Thursday, December 30, 2010

The baptism

I'll admit it; I'm superstitious. Technically the church no longer promotes the concept of Limbo, but the damage was done. Just the idea of my babies being stuck somewhere else for eternity is enough to make sure I get them baptized as soon as possible. My mom was baptized within a few days of her birth and I was only a week old. I had My Little Helper baptized when he was 3 weeks old, allowing for a bit of a recovery for me. It was also Grandparents' day which I thought would be cute.
My parish does baptisms every few months, all together, during Mass. This is supposed to remind the parishioners of their own baptismal promises and a community building moment. I get this, but for me, I prefer the intimacy of a private ceremony after Mass. All your family and friends can gather around, everyone can make a sign of the cross on the baby, people can stand wherever they want to take photos, there is no rushed feeling because you are causing a delay in everyone else's Mass experience. When my first was born, the communal baptisms were only happening quarterly and he was due the weekend of a baptism. That would have meant he would be 3 months old before he would have another opportunity. That was too much for me to handle so I had him baptized at the Cathedral where my mother is a parishioner. They offered private ceremonies and I loved the experience.
We have a new parish priest now and I began to accept that a baptism during the Mass would be just fine. It turned out that the closest baptism to Baby Boy's birth would be the day after Christmas. Yikes! I convinced myself that we could make it work though even though the baby would be at most one week old. I could heal from surgery by then, right?
My family has no heirloom gown for some reason, so when My Little Helper was born my mom made one. We picked out nice Irish linen and she did a lot of tat work for the hems. My great grandmother, who is the Catholic patriarch of the family, used to tat so my mom wanted to incorporate her into the gown. I intend to make this gown a new family heirloom. At some point I'll embroider names and dates inside the hem. I have a habit of wearing white to baptisms. It was easy enough at the first one because I had a summery maternity dress that I could wear. Eyelet won't work in December though so I spent more time than I should have waddling around looking for a winter white dress to wear. I finally found a white with gold brocade one that I loved. I ordered the largest size and had it shipped to me. Maybe the baby would arrive early? If I wore enough layers of Spanx it just might fit, right? I knew I was being extremely ambitious in the abilities of my post baby body to bounce back. I then began searching for a hat to wear with it. I discovered an amazing little hat shop CrowningLori which had just the hat I needed. I also had a back up outfit planned which included a hat already in my collection. But the night before the baptism neither dress fit. I'd have to be content with a purple maternity dress. And none of my hats would match it!Well, it all turned out alright in the end. Our godparents were available, even though it was a holiday weekend, and all my family was in town too. Did I get all the photos I would have liked? No. Did I feel rushed? Yes. But my son is baptized and he was so good during the ceremony; he didn't make a peep when the holy water was poured over his head. (The preschooler, whose parents had said during our sacramental preparation class that they had waited to baptize their daughter because they thought it would be easier, screamed bloody murder and refused to let Father pour water on her. I can't understand why anyone would want to wait. Babies don't know what is going on; it doesn't occur to them to protest.)
Because this is a second baby and we had no need for a baby shower, we decided to have a post baptism, meet the baby, Christmas open house party afterward. We didn't have our annual trip to Peacock Lane, but I essentially did the same set up. We ordered a cold cut & cheese tray and a fruit platter which we picked up on our way home from Mass. I baked a cake and made a red, Christmas-y punch, and coffee and tea. Very simple. I knew I would have neither the time nor the energy to get to ambitious with this.I used as inspiration the baptism of my twin godsons. Back then I offered to make a cake for them because I had discovered these cute priest, and baptismal font decorations at The Decorette shop. I made twin little cakes, frosted in white and they looked so sweet. Unfortunately the funeral for their grandfather was the day before, but as a result the house was filled with flowers, including a bouquet of white, long stem roses. It was such a beautiful centerpiece for the party.I had sent Mr. W to the store to buy all the supplies for cake making and asked him to pick up a white bouquet that hopefully had white roses and babies breath in it. He is so good to me that he made the florist add those things in to the one he found. Yes, I am crazy and made a cake on Christmas day between opening presents, going to my mothers for dinner just 6 days postpartum! It is a pretty easy recipe though and it turned out very sweet, I think. Could I have done a better job ironing the tablecloth? Yes, but I hoped that my family and friends would overlook that detail. The punch was cranberry juice, pomegranate juice, and 7 up. It was my first attempt at making an ice ring. I froze cranberries and sliced clementines in the bundt pan. It didn't turn out quite as I had hoped, but it is the thought that counts.
We had a nice turn out of guests who came and went during our open house. I think we planned it just right and now we can relax. We have nothing else to worry about or get ready for; we can just enjoy our new son.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Our son has arrived

