Five months old!

Oh my gosh Lila, so much is happening this month! You are hitting some major developmental milestones – we are gearing up to start solid foods, do some sleep training, move you to your own room, and I think full-fledged teething is just around the bend. You are shoving everything in your mouth, grabbing everything within arms’ reach, rolling around and having a blast in your jumperoo. The past few days you have started sucking your thumb (!) and just last week you kicked your swaddle to the curb.

This past month we went upstate to Copake to celebrate your first Easter, Mary came for a visit and we went to Central Park and the boardwalk at Long Beach.

We assembled your high chair and you’ve been hanging out with us at the table, which is so awesome.

You continue to be such a happy, easy-going little girl. We are so excited about hanging out with you this summer!

You are now 25.3 inches tall and weigh 15 lbs 14 oz!

We love you, little buddy!

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Baby carriers

I am loving carrying Lila around in a baby carrier. Sometimes it is just so much easier than a stroller – for instance, lately when we go into Manhattan I’ve only been bringing a carrier. So much easier to navigate Manhattan without a stroller. I own two carriers – an Ergo and a Beco Gemini, one ring sling and one wrap (the sleepy wrap). I use the Gemini and the Ergo the most. The sleepy wrap was great when Lila was a newborn, for wearing her around the house. I also use the ring sling for around the house. Carriers can definitely become addictive – I have two more on my Amazon wishlist! I love having my girl so close to me in a carrier. Its the best.

Back to work

Two weeks ago I went back to work. I am lucky enough to be working part time right now, as a sub stage manager on a show, which means I fill in when one of the regular stage managers is sick, on vacation or has the night off. Its very flexible and just the right thing for me right now. I need to be making some income, and accumulating work weeks so that I can keep my health insurance (in my union we have to work 20 weeks a year in order to get a year of coverage), but my main focus and priority is to be home with Lila, so a full time job is not something I am interested in right now. Subbing is the perfect middle ground.

I was a sub at “Rock of Ages” before I had Lila, so it has been great to be back. Its been so nice to see everyone again. Some of the folks who I had less interaction with before have looked at me quizzically, as if to say “do I know you?”. I respond, “I was REALLY pregnant the last time you saw me.” Then they remember – “Oh right!”. I stopped working on the show when I was eight months pregnant. It was getting a little impractical having my very large belly in the very tiny backstage.

Going back to work has meant childcare for Lila, which luckily, Eric and I have been able to mostly juggle between each other. Eric has been doing a lot of lighting and rigging calls in the city lately, but we have been trying to work on opposite days so one of us can always be home with Lila. On days when we both work, or when there is some overlap, Nana (Eric’s mom, Marge) or Auntie Dana have been nice enough to help out with watching Lila.

Going back to work has also meant figuring out a whole system for pumping breast milk. Lila is exclusively breastfed, so I have been working on building up a stockpile in our freezer for bottles. I also have to pump when I go to work so that my milk supply doesn’t diminish. This means pumping every 2 1/2-3 hours. Right now I am pumping at half hour before the show, and then immediately after the show. On two show days, I’ll do that same routine for both shows. I carry my pump with me to work, along with a small cooler, which I keep the bottles of expressed milk in.

The theater where “Rock of Ages” plays is teeny tiny. Everyone shares dressing rooms. So, there’s not really a great place for me to pump in private. So far I have been doing it in the stage management office (which you have to walk through to get to the hair room, so its a fairly high traffic area), under an apron. Its not ideal because its hard for me to see what I’m doing and I also can’t pump both sides at once this way (which means it takes twice as long, pumping each side individually), but I’m making it work. Its interesting to see how people react. Most people don’t care. Its theater. Everyone walks around with their clothes off. But at the same time, a lot of people in theater don’t have kids. So a couple of people have been embarrassed by the pumping. After my first day back I was feeling a little daunted by it. I can see why many women do give up breastfeeding at this point. It is a major commitment to pump and keep up your supply when your baby is not with you 24/7. Its hard taking the time out of your work day to it. I feel guilty about it! Then I read this article about pumping at work from the NY Times. I loved the final sentences: “At some point, you have to stop hiding in the bathroom and stand up for yourself. It may be embarrassing, humiliating and awkward. You may turn lollipop pink. But these discomforts are little compared with the satisfaction of (finally) showing ’em what you’re worth.”

