Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It's a date! ... Probably ... maybe ... well, we'll see.

I am now about 37 1/2 weeks pregnant. 40 weeks is what they use to determine due date but 37 is considered full term (when the baby is developed enough to be unlikely to need any intensive care post-birth) but it's not unusual to go past your due date by a week or even more.

So we're in a sort of limbo period.

I had a punch list of things I wanted to get done once on leave:
  • go through old baby stuff in the basement and replace anything that was old (or missing) and set up the cradle in our room
  • clean out the baby's room closet (which had become a storage closet)
  • sort through and organize Nate's toys to get rid of gross or broken toys
  • set up the play yard (AKA Pack 'n Play) somewhere downstairs to be a downstairs changing table and napping area
  • get Nate a new dresser so we can convert his dresser back into a changing table
  • winterize the back yard 
We have all but the last 2 and the dresser is coming tomorrow.  So then the baby can come and we'll be all set for him.  

Of course, we are also pushing our luck a bit by having scheduled a couple nights in or out coming up.  This Saturday we're having friends over for dinner.  They were supposed to come at the end of September, but that's when I found myself in the hospital for a night and then home but on bed rest for 5 days, so we rescheduled. Then on Nov. 3rd we're going over to other friends for our annual "Friendsgiving" dinner. :)

So the baby can come anytime after Nov. 4th.

Because I don't know if he's coming tomorrow or in 4 weeks, I'm hesitant to buy any more maternity clothing, even though I'm down to 4 longer-sleeved maternity tops and one has a big stain on it.  I can't even really wear my short-sleeved tops with a sweater because they're all now too short!

But really, of course, he can come any time and we're all set.  You don't need much for the first couple weeks of babies and we have all that and more.  So bring it on, baby!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday night, time to go to work tomorrow ... ha ha, not this Sunday!

I am officially on maternity leave!

My co-admins, engineers and my boss managed to keep a surprise shower from me for a whole week. It made it tough for them because I can see about 10 calendars at work, so even if they made the event private, I would still be able to see it. :)  But they pulled it off and I was legitimately surprised. It was fun!

Today was Nate's birthday party and we had a lot of fun.  Curious Creatures came and did a show with 10 different animals (skunk, corn snake, boa constrictor, sugar gliders, tree frog, tortoise, chinchilla, tarantula, bearded dragon and alligator).

I made a skunk cake, on Nate's request.  It's not the most professional-looking cake in the world, but Nate liked it, and that's the important part.

Now the baby can come. Though he's not due for 4 weeks so we'll see. I have lots of things I'd like to take care of before he's born, but we have most of what we need, so it would be okay if he comes sooner.

Tomorrow Jen and I have 3 hours together when Nate's at preschool.  We may go have breakfast. :)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

What I did on my summer vacation

My two-week vacation is over. It was really nice.

We went to Lubec, Maine for the first week.

View from the beach behind the house we rented.

Nate loving walking along the beach throwing rocks.

We visited the easternmost point of the U.S.

Went on a whale watch and saw whales and an eagle's nest

and seals.

We got lobsters.

Went to Canada.

Went on many hikes, including our favorite to Hamilton Cove

Where we attempted a family photo.

The second week I just stayed at home.

I pitted 3 pounds of cherries

and made a cherry pie.

We went to the beach.

I used our zucchini bounty to make a zucchini cake with a lemon glaze.

Used up the last of the cherries in some home made cherry ice cream.

Worked on several organization projects including moving Nate into his new room.

I also made crème brûlée today and a loaf of brioche bread. We actually have no eggs left for the first time since we got our chickens. :)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Um, no, it's not twins.

When people see a pregnant woman, sometimes they say silly thing. And their sense if personal space goes away. It's kind of funny. 

Thursday I was told I had a cute baby bump. This is acceptable. I am not going to complain if someone tells me I look great. 

Please don't tell me after I tell you my due date is in 4 months that I look huge and ask if I'm having twins. For one thing, I'm not huge. In November you may tell me I look huge because I probably will be. 

Also don't tell me i don't look pregnant, even if I'm 6 weeks pregnant and don't. I probably think I do.  

If you're sitting on the T and I'm standing, by all means offer me your seat. I may not take it, but I appreciate your offer. Don't start up a conversation with me, a perfect stranger, about my due date and how I look great (I know, I JUST told our that's fine....if you know me...if you don't, how do you know how I look compared to normal) and continue to sit and not offer me your seat.

