Monday, March 30, 2009

What do you mean I'm supposed to sleep at night?

DH and I got 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep last night so I am actually feeling human enough to blog! We took Cameron to the doctor's for her weight check. She gained 3 ounces but is still below her birth weight. Other than that, she is perfect (not just me, the doctor's words, I swear!). Breastfeeding is still a bit of a struggle but I'm pumping enough to supplement. We have an appointment with a lactation consultant tomorrow and I hope to get in a better routine.

We also found out that Cameron has her nights and days mixed up. That explains Saturday night when I was up with her from 3 AM until we got back from the doctor's. So we've started feeding her every 2 hours during the day and then letting her sleep at night as long as possible. It paid off early this morning and we got to sleep from 4:30 to 8:30 AM. Woo hoo! She would have slept longer but I wanted to get her day going for an even better night tonight. We are definitely not holding with the advice, "Never wake a sleeping baby." I'd rather wake her up and have her eat during the day if it means I get more sleep at night.

This swing is worth it's weight in gold!

I got an extra nap in while DH and I watched Tiger Woods win the Arnold Palmer Invitational. I don't normally like golf but I do like Tiger. Plus the announcers are so soothing that it is really easy to fall asleep. DH is already trying to get Cameron to be a fan.

Can you say, "Tiger"?
Needless to say, Cameron has gone through multiple outfit changes, had a couple of blowouts and spit ups so it was time for her first bath! I'm hoping to make this part of her night time ritual.

I guess it's not so bad to be wet.

But being dry is much better!

I think I'm ready for bed now.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

There's no place like home

It's been an interesting couple of days, to say the least! We were discharged from the hospital yesterday and I was thrilled to come home. I could have stayed another night and almost did because of the awesome lactation consultant (more on that later) but physically I was feeling fine and anxious to get home and start building a routine with Cameron. Once I got my prescriptions (including one for my ear infection, ugh!) we packed her up and brought her home. My OB was shocked I had an ear infection. He told me he hadn't looked in anybody's ears in more than 10 years. The ear infection actually hurt worse than the incision from my c-section!

Cameron in a cute outfit from Libby and Andrew. She is ready to head home!
My doctor also told me that I shouldn't drive for 2 weeks, pick up anything heavier than the baby and her carrier or exercise for 6 weeks. DH almost laughed out loud at that last one. Exercise is not exactly something I embrace...
Before we left the hospital we did have a bit of a rough patch with Cameron. She fed really well on Tuesday night off of me (4 times in 3 hours) but then didn't want to eat for another 10 hours. I personally wasn't concerned about it and just kept trying to get her to eat. But she ended up losing a pound total from her birth weight so I was asked to supplement her. I am not opposed to supplements but couldn't help feeling that if we had gone home earlier it wouldn't be a problem and I could just power through it with Cameron and get a good feeding routine down. Fortunately my awesome lactation consultant, Kathy, recommended I use donor milk and we got about 12 ounces to bring home with us. How cool is that? It should be just enough to get us through to my milk coming in.

Dad learned how to feed Cameron with her first supplement.

Breastfeeding is definitely a challenge. Cameron is a bit lazy and seems to think that my boob is a warming blanket more than a vessel for her food. I was using a nipple shield but really wanted to wean myself off of it before leaving the hospital. Kathy show me how to find the best hold (cradle position for me even though it is not a "recommended" position because of my chest size) and work to get Cameron to latch on. The biggest "ah hah!" moment for me was realizing it can and will take as much as 15 minutes to get her to latch on. And she will cry during the process. I think that has been the hardest for DH. We loved Kathy because she was so encouraging and so soothing. Unfortunately she is the on floor consultant so I couldn't make a follow up appointment with her. I will still probably make one with her boss for sometime next week.

My new routine is to try to feed her off me first, supplement with one ounce (either from me via pumping or with the donor milk) and then pump. I might change things up a little and try to get her to feed after pumping for a bit or eating from the supplement. Either way despite a lot of "oh my god what have I gotten myself into?" moments I'm starting to feel like we will get through this. But how the hell did Mommy, Esq. do this with twins?!?

We have a doctor's appointment tomorrow to check on her weight and DH just ran to Babies R Us for a few things. Amazing how I thought we were all set and there still seems to be a few things we forgot! In fact I have to go call him now for a few other things I forgot...

Not too shabby considering I only got about 2 hours of sleep...I have a feeling sweats will be the main staple of my wardrobe for a while!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Isn't she perfect? No, I'm not biased!

DH and I had a very good night with Cameron last night. She cluster fed at 8, 9 and 10 so she was full up for most of the night and didn't want to eat. What did that mean for us? Lots of sleep! DH commented that if every night is that good this will be a piece of cake. I laughed and it hurt my stitches. Personally I had a fair bit of pain last night but once I got some more medication I was able to get some sleep.

Cameron seems to be picking up the breastfeeding really well. It's a bit painful at times for me but we are getting a really good latch and she has maintained her weight so she's definitely getting food. Yay! The lactation consultants have been wonderful and we are picking up our pump rental tomorrow morning when we head home.

In the meantime, here are some cute new pictures of our cutie. Enjoy!

I finally got a shower and dressed in real clothes. It was wonderful! Daddy is a champ at changing diapers and swaddling. I am already Daddy's little girl.

AI Season 8: Top 10 perform Motown

Ryan welcomes everyone and thanks them per usual. It's a "special" Wednesday night Idol (because as much as I love our new president he had to go on TV again yesterday and outline his plan and priorities), and everyone is over the Flu B virus. Whatever. As long as we don't have to hear whining about illness. I just had a freaking baby and I'm here blogging. Suck it up people.

Ryan talked about last week's "shocking" elimination. Randy hated seeing Alexis go and Kara said Alexis was a good singer. I still haven't seen the value Kara adds to this season. We could be down to an hour show if not for her. Instead we are still at 2 hours for 10 contestants. Paula looks very nice and very sober. Could be a good evening. She wants the contestants to mix it up and surprise her. Simon wants each contestant to make the song contemporary.

Songs of Motown. God Bless Berry Gordy. Most of these contestants' parents weren't even alive when Motown was created, I'd bet.

They get to be mentored by Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson? WOW. These kids should be in awe. (Oh, I guess it's just Smokey -- still has to be the biggest mentor ever).

Matt starts and he's doing Let's Get it On by Marvin Gaye -- I bet he does well. Smokey has a very sentimental spot for Marvin's music -- who doesn't? As he starts all I can think of is Jack Black singing this (very, very well) in High Fidelity. Matt does well. Randy is stoked that it's Motown night (duh). He thinks Matt worked it out. Kara says something annoying and simply recaps what he did (you started on the piano then stood up -- no shit: we just saw it). Paula gives it a sexy cool vibe and used Kara's "riffing" word. Matt is like wearing an old pair of worn-out jeans. Simon really likes it and says that this is the music Matt should be doing and he is a front-runner.

Kris Allen picks "How Sweet It Is" and was nervous to perform in front of Smokey Robinson. He is wearing a USO type outfit and plays the guitar. Kara drooled over his performance but I wasn't blown away. Paula thinks Kris is coming into his own. Simon thinks Kris did his own version but doesn't believe in himself as much as many other contestants. Randy gave Kris props. Is there any question that the best looking guy in the competition is safe for another week? Didn't think so.

By the way, since I am in the hospital I am actually watching this show live. Jeesh, talk about a lot of filler! I miss my fast forward button, particularly when the contestants "go off script" and don't really know how to talk to Ryan.

