31 December 2011

11 in '11

A year-end recap post!  Just in the nick of time, right?  We still have a few hours to go here in the Central Time Zone.

11. Favorite movie you watched:  Probably Toy Story 3.  Easy A was good also.
10. Favorite TV series: The Amazing Race.  It has been my fave for many years now.
9. Favorite restaurant:  Bagelheads.  I wish I could spend every morning there.
8. Favorite new thing you tried: Tie between kayaking and crocheting!
7. Favorite gift you got:  B surprised me back in August with a maternity shirt that says "what's kickin'" and has little footprints on it.  And in the same order, he got me a set of dumbbells, which I had wanted.  He's a really good gift-giver when it's on his own terms and he's not being forced into because of a date on the calendar.  (Although the bathrobe he got me for Christmas is really nice, but I love his unexpected gifts.)
6. Favorite thing you pinned: I have a maternity pics board for inspiration when we did our shoot, which had this picture on it:

Our version: 

We put it on the back of the Christmas card and everyone loved it!
5. Favorite blog post:  I know this is gonna sound weird, but I think it was the post about my miscarriage.  I've re-read it more often than any other, love all the supportive comments, and I've been very open to talk about it with anyone all year.  If you'd rather read something happier, check out when I announced my current (viable) pregnancy.
4. Best accomplishment:  Finishing the Couch to 5k and then completing a race!

3. Favorite picture:  I really like this one from our maternity shoot:

2. Favorite memory:  Probably the night I took the pregnancy test in May (current pregnancy).  I was scared of another miscarriage and also scared of being a mom, but B was so excited and he was like jumping up and down.  (He didn't do this with the first because he was sick and lying on the couch.)  He doesn't get easily excited, so this was really different.  I was thinking back on this memory last week and burst into tears because it made me so happy.  It doesn't take much for that to happen right now, though, since I am ridiculously emotional thanks to being 9 months pregnant.

1. Goal for 2012: Have baby, keep baby alive.  I'm not big on resolutions at New Year's, especially since I have my 101 goal list.

I didn't really intend for half of this list to be pregnancy-related stuff, but it has taken up over half my year so I guess I'll let it go.  I'll be full-term (37 weeks) on Monday, if you lost count!

29 December 2011

a big meal for just us two

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I don't really like to cook all that much. And this pregnancy obviously hasn't helped. Most nights, B is lucky if there are two options on the table. It's usually an entree and some veggies from the freezer. Sometimes no veggies at all, just a cut-up apple.

But then I decided, at 35 weeks pregnant, that I could and would make Thanksgiving dinner.  Well, actually it was Christmas dinner, but it mostly resembled a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner.  I didn't get too ambitious, but it was definitely a bigger meal than we've been eating lately!  The best part?  I didn't even call my mother for help.  Thus, fulfilling . . .

✔ 37. Cook Thanksgiving dinner with minimal help from my mother

Yes, I even busted out our wedding china!
The menu:
  • Roast chicken.  I decided this was more practical (and quicker) than a giant turkey.  One of my aunts had given us some homemade rosemary-garlic olive oil for Christmas.  I opened the present in the morning and decided it would be perfect for coating our chicken!  I then added a few extra herbs.  It came out so tender and delicious.  I mostly just followed the directions on the chicken's packaging and then basted it occasionally.  (My digital meat thermometer is awesome, by the way--it beeps when the meat is the correct temperature!)  Of course, we're still eating this bird 4 days later since it was still a lot of meat. Less cooking for me, so I don't mind one bit.
  • Stuffing (box mix).  I only like the stuff that comes out of the bird, so I froze the leftover dressing for later.
  • Buttermilk mashed potatoes.  Betty Crocker recipe.  I wish I had made more; these are always a fave of mine.
  • Rolls from a box mix.  Hawaiian sweet rolls, to be exact.  They didn't rise as much as they should have, but they were really good.  I had found this in my mom's pantry on a trip home (she lets me go "shopping" when I'm in town), and now I want to find another box so I can try again.
This was before they went into the oven, obviously.
  • Steamed broccoli.  I needed a green vegetable, what with all the starches running around.
  • Gravy.  This was my nemesis.  I almost forgot about it, too.  I have never actually made gravy before (to be honest, I don't generally like it) and was trying to follow Betty Crocker's recipe for Pan Gravy.  I usually do very well with Betty, and I would probably jump off a cliff if one of her recipes called for it, but this one just didn't make sense to me.  I read and re-read the thing at least 3 times.  I figured out we were going for a roux, but I was a bit rushed at this point and my roux never bubbled.  I added some liquid and tried to bring that to a boil and then everything separated on me.  It went to the table anyway because B was finished carving the bird.  The good news was that the gravy tasted amazing (and even I liked it!), but it was definitely nowhere close to the correct consistency.  I told B that it was "homestyle" gravy because I've decided you can get away with a lot of flubs if you just give it a pretty label.
  • Apple pie.  This is only the second time I've made it (see this post for the first).  I followed the same recipe (thanks again to Betty) and had the exact same problem with not being able to get the crust off my work surface.  Sigh.  I cursed at it a bit and then re-rolled it.  I decided on a lattice top so I wouldn't have to deal with that issue more than once.  I am so glad I decided to make my pie the previous day.  We just popped it in the oven for a bit (foil on top) on Christmas night and added some ice cream!

