Friday, December 24, 2010

God Rest Ye Humble Readers...

... let nothing you dismay. Remember Christ our Saviour was born upon this day...

I'm sorry I haven't been around much in recent days.  We are slowly getting into a routine (and now that I've said that, my precious Ginevra will throw things all out of whack again) and I can't express how joyful we are this particular holiday season. 

I hope that you and your loved ones are happy and healthy this Christmastide, and that you have the time to truly enjoy the blessings of this season. 

I had hoped to have the birth story written by now, and it is in the works... my new goal is to have it done by New Years. 

From my Beloved, our sweet Ginevra, and me, we wish you a Merry Christmas (or whatever form your winter holiday season takes) and a blessed New Year, and we send you...

... tidings of comfort and joy!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: Procrastination

Good Evening Humble Readers!

I should be doing the dishes or dusting my oh-so-messy house, but I wanted to just come and hang out here for a bit.  No one tell on me, k?

*****
Breastfeeding isn't all rainbows and daisies yet... we've only had a couple of successful attempts at home, but things are trucking along.  The hardest part is getting her into a comfortable position for the both of us, especially when my Beloved isn't here to lend a hand.  She's also had some 'spit up' issues over the last few days.  Because it happens with both breastmilk and formula equally, I think it's more a case of her over-eating... she's like a little goldfish, I swear!  She just overfills the tank and it's gotta go somewhere right?  It almost always happens when I'm burping her. 

*****
My mat leave benefits have FINALLY kicked in, so we are no longer as desperate financially as we were.  I think I may have to do battle to get my money for October, but things are looking up in that part of life.

*****
Weight loss has slowed immensely, but that's okay.  I'm bouncing between two numbers that are still below where I was when we got married almost four years ago. 

*****
I am at a huge loss as to what to get my Beloved for Christmas.  I have a few small things for him, but what I really want to get him is not in the budget just now.  Any ideas?

*****
I have a new favourite tv commercial.  It makes me giggle like a 8 year old...

Way too cute, right?

*****
A question... did any of you mommas out there find that your skin changed during pregnancy?  I have always had oily/shiny skin, but since about halfway through the second trimester to now (and it's gotten worse since Ginevra's arrival) my skin has been crazy dry and rough. 

*****
Gotta run, the wee one is squawking. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Thank Heaven...

... for small victories, Humble Readers!

We finally got our appointment with a lactation consultant today (last week's appointment had to be rescheduled because the consultant was sick), and I wasn't holding out much hope.  Every time, over the last two weeks, Ginevra and I would try the whole breastfeeding thing, we would both end up frustrated, and in her case screaming. 

I was anxious when we got to the clinic because my experience with the nurses in the hospital wasn't the greatest.  I was sure that I was going to be told (again) that my nipples were too big, that the combination  of high blood pressure, GD, and c-section had screwed my chances of bf-ing, or the dreaded 'just relax and it will happen'. 

Denise, the consultant, totally made everything okay tho.  We started by just talking through the hurdles we've faced up to this point and what may be causing them.  Then she took a look at 'the girls' and at Ginevra's mouth.  My nipples are good, altho a little raw from pumping all the time.  Ginevra has a bit of a tongue tie, and she doesn't like to open her mouth real wide unless she's screaming.   

As an aside, I have never ever had so many people manhandle my b00bs as I have in the last couple of weeks.  They say that having a baby makes you more comfortable showing off all your goods, but it still weirds me out. 

She then had me lay down and do some skin to skin time with Ginevra.  After about 20 minutes we moved to a chair, and after some initial fussing, my beautiful little girl latched on and nursed like a champ!  It took a little working to get the right position, and to get my 'ginourmous' (as one nurse at the hospital called them) nipple into the right spot in her mouth, but she did it.  I was ready to cry, I was so happy! 

I know we still have a ways to go yet, and that it will likely be a bumpy road, but we are on our way.  I have another appointment with her next week, and we'll just keep on trying. 

*****
I still can't believe the weight I'm losing.  It's slowed down now, but I'm almost 40lbs down from 16 days ago.  My maternity pants AND my pre-pregnancy jeans are falling off me when I walk.  I can't wait until I'm cleared for exercise... who knows how much I'll be able to lose!

I have a rather modest goal considering how much I 'should' lose, albeit an odd one.  My Beloved is almost a full foot taller than me, and he weighs 25lb less than I do right now.  I want to weigh less than my husband by our anniversary in April.  I don't care if it's only half a pound less... I want to be lighter than my husband. 

Think it's possible?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Just Checking In...

Howdy Humble Readers!

I can't believe how the last week has flown by.  I'm working on our birth story, but honestly I'm struggling with the earliest parts because everything seemed to go so slowly for so long, and then it hit hyper-speed. 

Our Family!

My black and blue belly (from all the insulin and the assorted shots I got after Ginevra was born) is slowly turning a grotesque shade of yellow and green.  My staples were removed on Saturday and now the inscision is itchy beyond belief.  And check out that new ticker to the right... I am currently more than 20 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight!  It's like I'm melting away.

My rings are back on.  I'm done with the insulin and my blood sugars have been well within target when I do random checks.  I have to go for another GTT after my six-week check up. 

I did have a little scare the other day.  The public health nurse had come by to do a check on Ginevra and I, and she did a bp check on me.  I had been feeling dizzy and light-headed for a day or so, and had some troubles taking a deep breath the night before.  My bp was sky high and I was retaining a lot of water.  She stopped the check up at that point and sent us to my doc immediately.  Long story short, I'm back on the Lobe.talol, and all is much better now.  We'll see how my bp is when I go back to the doc at the end of the month. 

Ginevra's first bath - in the hospital
Ginevra is doing amazingly well... she's surpassed her birth weight already, and other than a few issues with gassiness she's a very happy little girl.  She sleeps anywhere from 3-6 hours at a stretch and eats well.  Cloth diapering is going great, and I don't know why people choose to use disposables when there are such great products and services out there.  The only area that we're still struggling is with bf-ing.  Because of my blood pressure, the c-section, and the GD, I had next to no milk for the first several days, so we had to go with formula (which was a frustration for me).  I'm now on some meds to help my milk supply (which it has, in spades!), and Ginevra is on mostly breastmilk, albeit from a bottle.  I've been trying to use a nipple shield to help her, which is working somewhat, but mostly she gets mad because she can't get milk as quickly from me as she can from a bottle. 
One of my favourites - in the car seat, on the way home from the hospital
All in all, I think things are going really well.  Even when we have frustrating moments (like when I had to throw the covers to the couch cushions in the wash at 2am because she spit up all over them), I am still so incredibly thankful and happy.  My Beloved is amazing with her, and I am so very proud of him!  He's also been great with looking after me and making sure that I'm not overdoing it. 

I will hopefully be able to start checking back in with all of you soon.  It seems like when I'm not feeding, pumping, or changing diapers, I'm doing laundry or trying to catch up on sleep. 

I hope you are all well... and that you are enjoying a magical holiday season!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hobbit-ish Thoughts On Motherhood (3 1/2 Days In)

Good Morning Humble Readers...

Where to begin? 

Right now my brain is still foggy and more than a bit love-addled, so I apologize if this post makes no sense at all. 

Our precious Halfling, who for privacy's sake will hereafter be referred to as Ginevra (bonus points if you can name the literary reference), has altered our life immensely and so much for the better.  Even in the midst of a postpartum emotional meltdown or frustrations over my lack of breast milk, I wouldn't give a single moment up. 

Words fail me when it comes to how I feel just now... at least I can't seem to string them together in anything resembling an articulate manner.  So, what follows is just a sampling of words and phrases that describe my mental, physical, and emotional state from the last few days...

