Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Big Reveal

Since we found out the sex of the baby on New Years Eve and most people weren't working on that day, we thought it would be fun to get friends together for a Big Reveal Party. Since we were getting people together for a Big Reveal Party, we might as well make it even more fun. We asked people if they could wear pink or blue depending on what they thought Baby K might be.

Here are the teams...

Brooke, Brian, Julie, Meredith, April, Lori

Fred, John, Jason, Jacob, Donna, AJ, Tara

Shannon...sporting a gift for both a boy and a girl!
The staff at Revolution Pizza in the NoDa neighborhood of Charlotte were SO great to us. They set us up in our own little room with one big table. They also fulfilled a special request I had. I asked them to make us some special pizzas that would tell everybody what the sex of the baby is. It was priceless to see everybody's faces as they tried to make out what these pizzas said....
Rick and I put our pink on as soon as everybody absorbed the news...we are officially on TEAM PINK!
Brian's outfit was ala incredible hulk!
It meant so much to be surrounded by our family and friends and have a surprise reveal like that. We feel so lucky to have such wonderful and supportive people in our lives. This has been a great New Year's Eve already. 2010 will be just wonderful.

Its a........GIRL!

Undeniably today we saw that we indeed are going to have a beautiful baby GIRL! Rick and I have been talking boy, boy, boy for sooooo long, but we are 'over the moon' excited about the news that we are going to be having a girl.

We went to the ultrasound this morning and I would have to say that Rick and I were so anxious. Rick said that this was the most nervous he has ever been in his entire life. The ultrasound tech was so wonderful. I really don't know how they do it so fast and some of the things they see...its amazing. She took lots of measurements of the baby's spine, heart beat (150bpm), legs, arms and major organs. The little heart was so neat to see. You could see all four chambers working away in there. She took a measurement of the head and she said it was measuring a week ahead. My little girl is already taking after me and her Grandpa Lerch! Big noggins! Actually she said the whole baby was measuring ahead of schedule so it was proportionate.

So after alllll that measuring the ultrasound tech finally got to the goods! She said to Rick...'oh Daddy, you do like those girls!' Rick said..."so I'm having a girl?" Yes indeedy! Our little girl was being helpful in that area but was only discreetly parting her legs so we could see her. A little lady already!

She was able to go into 3D which was super cool. Our little girl was being so shy with her hands in front of her face. Or a more likely explanation was that she was in a good boxers stance ready to jab jab jab at this lady that was poking around at her. We did finally get a good pic of her in 3D with her hand away from her face.

This ultrasound was probably one of the coolest things I have ever seen in my life. What a miracle. Baby Girl is looking very healthy and well formed. I am doing quite well too. We are so blessed.

Here are some of the favorite ultrasound pics. We were given a DVD too...I will see if I can figure out how to get that online as well.

Pic of the heart beat and a good view of a lot of the ribs and hands etc

Scary face picture - this reminds me of the part of the movie Terminator when his face melts off. She's a very CUTE terminator though!

3D pics...too cool. The tech said that the cord is not wrapped around her neck but draped over the shoulder. No worries!

there's that boxer stance

And here is the revealing picture...wonder if our little girl will be mad we put her private parts out on the internet for all to see?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Blue or Pink?

I have to admit that this is all I have been thinking about for the past few days. Do we have a HE in there or a SHE in there? We will of course be very happy either way - we want healthy! However...with my planning mind and Rick's aversion to secrets we must know and know soon! I think it will be good to have the last five months to get used to the idea of whichever sex baby is in there.

We have had a poll set up on the blog for about a month now. We have gotten some good votes in lately. The boy votes were leading the way by a comfortable margin up until today! Its getting neck and neck.

Just for fun I thought we could look at those old wives tales and see what they say Baby K must be!

1) If you're carrying high, break out the pink. If your bump is low, you're carrying a boy.
Hmmm...the bump is pretty small but I would say it is higher - GIRL

2) Baby's Heart Beat - 140+ beats per minute indicates a girl, and below 140 a boy.
Well...we have had only two checks of the heart rate. At 6 weeks it was 115 then at 16 weeks it was 154. The six week one was pretty early so if we went with the 154 it would be a GIRL

3) Craving sweet stuff means it's a girl. If you have to have salty or sour stuff, then it's a boy.
I mean I can always go for some good chocolate now. Early on I really didn't want anything to do with sweet but HAD to have salty stuff - still do! That would mean BOY

4) Legend has it that the Chinese Birth Chart was buried in a royal tomb near Beijing over 700 years ago. "They" say its 90% accurate?
See one HERE. According to the Chinese, I am having a BOY

