Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pregnancy Week 36 update

Due date: September 27
How far along: 36 Weeks
Next appointment: Sept 3...which will be a birthing 'class' / check-up
Total weight gain/loss: 20 kilos..eek (I put it in kilos so it looks like less ;)
Exercise: Still walking the dog daily and the elliptical , one or two times a week.
Stretch marks: Yes, they finally made their appearance. They look like a tiger clawed me
Swelling: Only when on long road trips.  We went to Austria last week with my brother and sister-in-law.  3 days of more than 4 hours of driving- it was a lot of time in the car, and lots bathroom stops!  We have no more trips scheduled at this point thankfully!
Maternity clothes: Yes, though I have found a few non-maternity items of clothing that can work with the bell.  A long skirt with an elastic waist, a sleeveless sweater that isn't supposed to be buttoned..
Belly button: It is still in, though it is strange looking
Sleep: It is very difficult to get comfortable and between the trips to the bathroom and extreme midnight movement, I now begin the night on the couch and come to bed around 4-5 a.m.  I feel like I am giving Ed a good few hours of uninterrupted sleep since sleep is pretty important when flying a fast plane. 
Food cravings/aversions: None
Movement: Starting at week 34, the baby reached my ribs.  I find it odd that there are not more women complaining about rib pain on the internet because of all things I have experienced in the last 8 months, this is the most painful and annoying thing.  The only thing that seems to help is standing and walking.  Sitting at a table or the computer for long periods of time almost becomes unbearable!  
Labor signs: I am having more BH contractions than ever. 
What I miss: Not grunting every time I sit down and especially when I stand up.  If I am lying on the couch and get up, I look like a turtle on my back for a few moments!
What I'm loving: The answer to this question will always be feeling the baby move.  Which is part of the reason I don't sleep well at night, but maybe because I like to lie there and just feel what he is doing in there!  Even when he is in my ribs, I will gently push where his butt or feet are and if it is his feet, he will often times kick back! 
What I'm looking forward to: Seeing the face that I have only ever seen in slightly distorted black and white images...and getting my body 'back'.  It will be nice to not have a huge, hard stomach blocking the path between me and my feet. 

 Milestones: While the baby is not yet full term until next week, one of my friends who writes a blog and recently had a baby described week 36 is a big week because 'you have 2 to 6 weeks left'.  The possibility of seeing the baby starting in 2 weeks is exciting.
Goals: To order the rest of the baby things from our registry.
Weekly thoughts/wisdom:  While I have no wisdom to impart, I have read a few books about natural birth that have given me something to think about.  My birth 'plan' includes a natural I have been trying to mentally prepare myself for that.  It seems like most women's birth plans rarely go as hoped so I don't really have any expectations.  Obviously this will be me first time to give birth but I am trying to think positively about the pain.  It's temporary with great reward at the end.  Also, every person on earth has a mom that gave birth to them so I am not the first person to go through this!
Thoughts and feelings from Significant Other: He is impatient and ready for this show to get on the road.  I made him a paper chain to see the number of days until the due date!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Week 31 Survey

Week 31 started in the middle of our 5 day vacation to Krakow.   We planned this trip in June with hopes that I would still be feeling up to getting on a plane at the beginning of Month 8. I have tried to stay fairly active for the past 7 months and I think that had I not, I would have been completely miserable since visiting European cities generally involves walking and a lot of it.  I will type a post about our week in Krakow later.  For now, I will just cover what the baby and I have been up to this week. 

How far along: 31 weeks. I print off monthly calendars 2 months at a time. I just printed August/September so I can now see the due date on the calendar!

Next appointment: Not scheduled yet, but it will be for our 2-on-1 birthing class with our midwife.  I am thinking that a group class in Danish would benefit me very little :)

Total Weight gain/loss:  I haven't stood on a scale recently but I am just going to guess that after a week of vacation, I have gained weight.

Exercise: 4 hour bike ride around Krakow and lots of walking

Stretch Marks: yes, they are faint but have finally made their appearance.  I knew I wouldn't get away without them...

