New Digs

Last week was exceedingly busy. As I mentioned previously, my company moved our offices. Last week was our first week in the new place, so there was a lot of unpacking and organizing going on. That and arranging my desk and then changing my mind and rearranging it and then changing my mind again. Twas fun! At least I’m pretty much settled now.

It has been interesting coming to the new building. I’ve been working in our old office building for five years, so this was a big change. Our new offices are located about a half mile away from the old, but since this is downtown Dallas we’re talking about, it means a completely different route into work. Plus, a new parking garage. And that’s really the issue here. Parking garages can be a nightmare and learning to navigate one when it’s rush hour and everyone is trying to get to work and has ZERO patience for your screw-ups…. well, it’s a high pressure scenario. Plus, our old garage was a relatively small garage, with a simple design and flow. Very intuitive. The new garage is massive. Three entrances/exits from three different streets, twelve stories. It’s technically two garages enmeshed in each other. I’ve parked in a completely new area every single day and I remain amazed that I haven’t lost my car (yet).

The new location has given a zip to the day though. I liken it to starting a new semester at school. There’s some nervousness over going to the right classroom or building. Figuring out all the unspoken rules that govern the area (everyone walks on this escalator or no one speaks in the elevators here). Desperately trying to make sure you don’t accidentally out yourself as the new person. Figuring out the best routes coming and going. Discovering what’s in the area. It’s been fun!

I also feel even more …. urban workforce chic? Is that a thing? Our new office is located in a true skyscraper. Since the building has the clout of being a legit tower, we have a few amenities not given to our previous mid-rise building. For one thing, the parking garage is directly connected to our building via a tunnel of sorts that runs through adjacent buildings and below ground at some points. That has made the slightly longer walk from the garage amazing. Just this morning, it was raining and yet I didn’t need to bring an umbrella or my rain boots. Such luxury! Another such perk is the sundry shop located below the lobby that I need to check out and the dry cleaners that’s technically in the garage. So handy! We also have key cards for this new building

Anyway, hopefully I’ll settle into a new routine this week. Wish me luck!



The other day, on my drive home from work, I started counting up the words that the dumpling can say now. I came up with quite an impressive list (at least, impressive to me) and I realized that I haven’t memorialized what he can say in a while. So, without further ado and presented in as close to chronological order as I can get, a narrated list of the words that my child knows:

Uh-oh – a classic favorite that really just means, something needs your attention!
Dada –
a word for either mama or dada if I am in a good mood
Mama –
a word explicitly for mama if I am very upset
Up – now woman!
Down – now woman!
Off –
comes out as “oss” and it really means will you open/close/put-on/take-off this?
More –
self-explanatory, but it comes of as “ore”
All done! – and you have two seconds before I toss this to the floor!
Water –
Outside –
Walk – I don’t care what you’re doing, but it’s time to get outside for a walk!
Shoes – shus?? shus??? where are you???
Sock –
This –
Oh this! – oh my gosh I need this right now!!!
Cracker –
he actually pronounces this one pretty darn close, he’s just missing the hard c
Yes –
I feel like it must be noted that he’s a toddler who actually does say yes
No – and I’m not even sure why you would suggest that, mother
Dressed –
as in, let’s go get you dressed!
Block – let’s play!
Bye –
the sweetest little “bye” you’ve ever heard
Truck –
OMFG it’s a TRUCK!!!!
Hi –
only said if you’re very lucky
Circle –
“ircle” said every time he sees a circle

Currently, he’s working very hard on brush (as in, to brush his teeth), wash (as in, to wash the clothes), and mulk (aka, milk). Then, there are other things that I’m fairly sure he’s just mimicking, like just like that (as in the spider caught the fly in her web, just like that) or coke (as in, gotta get dad a coke!). It’s always challenging to find the line between he knows that word and he’s repeating that word. He can also answer what sound a (1) dog, (2) cat, or (3) dinosaur makes.

All in all, he’s made a lot of progress since as of about three/four months ago he could only say uh-oh and dada.

The Newborn Chronicles: 7w2d

The Dumpling is seven weeks old! And a couple of days! Holy smokes. He has his two month appointment next week (at 8 weeks on the dot). He’ll get several vaccines and we’ll get a chance to check on his weight gain and growth. Woo!