5) Legend has it that the Mayans determined a baby's sex by looking at the mother's age at conception and the year of conception. If both are even or odd, it's a girl. If one's even and one's odd, it's a boy.
I was 29 and the year was 2009. So according to the Mayans, I am having a GIRL

6) If you're breaking out like crazy, blame it on your girl babe. The belief goes that girls steal their mother's beauty, hence, those annoying zits.
I have been blessed with pretty good skin...I have had more pimples since getting pregnant than I think I have had my entire life. GIRL

7) Lots of morning sickness? You're having a girl. Not much? You're having a boy.
I was VERY lucky with this...none at all. BOY

Soooo 4 out of 7 of these myths tell me that I am having a GIRL! (oh geez, girls are trouble - I know! I am one!) I am not sure that a 57% chance of having a girl is very telling. Its one or the other that's for sure! We'll find out in less than 48 hours!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I can't believe that Christmas has come and gone already. Its funny how the buildup starts in October nowadays and yet you are still not ready for it when it gets to be the week of Christmas. There is still the last minute gifts and baking and decorating to do. You would think that since it IS the same day every year that we would be better prepared!

We had a very nice Christmas. A quiet one...but they sure won't be quiet from here on out! We started with having friends over on Wednesday, the 23rd. Marc & Chris and Julie & John came over. Rick has known Marc & John for many many years. They played sports with each other growing up and graduated from Charlotte Catholic HS together. We had a nice dinner with them and played some games.

I put out some luminaries to great our guests - though they all used the back door!

Chris Vozab & Marc Gignac - wedding date 05/08/10

John & Julie Newlands

The girls!

I worked Christmas Eve morning and Rick picked me up around noon and we had a nice lunch at Red Rocks Cafe. We then went shopping at South Park Mall which actually wasn't too crazy busy. It was festive-ly busy. We spent some money there and then went to Marshalls - I was on a hunt for the holiday crackers - you know the things made out of paper and you pull on them and they pop and there is silly stuff inside? Well I had seen them there just a week before but when we got there they were cleaned out! What we did see though was a HUGE stuffed Murphy-dogg! We couldn't resist - its for the baby right? Here is Murphy with MurphXL...

We went to mass at 6:30pm at St. Ann's with Rick's parents and his sister Lori and family. St. Ann's is actually where Rick went to elementary school and where his nephews, Joey and Jacob also went. Since it was kind of late after mass we went over to Fred & Donna's for snacks and presents. It was a nice night.

family pic

ho ho ho

Lori & Rick

Rick and I exchanged gifts that night at home. I got a fancy new heart rate monitor from Rick and my yearly Boxer calendar from Murphy. My sister, Debbie, had my name for Xmas and she sent a great gift certificate to Destination Maternity which I will probably use at their spa! Rick got a new sweater and book of the planets from my parents who had his name. From Murphy he got a new pooper-scooper! Baby K even did some shopping for him and got him some Winthrop baby gear.

Rick with his new sweater on and showing off the new scooper!

On Christmas we went over to Fred & Donna's for an early dinner. I wasn't feeling so great that day. I am not sure what was going on with me - pregnancy? I felt really worn out and my stomach was a bit queasy - I could only eat half of the great meal they made! When we got home I was so tired and I was really lightheaded/dizzy. Weird huh? My sister, LeeAnn, reminded me that the baby is really messing around with my blood pressure and that could explain that lighheaded-ness. We watched the new Star Trek movie and I was asleep by 8pm that night! Party animal!

17 week - Christmas morning baby bump

Me and my kid...we took a million pictures to try to get a nice one...these were my favorite...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Week 17 - Holidays are Here!

Its the eve of the holidays. We have gone to parties and shows and watched some movies to get in the mood. Our house is quite festive. Here are some pics!

front of the house (and you can see me in the door)

the mantel - we have stocking holders that spell out NOEL...right now the E is empty - next year will be a different story!

the tree!

our Christmas card display

I have eaten cookies for breakfast - another good sign that its Christmas week! It will be a kind of quiet Christmas. Rick's sister, Mary, is expecting number three at any time now so they will be staying in Chapel Hill, NC and then sister, Christine, and family won't be able to make it down from Chicago this year. It will be quieter than usual but I suppose we should embrace it as our "last quiet Christmas".

New with the Baby:
The baby should be about 5 inches long this week. I just BlackBerry is 4.25" long - so its smaller than a bread box, bigger than a BlackBerry. The skelaton is changing from soft cartilage to bone. He/she can move her joints and of all things - sweat glands are starting to develop. Very interesting.