Scott McIntyre decides to leverage his "crutch" and use the piano. He picks "Can't Hurry Love" by Diana Ross. Scott slows down the song to start and clearly does not have the range that Diana is renowned for. He's just not that good. I don't understand why he is still in this competition. Oh, right. He's blind. It's like America is overcompensating by voting him in every week. I kind of hope that the judges eviscerate him but I doubt that will happen. Paula starts and thinks he did a great job. Simon didn't think it was a good version of the song and the piano playing was "honkey". He continues harping Scott on his terrible song choice. Word. Randy thought it was a hotel performance. Kara liked that it was up tempo and wasn't sure about the liberties he took with the melody.

Paula tries to slam Simon by giving him gifts appropriate to a six year old. Does anyone else think they have a weird relationship that borders on sexual sometimes? They've come a long way since the first season.

Up next is Megan Joy tackling Stevie Wonder. Good thing he's blind and can't see her dance. Megan thinks "For Once In My Life" is a good "Megan" song. Smokey calls her different and refreshing. I don't know who is dressing this girl but a stylist, this person is not. She channels a little Brooke White by going barefoot. But even Brooke didn't walk barefoot through the audience. The crowd doesn't really seem into it and neither am I. Let's see what the judges think. Randy compliments Megan's outfit but thought the song was a train wreck. Kara agrees and thought she should have picked "My Guy" instead. Paula thinks Megan is stunning (I'm sure you were shocked she went there) but agrees that the song was not a good choice. Simon said, "Oh dear" and that it was horrible. Does this mean Megan won't live to see another week? Fingers crossed!

Anoop Dog is in the house and picks "Ooo Baby Baby." I'm glad he picked another ballad but I'm worried the song is a bit too slow and will come off as boring. He is also singing in a higher range than he normally does which sounds odd to me. Kara thought Anoop did a pretty good job and showed his range. Paula thought Anoop needed to show more confidence and he delivered a tender performance. Simon thought it was a great vocal but it was a little boring performance-wise. Randy wants to see more energy next week.

Michael Sarver decided he "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" and completely sucked. Ryan tried to make us feel bad for him because he was sick and didn't head out in the private jet to Detroit with the rest of the idols. Instead Smokey visited him in the mansion. The judges rightly told Michael that he was light years away from most of the other contestants. Michael attempted to use his "aw shucks" charm to stick around for another week. I'm not sure it's going to work.

Lil Rounds picked "Heat Wave" and cried about her situation compared to the downfall of Detroit. She was good but didn't blow me away like I expected her too. She also didn't really own the song - it sounded to similar to the original. Randy agreed with me, Kara gave way too much advice, Paula loved her and Simon said she didn't do herself any favors. But with the crappiness of a few of the other singers, she should be OK.

Adam Lambert selected Smokey's "Tracks of My Tears". I totally didn't recognize him when Ryan flashed to him before the break. He kind of looks a little bit like Mario Lopez with his clean cut look. I liked his version of the song and it was reminiscent of that song from the Neslon Twins in the 80s. Kara has six words: One (1) of (2) the (3) best (4) performances (5) of (6) the (7) night (8). God help me. Simon rightly called it The (1) best (2) performance (3) of (4) the (5) night (6). I'm still weirded out by his transformation to straight guy.

Danny Gokey sings "Get Ready" and does an energetic job. I am still not feeling that he has that great of a voice, he is just a good performer. Paula loved it, Simon called it clumsy and amateurish, Randy thinks Danny has a dope voice and Kara loved his personality. Considering he is the front runner is there any doubt he's sticking around for a while, regardless of the mixed reviews?

Allison gets the money spot. Is it bad that I totally forgot about her? She picked "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" which I think is a good choice for her voice. She did a great job but it wasn't particularly contemporary. The judges loved it and Simon called her a survivor?

So, who's out this week? I'm guessing Michael Sarver but it could be Scott or Megan too.

**A big thank you to DH for kicking off this recap while I was feeding the baby. Feel free to pass along kudos for still doing a recap 24 hours after having a baby :-) Now that's commitment!**

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Welcome to the world, baby girl

Yesterday, March 24, 2009 at 1:52 PM we welcomed Cameron Patricia into our family. She weighed 7 pounds 10 ounces and is 18.5 inches long. And needless to say, is also absolutely perfect!

DH and I met with the doctor last week and we decided to proceed with a c-section. It could not have gone better. Ironically, while hooked up for the pre-op tests, I was having contractions 4 minutes apart. And I couldn't even tell! I'm already up and moving around and will hopefully get some solid food for lunch. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to that!

Cameron has already had some great feeding sessions this morning after being very sleepy and not interested in feeding for most of yesterday. I guess that isn't uncommon in c-section babies. She also had to go to the NICU briefly because she was grunting after she came out. I didn't get to hold her until a couple of hours after I was in recovery. But I got to see DH hold her before she was whisked off.

We actually got a few hours of sleep last night. Cameron has been sleeping 2-3 hours at a stretch which I hope continues. I think she looks a lot like DH but it's hard to tell with her this small. Here are a couple of pictures. She has so much hair! And it is longer in the back and kind of kinked so I think she will have curls.

Stacey getting ready to walk to the OR.
Little Cameron is already posing for pictures.

Our first family photo

Saturday, March 21, 2009

And so humanity will continue on

In 2004 a little show called Battlestar Galatica premiered on the SciFi network. While the network has now started calling itself SyFy for branding purposes, I hope it continues to be a bastion for innovative shows. We'll see what happens with new shows premiering this summer.

I have watched Battlestar Galatica since the very beginning. Unlike a legion of other fans, I knew the original only vaguely. Names, a general sense of plot, that's about it. So I was not outraged at the re-imaging of the series including the casting of a female (the horror!) Starbuck.
I liked the show and also disliked it for the same reason: it felt almost too real. I don't mean the technology or the space battles or even the plot itself. Instead what drew me and disturbed me the most was how humanity would react if we ever found itself in the situation of being on the brink of extinction. The show gave us the pettiness, the fear, the selfishness, the courage, the hope and the sheer human messiness of people's reaction to the potential destruction of humanity.
To give non-viewers some perspective here are some of the very cool ways that the creators have established humanity thousands of years in the future:
  • Democracy is alive and kicking and not always the perfect system it is needed to be
  • There is no cure for cancer
  • There is no one true religion
  • People still do stupid things like drink a lot and smoke cigarettes
  • Robots have become more than just hunks of tin
  • A military is still pervasive and necessary
  • Humanity's hope is still based on the next generation
There were times that I did not look forward to watching a new episode because the series is very dark. Hope was in short supply the first and second seasons of the series. But there was enough to keep me watching, even if I had to store up a few in a row on the DVR to watch in one sitting. The original plot was not very complicated: find Earth. It was compounded by politics and character driven situations and somehow became extremely complicated once the remaining humans and Cylons discovered that Earth may not be the paradise they needed. I think that having a final end date for the show both helped and hurt this last half season. It helped because an expiration date gives the creators and producers time to wrap up the series without rushing it. However, because there is only a half season, I felt as though there was almost too much plot in the last 10 or so episodes. But in a way, it is a nice contrast from some of the slower episodes in the middle part of the series.

I won't give away the ending for those who haven't seen the last episode yet or the series in general (here's a hint: there is a really big space battle in the finale. Shocking, I know!). But if you enjoy shows like Lost, I encourage you to watch Battlestar Galatica. Characters are very complex (albeit with some issues I have with the female characterizations) and while the show is in the Science Fiction genre it also transcends it.
Next I'll try out Stargate: Universe and Caprica. Any other promising Science Fiction shows coming out that I should be aware of?

