Monday, December 31, 2007

Best of 2007

A personal top 10 list, in no particular order.

10. Forging a relationship with Theatre West Virginia, where Marcus and I hope to spend many happy summers.

9. Turning 30. What a great age.

8. Being married to Marcus. What a great gig.

7. Finding out we were expecting.

6. Re-connecting with a ton of people from my past.

5. Every single kick, squirm, hiccup and wiggle from the baby in my belly. I can't believe how much I already love this kid. Pregnancy is the greatest adventure I've ever been on.

4. The birth of our nephew, Adam. What a sweetheart! It's been so much fun watching him grow this year.

3. Getting to watch football this fall! Of course that was mainly because I was kind of unemployed, but still a good thing. :)

2. My mom's kidney transplant. Wow.

1. Knowing that we are DAYS away from meeting our baby. That is awesome.

Happy new year, everyone!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Are we there yet?



So, I got a pedicure. Finally. And it was heavenly. Marcus mentioned last night, when I said I planned to go today, that I should make sure they loofa'd my heels. It was getting out of hand. I can't even put my own socks on, so you can imagine that my footcare routine is not what it used to be. Anyway, now my feet won't scare my child if they're the first things he/she sees at birth. We also went to the big grocery store in the car today. (A big deal in NYC) Somewhere between Marcus buying a giant thing of chow mein noodles and me throwing enough cans of tomato soup into the buggy to get us through a nuclear disaster, I realized we were stocking up on the food we'll eat when we bring our baby home from the hospital. And I almost freaked out in the Pathmark. Fortunately, Marcus was able to distract me with sugar cookie mix, so there wasn't a meltdown or anything. I keep expecting to go into labor today for some reason. I am four weeks from my due date. (Still don't think we'll make it.) Sometimes it hits me that in just a few short days, we will go to the hospital where they will take our child out of my body, then give it to Marcus and me to bring home and raise. I keep asking Marcus if this freaks him out. Calm as ever, he says no, but he could certainly freak out if I'd like him to. I think I've got that area covered.

Let's talk about how CUTE said baby is gonna be cheering for the Crimson Tide next year! (See photo above of adorable Baby Bama ensemble.) Cap courtesy of Grammy Jenny (my dad says it's child abuse--he's a die-hard, bleeds-red-and-blue Ole Miss fan!), Bama binky, onesie and book courtesy of Meredith and Ms. Kay. All we need is a pom pom.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The final countdown!




Let's begin by looking at the pictures. One is of Adam modeling his "My first Christmas" bib. Adorable. (he's 11 months old and 26 pounds now, by the way!) The other is Marcus and me by his mom's tree. Just call me Biggie Smalls. :)

We got back from DC yesterday bearing Christmas and baby prizes. So now we have a bassinet to assemble, little clothes to unpack and lots of other stuff to put in its place. I can't believe the next time we see our families it will be to show them our baby! I feel like I've been pregnant forever, but a part of me also can't believe it's almost over. (And my almost over I mean MAN, I hope we don't go all the way to our Jan. 27 projected due date!!!) I keep waiting for the baby to drop. For all I know, it could have already happened, though I can't really breathe, so I don't think it has. I have a feeling when dropping occurs, my belly will be down to my knees, making life even more interesting than it already is! Poor Marcus has to put my socks and shoes on me. He really is a saint.

Christmas was good. We ate a lot, visited with the family, ate some more, enjoyed being out of the city, then ate some more. Marcus racked up a whole new wardrobe, in which he will look quite sassy. Adam was fun. He has been sick, so his energy was a little low. He got a TON of presents, but was most interested in his plastic bowl and spoon. He also became quite fond of the Snack Trap. If you have small children, run don't walk to get yourself some snack traps! I got one as a gift from The View and they are fantastic! The kid can't spill the snacks! And they have really cute designs on them. Adam is partial to the blue penguin.

My mom continues to do well. She and my dad are chillin' in the townhouse, unless they are at a doctor's appointment or the lab. Yesterday they went to Starbuck's to check email. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to hear her sound so great after her surgery. What an amazing blessing.

Well, since the dish fairy is obviously not going to come and clean up my kitchen today, I'd better get on it. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

T-Minus One Month

Hi, folks!
After receiving a couple of frantic emails from friends that said something to the effect of "You haven't blogged all week--is your mom ok? Did you have the baby?" I thought I should publish that all is fine with the Lanes. We are still in DC, currently awainting someone to show up at my in-laws' house to fix the crack in our poor windshield. We'll be heading back to NYC early tomorrow morning. I promise to post Christmas pictures then. And, though we didn't think it possible, I'm even BIGGER than before. :) Baby is due exactly one month from today, which is both the most wonderful and terrifying thing I can think of. I'm kind of miserable, but trying to stay very positive and remind myself to cherish every kick and squirm, even though it has me running to the bathroom every 15 minutes and getting up out of bed to walk around every hour. I feel my stretch marks have been proudly earned, though I'd like to beat up the people who SWORE that rubbing cocoa butter on my belly every day would prevent them. (not so much...) Marcus and I love this little person so much already...can't wait to see what it will be like to have him/her on the outside!

My mom is doing beautifully. If you google the Oxford Eagle, our hometown paper, she and Bradley were the cover story on Christmas Eve. It's a fantastic article. They were also on the news in Columbus, MS that night. Her recovery is going very well. She and dad are settled into their townhouse, which is attached to the hospital. She's eating well and loving life without dialysis! She sees the doctor today for a post-op visit. Bradley is also doing well. Last I heard, he was heading to Ripley, MS to visit his parents. I still can't believe it's all real. Christmas was great this year, but we really got our gift on the 19th when this surgery happened.

More to come when we get home!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Transplant a Success!!!!

SHE"S DONE!!! And everything went perfectly. They said as soon as they attached Bradley's kidney, it pinked up and started working. She's doing so well that they are not even putting her in ICU or step-down tonight, she'll just go straight back to her hospital room. And Bradley is almost out of recovery and doing great. This is truly amazing, nothing short of a miracle. I feel like four years of stress has been lifted off our family. What a relief! Thank you, THANK YOU for all those who have kept up with our family through this journey. Your thoughts, prayers and good wishes are MUCH appreciated by all of us. Please feel free to share her story with anyone. It's definitely the most uplifting thing I've heard in a LOOONG time and to have experienced it is just beyond words.
Much love,
Jen

UPDATE 1pm EST

We're halfway there! Bradley is out of surgery and doing great. His part took a little longer than expected because his kidney was bigger than they thought. My dad said "Cool, Jenny gets and XL model!" Mom is still in surgery and will probably be there another hour or two. I"ll post again once we hear something. My dad talked to a lady whose husband had a transplant (and was up walking the halls the next day!) and she said when Mom wakes up, she'll feel 20 years younger. Sweet.
Thanks for checking!!!

Wednesday morning 9am EST

Hey, everybody. Just wanted to let you know there's nothing to tell yet. I've been trying to call my dad all morning, but his cell phone doesn't get good reception in the hospital and I'm not sure how else to get in touch with him. Hopefully he will call soon with an update. I talked to my mom last night around 10:30 and she was in great spirits, laughing and having a grand old time with HER mom. I'm glad my grandma's there with her. She had to take a shower with some kind of special disinfecting soap (so did Bradley), then get an IV at 1:00 this morning! No rest for the weary, right? They were coming for her at 6am to get prepped for surgery. I imagine things are well underway by now.

It's weird--I keep thinking about it and assuming I will freak out at any moment, but I have such a peace about all of this. I just know it's going to work out beautifully. And I actually slept last night! God knows what he's doing, and apparently the right thing for me was some "holy sedation." I couldn't believe it when I woke up and saw sunlight. Of course my bladder was about to burst, but that's a whole other story.

I"ll update as I know more. Surgery should be done by early afternoon. Thanks again for checking in on us!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tuesday Mom update

Mom and Bradley are cozily tucked into the hospital. My grandma arrived around 4 this afternoon while I was on the phone with Mom. Everyone's had an EKG and some blood work. They took 12 vials of blood from my mother, who has the worst veins in the world. Yikes. But she is in good spirits and is really ready to get on with it! She met her transplant surgeon this afternoon and loved him. He explained everything and answered questions. If all goes well, she may not even have to stay in ICU tomorrow night! They'll start the procedure at 7:30 in the morning. Bradley goes in a little earlier than mom, but she'll follow closely. I'll update this site as soon as we have a good, detailed update after the surgery. Please keep my family in your prayers, if you would. I'm waiting for it to hit my dad, which it probably won't until they are rolling her into the OR. I really wish I was there.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday, Monday

Welcome to week 34. Here you see me in a shirt I forgot I had bought over the summer. Yay, new clothes! Marcus and I found all sorts of interesting things when we purged the closet yesterday, this shirt among them. We just threw out 9 bags of trash. (granted, not all of that was from our closet, but still!)