New with me:
Not much. I haven't felt the baby at all this week. I know that's normal but after last week's excitement its sad to be "alone" again. I don't know if this is pregnancy related but I am sure easily irritable this past week. Sunday, Rick could do no right and since then different things have been ticking me off. I'm sure the preggo hormones don't help but wonder if it also doesn't have something to do with the impending holidays and the parties and such we've been going to. Still in some of my bigger non-preggo clothes but it really feels like that stomach is sticking out! I had a co-worker who hadn't yet been clued into the news ask me if there was a bun in the oven...he said there was no way that the runner/triathlete would be gaining weight. I knew just looks like Xmas over-indulgence!

Running & Exercise:

Thursday: run/walk 4 miles with Murphy...this was a hard one again. Took me 52 minutes...ouch.
Friday: Run 4 miles with April, her dog, Chief, and Murphy. Same route and it only took me 40 minutes this time. It helps to have people with me to keep me running.
Saturday: Run 6 miles with April, Meredith and Murphy. This one was alright effort wise.
Sunday: nuttin
Monday: 20 minutes on the elliptical then the Bodypump class. I am loving this class..they set the weight lifting to music. That makes it more fun to me. Then we had our company party where we did a little golfin' and a little tennis-ing. Running around the tennis courts was fun but boy was I pooped afterwards.

my manager, Karen, and I waiting for our turn to chip at the company party and yes it was chilly!

Tuesday: 4 miles with April, Chief, Meredith and Murphy. It was super cold -25 degrees! This is the best I felt running since the half marathon. Go figure - what's the difference?
Wednesday: nuttin - Wednesday is unintentionally turning out to be my goof off day.

Fun moments this week:
Went to a show on Sunday with the in-laws, Fred & Donna. We saw The Sister's Christmas Catechism at the 3pm showing. It was hilarious. If you all ever have a chance to see any of the "sister's" shows, you should definitely do it. If you have ever spent any time in a Catholic school it is DEFINITELy a must-see. We laughed really hard. We then went to dinner at the Fig Tree which is just a couple of miles from our house. Its in a restored house decorated in a Frank Lloyd Wright manner and just gorgeous. They had beautiful Christmas decorations up and a fire going. It was just an all around amazing experience. Great food, great service, great ambience. Loved it!

Party Time!

I hosted the 4th annual girls' holiday party on the 17th of December. Its occasions like this that I really wish I had a bigger house...and a bigger dining room table. There were 15 of us which is a wonderful crowd - not too big not too small.

Jenn, Keri and Brooke

So as I said this is the fourth year we have had this party and we eat, drink, laugh and exchange gifts - white elephant style. The first year we exchanged books, year two was champagne glasses, year three cookbooks and this year was earrings. It was so fun.

Heidi, Shannon and Katie

Everybody brought something to share - be it an appetizer, side dish, dessert or wine. We had the traditional champagne punch that is so tasty (recipe below). You can tell we are "growing up" - I was not the only pregnant girl there! My friend Stephanie is due at the beginning of April and my friend, Kelli who is only a couple of weeks behind me. It is very fun to commiserate with these ladies from time to time.

Me, Kelli, Stephanie and Julie (and the TV)

The earring selection was very good - nobody bought the tacky earrings (which would actually be in the true spirit of a white elephant exchange). There were quite of few earrings exchanging hands and I think most everybody was satisfied.

So fun to celebrate every year with these girls...what to exchange next year?!
Brooke and Meredith
April and Colleen
Me, Shannon and Stephanie
Meredith getting to open ANOTHER present!
oooh what did you get?!
Shannon and I showing off the flower pins that Meredith made

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Week 16 - Lookin' Good So Far

Rick and I went to see Dr. Lucas today (this was the first time seeing him since we had that 'surprise' visit at the beginning of October). We got to listen to the heart beat which is always so awesome. The nurse told us it was 154bpm. Which according to the old wives' tales that would point to it being a girl! Oh goodness...what are we going to do with a girl?! Love it to pieces, I know! But I have had a lot of people today tell me that their boys had high heart rates as well. It is related to me so it could just be an uptight boy!

Dr. Lucas said that everything was looking good. He also said - "you've finally gained weight!". Huh? I thought I was definitely gaining weight. So they say that I am a couple of pounds behind the average weight gain. He said that whatever I am doing is good and that I should keep doing it (hooray the pizza and fries can stay!). He prefers that somebody be a bit behind rather than ahead.

