Posts Tagged ‘Milestones’

April 4, 2014

Soon to be Four


Domingo, Nicole and I have a secret – we’re expecting a new addition to our family this November!

Introducing Ziggy!

We are super excited!

We decided to share the news a little differently this time around since this could be my last pregnancy. I want to savor every minute, and for me that includes blogging about it. It’s been challenging staying away from new baby related topics this long, and we’ve only known for 3 weeks!

I’m also already showing, which makes keeping this secret secret even more challenging! I had some pretty significant pregnancy bloating around weeks 5 & 6 and had to borrow some of Domingo’s t-shirts as mine were all stretched around my mid section. I looked further along than when I was 20 weeks with Nicole!. Now that the bloating has subsided I’m that could-be-a-baby-or-a-borrito-belly phase. I admit I don’t mind showing early, even though I’m still trying to keep the pregnancy a secret at work. Although I do hope it becomes more obviously baby soon. I loved my big pregnant belly last time. It goes to the whole ‘savor every minute of it’ aspect.

So I mentioned that we’re sharing the news differently this time around. Last time we felt comfortable sharing our news to individuals at 10 weeks, after listening to the heartbeat twice and held off on any kind of public announcements until 13 weeks. We’ve heard the heartbeat already and while we’re comfortable sharing the news here, we’d like to hold off on sharing our news to facebook until 13 weeks again this time around. After all anything could happen, and if it does I will need my blog as an outlet. To be honest, there are far fewer eyeballs that see my blog than my facebook page, which makes my blog feel more private, even though it’s public. That’s why I feel more comfortable sharing the news here.

November 10, 2013



Last week I started my new job at Google. I’ve been kind of mum about the specifics here (and it felt really awkward to not answer the question when asked directly, my apologies for the clumsily dodge.) I wanted to hold off on sharing the news because I wasn’t sure what changes I would need to make to my blog. I didn’t want to guess incorrectly and land myself in hot water before even starting.

I have always viewed my blog as a chance to grow my ‘brand’, a sort of social complement to my online resume. I hope to grow my reputation through my blog and as such I often write about the internet which has on occasion included my views on search. My dissertation and past publications are all on personalized search. Clearly this research was done outside the scope my Google employment and should be fair game to write about. On the other hand, Google is also interested in Search and if I post something related to my prior research it’s possible someone might misinterpreted the post as relating to Google’s research. To be clear I have never, and will never, discussed the details of my work in my blog, it’s the appearance of doing so that I want to avoid. For now, I will have to content myself with the ability to put ‘google’ on my resume for search expertise cred, and avoid blogging on the topic.

As an aside I hope my blog isn’t branded as a ‘googler’s blog’, just as I hoped it wasn’t branded a ‘mommy’s blog’. I am a Googler, I am a mom, but I’m also a budding photographer, math nerd, science junkie, bargain hunter, etc.

Another issue is that I use Google Ad Sense. I’ve written about it in the past, and had some fun playing with the numbers. I personally find the topic of blogging revenue fascinating, and I had hopped to continue writing on the topic since there are so few detailed articles on the subject out there. Alas, this area is now obviously off limits for me.

It’s a worthwhile trade for full time employment doing what I love. I can tell I’m really going to enjoy this next stage of life, if I can ever get around to unpacking those darn boxes!

October 23, 2013


Exhausted, Relieved, Elated, Happy, Drained, Ecstatic. Defended. De-Fend-Ed.

At 4:11 PM my dissertation committee wrapped up their discussion. I had passed with “flying colors”. It was surreal hearing those words. I expected to pass as all grad students who finish their theses are conditioned to expect. What I wasn’t sure on was how my thesis stacked up against the expectation, or how much work my committee would request I do before signing off on it. I was not expecting to walk out, title page in hand, with two signatures already and a third (remote) member ready to sign once it arrived to him. I was hoping, but not daring to expect.

My plan for the day was to go to bed early – no later than 11 pm. I’d drop off Nicki at daycare, then Domingo and I would drive down to Santa Cruz two to three hours before my actual defense at 2 pm. I’d have time to pay the filing fee when I arrived, do a full run through of my presentation before my defense.

The actual day turned out very different.

I’m a believer that impressions matter, and wanted to wanted to project a professional image so I decided to dress “business casual.” I had read everything from full suits required, to not to worry about appearances. Computer science tends to be a very causal field as far as attire goes, so I opted for the “dress one step above your interviewers” (or in this case committee members) rule. When we were packing last week for our move, I made sure I had an outfit I liked, that I could feel confident in. The trouble is, I didn’t set it aside. I expected to be unpacked by now (ha!). That outfit? Buried in one of my suitcases. So at around 11:30 I was madly searching for anything that fit the bill and wasn’t too wrinkled. Luckily I found a pale pink shirt and dark gray sweater that were relatively wrinkle free.