SO, doctor appointment today. Ok.
My heissofabulousilovehimsomuch Dr. Moritz is on vacation, so I had to see a partner. And I hated her. I'm sure she's a lovely person, but not for me. She didn't use the ultrasound machine to check out the baby, which is fine. Not all doctors do that. So she poked and pushed and Baby Awesome DID NOT like it! (neither did I for that matter) She was a little old-fashioned in her thinking and a bit brisk in her answers to my questions. (and there were LOTS of questions this time) She kept acting like I should just know things. I was like "uh, it's my first time to ever BE pregnant, so no, I don't know exactly what labor or Braxton Hicks contractions are supposed to feel like! And I've never done a birth plan or gotten a strep B test, so help a sister out!" She even made me weigh myself, which I thought was ridiculous. What if I had lied? And why am I paying you if I have to operate the scale myself? And she did one of my pet peeves: Talked to me while taking my blood pressure. Well no wonder it came back super-high! Let me lay down and be quiet for a second and it will be normal! (Which is what happened.) It also annoyed me that she didn't include Marcus more or at least say he was nice for taking off my snow boots and putting them back on for me. Needless to say, I won't be seeing her again, even if Dr. Moritz is not available. After we were done, I went and found my favorite nurse, Delsa, who hooked me up with an impossible-to-get appointment with Dr. Moritz as soon as he's back from vacation the week of New Year's. Delsa's got the hook-up. Anyway, forgive the rant. Baby is super-healthy, head down and has a very strong heartbeat. I have hit the 30 pound weight gain mark, but am the perfect size for as far along as I am, or so says crazy lady dr. And we're good to go to DC for a week for Christmas, as long as we stop a lot for me to stretch my legs. I imagine we'll be doing the rest-stop tour of New Jersey. :)

My Mom and Dad made it to Birmingham today! They are set up in the apartment where my dad and grandma will stay while Mom is in the hospital (about a week). Once she's out, they'll move up to the apartments on the 7th floor, which is the transplant wing. The apartments are actually attached to the hospital and have a cafeteria/food court, laundry, a nice lobby and pretty much everything you need right there. That will be much more comfortable that sitting in a hospital bed all day. And she's allowed to leave to go out and eat or walk around if she feels like it. Since they'll be there about 3 weeks, it'll be great to have some "homey" touches. They even brought a little Christmas tree. Mom checks into the hospital at 8am Tuesday and Bradley gets there shortly after that. The surgery is Wednesday morning. Each part takes about 3 hours, but will probably overlap a little, so we should have an update by early afternoon on both Bradley and Mom. Please keep them in your prayers. Also, pray for the hospital staff. I don't think they know what's in store for them. I think most of North Oxford Baptist Church is going down for the event, along with Lord only knows how many family members! Oh, to be in that waiting room!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Workin' for the weekend


Behold my sweet, cute husband who takes excellent care of me. :) We didn't really have to work this weekend, per se, but we feel like we did! Marcus wrapped up his final exams on Friday. Saturday was our last baby class: Newborn Care. We learned about swaddling, bathing, baby fingernails (which scare us), diapering, and many other useful topics. It was nice to be around other expecatant parents and even nicer to see that we actually knew a lot more than we thought. Some of those poor people were kind of clueless. One guy almost had a breakdown when the instructor told him it was ok to use either wipes or a wet cloth to wipe the baby's bottom for the first few days. He wanted brand names of wipes and thread-counts on the cloths! Poor guy. His wife's having twins, so he's probably a little freaked out. For anyone who watches Trading Spaces on TLC, Genevieve the designer was in our class! Kind of a cool celebrity sighting. She's due a couple of weeks after we are.

Today we went over our birth plan, using a template from my "What to expect" pregnancy journal. Doing our birth plan pointed out one thing--we're not really sure about exactly what we want! And that's ok. We have a list of questions for the doctor tomorrow, including "Do we really need to print out a birth plan to hand out to the hospital staff or will that make them hate us?" We have an idea on important factors, like circumcision, breastfeeding, one of us being with the baby at all times when possible, etc., but until I feel what labor is really like, I have no idea whether I'll be more comfortable standing, sitting, in the tub or with my lovely epidural. (I expect the latter...) Baby continues to show off, kicking up a storm. Yesterday before we got up, he/she flipped so hard it shook the whole bed. I feel like I"m going to pop and my feet are even more swollen. And I"m ready to hold my baby. I did, however, finally take the time (and energy...and it took a lot) to sit on the side of the tub and shave my legs, at least from the knees down. Now I won't feel bad at the lady dr. tomorrow. I wish there had been time for a pedicure, but I'll just leave my socks on. I'm getting a haircut tomorrow and I can't wait. It's growing so fast these days that it's really uneven and in need of some serious shaping! Ronen, my stylist, usually does an exciting blow-out, so we'll be sure to post a picture.

We finally cleaned out the closet. The rule of thumb was "If you haven't worn it in a year, you don't get to keep it." We filled 7 bags. Now, in our defense, packrats though we may be, at least 2 of those bags were wire clothes hangers (mommie dearest just can't take them) and shoes.The amount of space it freed up is unbelievable. Marcus also moved our bookcase over by our dresser so we can move my nightstand to his side of the bed. On my side, there will be a bassinet, full of sweet, pretty BABY soon! Oh, I can't wait to kiss the feet. :)

Tomorrow, my mom heads to Birmingham! On Tuesday morning, she will check into the hospital where she and Bradley will have their final work-ups, including EKGs and blood work. Wednesday morning is the transplant. Please keep them both in your thoughts and prayers. I think their entire church is going down for the blessed event. A couple of people who can't make it are sending relatives who live near Birmingham. I can't even tell you how much I want to be there. But as my mom put it, I have to stay here and grow her a grandbaby so she'll have something to do now that she'll be all healthy. Sounds like a plan to me.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wintry Mix


If you don't live in or have never been to the lovely north, you may not know about wintry mix. It's the nastiest combination of rain, sleet and snow imaginable. And that's what it's doing here today. So much for going out of the house. It's ok...I'm too tired to move anyway. The post office will almost certainly be there tomorrow.

Yesterday, we went to Marcus's holiday party at his office. It was fun to see everyone. I wore my party shirt. (See picture--33 weeks along!!!) Baby was in rare form. He/she kicked and moved the ENTIRE TIME we were there. One of Marcus's secretaries is leaving next week, so I was glad to get to see her one more time before the baby comes. He is so lucky to have such great ladies to work with. (shout out to Judy and Yahaira!!)

I had class last night at the hospital. Breastfeeding class. I won't go into the specifics, but it was pretty great. There were only 6 of us, so it was kind of informal. The instructor was wonderful and I feel much more at ease about giving it a shot now. It was a loooong day and I could barely move by the time I got home. And now there's wintry mix.

I am tired of being pregnant, y'all. And I keep feeling guilty about that. I have LOVED growing this baby. The kicks, squirms, growing and the bonding that happen before you even meet your child are incredible. But it hurts now. I'm uncomfortable and I think baby is, too. It's gotta be cramped in there, right? Just a few more weeks, though, and we'll all get to meet "Baby Awesome." Until then, we have to put together all the baby stuff, unfurl the new rug (it came yesterday!!!) and take our Newborn Care class. And have Christmas. And New Year's. And I need a hair cut. Ok, maybe I'm not THAT ready yet. :)

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Deep Thoughts


I think we've hit the official "Glamourous" stage of pregnancy. I don't feel like doing anything. I did get a few constructive things done today, like typing out my list for what to pack in my hospital bag and putting together Kitty's post-partum to do list, which she has so graciously offerred to complete for me. Marcus and I were planning to do our "official" birth plan today, but we let it slide in order to watch some weird reality show about photographers. (Dear TV Writers, PLEASE come off strike!!!) Much of this weekend has consisted of sitting on the couch, playing yahtzee on my comptuer, IMing with my mom and eating. Here are some deep observations:

*I have cankles. That's what all the pregnancy books call it when your ankles swell so much that your calves just go all the way down to your feet. I thought I might make it through without this happening. Not so much. (See extremely nasty photo above. Kitty wanted to see a picture, so I took one. Please do not judge my lack of pedicure. I'm going this week.) Thankfully, my mommy sent me a brand new pair of Land's End clog slippers, which are the only shoes that fit. I can wear my winter boots, too. My mother in law got them for me for Christmas last year and we ordered a size big on purpose to accommmodate thick socks. It's all I can do to get them on with knee-high hose. And forget socks. For a while, the ankle socks were all that worked, but now they even leave marks. Tomorrow I will go shopping for some of those 80s type slouch socks that don't really have elastic at the top. Hot. Marcus fashioned me a make-shift ottoman out of a rubbermaid storage container and a pillow so I can elevate my feet and cankles, which scare him when they swell. The man is a saint, I tell you.