I never made any progress on going into labor on my own. I ended up scheduling a cesarean section for my due date. Since my dr wouldn't let me go past that date anyway, I figured I may as well have it scheduled in advance and I could cancel it hopefully. For some reason the hospital scheduled me for the first surgery of the day which meant that I had to be at the hospital at 6:00 am! So early! I wasn't sure if I'd be put in a smaller room than last time since I wouldn't be laboring at all, but it was an equally large room so that was nice. And Mr. W packed himself some blankets since last time the daddy bench for sleeping was right underneath the vent. It made sense in August for the air conditioning to be on, but I was surprised it was cranked up in December too.
Things did not start out great considering the nurse who administered the IV messed up and had to do it again. That ended up hurting, and even now over week later while I am home I have an enormous bruise on my hand. Then after I went into the operating room, the anesthesiologist who was administeting my spinal couldn't get it in correctly either. I was already psyching myself out over the surgery so this didn't help, especially because I felt like I was so precariously perched on the operating table having to lean forward to give her an arch to my back. With as large as I was I felt so unbalanced and thought I'd fall off the table. It turns out this left a giant bruise on my back. However, for as much as my doctor does not remember things about me off the top of his head, he did remember that I'd hated my first c- section and was telling everyone in the operating room that they had to make sure it was a better experience for me this time. The anesthesiologist told me she would be sure to make sure I didn't have the shakes this time. Whatever she did, it helped because my arms were not thrashing about during the surgery. They didn't begin to tremble until after I was sewn up, transferred to a hospital bed to be wheeled back to my room.
I'm not going to lie though, I was scared and unhappy during the whole surgery. It is hard for me to be excited about the baby coming out when I'm in that condition of just wanting it to be all over. Obviously they need the OR to be well lit, but having to lay there facing all those lights I couldn't help but cry. If I'm ever able to get pregnant again I will remember to bring sunglasses into the operating room!
He was a big baby! That was the first thing all the nurses and my husband were talking about after the doctor pulled him out. And hairy to apparently. With both my sons one of the first things the operating team has said was that they have red hair. I didn't really think so with my first son, and it has maintained a blonde appearance. So I was a little hesitant to get excited while I was still being stitched back up. But they kept commenting on how hairy he was. Mr. W said he had a mono brow that merged into his side burns. I couldn't see from the lights, the drugs, and the tearing up so all I could do was lay there and think, "Dear God, what did I just give birth to?" When I finally was able to see him though, I was relieved to see that he wasn't obviously hairy. Although he does have the hairiest ears I have ever seen on a baby! The hair grows in different whorls on each ear. It is pretty darn cute. He tested very well getting a 9.9 Apgar score. It was nice to hear that everything was normal since I couldn't see what was going on. Cesarean sections are such abnormal experiences in my opinion.
The nurses had all been placing bets on how big he would be. My doctor seemed to smugly be saying that there was no way that I would have been bale to deliver such a big baby vaginally. When they finally weighed him we learned he was 9 pounds 6 ounces!!! I was dumbstruck. 9 lbs 6 oz!?! How could he be so big? I thought My Little Helper was a big baby at 8 lbs 6 oz... and he was a week overdue! This baby was a full pound heavier and had a week less to grow. I conceded that it probably was best that I had the c-section.
He was born at 8:10 am and by 8:45 we were back in the room and he was on the breast. Latching seemed to be a little easier this time. The fact that I know I can successfully nurse gives me more confidence going into it too. As before, nursing isn't a cake walk in the beginning. I don't see how any mother who has had a c-section is going to have her milk come in early enough that the baby won't lose 10 % of their body weight. Honestly there is so much pressure on you that if a mother was on the fence about nursing or formula feeding I can't imagine why she would not go with formula. Since he was so big I decided I wasn't going to let his weight loss stress me out. My milk would come in. If my older son made it, this one would too. I pretty much decided I wasn't going to worry about what the nurses and lactation consultants were saying. I think it is like too many cooks in the kitchen. Everyone has their own idea of how mothers should do it, and often times the information is conflicting. So we did what worked for us the first time and ignored what didn't.
Now that we are home we are settling into somewhat of a routine. Our Little Helper seems to enjoy his baby brother. My mother comes once a day to help out for awhile because she is one winter break. Her newest grandson's arrival was very well timed!
We are so grateful for our Christmas gift!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

And the nesting doesn't stop

I'm showing no signs of going into labor so I'm still running around trying to get last minute things done (and hoping it will bring on some contractions!) When I cleaned our the floor of the coat closet, I found some hardware I purchase years ago at Rejuvenation, but never used. I don't need it now so I decided to try to return it. In a phone call I learned that they no longer have this part number and likely don't carry it. I was willing to go in and try my luck. I was unable to make a return, but while looking through the salvage department, I finally found a match for my bathroom light shade!
These light shades were among the many things my grandmother A left behind. It turns out whenever she move move out of an apartment she would take the shades with her. Not nice. But, we never took the time to find their original homes so I installed them in our upper bathroom. When we fixed the floor in there my carpenter's accidentally broke one of the shades when the took the tub out. Not to self: always remove shades and leave bare bulbs when renovating!
That was about 2 years ago and I have been hunting for a replacement ever since. Trips to Hippo Hardware, Rejuvenation, 1874 House, The Rebuilding Center, and the Aurora colony have turned up nothing. Well, nothing but advice and opinions. Apparently this basket weave shade wasn't super popular, but common enough that most dealer had seen it before, they just didn't have it. One dealer told me that mine must have been sandblasted because usually they were a painted shade. That seemed unlikely to me. But today I finally found the shade and it was painted!
They had two shades but were willing to break up the pair. I figure maybe I can learn to paint lampshades and make my plain shade match this one. What can I say I'm in full nesting overdrive, want to check this shade off my to-do list, but didn't want to pay $45 each. Pink isn't my color, but I think these dogwood flowers look cute in our bathroom.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Feast of St. Lucia

Last night I made luzzekattor again from Cooking With the Saints. Last year I killed the yeast and assumed I over kneeded it. So this year I was careful to measure the temperature of the liquids before I added the yeast. But once everything was incorporated, it still wasn't forming a proper dough. I was so disappointed; I'd used up all our saffron, and saffron ain't cheap.
I made a note to myself to use less flour next year when Mr. W looked at the recipe and decided that they had incorrectly converted some of the measurements from metric. That made me feel a little bit better, so with renewed spirit I decided to add some more milk to the dough in the hopes it could be resurrected.
After a few hours I was successful; the dough had risen! I hadn't killed the yeast this year and was able to move on with the directions. After forming the buns I left them out over night to do their final rise. I contemplated leaving the oven on over night, but didn't. I'll need to wake up more than an hour in advance next year because it took nearly an hour for it to reach 475 degrees. Frustrating when they only need to bake for 10 minutes and I can boil the water for coffee and tea in that time. Alas! It was worth it in the end though to have proper buns.
Since I'm tired and pregnant I didn't spend a lot of time setting up the breakfast tray this morning, but I did bring in some fir boughs from the back yard and added a candle to represent the light. My little helper was not in much of a helping mood this morning so I didn't get really good photos of him in his new nightshirt.Once I discovered I'd have two boys and no one to wear the St. Lucia crown for a few more years yet, I decided I need to to focus on Starboy outfits. This calls for tall, cone shaped hats decorated with stars. In my mind I imagine Swedish boys in nightshirts and night caps following their sisters into their parents bedrooms with the breakfast tray. I decided to search for night shirts and night caps on line. I found them at Gleneske of Ireland. So cute! I ordered the grandfather nightshirt in a size 5 figuring that would give my 3 yr old with a big head at least a year or two in the night cap. Nope! His noggin is so big that I can't get it on him at all. A little disappointing, but seeing him running around in the flannel nightshirt makes up for it.