The last step before bed was to print my thesis. I had read that the committee may have specific questions about specific figures, and having a hard copy makes things easier. (My committee did have such questions.)

Last time I tried to print my dissertation it took 54 minutes, 25.9 seconds. Yes, I timed it. I’m a PhD, we do weird things like that. That was back when it was 172 pages, these days it’s 200 pages. That’s a rate of about one page per 18 seconds. At the time I thought the problem was my cheapie printer running out of buffering space. It turns out it’s my laptop and my laptop is dying. It’s having memory corruption errors. I know this because it blue screened of death on me TWICE while trying to print, and hung once and required a full disk check on boot up. After trying for over an hour I abandoned the idea of having a printed copy. But I couldn’t just go to bed at that point. I had no other presentation device. I needed to know whether my laptop would boot or I would be making an emergency run to BestBuy in the morning. That meant I had to wait through the full check disc process. It turned out that as long as I didn’t attempt to print, or open up a web browser, my computer had enough memory to give my presentation. I went to bed a little after 1.

Then Nick decided it was time to get up at 4. And again at 5:30. And finally at 6:30.

Daycare drop off went a little longer than expected. Nicki is handling the switch like a boss. The recommendation was four visit days. The second day she was content to play by herself away from me for twenty minute intervals. The third day she was good for a few hours. Her teachers have been so impressed by how quickly she’s been adapting. No Tears! Still I wanted to wait until snack time to leave, since she’s usually sufficiently distracted by tasty goodness that she doesn’t notice my exit. Snack time was a little delayed, and apparently I have been a little too consistent in my exit. Nicki noticed the pattern. She started to walk off in the direction of snack, but then changed her mind and came flying back into my arms. Little kids are excellent at deducing patterns when they want to be!

Back at home Domingo had not only managed to print my thesis in under five minutes, but had swung by target and picked up brownies and cookies for my committee. Have I mentioned before how absolutely amazing and what a life saver he is?

I finally found the phone number to order coffee for my committee members, a quick shower, and it was time to leave. Despite everything we were still making good time and would be on campus two hours early.

About 15 minutes into the journey to campus traffic stopped. There is exactly one route through the mountains to UC Santa Cruz – highway 17. There was a brush fire and the right lane was closed. Traffic was backed up for miles. We arrived at campus with less than an hour to go. A quick bite of lunch, a few minutes to set-up and it was go time.

October 17, 2013


It’s finally here – Moving Day!


We started the day by sending the under 28″ crowd to their respective care providers. I dropped Nicki off to daycare and Lily to “kitty camp” (our euphemism for the kennel). Boarding Lily for the day was a lesson’s learned from a few moves back. I had six of my friends help me move apartments, and in the hustle we noticed Lily was missing. She turned up under the kitchen sink – a hiding place she had never explored before, and that I almost didn’t think to look – after several moments of sheer panic and near tears thinking my indoor-only, can’t-fend-for-herself kitty was gone forever. While I wasn’t worried about Nicki running off into the wild blue yonder if a door was accidentally left open, I thought the transition would be easier for her if the day was as normal as possible.

Drop offs went longer than usual for obvious reasons. There were hugs, and near tears, and more hugs. Nicki has really bounded with her teachers, especially the ones that have been with her from just two months old! They’re her second (and third, and forth) mommies! Linda over at the boarders also takes amazing care of Lily – so much so that she actually sends us Christmas cards of our own cat!

When I arrived back at the house the movers were already there. They got the house packed up in just over two hours. The only hiccup was the crib. It wouldn’t fit through the door assembled and they weren’t willing to unassailable them. No problem, I’m handy with tools, right? Unpacking went just as smoothly.

Side note: I highly recommend Jericho Moving and Storage. I’ve hired professional movers three times and these guys are hand’s down the best. Everyone was great, courteous and extremely professional. The final bill came out to be 16% less than the quote, and that’s after we purchased insurance!

After the last of the boxes were in the apartment it was time to pick up Nicki. Lily got an overnight stay since there wasn’t time to get them both, and daycare highly frowns on overnight stays. The plan was for Domingo to make her dinner while I assembled the crib when we got back. That’s when we hit our first and only major snag.

The movers did dissemble other furniture. (I’m sure they just didn’t want to disassemble the crib for liability reasons.) They taped up all hardware components to the respective furniture to make reassembly easier. When they brought the furniture in, I noticed a cam connector on the floor near the entrance way. I set it aside figuring we’d eventually discover what it belonged to.

When I tried to assemble the crib I noticed that not one, but five of the eight connectors were missing. I had managed to keep track of the screws, but had somehow failed to notice the connectors and five had fallen out of the crib posts in transit. Panic. We didn’t exactly have a plan B sleeping option.