Swelling: Only after our flight home.   There is something a bit disturbing about looking at my feet and not recognizing them.

Belly Button: Still hanging 'in' there

Sleep: Interrupted often by trips to the bathroom and back pain.  I was not meant to sleep on my sides.  I have to wonder if my back will ever be the same again.

Symptoms: Excessively large abdomen.  Maybe this 'question' is meant for earlier in pregnancy but I will add that my neighbor's six year old daughter asked her mom just today if I was having a baby. 

Movement: Yes.  It is almost funny how much he moves at times.  Ed thinks that it must be because something is wrong. Me, well, it just makes me happy.  I will add that he is now kicking just below my ribs so he is slowly but surely taking over my entire stomach.  Also, he was head down at our latest appointment.  Hope he stays like that!

Labor Signs:  Still having Braxton-Hicks.  The midwife said that mothers having children beyond their first generally have them more often because their uterus 'needs the exercise'.  I guess my uterus is out of shape??

What I miss: Not having back pain.  And running, oddly enough.  I ran out of the rain recently and just felt awkward.

What I'm loving:  Ed's conversations with the baby

What I'm looking forward to: My mom and dad *may* be coming sometime in August for a few days (so my dad can 'see' his grandson). It's been nearly a year now since I have seen my dad in person so that would be nice.

Best moment this week: I am a bit ashamed to even write about this but it was one of the funniest moments of our trip to Poland.   On one of the days, we hired a man who basically just drives tourists from one site to another in a minivan (rather than on a giant tour bus).    He did a bit of 'tour guiding' at Birkenau but was basically just a chauffeur.  The only other people along were an older couple from New Zealand.  When we arrived at the Salt Mine, we were running a bit behind for our tour time so our guide conveniently led us around the line of about 70 people and into the building where the tour started.  I didn't even realize we were 'cutting' until we were inside and he said "Well, if anyone asks, we'll just say that you're pregnant and couldn't stand in line outside"  He also mentioned before he left that there would probably be a really long line to come up the elevator at the end of the tour so he said to not waste time in the gift shops or restaurant and head straight for the line.  After the tour, we, along with our new kiwi friends, hurried to the line only to find 150-200 people waiting ahead of us.  We stood without moving for about 15 minutes before Ed and the other couple walked further up to see what the hold up seemed to be....Long story short, the lady ended up finding our salt mine tour guide (not our chauffeur but the lady who worked for the Salt Mine)  and told her I was pregnant.   I was not there for this conversation so don't know exactly what was said but whatever it was brought our tour guide around to take us to the front of the line. There, she handed us off to another tour guide who personally walked us through more tunnels to another queue of 40 people waiting for the elevator.  Here, I thought we'd just be dropped off at the end of the shorter line but no, he walked us past all those people and left us at the front of the line with a few words of Polish to the girl who was loading people into the elevator.  One girl even offered me her spot on the very next elevator up but I assured her that I could wait for 4 more minutes and with that, I hung my head in shame, held my stomach, and  took a seat that someone had offered me along the wall.  I cannot tell you how embarrassed I was about the whole fiasco! I hate being the center of people's concern--I actually felt like I could cry about the whole thing but figured that'd just look really dramatic so I managed to hold back the tears.  The stress of the whole situation even brought on a few BH contractions that didn't really go away until I had reached the safety of the van :)  

Weekly Wisdom:  If you are going to be traveling by plane in the 3rd trimester, check your airline's policy on pregnant women before you go.  To fly on Ryanair past week 28 requires a "fitness to fly" form that has to be filled out by your doctor or midwife.  While I was never asked to show this form, I did have peace of mind knowing that if they did ask, I would have it. 

Luke's pictures at his 'Fit to Fly' check up.  He doesn't look the same in any of the pictures. I had to include the umbilical cord around the arm because it's a bit scary looking to me, though is nice of his hand  :)

Sometimes it takes a picture to see just how big one really is...or maybe it was the shirt :)
So we can tell Luke that he was along for the tour of Krakow as well. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Another Pinterest Post

Do you have a Pinterest account?  If yes,  estimate the number 'fulfilled' pins that you've pinned over the weeks and months.  Is it 50%?  20%?  1%?    I haven't actually counted all the things I have baked/crafted/purchased verses pinned but I'd say I am probably slightly higher-than-average because I use it like a cookbook and I like to bake cookies...a lot.  Anyway..

