April 29, 2013


You can take all the childbirth classes you want and practice breathing and meditation and visualization and all of that, but the truth is?  We first-time moms have NO idea what we're in for.  "It hurts."  Yeah, okay.  Got that part.

For people who don't know yet, my goal is to have this baby without the aid of any drugs.  I'm not against the use of an epidural for any high-and-mighty reasons, but I'm just...uncomfortable with it for myself. I told a friend (who is expecting her little boy ANY DAY NOW!) that I feel like there's a lot of merit in our knee-jerk reactions to things like that right now.  I think God prepares us to be Mothers by giving us that natural instinct to just feel what's right for us.  If our doctor suddenly seems gung-ho about medication, my knee-jerk reaction is going to say "Why?  What are the actual benefits to me and my baby?"

Anyway, Michael and I both feel (I more than he, because he's worried about me, which is to be expected) that we'd like to go as long as possible through L&D without medication to move the process along.  We feel even more strongly about that now that we've taken the classes and talked about the pros and cons of each with our doctor.


There's a truth that doesn't get talked about as often, and that is that there's a lot to do to prepare for a baby that will soon be a part of your house and home.  Getting its room ready.  Washing, cleaning and putting away all of the accoutrements purchased or received from loved ones.  Interviewing child care providers and pediatricians.  Getting your paperwork together for the hospital and the insurance company and your place of employment.  Oh yeah, and remembering to take the time to practice calming breathing and meditation before bed each night.  Guess which one gets left out most often.

On Saturday night, exhausted from a full day of shopping, celebrating a niece's first birthday, and finishing building the nursery furniture, I fell into bed (no, literally fell, because it's the easiest way to get into the bed sometimes!), exhausted and trying to ignore the back pain.  As I struggled to get comfortable, I suddenly got tears in my eyes.  "How am I going to handle this?  How am I going to get it all done and still have the energy to get through labor?"

So, I prayed.  I took some deep, calming breaths and asked the Lord to give me and Michael the strength we need from one day to the next.  The physical and emotional strength to take each little challenge, handle it, and reset for the next.  I prayed that I'd be gently reminded to take the time each day to do this and to remember to focus on finding my "happy place" to which I'd like to return in that hospital room.  I prayed that Michael will be able to be strong when I'm not.

Then, the next morning at church, Toby (the pastor) finished his 4-week series on Healing by talking about physical healing.  I'm sure that most of that sermon was intended for those with chronic illnesses that can beat them down spiritually and emotionally and relationally...but I kept thinking of my prayer the night before.

I know pregnancy is not an illness.  But it's an incredible physical journey with quite the dramatic finish required to bring life into this world.  So I focused on my Healer.  I've spent the last week or two looking for Scriptures here and there to write down and meditate upon and to take with me to the hospital.  I've been making a playlist on my laptop, which I'll be taking with me, that will uplift me and strengthen me when I just want to give up.  But I've not spent as much time asking God, having an actual conversation with Him, to help us all (me, Michael and baby) through what will likely be the toughest physical thing I've ever been through.

I've been listening to the Pandora worship station through my Belly Buds lately, because the baby seems to get moving to that music.  When the worship leaders began to sing "Healer" by Kari Jobe on Sunday morning at church, I felt immediate movement from little Baby R. Part of it was probably my own immediate physical reaction to the song, because it's a favorite, but I like to think that Baby R got moving because s/he recognized the song. 

Believe that it's going on the Hospital Playlist:

*Just a quick disclaimer to say that, should the medical need arise, I am not against medical intervention when it will ensure the healthiest delivery for my baby and me.  I'm not one of those "prayer does everything and medicine is not necessary ever EVER" people!*

April 26, 2013


Baby R and I had our first baby shower on April 14th!  It was thrown by two of my favorite people ever, Jo and Amanda (keep reading and scrolling for a picture of these two beautiful women), and was intended to be the gathering for the younger and more "theatrical" (read: LOUD) set of friends that may or may not have been as comfortable at the shower with all the grandmothers and aunts. ;) 

This is a good time and place to say that I never expected to have more than one baby shower.  When we announced that Baby R was on the way, these two leapt at the opportunity to do this for us, and it is very humbling and overwhelming to know that they wanted to spend the time, energy and, let's face it, money to do this to celebrate the arrival of our first baby.

