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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Third Trimester Update

This is me at work
at 27 weeks
On Tuesday, I reached my Third Trimester! Time is flying by on this pregnancy, that is for sure. So, I thought I'd give an update on what I've been up to...

How's the Exercising Going?
Nada. Well, not totally nada. But, I haven't really been able to run since about 21 weeks. I finally gave up after an incredibly painful run in early January. No amount of walk breaks helped. I moved on to walking, still only on the treadmill because I don't have winter exercise clothes. I found that I was able to walk at a reasonable clip - 3.8mph - as long as I didn't try to run at all, and I was pleased with that. Six weeks later, and I can do 30 minutes at between 3 and 3.2 mph and that is even a struggle. I went to Ikea on Friday and had to sit in one of their living rooms to rest partway through. Short answer: exercise is a struggle.

Last week, the contractor started working on our basement finishing, and to prepare for this, we completely disassembled our basement home gym - took up the flooring, carried the TV upstairs, piled the treadmill full of stuff and wedged it into a section of basement that will remain unfinished. So, for the next 6 weeks I either have to use the treadmill in my office or make my way to the gym. Just another barrier to working out.

As for swimming - I did have a wonderful swim a couple of weeks ago. I love love loved it. But, I haven't made it back since. Sigh. We've just got so much going on.

Yoga? Well, some furniture that was in our basement that had to be moved out for the finishing project has moved up into my yoga space, making it (you guessed it!) that much harder for me to practice yoga. I've been trying to at least do kegels.

How are you feeling?
The whole world wants to know this. Do you know how I know? I get asked this question like 30 times a day, by people who see me everyday. I'm not complaining, I think people just want something to talk to me about, but since my answer is always "fine," it gets kind of old. I haven't really experienced nausea or anything since around November, unless I stay up too late. I'm starting to feel sort of uncomfortable at times, mostly at bedtime or on long car rides. I do have some TMI symptoms that I don't feel like talking about. I don't know, I'm used to being pretty quiet with people and I'm not used to so many questions all the time.

Are you having any cravings?
Another question that everyone wants to know! I have cravings normally, as a non-pregnant person. I am not really having cravings to that degree now. I am finding that while at first I totally didn't want sweets (unusual for me), I've been craving sweets little by little more and more the farther into my pregnancy I get. I really go crazy for salad.

Are you having any food aversions?
Broccoli and chicken. I've been eating a crazy amount of red meat as a result. I don't care. Todd made me choke down some broccoli last night, and it sucked, but it's good for the baby. Chicken I've been able to tolerate sometimes, but in general I find it gross right now.

Have you chosen a name?
This is probably the second most popular question. Yes, we've chosen a name, although we're not 100% on the middle name. First name is pretty much set. We are not telling until the baby is born, much to the chagrin of our parents.

Can you feel the baby kicking?
Yes, all the time. And, while I totally think it's awesome and I like feeling it and I'm excited about, it can also be pretty distracting when I'm trying to work. It's like, ok, baby, calm down, I need to focus. 

Have you finished the nursery?
OMG, no. This is the funniest thing that people ask. No. Because - to finish the nursery we have to get the office furniture out of there. To do that, we have to finish the basement. To do that, we have to put in an egress window. To do that, we have to actually get a decent contractor. To move things out of the basement, we needed to redo some storage in the laundry room and kitchen to move the stuff out of the basement that was down there. Upon doing that we found that the builder in our house had drilled through a drain pipe in the wall and not ever told anyone... So, it's turned into a money pit-like chain reaction. This whole thing is what is taking up so much of my time right now, and is creating a lot of stress.

That being said, if you're curious, the nursery theme is going to be Finding Nemo, probably not much of a surprise. We are pretty excited.  :)

Is it a boy or a girl?
I've announced this already, but in case you missed it, here is the Youtube video where we cut a cake to reveal the sex of the baby. No, we did not know the sex of the baby until then. We had the sex sealed in an envelope, which we gave to the staff of the resort where we were staying. They baked the cake. The video was shot in Little Cayman. We told our family later. There was a lot of confusion about this on Facebook and elsewhere, so hopefully that clears it up.

