28 December 2009

Baby it's cold outside...

Five whole months in, and all's well. Baby Costello is swimming around in Cara's rapidly expanding belly just fine, and the babe has developed a serious knack for yoga... At Cara's prenatal yoga class, the baby gets right into it – particularly after the leg-lifts. Apparently Frank Lloyd Wright was onto something with the whole “compress and release” design theme. Baby Costello loves it.

And baby it's cold outside, but baby momma is well prepared. Cara is now equipped with a wonderful, expandable, down coat so she and baby are warm as can be even in the coldest cold, and Santa brought them some YakTrax, so Cara's as sure-footed in the slippery stuff as she's ever been – despite her rapidly changing center-of-gravity!

And as requests for baby-belly pictures continue to pour in, rest assured that we're working in it... Cara's growing the belly admirably, and one of these days Tommy will snap the aforementioned photo.

In terms of timing ans size and whatnot, Cara's at 22 weeks, or roughly 5 months. Baby's now about the size of a good european beer: A proper pint-size kid if there ever was one.

10 December 2009

20 weeks and growing....

As I write this, I'm using our very first Chrismas present: a brand spanking new netbook. Tommy bought it for "us" so that I could be better about posting on our blog while he works on his papers for school. I've already claimed it as mine-- and it's been pretty darn handy so far!

So here's the baby/mama update: I'm now at 20 weeks which is officially the half-way point! I've started to feel some baby kicks/punches/headbutts. At first I wasn't so sure what the tiny pops I was feeling were... but now there's no mistaking it. It's a strange sensation, but very reassuring all the same!

As my belly gets bigger, I've been increasingly curious about the little bugger in there-- including whether it's a boy or girl. I've found/been told innumerable ways to predict--- but these "methods" all seem to contradict eachother. According to the Chinese birth chart- I'm having a boy. According to the fact that I experienced morning sickness- I'm having a girl. According to my salty cravings- it's a boy. According to my juice/fruit cravings- it's a girl. The list goes on. So-- only 20 more weeks (give or take a few weeks) to know for sure!

07 December 2009

Baby Footage!

Okay, so the quality is roughly akin to late 19th century film, but hey, all things considered, it's footage of a baby in Cara's belly!  I considered jazzing it up in post, but, well, I've got a paper to write.

Chances are you've either had a kid and your ultrasound looked, well, the same, or you haven't had a kid and this grey-on-black blob footage is what it is.  As for us, it's a first look at the baby without a tail...  Cara can now feel it dancing, and I'm trying to teach it to count.  Seriously, I read that you can teach the baby to count while it's in the womb.  We hope to be on to basic algebra by the holidays.

30 November 2009

Jazz Hands Costello

Here it is folks- the newest ultrasound photo of Baby Costello! Baby is almost at 18 weeks in this photo. We especially liked this one because baby wanted to say hi-- or maybe baby was just practicing his/her jazz hands. Either way- it's pretty darn cute in our book.

Here's a list of some fun things we learned from the ultrasound-- baby has all ten fingers and toes, a strong heart and all the right bone development. We even got a sneak peak into baby's brain, and for some reason I couldn't stop laughing when the technician said, "...and this is looking into the top of baby's head". What can I say- it just struck me as funny, and every time I laughed the picture gave a good jiggle- which made it more funny. Ah well.

Anyway-- one thing we didn't learn was the baby's gender, and we don't plan to. We're going for the old fashioned surprise. However, we are taking votes on whether people think baby is a wee lady or lad. Look at the bottom of the side bar on our blog, and you'll find the place to vote! Happy voting!

22 November 2009

Juicy Baby Costello

Well rumor has it that it's hard to find the perfect pair of jeans.  Double that when you're preggo...  Cara has had a good look around for some maternity jeans in stores everywhere, but none have fit quite right.  So yesterday she headed down to our little local corner store.  You see, it's a thrift shop, which specializes in kids clothing.  And where there is kids stuff, there are pregnant ladies, so they also have a maternity rack.  Smart marketing, that.

Anniewho, while having a look at their very small selection of maternity stuff, Cara found TWO pairs of maternity jeans that fit just dandy!  Imagine that, a thrift store beats out the malls again - victory is ours!

And, the icing on the cake?  One pair was Juicy Couture, and looks new.  Hilarious, to be sure, and even more so when we googled them:

Cara's Juicy Jeans at Saks 5th Avenue
The same at Belly Dance Maternity

That's right folks, these jeans were meant to cost $188.  One hundred and eighty-eight damn dollars.  For jeans with an elastic waist.  True story.

20 November 2009

Baby Belly or Beer Belly?

