Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pausing for Pregnancy -Week 17

Danny and I were watching the show "I Didn't Know I was Pregnant" last night. I've always kind of wondered how that could be know, how could a woman just not KNOW?!

I'm officially 17 weeks and 1 day pregnant today and besides some aches and pains and restless sleep, I don't feel any differently than I did before. And certainly aches and pains and restless sleep can easily be chalked up to any number of other afflictions so I do see how it could happen, how a woman might not know she was pregnant. A lot of the women on that show had irregular periods already, endometriosis or cysts that already caused aches and cramping or they might have already been heavy-set to begin with and didn't realize the weight gain was because they were pregnant.

At 16 weeks and 4 days pregnant

The show last night had a woman delivering her baby (breech!) in a truck stop bathroom! That story would have been crazy enough but she didn't even know she was having a baby!! They played the 911 call on the show and it was incredible to hear the woman screaming in the background that "it's a BABY!".


I'm going to assume that things will go similarly to when I was pregnant with The Boy. I know that every pregnancy and delivery is different but I'll just assume at this point that things will be similar.

PhotobucketAbout ready to pop with The Boy

With The Boy, I woke at 5:30am feeling like I might be having contractions. I'd been having Braxton Hicks (false labor) for about 4 weeks, so I wasn't too concerned. I took my stepson to school and went to work. I had a doctor's appointment that day so I told my coworkers that I thought I might be in labor and that I'd call if I wasn't coming back to the office! I went to the OB/GYN who confirmed that I was dilated. I had an appointment at the main hospital for a kick-count test right after that, but I was getting to the point where I didn't think I should be driving anymore. I went home, picked up my mom, she drove me to pick up my stepson from school and we drove together to the hospital. They examined me again there and said that I should go home and rest and come back when the contractions were closer together. That's what I did. I got to the hospital around 6pm, started pushing around 10:30pm and after 3+ hours of straight pushing, my little boy was born at 2:22am.

The Boy, one day old!

I am certainly hoping for a few changes:
#1 - Not to have to drive all over town dropping off that person, going to work, seeing this doctor, picking up this person, seeing that doctor, etc all while in labor.
#2 - Not to have to push for 3+ hours!

According to the multitude of online fetal sites, my baby is about 6" long, cartilage is turning into bone, and the baby is starting to hear, yawn and swallow. Awwww!!

From the outside, I don't really look particularly pregnant. I've gained a total of 6 lbs and look like...well, that I've gained 6 lbs! I really just look more chubby than usual. My doctor told me that I have a "large uterus" so while the pregnancy websites say my uterus should stop 1.5-2" below my belly button, my uterus is actually at or just above my belly button already. That could be part of the reason I don't look bigger from the outside, the baby has enough room internally to spread out inside and doesn't have to push out my belly quite yet!

Most of this "bump" is padding that was already there, if you know what I mean

In 12 days, we'll find out the gender. So far most everyone is voting for a girl but that's pretty much how the vote went last time and it ended with The Boy! We'll see what happens this time!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Firecracker Countdown

I claimed my buffet server back from the dreaded ugly water bottle and I decorated for Independence Day weeks ago.


The hurricane glass is from my cousin's wedding, the vanilla candle inside from Bath & Body Works and the red polka dot plate I bought around Valentine's Day from Target for about $3. The hobnail cake stand is my joy, purchased at a local antique shop for less than $40. A splurge but it makes me happy!!

The milk glass vases were from my wedding and the flags were three for a dollar in the bins at Target.


The paper lanterns were a new find at Target, two for $2. I'd love to find some battery operated tea lights to put inside, wouldn't that be fun?

The mosaic covered candle was a wedding gift, but I have seen similar ones at Kohls.

This little birdie matches quite nicely!

I bought navy blue striped cloth napkins at Target too. I debated between the red stripe and the blue but chose blue in the end so that I could do a beachy theme on the buffet for summertime and everything would coordinate.

How have you decorated for the Fourth?


Monday, June 27, 2011

Our first weekend away

The day we got married, November 20th, 2010, our best man (Danny's cousin) booked a room for us at a lovely boutique hotel in La Jolla and we had one overnight stay without the kids. It was raining but we walked up the main street, had Mexican food for dinner, listened to the band in the lobby and the next day after walking along the coastline a bit we went to the movies and then went home to the kids.

At the La Jolla shores, the day after our wedding

We still didn't have any place to live together at that time, so he went back to his mom's house and I went back to my parents and we lived like that for another 5 days until our apartment was ready to move in.

So we've never had a real, official honeymoon. We went straight from being single parents to "married with kids" and the adventure began! And now with our little surprise on the way, we'll be new parents again in early December.

