Birthday Couple

{ Friday, February 27, 2009 }
Thirty-three years ago today, my sweetie was celebrating birthday number two while all the way on the other side of the country, little old me was being born. We took our dear sweet time finding one another, but I am so thankful our paths did finally cross and so fortunate to have such a loving, supportive person in my life. I look forward to us sharing the next thirty-odd birthdays (and another thirty-odd after that, if I could be so greedy).

Happy 35th, Sweetie!

Home Stretch

{ Thursday, February 19, 2009 }
I think we're starting to see the light at the end of this crazy home renovation tunnel. Last week was pretty tough--we were both worn out from all the work and overwhelmed with the process. The original plan was to simply remove the old nasty flooring, replace it with wood and paint the walls, ceiling and trim.

The first two steps were complicated by our confusion over whether we could lay the wood over the top of the particle board that we found under the carpet. The answer is no--it cannot be done. So we hired someone to remove it. When our contractor removed the particle board, he found that the plywood subfloor was not securely attached. So we hired him to screw the subfloor down.

We also found, under the carpets, evidence of leaks. We were already aware of one leak but were totally unprepared for all the others (there's at least one leak in each room). Long story short, fixing the leaks is going to require us to replace two sliding patio doors along with a toilet and then to hold our breath and cross our fingers that we got them all and that our new floors don't get ruined by future leaks. Oh, and we'll also be hoping that, once the old doors are removed, we won't find much damage to the wood below. Fun times, I tell ya!

But, the point is that the end is near. The sweetie has worked like a champ on the painting and is within spitting distance of being done. My contractor coworker came over last weekend and wired the two bedrooms for overhead lights, while I swapped out the ugly kitchen light fixtures for pretty new ones.

The new floors should be done this weekend and the new doors go in next week. Incidentally, we also move next week, so there's little wiggle room in the schedule. My fingers are already crossed for other things--guess I need to start crossing toes!

Valentine's Recap

{ Wednesday, February 18, 2009 }
I know I'm terribly late, but I'm very excited to share pictures of our valentine's dinner. Saturday, the sweetie headed off to the new place to work on the painting, while I stayed behind to work on packing and preparing dinner. After a hard day, the sweetie returned for our valentine's celebration (which will also be the last serious cooking I do before the move).

We started out with stuffed mushrooms, followed by a salad of spinach with apples, dried cherries and walnuts.

Dinner was mushroom, lentil, and wild rice timbales (they photographed all icky and brown, but tasted soo yummy!) along with mushroom gravy and sauted swiss chard.

For dessert, I made vegan molten chocolate lava cakes (made un-vegan with the addition of whipped cream). They were very good but, sadly, were not molten, as the gooey filling baked right into the cake so the effect was more like a very moist chocolate chip muffin. I'd love to try again and tweak the recipe a bit, but that will have to be an experiment for my new kitchen (the old one is currently full of boxes!).

I'm admittedly biased but . . .

{ Saturday, February 14, 2009 }
my heart broke a little to see this cute bean face.

Both bean and mother are healthy, as far as can be told by ultrasound. The little one has been head down at every ultrasound so far, which doesn't bother me one bit. If she wants to stay that way for the next four months, I won't complain. Also, she's making up for not moving a muscle at the first ultrasound and has been wiggling all over the place at the last two. Even though she was moving all around, she kept at least one hand firmly in front of her face at the last appointment, and yesterday she had her mouth nuzzled into the bend of her arm for most of the scan. The doctor just happened to be recording her when she lowered her arm for a split second and we got this, our first look at her.

Knowing that she's head down helps me make sense of some of the kicks I've been feeling. I feel a lot of movement down low, which must be elbows and shoulders, along with the occasional kick up above my belly button, which is her feet. The sweetie and I were wondering if it will be strange for her to be held head up after birth since she's spending all of her time in a headstand now.

With everything that's going on with the work on the new place and planning for the move, we haven't done much in preparation for her arrival, but our crib was ordered this week! It should arrive in 4-6 weeks and we plan to order the dresser sometime in the next couple weeks as well. I can't wait until after we are all settled in the new place and I can start the baby knitting and diaper sewing in earnest.

Of course, the sooner everything is ready for her arrival, the longer I'll have to impatiently wait!

Is it just me . . .

{ Tuesday, February 10, 2009 }
or is this the cutest baby dress in the world?

I couldn't resist.

Wedding Recap

{ Monday, February 09, 2009 }
Yay! I finally have proofs back from the photographer and I apologize in advance for posting so many. He did such an amazing job--I can't decide which ones are my favorites.

So, the weekend started on Thursday night when I picked my parents up from the airport. We got home late and just hung out for a little while before heading off to bed.