One thing that I always wonder about is the people that have pinned hundreds of DIY or 'clothing I want' pins.  I just cannot fathom how someone with over 1000 pins ever plans on implementing/purchasing all these different things.  Do these super-pinners ever go back and look at their boards or is it like...window shopping..on the internet?  Those are just my random thoughts on the matter and have nothing to do with what this post is really about-- my new ceramic berry baskets! I pinned this a couple months ago on my 'products I'd like to love' board:

In case it isn't obvious, they are, in fact, ceramic!.  A few months ago, I was in a store here in DK and noticed they had a little section of ceramic things that were made to look like 'American picnic items'--Solo cups, tin foil pie pans etc.  I had a chuckle to myself but moved on without spending my kroner.  However, these, I could live with!   When I unexpectedly snapped one of my favorite spatulas (didn't know that was possible), I decided that I would include these with my replacement purchase from Williams-Sonoma.   

They arrived last week and while Ed doesn't understand my obsession with 'containers', I think they make the Danish strawberries (that I could eat by the handful) taste better :) 

They are made by a company called Heirloom Home & Studio and they are also for-sale at William-Sonoma if you're interested in having some interesting, reusable berry baskets of your own!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Week 30, a pregnancy survey

I just looked back at my last baby post, week 17 and boy, have things changed since then! I have pictures from subsequent weeks but haven't made any additional effort to take just 'bell' pictures. I am now wishing that I would have taken a few more after seeing a few pictures that Ed took of me yesterday at moesgård. I will make no promises as to whether or not I will be able to keep with the weekly thoughts and observations for the the next 8 to 12 weeks but I will certainly try.

This week, baby is the size of a: A head of cabbage
Due date: September 27, 2012
How far along: 30 weeks
Next appointment: This saturday--we need to have our midwife fill out a 'fit to fly' form
Gender: Boy
Total weight gain/loss: unfortunately for my post-delivery me, 20-25 pounds.  It will only go up from there, right? (I am blaming an extreme number of 'cookies-eaten' on this amount..i'm trying to cut back)
Exercise: Yes, I'm Scout's primary walker.  We walk 1.75 miles a day.  Also, I still use the elliptical about 4 times a week.
Stretch marks: Nothing that I didn't have before pregnancy.  I put vitamin E oil on my stomach every day so maybe that is helping.
Swelling: Only 1 day in week 22.  I spent the day in the car on a road trip and then ate an excessive amount of chips when we arrived home.  I may have brought that on myself.
Maternity clothes: Yes, definitely for pants.  I still wear non-maternity shirts on occasion.  Belly band and my pre-pregnancy pants no longer work for me.
Belly button: In
Sleep: It is more difficult to get a full nights sleep, during the night.  I will wake up at 4am and just look at Facebook and the internet for a couple hours and then fall back asleep around the time Ed leaves for work. Then I will sleep another 2 hours or so.
Food cravings/aversions: No current cravings or aversions.  They've all passed for the most part.
Symptoms: Back pain--I have felt like my lower back has needed to be adjusted for the last 10 weeks.  I am not fond of side-sleeping so awake to find myself on my back many nights as well--which doesn't help the back pain.
Movement: yes, I love it!  He definitely is most active in the middle of the night.  In the evenings, I will use a kick-counting app just for fun and he will usually reach his 10 kicks in about 15 minutes.
Labor signs: after doing a bit of google research, I've determined that I definitely have been having a fair number of pain-less Braxton-Hicks contractions.
What I miss: fitting into my clothes (and wondering if I will fit into them again)
What I'm loving: feeling the baby move-definitely an amazing experience that I have been looking forward to for years
What I'm looking forward to: Sleeping on my back
Best moment this week: I finished a piece of art for the babies' room (which didn't help with the back pain)  Also, my mom sent me a box a baby clothes. She had wrapped most of the outfits individually so it was fun to unwrap them...and then wash them with baby detergent.  I love that smell!
Milestones: I have less than 3 months left (unless of course he waits until the last minute to arrive!)
News: I sewed my first curtains ever last week--and lined them.
Goals: Well, the babies' goal better be to put his head down in the next 6 weeks and my goal is to have the "5 S's" memorized  (I'm reading Happiest Baby on the Block)
Weekly wisdom: Don't by sandals that require bending over to buckle.  Who knew it could take 10 minutes to put on shoes!