They went above and beyond my expectations.  Seriously, you guys, this shower was the stuff Pinterest dreams are made of. 

Now, I'm never one to balk at being the center of attention (I know what you're thinking...complete shock, right?), but when things like this happen I always feel like there's not an adequate way to say thank you enough.  Knowing that we (me and Michael and Baby R) have another two showers to look forward to is so humbling and overwhelming in the best way.  Truly, our cup runneth over with love and friendship.

Now, onto the fun pictures!! 

The welcome table!
Check out that INCREDIBLE spread!
I may or may not have had a small heart attack when I saw "68 days..."
We will just say I had only ONE of these cupcakes.  We'll be lying, but we'll say that!
Beautiful diaper cake (also containing burp cloths and blankets) made by Amanda! And how great is that sign?
One of 3 amazing beverages to choose from, served in mason jars with striped straws.
I got to keep that bunting! SO adorable.
Don't let that demure look fool you. I was very excited!
Onesie decorating station! Such a cute idea...and now Baby R has at least 20 things to wear.

I almost didn't say anything about this, but it's my blog and I do what I want. :) I do want to mention how grateful I am to those who took time out of their Sunday to attend the shower.  We invited and the hostesses prepared for a good 20+ people, since only one person RSVP'd that she wasn't going to be able to make it (and well ahead of time).  It was pretty embarrassing for me to know how much work was put into such a beautiful shower and to have so many of my friends not call the hostesses ahead of time to say they couldn't make it.  It was also a little disappointing, because I was hoping to spend some time with all our friends.  I guess I'm just a good ol' Southern gal who strongly believes in the necessity of the RSVP.  


That was just a small dent in what was a perfect day and a great party. The small group included almost all Moms (Jo is the only one without kids yet, but she loves babies and knows more about them than I do, probably!), and we were able to have amazing and hilarious conversations about labor & delivery, "down there" issues, boobs and such.  And everyone stayed so long, so I got to talk to everyone for a long time!

Jo, me, Amanda
Anna, me, Lydia (the SYTYCD crew!)
Brynne and me! Look at all that awesome color we're rocking.

I got a serious haul of both fun and useful gifts for Baby R -- it helps to have so many "been there done that" moms as friends!  They know what the good stuff is!  I can't wait to wash and put away all the sweet things for Baby R's nursery and start folding and hanging up those darling little clothes! 

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for pics from the Family Shower and the "Theatre Moms" shower! 

Party favors! Thank You CDs with songs about "Baby!"

April 23, 2013

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Dottery

Some readers may know/remember that I'm a part of a Flickr group called "7 Days."  Four times a year, we take seven days of self-portraits, ranging from your basic extended-arm selfie to very creative, reflective shots in various shiny objects.  I have only blogged about it once, but I've participated every cycle for almost two years (!!) now.

I have to say, this is my favorite internet group I've ever been a part of. I've met some REALLY amazing internet friends (none "in real life"....yet...) through this group, and we're all quite friendly via Twitter and Facebook and our individual blogs.

One of the things that has been kind of a 7 Days "staple" is Dottery.  How does one define dottery?!  Well, ask Bethany!  I believe she started the trend!  At least once per every 7 Days cycle, some dottery will make an appearance.  Bethany makes dottery ceramic items (mugs, bowls, plates...) and sells them (or gifts them, as she is known to be very generous)...and I think even her iPhone case has been dotterized! (I'm too lazy to go search her MANY awesome Flickr photos for the photo evidence!)

I even have my own mug!