We also set the ultrasound date for December 31st!!! I didn't think I would be able to find out in my 18th week since it is New Years week but I got lucky! They had one appointment open in the morning. I was supposed to work that day but I guess I'll be taking the day off! Oh well.

New with the baby:
They say he/she is about the size of an avocado (mmmmm guacamole) - 4 1/2 inches long and 3 1/2 ounces. The baby has started to grow finger and toenails.

New with me:
Not a whole lot. I seem to be getting more tired more easily lately. I find that kind of funny since they say once your second trimester sets in that you are supposed to have all of this energy. I would say its about the opposite. After work and just one errand I am spent. It could be that I have a lot going on and the baby is telling me to chill out!

Get a load of this baby bump! Its not as noticeable I think in the mornings as it is in the afternoons when this picture was taken. But its definitely coming on out. I suppose if you don't know that I am pregnant it just looks like I have indulged in too many holiday treats!

Running and Exercise:

Wednesday: slept in/was going crazy getting ready for my portfolio show last week.
Thursday: ran 4 miles with Meredith and Murph
Friday: nuttin - was in Kiawah eating!
Saturday: Half marathon!
Sunday: nuttin
Monday: 20 minutes on the elliptical (it really felt hard!) and then did the Bodypump class at the Y. Good workout
Tuesday: "ran" 4 miles with Meredith and Murph. Between Murphy stopping for potty breaks, the traffic and my general tiredness we sure stopped a lot. But I suppose we ran more than I think.
Wednesday: nuttin - slept in after staying up late for my presentation to the board.

Great moments this week:
1)I swear on Wednesday I felt Baby K moving around in there. Not sure how to tell you how it feels. Kind of like somebody is tickling me from the inside. Ooh now that I am concentrating on it I can kind of feel the same movements. Its so faint and I really have to concentrate so I wonder if I am just making it up.

2)Hearing the heartbeat. It sounds like a washing machine - so swooshy. I have to admit that part of me has a worry before they pull out that dopler that something is wrong and that there really isn't something in there. The nurse found it so quickly today and it sounded so nice and strong. Awesome, awesome, awesome feeling.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Presentation to the Board

I had a very long night last night...I was chosen by my class (sucker) to present our class project to the Board of County Commissioners. We took on a hypothetical re-branding of the county and presented it to them in a book. However, we had a tough act to follow. We were agenda item number 27 out of 28...we thought we were done for it when they spent an hour and a half on number 6. Then in a surprise move they made a mass approval of items 7-24. 25 was a donation of lawn equipment from a local company (that I actually had interviewed with at one time) - that was an easy one.

Then 26 was a doozy. They were voting on benefits for domestic partners of county employees. It is amazing the fear and anger that can come out of some people on a topic like this. It does make me think of what I have learned of the civil rights era and how we look back on those views as so narrow now. I hope some day we'll look back on this time and think the same thing of the views that some people have now. They are just so angry...and so much hatred. Its amazing what people do in the name of Christianity. Anways...I digress. That topic took almost two hours and once it was over (it passed 6-3 right down party lines) it cleared the room. My fans were gone. But that's fine - it was 10:15pm and pregnant girl here had gotten up at 5:30am that morning to go running. I was pooped.

The presentation went very well and the angry faces on some of the commissioners were gone when they invited us to come up and shake their hands.

Here is my teacher, Kenn Compton's, rendition and pictures:

During the Fall 2009 semester, two classes from Advertising + Graphic Design collaborated on a project about the brand identity for Mecklenburg County. The project involved an investigation into the existing identity system and an exploration of possible solutions. Last night, two students (Becky Kobsik and Mike Calitri) from those classes, accompanied by their instructors (Jenna MacFarlane and Dimeji Onawafu), presented a book to the Mecklenburg County commissioners, bringing closure to the project.

The book features graphic explorations of a hypothetical new brand identity for the county departments, based upon the official county seal. Students also provided essays about what it means to them to be a Mecklenburg County resident. As part of their research, students interviewed each commissioner to get their impressions of what made Mecklenburg County special.

The commissioners response was very enthusiastic. Comments included: "an amazing piece of work" "terrific" "A+"

As they finished their presentation, Becky and Mike were invited to come to the floor and shake hands with the commissioners. One commissioner remarked that the students had done something that no one else had done that night--bring bipartisanship to the commission.