And if you don't know the person who is pregnant, you probably shouldn't just grab her belly. It may stick out further than normal but that doesn't mean you can touch it without asking.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

So THAT'S where my sweet tooth went

Remember when I said I had lost my sweet tooth?  Well I've found it.  It was waiting in my second trimester.  And specifically ice cream. Which is funny because normally I'm not a huge ice cream fan.  I'll eat it (who wouldn't?) but prefer brownies or cake or cookies.  And it's really really dangerous that we have a Dairy Queen with a Drive Thru about 1 minute down the road.  Or we can walk it in about 5.  Probably I should start walking it. :) Nate and I went through the DQ drive thru tonight. He was in his PJs and barefoot, I had my slippers on.  Maybe next time he and I will walk though I guess he'd at least need shoes.  I don't really feel like gaining 55 pounds again with this pregnancy and the 5-minute walk will definitely burn enough calories to compensate for the heath bar crunch blizzard I got tonight.

It would be pretty impressive to gain 55 pounds again this time since I've only gained 10 pounds so far and I'm in my 18th week.  I'd have to gain 45 pounds in 5 months!  Probably not impossible, but I'm not making that a goal.  I lost it all last time without much trouble, but I'm not going to count on that a second time.

Tomorrow we get to find out if it's a girl or a boy. As long as it cooperates.  With Nate we kept it a surprise and that was fun. But now I have boxes and boxes of boys clothes in the attic, and it would be nice to know if I can keep them all or if I should sort through for the more unisex ones and donate the rest.

I vote girl.

We'll see tomorrow.  (And I'll post a picture tomorrow. Jen's at work and I don't feel like taking an awkward mirror shot right now).

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ew, that smells gross.

Along with pregnancy can come a really useful useless superpower.  The super sense of smell!

But it doesn't seem to work for everything.  I still can't smell the litter box down in the basement when Jen claims she can.  But I can smell the disgusting deodorizer the steam cleaner used when he recently cleaned our living room couch.  And cat food! BLECH. Normally it doesn't bother me.

I don't think it's so much that my sense of smell is any better, I think it's just that scents that are usually background smells that don't make much of an impression suddenly do.

When I was pregnant with Nate, Jen once came home to find a plug-in air freshener, which had been in our living room, out in the entry way.  I may have thrown it there.

This time it's perfumey fragrances again but also the cat food.  And one night a couple weeks ago the smell of fresh bread combined with being a little hungry as I tried to fall asleep made it nearly impossible for me to actually fall asleep.

I'm 12 weeks pregnant now, so I'm hoping that the feeling sick and super sense of smell will start to diminish.  I cannot complain at all because I still haven't had to vomit and I don't feel too sick most of the time. And I've found that sparkling beverages are a pretty good cure for me.  So I'm drinking a lot of soda water. :) But it will be nice to not feel sick at all.

On another note, I finally had a totally sciatica pain-free day yesterday! I realized as I was doing my Saturday morning yoga class that the few poses that used to bug me were no longer painful! VERY exciting.  It's been nearly a year since the pain started.

Tuesday we have a 12-week ultrasound.  This baby is already more well photographed than Nate was and we still get the 18- or 20-week ultrasound as well.  That'll be the one when we find out if it's a boy or a girl, so you have to wait longer.   We've started talking about some names but aren't going to really start fighting over our favorites until we know.  It'll make it easier to settle on a few then.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ugh, I might just throw up on you right now.

By now you may have heard (especially if you've been pregnant or had a spouse that was pregnant) that "morning" sickness is a misnomer and that icky queasy feeling can hit at any time of the day.  The severity can vary greatly from women who never feel sick at all to those who have to be hospitalized to get IV fluids because they can't keep anything down.  I feel very lucky I'm somewhere in between.

I have not yet had to vomit.  Through either of my previous pregnancies.  Sometimes I wonder if I'd feel better if I did though.  I am generally totally fine in the morning.  I might be a little hungrier than normal when I wake up, but I grab a banana before I go to work and have a bigger breakfast at work. And I'm usually totally fine after that.  It's after lunch that I don't usually feel so hot.  Queasy. ALL AFTERNOON.  Actually, the last few days I've been okay in the afternoon but then feel really queasy after dinner.

