Saturday, November 8, 2008

8 Weeks...

Yesterday was the 8 week anniversary of E's birth. What a difference 8 weeks makes. I was just looking through the pictures from his first day and he looks so incredibly little!! E was 6 1/2 lbs when he was born, and if I had to guess, I would say he's 11 lbs now (we'll find out on Monday). He now smiles like crazy and makes really cute noises. He's also capable of sleeping for 4 hours straight...I wish it was more than that, but I'll take 4 whenever I can get it!

During the past few weeks we've developed somewhat of a rhythm. I wouldn't call it a routine yet, but we're getting there. D gets up with E around 5:30 or so and feeds him, changes him, and plays with him/falls asleep on the couch with him until about 7:30. At that time, D puts E in bed next to me and gets ready for work. Sometimes E will sleep with me for another 2 hours, sometimes only a 1/2 hour, but I just love cuddling with him.

When E wakes up I feed him and change him and usually change him out of his PJs into his clothes. Then we watch some Ellen (live, or on the DVR) while I have coffee and breakfast. I usually do a quick email check and double check the calendar to make sure I haven't forgotten something we're supposed to do that day (I LOVE Google calendar). If we don't have anywhere we have to be, we just hang out and play on his playmat, or he snoozes in my lap while I watch some TV (I record 2 episodes of M*A*S*H and 1 episode of Jeopardy! everyday so that I always have something on hand to watch if E's fussy and just wants to be held).

We try our best to get out of the house every day. We'll either do some errands, meet up with other moms and kids, or get out for a nice walk around the neighborhood. These days I try to get back to the house by 1pm because E is taking somewhat predictable afternoon naps. While E sleeps, I do some laundry, cooking/baking, write thank yous, clean up/organize my piles of stuff, work on things for my Friends and Newcomers Club, or sometimes even take a nap.

Towards the end of the afternoon we usually end up back on the couch, often catching up on things we've recorded on the DVR. I never watch the news, though I probably should sometimes. I'm in a media vacuum--I know nothing about things happening in the world unless Ellen talks about it. I used to listen to NPR faithfully on my way to and from work so I was always up on what was happening, but I never seem to remember to turn the radio on when I'm at home.

When D gets home from work, I give E to him so they get to spend as much time as possible together. Then I go into full on dinner cooking mode. I am so grateful to have my hands free that I have been making pretty good dinners the past few weeks. Nothing is gourmet or takes longer than about 1/2 hour to make, but we're no longer eating Mac and Cheese out of a box on a regular basis. I've also gotten better about grocery shopping once a week with a list. I never really would do that before. I typically would pick things up here and there, or would buy way more than I needed at Trader Joe's or the produce market and never had things that would make a full meal. Having to take E with me everywhere means I like to do as much one-stop-shopping as I can, and I covet drive-thus. Today I had Dunkin Donuts coffee for the 2nd time since E was born because none of the Dunkin's near us have drive-thrus and I don't want to get the baby out of the car just to get a coffee!

So, after dinner I usually try to get some laundry done (which reminds me, I have to put some in the dryer now) and then spend time on the computer doing email, organizing/editing pictures, checking on my meetup groups, or working on WFN stuff. I tend to get lost in an online time warp and the next thing i know it's 11pm and time for me to go to bed!!! The next day it starts all over again.

I have to say, I am the happiest I have ever been. Being a stay-at-home mom with a wonderful husband and an adorable baby suits me very well. Throughout my 20s I was a workaholic because I didn't have the things I really wanted which were a family and a home. Now I'm a momaholic...and it's great!

Time to change the laundry over and make dinner for D and me! I also hear a little whimpering from baby E which means he must be hungry!

Friday, November 7, 2008

I Liked this stuff enough to save it for 20+ years...

I went through some boxes in my garage today while E was sleeping. The boxes came from my parents' basement and are things that were in my room/closet at some point. I'm thinking I must have boxewd all of these up before entering high school because there were some real treasures in there! The pottery items are all my original designs from middle school...I also found a book of poetry I wrote 20 years ago--very deep, dark stuff...worthy of a Pulitzer! Most of this stuff went into the garbage (I thought about Freecycling it, but really, who would want this crap?), but I did hold on to some of these objects d'art!
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Monday, October 27, 2008

I look like my mother...and my grandmothers!

The other night I was catching up with my Google Reader and one of the bloggers mentioned the site E was occupied sleeping with D on the sofa, so I spent a little time creating a whole family album using the site. Here are a few of me...

