Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day new moms and dads

In year's past, my Valentine's Day card said, "To my beautiful wife, best friend, and companion. I love you!" And this year, a smile comes to my face as I read the addition to that "and, mother to our children."

If your baby is not born yet, like mine, rub the belly and send kisses to your little one. Hug those that you have, and give all your love to your significant other for together you have made the greatest gift on earth - your child(ren).

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

It's not just about a name, but the initials

In finding a name for our baby, we have ideas of things we don't want to put our child through, like being picked on, mispronunciation of her name, and being mistaken for a boy. I guess the list could go on, but those are our biggest concerns. We have a list of names and have thought about initials for first, middle and last name...

I have a confession: I am a data geek or a data rock star (which is why you have seen visualizations like birth trends by month or What's in a name? on my blog). The other day my co-worker suggested that I name my kid so that the initials are CSV. I thought about it, intrigued, but we had not thought of any names that start with the letter C so I swept it under the rug. Until just the other night when we thought of a C name that stuck with us. Well fortunately, and unfortunately, it did not stick with us that long; the next day I went to my co-worker the good news about finding a C name that would fit the initials and that opened a can of worms. Next thing I know my co-worker is adding that now we can call her Dot for a nickname, you know .CSV. I did not like dot as a nickname, but it did not stop there. Another co-worker chimed in, or you could call her "flat files." At that moment, the C name was off the short list! I thanked him for adding his input as I probably would not have thought of that, and as he put it (with sarcasm,) what adolescent girl doesn't want to be called flat files?

There you have it, it's not just the name, but the initials.

My suggestion is to try out a name, hear how it sounds, what emotions does it bring, and can you live with saying it for years - if so, you've got yourself a baby name.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

August is the highest birth month for King County, in WA state

According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more births in September of 2010 than any other month that year, followed by August, June, and July, in that order.

That led me to wondering whether that holds true for Washington State, or King County for that matter.

I did the numbers and it turns out March is the highest birth month for King County, followed by August, September and June for 2010. And overall in 2010 for Washington State, August is the highest birth month followed by September, May and July. Data is based on Washington State Department of Health birth data.

You can check out the numbers, in this visualization I created that shows the trends of births by year and month for Washington State counties from 1980 to 2010.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

DIY onesie decorating - embroidery

I was inspired by a amytangerine's camera onesie, that I decided to make one myself.

I was in-search for a pink bodysuit. I've been impressed with how inexpensive you can find onesies at kid's consignment shops, usually 99 cents to $3.99, that I stopped by Paron's Closet, There I found a Nordstrom baby organic cotton onesie for $3.99, which regularly retails at $32!

I decided on a pink onesie as it would be oh so cute with the zebra printed fabric I had picked up from a friend. I borrowed the fabric and embroidery materials, so the only cost to me was my time (approximately 30 minutes) and the cost of the onesie. If I had not been able to borrow from a friend, it would have cost about $15 for all materials, which is not bad considering I could have paid $25 to $40 regularly.  

Here is all you need to know if you want to give it a try...

Materials: five inch embroidery hoop, embroidery needle and thread, tracing paper with a design penciled on, sharp small scissors, and a onesie.

1. Draw/trace the design of your choice onto tracing paper
2. Place fabric inside of onesie and tracing paper on top, then sandwich all of this with the embroidery hoop. Tip: make sure the fabric is taught before moving on and that the picture is placed correctly (preferably centered)
3. You are now ready to stitch the design, using the lines drawn on the tracing paper as your guide
4. When finished stitching, pull the tracing paper off - do not take apart the embroidery hoop
5. Using small sharp scissors, cut-out the insides of the camera to expose the fabric
6. Remove the hoop and iron any wrinkles out (optional)
7. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Boy vs. Girl parts on an ultrasound

At 20 weeks I went in for my regularly schedule ultrasound, the one where they count all ten fingers and toes and check the organs. Sure I wanted to know that we were having a healthy baby, but the real excitement was finding out the sex. The technician started at the head and trailed down to the genitals. I did not want to rush the experience, however I wish she cut to the chase right at the start. Before she told us the sex, I was focused on these three very bright lines where I thought the genitals would be. Indeed, next thing I know she is announcing we are having a girl!

You might be wondering, how do you know whether it is a girl or a boy? Three lines spaced out from each other is a girl, which I thought looked like a bear scratch. And, a tortoise shaped for a boy.

While our ultrasound technician took some very good pictures, we did not get a shot of her goods. Instead here are a couple pictures, on About.com, that are a good representation of what a girl vs. a boy looks like at different stages of pregnancy:

Feel free to share your experience of finding out the sex of your baby. For me, I was in awe at the detail of the brain and spine, mainly that there was a baby in there, and cried when we found out it was a girl. We had his parents in the room with us too. It was very touching to say the least.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Top Baby Names by Year

Trying to decide on a baby name? Want to know how popular the name has been over the years? Or, maybe you are just looking for girl or boy names.

With this Tableau powered visualization called "Top Baby Names by Year" you can choose male or female names and get the ranking of the top 1,000 baby names, from 2000 to 2010. The data is based off of the Social Security Administration's tracking of baby names. 

For my local readers, here is a view of the popular baby names for Washington State only, for top 100 names from 2000 to 2010:
If I get 10 or more comments per state requesting a top 100 for their state, I will add on that state to the above visualization.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Wash your hands well, you don't want "the" cold

After two and half days of a runny nose and sore throat, I am cranky and wish I had reminded myself to wash my hands more. That and not bite my nails when I get into a deep thought at work. 