*I have lost interest in "normal" food, like meat and veggies. For a while there (ah, those wonderful second trimester days), I prided myself on having a lovely meal for Marcus when he got home at night with lean meat, a green veggie and some kind of starch. Now that his semester is done, I want things like potato pancakes, hot chocolate and mint oreo cookies. (An odd craving since I don't think I'd ever HAD a mint oreo before I sprung a crazy craving the other day...) Tonight, at my urging, we ordered Chinese food, which I never want. And it was real good.

*Remember when I was soooo happy about the pregnancy hormones making my hair sooooo thick and luxurious? Well I need a haircut, y'all! It's kind of a bushy disaster. It may scare Ronen, my stylist. Hopefully he'll take it easy because I"m pregnant and not yell at me.

*Marcus and I are getting pretty good at Lingo. Ever watch that on the Game Show Network? I have to ration how much I"m allowed to watch GSN. There was an unfortunate phase in grad school when I got addicted to Match Game and had to quit cold-turkey for a while. Ooh. Memories.

*I have an overwhelming urge to bake and decorate holiday desserts for my baby. Marcus has explained to me that this is unnecessary this year, since said baby won't be able to see and enjoy said desserts. Plus I don't need the sugar.

Tomorrow I"m going to venture out into the world (assuming I can get my shoes on by myself) and do a little Christmas shopping. I'm sure that will yield a fun story or 2, so be sure to check back. And thanks for listening to my ramblings. :)

Friday, December 7, 2007

In the thick of it


What a week it's been! On Wednesday, we got the fantastic news about my mom's transplant. Yesterday, we toured the hospital where the baby will be born. Today, we saw the obstetrician. We're tired! Here are the updates:

HOSPITAL: Really nice. The staff was friendly, the rooms were clean, our questions were answered. They even had little snacks for us in the board room where we met before the tour. (Marcus filled up on cheese cubes, then didn't want dinner afterwards.) Kitty went with us, since she will be our "support person" in labor and delivery. I think we confused everyone. We were the only party of three in our tour group. We came up with all kinds of fun scenarios in case anyone asked. Of course when the tour guide DID ask, we told the truth. :) Anywho, all the birthing rooms are private and quite nicely decorated and include a jacuzzi tub. They also have a state of the art birthing center one floor up, which is like a hotel, but I won't be using it. You can't have drugs and they send you home 12-18 hours after the baby is born. (!?!?!?!) They offer private post-partum rooms on the regular labor and delivery floor, and they can be yours for a mere $750 a day. YES--they cost $750 a day out of pocket! NO insurance plans cover it! We just laughed. They have a concierge and room service and serve "high tea" in the afternoon. Uh, I'll be down the hall in my semi-private room with my baby rooming in, eating hospital food and living for visiting hours. Anyway, we were pleased with the hospital and it kind of made it all hit home that yes, this child IS going to come out of my body. Shortly. Which takes us to ...

DOCTOR APPT: We saw Dr. Moritz today. All is well with Baby Awesome. And he/she is big. REALLY big. We are currently in our 32nd week of pregnancy. Baby is measuring in at a whopping 35 weeks! He/she weighs 5 pounds 6 oz! (This is when I remind everyone that I'm five feet tall and used to weigh 110 lbs. before I grew a gargantuan baby. OW!) Everyone's healthy, thankfully, although quite uncomfortable. Baby's head is down and he/she likes to use my bladder as a pillow. There are little feet in my ribs all the time. But I love it. I'll miss feeling those kicks, flips and hiccups. But we can't wait to meet our baby. The dr. didn't change the due date from Jan. 27, but he did say it will probably be closer to the 19th. Either way, we'll be waiting with open arms, cute outfits, lots of storybooks and tons of kisses.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Transplant Set!


My dad just called from Birmingham. Bradley is a PERFECT match for my mom on all counts and they have set the transplant date for 2 weeks from today, December19!!!!!!!!!!! We are all thrilled, to say the least. Four long years of waiting have finally come to an end. Mom is in GREAT spirits and I think she's packing her bags as we speak. They will check into the hospital the day before. Bradley gets to go home that weekend--they will take his right kidney out lapriscopically, so it's very minimally invasive for him. He will be on break from work (he's a teacher), so he won't miss a single day of classes, even with recovery at home. Mom will be in the hospital about 5 days, then will move to the townhouses, which are attached to hospital, for monitoring. So she won't even have to be in the hospital on Christmas. A ton of their friends are planning to make the trip down, as is my Grandma and Lord only knows who else. (I'm too pregnant to travel or else I'd probably go down tomorrow!) She will be home in Oxford before the baby is due! (though I'm SURE the baby is going to come early, so maybe not...)
Thank you all so much for your support, concern, thoughts and prayers. Please keep her in your hearts as she wraps up this very long process. Of course, her recovery will be long, but at least it will be DONE! I'll keep you posted.

*The photo above is a t-shirt available from the National Kidney Foundation. It says "Share Your Spare" and features a kidney with a gift bow. I think I'll get one for Bradley.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Happy December!


Here's what we woke up to this morning! Our first snow of the season. (That's our patio.) This put a serious cramp in my plan to have Marcus walk to Dunkin Donuts with me for a cruller and some hot chocolate. We will also probably not make it to the drug store today. I"m sure we'll survive without whatever it was we needed there (no one can remember what that was exactly), though I may not survive without the cruller...

This week begins the official start of the crazy season for us. We have an interview with the pediatrician tomorrow, a tour of the hospital on Thursday, a doctor's appointment on Friday, then baby classes next week. Then it's practically Christmas! I really, REALLY think this baby is coming early, so I'm anxious to see what my doctor has to say. I've been doing some Christmas shopping online because I just can't handle myself in "real" shopping situations these days. I'm terrified I'm going to fall or bump into something with my belly. I've been putting off a much-needed trip to Crate and Barrel to check out the rug we want to order because I'm scared I'll knock something off a shelf and end up paying $200 for a broken vase.

We spent the morning cleaning out our living room cabinets. If you've never been in our living room, we have these 4 weird little cabinets with a little counter space. They kind of catch everything. They are now organized within an inch of their lives, which makes me one happy mama to be. The lower shelf of the top set is stocked with all things baby--diapers, wipes, extra pacifiers and baby shampoo. Our mailing supplies and fancy paper are neatly arranged. We packed up all the DVDs and videos we haven't watched in years and put them in some of our new Rubbermaid containers in the basement. Friday, we completely purged the basement. It was fun to find things from the past and to laugh at the things we thought we needed to keep (Especially me, Senora Pack Rat). Yesterday was spent almost entirely on our new sofa, which rocks. (see photo above. That's our card table behind it and our new end table to the side.)

We'll keep you posted on our many appointments and classes. Knowing us, they will yield some fun stories, especially the hospital tour which Aunt Kitty will be taking with us. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to eat. Again.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hello, beautiful!


I am happy to report that our brand-spanking new Solsta sleeper sofa has arrived! I have a feeling the delivery guys may start stalking me. They seemed really taken in by my early-morning beauty and puppy paw print pajamas, my fuzzy hair, pale face and enormous belly, not to mention the fact that I was washing dishes when they rang the bell and went to the door still wearing my orange rubber gloves. How does anyone resist, I ask? (Aren't they supposed to call before they come so you can put on sweat pants!?!?) Anyway, there is a huge box in the middle of the living room, which Marcus will open and assemble when he gets home today. The best part is that this means goodbye to the futon. The nasty, bulky, uncomfortable, collegey-looking futon! Sure, it's served our sitting needs, but it's time to be grown-ups and have a real couch. (this is where you judge me a little because our "real, grown up couch" is from Ikea...) I'm terrified to find out what is under there, though. Old newspapers? Dead bugs? Dust bunnies? That green pea I dropped during dinner last week? I may leave while Marcus moves it out of here. I"ll come back when my beautiful new sofa is assembled. Happy Jen.

I have to share a funny story with you now. You know how sometimes young ladies who are a big, um, chunky, wear shirts that are a little tight? And sometimes their fat rolls stick out from under their shirts? Well, my dear husband refers to that as "Looking like a busted can of biscuits." Years ago when we were in college, I made him promise to tell me if I ever looked like that. Fast forward to last night, 8 years after that initial conversation. My belly is big, no denying it. I had on a size small maternity top, which I swear shrunk in the wash, and some sweat pants, which I wore slung under the belly. So some of my tummy was sticking out the bottom of my shirt. Marcus came in from work, took one look at me, started giggling and said "Baby, you look like a busted can of biscuits!" I laughed harder than I have in months. He took me to the mirror to show me our "little biscuit." And he was right. At least he's true to his word. :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

AMAZING news!!!