Window Restoration Part II

I'm so happy, the window repair men finished up today! All our windows have been weather stripped, second panes of glass added, every sash is operable and we have storms on the down stairs windows. We are going to have such a nice snug house into which we'll bring this baby home!
I posted before about the beginning of the process. I am quite pleased that I misunderstood the estimator when he described how the secondary pane of glass would be added. He was showing me the loss of detail on the inside of the sash, but when the new panes were added, they were added to the outside of the window. So no interior Linktouch up work is required and we don't lose the look from the interior.After the second day of work Mr. W said he already felt warmer in his office, and at that point the windows had just been tacked back in place. I was very please to learn today that the two windows in the hallway are in fact double hung rather than single hung. When the lead paint was stripped off a few years ago, the carpenters were unable to get the upper sashes to open. Well now both are functional; this will come in handy keeping the cats from escaping out the window in the summer.
I haven't ventured outside yet, it's rainy and it's hard for me to get my 39 week pregnant feet into boots, but I'm sure the storm windows look good from out there. I do know that I will be even more motivated to try to get the house painted this summer since the storms are primed and will be standing out.
We have been very happy with Chosen Wood Windows. They were prompt, clean, efficient, and well priced for the quality of work. I'm so glad we chose to restore the windows rather than replace them.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


As we get closer to the due date my nesting instincts have kicked into high gear. I'm not content to just nest in my own house though, I even encouraged a project at my grandparent's house. After about 60 years of wall to wall carpeting in their house, I got someone out to refinish the original wood floors of her mid century ranch. This will make getting around much easier for my grandfather who now uses a walker.
In my own house I had to reorganize the coat closet adding a shoe rack and boot tray. I'm now on the look out for a nice antique umbrella holder! I already posted about our window restoration. We did lots of organizing and purging in the basement as we began to move baby stuff back up to the nursery and packed away some of the toddler toys my little helper has out grown. Since the baby will sleep in a bassinet in our room for the first few months we have decided to hold off on setting up the crib in the nursery for now. I'm hoping that this will help make the addition of a baby brother a little easier; let him get adjust to that first before the reality that they'll be sharing a room.
I also had to get on reupholstering the wing back chair for the nursery. This chair was originally my great grandmother V's, then my grandmother A's, and then mine. Since both were heavy smokers it stunk when I got it and had a giant hole in the seat cushion. I had the brilliant idea of sewing a slipcover for it. So my mom and I made up a pattern and did it. It turned out okay, definitely NOT professional looking, which was fine for a reading chair in our bedroom. But the truth is I seldom ever read in this chair and it took up too much space in tiny bungalow bedroom. With my first son I used the rocking chair my mother used to nurse me and my sister. I decided the wing back chair would be more comfortable, it also has an ottoman, and it would fit a parent reading a story to two children.
I found the perfect nursery fabric last summer before I was pregnant and took everything to my uncle's girlfriend who is an upholsterer. Unfortunately right after she got started we learned my uncle had cancer. I told her that obviously my chair was NOT a priority. Then after my uncle died, I told her it wasn't something she needed to worry about. At the time she hoped the work would help keep her mind busy and off her loss. It turned out a back injury would prevent her from completing the project, which I didn't learn about until this summer. With all our traveling I didn't find and line up a new upholstered right away; when I finally did I learned that they were all so booked out that I likely wouldn't have the chair completed before the baby arrived.
The upholsterer I chose, Lisa's Upholstery, is located in the Hollywood Antique Mall building. She and her employee were great and managed to complete the chair faster than the anticipated, I was able to pick it up today! I think my large girth when I dropped off the chair may have played a part too. Because I want the nursery to have a depression era feel, as though that room was remodeled during that period, I selected a brushed fringe and ruffled skirts. The muted colors of the fabric give it a vintage feel too.I am so, so happy with the way it turned out! I waited such a long time for it too! Good thing my tastes remain fairly constant. I feel like the nursery is very complete now. Well, except for another baby...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Window Restoration Part I