In this one I look like my mom's high school yearbook picture:

Here I look like my father's mother:

And here I look like my mother's mother:

Six Weeks!

The past 6 weeks have been the fastest of my life! It's hard to believe E is already 6 weeks old. I guess time passes quickly when you don't get more than a few hours of sleep at a time.

There have been so many times that I have thought about blogging, and had observations or thoughts that I wanted to blog about, but it sure is hard with a newborn. I think I'll try to get in 1 post a week from now on...even if it's just a few words.

It's time to feed E and then go get my flu shot!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

10 Days Old

It's hard to believe that little E is already 10 days old! The past week has flown by in a blur of feeding, changing diapers, pumping milk, receiving visitors, and not getting much sleep. E appears to be thriving, and when we went to the pediatrician on Tuesday he had just about regained his birth weight. I had a fabulous lactation consultant come to the house the day we were discharged from the hospital and that was definitely a good move. I had done pretty well with nursing at the hospital, but the lactation consultant helped me with my latch, gave me a feeding plan, and gave me a pump to rent. Interestingly, this lactation consultant, recommended by my pediatrician, taught the breastfeeding class that D and I attended at the hospital the night before E was born--in fact, I was timing contractions during the class.

I'll write more about the week leading up to E's birth and his birth story in the next few days, but for now I've got to sleep. Here's a preview of what went on at our house in the week leading up to E's birth (this picture is from the day before he was born):


I took this photo the day before my son was born. I'm not sure how it ended up B&W like this, but I think it looks pretty cool.
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Saturday, September 13, 2008

It's A Boy!!

My son E was born on Friday, September 12th at 10:53am! He's 6lbs 8.5oz and 19.5". He arrived a week early and I was completely unprepared for an early arrival--I was counting on him being late. In any case, he's here and D and I couldn't be more thrilled.

Seeing how D is always concerned about privacy, I won't be revealing his name or showing pictures here (except for this first one).

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Nursery--A Work in Progress

A few weeks ago I was having my recurring anxiety dreams--I'm in high school and I have a paper due and I haven't read the book yet, or I'm in a play and I don't know my lines. These dreams are pretty transparent in meaning--I'm feeling unprepared. The lack of preparedness I was feeling had to do with not being ready for the baby--emotionally I'm ready, but as far as "stuff" I wasn't feeling ready at all. Now I know that practically speaking babies need very little "stuff"--just somewhere to sleep, somewhere to be changed, a car seat, something to wear, and that's about it. But of course these days we've been convinced we must have lots of special baby stuff, and I of course feel compelled not only to have it, but to make sure it's cute!

Now, when these anxiety dreams started creeping in, I had already had one shower thrown by my sister and my friend Wendy, both experienced mothers. I received a car seat, a pack n' play, and clothes so really at that point the baby's basic needs were going to be met. But I still didn't have anything for the nursery. I had bought fabric for the nursery ages ago, but didn't have a crib, changing table, place to put all of those little clothes, etc. I knew the crib was coming (it was delivered last Saturday), and we were still trying to figure out the changing table situation (we ended up getting a hand-me-down from a neighbor), but at least I could get started on the closet.

I had purchased some bins at HomeGoods but didn't have nearly enough for all of the stuff in the closet. Target to the rescue! I bought 2 Closetmaid bins, and then sent D to Lowes for some more. They fit perfectly in the closet and are the right size for all of the different categories of stuff. I made prompt work of filling them and labeling them. I felt much better after that and the anxiety dreams ended! The baby's closet is very well organized (at least until the baby actually arrives).
About a week ago my neighbors brought us their changing table and it's perfect. The baby's room is very small and is made smaller by having one wall entirely taken up by a closet and another entirely taken up by windows. Wall space to put furniture against is at a premium. This changing table, in addition to being cute, is nice and small.

Fast forward a week and we've got a crib. Now the room is looking much better! After a second shower thrown by my mother-in-law and D's grandmother I have just about everything I need!!! I've got crib sheets and mattress pad, changing pad cover, etc. Yesterday was my first day as a stay at home mom (to be) and I washed a ton of baby stuff and got to work putting the nursery together. Here are the results:

Now I know you experienced mom's are thinking, "she'd not going to want that there," "that will never work," or "I would be easier to have X over there," and I know that when the baby actually arrives and I start using the room I'll be moving stuff around. For now, it's just nice to have a room that looks ready for a baby to come home to. Tomorrow my mom is coming up and we're going to make the valance and crib skirt. This weekend D and I will hang the Bunny My Honey picture and the ABC needlepoint that my grandma had made for me when I was born.