So Cara and the wee babe child are now at 17weeks.  The silly pregnancy websites, of which there are MANY, tell us that the wee babe child is about 5 inches long.  Near as I can guess, that's roughly the size of a can of beer.  But the kiddo only weighs about 5 ounces...   So I guess someone up and drank half of it. Or it has a large head.  The beer I mean - if it has a large head, a can of beer might only weigh 5 ounces.  Anyway, this little kid's got the right idea.  Gotta love Google image searches...

15 November 2009

Victory! Our first baby-goods purchase...

Well well, we've gone and purchased our first real baby thing.  Courtesy of craigslist, of course, we found this fine, shining, high chair for the bargain price of $5.  It's swell, look at it glimmer in the light!

This little folder has been keeping babies fed for a good 50 years if not more, and we hope to keep it active for another 50+.   Take that Boon, Svan, Stokke, Bloom, etc.  It's not that we don't like your fancy modern lines, but we dig old (modern) things better.  We'll see how it goes, but for now we've checked "high chair" off our shopping list...

The other contemporary contenders:

deck the malls with baols of howy...

This past Friday a good friend came to town to visit, and as Cara and I headed out to the airport to pick her up, we found out that her flight had been significantly delayed.  Not wanting to run back to our house and then back out again, we pulled into Robinson Town Center - the crazy shopping land betwixt Pittsburgh and the airport.

Now I'm never much one for buying new stuff to begin with, but somehow inside the stores and mall, it was the holiday season already.  Everything was red and green and there was nonstop christmas music.  Already.  And - get this - there was a Santa at the center of the mall in a castle, with a line of countless parents waiting to deposit their children on his lap.  Already.  It was early November, and I don't know when the season had started in the mall, but it didn't even seem recent.  Then again for as often as I'm in a mall, they might well all be all christmas all the time, I wouldn't know.  As this particular mall was closing we overheard one woman complain to a security guard: "Well when are the extended holiday hours going to start?!" 

Sigh.  We did have a good laugh looking at some more maternity stuff, and have begun a search for a warm winter jacket for Cara and her baby belly.  Our previous quest had been an unsuccessful attempt to find her a raincoat.  Our criteria were somewhat simple:  Trench coat style with a belt, knee length, waterproof, with a hood, and green.  Even with the magic of the internet we've had no luck.  But now that the baby belly is on it's way and we're headed towards a expansive winter, we're putting the rain jacket on hold in the interest of something warmer.

In other news, as I type Cara's depositing said friend back at the airport, and stopping to look at a used high chair that we like.  So we may well have our first piece of baby furniture by the end of the day...

31 October 2009

To run or to hibernate-- is it really a question?

Officially, I'm now in the second trimester. According to all of the books, I should be feeling better than ever right now. I shouldn't be feeling sick anymore, and I should have endless energy. "The books", in all of their endless wisdom, seem to say that I'll want to run a 5k, scrub my floors, host parties... Well, the queasies seem to have subsided, but as the days continue to get shorter and darker, I can't say that any surges of energy have hit me. In fact, I'd be quite happy to go into hibernation for the winter. This would probably be true if I wasn't pregnant, but being pregnant entitles me to a little more laziness- doesn't it? At least that's what the books say.

18 October 2009

Maternity fashion... we've come a long way.

So I'm not huge yet by any means, but some of my normal clothes have started to feel not so comfy. I saw this as a great excuse to go shopping, but was dismayed that most clothes just looked entirely frumpy on me or were snug in all the wrong places. What is a girl to do? Well, I turned to the internet for inspiration, and THIS is what turned up. I'm still laughing.

17 October 2009

A Rose by any other...

Golly, we're a day over 12 weeks, and already people are asking us what we're going to call the wee babe child!  Well we don't know, and don't hold your breath... There are lots of names out there, and we've (secretly, of course) just started to make a list.  Then we'll check it twice, and when we meet the friendly babe, we'll see what fits.

Now we've seen some pretty bad "baby name" websites...  And why people insist on referring to names as "baby names" is indeed strange.  It is our sincere hope that the name we bestow on the wee babe sticks with it right through childhood and even into mature adult life.  So we're doing out best to come up with some good ones.

We just stumbled on the best name site ever:  The Social Security Administration keeps records about the popularity of given names, and you can peruse these records by birth year at the following:

Very interesting stuff.  Fascinating in fact.  Do check it out...

16 October 2009

Kid Stuff It.

To be sure, I never gave much thought to kid stuff before we were expecting a wee babe child.  I mean I knew that there was a lot of stuff involved, but I never cared much to pay attention:  Generally kid stuff seemed to lack any coherent design sense, and all that padding and small-print fabric is well, not my cup of tea.

