Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Battle of the (baby) bulge

People, I keep enlarging. Current cravings include Haribo gummy frogs, peanut M & M's, smoked almonds and 7-Up. In moderation, these are not terrible items. But "craving" and "reasonable serving size" are not like words. My approach is more "how many can I cram into my mouth at once" than "delicate handful." (As an aside, I would like express my desire to meet, shake the hand of, and steal the pregnancy brain of all women who claim to crave oranges, ice chips and celery.)

Although I know cravings happen, and that even without them, I'm supposed to enlarge, it's hard watching my face balloon to study-abroad-in-Ireland proportions. And I'm only half-way. What, alas, will my July face look like?

Keeping up with a steady exercise regime is becoming more difficult. Craft-show prep has me up late and the 4:30 a.m. alarm comes earlier and earlier every day. Watching the LTF triathlon club train on treadmills while I labor away on the elliptical twinges at my heart. (Runs are plagued by an ever-present need to pee.) And then there are the damn sweet-nothings whispered by Mr. M & M.

Why share this with my blog audience? Because sharing insecurities helps heal the heart, and will hopefully motivate me to stop hitting snooze.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Brushes ready

On Wednesday, Grandma Betty and Grandpa Bob are coming for a visit. For those unaware of the habits of B&B, I should explain "visit."

b&b vis·it
–verb: to go and stay with a person or group of persons for the purpose of completing tasks (e.g. stain deck furniture, paint exterior doors, build raised garden beds, install a new roof, etc.)

The purpose of this "visit"? To help Will and Maggie give their kitchen penny-friendly overhaul.

Someday in the not-so-distant future, Will and I hope to put a generous addition on our lovely Milford home ("future" being of key importance in this equation). So in the meantime, and before baby, we're looking to spruce up our current cooking space.

What does the sprucing entail? Well, painting the walls and our honey-colored oak cabinets, installing new door knobs and drawer pulls, tiling the back-splash, replacing the stove and adding new edging on the counters. (I really wanted to include new counters but couldn't justify spending $1500 on something we'll probably rip out in two years.)

Although, following a conversation with our friendly home repair guy, I'm kind of sort of super anxious about painting the cabinets. (Google "painting oak cabinets" and you'll see what I mean - apparently you either love or hate the result.) But overall, I'm looking forward to this week and next weekend - working with (and being totally spoiled by) my mom and dad.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Doula Deliberation

We found our doula!

In a previous post I described our desire to hire a doula and preliminary fact-finding mission to an ABC "Meet the Doulas" event. For those who didn't read the post, a doula is a hired birth coach that provides physical and emotional support to a couple during labor and delivery. (Check out Wikipedia's fairly accurate definition.) Our main reasons for wanting a doula?

  1. To allay our anxiety during labor and delivery
  2. To help Will help me during labor
  3. To reduce the need for medical intervention during delivery
  4. To provide postpartum support, from cloth diapering to breastfeeding
Following the event, and my post, Will and I did some research and narrowed down our interview list to five doulas. Further research whittled our list to two - three doulas weren't accepting clients around my due date. (Apparently, like most Michiganders, doulas take vacations in August.)

Now, before I go any further, I have to give kudos to Will. He's done 90% of the legwork in our doula search - reviewing doula websites, preparing questions and setting up the interviews. All I had to do was show up with my belly.

Alrighty - in
terview one took place after work at a Novi Beaners. After some awkward small talk (did you find the place okay? how far along are you? what are you drinking?), we settled in for our not-awkward push the baby out chat. Through two hours of chatting, we learned all about Erin, who was our age and a mother of two. She was sweet, knowledgeable and confident. We told her about interview number two and said we'd be in touch the following week. At dinner following the meeting, Will and I agreed that we liked her. On top of that, her fees were very reasonable because she is still undergoing her DONA doula certification, a rigorous process that involves attending a certain number and type of births.

