Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wow, I'm dumb

All this time I have been sitting at night and for nap after nap
holding Nate and my iPhone, lamenting the fact that I couldn't update
the blog easily from the phone. But OF COURSE I CAN. There's a way to
do it easily! So now I know that I can update straight from my email
account on the phone. I don't know yet how the formatting will work,
but I figure even lame formatting isn't as lame as a complete dearth
of posts.

So, the holidays with a baby are, shall we say, DIFFERENT. I look
forward to the day when Nate eagerly anticipates Christmas morning or
Thanksgiving dinner or opening the tiny doors of an Advent calendar.
This year, though, I was just happy when he wasn't fussing. And yet
I'm just so dang grateful for the kid! My favorite moments were
atypical-- my first nightwaking with him on Christmas morning, closing
my eyes and trying to imaging Mary holding a tiny newborn Christ
child, walking back to my pew after Holy Communion at Christmas Eve
mass with tears in my eyes as Silent Night played, or just enjoying
the glow of the Christmas tree as I nurse Nate. The meals, the gifts,
were honestly kind of stressful, as I bounced Nate and tried to eat or
admire gifts or worried that Nate's eventual crying was annoying
everyone else.

Ah, well. There's nothing to be done about it with an almost-three
month old. Next year I'm sure there will be a new challenge, like
trying to keep him from breaking/eating/throwing the ornaments.

I'll take chaotic holidays with this little man over picture perfect
ones without him. No question.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sleepy

Exhaustion has set in. Utter, complete, mind-numbing, soul-crushing exhaustion. I wasn't this tired during law school finals. I wasn't this tired in 2007 when I was working until all hours in the Senate on the immigration bill. The only thing that even comes close was one hellish month in private practice, but even that doesn't really compare. Any time I've been sleep-deprived before-- due to work or studying-- there were two significant differences. First, there was always a fixed end date in sight, after which I knew I was going to be able to catch up on my sleep. Second, even during those difficult times, I would get bigger chunks of sleep than I'm getting now-- and could even break down and sleep a good, full night if I really needed to.

I'm going on seven weeks now during which I've strung together three to four hours of sleep at a time at the most. I think that ONCE, MAYBE there was a five-hour stretch, but that was early on and has not been repeated.

Nate does not like to sleep at night, and I don't know what to do about it. He used to do a pretty decent four-hour stretch before his first night feeding, and a couple more hours after that. Now, I'm lucky to get three hours in a row for that first stretch, and it's only downhill from there. Last night I went to bed at 9:30, only a few minutes after Nate. He was up at 12:30, nursed, down at 1:18, up at 3:37, nursed, down at 4:21, up at 4:34 (when I begged David to get him back to sleep, because I knew he wasn't hungry), down at 4:53, and up for the day at 5:30. It's currently 11:00 a.m., and he's finally been napping for an hour.

Of course, now that he's napping, I feel like I SHOULD be trying to sleep. But yesterday morning I spent his entire morning nap frustrated on the couch, trying to doze off. I think the pressure to "sleep when the baby sleeps" can be too much. Sometimes I'm better off just doing something else-- surfing the internet, reading a magazine, calling a friend-- because I feel like I've just wasted my little free time if I try to sleep and can't. I can sometimes fall asleep during a later nap, but if I'm home alone with him, I'm invariably up after only an hour.

He used to love to take crazy-long naps during the day-- three and four hours at a time. Then I began to worry that he had his days and nights mixed up, and so I've started waking him after two to two-and-a-half hours. We've also stopped leaving the lamp on in the nursery, after reading that even a dim bulb could make him wake up more at night. He does seem to fall back to sleep easier after his first feeding now, but he still wants to be awake anytime he finishes a feeding after 4:00 or 4:30 a.m.

I'm not a nice person when I'm sleep-deprived. I've probably snapped at David more times in the past four weeks than in the previous four years. I know there's no way to put a six-week-old on anything resembling a schedule, but I'm going insane. I need help from any veteran moms out there. (Ellen, I'm looking at you!!) Am I right to wake him up if his daytime naps get too long? Should we try to get him down at a certain time each night? (Right now it varies because he gets fussy in the evening and ends up taking a nap.) Any way to get him to sleep a little bit later in the mornings? (I'm a morning person, so 6:00 or 6:30 would seriously be a fine wake-up time in my view, provided I could actually get some decent sleep before then.)

Even if there's nothing I can actually DO right now, can anyone tell me when it might start to get a little bit better??

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Saturday, November 7, 2009

One Month Old!



Nate was one month old yesterday!! It's hard to believe it's already been a month. Wasn't I just responding "five days old" or "eight days old" when people asked me how old he was?

He has changed so much already. He's outgrown most of his newborn clothes, but it's been fun to start using the (far more abundant) 0-3 month sizes. It's so sad, though, to set aside the tiniest outfits, knowing that he will never wear them again. He genuinely smiles at us already, and he can focus on our faces and track a toy with his eyes. His neck control is terrific already, which makes my life a lot easier-- he makes me carry him up over my shoulder a lot, so it's important that I have a free hand to feed myself or carry his bouncy seat up and down the stairs (and up and down and up and down).

He's still completely unpredictable in so many ways, though. While I'm sure that's totally normal, it's nonetheless frustrating. He'll have one excellent day of sleep-- multi-hour naps and happiness all day-- followed by a completely cranky, sleepless day. We haven't been able to figure out what causes the good or the bad days, although it becomes clear early in the day what kind of day we're facing: A good early nap leads to a good day, while a short or absent early nap spells disaster. The question is how to induce the early nap on days when he fights and fights against it or wakes up after only a few minutes.

We're finding our feet, though, and we are both already so much more confident than we were only a few short weeks ago. I can't wait to see how we feel in another month!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Phoning it in

Of all the things that have surprised me so far about parenthood, perhaps the strangest is the extent to which I have become utterly and completely dependent on my iPhone.

I've had the phone for about 15 months, and I've always loved it.  I began to love it even more when I stopped working and rid myself of the Blackberry, slimming my purse down to one device for phone, e-mail, internet, and music.  I've watched movies on plane trips on the phone, used it countless times for directions, and it even served as our sole internet access last spring during our trip to Harbor Springs with the Moshers.  (We all passed it around to get a tiny information fix!)

Since Nate has been born, though, it's felt like my lifeline.  First of all, we downloaded an application when he was born that keeps track of all his vital information-- diaper changes (too many to count), feedings (frequent), sleep (not nearly enough), baths (not as many as I would have anticipated), tummy time (when I remember to do it), and so forth.  This means that I have the phone with me pretty much at all times, so that I can always start his feeding timer or record a diaper change.  