I'm typing from our home office with no windows and quite the cross breeze for a December day. Today begins the restoration of our 104 year old single pane wood windows. Most of the windows in the house are original and the second story windows have awesome 16 pane divided lites on the upper sashes. On the main floor we have several windows with leaded glass upper sashes.
When previous owners renovated the kitchen the replaced the original windows at the rear of the house. I feel fortunate that at least they selected new wood windows, even though I think we lost some muntin detailing.
My plan with the windows in this house has been two fold: 1) Improve or restore functionality and 2) Improve or restore efficiency. During the process of stripping the decades of lead paint from the wood work in order to restore a stained wood finish, I made sure that the windows that were painted (and sometimes nailed) shut were rendered operable again so that we could create ventilation in the house again. How wonderful it was to be able to open the double hung windows upstairs in the summer in order to cool it down before bedtime! The downside to some of this is that the paint was acting as a seal for some of these windows...once operable again they began to rattle when it was windy out. They needed to be weather stripped.The other problem with efficiency was that the single panes of glass allowed too much of a heat exchange with the outside temperature. Unfortunately the easy way out of this for most people is to pitch their vintage windows and replace them entirely. Often times vinyl will be used because this is the cheapest alternative. ***shudder*** Being an old house lover this was entirely out of the question for me. While I'm glad the previously replaced windows were wood and not vinyl, I knew we could do better with what remained.
The best option is to have wood storm windows made. With this option one does not lose the integrity of windows and nothing needs to be removed from the interior of the house and the casings and mouldings are all left intact (which means no touch up work.) This is the option we selected for the single pane windows on the first floor. Mr. W is willing to pull out a ladder and remove and install them bi-annually so that we have a heat buffer in the winter and ventilation in the summer.
The second story was a different matter. He isn't a fan of heights to begin with and the thought of having to haul storm windows up a ladder did not seem like a good idea to me. So we went with the option of having a second pane of glass added to the sashes. We'll end up losing a little bit of the detail of the sash from the interior, but it is a minor amount compared to the advantages of being able to reuse the window and gain insulation. Most of the windows upstairs are a single, one lite sash. Four of the upper sashes are the 16 pane divided lites, two in the office and two in the hallway. Rather than try to cut in to the wood that many times a 'slip' is added to the exterior of the sash which will cover the glass and has a very low profile, metal moulding holding it in place. I'm normally not a fan of metal, but these are very unobtrusive and we are able to keep our awesome divided lite sashes.
The window company is also doing some repair work to the windows. A few of the original sashes were broken so new glass will be installed. I'm a little sad to lose the original 'wavy' glass, but we just can't have cracked windows. In the office the two lower sashes were both plexi-glass!!! How on earth that got over looked in an inspection is quite beyond me. I anticipate that with the addition of two panes of real glass in the windows, this room will be much more comfortable, especially since it faces south.
It will be a three day process, but it is well worth it. In addition to getting an end of the year discounton the labor and materials, we also will be able to take advantage of the Obama tax credit for improving efficiency.
Mr. W joked this morning that this was my special window day and also my Christmas present. I questioned why fixing wood windows was just my gift. Then I asked if the tax credit was his gift. He agreed that it was and continued that the baby was my gift and the baby tax credit was his gift. So there you have it, the division of happiness in our household.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Today My Little Helper and I went to the school Mass. I love going to school Masses ans seeing all the children in their uniforms, especially the plaid skirts. I can't wait to have children in uniforms!
It was such a nice day today so I called Ms. Mc to see if she was free to have the children meet at a park playground.
When I listened to her message after Mass I learned that unfortunately her youngest had just gone down for a nap. I decided to run a few errands since we were in the car and considered going to The Grotto since it was so nice out. When I heard back again from Ms. Mc she actually suggested that we meet later that day at The Grotto for the Festival of Lights. I agreed that it would be a perfect way to celebrate the feast day.
We met there at 4:30 because neither of us checked to see when the gates opened so we had to wait half an hour before we got in. Coincidentally the afternoon sun was replaced a rainy downpour. My son was a little apprehensive about walking through the woods at night, he's still a little worried about ghosts from Hallowe'en. I had to talk him through all the angels and images of St. Mary and St. Joseph and that this is a special, happy time as we prepare for the baby Jesus. Once we made it to the end of the path and the culmination with the giant nativity scene he was still saying it was "too scary!" Such a change from last year when we could barely pull him away from the nativity and tourists were taking pictures of him in his bee rain coat.
The first choral concert of the night as starting soon inside the church so we decided to go listen since the petting zoo wasn't quite ready yet. We heard Grant high school's acapella choir. I was surprised that they were able to sing so many religious songs, being a public school. One always hears stories about how Christians can't do anything in public schools these days. Apparently they can still sing songs about God at Christmas time, even if they can't really call it Christmas anymore.
The boys enjoyed petting the animals which included a pony, much to my son's enjoyment. It is funny, he asked if he could ride it, quite the turn around from the massive fit he pitched when we put him on one at the Oktoberfest this year. They also enjoyed a very large, soft, white bunny.
By then Ms. Mc was worried that her youngest was hitting his threshold so we went to Gustav's Bier Stube for fondue. She and I are always looking for excuses to go have fondue! The line was so long for Gustav's that we ended up getting a table at the adjacent Der Rhinelander restaurant first. She thinks it may even be a better deal because the fondue is included in the price of your meal. In any event the food was just what we needed. I had arranged for Mr. W to come meet us there for dinner after work. All in all it was a nice day.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care

in the hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there...
So I'm slothing quite a bit in these last few weeks of pregnancy and filled a plate with store bought shortbread cookies to leave out for St. Nicholas. My Little Helper was excited to carry the cookies out to the fireplace and helped his Daddy to hang up the stockings. This morning he couldn't wait to head down stairs for cookies, only to discover the plate was empty save a cookie with a bite out of it. All the milk was gone too! He looks so disappointed! But what was bulging out of his stocking? A candy cane, chocolate gold coins, a book, a harmonica and some silly putty. But most exciting were the four clementine oranges!! He was so excited he insisted on eating all of them for breakfast. At least I won't have to worry about scurvy for today!
I have been going a little crazy buying matching pajamas for the boys. Last night we put Our Little Helper to bed in red and white striped jams from Hanna Andersson. Hannas are the cutest and the matching slippers are the only ones he is willing to wear. I'm looking forward to two little boys in striped jams next December!
St. Nicholas left some traditional bottles of Samichlaus beer for Mr. W and I was fortunate to receive a tub stopper and a basin drain guard. Mr W has owned in this house for 10 yrs and finally, after a request of St. Nick, I will be able to take a bath in our upstairs tub. Hooray!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

37 week appointment

I went to this week's appointment completely alone having left the boy at his great grandma's house. I'm still high and closed so there is no concern that this baby will come anytime soon. In fact he tried to see if he could strip my membranes, which he couldn't. (I'm not sure that I would have wanted to this early anyway.) He decided to switch my next appointment to a Friday in the hopes that by next week he can strip my membranes, at nearly 39 weeks, so that I can go into labor on my own. This means that the final appointment would be the day before my due date. I'll need to clarify whether this means if there is no progress that day that he'd operate that day, or schedule me that day. Either way, we are getting closer and closer to having another baby so we need to finish all our last minute nesting.
And the results from my non-scientific experiment are in: pregnant feet swell up just as much in December as they do in August. I was really hoping I'd avoid swollen feet this pregnancy, beyond our trip to humid Japan. But my feet are ridiculously big, even as cold as it is in December. Unfortunately, unlike August when it is social acceptable to wear thongs everyday, I can really only fit into my galoshes. Which isn't a pretty look. Plus it seems to compound the sweaty foot factor. Oh little baby! What I go through to get you here with us!

