Monday, April 28, 2008

My belly--19 weeks

Today D and I went for our 2nd ultrasound. This time it was a Level II ultrasound which means that they take much more time and really study each of the baby's parts including the heart, kidneys, hands, feet, legs, arms, and brain. They also take measurements of the head circumference, femur, and cerebellum. Based on all of this, they confirmed what they thought based on my first ultrasound--I am actually 19 weeks pregnant when we thought I was 17 weeks. So, instead of having a due date around October 2, 2008, it will be more like September 20, 2008. So, I'm just about halfway through my pregnancy! Also, the baby looks perfectly healthy and has a nice strong heartbeat of 150 beats per minute.

As of my OB visit last Thursday, I had only gained 1lb overall, but I gained 5lbs between my March appointment and my April appointment due to the end of my morning sickness. D and I measured my waist circumference this weekend and it's 39 1/4 inches. I wonder what it will be right before I deliver!!! (Keep in mind when looking at the picture at the top of this post that I have a 40DDD chest, which is why my belly doesn't look very big).

Speaking of delivery, this past weekend we went to visit our newest nephew who made his arrival on April 11th. LAV (his initials) acted like a perfect baby and slept almost the entire day when we were there. Of course, he kept his mother up most of the previous night, and while we were visiting he had someone holding him the entire time (I didn't want to let him go). His older brother BZV (initials again) is 2 and was very funny. He loves his new brother, but wishes that he knew how to talk already!

Since LAV's parents are moving at the end of June (my brother-in-law has a 2 year surgical fellowship in Virginia), they dug up some plants from their garden for us. So, on Sunday I planted some of their lily of the valley around a little dogwood that came from my parents yard. I also planted one of their peonies (originally from D's grandparent's house), and 2 daylillies. An orange California poppy and a purple coneflower from my sister/brother-in law's garden will get planted as soon as we remove a stump from the perennial garden. I love plants with history! I still have the descendants of a spider plant that I propagated from my friend Wendy's plant 10 years ago, kalanchoes made from cuttings of a plant my friend Clare brought to my apartment 6 years ago, and I rooted some ivy that was in my bridesmaid bouquet from my friend Darci's wedding. My plan is to give Darci some of the ivy for her 1st anniversary.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

March Showers Bring April Flowers

I know it's supposed to be "April Showers Bring May Flowers," but it's been so warm here that the flowers are all blooming! The weather is predictably unpredictable and while it was in the 20s overnight last week, today was about 80.

In the past week all of the flowers I planted last fall have started blooming! The tulips were the first to poke through the ground (a full 2 weeks before the daffodils), but the daffodils bloomed earlier (as they should). Now we have daffodils, tulips, vinca, forsythia, and azalea all blooming at once. This is the azalea in front of the house:

And, I am very pleased that it looks like all of the daffodils and tulips I planted last fall have come up and are blooming or ready to bloom. I'll get out my garden journal and check exactly how many of the ones I planted came up, but it really appears to be all of them. This is great! I now can highly endorse the Naturalizing Daffodil Mix from Park Seed and the Perrenial Tulip Mix Super Sak from Breck's.

So, to review the Naturalizing Daffodil Mix from Park Seed I would give it an A. The bulbs were large with probably 25% of them having 3 sprouts. I think in the 2 bags of 50 I purchased there were maybe 2 bad bulbs (and there may have actually been more than 50 in the bag). There is definitely a mix of colors, shapes and sizes. Some are large all yellow singles, some are white and yellow singles, some all yellow frilly ones, some light yellow and white frilly ones, and some small yellow with orange centers. I'll complete my review next spring when I see how many come back and to what extent they multiply in one year.

