The story behind the name:

One evening, at the Old Broadway Grill in Fargo, North Dakota, my brother caught the end of a Mountain Dew commercial. In the commercial, a Mountain Dew drinker was riding a shark in the ocean. My brother exclaimed in surprise, not realizing that it was a commercial. When I told him he declared "All I saw was a guy coming out of the shower with a shark." Of course, he meant water, but the idea of showering with sharks has been with me ever since.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Everything At Once

Over the past week it has seemed as though the universe is conspiring to overwhelm us with major events.

First, the flood in Fargo. My parents, Mark's parents, my brother and his wife, and several of our friends live in Fargo. When the water started rising, Mark and I were in contact with our parents every day to see how things were progressing. Well, last week, on Wednesday, Mark could tell that his parents were getting pretty stressed. They live very near the river and Charley, Mark's dad, had been working himself ragged on the dikes protecting their neighborhood from the water. Later Wednesday night, Mark was talking with his brother Dave (who lives here in the Cities). Dave had decided to leave that night to go to Fargo to help with the sandbagging. After Mark got off the phone with him I could tell he was really torn. Yes, I am currently 9 months pregnant (due Friday, April 3) and I know Mark didn't want to leave me alone. At the same time, I know that not being in Fargo to help his folks was really getting to him. So, I told him he should go with Dave. After debating internally for a few minutes, and asking me repeatedly if I'd be OK, he decided to call Dave back and tell him that he would be going, too. Everyone felt pretty good about this decision because at this point it was after 9 p.m. and neither I, nor Barb (Dave's wife), nor Mark, nor Mark's parents wanted Dave driving to Fargo by himself in the middle of the night. So, Dave picked up Mark and they hit the road about 11 p.m. I made Mark promise to text me as soon as he and Dave go to Fargo, even thought he'd be waking me up in the middle of the night. They got to Fargo around 3 a.m., which, while longer than the drive typically takes, wasn't as bad as Mark feared.

After Mark left I started getting ready for bed. I thought to myself as I was climbing into bed that the one good thing about Mark going to Fargo was that at least I would have plenty of room in the bed that night for me and the pets. Typically, when we go to bed at night, there is Mark - my 180-pound, 6 ft 1 husband, Quinn - the 25-pound sheltie-eskimo, Millie - the 10-pound papillon, me - not going to reveal my current weight, my stomach, and my body pillow. Eventually, we are usually joined by one or both of our 12-pound cats. So, Millie and I got into bed and got situated and I waited expectantly for the influx of other pets... And... it never came. At about 12:30 I got up to use the little-pregnant-woman's room and the sight that greeted me was: Quinn sleeping on the blue recliner in the living room, Ziggy sleeping in Millie's dog bed, and Fat China sleeping on a chair in the dining room. That's right. I had practically the entire bed to myself and NONE of the pets wanted to sleep with me. I think Millie was only in the bed because it is too tall for her to jump off. I'm fairly certain that Quinn was sleeping in the blue chair because he was waiting for Mark to come back. By the time Mark texted me at 3 a.m., however, everything was back to normal and I was sandwiched between two dogs, the body pillow and a cat.

The good news is that while Mark was gone I did NOT go into labor. Mark and his family spent three days sandbagging, dike patrolling, and emptying his parents basement just-in-case. At the same time, my 30th birthday approached and I proceeded to get more and more pregnant and uncomfortable. On Saturday Mark and Dave decided to come back to Minneapolis so and I was so happy that Mark was back in time for my birthday on Sunday.

As for my various birthday celebrations: I got taken out for delicious Thai food by my lovely friend Kristen who was visiting Minnesota with her adorable son Finn on Wednesday. On Friday, Barb took me out to McCoy's Public House for a delicious dinner and then we bought a new case, car-charger, and blue tooth headset for my new smart phone (birthday present from Mark). Saturday night after Mark got home we decided to go to McCoy's again (because I think Mark was sad he didn't get to eat there the night before). This was wonderful because I really wanted to eat the baked macaroni and cheese, which is NOT the dish I ordered the night before. Sunday morning, the day of my actual birthday, I started the day with a call from my BFF Ang and her daughter Isabelle. Isabelle was supposed to sing me Happy Birthday (she's almost 2) but then she got a little shy on the phone and would only sing me little parts of the song. I decided I wanted breakfast, so Mark and I went to the Good Day Cafe for breakfast. I had 49er Flapjacks, which are AMAZINGLY delicious. That evening, Mark and I went to Dave and Barb's for pizza and Dairy Queen cake. We also played a little Mario Kart. All in all, it was an excellent day.