I’m also looking forward to next week (and dreading at the same time) because my mom is coming into town to watch the dumpling as Luffy and I go to my office’s Christmas party. I’m excited to get out and be around adults again, and I am also already a bunch of nerves over leaving the dumpling and pumping and making sure he has enough milk and what if my mom can’t get him to sleep and what if he misses me and wants to nurse and I’m not there – WHAT IF I ASK YOU???? Good thing we’re leaving him with my mom for our first outing. I can’t even imagine leaving him with a babysitter.

In other news, over the weekend we had some friends over. They had their first child in June and we got to commiserate with them over the challenges of early parenthood that no one tells you about. No one discusses how hard it is and how you might not really like the newborn days and how it doesn’t really get easier by the fabled three-month mark (I mean, it might for some, but tell that to my friend who has spent the last few weeks camped out on her son’s floor because he’s going through a growth spurt/sleep regression that won’t quit). We chatted about waking up at night and nursing and sleep and just doing what you need to do to get by. It was quite refreshing.

In non-dumpling related news – I am proud to say that I’ve got my Christmas shopping done! And here I thought everyone would get gift card this year. Go me! Now if only I could find time or the motivation to get the Christmas tree up, then I’d really give myself a gold star.

Last bit of news – time to document some firsts:
– We got our first social smile a couple of weeks ago. I think he’s really starting to recognize us and will give us more smiles each day.
– We moved up a diaper size! He’s no longer in newborns and is in (comically large) size 1’s. We had to do it though, the newborns were just way too tiny to fit up over his legs. He’s very long.
– I went back to my exercise class this past Saturday! It felt so good to work out and be back at the center.
– The dumpling is staying awake for longer stretches. He can now be awake for almost an hour and a half! He’s also really starting to notice things around him (for better or worse when it’s 2am and he just wants to stare at the shadows on the ceiling)

Now I have to cut this a bit short because the dumpling just woke up!

32 weeks and counting

32 weeks…. thirty-two weeks down…. eight weeks left…

[insert minor freak out]

Time seems to be speeding up a bit. Not in a way that helps all of the aches and pains that go along with being very pregnant, but in a I-swear-it-was-just-June way. I mean it’s September. SEPTEMBER PEOPLE. How?

Things I can now do:
1. Answer “two months” when people ask how long I have left.
2. Answer “next month” when people ask when Little Dumpling’s due.

Things I can no longer do:
1. Put on shoes without considerable effort and bending and grunting.
2. Make it to a reasonable hour before succumbing to exhaustion from a day’s worth grueling tasks such as walking or standing or sitting.

So! 32 weeks and counting, let’s get a little pregnancy update!

Baby Showers
I’ve now had two baby showers: one thrown by my group fitness ladies and another thrown by my family. They were lovely and we’ve started accumulating quite an adorable collection of baby clothes.

I went to the family and family friends shower in my hometown over the weekend. Probably the best part was getting to see my granddad (the same one who lost his wife last year). I know this has to be hard on him, as I imagine he wishes my grandma could be around for this pregnancy and to meet her great-grandson. My mom tells me that he asks about me and Little Dumpling every time he talks to her and that he was so excited for the shower, he loaded his present into his van six full days before he made the trip. It was wonderful getting to see him and catch up. His present quite literally brought tears to my eyes. (It was a stuffed bear that holds a tiny blanket between his paws and uses it to play peekaboo when you press his paw. Seriously! Peekaboo! So precious!)

It was nice to see all the family friends as well and my good friend Liz even made it into town! My mom and a family friend hosted, which was awesome because it ensured that some of my favorite foods were included. My mom even had the great idea to take a recipe that called for mason jar presentation and put it into reusable baby food containers (which I’ll get). Of course, it’s wonderful to get the presents, but I mainly enjoy getting to celebrate Little Dumpling and his imminent arrival. It’s amazing to see just how many people are excited for us.