Second, there's the Kindle app.  David gave me a Kindle for my birthday, which is terrific.  (I'd determined that it would be far easier to read on the Kindle-- with only one hand-- while holding a baby, instead of trying to awkwardly hold a book and turn pages with Nate in the other arm.)  The iPhone syncs up with the Kindle so that you can read any of your Kindle books on the phone.  Because I already have the phone with me at all times, I've just been reading on the phone instead of on the Kindle.  

The Kindle books, along with Twitter and Google reader (on the phone's internet browser), have been my sanity during those nighttime feedings.  I'm even on the verge of renting a couple of movies through iTunes to watch at 2:00 in the morning when my eyes are too bleary to read.  I could, I suppose, come downstairs and turn on the laptop or television, but that makes it feel even more like I'm "up" than sitting in the nursery does.  So far it's much nicer to sit in the fluffy nursery glider/recliner and thumb the phone while Nate nurses.

Who knew this little gizmo would be my saving grace in these early weeks?  And what on earth did new moms do before they had technology to keep them company when the rest of the world is asleep???

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Election Day!

It's election day in Virginia! We're pretty excited, because it looks like our candidate for governor is actually going to win this time.


Nate knows who he'd vote for (if he could vote, that is).

Monday, November 2, 2009

Bottled Up

Yesterday was a big day in the Petroni household. I conquered my fear of the pump, and David got to feed Nate for the first time. It was strangely bittersweet for me. On the one hand, I was thrilled-- this development means the prospect of girls' night with friends, a dinner out with David, and the hair appointment that I already pushed back once to November 18th. On the other hand, it was pretty strange to see Nate getting his nutritional needs met by someone other than me. (Although I did still supply the nutrition. But you know what I mean.)

David has not been putting any pressure on me at all to pump so that he could feed Nate, thankfully. I've heard horror stories of husbands and grandparents pressuring a mom to pump so that they could "participate in feedings." Forget that, I say. I'll pump when it's needed and helpful, not so that anyone else gets the joy of giving my child a bottle.

Problem is, even after he sucked down 3.8 ounces from a bottle, Nate still wanted to comfort nurse. I guess that cold, hard plastic just isn't as nice as soft, warm mom flesh. We're still trying to figure out how we'll deal with that issue. Perhaps he'll just get used to having a bottle here and there? Could he have been dissatisfied because he knew I was in the room, and if I'm truly unavailable he won't fuss for me? Anyone with experience in this area?



Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

This year we got the best treat of all!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wow.  So the past three weeks have been a complete blur.  For the first four days after Nate was born, we were at the hospital.  For days 5-13, David was at home with me.  Days 14-18, David's mom was here.  Days 19-23 (today), my mom and sister were here.  It was a strange feeling to drop them off at the airport earlier this afternoon.  I looked in the rearview mirror at the blurry plastic "mirror" that gives me a distorted view of Nate in his rear-facing carseat and realized that we were on our own for the first time.

It's overwhelming, but also exciting.  I've LOVED having so much help these first few weeks, but you necessarily do things differently when other people are in the house.  For Nate's first post-company diaper change, I turned up the clock radio in his nursery, put my face down near his, and belted out some Taylor Swift to get him to stop crying.  Surprisingly, it worked.

I've been unable to bring myself to sleep during his long afternoon nap today, because it's far too tempting to flit around the house putting everything back in order.  I'm sure I'll need the nap tomorrow, but I just couldn't do it today.  

Nighttime is interesting.  I dread-- absolutely dread-- getting out of bed and stumbling to the nursery to feed Nate.  We had a cold snap last week, which made it all the worse to climb out from under the warm covers.  (Will I have to sleep in sweats in the winter just to make it bearable??)  But once I'm sitting in the soft light of the nursery with Nate snuggled against me, it's all somehow okay.  It's at night when I look at his tiny hands and feet and nuzzle his soft head and wish that he could stay this tiny and snuggly forever.  

Nate was baptized on Saturday.  You can read Arwen's beautiful post about the occasion here.  I thought I would be in tears throughout the baptism, but in the end I was too aware of being up in front of everyone to end up too weepy.  It was only when I turned away from our family and friends and closed my eyes to receive the mother's blessing that I finally welled up.  It's been a long road to get here, and sometimes I still can't believe this tiny, perfect little guy is with us.  What a blessing.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Nathanael Sherer Petron


So, the parenthood thing.  It's time-consuming.  So time-consuming, apparently, that we've been unable to update the blog with the best news of our lives.

Nate was born at 1:41 p.m. on Tuesday, October 6.  He weighed 9 pounds, 2 ounces, and was 21 inches long.  He nurses like a champ and is the most beautiful baby we've ever seen-- not that we're biased or anything.  He's charming everyone he meets and has his parents wrapped around his little finger.

We were in the hospital from Tuesday until Friday evening.  The hospital stay definitely had its ups and downs, and we were grateful to get home.  At home, no one yells at me if I pull Nate into bed with me when he's fussy at night.  At home, we don't have random hospital staff dropping by our room at 3:00 in the morning to draw our son's blood.  At home, David has a comfortable bed to sleep in and comfortable chairs to sit in.  Of course, at home we don't have nurses available 24 hours a day to answer any questions we may have.

We've been doing really well, though.  David has been home all week with me, and no one could take better care of me than he does.  We've had abundant meals provided by friends and family.  (I'm a bit ashamed to say that we've eaten far better since Nate's birth than we did during most of my pregnancy.)  We've managed to shower regularly and get a fairly decent amount of sleep, considering that we're dealing with a newborn.

We want to find the time to post a full birth story.  I had wondered in some ways whether I'd want to post one at all, considering that I didn't experience labor or what I'd always viewed as "real" childbirth.  But our story is ours, and it was truly amazing, despite its distance from our initial plans.  Every time I think about or talk about hearing Nate cry for the first time I get weepy.  It was probably the best moment of my life.

For now, just know that we're doing well, better than I could have anticipated.  We're in love with this little guy and can't wait to share more.  

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Finish Line

The good news is that the baby will be in our arms by this time next week, come hell or high water.

The bad news is that it doesn't look likely that he'll arrive in the manner we'd so hoped for.

We trekked out to see my doctor once again yesterday, less than a week after my last appointment. I was officially 41 weeks pregnant, and it was time for a fetal non-stress test. The little guy passed with flying colors, showing off his beautiful heartbeat with no decelerations and enough movement during the test to make the doctor very happy.

It was also time for another progress check, though, and apparently my body thinks "progress" is a dirty word. The baby is still too high up; I'm still not dilated at all; and things just aren't softening up to make way for the wee one.

The doctor we saw yesterday was unhappy that last Thursday's doctor had not scheduled an induction-- not because he thought it was likely to work, but rather just to get it on the books (even if it wasn't scheduled until after I'd reached 42 weeks). He basically gave us three choices: (1) schedule an induction for sometime this week or very early next week; (2) schedule a c-section for anytime this week or early next week; or (3) schedule an induction for next Wednesday or Thursday, but also schedule another non-stress test for Monday.

