Echoes from the womb

Dear Jade,

Earlier this week I read somewhere that your dad might now be able to hear your heartbeat if he'll just put his ears to my belly and waits quietly.

We tried.

As I went to bed on Tuesday evening, your dad put his ears on the middle-right section of my belly and waited for a bit. He then asked if I had moved and I said "no". It was you.

So he moved a little bit closer to the center of my belly and started picking up on a heartbeat. My heartbeat.

Slightly disappointed, he didn't give up and moved toward the left-middle section of my belly and said he could hear all sorts of noises: movement of liquids and your every motion. He then quickly turned his head to face the belly and told you "tu bouges donc ben!!" (you move so much!!)

It was simply adorable to watch him hunt you down and try to track your heartbeat across my belly. We knew his chances were probably thin, given the placenta is between you and me, but it was nice to see him try so hard and get excited about feeling you move a lot more than usual.



First family car review - VW Golf Wagen

We went to a Volkswagen dealer yesterday evening, in our search of the perfect family car and were proposed the Golf Wagen TDI (clean diesel technology).

I like:
  • The roomy cargo area (my dog can fit as well as the stroller)
  • The low floor (easy to load and unload)
  • The completely collapsible seats to increase cargo space
  • The assisted opening of door in hatchback
  • The panoramic sky roof that comes in option
He likes:
  • Its fuel economy
  • Its looks (cannot be called a mini-van)
  • The panoramic sky roof that comes in option
What would be nice:
  • More leg-room for passengers in the rear.
  • Electric opening and closing of the hatchback (as in the Passat Wagen)
We also had a quick look at the Passat and loved the electric opening and closing of the hatchback at the touch of a button and the increased space in the driver and passenger seats in front. However, the panoramic sky-roof and the Diesel engine are not available on the Passat.

We have been scheduled for a test drive of the Golf Wagen tonight. Will keep you posted!

The quest for a family-friendly car

Our current family situation:

  • Full-time working dad-to-be who drives 20 min. to work every day + loads his music gear in on the weekend to drive usually over an hour to get to the venues he performs at. 
  • Full-time working mom-to-me who commutes to work (train and bus)
  • Bernese mountain dog who takes up the whole back seat space 
Our current car:
  • Toyota Celica 2000
In the coming months, I'll be on maternity leave and will "need" a car with me at home while DF is at work with his. Time to start shopping!

The first car's mission = "daily trips to work and weekly trips to bars and venues". It needs to be:
  • Cheap on gas
  • Easy to manoeuver and park
  • Easy to load with his music gear (hatchback)
The second car's mission = "family car and backup when first car is gone". It needs to be:
  • Roomy (must sit 2 adults + 2 babies/kids + 1 large dog + some cargo)
  • Safe
  • Kids-friendly (anti-stain fabrics, assisted doors, sun protection in the back, easy to climb into and out, are all bonuses.)
  • Dog-friendly (hatchback)
  • Easy to load (hatchback + floor must not be too high)
  • DF will go on a hunger strike if I ever try to force him into a mini-van.
  • I will go on a hunger strike if the whole family cannot sit in the same car with their essentials (read strollers).
Since the Celica we have meets the needs for our first car, our search will be focussed on adding a family car.

Are you an anti-minivan mom? 
If so, what do you drive? 
How do you like it? 
Do you have any suggestions of what might the perfect-family car if minivans are out of the question?

Lazy Friday

Yesterday evening was our massage session at Spa Mont-St-Hilaire. Lovely! I'm very glad we went. On the other side, I realised just how much emotional I can get after a few episodes of crying for very silly things.

This morning, I feel relaxed. There is still tension and pressure in my stomach (I know, duh!!! lol) but my legs and back feel more relaxed... Maybe too relaxed?

And I'm at work. Looking at the clock...

I have stuff to do (lots) but I'm carefully choosing which ones (the fun ones) I'll be doing today as today is a lazy day for me and even though I truly love my job, there are days like that where my brain does not want to cooperate and procrastination awaits me every corner.

I miss Luka...

Luka's our dog... He's completely healthy and not far at all, so this might sound like a very random thought (at least to me). He's at home, waiting for us to come back from work but I wish I was with him back home already, in my slippers, combing his hair... I feel like I might have neglected him recently and that's bad.

Here's a few pictures of that sweet and loyal friend:

Tonight, I'll take him for a looong walk and all will be right again.