It totally made me feel proud to be a pumper! I’m feeding my kid! Lila is in the 70th percentile for weight because of ME! There is no reason to be embarrassed, or to feel like I’m putting people out because of my need to do this. So now I pump with pride and everyone around me is just going to have to deal! Its good for people to see. Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world and everyone needs to just get used to it.

I miss my Lila when I’m away from her, but thanks to Apple, I am able to Facetime with her whenever I need to! Its also a nice break to be around my peers again and to be back in the city. I have felt a lot more balanced these past two weeks. I’m grateful that Eric and I are working out a system of one of us almost always staying home with Lila so that her world is not disrupted too much. It really feels like our new life is falling into place. And that makes me really happy.

Nursery

Crib – gifted to us from Eric’s parents – was used by Eric and his sister, Dana, when they were babies

Dresser – handmade by Eric, inspired by this dresser from Pottery Barn

Glider – by Storkcraft, gifted by my parents

Bookcase – Land of Nod

Wall art – Etsy, from the shop Trafalgar Square

Sheets, changing pad cover – from Babybedding.com

Pennant flags – handmade by me using this tutorial

Quilt – handmade by me, using a pattern from Amy Butler’s Little Stitches for Little Ones

Lila banner – handmade by me

Chair by bed – a prop used in a Fringe Festival show that I did (toys on the chair were mine as a kid)

Paint color – Robin’s Nest by Benjamin Moore

Mobile – handmade by me from this tutorial

36 Weeks

Only three more weeks to go! If she doesn’t make an appearance earlier, I will be induced on November 14th. Hoping that we at least get two more weeks sans baby so that we have time to move all my belongings from my apartment in Manhattan to the house in Long Island. Lila, you will have a much more comfortable place to sleep if you stay where you are for at least two more weeks! Getting excited to meet her though!

The Countdown to Baby Continues…

Eric has been away for the past few weeks, working on the next incarnation of the “Rock of Ages” tour. With him gone, I have been filling my time packing up my apartment, making things for the baby, and working a bit at “Rock of Ages” on Broadway.

Packing up the apartment

The progress on the house in Garden City continues. Eric’s dad has been working tirelessly to get it ready for us. The heating system is in, the walls are insulated and up and we have picked out our kitchen cabinets and countertops. When Eric gets back this week, he and his dad will get started tiling the kitchen and bathroom floors and painting the walls. We are getting there!

The nursery

The master bedroom

The living room

I’ve been working on some decor for the baby’s room – I’m making pennant flags out of fabric scraps to string around the perimeter of the room, and I finished a name banner for the wall.

We’ve also gotten some wonderful gifts for the baby – from books to clothes to some handmade blankets from Michele – we are so lucky!

I’m still feeling pretty good – big, but good. Sleeping has gotten to be a bit of a challenge, but hopefully with the help of my friend, Tylenol PM, I’ll be able to start stocking up on rest before the baby comes.  At this point I am getting weekly ultrasounds and also seeing the doctor every week. The baby is doing really well – measuring big even! Only a few more weeks to go until we meet our girl 🙂

Back to Reality

I can’t believe its already been a month since the tour closed – life has been busy, busy, busy.

My parents and my brother Simon came for a visit at the beginning of August. It was great to see them and they brought lots of cute things for the baby! It was also the first time they were able to meet Eric’s family – we had dinner at their house on Long Island and it was such a nice time – so great for our families to finally meet! We also spent one lovely afternoon driving up through the lower Hudson River Valley. We visited an old house called Boscobel and had lunch in Cold Springs.