We talked a lot about induction and how likely it was to work. David and I are familiar with the concept of a Bishop score and which factors indicate that an induction is likely to be successful. My Bishop score right now would be, um, a 3. Or even a 2, if you subtract a point for the fact that I've never delivered a child. In other words, if we were to attempt an induction right now, or before my body and the baby had made some significant progress, the induction would most likely fail. My body has not made a lick of progress in four weeks.

We've been hoping and praying all along to avoid a c-section. But, the thing I want even less than a c-section is an emergency c-section after a failed induction. It's my personal opinion that a woman should only have to endure the pain of labor OR the pain of recovery from a surgical birth-- not both. Every woman I know who has had to go through both says it's absolutely the worst in terms of exhaustion, disappointment, and stress.

For us, this just meant induction was off the table. If my body were already moving in the right direction and were favorably predisposed to be induced, we would feel differently. But we don't want to set ourselves up for failure. And both our doctors and our guts tell us that's what we would be doing if we decided to induce.

Instead, we decided to schedule a c-section for next Tuesday, October 6th. We gave my body another week to get its act together and pushed it all the way back to the 42-week mark, but we now have an end date in sight. By next Tuesday morning, one way or another, we'll get to meet our son.

I'm really trying to be completely okay with our decision. I guess I'm okay with the decision, but I'm still really frustrated with the situation. I never wanted to need to schedule a c-section. I am totally comfortable with choosing a scheduled section over what I truly believe would be a failed induction; that's not the issue. I'm just disappointed that, once again, my body can't seem to do the very things it's supposed to do. I'm disappointed at the thought that I won't get to hold my baby before anyone else. I feel like I'm being robbed of a truly life-changing experience. I'm anxious about how hard the recovery will be and how very, very much I will need to rely on David and on other people for those initial days and weeks at home. I'm worried that a surgical delivery will somehow impact our son's health or my ability to nurse.

Still, I'm trying to look on the bright side. We know what to expect and when to expect it. We'll skip right over labor. The surgery will not be rushed, and there will be no risk that it will need to take place under general anesthesia (a fear I'd had about a planned med-free birth turning into an emergency c-section).

And, of course, the biggest bright side of all: Finally holding our baby, the baby we thought would never come. Surely, surely that bright side can outshine my fears, worries, and disappointment. Right?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dear Baby,

You remember a few weeks ago when I was all sentimental about your last few days/weeks at home in my uterus? And how I was still all wistful about it and not sure that I could face the end of your time there?

Those days are gone, little dude. Getoutgetoutgetoutgetoutgetout.

Seriously. It's now three days past your due date. Everyone and their brother is driving me batty with the incessant "any baby news?" questions. (Do people honestly think I'm going to sneak off and have this baby and NOT TELL THEM or something?) I wake up multiple times each night to heave myself out of bed to empty my poor squashed bladder, or to throw myself from one side to the other in futile search for some relief for my aching hips. I arose Thursday morning to find your dad in the guest room, unable to withstand my thrashing about any longer.

I'm not sure what you've now decided to do to my tailbone, but it's now painful for me to walk at all. I'm sitting like a lump around the house unable even to distract myself with small chores and errands.

Yesterday's doctor's appointment revealed that my body is making essentially no progress toward moving you out. No dilation at all; 70% effacement. I wouldn't have wanted the doctor to start pushing for an induction, but I still found it a bit disheartening when he told me that he couldn't talk induction dates because I wasn't even ready to respond favorably. He did say that it would be good for me to try to continue walking a lot, but this new tailbone ache has made that essentially impossible.

The doctor also sent us yesterday for an ultrasound to check the position of my placenta, which had previously been too close to your exit for comfort. (Well, for my comfort. The OB who would have needed to refer me for a follow-up ultrasound was confident it would move away.) I was thrilled for the chance to see you again, and relieved that we'd get some real confirmation that your pathway was unobstructed.

The good news was that your route is clear. The bad news-- well, I see it as bad news-- was that you're already estimated to weigh 8 pounds 11 ounces.

I know those ultrasound weight measurements are notoriously inaccurate, but I'm still trembling in fear and questioning my ability to birth you drug-free. And the longer you camp out in there, the bigger you're going to get. So seriously, kid, getoutgetoutgetout.

I had three friends who were all also due in September. Not only have their babies all arrived, but they all arrived obligingly early. Early! The same way I, your loving mother, arrived a polite ten days before my due date. I see, though, that you're already taking after your father, who kept his dear mom waiting for a full three weeks past her due date.

Let me tell you, kid, they don't let that happen anymore. They'll cut you out of me at least a week before that, and that really wouldn't be best for either of us. Especially for me. Not to sound selfish or anything, but I'd be the one, you know, sliced open.

So, please, will you come on out and join us? We have had everything ready for you for weeks now. Everyone is anxious to meet you, as evidenced my the aforementioned incessant baby update demands. Don't make me nuttier than I already am.

Love,
Your adoring mother (who really, really, just wants to see you and hold you and kiss you and begin a lifetime of doting on you . . . and who also really wants to sleep on her back again)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fleeting

One of my girlfriends is due the day after I'm due.  We've been having a lot of fun being pregnant at the same time, and it's been great to have someone close by who is going through exactly the same things at the same time.

She had maternity photos taken last Thursday.  I could have gotten in on a session if I'd wanted to; the photographer is taking (very reasonably priced) newborn photos for both of us after the births, and she would have taken pregnancy photos for me on the same day she drove to Virginia from her home up in Maryland.  I declined because I've never been a big fan of those big bare belly pictures.  I didn't think there was any way I'd want to display such photos in our house (and I certainly wouldn't have wanted any of our family members to display them, not that they would likely have been interested themselves), and I figured it wasn't worth the expense if I wasn't going to, you know, use the photos anywhere.

Now, I'm doubting myself.  Throughout this pregnancy, I've been balancing two emotional states.  The first, of course, is immense gratitude.  This baby is so wished-for, so long-anticipated, and such a little miracle that everything about him and about the pregnancy just fills me with joy.

The second, though, is bittersweet.  This feeling hits me now and again, and almost always at unexpected times.  It's a fear that I'll never get the chance to experience any of this again.  It's the thought that I should be extra sure to enjoy every milestone, because it could be the only one of its kind.

I feel a bit lucky, both as a Catholic and as a person who has experienced infertility, that I have a keen awareness of the pure gift that our fertility really is.  Obviously any pregnancy could be a woman's last, and through no desire of her own.  But far too many couples are unaware that they are not in control; they view their fertility as something they own, something that can be turned on and off like a faucet.  I have no such illusions.  And while I'm grateful for knowing the truth, it does hit hard at times.