Tired 
Immensely Joyful
Frustration
So Hungry
Thankful
Adoring
Losing All Sense of Time
Amazed
Sore
Limited
Humbled
Teary
Patient
Irritated
Defensive
Protective
Dehydrated
Uncomfortable
Happy
Isolated
Afraid
Congested
Out-of-Body
Numb
Over-stimulated
Victorious
Exhausted
Failing
Heart-bursting
Awed
Full of Wonder
Swollen
Beyond Blessed

*****
I want to send a special thank you to Kristin for looking after my corner of the blogosphere and introducing our Ginevra to you all!  Thank you my friend! 

*****
The birth story will come soon.  I need to get my thoughts and feelings together in one place about the whole experience.  Thank you for all your well wishes, good thoughts and prayers... it means so much to me to be able to share this with you all!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Halfling Pictures...

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Mr and Mrs Gamgee
The mister getting suited up
Mr. Gamgee ready to go
Daddy Gamgee with his little halfling
The Halfling
Something pissed off the Halfling
Skin to skin with Halfling
Daddy Gamgee and the Halfling after their snuggle
Daddy Gamgee and the Halfling after their snuggle
Mommy Gamgee and her Halfling

Mommy Gamgee and her Halfling

Isn't she beautiful and don't the Mrs. and Mr. look so happy?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Halfling is here!!!!!!!!!

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was born last night, November 27th, via c-section. She was born at 8:42 pm mountain time (that's 10:42 Eastern time for the time zone deficient among us). The little halfling wasn't so little after all She measured 21 1/4 inches long, weighed in at 9 lbs 5 oz, and has a full head of hair. Mrs. Gamgee  is recovering and there will be pictures soon.

Kristin from Dragondreamer's Lair

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: The Countdown Is On!

Hey Humble Readers...

So, remember all that stuff I got done on Monday?  LOL!  Well, apparently I overdid it.  Yesterday was a complete write off in terms of getting my big ol' backside off the couch.  My energy levels yesterday allowed for exactly two things... cooking supper and going to see Harry Potter. 

*****
Harry Potter was great!  It's been at least a year since I reread the book, so there were a few spots where I was left going 'huh?', but overall, I thought that they did a good job of it.  The director definitely caught the desperation of the whole situation.  There were a couple of jacka$$es in front of us who were killing themselves laughing at the end (and if you've seen it, you know the part I mean)... while I'm trying not to cry.  Funniest thing... there was a spot where I ended up being startled pretty good (yes I jumped) by something on the screen, and apparently the Halfling got freaked out too.  He/she jumped inside me and then couldn't chill out.  Hilarious!

*****
My mom is on the road today, driving 12+ hours by herself, through the mountains so that she can be here with us tomorrow.  I would greatly appreciate any prayers and good thoughts you could send her way, for safety and easy travels.  Thankfully, the road conditions look good, and there isn't much snow expected on her route today. 

*****
Today is my day to get the last of the last things done.  I'm going to finish decorating the house for Christmas (it's never taken me this long before!), going to get a haircut this afternoon, hit the grocery store, and do some tidying up around the house.  Tonight I just want to relax with my Beloved and not obsess about things that aren't done. 

*****
I know this isn't a great attitude to have, but considering that I've been pretty good through this GD mess, I'm letting myself have a few things today that I haven't allowed in a long time.  Chips, a donut (not a Krispy Kreme, but as close as I can get) is scheduled for dessert tonight, and I have a Co.ke Zero in hand as I write this. 

*****
Barring some sort of crazy rush on the L&D ward in the next 18 hours, this is my last post before our Halfling joins us.  I hope all of you south of the border have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  And be safe if you go out on Black Friday... no shopping casualties allowed!  :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Milestones (Part the Third): 400 Posts

Good Morning Humble Readers...

mile·stone

n.
- A stone marker set up on a roadside to indicate the distance in miles from a given point.
- An important event, as in a person's career, the history of a nation, or the advancement of knowledge in a field; a turning point.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

It's been just over two years since I wrote my first post on this blog. 

At that time, I had no idea about the ALI community.  I had no followers.  I hadn't connected with anyone in the blogosphere.  It was a week after my first miscarriage and I just needed a space to pour out the grief and pain I was feeling. 

I wrote a couple of posts at that time, and then let my little hobbit-hole languish for two or three months, until I found myself in exactly the same place... dealing with the grief of another miscarriage.  A friend from the ttc message board I frequented encouraged me to go back to my blog... to write, to connect, to tell my story.  So I did... and am I ever glad.

In this 'place' I have found hope, courage, friendship, support, tears, and laughter.  I hope that I have offered the same. 

It seems fitting to me that I am hitting this particular milestone now, just a couple of days before we will meet this long awaited, immensely longed for an prayed for Halfling.

Each of these 400 posts represents a step on this road... whether it's been a cycle update, rant, show & tell, meme, ICLW intro, recipe, or just some random ramblings. 

This journey doesn't end with the arrival of our precious Halfling, but it is a very important place on this road.  Who knows where the next 100, 400, or even 1000 posts will lead? 

All that is certain is that I know that I am not journeying alone.  And for that, and for all of you, I am incredibly thankful!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Week 39: Can We Say 'Nesting'?

Good Afternoon Humble Readers!

Today's been busy so far, but I'm feeling good about it.  I went to my chiropractor, made a pot of soup, washed the bathroom towels, put away some hang to dry laundry, ordered our tickets for HP for tomorrow night, made 3 dozen shortbread cookies and 3 dozen meatballs, cleaned the bathroom & kitchen, cancelled my U/S that was scheduled for Thursday, and made some progress on decorating the house for Christmas.  I don't know where all this energy came from, but I'm taking advantage of it. 

A minor frustration on the GD front... I am almost certainly going to be done with insulin by the end of this coming weekend.  BUT I have had to shell out for testing strips ($70), needles ($25), and a full prescription for my Humulin-N ($20) this week.  Grrrrr... I know we'll get 80% back with our insurance, but still it sucks. 

Here's the last of my weekly updates... hard to believe we're here.

How far along? 39w0d

Maternity clothes?  I've switched over to some of my bulky winter sweaters this week in deference to the cold weather.  They don't look all that great, but at least I'm staying warm.  Nursing bras arrived finally...

Body Oddities?  My joints are cracking and popping like mad.  Lots of pressure in my groin.  Occasional mild nausea and diarrhea.  Definitely lost part of my mucous plug the other day (TMI - it looked like the biggest clump of ewcm EVER).  Nothing really in the contraction department, just some low-grade menstrual types of cramps.  My pre-existing stretch marks are getting really dark.  My weight has gone up a bit in the last couple of days, but I've been getting lax in my low-carb/low-sugar endeavours, so that probably explains at least part of it. 

Sleep? Not sleeping well at night most of the time, but I'm not as tired during the day.  I think it's the nesting instinct kicking in.  I've had a bit more energy the last few days.

Best moment this week?  Not a specific moment, but more of a feeling.  I feel ready for this little one to make his/her appearance. 

Worst moment? Getting my membranes stripped was no fun.  And just the general achiness from when I overdo it.

Movement? Seems to have picked back up.  He/she's been moving a lot again.  We killed an hour the other day just watching my belly move.  It's insane.  I can't believe I only have a few more days of feeling it.

Food cravings?  Ok... here's the ridiculous thing.  I want a Kri.spy Kr.eme donut more than anything.  The closest KK store?  Two hours away.  And no, my fellow Canadians, Timmy's just won't do.  Other than that, I'm just hungry ALL THE TIME!

