Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Mom's on her way (no baby yet)

My mom is on her way to the airport as I type. She will be here by (my) Wednesday afternoon. We put together all sorts of auxiliary plans just in case I was in labor and could not get to the airport to pick her up, but given that 1st labors are often over 8-12 hours and we've got nothing started yet, it seems likely that I'll be there to get her.

And of course she apparently has 2 suitcases and a carry-on packed full of baby goodies.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Furniture shopping

This past weekend we finally went out and did some furniture shopping that we have been meaning to do for... um... about a year. We were even well prepared as we went around the apartment and took measurements and made lists of the stuff we would like to get. Our first purchase? My stool!!
I am very excited about this stool as I have been searching around the apartment for something just this height. Shown next to one of our dining room chairs for scale, this lovely three legged stool can be seen on the streets of Beijing as a comfortable and portable seat for some of the more elderly population. It is just slightly above squatting height so if you want to squat (which is the way many Chinese hang out) it can take the pressure off your thighs.

It is also very useful if you think you might want to do some squatting during the first stage of labor but find that your legs get tired after about 10 minutes. It is a great little stool!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Preggers Massages

One of the great joys of living here in Beijing are the massages. (This has ever so briefly been mentioned here, here, and here.) Unfortunately for me, they are somewhat off limits to pregnant women. There are some pretty strong feelings about messing with pressure points, chi, or preggers in general and possibly causing bad things to happen to the baby. At one point I was thinking about visiting a friend's Chinese doctor and acupressurist to see if he could help with my 1st trimester nausea. (He had done AMAZING things for her.) My friend told the doc the situation and asked if he could help. His response was. "I can see her after the baby is born." Not so helpful.

So, while I am still feeling pretty darn good, a nice, deep back, foot, and leg massage would be wonderful. I tried about a month ago and the masseur asked me if I was pregnant. After I said 'yup' he told me the foot massage would then need to be "light light". sigh.

Then, a funny thing happened. When I was out earlier this week I met a Chinese woman at the hospital and she didn't realize I was pregnant. Admittedly I was wearing some baggy clothes but still. I was short of shocked... and then I had a brilliant idea :)

After being joined by a friend, we made our way to my favorite massage place and, being careful to never do anything really tell tale, like rubbing the belly, asked for 2 foot massages. 90 minutes later the world was a much more relaxed place. Ahhh - it felt so nice.

Last note -I did check with various massage experts from other cultures and other than 2 specific pressure points, they all said it was safe and not to worry. But I am looking forward to being able to go with no subterfuge.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Monday, July 23, 2007

New Polling Question

Since it has come up in conversations a few times now, we thought we'd let our worldwide friends get in on the biggest ShamrockJews question yet! When will Moose arrive! We've started a poll below which should allow you to enter your very own personal guess.
(This is the first time we've tried to use this software and we can't really check it since we can't view the blog, but hopefully it will all be spiffy keen.)

Using my higher level math skills, I can tell you that the due date is only 9 days away.
9 months, 9 days, whatever.
UPDATE: it turns out the poll won't automatically show all the "other" responses let alone tell us who wrote them. So if you are willing to take the time to write your answers out under the comments section - even better!

One More Down

Finished another MBA class on Sunday, this one was strategic information systems - quite interesting. Well, almost finished. Still have to turn in my 10 page post-work assignment but other than that...
To celebrate, I decided to share this class picture from 2 classes ago.
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Friday, July 20, 2007

Belly Love

Here is Roxanne in her favorite pose looking for a little belly lov'n

She is one floofy kitty

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Class Time

Its that time again so I am back in class. I'm feeling pretty lucky that Moose is not giving me too hard a time with these 10 hour days. I did come prepared with a whole bag full of snacks and drinks.

My classmates have been very helpful by linking arms with me when I walk between the classroom and our group work rooms. They are also making sure that I eat enough and that I don't carry too much - like my laptop.

I am doing my best to just enjoy the attention and assistance.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wild Animals of Beijing

One of our good friends in town, Maya of blog-posts past, lives in a traditional Chinese courtyard home. Occasionally she gets visits from a huang shu lang.

A what?

You heard me, a huang shu lang. This is sort of a ferret like creature who hangs around some of the older sections of Beijing. You can see some pictures of a little one here. A huang shu lang sighting is generally considered good luck and Maya was really looking forward to seeing some.

Then, when Maya and Jeremy were out hiking in the wilds outside of Beijing they also ran into a pig badger.

Again we can hear you say: A what?

Well, this one we had not heard of before, but you can read more about it here.

They got some crazy animals here in China.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

French cooking and butter

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That's right. We invited a bunch of pregnant women over for brunch this past weekend and thought they'd really appreciate a pan full of butter with a brick of cream cheese thrown in there to mix things up a bit.

What? You don't believe me? Okay, here's a little more context for you: The recipe is for Indian-style scrambled eggs. We love Indian food, so this seemed like a winner out of the gate. The problem, it turns out, is that the Frog Commissary is a French Cookbook, not an Indian one. So they don't really understand that loads of butter and cream cheese (and enough black pepper to make steak au poive) may not make for the most convincingly authentic Indian food. But what the heck! It's got 16 eggs to go with all of that, so maybe we can pretend it's the French version of the Adkins diet.

Sorry to keep hammering on how much butter we put into this dish, but the photograph doesn't do it justice. The butter you see there is just for the scrambled eggs (which also got the full brick of cream cheese added), and the base of that omelette pan the butter's sitting in is a full 12 inches across. I had to toss in another half-stick to make the tomato relish and rice-and-dhal sides that were meant to pair up with this lipid bonanza.