My belly

I'm 38 weeks (give or take), but I don't look nearly big enough to be having a baby in the next few weeks. My doctor says the baby is probably about 6.5lbs and my weight gain is good (26lbs total), but my belly just doesn't look that big. I keep telling myself it's because I'm tall so the baby has more vertical space and doesn't need to stick out as far in front.

Here's a picture from August 31st (it looks like I'm sticking out my belly with my hands, but I'm just holding up my shirt):

And here are 2 from September 7th (heads are chopped off because D likes to be anonymous):

More cooking--Blueberry Cobbler and Macaroni and Cheese

tAfter the wild success of the banana bread, I was back into cooking. The next day I went to my favorite produce market and picked up a nice quart of blueberries with the intent to make muffins. Instead, I decided to make Blueberry Cobbler which I had made a number of times last summer. The recipe I use is fabulous and is from America's Test Kitchen 1996 Cookbook. It can also be found on the ATK website, but you have to have a membership to access it (current season recipes are free, back recipes require a paid subscription). D and I finished off the cobbler pretty fast, and I ended up making another one a week later with wild Maine blueberries which we brought to his cousin's house.

On Labor Day, I set to work cooking again. Two women in my newcomers club had recently had babies so I wanted to make meals for them, and also to start stocking my own freezer. I chose to make Macaroni and Cheese because pretty much everyone likes it (and it's usually a hit with toddlers, which both of these women have). I use the recipe from Barefoot Contessa Family Style. It's a classic baked mac and cheese with a white sauce and bread crumbs on top. It's delicious and freezes well. It's very similar to the mac and cheese my mom makes, though I think she usually uses just cheddar. I do about 1/2 cheddar and 1/2 gruyere, sometimes emmentaler. Really whatever cheese is available works--I haven't done this, but it's probably really yummy if you use all of the bits and pieces of cheese leftover from a cheese platter after a party!

Cooking again--Banana Bread

After a lapse of about 9 months, I have finally started to do some cooking again! My first foray back into the kitchen was to bake 2 loaves of banana bread one Friday afternoon. I baked the 2 loaves (one with chocolate chips) and left them on the counter to cool while I met up with a friend. When I came home about 3 hours later, the chocolate chip loaf was almost entirely gone, and D was lying on the loveseat holding his belly. Yes, my husband had eaten an entire loaf (just about) of chocolate chip banana bread! D is generally a very healthy eater, but he does have his weaknesses--if there are sweets, baked goods, or Ben & Jerry's in the house he has no control over the quantity he eats! Whole pints of Ben & Jerry's disappear in a matter of minutes, a box of thin mint girl scout cookies might last 2 days, and banana bread vanishes in a flash.

Here's the recipe for the magical disappearing banana bread.

2-3 overripe bananas (the browner the better), mashed
1/2 c. canola oil
1 c. white sugar
1 egg
3 tbs. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour (I use white whole wheat or AP)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans) or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Mix all ingredients well by hand.
Pour into greased and floured loaf pan.
Bake 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes (depending on the pan and the oven--I used to do the full time, but with my current pans and oven just an hour seems to do the trick--more than that and it's too dark).

Here's a picture of the banana bread I made about a week later (someone bought bananas and then didn't eat them all week--I think he wanted me to make more banana bread).

Baby turtle

Remember the nesting turtles? Well, I haven't seen any of those nests disturbed, but look what D found about a week ago...

That's a dime for scale!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Little Dipper

On Saturday morning I pulled out the paint leftover from the previous owners so we coulf put a fresh coat on the walls of the baby's room. After prying off the rusted top of the can, we found that the paint inside was a solid mass--the nursery must have been the first room painted by the previous owners and the paint was OLD. So, off we went to Benjamin Moore with a piece of the label from the old can that had some of the paint on it.

I wanted to paint the room a very similar color, but a little less bright (it's a light yellow). There were 2 colors that met that criteria--Banana Appeal and Little Dipper. Basically I made the choice based on the name of the color and preferred Little Dipper.

D and I taped the trim and then he got to painting. We used the Aura paint again since the fumes aren't as bad as other paints. D did a really good job on the painting, especially considering it was his first time ever painting walls (I had painted my bedroom with my dad's help when I was in highschool--coincidentally it was also light yellow). On Sunday he did a second coat and the inside of the door. Tonight we can move stuff back into the room and we'll be ready for when the crib is delivered on September 6th. We still need to buy a dresser to use as a changing table, but in the meantime we'll just use and old one that I had (which may drive me crazy because the drawers stick).