When the opportunity came up for a getaway, we took it. Journey Community Church was holding their 18th Annual Marriage Retreat in Palm Springs and we knew this would be a nice weekend away for us. We paid in affordable deposits over the course of a few months, the church handled the reservations, all we had to do was show up. There were to be couples seminars in the ballroom and plenty of free time with each other. Ahhhh, we were really looking forward to it!

I got my toes painted and bought a new pair of flip-flops just for the occasion!

Doesn't the flower look like a little starfish? So cute!

Danny had a class on Friday night so we weren't able to get out of San Diego until 7:30pm. Unfortunately the first seminar was being held at that exact time, so we missed the first evening of activities. It took us four hours to get there, over an hour longer than expected because of some road construction but it was a pleasant drive and we pulled into the Indian Wells Resort Hyatt Grand Champions around 11:30pm. This is considerably later than our usual bedtime...But we were on vacation!!



The resort is just beautiful, with water fountains and cooling misters all over the place, towering palm trees in rows and rows, chocolate chip cookies & Arnold Palmer drinks in pitchers in the lobby, and a cluster of swimming pools. Of course the entire resort overlooks a lovely golf course.

This was the view from our room!

Neither of us had ever been to Palm Springs before but found that with Hwy 111 it was very easy to get around. After a morning of sessions, we hit the road.


We discovered a delicious bbq restaurant a few miles down the road and after filling up on tri-tip and pork sandwiches, coleslaw and fries we took a stroll around the outdoor mall where I was about ready to jump into the fountain.

Palm trees at the resort pool

We headed back to the resort and decided to try out the adult only pool area. To be perfectly honest, we seriously lasted about 7 minutes. The only two unoccupied lounge chairs were in the sun. The air temperature was at least 108 degrees. The pool temperature was a very unrefreshing 85 degrees...yuck, like taking a dip in a bowl of soup! And it was covered in a milky film of sunscreen too.

The crowded, warm pool

My honey, contemplating why anyone is in that pool

Me, dipped in sunscreen and with a gigantic old lady sun hat

We packed up and headed back to the room where Danny took a cold shower and I relaxed in the cool water of the bathtub! We were able to nap and then headed out for dinner around 6pm without any agenda or plan.

Dressed for dinner!


Yep, 111 degrees at 6pm!

We ended up at this elegant Hawaiian fusion restaurant and decided to share the pre fixe meal. We started with these amazing chicken meatball lettuce wraps (I'm so going to try and recreate these at home!), a wonderful crusted shrimp entree with lemongrass and an amazing molten chocolate souffle with raspberry sauce and vanilla ice cream.


Of course everything had fancy names and terminology (raspberry coulis, Tom Yum broth?) but what it came down to was that the food was delicious, very elegant and slow paced and we had a great conversation.

Hotel fountains at night

Danny in the moonlight

Since neither of us was down with spending $300+ on couple's massages or facials at the hotel spa we packed up the massage oil and facial masks from home and relaxed in the comfort of our hotel room.

Watching TV until it's time to rinse off the mask

On Sunday morning, after one more session it was time to head for home.

With one of the weekend host couples. They were also our pre-marriage counselors and performed our wedding ceremony as well!

On the way out of town, we spotted these gigantic dinosaurs and I just had to stop. There is a dinosaur museum attached but we only stopped to take a few photos. Anyone who remembers the movie "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure" will recall these guys! He sits inside the big T-Rex with Simone & they exchange dreams... Please tell me I'm not the only one who remembers this?



In any case, that was our vacation...what we are now technically referring to as our honeymoon. Though if I can get another chance, I think we'll need just ONE more little weekend getaway like this before December, don't you think?

Baby bump

Beauty Shop

So it took me a few days to get the photos of my new hair-do. My husband and I went on a Marriage Retreat/very belated honeymoon this weekend and unfortunately everytime he points the camera my way he seems to have the most difficult time focusing properly!

At the Hyatt Grand Champions in Palm Springs

I turned the camera over to The Boy this evening and he seems to have a better handle on how to focus.

Unfortunately first I had to allow him some hair styling beforehand. He wielded both a comb and a brush, one in each hand, and proceeded to circle me, swishing hair this way and that.

VERY windswept!

First my hair was pushed forward into my face. Then he brushed it all back, with his hand pressing onto my bangs in an attempt to get them to lay flat.

With my bangs combed into the middle...

There was a lot of giggling, alternating with a very serious face and pursed lips. I drew the line when he said, "Let me just add a little water..."

Getting closer...

After I humored him for a while (with silly photos in between), I was able to get a somewhat decent shot of my new hair.

A little bit more like how I've been wearing it.