Interview number two was five days later at Cafe Felix in Ann Arbor. Deb flew in, ordered a cafe au lait and got down to business. She was open but direct and during her explanation of services, answered almost all of our questions without us having to ask. The rest of our time together was spent talking about her different birth experiences, postpartum care and child birth classes. After she left the cafe, Will and I quickly agreed that although we liked Erin, we
really liked Deb.

So we hired her.

We've yet to set up our first official appointment, but I am wholly confident in our decision. She runs a successful business, Pregnancy Arts. She has attended more than 160 births, both at homes and in eleven different hospitals in Indiana, Ohio, Virginia and Michigan. She has experience with induction and c-sections. For an extra fee, she can serve as our child-birth educator, customizing lessons to fit our needs and birth plan. On top of that, I like her. She's confident without being pushy and laughs easily. When I picture her as part of our birth experience, I smile. Will feels the same. Stay tuned for more about Deb and our sessions with her. I'm sure the peanut gallery will find them very entertaining.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Crafting Conundrum

Two months ago I applied, as Collard Green Dogs, to participate in two craft shows - Craft Revival (a Handmade Detroit event) in Ferndale and the MSU Spring Craft Show in East Lansing. About a month ago I found out I was accepted to the former. On Friday, I learned I was accepted to the latter. And now I am totally freaking out.

Why am I freaking out? Because now, a month into show #1's preparation, I am fully realizing the incredible amount of work (and up-front monetary investment) that goes into participating. Not only do you have to create enough product to keep your booth full for 1-2 days of selling, you have to plan and create an attractive display, determine and create signage, coordinate credit card processing... Phew!

Having previously applied for, and been rejected by, a Handmade Detroit event, I was thrilled when I was chosen to participate in Craft Revival. They are notoriously difficult to get into, and also notoriously successful. On top of that, the entry fee was only $40, it's indoors, and is only one evening and one full day. Besides the entry fee, I will need to invest in a sign, a $2 door for my collar display, and of course, material fees. I have been busy creating product on the weekends and am feeling moderately prepared.

When I was considering other shows for which to apply, I looked at the Green Street Fair, Berkley Art Bash and MSU Spring Show. The Green Street Fair was three days (requiring a day off) and was the most expensive, and Berkley takes place on baby shower date #1, so MSU was the obvious choice. It's big and busy and vendors usually do fairly well (as reported by craft show mentor Ellembee). I'd done a bit of research and felt confident with my decision to participate.

But since completing my application and submitting my check, I've had bouts of indecision. Even with Mom and Dad's help, making enough product for a large, two-day show requires at least 80 hours of sourcing, prepping and sewing. That's subtracted from the precious little time I have left with best friend Will before our life is a +1. (And from my time for eating, sleeping, exercising, gardening, blogging, redoing a kitchen and doing a baby room.)

So after the acceptance came in Friday, my indecision became a full-torque freak-out. Not only does the MSU show have the potential to be a serious time burglar, it's pricey! There's the $240 entry fee, white tent (with sidewalls) requirement, fuel or overnight accommodation fees . . . I'd have to sell at least $2500 worth of products to make up my monetary and time investment. With no guarantee of that happening, I have a serious decision to make. If I back out, I lose $60. No biggie. But does that make me a quitter? Lazy? Weak?

Oh what to do, what to do?

(Honestly, after composing this post, I think I have my answer. The real downside to my decision - having to spend time doing some serious affirmations. Letting go of "doing it all" so I can do what matters, well.)

P.S. The photo of me was taken yesterday as I deconstructed pants. Polyester makes great collar fabric. I'm looking a little worse for the wear, but check out the cleavage. One perk of this baby bump thing...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tell me more

When Will and I let loose the news that my passenger is of the female gender, I was bombarded by questions. They generally fell into four categories: 1.) Is it what you expected? 2.) Are you happy? 3.) Was Will disappointed? 4.) How do you feel now that you know? 5.) Do you have a name?