Rings? Off... and they'll be staying off now for a while. I tried them on the other day, and they do fit, I'm still just scared of them getting stuck on my finger.  Soon enough I'll have them back on.

Gender? Not going to find out, but I think it's a boy.  According to the poll on the right, you guys are pretty split on it.  Only one vote difference...

Intense Dreams?  Okay, the craziest delivery dream of the week... I dreamt that I was sitting on the couch and I could feel the baby moving around inside me.  The Halfling pressed his/her foot against my belly and I could grab onto the heel.  Then all of a sudden, I was able to start pulling his/her foot, then the leg, then a little backside out RIGHT THRU MY BELLY!  Now here's where it gets really weird... I heard my Beloved coming down the hall, and I was worried that he would be upset that he missed the birth, so I pushed the baby back inside, and my stomach sealed over.  Absolutely insane!

Medical Concerns? High blood pressure (on 50mg Trandate/Lobetalol, 3 times a day), Gestational Diabetes (actually doing really well, except for the occasional low), on prescription Zan.tac for heartburn. Being induced on November 25th.

What I miss? Sleep, free and easy movement, being able to go more than an hour without having to pee.

What I look forward to?  My mom getting here on Wednesday, meeting this little person, not having to poke myself with needles several times a day (the bruises from my insulin are disgusting... should be off insulin by 72 hours after delivery), not having to pee on little strips of paper every morning (to check my ketones).

Emotional State?  This is interesting.  I alternate between mild anxiety and total excitement.  There is a part of me that is honestly still waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Every movement reassures me a little bit more, but that worried little voice is still there.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: A Bit of This & That

Greetings Humble Readers!

Thank you so much for your compliments on the nursery.  I'm really happy with how everything came out.  I like to go in and just stand in the room and daydream.

*****
Today has been a day of extremes.  Extreme laziness, in that we decided to stay snuggled up in bed rather than go to church this morning.  We woke up to more snow, and it just felt like a good day to stay under the covers.  It has also been extremely productive.  This afternoon I baked 21 dozen pfefferneusse.  I did something I have never done before, and altered my recipe a little (used some whole wheat flour, and used splen.da in place of sugar).  They turned out well, which made me happy. 

*****
Today has also been productive in that I had my Beloved pull out the Christmas decorations.  We are going to get the tree set up tonight after dinner, and I'm going to work on decorating the house over the next couple of days.  I know it's early, but I figure with a newborn in the house, I'm not going to be all that into decorating in a week or so. 

*****
Bad news of the automotive variety.  We discovered that our lovely Tilly (the Prius) does not have a block heater.  Now, I know that many of you who don't live north of the 49th parallel haven't a clue what I'm talking about, but a block heater is essential (basically you plug the heater in and it keeps the oil from freezing) in this cold climate.  Of course we didn't think to ask about it when we bought the car in July, because really, WHO THE H-E-DOUBLE-HOCKEY-STICKS SELLS A CAR IN CANADA WITHOUT A BLOCK HEATER?!?!?!?  The car is three, almost four years old, where has it been up until now?  The bottom line is we are going to have to play roulette with the cold weather or shell out $250 to have one installed.  And the likelihood of being able to get one installed this week... slim to none.  So, we are seriously hoping that the weatherman is wrong and that we won't hit -30 in the next couple of days.  Argh!

*****
Today was the Western Conference Final in the CFL.  The Saskatchewan Roughriders were playing the Calgary Stampeders, in Calgary, at McMahon Stadium... an outdoor stadium.  It's snowing.  It's -18, but feels like -29 with the wind.  You can certainly tell that the cold was getting to the players.  The lead bounced back and forth, and it stayed really close the whole way through, but the game just ended at 20-16 for the Riders!  The whole game hinged on two plays.  Incredible game!  It looks like we will have a rematch of last year's Grey Cup between Saskatchewan and Montreal.  Woohoo!  Next Sunday... Grey Cup... in Edmonton.  Let's see how Montreal handles the cold...

*****
Tomorrow's to do's... chiropractor appointment, make shortbread, make meatballs, clean the kitchen and bathroom, work on decorating the house for Christmas, watch a couple HP movies in prep for seeing HP7.   If I get it all done, I'll be VERY surprised.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Nursery: The Grand Tour

Howdy Humble Readers...

I know it's been an incredibly long time in coming, but today I welcome you into the Halfling's space.  There's still one or two things that we need to get, but we are pretty much ready for this little one to make his/her appearance.

I feel like there should be a drumroll or something...

First up, this is where the Halfling will be sleeping for the first few months (in our room as you can tell by the red).  This cradle has been the bed for all the C family grandchildren.  It hasn't been used in more than 20 years.

The next couple of shots are from the doorway. 


The three framed prints are from Etsy.  The lady I ordered them from graciously doctored up the colours for me so they fit with our colour scheme.


The book cases are still a little empty, but I know they will fill up over time.  The Halfling is so stocked for stuffies!  Especially sweet elephant stuffies... like the ones that Kristin made!  (aren't they adorable?  Thank you so much!)  And of course, there has to be a teeny tiny Mario Bros presence... just a little one. :)



I adore this quote!  I got this from Etsy, too.  The vinyl clings were challenging to get started, but so worth it when they were done.  (even if I did fubar one of the letters)  This is above the dresser.

Here's the Halfling's dresser, which is slowly filling with the sweetest of outfits!  My MIL and one of my BIL painted this and the change table for us.  I think they did a pretty great job.  That funky green egg is actually a piggy bank (minus the piggy of course) and was the inspiration for the accent colour.  I've had that sitting in a closet for more than two years. 

Okay, so I didn't iron the curtains before we hung them.  I'm terrible.  I'm still planning on steaming them at some point... but isn't the colour fabulous?  The change table was a tv stand that we added legs to.  The sliding cupboard doors are perfect for hiding away all our cloth diapers. 

The floating puff balls in those perfect shades of green are also from Etsy, as is the elephant vinyl cling.  The puff balls had to be puffed by hand (they came folded flat) and let me tell you, that was a *fun* night!   The crib, with it's fixed up leg, and the adorable bedding (thank you so much Callista for being my go between for that!). 

And my last Etsy purchase... the diaper bag!  Since we couldn't afford to get the one I was drooling over, I decided to go with something that my Beloved wouldn't be totally embarrassed carrying.  And whether we have a he-halfling or a she-halfling, they will have no choice but to be part of the Rider Nation.   The bag was incredibly reasonably priced ($25), and included the personalization and a changing pad. 


So, there you have it.  The nursery... all done and waiting for it's little occupant.  When it was finished, I just stood in the middle of the room and bawled.  It's still so surreal that there is going to be a little person to make use of this room... soon!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Blog Challenge Day 30: A Letter to the Halfling

Howdy Humble Readers...

Today is the last of the blog challenge assignments, and I am supposed to talk about my hope for the future.  I couldn't think of a better way to do that than to take this opportunity to put into words my hopes for this little person I get to meet soon. 

My Precious Little One...

As I feel you move within me, I wonder who you are, who you will become.  I wonder what you will look like, which side of the family you will take after.  I wonder, will you be logical and mellow like your Daddy, or will you be creative and ruled by your emotions, like me?  Or will you be someone completely different?  Whoever you are, I know you will be amazing. 

Where do I begin to articulate my hopes for you?

I think my biggest hope for you is that you will have joy in your life.  Not just happiness, but true joy.  Joy doesn't rely on things around you going right or being perfect, it's a state of mind and an element of faith.  Joy persists in the face of trouble, and doesn't fade when the road gets rough.  Having joy in your heart doesn't mean you won't have pain, but it will help see you through. 