Bilinguism starts in the womb... least, that's what the article below claims:

If you don't understand French, here's my attempt to translate the article into English...
Babies who evolve in a bilingual environment learn to differenciate both languages from the womb, according to a study published this week in Psychological Science.

A group of psychology researchers from University of British Columbia (Canada) and a researcher from OECD (France) came to that conclusion after studying 2 groups of newborns.

In the first group, babies had only heard English while in utero whereas the second group had heard both English and Tagalog (spoken in the Philippines).

In order to determine the babies' preference toward one language, the researchers have monitored their succion reflex, which increases when a newborn is interested by a stimulus.

In a first experience, babies have listened to a 10 minutes speach alternating every minute between English and Tagalog. Babies who were from the first group, and hence had only been exposed to English in utero, showed a more important succion reflex in the English parts than the Tagalog parts of the speach. Babies who had been exposed to both languages in utero did not show a preference.

Another experience consisted of speaking to babies in a language until they would no longer manifest interest. A second person woul then start adressing them either in the same language, either in the other one. The succion reflex has only shown to increase when the second person was communicating in the other language.

This experience suggests that bilingual babies, as well as unilingual babies are all capable of distinguishing between the 2 languages. This innate mechanism exists to help bilingual kids not confuse their 2 languages, and is an essential condition to the learning of bilinguism.
I have to admit I am completely impressed by these findings and glad that DF and I have been exposing our daughter-to-be to English and French conversations from the early beginning. Of course, I'm not going to pretend we did this in order to achieve any particular goal: we just happen to be a bilingual couple who interact with people in both languages everyday!

Still, it's great news to think Jade will start life with that extra push that will ease her learning.

My 22 weeks belly update

This is what I looked like on Feb.7th, when we had people over for a surprise baby shower.

This is me 22 weeks pregnant, with the father-to-be proudly pointing at my belly.

Jade is somewhere inside... Waiting to make her big appearance.

Don't we look happy?

Valentine Love Letter to Jade

Dear Jade,

Even though I'm already 23 weeks pregnant, you have been steadily growing in my belly for only 21 (I'll explain the mathematics of it all when you're older) and each one of your little movements, be it kicks, rolls or hiccups is always followed by a wave of pride and joy.

Pride and joy

This is also a song by Stevie Ray Vaughan that your daddy plays a few times every week so there's no doubt you'll hear it soon enough. The tune is catchy but I never really put much thought into the title of the song until now. It just describes so well how I feel when I think of you. If you don't like it, don't worry, he knows a lot of other songs too that might suit your taste better. My personal favorites are when he takes his classical guitar out and lets the magic fill the room. Don't be afraid to ask him, he tends to shy out because he doesn't practice it as much, but I'm sure he won't refuse you!

Of course, you're kicking just as I'm typing this, and I'm thinking: you're gonna be such a strong girl if you keep working out like this: maybe a soccer player? or a dancer like your parents? Whichever, mommy is already sooo proud of you!

Oh you might not know it yet but you'll be the cutest baby I ever laid eyes on. I'm sure you're gonna be the smartest too. How could you not?

If you're anything like your father, you'll be very smart, talented, honest, loyal, have strong work ethics and a good ear.

If you're anything like your mom, you will be very impatient, procrastinant and analytical, but smart, curious, organized, expressive, intuitive, romantic, charitable and have a good eye.

Your name itself conveys the idea of what you are to us now: a beautiful and precious gem.
I have to apologize already if that scares you a little. It's true that your mother has high expectations, but I'm confident it will come to you naturally. You've already met and exceeded all my previous expectations as a fetus.



I love Valentine's Day...

...and this year will be the best!

We have a history of celebrating Valentine in our favorite sushi restaurant and I had to think outside the box, considering sushi was a no-go for me this year.

After a quick Google search I found out there is a spa, located 2 streets away from our house... My expectations weren't so high considering I had never noticed it before and never heard about it either, but I think I might have just found a real gem!

Spa Mont-Saint-Hilaire

I visited their website to get an idea of the place, their prices and the services they offered and it all blew me away:

I can't believe we have been living so close to such a gorgeous place and never paid them a visit before!

Well, that time is gone! We have an appointment next Thursday with two 60 minutes massages (one of which is a pregnancy massage), 2 bottles of water, 2 herbal teas, and unlimited access to the scandinavian baths, saunas, steam room and the resting areas... All for $88. Not bad.

