Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day: Developing Family Traditions

Howdy Humble Readers...

Have you had a good Leap Day? 

Things here started out pretty good, but then Ginny's teeth started bugging her and then I managed to ruin our dinner before it even got started (sooo stupid... I was going to make quiche, and I had taken out the pie crust out of the freezer.  I had also taken out a freezer bag of rhubarb in plans of making a rhubarb crumble.  Apparently the rhubarb bag had a hole in it, and as it thawed it leaked all over the pie crust.  And my cell phone.  *sigh*  Thankfully I was able to save my cell phone.  I wasn't so lucky with the pie crust).

Anyway, back to the point of this post... I've been doing a lot of pondering lately about family traditions. 

My family has always been big on traditions.  From what we have for breakfast on Christmas to restaurants we have to visit when my sister and I are in K-town.  And now that we are a family of soon-to-be-four, I'm feeling the urge to develop some traditions of our own.

I'm not saying that my Beloved and I are totally tradition-less.  We watch "A Christmas Story" every year on Christmas Eve, I make appies for Oscar night, and Valentine's day is treated almost as important as our anniversary.  But I want to come up with some fun things that we do as a family...

How will we make birthdays special?

Will we go watch the fireworks on Canada Day?

How will we celebrate days like St. Patrick's Day, the first day of school, or big achievements?

And I was thinking this morning that Leap Day would be a great day for some fun traditions.  It's an extra day.  Maybe it will be a day that we do 'naughty' things, like play hookie from school/work (once every four years can't be too terrible, can it?) and go tobagganing.  Or perhaps it will be a day that we go to the Big City to the North or South, and go to a museum or the science center.  Maybe we'll just go to a movie in the afternoon and eat junk food. 

Not all traditions have to be big.  And they certainly don't have to be perfect.  I just think it's important to celebrate the fact that we are a family.  To make the ordinary special. 

What traditions do you have in your family?  What traditions are you looking forward to sharing with your kids?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Week 28: Third Trimester!!

Howdy Humble Readers...

Well, here we are... technically in the home stretch!  It's so hard to believe that this is my life.  My Beloved asked me today if I'm scared about the future.  I admitted that I am, not just about the relatively short term... getting to May 10th with this Halfling healthy and safe.  I'm concerned about life after... being mommy to two wee creatures. 

This isn't an O-M-G-I'm-panicking type of post.  This is more a wondering-about-what-the-future-holds sort of thing.  My Beloved and I have been married for almost 5 years, and for 4 of those years we (meaning mostly me) have been focussed, if not obsessed, with building our family.  That phase of our lives is quickly drawing to a close.  I know that I will have plenty to occupy my mind, but I wonder what that will look like.  I know that IF and RPL will always be a part of who I am... I just wonder how they will impact the next stage of my life.  Does that make any sense at all?

And now for something completely different... Ginny has always had this bizarre habit of trying to stick her hands down the top of my shirt.  It seemed to fade considerably in the fall, but now she's back at it regularly, always trying to cop a feel, as it were.  It makes me wonder, even though I was only able to breastfeed for three months, does she remember?  And now that 'the girls' are producing again (righty is anyway, lefty was always less productive)  I can express almost as much now as what I could when Ginny was first born.  Admittedly, it's not a heck of a lot, no more than a teaspoon.  But I wonder if she can sense it, or maybe even smell it or something?  Something to ponder...

On to this week's update...

How far along? 28w0d (only 10 weeks to go!!  HOLY CRAP!)

Maternity clothes? Yup.  Sadly, some of my mat clothes are starting to show some wear.  This time around I only bought a couple of long sleeved shirts, a sweater, and a pair of cords.  Of course I still have all the tshirts and jeans from last time, but they are looking very tired. 

Body Oddities? VERY dry skin, alternating constipation and IBS flares, acne, bruises from insulin injections, back ache, cracking joints, super sore & slightly leaky boobs, dry/itchy eyes, leg cramps, round ligament pain, tingly fingertips, tired, gassy, Braxton Hicks NEW THIS WEEK: shrinking belly button!!

Sleep? Not as tired as I have been.  Maybe the iron pills are working?  I seem to be able to get by with just a brief nap in the morning, and I'm not falling asleep in the evening.  Still sleeping like the dead.

Intense Dreams?  OMG... they just don't stop!  Being stalked by my bio-mom, finding a pure white yorkshire terrior in the dairy section of Safeway while shopping with my Mom, singing karaoke with Minta (yes... Minta, you were in one of my dreams), and last night's was set in a weird variation of my college, but it was also a hospital, and I found out that there were problems with the halfling (he only had one eye... and yes, I said he.  The halfling has been a 'he' in several dreams this week.)

Best moment this week? Making progress on my to do list!

Worst moment? A dizzy spell while I was grocery shopping.  Nothing like clinging to the shopping cart in the middle of the dairy section, seeing spots (thank you GD... grr).

Movement? Lots and lots!  As the Halfling is turning vertical, it seems like he/she is opposite of what Ginny was.  Throughout the third trimester, Ginny was on an angle, with her head on my right hip and her feet and bum under my left lung/ribs.  Halfling 2.0 has his/her head on my right hip and likes to kick and stretch out under my right lung/ribs. 

Food cravings/aversions?  Fruit!  But it has to be icy cold.  Pineapple, strawberries, oranges, etc. 

Rings? Surprisingly, still on.

Gender? I still think it's a girl.  But it appears that boy is winning in the poll on the right.

Medical Concerns? Gestational Diabetes (insulin 5 times a day), High blood pressure (on 50mg of lobetalol 3x daily), continued heartburn (on 60mg of Pan.taloc daily), kidney stones (they're back!), low lying placenta, low iron.

What I miss? Nothing too big this week.  I just wish I could have some of my favourite tempura maki rolls!

What I look forward to? Making some serious progress on my to do list.

Emtional State?  Pretty mellow this week.  No extremes one way or the other.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Ginevra @ 15 Months

Evening Humble Readers!

