Up 19 lbs as I Enter my THIRD Trimester

For those of you keeping track, I have begun  my third (and final) trimester. Apparently, there is some conjecture over whether your third trimester starts with your 27th or 28th week so I took the liberty of deciding that for me, it started last week!! You don’t realize until you’re pregnant how mentally important these milestones are.

I actually thought that last week was the beginning of my 26th week but somewhere along the way, I lost a whole week. Much to my surprise when Babycenter.com sent me my weekly email, they were congratulating me on my 27th week. They claim the baby is about the size of a head of cauliflower.[update: since this was originally drafted the baby has now graduated to an eggplant]. Just when I think that all of the baby books/websites have run out of produce comparisons, they surprise me. Boom! Eggplant. I can’t wait to see next week. The What to Expect When You’re Expecting suggested picking up a 2 lb. chuck roast next time I was at the supermarket to get an idea of the babies size and weight and to that I have to say EWWWWW. Let’s stick with produce. This week is marked by her beginning to open her eyes, respond to loud noised and practicing swallowing- very promising skills. See! Already our baby is a genius!!

And a heavy genius baby at that. I mean NINETEEN pounds! Jeez, I still have about 12 weeks to go. I am left to assume that she must be a very chubby fetus. I mean I am sure that my precipitous weight gain has absolutely nothing to do with the release of Jack in the Box’s bacon milkshake, my new found love for Naked juices (or any juice really) or the fact that it’s Girl Scout cookie season. Kyle makes the good point that they really shouldn’t be called Thin Mints, maybe Fatty Mints or Delicious Devil cookies, you get the point. You put those puppies in the freezer and they are a little piece of heaven. What’s even more dangerous is that Kyle has no desire for them so I am left to eat them all. And eat them I have. I’m about three four five boxes in to my five box purchase which I think really exhibits a lot of restraint on my part. But enough about the baby’s weight problem…

For those of you who don’t know, we finally decided on Lucy Tregembo Sand for the name. It feels so much more fun to address her by name. As in “Lucy, mama needs some more cake right now so please shift downward so it will fit in what’s left of my stomach” or “Lucy, I’d really appreciate it if you could knock off your Tae Bo while I’m trying to do my prenatal yoga. People are starting to stare.” You know, things like that.

And lots of people have been asking how I’m doing and to that I say, “pretty good.” I’ve had brief bouts of heartburn and lots of backaches and hip aches but everything has been manageable so far. By the time, Lucy arrives, I told Kyle that he will be an expert masseuse. Between my constant requests and the childbirth classes (more on that in a future post), he is getting plenty of practice!

So for now, I’ll leave you with my latest baby bump photo- all 19lbs of it.

Twenty-eight weeks and counting!

Halfway There!!!!

I can hardly believe that half my pregnancy is already over. I’m 20 weeks as of Monday. Which is weird because if you ask someone how long a human pregnancy lasts they would say…nine months. Well according to all medical people and my What to Expect When You’re Expecting book, a full-term pregnancy is actually 40 weeks or TEN MONTHS. What the hell?!? Shenanigans!!! What kind of hooey is that? Right now an extra 4 weeks seems like an eternity to have to wait to meet this little girl. And I’m sure as I get bigger and crankier my motivation will be much more than just eagerness to see her cute little face in person.

Lucky for me at the moment, all is going very well. I seem to be hitting all the important milestones. I started feeling little kicks at about 17 weeks and a week ago I was able to actually start feeling them on the outside of my stomach with my hand. So cool! I have even got her to cooperate so that Kyle and his mom both got a chance to feel it too. According to all sources, the baby is about the size of a cateloupe right now and becoming much stronger so as you can imagine, I have really been feeling her kicks and punches more so than ever.

And for those of you who don’t already know (and were curious about my pronoun usage)- It’s a Girl! When I went in at 17 ½ weeks, they were able to notice a distinct absence of what the technician called “boy parts.” Seems a little strange for medical professionals to use such a simple sounding phrase considering how easily they throw around other words like uterus, cervix, placenta and choroid plexus but hey I’m not complaining. Kyle and I are both ecstatic and are on the hunt for the perfect girl name.

Kyle has set up a firm “Lucy or Penelope” camp while I have yet to be 100% convinced that either of them are the right one. I was really into the name Anabel but I think the Annie train has left the station and now I really like Clara but seem to change my mind daily. I never really thought about how odd it is to try and name a person who you haven’t met yet. I mean when you name your dog, you play with it for a while get a sense of their personality and let that be your guide but with babies, you are a little more limited in your interactions. The good news is that we’ve got 20 more weeks to hammer it all out because I’ve heard they don’t let you leave the hospital without a name. In the meanwhile, here is a picture of my ginormous belly!