HELLO! We just got the best news ever--Bradley is officially a match for my mom! He goes to Birmingham for his exam with the doctors on TUESDAY, Dec. 4, and from there, they schedule the surgery. January is going to be a busy month for our family! At the transplant center in Birmingham, he'll go through a routine physical with my mom's doctor, more blood work and a psych evaluation. I am excited beyond words and can really think of nothing else to say except THANK YOU for all your support and prayers! Please keep them coming as we head into the end of this very long road. What an amazing thing.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Yowza


I think it's safe to say we've officially reached the painful part of pregnancy. My back and tailbone ache, it's hard to take a deep breath due to the little baby parts constantly pushing up into my ribs, my hands and feet are a little swollen (no more wedding ring) and I wake up with leg cramps at least three times a night. That said, we're almost to the finish line! Welcome to week 31. It's been a big one so far. We finally made it to Ikea on Sunday, after I spent almost 2 hours on the phone and online Saturday trying to find out whether or not our sofa was in stock. (it was) It will be in our hot little apartment on Thursday. Goodbye, nasty futon. I will not miss you. At all. We also got a new end table to accommodate things like baby bottles, our lamp (which has lived on the floor since the untimely demise of our old end table) and our printer, who we loving refer to as "Kinko's." I think the nesting instinct kicked into overdrive while we were at Walmart because I bought 24 rolls of toilet paper. At least we know they'll get used. The apartment's starting to really take shape. We have an actual plan for putting together the bassinet and such, so I feel like it's all doable. At least today I feel that way. It changes by the hour lately!

I just found out that November is National Blog Posting Month. (NaBloPoMo) Who knew? I think it's also NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month--is that right, Eileen?). My friend Eileen wrote a novel last year. It was cool.

The picture above is of me wearing my "This is what Awesome looks like" t-shirt. It was purchased for me (and one for Marcus) by McKinley, the young man who suggested we name our child Awesome, after him.

Pregnancy continues to be an adventure. We're getting so excited. Marcus is absolutely adorable about it. He had his finger on my stomach today and told me he and the baby were holding hands. :) Then he had to stop before he cried. I have re-discovered wonderful culinary delights like Jello Pudding (Pregnancy makes your lactose intolerance a little more tolerable!!), frozen yogurt, and ice cream. We got a webcam for my parents and they got one for us as Christmas gifts. We finally figured out how to use them tonight and had a fun chat with my mom and dad. They even held up Audrey the kitty to say hi. Then she hid under the bed. It was fun to show off the belly and some of our baby gifts to them. It will be great once the little one is finally here and they get to see him or her every day. Yay for technology!

The next couple of weeks are going to be a whirlwind of doctor's appointments, classes and the like. We are interviewing the pediatricians on Monday, seeing my doctor next Friday, touring the hospital one night, taking classes a couple of days, then heading to DC for Christmas. I have a feeling the next few weeks are going to fly...and then we'll have a baby. Wow. WOW.
Now I have to stop before I cry.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The big 3-0



We have made it to week 30, ladies and gents! Our baby will be born in 10 weeks, maybe earlier. (I don't accept the fact that it could be later. The kid will weigh 30 pounds if it stays in there longer than Jan. 27!) The third trimester is kind of uncomfortable. Back pain, leg cramps, trouble sleeping and this awful pulling in my lower abdomen, apparently caused by the little darling pushing on my ligaments. And I've never gone to the bathroom so much in my life. We keep joking that I should keep count, but then I wouldn't have time to do anything else. By New Year's, I expect to just move into the bathroom full time. Baby continues to amaze and amuse us with new tricks like sticking his/her butt (or maybe head?) out, making a hard lump appear on my stomach. Dear, darling Marcus Lane is now in charge of rubbing lotion on my legs, feet and abdomen every night, which is the closest thing to Heaven I can think of right now. Overall, we're both feeling pretty good. We got a LOT of gifts this week, about which we are SOOOO excited! Above, next to the picture of me in one of my new sweaters, you can see Marcus modeling our Boppy pillow. He really likes it when I take pictures of him.

The china cabinet is no more. The lovely and talented Daniel came over on Thursday and helped Marcus haul it to the curb. We threw a bunch of stuff away and put the rest in storage bins to go to Grandma Claudia's at Christmas. Neither of us can believe how much bigger the apartment looks with it out of here. Now we have room for the boxes containing the car seat, swing, pack n play, etc. After Christmas we'll put the bassinet together and prepare Baby's little area. There's even room for a wall hanging. ;) Last night, we went to Babies R Us and picked out a stroller. It was pretty comedic. They should post the instructions for how to fold those things up! Watching Marcus do "crash tests" to make sure the baby wouldn't fall out was my favorite part. We settled on the Maclaren Quest Sport, a sassy model in grey and green. That tidbit of information probably means about as much to you as it did to us 7 months ago. It's funny all the new things you learn with a little one on the way. My vocabulary now includes terms like "five-point harness," "one-hand fold," and "cradle cap."

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in NYC!! (I love Christmas, in case you hadn't noticed.) This week, we'll celebrate Thanksgiving with our NYC family, a tradition started 4 years ago. Kitty's mom, Sheryl, will get in on Tuesday from Michigan and the fun will begin then. Thursday will be a blast, as we all gather at Kitty's to cook, eat til we pop, then maybe play a little Uno. And I will win.

Today's my mom's birthday. Happy birthday, Mom! Wish I could be with you. We could eat chocolate. Your grandchild is doing the cha cha in your honor.

Monday, November 12, 2007

I've seen the lights go out on Broadway


I felt the need to comment on the current Stagehands strike which has shut down all but 8 Broadway shows. I don't know the exact details of their negotiations, so I won't go too far into my own opinions, but it is amazing that this has happened. (For details, go to playbill.com.) Union rules are extremely clear on who can do what on a show, and without these folks, the show truly cannot go on. My union does not allow me to touch any props, costume pieces or set pieces during a performance. If I want to move something or re-set it, I have to go get a stagehand. They do all the scene shifts, whether manually or computerized. They are our electricians, our sound operators, our dressers, prop and set crews. I'm interested to see how long the strike goes on. There are currently 8 Broadway shows not affected (they are non-profit theatres, like Lincoln Center, who have different agreements with the unions) but over 2 dozen who will remain "dark" until the union reaches an agreement with the producers.

I can't help but think about how this has been affecting the people in my union, Actors Equity Association (the union for actors and stage managers). I read today that there is a small strike fund and if it goes on, the union will pay actors and stage managers the weekly maximum for unemployment insurance until the fund runs out or their unemployment benefits kick in. (It takes 7 weeks for unemployment to kick in, by the way.) Now, $405 is the weekly maximum for unemployment insurance. This is not even half of what the lowest paying contract on Broadway, say for a chorus dancer in his/her first show, makes. It's scary to think that these people who are in long-running shows, even on smaller contracts, may be faced with such a small weekly salary so soon. A lot of "chorus folks" stay in smaller roles because of the job security and use the nice paychecks to buy their first apartments in the city. I can't help but think of how those folks will be affected. I"m glad it ain't me.

On a nicer note, there is a fundraiser scheduled for tonight at the Marquis Theatre (home of Drowsy Chaperone) to benefit a home for mentally disabled children. Rather than force the producers to cancel the benefit, the stagehands have agreed to cross the picket line and come in to work this event, but to do so free of charge so as not to affect their current negotiations. I appreciate that they are donating their time to a worthy cause.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Nesting



All the pregnancy books talk about the "nesting" instinct kicking in during your third trimester. It has hit the Lane Family Home in full-force. I spent half the day Monday taking baby clothes off of hangers and getting a load of baby laundry ready to be washed on the gentle cycle with Dreft. I have cleaned out some drawers in my dresser especially for baby clothes and blankets. My beloved china cabinet will be out of here next week to make room for the pack n play and baby swing. Gifts from our registry have started showing up, which is SO exciting! And no, I don't think it's a coincidence that the baby kicks up a storm when the UPS or Fed Ex man shows up with a package. He/she is obviously intellingent and very excited and appreciative of the outpouring of love from our friends and family. :)

The apartment purge continues. Tomorrow we will do an enormous drop-off at Salvation Army to get rid of clothes we either have not worn in years or will never wear again. Kitty gave us some big rubbermaid containers to pack up things we need out of here to make room for baby stuff. We have registered for our prenatal classes and will be touring the birthing suites at the hospital soon.