So one day after Cara and I found out that we were pregnant, but before we could really tell anyone, we were talking about what seemed to be the dire state of kid stuff.  Sitting in our study, I (flippantly, for sure) remarked that, for instance, there aren't any well designed strollers, car seats, high chairs, etc.  I'm not talking functional - sure they all get the job done generally - but well designed in a clear, design-language sense.  The materialist in me generally has chalked this up to the fact that expectant patents are a captive market:  To allay their fears or concerns about patenting, people are encouraged to go buy buy buy their way into being good parents, and there are no shortage of companies willing to sell them myriad goods that they "need" to be good parents.  Like someone with a house on fire who's shopping for a fire extinguisher - parents often don't have the time or energy to focus on buying something they actually want.

Now, we're in no way immune to this - as I said, shortly after we found out the happy news, our conversation too turned to the stuff we're going to "need."  The general aesthetic in our house (and car and bikes) is that we have a strong preference for things that are interesting, well designed, and well made.  (And, of course, used.)  With that in mind, as I whined about not wanting to succumb to the banality of kids stuff, I spun around to the magic internet machine and learned two things:

  • There does exist interesting, well-designed kid stuff out there. Really. 
  • Kid stuff is, generally, far more expensive than we'd realized.  (Yes, this is a recurrent idea here, and will likely continue to be.  All the parenting books warn this, but you just don't understand until you're looking at stuff with a baby growing in your (or in this case, Cara's) belly.
Now the good thing about kid stuff, at least in our book, is that most people only need the stuff for a relatively short time.  Which means that the used market it over saturated, so you can find a fair deal on just about anything you want; even very new stuff.  And that's what we prefer to do...  So, we've been doing our research and narrowing our scope for the essentials: Stroller, Car Seat, and High-Chair.  We'll post on each in due turn as we get closer, but rest assured, we already have a litany of CraigsList searches going.

13 October 2009


Okay, so nobody ever said having a kid would be cheap, fair enough.  But we've got good health insurance (we think) and we're very conservative with our cash, so we're charging forward unafraid.  And then we had a look at day care...

So Cara teaches at Carnegie Mellon, and right across the street from her office is the Cyert Center - CMU's day care and preschool.  Now we're not sure how much, if any, day care we'll need, but this place is pretty convenient:  Perfect location, gobs of accreditation, solid reference, and, well, it's right across the street from Cara's office and a 5 minute walk from mine.  We know that there is generally a waiting list, but Cara (and therefore our wee babe child) qualify as pretty high up on their priority list, so we decided to give it a look.  Cyert Center Webpage

So it sure looks great, but in frustration, Cara couldn't find rates anywhere on the site.  Then we found a reference to them:  For current tuition rates, inquire by e-mail.  Half-jokingly I warned: You know what they say, if you have to ask we can't afford it...   Which, it turns out, couldn't be more true.  Buried way down in one of their many PDF downloads, we finally found the punch line:  This year's tuition is $18,300 for a baby.  Tuition.  For a baby.  $18,300.  And you must provide your own food.

I mean we didn't expect it to be cheap, but, well, that's more than either of us has ever paid for a year of college, including graduate school in Dublin.  And don't get me wrong, I'm sure it is VERY GOOD day care - I mean they do advertise creative play with string, clay and wire - but it isn't college.  Except that it is... Carnegie Mellon University.  $18,300 probably seems cheap compared to say, a year at CMU's Tepper School of Business which will cost you $49,500 in raw tuition alone, $71,818 when all is said and done.

They say you're supposed to start your kid's college fund when the wee babe child is born, and we plan to.  But at those rates, when are you supposed to start saving for the kid's day care?

09 October 2009

ChugaChugaChugaChuga... Choo Choo!

So the baby's heart sounded surprisingly like a toy train.  Actually, if it weren't for the ultrasound I might be able to be convinced that Cara accidentally ate one of her dad's toy trains, the wee heartbeat is very train-like.

Anyway, I promise to update the blog with some more pictures and info over the weekend, just bear with us here...  A very busy time to be sure.  Very happy to let the cat out of the bag though!

07 October 2009


 Look, it's a wee babe child, in Cara's belly!  Holy jeepers!

Yes, it's true, Cara's pregnant!!!  The good doctors tell us that he/she/it will be coming to visit somewhere round abouts April 30, 2010.  We're mostly thrilled and only a bit terrified.  

Cara & Tommy start it up... again.

Okay, so we had a great website for our wedding, and even blogged our honeymoon. And then we let the hosting lapse for our wedding website (since, you know, the wedding was over...), and we had never intended to keep on keeping on with the blog after the honeymoon.

Now we've got a house, a dog, and... well... another reason to blog again. This time we're using blogspot in an effort to keep the site active for the long haul. (And really, why pay for hosting when Google will take care of us for free?)

So there you have it. We'll probably go back in time to create a few posts at key dates in the past, just to fill in some of the details from way back when. And there will be pictures of course, so keep an eye on the sidebar to the left and feel free to click on back into our history!