Saturday night, after the painting, lawn mowing, and grocery shopping (it took me as long to grocery shop as it did for D to mow the lawn which is just a sad realization of how slowly I move these days), D suggested we go out for a date. We headed to Helmand, an Afghan restaurant in Cambridge which is one of our favorites. Unfortunately the car ride there and home were very uncomfortable for me (baby is pressing on my bladder), but the meal was delicious as usual. Our favorite thing on their menu is called Kaddo, "Pan-fried then baked baby pumpkin seasoned with sugar and served on yogurt garlic sauce." It is so good. And, the flatbread at Helmand is to die for--we sat right beside the clay oven and got to watch the baker make it.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Garden Flowers and Bugs

Black Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia) and Bumble Bee

Dragonfly on Hydrangea Leaf

Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris Thysbe) on Bee Balm (Monarda)

Cherry Cheeks Daylily

Grasshopper on Daylily Twice As Nice "Orange Velvet"

Frog Behind Daylily Stella D'Oro
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Friday, August 8, 2008

Itchy and Scratchy

Somehow I've managed to get poison ivy even though I spend almost no time outdoors these days (and certainly don't stray from the yard). Last summer I had a really bad case, but I can understand that because I did go into the woods around the house once or twice, but this year not at all. Perhaps I got it from D's clothing after he went trekking in the woods to find Mercury (who is still missing), but D was really good about washing his clothes and taking a shower as soon as he came inside.

I guess it doesn't really matter where I got it at this point, I just wish it would go away. It started as a little patch on my neck, but now I have it on both legs, my back, my hip, and a new patch sprung up on my arm this morning. I've been using the usual over the counter suspects to treat it, but to no avail. I've used domboro solution, caladryl lotion, benedryl cream, benedryl tablets, techu ivy wash, and most recently a new product called Zanfel. I was really hoping the Zanfel would work because I read great things about it online, and my doctor recommended it. Supposedly it washes away the ivy oils and calms the itching. Supposedly. Oh, and it costs $39.99 for a tiny tube.

I used the Zanfel on my neck yesterday afternoon, and then on all of the other spots last night. The itching didn't stop. I used it again this morning on all of the ivy spots and I still itch. I was really hoping I'd be blogging today with a glowing endorsement of this product, but alas, no.

Last night, I also started using a 2.5% hydrocortisone cream my doctor prescribed. That hasn't helped all that much either. Just hoping it goes away on it's own still using just these topical remedies (and the benedryl tablets at night so I can stop scratching long enough to fall asleep). Last year I had to go on oral steroids, but my doctor wants to try to avoid that due to pregnancy.

Oh, and I'm going to look so nice at my baby shower on Sunday with my red and bumpy chin, neck, arms, and legs!

Monday, August 4, 2008


The past week has been a major roller coaster of emotions for both me and D. Last Sunday afternoon, Mercury, our kitty, didn't come in after a rainstorm. Then she didn't come in for the night, and on Monday morning she still hadn't appeared at the back door crying to come in and eat. I tried not to panic and D searched the woods calling her name. I tried to be calm figuring she had just wandered into someone's open garage or shed to escape the rain and had gotten trapped. By Tuesday there was still no sign of her and D and I canvassed the neighborhood putting signs on all of the communal mailboxes.

By Wednesday there was still no sign of her. D rang doorbells on the street and handed out flyers. I had called animal control and the local shelters, plus a few of the local vets to alert them that she was missing. My hope really began to fade. On Thursday or Friday D was visited by a neighborhood boy who has made it his persponal mission to find Mercury. He's canvassing the neighborhood on his bike looking for the cat. He rang the bell on Sunday letting us know that he hadn't found her yet but was not going to give up. "I will not fail. I will find her and bring her back to you and you will live happily ever after" is what he said. If only everyone had such a dedicated cat hunter in their neighborhood. I should mention that the boy, I'll call him William, is probably about 13 and has an intellectual disability. He has such a drive to find our cat that we don't want him to feel like a failure if he can't find her...we want to make sure he knows it's not his fault and that we are so grateful for his help and drive to find her.