Being pregnant and cautious about not taking medicine, this has been a trip: Emergen-C, vitamin C, lemon echinacea tea, up to 25 mg a day of zinc, breathing over a boiling pot of water, homemade chicken soup, less than stellar night's sleep, naps during the day, and more tissues than I can count - I am so over this cold! I wish it felt the same way. 

Here's to waking up tomorrow over the hump. And if not, do post comments with natural remedies that you found to work. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

My cat "baby" and new baby

Every where I am, he is there. If he is not sleeping, he is following me around or cuddling with me. I gaze at him and think there is nothing cuter than he. He is family and soon he will meet his new (real) baby sister. No longer will he be the baby.

It is difficult to hear the stories of the many pets that took a back seat to the baby. He will be loved by not only us, but his new buddy. I keep telling him that he will have another little me to devote his time to. Yes, I may not be able to snuggle with him all the time, but we will have us time.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sensitive about the size of my pregnant belly

I love my pregnant bump. I am not one to wear baggy shirts to hide my bump. I am okay with people touching my belly, and sometimes doing so without asking permission. I knew this before getting pregnant. What I did not know was how I would respond when other pregnant women make comments about the size of their belly versus mine. It does not bother me if a non-pregnant women or men ask me about my size or comment, because they have nothing to compare it to. I am my own person, my own baby. 

I am athletic. I was at my ideal weight before getting pregnant. I eat sensibly. I am active. My baby is healthy and growing at the appropriate rate. I do not want to hear that I am tiny looking or you are so much bigger than me. It is a judgement and please keep it to yourself. If you have comments on the cuteness of my baby bump, or comments of the sort, these are all welcome.  
I am respectful to other pregnant ladies to not say oh you are so big or you are carrying this way or that way. I have read and know that every women is made differently and therefore will respond differently when growing a baby bump. 

23w 4 d

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Thankful to have 9 months to get everything ready for baby

It was a very productive day getting ready for the baby. 

Let's see...
Sign-up for labor and birth class - check
Sign-up for breastfeeding class - check
Sign-up for newborn care class - check
Find a fabric to create my own crib skirt (see my rant on finding crib skirts) - check
Make a baby budget and review our finances - check
Search for infant day care in area that also allows cloth diapers - check
Go to prenatal yoga - check

My reward:
(Strawberry Champagne from Cupcake Royale)


Friday, February 3, 2012

SIDS risk reduction: No crib bumpers

With the most recently (Oct. 2011) published SIDS risk reduction guidelines by American Academy of Pediatrics (APP), which lists not using crib bumpers as a measure to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), I was surprised by the number of crib bedding sets - which include bumpers. After searching through 33 pages of options for "crib skirts" on Amazon.com, it seemed that more than half of the options were included in crib bedding sets.

A 4-piece crib bedding set includes a fitted sheet, crib skirt, crib quilt, and bumper. The cost of these sets can range from $70 to $300, with an average price of $150. Per the guidelines, the crib quilt and crib skirt are not recommended for healthy babies under age 1.

While the crib bedding sets are stylish and tempting, I am left wondering how soon until the manufactures change the rhythm of their production, in reaction to the AAP's SIDS guidelines? Being the practical, buy things as you need them kind-of person, yet looking for style, I would like to see a 2-piece crib bedding set that includes a matching fitted sheet and bed skirt. Or, more options for crib skirts.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Pregnancy acronyms/abbreviations

If you have been in any pregnancy related forums, like BabyCenter.com's birth club or diaperswappers.com, you will get your fair share of pregnancy related acronyms and abbreviations. At times, it can feel as if others are speaking a foreign language or only the insiders know what is going on. You can be rest assured that you are not alone and there is help out there!

Here are some common, basic acronyms/abbreviations to familiarize yourself with this new language:
DH - Dear/Darling Husband
SO - Significant Other
BF - Boy Friend or Breast Feeding
DS - Dear/Darling Son
DD - Dear/Darling Daughter
BB - Breasts
SAHM - Stay At Home Mom

And a brain teaser for you:
TTBOMK my DH and I had BMS a few days before O and now are awaiting a DD in May.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Daily diet for pregnancy

I love blueberries! I can eat a half pint in a sitting and be contempt, so I call myself the Blueberry Monster - like Cookie Monster, but healthier. 

Here is a typical day in the life of my stomach and my baby:

  • Breakfast: multi-grain cereal with fiber covered in organic soy milk, glass of electrolytes (such as Nuun) in water, and an orange. 
  • Morning Snack: An apple and yogurt or a lemon zest Luna bar
  • Lunch: Hard fried egg, ham (heated or grilled to kill any potential bacteria) and cheese sandwich on wheat bread, with snap peas or carrots. 
  • Afternoon Snack: Carrots, cheese or almonds
  • Dinner: Ravioli or tortellini (a new craving since pregnancy)
  • Evening Snack: Organic blueberries or strawberries
For fluids, I have the electrolytes at least once a day for help with absorbing water and drink half my body weight in water a day. I have the occasional apple cider vinegar added to my water.

I have a relatively low sugar, low fat and all natural diet. When I say pregnancy diet, I do not mean losing weight rather maintaining a healthy weight for me and for the baby. I could use more vegetables, but with that I am taking Thorne Prenatal Vitamin, 4 IU Vitamin D, and Fish Oil.  I am not perfect and do throw in there the occasional sweet such as a cupcake or half a cookie. I do not need much variation in my diet, so I can easily maintain the same menu without getting bored. 

To top off my diet, I get 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night and exercise regularly. Being pregnant has helped me increase my time asleep to 10 hours some nights, as I crash earlier in the evening than prior to pregnancy. In addition to sleep, I get a 20-30 minute walk in each day, yoga one or two times a week, and the occasional trip to the pool.