It's all coming together. The event we've been waiting for is a mere 80 days away (if we make it that long). I have always wanted to be a mother and Marcus and I have always planned on having a family together. And now, the reality of it is so sweet. Watching my belly shift around and jump from time to time is an incredible and constant reminder of the little person who will soon be the center of our universe. (complete with his/her sweet little hair!) This poor kid. I hope it's prepared for me to cry all over it for the first week of its life.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Baby Big Head

I saw Dr. Moritz today. I have gained 10 pounds since my last visit, for which I got in trouble. :( oops. But I'm healthy and, fortunately, all the weight is in my belly, mostly comprised of amniotic fluid and our giant child! Baby weighed in at 2 pounds 13 oz. A quick sonogram showed that his/her head is measuring at 31 weeks! (I'm 28 weeks along.) After a quick review of the anatomy of birth, the doctor admitted that any baby coming out of me would be big, but this one is looking like it could turn out to be a porker. He said we'll see how things go because the body can do amazing things during labor. (This is when I asked "So when can I get the epidural?") The coolest thing about the sonogram is that I saw the baby's hair! It's got hair! The doctor told me to laugh or cough to shake up my belly and it's little hair floated like it was blowing in the breeze. I want to brush it. Baby is now head-down (who knows if it'll stay that way), which is more comfortable for mom. The feet on the bladder were killing me. As of now, we are leaving the due date where it is. And I have to stop eating cookies.

It was a big day at the doctor. I had to drink the nasty glucose potion, which isn't as bad as they say. Mine tasted like a flat orange soda. Don't get me wrong, it was nasty, but it could've been worse. Delsa the nurse gets kudos for doing the best blood draw EVER! I have one vein that you can get blood from and it is usually pretty uncooperative, but she got me on the first stick. I guess they will call me with the results of the glucose tolerance test. I'll let you know how it turns out. I also had my Rhogam shot. Rhogam is a shot they give mothers with Rh Negative blood so that, in case your baby has Rh positive blood, there won't be any problems. The problems would occur with the next pregnancy, as Rh positive blood in your system makes your body produce anitgens, so it would attack an Rh positive baby as if it were a foreign body. That's no good. So, I got a shot in my fanny, which now is very sore.

Now the BIG adventure that is the third trimester begins! We've got to do our classes, tour the hospital, get the apartment in order, pick a pediatrician and I should probably get a pedicure. (can't reach my feet) It's all becoming even more real and exciting! Plus it's almost Christmas. And you KNOW how I looooove Christmas!

Marcus's show ran with flying colors this past weekend! They hit their attendance goal, which means they can afford to do their next production, and everyone ended the run with a smile. Between shows on Saturday, the students surprised us with a baby shower! They gave us a bag of adorable clothes and other little baby items and an AmEx gift card, which we'll be using to buy our stroller. It was so touching to have them do this for us. We also started the baby poll. Everyone filled out a form guessing the weight, length, birthdate, gender, and time of birth for the baby, along with how many hours they think I"ll be in labor. (I hope the one that says "half an hour" wins!) Once the little Lane is here, we'll figure out who came closest, declare a winner and award a prize. If you want in, let me know. :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

ugh


I'm huge. In case you hadn't noticed. And I'm not working any more. It makes me tired. So there. :)

(the good news is that Marcus's show closes on Sunday, so I get my husband back! Just in time to put together the pack n play!)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The View mommy to be show

When I was invited to be a part of the all-pregnant-moms audience for the taping of THE VIEW today, I hoped we might get one big item, like a stroller or something. My big dream was that they might somehow be kind enough to give us a lot of diapers. Imagine my surprise when I walked out of there with $3200 worth of baby goods! That's right folks. They hooked us up beyond our wildest dreams. At the first break, we got a year's worth of Dreft detergent. At the next break, a year of free Huggies diapers. The prizes kept coming as Elisabeth showed us her "Must-Haves" for raising a baby. And we all got one of each. The final segment of the show brought the creme de la creme--The Celebrity Bump Bag. It's full of gift certificates, ranging in value from $5 to $250 for everything from a pack n play to free t-shirts. I could not believe it. Fortunately, they gave us gift certificates for the really big items, like the CAR SEAT!! But you should have seen all the pregnant ladies trying to lug these huge blue bags of crap out of there! I had to take a cab home. It was amazing! We have been so blessed, between the wonderful stuff Marcus's brother and sister in law are handing down from Adam and now this! See below for a more detailed list of swag. Wow.
1 year supply of Huggies Diapers, plus free wipes and other Huggies items
1 year free Dreft detergent
Britax car seat (good for up to 40 lbs. and designed for compact cars!)
Ergo Baby Carrier and bunting insert
Stork Sack bag
Duo Double Diaper Bag (converts into a messenger bag and has a changing pad inside!)
On the go Potty
Hooter Hider :)
3 books
Stationery sample pack from Boatma Geller
Rainforest Bouncy Seat and Swing (incidentally, this is the pattern we're using and have on our registry! Fate, I say...)
$250 gift card for "How Fast They Grow" which is like snapfish for making digital photo albums.
Snack trap bowls
Mabel's Labels (2 sets!) sticky labels
Baby Crazy diaper bag organizers
PLUS the "Celebrity bump bag" has about 30 gift certificates for everything from free t-shirts, bibs, a robe, Stride Rite shoes, Gourmet Snacks, 50 free baby announcements and more. My Favorite one is from safety first and entitles you to a free digital thermometer, baby monitor AND an Eddie Bauer pack n play!!!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Tomorrow's Tuesday!


It's been kind of a yes-no thing with The View over the past week or so. At first, I was scheduled to go to a taping on Oct.30. The entire audience was going to be pregnant women and it was going to serve as a baby shower for Elisabeth. Well, Elisabeth announced one day last week that she was taking her maternity leave early. So they cancelled the Oct. 30 taping and invited second-time pregnant moms to her last show on Oct. 23. I just figured, Oh, well, I won't get to go. (Ok, I was much whinier than that, but you get the point.) Imagine my delight when Ani, the promotions manager called me and invited me to the Oct. 23 taping! So tomorrow I get to go to the View again and get baby loot! Everybody pray for a stroller. The one we originally registered for doesn't fit our carseat...

I subbed for a rehearsal at NYU yesterday. My friend Richard is their stage manager and he had to go to a wedding. As we sat around the table analyzing the script for 5 hours, I realized that all MFA graduate classes essentially have the same cast of characters. I could pick out exactly which one of them was each member of my own grad class and the classes before and after mine. You have the class clown, the wanna-be intellectual who really hasn't read the material and just spouts stuff, frustrating the rest of us, the guy who's always late and always gets stuck playing really small roles, the leading man, the take-charge girl...they're all there. It was a fun day and they were a nice group. And it was easy, easy work. (Once people see you're pregnant, they won't let you do anything physical. Including open the door. Which is a little much.)

Marcus' show at school, ALL IN THE TIMING, starts tech this weekend. He's had his share of challenges and, at last count, had had to recast 4 roles. I did some prop shopping for him this week. I was excited because I got to go to the big Halloween store at Union Square. The funny part is that Kitty and I were meeting at Babies R Us that day to add some stuff to my registry and I had to carry in a big bag containing a plastic skull, a plastic axe, a punk-rocker wig and a retractable knife. I'm sure they were thinking "wow, she'll be a fun mom!" We'll both be glad when this one's up, running, and over so he can be home more. Looks like he won't have to teach in the winter intersession, which is great because that means he'll be home when baby makes his/her appearance.

Baby learned a new trick. It must be getting cramped in there, because we are now pushing our shoulder (I think) against mommy's stomach. It makes a very strange, bulging bump on my belly and is sort of painful if baby does it for too long. Maybe we'll get to see the outline of a foot before little one emerges. I still think I'm going to pop before late January...

Pregnancy gives you fantastic hair and skin, by the way. I'm just sayin.

Finally, thanks so much to everyone for sharing our joy this week when we got the news of my mom's kidney donor. (I sent out a big email--if you haven't gotten the news and are interested, please let me know--I"d be thrilled to repeat it!!)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!


It's over! The workshop from Hades is over! I won't go into the gorey details of our performance yesterday...just know that it's over and I survived. The highlights (or lowlights) of the day, however, included the following:
1. Anyone who tells you that Hudson, NY is only 2 hrs. away from the city is lying to you.
2. Our dancers and musical director did not arrive until 4pm. (The cast and I arrived at 11:15am)
3. 3 of the kids who are in the first scene never showed up. At all.
4. We started a run through of the show at 1:15. At 2:00, I had to stop us so we could go to the lobby and eat chicken. (The producer was supposed to provide dinner at 5, when our official union break fell, but she thought it would be better to do it right smack in the middle of the day. Cause that makes sense.) I've never had to hold for chicken before. On the bright side, the collard greens were excellent...
5. I had to climb stairs to get to my control booth. Every time I climbed the stairs, I had a Braxton Hicks contraction. Poor Baby Awesome didn't know what to make of things.
6. Bill, the sound guy we hired, was fantastic. Shout out to Bill.
7. IT"S OVER!!!
Had I known it would feel this good to have it over-with, I wouldn't have complained all week. :)
Today has been all about relaxing at home with Marcus. I sat around in my pjs and the slippers featured in the photo to your right. The fall air is crisp, there's football on TV (not to mention a week's worth of shows on DVR), and we ordered pizza for lunch. The best part, however, is that despite the fact that I rode in a car for 6 hours and ran my fanny off all day, I feel great today! And I slept like the dead last night.
So now, aside from working on Marcus's show at Kingsborough, I hereby declare myself officially on maternity leave. Yee haw! My next gig is gonna be sooooooo much better!