Friday morning, I dropped the boy off at the train (poor thing had to work) and worked on a little bit of wedding stuff until my Mom woke up. We hung out for a while and then Mom, Stepdad and I went out to run some errands (including picking up the chocolates that would be our favors). Later in the day, we were off to my (now) mother-in-law's house. On the way, I called the sweetie and we talked about everything that we had done to prepare. Up until that point, I was feeling really good about everything, but at one point in the conversation, I said, "Well, I think we're ready" and then the nerves set in. I guess since I no longer had any details to obsess over, I could start obsessing over being nervous.

We met up with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law and all got our nails done for the next day. (Well, all except for Stepdad, who found a place to have a beer while we were at the salon.) This was the first time our families were meeting and we were all a little nervous about how things would go, but everyone got along incredibly well. After the nail appointment, we picked up some pizza, the boy arrived from work and we all had dinner. After dinner, some family friends stopped by. It was nice to hang out with everyone and I'm glad my parents got the chance to meet so many people before the wedding.

Everyone was getting along so well that the boy and I were able to sneak off and the boy gave me a beautiful music box that plays Pachelbel Canon (which was playing as I walked into the ceremony) and a necklace to wear with my dress. I had purchased a necklace, but the night before I'd decided it was too big to wear and was going to forgo a necklace altogether. The sweetie rushed out during work on Friday to pick something up for me--I'm such a lucky girl! The sweetie's mother also gave me a handkerchief that her mother had made. She gave it to me and told me to use it for the wedding, then pass it down to our little girl. It was so touching and meant so much to me that she would consider giving me something like that.

My Mom, Stepdad, and I headed home where I was supposed to go right to bed, but Mom and I stayed up late chatting. Before I knew it, it was 11 o'clock and the sweetie was calling to order me to bed!

Of course, I couldn't sleep in Saturday morning. I was up at 5 and tried to convince myself to go back to sleep until 7:30, when Mom came it to tell me to get up. (I later learned that the sweetie had done the same thing--so cute!) We loaded up the car and headed to the town where the wedding was held. I kept playing through the day in my head trying to make sure I wasn't forgetting anything. Saturday morning I went over it with my Mom, tellling her everything that was going to happen and everything that we'd need. I kept thinking that we had everything covered and even my Mom was impressed that I was so organized (oh, we later learned how wrong we were!).

Mom, stepdad and I had a nice, relaxed breakfast and then went to check in to the hotel where the sweetie and I would be staying. We left stepdad there to watch TV and get dressed while we were off to the salon. I thought we might be pressed for time later in the day, so I made sure we arrived a little early in case they could take us early. They were able to start on our hair immediately when we walked in and I was so happy with how my hair came out! The stylist did exactly as I wanted (which is usually not how things work out for me) and everyone kept telling me how nice it looked. I had a makeup appointment immediately after my hair and here's where my plan to be early hit a snag. We were done with my hair early, but the makeup artist was late. Mom and I went to the cafe next door for something to drink while we waited (me in sweatpants and a tiara!) until finally, the makeup artist arrived and I got my makeup done and we were on our way.

We rushed back to the hotel and the photographer had already called to say he was heading over to the room. I sort of wish we had taken our time more, but we were both panicked and rushed to get dressed. Mom helped me throw all my many layers of undergarments on and then literally threw the dress on over my head. At some point during all of this, the flowers arrived, although I hadn't seen them and the photographer had started snapping pictures.

I had reminded myself many times to put my shoes on before the dress, since I couldn't reach my feet with it on, but of course I forgot. My Mom very graciously agreed to get on the floor and put my shoes on for me.

The boy was going to meet us at the hotel for a couple pictures before we all headed over to the the restaurant, but we had rushed so much that we were ready early. After all that excitement, we just sat around and waited (and laughed a lot about me trying to sit in a chair with my huge dress on!).

Finally, the boy arrived and waited in the hotel lobby for me to come in. We took some pictures of us seeing each other for the first time and me pinning the boutonniere on. The boy looked so handsome and I felt like such a lucky girl! (Still do, in fact.)

We then did what was maybe not the brightest thing. We went over to city hall in the town where we were married to take some pictures in the gazebo. I think it might have been about 20 degrees, but the sun was out and it looked so pretty! We ran to the gazebo, stood there for a few seconds and then ran back to the car. We were both shivering so much, I'm not sure how we managed to smile for pictures, but they turned out so good.

Then on to the restaurant, where we double checked the room where the ceremony would be held, then headed upstairs to the reception room. When I first walked in the room, I was so impressed with how beautiful our centerpieces had turned out! They were exactly what I had pictured and looked even better than I had hoped in the room.