Friday, March 20, 2009

What to watch while on maternity leave

I figure I'll be locked up in the house pretty much the whole time during maternity leave. Yes, I'll have the occasional trips out but I won't be able to pop in the car and go get a mani/pedi like the pre-baby days. DH will be working for most of the leave (he only gets 2 weeks paid paternity) upstairs. In order to keep from bugging him, I need to keep myself busy. Before you all laugh at me, yes, I know that the bulk of my time will be spent with the baby but not every minute can be devoted to her, can it? CAN IT????

Assuming I have some down time, I plan on going through digital photos and cleaning them up. I have decided to drop Snapfish and start using Flickr instead. If you have a strong opinion on another photo service, let me know.

I also plan on watching TV. As I say in my profile I am a child of the 80s and love TV. Plus I can more easily multi task with the TV on than a book in hand. I am not a movie person so I plan on signing up for NetFlix for their TV show DVDs. Mommy, Esq. got me Arrested Development the Christmas before last and I have yet to tackle it so that's on the list. Perhaps when she's out visiting me and the baby (and DH of course!) we'll pop a few of them in.

What other shows should I add to my NetFlix queue? Please keep in mind that I absolutely hate uncomfortable situational humor. So I will never watch The Office. I don't care how good it is.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Megan Joy Corkrey lives to see another week

I realized that I have been spelling Megan's last name incorrectly for weeks. Perhaps I just want it to be Corkery and not Corkrey because it sounds better? I'm not sure. Regardless I am annoyed I need to spend another week recapping her name at all.

The men continue to dominate this season with another female contestant receiving the boot. Alexis Grace apparently didn't do "Jolene" justice and America voted her off. Another kick in the butt for her was that the judges decided not to use the new Veto Power and save her perky ass. That's got to hurt considering she dirtied herself up for them and everything.

People have been asking my opinion about the Veto Power. Well, at least one person has. I think it's a crock of crap to be perfectly blunt. The judges have had their opportunity to stack the deck with their Wild Card selections. By introducing this Veto Power American Idol is telling America that we suck at selecting Idols. While I would agree that selections have been somewhat tragic (see Taylor Hicks, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barino) the benefits far outweigh the risks (see Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, David Cook).

I can see the judges using the Veto Power if a genre is particularly trying for a top tier contender. For example, if Lil Rounds had been voted off just because it was Country week. That would suck. But the judges should recognize that the people who vote (I am not in that category) tend to vote regardless of actual performance. So voters support one or two particular contestants and won't let one bad performance stop them from voting. This is contrary to what we see in shows like Project Runway (when are you coming back!?!?) and Top Chef where you are only as good as your last performance. The real risk comes in once we get down to 5 or fewer contestants because voters switch their allegiance to a new contestant which can drastically change voting tallies.

So was Alexis the right choice? How many more awkward performances catering to the blind guy will we have to endure? What do you think about the Veto Power? Does anyone know when my beloved Project Runway will finally return? Inquiring minds want to know.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

AI Season 8: Top 11 perform country style

This probably has to be the most painful performance week for Simon Cowell. He hates country music. And I can't really blame him. I like some of the pop country hits I've heard over the past few years (Carrie Underwood's Before He Cheats is a good one) but true country sets my teeth on edge. It's the whole, "my dog died, truck broke down, lost my job, my girlfriend is a stripper and I stubbed my toe" lyrics that get me every time. So like Simon I will have to grit my teeth and try to appreciate the singers who do well. I don't think there will be many of them...

The judges are introduced again and come out from backstage. What is up with that? Considering they just go to their accustomed spots, I don't see why they can't just start there. Ryan wishes us a Happy St. Patrick's Day and urges us to drink. If only I wasn't almost 39 weeks pregnant, I would, Ryan, I would.

We are introduced to this week's theme: Grand Ole Opry. I guess picking a single artist like Dolly Parton was too limiting? Randy Travis mentors the contestants this week. Is it just me or is he looking particularly skinny and old?

Michael Sarver is up first and he is the most natural country singer of the bunch. I'm kind of surprised he doesn't get the money spot. He picks Garth Brook's "Ain't Going Down Till The Sun Comes Up." He impresses me with his memorization skills and sounds pretty good too. Damn, there were a lot of words in those lyrics. Good, upbeat song and the crowd loved it. DH calls it karaoke but I think it sounds like every other country song. Randy called it a cool song choice but said it didn't have a big vocal range. Kara said we saw his personality but missed the big notes. Her silver top makes me think she's about to embark on a ride into space. Looking demure in comparison is Paula who garbled a lot of words and said it was a good genre for Michael. Simon said it should have been good but didn't understand a word he sang. Michael talked back and I think he lost some "likability" with his comment.

Alison Iraheta is still 16 and sings "Blame It On Your Heart." I don't recognize the song but that shouldn't surprise anyone. Per usual I really like the tone of her voice and think she does a really nice job. This isn't really her genre but she does better than I would have thought. Kara pulls out the "singing the alphabet comment" and I wonder if Paula will agree but use the phone book metaphor instead. Paula called it a rock solid performance but didn't even seem like she was making a pun. What a missed opportunity. I love puns. Simon thought it was good but there were some mistakes. Randy called it "dope" and I flashed to 1997.

Kris Allen also picked a Garth Brooks' song ("To Make You Feel My Love") and decides not to accompany himself on the guitar. DH wonders how his wife doesn't know he is gay. Randy Travis liked Kris' arrangement and I surprise myself by actually knowing the song. He sings a very stripped down version and I like it. Paula said she was pleasantly surprised and thought it was a vulnerable performance. Simon called it terrific. Randy thinks he took a chance and showcased his vocals. Kara thought it was beautiful.

Lil Rounds looks stunning in her pink mini-dress. She admits her country ignorance and says she will honor country by holding back on her R&B style. She selects Martina McBride's "Independence Day" which is a big song. If I remember correctly Kristy Lee Cook sang this last year. Lil still has an amazing voice but the song feels really "off" without a twang. The chorus was much better than the verses. DH thinks she seems very uncomfortable and I agree. Just not a good genre for her. Randy called her out on the first part but thought it got better with the chorus. Kara didn't love the song choice but gives her props. Paula thought she looked fabulous. Simon calls her "Little" and compared her to a wedding singer. Lil spends too much time explaining her song selection. I just want these contestants to shut up and sing.

Adam Lambert is up next and needs some serious highlights in his hair that aren't blue. And perhaps a little less eyeliner. He picks Johnny Cash's "Ring Of Fire" and makes Randy Travis speechless. You can tell he hated the arrangement Adam picked. I get a very Jim Morrison vibe from the performance which I know Adam was totally going for. I'm not sure I liked the performance but it captivated me. I have a feeling it will be the most interesting performance of the night. Kara called it a little strange but liked the drama. Paula said Adam was true to himself as an artist. Simon: "What the hell was that?" He then threw out his "indulgent rubbish" phrase. I actually completely disagree with Simon as does Randy who compares it to Nine Inch Nails.

Scott McIntyre picks "Wild Angels" by Martina McBride. Randy Travis did not approve of the song choice. Did you all know that the guy who accompanies Scott on stage is his brother? Scott accompanies himself on piano which I have a feeling will be standard as long as he sticks around. My problem with Scott is that he just isn't that good compared to the other contestants. I tell DH that and he responds, "Well Scott just doesn't see it that way." Yup, he's about to become a father, people. Wish me luck. Paula called the performance lovely but thinks the piano could be becoming a crutch. Simon is testy tonight (probably because it's the worst week for him) and tells Scott not to take Paula's advice. Simon also questions the song selection and thinks that it was too similar to last week's. Randy breaks up the arguing couple and tells Scott that it was too much of a safe performance. Kara thinks Scott needs to up his game.

