Tara Tiger Brown


just prowling around

My Personal Blog

I have tried and tried to get the domain tarabrown.com and it’s just not happening. The owner seems to want to park it on that elephant killer domain registrar GoDaddy.com indefinitely.

Alas, I purchased taratigerbrown.com. My posts are there.

Be sure to read my posts about women in tech on Forbes. blogs.forbes.com/tarabrown/


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Pregnancy: 28 weeks 12/06/09

Tara Brown Pregnant 28 weeksThis is it, my third and final trimester. BB is putting on weight and finalizing his lung and brain development to enter the world of LOLCats.

He’s been super active these past few days and I can’t for the life of me figure out what’s a foot vs. hand or a head vs. a bootie. I came across this site Spinning Babies and it explains Belly Mapping so moms can figure out how their baby is positioned. I plan on doing a video of my belly mapping when I’m further along. My Midwife told me that it will be easier to do when he’s a bit bigger. She confirmed my suspicion that he is heads down because he loves to kick my ribs and punch my bladder.

Sean and I found a great, no, amazing book – “Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care 8th Edition” by Benjamin Spock, M.D. and updated and revised by Robert Needleman, M.D. It’s very important that you get the updated version because the last edition was from 10 years ago. It’s practical and to the point and fits very well with our child rearing philosophies.

I mentioned that I saw a Midwife. After much contemplation, I transferred to the Midwives at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood. It took me awhile to make the decision because I have a very competent doctor who has been highly recommended and works out of UCLA Santa Monica which is also highly recommended. Ultimately when having to decide between two good hospitals, I decided I needed to choose the one that was going to give me the best chance at my most optimal natural birthing experience.

After all my friends told me to stop being a whimp about singing to BB, I have been thinking a lot about different songs I want to sing. I read that you should choose 3 or 4 songs and sing them over and over again. This of course means that I need to choose songs that I’m not going to hate once he is born and have easy lyrics. No one hates John Lennon, so another song that I can sing to BB is “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy).” Of course it’s ironic that he is singing about his son Sean and that is the name of my husband.

Close your eyes,
Have no fear,
The monsters gone,
He’s on the run and your daddy’s here,

Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful Boy,

Before you go to sleep,
Say a little prayer,
Every day in every way,
It’s getting better and better,

Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful Boy,

Out on the ocean sailing away,
I can hardly wait,
To see you to come of age,
But I guess we’ll both,
Just have to be patient,
Yes it’s a long way to go,
But in the meantime,

Before you cross the street,
Take my hand,
Life is just what happens to you,
While your busy making other plans,

Beautiful, beautiful,
Beautiful Boy,
Darling Sean.

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Pregnancy: 27 weeks 11/29/09

27 weeks pregnantAccording to all the expert pregnancy sites, BB can hear pretty well now and I’m supposed to sing or talk to him. I do talk to him but I don’t want to subject him to my singing, so…I started making a playlist. It has some hiphop, rock, etc., but I figured I’ll start out with some more soothing music.

I really like The Dixie Chick’s “Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)” and always thought if I had a baby boy that I would play it. As I’m typing this I have the headphones on my belly. He is moving around a little bit, not sure if he likes it or is protesting. 😀

Dragon tales and the “water is wide”
Pirate’s sail and lost boys fly
Fish bite moonbeams every night
And I love you

Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
Sweet dreams

The rocket racer’s all tuckered out
Superman’s in pajamas on the couch
Goodnight moon, we’ll find the mouse
And I love you

Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
Sweet dreams

God bless mommy and match box cars
God bless dad and thanks for the stars
God hears “amen” wherever we are
And I love you

Godspeed, little man
Sweet dreams, little man
Oh my love will fly to you each night on angels wings
Sweet dreams

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Pregnancy: 26 weeks 11/22/09

I have spent this weekend in New York celebrating my 35th birthday. It marks a couple of milestones for me – it means I’m going to be an “old mom” as 35 is considered over the hill in the world of pregnancy. That is why I was put in the high risk category despite not having any unusual issues. This is also my last week in my second trimester which is supposed to be your best trimester and the time to get all your traveling in. I won’t be doing any traveling in my third. I have started to tire easily (I have anemia) and breathing is a bit harder (all my innards are scrunched together) so I think I need to just buckle down and rest. As much as I’m excited for Baby Bonner to get here, after witnessing a bunch of adorable but incredibly high energy 1 and 2 year olds running around and their parents barely keeping up, I realized that I really do need to cherish these last moments to myself and with Sean.