I just asked a friend at work who I knew had vomited a bit while in her first trimester if it made her feel better. She said it did but then she had a really narrow window in which to eat something immediately afterwards. She got a little reprieve for a short period of time.

I just felt really sick.  I was thinking about heading up to bed (because in the morning I'll feel fine) but then I was also a little hungry and decided to make scrambled eggs.  They were delicious. And now I feel better.

I think I feel a little sicker this time around.  Should we do a pool for whether people think it's a girl or a boy before we get the big ultrasound when we'll find out?  The old wives' tale is that if your symptoms are the same, you'll have the same as the last one, if they're different, it's the opposite sex. Now, I've heard stories disproving that, but so far I'm a little sicker.  Supposedly if you're real sick it's more likely to be a girl.  Again, old wives' tale.  We're going with it's a girl because I'm feeling a little sicker. :)

Monday, April 2, 2012

I have a confession to make...

I'm pregnant!

I know, I know! About two years ago I promised transparency around our IUIs and everything. But we did 6 cycles over 8 months and it didn't work. And you know what? It was kind of annoying. :) Sorry, but it was! If I didn't blog about whether I got my period or not, I got IMs and Facebook messages asking if I was pregnant yet.

So we decided late last summer to give it one last go and I found a doctor close to us and we did 2 unsuccessful cycles using the same donor we used when we tried almost 2 years ago. The doctor was telling us maybe it was time to start thinking about other ways (besides IUI) of getting pregnant but I didn't really feel like going through IVF and we knew there are a lot of children out there who need families.

We were ready to go the adoption route and had even called DCF in Massachusetts to get on the list and get the ball rolling to adopt an older child but then decided to switch to a new donor and give it just one last try.

And what do you know? It worked! So now I'm 8 weeks pregnant. I know, I broke the 12-week rule.  But like I said in that original transparency post, we waited till 12 weeks and had a miscarriage at 17 1/2 weeks with our first pregnancy, so why bother waiting? I'm excited and impatient and so I want to tell everyone!

Plus, I'm having so many fun 1st trimester pregnancy symptoms that I thought it might be fun for some people to hear about it while it's going on instead of the "well when I was in my first trimester I ... blah blah blah" from someone 20 weeks pregnant.  I'll share some of those another time.  To tide you over until then, I give you:

The Top Ten Signs that Lauren is Pregnant

Her sweet tooth has totally disappeared.
She constantly says “I’m starving!” 
She makes scrambled eggs at 9pm. 
She goes to the bathroom every hour.
She eats cheese and hummus for snacks instead of yogurt raisins or MMs. 
She starts browsing maternity clothes websites constantly. 
She starts eating a ton of watermelon.
She says “no” to a glass of wine.
She cries at commercials and at E.T. even when she’s just listening to it from the kitchen as it plays in the family room.
She tells you.

It's a baby ... something ....

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A few of our favorite meals

As I was making dinner tonight and looking forward to eating it because it's one of our favorite meals, I decided that maybe I'd share them here because everyone needs some delicious and easy meal ideas!  And one thing all our favorite meals have in common is that they're pretty simple and easy to make.  Cliché perhaps, but sometimes it is the simple things that are the best.

First, tonight we had Escarole, Sausage and White Bean Stew from the giant yellow Gourmet cookbook.  I found the recipe online pretty much verbatim for you here, but I have a couple comments.  First of all, the recipe tells you to make this in a 12-inch skillet, but I think that's crazy. I use a dutch oven.  Much less chance of spilling things all over the stove when I'm stirring in the head of escarole. Also, I've used both sweet or hot Italian sausage in pork or chicken format but my favorite is the Garlic and Herb chicken sausage from Whole Foods (from their butcher counter).  And while I've certainly used grated parmesan, tonight I threw in a leftover rind I had when I added the broth and let that melt in. Mmmmm.  Make sure you have some chunks of crusty bread and you have your meal! (I used French bread from our bread machine. I love my bread machine).
(image from A Chow Life)