I hope you all are well!  Things in our hobbit-hole are warm, cozy, and garlic scented.  I spent part of today making a big batch of my homemade marinara sauce (soon to be a feature on Foodie Fridays) and it turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. 

Hangin' out at Gramma's place
As always, when the 27th of the month approaches, I am surprised that another month has flown by.  Ginny is 15 months old today and continuing to astound us with all of her busy-ness.  And of course, she's into everything!

Reorganizing Mommy's books
Helping with the laundry
Ginny's vocabulary, while it hasn't grown by leaps or bounds or anything, is showing signs of improvement.  She's only added one real word (ball) this month, but there is some forward momentum.  When she's hungry, she starts saying "num-num-num" and something that sounds a lot like "tickle-tickle" (she even tries to tickle her own toes... too funny!).  A few time's she's said something that sounds like 'sippy' in reference to her cup.  Her babbling has also taken on a bit of a different tone, too.  She seems to be using more hard consonant sounds (G, T, K, D) whereas before she was primarily focused on B's and P's.  She also seems to be trying to mimic things we say (words like gate and car are sounding closer and closer to the real thing) and sounds we make (particularly when I sing Old MacDonald and I make the piggy snort sounds, or when I pretend to be sleeping and I snore loudly). 

Guess who was eating chocolate goldfish crackers?
She's learned how to climb stairs (at church, as they are the only 'safe' stairs in our lives right now) and has figured out how to climb up onto the couch, particularly if I'm eating something (she's quite the little mooch!).  Her taste pallate has grown to include tortellini, zucchini, hummus, and several kinds of cheese.  She loves spaghetti, strawberries, and has just tried pineapple for the first time.  She's also discovered the wonders of goldfish crackers (they're the new cheerios, don't you know!). 

All ready for church!
Ginny's become the queen of non-verbal communication.  She points at all sorts of things and has learned a very cute form of a shoulder shrug (usually used when I ask her where one of her toys is, as if to say 'I dunno').  She's also figured out how to blow kisses, which she does usually at night when my Beloved takes her for her bedtime routine.

Blowing kisses at Mommy
We have seen a new phenomenon, something that strongly indicates that Ginny's very much a Daddy's girl.  Unless we are very intentional about keeping her distracted, she gets seriously upset when my Beloved leaves for work in the morning.  She will try to take his shoes, even his briefcase, and run off with them.  And when he opens the door to leave, the waterworks start.  Funny how she doesn't freak out whenever I leave her at home with Daddy....

Hanging out by the gate
Ginny's become a fan of corners and small places.  She's always liked to try to get under the end tables, but now she's obsessed with hanging out under my Beloved's desk, which wouldn't be bad, except for being able to get at the power cords for his computer, lamp, etc.  Another of her favourite places is to hang out right by the baby gate in the hall.  She will take all her stuffies, her sippy cup, and the kitchen towel (if she can get at it) and camp out in front of the gate.  It's very cute. 

She's quickly outgrowing some of her 12 month clothes, particularly pants (too short), and she's gone up to a size 4 in shoes.  One frustration I still have with clothing her is that she has no belly or hiney to speak of, and all the pants that are long enough to fit her are far too big around the waist.  Overalls are still her primary wardrobe staple.  No new teeth this month, but we have had some teething signs, so I'm thinking we're due for another round of sore gums and fussiness soon.  I haven't measured her recently, but she's up to 21.5 pounds.  She's also graduated to a forward facing car seat, and the first time she rode in it, I swear she was freaked out by the sensation of being able to see things coming at her. 

All in all, a busy month for our wee sweet girl.  Part of me keeps on wishing that she would slow down in her growth, so that I could keep her wee for just a little while longer, but I know that can't be.  So instead, I will have to celebrate all the new and exciting little steps that come along in her life.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: Questions & Minutia

Hey Humble Readers,

Old Man Winter has deemed that we have had enough of a break from his presence, and has come back with a bit of a bite.  After our really cold stretch (wherein Tilly the Toyota froze up completely) we had an amazingly long stretch of almost spring-like weather.  No snow and mild temps for almost a month.  Then last week the snow started again, but it was still not too terribly cold.  Now we're back to more seasonal temps for the frozen flatland... and it's been snowing pretty much consistently since Thursday.  We haven't gotten much for accumulation, but it's our normal mid winter type of snow... dusty, dry and powdery.  Apparently we've lucked out though, because Big City to the North has gotten slammed with snow.

It's Oscar night tonight, and as usual, I'm going to be cooking up a bunch of appetizers for my Beloved and I to munch on as I drool over the dresses and (hopefully) laugh at Billy Crystal.  On the menu tonight: Baked Crab Rangoon, Creamy Chicken Puffs, Nachos, and Fresh Veggies with Hummus.  I'm ashamed to admit, this year I think I have only seen one of the major nominated films.  I've already informed my Beloved that as they come available on VOD, we will be renting!  Normally I try to see as many of the nominated pics as possible.

My Beloved and I have a bit of a quandary before us.  It's not pressing, but we are trying to make a decision about sleeping arrangements for Ginny and the Halfling.  Of course, for the first few months, the Halfling will be in our room.  But by next fall we'll probably be looking at moving him/her in with Ginny in the nursery.  At that point, Ginny may be ready for a toddler bed.  Here's where the questions arise... should we buy Ginny a toddler bed, or should we buy the Halfling a convertible crib (one that can become a toddler bed, and eventually even a full size bed... like what we bought for Ginny)?  To buy a crib will cost a bit more now, but it may be more cost effective in the future.  A toddler bed would be cheaper at the moment, but maybe not as smart for the long term.  No matter what, the little ones will have to share a room, for at least a couple of years yet, as we aren't in the position to be looking for a new house.  Thoughts? 

You may have noticed the new tab up there at the top, my "Massive To Do List".  It contains all the stuff I feel I need to get done before the Halfling makes his/her appearance.  One of the items on my list is to make a bunch of freezer meals for the first few weeks at home.  The thing is, most of my usual freezer meal ideas are more wintery types of food (lasagna, chili, etc).  Do any of you have any good suggestions for lighter spring/summer freezer meals? 