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Review: Les Miserables

I finally got to see this movie! I was initially hoping to see it on December 26th, the day after it opened, when I had a day off of work. But, I ended up with a cold and it snowed, so I spent December 26th at home wrapped up like a burrito on the sofa playing World of Warcraft and sleeping. Then, the opportunity just did not happen again until the last week or so (we have been beyond busy).

I have been a Les Miserables fan since middle school, when we took a group trip to the Mechanic Theater in Baltimore to see it. My friends and I were VERY into Les Mis! Each of us would love one of the characters for a while and really relate to them, and then move on to something else. I was so looking forward to the movie, and I wanted to give a character by character review of the movie. There are spoilers, and that is because if you are reading this, I expect that you have either already watched the movie or you have seen the musical on stage before and therefore your experience will not be ruined. If you have never seen the stage show OR the movie, you probably should get a background on it before seeing it in the theater anyway.

Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman, aka Wolverine): Hugh did a splended job playing Jean Valjean. I knew I would tear up during the movie, being pregnant and emotional and all, but instead of sobbing through the whole thing, I did manage to keep it together except for a few parts. One of those times was between "What Have I Done?" and "At the End of the Day", since it's the part that takes the prologue into Act I and has for some reason always been kick ass. Hugh didn't disappoint here. His voice was awesome, his acting was spot on. He deserved his Golden Globe, and I would not be surprised to see him collect an Oscar this weekend. Good for him!

Javert (Russell Crowe, aka Gladiator): Oh, Russell. Why were you cast in this part? You ruined Javert. There were all of these news stories about how you took vocal lessons in order play this part and my question remains - WHY not cast someone who can sing in the first place? Are we really that desperate for a Javert that we HAD to cast a major star in this part? There have been like 30 people who have played Javert on stage over the years, certainly one of them was better than Russell Crowe. I am not a huge Russell Crowe fan in the first place, but I don't disrespect him as an actor. However, he was REALLY focused on the singing - so much so that he forgot to act. So, both his singing AND his acting were bad. Javert's major solo songs - "Stars" and "Javert's Suicide" should have been emotional and moving, but they were cardboard. The words and the notes were there, but Russell just stared into space like he was too focused on hitting the notes to add any sort of emotion to anything. Big disappointment. Norm Lewis would have been my first choice to play Javert, by the way. I tried to find him doing "Javert's Suicide" from the 25th Anniversary tour, and this was the best I could do. Go to 4:30 to see it. And here's Russell Crowe. Ugh, so awful. AWFUL. Also, here's a play by play of other Javerts doing "Stars". You can clearly see that Norm Lewis is FAR superior to everyone else. Ewan Macgregor would have been another good choice if we HAD to go with a Hollywood star. Or, come on, how about Neil Patrick Harris even??

Fantine (Anne Hathaway, aka Princess Mia): Anne Hathaway NAILED IT. She made up for any suckage coming from Russell Crowe. As you may imagine, having been 13 when I was first introduced to Les Mis, my friends and I used to giggle and giggle over "Lovely Ladies," which the song where Fantine starts selling things (a locket, her hair, and finally her body) in order to pay for the care of her daughter. It's sung by prostitutes and has a lot of raunchy lyrics (I smell women, smell them in the air, think I'll drop my anchor in that harbor over there!) .... lots of things for an 8th grader to giggle at. But, WOW, Anne Hathaway took what was a giggle worthy song and added so much pain and desperation and misery that I cried through what I would have laughed at as a kid. She brought Fantine's suffering to the screen like nobody has before and really knocked it out of the park. People go on and on about "I Dreamed a Dream", and that was great also, but "Lovely Ladies" really did it for me. I have trouble deciding if she or Hugh Jackman played the better part overall.

The Thenardiers (Sacha Baron Cohen & Helena Bonham Carter, aka Borat and Bellatrix): First of all, if you have a screen adaptation of a show, it is not going to be successful without HBC. These two were both cast so perfectly, and I knew it when I heard they were cast. I was delighted! The Thenardiers have always been my favorite characters (I know, that's awful). It's unfortunate that some of their songs were shortened or eliminated. I've never loved "Dog Eats Dog," so I didn't miss that one, but I would have liked "Beggars at the Feast" to have stayed around.