Alexis Grace is starting to bore me and annoy me. Not a good combination. She picks "Jolene" by Dolly Parton and I love this song so she better not screw it up. A bunch of rough notes in the middle but she did a good job showcasing her voice. Randy thought it was a good song choice but not a great performance. Kara said Alexis lost her edge with the song and it felt flat. Paula thought it was an effective performance and showcased her range. Simon thought it was OK but too reminiscent of Dolly Parton.

Danny Gokey was nervous meeting Randy Travis. He selected "Jesus Take The Wheel" by Carrie Underwood and screwed up a number of times in rehearsal. I am surprised that he decides to sing the song straight rather than play with the arrangement. With his performance Danny shows he lacks the range of most of the other male singers. He does much better when the music picks up but the first half was pretty pathetic. Also pathetic? The white jacket. Kara dinged him on the first half. Paula thought he built a story. Simon agrees with Paula and with me about the outfit. Randy split the judging and agrees with Kara.

Anoop Desai is up next and I fear for him. He decides on Willy Nelson's "You Were Always On My Mind" and I breath a bit easier. I like Anoop's voice when singing ballads. I think he does an excellent job but dressing in a hooded sweatshirt was not the best style choice. Paula said Anoop was back. Simon used the always good "zero to hero" cliche and said it was an excellent performance. Randy said Anoop-dog demonstrated why he's in the competition. Kara called it amazing and the best performance of the night.

Here comes craaaazy! DH makes my night by imitating her dancing before Megan Corkery comes on. Megan picked, "I Go Walking After Midnight" and Randy called it unique. She looks stunning except for the tattoo sleeve. The girl also can't help herself with her dancing. Do they get stage presence help? Cause if not, they should. Her voice is very unusual which I like but there is something about the girl I just don't like. Randy thought it was going to be a train wreck but it was actually good. Kara calls her a winner for performing with the flu. We go through this shit every year. Yes, they get sick every season. Suck it up. Paula calls her a professional and Simon said she should have the flu every week.

Matt Giraud gets the money spot and selects "So Small" by Carrie Underwood but changes up the arrangement. Like Scott he accompanies himself on the piano. It's a good performance but not great so I'm surprised he got placed to go last. What's up with Kara or Paula staring out every critique this week? Kara loved it. Paula called it an authentic performance. Simon thinks Matt outsang Danny and had a great performance. Randy said it was the favorite performance of the night for him.

Who should be out? Scott McIntyre. Who will be out? I'm not sure. I'm finding it hard to predict this season. There is a possibility that Alexis could be done.

SJ out.

**Since Ryan does a terrible job introducing the name of the songs and the contestants mumble a lot, I am not to be held responsible for errors in the song titles.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lessons in breastfeeding

It has been a rainy, dreary last few days in Charlotte. Perfect weather for 2 1/2 hours in a classroom learning about breastfeeding.

DH and I went to the hospital for our last class before the baby comes. We did the birthing class about a month ago, infant CPR earlier in the week and now breastfeeding. We're as prepared as we can possibly be at this point! Now we're just waiting for our daughter to arrive and teach us what idiots we are for trying to learn anything...

I had assumed the breastfeeding class would be similar to the other two we attended: at most 7 couples in an intimate setting. Instead we ended up in a room crammed with approximately 40 other people. The class was presentation style and the instructor decided that dimming the lights in a basement room on a Saturday afternoon was the way to go. Good thing I was so invested in the class and had no problems staying alert. Unlike a few classes from undergrad or MBA school I can think of.

I liked the class because it was wasn't extremely evangelistic. The instructor went over the benefits of breastfeeding but didn't demonize formula feeding. I'm very happy about that because people who talk in absolutes completely turn me off. I believe in the benefits of breastfeeding but don't need to be preached at about it.

Breastfeeding is probably the thing I worry about the most (aside from dealing with lack of sleep) about being a mom. Despite the research I've done which says breastfeeding is hard, there is still a big part of me that thinks it should be easy. It's natural after all, right? Breastfeeding is one of the things I can give to my child aside from my time, attention and love. I'd like to do it correctly with a minimum of fuss and be able to maintain it after I return to work through pumping. But I worry that my expectations are completely unrealistic and I will be disappointed.

The class itself didn't present anything new to me. I have been researching for a while and am about half way through The Nursing Mother's Companion. I am glad I waited to attend the class so close to my due date if only because it served as a "refresher" and will hopefully stick in my head long enough to be applied post delivery. Whether I end up delivering vaginally or via c-section, I am determined to have the immediate nursing experience (or in recovery) to establish good habits from the very beginning. However, many new mothers have shared with me their less than ideal experience, primarily because delivery nurses are not certified as lactation consultants. I've heard that a nurse will basically shove the baby on the nipple and not worry about a proper latch. The result is blisters right away. I'm going to be pretty out of it so it will be up to DH to help me ensure a good initial latch.

My hospital does provide hospital grade pumps in every recovery room and I can rent one for about $60 a month once I return home. I'm probably going to go that route until I figure out what I really plan on doing pumping-wise when I return to work. Depending on how breastfeeding goes I will then decide if I want to invest in my own pump which would be critical if I decide to pump after returning to work. I hope that I will not be using the pump in the hospital room and instead work with DH, the nurses, the lactation consultants and of course my daughter to breastfeed. I'd prefer to exclusively breastfeed while I'm in the hospital (not pump) because I know I will have a lot of support while I'm there.

For all the mothers out there who have tried breastfeeding, do you have specific recommendations for what I should be focused on immediately after delivery? What about for women who had c-sections? Or vaginal deliveries?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

New camera: Canon Powershot SX110 IS

Good news and thanks for the advice! The drastic drop in temperature coupled with a lot of yanking resulting a wedding ring removal. It is staying safely in my jewelry box until after I give birth.

DH and I went to Best Buy last weekend and purchased a new digital camera. I had a very old Canon Powershot (approximately 5 years old) that was taking pictures very slowly and the view finder started getting static. Having seen the multitude of pictures new parents take we decided to invest in a new camera. I had a few recommendations to get a SLR but given the high price point and the fact that we are much more "point and click" people we decided to go middle of the road with a Canon Powershot SX110 IS. If we find that we want to upgrade we will do so at a later date. The cost was $250 for the camera, probably the same as what my old Canon cost 5 years ago. It's amazing how technology changes so quickly!

Before I get to the camera itself, let me say something about Best Buy. It turns out that with Circuit City now out of business they basically have no competition. As a result they have halted their commission sales for cameras and other high end technical devices. So what does that mean for the average consumer? A whole lot of nothing. Yup, I had to actually ask someone to come over and open the case so we could get to the cameras. And if we had any real technical questions we were SOL. I did a little browsing at Target a few weeks ago but they were even more incompetent. Looks like lack of competition will mean the consumers suffer.

Anyway, back to the new camera. Here is what I particularly like about the features:
  • 10x zoom capability
  • Continuous shooting mode
  • Pet/kid mode - specifically designed for capturing wiggling pets or kids
  • Pop up flash - I can manually raise or lower the flash as needed
  • Huge view finder
  • Manual focus if I want it
  • Compatible with my old Canon cables
  • Movies (although that's pretty standard these days)
  • Intuitive self-timer - one button push to set 10, 20, 30 or 1 minute timer

The only drawback is that it comes with a tiny memory card and the 512 MB one from my old camera is too big (size wise) to fit into the memory card slot. So we'll bite the bullet and pick up a 2 or 4 gig card this weekend.

Here are a couple of photos from the new camera.

This is the world's largest pillow.

Aren't I so cute? It's too bad my mommy and daddy won't be taking as many pictures of me once the baby comes.