Friday, October 12, 2007

What a week!


Oh, y'all. Y'AAAAAAAAALL. What a week this has been! Fortunately, it's almost over! Please forgive me, but I have to climb up on my soapbox for just a second. People who are not in theatre and have no idea how the professional theatre works should not try to produce their plays. There. I said it. I fully support them writing and expressing themselves in the form of drama, but stop trying to produce it yourself! If these people insist on producing their plays, and ESPECIALLY if they go to the trouble of having it sanctioned by Equity (the professional union for actors and stage managers), they should maybe think about listening to the professional artists hired to work on their little shows who DO THIS FOR A LIVING! I am working on a workshop. The playwright/producer knows exactly nothing about theatre. NOTHING. She thought the producer was supposed to tell the actors what to do onstage and the director did the schedule. She had no clue what the heck I did. So, needless to say, it's been an interesting week. Fortunately, the money is great and it'll be over after our performance upstate tomorrow. And she just called me to tell me I was right about several things. So that felt good. I can't wait til Sunday to sleep this thing off! (I just keep saying "This project is buying me a new rug and sleeper sofa...)
Thanks for letting me vent!

On Thursday, I had the fantastic opportunity to do some modeling! Kitty's friend Vikram from work is an aspiring photographer and he's taking a class. He had to do some portraits for class this weekend and wanted to work with a stranger. So we had a little "Jen and Baby" photo shoot in Bryant Park yesterday! I must say, this guy is a fantastic photographer and should really think about doing headshots for actors. He made me so comfortable and though I haven't seen any of his shots yet, I think he really captured my personality in the pictures. Marcus and I are going to have him do some of us in late November and then some of the baby once he/she arrives.

The picture above is me in the overalls Marcus got me last week. The frog's from my mom and he's sooooooooo soft! We are officially six months along, by the way. :)

This weekend presents the ultimate football dilemma for me: Ole Miss vs Alabama. My school ties make me a loyal Bama fan, but a big part of my heart will always belong to the Rebels. (they're having a crappy season, though...) So, in all fairness, I say: HOTTY TODDY and ROLL TIDE!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Doctor, Doctor


First of all, this week's picture. I hope it doesn't gross anyone out. Marcus snapped it just playing around, then we got to messing with it, added the sepia tone and decided it's kind of artistic and beautiful. I imagine my belly will start to look not so beautiful soon, so this was a good time for a bare picture!

We had our first visit with our NYC Obstetrician on Friday. In a word, he's great. The nurse was really sweet and told me up front that everyone in the office was crazy. We should fit right in. She also informed me that her birthday is January 26, so I should try to deliver that day. The exam room was very comfortable and Dr. Moritz put us at ease right away. He jokes around a lot, but is obviously very intelligent, concerned and professional. He got to know us a little, had me talk him through the pregnancy thus far, then talked me through my next visit before even examining me. The exam was a piece of cake. Just a quick sonogram (and I mean QUICK) to measure the little one and a poke at my belly and we were done! All is well with Baby, who weighs 1 lb. 12 oz. Ever the child of over-achievers, he/she is measuring a week ahead of the norm. The doctor said that by the measurements, he would put our due date at Jan.21, but we'll stick with the 27th for now. I made him promise not to leave town during either of those weeks. He also banned juice from my diet. JUICE! I guess I didn't realize just how much sugar is in fruit juice. He said if I keep drinking so much, it'll up my chances of developing gestational diabetes and my baby will be a giant. So, no more juice. :(

The next visit will be Nov. 5, when they'll do the 28 week glucose screening (I get to drink the "sugary potion") and give me a Rhogam shot. My blood is B negative and if you're an Rh negative type, they give you this shot so that you won't reject future pregnancies. He explained it very thoroughly. I will also register for the birth at the hospital at that time and set us up for a tour of the birthing center and childbirth classes. Everything's falling into place!

On a sad note, we made a trip to Ikea today and the sofa we wanted to get is out of stock for 3 weeks. Guess we'll just have to wait. But we did find a rug that we like a lot, so maybe we can pair that with the new sofa when we go back. I don't really care as long as someone gets this futon out of my home by Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

THE VIEW




Two years ago, my best pal Jen Russo (AKA Kitty) moved to NYC. Her first job allowed her a lot of down time to do some exploring and "touristy" things and she sent off for tickets to several tv show tapings. Imagine her surprise 2 weeks ago when tickets to today's taping of THE VIEW arrived in her mailbox! Her sister, who loves that show, wasn't able to make the trip from Michigan, so I got to be her guest. WHAT FUN! We were both thrilled that Whoopi is now the moderator, as we looooove her and have met her before at her book signing. We met up early this morning to begin our day of fun, which turned out to be an adventure. (everything is with us) We thought the show taped in the same studio as Regis and Kelly, but it's in another one on 66th St., practically in the Hudson River! Finding this out 5 minutes before we needed to be in line, we caught a cab and took a $3 cab ride down several blocks. (what a happy cab driver...) The fun began immediately, as the security guard asked Kitty over and over if she was the redhead from One Life To Live. We assured him that she wasn't and made fun of him a little for watching soaps, then went to get in line. (I realize that I live in NY and should therefore say "on line" but the Southerner in me just can't do it.) I must mention here that people make some, uh, special wardrobe choices when they think they might be on TV. We'll just leave it at that. I, however, had a horrible hair day, but I blame the humidity.

The good folks at ABC know how to treat their guests. Yes, we had to stand for an hour before they let us in the studio, but it was worth it. A nice security man offered to get me a chair when he saw my baby belly, but I toughed it out. As we entered the studio, we were handed a bottle of juice and a bag of Keebler fudge stripe cookies (my all-time favorite). A nice lady showed us to our seats, on which were sassy "THE VIEW" canvas tote bags, ready to hold our loot from the show. And now my favorite part of the day--the lady noticed I was expecting and gave me a flyer inviting me back on Oct. 30 for a special "Mommy to be" taping!!! The audience will be all pregnant women and there will be, and I quote, "Suprises, fun giveaways and more!" The only bad thing is that Kitty can't go back with me. But you know they are going to give out some SWEET prizes! I've already confirmed my ticket. :)

On to the show... A guy named Tom was our Audience Pumper (or something) and he taught us the hand signals the crew would use for us to applaud, clap louder, cheer, shut up and stand up. We practiced those for a while, then the ladies came out and took their seats. The show ran very smoothly. I couldn't stop watching the stage managers and marveling at how different their job is from what we do in the theatre. I waved at Whoopi just before we began taping and she waved back (right at me, I'm sure). The first guest was Jack Cafferty of The Situation Room, which I've never actually watched. We all got free copies of his new book! He was actually pretty interesting and I was intrigued enough to read the book. Next came Marcia Gay Harden, who brought out her 3 year old twins in their Halloween costumes. Her son was Winnie the Pooh and her daughter was Tinkerbell. Adorable. She has a new movie coming out that looks pretty good. Then the creme de la creme: Annie Lennox was the musical guest!!!!! I have always thought Annie was a beautiul woman, but MAN is she gorgeous in person! And that voice! It was amazing to see her perform. They transformed the set quickly over a commercial break and used some really cool lighting effects to make it look like a concert setting. She was FANTASTIC! The baby went crazy when she started singing. (he/she loves music these days) Fortunately, they gave us free copies of her new CD, so we can listen at home! We were also awarded Sharper Image projection alarm clocks. They project the time on the ceiling or wall. A fifty dollar value, all ours just for being there.

It was such a fun time! After the taping, we perused the gift cart (it's not a shop, it's a cart), then had a lovely, liesurely lunch at Cafe Mozart. (if you go for lunch, get the Mozart Wrap. The smoked mozzerella makes it perfect!) It's so great sometimes to live in NY and have the opportunity to do cool, kind of unusual things like this. A big thanks to Kitty for bringing me along. I'll let you know how it goes on the 30th!!

PS: I have a lot more pictures of the set and such that I can email to anyone who wants to see them. They appear a little too small here.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

What a difference 8 years makes




This weekend has been all about nostalgia! On Friday, our friend Thomas Nealeigh and his lady Alice rolled into town from Hollywood (by way of Washington DC and Ohio!) to bring their professional side show Freak Show Deluxe to Coney Island. Thomas was a first year grad student at Tech when I was a senior and Marcus was a junior. The three of us and our fourth member, housemate Kristin, were inseperable. The guys had a radio show on Sunday nights, The Reverend Tommy Gunn Show featuring Mad Weasel Love (that's Marcus). And, given that we lived in what was technically considered a brothel, the "ho house" jokes flowed! (5 or more unrelated, unmarried women living under one roof in Louisiana is considered a brothel. That's why there are no sorority houses. A little trivia for ya!)