It's been particularly acute in these waning weeks of the pregnancy.  I feel my son squirming around in my belly and jump quickly from thoughts of hey kid, quit kicking my ribs to will I ever feel another baby growing inside me?  I have to be very careful, because the last thing I want is to lose any tiny bit of the joy of this pregnancy, this child's babyhood, his milestones, because of fear that I may not see such things again.

I almost hesitate to mention any of this at all, because I know how I would have felt had I read similar thoughts before this long-awaited pregnancy.  I know how incredibly blessed we are.  I know that even one child is far more than I-- than any of us-- deserve.  I know that this is pure gift, and I thank God every day for it.  But still.  There's a little part of me that's wistfully wishing I'd had a photographer capture this fleeting and joyous state, even if no one ever saw the pictures but me.  As much as I can't wait to meet our baby, I'm feeling the need to hold tightly to these last precious moments where he is hidden away, all mine, a squirmy little rib-kicking, heartburn-inducing miracle.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The crazy is coming out

I have reached the last month of pregnancy, and I do believe I am officially going insane.

It's not about things I'd consider typical. I'm not nesting like crazy (yet) or freaking out about the birth (yet) or fretting too much about whether I'll be a good mother. No, no. My worries are of the much more-- how shall we say?-- trivial and perhaps even vain and a smidge materialistic variety. I guess what I'm saying is, sometimes I can surprise even myself with my shallowness.

Last night I had a dream about my hair. The last time I had my hair cut and colored was before my trip to Georgia in June. So, mid-June. Friends, it is not looking its best these days. My salon started this thing where you receive $5 of that day's service if you go ahead and book your next appointment on the spot. I guess they're trying to prevent people always needing last-minute appointments or whatever, but I was all $5 off! and promptly booked my next appointments for as close to my due date as I was willing to risk, i.e., 37 weeks.

It's been at least two weeks now in which I've been desperate to get my hair cut and colored, and normally this would have been the point where I just called the salon and asked for the next available appointment. My schedule is wide open! I can do that! But my September 2nd appointments have been booked for months, and it seemed downright silly to go scrambling to align appointments with my stylist and colorist when I have both scheduled together if I can just manage to be patient for a little while longer.

Last night, I dreamed that I got so desperate for hair attention that I ventured to another salon for my cut and color. And I'm sure you ladies all know what that means-- the entire dream was filled with THE GUILT I knew I would feel when my usual stylist and colorist discovered that I had cheated on them with the salon across town. So in my dream I'm getting all these foil highlights applied and just thinking over and over, "What is Connie going to say?"

(I am literally shaking my head at my shallowness as I write this. The shame, it burns.)

Crazy number two: At our next-to-last birthing class on Sunday afternoon, our first order of business was to undertake a "fear release" exercise. The instructor walked us through all of this detailed mental imagery that was supposed to help bring up our fears and insecurities about giving birth and parenting. We then released the fears in the visualization. I don't know what I expected from the exercise, but probably something along the lines of "I'm afraid of the pain of childbirth" or "I'm afraid of losing patience with a crying baby" or "I'm afraid of being stuck at home and lonely when the baby comes" or something similar. You know, normal new-mom fears.

I did not expect my very first fear to be, "OMG my house will be a mess." But there it was, staring me in the (shallow and totally vain) face.

Okay, I don't actually think it's completely shallow and vain to want to have a clean, orderly, and welcoming home. I actually think it's quite a good thing, which is why I have a bit of a hard time understanding why there are a certain couple of people in my universe of friends and relatives who seem to relish the thought that my house will be messy after the baby. What is that all about? (At the other end of the spectrum is the dear and lovely mother of our goddaughter, who offered to come and clean my house for me after the baby is born. She said her mom cleaned her house for her twice after her daughter arrived, and it just made her feel so much better to be with the new baby in a neat and clean home. God bless her for her kind offer!)

But regardless of the rightness or wrongness of wanting to maintain a high level of order in my home, I think we can all agree that this is not the first thing one would expect to arise as a parenting-related fear. So, um, yeah. I'll put it in the category of Crazy.

Thankfully, there are only a handful of weeks left in which to see what kinds of generally trivial things my brain can dredge up to worry about. And really, if these are the kinds of things I'm fretting over at 36 weeks pregnant, I think I am an extraordinarily lucky person.

Friday, August 14, 2009

When in doubt, post nursery photos

We're still working on finishing up the nursery, which is why I've been reluctant to post any pictures. It's really coming together well, though. We still need some kind of curtain or valance, and we're still looking for an appropriate lamp and some decorative shelves for the walls by the window. But by and large, I feel good about what we've done. The nursery is, in a word, soothing. It's not very busy, and the colors are very soft. Sometimes I'll catch David just standing in the room or sitting in the glider/recliner in the evenings. (I find this behavior so incredibly sweet!)

So, with the caveat that there's a bit more work to be done, here's the nursery:

I threw the bedding into the crib as soon as the crib arrived, and I have yet to pull it back out to steam out the wrinkles. That's a project for next week. The bassinet peeking out in the corner will, of course, be in our bedroom.

The hutch was David's idea, and I'm so glad we went with it. We'll be moving the shelves up so that we can put the changing pad on the left side of the dresser. The blanket on the glider was a gift from my mom. Her aunt knit it for me back when I was born.

The glider/recliner is incredibly comfortable. Arwen and Mary Paige both insisted that we needed a recliner, and we heeded their advice. Thanks, ladies-- I'm sure we'll be especially grateful in the middle of the night.

Bonus photos! I'm desperately hoping that our choice of coming-home outfit will fit the little guy. (Can you see the pale blue stripes on the outfit?) The newborn size only goes up to eight pounds, which scares me a little. I weighed less than seven pounds at birth, but David weighed more than eight. There are, um, other reasons my poor body is hoping he'll be on on the smaller side of eight pounds, too. But we'll have to take a backup outfit to the hospital in case he's too big for this one.

And the hat. The hat! Hand-knit by my dear friend Marie, I think it's adorable and very special.


And, finally, yours truly at 34 weeks, two days:

The belly is really out there these days, to the point that it bumps into things. The other morning I was cooking eggs when I noticed that the belly was dangerously close to the edge of the frying pan. I have to be really careful from here on out!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

VPOTD - Special Cubs Edition

After the loss last night, this is my question:


(This is a special blog post just for Jennifer. Your formal complaint about light posting has been duly filed with the authorities.)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Seven Quick Takes Friday

7_quick_takes.jpg


1.  Since I've been pregnant, I've been surprised at the number of strangers who are willing to ask about the pregnancy.  I tend to follow the "say absolutely nothing until a woman actually tells you she's pregnant" rule, on the off chance that I'll offend someone who isn't expecting.  A woman did this to me at a friend's rehearsal dinner last year, and I'm still recovering.  (I tell myself it was the dress, and that it had nothing to do with anything resembling a baby belly.)  Now, I find the comments reassuring, because I can be confident that I look truly, unmistakably pregnant, and not just pudgy.  