I hope you never feel alone, that you know you will always have someone to love you, to help you through the hard times and celebrate with you in the good times. 

I hope that you look at this world with eyes open to mystery and wonder.  There is astounding greatness all around us, in people and our variety of cultures, in the physical world around us, and in the things that we can't see.  I hope that you have a place in your heart to celebrate and contribute to the diversity that makes our world wonderful.

I hope you have courage.  Courage to acknowledge and face your fears.  There is no shame in being afraid, and courage allows us to work through our fear and come out stronger on the other side. 

I hope that you understand, someday, that your Father and I are scared and humbled at the prospect of raising you.  I hope that you know in your heart how much we have longed for you and prayed for you.  I hope that you never have reason to doubt our love for you. 

I hope you never ever lack for hope.

Love,
Mommy

*****
Nursery pics will be posted tomorrow! 

Brrr... (The Flatland Weather Report)

Good Morning Humble Readers!

Yet again, I am hoping that you all are warm and toasty wherever you are.

To be blunt, it's snappin' a$$holes cold here today!  According to the Weather Network, it's -25 degrees C right now.  (That's -13 degrees F for my American readers.)  It's only going to get up to -17 this afternoon.  Yikes! 

But at least it's stopped snowing.  Thank Heaven for small favours, right? 

I've become obsessed with the weather forecast for the next week.  It's supposed to get worse before it gets better.  More snow is predicted for the weekend (how are they going to play the CFL western final in Calgary if it's -20 and blowing snow?), and Tuesday is expected to be close to -30. 

BUT... by Thursday (d-day) it's going to get up above freezing again!  Yay!  (and it's expected to stay above seasonal for another week... if we can trust the long term forecast)

Can you see how small my world has become these days? 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Blog Challenge Day 29: My Hopes, Dreams, and Plans for the Next Year

Good Afternoon Humble Readers...

It's hard to believe that I'm on the second to last of these 30 challenge posts.  When I started the blog challenge it was in hopes of improving my blog posting frequency and to get through the last month before the Halfling makes his/her appearance.  Well here we are, almost at the end.  Astounding!  The last two challenges are especially fitting at this point.  Today I'm to talk about my hopes, dreams, and plans for the next 365 days.

The things I'm hoping for: a safe and healthy delivery, a year of incredible firsts with the Halfling, and lots of patience for the challenges that lie ahead. 

The things I'm dreaming about: all the sweet things that I'm sure most mother's dream about... little fingers and toes, baby smiles, that wonderful new baby smell, and holding this precious child in my arms.

The things I'm planning on: being successful with breastfeeding and cloth diapering, getting to K-town at least a couple of times so that my parents can get to know their new grandchild, and enjoying learning how to be a mother. 

(and one thing that falls into all three categories... even tho it sounds incredibly naive, selfish and greedy... is to hopefully being pregnant with Halfling #2 by this time next year)

*****
As much as I want to go to see HP7 tomorrow night, it's not going to happen.  I don't have the wherewithal to stand in line for tickets and be in the mad crush of people.  Instead, Beloved and I are going to get our tickets in advance for Monday or Tuesday evening, after the initial rush.  It will still be busy, but not as insane.  So, if you see it this weekend... I don't want to hear about it!  Got it?!?  :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Blog Challenge Day 28: What's In My Purse?

Good Evening Humble Readers!

I hope you are all doing well.  Today was an incredibly lazy day for me.  I actually slept off and on all day.  That means I need to be a tad productive tonight, but that's okay.  Dinner is in the oven, and my Beloved has church council meeting tonight, so I will have lots of time to get a few things done. 

On the good news front, I got the paperwork I needed (finally!) to process my mat leave benefits.  It will still be a few weeks before I see any money, but at least I was able to do what I needed to online (without going to the federal building...yay!). 

One thing I forgot to mention yesterday about my Dr. U appointment... I'm 30% effaced.  I honestly wasn't expecting that.  I did have a fair bit of spotting yesterday after he stripped my membranes, and I think I lost at least part of my mucous plug.  This is actually moving forward!

So, today's assignment for the blog challenge is to confess what I carry in my purse.  It's not as bad as it usually is, but I did find some surprises.   
  • Tide Pen (couldn't live without it)
  • hand lotion
  • hand sanitizer
  • a couple of tampons (why are those still in there?)
  • My wallet
  • cell phone
  • keys
  • nametag for work (why is that stil in there?)
  • package of Crys.tal Li.ght raspberry drink mix
  • a bunch of appointment cards for different doctors
  • gloves
  • 2 pens
  • lip gloss
  • chapstick
  • face powder
  • bottle of tylenol
  • Jones Soda candies
  • assorted receipts/atm slips
  • my Prenatal info sheets (in case I go into labour early)
  • And if I'm head out of the house, I throw in my glucometer and my mealtime insulin, just in case. 
What is the most random thing in your purse?

If you haven't yet, I'm still looking for input on which post I should submit for the Creme de la Creme list this year.  I have links to the three I'm trying to decide between in yesterday's post. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: Blog Challenge Day 27, Q&A, and Other Stuff

Howdy Humble Readers...

I hope you are all cozy and warm wherever you are.  We had our first serious snowfall last night... about 3 inches.  Winter has been held at bay long enough I guess.  It's supposed to get frickin' cold later this week too.  Yuck!

*****
I had my weekly NST and Dr. U appointment this morning.  My blood pressure was up again, but not terribly high.  I'm pretty certain she used the wrong size cuff on me tho (if you are a plus size person, ALWAYS make sure they use the right cuff!).  Then I went over and saw Dr. U.  He did my GBS swab, and stripped my membranes.  It wasn't as bad as I was expecting, but still pretty uncomfortable.  I'm feeling a little crampy now, but nothing unbearable.  He was very complimentary about my weight gain (or lack thereof) and how hard I've worked on my blood sugars.  Everything is on track for next week Thursday, and I have no more OB appointments.  It was so strange walking out of his office and not booking for next week.  Amazing!

*****
So, today's blog challenge assignment is to talk about my worst habit.  I'm sure that there are a lot of things that I could say here, but really, the one thing that I do that irritates ME more than anything, and it has to do with my socks.  I love socks.  I love having warm and toasty feet, and I have a big thing for stripey socks (I love how my feet look in stripes... weird, I know).  But every day I hit a point where I can no longer stand having my socks on.  They just start driving me nuts... my feet get too hot, or the socks feel too tight, and I have to take them off.  It's essential and immediate.  The bad habit comes in at this point.  I tend to leave my socks where they fall.  Beside the couch, under the bed, in the bathroom, between the couch cushions.  Sloppy and lazy, I know.

*****
I need to give a shout out to my long time IF/TTC message board buddy, Steggie!  She's had a blog for a while, but is just now getting into posting regularly.  She's getting into the swing of things by starting the 30 Day Blog Challenge.  Pop by and say hi if you have time.

*****
I'm way late in getting to this, but it's Creme de la Creme time again!  Stop by Mel's corner of the blogosphere to get all kinds of details about how the Creme list works... but the basics are that this is our chance to toot our own horns and put forward our best posts of the year.  Everyone in the ALI community is invited/encouraged to participate... so if you posted this year, then it's time to pick the best of your best. 

I'm a little stuck this year.  I can't decide which post I like best, so I'm enlisting your help... Which of these posts should I use as my submission?