Although it is not recommended for me to do the scandinavian baths/sauna/steam room regimen, I am counting on a solid 2 hours or relaxation in the resting areas, either reading a book, napping or just staring blankly at the fireplace and imagining DF's first entry into the ice bath (*insert malicious smile here*).

Yesterday evening, we made a quick stop to the spa to see by ourselves what the website had been unable to show us: the inside and winter pictures.

I have to say the place is even more gorgeous than what the website had made me believe. There are 2 resting areas, both of which have a fireplace and large windows overlooking a splendid view. The oriental room displays white drapes flowing from the ceiling and floor cushions and matresses. The other resting room is the only place where chatter is allowed. Walking into this spa for yesterday's visit felt like walking into a temple. The smell of eucalyptus and the complete respectful silence we were wrapped in gave us a good taste of what our next Thursday will be like.


Trying to win a book!

I don't participate in just every contest out there but this one's special.

I could win... a book!

ABCs for Expectant Dads

Now careful about this book because it's not like the other pregnancy books I've bought or read already. This one might actually talk to DF about the pregnancy. YAY!

Finally a book with a sense of humor that can be straight forward yet detailed when it needs to be!

The contest can be entered by following the instructions on:

Good luck!!!

Ok stress is no longer my friend...

Not that my life is that stressful to begin with, I just think I'm particularly bad at dealing with it.

It used to give me problems in high school too:

I would be that smart kid who never got worried or stressed out before an oral presentation... My fellow students were probably jealous that I could keep my cool so well until the very very last minute. A typical oral presentation would go like this:

  1. Very little preparation from my part... And no stress during the weeks of preparation given to us.
  2. Casually walking in the classroom on The Day.
  3. Entering some kind of a transe while the others are performing and during which I'm feeling a bit weird.
  4. Doing my own presentation, as if I was a spectator, with no recollection of actually presenting.
  5. Walking back to my desk, legs starting to shake, hands starting to sweat and my face decomposing into a river of sobs and cries...
  6. Leaving the room and trying another calmer spot to sit down before my legs give up under me and lose complete control of my body.
Weird huh?

Anyways, the psychologist at my high school used to make me meditate on a regular basis and she would hypnotize me before each and every oral presentation. That trick seemed to work into making me "feel" a biit more stress before the oral presentation and that would normally avoid the big meltdown that normally followed.

Now, years later, and thinking this is all behind me, I'm starting to notice a recurring pattern since I became pregnant. It seems that everytime I have a deadline at work, if have to present what I've done to my superior, I feel very sick on that day. I swear I'm not making this up!

Yesterday was once of those days and my discomfort went as far as making me restitute my breakfast on my train ride to work in the morning... At first, I blamed the food, then the lack of sleep, then I didn't know what to look at but I felt really crappy all day long until I got out of the dreaded meeting at 2 pm, "magically healed".

I believe our emotions can get the best of us if not dealt with properly and I think I'm probably not adapting so well to being a big ball of emotions... Not that I'm not enjoying most of it, but rather, it seems to be a learning process and I still have much to learn in that department. The big surges of emotions I experienced this weekend (baby shower and all) did not make me any bit worried about my meeting on Monday... until it was too late and I crashed.

Note to self - must start meditating again.

Can you spell s-u-r-p-r-i-s-e?

Wow. I'm still in shock.

I just finished folding onesies and little pink outfits, even though the party ended around 3pm.

If you've never met my mom, then you've never met the best organizer on this continent. Sadly, I did not inherit much of her talent with hosting big dinners and family parties. For her, it is not only a second nature that comes naturally - it is a lifestyle.

Anyways, what happens when an elite hostess finds out her only daughter is pregnant? hmmm... I should have seen it coming...

A big biiiiiiiiig baby shower.

We had guests that flew in from Korea, Alberta and Sept-Iles, just for the occasion.

My mom's sisters and mother are just as excited about organizing a baby shower as my mom was so they all helped a lot. I had no idea this was happening and this morning, there was 33 people in my house only 4 of which lived within 30 minutes of driving from our place.

My dad, who was in Korea all week, managed to pull together a spectacular slideshow of baby pictures from DF and me.

We were completely "showered" with gifts that will be much appreciated when little Jade shows up. I don't think we'll be running out of burping cloths or facecloths anytime soon!

Come to think of it there's no much we'll need after this.  We're already on our way to receiving a stroller from my brother, we got money for the baby monitor and have a high chair promised to us from a neighbour... We're only missing a car seat and...