1.) Is it what you expected?
Yes and no. I'd always envisioned myself with a daughter, probably because I'm a daughter myself. But over the past year, as I met and interacted with my close friends' little boys, Charlie (Karyn) and Everett (Linda), I started imagining myself with a son. So, until last month, I was leaning boy. At Verana however, I woke up one morning with an overwhelming feeling that this was a girl. I told Will and he concurred he was feeling similarly. (As you probably saw, in the gender poll, we both went for girl.) But then there was the ultrasound. Before the procedure, we explained that we didn't want to know the gender, and asked that instead, the tech write it
on a piece of paper. She agreed, had us avert our eyes and almost immediately exclaimed, "Alright - got it." In our pre-envelope opening discussions the next day, we both agreed that "Got it" was, in ultrasound gender talk, synonymous with "Penis." So, when we opened the envelope, we were a little surprised and a little not surprised. It was, and it wasn't, what we expected.

2.) Are you happy?
Yes. But not because I wanted a girl (or a boy). I'm happy because I know that, so far, the baby is healthy. Rote response, but true. I'd gotten used to the idea of having a boy or a girl, mentally reviewed the challenges of each, and was ready for either one. I grew up with a brother, most of my elementary school friends were male, and with all the time I spent at the hockey rink, I am every comfortable around boys. I am a girl. I like girls. I'm excited by the prospect of raising a strong female.
(But I'd be omitting some truthful info if I didn't admit that I am already dreading the teenage stage. I may take my mother-in-laws advice and just hand her off to dad when she turns 12.)

3.) Was Will disappointed?
I don't think so - he told me he wasn't - but here's what he said:
"No. I feel like I can naturally relate better to a boy and that's what I envisioned, but I am super excited about the challenge of raising and relating to a girl. I have to figure out how to identify with a little girl, as contrary to what I have been called, I never was one. However, my immediate reaction was one of consternation, thinking about the upcoming challenges of dealing with another strong and sassy young woman, created in Maggie's likeness."

4.) How do you feel now that you know?
Good. Although many of my co-pregnant friends are opting for the surprise, I am happy we got the gender news. But not for the typical reasons. Regardless of gender, the baby's room was going to be yellow and grey. I don't plan to register for many clothing items. (And even if I do, am going to try to stay away from too much pink.) We already had a boy and a girl name decided. So it wasn't about the planning - which is why many couples choose to "find out." Instead, it was about making this baby feel real. If I'm honest, before this I wasn't feeling very connected. I didn't cry when I heard the heartbeat or saw the ultrasound image. It was unreal, like it was happening to somebody else. So for me, knowing the gender takes it to another level. Now, I feel like my passenger is a person. My visions of the future gain a richness and depth. So, how do I feel? Good. I feel good.

5.) Do you have a name?
Yes. But we're keeping that one to ourselves until she's born. Or maybe turns 1. She can just be "Baby" to all of you. Because as we all know, nobody puts Baby in a corner.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

19 Weeks

Late 19 weeks doesn't look a whole lot different than 17. Definitely a before-dinner shot.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hello. I'm Girl Spurgeon.

Of course, to me this totally looks like a baby. But, to others, it probably looks like an inkblot.

Sort of reminds me of the old woman/young woman test.

It was a big weekend. Baby Spurgeon got to introduce herself as a girl. On Friday, we had a delicious dinner with friends and Baby S's guncles Bryan and Michael. Saturday my brackets were decimated but we did get to catch up with Aunt Colleen and Justin, Uncle Paul, Grandma Katie and Grandpa Bill, and some old friends.
Today has been nothing but collars, collars and more collars. What will this week bring?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Behind the scenes

Last night was the big reveal. In true Enlarging Marge fashion - I'll give you a download on the meal... Guinness corned beef, baby potatoes, purple cabbage, homemade soda bread and Irish butter, followed by Guinness pudding.

When it came to the envelope, I let Will do the honors. First, out of the manila, which included four ultrasound pics. Then, I had him peek at the envelope contents before passing it to me.