For the Perrenial Tulip Mix Super Sak I would also give a grade A. I planted 59 bulbs last fall and I thought I counted 61 tulips sprouting in the flower beds (but I must have miscounted). These bulbs were also very large and if I planted 59 that means there was only one bad bulb in the bag. I was happily surprised that the deer didn't eat any of the tulips because they seem to have eaten just about everything else (see this post). The tulips that have bloomed so far are yellow/orange, red, and orange/yellow. There are about 40 that haven't bloomed yet so there may be other colors as well.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Random Thoughts (Again)

At lunch time today I headed to Whole Foods to pick up a dessert for a BBQ we are attending tonight. On the way there traffic was blocked by a turkey crossing the road. up where I live this wouldn't strike me as odd, but down where I work it was really funny to see. There it was, crossing the street in front of the courthouse and it made me laugh hysterically!

I still have an aversion to sweets, especially chocolate. I walked to Starbucks after lunch today and picked up a grande decaf iced mocha. I started sipping it and thought, "man this is sweet" and almost went back into Starbucks to buy a milk to dilute it. I didn't buy the milk, just took the drink back to the office. It's 2 1/2 hours later and I still have 1/2 of the mocha left (unheard of in the pre-pregnancy days). I guess I didn't have to be concerned that having chocolate today would bring my sweet tooth back.

On the way out the door this morning I took a walk around the yard to see if anything was blooming. Three daffodils looked about to open, and some of the vinca (which the deer chewed to bits) has started to grow back and bloom. It's supposed to have gotten into the 70s today so I'll bet that I have more daffs blooming tomorrow--and I wouldn't be surprised if a couple of the tulips bloomed too.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Little Grossed Out

I've been eating a ton of cut up fruit and raw veggies lately. These are my new cravings and I'm pretty happy that I have healthy cravings now. Yesterday D and I had a big platter of veggies and fruit (cucumbers, carrots, red peppers, strawberries, pineapple) for lunch and I was wishing I had something to dip my veggies in, but there was nothing in the fridge. So, today at lunchtime I went to the supermarket to get something to dip my veggies in at work. Being that I was taking it to work, I had to go with something pre-packaged rather than something I would make myself. I checked out some different ranch dip options, but was blown away by the fat and calories (shouldn't have been surprised). So I settled on some Fat Free Ranch Veggie Dip by T. Marzetti.

I just opened the dip now to have with my late afternoon snack of veggies. The way the dip looked was a little disconcerting. The only word I can use to describe it is gelatinous. I dipped a cucumber in it and it tasted good enough, but I was curious as to what was in it. The first 2 ingredients are water and maltodextrin. Sounds appetizing, doesn't it? I had to look up maltodextrin and it turns out that it's an easily digestible carbohydrate classified as a sweet polysaccharide that is typically made from corn, rice, or potato starch. It's typically used to add texture to foods or to thicken, and is also used in artificial sweetners. Ick.

In addition to the maltodextrin, the dip contains all sorts of ingredients with chemical rather than "natural" names. I'm sure that there are plenty of things I eat that contain as many additives and preservatives as this stuff, but I don't think I've knowingly eaten something with this much "stuff" on the label in a long time. The thing is, the stuff tastes good, but not nearly as good as if I had made a dip with sour cream and spices. I'm thinking of making a dip with a mix of full fat yummy sour cream mixed with tofu (I generally dislike tofu, but it works with the sour cream for me). In the meantime, I'll keep on with the maltodextrin stuff.

Ironically, I spent quite a while at the grocery store today looking for lemonade that was made with sugar rather than corn syrup...and come to find out, the dip has corn syrup in it too!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Random Thoughts

I just noticed that the maternity pants I'm wearing today have belt loops. I guess it's because belts hold up your pants (duh), but I was thinking of a belt more as a fashion accessory and wondering who the heck would tuck a shirt into maternity pants and put on a belt. Another question that begs asking is what woman would actually have a belt that would fit around her expanding pregnant belly? I'm beyond being able to ransack my husband's closet (I was nearly beyond it before pregnancy).

Last night I thought I got poison ivy. I was sitting at the dinner table when all of the sudden my ankles started to itch like mad. I has been walking around the yard with shoes but no socks, so I was worried I had walked though poison ivy. Turns out I have 4-5 mosquito bites on each ankle--better than having poison ivy, but still not good. Nothing's blooming yet, but already the man-eating mosquitoes have emerged from the swamp. It's going to be a long spring/summer! Of course being pregnant I'm not supposed to use DEET at all. Instead I'll be dousing myself with white vinegar (which actually works pretty well)--hope D doesn't mind that his wife smells like Easter Eggs!