Friday, November 26, 2010


Mr. W's birthday was on Wednesday. Since he is such a foodie, he talks about wanting to go to Naomi Pomeroy's restaurant Beast. I had tried to make reservations in the past, but had waited too long and ended up being unsuccessful. This year I called over a month in advance and got us booked for the second seating on his birthday. Actually I ended up booking online, as is their preference and included a note that the occasion was his birthday.
I guess I'm not the best at keeping some surprises because he guessed where I was taking him, but he was very happy to learn he was right. They weren't completely booked up that night so we had an unobstruct view of the kitchen from where we were seated at the long communal table. Since Mr. W dreams of having a third career as a chef and restaurateur, this was a special treat for him. The moment I sat down I knew I was going to have a problem. The chair was too small. I know I'm large at the end of my pregnancy, but I'm all out front, I've not had this problem before. Uncomfortable chairs don't bode well for a meal that you are expected to linger over for 3 hours. Later Mr. W told me he was uncomfortable too, and he was reading reviews online which also criticized the seating. However, this was the only flaw in our experience.
Our meal started with a mussel soup in a tomato lobster broth. I don't care for mussels, but while I could taste the sea in this dish, they weren't bad and I didn't gag as usual.
Next was a charcuterie plate which had a few raw items that I passed over to him since technically I should refrain from while pregnant. This was a test in experimentation for me but I did enjoy everything else including a foie-gras bob bon. It was Mr. W's favorite item.
The entree was an awesome lamb cassoulet with white beans. It was so good and embodied all of the comfort foodness of the fall. My only complaint with this was that there wasn't nearly enough lamb in my portion considering the price of the meal. Salad of greens, chicory, walnuts and dried fruit was next. I must admit that I thought I was reaching capacity at this point, but the spacing between courses continued to prevent me from being overwhelmed. My favorite course was the cheese of course. There were a few raw cheeses included, but I was willing to risk it. The meal finished with a pots du creme that had bananas just beneath the crusted sugar and had all the spices of the season. The sweet thing is that Mr. W's was presented with a lit birthday candle. For as much as we were watching all the kitchen preparations, the staff prepared this on the sly. I was so impressed because I had quite forgotten that I had mentioned his birthday when I made the reservation. What great organization!
It is very safe to say that Mr. W, and I, enjoyed his birthday dinner at Beast.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

36 week appointment

It is amazing what a week can bring. Mr. W came with me to this week's appointment after my meltdown last time. It was helpful to have him there to ask questions and he seemed much more supportive to me being able to try for a VBAC. Of course somethings never change with my dr, like waiting an hour for our appointment to start, or having to ask him specific questions to follow up from the last appointment. I had to remind him that we wanted to know the results of the growth ultrasound I went in for last week. The baby is measuring 6 lbs some oz. He estimates with the typical growth that he will be 8.5 lbs by the due date, which is big. Our firstborn was 8 lbs 6 oz so they'd be comparable in size, and frankly I don't think they are particularly large babies.
We brought our notes from my first labor to go over the drugs given at what times, I guess this information was different from the report he had from the hospital. In any event he thinks that I did have a fair trial of labor, that it was a failure of labor to progress. It is still hard for me to wrap my brain around that. But he did take the time to ask me what it was that made me hate my c/s so much. Apparently lots of people would rather have a c/s. He said that the anesthestologist should be able to give me a different drug so that my arms aren't violently shaking out of control...something about that was probably something administered to prevent nausea. When I mentioned that I hated the recovery and being stuck in bed for days he was shocked. In his opinion I should have had the inflatable things removed from my legs the next day because they want us up and walking within 24 hours. So why was I stuck in bed for 3 days the first time?! Anyway, it helps to relieve my surgery fears if some of these issues can be remedied.
He still seems to be of the opinion that a c/s would be better, but is still willing to give me to my due date to see if I go into labor on my own.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pun'kin Soup

LinkI mentioned before that the Littlest W received the book Pumpkin Soup for his birthday from the B Boys. It quickly became his favorite book. He loves the story and gets so excited at the silly stirring parts and the part where the Squirrel and Cat pace around waiting for Duck to return. He really seems to be into ducks right now!
I thought it would be a great idea to make a pun'kin soup for him to broaden his food horizons since he loves the story so much. I adapted this MS Harvest Pumpkin Soup recipe substituting canned pumpkin rather than roasting one and vegetable broth for the pumpkin broth. (Because I'm 8 months pregnant and want to take short cuts!!) I used some of our left over roasted pumpkin seeds as garnish.
Another favorite book this season is Tasha Tudor's Pumpkin Moonshine. He loves the pumpkin racing down the hill and crashing.

Monday, November 15, 2010


After my Labor & Delivery scare I was even more motivated to start organizing the nursery for two. My mo was nice enough to take our son Friday and Saturday night so that we could get things set up. Originally I was thinking Mr. W could keep the littlest W occupied while I rearranged all the drawers, but the idea of having him out of the house so Mr. W could do the lifting and bending sounded even better.
Three years ago we renovated the room added a lot of built in storage. Since we live in a bungalow, the upstairs bedrooms are all in little hipped dormers which creates a lot of weird angles. Originally the walls along the perimeter of this room were all 1 foot high, not a lot that an adult can do in a space like that. So we had built-in drawers, a bookcase and a custom captain's style bed added into the wasted space in the corners. We also eliminated an odd little nook which went around the corner by dry walling over it and accessing the space from the hallway by adding a linen cabinet.
The majority of the drawers under the bed were filled with items that really don't belong in a nursery for little boys. We boxed those things up and relocated them to the basement, which allowed room for arts & crafts, puzzles, games, and toy storage. The floor is a bit more visible now, but we still seem to have more cars, trucks and trains than necessary.
We also unpacked, washed, and organized all the newborn and baby clothes. It is hard to believe that babies come that tiny! Some of the first items I unpacked were size 0-3 month and I was thinking that certainly the baby could fit in some of those outfits for Christmas. Put as I got further into the box and unearthed the newborn sized clothes the reality of how tiny the baby would really be came rushing back. It certainly got the two of us excited knowing how close we are to bringing our new son home.
Mr. W also was able to use this toddler-free time to fix many of the broken toys and items in Daddy's workshop. I don't think I have divulged that I believe Mr. W has an addiction to cardboard. Admittedly we are both hoarders to some degree. Part of his is saving every empty cardboard box that comes into the house. This is madness to me considering we have curbside recycling! So as we went through the boxes of baby clothes in the basement, Mr. W began to remove some of the empty cardboard boxes and found some other items from which he was willing to part. He was so pleased with himself, as was I, that he add cleared out enough stuff that we had a nice path through the basement so that all our storage boxes are visible and accessible.
We certainly have more to do, but it felt good to make so much progress this weekend.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Feeling a little hopeless