Tara at babycakes in New York

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Pregnancy: 22-25 weeks 11/15/09

SIX MONTHS PLUS!!!!! It feels like just yesterday that I wasn’t pregnant at all! I haven’t blogged for about a month because I didn’t really have anything exciting to talk about. I still don’t really, but this is supposed to be like a journal because apparently pregnancy brain will cause me to lose all memories of this time. Souris said to me yesterday that I should start losing my mind any day now…I already have. I paid my doula with a check from an account I haven’t had for more than 6 months. Owch.

22 Weeks Pregnant

24 Weeks Pregnant

25 Weeks Pregnant


  • Sean and I came up with a name that we are pretty excited about and we call BB it all the time in private but won’t share with the world until he arrives. Why? Because you all are critical dicks. Kidding. Sorta.
  • I started playing tag with BB. He punches or kicks then I press my fingers into that spot and he punches me again. OK, maybe not tag per say but I have managed to get him to do it 5 times in a row. I can actually feel him moving with my fingers now, not just little pops. It kinda creeped me and Sean out at first, but now it’s just so fun!
  • I was horrified to learn that my innie belly button might become an outtie! Already I can see right into it like a worm hole. I have never had such a view of it. Much easier to clean now!
  • I have been getting some pretty bad cramps in my calves and puffiness in my legs and hands. I am combatting it by drinking OJ, eating bananas, taking a drink with magnesium and calcium, drinking Smart Water with electrolytes and trying to stretch. 
  • Let’s just say that I will never again take for granted bending over to put on socks and shoes. OMG. I have to pretend to be a Flamingo with my leg bent sideways to put them on unless I can get in a chair and even then I have to hike my leg up.
  • Doc told me this week that I need to slow down my weight gain…that it was easy to just give up and let myself go.  I was not pleased with this comment…I mean I do walk my dog almost every day, I swim and do  yoga.  I probably could cut down on my Chai Latte consumption, but come on, my activity has definitely decreased with not being able to ride a bike to work anymore (I rode Sean’s globe the other day to work and it took an hour).  It kind of depressed me, so I guess I just need to try and eat better and less. Or maybe go on a diet like I heard some pregnant ladies do in LA. Kidding!


I found this funny pic that I made on the RoutanBabyMaker3000 site. I’ll have to remember to compare when the real deal arrives and see how accurate the rendering is.


I wanted to share some learnings with anyone that cares. Just a few little tidbits:

  • Buy maternity pants and jeans that have an elastic band that goes all the way over your belly or ensure the band is soft. I bought some Motherhood Jeans and they cut into me and I hate them!!! Hate hate hate!
  • My friend Leena who is having her baby girl right around when BB is due recommends Gap and Navy Online clothes for the budget conscience.  I also mentioned this site before http://pacingthepanicroom.blogspot.com because they show what American Apparel clothing can double as maternity wear.
  • Bras – this has been a major pain for me because I have humungous boobs and I hate spending $70 on a bra every month when they seem to grow another size larger. I have found that bras with underwires are causing me issues so I purchased some without. They are OK, but don’t give me the support I need. I think those bra extenders are your friends to help relieve the issues with the underwire. My fave bras so far are Elle Macpherson and Warners
  • Go and tour at least two hospitals that you can deliver in and do it at least 3 months before you are due.  Some require pre-registration.  It’s a lot less stressful to know where to park and which elevator to take, etc.  Also check with you insurance company to make sure they cover the hospital you want to deliver in and understand what is covered.  Some insurance doesn’t cover circumcision and if it’s not covered some hospitals won’t do it.

maternity rates

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Pregnancy: 21 weeks 10/18/09

Tara Brown - 21 Weeks PregnantLast week caused a big change for me in how I think about being pregnant and my connection with our baby. At our 20 week ultrasound we found out that Baby Bonner (BB) is in fact Baby BOY Bonner (B3). Neither Sean nor I had any preference about the gender, although my Mum had intuition it was a girl and proved it by sending down a plasma TV sized box of all my baby dresses.

On Wednesday we were sitting in one of the patient rooms at the doctor’s office with the ultrasound machine checking out all the buttons. I noticed the 3D and 4D buttons and we were prepared to give it a go because it’s just a computer and we know how to work those. Just as I was about to press a button, the machine operator, Dr. Blumenfeld entered the room. He asked us separately if we wanted to know the baby’s sex and we both eagerly nodded our heads and firmly said “yes!”