My 6th nephew was born today. My brother-in-law sent some great pictures including one where the doctor is holding up the baby probably just after clamping the cord. He looks like such a big baby (my nephew, not the doctor). In some of the other pictures LAV (the baby's initials) is wearing the hat I knitted for him. I'd post, but they all show his face and I'm not sure his parents want their newborn out on the internet. I'll see if they can get a picture of the back of his head wearing the hat.

Yesterday afternoon the temperature was in the 70s but tomorrow afternoon it's only supposed to be in the low 40s. I just love the New England weather. Why couldn't it have been 70 on a Saturday or Sunday?

D fired up the grill last night for some of our favorite steak tips. Grilling season means my cholesterol will be going up since we'll start eating burgers, sausage, and steak again. I guess the good news is that grilling season coincides with fresh local produce season...maybe the amount of produce I eat will cancel out the amount of beef and pork? Maybe I'd better stock the freezer with grillable seafood (now if I remember to take it out to thaw it will be a miracle).

Next Tuesday I'm going to the Museum of Science with my nephews Tim and Matt. I'm excited to see the "How Your Life Began" exhibit about conception, pregnancy, and childbirth. May have to get a picture of my pregnant sister and me somewhere in the exhibit. I think my older nephew (5 1/2) will be really interested in the exhibit--he's very curious about how the baby is going to come out of his mommy. Of course, he'll be much more excited about the lizard exhibit!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Funny Cat

D is working from home today (in our very cold basement) and just sent me this email message:

"My typing started to fail - a sure sign my hands were cold - so I went upstairs for a few minutes to warm them up. With 'cold' on the mind I thought I'd look for the cat outside but didn't see her at the door. Then I remembered she was inside so I figured I'd take a look for her. Couldn't find her. She wasn't laying in the sun. Wasn't in the window in the bedroom. Where could she be? Then I saw a lump in the bed... How the hell did she do that? All on her own! We sure do have a strange cat. :)"

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My Belly--15 weeks

First Sewing Project

This past weekend my mom came up to help me with a sewing project I've been meaning to tackle for several months (since this post, anyway). She helped me to make a valance for my kitchen window to finally add a burst of color to the room. My mom has made nearly all of the window treatments in her house over the years--from living room drapes, to dining room swags, to puffy valances for my late 80s/early 90s bedroom. For my bedroom she also made the comforter cover, dust ruffle, pillow shams, and a cushion for my wicker chair. I was very lucky to have a mom who sewed because it meant I could change the decor in my room more often than most of the kids I knew. My mom also also made curtains, pillows, and a window seat cushion for my college dorm room and throw pillows for my various apartments.

On Sunday my mom passed the tradition to me. I had sewn some growing up both by hand and by machine, but I haven't touched a sewing machine in at least 6 years. The good thing is, it's like riding a bicycle, it does come back. Armed with her handy dandy sewing book given to her at her bridal shower in 1970, my mom showed me the various ways to line curtains and then, like any good parent, taught me the cheater method to make it easier--after all, valances are high up and no one will be able to see whether my lining is professional quality.

This is my mom and her sewing book:

Next we tackled the size length and width of the valance and what size we would need to cut the fabric. D helped out on this by holding a dish towel up to the window so I could judge what length I would want. I decided on 12" because I didn't want to cover too much of the view. We added a 5/8" bottom hem, a 5/8" top hem, and 2" for the rod heading. Then we cut the main fabric and lining fabric. I was lucky the main fabric was an all over pattern with a short repeat since I had only bought 1 yard of it and needed two 15 1/2" lengths. My mom helped me cut my fabric, pin my seams, and figure out the order in which to stitch the seams, but I did all of the actual sewing myself.