Fast forward to Friday night. I haven't seen Thomas since 2003 when he visited me at Cornell. I was directing a reading of one of his plays for our student production group and he came up to do a workshop with them. Marcus and I caught up with him and Alice at our subway stop and it was like nothing had ever changed. Except, that is, for the fact that Alice and I are both quite pregnant (theirs is due Dec. 31) and we are all 7 years older. It was so much fun to see Thomas and Marcus together again, playing off each other like always. And today we finally got to see a live performance of Freak Show Deluxe! It was great fun. A guy swallowed swords, a girl layed on a bed of nails and Marcus stood on her (they called him up from the audience), lots of crazy stunts. I got to staple a one dollar bill to some dude's chest. Never done that before! It's so good to see Thomas getting to do what he loves and it's especially nice that he has Alice to help pull it all together. (She is the road manager and stage manager. And did I mention she's 6 months pregnant? She's amazing.) My only regrets are that we didn't get to see Grennan, their 2 year old son (He was chillin' with Grandma this weekend) and that Kristin wasn't there. (she's in Atlanta being fabulous)

The pictures above are:
1. The 4 of us (and our babies to be).
2. Thomas and Marcus today at the Freak Show.
3. Thomas and Marcus at the "ho house" Christmas 1998. We all dressed up and did a photo shoot. Cause that's how it was at our house.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Back into the swing of things


We haven't taken a picture this week yet, so here's one taken at Bowl-A-Rama this summer. I jokingly said that's what I would look like at Christmas. I think it may be sooner than that!

The best news of today is that I got an appointment with the #1 doctor on my list! He is the head of the OBGYN Division at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital. We'll see him on Sept. 28, then set up a tour of the birthing center at the hospital. I'm already feeling more at ease! My friend Melissa's doctor was out of town when her daughter was born last year, so this doctor ended up delivering her baby and she loooooved him. I am already happy with how the office staff handled my questions on the phone. So this is definitely a huge load off our minds.

Marcus is back at work full-swing. Today is going to be his longest day so far. He has auditions after his classes, so he probably won't be home until about 9 tonight. He is directing ALL IN THE TIMING, which will go up in November.

I'm keeping very busy around the house with day to day chores and the big purge! After a morning of laundry and errands, I'm taking a little break before starting another bag of clothes for Goodwill. I have accepted a gig in early October stage managing a workshop of a new musical. It's just a week, so that will be a fun reprieve from housework.

We went down to DC this weekend and did a little inventory of the great stuff Mirka and Mike will be giving us. We're going to be in good shape! Since we're staying in our apartment, we're going to start out with just the bassinette, then move onto the crib when we move onto a bigger place. This will allow for gender-specific bedding. :)

On a sappy note, I have grown even more attached to the baby this week. I love having him/her with me all the time. And this is one active baby! I'm getting kicked almost constantly now.

Ok, the time has come to purge another drawer. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Back to city life


Well, we've been home for almost a week now and we're almost used to it! The reverse culture shock was a little more than I was ready for! For the past 3 and a half months, we've driven everywhere, had a Wal Mart at our disposal (24 hours a day!), been surrounded by a support group of people who have experienced pregnancy and parenthood, lived in a big 3 bedroom condo and enjoyed things like very fresh air, cut grass and honeysuckle. Imagine the adjustment to subway delays, crazy NYC traffic, rude clerks in the grocery store and NY prices! But it's good to be back in our own place (small as it may be) and to see our friends, which we're doing one by one, with lots still to go. Last night we went to see Les Miserables, which was incredible. It's nice to be able to go see a Broadway show, then come home and sleep in your own bed! We also ate at West Side Cottage, our favorite "nice" Chinese place. We hadn't eaten Chinese food since we left NYC, so it was extra good. The best thing for me so far, aside from seeing friends, has been visiting Ronen, my stylist. My hair is 2 inches shorter and about a thousand times healthier and happier. He thanked me for not letting anyone in WV cut my hair.

We're slowly settling back in. Marcus started teaching today. His schedule is pretty brutal this semester and it will only get busier once he starts directing his show. We are going to look at a new apartment on Friday. We're really excited--there's no broker fee! It also has new hardwood floors, all new appliances and cabinets and is more convenient for Marcus's commute. PLUS it has 2 bedrooms, which we desperately need. The next item on the agenda is finding me a new obstetrician. I wish I could bring the ones from Beckley here, but they didn't want to come.

Meanwhile, I'm using my time to organize our apartment and get ready for the big move. Oh, and growing a person! I have decided not to take on a full-time production this fall, as I don't think I'll be physically able to do it to the best of my abilities. I have some feelers out for some workshops, readings and small dance shows. Short contracts are key right now. One producer actually called to offer me an Off-B'way show the other day, but when I told him I was pregnant, he freaked out. It was pretty funny. Guess I've found a new way to get rid of people who call with jobs I reeeeally don't want to take! I'll also be helping Marcus with his show, mentoring his stage manager once they get into reherasals and tech.

Baby Lane is doing pretty great. He/she is VERY active and is a really big Les Miz fan, so enjoyed the show a great deal last night. I"m getting bigger by the minute, as shown in this week's photo. We're almost halfway there, which is unbelievable, both because I've been pregnant for 4 1/2 months and because I will be pregnant for another 4 1/2 months! Marcus Lane is a saint by the way. We'll just leave it at that.

To summarize our summer, it was great. We both really enjoyed working at TWV and have been invited back! I'll be the production stage manager with 2 assistants to help split up the season and Marcus will be directing High School Musical. We're excited to go back, as it's a fantastic professional opportunity for us both, plus we made some great friends there! So, we're looking forward to another summer in the mountains next year, baby in tow. :)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Baby's first photo shoot

Today was ultrasound day! Actually, our appointment was for tomorrow, but I screwed up the days, so ...today was ultrasound day! Tomorrow will be doctor appt. day. Seeing our baby for the first time was nothing short of incredible. I, naturally, cried immediately. Marcus held it together pretty well. We learned a lot about little Baby Awesome, as our co-workers are calling it. He/she weighs 7 oz., has a normal sized head, IS due around Jan. 27, and has quite the stubborn streak! (We have no idea where this could have come from...) Every time the technician would try to get a shot of the face, baby would turn its back to us. Once, a fist came up to the face, then moved, the baby swallowed, then turned around. They even tried turning me around, but baby turned flips. Marcus tried to sing to it to see if it would turn (baby has an affinity for Les Miserables), but it didn't work. Already messing with mom and dad. Gee, the teenage years should be a pleasure...
In the ultrasound photo above, you can see the baby, face down, spine up. It's a serioulsy cute baby and it has 160 days to get cuter before we meet him/her! Oh, and forget finding out what we're having. As Marcus put it, the baby said, "If I won't let you see my face, you think I"m gonna let you look at those parts?!?!" Not so much. :)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A vacation within a vacation



Marcus and I vowed to try and view our summer gig as a little "Vacation." Well, that's been kinda hard, considering we've worked our fannies off producing 3 shows and growing a baby! But we have enjoyed being in WV, which seems a world away from NYC. We are getting very ready to head home and get moved and start nesting for baby, though. Last week, the Lanes from Virginia came to visit, bringing a little vacation with them! We did lots of fun stuff, from visiting state parks to the WV State Fair, and lots of fishing. It was great to see the family, especially little Adam, who is growing by leaps and bounds. It's very cool that our baby's birthday will be so close to his. It's like getting a preview of what's in store!

My favorite thing we did all week was the West Virginia State Fair. It's been years since I've been to a fair, but I grew up going to the one in Mississippi every year. We looked at the livestock. We ate snow cones. We watched a sea lion show. They went to the circus, but since clowns terrify me, Marcus and I played bingo! Mostly, we enjoyed the sights, smells and free gifts, which included cardboard fans, magnets and fly swatters.

We also visited Hawk's Nest State Park, which is about an hour from where we live. They have a little air tram that goes down into the gorge, then you can get on a jet boat. Well, I did ok until about lunch time. After I ate, baby decided to act up and I got really sick for the first time in several weeks. We thought it best that I skip the jet boat, so Marcus brought me home to nap. Just another state park I've thrown up in, I guess. Perhaps I should make myself a scrapbook.

The pictures this week are of my belly, which has suddenly become round, and a really cute one of Adam, now 6 months old and wearing an Alabama onesie. (He has good taste.) We get our sonogram on Monday, so check back early next week for the first picture of baby Lane!!!!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

One more month!


Greetings to all! We are a month away from returning to NYC and are really starting to look forward to it. All the shows are up now, so we've got much more free time. Last Monday we went fishing on Bluestone Lake, which was nice. We didn't catch much. We were also attacked by a swarm of moths, which I could have done without. This week, we had a doctor's appt. and we got to hear the baby's heart again! Everything checked out and we're all doing well. I've gained a big 3 pounds. As we were listening to the heartbeat, we heard this WHOOSH sound and the midwife said "it just moved!" Very, very exciting. Can't wait to feel a kick! We go for a sonogram in 3 weeks.