I try to remain positive and hope that the cat has wandered off and is enjoying the food at someone else's house for a little while, but the reality is that she has probably fallen prey to one of the bigger and more wild animals that live in the woods and wetlands around our house. We had been warned by the neighbors when we moved in that many cats had gone missing from our neighborhood, but Mercury's joy at being outside overruled the warnings. As a former city cat, it was like she had died and gone to heaven having mice to chase, bugs to eat, tall grass to play in, and a warm stoop to lie on. I couldn't deny her that pleasure.

I keep thinking I hear her cry, but it's always my imagination. I leave the basement door open for her just like I always have, and D leaves fresh food on the deck for her every morning. I pray that miraculously she will just show up on the back deck someday and it will be as if she never left. She's been my constant companion for 5 1/2 years and even though D says he didn't want a cat, she has come to be his co-worker in the past 8 months that he's been working from home. She loves our family snuggle time, and is my nightly reading buddy. I can't even express how much I miss her and worry that she is or was out there in the wild suffering.

Monday, July 28, 2008

32 weeks and counting

So I'm now about 32 weeks along and overall I'm doing really well. I get hot really easily (par for the course) and unfortunately I've started throwing up again. Last week was my worse pregnancy thow-up experience yet because I was at a focus group facility with a client and had to sprint out of the room to the bathroom and didn't quite make it in time. Thankfully I was able to clean up my clothes pretty well.

Here's a new picture of me. It's not great, but does show my growing belly somewhat (though it still looks small compared to my chest). The picture is from the back room of a furniture store where I was trying out rockers.

D measured my belly yesterday and it's 41 1/2 inches. What amazes me is that it's only 2 inches bigger than it was the last time we meaured it which was 13 weeks ago. It looks like it's grown a lot more than 2". For the most part I'm still maintaining the no sweets diet (still not craving sweets, though they don't gross me out anymore), so I think if I wasn't gaining baby weight I would probably have lost about 8-10 lbs just from not eating candy and sweets.

I'm going to pick up our new (to us) car in about a 1/2 hour. After hemming and hawing over it, we finally decided on a used Toyota Highlander. We would have liked something more fuel effecient, but the reality is we wanted the all wheel drive (the roads get rough where we are in the winter), and I found the seats on the Highlander to be much more comfortable than the Forrester or CR-V. I really thought I would be a station wagon owner rather than an SUV owner, but none of the wagons were quite right for us. Other than being higher off the ground, the Highlander is a lot like a station wagon.

In getting the new car, we're saying goodbye to D's Camry. He bought it new when he finished college and has put 205,000 miles on it over the years. It was a good car, but it's time for it to go...just didn't make sense to replace or repair anything on it at this point.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Nightmare Traffic!!

I typically have about a 45 minute morning commute. Sometimes it's a little less depending on what time I leave in the morning (the later I leave, the better). This morning, my commute took 2 hours 15 minutes--3 times as long as usual! I started out on my usual route. I heard on the radio that it was a little backed up, but that's par for the course on a rainy day. After sitting in the car for 1 hour 15 minutes, I finally called the traffic hotline. Turns out, the on ramp I take from one highway to the next was completely closed due to flooding and they were re-routing everyone who wanted to get onto 128 North onto 128 South. Great. So they're taking 3 lanes of traffic, merging them into 2 on the on ramp, and then merging them into the rest of a busy highway when half of those people want to be going in the opposite direction. Most people who needed to change direction got off at the first exit but I knew that would be massively backed up, so I decided to go down another exit. Of course, then the northbound side was bumper to bumper with people merging back on to the highway.

I ended up driving a big loop, going way out of my way, in order to get on roads that were going a decent speed. Here's the route I took to work this morning:

View Larger Map

Oh, and I forgot to mention that for the first hour of the drive I felt like I was going to throw up at any moment. I even reached around to the back seat and grabbed one of my reusuable grocery bags in case I needed to vomit spontaneously and couldn't pull over in time. I almost pulled over 3 times. So that was my morning. I'll be calling the traffic hotline before I go home. Right now, is telling me that the on ramp for a different highway on my way home is closed due to flooding. Great. Hopefully I can find a shorter route to avoid flooding than I did this morning.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Shout Out to our Tomatoes

So, I was checking on the analytics of my blog today because I like to see how many reader I have and where they come from. I had a whole bunch of referrals from a site called so I visited the site to check out how I got on there (most of my referrals come from blogs where I have left comments...I had never heard of this site). There, in the July 6th post, was a picture of my tomato plants and a link to this blog. Check it out here.