That's me signing "20". As in 20 weeks. I know, I know. Very clever. Don't hate.

Tina Fey’s A Mother’s Prayer For Her Child

I just discovered the website Pinterest and I L-O-V-E love it. I came across this hilarious and sweet little ditty from Tina Fey that I thought I’d share. I have in no way verified that this is, in fact, written by Tina Fey but regardless, enjoy.

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First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, may she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her when crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen.Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, that she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.

Amen.”

-Tina Fey

I’m busy creating a human being from scratch. Subtitle: What are YOU doing?

So as it turns out, I’m quite a fertile myrtle. I’m pregnant- 12 weeks this past Monday. And here I was thinking that because I was 34 it would take a while! 

So here’s the answer to the top two most common questions I am asked almost daily: #1 No, I do not have morning sickness (thank goodness!!!) and #2 We dont’ find out the sex of the baby until some time next month and YES, I definitely want to know ahead of time. Life is full of surprises and I don’t need any extras right now! As my co-worker pointed out, it will be just as “surprising” when I find out next month- it’ll just be sooner and that whole sooner situation is just what an impatient planner like myself needs. That and maybe some more rainbow Twizzlers or cheetos…

In the meanwhile, here is a picture of the little tyke giving everyone a wave.

Check out the honker on this kid already! Our baby might be part bird 🙂 For those of you who aren't pros at ultrasound photos, the head is on the right and the arm and hand are there in the middle.

Homemaking at it’s finest! A Cheese and Pasta weekend.

After a month and a half, I finally figured out that Explorer was the culprit in why I couldn’t post multiple photos. So here is a post originally written September 19th about my first cheese-making experience.
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This weekend I am happy to say that I finally made my own ricotta cheese! Sadly, it turns out that, apart from Kyle and I, our other three family members are totally NOT impressed. Even though Mason, my 6 year-old step-son assisted in the purchasing of cheese-making necessities, he could not be swayed. Admittedly, ricotta is pretty weird looking and certainly seems as though it is just milk that has seen better days but even after my fervrent reassurance, I had no takers. And honestly, I don’t even know if Kyle really liked it because, like most guys, he’ll eat nearly anything and in all liklihood he probably possesses a self-preservation instinct that clearly steers him away from making any comments that might deter my cooking.

Even with the lack luster support, I was giddy with anticipation when I made my way to Curds and Wine on Clairemont Mesa Blvd. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have had a hankering to make some cheese ever since I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver but had never taken a step beyond a few listless google searches. Well, with my cheese class at Venissimo under my belt and some recommendations for Curds and Wine, I confidently charged into the world of cheesemaking.

I will say that for anyone who has ever made cheese, you know that ricotta is the easiest thing to make and doesn’t even require rennet but hey- don’t pee on my parade! So in the spirit of sharing, I photo-documented my ricotta experience below.

And it goes a little something like this…HIT IT

The ingredients and supplies needed for the ricotta. Please note: the vodka to the left there is really ony to be used when your cheese-making attempt has failed. You use that to mix yourself a nice martini and comfort yourself over the waste of a gallon of milk.

After dumping your milk (non-ultra-pasteurized only), buttermilk and cup of heavy cream into a large stockpot, you being heating. At about 140 degrees, you'll see things start to curd up as in the picture above. And so the excitement begins!

You use your trusty cooking thermometer to get the heat to about 190 to 200 degrees- just before boiling. You're really going to see some good curd action going on at this point as the acid from the buttermilk really starts to interact with the milk. At this point, you turn the heat off and wait about 15-20 minutes. More curds are formed during this time and you do not want to stir it.

Next, you take a slotted spoon and scoop out the curds into a cheese cloth-lined collander with a bowl under it. This will let all of the extra whey drain out. Let it drain for about 30 minutes.

The liquid that you see is the whey. I conjured all my Little Miss Muffet knowledge to make this happen. (Did I use that joke already?)

The final product! A delicious, extra rich ricotta that I made all by myself.