2.  I'm currently reading Coop:  A Year of Poultry, Pigs and Parenting, and I highly recommend it.  I saw it randomly at a small bookstore when David and I were in Michigan, and I checked it out from our local library.  I've found myself constantly shaking my head in awe of the author's lovely turn of phrase.  Poor David has had to listen to me read so many passages aloud that I wonder whether he'll find it worthwhile to pick it up and read it on his own (though I've been insisting to him over and over that he must read this book.)  

Read it.  It's lovely.

3.  I've been forced to take note lately that there are certain things I'd like to do in the near future that I'll be unable to do, because they won't happen until the baby arrives.  For example, I heard a commercial advertising that Jersey Boys is coming to the National Theatre.  Ooh!, I thought, I'd love to see that!  But it doesn't start its run until October 1st, so, um, it's not going to happen.  It's weird.  I'm obviously overjoyed that I won't be able to see a show because I'll have a baby, but it's certainly a new sensation.  On the flipside, I was happy to realize that two movies I want to see, Julie and Julia and The Time Traveler's Wife, are both coming out in August, when I can still venture out to the movie theater.  

4.  We're currently at a hotel with a cushy king-sized bed and abundant pillows, and I think it's fair to say that king-sized is the way to go, bed-wise, when you're seven months pregnant and need to sleep in a cocoon of pillows.  At home, poor David has been relegated to the very edge of our queen bed, and I now wake him up regularly as I have to reposition myself over the course of the night.  Too bad we can't take the bed home with us.

5.  When we were in Michigan in May with Arwen and Bryan, we discovered the joy that is the Take 5 candy bar.  Ever since then, we've been on the lookout for Take 5 minis, and I can't find them anywhere.  Sweets have been my one pregnancy craving, and I'd love to be able to track these down.  Has anyone seen them anywhere?

6.  Good news on the placenta front.  I don't think I'd blogged about this, but my friends and family who read this (a/k/a virtually all of the readers of this blog) knew that my 19-week ultrasound showed a complete placenta previa.  My 30-week follow-up ultrasound showed that the placenta had moved away from the danger zone, and my doctor is no longer worried.  Huzzah!  Thank you, friends and family, for your prayers!

7.  Last night before dinner, David and I went to the lobby bar at our resort to have a drink.  (Oh, how I miss the sweet tea mojitos I enjoyed last year!  But I'll happily sip ginger ale or a non-alcoholic frozen drink for the dear babe.)  We were shocked-- shocked!-- that the waitress actually remembered us from nearly a year ago!  She is such an adorable girl, and we did chat with her a fair amount during last year's vacation, but still!  We were impressed.  Oh, how I love this place.  

More quick takes at Conversion Diary, here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

More Home Improvements

Last Thursday David took the day "off" from work (meaning he was at home taking a conference call and working furiously for several hours, after he'd worked until 3:00 in the morning the night before).  The plan had initially been to install a closet system in the nursery closet on Wednesday night and clean and organize the garage on Thursday, before leaving for a long weekend in Jacksonville to celebrate the 30th anniversary on the federal bench of the judge for whom we both clerked.  

The whole working-until-three-a.m. thing on Wednesday night derailed the garage organization-aspect of the plan, but we did manage to install the closet system on Thursday.  And just in time-- we got a call late last week that our nursery furniture will be delivered this Wednesday.  Hooray!

The "before" picture, with Elfa parts covering the nursery floor.

David sizes up the empty closet.  With beer.

What, you don't install closets while drinking Hawaiian beer?

Bonus picture of the 29-weeks-pregnant photographer, with dog butt.

Sadie was simultaneously disturbed at the commotion, and insistent that she be smack in the middle of the action.

David drills pilot holes for the basket track on the closet's weird angled wall.  

Baskets in!  We're not sure what we'll use these for, but otherwise this angled corner would be totally wasted space.  I'm sure we'll find something to put in here.

David installs the shelving.

Complete!  

Now we have a place to put the baby stuff we're beginning to accumulate.  

I can't wait to see how the nursery looks this week when the furniture arrives.  I'm just so relieved that it came in on time-- early, even!-- given that one of my good friends is 35 weeks pregnant and her furniture has been delayed.  We do have a bassinet, so even if the furniture had been insanely late, we'd have a place for the little guy to sleep, but I'd really rather have everything completely set up before his arrival.  More pictures to come as the nursery comes together!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Saturday

I got home this morning to find that Dad had basically finished the painting:


There's still some minor touching up to do, but it shouldn't be anything too major.

After catching a little sleep and some breakfast, we headed out to Ikea to buy the furniture Lauren and I had picked for the den.  We had little trouble finding what we needed, except that some of the items were very tall.  We ended up having to put half of the back set and the front passenger seat down so we can fit the boxes inside the cabin.  That left Dad, who was already tired from all the painting, sitting on the floor of the cargo space of our compact minivan for the drive home:


Once we got back home we set about building the Ikea furniture and otherwise starting to get the den into shape.  I'd say that things are starting to come together.




Not only do we have the new entertainment center and a bookcase built, but we've also anchored them both to the walls so they can't topple over on the little guy who will be joining us here soon.  (I have never previously used those Ikea wall-anchoring devices, butbecoming a father must already be having an effect.)  As you can see, we also have our desk reassembled, and the computer is set up again.  I'm still trying to work out the placement of the cable modem, router, etc. so we have as little visual clutter as possible.  For now, though, I'm just pleased not to be blogging from the floor.

Still lots to do tomorrow before Lauren gets home:  (1) finish touching up the nursery and powder room; (2) purchase a (hopefully) 40-inch TV for the den ("hopefully" because the opening in the new entertainment center appears to be just barely tall enough to fit most 40-inch LCD TV's); (3) move and reorganize all the stuff that we pulled out of the closet in the old office; and (4) generally tidy up the stuff that's basically piled all over the house.  Wish us luck!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Blogging from the floor again

Although I'm blogging from the floor again--
--this is actually a triumph.  The computer is successfully connected to the internet using the connection in the den.  Hooray.  Given our history of trouble with Comcast, I was worried about getting this to work, but apparently there was little cause for concern.  I was even able to tidy up the wires coming into the house, so the junction box looks neater than it ever has.

When I came in from work, this was the scene:

Dad had successfully demolished the poorly built shelf in the nursery closet, and he was getting ready to paint the interior of the closet.  I went downstairs to prep the powder room in the den, so that he won't have to do that tomorrow:

Note the light fixture hanging at an angle.  It is successfully disengaged from the wall, so it can be readily replaced once Lauren and I settle on a new one.  And I even managed to do it while only breaking one light bulb.