The Nursery
While I wouldn’t say my nesting drive has kicked into overdrive, I’ve definitely stepped up my preparation. Our crib and changing table are ready to go. I’ve framed some watercolor prints I bought (of course I had them for a month or so before I finally got around to framing them). I haven’t hung them, but that’s mainly because the darn frames require two nails to hang, rather than one, so I need to go to Target for more hooks first. I’ve also started organizing and washing the hand-me-down clothes we’ve received. I purchased a bin for the larger sizes so I could fold those up and put them away. I’ve hung up all the smaller sizes. The changing table drawers (which double for our dresser) are filled with PJ’s and basic onesies and drool bibs (all washed and ready). I’ve prepped our cloth diapers and have plans to organize the drawers (I’m thinking for the tiny stuff like socks I’ll just have mini bins and I might also get some dividers to separate the sizes of larger stuff…. still brainstorming this one).  Every time I walk in there, I complete some task and bring us one step closer to being ready.

My Body
I’ve reached that point in my pregnancy where literally just existing is exhausting. I am worn out at the end of each day, even if I’ve just spent the day sitting on the couch. My abdominal muscles are tight because they’re so stretched. If I stand for more than a minute, my feet start to hurt. If I sit in one position too long, my body protests. I am always hungry. My stomach is cramped. My lungs are actually getting a touch cramped now as well. (Although, I really think that I’ve been blessed in this area because (a) he’s been so low and (b) I think my abs have been holding him fairly contained for a while. A lot of women started complaining about being out of breath or feeling kicks in the ribs starting around week 24 or so and I’ve really just now started feeling this way.)

So yeah, not really a walk in the park over here, not that I ever expected it to be. I must say though, I do love the belly and the kicks and movement. Right now, I can feel him rolling around in there. At the airport Friday night, I was rubbing my belly because he was awake. I had my hand over on my left side, just under my rib cage, and I swear I felt his little foot! I was sitting there completely confused because WTH is that thing??? Is that my rib?? Hmmm… as I circled my fingers around this little protrusion. Then it disappeared back into me and it hit me that it must have been his foot! How crazy! I do wish Luffy could feel more of his movement, but Little Dumpling seems to be the most active whenever we’re apart (like right now at work, for instance, he’s moving up a storm or, at night, he’ll give me a few hard kicks and then instantly go back to sleep before Luffy has a chance to feel).

That’s about it for now. I know I’ll blink and he’ll be here, so it seems trite to say, but I’ll say it anyway: I’m so excited to meet this little guy and I can’t wait until he gets here!

Hold Please

Work. Woooooork. My apologies for being incommunicado this week but work things y’all. In technical speak, they went kablooey. Only time for quick updates:

  • Jas has, for the past two nights, woken us up around 4 in the morning with incessant, loud meowing. I think maybe something’s scaring her?  I walked around with her this morning, kissing her little head and rubbing her back, trying to find something that looked out of place or unusual. Couldn’t find anything (to be fair, I also didn’t look that hard at four in the morning). Luffy, on the other hand, just thinks she’s hungry and announcing her woes.
  • We got the crib mattress in! I got it unwrapped and into the crib yesterday afternoon. Then I put Jas in it – you know, to visualize a small infant in there. And to see what she’d do. It’s the small things really.
  • We’re going out of town this weekend for a friend’s birthday party. There will be lots of booze and food and festivities and I will …. try not to scare the children in a bikini. And also try to stay up past the hour of 10pm.
  • So after I got all uppity last week about the weather – we’ve had a cool front here and it’s been absolutely wonderful. Humidity is still high (as evidenced by my hair which is a giant wave of frizz right now), but I’ll take mid-80’s and humid over 100’s and humid any day.
  • Little Dumpling’s good! He’s kicking away in there and I think he got his first case of the hiccups last night!

Aaaaaand that’s all I’ve got folks. Back to the trenches.

Furbaby Situation: An Update Part II

Well I finally have some good news to share on the furbaby situation: Jas seems to be responding very well to her heart medication (an ACE inhibitor, for anyone curious).

She’s been on it for almost two weeks now and has made several improvements. Her appetite has returned and, although she’s still not up to eating her meal in one sitting (like she used to), she does at least finish all of her food and seems eager for her next meal. She finished all of her salmon last night. She’s playing with her toys again, climbing into the tub again. She’s also sleeping with us, or at least visiting us at night, again. She’s vocal and perky and her eyes are bright (with some new gray furs in her face, I might add). She greets me when I come home and has resumed curling up for a nap in her normal spots (the kitchen window, for instance).

