Friday, December 30, 2005

More decorating for baby


The room is finally coming together.

Mike and I spent some time decorating the baby's area in our bedroom today. The elephant and giraffe decals on the wall turned out better than we thought. There are a few more things we want to put up, but they'll have to wait until later.


Kathy with 2 lobster heads.


Kathy blowing out her candles.

Tonight we also celebrated our friend Kathy's 30th birthday at NYC Seafood Restaurant in Monterey Park. We had a 9-course dinner which included Peking duck, lobster, and longevity noodles. Leng bought mini-cupcakes from Leda's Bake Shop in Sherman Oaks for the birthday girl. With our filled bellies, we still somehow found room to go to Tea Station for drinks. It's no wonder I've gained so much weight during this pregnancy.

Tomorrow night for New Year's Eve, Mike and I are having a small gathering of friends over for a turkey dinner and game night while we wait for countdown to 2006.


Thursday, December 29, 2005

Installing car seat and UCLA vs. Stanford basketball game - 36 weeks


Mike installing the car seat base...


But it went in backwards...


Nan readjusting the car seat base...


Putting in the car seat on to the base the right way...


All done!

Today is Mike's first day off after working a rough 6-day holiday shift in the Neonatal ICU. He now has the next 5 days off until next Wednesday. We had some time today, so we thought we should install the car seat. It was more complicated that we thought, although the LATCH system in the car did simplify a few steps. Mike is still worried that the base is too loose, but I think we did it right. We'll see how it really works when our little one arrives in less than 4 weeks.

We have most everything covered now as far as baby clothes and gadgets - thanks to the generosity of our friends and family. The only things left to do is to write the birth plan and pack the bags for the hospital - which we will have to tackle next week before Mike goes back to his regular work schedule.

Today also marks the 7th day of the moxibustion treatment. I'm not very good at feeling for the baby's head, but he has been very active the past few days. We will see if the treatment works when we have our next visit with Dr. Lu next Thursday.

Tonight we're going to the UCLA basketball game vs. Stanford at Pauley Pavilion with some of Mike's friends from his residency program. It will be the first time either of us has been to the UCLA basketball game. It was one of the things we wanted to do before leaving LA in June (another is to go to the Rose Parade - but the impending rain may prevent us from doing that).

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and... one year Anniversary of Asia Tsunami

Hope everyone had a jolly Christmas and a happy first night of Hanukkah. Mike's on call tonight in the NICU. Poor thing, I hope he will be able to get some sleep tonight. I dropped by to see him earlier at UCLA so he can perform my daily moxibustion treatment. Then I went to Natalie's house for Hanukkah Ham (not kosher, but quite yummy Honeybaked Ham) dinner.

The moxibustion treatment has been going pretty well, although I don't think the baby has moved yet. Seems like Owen is comfortable where he is at the moment. Either that or he's gotten so big that he doesn't have enough room to turn. I have been feeling more kicking/movement in the last few days since the start of the moxibustion. Also, periodically throughout the day, I think he's been hiccuping. It's definitely a weird sensation to have a baby hiccuping inside you.

As it is Dec. 26th now in Thailand, I am reminded that today is the one-year anniversary of the Tsunami. My brother, Nick, is in Khao Lak to help with the Tsunami Relief Efforts. Too bad he's not feeling well. Mom talked to him the other day and she said he sounded pretty sick. I do hope he will feel better before his flight home to LA on Wednesday.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Moxibustion, part II

Today, Mike and I went to see an acupuncturist for the moxibustion treatment. It was a very easy and non-invasive procedure. Basically, the moxa herb is dried and rolled into a stick. This stick is then lighted to create heat and placed close to the pressure point on the 5th toe. The acupuncturist said that the moxa stick should be placed close to the pressure point on both the left and right little toes for 15 minutes each. Mike will have to repeat the treatment for me once a day for 7-10 days since I cannot bend down or lean forward anymore.

Interestingly enough, as soon as the acupuncturist started the treatment, I felt the baby moving... so I hope this treatment will work and we won't have to go through a cesarean section. We probably won't find out if the baby has turned until our next prenatal visit after the holidays on Jan. 5th when our OB can check with the ultrasound machine.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Moxibustion: 35 weeks update

Nan's at 35 weeks now, and things are pretty much status quo. We went to the obstetrician yesterday, and we saw one of the nurse midwives because the OB was out of town. The midwife did an ultrasound, and the baby is still in the breech position. Otherwise, everything seems to be progressing smoothly.

We're going to try moxibustion tomorrow for this breech presentation. Moxibustion is basically acupuncture plus fire. Some medical literature suggests that this technique can be useful for helping the baby to turn. This is still not conclusively proven, but the side-effects seem to be minimal, and we're willing to try it to prevent a cesarean section. Nan promises to write about what it feels like.

Las Vegas, 34 weeks pregnant

This weekend we went to Las Vegas to celebrate Christmas and 30th birthdays with some of Nan's college friends. This is the second time that we've been to Vegas since Nan's been pregnant (a picture from the first time).