Luckily I had friends in the area who could come over and lend a hand with Nicki while Domingo and I tried to solve our crib fiasco. While I waited for our friends to arrive, Domingo went to the hardware store armed with what we thought was one of the missing five connectors. I’m sure you can guess where I’m going with this. When he got home we realized the cam connector didn’t fit in the slot. Not even close. It must have come from a different piece of furniture. I pried out one of the remaining three connectors and realized it was actually a cross dowel. Back to the hardware store Domingo went.

Success. And only two and a half hours behind schedule.

Another side note: Baby Bargains recommends never buying a crib second hand because of the risk of missing parts/hardware. The guy at the hardware store kept referring to these times of items as “assemble once”. After this experience I’m inclined to agree.

June 8, 2012

Full Term!

We are officially in Baby Watch mode – Today I am FULL TERM! I think Zippy is excited too, because she has been active all day. I tried to get it on film, but instead got this photo of Lily.

Aww, Kitty wants to feel the baby move!
Actually, she just wants to sit on my bump and is about to climb up.

Zippy’s crib also arrived today. The box looked terrible. Really terrible. It was ripped in a few places to the point where the wood was actually exposed! I had a little pregnancy induced panic. Here we are three weeks from Zippy’s due date, and I’m trying to figure whether I should just return it or suck it up and deal with the possible damage. It’s an 82 lb item, and I’m 8 months pregnant! I couldn’t even get it over the lip of the entrance way and into the house. Neither Domingo nor I even have a car big enough to fit said box to take it to the UPS store, so we would have to arrange for a pickup. Luckily, the damage ended up not being as bad as I feared – only cosmetic, and mostly confined to the back of the crib. There are a few dents and scratches, but I can live with them being out of sight. I’m sure at some point Zippy will add her own wear and tear after a few years of use anyway, anyway! Tomorrow’s task? Assembly! This weekend’s task? Buying a mattress!

The other thing that arrived today was the Snap N’ Go stroller. The box was also pretty banged up, but not nearly as bad as the crib box, and the stroller was fine. It came in just a few pieces (stroller, front wheels, back wheels, travel tray) so I was able to put it together it myself.

I love it already! The Graco SnugRide just slid on the frame like it was always meant to be. I expected the Snap N’ Go would need to be adjusted, since it’s a universal stroller fame and not all infant car seats are the same size, but I had no problems with it. It folds easily, and has a smooth ride (at least in doors.) It’ll serve us well for the rest of 2012 and into 2013 I’m sure! I still look forward to getting a city mini some day, when Zippy is bigger of course.

I should point out that some online reviews said they didn’t feel the SnugRide fit onto the Snap N’ Go very securely, and recommend Graco’s own version.

Getting the crib assembled is the last major Baby To-Do. It’s not the last thing on our list, but it’s the last thing I’m stressing about. I will feel so much more at ease with it done and ready!

May 25, 2012


I’m 35 weeks pregnant today, which means there’s only 35 days until my due date. I’m working towards a 3AM Saturday paper deadline, but I wanted to post some quick random thoughts for having a bun in my oven that’s 87.5% baked.

My current favorite maternity photo. I’ve improved, no?

Zippy’s movements have really changed the past couple of weeks. I know longer feel the flurry of kicks, but rather her flipping around and stretching. Sometimes it feels like she’s using my abdomen as a bench press. I love being able to make out her little feet! Or at least I think I’m feeling feet. Could be fists!

Zippy has been surprisingly good to my figure. Yes, I have stretch marks and varicose veins, but I haven’t been this happy with the shape of my figure in a long time. I can still fit into, button and sit in my pre-pregnancy jeans without the use of belly bands! Not that I would be comfortable wearing them out in public, but the point is I could.

My belly button reminds me of the bad spot in fruit. I’m still an innie, and my belly has gotten nice and hard lately, except for the belly button which is soft and squishy.

Infant car seats are ridiculously hard to install. Yes, I can write statistical models that predict when I will go into labor, but apparently I can’t install a car seat in a way that feels secure to me. Luckily, our local police department is happy to give it a quick look over (for free!). I’ll make an appointment next week.

It feels like forever since I’ve taken any photos or videos. Yes, we took a few photos on Mother’s day, but I was cold so it wasn’t very many. I also haven’t taken a classic bump style photo in quite a while. So happy a three day weekend is coming up!

March 30, 2012

Hello 3rd Trimester

I can’t believe how fast time is flying! It feels like just yesterday I was in Hawaii with Domingo, newly pregnant, and excited about all the changes that were going to start happening. I was analyzing every little twinge I felt for signs of pregnancy symptoms. Every time my stomach was slightly unsettled I’d wonder if morning sickness was starting. June seemed so far away. The anatomy scanned seemed so far away. Even the second trimester seemed so far away.