We had a bunch of extra candles to go on the tables, but quickly decided that we already had too much stuff and removed those. We put some candles around where the cake would go, set out the favors, table numbers and seating cards and were done. I was so worried about time, but we kept getting everything done ahead of schedule! The boy headed downstairs to start greeting our guests and I waited for the cake to arrive, so I could make sure it was placed in the right spot. The cake came and it, too, was more beautiful than I had hoped. I was so pleased with how everything came together.

Then it was just time to wait. My Mom, stepdad, and the photographer waited with me at the top of the staircase until everyone had arrived and we were ready to go. When the officiant arrived, he came up to introduce himself. We talked for a minute and then he asked me for the marriage license. Oh right. I guess we were supposed to bring that with us, huh? Funny, it didn't make it on any of my lists and as many times as I'd gone over everything, NO ONE picked up on the fact that we were overlooking it. I was afraid he'd say that we couldn't get married or that the marriage date would need to be different on the license, but he said it happens all the time and just to bring it to him Monday. Whew!

Finally, someone came to tell me everyone was ready and then I started shaking. I was so nervous! I came down the staircase with my Mom and stepdad following me and the photographer snapping pictures. At the bottom, Mom handed me my flowers and I walked in. I was seeing everyone for the first time, so I kept smiling and looking around, trying to say hello to everyone. The boy was nowhere in sight, but I just headed toward the officiant and finally I saw the sweetie behind some people off to the side. We held hands and the ceremony started. I started to get emotional right away and had a hard time saying "I do." When the boy started with the vows, I couldn't hold it in and started crying. I wanted to look into the boy's eyes while we exchanged vows, but I knew that the tears were contagious, so I tried to look away for part of it. It was no good. We were both a mess and with no tissues! (Mother-in-law's handkerchief was safely pinned to the inside of my dress for luck). It was such a touching moment, but a little embarrassing in front of all those people--yikes!

We exchanged rings,


and were done and heading upstairs for the reception. We mingled with our guests a little bit and then took parents and siblings out to a separate room for formal pictures.

Back to the room for dinner and more chatting, then we cut the cake (which was sooo good!)

and snuck away again for a few more pictures

and before we knew it, everyone was heading home.

We cleaned up, sent my parents back off to our apartment and headed back to the hotel. The next morning, we met our parents for brunch at the hotel, which was so nice. I'm really glad we decided to do that, so the parents could spend a little more time together and we could go over all the events of the previous night.

It was such a great day and I only wish it hadn't gone by so quickly. I spent the entire day with a smile on my face and am so happy we are able to be married. Hard as it is to get used to, I'm so glad to be Mrs. Sweetie!

Big Pregnant Cliche

{ }
Things are moving right along at the new place. Sweetie has been really working like crazy trying to get all the painting done and I've been trying to do as much support work as I can. I finished pulling up all the carpet and most of the baseboards and just need to finish getting the staples up out of the stairs so they can be sanded and stained to match the new floors. I have new kitchen light fixtures that I'm super anxious to install and see how they'll look and then my contracter friend will come back and do the wiring for two new fixtures in the bedrooms (which currently have no overhead lights).

Sweetie was able to get some incredible helpers Saturday afternoon and the three of them were able to mostly finish painting the first floor. Just the second floor and the trim left to go!

Sweetie put in an incredibly long day of work on Saturday and woke me up coming to bed around midnight. And then I did a very horrible thing. I had been craving ice cream all day and tried very hard to resist, but finally I couldn't take it anymore. I did the pregnant woman cliche thing. I asked for ice cream in the middle of the night. Poor sweetie had to get back out of bed after working all day and run to the store. Damn, that ice cream was good, though! I'm such a lucky (spoiled) girl!

Aside from a couple indulgences like that, I feel like my eating is becoming healthier (I was eating really icky stuff there for a while). I met with a midwife I hadn't seen before at my last appointment and turns out she's a raw foodie and was able to give me a couple really good tips for how to get lower fat vegetarian protein. She told me about a non-soy protein powder I can add to smoothies, which is amazing because we used to have smoothies all the time for breakfast and stopped because they didn't contain very much protein. The second tip (which is kind of a duh thing, but I hadn't realized it) is that egg whites have all the protein and the yolks have all the fat. So, I've also switched to egg white omelets, which make me feel less yucky. Now that my first trimester aversion to beans is gone, I can go back to having a salad for lunch (with tons of beans for protein). The two animal products I'm still eating are lowfat yogurt and egg whites, which I'm good with.

