Wednesday, June 29, 2011

more finds, progress, and a vision

I've lucked out on the MOTH list serv with two more baby items: a space-saving play mat that's in great shape and a Snap 'N Go that fits the car seat my friend gave us.

Looks like fun and takes up little space--a double win!

I am particularly excited about the Snap 'N Go because I would have registered for one if I hadn't found it for free. This system, which conveniently works with the car seat we already have, will get us through the first few months of transporting Baby around, and then we'll switch over to a high-end jogging stroller that is sturdy enough to survive treacherous Capitol Hill sidewalks. 

Odd to see this foreign contraption on my deck...
In other news, Brad and I selected and ordered the nursery furniture and crib bedding, which is progress! We're now emptying our guest room and preparing to paint before the furniture and bedding are delivered in the next month or two. This baby's arrival is beginning to feel like more of a reality, although there is still plenty that can happen between now and then, so I'm continuing to stay grounded and to turn my fears over to the Lord. He's the only one who knows how this will all play out anyway.

Having the furniture and bedding selected and ordered is the first step in my vision for the nursery, which involves dark, cherry wood, and a palette of neutrals (cream, taupe, and chocolate) that we will accent after the baby is born (and we know the sex) with either fuchsia or a bright, turquoise-like blue. Know that I won't post pictures of the nursery until it's finished, which won't be until the baby is home and settled, Lord willing, and all accents are in place. So, it may be a while, but I'll post pictures of the final product eventually. Stay tuned!

Monday, June 27, 2011

June recipe challenge: crepes farcies et roulees with fondue de volaille

Or, if you need a translation, June's recipe challenge involved making French crepes with a creamy, chicken filling. Because every recipe challenge thus far has come from Julia Child's cookbooks, I decided to continue the French theme, and what is more authentic to the French than crepes?

This recipe wasn't as difficult as others have been, but like all the others, it involved many steps and took hours to complete, so I think it still qualifies as my monthly challenge.

I made the crepe batter in the afternoon because it had to chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours. It was easy and I loved being able to use my blender to make dinner.

crepe batter

I cut the crepe recipe in half and I'm so glad I did because making the crepes took a while. Notice the clock in the photo below says "6:25". I think it was after 8 before Brad and I ate dinner.

crepe station in action

Assembling the dish reminded me of making Mexican enchiladas.

the French version of Mexican enchiladas

I served this dish with steamed broccoli and our favorite salad.

This recipe's a winner! I would make it again.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

people and their comments

I'm starting to look pregnant enough for strangers to make their infamous comments. (Side note: Praise God for 28 weeks and the third trimester as of Wednesday!) Recently, I had two run-ins on the same day, only a few hours apart. Walking home from the metro, I stopped to let a large delivery truck pass through the four-way stop. The driver waved me to cross the street in front of him and I immediately thought, "What a kind man!" until he hung out his truck window and shouted over and over, "Looks like you're having a XXX! Looks like you're having a XXX!"

People on the street stared at me, adding to my humiliation. But, after throwing one dirty glance back at the obnoxious truck driver, I pressed on toward home and tried to forget the incident.

Later that same day, I stopped by a maternity store to cash in some rewards certificates I earned on my previous shopping trip. I had the same sales woman helping me as before, and she didn't question my pregnancy this time, but she couldn't believe how far along I was. After I told her Brad and I didn't find out the sex because we wanted to be surprised, she said, "Oh, well you look like you're having a XXX." She shared the truck driver's opinion.

I was tempted to turn around and walk out, but I really wanted to use those reward certificates!

It must have been the outfit because I haven't had any incidents since that day.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

constant harvest

Three years into gardening, I finally feel as though I've gained a tiny bit of wisdom regarding it. For example, once my peas finished a few weeks ago, I pulled them up and replaced them with eggplant and green pepper plants, hoping to get two crops (of different vegetables) out of my containers this summer. My Mesclun greens are still going strong after two months, but I expect July's heat will zap them if June's doesn't. I recently learned that I can sow more lettuce seeds in September for a fall crop, so that's what I'll do. We are loving these greens (and are enjoying not paying ridiculous prices for them at the farmers market)!

My green beans are exploding right now. I have no idea how I'll find let alone pick them all before they rot.