3rd Trimester Bump

I’m beginning to wonder if the first time mom nerves will ever go away. When we first got pregnant I was terrified it would be a chemical pregnancy. Once we got to six weeks, I was sure it would be an ectopic pregnancy. Then I was worried that it would turn out to be a blighted ovum. I kept worrying that something was wrong, and it was too good to last. I figured once I saw a heartbeat, reached the second trimester or vitality day, I would stop worrying about something going wrong. Here we are starting the third trimester and I still get nervous every time I realize I can’t remember when her last kick was. Does this feeling ever go away?

At this point I think I’m done with tweaking the registry. I kind of have to be. We’re in the home stretch now – only 3 months to go! I’m happy with what we’re considering purchasing, but recently I’ve noticed I’m considering more and more expensive items. At least I’ve been good about finding good sales so far. We’ve enjoyed an average savings so far of 21% off of the everyday price (not the marked up ‘list’ price.)

In fairness, though, I’ve only purchased about 1/10th the items on the list. I’m probably going to have to cave and pay retail on the rest. *Cringe*. At this point, though, I can no longer wait for the best possible deals on most things. We have some clothes for baby, swaddle blankets and a place for her to sleep, so if she were to come tomorrow we wouldn’t be totally unprepared, but it’s time to stop postponing baby purchases. Really. I’m going to pay retail. Maybe if I say it myself often enough I will believe it.

I should also get my act together regarding our baby to-do list. When is nesting supposed to kick in again?! At least I’ve re-hung the fire alarms and plugged in the carbon monoxide tester. We’ve made progress on the house, too, albeit a small amount of progress. Six months pregnant and I can still assemble/dissemble furniture with the best of them. I just require more bathroom breaks.

We’re 20 weeks today! I can’t believe how much I’m showing since this is our first. I think it has a lot to do with her position. A couple weeks ago Domingo started feeling fetal kicks from the outside. At only 18 weeks. That’s crazy early for a ‘first’! Despite the colossal 20 week bump, weight gain has been non-existent. For the first trimester into the beginning of the second trimester I’ve actually lost weight, but I had the weight to lose so I’m not complaining.

We had our anatomy scan a week ago, so I can happily report Zippy is a girl! She is doing great although she continues to be very active and a non-cooperator. During the appointment, the ultrasound technician saw my belly move with a colossal kick. We were only 19 weeks and 1 day at the time! Neither Domingo nor I saw it (though I did feel it), as we were focused on the monitor. But at least I know I’m not crazy when I say I can already feel so much movement. If the technician can see the kick, than it’s reasonable to assume Domingo really was feeling it.

As for the non-cooperation part, zippy was hanging out pretty low. The technician was having a hard time getting the images she needed, so she ended up tilting the table so my head was lower than my feet in hopes that gravity would help slide zippy into a better position. I think that is why she started kicking so feverishly, she didn’t want to move!

I can’t wait to meet our little girl, she has so much personality already.

December 19, 2011

1 + 1 = 3…

… for large values of 1.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist the math joke.

As the title implies, Domingo and I are expecting our first child! We’re happy to report we’re out of the first trimester woods, so to speak, and while anything could happen, everything looks great. So far things have been relatively easy. I’m tired and not 100%, which is why we largely stayed in for black Friday, and why I haven’t been baking as much but that’s to be expected. I haven’t had traditional morning sickness, but I have had an icky, nauseous feeling. My main symptom has really been fatigue. But feeling exhausted, or even slightly nauseated, is not so unusual for me – hello grad school stress.

Here’s Zippy at 7 weeks.

I did learn that I need extra sleep. I have been going to bed one to two hours earlier, and still wake up at the same time. If I stay up until my normal bedtime (or worse, later) I get so tired I need a nap the next day. There was one time I took a nap upstairs, walked downstairs and decided it was time to nap on the couch! This was extra problematic because I started sleeping through meals.

Here’s Zippy again just shy of 10 weeks.

Domingo nicked named the baby “zippy” after our 10 week ultrasound. Baby was moving his/her little legs and arms like nobody’s business. We have a very active little baby. Zippy re-earned his/her nickname at the 13 week ultrasound when he/she would not sit still long enough for the technician to take her measurements! In fact, zippy kept turning over and mooning the technician. At one point the technician jiggled the ultrasound wand over my stomach to convince the baby to move into a better position. When she took another look, Zippy was doing a headstand, back still to the technician, butt facing out! It was too funny. I suspect we have a troublemaker in the making.

Zippy at 13 weeks, waving hello.

We did get an early prediction of gender, but I’m going to wait until we have confirmation at the anatomy scan before I tell everyone.

Needless to say, we’re both super excited!

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