It's much darker than usual, which I know will fade out a bit over the next few weeks. I also have short bangs across my entire forehead, which I've not had since I think The Boy was born. The style has been super-easy too. I've been able to just wash, comb through some lightweight anti-frizz cream and go.

I love that my hair is totally out of my face too (my crazy pet peeve). Over the weekend I was able to twist it up in back and secure with two bobby pins for a different look.


It's been such a big change for me, that I really do still jump a little when I look in the mirror!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A foot shorter

I'm a foot shorter today.

Well, technically my hair is a foot shorter. And I already feel so much lighter and cooler and more "put together" than I have in a long time.

My hair was getting so long and unstylish and unfashionable that I was starting to feel very schlepy.


It's bad enough that I'm pregnant and don't fit into any of my old jeans anymore and that I've resorted to all things drawstring. And I can't bear to wear closed-toed shoes so I've been living in flip-flops. And I've been so hot lately that tank tops are just about all I've been wearing (along with my ever-so-uncute nursing bras) I really didn't anything else to make me feel more unsophisticated. The hippie hair had to go.

I've been resorting to pony tails and buns for quite a while because just the feeling of that carpet of hair on the back of my neck has been driving me nuts.


And the gray...I've discussed the gray hair already. I'd had my hair colored in November when I got married and then colored it from a box in February. However I was so unhappy with the orange cast I've been getting after the color fades out. You can really see how light the ends got after being sunlightened over the course of the year.

So, I just got my hair done yesterday and will have The Boy take a picture of it this evening for me to post and share.

All that hair is GONE. And good-bye gray!


It's darker.

It's much shorter.

I have bangs.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


The kids are in ESS (Extended School Services) this week at one of the local elementary schools. It is an extremely well-run program, the staff is attentive, they split up the kids into manageable groups, keep them busy and active and best of all...the kids LOVE it! When I picked them up yesterday, they were excited about the craft projects they'd made and were filthy-dirty and pink-cheeked from playing outside all day.

On a daily basis, the kids aren't always a cup of tea. They are both 7 and both high-spirited (a nice way of saying they are a handful).


The Boy is a teaser. He will bug and bug and bug a person until they just can't take it anymore and will haul off and slug him! He's also majoring in the art of negotiation. I find anything I have an answer for is retorted with, "No, but..." and followed by his reasoning for why I should change my answer!


The Girl is Autistic and generally pretty easy-going but once she gets going on an idea, she has a hard time letting go and it usually escalates into a fit. She doesn't like being in trouble (well, really who doesn't?) but can't admit when she's wrong, she will adamantly insist that she's right...even when we KNOW the truth!

So my days are generally spent refereeing these two strong-headed kids. Neither of them are particularly good at giving in, which I suppose is a strong suit but a challenge for me. I'm so moody and hormonal lately (16 weeks pregnant) that I just don't want to hear any more tattling ("She poked me in the eye" and "He stole my book") or "Stop that! Stop that! Stop that!" on a loop, you know what I mean??

At the Fair this weekend

This past weekend we decided to take the kids to the Fair. My husband's grandma works there as a supervisor so she'd already given us free entry tickets and 20 ride coupons. I'd told the kids that they'd each get to ride about 3 things.

We first walked through one of the animal barns and checked out the hundreds of prize chickens and roosters, the goats, llamas and the biggest steer I've ever seen.

"Let's go on the rides!", said The Girl.

Soon, I said, we're going to eat first.


We got souvenir cups and drinks from Nana and went to the Chuckwagon to eat. This was the only money spent all day, $19.50 on two plates of food that we split between the four of us. Oh, the smoked bbq pork sandwich with cole slaw was SO good and even though Danny said, "I'm not that hungry" he still ate half of it and all of the beans (which I knew he would!). The kids shared a foot-long hot dog and criss-cut fries.

"When are we going on the rides?", asked The Girl.

Pretty soon, I said, let's digest our food and then we'll walk over there.

After exploring the fine art exhibits, student showcase, and refilling our drink cups (thanks Nana!) we wandered out to where they were holding a chalk drawing competition. The infield and kiddie rides could be seen from this point, including an elephant ride, the gigantic slide and Ferris wheel.

There was no stopping them now.

"I have an idea!" says The Girl, "Let's go on the rides now!"

Talk about subtle! We finally headed over to the infield, bracing ourselves for what isn't always a pleasant experience. I warned the kids to watch where they were walking in case someone had spilled a drink or thrown up. The carnies were hollering out about how everyone wins a prize at their games but we headed to the other side of the infield with our 20 ride coupons in hand.

We'd prepped them about being able to ride about 3 things. The kids quickly agreed that The Spider was the first ride. This was followed by something fast and spinny (too spinny for me to take pictures!) and then the Swinging Pirate Ship.