I didn't have a great doctor's appointment yesterday. The baby is fine, but I feel like my doctor is back to his absent minded ways again. A month ago he wanted to schedule my cesarean section, but when I told him I wanted to wait on that he gave me the impression that he would be willing to try for a VBAC. He said he would get the report from the hospital for my last delivery by my next visit. He wasn't in the office last time so this was my first opportunity to get his feedback and I had to ask specifically about it, he didn't bring it up. He seemed very pessimistic and unsupportive about my chances of being successful. I'm getting so sick of hearing the worst thing you can do is labor and then have a cesarean.
I just don't understand how it is possible that the baby really wouldn't have fit last time. I feel like she didn't let me labor long enough before making me have the cesarean. He was only 8 lbs 6 oz, which isn't that big and his head circumference was only in the 50th percentile. I have enormous hips, how is possible that I can't pass a baby? Aren't pelvises and hips part of the same thing?
So now I feel like I have this stupid cesarean on my permanent record and it is going to eff up every future reproductive decision I can make. Why won't my body work right? Why can't I get pregnant on my own with out medical intervention? First one surgery and second a lot of drugs? And then I can't get the baby out on my own. The last OB, the one who made me have the cesarean, never told me that I wouldn't be able to try for a VBAC in the future. I feel like she really effed me over. I remember feeling upset afterward the first time, like that would be my only pregnancy since God didn't design me to have or bear children. But eventually those hopless feeling were replaced by hope considering the doctor never mentioned that I would have to have a cesarean again.
Feeling completely unsupported I called Mr. W. Rather than getting the encouragement I needed I got a lot of nothing. I know from taking that Myers-Briggs test that he is introverted and isn't forthcoming with his thoughts, but when I really, really need him it is as aggravating as hell. And then he drops this bomb on me: he doesn't want me to try for a VBAC either. It was not a good phone conversation at all and I cried off all my mascara.
I don't see how a VBAC is possible now, I can't do it by myself. If I don't have the support of the doctor or my coach, then it will just be me trying all alone. I'm so angry and frustrated. I hated my cesarean, I felt like I was being crucified. I hated being stuck in bed for 4 days with nurses unmotivated to help me regain upward mobility. I hated the post surgery diet of prune juice and jello. I hated being stuck on the top floor of my house for a week because I wasn't supposed to be climbing stairs. Why do people keep telling me that the second surgery is easier to recover from? The second pregnancy is harder, why should I expect recovery to be any better? Why on earth have I put myself in the position to have 3 abdominal surgeries within 4 years?
At this point I can't imagine it would be a good idea for me to try to get pregnant again. I am obviously pushing my body in ways that it cannot go. I should just be content with the two babies I will get from it, right? My hope of having a larger family will have to be fulfilled some other way. It just sucks. I really hope I don't hear any stories of women who don't want children getting easily knocked up in the next few weeks because I imagine that will put me over the edge.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Redneck Birthday Party

When I was in college, my friends at Oaks Park and I really liked Jeff Foxworthy's "You Might be a Redneck..." routine because it seemed so similar to Ride Operators. My parents have always remembered this and my Mom was introduced to the Redneck Life Game recently and decided to incorporate it into a birthday party for me, my Grandpa, & my aunt. She asked everyone to dress up if they wanted to, we brought trashy foods, and played the board game.
When you think about it, the game is really depressing; some people are born into such a rut and it seems impossible to break the cycle. Sad. So I feel a little guilty that we all had so much light hearted fun with this.
We dressed the Littlest W up in a wife beater tank top and slicked back his hair. Mr W also wore a wife beater. There was a lot of flannel, a lot of denim, and a lot of camo. My costume was barefoot and pregnant, complete with a shirt too small that the bottom of my belly was hanging out, but I'm too self conscious to put that out on the internet.Some of our delicacies were ritz crackers with spray cheese,weenies, and a salad with dry top Ramen noodles.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Labor & Delivery scare

Mr. W returned from his 8 day business trip to Japan on Sunday. He arrived while we were at Mass and since I was hungry again we decided to go eat brunch at Utopia Cafe. As we were crossing Belmont, I took a serious digger. These stupid Kohl's flats have always been slippery, but I forget how bad they are. Anyway my heel slipped forward and I did the splits (which I can't do when I am not pregnant) landing on my rear and my knee. It hurt a lot and I knew I'd have a giant bruise on my knee, but I didn't really think about it beyond that. I was still feeling plenty of fetal movement, in fact he showed no signs of slowing down his acrobatics routines.
I mostly sat on the sofa the rest of the day, but did do a brief little round of trick 0r treating. I read another pregnant woman on the internet had fallen on carpet and landed on her stomach. Responders were all advising her to call her dr to be evaluated. I didn't think this would apply to me.
The next day, Mr. W took the day off of work to recuperate from his trip and we ate lunch at Dick's Kitchen this time, stopping by Zupan's on the way home for groceries. That walk home was really rough on me and I decided that maybe I should call the Dr. just in case something had ruptured. The nurse told me that she thought I was fine, but she wanted to speak with my Dr. just to be certain since he was in the office. When she got back on she informed me that he wanted me to go immediately to L&D to have a NST and be monitored for 4 hours.
Hello! That freaked me out! Suddenly I was very, very worried. At 33 wks it is WAY to early for this baby, not to mention I have nothing ready yet.
Mr. W was not as concerned, and seemed mostly confused why it should be a big deal. He also had to go back into work for a conference call with Japan so me waiting until the afternoon to decide to call the dr made things a challenge. My mom said she'd come over right away to watch the boy. Fortunately she had no meetings scheduled that afternoon.
Once at L&D I was hooked up to a monitor and left to myself. After a time the nurse returned and asked me if I was having contractions. I said, "No. I don't think so. Well, I guess anything is possible." At which point she informed me that I was having contractions. So obviously I am unable to distingusih between fetal movement and contractions. At least none of them are bothering me; I haven't felt anything that feels labor-like. She also said the baby looks fine and that I had passed her NST. Apparently the 4 hour monitoring is used immediately after a fall, but since it had been over 24 hrs and I felt fine and had fetal movement I would not need such extensive monitoring. Yay!
She also checked my cervix and found it to be completely closed. After calling my dr to report on me he asked her to give me a Fetal Fibronectin test. Apparently it is a "glue" that keeps the baby in the uterus. If it is found outside the uterus between 22-35 weeks then that leak can indicate pre-term labor. After learning that my cervix was closed I felt fairly confident that I'd be fine. I receivd the results this morning which were negative which means that I can be "99.2% assured that [I] won't deliver in the next 2 weeks."
What a relief! But Now I am much more motivated to have Mr. W keep the boy occupied so I can rearrange the drawers in the nursery, unpack, and wash the baby clothes.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Just ducky