"She is startin' to damage my calm..." Firefly quote from the one and only Jayne Cobb

ANYWAY, back to the title of this post.  Recently I got an email from Sonja offering me a dottery maternity shirt!  She sent it immediately upon receipt of my excited "YES PLEASE!" along with an impossibly tiny and adorable knitted hat for Baby R, and a very sweet card:

When I read "Welcome to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Maternity Shirt!" I got a little bit teary-eyed and emotional, and let me explain why...

Wait, first let me explain that this shirt started with Bethany, was sent to Jen (my favorite [favourite?] Canadian, who has been known to send me ketchup chips and lemon cookies), then on to Sonja, and finally to me.  (I'd post their Flickr photos of them wearing the shirt, but as we've all been pregnant while wearing it, they may murder me...) Who knows which 7-Dayser will get it next!

Anyway...here's why it makes me feel so special:

A group of local girls (including a couple of family members and some friends from high school) has been passing around a pair of overalls from their pregnancy for the past 4-5 years I suppose.  The most currently pregnant woman receives them to wear during her final trimester, and everyone has signed and dated them.  I always felt a little -- okay that's a lie, a LOT -- sad that I'd never be able to participate in this because...well, facts are facts. These girls are all teeny tiny little things, and those overalls wouldn't have fit me at my pre-pregnancy weight, much less with an added (COUGHCOUGH) pounds in my third trimester of pregnancy.  So, there's always been a part of me that's been sad to not have been included in such a tradition.  Not by malice, of COURSE, but just by logistics.  My ass = too big. :)

But now I'm a part of something shared. Included in a "sisterhood" of women who are, essentially, strangers to me.  I feel like I know them and their families, but I don't.  We see, quite literally, only snapshots of each others' lives, and yet they included me in this tradition.  It's a testament to how amazing social media and the internet really can be, and I'm so thrilled to be a part of it.  And I hope to carry on the tradition to the next 7-Days person to expect a child!

April 18, 2013

Maybe I *am* a Sacred Vessel

Remember when I first started posting about my pregnancy and I mentioned how much I did NOT feel like a Sacred Vessel of Life or a Glowing Image of Mother Earth in All Her Glory? 

The third trimester, the frighteningly fast-approaching due date, the childbirth classes, and the educational materials I've been watching and reading just might be changing my mind.

I mentioned to Michael the other night, and to the small handful of ladies at my baby shower this past weekend, that I'm definitely feeling a lot of spirituality lately, and I don't just mean my relationship with God or thoughts about my faith as a Christian. I mean the seriously hippie thoughts of a woman who was created to carry and deliver and then raise another human being. 

At our last childbirth class, we watched The Video.  The One everyone warns you about.  The One where you see a real live woman giving birth to a real live baby.  No soft filters are used, no clever camera angles mask or disguise what is basically a primal, human process.  Michael and I both were cringing during the pushing and the (gulp) crowning portion, but as soon as the doctor placed that baby on that woman's chest and it started crying, so did I.

It was truly beautiful.  Gross, painful, goopy and bloody and beautiful.  Our instructor was explaining to us how newborns placed on a mother's stomach will naturally start to try to inch their way up towards the breasts to feed because breastmilk/colostrum scents mimic the scents inside the womb, and she said how amazing that is.

And it is.  It's incredible. 

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Ps 139:13-14)

I've also been fully and overwhelmingly aware of how short a time we get on this Earth. I will find myself panicking when I think about getting older and eventually leaving this Earth for something unimaginable beyond.  I think about leaving a child behind.  I think about my incredible husband, with whom I have formed life, and tears fill my eyes as I imagine what he and our children will or won't be in relationship to me in Heaven. 

It's heavy duty stuff. And the hormones don't help. 

In thinking about our birth plan (the writing of which is our homework for this week's childbirth class), I keep listening to that small, still, gut instinct or voice that is encouraging me to have as low-intervention a delivery as is possible and still medically safe for me and the baby. I try not to get angry or frustrated when other Moms or older women give me a look that clearly says, "You're insane," or "good luck with that!" I try to firmly but lovingly insist that it will be only Michael and me (and any necessary medical staff) in the room when we first meet our son or daughter, and that we insist on the maximum immediate bonding time that the health of my baby and myself will allow before welcoming our family to greet the newest addition.