And here's a picture of the tomatoes from July 9th. We enjoyed the first red tomatoes when we returned from vacation on July 14th.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Maine Vacation

D and I spent 5 days in Maine last week--a "babymoon" of sorts where we got to enjoy some things that we won't be able to do next summer with a baby. I'll go into details on some of the specifics in subsequent posts, but here's an overview.

For 2 nights we stayed in Ogunquit which is one of the towns furthest south on the Maine coast. We stayed at a place called the Admiral's Inn which D rates as a 2 out of 5 stars. It was on the main street into town, about 1/2 mile from the restaurants/shops. I picked it because the price was reasonable and it had a pool. We stayed in the main inn. Well, the room was small, the AC set off the carbon monoxide alarm, the bed wasn't comfortable, and the breakfast left something to be desired, but the pool was excellent! I enjoyed about 2 hours in the pool both afternoons we were there--pregnancy heaven! While I typically prefer the beach to the pool, the water in Southern Maine is so cold that there was no way I was going to go swimming when we were at the beach.

The highlight of our stay in Ogunquit was dinner at Arrows restaurant. A number of years ago I attended the wedding of my friends Chelsea and Thomas at Arrows and since then I've really wanted to go back. The restaurant is well-known to foodies and I will do a full post with a review of our meal. Overall, it was a terrific dining experience--the food was exceptional, the service was very attentive, the pacing was perfect, and our walk through the vegetable garden was inspiring.

After our 2 nights in Ogunquit we headed up the road to Camden. There we stayed 2 nights at the Spouter Inn in Lincolnville Beach which was just a short drive from all of the "action" in Camden. Camden is a much quieter town than Ogunquit, but I think in some ways it has more to offer. There's a public landing in Camden where there are numerous schooners for daysailing and Windjammers for overnight sails. Had I not been pregnant, I would probably have convinced D that we should do a 3-day sail, but I wasn't sure how well pregnancy and sleeping on a schooner go together.

The Spouter Inn (photo below from their website) was a fabulous B&B experience. I'd give it a 5. The inkeeper, Grant, gave us really good recommendations on places to eat and things to do and see. Breakfast was amazing--the first morning I had fruit, french toast, and home made sausage and on the second morning I had a crustless veggie quiche with lobster. Interestingly, the week before we stayed at the Spouter, it had been written up in the Travel section of the Boston Sunday Globe.

While in Camden we took a 2 hour sail on the Surprise. The boat was designed as a replica of a Gloucester fishing schooner, only on a smaller scale. Typically the owners captain the boat for tourists, but on the day we went their children gave them the day off. Our captain was their son who is an editor at Down East magazine and first mate was his sister. Both had lots to say about Camden, the surrounding area, and the people who live in and visit Camden (including a story about the captain of Martha Stewart's yacht not being able to bring her boat into a berth in Camden one day). When we got home and were reading the website for the Surprise, I found out that the sister of the folks who took us sailing is married to a guy from the town where I grew up (in fact, I grew up on milk delivered from his father's dairy).

We ate lunch on both days in Camden at the Camden Deli which has great views of Camden Harbor, and had a very good lobster roll (lots of claw meat and very little mayonaise). Dinner our first night was at a brand new (3rd night open) flatbread pizza restaurant called Paolino's Way. The salad there was excellent and the pizza was very good. Dinner our second night was at a little place called Francine Bistro whihc had been recommended to us the weekend before by friends of friends. It was excellent, and I will be writing a post specifically about this restaurant.

While I was napping one afternoon, D went to a local winery called Cellardoor Vineyard owned by a couple of people from Boston. He did a full tasting and found a few of the wines to his liking. He bought one bottle for us to enjoy post-baby. He brought me there the next morning to see the restored barn that houses the tasting room and to take a walk thorugh the gardens and vineyard. It was inspiring, especially for the 2 of us who like to dream about D's company stock skyrocketing so we can buy a "gentleman's farm."

Surprisingly we didn't buy much on the trip. We weren't looking for anything in particular and there were a few things I considered, but I guess I'm getting more practical about souveniers from vacations. It was tempting to get cute things for the baby, but not knowing the gender has really helped me hold back from buying things. I was going to buy capiline long underwear for the baby at the Patagonia outlet but D vetoed that idea (even though I told him that we could save on heating oil if we dressed the baby in a base layer of long johns). The one thing we did get, other than a bottle of wine and some maple syrup for the family taking care of Mercury, was a print for the baby's room. It's an illustration from the children's book "Bunny My Honey" (which I have never read) and will look really nice in the baby's room. If I remember correctly, it's this illustration which is from the cover of the book.