Meanwhile, back in Fargo, the Red River crested but Mother Nature was not done yet. Yesterday, Fargo was hit with a blizzard that is currently in the process of dumping somewhere around 12 inches of snow on the Red River Valley. We are also supposed to get nasty weather here. In fact, I drove to school this morning in a weird combo of rain/snow. This afternoon I have to brave the wet roads for a haircut appointment and a doctor's appointment. Of course, I didn't know the weather would be so crappy when I made these appointments, but I can't reschedule because, let's not forget that I am due Friday but could really deliver at any moment. If I don't get my hair cut today I might not have the chance for another 5 - 6 weeks and by that time I promise I would look really really funny.

So, that has been my crazy week. As for the baby, Mark is convinced that she will be hear either before or on her due date, which gives her another 3 days to make her appearance. I'm hoping his prediction is correct. I am very excited and ready to move from the pregnant stage to the mom stage. Last night Mark installed the car seat into the back seat of the car. It was a little weird to see it in there this morning when I went to work, but is just one more indication that by this time next week (please, please, please) we will have a new addition to our family... and I will not be suffering sore hips or painful kicks to the ribs, side, colon or pelvis... like I am at this very moment... ouch.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cool Things About Being Pregnant

Ok, so I was talking with my mom on the phone last night and she gave me a little grief for being so down on pregnancy in my blog. Truly, pregnancy is like a roller coaster, and I'm sure most other pregnant women would agree that there are some great things that happen that make up for the uncomfortable things. So, here is a list of cool things about being pregnant.
1. You wind up with a baby. That is pretty freakin' neat.
2. Besides the baby, you also get lots of cool baby gear.
3. Feeling the baby move is, in general, pretty awesome.
4. Seeing the baby on ultrasound - especially the first time, is amazing.
5. Your family gets really excited about the baby. This is really fun.
6. You get to embrace weight gain - Not ridiculous unchecked weight gain, 'cause that isn't healthy. But it is nice to put aside your scale worries for a few months.
7. You have an actual biological reason to act mental. Pregnancy insanity is an actual condition. Look it up.
8. You get a magical pass into the club of women who have been/are currently pregnant. Bonding over pregnancy stories, while it may sound weird and too girly, is a great way to connect with other women.
9. The fact that your body can change to accommodate a growing baby is a biological wonder. Yeah, an uncomfortable and weird biological wonder, but a wonder nonetheless.
10. Did I mention that when it is all over you get a baby? Pretty freakin' neat.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Things I Will Not Miss About Being Pregnant

1. Heartburn - I am not joking, I have had heartburn almost every day since I got pregnant last summer.
2. Hip pain - this makes both sleeping and moving uncomfortable
3. Night trips to the bathroom
4. Only being able to wear 4 pairs of pants
5. Not being able to wear shoes that tie
6. Pregnancy-induced hotflashes
7. Carrying around 25 extra pounds - this is really exhausting and makes climbing stairs a trial
8. Not being able to pick up or carrying "heavy" things
9. Not being able to eat soft cheese
10. Not being able to eat sushi

Friday, March 13, 2009

Regular? China

My husband and I have four pets. We got our first pet, a cat, in March 2001. She's a gray tortoiseshell with a cute little tan strip up her face between her eyes. She was a really adorable kitten that grew up in to a totally psychotic cat. We got our second kitten, Ziggy, a few months later because China was lonely. Ziggy is also gray, but his coat is all one color. His gray fur is very dark and he has a perpetually worried expression on his face. In April 2003 we got our first puppy, a nine-month-old papillon that we bought from a breeder in Nebraska. Her full, AKC registered name is Merric's One in a Million - Millie for short. Today, Millie is a little chubby and a little neurotic. There was a span of a few months about a year and half ago when Millie got scared of her waterdish and would only drink out of coffee mugs. Mark and I thought maybe she wasn't getting enough attention from the cats, so we decided to get her a puppy friend. We didn't act upon the impulse to get the new puppy right away. In fact, Quinn, our fourth pet/second puppy, came into our lives sort of by accident when Mark found himself holding the little sheltie/eskimo cross puppy at a pet store in Fargo (yes, I know all about how you shouldn't by puppies from petstores. It wasn't my idea to be there in the first place, but Quinn was so cute when he fell asleep in Mark's hands that we were totally lost).