He laughed hysterically, then his eyes glossed over and he finished his plate in 24.6 seconds. When asked what he was thinking about, he answered, "I need to start learning how to relate to little girls. And I can't believe I am going to live with two of you?!"

Oh wild, wild world - the adventures truly lie ahead...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The envelope

Today was our 19 week ultrasound and this envelope holds the answer to the forever-asked question, and Grandma Betty's obsession, "Boy or Girl?" Tomorrow, in lieu of my usual 13 Smithwicks, I'll find St. Patrick's Day joy in its opening.

As it stands, the peanut gallery is split down the middle. 18 girl. 17 boy. There's one more day to weigh in though, so click the link and vote:

3 years going on 5 months

On Tuesday, Owen, the world's wildest yellow lab and the bane of many of my days, turned 3. (Yes, to those who have met him, he's three. Not one. Or younger. And yes, he's still crazy.)

Even though this dog makes me cry on a somewhat regular basis, I felt he deserved a celebration. Partly because, as die-hard rescue proponents he's the first pooch we've had who's birthday we've known, and partly because with the baby coming, his special treatment days are numbere

And this birthday's special treatment took the form of a homemade meat cake. After looking online and finding multiple canine cake recipes, I settled on one that was the least traditional baked-good, with some modifications.

Ground turkey, oats, celery, carrots, zucchini, spinach and a squirt of ketchup were combined and shaped, quite artfully if I do say so myself, into a bone.

An hour in the oven and hazaa - a ready to devour meat bone cake. (Will even ventured downstairs at 10 p.m. on a Monday to find out what smelled so good.)

Looked a little blah though, and after some additional searching, I found out how to spruce it up: cottage c
heese frosting (blended curds) and Kraft singles cutouts. It went into the fridge until Tuesday, when we had our little party.

On Tuesday night, I got it out and flamed it up. They didn't quite know what to make of the candles but eventually Owen overcame his anxiety and went in for a nibble. (Shocker.)

Once the candles came out, Kip was on it like a pig on slop.

Think this will happen again in a year? Probably not - but it was enjoyed while it lasted.

(And no - they didn't eat it all. Leftovers tonight.)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Run baby run

Sunday was run-day (and the debut of my lucky charm). Dryer than last year, but about the same temp, Will and I sprung ahead and out of bed for the noon start. Thanks to Brenna, we were able drop some stuff off at her Corktown abode (and parade party central) before heading to the start.

There were 5336 racers, not counting the 189 kids in strollers and 42 emerald-bedecked dogs. Quite the mob scene. But in a good way. The start is in front of historic Michigan Central Station and the course is an out and back down the parade route on Michigan Avenue.

Thousands of drunka
rds line the route, handing out dixie cups of beer and cheering for their sober counterparts. My favorite this year? A dude dolling out lit cigs.

While most folks opted to dress the part in festive don't-pinch-me-green, Will went for the cat burgler look. I spent some time surveying locations for the eagerly anticipated RoboCop statue. (Collective gag from the peanut gallery, please.)

After the race, the most anticipated reward - Motor City Brewing Works beer. Lucky Charm got a lil sniff. Will got a lil pint.

The only thing that made the lack of a brew bearable was knowing that I bested my goal to run a ten minute mile pace. The official results were available today and though not stellar, I ran a respectable 8:57. Not too bad for a knocked-up ninny.

When I found out about this baby, I made it a goal to run Corktown. I decided that afterward I would let myself take a break from running, focus on walking and hit the elliptical like I was an Akers East freshman. The timing's just about right. My belly is getting bigger and tossing off my ballerina like balance. My lower abdomen is twinging. And my boobs are a vigorous jog away from slangin' up and knocking me out.

After the race we headed back to the Brenna and Michael show where we gorged ourselves on Wigley's corned beef, Eastern Market provided cabbage, carrots, beets and pears, Brenna crafted apple crisp and rosemary potatoes, Wendy's Jamaican jerk chicken wings and garlic dip, porter and sage cheeses. Baby S. thanks Wendy, Molly and Brenna for all their hard work!

