women not bringing home as much bacon; men having to bring home more bacon to compensate and therefore virtually becoming indentured servants to their jobs.

All this isn't to say a family that chooses to have Mom stay home or work part-time is in any way wrong. Nor is a family who opts out of paternity leave. But the bottom line is families should have the choice and the workforce (and overall culture) needs to support working parents. Of both sexes.

Or we all lose.

Feb 7, 2013

A Most Spoiled Honeydew Melon

35 weeks down folks! And here's the belly to prove it.

Baby Cade, my sweet honeydew melon of a son, is getting big. Estimates are a little over 5 pounds and 18 inches long. Which goes a long way to explaining why mama can't reach her feet to put on socks and shoes anymore. (God bless flip flops and 80 degree days in February.) Cade's main job at this point is putting on weight. And then in roughly 5 weeks - maybe a little  less if he's listening to me - he'll be here!

Our friends are helping us ensure that he's the most spoiled of babies. On Sunday our friends Mike & Lindsey hosted a SuperBowl/Diaper Shower for us. Now when Baby Boy arrives, we've got the necessary supplies to cover his cute little butt. And fortunately because we received diapers in all sizes, we're prepared for growth spurts too. Big thanks to Mike & Lindsey for hosting and for all of our friends who contributed to the baby diapering.

Today we received another Delta gift in the mail, this time from Kristin. As soon as I opened it I knew she hit a grand slam. (I expect nothing less from a pediatric physician's assistant.) A book about the Tickle Monster and accompanying Tickle Monster gloves! Ross has taken the gloves for a test drive and they work very well.


Thank you to everyone who is helping us prepare for our honeydew melon of a baby!

Feb 5, 2013

Call It Nesting

Call it nesting. Call it type A personality. Call it impatience. Call it what you will. The Black family is getting their butts in gear. We're tackling some of our outstanding house projects with a vengeance.

Before we moved we had this whole list of things to do. Then we moved, spent some money, freaked out and quit cold turkey. But recently we've been inspired by Meg & Stacy's impromptu home renovations. They are completely overhauling two rooms and making big-ish changes in another two rooms and here we are twiddling our thumbs about buying a grill. No more!

To keep us honest, here's our to-do list:
  • Pendant lights for the kitchen
  • Backyard shed
  • Crib building
  • Study curtains
  • Front porch light
  • Buy grill
The first three I'm hoping we can do before the baby arrives. The curtains in my study...eh whatever. Before I go back to work after maternity leave? That seems like a good enough goal. And I don't care at all about the front porch light but I know that's on Ross' to-do list so might as well keep it on here. And the grill needs a shed to call home so we'll get to that accordingly.

These may seem straightforward but let me tell you, the first two have more related sub-tasks than you would ever guess. From getting a quote on the lights (I have a dream of them being totally unique hand-blown glass from a local artist) to HOA approval on the shed, these are multi-step projects.

But darn it, we're doing them. Now.

Pain Threshold

Me: This morning I broke a nail, hun. I know that sounds like such a girl thing to say but I broke my thumbnail like halfway into the live part. It HURTS.

[holds up band-aided thumb]

Ross: Ooohh yeah I've done that. That does hurt.

Me: It's been killing me all day. Every time I need to use my thumb. It hurts like a son of a ...

[catches Ross smirking]

Me: Are you laughing at me!? Are you laughing because I'm hurt, jerk!?

Ross: No, no, no. It's just if you think breaking a nail hurts, you've got something coming in a few weeks...

Crap. He's right.

Feb 3, 2013

I have a problem

I have a problem and it is called spring. Or maybe spring fever. Or spring decor.

Bottom line every February-April, I just want to buy everything spring-ish and redecorate the house. This is a problem because

  1. I do actually have a home decor budget and it is not unlimited.
  2. My husband isn't as into the bright colors as I am. (I should probably just be thankful that I've pulled off a turquoise wall in the bedroom and a red kitchen with minimal objections.)
  3. Most of these things don't actually match our house.
  4. As good an idea as plants seem during these moments, I don't have a green thumb. I have a brownish-black thumb that kills nearly every plant it comes in contact with.
  5. Because I've done this every year, I actually have spring-ish things and really all I need to do is take them out of the closets.
This is all really hard to remember when I go to Target or Pier 1 and there's yellow, pink, bright blue and grass green everything. And I want it all.

PS And then I realized I can update the blog to look springy! So I did :)

Feb 2, 2013

Hakuna Matata

I meant to blog about it sooner but baby and work have taken precedence. Anyways - better late than never right?

On Tuesday, the hubby and I had a big date night out. We started with dinner at an Italian restaurant in Central-ish Austin that we like, Gusto. Tasty tasty tasty! We pulled out the big guns with a shared appetizer, entrees and even dessert (well for me, coffee for him). Usually we're entree-only people so a full three courses felt fancy and luxurious.

Then it was off to Bass Concert Hall down on UT's campus for The Lion King. Back way before Christmas I had seen discounted tickets to the show via TravelZoo and had jumped on them. I'm so glad I did! Having been in my prime Disney movie years when the movie came out, it was practically a quote and sing a-long for me. According to Ross, I was a little enthusiastic/loud with my rendition of Hakuna Matata. But how can you not be? Ross is just a little too old to have seen the movie when it first came out...actually he's never seen the whole thing through. The quote anticipating moments I enjoyed were lost on him but he liked the show nonetheless.

It may come as a shocker to y'all, but Broadway shows are not in his top 3 or even top 10 list of things to go do. Originally he was really along for the ride for my sake. But he liked the show more than he was expecting and said he'd likely attend another musical theatre production with me throughout the course of life. I consider that a big win.