Baby Tiger HatHe put the goo on my stomach and my heart started pounding. Just like at my last ultrasound I started to get nervous that he would find something wrong with BB. He placed the wand on my belly and I held my breath. He moved it around a little bit and said, “it’s a boy!” I kinda choked and replied “it’s a boy?!” I was actually not surprised, it was more like a confirmation of something I felt like I already knew. We had been saying “he” when referring to BB and I think I just had some sort of feeling. I couldn’t see Sean’s face but I knew that he was excited to hear that he was going to have a mini Sean. The doctor continued the ultrasound for at least 30 more minutes. It was way more intense that what you see on TV, he wasn’t able to see part of BB’s heart and so he dug that wand into me with both hands trying to move him around to get a better view. It was so painful and many times I wanted to ask him to stop but I decided that knowing my little dude was healthy outweighed my temporary discomfort.

Baby BonnerAfter the exam he said everything was perfect and he didn’t need to see us again for another ultrasound because he saw everything he needed to see. What a relief! He printed out the 3D pic of BB’s face and a few of his mini-man parts and one of his tiny feet. As you can see from the pic, if you know Sean, he really does look like him.

After we left the doctor’s office and we were sitting in the car I asked Sean what he thought about having a mini Sean, he had a little grin and he said slight relief because having a boy was a little less stressful than having a girl. Now whenever I say mini Sean he gets a little smile and I think he has visions of playing with toys, riding bikes, shooting guns and getting tattoos with his kid. Of course most of those things will happen after the age of 18. 🙂

Sean’s Mum is visiting us this weekend and brought us a couple of his baby blankets, a mobile and other precious items that she has been saving. I just can’t believe that both her and my Mum saved these items for 34 years. It’s pretty touching.

Now that we know it’s a boy I all of a sudden have this extra connection that I didn’t have before. “It” is now a “he.” The little guy is a little person in there getting bigger and stronger every day. We don’t have a name for him yet, I think that’s going to be a very very difficult decision. I also don’t think I want to tell anybody which names we like because everyone has an opinion and are less likely to share it after the baby is born.

B3 is now starting to wake me up in the morning with his exercise routine. I think he likes to first stretch out his legs, then his arms, give a few kicks and punches and then practice his somersaults. I have also really noticed how much the food I eat affects how quickly he starts to move around and the amount of energy he exudes. This morning we had waffles for breakfast and I had some Knott’s Berry Farm Boysenberry syrup. Right after I finished eating he was the most active he has ever been, must have been the high fructose corn syrup that got him all riled up.

I started reading a blog by Teresa Strasser from the Adam Corolla Show and it’s my absolute favorite. She has brought real humor to some very difficult times during her pregnancy. I found her blog because I was looking up weight gain and was worried that I was gaining too much as according to all the pregnancy books I read. I gained 2 pounds this past week and I have now gained a total of 14 pounds. This is still within what the books say is “normal” but if I continue to gain 2 pounds a week that means I will gain 38 more pounds and that seems out of control. Teresa and many others who commented on her posts basically made me realize that the people that write those books must be using the skinny catwalk models as their references because not everyone is the same.

I was actually more worried about B3 because the doc told us he weighs a pound now and the books say that the baby should weight around 10.5 oz. The doc didn’t have any concern when he told us the weight so I’m not sweating bullets but I also know that babies that get too big can have medical issues. I know I know I need to stop worrying. I just want everything to be A-OK.

As for little old me, I am feeling pretty good except for some breathing issues. Sometimes I can’t get into a good enough position to feel like I’m getting enough oxygen in. It’s pretty scary. I have also noticed that my lower legs are getting a bit swollen by the end of the day if I have done a lot of standing. Nothing alarming, just noticed.

That’s about it for this week, the countdown is on, 19 weeks to go!

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Pregnancy: 20 weeks 10/11/09

20 weeks pregnantHalf way there. w00t! Today I’m 5 months pregnant and have a short 5 more months to go. Actually, it seems like a hell of a long time to go but everyone tells me that it will go fast. Apparently I’m supposed to start gaining a pound a week. My math is not great, but I think that means that I’m supposed to gain 20 pounds? What? So far I’ve gained about 11 pounds, which is within reason, but I’ve also been a bit lazy about exercising and I need to get on that. I’m totally OK with gaining weight, but I need to try and stay toned and not all flabby!

seanbonner funstonThis past week I learned two new things about Sean. The first thing I learned from his Mom was that he was born just a teensy weensy little guy at 5 lbs 9oz. How cute! He weighed less than Funston!! Can you imagine? This also thrilled me to death because I think I was about 7 lbs so I hope that the birth weight of the parents is an indication of how big their kid will be. I haven’t researched into this very much but that’s what I’m going to believe.