So my Christmas day was spent mostly in the kitchen.  I told B that I was so glad we have an open kitchen/dining/living room area, since otherwise I would have felt like a slave (and very lonely while B played on the Wii).  I think an open area like this will be a requirement for any future house we buy, since I don't like cooking enough to be content in one all by myself while fun stuff is going on in another room.

That was basically my "Thanksgiving in training," and if I ever do anything bigger, I better have some extra hands to help!

27 December 2011

adventures in crochet

Not only is it on my 101 List, but it was also on my "focused" before-baby list. And hey, I think I've found a new hobby I enjoy!

✔ 41. Crochet or knit a scarf

I spent about 2 weeks just learning a few stitches and techniques, using both Crochet Geek videos and a book I got from the library geared toward children (pictured on the right).

 I also had to get someone to help me in person a bit because I just wasn't holding things right (that's my one of my gripes about Crochet Geek's video), and not using the hook to its full potential. My mom and sister sorta showed me when I was home for my GA baby shower.  The book only taught the single crochet stitch, but from the videos I learned a few more stitches.  I'm glad I did all that for a bit and didn't just dive head-first into a project.

I posted on an online forum for some help and was advised to try making a hat before a scarf.  It sounds weird, but it was great advice! It forced me to learn slip stitch/joining, crochet in circles, COUNT, and read a pattern. And it only took me a few days (I did it while we were traveling for Thanksgiving). My stitch got pretty consistent, also.  Here's the hat I made for my niece:

The border was a happy accident.
I knew her head was large, so I added a round or 2.  But then it turned out a bit too big.
Here's the Crochet Geek video I followed for the hat.  The hardest part was the very beginning--I restarted it about 5 times until I figured it out.

After this achievement, I decided it was time to try a scarf.  I joined Ravelry, an online community for knit and crochet with a huge pattern database, got some pretty yarn, and decided on a pattern called "easy ribbed scarf" that looked both simple and interesting.  I mostly worked on it in the car while B drove us various places.

The results:

The pattern actually added fringe to the ends, but my scarf was already longer than what the finished (including fringe) measurement should be.  Maybe I'll put some on later, but this is fine for now.
Pardon my exercise/"birthing" ball back there.
The stitch was a double crochet in the back loop only, which created the ribbing.
Also, while I was at it, I decided to make a simple headband that I'd found by some means or another and thrown on Pinterest.
The tutorial can be found here.
Even if you don't know how to crochet, I bet that headband could be made with a simple braid.  And I think that knot has an official name, I just can't think of it right now, but I'm pretty sure I learned it in Girl Scouts  (sheet bend knot??).

With my scarf and matching headband!
I haven't actually had a need for a scarf here in FL yet  . . .
I now have other crochet projects up my sleeve (including a stuffed animal).  I'm really loving this new hobby of mine!