That about sums up the bulk of the vacation. We didn't take many pictures (didn't bring the "good" camera), but I'll post whatever we have. And, I will get those posts about Arrows and Frnacine written in the next week so stay tuned. I'll try to channel all of the food bloggers and magazine editors I read to make my reviews do justice to the restaurants.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

I'm a guest blogger today at Hank and Willie, a blog maintained by a friend of mine who just happens to be featured in Real Simple this month. There you can read a couple of Independence Day inspired recipes that I blogged about last summer.

Today on The Importance of Being Stacey, a blog written by one of D's colleagues, Stacey references a "What Cheese Are You" quiz. I just had to take it. Turns out, I'm Camebert which is, in fact, one of my favorite cheeses; however, I'm not sure how well the description really suits me (organized, me??).

"You are a creamy, delicate tasting cheese. You are refined and graceful and very organized. As a very insightful cheese, you like to ponder the meaning of life."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

My Favorite Things -- White Vinegar

Lots of people expound on the wonders of white vinegar--it's good for cooking, cleaning, and many other things, but only once have I encountered my favorite use for white vinegar--insect repellant!!! I share this tip with people all the time because it really is that good.

Yes, white vinegar makes an excellent cheap, safe, and natural insect repellant. I read this in the book "Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean" and haven't read about it anywhere else.

I am a mosquito magnet and I live in a major mosquito area. If I go out into the yard after work without protection, even for 10 minutes, I am guaranteed at least 3 mosquito bites. Pretty much the same thing at any time of day. I avoid walking down to the mailbox and taking walks around the neighborhood with D (unless it's cool enough for pants and a long sleeved shirt) just because of the mosquitos.

So, when I read about using white vinegar as insect repellant I knew I had to try it. The first time I used it I applied it to my exposed skin with cotton balls. As you can imagine, the smell isn't great, but it does fade. These days I tend to douse myself with the stuff, especially when I garden. I take out my spray bottle filled with vinegar and water and spritz every bit of exposed flesh, including my hair. For my face I spritz the vinegar into my hands and rub on my face. I usually end up spraying my clothes too.

I can be out all day and not get even one mosquito bite if I'm doused with vinegar. I smell like a pickle, but it's worth it. Now I just need to experiment with a way to use it when in public without people make strange faces when they smell me. It's one thing to smell like vinegar when I go to the garden center, but another thing to smell like it at an outdoor cocktail party!

Oh, and should you go out without the vinegar and get a mosquito bite, put a drop of white vinegar on the bite and it will take away the itch.

For other great things to do with vinegar, check out The Vinegar Institute website.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The tomatoes just keep growing!

Tomato plants today, 6/27/08

And 2 days ago (June 25th):

And here they are on June 1st:

Here they are when first planted on May 17th:

The tomatoes are the Burpee Super Sweet 100s variety of cherry tomatoes. I bought them in 4" pots at Parlee's Pine Hill Nursery. They are grown in a self-watering container with the "Tomato Success Kit" from Gardeners' Supply. I highly recommend all of these products/companies based on my experience...just waiting to see how those cherry tomatoes taste!

Another turtle and perennial garden

I found another turtle laying eggs in the yard today. It's another spotted turtle momma.
The perennial garden is coming along nicely and blooming. The blooms are coreopsis, achillea, lamium, heuchera, salvia, cat mint, veronica, and dianthus.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Pregnancy Update

D felt the baby move for the first time the other night. Before then I would tell him to put his hand on my belly when the baby was moving and the baby would stop moving.

When I lie on the couch I like to put the TV remote on my belly and watch it "dance" as the baby moves!

My sweet tooth is back and it craves soft serve ice cream--what we called a "creamee" when I lived in Vermont.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pregnancy update

I had my 26 week OB visit today (I'm a little off schedule because they changed my due date). Everything is good. The baby's heartbeat is 140 (he/she was sleeping) and I have gained 12lbs overall.

I've been feeling really great, although tired. On Friday I had a 1/2 day of work. I came home, made some lunch, vegged out, watched Oprah, read my book, and then fell asleep from 5:30 until 9:00. I got up for 2 hours and watched TV and then went back to bed!

Saturday I took D on his first trip to Babies R Us and we started our registry. D is concerned about where we're going to put all of the gear! People manage in much smaller spaces then we have so I have no doubt we'll find places for everything. I think baby registering is harder than wedding registering. For the wedding we knew what we wanted (for the most part) and we knew how and where we would use each item. So far I think we have used everything we received for our wedding except the big Le Cruset dutch oven (but someday I'll braise osso bucco for a crowd of 10 or more). I'm sure we'll use all of the baby stuff too, but it's just so hard to choose on some things.