I will always be a good guard dog.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Stick a fork in me

Looks like my dream of winning this year's American Idol pool was cruelly dashed by last night's results show. I was talking with DH about it this morning. What did I do wrong to pick Jasmine and Jorge to go so far? He assured me that my logic was perfectly rational. After all, they were much better singers than Megan or Scott and gave better performances than Anoop. But we've been watching the show for weeks and see their potential. The rest of America? Way more superficial than I gave it credit for. And to think, this is my second season recapping and fourth in the pool! I should know better. I really did think that Jorge having an entire country (OK territory, but still) would bring him through for many rounds not to mention the Latino connection, but obviously that wasn't the case. Yes, Jordan, you were right. Dammit.

In other news, thanks for the advice from everyone about getting my wedding ring unstuck. I tried the ice water trick last night. First of all: that hurt! I did figure out I had to gradually put my hand in or I couldn't keep it in as long as I needed. But after 20 minutes of soaking I still couldn't get the ring off. Even slathering it in oil too. Sigh. I am going to hope that the cooler weather in Charlotte that started today will help. At least it's not so tight it is hurting my hand. I have hope that if I can't get it off until I deliver that it will still be OK and I won't have to have it cut off. But I'll have DH bring the cutting equipment to the hospital just in case!

It has been an extremely long week and I now know why so many women on my pregnancy web boards bitch about still being pregnant in Week 37. I am exhausted by the end of the day and want nothing more than to curl up and watch TV. But I'm so ungainly I can't seem to get comfortable on the chair or the coach. I'm going to start working from home more often with the hope I won't feel as run down by the end of the day. Of course then I have to listen to DH bitch about his job stress (since he telecommutes) but we'll have to get used to this togetherness for the 12 weeks I'm home with the baby!

Is it Friday afternoon yet?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Snausages, mannequins and other stuff

As I have mentioned previously I have been extremely blessed with this pregnancy. After witnessing Mommy, Esq. with her feetloaves I was thrilled at the lack of swelling I've experienced. Socks are a bit tighter and I've stopped wearing my engagement ring, but that's it. No other changes necessary. On Monday I checked to make sure I could still remove my wedding ring. It was a little tight but no problem. But yesterday I noticed it felt a little tighter so I tried to remove it. And now it's completely stuck! It's not painfully tight but there is no question of it coming off on it's own. I've tried soap, lotion and oil and there is no budging it. Aside from drinking lots of water, what else can I do to try and bring the swelling down and remove my wedding ring? My fingers are starting to look like snausages from yanking on my ring. Before I know it the dog will start following me around thinking they are his treats. My ankles have also doubled in size overnight. But I'd be OK with all of that if I can just get this damn wedding ring off before my fingers swell even more and it has to be cut off. Advice please!

DH and I went to our infant CPR class last night. It was, as I thought, an exercise in fear. All of these classes focus on everything that could go horribly wrong with your child. Couple that with a really creepy mannequin and you've got yourself a hopping good Tuesday night. Thank goodness we had American Idol to help us unwind after. Biggest takeaway? Play "Stayin' Alive" while doing chest compressions and your child will live.

I had my 37 week appointment today. Everything is on track except for one thing. Apparently my opening is very unfavorable for a decent sized baby. There is some bone that is sticking out that will make it hard for vaginal delivery. Considering there has been no progress towards labor (no contractions, no cervical changes) it is looking like this baby is going to cook beyond my due date of 3/28. So my doctor uttered the term C-section for the first time this whole pregnancy. Depending on how my appointment goes next week we will probably set up another ultrasound for week 39. If the baby's been growing at her usual rate I think he's going to leave it up to me to decide if I want to schedule a C-section or not. Part of me really likes the idea. It's more a matter of not wanting to labor for a long time only to be told I need to have a C-section anyway. That's like the worst of both worlds. No decision is needed yet and who knows, perhaps I go into labor this weekend and it becomes a moot point. I'm not counting on it but stranger things have happened. Anyone else have a similar issue? What was your decision and subsequent experience?

AI Season 8: Top 12, I mean Top 13 perform

Tonight the competition really gets started. The biggest difference from last year is that we have only seen these folks sing once before the Top 12 were selected. Well, the "winners" did get to sing again during the results night but did anyone really watch that? I didn't think so.

I had a real struggle with ranking the Top 13 for my AI pool. I ended up with the following:
1. Adam Lambert, 2. Lil Rounds, 3. Jorge Nunez, 4. Jasmine Murray, 5. Danny Gokey, 6. Alexis Grace, 7. Kris Allen, 8. Allison Iraheta, 9. Anoop Desai, 10. Matt Giraud, 11. Scott MacIntyre, 12. Michael Sarver, 13. Megan Joy Corkery

Frankly I think because of our lack of exposure to this season's Top 12 it's going to be a crap shoot with these predictions. I personally can't stand Adam but he's got some serious talent. If he loses the raven black died hair and stops trying to be a "rocker" he could go all the way.

On with the show...

The judges are introduced by some random voice dude. And they come out on stage rather than being introduced where they normally sit. What's up with that? Ryan claims it was Simon's idea. Per usual Ryan asks the judges what the contestants need to do. Randy says they have to "bring it." Kara claims she will be tough with the criticism. Paula tells the contestants to use the stage and not let it overwhelm them. Simon agreed with Paula.
We are told that 2 contestants are going home tomorrow. I'm OK with that - anything to get us down to one hour performance shows faster. The music tonight is Michael Jackson. That should be good for Kris Allen as long as he doesn't sing "Man in the Mirror" again. Regardless of the freakiness of Michael Jackson today, he still has the number one selling album of all time and has sold more than 750 million albums. Damn.

Lil Rounds is one of the Memphis ladies to bookend the show. We get to meet Lil's husband and learn more about the tornado tragedy that put them in a motel. She picks "The Way You Turn Me On" and does extremely well. Not so well with her wardrobe choice but hopefully the stylists will work more with her in the future. Lil doesn't precisely make the song contemporary but it feels more relevant with the arrangement. Randy said it was the way to kick off Season 8, Kara thinks the other contestants will be nervous, Paula compliments her clothes, and Simon thought it was good but a lazy song choice. And Simon agrees with me and hates what she is wearing.

Scott MacIntyre is up next and leads with the blind thing. OK, dude, it's now officially old. We see a picture of Scott at the piano with his creepy brother staring at him from the background. Then we hear his sisters sing and basically they suck. Scott picks, "Keep the Faith" and I don't know this song. He is much better sitting behind the piano and doesn't give off as much of a weird blind vibe (yes I am going to hell). He still misses a lot of notes and is just not that good. But he's blind so the judges will probably salivate all over him. Let's see, shall we? Kara gives him props for learning the song on the piano so quickly, Paula calls him magical, Simon hated it because it was a bad song choice, and Randy thought it was a safe performance.

Danny Gokey shows his entire family and man, there are a lot of them. His family made up songs when they were kids, how cute is that? And nary a mention of the dead wife. Good move. He selects P.Y.T which is a good song selection. Except it stuck in my head all night to the point where I was singing it in my dreams. Like last season's winner, Danny changes up the arrangement quite a bit. He still doesn't have the range of most of the other contestants but he is a great performer. Paula thinks he has a lot of gifts and said the word "finals." Simon thought the vocals were brilliant but the dancing was hideous. Just wait until he sees Megan. Danny very cutely admits that combining singing and dancing is not good for him. Randy and Kara loved it.

Michael Sarver shows us more of his oil rig job site. We see his cute daughter and hear some really thick southern accents. He picks "You're Not Alone" and proceeds to smile through the whole song. It's kind of creepy. It reminds me of a teacher I had in elementary school who was always smiling even when sending kids to the Principal's office. Michael is way better than I remember from Group A performances. I am totally regretting my rankings at this point. Simon reminds him he's not the best singer but had a lot of passion, Randy thought he was one of the best so far, Kara said he can really sing, and Paula said a lot of things that made sense individually but make her appear to be babbling when put together.

