Tuesday, May 5, 2009

our 3 pound meatball?!

we had our 28 week ultrasound today. the bad new is: no pictures. they just wanted to measure all of his mini-parts to see how he's growing. the good new is: he's still perfect.

the doc estimated his weight at this point to be 1.4 kilos (3 lbs)! that's quite a bit more than i expected at 28 weeks. i'm hoping that the timing is off and he's older... or he's gonna be one big baby! all of his measurements were in the "maximum" range, so we'll see...

we'll have our next ultrasound on june 9th... stay tuned.

grow baby, grow!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

anniversaries, babies, and the acropolis

so for our fourth anniversary, we decided to go to Rhodes, Greece... of the the Greek islands in the Agean sea. it's just south of Turkey, in fact, we could see the mountains of Turkey from our hotel.

this is also our last trip before baby zac's arrival in july. i'm now 7 months pregnant, and we feel it's safer to stick around home from this point on.

our hotel was okay, but the pools were incredible. and the views of the agean sea and the turkish mountains was amazing. it was very windy on our side of the island, which made it a bit cooler in the day. we got some great restaurant recommendations, and had some great meals. the feta and olives were amazing, and jeff fully enjoyed the Mythos beer.

we went into the old walled town of Rhodes one afternoon, and did some shopping and had dinner. we picked up some fun mother's day gifts. we had dinner at a restaurant where jeff had a boot beer... you'll have to see the pics to believe it. it was hilarious watching him trying to drink it. at the end the waiter brought him some kind of greek liquor shot, and jeff was pretty loaded by the time we headed home. we also had some delicious backlava with ice cream. the town dates back to 2nd century B.C. and the wall was added in the mideveal period by a group of knights who had taken over the city.

another afternoon we took a bus into the town of Lindos, on the other side of the island (thankfully, it wasn't as windy on that side). the ride was neat, we saw lots of rams and goats roaming the hillsides, and lots of breathtaking views of cliffs and the sea.

the town of Lindos is very picturesque, with white buildings and the acropolis at the top of a huge hill. the only way up is on foot, or by donkey. some of the donkey's would protest if the didn't want to make the climb, it was very funny to watch. jeff and i climbed to the top ourselves. the views of the acropolis were increcible, and the views of the town from the acropolis were equally impressive. we did a bit more shopping, picking up some ceramics and a painting for ourselves.

enjoy the pics!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

easter in gothenburg

we were invited by Lars and Ebba (lars is an old college friend of jeff's... he's from here in gothenburg) to their house on the lake for and easter smorgasbord. the table was beautiful and the food was great. there were some traditional swedish holiday foods (herring and meatballs) and lots of other great things. the quiche (they call it 'paj' pronounced 'pie') was exceptional. but nothing beat the company. Lars and Ebba are great, and we look forward to spending more time with them.

we learned a lot about the swedish easter traditions. easter is not a religious holiday in sweden. it is customary to have friday and monday off work, and most stores are closed during this time. many swedes have summer homes, and easter weekend is traditionally the first trip to them. the holiday weekend starts on thursday, when the kids dress up like witches and go door-to-door exchanging homemade cards for candy. (sounds a bit like halloween, huh?). the legend is that all of the witches went to hell on that day. the big family feast is on saturday, easter eve, not on sunday. the big feast will feature typical swedish holiday foods, and schnapps. check out the pics!

friends, food, shopping and one crazy hailstorm

we had our first trip home (to the U.S.) from march 25th thru april 5th. it was one of our top 5 fave trips. we got to spend a night in philly, and i said good-bye to my cardiologist. (once we move to north carolina, i'll have a new one). we celebrated 40 years of antonio, saw all the mack kids, and spent some time catching up with chris and anna-lena. the millers provided deluxe, all-inclusive accomodations... as well as some good laughs. we really miss them. baby ben entertained us at breakfast with the woodruffs, and we met the people who bought our old house. a dear friend from NYC came to visit, and altough it was too short, i really appreciated seeing her. we ate all our favorite foods, shopped till we dropped for baby zac, and watched my belly grow by the day. there was an incredible hailstorm one night, golfball size hail! some beautiful weather and some bad, but nothing could have dampened our spirits... we realized how great we had it and enjoyed living our old life for the week.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Barcelona and Baby Boys

so many of you know, we managed to get to Barcelona, Spain for Jeff's 33rd birthday. we spent 4 days in a fabulous hotel near Playa Catalunya. the weather for the first 2 days was incredible... it was such a treat to leave the airport and start peeling off the layers. the first full day in barcelona we spent most of the day even without jackets. quite a nice break from the grey, cold gothenburg winter. the last 2 days were much cooler, and misty (even though there was only a 10% chance of rain.)