My Memory Sucks
or
Riding the Bench
or
Remembering & Pondering

*****
I've had a couple of questions recently...

Amy asked about the picture over our couch.  It's "La Seyne-sur-Mer" by Roger Duvall.  It makes me want to write a story set in this village some day (cheesy huh?).  I love artwork that makes me ask questions about what's happening in the background.
image courtesy art.com
Kristin asked what I have been cooking and freezing lately... here's the run down: Cornbread stuffing, Beef Barley Soup, Italian Sausage & Tortellini Soup, Lasagna, Pasta Sauce, Beef Stew, Tomato Risotto, Cabbage Roll Casserole, Shepherd's Pie, White Chili, Chicken Curry, Lemon Dill gravy for Chicken.  Oh, and there are two dozen perogies from my last trip to the farmer's market in there too.  I think we are set for a while.

Do you have any questions for me?  I'll answer just about anything...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Week 38: AKA Blog Challenge Day 26

Howdy Humble Readers...

I hope you're all doing okay today.  I'm feeling a little ookey.  My blood sugars were a little low earlier today, but nothing terrible.  I'm mildly headachy (but no other pre-eclamptic symptoms), a little crampy, and just tired.  Really, I've done nothing today except go to my chiropractor, then read and veg out in front of the tv. 

*****
Dinner last night ended up being a bit, well, meh.  It was a good base recipe, but it needs work.  The 'mustard cream sauce' ended up being really bland and the mustard/thyme coating on the pork was a little too thyme-y.  It will be a work in progress.

*****
Here's this week's update:

How far along? 38w0d

Maternity clothes? Yeah, and I'm looking forward to getting back into my regular clothes.  I've been wearing the same things over and over for months now.

Body Oddities? This week has felt a bit like the first trimester all over again, with some not-so-fun third trimester stuff thrown in.  Occassional nausea, hypersensitive sense of smell, and I have been seriously grossed out by raw meat again.  My fingers and toes are aching a lot lately.  If I didn't know better, I'd swear I had arthritis.  (according to my reading, it's from the relaxin)  My IBS is starting to kick in again, mildly.  Some mild headaches & nosebleeds which I attribute to the change in season... it's so ridonkulously dry here.  Had to break out the humidifier again.  Braxton-Hicks have kicked into high gear again.  I've been having what feel like low grade menstrual cramps for the last few days.

Sleep? Meh... sleep is overrated... right?

Best moment this week?  Loved the nurse I had for my NST this week.  She was great!

Worst moment?  Our financial situation is a bit tense these days.  My mat leave benefits haven't kicked in yet (due to some aggravating foul ups at my company's head office) so we are hurting for cash.  We had to put this week's groceries on a credit card (I hate putting food on credit). Ugh!  Hopefully this week will bring some good news on this front.

Movement? Still significant, but it has slowed down a bit.  I think it's getting pretty cramped in there.

Food cravings?  I've been thinking (aka obsessing) about sushi again.  Only a couple of weeks and I get to have maki rolls!

Rings? Off... and they'll be staying off now for a while. Hope to have them back on by Christmas. :)

Gender? Not going to find out, but I think it's a boy.  Here's one reason why I hope it's a girl, tho... too cute, right?
image courtesy of Riderville.com
Intense Dreams? Oh man... so many delivery dreams!  Last night I dreamed that I gave birth (relatively easily) but no one would tell me if it was a boy or a girl.  They (my Beloved, my mom, the nurses) kept mocking me, saying that I went for 9 months without knowing, why did I want to know now?  There have also been a lot of very realistic dreams about labour, so realistic that when I wake up I have to remind myself that the baby hasn't been born yet, that my water didn't break an hour ago, or that I didn't have spotting the last time I used the bathroom.

Medical Concerns? High blood pressure (on 50mg Trandate/Lobetalol, 3 times a day...was up a bit this past week, but I think it was because I had to take the stairs to the L&D ward because the elevators were down), Gestational Diabetes (actually doing really well, except for the occassional low), on prescription Zan.tac for heartburn. Being induced on November 25th.

What I miss?  Sleep, being able to get up or down without grunting like my grandfather.

What I look forward to?  Getting to meet this little person, getting to bring him/her home.

Emotional State?  Pretty good, considering.  I'm freaked out about the actual birth, but really I think I'm doing pretty good.  A few teary moments sneak in on me...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Blog Challenge Day 25: My Day in Great Detail

Howdy Humble Readers...

Well, it's halftime of a rather disappointing football game, but I'm still hoping that Durant and the Roughriders will pull their heads out of their butts and actually get going.  This is the semi-finals for heaven's sake!

So, today and tomorrow's assignments for the blog challenge are a little weird... my day and my week in great detail.  Hmmmm...  I might just count my weekly pregnancy update tomorrow as my week in great detail.  Sound good to you guys?

Today started at 2:00am, when I woke up with some braxton-hicks that actually kind of hurt.  Nothing consistent, and nothing too serious, but they woke me up out of a dead sleep.  I was awake for a couple of hours (paced around the condo, surfed the net and watched the first part of "Beautiful Mind") before I fell back to sleep on the couch.  Woke up at 7:00am, feeling very groggy.  Checked my blood sugar, did my insulin, and ate breakfast (raspberry sugar free yoghurt with all bran buds).  Puttered around for a bit, watched some "Dog Whisperer", then took a shower.  I decided I wasn't up to going to adult Sunday School today, so we took our time getting going, but we got to church about 15 minutes early.  Chatted with a few people, went to worship, then hung around for a little bit of the coffee hour. 

We came home and had leftovers for lunch (beef dip for me, ribs for Beloved), and then we CLEANED OUT THE STORAGE ROOM... YAY!!!  It didn't take long, and all that really needs to be done in there now is to mop the floor.  And I have a whole shelf to use as a pantry shelf!  Yay! 

The football game started at 2:30, and we have been glued to the tube ever since.  Durant can't seem to connect with any of his receivers if his life depended on it.  If they lose today, that's it for the season.  Dang it! 

After the game is over, dinner is a new recipe tonight.. a pork tenderloin with a mustard cream sauce.  We'll see how it goes.  Then I'm going to do a little work in the nursery... mostly just putting clothes away, and then it will be pretty much done!  Yay!

After that, probably to bed early to spend some time reading.  And that's about it.  Dull day all the way around (albeit a bit productive).

*UPDATE* The Riders won in double OT!!  At the half it was 19-7 for BC, and it ended at 41-38 for Saskatchewan.  Next week we have to beat the Calgary Stampeders for the western final. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Blog Challenge Day 24: Where I Live

Greetings Humble Readers...

Today's assignment is to tell you about where I live.

Okay, that's not hard.  I live in a small city on the Canadian flatland, smack dab in between two bigger cities.  Nothing fun about that. 

So, instead, I thought I would give you a virtual tour of our hobbit-hole.  Or as my mother calls it... the easter egg house.

The very yellow living room, as seen from the front entrance.
The very yellow living room, as seen from the other end.
My teeny-tiny kitchen.
The teeny-tiny kitchen, as viewed from the other end.
Our miniature laundry room.
Our ugly green bathroom.  I hate this colour. Both bedrooms and the bathroom
were this colour when we moved in, we just haven't gotten around to painting it. 
Our bedroom, as seen from the door.

Our bedroom, from the other side.
And last but not least...
The Nursery.  Not quite ready for your viewing pleasure yet.  Sorry!
Soon, I promise!
So, that's it.  Where we live.  It's not big, but it's comfy and it's home. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Blog Challenge Day 23: A YouTube Video & Some Ramblings

Howdy Humble Readers!