Jasmine Murray looks stunning and of course Ryan asks her about the stylists that descend on them once they make the Top 12. The girl has a great looking family. She sings, "I'll Be There" and this group of 13 is really bringing the A game tonight. She demonstrates again that she isn't just a pretty face but has a nice set of pipes too. A few sharp notes and a pretty boring arrangement but a very nice job. Randy name drops Mariah Carey and thinks she did a pretty good job. Kara is surprised by the quality of her voice, Paula commends her poise but highlights a couple of sore spots, and Simon called it a good attempt.

Kris Allen is another southerner. DH thinks he is so boring and can't believe that America voted him in to the Top 12. We find out he's been married for 5 months and wonder if she knows that he's gay. The matching aprons is a dead giveaway. He accompanies himself with a guitar to "Remember the Time." Odd choice. He's doing everything he can to sell the song but he's still boring. By the end it's a total mess and he's shouting and gesturing and it's awful. But the tweens will probably still vote his cuteness in for another week at least. Kara thought the guitar helped his performance. Somehow Simon started undressing Paula and I felt funny. Paula calls him adorably sexy. Simon called it interesting and not really suited for a guitar. Randy compared him to Jason Mraz. I scratch my head because I didn't think it was that good.

Allison Iraheta's family is from El Salvador. Apparently she sang in discount shopping centers. Hey if it was good enough for Tiffany...Allison picks "Give In To Me" and I've never heard of that song. I have no idea if this is a rock song or not but she effortlessly makes it into one. She seems much older than her 16 years. I think she did an excellent job. Paula really liked it, Simon called it a good performance and Allison made an unfortunate cutting reference. Blowing past that Randy said she can really sing. Kara told her to keep being a rocker girl.

Anoop Desai continues his transformation to cool with his wardrobe choices. His parents are adorable and he obviously has great affection for them. He picks "Beat It" which is probably the most recognizable song so far tonight and hard to top Michael Jackson on. Anoop doesn't strike me as a rocker so I'm nervous for him. He obviously decided his energetic performance from last week worked so he was going to do it here too. Not a good choice. He sounds very karaoke to me. Paula thought it was a very poor song selection, Simon called it horrible, Randy agreed it was a bad song choice as did Kara. I hope he's here next week but it's not looking good.

Jorge Nunez is going to demonstrate the Michael Jackson love. When I was younger my family sponsored some Spanish exchange students (from Spain not just generically spanish) and they all freaking loved Michael Jackson. He picks "Never Can Say Good-bye" and I've never heard that song. He is the most vocally talented guy in the competition. Randy agrees with me and questions the song selection. Kara blathers about "connecting" and basically agrees with Randy. Paula tried to engage Jorge and it didn't work probably because she can barely speak English and it's his second language. Simon called the performance corny and arrangement too old fashioned. Despite these comments I still think he'll be OK.

Megan Corkery is wearing a tight red dress showing off her crazy arm tattoo. She tells us that she's never really performed on stage before. Really? Color me shocked. The dancing makes her seem so professional. DH is impressed with the hotness level of her mom. Does Megan remind anyone else of the daughter from Charles in Charge who went on to be on Baywatch? Nicole Eggers, that's who she reminds me of. She picks "Rocking Robin" which is an interesting song choice. DH thinks she picked it because it's the only song that matches her dancing. It's a good thing that she looks like she's having fun because she is not so good at actually singing. Guys, she "cawed" at the end. There are so many things that drive me up the wall about this girl. Kara called it "very Megan," Paula likes her quirky tone, Simon called it a stupid song choice and Randy agreed with Simon. Can she be done now, America? Please?

Adam Lambert's interview showcases how gay his is. What? I'm not judging. He talks about how he basically sucked in Hollywood on his own and couldn't make it so AI is his last shot. Kind of like what he said during his first audition. Adam sings, "Black and White" and technically does a very good job. He's a little manic but so is the song so I guess it works. Paula adores Adam and both of them practically start crying over how much she loves him. Simon called it in a "different league." Randy thinks he could make a record right now and Kara loves his voice. I wonder how long it will be before I jump on the Adam bandwagon. We'll see; I'm pretty stubborn.

Matt Giraud is up next and good luck, dude. You will need it. Per usual his interview is boring. I'm regretting having him as far along as I do in my rankings. Oh well. Of course the dueling piano player accompanies himself to "Natural." Matt kind of has a very poor man's Justin Timberlake look going. Like homeless poor man. He does a good job. Randy mentions Justin Timberlake, Kara thinks he is really talented, Paula gives him like 5 adjectives and Simon thought it was very good.

The money spot this week goes to Alexis Grace. Like Lil Rounds she is from Memphis. She also has the single mom thing in common with Megan. She picks an awesome song, "Dirty Diana" and looks absolutely amazing. The song starts a little rough for me but I think it's the arrangement. Once she hits the chorus Alexis really gets going. I do worry that she is going to fall over in those heels but she works the stage well. There are a few rough spots for me but she does a good job. Kara called her a naughty girl, Paula agreed, Simon said it was over the top and Randy said it was good and liked the attitude. I'm not sure she deserved the money spot but perhaps her dress rehearsal was better?

Ryan teases us with some changes in the results show. I still won't watch the whole thing no matter what he claims. My prediction is that Megan and Anoop are going home. Who do the rest of you think are done?

SJ out.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Octomom: A new villian for the 21st century?

I am completely obsessed with this Octomom story. And the Rhianna/Chris Brown situation but that's the topic of another post...

The thing about Octomom is that it raises such feelings of disgust and pity in me. Disgust for the mom who clearly has issues and pity for the kids. Look at how the Jackson 5 turned out and they weren't even multiples! Jon & Kate Plus 8 shows me how kids can be raised "normally" even when on TV and one of 6. But it obviously takes a lot of hard work on their part and they have a huge support system. Octomom? Not so much. Even her mother has been throwing her under the bus!

I read today that Octomom is buying a $500K 4 bedroom house in California. I assume it all funded by donations since Nadya Suleman has no real income aside from disability payments. But she does have 6 older kids to help her raise these octuplets. Talk about a breeding ground for resentment...

Octomom is also getting 24 hour free nursing from a not-for-profit in LA. Yup, 4 to 5 nurses at a time working round the clock to take care of the babies so she can head out an get her nails done. Must be nice.

I am a triplet and one of my sisters has twins so I think multiples are not only fine, but perfectly normal. I'm not one of those people who lash out in the press and say that she should only have had one or two embryos implanted. I'm still confused about how she managed to pay for IVF but if she wanted more than one kid, that's fine by me. What scares me is that I could see her making a decision when told that she had 8 embryos that she would go ahead and risk the health of all of them so she could be the famous mother of the only living set of octuplets in the US.

Some other interesting tidbits:
  • Some guy has come out saying that he thinks he is the biological father of the kids and wants a paternity test.
  • She gained 130 pounds with the pregnancy. OMG! Can you imagine trying to lose that weight? I'm starting to feel OK about mine...
  • 2 PR people have already quit on her. Craziness?
  • Dr. Phil is trying to "help" her. I admit I haven't seen those shows so I would rely on my good friend Natalie who watches all things Dr. Phil to comment.
  • It will take millions of dollars to raise these kids, especially if they have health or developmental issues. What are the odds that she won't end up on welfare?
  • Her parents are divorced but still living together.
  • Wikipedia entry

So what does everyone else think about this situation? Is Nadya legit or just another fame seeking American looking for a quick buck?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Bathroom improvements for pregnant ladies

Now that I'm in my third trimester, the call of the wild, so to speak, has been happening with more frequency. I am fortunate that we have a master bedroom with an "en suite" bathroom. So it's probably 20 feet from me to relief every night, about 5 times a night. Poor A. has to climb stairs to get to her bathroom. I think that would make me sleep on the floor of the bathroom instead. Of course, then there's the whole, trying to get up from a prone position, that would be even more difficult.