The view of the Hudson from Boscobel

The week after my family left, I went with Eric and his parents to their house upstate in Copake for the week. We spent all week making things for the baby. Eric was working day and night down in the garage building a dresser for the nursery, and I set myself up on the screened-in porch making a quilt for the crib. It was a really relaxing week, and over the weekend, some of Eric’s friends joined us, which was fun. There was lots of eating, drinking, four-wheeling and shooting of shotguns 🙂 Tallulah came with me and even she and Eric’s dog Riley were getting along swimmingly by the end of the weekend.

Working on the quilt on the porch

Finished baby quilt

Eric working into the night on the dresser

Eric working on the dresser

Dresser top

Finished dresser

Eric and his friend Christiana shooting at clays

About two weeks ago the former tenants left and we finally were able to get possession of the house we are moving into! It was in pretty bad shape when Eric and his dad first went in, so they decided a complete renovation was the best way to go. Within a week they had all the walls and ceilings torn down. I went over there to take a look and to start brainstorming ideas for a new kitchen and bathroom. There is a lot to be done, but hopefully it will all come together before the baby is born. I’m getting more than a bit anxious about being so transient right now when we are so close to having the baby, but I’m trying to be patient. I really want to start working on a nursery though! And I would really like to spend the last weeks of my pregnancy focusing on the baby and the birth and just being generally low-stress. I’m having anxiety dreams about everything being in boxes when the baby is born and not even being able to find a diaper. Must take deep breaths. I know it will all be okay.

My landlord in Manhattan is also not being very accommodating about extending my lease one month until the end of the year (currently my lease is up on November 30th – 9 days after the baby’s due date). He is only agreeing to a two-month extension, until the end of January, which we really don’t need. We will likely be in the house in December, so spending that money on rent on a place in Manhattan, seems like such a waste. On the other hand, if the baby is late, I am not excited about the prospect of driving to the hospital from Long Island, while in labor, which can take up to two hours in traffic. I haven’t decided what the best course of action is yet.

I’m so thankful that my actual pregnancy has been relatively easy, because the logistical details of my life during it, have definitely been anything but! First, trying to get proper pre-natal care while touring around the country, and now trying to work out a plan for a house renovation and move in the third trimester. Its been a bit tiring. I’m so excited about our house though, and I know it will be wonderful when its done. I am so looking forward to Christmas, when we are in the house, the baby is here, and we can just enjoy our new family.

Nursery-to-be

Dining room-to-be

Living room-to-be

The front of the house

Its nice being back in New York City. I’m enjoying being back in my apartment and sleeping in my own bed. I’ve been working a little bit at “Rock of Ages” on Broadway as a sub stage manager. There are a quite a few tour cast members working there now, so it almost feels like we never closed. I’m going to continue working until the end of September, and then call it quits for the duration of the pregnancy. I’m already getting pretty big to be backstage!

On 5th Avenue, near Union Square

Waiting for the subway

Times Square, the day before Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene came and went without much incident in New York City. All the Broadway shows were canceled for the weekend. I went and bought lots of bottled water and canned food and candles, anticipating that we would lose power at some point, but we were really lucky here. Aside from a leak through my bedroom wall, there wasn’t any other damage done to my apartment. I did tape my windows, just in case of high winds, like many people around the neighborhood did. I went for a walk in the afternoon after the storm passed, and there were quite a few trees down, but otherwise Washington Heights fared okay. I know a lot of friends in New Jersey and on Long Island who had a lot of trouble with flooding and power outages. Eric’s parents lost power for a day. Our house on Long Island was luckily okay – no leaks or anything. We were really lucky!