25 December 2011

my letter to santa

Dear Santa,

      In the future, if you are delivering a skateboard to a rambunctious apartment-dwelling boy, could you please hide it a bit better or at least leave a note that he is not to use it on the wooden breezeway until after 8am on Christmas morning?  Some of his neighbors just might have been out late celebrating the birth of our savior at midnight mass and could be hoping for an interrupted "long winter's nap."  And one of them could be a grouchy pregnant woman as well. 
                                                           Scrooge McW  
 p.s. Thank you for the football and pajama jeans.


22 December 2011

secret santa swag (and a song)

This year I decided to participate in a few different secret santa swaps.  One I did through reddit, and was sent a crochet book with a mildly ugly baby on the front.
I really have no desire to crochet blankets, but if I want to, now I have a book.
My baby has enough blankets, seriously.  But at least I got something, and the gifter put some thought into it which I always appreciate.

Another secret santa I did this year was a milspouse one, hosted by fellow sub wife Wife of a Sailor.  I was really excited when I got my match (yet another sub wife!) to send to since I had been reading her blog for over a year.  I'm still kicking myself because she announced her pregnancy the day after I sent the package out!  I definitely could've thrown some baby stuff in there . . . oh well.

As for who had me, it was a mystery until I got my package in the mail earlier this week.  When I got the package from my apartment's office, it was jingling!  It contained a sweet card from Ashley at Ashley Amazing.  It also contained all of these awesome and festive decorations:
It actually had 2 towels, but it was laundry day so one went in the bathroom right away!
There's some jingling bells both in the little sleigh and on the wreath holder that's sorta tucked behind the towel.  In her card, she said the countdown tree was for next year, but I liked it so much that I added it to the display on the bar already.
I told you I got more cards!
Ashley, thank you sooo much for all the fun stuff!

And since I saw The Nutcracker last weekend with some friends, I will leave you with my favorite dance and music from that, the Trepak (Russian dance).  I had this stuck in my head for days!

Have you ever seen a gal about 9 months pregnant try to prance about the room doing her best ballerina impression?  Um, because that just might have been me last week . . .


21 December 2011

preparations for a quiet Christmas at home

We've been doing a little preparation for Christmas, but to be honest, it's nothing major even though we're "stuck" here and no one's coming to visit.  My mom mailed us our stockings and I put up a little display on the bar.

One idea that I got this year was to hang up the cards we've been getting from others, and I really like how easy it was and how it looks!  I just used some twine, tape, and paperclips--all things from around the house!
It now has a lot more cards on it :)
And what about that hideous tree I have on the bar?  I "won" it in a Dirty Santa exchange and have decided to make the best of it.  It will probably be going in the trash eventually, however.  At least the gift also came with a $10 gift card to Cracker Barrel (along with an expired coupon for free hashbrowns at Waffle House.)
B's captain is actually the one responsible for bringing this gift.  He even used a Victoria's Secret bag to wrap it in.  Classy, huh?
We also decided to drive across the street to the U-Cut tree farm and cut down a tree!  I've never done that before, and I definitely thought it was a more "northern" thing.  Who would've thought we'd have one around the corner here in FL?  It took some convincing on my part, but it was only $30 and we scoped out the trees in advance on a walk to make sure they weren't too big for our apartment.  Most were sand pines with skinny trunks, so they were fine.  We got one and threw it in the the trunk of B's Buick Century.  We didn't even tie the thing down since we weren't going too far.  I say that I did most of the hard work--yes, B handed me the saw and said, "This was your idea, here ya go."  Yeah, I married a total Grinch.
This took less than 5 minutes to saw down.
I went to Wal-Mart and decided to "splurge" and get a pretty tree-topper.  That didn't pan out for us, unfortunately.
The branches at the top were too thin to support anything even remotely heavy.
So I returned the pretty topper for a 97¢ bow with a twist-tie on the back.
Maybe I'll buy a real tree skirt in the after-Christmas sales.
Also, here's our awesome Christmas card for this year.

The back was my favorite part!

Okay, to tell the truth we had more than one set of cards because I won 50 free cards from Tiny Prints (the ones above), but their price per card was just too high to buy the extras I needed from there.  (For the others, I found an amazing deal at cardstore.com that included postage and will definitely be using them more in the future if they run stuff like that again!  I actually paid less than the price of the stamp per card, honestly, and the cards came out pretty nice too.)