I didn't take many pictures of the process of making the valance, but I did take a few. One thing I did which proved very helpful was to make some seams on a scarp of the lining fabric with the machine set at various tensions and stitch lengths. This was my first time using my sister's sewing machine, so I had no idea what settings to use. By trial and error, I determined the proper stitch length and tension for the majority of my seams. Then, when I went to sew the rod heading, which was 6+ layers of fabric, I used my scrap again to adjust the tension and stitch length.

I almost finished the valance on Sunday night but I was getting frustrated trying to get the right tension for my final seam. I had to rip out almost an entire 102" seam. I called it quits, mom went home, and I finished the valance last night. here it is hanging in my kitchen window this morning (my mom brought me the pansies).

winter knitting

I'm finally going to post some photos of the little bit of knitting I've done this winter post Christmas. For most of February and March I felt crappy so I didn't knit much, but I did manage a few things. First, I made a cute and very easy hat for the nephew we're expecting to be born any day now. The pattern is from a booklet I bought about a year and a half ago. It's a very simple roll brim hat worked on circular needles, but it uses self-patterning fair isle sock yarn to make it look like something more difficult.

I used the Sockotta yarn pictured below, and a size 2 needle. Of course I didn't take a good picture of the finished hat, except the one with shadows in it from the top of this post. Hopefully my sister-in-law will send me a picture of her baby wearing the hat.

I'm almost finished with another one of these in the colors of the swatch below. This will be for my sister's baby (due in may) if she has a girl, otherwise it might be for mine. I'm going to make another one of the cream/blue/green/brown hats for my sister as well in case she has a boy.

In addition to this little hat, I also made a sock this winter (just one). I took a toe-up sock class at my local knitting store. Unfortunately I signed up before I knew I was pregnant. The class met for 3 consecutive Thursday evenings, and I was totally beat by the time I got home from work and went to the class. I arrived a little late for the first class and I think that got me off the wrong foot with the teacher. I felt the teacher didn't have a lot of patience for people like me who needed help getting the toe started, learning M1L and M1R, and shaping the heel. If I had known how to knit socks then I wouldn't have taken the class, so of course I needed help with these things. Maybe I was just being overly sensitive. In any case, I had hoped to do my 2 socks simultaneously by working between classes, but the "morning" sickness prevented that. So I have one sock and someday will make the 2nd one!

I have no idea what this yarn is...I'll look in my knitting bag for the label and update the post.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Almost Normal

I'm feeling almost normal again, other than still having no desire to eat sweets, and I'm back to weekends of projects and cooking. Yesterday my mom came up to visit to help me sew the valances for which I bought fabric months ago. Since mom was coming to visit I figured I had better get off the couch and help D clean up the house and do a little cooking. I decided that we would have tuna sandwiches for lunch (one of my favorites) and macaroni and cheese for dinner. I made the mac and cheese from Ina Garten's The Barefoot Contessa Family Style. It's your basic mac and cheese recipe using cheddar and Gruyere, and it's so good!

D has done an excellent job keeping up with the housework, laundry, and grocery shopping in the past few months while I've been pregnant. He went to Idylwilde Farms for the first time a few weeks ago and has now been going every week to get our produce. They have amazing produce and it seems to be the same price or less expensive than the grocery stores we usually go to. And, it's only 7 minutes from our house (the nearest good, but not too expensive, grocery store is 12 minutes). Combine a trip to Idylwilde (for produce) with a trip to Trader Joe's (for packaged goods, frozen, and dairy), and pretty much everything is covered--high quality food at good prices. Of course there are some things that we need to go to the supermarket for (ziploc bags, cat litter) but not too much, and it's stuff we don't have to buy too often.

I hope to finish my first valance tonight and post pictures tomorrow. I was just about finished last night when I noticed my final seam was all funky--instead of loosening the tension to account for more layers of fabric I tightened it. I had to rip out a lot of stitches and decided it was time to call it quits for the night.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sounds like spring!

Last night when I got home from work the spring peepers were so loud! Frogs in the swamp mean that spring is really here! Yeah!