And for the record, in case you haven't heard it from us before, we ARE NOT finding out what we're having! We realize that few people do it this way anymore, but Marcus wants to have the opportunity to come out of the delivery room and say "It's a...." to our families. I also think not knowing will give me a good goal for labor and delivery. Hopefully knowing that I"m just a few pushes away from knowing what kind of baby we've got will help me through the rough patches. Of course, those who know me know that I will be on as many drugs as they can give me in good conscience, SO...

We have a lead on a new apt. for when we go back to NYC. Everyone please pray that this works out, if it's the right thing for us. It's a 2 bedroom in Jackson Heights, perfectly in our price range, and it's currently being renovated. My best friend Kitty found it for us (it's her landlord's other property) and it sound perfect. We'll look at it when we get back. Woo hoo!

Marcus is making tacos for some of us today, so we'd better start chopping veggies and grating cheese! Your picture of the week is a lovely early morning view of Bluestone Lake.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sweet relief!


The day we have all been living for here at TWV finally arrived--Grease opened on July 17! This means no more rehearsals, just shows each night at 8pm. Your picture of the week features Marcus in his Vince Fontaine costume. It is truly something to see. The show is a blast and the opening night audience went insane. It rained, so we had to hold curtain for an hour, but it finally stopped, so we got to do the show. When the crew went out to dry the stage, the audience cheered. We had over 1100 in the audience, including 2 busloads of Red Hat Society ladies. They sang along and danced to the music. It was a lot of fun. We do it again on Friday.

Just in time for the schedule to lighten up, the first trimester of pregnancy has ended! The morning sickness has GREATLY decreased, though the dizziness seems to be sticking around. At least we can get a normal amount of sleep now. The belly is growing, though my first trimester weight gain was only 1 pound. (Marcus's first trimester weight gain was 5 pounds.) I think I lost a little due to the morning sickness, so while I shaped up a little around the sides, the belly started to protrude. I'm pretty much exclusively in maternity pants now, mostly because they are SO comfortable!

Hope this finds everyone doing well. We should have a lot more time to go on adventures now, so we'll keep doing picture of the week!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Another week in WV


Yes, another week has passed. We lived through a rainstorm (or 8), our first rehearsals for GREASE, more morning sickness and a trip to Buns. We saw Buns advertised in a little article for Hinton, WV, a town about 20 minutes outside where we live and work. The other Lanes are staying in Hinton when they visit in August, so we thought we'd check the place out and have a nice "Homestyle lunch" as advertised at Buns. We even invited our friends Lee and Angie to join us. Now Marcus and I were expecting offerings like pinto beans and cornbread, spaghetti and meatloaf. We arrived at Buns about an hour later than expected, after being sent on a bit of a wild goose chase by a well-meaning lady at the Chamber of Commerce. We quickly realized Buns was more of a Roadhouse establishment (we were tipped off by the sign that said "bikers welcome") and not the Mom and Pop homestyle cafe we had been hoping for. As we walked into the dark, smoky room, a bartender in ridiculously short shorts greeted us. We sat at a table (we had the joint all to ourselves for the time being) and she took our drink order. Everyone was having Coke or Sprite. She brought over the 2-liter bottles and poured them for us. She then produced the menu, which was on one of those little stand-up plastic things that usually have the beer list on them in bars, and said "Here's what we got to eat...cheeseburgers and stuff." Indeed. Hamburgers. Cheeseburgers. Hot Dogs. Corn Dogs. Philly Cheesesteak. Ham Sub. We ordered our food and were joined by some locals who proceeded to have a heck of a pool tournament while playing country music on the jukebox. One of them tried to shake my hand on my way back from the bathroom (I dodged him) and proclaimed, loud enough for everyone to hear, "I like the one in the white skirt." I don't imagine he would like me at about 8 in the morning when Baby Lane decides to reject everything I've eaten in the past several hours. Anywho, our food came and we couldn't help but giggle. Our cheeseburgers were on sub rolls and were those frozen kind of hamburger patties. But they did have sassy romaine lettuce. I guess that counts for something. The best part of the experience was taking the picture you see above. That's me and Angie workin' the BUNS sign. OH, yeah.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Yee Haw


Hello, friends!
Our first week of shows is winding down here at good ol' TWV. Everyone's starting to get used to each other and the shows are falling into a good rhythm. Honey In The Rock is mercifully short. Hatfields and McCoys, the one Marcus directed, is looking pretty fantastic. Technically, it's a VERY busy show, which keeps me on my toes. We are all looking forward to our first day off in over 2 weeks, coming on Monday. Then it's back to it as we head into another full week of shows PLUS start rehearsals for GREASE on Friday! Marcus is getting up to go fishing at 6am with one of our electricians. I will be asleep. I wish them well.

Today we had lunch at a little Cajun restaurant we found a couple of towns over. It is the only Cajun restaurant in WV. It was all kinds of good! Authentic spices, tasty crawfish, excellent shrimp and great side-items. Nice job, Gumbo's of Fayette--we'll be back!

Baby Lane had an unhappy morning, pretty much rejecting anything Mommy tried to feed him/her. We perked up a little once we were fed Cajun food. I wore my pregnant pants for maximum expansion capabilities. :) For those keeping up with such things, Baby is now the size of a kidney bean. We get to hear the heartbeat on July 2!!!!!!

The picture of the week is my assistant, Megan, and I checking the props before Honey In The Rock opening night. It's has been voted the best picture taken so far this summer.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

update


Hey, everyone! We finished tech for Marcus's show tonight and we are TIRED! We just finished a four-day strech of 10/12s. (For those not in the theatre, those basically mean looooong days.) Our first show opens on Tuesday, then Marcus's opens on Wednesday. We are VERY ready for them to be open so we can sleep.

On the baby front, thing are going well! My belly popped out a little overnight. It's the weirdest thing. We're 7 weeks along now and, according to babycenter.com, baby is the size of a raspberry, has elbows, organs, eyelids and a brain and can move around. And is making mommy sick as a dog. Seriously, the morning sickness can stop at any time. I've been trying my best to keep a full stomach, which helps, but sometimes it gets the better of me. Baby craves McDonald's and will not let me start my day without grease. I got sick in the middle of rehearsal this afternoon, then had a BBQ pork sandwich for dinner and actually felt better. SO STRANGE! But at least we get a cute baby out of the deal.

Here's your picture of the week. This was taken off our back deck. It's a gorgeous West Virginia rainbow after a rainfall. The red poles mark the ski slope. It is incredibly beautiful here and we have seen our fair share of wildlife. Tonight on the way home we saw a fox, 2 deer, a groundhog and something we couldn't quite identify. Tomorrow we are hoping to eat at Restaurant. That's what it's called. Restaurant. It's attached to an Exxon station. People say it's good . If it's greasy, Baby will be happy.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Greetings from West Virginia

Hello, everyone!!!
Yes, we are still alive. It took us this long to get internet. Seriously. But we are wired now and PROMISE to actually start doing "picture of the week" as soon as we find the little cord you hook up from the camera to the computer. :)

Well, a LOT has happened since we arrived in West Virginia! Our 3 bedroom condo is AMAZING! It's so weird to have all this space. We will go into culture shock when we get home to NY. Work is good. Jen Lane, who has not driven in about three years, got lost about twice a day the first week. Once Marcus got here, things got better. He drives everywhere...probably for the best. The scenery is beautiful and serene and it's SO quiet! We are also re-discovering things like seeing bunnies hop through your yard, smelling fresh-cut grass and going to Wal-Mart, where you can find anything. Really. Anything.

We moved to the park on Friday (the theatre is in a National Park) and have been doing some looooong days of spacing/singing/stage combat/gun safety and the like. Thankfully, the weather has been pretty kind. It poured on us yesterday for a few minutes, but that cooled it down, so we didn't mind. We head into tech next week, then open our first 2 shows the 12th and 13th. Then we collapse for a day before starting rehearsals for GREASE. The fun never stops!

The biggest news we have since last we wrote is that (wait for it.....wait for it...) we are going to
have a baby!!!! It's true! We found out about a week ago and went to the doctor on Thursday to get everything checked out. We're about 6 weeks along and are due on January 27. (Poor Marcus will have to live with 2 Aquarians.) We could not be more thrilled. For those who have met our neighbors, you understand that this is great timing so that we can be away from them for several months! We will, obviously, be moving as soon we get back to NYC. (everyone keep your ears open!) Our families are very excited and VERY ready to welcome the new addition. SO there you go! Surprise! We'll keep you posted on the ever-swelling belly. I kind of feel like I"ve been invaded by a sweet little alien. And I can't eat bell peppers anymore. Pregnancy is weird.

Hope all's well in your corner of the world!
Jen, Marcus and Baby Lane :)