We had a great time, and we didn't lose too much money. On the first night, we saw Avenue Q, which was great--kind of raunchy, but really funny. It's a puppet musical, with a combo of live actors and puppets. Dinner one night at Emeril's was really excellent, despite the fact that neither of us really like his TV show. And we stayed at the Monte Carlo, which despite newer and better casinos on the strip, was still nice.


Nan at the Monte Carlo, 34 weeks


Nan at the Buddhist altar outside Caesars Palace


Bellagio Christmas decorations


Nan and robot penguins at Bellagio


Nan with her first Sudoku.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A Middle Name

The middle name is most likely going to be Ichiro. My mom helped pick it out since she's the Japanese part of the family. She originally suggested Ken, but that didn't seem Japanese enough. Plus it's my cousin Steven's middle name. Then there was Kenji, but seeing as it means something like second son, we didn't think that it would be appropriate.

Finally my mom said, "What about Ichiro?"

I said, "Like the baseball player?"

She said, "Like number one."

I thought about it, received some positive feedback from one particular co-worker, and then after some deliberations, we decided on it because it means "first son".

There it is. More on Owens and Ichiros later on...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Owens

It seems that Owen is a lot more common than we had thought. The image at left is from the Baby Name Wizard. It shows the Social Security Administration data on the name Owen over the years. You can see that from 1880 to about 1970, the name enjoyed relative obscurity. However, starting in the 1980s, the popularity of the name began to rise, and since 2000, it has skyrocketed. This might be coincidental with some of the rise to fame of stars such as Owen Wilson, Clive Owen, and Michael Owen (!).

Recently, one of my co-workers mentioned that two of her recent patients were named Owen. A few days later, one of my bosses remarked that she had met a baby named Owen over the weekend.

Then to top it all off, we went to a holiday party last weekend at Nan's friend's apartment. We ran into a couple who we'd met before, and it turned out that the wife was pregnant again. The perfunctory questions were exchanged, and it turned out that we are due within days of each other, delivering at the same hospital, and both having boys, whose names, by now you will have guessed, will both be Owen.

A First Name

So this is the deal... Nan and I have decided on a name, and since many people already know about it, I guess we might as well tell everyone now.

The first name is going to be Owen. Earlier this year, I read a story in the paper, and later heard about it on NPR. I told Nan about it, and she remarked at what a cool story it was.
Later, when we were deciding on names, Nan offered up Owen as a candidate. It beat all the other names. Nan claims that there is no link between this story and the baby's name, but I submit that there may be.

I think these links tell the story a lot better than I can.

The Inspiration for Owen

Diary of Owen's caretaker

Owen is the name of the villager who caught the hippo, as well as the hippo's name.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The baby shower


Opening presents

Yesterday, Nan's friends Kathy and Jen threw her a baby shower at Nan's parents' house. Nan's mom cooked a big Thai feast, and Jen baked a giant cake and four smaller cakes shaped like building blocks. After lunch, it was on to presents!


Mike and Monica got us baby clothes from Guatemala. The outfit looks like hill tribe clothes from Thailand.


Kathy helpfully did the writing down of what people had given us. She was concentrating very hard on the writing.


Nan opening a card. There were lots of very nice cards, and some people even hand made their cards, which was really cool.


Cutting into Jen's cake. You can see how big it was by the next photo, where everyone has had a piece, and there's a huge sheet leftover.

Later we played a game where people had to guess which one of us had experiences like "was almost swept out to sea by a rip current" or "drove over a log and blew out my tire when I was coming back from an interview." Although Nan's brother had a commanding lead, he was disqualified by popular assent and Joe N. won the prize: a manly chenille throw!


Scrapbooking afterwards.

Afterwards, Kathy and Jen and many friends put together a scrapbook of Polaroids of the guests and their well wishes.

When everyone had left, and we were loading up the car to drive home, it began to dawn on us how different life will be when the baby is born. I think all the baby things really made us think how in 6 weeks, it's not going to be Mike and Nan anymore, but M., N., and O.

Nan says, "I feel lucky to have such a kind, caring, and generous group of family and friends."

Friday, December 09, 2005

Christmas is coming


Our mini Christmas tree. The reason it's not on the floor is because we discovered that our rabbits would like nothing better than to eat the whole tree and its needles. Jeremy, one of our rabbits, is checking it out and trying to figure out how to get at it.


Yesterday's sunset. It was really cool but I missed its maximum intensity because I had to run in the house and grab the camera.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Ultrasound at 33 weeks

We went in today for an ultrasound since Nan's been feeling tight in the abdomen lately, and our doctor wanted to look at her cervix. Apparently the cervix is a little thinned and the technician called an obstetrician--she said it looked okay.