seanbonner luckycatThe second thing I learned is that Sean has never held a baby. I wasn’t very surprised and he seems to think that holding Lucky Cat is plenty practice. I learned from an internet friend that her husband “caught” the baby when it was born but I don’t think that would be the best time for Sean to hold our kid for the first time. Or maybe, it will be a good first bonding experience. 😀

Having a kid means you need a lot of support before and after. I do have a couple of very supportive friends in the area but I don’t want to be a big burden on them so I joined the Venice Moms Group and they are my favorite new Internet friends! I posted a question asking if anyone had given birth with the Midwives at UCLA Westwood and I received a multitude of responses. Everyone was so thoughtful and supportive. It would not have been this easy to get this kind of valuable feedback without the Internet. Thank you Interwebs!!

13 year old fatherI’m really excited for this week because it’s BIG! We get our 3D ultrasound on Wednesday and fingers crossed we learn the gender of BB. I can’t wait! We also interview two more doulas and will make a choice on who is going to coach us on this crazy baby business. Maybe she will convince Sean to practice holding a doll or something, I mean, if a 13 year old can do it

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Pregnancy: 19 weeks 10/04/09

I’m almost at the half way point! Apparently pregnancy lasts 40 weeks which is 10 months not 9. Where did the 9 months ever come from?19 weeks pregnant

The last week has been a major eye opener for me. Sean and I watched the documentary “The Business of Being Born” and and my idea of birthing has completely changed 180 degrees. I have never really thought too much about “options” when it comes to having a baby, I just figured you have contractions, go to the hospital, get put in a wheelchair, fill out some paperwork, get wheeled to your hospital room, hop onto the hospital bed, get an epidural, and push and scream until the kid pops out. I bet I’m in the majority thinking that’s the way it is done, I mean we all see it done like that on TV and in the movies. Well, after watching the documentary, reading some articles on the topic and speaking to some doulas over the phone, I have come to realize that is the way doctors and insurance companies want you to do it but not the best way of doing it for the mother or the baby.

Once you get to the hospital, you are put on a schedule and if you don’t follow that schedule they start pumping you full of drugs to move you along. Those drugs put stress on the baby who is no longer on his natural schedule and all of a sudden a cesarean is needed because everything is out of whack. In addition because of insurance, in most hospitals mothers have to give birth in the hospital bed which is not the most natural way to give birth because it puts pressure on the pelvic region. Also if you think about it, it makes much more sense to deliver in a vertical position to let gravity do some of the work. Even in the case of an epidural, you are all of a sudden paralyzed from the waist down and can’t move around, and on top of that you can’t feel anything so you are more prone to tearing and other post birthing pain because you couldn’t feel anything to try and prevent it.

I have gone from a birth plan of showing up at the hospital, getting an epidural and letting the nurses and doctor deliver my baby to wanting to deliver my baby with a midwife at home. Unfortunately I’m not sure that delivering at home is an option for me because of insurance (even though it costs $4000-6000 compared to $20,000 in the hospital). I found out about UCLA Westwood that has a staff of midwives and I plan to tour that facility and speak to them. All of the doulas I have spoken to said that the most pleasant and happy births they have attended were at that hospital with the midwives. The nice thing is that you do get peace of mind where if a doctor is needed for intervention they are close by as opposed to having to travel to the hospital quickly if something goes wrong.

So my new plan is to work with a doula before, during and after the birth and have a midwife work with us during the birth. You might wonder why I want a doula. Neither Sean nor I have any family in LA and are both out of touch with how to care for a baby. I also want to work with someone on techniques like hypnotherapy and massage to be able to deliver naturally. A doula will help you prepare for the birth, be with you when the contractions start, take you to the hospital, stay with you through the whole birth and help you through it, help you start breastfeeding and then visit you at home to help with things like giving the first bath. I have researched that people who work with doulas have a higher success rate of natural births than those that don’t. I have also spoken to friends, both men and women, who have worked with a doula and said that they couldn’t have done it without them. Today Sean and I interviewed our first doula and really like her. It turns out that she worked with Shepard and Amanda Fairey on both their births which was good news to Sean because they are good friends of his. We have plans to interview two more doulas but I already like the first one so I might just commit to her. I think one of the most important things is to click with your doula because she will be with you for one of the most important times in your life.