Another absolute favorite of ours -- so favorite that I made it on Valentine's Day and have made it as an anniversary meal -- is Eating Well's Lemon-Garlic Sardine Fettucine.  We just call it sardine pasta.  I know what you're probably thinking: "Sardines? With pasta? I'm not so sure about that!" I agree! That's what I thought! I have no idea what prompted me to actually go and make it.  And then we all loved it! You can use tuna instead of sardines, but I say go for the sardines. You may be surprised. And if you like sardines already, then you're going to love this. A few comments: I've used linguine or fettucine; there's not much of a difference in the end result. The quality of the sardine definitely makes a difference.  I use Trader Joe's boneless skinless in oil. I haven't been able to find the sardines in tomato that the recipe calls for -- if you don't use a version in tomato, do not forget to add the tomato paste (the directions for that is up in the little intro blurb to the recipe). That tomato flavor is a big component.  You can leave out the parsley (sometimes I don't have any on hand) but definitely do the toasted breadcrumb. It's worth dragging out the food processor to make the fresh breadcrumb. You can add a salad for some greenery to make it a meal, but sometimes we just split the whole recipe between the two of us (and Nate eats a small portion as well -- he loves it, too!)

(Image from Eating Well)

Two more to share!  Another Eating Well recipe, French Onion Beef Tenderloin, which I make with sirloin is really really satisfying.  I don't really have any comments about this one, it's pretty straightforward.  Add some green beans and serve with extra bread to eat up the extra onions and you're done.

(Image from Eating Well)

And the last one is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.  It's not exactly a recipe because it uses a frozen Trader Joe's product for the bulk of the meal and essentially has only three main ingredients.  Get Trader Joe's Fire-roasted Vegetables with Balsamic Butter Sauce, usually with the other frozen veggies in their freezer cases, some chicken breasts or thighs (I'd guess about a pound) and some frozen pre-cooked brown rice (or make it from scratch or use white, whatever, just eat it with rice).  Brown the chicken on both sides in a large skillet until it's cooked through and then set it aside.  Cook the veggies according to the package directions and then when it's nearly ready and everything's almost thawed, add the chicken back in (and any accumulated juices) and flip once or twice so it's coated.  When the veggies are done, you're done!  Serve over rice.

So there you have it.  Some of my family's favorite meals.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dinner! and also gay/lesbian actors

As you may know, we bought a side of grass-fed beef from Vermont Natural Beef this year.  We ordered it in early summer and picked it up in November.  No, we didn't get a whole, unbutchered side of cow. Instead we got 3 boxes full of more than 200 pounds of frozen beef, butchered to our specifications. A good portion of this was ground hamburger, just because that's what you get from a side of beef even when you get lots of steaks and roasts.  You can only make so many meat loaves, pots of chili and hamburgers, so I'm experimenting with other recipes using ground beef that I might not have otherwise made.  Tonight we had a quite delicious shepherd's pie.

But what I am really excited about it making all the variations of these homemade hamburger helper recipes I found.

But enough about food. My brother was visiting recently and casually mentioned that he was at a vaguely popular actor's house for a party and how Neil Patrick Harris and his husband were there with their twins and how cute the vaguely popular actor and his husband and their kids are.  And I sat up and said, "Wait what? Vaguely Popular Actor is gay?" I may not be the most in-the-know person in the world. I don't read Perez Hilton or gay gossip stuff. But I do read the Advocate on occasion and do enjoy the entertainment news.  I didn't recall having seen Vaguely Popular Actor in there as an out actor.  I confirmed on the Advocate that anytime Vaguely Popular Actor is mentioned, it was just as "Name."  The Advocate always prefaces the name of a gay/lesbian actor as "out actor Name."  But apparently it's a known thing in Hollywood that Vaguely Popular Actor is gay.  And I even found some unconfirmed instances of this on some gay gossip blogs.

So what's the big deal?  I understand that people want to keep their personal lives private.  I get it. I do. And I understand that gay/lesbian actors fear being stereotyped and not having the opportunity to do as many roles.  But don't straight actors play gay all the time? They're not stereotyped as only playing straight characters. The more mainstream gay/lesbian actors that come out, the less of a big deal it would be.

I'm not saying they have to welcome cameras into their homes 24/7 and tell me about their 2-year old's cute habits and the way they don't always agree with their same-gender spouse.  Some heterosexual celebrities seem to like that type of thing but there are plenty of heterosexual actors about whose families I know very little.  Why can't a random news article say "Vaguely Popular Actor and his husband so-and-so went to such-and-such event tonight"? Or whatever. The same way it would say the same about Jessica Alba and Cash Warren.

