Sunday, November 23, 2008

Music and Machines!

Last week, Patrick got a new toy...Rock Band 2! While in real life he has less-than-average musical ability, his intense love and appreciation for music, combined with his above-average interest in video games (hey, it pays the bills!), makes this a virtual hit. He's currently plunking on the guitar, which I must say is a much better option (for all of us) than the microphone. I never knew he had such a wide vocal range: 3 octaves at least! (Unfortunately, I don't think most songs demand that kind of range...!)

Speaking of music, I realized recently how much music Spud is exposed to already. I listen to music constantly at work, every time I’m in the car, and some evenings before Patrick gets home and turns the TV on. Now that all 5 of his senses are developed, I hope he appreciates the musical environment he’s being brought up in.

All 5 senses you ask? Yep – my pregnancy update email informed me that my little potato can now hear Patrick laugh (and really, who couldn’t?), feel me nudge him while I’m lying in bed just to make sure he’s still real (and because I love watching my belly dance!), taste variances in the amniotic fluid (which my diet can apparently impact), smell whatever it is he might be smelling in there, and see light and dark. When I read that last part, I worried that I might end up with a baby with eyesight like a mole, since I always wear at least 2 layers of clothes – so now I walk around randomly flashing my belly to the light as often as possible, so Spud can actually get an idea of what light looks like before he’s jarringly made aware of it.

Then on Saturday, we headed to New Richland, MN for Patrick's grandfather's farm auction. After almost 80 years of farm work, George has finally decided to retire. (Although we all know he hung onto at least one tractor and a few other pieces of equipment....just in case!) The day was truly a unique and special event. Nearly 500 people attended (someone from Alaska even called in to bid!), dressed warmly in coveralls and work coats. The auctioneer was straight out of a movie - I was actually surprised at how much I understood him.

Besides being a memorable cultural experience, the auction brought together nearly all of the extended Byron family. After the auction wrapped up, we spent the next several hours together in the emptied-out machine shed reconnecting with distant relatives, eating, drinking, and sharing stories. Of course, I mostly ate...but who can expect me to resist all those yummy treats?!?! Spud clearly loves the sweets.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

It's Winter!

Snow came to our neck of the woods last week. And ever since it's been freezing. I guess winter really is coming here this year. I always forget how cold it gets. In the fall I think...winter's not so bad. I can wear big sweaters and have fires and drink hot chocolate...and then winter actually comes and I end up sitting in my house in the dark (seriously - the sun sets at 5 pm!) and shiver. Thank heavens for electric heating pads! (Don't worry - I don't bake Spud. I just put it in my bed before I get in and can be sufficiently warm all on my own.) Thank heavens also for new, energy efficient heaters. Because, as Patrick keeps reminding me, this baby probably won't be as tolerant of the cool temps as he and I. Don't worry baby - I'll keep things as warm as you need it!!

Speaking of Baby...we’ve made quite a good amount of progress recently. We visited Patrick’s mom in Des Moines a few weeks ago, where we not only got some fun things for the baby (crib sheets and blankets!), but also added to my meager maternity wardrobe. I tried on basically every item in the store, while Patrick stared confusedly at the pants with the stretchy panels and Wendy kept reminding me…you’re going to get a LOT bigger, don’t you want to try a bigger size?

Then the following weekend, my sister-in-law Jena and I spent an entire day together looking at adorable baby stores, picking out fabric, and painting the nursery. Actually, that last part was pretty much ALL Jena, since I have great artistic vision (if I don’t say so myself) but none of the patience needed to actually achieve that vision. Luckily for me (and Spud), Jena not only has the artistic eye, but the skill and patience to match. Thanks Jena!!

Once the paint dried, Patrick and I started moving in the furniture. We still need to order the crib (which will go underneath the window on the circle wall), update some lights, maybe install a ceiling fan, add some drapes, hang some art on the wall (I'm having a terrible time deciding what to put in there!), and find a storage space for our cable modem and wires. But other than that, I'm feeling really good about it!

One last bit of pregnancy progress became apparent when Jena and I were having dinner at a pizza restaurant in uptown. I ordered a root beer with dinner, which was served in a plain brown bottle (with no label). Jena informed me that the lady at the table next to us kept looking at my belly, looking at the bottle, and whispering to her husband while casting evil glances our way. I wasn’t bothered in the least – in fact I was kind of excited. So…that means I look pregnant?!?!