Moesgård and the Bog Man

The past 2 months have been filled with a series of visitors and travels. While I have had plenty to write about, I was just out of the habit of writing and so my blog has been neglected.   Oh well...I am writing today so at least I will have 1 post for the month of July :)

Ed has been off work this week and it has been nice to just stay home and relax together.  I guess the Danish summer has not been what it supposedly can be because the past few weeks of weather can be described in the following way: dark clouds appear, sudden deluge of rain falls, sun returns long enough to dry the sidewalks before next wave of dark clouds appear.  Good thing I don't mind being out in the rain because Scout and I have been caught in at least 5 downpours this month.  The only unfortunate thing is that my rain jacket is getting a bit difficult to zip...

Yesterday, the weather looked slightly more promising than previous days so we went to the Moesgård Museum near Århus.  The main reason that we wanted to go to this museum in particular was because one of our Danish teachers had brought in a book (in danish, to expand our vocab..) about the 'bog people' of Denmark.  Since we live so close to one of the better-preserved bog people, it was on our list of 'places to visit', so we did.  I felt a bit strange about taking a picture, but someone else didn't so I will share their photos of the Grauballe Man.

The incredible thing about this guy is that he didn't die 500 years or even 1000 years ago... he died 300 years before Christ...He was killed (note the large neck wound in the top left picture) and thrown almost immediately in the bog.   He was so well preserved that archaeologists were even able identify and study his final meal (and it was on display at the museum..tasty) as well as determine he didn't do hard labor with his hands because they were smooth and unscarred (also his feet were quite nice :)

When I was laying in bed last night, i was thinking about the bog man... not necessarily just him but more about history.  I've grown up reading and studying the Old Testament, which is essentially Jewish history before and leading up to Christ.  All the while, it never occurred to me (before yesterday) that I am a descendant of someone, somewhere during this time period as well.  I am not Jewish, so who were 'my' people and what were they doing 300 years before Christ?  Were they eating grain porridge and sacrificing people to the bogs? The life expectancy of a woman was 40 years of age for this time period in Northern Europe...So that would make me a modern day 60 year old at the age of 27 during the same time period?!  I have always enjoyed history, but history from so long ago is difficult for me to wrap my brain around.

Aside from that, the rest of museum consists of various buildings scattered through the forest.  The rain held off long enough for us to walk on the trails for a bit before heading home.  It was a beautiful area--while the museum cost 60dkk to enter, the park and forrest were free so I am sure we will definitely return, if not to see the bog man, then to visit these goats :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bell Photo of the week - Week 17

This is the first week where I have really felt like I am getting bigger in a short amount of time.  Along with having an itchy stomach quite often, I've been awakened by  round ligament pain which is, I'm assuming, from sleeping on my side with nothing under my stomach. I still have not definitely felt the baby move so I guess I will just have to keep waiting for that to happen.  I decided that showing only the profile only tells half the story, so I've included a second picture that definitely shows the growing bell. 

Before moving to Denmark, my friend Rachael came to Texas for one last weekend together before I left.  While we were in the Gap, I was looking at the sale clothes, but was soon informed by a saleswoman that I was actually looking at maternity sale.  After my initial embarrassment, I realized that all of the shirts were less than 5 dollars.  "What a great deal" I thought to myself. I had already heard about the clothing prices here so I decided that I would spend a few dollars and buy some maternity shirts in advance.  While I have not yet been wearing them, I will add that I have tried them all at least once...with a lumpy sweatshirt baby.  Special is the only word that comes to mind...One can't be taught such great poses such is this one:

Monday, April 16, 2012

It's a....