DIAPERS. Lol. I can't believe in the huge pile of gifts we got today there was not 1 diaper to be seen. I thought that was usually the "popular" gift at baby showers. But apparently, everyone also thought so and decided to be more original lol.

I can't wait to receive some of the pictures that were taken today...  My next baby belly picture is somewhere in there!  :) I promise to post it as soon as I receive them!

Here's a picture of DF and me opening presents...

And I was sleeping so well!

After the recent period of insomnia I suffered from multiple vivid recurring nightmares every night, it has been a whole week since I had any trouble sleeping... That was until yesterday...

The good = no nightmares
The bad = no sleep
The why = Jade was "moving the furniture around"

Being the typical virgo, I like to change and move the furniture around in the rooms that allow me to. It brings a fresh vibe and feel to the room and makes me enjoy it so much more... Until I get fed up again of that look and rearrange everything differently again. It's cyclical and healthy.

Has Jade inherited this trait from her Mommy?

Yesterday night, I woke up at 2 am and had a hurricane moving in my belly. Ok, a tiny banana-sized 19 weeks old hurricane that tried to rearrange my organs by tapping, kicking and pushing on them... The commotion stayed up all night until 5h45 and kept me awake most of that time.

Is she already fed up of the look in her little house? I certainly hope not, there are still 19 weeks to go before her due date! If she was not rearranging the furniture...

...maybe she was starting a P90X workout program, like her Daddy?

Whatever it was she was doing, I'm blaming the delicious ice cream special with bananas and strawberries DF spoiled me with last night for her excessive bursts of energy.

In conclusion, I think the ice cream special with bananas and strawberries is very good, beneficial and soothing to this pregnant lady's soul... But if having it after supper turns Jade into a Tasmanian devil for the whole night, I might try having it for breakfast instead!

Blog Award

For me?  I mean... really?!

When Suzanne Incognito, from Incognito Soapbox Confessions told me she was going to grant me a blog award yesterday, it came to me as a surprise.

For one thing, English is a second language to me and I'm all too aware it might come across here and there in the quality of my writing. Secondly, I too often neglect to embellish my posts with pictures and am surprised there is still a stranger out there caring enough to read through my long daily rants, let alone enjoy them enough to grant me an award! I realize now that my modest RSS feed is followed by 29 readers as of today. Wow. It warms my heart and makes me feel very loved.

THANK YOU -> To Suzanne, and all my readers :)


Now time to share the love...

I am passing this award to people who probably don't need more awards as it is, but who really brighten my day everytime I read a few of their lines:
  • Melissa, who shares her most delicious moments as Everly's new mom on Dear Baby
  • Kenny, who blogs about his experience as a new dad on Smonk You
  • Jennifer, who revealed she was expecting a baby girl yesterday in an online revealing party on Baby Makin(g) Machine
A gem to discover:

I'm such a geek

Yesterday on the train (I take the train to and from work everyday), a friend asked me if I am a web addict...

That question is pretty large... Are there some categories or levels of geekness one falls under?

Here are some of the things I use the internet for, that is not work-related, on a daily basis:
  • My home phone is VoIP.
  • I make all my long distance calls through Skype-out.
  • Reading RSS feeds (news and blogs).
  • Keeping touch with my friends through Facebook and email.
  • Finding phone numbers and office hours
  • Writing thoughts on my blog
  • Playing World of Warcraft (Horde BE Holy Priest on Bloodhoof, name's Petulya).
  • Online shopping (there's always something to shop for or reviews to look at)
Can I go without the internet? I'm guessing I could, but that would mean:
  • Getting a normal phone ($)
  • With a good long distance plan ($)
  • Subscribing to magazines and newspapers ($ + ecological waste)
  • Calling my friends and family more often and letting go of my aquaintances
  • Getting a new phonebook, and collecting business cards
  • Keeping a diary
  • Starting a new character in Oblivion, or Final Fantasy
  • Borrowing DF's car to several  stores to compare products and shop for the best ---> FAIL!
Ok, I would never do that. I just have a complete aversion for crowds and having to stand in the middle of one while looking around for something in particular and not having the results I'm used to on the web. I used to say that I hate shopping but in reality it's only the traditional form of shopping that make me impatient. When I'm shopping online, I can spend hours at it without buying anything and it won't bother me at all. When I get tired, I close the browser's page and I'm done. No need to drive home in the middle of traffic, while hungry or having to pee.

It's not so much that I couldn't live without the internet, but I find it conveniently replaced a lot of the traditional alternatives to get things done by being faster, more efficient and convenient.