Afterwards, we were able to meet Mr. Harvey Boyd, a CPCC graduate from the 60s, and the designer of the Official Seal of Mecklenburg County. The students presented him with a copy of the book, since his work formed the foundation for their project. (He is also the designer of the Official Seal of CPCC, which can be seen on exterior campus signage.) Mr. Boyd has had a long and storied career as one the few African-Americans in the advertising field during the 60s and 70s.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Kiawah Half Marathon

We just got back from not-so-sunny Kiawah Island, SC. Rick and I were two of twelve people from Charlotte who shared an AMAZING house for the weekend so that we could do some running. Four girls did the half marathon and three girls did the full marathon. Five amazing boyfriend/husbands also came to support us.

I was originally signed up for the full marathon but once I found out that I was pregnant those plans changed. I paid a change fee to officially switch from the full to the half marathon. What a racket! It seems like I paid for both me and the baby to run in the race!

We got in Thursday night and just loved hanging out in our six bedroom house. They gave Rick and I the master bedroom because 1-I'm pregnant and they thought that would be nice; 2- nobody else wanted to sleep on the main level near the kitchen and 3- Rick and I can sleep through a hurricane (will that change once a baby comes along?) Oh but I loved that room with its 20 foot ceilings, ginormous closet, four poster bed and the biggest bathroom I've ever been in. I miss that shower with the four heads and massaging action! (sigh)

Friday the other girls went for a jog - they waited too long and I was already showered - and we then went to go pick up our numbers.

6 out of 7 runners with our numbers

All day Friday, Rick was getting his spaghetti sauce together made from his mother's recipe. I helped make the meatballs...I think I did alright. He was very excited to be able to do this for everyone so that we could carb up for the big race. It turned out great and everybody had awesome races the next day - it must have been the sauce!

The crew eating the pasta dinner that Rick made

We were really worried that it was going to rain on us for the race but it stayed dry while we were running. We caught a courtesy shuttle to the start line and we were there just long enough before the race to get in the porta-john line and then get into the start line. It was a chilly was in the 40s but with a breeze that dropped the temperature considerably. However during the first part of the run I got warm enough to wish that I had shorts on instead of the pants.
I ran with my friend, Meredith. We really should spend less time together so that we have more things to say on these long runs. We were really searching for things to talk about. Good thing the race itself kept us entertained as the course doubled back on itself and we got to see the parade of people running the other way. We got to cheer for all of our friends as they raced by too. The race course goes along the neighborhoods that make up Kiawah Island. There are SO many beautiful homes there. We got to window shop architecture and Christmas decorations which was also entertaining.

I felt really good during the race. Thank goodness for the cool day and overcast skies. That really helped. I wore my very attractive pregnancy belt and it actually came in handy as it has a pouch in the back where I stowed my cell phone in case of emergency. I was so glad I had it...I felt a few muscle twinges in the round ligament area at about half way and just knew that I was so smart to have it on. I was able to keep a good conversational pace and my heart rate was steady at 160...which seemed a little high to me but I was breathing really well and as I already said I could talk without any problem which is the new generally accepted guideline for pregnant women as they exercise.
Meredith and I finished the race at 2:11...hooray for us! I was thinking that my time goal was to do about the same as my last race which I did in 2:12. I think we beat my last time by a few seconds which is good for my advancing pregnancy on a nice flat course vs the VERY hilly course in Charlotte that I did at ten weeks pregnant.

Meredith and I right after we finished
The half marathoners - Meredith, Me, Jenn & Keri

Everybody had a great race - Jenn & Keri came in a few minutes ahead of us and the three marathoners all rocked it with times under four hours. Colleen was two minutes off of qualifying for Boston with a 3:42, April blew away her goal of getting under four hours with a 3:51 and Brooke did amazing in her first marathon with a time of 3:57! I'm glad that I didn't end up running with them because they would have really shown me up!
I really do hate this picture of me - it was really cold and that's why I look like Shrek. But I put it up here because its the only picture of all of us girls together.
left to right: Me, Meredith, Colleen, April, Brooke, Jenn & Keri

Rick and I took a second to look at the ocean...brr it was cold!

My bib and the very cool recycled glass medal that we were given...its on the tree right now!

All in all it was an awesome weekend. It was one of the fanciest post-race food spreads I have ever seen. I don't know if I would come back to run the marathon there. The marathon does a double loop of the same course which is already doubling back on itself quite a bit. There isn't many spectators out and at times its is VERY quiet along the route. The positives was where we went was beautiful - beautiful homes, inlets from the ocean, golf courses etc and the best cornbread muffins at the post-race ever!
That was the last of my double digit mile runs for a long time. Now that this is over a lot of my friends don't want to run as much anymore which might make it harder to find people to run with when I want to too. But there's always Murphy!