Birthing Group

This past spring we took a birthing class at the hospital. 2 weeks ago the first member of our class gave birth to a lovely little girl. Michael and I were interested in hearing more, and the group was pretty fun, so we invited a few of the couples over to the apartment on Saturday for lunch. We are planning on posting some more about the food soon, but for now all we have is this picture. Cara and Travis with little Gabriella are in the middle. Michael and I are the next ones due. Then comes Anna and Justin who are next to us. And the last ones up to bat are Carolyn and Josh on the far left side.

We all have the same doc at the hospital too.
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Friday, July 13, 2007

Spoke Too Soon

Apparently Moose thought that I was getting it too easy, so in order to make me eat my words from last Friday,these last 3 days have gotten a little harder. Its not really painful, but comfortable sitting positions seems to have disappeared and sleep has suddenly become problematic.
Also the belly itself seems suddenly much heavier and bigger.

In response to these changes I am trying to swim more and I've even spent a little time in the hot tub -Don't worry, I cleared it with the doc first, and it feels sooooo nice!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Kitties in Closet

Can you spot the kitties?
Our 2 little pets have developed a real fondness for my closet. They have also figured out how to push open the folding doors so it is pretty impossible to keep them out. I don't always know when they are in there, but I can always tell after the fact since my shirts are on the ground and what was once somewhat reasonably ordered piles are all jumbled together and covered with a LOT of cat hair. Just in case you could not pick out the obnoxious hair balls in the first pic, here are 2 more to help you out.



Tuesday, July 10, 2007

9 month belly pics

Apparently I have been negligent about pics again, so here are 2 just to temporarily stop the threatening emails, here are 2 pics taken today. Moose sure is growing these days!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Getting ready

On Saturday we installed the baby's car seat so that we would be ready.
On Sunday it was kind of fun driving the car around and seeing the seat just waiting for its occupant in the back seat.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Loving the rain storm

Right now my computer is situated so that I look west over Beijing as I type. In the afternoons this can be a little problematic as the sun is essentially setting directly before me. Often this is solved by pulling the blinds. Today though, as 6:30pm approached (sunset is officially at 7:30), looking out the window all I could see was a hazy dark brown in the fading twilight and keeping the blinds up presented no problem. Well, keeping them up made me sort of depressed because a brown sky is just not all that fun to look at, but glare was not a problem.

And then the rain started.
One of the hardest rains I have witnessed to date in this city. Made me think of Florida summers at 3:30pm and the regular afternoon 15 minute rain storms. Fantastic stuff.

As the rain reached it hardest drive and pounded the window ledge and glass, the skies became progressively lighter and brighter - not something I would normally associate with heavy rain. After a heavy rain as the clouds pass, sure it should get brighter, but during? This seems odd. The only conclusion I could draw is that the brown haze was actually pollution suspended in the air and it was being knocked down by this amazing rain. Yay, but also, ugh.

It became so clear that the Western Hills became visible during the downpour and the sun, still 4 inches above the horizon, (at 1 Cara-arm of full extension) could be seen in spite of the rain.

Now the rain has mostly passed and is only at a drizzle. I had to lower the thin blind to prevent being blinded by the setting sun shining down from a blue sky with white clouds on a pink-tinged city.

Pretty sweet.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

9 months!

Wow, we are now in the final stretch. We've folks asking how its all going and the answer is, pretty darn good. I'm not really uncomfortable other than when I try to sit on the soft couch; Sleeping is still not a problem; and I only waddle when I get really tired.

Our lovely doc now has me on weekly visits to the hospital (which is totally normal) but the positive side of that is that a good friend of ours works at the hospital so it is a chance for us to go for lunch.

Moose is still growing and her movements are getting stronger though she hasn't yet given me one of the lungs or bladder kicks that I have heard so much about. In fact, she is doing so well that a second ultrasound is not medically necessary, so we won't be clearing up the last 20% boy/girl uncertainty until she makes her grand appearance.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th!

To celebrate the 4th of July we had a few friends over and cooked up some good ol' American favorites.
The menu was as follows:
  • Deviled eggs - first time we'd tried this one. came out mmmmm
  • Spinach and onion dip and many veggies
  • Potato chips - didn't even get the crazy Chinese flavors, but stuck with classics and BBQ flavor and Sour Cream and Onion in honor of this fine holiday
  • Vegetarian stew and wheat bread - What, you didn’t see this at your picnic?
  • Buffalo wings with blue cheese dressing - more on this later
  • Greek salad - so maybe not so American, but tastes really good
  • Lemon pie - Thank you Sarah!
  • Chocolate no bake cookies
  • Watermelon
  • And beer of course
One of the funny things in preparing for this meal is that we needed mayonnaise for a few dishes (blue cheese dressing the deviled eggs to be precise.) It is apparently possible to buy it in some of the local stores, (as we learned while serving the food described above. Better late than never) but we didn't know where and it turns out that Joy of Cooking has a recipe for it... so we made our own. This is an interesting process and a stand mixer is VERY useful. Not sure that it tasted anything like the store bought stuff and it is definitely not white since it is made with egg yolks, but it did seem to do the job.

Another fun new item was the chicken wings. One of our guests informed us that he has tried most of the wings available in Beijing and they are pretty uniformly bad. Today though, he was finally satisfied. I thought Michael was overestimating when he recommended we get about 90 wings for 6 adults, but since we only have about 20 left, and that's with serving the wings after all the other non-dessert food was served. If you want to try to make them, check out this site at Recipe Zaar.

Only thing we were missing was fire works which is sort of surprising considering how easy they are to get most of time.

Hope everyone in the US is enjoying the holiday!