we did a bus tour, saw lots of the city sights, and ate LOTS AND LOTS of tapas. yum, yum, yum. for jeff's birthday dinner we went to a nice tapas restaurant. tapas (i think) translates to "small plates". the tapas menus had around 80 items to choose from, and most people choose 3 tapas. they come as appetizer portions on small plates, and in courses. they also have tapas dessert menus. there are some pics of our tapas plates in the slideshow.

the highlights were LA PADRERA, one of architecht Gaudi's apartment buildings. if tim burton and dr. suess had a child, and that child grew to become an architect, it would be Gaudi. he's famous for organic curves, and no straight lines. at the top of the building is an amazing sculpture garden with great views of the city. we also made a trip to LA SAGRIDA FAMILIA, a church started by Gaudi, and still under construction. unfortunately, we got there too late to go in, but the outside is incredible. i've never seen a church so big! the third big thing we saw was LAS RAMBLAS. it's a shopping street that leads to the harbor, and it's full of very "colorful people". people selling everything from birds to artwork on the streets. also lots of street performers. the noisiest spot was definately the drag parlor. so fun.

when we got back, we had our mid-pregnancy ultrasound. the pediatric cardiologist checked the babies heart and found that it is perfectly normal. great news! the dr. performing the rest of the ultrasound also said that the rest of the baby's anatomy looks absolutely perfect. the biggest news: IT'S A BOY!!!! we're mid-way thru the pregnancy now, and can't wait to meet our son.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

my first international heart check-up

so as a precaution for my pregnancy, i was referred to a achd (here they call them GUCH - grown ups with congential heart defects) card for a 17 week check-up. he did an ekg and an echo, and all looks great. my heart is responding well to the pregnancy and my new valve doesn't seem to be affected at all.

he will see me again at 30 weeks, and at that point he, my high-risk OB, and an anesthesiologist will meet to discuss how to proceed with labor and delivery. the good news is that my heart condition will not likely be any concern. other than a big fat dose of antibiotics, but hey - who am i to complain? my shortness of breath, dizzy spells and arrythymias are just pregnancy issues, not heart issues. great news.

the truly amazing thing is the socialized healthcare system that is in place in sweden. i've heard many things about how difficult socialized systems can be, but from my experience, it's some of the best care i've ever recieved... and it's free!

you don't get to choose your docs, you're just assigned to your neighboor hood clinics unless you need to see a specialist. but i get notices in the mail for my appt times and where to be, and that's it. i show up, get great care, and leave. it's all extremely efficient. for some specialists (achd included) there is a $10 copay. however, no patient can pay more than $100 in copays per year. so if you hit that max, then even your specialist copays are free.

this turned into a bit of a rant, but when are we going to get our heads our of our asses in the U.S. and offer this kind of care to EVERYONE?! FOR FREE!!!!

anyway, we have an ultrasound with a pediatric cardiologist in 2 weeks to make sure the baby's heart is developing normally... but other than that i've had a very uneventful pregnancy so far. we also have a normal mid-pregnancy ultrasound that week, and we're hoping to find out if we're having a Zack or a Zoe.

OH! and i'm starting to feel our little peanut moving. a little everyday. so cool!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Shannon's Birthday

What a great birthday I had! The day started w/jeff cleaning the apt. for me before i got up... neat. Then i made myself waffles in my new waffle maker and headed out to lunch. I met my trainer Charlotte for lunch at my favorite lunch spot, Condecco. She bought be a beautiful carrot cake from one of the local bakeries.

After a nap, Jeff and i headed to the Pasta Haus, a really yummy pasta place near us. when we got there, our friends Valby, Gustav and Lena were already there. Jeff had surprised me... i thought it was just going to be the two of us. After a great meal, we all headed back to our place for carrot cake and tea.

Valby, Gustav and Lena sang happy birthday in swedish and added their "hoorah, hoorah, hoorah" at the end. It was very charming... thanks guys!