Monday, May 25, 2015

Mommy Mondays: 38 weeks

Last night I was lying with Thatboy on the couch watching a movie.  "Is that you or the baby?" he asked me.  Confused, I asked what he meant.  "Is the baby moving a ton right now?"  Yup.  It's the new normal so much so that I can phase it out a bit.  Especially since the movements have become less violent - a product of the fact there's less room to move around in there.

Both my kids have been big movers on the inside.  And frankly, Thatkid rarely stops moving on the outside too, so I'm sure to have my hands full with two.  What's interesting is that the movement has differed between the pregnancies.

Most women don't start feeling movement until around 16-20 weeks, with 16 being on the early side.  With an anterior placenta, the movement isn't felt until later because the placenta between the baby and the uterus wall in front blocks out the movement until it becomes bigger/stronger.  With Thatkid, I first felt movement around 16 weeks.  Nothing major, it felt like holding a goldfish - inside.  Which is weird, because I discovered earlier this year that I had an anterior placenta with him.  Apparently it wasn't anything they mentioned at my appointments back then.  His movements quickly became constant and consistent, but generally mild, which in retrospect I attribute to that anterior placenta.  Thatboy wasn't able to feel movement until around 25 weeks.  We also didn't see much movement, usually just a body part pushing out, like a butt, head, or foot.

This time around I've got a posterior placenta, so maybe that's the difference?  Although I felt movement later, not until around 18 weeks.  And instead of a fish, it felt like someone blowing bubbles.  Oppo-baby is still constant and consistent with movement, but until recently I would hardly call them mild.  I have a definite bruise on the inside of my abdomen below my sternum from the constant jabbing there.  And I've lost my breath to a kick more than once.  Not only has Thatboy been able to feel the movement earlier, we've both been seeing it since around 24 weeks.  SEEING it.  This kid moves like crazy back and forth and we've taken some fun videos of the crazy waves that causes my stomach.

Movement hasn't slowed down as I've gotten farther along, but I'm thankful it's starting to get calmer.  It makes it easier to relax, get work done, or even sleep.  And I can go back to being excited about it, instead of annoyed by it!

Total weight gain/loss: +26
Next Appointment: Friday
Maternity clothes? Yup.
Stretch marks: Yup
Sleep: This is the weird thing. I've been getting plenty of sleep, but still had two days where it felt like I'd been drugged in terms of being so very ridiculously drowsy.  Like I was almost unable to keep my eyes open.
Best moment this week:  Potentially having contractions?  I'm excited to get this show on the road.
Movement: Yup.
Food cravings: Nothing
Food aversions: Nothing
Gender: Not finding out
Belly Button in or out: In.  But basically it's flat.
What I miss: Not taking 15 minutes to get up from seated.
What I am looking forward to: At this point I'm just eagerly anticipating the arrival of the baby.
Contractions: I think?  On Saturday at lunch I realized I was getting cramps with intensity peaks.  They were lasting a minute and coming every 3 minutes.  This continued on for most of the day.  Not painful, just uncomfortable. 
-Baby's eyes are almost adult size
- Baby now has regular, rhythmic breathing -the same as at birth
- Eye movements (REM/rest) have matured

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Runday: Running in the Third Trimester

As I'm nearing the end of the pregnancy I'm not sure how much more running I'll be doing, so I thought this would be a good time to talk about how running has been these past few weeks.

The beginning of third trimester was some of my best running of the pregnancy.  I was more comfortable and I had the time to run.  My breathing was under control, no aches and pains.  Granted, I wasn't running as fast as I did before, but at least I was still getting out there!

I ran 2 races and walked another, I got in less of my weekday runs, but still managed to get out there for longer weekend runs.

The past couple of weeks have been harder.  The past two weekends I missed my long weekend runs, but yesterday I headed out again.  And I'm not sure if it's the stage of pregnancy or the fact I took off two weeks, but it was a much less comfortable run!  Luckily I was with friends who run/walk instead of just running, so we took it nice and easy.  But I definitely had a run interval I couldn't do...bladder issues!  Which is the bane of running during pregnancy.  I still managed to get in almost 5.5 miles, so perhaps I shouldn't complain too much.