Today has been another productive day at the hobbit-hole.  I did most of my housework this morning, made a cinnamon loaf (not one of my best... I tried making it with whole wheat flour and it was just a little too dense), my lovely friend R came by for a visit, and then Beloved and I even went a-costco-ing tonight.  Of course, now I'm on the couch for the rest of the night because I'm pooped.  Poor Beloved gets to put away all our groceries all by himself. 

One teeny-tiny vent... when we got to Cos.tco, I had a very specific list of things I was looking for.  I tend to buy most of my meat there because the quality and prices are good.  My plan was to stock up on our basic items so that we won't have to head back out there for a few weeks at least.  So, we get to the meat department and not only did they not have any tilapia (which can be hit or miss for them), but they also didn't have any ground beef.  How can Cos.tco not have ground beef?  I got really irritated at that.  Then I went to get some ravioli... and they had every kind of ravioli imaginable, EXCEPT for beef or sausage.  They had ravioli stuffed with lobster, with goat cheese, with butternut squash, with chicken and garlic... all of which are good, but just not what I was looking for.  Beyond irritating!  *sigh*  Don't they know it's not good to piss off a pregnant woman? 

So, today's assignment is to share a youtube video.  I don't spend a lot of time on youtube, except when I'm looking for a good laugh.  I love good stand up comedy, especially when it's relatively clean.  And one thing that Canada is known for is our funny people... Jim Carrey, Dan Akroyd, Mike Myers, Rick Mercer and Shaun Majumder just to name a few.  One of my new favourites is Russel Peters.  This guy is hysterical.  Yes, he does a lot of ethnic humour, but mostly at his own expense.  I hope you get a good chuckle...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Blog Challenge Day 22: A Website & Some Hobbit-ish Potpurri

Hey Humble Readers!

Today's assignment is to share a website.  Of course I can't give you just one, so instead I'm going to give you three of the sites under my 'cooking' tab on my favourites list. 

AllRecipes.com - the ultimate in cooking websites!  If you can't find a recipe to work for you there, then you hate food.  It's got great articles and teaching videos too!

ThePioneerWoman.com - Ree just rocks!  She publishes new recipes a few times a week (all done step-by-step), does amazing giveaways (Le Cruset, KitchenAid, etc), and is hilarious!  She also posts about her day to day life, homeschooling, and photography. 

Tasty Kitchen - An off-shoot of Pioneer Woman, this is a great recipe sharing community site.  While it doesn't have the breadth of recipes that AllRecipes has, you get some great insights into the creators of the recipes. 

I also really dig the Sp.lenda, Kra.ft, Campb.ells, and Food Network sites.  Do you have any favourite recipe sites?

*****
Today has been productive for us.  Beloved was off because it's Remembrance Day (see today's earlier post), so we were lazy this morning, but then got going after lunch.  Beloved installed the car seat (OMG!) and then we hit Wa.lmart to pick up some pics I had sent for printing, and Home De.pot for the hardware we need to finish the Halfling's room.  Once we got home, I started our supper (Ribs... yum!  The sauce recipe is one that I will NEVER EVER give away.  I would get killed by half my family).  Beloved is working on the bookcase that still needed to be painted, and I framed a bunch of pics.  I need to do some housework yet, but I'm feeling good about what we got accomplished.  My goal is to have my to do list done by the end of the weekend, so that I can do a little baking next week and then just rest.

*****
I packed my hospital bag last night.  And a separate bag for Beloved (change of clothes, snacks, etc).  I would like to get the diaper bag packed for the baby tonight, but we'll see.  The bags are by the door now, just in case.  Talk about a dose of reality.

*****
The braxton-hicks have come back, just as I suspected, with a vengance.  Last night I tried to stand up from the couch and I got hit with one that knocked me back on my butt.  They've been pretty intense ever since. 

*****
The weather here on the flatland is still holding, but they are predicting snow starting next week.  I'm still crossing my fingers, tho.  I want the snow to stay away for another few weeks. 

In Flanders Fields

Good Morning Humble Readers...

Here, north of the 49th parallel, today is an important day.  It's Remembrance Day... a day to honour the men and women who serve and have served in our military.  People like those in Afganistan right now, and people like my grandfather who was on Juno beach on D-day. 

To all who have served our country, and our world, in the pursuit of peace, THANK YOU!

To all who  have defended the rights and freedoms of Canadians, and those who need assistance to achieve or hold on to the same around the world, THANK YOU!

To all who have risked their lives for something bigger than themselves, in the past, and present, and who will in the future, THANK YOU!

In Flanders fields the poppies grow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

~ by Lt. Col. John McCrae (May 1915)

Please remember to observe a moment of silence at 11:00 this morning in their honor.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Blog Challenge Day 21: A Recipe

Greetings Humble Readers!

Today's assignment is far too easy!  Share a recipe?  Me? 

Well, if you insist!

First up, just a reminder if you're new-ish to my hobbit-hole, make sure you check out the "Larder" tab up there at the top for all the links to the recipes I've shared over the last couple of years. 

Today's recipe is one that is in our regular rotation.  I originally found inspiration for this on my all-time favourite cooking website, AllRecipes.com, adapted and combined it with some flavours from my favourite Indian restaurant.

As always, keep in mind that measurements are approximate, and you are more than welcome to play around with the ingredients to make it what you want it to be.  This recipe also sizes up or down very easily, and it freezes very well.

Chicken Curry
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts & 6 thighs, cut into bite-sized chunks
1/4 cup flour
1 tbsp chili powder
olive oil
1 lg onion, coarsely chopped
minced garlic (I like a lot in this... 5 or 6 cloves)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cloves
2-3 tbsp curry powder (depending how strong you like it)
1 can coconut milk (I always use the light coconut milk)
1 28oz can diced tomatoes, partially drained
1 1/2 cup frozen peas

Combine flour and chili powder, and dredge the chicken.  In a deep skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil, and then add the chicken.  Brown the chicken pieces.  Add the onion and garlic to the pan, and saute until the onions are transparent, stirring often so that the garlic doesn't burn.  Move chicken, onions and garlic to the outside edges of the pan and add all the spices into the center.  After a moment or two you will start to smell the spices toasting.  Stir them into the chicken and onions.  Add coconut milk and diced tomatoes.  Combine well and reduce heat.  Cover and allow to simmer slowly for 15-20 minutes, stirring occassionally.  Adjust spices at this point, if you feel the need.  Add in the frozen peas just a couple of minutes before serving. 

Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, or noodles.

This recipe can also be made with a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.  If so, skip the dredging, and saute the onions and garlic before adding shredded skinned chicken to the pan.  Sauce will be a little thinner, but not greatly. 

If you try it, please let me know what you think!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Week 37: Breathing Easier & Blog Challenge Day 20: A Hobby

Hey Humble Readers...

I was a little wiped yesterday, so I missed doing my weekly update.  I can't believe I'm officially full term now.  It seems so surreal.  In a little over two weeks, we'll have our little Halfling here with us!  Amazing!

How far along? 37w1d

Maternity clothes? I couldn't fit into a pre-pregnancy pair of pants now if I wanted to.  Some t-shirts and sweaters still fit tho.  Thankfully, we are experiencing a really nice autumn now, so it's not a big deal that my winter coat doesn't fit any more.

Body Oddities? Nothing new, except for a lack of braxton hicks.  Even the round ligament pain has eased off.  A little strange.  I'm a little concerned that they're going to come back with a vengance any time.  I have finally passed my pre-pregnancy weight, by about a pound and a half. 

Sleep? Still a hit or miss situation.  Some nights are better than others.  The time change this week really threw me for a loop.