As for BB, I posted a week ago that we felt the baby kicking or punching or headbutting us on the outside which was a total thrill. I didn’t think it would be so soon or where my stomach used to be…I thought it would be lower but I guess my stomach and intestines are squished towards the back now. When I feel it, it feels like a little “Pop!” Sometimes there are a bunch in a row or just one or two. BB is more active after I eat, they say that’s because the baby gets energy from the food and a good reminder that what you eat is affecting your kid.

About the same time that we could feel the baby kick on the outside, Funston started to become very clingy. I thought it was my imagination but Sean has also noticed that the little dude doesn’t want to leave my side. I was wondering if this was going to happen a couple of posts ago and I guess he can just sense something even more now. I haven’t noticed a change in Lucky Cat except she still insists on stepping on my belly every time she tries to go from one side of me to the other. Owch!

I had to break down and buy a couple pairs of maternity pants. I was actually quite upset about it but the Motherhood store had them for pretty cheap and I’m pretty desperate for a pair of jeans to wear now that it’s getting colder. I’ve had a hard time with bras because I already need some more, but they are expensive and I don’t want to have to keep buying them. The lady at Motherhood said to buy some without underwires but I’m not sure I’ll feel very supported. Sigh.

This week the baby is the size of an heirloom tomato. Last week it was a bell pepper. I never really put the two veggies side by side to really compare the difference but I’m pretty sure the kid is a bit bigger this week then last week.


Lastly I should mention that Sean and I plan on buying everything second hand. It seems that many baby items are used very few times and it seems more economical to not buy new. We plan on passing these items along to someone else (using Neighborgoods) when we are done. If you have any baby stuff for sale, we haven’t purchased a single thing yet.

Thanks for reading. Until next week!

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I felt Baby Bonner move on the outside!

At 11:15pm today I started feeling baby Bonner move around, but more like popping so I felt my belly and felt it with my hand. I put Sean’s hand on my belly and he felt it too. He then told me he felt it last nite when we were sleeping. Awwwww so sweet he felt it first. 🙂

Filed under: Uncategorized

Pregnancy: 18 weeks 09/27/09

I didn’t post week 16 or 17 because I was on vacation and OK, a tad lazy. Sean, Jason and I went to SE Asia (Hong Kong, Singapore, and Bangkok). I felt pretty good the whole time despite the heat and humidity. There was tons of good food to eat everywhere, but I didn’t stuff my face because I was pretty stopped up still which really sucked.

My Mum was really worried that I would blow up like a balloon on the plane or in the heat but I didn’t have a problem. I just made sure to drink lots of liquids and move around the plane frequently on the 14 hour flights.

Somewhere between LA and Hong Kong I’m pretty sure I felt Baby Bonner move for the first time. I can see why first 16 weekstime Mums can confuse it with gas (cuz we get lots of it!). Since then I feel something at least once a day. It feels kind of like a little fish swimming in my tummy. It starts and stops pretty quickly. I can’t wait to feel the movement on the outside so Sean can feel it.

We did a ton of walking on our trip and I really noticed how quickly I would get out of breath when walking up flights of stairs. I also found it difficult to stand for any period of time. When we got home I rode my bike a bit and it was so uncomfortable on my butt and my lower back. It makes me sad because I really love my bike but unless I get some big cushy seat I think I’ll have to stop riding or get another cruiser bike (mine was stolen).

17 weeksThese past few days my belly has been looking more round and pregnant as opposed to just fat and mushy which pleases me, it just looks better with clothes and I feel better about myself. I totally get the whole I need to gain weight thing, but a few years ago I got a little chunky and I worked hard to lose weight and I really don’t want to get back to that place again so I’m trying to watch what I eat and stay healthy.

Related, my new obsession is perusing Google images for photos of women the same number of weeks as me so I can see if I’m “normal” or “too huge.” I know that everyone is different but I don’t want to be godzilla prego lady.

18 weeksI haven’t had any cravings these days, although I started drinking soda in SE Asia, which is strange because I’m not a big soda drinker and I’ve felt like it more and more since then. Not a good habit to get into, plus having soda with real sugar kicks so much ass on high fructose corn syrup.

Last week we heard the heartbeat – 145 and on Oct. 14th we have our 3D ultrasound appt and I hope we also learn the sex. We (or at least I) have a name for a girl but boys are hard. Plus with the last name Bonner I’m paranoid about the poor kid being called “boner” so I want to ensure the first name doesn’t cause any additional jokes.

I need to sign off so I can buy some maternity jeans and a bathing suit. I was literally popping out of my suit on vacation and I need to get back to swimming.

Until next week…

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