Another item on my To Do list requires some help from my friends who knit.  I'm a very inexperienced knitter, and I have a problem that I need to fix.  Some of you may recall that I knitted a very basic baby blanket for Ginny before she was born.  Sadly, Ginny has pulled a couple of big snags in it, to the point where I can't let her use the blanket in her crib because I'm scared that she could hurt herself with the long loose strands.  I want to fix it if I can, but I'm just not sure how.  Experienced knitters... do you think it's possible?  And if so, how should I go about fixing it?  Or should I just give it up, and knit her a new blanket?

Thanks in advance for all your input, Humble Readers!  I appreciate it!

Friday, February 24, 2012

So THAT Explains It: OB Appointment Update

Hey Humble Readers...

Thank you all for putting up with my freak out yesterday.  The fears and worries are still there, but they seem to be at a dull roar today. 

So, I had an appointment with Dr. W this morning.  I found her much more personable today, which was reassuring.  Several outcomes from today's appointment...
  • Halfling 2.0 is still sitting transverse.  Not a big deal, but should be turning soon.
  • 24 hr urine collection showed a slight elevation in protiens, but nothing to be concerned about
  • Had blood in my urine today.  Need to go for a test to see if I have another kidney infection (I think I do have one)
  • C-section is planned for May 10th.  I signed the paperwork and everything.  With delivering at 38 weeks, there is a possibility that the baby may need to be in the Special Care Nursery for a couple of days, particularly if the baby is a boy (slower lung development). 
  • Bloodwork from last week showed that I have low iron.  This is likely why I have been so blasted tired for the past few weeks.  Rx'd iron pills and stool softeners. 
  • Next appointment will be on the L&D floor at the hospital, for an NST
So all in all, a good appointment.  My weight stayed fairly steady (thank heaven!  Especially given how hungry I've been recently) and my blood pressure was good, so the move to lowering my HBP meds was a good one. 

I'm so glad to know that there is a reason why I have been so tired, but not feeling like I'm getting any rest.  Seriously, I've been back to falling asleep at 8pm, and then sleeping through the night, and waking up in a fog.  I guess I'm not such a lazy slug after all.

The only thing that she didn't ask about was my blood sugars, but they have been pretty well controlled over the last couple of weeks.  I think I may need an insulin increase in the next few days, but I'm going to wait and see the outcome of this whole possible kidney infection situation. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Confession Time: Fears & Worries

Hey Humble Readers...

My friend, Minta, has just recently found out that she's expecting her second wee one.  She's also a baby-loss mama, and is dealing with a lot of fear and anxiety right now, as she waits for her viability ultrasound tomorrow.  If you've got a minute please pop over and share some love. 

And in reading where she's at right now, it is impossible to for me to continue to deny my own fears.  I have avoided actually writing about them because speaking them aloud is a scary thing. 

You would think, this being my second go round down this road, that the fears would be less intense.  You'd think that I would be more confident in my body's ability to pull this off.  Many people in my life have even said as much.  "This pregnancy must be so much easier on you, so much less stressful." 

I wish!

In the beginning, I had all the usual fears that go along with having dealt with pregnancy losses. 

Will this bean stick? 

Is there a heartbeat? 

Will this one make it through the first trimester?

Now, as we approach the end of this journey, new worries are gaining strength.

I worry about the Halfling getting too big, even though I'm doing everything I can to keep my blood sugars under control.

I worry about the low lying placenta.  Is it placenta previa?  Will I have to go on bed rest?  How will I care for Ginny and my Beloved if I'm relegated to the couch? 

And, heaven help me, what about all the delivery risks that go along with placenta previa? 

I'm afraid of pre-eclampsia.  I'm afraid that I will end up with pre-e and have to have an emergency c-section. 

I'm afraid that if I have to have an emergency c-section, the doctors won't be able to get to the baby quick enough because of my size (read: super plus size) and scar tissue.

And because all my genetic screening was messed up, I'm now starting to worry about he Halfling being healthy.  But of course, I'm too chicken to have an amnio done... go figure.

I swear I won't feel confident in this pregnancy until I actually have this Halfling in my arms.  I know that worry won't change the outcome, no matter what.  I just can't seem to shut off that little voice that says that this pregnancy is doomed.

Before Ginny, motherhood was a vague idea.  Something I hoped for, but didn't truly understand on practical level.  Now, I know what I'll be losing.  And that scares me the most.

(I'm not really a basket case, I'm just having a rough patch.  I just needed to get this all out there)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Week 27: A Cranky Hobbit

Howdy Humble Readers & ICLW Visitors!

I hope you are all doing well today.  Things around here have been a tad sluggish... I woke up this morning feeling like I didn't sleep a wink last night.  Of course, Ginny had a great sleep so she was up with the sun and raring to go.  Ahh well, I need to get used to it.  In a few more weeks I'll be having to get up for middle of the night feedings.

We had a meh sort of long weekend.  Sadly, my Beloved had to go into work on Monday for a few hours, as this is a very busy time of year for him and he's had to spend a lot of time training a new staff member instead of tackling the big projects that need to be done by the end of the month.  I'm afraid that I gave him a rough time about it... I had just been looking forward to spending some time together doing things that we want to do, rather than things that we have to do (like shopping, errands, chores, etc).  Our weekends are always so busy, that when we get a little extra time just to be, I cherish it.  Add to that, the fact that I don't get out of the house much during the winter and well, I turned into a mega biotch about the whole thing. 

We did manage to make a little progress on my ever growing to-do list.  Our bedroom closet is now much more organized, and we are now utilizing the space under our bed for storage.  It means that I can now move ahead on the reorganizing and rearranging I need to do in the nursery, linen closet, and storage room.  My project for this week is to go through my ridiculous amount of crafting stuff and sort what's worth keeping and what it's time to part with.

On to this week's update...

How far along? 27w0d (only 11 weeks to go)

Maternity clothes? Of course.  I have to say, I love my caramel coloured cords.  They are so warm and comfy!  I'll miss them when I don't need them anymore. 