Best moment this week?  Dinner at my MIL's place.  Got to see a couple of my BILs and their wives.  We all live within a couple of hours of each other, but rarely all get together.  The guys put up Mom C's Christmas lights, and the ladies watched that "Everybody Loves Babies" documentary.  It was really cute, and we killed ourselves laughing. 

Worst moment?  Just overdoing it on Saturday.  It really hit home how limited my physical capabilities are right now.  Honestly, it worries me about being able to handle labor... I mean, I can't even do a little shopping without being in serious pain.  How am I going to push out this Halfling?

Movement?  All the time... except when I'm hooked up to the monitors for my NST.  Then I have to drink ice water, and poke at my belly repeatedly to get him/her to wake up. 

Food cravings? Like last week, no real cravings, just obsessions.  This week, all I want is a big fat cheeseburger, with lots of pickles, sauteed onions, and some sort of secret sauce.  I want a big plate of fries... with gravy and cheese.  Terrible, huh?

Rings? Off... and I think they'll be staying off now for a while.  Hope to have them back on by Christmas.  :)

Gender? Not going to find out, but I think it's a boy.  This is the first week that it has really bothered me, not knowing.  I saw some really sweet Christmas outfits, but I don't know if I need a dress or a little boy's outfit. 

Intense Dreams?  One that stands out... I was in labour, and my nurse was the nurse who taught our prenatal classes.  It seemed like a pretty normal dream, until the nurse started wearing a huge clown mask.  She's trying to coach me through the pushing, and all I can see are her eyes behind this crazy mask. 

Medical Concerns? High blood pressure (on 50mg Trandate/Lobetalol, 3 times a day), Gestational Diabetes (actually doing really well, except for the occassional low), on prescription Zan.tac for heartburn. Being induced on November 25th. 

What I miss?  Being able to go more than an hour without having to pee, being able to cook a meal without having to get my Beloved to get the pots from down low, or ingredients from up high. 

What I look forward to?  Finishing off my to do list so that I can have a few days to relax before this little person makes his/her appearance. 

Emotional State? Frustrated with the physical limitations I'm facing, but other than that I'm doing ok.

*****
Today's blog challenge assignment is to talk about a hobby of mine.  I honestly don't really have one currently.  I have in the past been a very avid scrapbooker, cross-stitcher, writer, and I have tried my hand at crocheting (with pathetic results).  Earlier this year, I was really into looking into our geneology.  As you have probably guessed, I have a lot of unfinished projects. 

Most recently, I took up knitting again.  I learned how to knit when I was in junior high, but let it go.  You may recall back in May or June I mentioned that I was going to knit a blanket for the Halfling.  Well, considering that it was only a baby blanket, it sure took me long enough to finish it (and technically it's not finished yet, I need to weave the little loose ends in).  I finished knitting it on the weekend, and I've been very excited to show it to you. 

Now keep in mind that this is just a very simple blanket, and I know that my tension needs work.  But I'm very proud of it, nonetheless. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Blog Challenge Day 19: A Talent of Mine

Greetings Humble Readers...

Today's been an unproductive day... my blood sugar tanked this morning because I slept through when I normally have a mid-morning snack.  When I woke up, I felt like total crap and I've spent the rest of the day doing absolutely nothing because I have felt so sluggish. 

The blog challenge assignment is to talk about a talent of mine.  Hmmm...

I have tried to think of something that I'm good at, but the only thing that comes to mind right now (other than having a memory for useless trivia) is cooking. 

I've always loved cooking. 

I started cooking for my family when I was 9 or 10 years old.  Not all the time, but regularly enough to start gaining some skills.  Mostly I would make easy stuff like pasta or Hamb.urger He.lper, but I always wanted to experiment with the basic recipes to make them my own.   By the time I was 12, I was cooking at least half the time for my bio-mom and I.  I got good at things like cooking rice, lasagna, fish and chicken. 

I was excited when, in 8th grade, I was able to start taking cooking classes in school.  I ended up being rather disappointed by the classes, though, because the majority of it was either beyond basic or so rigid that there was no opportunity to experiment. 

In the years after college, when I lived on my own, I didn't do much cooking because I don't like cooking for one.  But, when I moved back in with my parents several years later, I found my inspiration again.  And that's when I got addicted to the Food Network, cookbooks, and cooking magazines. 

I love trying new flavors, new ingredients, and new techniques.  I have my share of flops, but I don't think it's bragging to say that most of the time recipes come out the way I planned.  There are plenty of times when I think something needs to be added to, changed, or taken away... but it just makes me all the more excited to try again and make it better.  I just sometimes wish that my Beloved wasn't quite so easy to please... I would love to get some real feedback on some of my efforts. 

The one thing that I love about cooking is that there is always somewhere different to go with it, there's always something new to try.  I want to learn to cook thai food, and I want to experiment with quinoa.  I want to find a really good place for puttanesca so that I can get a good taste for it, and then copy it.  And I want to find some more interesting ways to do pork chops (a staple on our menu).  Even the dreaded GD has caused me to grow as a cook, and to think about how to adapt my palette. 

So, now that I've babbled on and on... tell me, what is the most recent new-to-you flavor or food or cooking technique you've tried?  Did you like it?  Is it something you'll have again?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Blog Challenge Day 18: Our Wedding

Good Evening Humble Readers...

Why is it that whenever we change the clock, no matter if we spring ahead or fall back, I end up exhausted?  I literally did next to nothing today, and I'm pooped. 

Anyway, today's assignment is to tell you all about our wedding.  I did a post on our second anniversary about our wedding... the theme (whimsical), the colours (red, white, with a splash of yellow), things that made our wedding unique (lollipop bouquet, candy buffet, cupcakes, and goldfish).  It was a very happy day, and even though it was stressful leading up to it, I am so very glad we decided to get married quickly... less than a year after we first met face to face. 

Because we got engaged in October and married in April, we had to hurry up the process a bit.  I had to find my dress on the rack (not easy for a plus size gal... but miraculously I found the dress that I had already fallen in love with, for far less than I was anticipating spending), a venue for the reception (actually had it booked two weeks before Beloved proposed), and a photographer who wouldn't charge us a bloody fortune. 

All while working full time, with my Beloved living 10 hours away, and taking care of my mom as she had surgery to remove two cancerous lesions from her brain (in February)... It was a bit insane. 

So, it's no surprise that a very important detail got overlooked in the run up to the wedding.  The shoes (very cute strappy sandals) that I bought were very comfy for walking around in, but I didn't think to practice just standing in them for more than a half hour at a time.  By the time I got to the church, after the prep photos, and all the pics with my parents and my sister, my feet were already aching.  Then I had to stand at the front of the church for more than 30 minutes trying to focus on what the pastor was saying and not thinking about my squished toes.  I was never so relieved as when I got to sit down to sign the licence. 

When we got to the park to do our portraits, I couldn't take it any longer... I had to take the sandals off.  Thankfully I had thought to buy a pair of platform white flip flops, just in case.  They totally saved my bacon.  I ended up wearing them for the rest of the night. 

And my poor, long-suffering Beloved ended up carrying my sandals (and my purse) all over the park as we had our pics taken.

*****
When I woke up this morning it became apparent why my hip was so very sore yesterday.  The Halfling has dropped WAY down.  I can breathe so much easier today, even though I can only waddle.  I don't look as pregnant as I did a week ago because he/she is so much lower. 

Funny moment of the day... I was standing in the kitchen this morning, and my belly was against the counter.  I wasn't leaning, but the Halfling musn't have liked the counter touching me... he/she pushed me right away from it.  It was hilarious.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Blog Challenge Day 17: A Work of Art & Some Pathetic Whining

Hey Humble Readers!  I hope you're having a great weekend!