It's our baby.  It's my body.  There will never be another first time for us, for this. We prayed for this baby and it's humbling how quickly our prayer was answered. 

"I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” (1 Samuel 1:27-28)

I was created to do this, and I pray that I will not only be able to get through the delivery medicine-free, but that I will not be disappointed or self-loathing about needing (and being blessed to have) the first-world medical interventions available to me. 

I always hesitantly, shyly offer up that I'm actually looking forward to delivering this baby.  I'm looking forward to using the techniques that Michael and I have learned and have (and will) come up with together and with the help of our instructor to get through each pain, each hour.  I'm not looking forward to the pain; don't misunderstand me!  But what a reward for what we go through! 

God has been preparing my heart for this event; I just know it.  But, I have to also say that the science and biology of what a woman's body does and goes through in preparation for childbirth, from conception to delivery, is fascinating.  The knowing and the learning have been huge for me (and for my husband) in these past few weeks.  And it's wonderful to combine the knowledge and fact of what is actually going on and why in my body with the peace and the understanding that it has all been designed by God to be this way

For some, the knowledge alone is enough.  For others, the faith alone is enough. For me personally, the combination of the two has been powerful and incredibly spiritual as we prepare for little Baby R in (GULP) about 9 weeks. 

And I'm finally feeling more peace. Discomfort, some pain, hot, yes....but at peace. Worry, fear, anxiety of the unknown, of course.  But anticipation. And excitement.  

April 16, 2013

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage...

There are certain people who come in and make a stamp on your life, pretty much from the very beginning.  I feel like our friend and photographer, Lynn Michelle, is one of those people.

When Michael and I were planning our Texas wedding from the great city of Boston, MA, one of the things that was the most difficult to choose and book was the wedding photographer.  Originally, we booked a photographer and arranged for him to take our engagement photos while we were home visiting for a family wedding.  When the pictures arrived, I was disappointed.  Wait, that's an understatement.  I sobbed because I hated them and we'd already booked him for our wedding.

I was very active on The Knot back then, and Lynn always came highly recommended, but her price just seemed out of my range.  However, I decided to follow an instinct and call her anyway.

I immediately connected with Lynn. Our personalities are VERY similar, and she somehow managed to be both professional and a bit irreverent at the same time, which of course I loved, because it made me immediately comfortable with her.  We talked pricing, and she flat-out asked, "What's your budget and what do you want?" I told her and she said, "Don't worry, we can work something out that will make you happy.  Talk to your other photographer, then call me back."

Luckily our "other photographer" was incredibly gracious and only wanted us to be happy with our final product.  So, contacts were voided with him and our adventure with Lynn began!

Lynn has documented so many moments in our lives, always managing to capture stunning beauty as well as some crazy, hilarious and zany moments.  Everything from my bridal portraits...

...to our engagement photos, ONE WEEK before the wedding (also the first time she ever met Michael)...

...to the day we said "I do" in front of all of our friends and family...

After the wedding, Lynn apparently couldn't get enough of us, and we sure as hell loved spending time with her, too...So not only did we go to her for our holiday season portraits every year (and of course we had to include our first "baby,' Carmen, whenever we could!)....

....and if she wasn't sick of us by THEN?!  We also had to trash my wedding dress (along with some other fabulous brides) for national television (you know, like you do)...

...and because she loves me and supports my theatrical endeavors, she shot some of my FAVORITE productions that I've been a part of for the local theatre that means so much to me...

Lynn also was able to be a HUGE part of helping me and my amazing friend Anna in our fundraising efforts for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for the Cure by helping us put together a couple of fundraisers with some other local photographers!


Even though I know Lynn has been a huge part of our lives in the past 5 years, just putting it all in one blog post like this amazes me! 