Another surprise was that the baby is breech. Our obstetrician had thought the baby was vertex (head down) at 30 weeks, but now his head is near the top of the uterus. Both of his feet are by his head, which is called frank breech. You may be able to see this in the bottom ultrasound. The top of his head is pointed to the left of the screen, and his left foot is the bright rectangle near the left side of his head.

The baby's estimated weight is about 4 pounds, 8 ounces, or a little more than 2 kg.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Wild Animal Park

This weekend we drove down to San Diego to see Nan's friend Michelle and to visit the San Diego Wild Animal Park.


Etosha, a 2 year old lion, having hamburger for lunch. You can't see the part of her belly where the hair is growing back from being shaved. She had a cesarean section a month and a half ago.


When we got to the park, we went to the Lion Camp, which consists of a window and a large open enclosure where the lions can sun themselves on a grassy hill. Etosha and her mate were out, while the others were hanging out in their bedrooms. After visiting the lions, we went to see the huge lake they have in the Heart of Africa section. They were feeding the ducks and the pelicans. The ducks went crazy when the keeper threw the food out into the water. There were also huge catfish in the pond that were eating the duck food.


Mallards fighting over duck food


Baby gibbon and mother. They were picking branches off of the trees outside their enclosure by reaching their arms through the wires.

One of our favorite things to do in the park is to go to Lorikeet Landing, where you can feed these brightly feathered birds a sugar-starch water concoction. They're really aggressive and fly up to your hand and fight over the little cup of food. Sometimes they fly up on your shoulder to watch for a chance to get in on the food.


Nan at 32 and 4/7 weeks with lorikeets


A male black rhino, which is apparently the only one in the Western Hemisphere. You can see a little of how big the plains are in the Wild Animal Park.

At night, we went to see Pride and Prejudice, which was surprisingly crowded for having been out for a few weeks. It was pretty good, but apparently Nan and Michelle didn't think it measured up to the Colin Firth mini-series one on A&E.

And this morning, finally...



I am obsessed with this little Mexican restaurant. They have the best tacos and burritos. Every time we go to San Diego, I have to stop here. It's at Leucadia and PCH just off I-5.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Thanksgiving weekend

It's been a few weeks since we last posted, but that's because not much has been happening. We spent Thanksgiving at Nan's parents, where we made the traditional dinner with turkey by Alton Brown. It was two days of cooking but everything turned out great! Too bad there's not that much left over.

Nan is almost 32 weeks pregnant now, and there's some serious "nesting" going on here. We cleaned out the garage of all the stuff we haven't used in 3 years living at our place. Then we packed away our wedding stuff for safekeeping. On Saturday we bought a dresser/changing table from Ikea and I spent Saturday night putting it together. We also saw Harry Potter this weekend and a funny German movie about a retired miner who plays the accordion. Nan's been feeling more tired lately, and she's been sleeping like 9 hours a night.

Today we went to our weekly childbirth class (now on week 4 out of 6). It's at a baby store in Santa Monica, which means it caters to a lot of highly educated and high maintenance people who think they know everything, which I guess kind of describes us. I had some preconceived notions about the kind of material that the teacher would be giving (i.e., no vaccines! no epidural!), but she's actually pretty good. While you can tell what she thinks, she doesn't tell you what you should do. That is, except for this week, when she basically said that if you get an epidural, you will be on the fetal monitor continuously, have your own heart rate and oxygen saturation monitored, a fetal scalp electrode will be placed, and the baby will have a much greater risk of being born by forceps/vacuum or by cesarean section. I try to keep my mouth shut during the class, but I could tell that some of these women were horrified. Who knows? Maybe she's right. But I think we're still going the epidural route.

Nan has only 15 more days of teaching left before she stops work. That means no scenes like in this photo (grading down students' assignments). Check out that smirk!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Oak Glen Apple Country

On the first weekend in November, I had Saturday off and we went to visit Oak Glen, which is out near San Bernadino, about 80 miles east of Los Angeles. It's a small town where you can pick apples, pumpkins and chestnuts and buy everything that can be made from apples including apple butter, apple pie, and apple jelly. We were too late in the season for apple picking, but it was still a neat so-close-yet-so-far-from-LA experience.


A crab-apple. Nan is 28 4/7 weeks pregnant. Posted by Picasa


"Bushels" of apples at the Parrish Ranch. That's a yodeling country singer in the background behind an old time apple cider press. Posted by Picasa


I never knew how sunflower seeds looked like when they're on the sunflower. This is a close-up of one drying. Posted by Picasa


28 4/7 weeks pregnant and the cider mill at Snowline FarmPosted by Picasa


Mini apple donut making machine Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween


Our pumpkins Posted by Picasa

For Halloween, Nan and I carved these pumpkins. I was trying to make a rabbit, but it came out looking like a cat.

People from a lot of different neighborhoods come to our neighborhood for Halloween because the streets are lighted and there's a lot of houses that you can walk up to. All the parking on our street was taken, and about 400 kids came by our house. Also there were a lot of older people trick or treating too. I think when you're pregnant, it's probably time to stop trick or treating.