This year was motivated to make a Hallowe'en costume. The littlest W's favorite tv show is Word World and his favorite character is Duck. And when I say favorite tv show I mean he only wants to watch this show and nothing else. I'll admit that I've become a bad mommy during pregnancy and let him watch more tv than he should because I am so tired and uncomfortable. So thank goodness for Tivo because we can save up dozens and dozens of Word World episodes that I can play as requested. I thought a duck costume for Hallowe'en would be perfect since his current favorite color is yellow.
It turns out duck costumes for 3 year olds are nearly impossible to find. Ducks for babies, no problem, but for a toddler I was unsuccessful in my search. Which brings me to another complaint. Why do little boys have to grow up so fast? Boy clothes are cute, covered in teddy bears and baby blue, up until size 24 months, then suddenly everything becomes skulls and crossbones. I'm not interested in promoting piracy for children. Pirates weren't nice people. People would frown upon dressing up children like mobsters or gang bangers, so why are pirates cute?
I decided I'd fashion a duck costume myself. I figured I could do a puffy costume that just goes on the top half, similar to the Nemo costume I had seen the year before. I could do that out of some yellow felt, add a couple wing flaps over the arms, and put him in orange leggings. Pretty simple. Since I am a procrastinator I decided I'd better start early. I found some vibrant yellow and orange felt at Fabric Depot. I thought adding some yellow feathers for texture to the wings would be cute and was happy to discover bright yellow boas to match. That would save me a lot of hand stitching! I created and laid out a pattern at my mom's house, I like to talk things through with her to make sure that my ideas make sense and can be executed as easily as I think they can.
Then I just had to assemble it. As I expected I procrastinated some, but it seemed to go together pretty easily. I did double layers of felt for the wings and mom gave me some circa 1980s shoulder pads she still had in her sewing box. This saved me having to do clean stitching because I could just turn the wings inside out, and the pads gave some extra shape. Then I basted the feather boa along the perimeter of each wing. I had just enough boa left over that I added a little tuft at the rear for some tail feathers. I was turning out super cute.
But I had a problem. The littlest W was getting scared of Hallowe'en. He loves to read Curious George and in Curious George goes to a Costume Party George gets scared of a ghost. So naturally he is scared of ghosts now. But he wants to read this story over and over again, especially the part with the ghost. And there were some 'scary' Hallowe'en episodes of his cartoons featuring ghosts. Terrific! He started telling me that he didn't want to go to N's costume party because he was afraid of ghosts. To make matters worse, N was going to BE a ghost! So all the while I was sewing his duck costume I had to prepare myself that he might not even wear it. We might have to skip Hallowe'en this year if he was going to be too scared. I'm not sure why everywhere we turned there were scary stories being marketed to pre-schoolers.
As I was assembling the costume I'd have him try it on to check that it fit and functioned. At first he would balk, claiming he didn't want to go to a costume party. But gradually he liked wearing the costume and didn't want to take it off so I could keep sewing. I began to have hope. I wasn't sure how I was going to fashion the head part and decided not to make a hood that would drive him nuts. I just needed to find an elastic beak. I searched high and low with no luck until a couple people suggested I check out the U of O store. They didn't have exactly what I was thinking of, but they did have yellow duck bill shaped whistles. While it would be very obnoxious, I figured it would be fun enough for him that I could get at least one or two photos of him in the costume.
The night of Ms. Mc's costume party arrived and the littlest W wanted to go. He did get scared though as N, A, and Mr. B, her husband, were all wearing scary ghost or clown costumes. Every time I went to the bathroom he would freak out, even though he was having so much fun that he wasn't paying any attention to me while I was in the room with him.
The next night he decided that he did want to go trick or treating. The F's had invited us over since their new house is in Laurelhurst. They had also invited Mr. & Mrs. N and their daughter Ladybug. First the dads did a round of trick or treating and later on the moms did a circuit. Some of the houses were a little scary for the children, but on the whole they seemed to really enjoy themselves. I had taught the Littlest W to say, "Happy Hallowe'en!" after he received candy. It was pretty cute. And even though Ladybug is the youngest by 3 months of the children, she is exceptionally tall so she would reach all the doorbells for the boys.Something I'd never seen before, but was popular in Laurelhust was the honor system candy bowl. Maybe I ought to do this when we spend Halowe'en somewhere else. I don't know if I want to be fashioning costumes every year, but I enjoyed doing it this time.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


I decorated the entry table for Hallowe'en with my Muffy bears and Longaberger baskets. I secretly store candy corn in the pumpkin basket so I can grab a handful whenever I am walking by. Pregnancy has it's perks! Since I'm pregnant I have been doing very little decorating since I am tired and not much in the mood to clean things up. But since I wasn't sure if we'd actually go trick or treating because the Littlest W is afraid of ghosts and costume parties, I decided I better be prepared to hand out candy myself.
I added a book to the display, Tasha Tudor's Pumpkin Moonshine. She is one of my favorite illustrators so whenever I come across one of her books, I buy it. This is a short little story, but my son just loves it. Another book he has enjoyed reading this season is Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper. He received it from Ms. Mc and her B Boys for his birthday. He cracks up when the duck starts stirring the soup and it goes all over the place. I could listen to him laugh about it forever! It only takes a few times of one of us reading a story to him before he can repeat it back to us nearly word for word. I really need to start video taping him.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Feast of St. Francis

My friend Mrs. P-M recently had a baby and one of her friends organized a group of us to rotate making dinners for the new parents through a website. I think this is such a clever idea, and a perfect idea for second or more children in lieu of another shower. The organizer had included in the set up that the new parents may or may not be up for guests joining them for dinner, and to be mindful of how long you linger after the meal. I thought it was a great tip to include so that the parents aren't in a possition of having to say, "We're too sleepless; it's time for you to leave!"
The first opening I was able to find happened to also be the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Since my friend is just as Catholic, if not more so than me, I knew she'd appreciate a little nod to the saint.
Since it was October and full fall weather I knew I'd want to make a soup and decided a vegetarian one would be most appropriate in honoring the patron saint of animals. One of my favorites is a carrot soup with orange and ginger from my Williams-Sonoma Soup cookbook. It is tasty and a good autumn color.
I also brought my little St. Francis statue to use as a centerpiece for the table and some nice crusty bread with an herbed goat cheese. My friends had recently moved into a new house so it was my first time there and after dinner I really enjoyed snuggling with a 6 week old baby. My son was not too upset that I was holding a baby instead of playing on the floor with him, so I hope that is a good sign for when his baby brother arrives.
After we returned home I read to him from the book St. Francis of Assisi by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Several years ago St. Philip Neri parish, which hosts an annual Muddy Boot Festival had Kennedy as the keynote speaker. I bought tickets for myself and my parents. He is an impressive speaker and very motivational to get into action to make changes in our world through his work with the Riverkeepers. Certainly encouraging us to watch more real news and less celebrity news. After he spoke he was signing his autographs on his children's book on St. Francis since he and his father were named for him. The book is a little too long for a 3 year old to sit through, but I enjoyed reading all of it.
So a very low key feast this year, I'm sure our future will include me dragging the family pets to school for a special blessing of the animals. That was just not something I had the energy for while pregnant.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A room with a view