Boy!  The night before the ultrasound, I was worried that the baby would be sleeping and the midwife wouldn't be able to get a good look at his/her gender.  The next morning I was drinking lots of water and orange juice in hopes of getting lots of movement. Within the first minute she asked me "So, what do you think you are having?"   Well, even I could see it was boy so I guess I had nothing to be worried about!  We posted the actual ultrasound on Facebook and several of our friends mentioned how he was quite the exhibitionist! My dad's view was that he was probably sitting modestly and that the midwife was just a voyeur! I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion! Anyway, Ed and I are really excited about the yet unnamed gentleman joining our family.  I am the oldest and grew up always wanting an older brother so I secretly hoped it was a boy...but if it would have been a girl, I obviously would have been really happy about that...I mean, have you seen baby girl clothes??  And, not only that but mothers and daughters always have at least one thing in common--they are both girls!   Speaking of clothes, I ordered my first baby item ever when the gender was still a mystery.  Before I was pregnant, we'd refer to our future unborn children as 'cubs', as in bear cubs. Well, this little number was on sale at Old Navy and I guess if we would have had a girl, she would have been wearing it with a skirt and blue bow!

Novice Sushi Maker

Since being taken over by an unborn human that has demanding taste in food, I have regularly craved rice and vegetables.  Normally vegetarian stir-fry is good enough but in the last couple weeks, I have been craving sushi-not the raw fish kind, just california and vegetarian rolls.  I don't know how this escaped my knowledge, but there are several sushi restaurants in town.  I didn't know this though until after we went to Hamburg, where I requested that we eat at a restaurant with sushi.  Having sushi once seemed to make the craving worse!  So the night of our second ultrasound, where we learned we were having, well, let's just say we were celebrating so we went to Bar Sushi in downtown Kolding for dinner.  It was great, but really really expensive. (not that that was surprising- most dining-out meals are expensive here)  In Destin, we went to a place where one roll cost between $6-8 dollars.  Here, one vegetarian roll was 80 DKK- USD equivalent of $14.  I won't go into more of the prices but will just say that I was inspired to make my own sushi since I was still craving it but not prepared to shell out $30 for 2 rolls. 

I easily found all the necessary supplies in the Asian aisle at the grocery store.  I'm not sure how much the mat, nori, etc set me back but I would guess it was probably the equivalent of 1 additional meal for myself at Bar Sushi.  I watched several videos before deciding to use this website as my instruction.  I also documented my attempt at sushi-making through a few pictures so I will include those in this post for humor more than information. 

I started by rinsing the sushi rice (not sure what kind of rice this is but it says 'Sushi Rice' on the bag so I will stick with that) for about 10 minutes.  This may have been overkill but I can say that after soaking and boiling the rice, it was sticky--which is believe is fairly important factor in sushi-making. 

While the rice was cooling, I wrapped my mat in cling-wrap because I was going to be making 'inside-out' rolls and it was recommended to do this in order to keep the rice from sticking to the mat. 

After the rice cooled, I divided my sheet of Nori in half and put the shiny down on the mat (so the rough side was facing me)

This would be the rough side of the Nori
I dipped my hands in water (to prevent the rice from sticking) and then formed a ball of rice and placed it in the center of sheet.

I dipped my hands in the water again and attempted to spread the rice out to the edges of the sheet.  In retrospect, I think I did not spread the rice thin enough because my sushi rolls seemed very rice-y and were difficult to roll--maybe because of the excessive rice. 

I flipped the sheet over so the rice was facing down and begin adding my filling.  I did make and use my own spicy mayo--though I don't know that it was terribly necessary since I end up putting a lot of wasabi and ginger on my rolls--but it did taste good on the few rolls that I ate without wasabi. 