The Enlarging Marge food highlight? A Guinness pudding I found on and Brenna crafted. HIGHLY recommended. Check out the recipe here. I will be making this on Thursday and hoping it comes out just like Brenna's did.

Topping off a great Sunday? The selection. And MSU's 10 seeding. Phew! During their Thursday tournament debut game, I might have to wear these Spartan booties on my thumbs for luck, a gift from Andy and Linda.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

D.I.Y. Lucky Charm

Sunday is Detroit's St. Patrick's Day Parade and Corktown 5K. It's a festive race, with a costume contest and beer at the finish line. This is last year's get-up.

I knew I couldn't do a repeat - Owen ate the pants and there is no way in h-e-double-hockey-sticks that the jacket would zip. I mean - I need to be able to at least wog in this. (Wog = walk+jog) So I perused the web for ideas and game up with a gem. Being too cheap to pay the $27.99 (+$8 shipping) for a short-sleeved shirt, I decided to create one myself.

I bought a $5 kinda-sorta-green shirt on Target clearance and some iron-on transfer paper at Michaels.

The design was no prob. Whipped that puppy up in Illustrator in no time. Wouldn't you know, though, my inkjet printer, circa 2002, putzed outta ink in the 11th hour. My lettering was blue. Now, the non-Enlarged Marge would have scurried to the nearest Staples (25 minutes away) and fingers crossed, hoped they had a replacement cartridge. The Enlarged Marge says - eh - we'll roll with blue.

Will had a better idea, and since I had 4 other sheets of paper to burn, went with his black and white suggestion. Looked pretty good in the test shot.

Now, all I had to do was iron the transfer onto the shirt, on a hard surface, with no steam, with gladiator-like force. Check and check.

The finished product isn't bad. Stay tuned for race shots. Now if only meeting my 10-minute-mile goal would be this easy...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Going to the Beach('s)

Will and I are making it our mission to collect other couples' birth stories. That way, we'll be prepared for anything. (Well, probably not. But it makes the whole thing less scary.)

On Friday we drove to Lansing for dinner with my former roommate Linda and her lovely husband Andy.

Sidebar on Andy - he was Linda's beau in college and definitely won the best roommate's boyfriend at a party award. Multiple times. Linda sewed him a Jolly Green Giant costume and yes, he wore it. He was also the sole Michael Jackson at our "Madonna & Michael" party.

Andy and Linda gave birth to Everett on January 23, 2009. Like the champ she is, she endured everything sans drugs. Over Pizza House pies and one of my delish Greek salads, we yapped about everything from an Okemos birth center, to doulas with dreads, to cloth diaper cost-savings (and Z.Bear, a Lansing cloth diaper store), to labor and delivery photography, to the noises one may make when experiencing a contraction. And ironically, we were also able to dish on pregnancy. Linda is due June 26, a little more than a month before me.

Will was engaged for most of the visit, except when he and Andy were entertained by ham-bone Everett. (Typically during a conversation about nipples, tearing or fluids.) For the camera ops, Everett offered Andy a bouger, demonstrated his surprised face and lounged like a man between dance demonstrations.

Linda and I bellied up to each other for a Grove Street tummy shot. (Hard to believe we were roommates ten years ago!) I look like I'm going to chop wood. Or, crawl into bed at my Alaska cabin. Meanwhile, Linda looks adorable. Per usual.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

T & A

Enlarging Marge followers, say hello and goodbye to Thursday morning's trouser quintet. This lovely set of size fours will be vacationing in 505's basement for an undetermined amount of time.

Though I try to stay stoic, I must admit that dressing has become a challenge. Along with my biceps getting a workout in my morning circuit class, my ego gets whipped every a.m.