Today's assignment for the Blog Challenge is to share a piece of artwork and what it means to you. 

Now, I don't consider myself 'artsy' but I do know what I like.  When we were in NYC last year, some of my favourite moments were in the many museums we visited.  I can't talk knowledgably about artists or their media.  I just know when something speaks to me. 

One of my absolute favourite pieces is a painting by John William Waterhouse called "The Lady of Shalott"

courtesy of Google Images
I confess that I came to love this painting through a round-about means.  When I was 11 I read "Anne of Green Gables" for the first time.  Now, if you haven't read it (or at the very least, seen the movie), there is a very integral scene where Anne and her friends act out Tennyson's poem about Lancelot and the Lady, with near tragic (but comic) results.  Reading Anne led me to reading Tennyson, which then led to discovering the many different paintings that have illustrated it over the years. 

I have a large print of this painting framed over our bed.  I love the colours and the emotion depicted.  I don't know what else to say about it, except that I really really love it. 

*****
Okay... so time for some pathetic whining.

My lower back and right hip have been extremely sore since the other day when I was doing that painting.  I was pretty lazy yesterday, and thought that I was doing better, just stiff.  Then I spent the morning at the mall, doing some much needed shopping, while Beloved was at a meeting at church.  It was only a couple of hours, but I ended up hobbling around the grocery store and ever since, I've been in a whole heck of a lot of pain.  I took a nap this afternoon, hoping that it would help me relax, but it still feels like I have a huge knot right in my big old derriere.  And it's not helping that the Halfling has dropped and it feels like he/she is wedged right where the sun don't shine. 

*sigh* 

Remind me that I really really realy really really wanted this... please?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Blog Challenge Day 16: A Song That Makes Me Cry

Greetings Humble Readers!

Today hasn't been anywhere near as productive as I had hoped, but I kind of overdid it yesterday.  I woke up in a lot of pain and decided that the rest of the painting would have to wait.

The plan is, we are going to finish painting the bookcases tomorrow.  So, today I spent the morning resting (aka being a lazy ass), and this afternoon, I've done a bunch of baby laundry.  I don't normally enjoy doing laundry, but I have to say that this has been kind of fun.  I know I won't always feel this way about it, but it was great folding all those little blankets and outfits.  I just can't imagine having something that small to hold. 

Today's assignment for the blog challenge is to talk about a song that makes me cry.  I think I've talked about this one before.  The first song that comes to mind is "Dance Little Jean" by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.  (The video isn't of them, but it was the best version I could find on Youtube.) 



But one that I don't hear all that often (thank goodness!), but still makes me bawl like a baby everytime I hear it is the Academy Award winning song from Return of the King, "Into the West"  by Annie Lennox.  Especially when you know the story behind it... about a young man associated with the film who died after along battle with cancer.  It also makes me think of my angel girls... waiting in, as Gandalf says, 'a far green country, under a swift sunrise'. 



I hope I didn't make you cry... ;)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Blog Challenge Day 15: My Dream House

Howdy Humble Readers!

Greetings from your friendly neighbourhood paint-covered hobbit!  I've spent all day working on getting a set of bookshelves painted for the nursery.  It's taken me all day because I'm moving pretty slow these days, and I had to take a nap this afternoon... heaven help me!

But the Blog Challenge beckons, and it's time to talk about my dream house... so, here's a picture:

I finally discovered the key word that describes my dream house... craftsman style!  I love the front porch and the gabled windows.  Not that my Beloved and I want an older home to maintain or a big yard, but something like the house pictured above, on a small lot, with a garage or at least a good solid shed (so that we don't have to store things in the garages and basements of family and friends). 

My dream house would have 3 bedrooms, and 3 bathrooms (the en suite would have a nice deep soaker tub and a rain shower).  It would have an informal living room, a cozy dining room, a comfy family room (with a ton of built in book cases), and most importantly, a bee-ewe-tee-ful big kitchen.  Lots of cupboards and drawers (I want drawers for my pots, pans, and tupperware), a big pantry, acres of counter space... a double wall oven, one of those french door fridges, and an island with a butcher-block top.  I would have tons of pantry space, and a nice big deep freeze. 

And... if all that weren't enough, my dream house would come with a friendly, very competent maid service that would come by weekly to clean. 

That's not asking too much, is it?

What would be your favourite room in your dream house?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Blog Challenge Day 14: A Non-Fiction Book & The Birth Plan

Greetings Humble Readers!

Today's assignment is a non-fiction book... and all the non-fiction I have been reading lately has been baby or birth related, and this has been my favourite:



Not to be confused with Your Best Birth by Ricki Lake, The Best Birth by Sarah McMoyler offers what I thought was the most balanced view of what birth can and should be.  McMoyler states at the outset that her goal is a healthy baby and a healthy mom, and doing what is needed to get there is what needs to happen.  Her viewpoint focusses on natural childbirth, and that if you need to avail yourself of pain meds or more in depth interventions IT IS NOT A FAILURE.  Every woman has a different tolerance for pain, every birth experience is different, so it is not for someone outside of your experience to tell you what is right or wrong for you.  She offers a lot of great coping techniques and there are great sections for dads-to-be too.  Honestly, the only thing I have against this book is her opinion of doulas.  She is very anti-doula. 

*****
I thought it would be fitting today to tell you all about my birth plan.  It may seem moot to have written one, considering that I know, at the minimum, I'm going to be induced, but I wanted to have a few specifics written down.  This is the birth plan that I shared with Dr. U this morning at my appointment (of which he was very supportive):

Our ultimate goal is a healthy baby and a healthy mom, and we are willing to do whatever we need to do to achieve that.

We are aware that being induced requires a certain amount of medical intervention (IVs, meds, monitoring, etc), and that a caesarean section is a distinct possibility. With that in mind, there are a few things we would really like, if at all possible.

• Mrs. Gamgee’s mom S is the only family, other than Beloved of course, that will be at the hospital during the delivery.
• We know that an epidural will be necessary (in order to be prepared for a possible c-section), but Mrs. Gamgee would like to remain mobile for as long as possible.
• Mrs. Gamgee would like to avoid having an episiotomy. A small tear is preferable, should the situation arise.
• A vaginal birth is preferred, although we understand that a c-section may become necessary. If this happens, Beloved is to go with the baby after delivery. (This is also true if the baby needs to go to the Special Care Nursery or leave our room for any reason.)
• We would like to have skin to skin contact with the baby as soon as possible. If Mrs. Gamgee has a c-section, we would like for Beloved to have skin to skin contact with the baby while Mrs. Gamgee is in recovery.
• Breastfeeding is very important for us. We would like to start trying as early as possible. An early visit from a lactation consultant would be greatly appreciated.
• We are not inviting friends and family to visit during the first 24 hours after delivery. We want to have that time to focus on our new family member.

Other highlights from today's appointment & NST:  Blood pressure is holding steady... 126/75.  Blood sugars are looking good and I no longer have to increase my insulin, just maintain where I'm at and work to keep tabs on my lows.  Weight is bang on my pre-pregnancy weight.  Results of my u/s last week... Halfling is 'growing beautifully' according to Dr. U.  He/she is sitting between the 75th & 90th percentile.  No giant babies here!  And... we have a date for D-day!  November 25th. 

At my next Dr. U appointment (in 2 weeks, he's on vacation next week so I have to go see Dr. B... Ugh!), we are going to discuss stripping my membranes.  I'm a bit unsure about that (have heard some horror stories), but I do like the idea of my body starting labour more on it's own rather than having to be induced.  Any thoughts ladies?