Meanwhile, Dad finished the closet--

--and was hard at work on the rest of the nursery:


The only real problem we've encountered today is that we're out of paint for the nursery.  Mom will have to go back to the paint store (for the fourth time in four days) to get more of the blue paint we need, while Dad can get started on the powder room.

Next on my wish list is to get the desk reassembled so that I can post tomorrow in a proper chair.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Day 2

Short post, because I'm exhausted.  And also because I'm literally blogging from the floor.

Painting in the den is complete.  We also started moving the office furniture, books, etc. from the new nursery to the den.  Things are very much in flux, but there is some progress.  Here's a current look at the den:

Minor set back:  the space where I thought our second file cabinet might fit is about an inch-and-a-half too narrow, so we're going to have to do without that file cabinet.
Sadie, of course, is already settling in to the new space.

Here's the current status of the nursery, which still needs some prep work yet before Dad can start painting.

Yes, that's our desktop sitting on the floor, still connected to the internet.  That's how I'm posting this.  Tomorrow, I'm disconnecting and probably won't reconnect until I can get everything hooked up downstairs in the den.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Day 1 - Improvements in Process

I came home from work tonight to find the first coat of paint up in the den:



So, that's good progress, I think.  The challenging part of painting the den is the small alcove where our stacked washer and dryer reside.  After the flood, the painters apparently had the W/D entirely removed from the alcove, and they painted the entire alcove green.  Thus, we couldn't just leave the alcove unpainted; we had to move the W/D and repaint the green to blue.

After dinner, Dad and I went downstairs to move the W/D.  We expected we'd just move it out of the way, paint the alcove, and then move it back.  Seemed straightforward enough, so we didn't think we needed any kind of contingency plan.

We were wrong.

With some struggle, we managed to get the W/D out of the alcove, but only partway.  We quickly discovered that the space we were trying to move it into was too narrow to maneuver it easily, plus we couldn't readily reach all the water and electrical connections behind it to disconnect it completely and move it all the way out of the alcove.  Oh, and dad was basically caught between the W/D and the (closed) door to the den.

Eventually, we began to formulate our contingency plan:  Dad would slide between the washer and the dryer to join Mom and me in the main part of the room, then we'd angle the W/D unit away from the alcove to create just enough of an opening for him to slide inside the alcove, disconnect everything, and then help me move it out of the way.

Problem Number 1:  We had no tools in the den with us.  Having not perceived the need for a possible contingency plan, we had not planned ahead and brought a toolbox in with us.  And at this point, we had the entire washer/dryer barricading the door to the den, so we couldn't get out to get any tools.  And moving the W/D again didn't seem like an option, given the difficulty we'd had moving it at all.  With no tools, we couldn't disconnect the water lines, so there was no way to get the entire thing disconnected from the wall.

This brought us to the backup contingency plan, which called for Dad to climb into the alcove and just paint the damned thing while standing inside.  Not the easiest thing in the world, but we figured he could do it, and then we'd move the W/D back and touch it up.

Obviously, this was not a part of the painting process I wanted to miss having photographic evidence of for the blog.  But that brings us to Problem Number 2:  Having not planned ahead, I hadn't brought the camera into the den before we barricaded ourselves inside.  Thankfully, Mom had her cell phone, so I can now present to you my father wedged into an alcove behind a washer and dryer, trying to paint three walls:



Problem Number 3:  We were running out of paint.  We had failed to consider the need to bring more of the paint for the den in from the garage, because, well, we hadn't really planned on being barricaded inside the den.

Despite the challenges, Dad did manage to get the entire alcove painted--or at least, everything except the back wall that no one can see because the washer and dryer are in the way.  With that accomplished, he climbed out of the alcove, slide back to the far side of the washer/dryer, and then (surprisingly easily) slid the whole thing back into place.  We still need to touch up some of the corners, but I think we're now mostly good with this part of the room.

Up tomorrow:  a second coat for the entire den, and possibly painting the half bath.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Home Improvements (with Barb and Joe)

I.
We have a nice office at our house:
Except that the office really needs to be the nursery.  So, the office needs to move downstairs, to here:



Doesn't looks so bad, I guess.  Of course, until last weekend, this room was basically storage.  (I'd show you the mess in the garage from all the stuff we moved from this room into there, but I think Lauren would kill me.)  The sectional in the "den" (as we've dubbed it) is new, and Lauren and I are looking forward to lounging there in front of a TV.  And we'll move the office furniture down there, and add an HDTV (now that we have DirecTV hooked up in this room).  But I'm not sold on the color of the walls--it was a quick decision we made a few years ago following the flood in our house, when the insurance was paying to paint this when it was damaged.  We would have probably lived with this color, except that we're going to have to repaint the nursery anyway, so.... 

Enter my mom and dad.  They're down for the week while Lauren's away, so Dad (with a little help from me) is going to paint the rooms for us.  I'm all ready to go--even got us a new ladder for the job:


II.
Mom and Dad got here today.  They brought with them a bunch of painting supplies from a family friend (thanks, Eric and Heather!), so we don't have to get more equipment other than that ladder.  They went out and picked up the paint we're going to use this afternoon.  So after dinner, we could get started prepping the room:



Dad used the painters tape to edge around the door frames, etc.  I tackled the ceilings.  This is my finished outline of the main ceiling area:



Looks sorta okay, I guess.  No actual painting yet, but we're all ready for Dad to get started on it in the morning.  

More pictures tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Twenty-Six Weeks

Okay, first of all, I'm freaking the heck out that my third trimester officially starts in a week.  How can that be??  It feels like we still have a bazillion things to do, like, oh, find a pediatrician and take our birthing class and move the office downstairs and set up the entire nursery and fill out hospital pre-admission forms and find a baptism date and take a baptism class and obtain the eleventy million baby items we need before the little guy's arrival.  For some reason, thinking about everything we need to do just makes me want to lie down and take a nap.  And yet it all needs to get done before I'm bigger than a house and have to plan each trip up and down the stairs for maximum efficiency.  

We're doing fairly well with our planning in some respects.  We ordered our nursery furniture over six weeks ago, because all the stores warned us that it would take ten to fourteen weeks to arrive, so that's checked off.  (For those who are into these sorts of things, you can see our furniture here; we got the "lifetime crib" (ha!), six-drawer double dresser, hutch, and nightstand in white).   We also got a navy blue, upholstered glider/recliner, on the advice of multiple mommy friends who insisted that a recliner is the only way to go.  We already have our nursery bedding, stashed away in the guest room closet.  

We finally accomplished the first step toward turning what has been basically a storage room on our first floor into a functional office/den:  We got the TV service hooked up.  The poor DIRECTV guy spent a couple of hours at our place yesterday climbing up and down from the roof, running a new cable line through the space between the first and second floors, and snaking the new line under the carpeting from one side of the room to the other.  We're pretty excited about the new space, actually; we're literally gaining a whole new room downstairs, and the baby and I can hang out with David in the office when he needs to work/pay bills/etc.  