Body Oddities? VERY dry skin, alternating constipation and IBS flares, acne, bruises from insulin injections, back ache, cracking joints, super sore & slightly leaky boobs, dry/itchy eyes, leg cramps, round ligament pain, tingly fingertips, very tired, gassy, Braxton Hicks NEW THIS WEEK: obscenly hungry!

Sleep? I've been sleeping heavily, but I don't seem to be getting rested.  I've also been dreaming a lot (nothing terrible, thank heaven!) and I think I was talking in my sleep the other night. 

Intense Dreams?  Like I said, no bad dreams this week, but just strange stuff.  Like one in which I was carrying around a huge jar of mayonaise.  I have no idea why, but I had to lug that thing everywhere.  Crazy!

Best moment this week? When Ginny blew me kisses on her way to bed the other night.  First time!

Worst moment? Burned mashed potatoes, iced tea everywhere, arguing with my Beloved... need I say more?

Movement? A lot.  I think this Halfling is finally getting ready to turn itself vertical.  I have felt a few more kicks above my belly button lately, and when he/she isn't testing the waters vertically, he/she's pushing on my hip bones trying to make more room. 

Food cravings/aversions? Other than being ridiculously hungry all the time, I'm totally craving pineapple.  I don't normally care for it, but now... man oh man, the thought of some ice cold chunks of pineapple just makes me drool.  In terms of aversions, the smells of raw meat are bugging me again.  That lamb on Valentine's Day was awful while I was prepping it, and the beef I used for yesterday's soup smelled icky too.

Rings?  I really don't think they're going to be on for much longer. 

Gender? Still leaning toward it being a girl.  Make sure to let me know what you think... and answer the poll on the right. (you all have been pretty evenly divided up to now)

Medical Concerns? Gestational Diabetes (insulin 5 times a day), High blood pressure (on 50mg of lobetalol 3x daily), continued heartburn (on 60mg of Pan.taloc daily), kidney stones (they're back!), low lying placenta.

What I miss? Being able to walk outside without fear of falling (always in the back of my mind, but especially so in the winter), walking without waddling

What I look forward to? not being so obsessed about food (I know I'm a foodie, but this past week has been ridiculous!), my next ultrasound (March 7), meeting this little person

Emtional State?  Mostly ok, but when the biotch comes out... yikes!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: Winter Strikes Back

Hey Humble Readers...

I hope you are all warm and cozy, tucked into your own little hobbit-holes.  Here on the flatland winter has again reared its ugly head.  It's not particularly cold, but it's been snowing all day.  It's not our normal type of February snow (icy and dry), it's really more like the snow we get in the spring, in April or May (wet and heavy).  I had plans for us to spend some time outside tomorrow, but I think we might skip that as I'm sure that it's going to be a sloppy wet mess everywhere. 

I don't know what was wrong with me tonight as I cooked dinner.  All sorts of crazy things went wrong.  My timing was all off on everything, and somehow I managed to let the potatoes boil dry... ugh, what a mess.  I was making yorkshire puddings and I tried a new recipe that called for butter in the pan rather than oil, and I should have known better.  At the high temp in the oven, of course the butter burned.  The house is still full of smoke. 

To add insult to injury, we had a minor catastrophe during dinner.  We were eating at tv trays in the living room (a common thing, I'm ashamed to admit) and while I was cutting a piece of meat, my tray decided to give way entirely.  Of course, I had a full glass of iced tea (sugar free, naturally) that went everywhere.  *sigh*  Well, I had been planning on having the carpets steam cleaned before Easter...

In other news, I finally got around to doing my 24 hour urine collection (how's that for a subject change?).  I started it on Friday morning, not thinking that my Beloved and I had planned to go to a movie that evening (my Beloved had arranged a sitter as a bit of a Valentine's surprise for me).  Being out for dinner and a movie, and having far too much to drink at both, made it very difficult to not mess up that stupid urine collection.  It also made for some fast talking at the sitter's house when we picked up Ginny.  I mean, how do you explain to someone that you have to pee like a racehorse, but that you have to pee at home? 

The movie we saw, "This Means War", was fantastic!  I haven't laughed so much in ages!  It hasn't had a lot of promotion from what I can see, but it is totally worth seeing.  And the eye candy in it (Chris Pine and Tom Hardy) was certainly an added bonus!

Good news for our congregation... the pastor who we voted to call (offer the position to) has accepted.  He and his family will be here sometime in May. 

I'm on pins and needles.  The season finale for Downton Abbey is due to start in just a few minutes.  I'm so anxious to see where they leave things with Mr. Bates and with Lady Mary & Matthew.  I have to say, I absolutely adore the clothes ant the romance of the era.  I know it wasn't all beautiful like it is in shows like this, and at best I would have been a cook in a manor house like that (if not a simple scullery maid), but it's just so lovely. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Honesty, Faith & Confusion

Hey Humble Readers...

I have struggled with this post for a long time.  I've started writing it many times over the past couple of years, and I know that in writing it now, I may lose followers and will most likely get flamed. 

The crazy thing is, the whole impetus behind this post was a stupid Jac.k in the B.ox commercial.  That 'Marry Bacon' commercial.  Have you seen it?  Basically it's a guy who is planning a wedding with, and eventually marrying a piece of bacon. 

And it pisses me off.  And when I thought about why it pissed me off, I confess I was surprised. 

I haven't written about where I stand on gay marraige, for many reasons, but primarily because I still struggle with where I actually stand on it.  In the simplest terms, my heart says one thing and my faith says another.  And from my experience, and in reading other bloggers who have discussed this subject, there doesn't seem to be room for those of us who are caught in the grey area. 

Earlier this week, I caught a news story on a Seattle tv news program that was talking about how Washington state is one step closer to allowing same sex marraiges, and I was very happy for several college friends who I know will be celebrating this step for very personal reasons. 

Should anyone be told who they should and shouldn't love?  Absolutely not.  Should someone's sexual orientation determine whether or not they are allowed to build their family?  No. 

Everyone has the right to determine who their family is... not the government, not the church, not the loudest voice screaming on the streetcorner. 