The worst part - it's really not about the belly. Today I had a bit of an Ally McBeal/The Biscuit moment. While laboring to get my Banana Republic pinstripes over my now ample caboose, I looked in the mirror and noticed my Ann Taylor tank was straining not-so-attractively across the girls. When the following tune popped into my head, I paused to ponder my long-standing assumption of its misogynistic roots.
Woman-objectification or ode to a pregnant chica?

 Not really. It's awful. Worst part? It's now my morning theme song.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

17 Weeks

Well helllooo belly.

Yesterday I went through three pairs of pants before finding a suitable pair. Though I love the belly band, if I double it up to hide the obvious bulge from my unbuttoned pants, I get an equally obvious muffin-top.

I do like the legging concept, but sometimes I don't feel like showcasing the thigh-age I've acquired along with the belly.

I love the large stretchy panel maternity pants, but only have two pair. Only one really work-appropriate. Sounds like I may need to take another vacation to Destination Maternity. Or do some serious web shopping.

And, note the change in this photo. New top. I was going to wear the same shirt in all my belly shot pictures but then realized it looks like all I do is work out. Weird.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Stroller 101

On Saturday, Will and I conquered our fears and set out on a serious baby-product fact-finding mission. The primary target: strollers. Secondary targets: cribs, dressers, car seats and cloth diapers. Destinations: Ikea and buybuy Baby.

Now, I consider venturing out to any sort
of suburban retail establishment on a Saturday or Sunday highly dangerous.
But, given our schedules and the locations of the target destinations, we had to take the risk.

Ikea was surprisingly breezy. I liked the dresser. Hated the crib. After a $.99 ice cream to bolster my confidence, we headed to the
stomach-churning mega-store: buybuy Baby.

Talk about distractions. Video monitors. Swim diapers. King-sized cribs. Baby blenders. I simply had to model the Ergo Baby carrier - a must-have recommendation from Charlie's mom and my besty, Karyn.

But, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by buybuy Baby. Yeah, it's big and sells ridiculous things (Pee-pee Teepee) but it's more manageable than Babies R Us and supposedly, accepts Bed Bath and Beyond coupons.

Now, what we were really there for... Stroller research has brought me to tears and forced me to break into a cold sweat. About a week ago, I pulled Will into the game, thinking a level head and Excel expertise might come in handy. He quickly admitted it was over his head. (I mean, check out the showroom.) There's weight, foldability, car-seat-compatibility, tire type, handle configuration, steer-ability, two-child-compatibility...

Lucky for us, buybuy Baby employed Kyle. This 20-something blonde-haired Bieber back-up dancer whipped through key stroller points and car seat safety ratings, provided insightful recommendations and took us through the finer points of stroller folds. After we picked our jaws up off the floor, we thanked him.

After testing out about 8 strollers we narrowed it down to two. This little gem, the Baby Jogger City Mini and it's counterpart, the Baby Jogger City Select.

The City Select can accommodate a second seat (don't get any ideas, Grandma Betty - it's just in my nature to think ahead) but weighs about 10 pounds more than the City Mini. Not great for hauling. More decisions ahead.

Looks like an enthused father-to-be, right?

Will did make a keen observation: "It's kind of weird shopping for somebody who doesn't really exist yet. I mean, how do we know if he or she will like this stuff?" Though I pointed out, the stuff is for us too, and it's not like if he/she was here, he/she would tell us, "No! That is simply a wretched pack and play."

But, I have to admit, I see his point.

Of course, no Enlarging Marge post would be complete without a food bit. . . After an exhausting day of baby-related tasks we rewarded ourselves with a visit to one of the final two BBQ spots on our list from a fall Detroit Free Press article: Roundhouse BBQ in Trenton, MI.

Always looking for good local barbecue beyond Slow's, we gobbled up an article listing Detroit's top 8 joints. After Saturday's jaunt, we've visited 7 of the 8: Lazybones, Lockharts, Slow's, Redsmoke, Roundhouse, Rub and Union Woodshop. The remaining joint: Bad Brad's.