I'm headed down to Georgia to visit the fam for nine days starting this Saturday, and it's entirely possible that both the nursery and the new office/den will be painted when I get home.  David's parents are coming down to stay next week, and his dad is apparently an expert painter.  Heck, it's even possible that I'll come home to find (1) the rooms painted; (2) the new IKEA entertainment center for the office/den purchased and assembled; (3) a new television in said entertainment center; and (4) all of the office furniture and other office trappings moved downstairs.  We'd been holding off on doing any of this until the DIRECTV was hooked up down there, because we feared they'd need to cut through the ceiling or walls to install the new line, and we didn't want to paint or move furniture before that happened.  Now that the TV is hooked up-- and with no holes in the walls or ceiling, to boot--ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.  And seriously, I cannot overstate the helpfulness of my in-laws.  It's amazing to watch them work.  Once when they were staying here, I awoke to a newly-organized linen closet.  Barb couldn't sleep, so she went to town on it.  I LOVE THIS WOMAN.  As long as no one is going through my bathroom cabinets or underwear drawer, I'll take all the help I can get.

Also in the category of completed tasks, I finally finished my baby registry.  I always thought registering for baby stuff would be so much fun, because registering for our wedding?  Was fun.  But registering for baby stuff was basically a nightmare.  First of all, you're extremely limited in where you can register.  The preferred store for most moms-to-be, I guess, is Babies R Us.  Well, I've been to Babies R Us to buy shower gifts for friends on multiple occasions, and I HATE that place.  I could never find the items from my friends' registries, nor could I find an actual employee-- let alone a HELPFUL employee-- to assist me.  So we went with a smaller chain, which is always stocked to the gills and filled with cheerful, helpful sales clerks, but which lacks locations in David's or my home states.  This, then, necessitated a second registry at Target, whose website is impossible to navigate and made me want to bang my head into the wall.  

Second of all, in registering for wedding items, you're not really worried about little things like SAFETY.  Then, there's the fact that I'd actually used dishes and silverware and pots and pans before I registered for them, but what the heck do I know about bottles and infant carriers and baby bathtubs?  Nothing, is what.  I'm flying sort of blind here, guided only by the wise words of my eighth edition Baby Bargains and the very-welcome advice of my mom friends.  

Plus?  There's the tricky notion that every baby is different, and so we really have no idea what's going to work for our little guy until he gets here.  Will he like the sling I chose?  Will he love or hate a baby swing?  How about a bouncy seat?  I have a gnawing fear of accumulating and then casting aside baby item after baby item as we figure out which contraptions make our lives easier, and which are no help at all.  

But, after much fretting and frustration, I'm done.  I think.  Or at least until my mom friends point out which essential items I'm missing.  

I hope this doesn't sound like a litany of complaints.  Truth is, I'm happy and thrilled and having a great time with the pregnancy, but just getting a tad overwhelmed as I realize that each passing day is one day closer to having-to-care-for-an-infant-twenty-four-hours-a-day-every-day-oh-my-sweet-goodness-can-I-please-have-a-drink.  But we'll get it all done.  

In closing, a grainy photo of the happy-but-freaked-out mom-to-be.


Note the fear in her eyes.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Mass of Thanksgiving

For the first time in our Catholic lives, Lauren and I attended a Mass of Thanksgiving today at our parish.  Father Stephen Schultz was ordained yesterday by Bishop Loverde, and because as a seminarian he had been assigned for the summers to St. Rita Parish, he celebrated his first mass, a Mass of Thanksgiving, with us.

For virtually my entire life, I've been skeptical of emotionalism in religious devotion.  Growing up in evangelical churches, I think I often felt that emotional displays substituted for real spiritual depth.  It's only recently that I've come to appreciate the way our emotions in response to God's grace can break through the everdayness of our lives and give us a glimpse of the realities that await us--as when hearing the Proclamation of Christmas and rejoicing that it now, truly, is Christmas.  Such was the case today, when the opening notes sounded on the organ and the brilliantly blue morning light filtered through the stained-glass windows above the alter somehow made it difficult to keep the tears from my eyes.

A priest's first mass is called a Mass of Thanksgiving because he gives thanks for his ordination into the priesthood of Jesus Christ.  But for Lauren and for me, this Mass of Thanksgiving was also a thanksgiving for the tremendous blessing God has bestowed on us in our son.  Even before we married, we told a priest who had spoken to our parish about the need for vocations that we hoped we'd have four or five sons, to increase the odds that one of them would be called to be a priest.  For years we had prayed to God to bless us with children.  At times, we both had tried to bargain with God, that if he would only send us a baby, we would do everything to raise him to be faithful and to someday (perhaps) become a priest.  We were overjoyed to learn that our baby was boy, largely because we knew that it opened the possibility that he could someday be called to the priesthood.  So celebrating a Mass of Thanksgiving today, while we are expecting our own son, left us both with an overwhelming gratitude to God for his blessings to us.

Because this was the first time we had been present for a Mass of Thanksgiving, we did not know the ancient custom of the church involving the manutergium.  A manutergium is used to wipe the excess chrism off the hands of each newly-ordained priest.  The newly ordained then gives his manutergium to his mother at his first Mass.  She is to be buried with it.  When she goes to her judgment, Our Lord will ask her, "What have you done for me and for my Church?"  Presenting the manutergium to Jesus, she will reply, "My Lord, I have loved you and loved your Church.  Throughout my life, I was a loving daughter, wife and mother.  I have been faithful to you and your Law, and I gave my son as a priest."

With Father Schultz, we give thanks for his calling to the priesthood.  And we give thanks to God for great goodness to us.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Unhinged

We had a pretty scary half hour or so on our first Saturday night at the condo in Harbor Springs.  We'd arrived around 7:00 or so, just in time for David to discover that the television (thankfully!) carried the "Versus" channel, on which the Stanley Cup playoff games were being broadcast.  We'd eaten dinner on the road, so we settled in to watch the Penguins kick the crap out of the Carolina Hurricanes.  

It had been a long day of travel for all of us, though, so right after the game was over, we headed to our respective rooms for the night.  David and I stay on the first floor, in a huge bedroom I like to call "The Cave."  The condo is built sort of like our townhouse, in that it's built into a slope.  The front door is at ground level, but the back of the entry level is basically underground and windowless.  I cannot overstate the awesomeness of the sleep we get in The Cave, with no bright morning sun to wake us.  Our bedroom at home has two east-facing windows, and sleeping in without some sort of sleep mask is nearly impossible.