I don't know if this is coincidence or not, but my weight gain has leveled off the last week, which I'm happy about. Don't get me wrong, I'm not obsessing over every pound or trying to limit my weight gain in any way (I know I can lose it all after the baby comes), but I've already gained more weight than is recommended for this stage and I'd just feel better about a 60 pound weight gain from vegetables and whole grains than from cheese, you know? (All this on the heels of my midnight ice cream terror, but you get my point). Anyway, I'm feeling much better and feeling like I'm being healthier for the little bean and the only thing that's still bothering me is my water intake. Its only been the last couple weeks that I've been able to drink still water again, other than the occasional half-glass here and there. I still can't drink as much as I want of it without feeling sick and most other beverages have become distateful to me as well. This is gradually getting better, though, so I'm sure it will be soon that I'll be back to normal, but I would have never guessed that I'd have a hard time drinking water while pregnant, much less this far along!

We had our first Bradley childbirth class last week (it was the first class for us, but we missed the first two, so the third class in the series). Right away, I have a couple concerns. I was very surprised by the nutrition recommendations. They recommend pregnant women eat meat and fish, which I have no issue with, I just choose to ignore. They also recommend drinking four glasses of milk a day. That seems like such a huge amount of milk and I'm not sure of the reason (surely everyone knows there is protein and calcium in plant foods?). That's just surprising more than anything, but I take great issue with the fact that three pats of butter a day are recommended. I think this is just plain unhealthy. I know that a pregnant woman needs to make sure she's getting enough fat in her diet, but shouldn't it be healthy fats with DHA for brain development, rather than cholesterol-laden animal fats? By all means, eat butter if that's what you like (I admit to putting a teeny bit on a roll a few weeks ago myself) but I can't imagine anyone in good conscience could recommend eating it daily as part of a healthy diet. My sense is that the Bradley method is based on information that is several decades old and while most of it is still applicable, surely the diet recommendations need to be updated? Or maybe I'm totally off base.

My second concern is with the role of the coach. They're recommending the Sweetie do things like look at me during the day and say, "It seems like you have some tension in your shoulders--try to relax." I've never been in labor but I'm fairly certain that, were I in the most intense pain of my life, after hearing this oh so helpful advice I may have an uncontrollable urge to backhand the advice giver. Luckily, Sweetie knows me well enough to either refrain from such comments or at least duck after making them.

I'm definitely planning on keeping an open mind about the Bradley classes, but I'm wondering whether this is really going to work for me.


{ Wednesday, February 04, 2009 }
As it turns out, the sweetie and I didn't think we already had enough going on in the way of life events this year, so we're moving. Not just moving because the place we're going to needs quite a bit of work, so we're renovating and then moving. We're planning to replace the carpeting with wood flooring and paint pretty much every surface in the house. The previous tenants moved out last Saturday, so we spent that day gathering supplies and then started bright and early Sunday morning.

One of my coworkers does construction in his spare time (lucky us!), so he came over with a helper and the two of them did an excellent job ripping up layers and layers of linoleum in the kitchen. It was actually kind of fun to see the floors get more and more hideous as we went back in time to the 70's. The sweetie and I spent some time prepping the walls for paint and then the sweetie got to work priming upstairs. Out of respect for our bean's still developing brain cells, I am staying as far away from the paint as I can, so I spent Sunday ripping up carpet in the living room. I really enjoyed this part--there's something very satisfying in hearing that rrrripping noise and watching the floors transform from ugly stained carpet to bare wood. The not-so-fun part? Removing all those hundreds of tiny little staples and tack strips. Then, I took down all the baseboards so sweetie can prime and paint them.

Monday night, I headed back over to the new place and ripped up carpet in the master bedroom. I'm hoping to have all the carpet out before the weekend so I'm out of the house while the painting is going on. Let's see, what else? Sweetie worked on priming the downstairs Tuesday and then we spent Wednesday morning before work carrying 50 boxes of wood into the house from the curb. I know some people like to go to the gym for a workout in the morning, but we prefer carrying large boxes of heavy materials!

Tonight we get a much needed break, as its our first childbirth class, then back to work! There's so much painting to be done and I feel awful that I can't help, but I don't want little bean "breathing" any of those VOCs, so sweetie has all of it to do. Once I'm done with the carpet, I'll switch to shopping for supplies and packing up at the old place.

They always say that when you start a project like this, you inevitably uncover more projects that need to be done. So far, we've been fairly lucky in that we've only uncovered some water damage that we kind expected to find (we knew there had been a leak last fall). Unfortunately, it looks like the waterproofing around the two sliding doors is the culprit which might mean replacing those doors altogether. Totally unexpected and unwelcome expense, but I hope that ends up being the worst of it.

I guess I should knock on some wood or something, eh?