But I digress. Since I have spent so much time in bathrooms recently I have decided that there is a simple fix to make things easier on pregnant women. A handicap bar in every bathroom. Yup, I shamelessly use the handicap bathroom at work now so I have something to help me get back up. If Michael Bloomberg can approve more stalls for women's rest rooms, how about adding in a bar to every stall too?

I wonder if it's too late in my pregnancy to have DH tackle some bathroom renovations...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

AI Season 8: Wild Cards perform and selected

Three whole nights of Idol! I'm already looking forward to the Top 8 when we get down to an hour performance show. AI requires a lot of time on my DVR...

Up tonight are the Wild Card performances. I think it's interesting that the judges select the 3 to join the Top 12 rather than America. It makes the predictions so much harder. And when exactly will they deliberate and announce the decision? Do they get the last commercial break to confer and decide? I guess we'll find out soon enough.

This, as Seacrest reminds us, is American Idol.

Because we have time to waste, apparently, Ryan re-introduces the 9 contestant in the Top 12. Fortunately he cuts short his banter with the judges.

Jesse Langseth is up first. She does not look at hot in her introductory interview and appears to be begging. She picks a song I don't know until it gets to the chorus "Tell Me Something Good" to showcase her range and "blue-sy" style. Bad song choice but then again, it's not like America is voting so it might not matter. Randy gives her props for the song choice but he didn't think she nailed the song. Kara critiqued a few bad notes but was impressed with Jesse's swagger on stage. Paula loves her tenacity. I have a feeling that will be her theme tonight with every one of the Wild Card contestants. Simon reminded Jesse she was a very last minute choice. He called her performance indulgent. Jesse sucks up to Simon, as well she should.

Matt Giraud is not a very attractive person. He chooses a Jackson 5 song and also wants to showcase his blue-sy style. He does an excellent job and DH immediately thinks he's through to the next round. I mentally put him as going out early if that is the case. Not feeling the love for Mr. Giraud on my end...Kara thinks he does a great job "riffing," Paula thought it was a great song choice for him, Simon said it was a billion times better than last week but hates what Matt's wearing, and Randy thinks he could be a threat.

Megan Joy Corkery is introduced and DH begs her not to dance while performing. She picks the song that Katherine McPhee used two season ago with such good effect, "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree." This? Not so good. Definite pitch problems. And she's dancing. Ow! My eyes! Paula thinks she looks beautiful and has joy but has no real praise or criticism for her. Simon likes her because she is current. Randy agreed that it wasn't a great vocal but she is great. Kara thinks she gives variety to the competition. I'm not seeing what the judges are loving about her. I think it's the dancing.

Von Smith comes on next to try and lisp his way back into our hearts. He picks "Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word" and I immediately lose my shit for the lisping comment. And to top it all off, he's absolutely terrible. What do you have to do to say you are sorry? Not sing this song. Stick a fork in this guy, he's done. Simon didn't think the song started out well and Von Smith was boring. Randy thought he was too serious. Kara wasn't crazy about the song choice. Paula thought he was too concerned about the technical aspects of performing than just doing it well. A fairly articulate and insightful comment from Ms. Abdul! Is Kara making her step up her game?

Jasmine Murray is 17, as usual. She picks a Christina Aguilera Disney song from the movie "Mulan." Yes, I've seen it. Don't judge. I ask Jeremy how to spell Aguilera and he says H-O-T. Jasmine does a good job and I predict that a decent vocal coupled with her "commercial" appeal will have her through to the Top 12. Randy thought the song was a little too big but she did a good job overall. Kara was impressed with the size of her voice. Paula thought she did a wonderful job. Simon said it was pretty special compared to what Jasmine did before and that it was a brave song choice.

Ricky Braddy (I keep wanting to call him Ricky Bobby) is still as unattractive and boring as he was in his first performance. He decides a Stevie Wonder song, "Superstition" is the way to go. To his credit he does an excellent job but Stevie is tough and I can't help but think the judges won't be thrilled with his song choice. Kara thinks he can sing his butt off. Paula likes that he loosened up. It was a bit light weight and clumsy for Simon. Randy said he could blow but the song was self-indulgent.

And here's Tatiana. Sigh. Singing means so much to her that she must make it. Girl is craaaazy. She picks the same Whitney Houston song, "Saving All My Love For You," as she did in the first week. And this is what kills me. Every time. Tatiana can sing extremely well. She might even be one of the best singers in the competition. Tatiana loves everyone so much and grew a Latino accent. Simon is desperate to get the judging moving. Paula thought her vocal was good. Simon argued with her about her same song choice. Randy thought it started out really rough but it was a mixed bag of tricks. Kara called it the "Adventures of Tatiana." And I breath a sigh of relief that she will not make it through to the Top 12.

I am so happy that Anoop has the money spot. He picks "My Prerogative" which he also used in Hollywood Week. It's not as good a vocal as his first performance but much more high energy and showcases his personality. I remain hopeful for his chances. Simon calls him an enthusiastic dog and says people like him. Randy thought he did great and also called him "dog." Kara said it was the best he ever did the song. Paula called him a showman with some "nasty" moves.

So, before the judges decide I think Anoop, Jasmine and Megan will make it through. And Megan only to even out some of the male:female ratio woes. Otherwise it would be Matt Giraud.

Ryan welcomes us back and starts the results. Jasmine is in. Ricky is out. Megan is in. Tatiana is out. Tatiana has a nervous breakdown and it's kind of awesome. Jesse is out. Von is out. Matt is in. Dammit. But then the judges make it a Top 13 and Anoop is in! Woo hoo!

OK now it's time to plan my Top 12 rankings. And take a break for a few days from the AI madness.

SJ out.

AI Group C results

I'm going to go ahead and give myself a big old pat on the back for my AI predictions of the next 3 to join the Top 12. I actually predicted it without seeing the show! I guess hype and marketing really do pay off for some of these contestants.

Lil Rounds is through first followed by Scott MacIntyre and Jorge Nunez. They join the rest of the Top 12 we know so far:

Danny Gokey
Alexis Grace
Michael Sarver
Kris Allen
Allison Iraheta
Adam Lambert
Lil Rounds
Scott MacIntyre
Jorge Nunez

The judges then selected 8 contestants from all three rounds to participate in tonight's Wild Card round (is AI trying to kill me?). I was very surprised by some of their choices and the judges seemed defensive about them when introducing the selected contestants so they are aware of the backlash. So, who's on tonight?

Von Smith - Group C (Ju'Not would have been a better choice)
Ricky Braddy - Group A (really? this boring guy?)
Jesse Langseth - Group B (very pretty but kind of annoying)
Anoop - Group A (really the only one I want to see make it through to the Top 12)
Matt Giraud - Group B (dueling piano player)
Megan Joy Cokery - Group B (here's hoping she doesn't dance oddly again)
Jasmine Murray - Group B (she could easily make it through if she doesn't screw up)
Tatiana Del Toro - Group A (I just can't...)

Interestingly, I think that Group C had the strongest competition but only Von Smith represents that Group. I thought for sure Ju'Not would have come in but since it came down to him or Anoop, I'm thrilled with Anoop. Did y'all see how shocked Anoop looked? He was like a deer in headlights. Not sure if that means we should think he's adorable or worry for him.