Roundhouse was alright but not worth the drive. We tried the baby backs and st. louis style ribs, brisket, chicken wings and pulled pork. Though the smoke was nice, the meat hadn't been "rubbed," making it flavorless without one of their 5 sauces.

High marks to each place except Roundhouse and Rub (which was terrible). Especially high marks to Detroit Free Press 2011 restaurant of the year: Union Woodshop. As Jim Shahin asks: Can barbecue save the Motor City? I'm not sure but I think I should re-test all these places before baby, don't you?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Naming rites

Yes. We are going to learn the gender of this little love muffin before he/she emerges from the womb. At our March 16 appointment, the ultrasound tech will write the sex on a piece of paper and seal it in an envelope. In lieu of our usual day-off/booze-fest on March 17, we'll eat corned beef and open the envelope. It's no day-drinking spectacular, but will definitely make St. Patrick's Day 2011 something to celebrate.

We're also polling people on their thoughts. Anybody who correctly guesses the gender will be entered into a drawing for naming rites. Not really. But, participate anyhow.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Collard Green Dogs

Along with making this baby, I've been busy getting Collard Green Dogs off the ground via participation in a handful of summer art shows. Applying for a DBA, tax ID and developing product ideas has been exhausting, but is a necessary evil when seeking legitimacy and craft show acceptance. Some of my hard work has paid off. I was accepted to my first show. Out of more than 100 applicants, I was one of 24 crafters chosen to participate in Handmade Detroit's Craft Revival, April 15-16 at The Loving Touch in Ferndale, MI.

 My wares will include dog collars crafted from seat belts and reclaimed fabric, recycled belts or hemp webbing and ribbon, sweater bone dog toys, hand-felted-KoolAid-dyed balls, homemade dog treats, leash poo bags and (drum-roll) suitcase dog beds.

  Of course, none of this would be possible without my lovely mother and father. A few weeks ago they cut 11.5 lbs. of seat belt webbing from cars in a U.P. junkyard. Mom sews like a maniac and sources belts, fabric and suitcases. And I'm counting on dad for the suitcase-bed-foot-construction (not to mention helping build my show display).

And Will, my tax man and credit card processing expert.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Where (Part 2)

As I mentioned in a previous post, Verana a 15-20 minute jaunt from Yelapa, a small fishing village populated by locals and expats. We spent two afternoons exploring the place and taking in the view. It was what I imagined Tulum to be 20 years ago.
We walked there via a rough-hewn stone patch that flanks the bay. Watsu therapists, yoga retreats and a B&B on the right. A whale-friendly bay on the left.

In Yelapa, the streets are built for foot traffic and twist and turn through buildings constructed from a hodgepodge of materials.

Dogs are everywhere.
(I was ready to haul top right home in my rolly bag.
Owen's mild counterpart chilled bottom left.)

As are kids.
Some people use donkeys for transportation. Others ATVs.
Boat traffic is constant. Car traffic is nonexistent.

The people are friendly and open, evidenced by my two favorite signs:
"Pull cord & yell Christina." & "My name is Ley. I also sell shrimp."

The community is upcycling, recycling and waste-management conscious.

And save for this para glider that almost took me out
(while Will and Beach Dog watched).

The beach is amazing.
Great people watching. Plenty of chairs. In fact, in a 100-yard stretch,
there are 9 restaurant/bar spots. Will and I played Scrabble. He sat in chair from Angelinas.
I sat in a chair from Dominicos. Across one table. But it isn't busy or touristy.
A very chill, relaxed vibe.

We hope to go back. Maybe to Hotel Lagunita,
Casa Viaje, Casa Pericos
or via
Palapa in Yelapa. Not that we have anything against Verana. It would
just be a way to save some money and experience something different.

(Read more about Yelapa in Budget Travel.)

It was a phenomenal vacation - a perfect babymoon.
We highly recommend Verana and Yelapa.
Now back to the real baby blogging business.