In general, my recommendations for running during pregnancy remain the same - listen to your body!  Running this time has been a completely different experience from my last pregnancy, and I've definitely taken it a lot easier in several respects.  Which is fine.  And I might not make it all the way to 39+3 like I did last time, but really, running over 5 miles at 38 weeks pregnant is nothing to be ashamed of.  Neither is running any mileage at 20 weeks, or 16 weeks, or 10 weeks.  I do think it's important to stay active during pregnancy, but not at the expense of your health.  And whatever you're doing, for however long, is definitely something to be proud of!

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Homemade Life: Coeur a la Creme with Raspberry Puree

Saturday was not a pretty day in Thathouse.  After being out of town the previous weekend, I suddenly felt the pressure of getting things under control before our newest member made their arrival.  Which meant it was a very full day, filled with running around, hysteria, and lots of fighting.

Thatboy and I played errand tag.  We weren't both home at the same time until 2:30 in the afternoon.  At which time we had to shower and get ready to head out to HorseWhisper's graduation party.

The party was actually a great chance for me to unwind.  I got to hang out with my friends and catch up.  It always make me feel better seeing M.  She's due a week after me, so great for commiseration.  I spent all day cramping on Saturday, which made me nervous until she told me she had been especially crampy that day too.  Misery loves company.   I also got to sit down for the first time that day and relax.

We came home to more house prep - and I stayed up late fixing the bedskirt I ripped.   But by the end of the weekend, the house was clean, our freezer was stocked, and the nursery was completed.  So success!  Which definitely deserves a celebration.  Between HorseWhisperer and I, you'd think there'd be some cake.  But there wasn't.  That's okay, because we're grown ups, and this is a much more grown up celebration recipe.  This is Wizenberg's mother's recipe, which she brought to her French class.  This is far more grown up than anything we ate or made in my French classes, which was limited to crepes and croque monsieurs.  In fact, I don't think I'd ever even heard of a coeur a la creme until I was well into my adult hood.

It's a dessert that's right up my alley, given my love for panna cotta.  This is like a panna cotta in that it's an easy dessert to put together that magically turns into something "fancy" once it's put in the fridge overnight.  It's a lot cheesier though, due to the cream cheese.  (Which makes it like a cross between cheesecake and panna cotta). 

Both Thatboy and Thatkid dug into this.  Wizenberg writes about eating it straight from the serving platter, which is what we did.  Each of us with a spoon, surrounding the dessert and scooping the sweet, creamy treat into our mouths.

Coeur a la Creme with Raspberry Puree (From A Homemade Life)
3 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
1 pkg cream cheese, room temp
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
10 oz frozen raspberries, thawed
3 Tbsp sugar

  1. Prepare a coeur a la creme mold or a small colander by placing 2 sheets of wet cheesecloth inside and pressing them along the base and walls.  Let the overhang fall over the sides.
  2. Microwave the white chocolate on high for 20 seconds at a time, stirring between each, until smooth.  Let cool slightly.
  3. Beat the cream cheese, 1/4 cup of the cream, and powdered sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the white chocolate and beat until very smooth, about 2 minutes.  
  5. In another bowl, beat the remaining 1 cup cream to stiff peaks.  
  6. Gently fold the cream into the cream cheese mixture.  
  7. Spoon the finished batter into the prepared mold, smoothing the top with a spatula.  Fold the cheesecloth over to enclose it completely.  Place the mold on a rimmed sheet pan or another rimmed dish.  Refrigerate overnight.
  8. Meanwhile, combine the raspberries with their juice and the sugar in a blender and blend until smooth.  
  9. Press the puree through a sieve into a small bowl to remove the seeds.  Cover and chill for up to 4 hours.
  10. Remove the mold from the refrigerator and discard the liquid that has collected beneath it.  Pull back the cheesecloth and carefully invert onto a serving platter.  Gently pull away and discard the cheesecloth.  Serve in generous dollops in shallow bowls, topped with a spoonful of raspberry sauce.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Homemade Life: Burg's French Toast

I'm going to tell you about a magical morning we had a couple of weeks ago, but first, some backstory.