Windows taped for Irene

Captured water from the leak in my wall

Trees down in Washington Heights

The sunset after Irene passed by

Other things happening in these parts: Tallulah is doing okay. She had a wellness check a couple of weeks ago and her white cells are down again. She’s been really picky about her food, too – but I’ve found some new foods that she seems to be enjoying. She’s been a bit lethargic lately, but she is hanging in there. Hopefully she’ll come around and perk back up. She’s a fighter.

I’ve been making more things for the baby – I finished another sweater for her, and I’m now working on a blanket. After that, I want to sew a name banner and some bunting for her room. I’ve also been buying tons and tons of baby supplies – I’ve purchased most things on our registry now. If I can’t be setting up a nursery, at least I can have everything bought and ready to go for when we do finally have a nursery to move into!

My Tallulah

Baby Kimono Sweater

Finally, I leave you with a photo of me at 28 weeks pregnant – third trimester, woah! The baby will be here before we know it!

Finishing the Tour

Its been a whirlwind few weeks and I am so behind on posting here, so this is likely to be a long entry. I am home in New York now, finally getting settled after closing “Rock of Ages” a week ago.

After the last lay-off, we played one week in Atlanta at the Fox Theater. It was really hot and humid in Atlanta, so there wasn’t a whole lot of venturing outside. Eric and I mostly stayed put in our hotel. We did go out one day, though, to the aquarium. Atlanta has a great aquarium, and Eric had never been – so we braved the heat and spent an afternoon there.

At the Georgia Aquarium

On Friday of that week, I was completely surprised and blown away by a baby shower thrown for us at a bar across the street from the hotel. Eric was in on the whole thing, so he lured me over there, telling me we were having lunch with a friend of his from college. Even when the bartender totally blew the cover by asking us if we were there for the baby shower, I still didn’t catch on. It was such a nice afternoon and I am so grateful to all my coworkers for celebrating with us and being so generous with presents – my gosh! A number of the big items on our baby registry were purchased for us – the carseat, stroller, high chair. I couldn’t believe it! We also got some very cute clothes – our little rocker baby is going to be decked out in style!

Me and Eric at our baby shower

Putting on my "new mom" tiara

Rockin' baby duds

New mom tiara

On Saturday morning before the matinee, I met up with Carrie, one of my crafty friends who I “met” online through Flickr and Ravelry a couple of years ago. When I came to Atlanta with “Spamalot” in 2009, I met up with Carrie and her twin sister Cathy in person for the first time – they came to the show and we went out to lunch. In the past two years a lot has happened – Carrie and Cathy have both had babies, and now I am expecting my own!  I was so excited to meet Carrie’s little boy, Charlie, when we met for breakfast at The Flying Biscuit. It was so nice spending time with them both and getting to bend Carrie’s ear about babies and being a mom. Charlie is such a cutie, and he was enamored of all the neighborhood dogs walking by the restaurant 🙂

Carrie and Charlie

I finished the weekend off in Atlanta taking some photos of our two gorgeous Sherrie understudies, Holly and Angela. Elicia, who normally plays Sherrie, was out sick with strep throat, so I took the opportunity to take some photos of the girls getting ready for their respective shows, as it would likely be their last time going on in that role.

Holly getting ready to go on as "Sherrie"

Angela getting ready to go on as "Sherrie"

For being such a huge house (it seats almost 5000), we actually had a great week at the Fox…but it was time to move on to our final stop of the tour – Washington, DC!

I had hoped for some respite from the heat in DC, but no such luck. I think it was actually even hotter and more humid there, than in Atlanta, if you can believe it. The crew came back from load-in at the National on Monday night with horror stories of the air conditioning being out all day. We came in on Tuesday morning to a terribly hot theater. It turns out that the a/c hadn’t yet been set to “summer mode”. It took all day for the building to cool down – in the meantime, our props department thankfully went out and bought fans for all the rooms, including our office. Being hot and pregnant is no fun.