Cosette (Amanda Seyfried, aka the oldest daughter from Big Love): Eh. You see, I've always kind of loathed Cosette anyway. I mean, everybody goes out of their way for her through the ENTIRE THING. Fantine, Valjean, Eponine, Marius... and she really doesn't do much of anything except sing in a high pitched voice for a bunch of songs that are syrupy sweet and about teenage love. She's not a bad person, but we really learn very little about her and therefore I feel very little emotion for her at all. Amanda Seyfried was a good choice, sure. But, Cosette (and to some extent Marius) is why Act II has always dragged for me, and why it dragged in the movie. I get it. You're in love. Now, let's hear Eponine sing "On My Own"!

Eponine (Samantha Barks aka Eponine): Samantha played Eponine on stage. So, yeah, they did with her what they should have done with Javert. She did a great job, I liked her as Eponine. She's not my favorite, Lea Salonga is, but Lea Salonga plays Fantine and a million other parts also and happens to be one of my favorite stage actresses ever. She's also too old to play Eponine now, so Samantha Barks is fine.

Marius (Eddie Redmayne, aka Jack from Pillars of the Earth, one of the worst book adaptations ever made): I've never had much love for Marius either. Like Cosette, his sickeningly sweet love songs always wanted to make me barf. You're in love suddenly right when your friends need you? Whatever, dude. Anyway, Eddie did a very nice job, and I had pretty low expectations. So, he exceeded them. He even made me like Marius a little, which is saying a lot. Maybe Marius has some redeeming qualities.

Everyone else (Enjolras, Young Cosette, Gavroche): They were all fine. No complaints, they seemed pretty true to what I would expect.

The Songs: I didn't hate the new song. I know it was only put in there just so it could be nominated for an Oscar, and it was fine. But, I honestly wish the Academy would create a category for best Adapted song so that musicals could stop doing that. It's tiring and it meant other songs got removed! "Do You Hear the People Sing" was spot on and PERFECT. AWESOME. "One Day More" is probably my very favorite song, and I liked it, but it was one of the songs that Russell Crowe ruined, and I was in the bathroom for the very beginning (I'm pregnant).

Overall: I thought it was good. I seriously wish Russell Crowe hadn't been cast, as you can tell, but the excellent singing and acting from everyone else made up for it. It was FAR better than the Phantom of the Opera movie a few years ago, and I still give it a solid "see it in the theater" rating.

My Movie Rating scale:

  • See it in the theater <-- les="" li="" miserables="">
  • Wait for the DVD
  • Wait for it to come out on HBO
  • Wait for it to come out on network TV with commercials and heavy editing
  • Don't watch it at all. Ever.

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Little Cayman 2013

On the pier at Sunset

... and I reveal the sex of the baby in this post, so keep on reading!

Our friends Ellen and Matt typically go to Little Cayman every November, and in 2012 we thought about taking a trip down to meet up with them in November. I called and found out that Ellen and Matt had actually decided to come down in January, and the dates of their trip happened to coincide with the Disney Marathon. So, that wasn't going to work. In the end, Todd got a new job in October and he really couldn't take off of work anyway, so we ended up not going anywhere.

21 weeks pregnant here
Then, I got pregnant.

At first, I thought I would still run a piece of the marathon - the first 8 miles, which would allow me to run from Epcot to the Magic Kingdom, up Main Street and then allow me to exit the course right in front of the Polynesian Resort, where Todd and I could get some breakfast and take the monorail to get back to our hotel. I am glad that we didn't go through with this plan because by the time marathon week came, I was struggling to get 3-4 miles in and Disney would have been a disappointment. Instead, sometime in November, I asked Todd if he would rather meet Ellen & Matt in Little Cayman, and then we could call the trip our "Babymoon."* We invited our friend Bill & Gerry to join us, and booked our trip to coincide with Matt & Ellen's. But, we didn't tell Matt & Ellen that we were joining them and planned to surprise them.

Another surprise? We'd had our anatomy ultrasound on the Monday before we left on the trip. We had the ultrasound tech put the sex of the baby into an envelope and brought it with us on the trip. The plan was to give the envelope to the staff, and then they would bake us a cake with either a blue or pink filling. We would cut the cake to find out if the baby is a boy or a girl.