So of course, who is the first person we call when we're ready to take the next HUGE step in our life?  Surely you've been paying attention enough to know that nobody else would or could be trusted to take our maternity photos.

Lynn and I have had an agreement ever since wayyyyyyyy back when we did our engagement photos that she really doesn't do tiny baby pictures.  We even joked during the maternity session that I could "call when the baby starts walking!"  Also, Lynn is scaling back a bit so that her schedule isn't quite so full ALL the time.

So, this maternity photo session was incredibly special to me for so many reasons...not the least of which was that we may be taking a break (at least for photos) for a while from Lynn. 

We honestly cannot thank her or praise her enough for documenting our lives the way she has.  First came love, then came marriage, then came a bunch of theatre productions and a couple of fundraisers and random other crazy things...and then came the news of Baby R's impending arrival.  Lynn has been there for all of it, and it means everything to us!

April 11, 2013

Into the 30s

Today officially marks 30 weeks pregnant.  THIRTY WEEKS.  If you assume that a pregnancy is an average of 40 weeks, well...you do the math!  We're are heading into the home stretch, folks, and it's crazy how quickly time is flying by.  Last night I even said to Michael, with a slight pout, "The days are just going by so fast!" I was more upset that we'd gone a whole day with separate schedules and hardly seen each other, but it also applies to this pregnancy.  
I don't even want to think about how much there is left to do...

So let's talk instead about some more milestones!

  • After I wrote this post, I had a lot of questions and some tentative plans regarding the birth of Baby R, and I'm happy to say that my OB is fully on board with low-intervention birth.  We talked about when they start saying the "I-word"—induction—and they don't even bring it up until 41 and a half weeks.  Good.  He's down with low intervention of meds, too, and he even called himself "the midwife of obstetricians," which made Michael and I both very happy.
  • OB appointments are now every two weeks!  Until 35 or 36, when we go ONCE a week.
  • We've started childbirth classes!  We had our first one last Thursday night, and we have two more left (tonight and next Thursday), and then I have a breastfeeding class the Wednesday following the final childbirth class. 
  • Thanks to the incredibly generosity of our family members, we now have a crib, changing table, crib mattress, dresser, stroller, car seat adapter for the stroller, and an infant car seat! SO MANY THANKS to our parents for helping us with these big ticket items!!
  • We're having maternity photos taken by the one and only, the fabulous, the hilarious Lynn Michelle tomorrow night.  This is going to be a bittersweet time for us, as LM is moving to doing only weddings, and this may be our last family session with her.  She's tracked our relationship via photograph from engagement to now, and the results are priceless. Check back here next week for some of those photos.  
  • Baby showers! I have one this weekend, and another one in May, and I'm so excited to celebrate this baby with my family and friends. More on those later, too (with pics).
Now how about some stats??
Baby R's size: Allegedly, Baby R could be 15.2- to 16.7-inch, 2.5- to 3.8-pounds! Yikes! (If you must have the produce aisle comparison, we're at Butternut Squash. Yikes!)
Baby R's developments: Baby R's skin is getting smoother but the brain is getting more wrinkly (with all that genius it will inherit from us, no doubt). Baby R is also now strong enough to grasp a finger! How cute is that?
Currently Craving: Same stuff...sweet and cold. Orange juice almost as soon as I wake up is a necessity. I'm hungry a LOT more often, but I get full faster (probably because my stomach is being shoved up into my throat by this growing baby!).
How's the belly looking: Good! Big. I actually almost knocked a bowl of oatmeal off of the counter with my belly bump the other day at work.
Sleep & Dreams: Dreams are fairly normal. Not as many baby dreams as one might think, though. Sleep? Eh...it's not great. I sleep a few hours at a time, get uncomfortable and lay awake for an hour or so, and then sleep a little more.
How I am feeling: Large. Sitting in a desk chair at work is starting to be uncomfortable, so I have to make sure I stand up several times an hour to stretch and not feel so cramped. But I feel good. Heartburn comes and goes, back pain comes and goes...pretty typical pregnancy stuff!
Evidence of Pregnancy Brain: Let's just say that if I didn't have a calendar on my iPhone that integrated with my email, I'd be in a lot of trouble.
Movement: LOTS more! Last night, my stomach looked like something from a science fiction movie and it was highly entertaining. I'm starting to notice movement much more often during the day and while eating/after meals, so the quiet or "still" times don't freak me out as much. I just figure s/he's taking a li'l nap.
Exercise: Taking some great walks with Michael and Carmen when the weather and our schedules allow and, if that can't happen, I try to take a walk around campus at some time during the work day. Starting to notice the cankles after those walks, though. :(
Innie or outie: Still an innie! But it's definitely more shallow.  Belly buttons are so weird.
Stretch marks: Still none.
Rings on or off: Still on! I don't wear them when we take long walks, though, just in case I get sausage-fingers.
Maternity wear: Starting to have to get creative, especially on warmer days.
Baby related purchases: See above bullet point!  Michael and I bought carpet to re-carpet the nursery (again with some help from the 'rents...thank God for them!), which will be installed in a week or so.  I'm SO anxious to get this nursery put together...
Days until due date: 71. Which feels much farther away than "10 weeks," so maybe I should start thinking in days instead!