The hardest choice for me has been the stroller. We live in a neighborhood, most of which has sidewalks. The thing is, we get a lot of snow and the plowing often leaves snow and ice behind. Plus, we have a sandy trail to a pond from the end of the street. So, although I never ever jog, I need the bigger wheels of an all terrain stroller. The problem is, they're expensive. And, I want one that fully reclines so I can put a newborn in it (most are for babies 3 months and up). This leaves a few options. One is the Kolcraft Contours which my sister got--I'm waiting for her review on it because it's very nicely priced. Another is the Phil and Ted's Sport Buggy. What I like about the Phil and Ted's is that it has a separate piece you can buy when you have a 2nd child to make it a double stroller. If I have kids 2 years apart this will be a big plus since we won't need to buy a double stroller. The problem with the Phil and Ted's is it's expensive!!

So that's the all terrain stroller thing. I have also registered for an infant car seat stroller base, and an umbrella stroller. It seems excessive to have 3 strollers, but I would like to keep the all terrain in the garage and the car seat base/umbrella stroller in the car. I don't want to have to use the big all terrain stroller if I go to the mall.

The rest of the registering has been easier for the most part. My sister and my friend Wendy have given me great recommendations. For example, the high chair I registered for is really pricey, but my sister is now using hers on her 3rd child so I know it will last.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Master Bedroom Renovation is Done!

When D and I first looked at our house during March 2007, we already had a vision for the front-to-back bedroom that we would use as our master. The room was a long rectangle with a small closet in the back corner. We both envisioned putting up a wall in the back part of the room and building a nice, big walk-in closet. Well, just a few days before the 1-year anniversary of moving into the house, that dream became a reality!

This is what the master bedroom looked like in January--it was full of junk (mostly mine) and D had started to pull up the mauve carpet in the area that would be the closet. The carpet really made the room look dark. The previous owner told me that the entire 2nd floor of the house had been covered in this mauve carpet when they moved in in 1998 (they had since replaced the carpet in the hall and the other 2 bedrooms). The paint in this picture was done by the previous owners the day before we looked at the house for the first time (it had been painted light pink).

This is what the master bedroom looks like now:

The new closet is in place (we still need to put up the ClosetMaid system), there is crown molding along the ceiling, a new ceiling fan, and a new maple hardwood floor.

The paint is Benjamin Moore Aura in "Prescott Green" on the walls and "Monterey White" for the trim. The colors were inspired by the bedding I had picked for my shower as well as some pictures I tore out of a Pottery Barn catalog and some magazines. If I hadn't seen these pictures I probably would have gone with white trim instead of the creamy-colored trim.

The ceiling fan is by Casablanca and is so quiet that unless it's on high I can't hear it at all! It's a huge improvement in style and quality over the helicopter propeller fan that had been in the room!

The floor is a 3/4" by 3 1/4" maple select hardwood from Bellawood. Originally we were thinking we would do a natural cherry floor, but once we picked natural cherry furniture we knew we would need more color contrast. I think we made a great choice--not only does it look great with the furniture, but it also makes the room look much lighter.

The furniture is from a local manufacturer/showroom called Cherrystone Furniture. All except for the bed was made in their Littleton, MA factory. The bed is from Lyndon Furniture in Vermont. There were a few things that really sold us on this furniture versus others we had looked at. First, the drawers are all dovetailed. Second, the drawers are on european glides (like kitchen cabinets) and are self-closing (I tend to leave my drawers partly opened and it's probably D's biggest pet peeve about me). Third, the drawerfronts on the dresser are made from one plank so that the grain matches across the drawers. And, finally, the owner matched the price we were given on a different set of furniture we had looked at somewhere else. This saved us maybe 20% of his regular price, and 20% on furniture is never something to scoff at!

We also got a new mattress. It's a Nature's Rest latex faom mattress. We spent some time deciding between the latex and Tempur-Pedic but settled on the latex. Both were very comfortable, but latex feels more like a traditional bed (it bounces).
Not pictured is our new bedding that I received last year for my shower. It will come out in the fall when it's not so hot in the house. Right now it's way too warm for the thick comforter!

I've still got a lot of decorating to do (window treatments, lamps, artwork), but it feels really good to be sleeping in this room! It's very serene and comfortable.