A quick side note - during the ultrasound, I felt like I saw boy parts and then I thought I saw girl parts (fyi, you DO actually see girl parts, it's not like you see a penis or nothing). So, I wasn't really sure what I saw. Todd felt like he saw girl parts and did NOT see boy parts. So, he INSISTED that it was a girl. He was convinced. He convinced me, too, so on the flights down to Little Cayman, we discussed girl names and girl nursery ideas (in the end, our nursery will be the same regardless of the sex of the baby).
With the cake

We arrived in Little Cayman in the evening of January 10. I jumped out of the car and ran around to the bar, where I knew Matt would be. He was surprised! We went over and knocked on their room door, and Ellen answered and she was surprised, too! It was too fun. Good times.

Since I am pregnant, I cannot scuba dive, so it was totally sad for me to go out to the boat and watch it pull away without me. I had thought that I would be able to go out on the boat with everyone, but our dive master told me no - the wind was sustained at nearly 20mph and the water was just too rough for me to be out on the boat. We were about to find out how rough it was.

The boat pulled away, I got into the hammock, and I was surprised a few minutes later when the boat arrived back at the dock. Going through the cut out of the lagoon, the boat had hit a series of a couple of very very large waves. It went up in the air and slammed back down, and Ellen had fallen onto her back. They had turned around and brought her back, and she ended up going to the medical clinic on the island and then spent the rest of the day in her room.

I ended up spending the day, and all of my days, in the hammock with some breaks for snacking, yoga, and little dips in the pool (which was freezing cold). I got lots of reading, napping and relaxation in while Todd was exploring Bloody Bay Wall with Bill.
Bill and Todd on the reef, be sure to check out
the rest of Todd's underwater photos at Red Bubble!

Friday night, Ellen was still in a lot of pain and couldn't make it to dinner. We (me, Todd, Bill and Gerry) visited her in her room. We decided to put off our gender cake reveal until Saturday in the hopes that Ellen and Matt could be there.

Saturday, though, Ellen was no better and they decided to head to Grand Cayman to get some more tests done (you cannot even get an X-ray on Little Cayman). Divers Alert Network (DAN) had her airlifted off of the island, and Gerry and I (Gerry wasn't diving either since she had a cold) spent the morning with Ellen at the medical clinic and at the airport to keep her company, since she was pretty nervous. HUGE shout out to DAN, by the way. I do NOT understand people who dive without DAN coverage. By Sunday, we knew that Ellen had a fractured vertebrae, and she ended up getting airlifted all the way back to Indianapolis. She's currently recovering from surgery that she had on January 17.
Gerry & Bill
So, Saturday evening we had our baby cake cutting party with Bill, Gerry and the staff and other guests of the resort. This was a special thing for us to do there, since we got married there in 2009. We weren't sure how this whole cake thing would go, but as it turned out, it was so special and wonderful! I am so happy that we did it this way - it was SO much better than finding out in the doctors office. Gerry took a video, so here you can see us doing the cake cutting... (and a special thanks to my co-worker, Jared, who was the one to tell me that this was even a thing that couples are doing now)

(Yep, I am making you watch the video to find out the sex of the baby)

Since I was unable to dive and pretty sad about it, the resort arranged to take the pontoon boat out for snorkeling. Seth Chwast, who is an autistic artist, was staying at the resort as well, and he was going out snorkeling every day, so it meant there were plenty of us out on the boat to snorkel. I did fine, although snorkeling did make me pretty tired (we were staying out for about 60-90 minutes at a time). I got to see lot of juvenile fish, plus an octopus and a spotted eagle ray.
Baby's first snorkel

One day, Todd and I went up to Point of Sand, which is a lovely beach on the island that we'd only visited once before. We were the only people there, so it was nice to snorkel and have some quiet time, plus we picked up a bag of trash while we were there. At Point of Sand, I got to see a nurse shark. I never did get to see a turtle, though, so this was my very first trip to Little Cayman where I did not see a sea turtle. :(

We ended up having a wonderful trip, even though it was clouded by the fact that our friends whom we'd gone down to surprise had barely gotten onto the island before having to leave. But, I am happy to report that Ellen is recovering nicely and she is expected to make it back to Little Cayman in July (although we will not, since we'll have a newborn).

* I've read that there are two meanings for the word babymoon, one is when you go on one last "couple" trip before the baby is born, which is how I use it, and one that means the time period right after the baby is born, which is the meaning that I feel kind of "meh" about.

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