We had 5 tickets left. Each kid ride takes between 3-5 tickets so instead of buying more tickets, Dad suggested that we find a kid and give the tickets to him. Our kids loved that idea and scrambled to spot someone. They were so excited to walk up to the kid and hand over their leftover tickets.


We walked out of the infield, past the booths selling fried-everything-on-a-stick, Hawaiian ice, past the balloons and inflatable things and past a screaming child hopping up and down mid-temper tantrum.

"Thank goodness we don't have one of those", I whispered to my husband.

Our kids held our hands and we went happily back to the bus that would take us back to the car. They were excited to sit in the farthest seat in the back.

"That was easy," I said. Danny looked past me at the kids, sitting together and looking out the bus window, sipping our of their drink cups. "Yeah, it was...they never asked for anything".

It was true, we'd prepped them beforehand so they knew what to expect (lunch, drinks and a few rides) and they never asked for anything else. It reminded me of the Disneyland trip, where they were absolutely perfectly behaved the entire two days, despite the long hours on their feet. They never whined or asked for anything during that trip either.

It's unfortunate that my daily dealings can't run as smooth. Too bad I can't make every day as exciting as The Fair and each errand as fun as Disneyland or the kids would always be cooperative and happy!


"We have them well-trained", I said.

Monday, June 20, 2011 Martha

I saw this pie in the Martha Stewart Living magazine about a month ago.

It was calling to me... Strawberry-Lemonade Icebox Pie.

Doesn't that just scream SUMMER???

Ahhh, it sounds so refreshing.

And so with Father's Day coming up and my dad being a major sweet tooth, that's what I decided would be my contribution to the Father's Day dinner at my parent's house.

I have made apple pies with my tried-and-true recipe within the last few years but it's been a very long time since I attempted any new pie recipes. In fact I know exactly when I made my last pie. I was about 16 and I made banana cream pie for Thanksgiving with family. I used ripe bananas, like you would for banana bread, and the pie was so sickeningly sweet and mushy. Live and learn...ripe bananas for bread...fresh bananas for pie!

I made the crust the night before, baked the filling and let it sit overnight in the fridge. After church on Sunday, I made the berry topping and whipped up the fresh meringue. I didn't have a "kitchen torch" as per the directions and didn't feel like turning on the broiler in hot weather, so I just flipped on the butane lighter and toasted the meringue a bit until it looked like the photo.

What do you think? Did I do good?

PhotobucketLooks like it jumped right off the magazine page, huh?

And it was yummy.

Quite a bit on the sweet side so I know I could cut out some of the sugar from each of the steps next time I make it (crust has sugar, filling has sugar, meringue has sugar) but it was tasty. Just know that you can cut some of that sugar and the pie will still be sweet enough.


And Dad enjoyed it!

Here is the recipe if you'd like to try it yourself...
Strawberry-Lemonade Icebox Pie.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Kicking off the Summer

Thursday was The Boy's last day of school and it went out with a BANG!


Or should I splash?


We started out the morning after assembly and prayers (small group that morning with the pre-K, kindergarten and 8th graders having already graduated earlier that week).

We gifted The Boy's fantastic teacher with a scrapbook of pages that each child had decorated and a gift certificate. She was incredibly touched. We have been so blessed with having her this year, she is amazing with these kids and they each love her so much, you can tell.


After the gifting, the kids headed off to Mass and their awards ceremony (and I had to go home and work for a few hours so I missed this). Imagine my surprise when I came to pick up The Boy after school and he was holding a plaque proclaiming that he was the Most Improved Reader in the first grade!!

He was absolutely beaming and again I praise his teacher for the improvement as she had him work with her in private tutoring sessions at the beginning of the school year when he was struggling with his reading. It has made a world of difference and he is really picking it up so fast now, I'm always impressed when I hear him reading we just have to work on spelling those words over the summer!

We immediately headed over to the park for our end-of-the-school-year party, sure to become a tradition! I brought corn on the cob, there were hot dogs on the grill, lots of fresh fruit & veggies, chips and sandwiches.



There was also this amazing summer-inspired cupcake/cake from one of the moms who is a cake decorator in a grocery bakery.


It was just as yummy as it was pretty (even though the frosting was pretty melted by the time we ate it!).

The Boy ditched his school uniform for a swimsuit and soon the kids were ready for water balloon games and squirt guns!



I say the kids, but many of the grown ups were eager to join in on the fun! I was spared because I was holding my camera, but I'm sure I wouldn't have minded getting a little wet, it was a warm day!



Everyone had a blast and it kick started summer in a wonderful way! It was also a nice way of saying goodbye to one of our little gals, who is moving away soon. Here is the gang of 12 students, including siblings!


Have a great summer kids, see you in the fall!