I love Florence! When I was in college in Idaho, and hating it, I planned to spend my junior year abroad. I found a program in London for the fall semester and studied there with Ms. H. Ms. HG found a program in Florence for the spring semester. I will be eternally grateful to my parents for giving me that opportunity. For part of our curriculum we took a Byzantine and Early Renaissance history class which gave us the opportunity to go on field trips all over Tuscany and Umbria to see frescoes and statues. One of the places we went was San Gimignano, the Manhattan of Tuscany, because of all the medieval towers. As we drove away at dusk I memorized the view in my mind. At 20 I hoped I'd return to Italy one day, but San Gimignano seem like such an obscure destination that I'd never be back. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the wedding to end all weddings would taking place a few miles away!
I was happy to return to Florence with Mr. W and be able to show him all my old haunts. I was disappointed Ms. HG wouldn't be able to be there with me though. Since we were sharing a villa in Volterra with Mr. & Mrs. K we wouldn't have too much time in Florence so I had to make the most out of it. They would be heading south to finish their trip, but our time in Florence would coincide with Mr. & Mrs. F.
We stayed at different hotels though. Ours was along the Arno and at the foot of the high end shopping street. While we didn't have a river view from our room, the view from the terrace was breathtaking. Breakfast was served with a view of il duomo. It was so awesome; I wished that we could have a few more days here.It was hard to pull ourselves away, but we did so that we could see a few sights. I found another passamenterie shop but unfortunately couldn't think of anything else I needed to purchase. I also wanted to get a Pinocchio as a souvenir for the littlest W. Since the author Carlo Collodi was from Florence, there are little wooden puppets for sale all over the place. On our way to Santa Croce, my favorite church in Florence, we came across this adorable little wood shop. This was the perfect place to find our Pinocchio!We never made it to the altri Arno to have a picnic at San Miniato after listening to the Gregorian chanting. So I also never had a chance to search the artists' shops and studios there for beveled drawer pulls. We also never made it to my school or dozens of other sights. We will just have to return to Florence!
It was a wonderful babymoon alone with Mr. W before we welcome our next son into the world. I'm happy we were able to make it here to celebrate with Mr. & Mrs. Z. There was definitely a lot of stress not knowing how our IF would effect this trip. I hated having to RSVP 'yes' qualifying it with it all depends upon whether I can get pregnant again or not. But it all worked out in the end. And I was only moderately embarrassed being introduced to guests at the wedding who would respond, "Oh, I met you at the bachelor party!" or "So this is the baby from the bachelor party!" I kept trying to explain to people that is not the way it worked out, but Mr. Z said to me, "We are all going to tell this baby he was conceived at HD: TBP. You just have to accept it." I'm so grateful that I am finally pregnant that I think I will do just that.

The wedding to end all weddings

One of Mr. W's college friends finally got engaged last year. I say finally because they are all in their late 30s so practically everyone else is already married, or has had children without the benefit of marriage. Mr. Z is an architect. He has very unique style. His wardrobe consists entirely of 1970s leisure suits. He is also extremely petite. And a vegan. But his diet is mostly alcohol.
He and another fraternity brother bought a house in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood and have been painstakingly restoring it over the last decade. You think I obsess over the details? When the re-roofed the house, in cedar shakes because that is what would be period appropriate, pre-stained shakes just would not do. Instead he insisted the stain them themselves which required dipping each individual shake 3 times. I was living in New York at the time and hadn't met him yet, so I am repeating this story from Mr. & Ms. HG who got roped into helping. During the renovations they decided to remove all the plaster, but not the lathe, from the walls. There was a ton of debris as a result of the demolition, but Mr. Z likes to economize. He decided against renting a dumpster to save money. Instead he Shawshanked it out. Over a period of several months, he would bring a garbage bag filled with debris on the bus with him so he could put it in the dumpster at his office. I love Mr. Z stories!
So it was with much excitement that we learned that he was engaged. We could just imagine what the wedding would be like! I wanted to go just so that I could see what Mr. Z would be wearing. When my parents were married in 1975 my father wore a white tuxedo with a blue ruffled shirt; could we expect something like this from the man of leisure?
Because he is so particular the wedding preparations took a great deal of time for the couple. Mrs. Z to be is a trained interior designer. Usually the bride directs the theme and details of a wedding. And often times the groom will take the lead on certain projects. For us, Mr. W was the driving force behind the food, wine, and beer selections. His one quirky sticking point was that he hated the look of the chairs in my parish hall and insisted we rent better ones. Mr. Z was involved to this degree with his entire wedding. We kept hearing about all the work going into the invitations. To be sure they were the most beautiful, amazing wedding invitation I have ever received. They must have spent a fortune on them. My anticipation to see Mr. W's wedding attire was growing.
Once we arrived in Italy and met up with the wedding party at the Villa di Ulignano we learned the story of the wedding suit. Mr. Z had found the suit he loved. It was made by a Norwegian company that has a showroom in Los Angeles. The LA store did not carry the suit though and for some reason would not ship the suit to the US. Mr. Z would be able to purchase the suit if he sent it to the villa, which meant it would arrive only a few days before the wedding... a bit of a risk. After they arrived in Italy and learned the suit had not, Mr. Z contacted the company. He received a call back from the president who was in the factory tracking down the suit and would overnight it to Mr. Z. Because the won't send this particular suit to the US, there are only two Americans who own this suit. Mr. Z is the second. The first is RuPaul!This suit made all those months of waiting worth it! It is very beautifully made. There are fun little qoutes lining the waistline and the lining is equally fun. A lot of people said it looked like a grandma's sofa. But I thought the brocade was lovely and really brought out the colors of the Tuscan countryside. Mr. Z really is the best dressed groom ever!