April 8, 2013

Friend Makin' Mondays -- TV & Movies

 I haven't played in a while, and this one looked like lots of fun.

TV, Movies and Me

1. If you could be a recurring star on a show that is currently on TV, which show would you choose?  Uh, Mad Men. Duh.

2. Name the movie that you are most embarrassed to admit that you love. I pretty much own my guilty pleasures with out much of the "guilt."  But, Center Stage is pretty awful, but I sure do love it.

3. Name one show that you’ve never seen and would love to watch. Once Upon a Time. I know that season 1 is available on Netflix, but I HATE being behind!  I'd almost rather wait until the series is finished and all available for me to watch.  See also: Downton Abbey.

4. Do you ever go to movies alone?  Rarely.  Michael and I are usually on the same page about movies we want to see.  However, I did go see Black Swan alone.  Terrible idea. I was wrapped up in a ball of anxiety for hours afterwards.

5. If you could only watch one TV show for the next year, which show would you choose and why? Everybody Loves Raymond.  Because I love it, the writing is genius, and the family just reminds me so much of our own.

6. If you could star in one reality show, which one would it be and why? So You Think You Can Dance.  I WANT TO DANCE LIKE ALL OF THEM.

7. If someone rented a billboard for you, what would it say?  "Save a life. Adopt a pitbull." I don't need it to be about ME.  Just something I care deeply about. 

8. Who is the most famous person with whom you have been in the same room? Hmmm...I'm not gonna count concerts, because I've been to too many.  I was at a California Pizza Kitchen once in Boston, just a table away from Travis Barker (of Blink 182), though.  So that was cool.  (And I'm happy to report that he was super nice to fans who wanted to meet him and take pictures.)

9. If you were chosen to be a contestant on a TV game show, which show would you want to be on?  Jeopardy!!!

10. If there was a movie being made about you, which actor would you choose to play you? Definitely Amy Adams.  Because she's ADORABLE and she's a ginger and she's an amazing actress.  She could do the role of Mandy justice. :)

April 4, 2013

The Great Gender Debate

29wks down, ~11 weeks to go!

Boy or girl?

Pink or blue?

Tutus or baby bowties*?

Ever since Michael and I decided to be "Team Green" and remain in the dark about the sex of our baby, everyone around us has become a soothsayer, one of the proverbial "old wives," or even, to my huge surprise, a radiologist!  I had no idea so many of my friends and family members took time out of their busy schedules to go to "night school in Mantino and learn a real trade." (Bonus points if you caught that reference.)