How do people with large gardens have time to do it all? I can barely keep up with the two small boxes and six containers that I have.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

praise God for colorectal specialists

Thanks for the love yesterday, Gentle Readers. I am hanging in there. My OB referred me to see a colorectal surgeon and he got me in right away yesterday. After one glance at my sore bum, he declared that no amount of Preparation H (or any over-the-counter remedy) could have fixed my problems, an announcement that did wonders for my morale. I wasn't a sissy after all! And even though I thought I'd already experienced the most humiliating of all doctors' appointments by going through fertility treatments, this specialist had such a good sense of humor (a necessity for his field, I guess) that he took much of the embarrassment out of what would have normally been a mortifying procedure.

He's treating me now, and I'll see him again this Thursday. I know I still have a good amount of pain and discomfort in my immediate future, but I have hope that he can get my system back on track and help to prevent this horrific situation from happening again.

Now that I'm officially a blogger who addresses taboo topics (e.g. infertility, miscarriage, IVF, pregnancy after loss, hemorrhoids, constipation--what's next?), if anyone struggles with chronic constipation, whether you're pregnant or not, and you have questions, PLEASE be in touch. I learned a lot at this appointment that would have been helpful to know pre-pregnancy and that even could have kept me out of this mess that I'm in now.

Monday, June 20, 2011

down for the count

It takes a lot to knock me out of commission. In nearly 11 years of working, I've only missed four or five days unexpectedly because of sickness that left me truly bedridden and feeling like I just could not work.

And yet here I am, for the fourth consecutive night, watching the minutes inch by on the clock because I am up and in pain, experiencing some ugly pregnancy side effects and knowing that there's no way I can go to work in the morning. I've learned the hard way (pun intended) that pregnancy exacerbates constipation and hemorrhoids--issues for me even when not pregnant. I'll spare you the gory details, but I've been horizontal and miserable since Thursday night. I can't sit or stand, or sleep for more than an hour or two at a time. I haven't left the house in days. I don't know how I'll ever ride in a car or run again. There is no relief on the horizon yet, and after my doctor's warning yesterday that this could be a chronic problem for me for the rest of the pregnancy, I just want to cry (which I've already done plenty of this weekend).

But, even though I am in agony, Baby's still doing fine as far as I can tell, praise God. And I am constantly reminded how lucky I am to have made it this far, or even to be pregnant at all. Perhaps these sleepless nights are preparing me for motherhood. So, I'll deal with these nasty 'roids, even it if means strapping an ice pack to my bum for the next 12 weeks.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

losing my mind

During lunch one day this week, I had the oil in my car changed. I went to the counter to pay and I panicked when I realized my wallet was missing. I ran to the car to see if it had fallen out of my purse there. It hadn't. I called my office and asked a co-worker to search--I hoped it had either fallen out of my purse onto the office floor or I had mistakenly placed it in my work bag instead of my purse.

After a long wait on hold (which I was certain meant bad news), my co-worker returned and said, "Well, I finally found it. It was in your lunch box!"

My lunch box?! Huh?

I drove back to my office, retrieved my wallet, and returned to Jiffy Lube to pay the bill. The guys working there, for lack of any other customers to service, had a heyday with my mistake. They were overly nice and escorted me back to my car to make sure I got in the right one.

Is this episode what people refer to as pregnancy brain?

What are your pregnancy brain stories? Please share. Make me feel better about my blunder!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

open invitation

My herb garden is dangerously out of control, so early in the growing season!

If you live in the DC area and would love free, fresh, delicious herbs, consider this post your open invitation to come over as often as you'd like this summer and pick to your heart's content. Or, if you know you'll see me, place your order in advance and I'll pick, wash, assemble, and deliver the herb bouquet of your choice. I have too much sage, oregano, parsley, peppermint, thyme, and chives right now, and basil and rosemary are quickly catching up.

Monday, June 13, 2011

lilies and daisies

My lilies and daisies are blooming!

I am trying my best to keep everything alive. These 90+ degree days (and the 102 degree day last week) aren't helping.

So far, so good--I've had no casualties in the flower bed yet.

But summer hasn't even officially begun!

Back to watering...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

the crack widens

What began so innocently as this...

... has now turned into this.

Thanks to sweet friends, the church list serv, and the MOTH list serv, I have either acquired or am borrowing the following items: infant swing/seat, car seat and base, a Baby Bjorn, a Moby wrap, a brand-new SwaddleMe blanket, a Hooter Hider, several baby blankets, children's books, and maternity clothes.

