Thankful for Dairy

{ Wednesday, November 26, 2008 }
This pumpkin cheesecake has been my go-to thanksgiving recipe for as long as I can remember. Last year, when we were "most of the time vegans," we indulged on thanksgiving, so I can honestly say I haven't missed a year since I started making it (its really that good). This year, I had planned to try veganizing it, but ended up making the full-fat, full-dairy version, since we're off the vegan wagon for now. I usually make a few slight modifications to the recipe, and this year I also left the bourbon out of the topping, out of respect for the little one in my belly who will also be enjoying it (and hopefully won't be tasting bourbon for many, many years). The best part about this recipe is that it makes too much for my springform pan--just enough extra to fill two individual pans. The large cake will go with us to the sweetie's family tomorrow, the other two . . . well, I'm sure we won't be letting them go to waste.

As if that weren't enough, I also made one of the sweetie's favorite desserts for the long weekend. This cake is so incredibly easy to make that it really doesn't have any right to taste as good as it does. The main ingredient is Famous Chocolate Wafers. I never use these unless I'm making this particular cake and I don't know anyone else who does either, which makes me wonder how the company stays in business. Actually, every time I go to the store for them I expect them to be gone, but there they always are. (Google just told me that these are made by Nabisco, so I guess the company is safe after all). In any event, the recipe goes something like this: whip up some heavy cream (a pint or two will do), splash in some vanilla and a few spoonfuls of powdered sugar. Layer wafers with cream, chill overnight, et voila . . .

When I was growing up, my mother would make a version of this with mint flavoring in the cream and garnish it with maraschino cherries for Christmas. The sweetie is a purist, so we have the plain black and white version.

I threatened some time ago to share a picture of the blanket I'm working on for the bean, so I figured I'd surprise us all by actually following through! This is the Prairie Blanket by Oat Couture knit in some undyed wool we picked up at Rhinebeck this year. The picture really doesn't do it justice--the yarn is just stunning in person. I'm very happy with how this is coming out, despite the fact that it looks like a shawl at this point. It will someday grow up to be a real blanket!

Have a lovely holiday tomorrow. This year is especially meaningful to me because of all the many blessings in my life; thanksgiving is as good a day as any to remind myself not to take one second of it for granted.

Random Thoughts

{ Monday, November 17, 2008 }

Because I can't be troubled to create paragraphs today:

  • We protested prop 8 in NYC on Saturday. Neither of us took any pictures, but you can find some here, here, and here.

  • I bought my first pair of maternity pants. Because its so early, I felt weird about it for a second. That's all over now that I have these babies on. So. Comfortable.

  • I have all of the pieces of Apricot Jacket completed and I started seaming them up last night. It should be done just in time for me to be too big to wear it. *sigh*

  • I have started knitting a blanket for jelly bean, but it is very slow going. It may make a nice 1st birthday present. :)

  • I am no longer vegan. This decision was made after a lot of research (including discussions with both a nutritionist and midwife) and some soul searching. I think it may be possible for some women to have healthy pregnancies while on a vegan diet, but I've determined its not possible for me. Try as I may, I cannot get the recommended amount of protein without eating huge amounts of soy and, while the jury may still be out on the possible dangers of soy, its not a risk I'm willing to take with the little bean. I originally became vegan because of moral issues with factory farming and I still have concerns about hormones in dairy products, so this was not a decision I made lightly. For me though, the best thing is to go back to eating cheese, eggs, and yogurt (I'm still vegetarian, not taking things too far!).

A Light in the Darkness

{ Monday, November 10, 2008 }
I've been a little hesitant to post any kind of pregnancy update because anything I would have posted over the last week may have sounded like complaining, which is not where I'm at. I'm thrilled to be pregnant and already in love with our little jelly bean, but I've really been having a rough time during this first trimester.

I've been nauseous all day, every day and it was getting worse every day until last week I wasn't sure I could take any more. I've been having strange food aversions (could not even look at beans) and really only wanted to eat junk. I haven't been able to even think about drinking water even though I'm incredibly thirsty and all the sugar from the fruit juice I've been having has made me feel more sick and jittery. (There, that's the complaining part.) But . .

But, thank the universe, I woke up yesterday morning and drank a full glass of water. I took my prenatal vitamins without gagging and tempted fate by having a bean salad at lunch and you know what? I was FINE!! Today is even better than yesterday with just a little bit of nausea which is so totally manageable its not even worth mentioning. I don't even have the words to describe both how bad I felt before and how incredibly amazing I feel now. This morning, I helped the sweetie make breakfast and lunches and straightened up around the house instead of my usual routine of whining about how bad I feel.

I think this kind of thing is similar to labor in that people who've been through it remember it as not being such a big deal. A lot of people have been telling me, "Oh, I was a little sick, but it wasn't so bad." Last week, a comment like that would have been met with expletives from yours truly, but today I can almost see that perspective.

Even if this is just a temporary reprieve, I'm so thankful for it. Its just what I needed to get me through another couple weeks.

Post-Election, Pre-Marriage

{ Wednesday, November 05, 2008 }
Today's election results are bittersweet to me.

Sweet because I am so excited for our child to grow up in a world where a black man is president of the United States. I want him or her to take that fact for granted, not in the sense that our history of slavery and segregation and racism is ignored, but in the sense that its just a fact of life. Like how women and black people used to not be allowed to vote and the idea seems so ridiculous now. I hope our child grows up feeling that all the ugliness and hate of racism is ridiculous and foreign. I'm certainly excited and hopeful about how Obama will perform as a president, but I am also thrilled at what his election means for the future of our country.

Today is also bitter because AZ and FL have passed constitutional amendments banning gay marriage and its looking like we've lost in CA as well. Its amazing to me that yesterday probably 80% of the people who voted to ban gay marriage will never be affected by it in any way. How can people choose to deny that right to two people who are in love and want to make a lifelong commitment to each other? In my opinion, its not legalizing gay marriage that will destroy the institution of marriage, its prohibiting it. How can straight marriage continue to have any integrity when its inherently discriminatory? And what does my marriage (or lack thereof) have to do with anyone else's?

These are the questions I'm struggling with today.

Introducing . . . . Our Jelly Bean

{ Monday, November 03, 2008 }
We had our first midwife appointment on Friday. I didn't think I would be as nervous as I was, but full panic set in around Tuesday. Part of me didn't even want to go because I didn't want to hear any bad news. Thank goodness I did end up going, or I would have missed out on this:
Hello little one!!

He/she is measuring right on target and we were able to see the little heart beating. The ultrasound wasn't fancy enough to allow us to hear the heartbeat, but the midwife assured us that by the next appointment, we should be able to pick it up on doppler. If you look close, you can see that the little bean already has tiny arms and legs!

I am so thrilled and so completely excited to be pregnant. Emotionally and spiritually, I could not be happier. Physically, I feel kind of lousy though. My morning sickness would be better named all-day sickness and I'm so exhausted that its really a struggle to get out of bed (and stay that way!). I know this is temporary and certainly its well worth it but I have to admit that I'm starting to look forward to the second trimester when I'll (hopefully) start feeling better.