The next picture would be of the attempted roll but I had my hands full trying to shove the cucumber, avocado and carrot into a tiny cylinder... Something wasn't quite right with my final product. Sauce and vegetables were squirting out the sizes, the nori sheet was visible at the seem, as well as some additional escaped avocado.  It was pretty ugly.

But, I wasn't going to give up so I ended up making 4 rolls in total for the practice, and because I had bowl full of rice.  My final roll looked like slightly improved..though I'm pretty sure I've never seen a green stain on the rice in a restaurant.

The final step was cutting the them.  One of Ed's friends told him that he puts his sushi in a freezer for a bit to harden them up before cutting. I tried that but was probably too impatient because they were not very firm when I did cut them.  They certainly aren't winning any beauty contest anytime soon.  I suppose I could have trimmed the loose carrot when I was slicing them.

Looking down reveals a few more flaws...too much rice,  seriously misshapen rolls,  (though this partially from when I sliced them--it was sort of like slicing a warm loaf of bread-no matter how gently and quickly you attempt to saw through the top crust, it seems that the rest of the loaf manages to be crushed in the process)  oh and how about the guy in the upper right hand corner- his filling seems to be spilling out of the top of his friend to the left.


And with the wasabi and ginger.  Those could be twin names to someone into quirky baby names now that I see them together in print :)  

So, for my first time, I think I did alright. They were edible, tasted good, were semi-healthy (I don't think mayo screams healthy which is why I added that semi to the front of healthy :) and didn't cost more than going out to dinner.  I'm going to call this attempt at sushi-making a success!

Sunday, April 15, 2012


The end of March seemed downright Spring-like here. It was sunny and each day seemed warmer than the previous.  Since the weather was getting better and the days longer, Ed constructed a fenced-in area for Scout around a small section of the yard off our backdoor. Because Scout was going out, we started going out as well and sitting on the patio while Scout was patrolling the border.  We eventually decided that it would be really nice to actually have a place to sit (aside from the ground) and maybe have a place to eat few meals in the summer. And thus the hunt for the perfect outdoor table ensued.  After literally visiting every single store in the Kolding that had any type of outdoor furniture, we picked a table.  The table was reasonably priced but none of the reasonably priced chairs looked right sitting next to the table. (trouble with dining chairs seems to be a re-occuring theme for us)  But, like the last time we had a table but no chairs, I didn't worry about it. I figured the chairs would find us.  Ed picked up the boxed and disassembled table on a Friday afternoon. We were going to Ikea the next morning to buy a mattress for the baby's future sleeping cage so we figured we'd check out their outdoor chairs while we were at it.   Saturday morning rolls around.  I crawl out of bed expecting to see another sunny, blue sky day...but no.  It was sleet-snowing (a wintery mix if you want to be technical about it) Yes!  More sleet and a touch of snow!!  On the day that we were going to set up our new table, a table purchased with sitting in the outdoors in mind! Well, I wasn't going to let that put my Ikea trip on hold so we set off despite the gray skies and rain (it changed to just rain after awhile).  We ended up finding chairs and shoving four of them in the back seat of the mouse car (yes, that alone is a miracle-I should have taken a picture of that! I should mention they were already assembled--I wasn't shoving boxes in the car, it was a stack of chairs)  Somewhere between the morning winter-fest and our return from Ikea, the weather went back to being spring-like! Ed set up the table, I attached the feet to the bottoms of chair legs and now the outdoor dining set is complete and ready for warmer weather!
See Scout. He loves his new space and has managed to not destroy anything yet.
So, the shortened version of the post: The morning we chose to assemble outdoor furniture was the same morning the last unexpected wintery weather arrived.  Irony.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

First true pregnancy post

I'm definitely not one who has many pictures of myself in a swimsuit on Facebook or anywhere on the internet for that matter, but I've decided that I am going to document the ''bell's'' growth sans any covering because 1) at this point, one would be hard-pressed to see any change in size with a shirt on 2) there's a human growing under the skin! It's pretty awesome.  3) If in the end, I do end up having stretch marks, dark lines etc, I think I should remember that! Now I have decided to leave off my head though for a number of reasons: my stool stacked with 12 books to add additional height to the camera is tall enough.  I'm not going to make the stack of books 20 tall to document my face, my face that is not benefiting from that 'pregnancy glow' So, without further delay...The Bell 
14 weeks, 2 days