Check back tomorrow for some holiday tunes and to see what I got from my milspouse secret santa blog swap!

17 December 2011

a pregnancy update

I don't post about it much, but maybe I should since it's what everyone asks me about the most!

I don't think I could've asked for a better pregnancy.  Seriously.  I'm 35 weeks along, and most nights I don't even have to get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.  That might change when she drops, but I'll deal with that later.  The first trimester remains the worst part of this so far, and I didn't even throw up then.

I told someone the other day that this is going "better than textbook."  All of those "par for the course" pregnancy woes that I'm mostly not experiencing.  If I wasn't feeling her move and kick all the time, I'd probably be concerned.  But everything is great.  I had an appointment today and found out that she's head-down for now, so let's hope she stays that way!

I've had fun tracking my stats every Wednesday (sometimes Thursdays, sometimes I forgot).  Here's a graph of my weight gain and another of my stomach circumference.  I love me some graphs!
I've gained 27 pounds so far and am not ashamed!
I'm almost 40" around!!
I love the circumference one because you can kinda see when I "popped"--I'd say 22-24 weeks, which is when I really started looking pregnant.

Some fun things I've gotten to figure out:
  • Clipping my toenails.  Luckily, it doesn't have to be done that often, but it's not easy!  My fingernails are growing at an alarming rate.  I've had people say this is due to prenatal vitamins, but I think that's bologna.  I took prenatal vitamins when I wasn't pregnant and there was no difference.  
  • My hair isn't falling out as quickly.  I have a ton of hair and used to lose a lot of hair every time I washed it, and for most of this pregnancy it's only been a few strands.  My mom told me that about 6 weeks after the birth, I better be ready for tons of it to fall out!
  • Working out has gotten a lot harder.  Climbing the stairs to the office I volunteer in winds me.  My usual elliptical routine takes a lot more out of me than I'm used to.  I'm definitely toning it down now and just trying to keep the endurance up.
  • Setting up the nursery.  Holy cow.  This took us 2 days of just sorting through all the clothes and gifts we had gotten.  We're only missing maybe two semi-crucial items (like a trash can/diaper pail).
  • Speaking of dipes, I got my first order of cloth diapers in the mail!  I found a pretty good Black Friday sale online at this site--I had been tracking prices of the covers I plan to use.  I now own 3 covers (all are different brands), a cute giraffe cloth pail liner, a small wetbag, and some other cloth essentials.  I haven't had to buy any prefolds because both diaper cakes that were given to me used cloth!  I think they're just generic Gerber ones, but I'm gonna try them out first before buying any more.  I was also given a ton of leftover size 1 disposables from my sister and tons of normal wipes and washcloths/wipes from everyone under the sun, so hopefully we'll be set for a bit.  I do have my eye on some other cloth stuff too, and have been doing my darndest to win some of it in giveaways.
  • Labor plan.  You wanna know my plan?  It's called "wait and see."  I have nothing against epidurals, but if I'm able to do this all on my own with no drugs, then hooray for me!  If not, whatever.  B and I took the "Childbirth Preparation" course offered by our hospital, so this is all starting to sink in that it's actually gonna happen!
And of course I couldn't leave you without some belly pics!  Here's an overview of how I've progressed.  I seriously do no feel as huge as that last pictures makes me look, and everyone I know keeps telling me that my belly is "cute and small."  Not sure if I believe them!

The very last picture was taken Saturday morning (12/17)
In 2 weeks I'll be considered "full term," but I'm hoping to make it to 39 weeks because it's best for baby.  I am ready to meet her soon though!


06 December 2011

a little Christmas music

This past weekend, B and I had the privilege to attend a performance of Handel's Messiah by the Choral Society of Pensacola.  I actually had hoped to be singing with the group we saw, but decided not to push it with the pregnancy.  I also purposely didn't join the other (less-involved) choir I had sang with in the spring because their only concert for the fall was on the same night as this one!  (I really think the directors need to get together to plan around each other.)

Anyway, the concert was being held our our beautiful church, and we showed up ready to buy some general admission tickets.  The ticket gal asked, "Do you want some reserved section tickets?  These were just returned and are already paid for, so you can have them for free."  Sweet!  So we sat 8 rows back and listened to beautiful music for the next 2 hours.