When I was just figuring out my own sexual orientation I was very interested in knowing which actors were gay or lesbian.  Especially the female actors on whom I had crushes, of course. :) Funny enough, many of them did turn out to be gay.  It was a way to see that it was a "normal" thing and that I wan't the only one (well, I knew I wasn't the only one, I went to Vassar, but still). It could be that seeing more actors out in Hollywood might make things a little easier for teenagers who are trying to figure things out when they feel like they're the only gay person in their school/town/wherever.  That's exactly why Zachary Quinto came out. And I was really excited about that. He's an actor who has played very non-gay roles.  Well, I guess it depends what type of a Star Trek fan you are ....

It kinda goes back to that whole thing I wrote about before about how gay/lesbian people should just be a non-issue.  I have challenged my brother to make a children's show some day where one of the characters just happens to have two moms or two dads and IT'S NOT TALKED ABOUT.  It doesn't have to all have an agenda! I don't care if Vaguely Popular Actor never marches in a gay pride parade. I don't need him to be preaching about how being gay is normal or whatever. I just want to know that he's in a committed same-sex relationship, raising children together. Grr.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Those New Year's resolutions

I have never really done New Year's resolutions. Well sure, I've told myself things like "I'm going to get in shape this year" or "I'm going to eat better this year" but I never actually held myself accountable or followed through with them.

This year I have one that I intend to actually follow through on.  My goal is to start getting ready for bed by 10pm every night.  Yeah, I'm already not quite there tonight since it's 10:40pm as I start writing this, but I have actually been doing a pretty good job the last two weeks.  It's harder for me to start getting ready at 10 when Jen isn't home (she's at work until about midnight Wed-Fri) even if she's not going to bed when I am.  Part of the reason is that I always seem to be trying to get one last thing done before I go up to bed.  One last load of laundry folded, one last sink of dishes done, one last room reorganized beginning at 10:30 (yeah, one day at 10:30pm I decided it would be a good time to start reorganizing Nate's toys in the family room...)

Before we had a child I was actually much better at getting to bed around 10, Jen can vouch for me, sometimes even earlier!  And on the weekends I regularly slept past 8:30 or 9. I've always slept in a lot.  I was never an early riser.  All that changes when you have kids. :) And they don't realize they're supposed to sleep in on the weekends.  Luckily for us, (most of the time) Nate has woken up around (or even later than) 7am.  He went through a period of waking up earlier and earlier but we got a toddler clock and now we're back to normal.

In addition to causing you to wake up earlier, kids also take up more of your waking hours.  Today, for example, Nate and watched Toy Story 3 together after dinner and then read some books before bedtime.  That's time I could have spent doing laundry, or dishes, or researching new curtains online, or writing my blog. Things I now do once he's in bed for the most part -- he is definitely old enough that he doesn't need constant supervision, but he frequently wants us to spend time with him, and I am happy to do so. He's cuddly. :) Of course, he also really likes to help these days.  Yesterday he spontaneously came up to me and said "We have to do laundry, come with me." He likes helping me sort the laundry and then pouring the soap in and pushing the buttons.

So what I end up doing on nights Jen isn't here is that I do all the housework after Nate goes to bed and I try to get it all done in addition to frequently having to do an hour or so of work from home. I had regularly been going to bed after 11pm, and not infrequently enough after midnight.

I don't mind doing laundry. I don't mind folding laundry. But folding laundry takes time so I tend to put it off. And off. And off. But I still do loads of laundry. So I end up with 5 or 6 loads that I then decide I'm going to fold all at once. It takes a little while.  So in addition to getting ready for bed at 10 each night, I'm also trying to do one load of laundry per day. One load washed and one load folded (though not necessarily the same one).  I did alright on that last week.  This week my brother was visiting so I didn't really get too much done.

So now that is all going to change! 30 days to make something a habit?  I'm hoping that getting to bed at a regular time each night will help me not be tired as much during the day, give me more energy to get things done and also more patience.  When I'm tired I get snippy.  It's going to take some work. Because this doesn't mean I can slack on the stuff I need to do.  But I think I can make it happen.

I will let you know how I do.  30 days to make it a habit...