16 weeks, 2 days
Some people have all the skills when posing for their self taken belly photos.  I seemed to have missed out on that skill so I'm sure there will be plenty more awkward arm poses to come and maybe a few non-self-taken pictures will eventually make their way to the blog, though I don't seem to be any more skilled in posing in that department either! 
and this was actually on 15 weeks and 2 days-i wasn't home to take the picture in my usual spot. 
 As far as how the rest of the pregnancy is going and has gone, I am happy to report that what everyone says about the 2nd trimester being the best trimester is true.  My night nausea is gone, I'm not eating every five minutes and I can still sleep comfortably. (not that that was an issue in the first trimester, but I am a dedicated back sleeper.  I'm trying to transition to sleeping on my side but I always seem to wake up on my back) I even think that my wild hormonal mood swings are maybe less wild but Ed would be the one to ask about that since he was the unfortunate recipient of my highs and lows.  The waistbands of my pants were uncomfortably tight fairly early--around 9 weeks so I bought a belly band to extend the life of my non-pregnancy pants.  While I was initially excited that it worked, I quickly discovered that the 2 bottoms that attach the band to jeans are a bit inconvenient for someone who is now making frequent trips to the bathroom.  My thoughtful friend sent me a pair of maternity pants from Ross and I bit the bullet ordered a couple pairs from Old Navy and the Gap. And there are always leggings.  If only pajama pants were acceptable clothing for public outings...

We had our 2nd ultrasound after Easter.  It was neat to how different the baby was from weeks 11 to 16.  The spinal cord and ribs were clearly visible.  The baby was hiccuping and swallowing. The brains 2 halves were there and the arms and legs were looking much more human-like.  Oh, and the gender is now known....!   I think I will just have to wait and share in a different post though :)   

We've have actually purchased furniture for the babies room--a crib and a large, 16- cubed bookshelf from Ikea that will act as both a closet and a bookshelf (and will probably store many other baby-related items since there is no closet in the room). We're are using an already owned desk for the changing table and are still looking for a rocking chair. After we find that, we will just need all the many baby items that are necessary in order to take care of a baby.  It is actually a little bit overwhelming to think about it all!   

Well, I think that is about enough pregnancy talk for a post! Hope you're all enjoying the spring weather wherever you are!

A Second Look at Hamburg

At the end of November, I went to Hamburg with some new friends that I have made in Denmark.  I wrote a post about it, but really, I felt like I didn't have anything to say because I had spent most of my weekend there in various shopping locations--indoor and out.  Not that there was anything wrong with that trip, but I came home feeling like I had been to a city, but hadn't seen what the city was 'really like' (I know that's impossible to do in a weekend--I lived in DC for 6 months and was only beginning to see what it was really like) .  Around Easter weekend, Ed had a few days off of work and the dog kennel thankfully had an opening so we decided to go back to Hamburg for a couple nights.   

Before moving to Denmark, I doubt I had ever thought to myself "I would love to visit Hamburg"  While it is the 2nd largest city in Germany, it doesn't have the any big tourist attraction that an American would want to see--i.e. it's not a Paris, London or Amsterdam (maybe this is different for someone who has grown up in Europe and I am sorry if you are an American that has Hamburg at the top of your 'must see before I die' list! ). Anyway,  Ed is a huge fan of TripAdvisor so he spend several hours searching for the best hotel and what we could do in the city while we were there since it is not the season of Christmas Markets and Glühwein.  The number one thing to do in Hamburg according to TA is a museum called Mini Wonderland (watch the video if you have time! it's awesome!)  Well, we couldn't deny the fact that it was the top tourist attraction so we booked our time slot and set out Friday morning to see this giant Mini world.  Once arriving, I could totally see why this thing got such amazing reviews.  Unfortunately it was Easter weekend so it was packed! 