The weather stayed hot the whole two weeks we were in town. It was very hard to be outside. Luckily DC has a lot of indoor things to do, with all their amazing museums. Eric and I went to the Air and Space Museum one day, and another day we went to the Newseum, which I loved. The Newseum is dedicated to the history of the press in this country, and there were so many amazing exhibits, from Photo of the Year, to the Pulitzer Prize Photography Gallery, to exhibits about Katrina and 9-11. It actually took Eric and I two days to get through the whole museum (luckily tickets are good for two consecutive days). I definitely recommend going if you are ever in DC.

We picked the mildest day we could to walk around the National Mall and take photos of all the monuments (and by mild, it was maybe 92 instead of 102 degrees!).

At the Vietnam Memorial

The National Mall (with under construction reflecting pool)

At the base of the Washington monument

Our last week in DC was all about gearing up for “the end”. I spent hours working on a slideshow for everyone of all the photos I have taken over this past year on the road. I set it to music, and then Eric helped me convert it to DVD format, and then we spent a few days making copies for everyone in the company as a goodbye present.

Judi, our company manager, asked me to take photos of everyone in the company “waving goodbye”. She got prints made of all of them and then pinned them all to the callboard midway through our last week. It was nice seeing everyone’s faces up there, and a little sad, too. Eric also worked on a project for Judi – he made a collage of photos of everyone in the cast, which she had printed and framed for each of us.

The Rock of Ages crew, taken the last week of the tour

On the Thursday night before closing, we had our closing party. It was a fun night of drinks and italian food, and we put my slideshow on the flat screen over the bar. Some of our crazy “Rock of Ages” fans were there, too. We couldn’t finish out the run without Goldi-roxx, our crazy blonde-wig, hot-pants wearing fan, who came to almost every performance in San Francisco, Denver, and now DC.

Joey and Holly at the closing party

Keith and Patrick at the closing party

Jamie and Amy at the closing party

Goldi-roxx and Patrick at the closing party

The closing night performance was pretty awesome. We had small houses the last two weeks in DC, so to have the final night filled with screaming fans was great. There were a few minor shenanigans onstage, but mostly everyone behaved and just really enjoyed the last show. The whole cast and crew came out onstage at the end – it was a lovely ending to the run. After the show we all congregated at a bar near our hotel in Georgetown for one last round (or rounds) of drinks before saying goodbye and heading our separate ways.

It has definitely been a challenging ten months with this show – there were lots of ups and also lots of downs. But for the most part, the people that I traveled with, were a fun-loving, generous, hilarious, awesome bunch, and I will miss them.

Some pics from closing night:

Joey, Lauralyn, Holly and Patrick at "places"

Rashad blowing me a kiss

Jon and Erika hugging at "places"

Getting ready to melt some faces for the last time

Watching the show from backstage

The end of Act One

Constantine taking in the roar of the audience (this was a standing ovation DURING Act 1)

Curtain Call

Teresa and Chris during the curtain call

 

Constantine thanking the fans at the end of the show

Skibic rocking out

So now I am back in New York and starting to try and get things ready for the baby. We are still in a bit of a holding pattern when it comes to moving, but at least we can start buying things and making things now 🙂 I have a couple of knitting projects underway and am planning a quilt, and Eric is designing a dresser that he is going to build for the nursery. Slowly but surely, we are getting it together.

It’s hard to believe only a week has passed since closing the show. Its been such a busy week of unpacking and checking things off the “to do” list. I even went and worked two shows at “Rock of Ages” Broadway, where I’m going to be subbing for a little bit (until I am too large to fit backstage!).

My parents and brother come tomorrow for a five-day visit, then next week Eric and I are going to his family’s house upstate for a few days. The week after that I am at “Rock of Ages” Broadway for a week covering someone’s vacation. The time is going to speed by until the baby’s born, I just know it.

I leave you with a few baby-related photos.

Baby's first sweater - knit by me

Cradle made by Eric's dad

Crib used by Eric as a baby, now to be used for our baby!

Me, at 23 weeks pregnant, getting ready for the closing party.