What I struggle with is how I rectify my faith with what I feel is right.  If you've been around here for even a little while, I think you know that my faith in God is a large part of who I am.  To my understanding, the Bible is pretty clear on the issue.  Marraige is between a man and a woman.  At the same time, the Bible also tells us that sin is anything that separates us from the love of God, and hate & judgement are sinful.  And no sin is greater than another.  Sin is sin is sin.

Which is right?  Which is wrong?  Does it have to be an either/or situation? 

This is where I sit...

So why did that burger joint commercial piss me off so much?  Simple... it makes light of a subject that is in no way trivial, it doesn't matter where you are in your understanding of it.  I can see both sides, and that commercial just pokes fun at the whole situation.  And that's just not right.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Food of Love

Hey Humble Readers!

I have had the laziest of lazy days today.  About the only things that I expended any effort on today was bathing Ginny (always a workout) and making dinner (Cheeseburger Crescent Pie & Salad).  Oh yeah, and there was this mess that I had to clean up...

Yesterday I promised you all a play by play on my fancy V-day dinner, and here it is...

On the Menu:
Mushroom Caps stuffed with Caramelized Onion & Cream Cheese
Roasted Rack of Lamb with Lemon & Dill
Warm Baby Potato Salad with Dill & Smoked Salmon
Oven Roasted Asparagus
Strawberry Gallette

I didn't have a recipe for the mushroom caps, so I just sort of threw them together at the last minute.  I removed and finely chopped the mushroom stems, sauteed them in a touch of olive oil, and then melted in a bit of softened cream cheese.  I had some leftover caramelized onions in the fridge, so I chopped them up and added them to the mix, then stuffed the mushroom caps and topped them with a bit of seasoned bread crumbs.  I popped them in a really hot oven (450F) for about 8 minutes.   I only made 6 for the two of us, but really I could have eaten a dozen all by myself.

The rack of lamb was the element of the meal that I was most nervous about.  It was tough to find a rack of lamb at a regular grocery store around here, but I managed to find a nice cut.  I marinated the lamb in the juice & zest of two lemons, a bunch of minced garlic,  a lot of fresh chopped dill, and some olive oil.  I let it marinate in the fridge for a few hours.  About a half hour before I was going to cook it, I took the meat out of the fridge and patted it dry.  Then, in a very hot (oven safe) skillet with a bit of olive oil I browned both sides, then covered the exposed bones with foil, and transferred the whole thing, skillet and all, into a hot oven.  It took about 12 minutes at 450F to get a beautiful medium rare. 

I got the recipe for the potato salad from a Food Network Canada show, Chef At Home.  I saw it on an episode over the holidays and it was the starting point for this whole meal.  It was super simple, just some baby yellow potatoes quartered and boiled until tender, combined with a dressing made of sour cream, lemon juice & zest (1 lemon), chopped fresh dill, chopped green onion and a tablespoon of capers.  At the very end, I added in some strips of smoked salmon.  Super yummy and different!

The asparagus was super simple, and I'm sure I've told you all about roasting asparagus before.  Just trimmed up the spears, drizzled them with a bit of olive oil and seasoned them with salt and pepper.  I put them in the oven along side the rack of lamb and they were done in 7 minutes.

Dessert... oh my heavens!  I came across this on Pinterest, and I was so amazed at how easy the recipe sounded that I had to try it.  Anything with pastry has always intimidated the snot out of me, so I confess that I cheated and bought a pre-made pie crust.  Then I combined a small bag of frozen sliced strawberries with a tablespoon of cornstarch and two tablespoons of Spl.enda (my concession to the GD).  I rolled out the pie crust and loaded the strawberries into the middle, leaving about an inch around the outside.  Then I folded the edge over, folding a bit as I went.  I brushed the pastry with a bit of eggwash and then sprinkled sugar (yes, real sugar) lightly over the whole thing.  I baked it on a parchment lined baking sheet for 35 minutes at 350F.  Then I grated some semi-sweet chocolate over the top.

Honestly, I usually do like my own cooking, but I was amazingly impressed with how this meal turned out.  Usually after I make a fancy dinner like this, I'm so worn out by the time it's ready to eat that I don't want to be bothered eating.  This meal was so easy, I barely felt like I was doing any real work.  And if it's just our wee little family for Easter this year, I'm so doing rack of lamb again.  Much less work than a leg of lamb.

Jem asked a question about yesterday's post...about the pizza proposal.  Here's the backstory...

I knew that my Beloved was going to propose, I just didn't know when.  He had had 'the' conversation with my Dad, which I felt was important, a couple of weeks before.  We had actually already set the date and even booked the hall. 

I knew he was coming for a weekend visit (he lived on the flatland, and I lived in the mountains), but I wasn't expecting him that particular night, which was a good thing as I was in a terrible mood after a difficult day at work.  All I knew was that I was going out for dinner with my parents and some friends.  When we got to the restaurant (Pizza H.ut), there he was, waiting for us.  I was surprised, but him popping the question was the furthest thing from my mind.  We ordered two pizzas for the table and some appies.  I munched a few chicken wings and we were just chatting away.  One pizza came out, but it wasn't one that I wanted (ham & pineapple, ick!) so I was waiting for the second.  It seemed to be taking a ridiculously long time, and I was getting grumpy because I was hungry. 

When the pizza finally came out, the waitress set it down right in front of me.  And spelled out in green peppers across the pizza were the words "Will You Marry Me?".  My mom, who was across the table from me, didn't see the words, and was going on about how it took so long to come out and then they didn't even cut the silly pizza.  I was just a bit speechless and finally I told her to read the pizza.  In the mean time, my Beloved had pulled out the ring (a beautiful oval cut blue sapphire with two little diamonds on either side, in white gold) and popped the question.  Of course I said yes, and here we are, almost at our 5th anniversary.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Week 26: Happy Vale-Matchiversary Day!

Hey Humble Readers...