The lights would go down every 15 minutes or so and then it would 'be night' in the whole area.  Of course Las Vegas was in the America section

 It was fun to look at all the tiny little people and what they were doing. Some were doing perfectly normal things, while others, not so much!  Men cutting down trees that fall onto a house, a parking lot gate closing on the hood of a car....I think one could spend hours here if there were not the crowds of people!  When and if we go back, we will probably pick a middle of the week day in hopes of there being a few less people to contend with for rail space to peek at the sights.
 Our favorite part was the airport.  All the planes in this picture will eventually taxi to the runway and take off.  Others will land and take an empty gate.  I took a video of it but it really didn't turn out well so I will just let you watch the video on the Mini Wonderland website to see the planes in action.

 Mini Wonderland is near the water and several of Ed's colleagues recommended taking a boat tour through the loading docks of the port to see all the giant cargo ships up close.  We found only 1 tour company that offered the tour in English and we were there just in time so we set sail to see Europe's 2nd largest shipping port after Rotterdam in the Netherlands.  While taking pictures, it seemed like the pictures could convey the massiveness of each of the cargo ships but upon returning home and looking through the pictures, I realized that pictures did not do the size of the ships any justice!
View of the port from near the boardwalk

Mærsk, the Danish shipping company

I think this is a Chinese company.  The tour guide said it would take a boat of this size 21 days to sail from the North Sea to Hong Kong

 While we were going by, containers were being loaded and unloaded from the ships.  Our household goods sailed across the Atlantic on a ship like this.  After seeing all the hundreds...thousands of containers, we were kind of amazed that we ever saw our couch and dining table again.  It's amazing that they can keep track of all these moving boxes.

A South Korean company

Neat view through the lane of ships
I had to add this last picture because the boat we were sailing on was about the size of the small boat in this picture. Not a big size difference or anything :)
Our last big stop of the day was to climb the tower of St. Machaelis Church.  I think walking up to the top of tall structures with narrow stairs and stone walls is quickly becoming my favorite thing to do in Europe.  I'm trying to convince Ed that it is a good idea to visit Florence when I'm 7 or 8 months pregnant and walk/climb to the top of the Duomo. He doesn't seem convinced though....

 This only took us about 12 minutes though--wasn't too bad.  I've been using the elliptical or 'cross-trainer' as the Danes call it everyday for about 30 minutes but even that can't prevent huffing and puffing after 12 straight minutes of stair stepping.  The views from the top gave a neat perspective of the cities layout though so the climb was worth it. 
Port, St. Pauli and the infamous Reeperbahn in this direction (I don't think I actually wrote about the event that made the Reeperbahn infamous in my mind but it was interesting to say the least! )

The city center to the left side of the picture (Rathaus is the tower with green roof)

Warehouse district (with Mini wonderland) in the brick buildings in the background

And a few more pictures that both Ed and I took earlier in the morning.
Rathaus in the spring. Last time I was here, Santa Claus was flying over the square in his sleigh being followed by a strange plastic cloud with a seat for an angel who was along for the ride (I didn't get it either-I'll just include a blurry picture to show you)
Okay, now for a few pictures from Ed's camera (after my Santa Claus rabbit trail) and then I will close this picture-filled look at Hamburg!
Lake near our hotel- The George.  Great hotel, by the way. Nice rooms, fast check-in, underground parking garage.

Spring Daffodils in the morning

Kuchen, breakfast of champions- and coffee--real coffee for me :)  Obviously not all the time but I was on vacation!

Notice the banks of this waterway--it rises and falls with the tide despite being around 100 km from the North Sea

Mini Wonderland

Plane taking off--ignore the phone in hand.  They couldn't be avoided

Looking down the boardwalk (i guess the boardwalk isn't in the picture but this is where the water meets the land

Ed's favorite thing. He took a video but it's not on Facebook so I guess I can't share it here

I will never forget sunglasses again.  I'm like a mole in the sun after living in Denmark for a winter (notice the bell--what Ed has taken to calling my stomach.  I'm worried about the names if this size is considered a 'bell'!)

St. Michaelis from afar
At the entrance of St. Michaelis