Thatkid started out as a normal baby.  Sleeping normal baby amounts.  Meaning he'd wake up early, but end up going back to sleep again till a reasonable hour.  Until he didn't.  At first, we tried bringing him into bed with us.  And it worked.  It gained us an extra hour or so.  And then that stopped working.  We were officially stuck with an early riser.  6am is sleeping in.  This is even true on the weekend.

So you can imagine our amazement when one Sunday morning last month we were awoken not at 6am, not at 7am, but at 8:30am.  Let me say that again - 8:30.  A. M.   It is the latest Thatboy and I have slept in probably 2 years.  It was absolutely amazing,  Except for one small problem.  It had to be the one Sunday (maybe ever) that we had someplace to be at 9:30am.   A birthday party in fact.  N's birthday party!

N's birthday was a gymnastic party.  Which was great because the kids could expend a lot of energy.

The staff was great about helping the kids use the equipment.

And leading them through an obstacle course.  It was actually kind of impressive to see the 3 and 4 year olds following directions!

It took Thatkid a bit of time to warm up to the foam pit.  But once he did, he was a happy camper.  Funny that he's more than happy to jump into a pool, but a put filled with super soft, super safe pieces of foam?  Scary.

The kids had a great time.  And you'd think that Thatkid would have been tired out by his active morning.  But he wasn't.  He never is.

Because of our super short getting ready period that morning, breakfast consisted of cereal bars.  Something we could eat in the car on the way.  We keep them on hand for weekday breakfasts too.  I try to keep breakfast simple on those days, the fanciest I get is French Toast.  Which Thatkid will request so often that I'm teaching him to make it himself.  I don't have a real recipe - just a mix of eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla.

When I saw the recipe for French Toast in A Homemade Life, I figured it would be perfect to try with Thatkid.  It has most of the same ingredients, but the method of making it is completely different.  Typically with French Toast I use cooking spray, just enough to keep it from sticking.  Burg's French Toast is practically deep fried.  Which gives it a really interesting consistency.  It's got a crispy outside, and a soft and tender inside.  I thought it made a nice change from the usual French Toast and Thatkid definitely enjoyed it.

Burg's French Toast (From A Homemade Life)
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
canola oil
6 to 8 slices of day old bread 
Pure maple syrup, for serving

  1. Break the eggs into a wide, shallow bowl or pyrex dish.  Whisk to break up the yolks.
  2. Add the milk, sugar, vanilla, salt, and nutmeg and whisk to blend.
  3. Place a heavy, large skillet over medium-high heat, and pour in enough oil to completely coat the bottom of the skillet.  Heat the oil until you can feel warmth radiating from it when you hold your hand close over the pan.
  4. When the oil is almost hot enough, put 2 to 3 slices of bread into the egg mixture, allowing them to rest for 30 seconds to a minute per side.  They should feel heavy and thoroughly saturated, but not falling apart.
  5. Using tongs, place the slices in the skillet. Cook until the underside of each slice is golden brown, one to 2 minutes.
  6. Carefully flip and cook until the second side is golden, another 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel, and allow to sit for a minute or two before serving. 
  7. Repeat with remaining bread.  Serve hot with maple syrup.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Crave Wednesday: Four Cheese Pizza

When it comes to pizza, I'm not too picky about my sauces.  Tomato sauce, barbeque sauce, buffalo sauce, heck, even just a drizzle of olive oil. I don't prefer one over the others.  The only thing a pizza needs to make me happy is cheese.  I can go completely sauceless, but there's no point in pizza if it's not loaded, over the top, with cheese.

Most people are fine with your standard old mozzarella.  And I'm not going to lie, that makes me pretty happy too.  Especially fresh mozzarella, soft and creamy.  But mozzarella is just a gateway cheese when it comes to pizza.  Quiet and unassuming, but you can do better.  WE can do better.