How are things in your neck of the woods?  Hereabouts, things have been mellow.  We had a fairly busy weekend, with my Dad visiting on Saturday, and then heading down south to my MIL's on Sunday after church.  Oh, and we had a very important meeting at church this weekend... our congregation voted to extend a call to a new pastor!  Yay!  We've been without a regular pastor for more than two years.  If he accepts, then he'll be in place by the summer. 

Have you had a nice Valentine's Day?  Do you do anything special with your loved ones, or is it just another day?  My special V-day dinner turned out amazingly well... I think it was the best meal I've ever cooked.  But you'll get to hear and see all that tomorrow.

V-day is an important day for my Beloved and I.  Six years ago today we were matched on eHar.mony.  It was actually the day I signed up for their service.  He had been a member for a few months already.  We had a bit of a bumpy start to our match... for technical reasons, my account was delayed in being 100% activated, and when my Beloved tried to initiate contact I wasn't able to respond yet.  It took a couple of weeks to get things sorted out, so in that time he gave up on me and closed the match. 

Once I was finally able to send him a message, it was a pathetic little "can we give this another shot" type of message.  We started on their guided conversation path, but before long he closed our match again, because he had decided to start dating another match.  I have to tell you, I was pretty bummed.  I tried to move on to other matches, but I kept thinking about him.  A couple of weeks later I noticed on my eHar.mony home page that our match had been reopened.  I debated long and hard about it, but I tentatively sent him a message.  We met face to face in June of that year, and in October my Beloved proposed on a pizza.  And the rest, as they say, is history. 

But enough of the mushy remembrances.  On to the update!

How far along? 26w0d (only 12 weeks left!)

Maternity clothes? Yup.

Body Oddities? VERY dry skin, alternating constipation and IBS flares, acne, bruises from insulin injections, back ache, cracking joints, super sore & slightly leaky boobs, dry/itchy eyes, leg cramps, round ligament pain, tingly fingertips, very tired, NEW THIS WEEK: very gassy (a possible side effect of my new heartburn meds?) and Braxton-Hicks have started.

Sleep? Super tired again this week.  But my sleep hasn't been as good as it was.  Nightmares and a lot of tossing and turning have disrupted things lately.

Intense Dreams?  I had a horrible nightmare the other day that I haven't been able to shake.  In the dream, I had an inkling that something wasn't right, but I couldn't put my finger on it.  I called Dr. B and he refused (and I mean refused!) to see me until the following day.  I went to the hospital (alone), and when the nurse checked me out, the baby's heartrate was 24 bpm.  She told me that the baby was dying and there was nothing they could do.  I have a very vivid image of me staring at my belly, praying that the baby would move.  The rest of the dream was about delivering my now still born son (yes, in this dream the Halfling was a boy).  I woke up in tears.  I got up and chugged a water bottle full of ice water, just in hopes that it would wake up the baby, and get him/her moving.  And I was wishing with all my heart that I had a doppler.

Best moment this week? When I finally felt the Halfling move after that dream.  It was about 5:30 in the morning and I just sat on the couch and bawled my eyes out in relief.

Worst moment? Once again, shopping on Saturday was physically taxing.  I got home with a very sore back.

Movement? Not as frequent as it had been, but a much more consistent pattern now.  First thing in the morning, about 10 minutes after I eat, and in the evening while the Braxton-Hicks kick in, so does the Halfling. 

Food cravings/aversions? Ham & Swiss sandwiches from Tim Hortons.  Mmmmm... I want one right now!

Rings? Still on, but getting snug.

Gender? Still leaning toward a girl, altho that nightmare had me thinking boy for a little while.  Please take a moment and answer my poll question (in the column to the right), and let me know what you think!

Medical Concerns? Gestational Diabetes (insulin 5 times a day), High blood pressure (on 50mg of lobetalol 3x daily), continued heartburn (on 60mg of Pan.taloc daily), kidney stones (they're back!), low lying placenta.

What I miss? my sex drive, being able to get down on the floor to play with Ginny easily

What I look forward to? my next ultrasound (March 7), not having to inject myself 5 times a day

Emtional State?  Mostly good, but that dream really stressed me out

Friday, February 10, 2012

Foodie Fridays: Hearty & Healthy

Hey Humble Readers...

Any fun plans for you all this weekend?  Doing anything special?  Maybe some early Valentine's Day events on your agenda?

This has become a bit of a family focussed weekend for us.  My dad often has to travel for work, and he just happens to be in our area this weekend.  He's going to be coming for dinner and to see his granddaughter (not that my Beloved and I really matter... lol) tomorrow, and then on Sunday we'll be heading to the Wee Little Town Down South to visit my Beloved's mom.  Throw in the church, usual grocery shopping and errands... well, we'll be a tad busy. 

This week's recipe is adapted from a Better Homes & Gardens recipe.  The original recipe called for instant rice, but I really don't like instant rice of any sort, but especially instant brown rice (ick).  It was also supposed to be baked in the oven, but with using long grain rice, it needed to be on direct heat.  Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients.  It's super easy to assemble, and really worth it.

Pork & Green Chiles Skillet

1 lb boneless pork (I use two thick cut pork chops), cubed
2 cans diced green chiles (minimum... I actually use 3)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can diced tomatoes
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 med onion, diced
1 cup frozen kernel corn
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1 cup long grain bown rice
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
1/3 cup shredded cheddar (optional)
Olive oil

In a skillet with a tight fitting lid, brown the pork in a small amount of olive oil.  Add diced onion and saute slightly, until softened.  Add green chiles, tomatoes, black beans, green pepper, corn, soup, stock, garlic, cumin, and chili powder.  Stir to combine.  Bring to a slow simmer.  Stir in rice.  Cover and reduce heat to med-low and allow to simmer for 45-60 minutes (start checking it at about 40 minutes to see if the rice is done).  When rice is tender, top with shredded cheese and allow to melt.  Serve with a garden salad.

It's not a quick dinner, but it's tasty and relatively healthy.  It's really good on a cold night when you need something to stick to your ribs. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hobbit-ish Potpurri: Civic Action & Other Random Bits

Hey Humble Readers...