So far we have 6 guys and 3 girls. I am a bit confused about judging for tonight. Does that mean the judges actually select the last three Top 12 contenders? There is no results show scheduled so I assume so. I wonder if that means they will try to balance out the guy/girl ratio and we end up with 2 girls and one guy selected.

I have to make my Top 12 picks after the last 3 are selected. I am keeping it close to the vest since several competitors in my pool read this blog but I will say one thing. If Scott MacIntyre has to do group performances for more than a couple of weeks, we will all suffer. Poor guy, it's totally not his fault but the choreography! The cheesiness! It's all to much to watch with a blind guy bopping around the stage.

SJ out.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

AI Season 8: Group C performs

Von Smith, "You're All I Need to Get By" by Marvin Gaye. It's not a good Marvin Gaye song. Von makes his usually weird faces while singing. He also starts very low in his vocal range which does not work. Flash to his mom who is jumping up and down like a crazy person when he's done. Randy liked it, Kara said he "did it," Paula thinks America will love him and Simon said he was a "spicier" Clay Aiken. Were my ears stuffed with wool? I didn't think he was very good.

Taylor Vaifauna, 17, sings"If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keyes. She is the girl from Utah who moved there from Hawaii to get "noticed." She looks like she's lost a ton of weight (not that she really needed to) and shallowly I think she looks great. She picks a good contemporary song but I don't really know it. So I'm not sure if it's a weird arrangement or if she just gets out of synch with the beat. Either way it's not so good and Taylor must know it since she starts crying immediately. The judges basically write her off as do I.

Alex Wagner-Trugman (slightly dorky kid I really like) sings "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues." He admits to reading the online comments about himself and is very charming in his interview. Too bad his song is a total mess. Just terrible. And it's coupled with cheesy growling and dance moves. The judges rightly call him on it.

Arianna Afsar tackles the ABBA classic "Winner Takes It All." I'm surprised by the song selection because it's pretty depressing. It's too bad everything is kind of a mess because she is a really cute girl and 17 (think Randy will comment on that? of course) and has the package. Except for the singing...

Ju'not Joyner sings this season's "It song" as seen through the Hollywood auditions, "Hey There, Delilah." I think he does a great job although he did sing it in Hollywood and didn't get shit on about it like Taylor did. Probably because he did a better job. I really liked his stripped down version and he could be a dark horse to make it through to the Top 12.

Kristen McNamara, of Team Compromise has fortunately decided to tone down the hair and remove the pink. She sings"Give Me One Reason." The girl can definitely sing but there was something off about the song. Plus she is up against Lil Rounds so it is doubtful she will make it through.

Also not making it? Nathaniel Marshall singing Meatloaf's "I Would Do Anything for Love." I hate this kid. I think my hate is about double that for Adam Lambert and that's saying a lot. Anyone else think it's ironic he performs right after Kristen and they both were on Team Compromise? Just me? OK. I tell DH, "I'm getting a weird Olivia Newton-John vibe from him. I think it's the headband and overall style." Simon totally agrees with me! I love it. If he picked a better song and had a better style and was less "drama queen" he might make it through.

Felicia Barton is this season's comeback kid and was brought back after another contestant got the boot. She's very pretty and a stay at home mom. Must be nice. She picks an Alicia Keyes song and does a decent job. She struggles to hit some notes but she is much better than most of the contestants. In fact, this whole group is much better than the majority from Group A and B. The judges think she did a good job. She might have a shot at Top 12 except no one knows her. But my friend Natalie was inspired to vote, so you never know!

Scott MacIntyre sings "Mandolin Rain." Does anyone think this kid is not getting into the Top 36? I would be surprised. He does an OK job. I like that Scott doesn't give off the creepy blind guy vibe. He appears to "look" at the audience and the camera. Yes, I am a terrible person. Let's move on, shall we? The judges slobber all over him per usual.

Kendall Beard picks Martina McBride's "This One's For the Girls" and is this just the second time we've heard a country song in the Top 36? I think so. She is cute and blond and does a decent job. She could be another dark horse for the Top 12.

Jorge Nunez picks Elton John's "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me." I predict that Jorge will be the third selected from Group C to move on to the Top 12. He has the Latino vote nailed down and he's cute. What more does he need? Oh yeah, he sings pretty good too...

And, as usual, "Idol" saves the best for last. In this case, Lil Rounds singing Mary J's "Be Without You." She's freaking amazing. She sounds like she is already a professional. "Brilliant," says Simon. Randy says she is one of the best of the season, Kara calls her a power house and Paula said she is first class.

So who's in? I predict Lil Rounds, Scott MacIntyre and Jorge Nunez. I would put Ju'Not in the wild card along with Kendall Beard and Felicia Barton. Who will move on? We'll see in less than an hour!!

Bad AI recapper, bad!

I regret to inform you all that I fell asleep at 8:30 PM last night. What does that mean? I didn't watch the Group C performances :-( I pledge to watch them and have a recap up tonight before the results show finishes. I'm assuming last night's performances went very much like the past two weeks: a couple of good singers and the rest being really sucky. Did I hit the nail on the head? I also predicted last week that Lil Rounds would get the money spot (last).

I do want to take this blog time to reiterate how unhappy I am with this year's format. I have to rank the Top 12 for the AI pools I participate in shortly and I won't have as much exposure to them this season as in season's past. Usually we get to see them perform for at least 4 weeks in a row before the Top 12 are announced. Now we get one week's exposure (outside of auditions that are heavily edited). That's not enough time for me to pick with any kind of accuracy the true AI stars. Looks like this season could be a crapshoot!

What do the rest of you think about the format?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A big baby or perhaps going early?

DH and I had our last ultrasound this morning. She's still a girl :-) and apparently is at 6 pounds 12 ounces and already has some hair. I think I can see the hair on her ultrasound picture which is very cool. My doctor said that she's definitely big if I'm really at 36 weeks 3 days so I'm probably farther along than that. I suspected as much seeing as I've been measuring ahead all along and my due date had been shifted out a week at my first ultrasound.

Of course now my expectations are that I will go early and I'm going to be even more impatient for the next 3+ weeks to go by. I also found out I'm negative for the GSB test and didn't gain any weight from my last appointment. Yay! Talk about a great appointment. Now if only they had a cure for those stretch marks that seem to be multiplying...

DH and I are meeting with a pediatrics practice this evening and another next week. We also have an infant CPR class (DH's idea) tomorrow and breast feeding class on Saturday. And somewhere along the way we need to squeeze in an appointment for the car seat check/installation and packing the bags for the hospital. March really is the month of the baby!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

March will hopefully be the month of the baby

Happy March 1st, everyone.

4 weeks to go! True, the estimated due date is just that but I am hopeful that the baby will decide March is a much better month to come than April. Not to insult April as a birthday month - mine is on April 6th. I'm just looking forward to being a mom!

According to my weekly pregnancy newsletter the little one should be about 6 pounds by now. However, my family history would indicate that my baby is probably a little smaller. DH and I are going to our final ultrasound on Tuesday so we'll see what the estimate of the baby's weight is then. Although those estimates tend to be extremely unreliable.

Perhaps the best news about being 36 weeks is that by the end of the week I will be considered full term. So if I go early for some reason there should be few (if any) issues with the baby.

My weekly newsletter also tells me that I should not be able to eat full sized meals any more because the baby is taking up so much room. My gorging at PF Chang's followed by Ben & Jerry's ice cream last night doesn't lend credence to that.

My biggest complaint is that I am very uncomfortable by the end of the day at work. So I've started working from home a couple of days a week. It allows me to stretch out on the couch if I need it and not feel like I'm smooshing the baby.