Anyway, that is the story of how we wound up with four pets. But today I am going to write about our first pet, China. As I said earlier, she grew up into a psycho cat. Once she knocked my Dad's glasses right off is face when he tried to pet her. She is widely known among our circle of friends as being totally cranky and nuts. All her meows sound the same: her happy meow, her sad meow, her hungry meow, her cranky meow, her psycho meow... well, they all sound psycho. In her defense, however, she has mellowed a litle with time and especially since we've moved into our new house. She appears to like it here.

China not only grew up psycho, she also grew up fat. For much of her life, she has looked like a football on legs with a tiny head. In fact, she is so chubby that we actually sort of renamed her Fat China. About a month ago, we decided to move her food into the basement because feeding the kitties upstairs was taking up too much counter space (they have to eat from an elevated position because if we fed them on the floor the dogs would eat their food). This morning I noticed that Fat China wasn't nearly as fat as she used to be. Apparently, forcing Fat China to go up and down the stairs into the basement several times a day to eat is having a miraculous impact on her waistline. Granted, she still is round around the middle, but not nearly as much as she used to be. So, now we are faced with the dilemma: Is it still right to call her Fat China if she is not nearly as fat? Do we call her Regular China or Not-As-Fat China? Some may say, just go back to calling her China, but she has evolved from being plain old China. She is something beyond what she used to be and I'm not sure if she can go back to being Plain Ol' China.

Monday, March 9, 2009

All Kinds of Milestones

So, I have two pretty big milestones coming up in the next month. First, of course, is the birth of our first child, due April 3. Second, and only slightly less meaningful, is my 30th birthday.

As you might have guessed, my birthday has been a bit lost among all the baby excitement. In fact, this might be the first year that I've been counting down to something in March that is NOT my birthday. Ask anyone in my family - I make a big deal out of my birthday and I don't usually let people forget that it is approaching. These reminders typically take the form of a question, ala, guess what is happening in 20 days... MY BIRTHDAY!!! And, I celebrate all month.

Anyway, this year my birthday is a little over shadowed by the upcoming birthday of our daughter (at least, I hope it is a daughter. I am currently suffering from the suggestion that she will be born on April 1st and will come out a boy instead of a girl. Normally, this wouldn't traumatize me, but I keep thinking about all the cute little girl clothes I have de-tagged and washed in preparation for her arrival). Last night was the first time I'd even thought about my birthday in several days. My husband was actually the person who brought up my birthday in a very random and tactless way by declaring, apropo of nothing, "You're going to be 30." I responded, "Yeah, thanks for that." So, I asked him what he was going to get me for my birthday - something I typically would have asked him about 100 times by March 9th in any other year. He joked about buying me Guitar Hero 2 or photography equipment (see, it's funny because those are really things that HE wants). I don't really know what I want for my birthday besides a new cell phone. So, if anyone has any good gift ideas for me, let me know...

As for the pregnancy, I'm currently sitting at 3 weeks and 4 days until my due date. Although, I was recently discussing the ridiculousness of the due date with a colleague. I learned in my preparing for childbirth class that only about 4% of all women actually delivery on their due date. So, planning your life around a "due date" is actually a little ridiculous. I've been trying to get my work life together in preparation for being gone. I'm planning to play the statistics (which claim that first-time moms are usually "late" - although, we've already discussed the ridiculousness of the due date) and will be working until April 3. But, just in case the baby makes an early arrival, I'm trying to get my last two weeks of work all sorted out so that someone can take over. Of course, I wouldn't mind if she came early. I'm getting sick of sore hips and having to pee all the time. Last night I was fidgeting around trying to get comfortable in bed (like I do every night) and was talking with Mark at the same time. As I'm rolling around trying to figure out a good position, Mark all of a sudden declares "I can NOT get comfortable." I stopped rolling around in disbelief, then said "Oh, you POOR THING." Apparently, Mark's hips were also a little sore last night because he had been home-improvement-ing.

So, the moral of this whole story is that Mark was ridiculous last night. But we had some good laughs out of it. I'm going to apologize for how disjointed this blog is. I actually wrote bits and pieces of it over the course of an entire afternoon. Now I'm really ready to go home.