Some might say, “Wow, I made ricotta this weekend, time to chill out.” Not this crazed homemaker (heavy on the crazed and light on the homemaking)! I thought, hey- let’s kick it up a notch. Let’s bust out some homemade pasta with my new pasta attachment for my Kitchen Aid. “What?!? ” You say. “Who has the time?” And to that I say… you’re SO right. This crap is time consuming! But I digress, this is where I am supposed to encourage everyone to make their own pasta, cheese and grow all your own veggies. The truth of the matter is that making your own stuff can be expensive and super time-consuming but if you enjoy it, by all means, go nuts. I, personally, consider these sorts of things to be weekend type projects to be broken out every once in a while only- not a lifestyle. If we all had nothing but time to grow and make our own food then sure but last time I checked Contadina makes a lovely fettucini that is just a few short aisles over from the ricotta so, for most of us, Ralph’s or Albertson’s does a stellar job. Here’s one more pic of the pasta-making experience.

After making some basic dough, you feed the sheets through the pasta cutter attachement for your Kitchen Aid and voila! your very own fettucini. It sounds boring but I was literally shreeking with excitement when those first pieces came out. I made Kyle and Mason come and watch me do it so that they could feign excitement for me.

Plitvices National Park and on to Zagreb

Well, our internet connection has been a little less dependable than hoped but today we are in the town of Samobar outside of Zagreb and they have some signal! Samobar is known as a “foodie” destination and is especially famous for their krem snitzel (pictures to follow). I don’t know where, but I swear I have it before. It is essentially a flaky phyllo dough top and bottom with a light, delicious custard in the middle.  Delish!! We need to get going to Zagreb so this will be a quick post. Here’s the recap: we left Venice on Wednesday instead of Thursday because apparently the ferries only run on certain days. So Wednesday we ended up in Porec (pronounced pore-itch). Porec is a coastal town in the Istria part of Croatia and absolutely goregeous. After a day there, we decided to rent a car and drive around Croatia rather than be subject to the bus/train schedule. So we rented a Volkswagen Polo- similar to a Golf and off we went. Kyle can’t drive a stick so it’s been my lack luster driving skills getting us around. Surprisingly, the Polo is easy to drive so there have really only been minor nervous incidents. Oh! And speaking of nervous incidents…everyone asked before we left, are you sure Croatia is safe?? And it has been really one of the safest places I have ever visited except for a minor riot that broke out at the toll booth on our way out of Istria. We were pulling up and saw smoke which seemed weird but we thought it was from the diesel trucks. Well, turns out it was the beginning of a a riot. We still have no clue what they were rioting about but a large group of angry young men (picture below) were throwing rocks and wielding 2 x4s and pipes. A few toll booth windows were shattered but it didn’t seem to really upset the polizia at all. They ambled over to their car got out some chest plate thingees and sort of rounded people up. They would chill out for a minute and then someone would start yelling and light a flare (who just has flares hanging around?) and throw it and the whole thing would kick up again. It wasn’t happening on our side of the toll booth so our traffic actually just kept moving. No one seemed to be really worked about it except for me. I was yelling at Kyle- “Get the camera, get out of the car! Youtube that sh@t!!” In the end, the video thing didn’t pan out and we ended up with only one picture that really doesn’t capture the essence of the excitement but its here for your perusal. : )

We made our way from the riot into the area called Kvarner where the Plitvices Park is located. It is a World Heritage Site filled with amazing lakes and waterfalls and well worth a trip if you’re ever here. I’ve never seen something quite like it. On our way to the park we found a great little town called Ogulin which is in the process of branding itself as the Homeland of Fairy Tales and it all that that implies. Kyle suggested that my parents move there so my Dad could help them put together a Film Commission but something tells me that it might be a bit far away from the family. It was an absolutely picturesque and altogether unexpected little find.

Well, so much for a short post. Kyle has already seized the opportunity for another nap in the hotel lobby. Here are some pictures. Hopefully, tomorrow we’ll be able to go truffle hunting. I have emailed some places and have my fingers crossed. We have to go back to Venice early because of the ferry schedule so we’ll actually be spending a lot more time there than we originally planned but I’m sure we’ll find some interesting things to do! Here are the pics in no particular order. Ciao peeps.

The water is even more beautiful then this photo captures! This is at Plitvices National Park. We've been very active on our vacation. Hiking, running biking. We're pretty impressed with ourselves!The obligatory, "couple in front of waterfall" picture. : )The angry mob. You can't see it very well, but the smoke is where the flare was getting waved around.Bike riding around Porec. The town is there in the background. They have really cool paths all over the coast line.And finally, the square in the middle of Ogulin, the cute little town we stumbled upon on our way to the park.