I'm not gonna lie...it's annoyed the hell out of me.  Why?  I dunno.  Because I'm hormonal.  Because I know they don't know.  Because it seems disrespectful of my choice to not find out.  Because IT'S MY PARTY AND I'LL CRY IF I WANT TO.  But you know what?  It's really wasting my energy to be annoyed, so I'm just gonna start having fun with it.

[Side note: we were hoping for a puppy, but alas...the 21w ultrasound showed that it is, in fact, a baby human.  So there ya go.]

So let's just have some fun with it, shall we?  I posted a poll on Facebook this morning and have already gotten tons of guesses (well, there are only two guesses, really...but I've had a good handful of responses), and a couple of reasons why -- from the cute ("Because you always dress so cute,  you have to be having a girl!") to the silly ("I flipped a coin.") to the Old Wives' Tale ("You're carrying low, so you're having a boy.").

In case you forgot, here's the ultrasound picture:

Now, science (and my Internet research) tells us that, by these photos, it is impossible to determine the sex of the baby.  If you don't see three lines (indicating girly parts) or a little wing-wang, you don't know.  Our ultrasound tech, because she saw no medical need, didn't even look between the legs.  She doesn't know.  Dr. V doesn't know.  We don't know.  YOU don't know.

But just for funsies, let's talk about Old Wives' Tales:

Low vs. High: "Rumor has it that if you are carrying your baby high, it's a girl. Carrying low? Stock up on blue. Similar tales say if you carry in front, you've got yourself a little boy, and if you expand horizontally, it's a girl."  Well, I think personally that I'm carrying high (most of the kicks are right up under my sternum, in the rib cage area), and out front more than side-to-side (thank God).  Verdict: Split

Skin: "Legends say that if you are having a little girl, she'll steal your beauty. So, if you've got acne and other not-so-pretty skin blemishes, you've got a little princess coming your way. Dry hands and cold feet are signs of a boy. So, if you've got these ailments, break out the baby blue." I've had pretty good skin throughout this whole pregnancy.  Just a few breakouts at random.  I have had dry hands, too. However, I've also been pregnant during the winter months.  Verdict: On the whole, Boy.

Ring Swing: "Take a pin, needle, or wedding ring and attach it to a thread or strand of hair. Hold the dangling item over mom to be’s belly while she is lying down. If the needle or wedding ring swings in a strong circular motion, you will be having a girl. If it moves in a to and fro motion like a pendulum, you will be having a boy."  I've been trying this since the first few weeks of my pregnancy knowledge, and EVERY time it swings in a huge circle immediately.  Verdict: Girl. 

Cravings: "Craving sweets? According to some, that means your going to have a little girl. Salty and sour cravings indicate a boy." Given my intense NEED for Slurpees some days, I think this one is clear. Verdict: Girl.

The Chinese Lunar Chart: This one is a picture perfect example of inaccuracy, in my opinion. Allegedly, it's 90% accurate.  It uses the lunar age of the mother at the time of conception or something like that.  The Chinese gender chart on The Bump said Boy and the one on BabyCenter.com said Girl.  I literally tried the first 5 or 6 Google search results for this test. Verdict: Split

Morning Sickness: "If you're stricken with a queasy stomach during your first trimester, think ribbons and bows. If you sail through your pregnancy with nary an upset stomach, it's blue all the way." I think I threw up once in my first trimester, but during the first 4-5 weeks of the second trimester, I couldn't even breathe in fresh air without literally gagging (but not vomiting).  So what does that mean?  I guess if we take this literally, then I wasn't all that sick in my first trimester, so... Verdict: Boy.

So what's the verdict: THE SAME.  Nobody knows.  It's fun to think about it, though.  Right now, this is how I picture the baby, minus the severed head of Ned Flanders of course:

Usually this little monster is how I picture the baby when I feel like it's trying to claw its way out...but I also picture it with a little rock hammer, making a tunnel that it covers up with a poster of Raquel Welch. 

I guess we'll find out in about 11 weeks!

*For the record, I sure would put a bowtie on a girl.  So.  Yeah.