They actually did the ENTIRE Messiah oratorio (all 3 parts), not just the traditional Christmas section with the "Hallelujah" chorus tacked on like I was expecting.  The soloists and choir were fantastic, and I loved hearing the other parts that I wasn't as familiar with.  I was so jealous that I wasn't up there singing myself!  But at the "Hallelujah" Chorus part (end of the Easter section, of course), you stand up (it's tradition!), and at this concert, the conductor turned around and conducted the audience so it was okay to sing along.  I sorta sang, but I was exhausted, making me realize that I made the right call about pregnancy vs. singing.

Here is the Atlanta Symphony and Chorus performing the first choral part of the Messiah, "And the Glory of the Lord":

I must sing with a symphony orchestra once again!  I miss it.

p.s. If you want to hear the "Hallelujah" chorus, check out this post I did at Eastertime.

30 November 2011

wordless wednesday: maternity pics

While we were visiting my mom's hometown last week, I somehow convinced a cousin to take maternity pictures for us by the lake! Here are some faves.  I was 31 weeks along--the pictures were taken on Thanksgiving morning.

The due date in Rummikub tiles!

That last one needs some explanation, I know.  No, we're not naming our baby girl George, but my Aunt Georganne would love us to!  Since we're keeping the names* a secret, we took a few with the actual names, and then took this one to pacify everyone and so I could show you the cool picture now!  My aunt referred to her as "Baby George" the entire week, so it made sense.

*We actually have 2 different names picked out and are letter her "tell" us her name at birth! (And my cousin/photographer is sworn to secrecy.)

I would like to thank Pinterest for helping me get all of these pose ideas easily accessible in one place!

29 November 2011

waving the green and gold

I love my little 101 list, and a lot of the things on there I really have to work for (a post about my adventures in learning to crochet coming soon). But sometimes one of them just falls into my lap. Last week while B and I visited family in central Florida for the holiday, we were invited to go to the University of South Florida football game, thus fulfilling:

✔ 83. Attend a college football game again

B likes to make fun of me for having stuff on my list that I've already done before, but I put them on there for a reason!  I haven't been to a college football game since I was in college myself, so it's been 6 years.  I've been to a few NFL games since then and was not impressed.  Luckily for me, college football games are just as awesome as I remember, even though I wasn't watching my beloved Dawgs play between the hedges.

I have a lot of USF alumni on my mom's side of the family (including my mother); however, the school didn't have a football team until most of them were well past graduated. My cousin is a more recent grad, and they live about 45 minutes away so they go to a lot of the games.  B and I went with my aunt and my cousin, who have gone to most of the games this season and have their own little game-day rituals.

The game against Louisville was on Friday at 11am, which was . . . odd.  But they got it televised on ESPN2, so that's something.  USF doesn't actually have their own stadium, so they just use the one where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play.  Parking was super-close to the stadium, but we still got to walk by some fun tailgates.  My aunt and I even got free gigantic t-shirts.  (I normally wouldn't care for an XL, but I had recently seen this tutorial for yoga pants made from a big t-shirt, so I went for it.  Can't wait to make my pants!)

It was a nice stadium, but definitely too big for a team like USF.  I know it was a holiday and all, but there was no one there!  They weren't even selling the upper decks.  B and my cousin bought the tickets at the window and said they were only selling three sections.  The student section was really really empty.  We sorta ended up sitting in the visitors' section, but there weren't that many of them, so it was fine.  And we were in the shade the whole time and the seats were actually cushy!  (I'd never actually sat down during a college game before--at the GA games, we would stand on top of the bleachers--so that was also new, but my swollen pregnant feet were very happy.)  I actually got a bit cold in the shade and ended up wearing my free XL t-shirt, so that was a good call on my part!

The game itself was actually pretty good.  It was back and forth on the score with some fun touchdowns and frustrating fumbles.  In the end, our USF Bulls lost 34-24, pretty much because of their fumbles.  Hey, at least it wasn't a blowout.

My camera battery died before we ever made it in the stadium, so here are some pics from watching the marching band play before we went in.

Yeah, I didn't need the sun hat in the shade, but it's better to be prepared!