I hope you're having a good week, wherever you are.  Things are pretty mellow here on the flatland.

If you are a Canadian, please take some time to educate yourself about Bill C-11.  (It's legislation that is similar to SOPA that our friends to the south have recently been dealing with.)  If you value access to the internet that isn't controlled by the government, please make your voice heard.  Contact your local Member of Parliament.

Ginny decided that playtime started today at 4:30 in the morning.  Not so fun.  Of course, when she finally fell back to sleep about an hour later, I was wide awake.  I watched a rather interesting documentary on the Freedom Riders on PBS.  So, at least I made some good use of my time and learned some stuff. 

Speaking of PBS, it is killing me that I don't know anyone around here who watches Downton Abbey!  I am dying to have a good rehash over last weekend's episode!  (Come on... who really thinks Mr. Bates could do that?!?!)  My Beloved has no real interest in period dramas so he's no help with this at all... ;)

Ginny gave herself a bit a shiner the other day.  It happened while I was at my OB appointment, so I don't know exactly what happened, but I know that the coffee table was involved, and my wee girl is now sporting an ugly yellow-brown bruise over her right eye.

Valentine's Day plans are in the works.  I decided on a menu for our 'fancy' dinner, which I will share next week... after the fact so that it's a surprise for my Beloved.  I also have a small project that I am hoping I will be able to finish tomorrow while my Beloved is at work.  Now I'm just hoping that I can find all the ingredients I need for our dinner.  One item could be a little tricky.

I'm happy to report that the new heartburn medication is working like a charm and I am a much happier hobbit as a result.  My bloodsugars have also come much closer to target since I have been able to stop taking the  My only complaint is that this particular med is twice as expensive as the previous one.  I'm also happy to announce that so far I have noticed no ill effects from having cut down on my blood pressure meds (Dr. W mentioned that I might feel a little off while my body adjusts).

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Week 25: The Mysterious Dr. W

Hey Humble Readers!

(Fair warning: this is a long post.)

Well, I've just gotten back from my first appointment with my new OB.  I confess, I was nervous.  Would she be one of those doctors who doesn't like questions?  Would she take issue with my weight, as other doctors have?  Would I feel confident in her abilities? 

While she isn't my wonderful Dr. U, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.  She took a full half hour with me (unheard of!), asking questions about this pregnancy, and my previous pregnancies.  She asked about how I understood my IF/RPL issues, and how they have been resolved.  She asked about my family history and my Beloved's, and about Ginny's development. 

Then she let me ask all my questions, and she actually answered them!
  • Rapid/sudden weight gain?  Not worried at this point, but we will monitor it.  My target should be no more than 10 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight (which I'm still below).  If I see any big jumps that concern me, I should call her office.
  • Heartburn?  Zan.tac is no longer working, so it's time to switch it up.  Will now be taking 60mg of Pan.ta.loc (also known as Pro.tonix) once a day. 
  • Low-Lying Placenta?  This is actually an unknown at this point, as the tech at my last u/s was unable to get a clear look at the whole placenta.  It appears to be a partial previa, but it's still uncertain. 
  • Next Ultrasound? At 28 weeks.  Requisition in hand, just waiting to hear back from the medical imaging clinic with my appointment date and time.
  • Scheduled c-section or induction?  We briefly discussed VBAC, and the unlikely possibility that an induction would work.  I am not bent on delivering vaginally, and after my induction experience last time, I would rather just get straight to the point.  So, scheduled c-section at 38 weeks it is.  The Halfling will be making his/her introduction to the world sometime between May 10-15, most likely the 10th or 11th.  Woohoo!
  • Tubal Ligation?  Absolutely!
  • Do I keep seeing Dr. B?  Nope!!! Yay! She will be managing my care until the baby is born.  Then it's back to the unremarkable Dr. B, but at least I will feel more secure in my obstetrical care. 
Other outcomes of the appointment?  We discussed the fact that I haven't been able to have any genetic test results (no NT measurement, maternal screen bloodwork was botched), and the possibility of an amnio.  I have decided against it, at least for now.  Halfling's heartrate was 145 bpm.  My blood pressure was actually on the lower side, and she has asked me to reduce my back to 50mg three times a day.  She is a strong advocate of breastfeeding and we will be discussing the issues I had with bf-ing Ginny at future appointments, to see if there is anything that we can do to make things go better this time around.  She is sending me for some bloodwork (just some basic stuff) and I have to do a 24hr urine collection.  And I see her again in two weeks. 

I think it will take me a little while to feel completely comfortable with her, and she made several mentions of my weight being a big issue (duh!  Talk to any fat person.  They KNOW that their weight is a big issue.).  But overall, I'm happy with how today's appointment went, and I think I will be okay with her.  She's younger than any doctor I've ever had before, and I've never had a female doc either. 

On to the update...

How far along? 25w0d

Maternity clothes? Yup..

Body Oddities? VERY dry skin, alternating constipation and IBS flares, acne, bruises from insulin injections, back ache, cracking joints, super sore & slightly leaky boobs, increased earwax, dry/itchy eyes, leg cramps, round ligament pain, heartburn is much worse, tingly fingertips, NEW THIS WEEK: heavy fatigue

Sleep? I've been very tired this week.  Almost like first trimester tired.  I've been sleeping well, and heavy.  I haven't even been waking up to pee. 

Best moment this week?  I had the most glorious nap on Sunday afternoon.  My Beloved looked after Ginny and I woke up feeling great.

Worst moment?  When we were grocery shopping on Saturday, I had a lot of lower back and hip pain. 

Movement?  All the time.  I'm pretty sure that the baby is transverse, as I feel movement on either side and down low.  Only occasional movement higher than my belly button.

Food cravings/aversions? Chocolate.  I made some no-bake chocolate cookies with Splenda, but they didn't quite fill the need.

Rings? Still on.

Gender? Still think it's a girl.

Intense Dreams? Nothing baby related, but very strange combinations of people, places and situations.

Medical Concerns? Gestational Diabetes (insulin 5 times a day), High blood pressure (on 50mg of lobetalol 3x daily), continued heartburn (on 60mg of Pan.taloc daily), kidney stones, low lying placenta.