She had her blood work done last Friday and that came back looking just fine, thank goodness. (According to the drug info, the ACE inhibitor paired with the diuretic greatly increases the odds of complications, so we were glad to see that she seems to be handling it well.) The vet wants to see her back in another week or so for a second round of x-rays to judge the amount of fluid remaining in her chest cavity. She might get to come off the diuretic at that point, if she’s looking good.

We’re just so happy to have our darling girl back. As cliche as it sounds, I appreciate so much more, having thought we might lose her. Every time she decides to curl up with me, I’m reminded how lucky I am. Every time she visits me while I’m getting ready (a morning ritual of hers), I’m reminded of how much I missed these little routines and her presence. Every time she stretches out or curls up, I think back to just a few short weeks ago, when she could hardly do anything but lay in distress, and thank our lucky stars that she pulled through.

She’s by no means out of the woods yet and a diagnosis of heart disease isn’t the greatest outcome, but I’m so happy she’s doing better.

Furbaby Situation

Well, I felt she deserved an upgrade from “drama,” my sweet little Jas.

As you can probably guess, the weekend did not go well for us. In a silver-lining light, Jas did not get (much) worse. She also did not get any better. She didn’t eat more than a bite or two of food each day and she spent most of the weekend laying in cabinets, under the bed, and on the couch. We already knew we were going to take her back to the vet this morning. So we did, bright and early.

They took all of her vitals and we were pleased to note that she was not running a fever. I heard the vet conferring with another vet before coming in the room with us. She was upfront and honest: Jas was not exhibiting signs of any typical diseases (or even atypical ones). She is a mystery, an interesting case. The vet presented us with a couple of options: we could run more diagnostic tests, an x-ray, or we could give her an antibiotic and see if that helped. We chose to do an x-ray.

They x-rayed her abdomen and decided to do her chest as well, just to see. We’re so glad they did because it was the chest x-ray that finally gave us a clue as to what’s kept Jas feeling so unwell. To everyone’s surprise, the x-ray showed something solid where her right lung should be. It also showed plenty of fluid around the lung. They aspirated a sample of the fluid, but found only blood in the fluid (no malignant cells or infection). Our vet admitted that she was completely shocked by this as Jas presented no signs of respiratory distress. In other words, Jas is once again too smart for her own good. She’s been limiting her activity to keep her heart rate and respiration low. She’s been helping herself by keeping calm and collected. She also made it near impossible to detect the underlying cause.

So right now, our options are an infection, a growth in her lung, or trauma (she didn’t have  any broken bones, but she could have seriously bruised her lung from a fall). We’re tackling infection first, especially since she responded so well to the antibiotic the first time. (She was also running a fever then, indicative of an infection, but isn’t now, so it could be that whatever it is was infected and the antibiotics cleared that up and made her at least somewhat more comfortable.) The next step would be an ultrasound to try and answer the question of tumor or trauma. For now though, she’s stable enough that our action isn’t critical. She got the antibiotic shot; we’re going to wait and see if that helps. The vet sent the aspirated fluid to their lab to have further testing done; we’ll wait for those results. We’ll see later tomorrow, or perhaps Wednesday, what our next step is.

With this, we come to the inevitable question of the intrinsic value of a pet. When the vet starts recommending test after test or treatment after treatment, at what point do you draw the line?

Everyone has a different answer, of course. It might even be a different answer for different pets and there’s no shame in that. Luffy and I were forced into this conversation this morning for obvious reasons. A specialist, an ultrasound, are going to be costly and that’s not even a treatment. Jas means the world to me, for so many reasons. She is my baby, my little girl. She is queen among my family’s cats. Even to my mother, Jas is special. She did so much for me when I was going through hard times and, like I said then, I truly do credit her with giving me the confidence and courage to get myself out of a bad relationship. So to me, she is priceless. Within reason (I mean, we do need to eat at the end of the day), money is no object. I am so very, very thankful that I am in a position to say that. To spend that. To help her. To save her. And I am so blessed to have Luffy because he knows what she means to me, and Jas has come to mean a lot to him too. Thus, we will do whatever is necessary.