The lack of windows, though, also means that there's only one way into and out of The Cave.  David and I got into the room, and he pushed the door so that it was closed most of the way.  I got changed into my pajamas and turned to walk over into the bathroom when I noticed that the door was partly closed in the frame, but not actually latched.  So I just pushed it the rest of the way closed, pressing my hand against the door itself and not even touching the knob.  I noticed that it seemed to stick a little bit-- which is probably why it hadn't closed all the way when David closed it-- but I didn't think anything of it; all of the bedroom doors in our house swell and stick depending on the temperature and humidity.

As I unloaded my toiletries in the bathroom, I remembered that we'd need a glass from the kitchen so that I could take my vitamins.  I played the pregnancy card and asked David to please go up to the second level to grab a glass for us to use.  He said he'd go in just a minute, and I started to brush my teeth.  It wasn't until I was partway through brushing that I noticed that David was tugging on the door, but hadn't been able to get out of the room.

David is a big guy:  He's six feet tall and weighs easily twice what I do-- oh, and he's not pregnant-- and yet my first thought was, "I'd better put down the toothbrush and get out there to unstick the door myself.  David must be doing something wrong."  Why the heck do most of us initially presume that we can solve the problem that our spouses can't seem to fix?

So, um, my puny upper-body strength was, unsurprisingly, no match for the door, either.  As we quickly figured out the real problem, though, I started to get a little worried.  The door was not actually stuck at all.  Rather, when we tried to turn the knob from the inside, nothing happened.  The knob would turn every which way, but the bolt remained stubbornly in place.

For a very brief moment, I considered just going to bed anyway and worrying about it in the morning.  After all, we had a bathroom in The Cave, and I was tired, and did it really matter right this instant that we couldn't get out of the room?  I could just stick my mouth under the sink faucet to take my vitamin and then move directly into the sleeping part of the program.

Almost immediately, though, a hint of panic overcame the exhaustion of the day, and we started to knock on the bedroom door.  We were timid about it at first; Arwen and Camilla were already in bed, and we didn't want to wake them.  (Bryan told us later that he'd wondered what kind of joke we were pulling by knocking on the door.  He couldn't figure out what we were doing.)  When Bryan didn't come down, though, we got a lot more insistent, and also started yelling for Bryan, who eventually came downstairs.

"We're stuck in here!" we told him.

Needless to say, he didn't believe us at first.  I mean, who gets stuck in their bedroom?  Um, we do, I guess.  But he soon realized that the knob on his side wouldn't turn the bolt, either.   

Okay, remember when I said a minute ago that I'd begun to worry a little when I realized we couldn't open the door from our side?  I think that wasn't actually true.  Because I'd honestly thought that Bryan would be able to open it for us from the outside.  When we found out he couldn't, I think that's when I really started to panic.

The doorknob had no keyhole.  It had no visible screws on either side to take it apart.  (We later discovered a tiny button that popped off the plate against the door and revealed the screws, but it turns out that wouldn't have helped us in any event.)

The hinges were, of course, on David's and my side of the door, and there was only a small gap of space between the bottom of the door and the floor.  I frantically started looking around the room for something to wedge under the hinge pins to pry them out, but let's be honest-- my hairbrushes, tweezers, and shoes really weren't going to be much help.  The laundry room was well-stocked with detergent and dryer sheets, and the bathroom had plenty of extra soap and cleaning supplies, but there was nothing tool-like to be found anywhere.

Bryan retrieved the toolbox from the owners' closet in the hallway and began rummaging through to search for something small enough to slide under the door.  He finally found what may be the world's tiniest and most adorable screwdriver, which he wedged under the door.

(Confidential to Bryan:  I literally realized just as I began to write this post that we could have dropped any tools we'd wanted down the laundry chute into the laundry room.  Oh, how I wish we'd thought of that in the moment!)  

Honestly, I looked at that screwdriver and thought, there's no way this is going to work.  I was fully convinced by that point that we were going to have to call the fire department to come break down the door or something.  I mean, this screwdriver wasn't much longer than my index finger.  The handle was thinner than my pinky, and the metal portion was perhaps the diameter of a lollipop stick.

Still, David set to work wedging the tiny screwdriver under the upper hinge pin and pushed with all his might.  The upper pin, which hadn't been pushed all the way into the hinge to begin with, actually gave fairly easily.

The lower pin, though, was more of a problem.  David wasn't able to get the same leverage, because it was so close to the floor, and the lower pin was fully engaged in the hinge.  Somehow, though, after much straining, he managed to pop the pin out.

Success!  We're saved!-- or so I thought.  Even with the pins removed and with Bryan pushing from the other side, though, the door remained stubbornly in place.  

We yelled to Bryan that he was going to have to push harder.  At this point, David was literally telling me to stand back, so I retreated to the bathroom to watch from a safe distance.  I kind of wish we'd been able to see Bryan throwing himself against the outside of the door, but even as we heard the nice thunk of his body hitting wood, the hinges refused to budge.  Normally I'd praise such high-quality craftsmanship, but give me a break.  

Bryan switched tactics held a towel up by the hinges, and tried to shake the door loose by pounding it with a hammer.  When the door still didn't move, I may or may not have begun to cry inside a little.  I'd had enough time to dwell on our situation by now that I was envisioning the condo catching fire with David and me trapped in The Cave in the small space of time it would have taken us to give up on the door and call the fire department.  

When it seemed the hinges were never going to budge, David dropped to his knees again beside the knob to try to wiggle it loose.  Bryan must have started doing the same thing from the outside, because they quickly discovered that, even though the door wouldn't move on its hinges back and forth, it would actually move a little bit side to side within the door jamb.  Bryan called out excitedly that he thought he might be able to sort of "walk" the door off the hinges by wiggling it side to side, instead of trying to push it forward into the room.

It worked!  We were free!  David caught the door and the guys leaned it against the wall and we all stood around and shook our heads at the absurdity of the situation.  The guys eventually figured out how to take out the doorknob.  (Even once David had the entire knob out, the bolt still wouldn't move.  He had to push it out from the inside of the knob hole, which is how we figured out we would've still been stuck even if we'd been able to remove the knob right away.)  They put the door back on its hinges but left it knobless, which is how it remained for a few days.

Bryan called his parents the next morning to fill them in on the saga.  It turns out they'd had three doors replaced recently in the condo, including the door to The Cave.  They'd already figured out that one of the knobs on the main level had been re-installed incorrectly, and had fixed it, but they hadn't thought to look at the other two.  

For the rest of the week, I refused to shut the door to The Cave or the bathroom without first testing the knob to make sure it was still functional.  I'm just so relieved that I wasn't trapped in the room alone-- who knows whether I'd have been able to get the hinge pins out?-- and that it was David and me who got trapped, instead of, say, Camilla.  And, hey, we have a good story to tell, right.

But check your knobs, people.  That's all I'm sayin'.