What I miss? walking without waddlng, being able to lift Ginny without grunting like a mule

What I look forward to?  Sushi, ice cream, chocolate milk, my next ultrasound

Emtional State?  Okay most of the time, but my blood sugars have been a tad wonky and that frustrates me

Friday, February 3, 2012

Foodie Fridays: So Simple It's Scary!

Hey Humble Readers...

It's been ages and ages since I did a Foodie Fridays post, but I have been trying a bunch of new things recently (thank you Pinterest!) and I wanted to share one of them with you. 

This recipe is so simple, and takes almost no time at all.  You can totally doctor it up anyway you like.  Another thing I liked about it was that it was super budget friendly. 

Italian Crescent Pie

1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
1 lb lean ground beef (you could sub in ground turkey or chicken if you like)
1 med onion, diced fine
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup pasta sauce (homemade or your fave store bought variety)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tsp each dried oregano and basil

Separate and arrange the crescent rolls in a spoke pattern (wider points meeting in the middle of the plate, long thin points hanging over the side of the pie plate by 2-3 inches) in a 9 inch pie plate.  Gently press the dough together so it covers most of the pie plate to form a crust (there will be gaps... no big deal).  Brown the ground beef and drain well.  Add in onion and garlic, and saute until the onions are softened.  Stir in pasta sauce.  Spread 1 1/2 cup of the shredded mozza over the bottom of the crust, then add the meat/sauce mix.  Fold the points of the crescent rolls over the top so they meet in the middle, and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of mozza and the dried herbs.  Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 15 to 20 minutes.  Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes before cutting.  Serve with a salad.

I was very pleasantly surprised at how well this turned out.  The only glitch I had was the fact that my Beloved had put the tube of crescent rolls into the freezer (and those things should NOT be frozen... they turn to mush when they thaw), so we had a mad rush to the grocery store on the night I made this. 

I can already see some yummy variations on this idea... make it mexican with some cumin and chili powder, monterey jack cheese and some corn and peppers.  Greek with some greek spice mix, sun dried tomatoes and feta.  Make it a bacon cheeseburger pie with some bacon bits, cheddar, diced dill pickles, ketchup and mustard.  So many options!

In other news... if you've got the time, swing by Panda Diaries and share some love with Laurie.  She's had one hell of a day (scary, SCARY day). 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hobbit-ish Potpurri:Hell No, I'm Not Complaining* (Again!)

Greetings Humble Readers...

(*sarcasm - I don't want to sound like a whiner, but the last couple days have just been a drag.  This pregnancy has been harder physically than with Ginny, and I really feel bad for griping.  BUT, this is my blog and these are my feelings.  If this isn't something you can handle today, I understand.)

So, I saw the unremarkable Dr. B today.  I admit that I went into the appointment already a bit crabby, but I really felt like the whole thing was a waste of time and cab fare.  I was weighed and had my blood pressure checked.  He listened to the baby's heartbeat (152 bpm) and measured my belly (measuring ahead by about a week).  And that was it.  He basically blew off my questions...
  • Can I increase the dosage on my Zan.tac? (getting heartburn in the middle of the day, taking tums which are screwing with my blood sugar)  Talk to Dr. W about it next week.
  • Should I be concerned about the rapid weight gain?  (Gained 3-ish pounds over two days... for a normal sized preggo, that's a concern.  I'm still below my pre-preg weight tho.)  Talk to Dr. W about it next week.
  • How low is my 'low-lying placenta'? (Is it just low-lying or is it a partial previa? Scheduling the next u/s?) Talk to Dr. W about it next week.
I'm really thinking that the whole appointment was just to make sure that I had an appointment scheduled with Dr. W.  Grr...

Speaking of blood sugars, I'm going through another bit of a rough patch.  I feel like I'm on a ridiculous amount of insulin right now, and I know it's only going to get 'worse' from here, but I'm missing my targets pretty regularly (not by a lot) and it's pissing me off.  I'm incredibly bored with my breakfast and lunch options and, because of that boredom, I've made some lousy choices over the last few days (whoda thunk that raisin bran would be bad for a diabetic?  It's not like I ate some sugar laced marshmallow cereal.  I should have realized it tho, if I had actually thought about it).  I need a kick in the a$$ to get refocussed here.

Ginny is also going through a rough patch.  She's got a cough, which sounds a heck of a lot worse than it is, she's teething (about 4 teeth), and she's gotten into a mischievous attitude lately that is draining Mommy's patience (she has a new thing for the kitchen garbage can and kleenex boxes... both items are fun to empty when Mommy's not looking).  And napping is really hit and miss, with a mega four hour nap one day and then hardly any naps for three days.  I adore my wee girl, but these days she's not very sweet.

We have a potluck at church this weekend, and I'm torn about what to take.  Part of me just wants to make a huge bowl of black bean salad (with tomatoes, bell peppers and corn in a lime chili vinaigrette) because it would be simple and cheap, but I don't really know how well that would go over.  But I know that chicken wings would go over great, but they're more expensive and impossible to keep warm during Sunday School and service.  Thoughts?  Alternate suggestions?

Ginny's vocabulary - I took Kristin's suggestion from the other day, and have been giving Ginny direct instructions on various things to find out how much she's understanding.  It has eased my mind a fair bit, as she knows what I'm talking about when I ask her about Daddy, puppies (she points to pictures), her stuffies by name (Stanley, Big Bear, Baby Bear, Bedtime Bear, Aurora, Dolly), her toes, babies, her milk/cup, and yesterday when I asked her where Mommy was, she patted me on the arm repeatedly (she knows who I am... thank heaven!).  I am going to try not to stress about her not really talking for another couple of months.  My Beloved and I have set a deadline... if we don't see an improvement by the time she's 18 months old then we will seek out some further help/intervention.  I am also going to press my MIL for more information about how non-verbal my Beloved was as a toddler/preschooler.  The family story is that he just didn't talk until he was almost 5, and then presto he talked.  I need more info.