I haven't spent a dime of my own money on Baby yet. Who knew that trolling list servs for goods could be so fun and fruitful?

Brad and I did take a big step last weekend; we braved a baby store on Saturday to look at cribs. I had done a little browsing online before we went, and even though it felt odd to walk into a baby store to shop for myself and not someone else, I am so glad we checked out the quality and sturdiness of some pieces I saw online before placing an order. I went into the store thinking I wanted one particular style and left the store with a completely different idea.

We browsed cribs and narrowed our options, but we didn't make a final decision or place an order yet. There's still time for that, right?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Key Biscayne

When Brad went back to work on Capitol Hill and I realized that we wouldn't be able to take a week-long vacation this year because of his schedule, I admit I grumbled a little. But now I see the blessing of breaking our vacation into two parts: the first leg is over but I still have another trip to look forward to!

Key Biscayne was wonderful--beautiful, clean, ritzy, quiet, relaxing--and I highly recommend it for a long weekend. I scored a deal at the Ritz Carlton, and cashed in enough credit card points to cover one of our nights there. I've never stayed at a hotel of that caliber before, but all of their pampering and extra touches made for a great vacation in and of itself--it almost didn't matter where we were!

Ritz Carlton, Key Biscayne

We enjoyed a great view from our room.

The view

We did nothing except relax on the beach and at the pool with our books. Yes, we were those nerds hauling around our 1312-page tomes because of Brad's brilliant idea to read The Count of Monte Cristo together this year. He missed out on his typical spy/thriller, page-turner beach reads that he loves and believe me, he'll never suggest a married reading project again. He now holds greater appreciation for my reading of War and Peace last spring. (Status update: I'm on page 900+ of The Count and Brad's past page 500. At least he's making progress.:)

Not really beach reading

Six years ago, we took a brief trip to Miami to celebrate our third wedding anniversary. On that trip, we discovered a great restaurant in Coconut Grove that provided an intimate atmosphere, stunning views, and delicious food. Although the restaurant has changed hands and names in the past six years, we were delighted to return to celebrate our ninth anniversary and find it as enjoyable and beautiful as we did the first time. We scored a secluded table outdoors that was right on the water. Don't you love my giant mocktail in the photo below?

And now, back to reality, but I'm eagerly anticipating our second getaway, Lord willing, in just a few weeks.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Where will you be at midnight on 11/18/11?

Lord willing, I'll be at the midnight premiere of Breaking Dawn! Who's with me?

What do you think of the first trailer, fellow Twihards?

I'm still squealing . . . and trying to figure out when I can squeeze in another read of the books before November.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

missing out?

Gentle Readers, I fear I've been mislead all these years. Aren't pregnant women, after the initial sickness passes, supposed to eat with reckless abandon? All day every day? Order pizza at 10 p.m.? Send the husband on late-night ice cream runs?

I've been eagerly anticipating the gluttonous, binging phase, and I'm afraid it's not going to happen for me.

I had some first-trimester nausea, but never got sick. However, my appetite still hasn't fully returned. I have no food aversions, but I have no cravings, either. I finally feel hungry now at mealtimes (not really at other times), but even my favorite foods just don't taste as good as they used to. And often, especially recently, my hunger pangs are tinged with nausea and I feel sick after I eat. And, I get full much faster now. Could the dreaded third-trimester nausea that several friends have warned me about be making an early appearance?

On the positive side, there are some benefits to this perceived shortcoming. At 25 weeks, some people still question whether I'm pregnant based on how I look. I'm still running. My nurse compliments my weight management. All of these things are great, but I was longing to chow and even Brad is disappointed about the lack of late-night pizza or ice cream runs.

Tell me, Gentle Readers, is the gluttonous eating phase a myth? Or should I look forward to it later on?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

nine is divine

(For the story behind the picture, click here.)

June 1, 2002
Eight was great, but nine is divine!

I feel like I've blinked, and nine years have passed. How is this possible? Only one more year until Brad and I get to open our time capsule!

I will keep today's post simple by saying that the past year has been one of the most challenging and disappointing years of my life personally, but it's been hands-down the strongest and most loving and fulfilling year of my marriage.

Isn't God gracious?