Our favorite pizza place makes their own ricotta.  It's the highlight of their pizzas in my book.  (Are you getting that I love creamy salty cheese on my pizza?)  Ricotta on pizza is a nice transition from mozzarella.  Not too big of a step.  It's safe.  Trust me.

Once you take that next step, it's not too far from some of the more...flavorful cheeses.  This four cheese pizza features two of them.  Taleggio and Gorgonzola.  Taleggio is a little milder, a soft cheese like brie, without as much of the sweetness.  Gorgonzola can be a deal breaker.  I know in my family Thatboy isn't a fan of blues.  Thatkid and I love them though.  And pairing the gorgozola with these milder cheeses tones it down a bit.

Four Cheese Pizza (From Cooking Light)
1 cup warm water
10 oz bread flour
1 pkg dry yeast
7 tsp olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp salt
cooing spray
1 Tbsp cornmeal
2 Tbsp chopped garlic
1/3 cup ricotta 
3 Tbsp gorgonzola cheese
1 oz taleggio cheese, thinly sliced
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano chese
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
  1. Pour 3/4 cup warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attached.
  2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups and spoons; Add to warm water.  Mix until combined.  Cover and let stand 20 minutes.
  3.  Combine 1/4 cup warm water and yeast in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes or until bubbly.  
  4. Add yeast mixture, 4 tsp oil, and salt to flour mixture; mix 5 minutes or until a soft dough forms. 
  5. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray.  Cover surface of dough with plastic wrap lightly coated with cooking spray.  Refrigerate 24 hours.
  6. Remove dough from refrigerator.  Let stand covered, 1 hour or until dough comes to room temperature.  Punch dough down.  Sprinkle cornmeal on a lightly floured baking sheet without raised edges.  Press dough into a 12 inch circle on prepared pan.  Crimp edges to form a 1/2 inch border.  Cover dough loosely with plastic wrap.
  7. Place a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet on bottom rack in the oven.  Preheat oven to 550, while keeping a pizza stone or baking sheet in oven as it preheats.)  
  8. Remove plastic wrap from dough.  Combine 1 Tbsp oil and garlic.  Gently brush garlic mixture evenly over dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border.
  9. Spread ricotta over dough.
  10. Arrange gorgonzola and taleggio over ricotta.
  11. Top with Parmigiano-Reggiano.  Slide pizza onto preheated pizza stone or heavy baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Cut into 5 wedges.
  12. Sprinkle with chives and pepper.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Mommy Mondays: 37 weeks

Let's talk names.  Since we didn't find out the sex, no one knows whether Oppo-baby is a boy or a girl.   To be fair, we don’t know either, so it’s not like we’re hiding the ball on that one.  But we’re also giving a double surprise at birth, because that's also when we're first sharing the baby's name.

To be fair, like the sex, we're not exactly sure what the name is going to be.  We have two girl names that we go back and forth on, on almost a weekly basis.  But boy names?  We're mostly totally stumped.  Although I think we finally came up with one last weekend.  We'll see if it sticks.  

We’re VERY picky with names.  Thatboy more than I.  Especially boys' names.  We've vetoed  friends’ childrens’ names, names of friends, and names of family members.  As someone with two cousins that share a first name, I get annoyed having to qualify whether I mean Sam X or Sam Y when talking to family members.
With Thatkid, we knew his name and still didn't share though, so the not being sure isn't the only reason we're not telling people the possibilities.  Another reason – we don’t really want opinions.  No “Well have you thought of this name instead?” or “How come you don’t want to use your great-aunt Murgatroyd’s name?” or “Really?  You want to name your baby THAT?”  And it happens.  Naming is one of those fun perks of being a parent.  Or a pet owner.  Or having a doll.  And everyone wants a piece.  And everyone has an opinion that is quite obviously better than yours. But once it’s done, it’s done.  And no one wants to tell you that Fergus is an awful name once you introduce the adorable pink bundle with blinky eyes and wee little yawn.  And I'm definitely a little concerned about our boy name.  Especially since the family wasn't terribly receptive to the last boy baby name that came out - Thatboy and I were the only people in the family who cheered when the name was revealed. Obviously our tastes differ from the rest of the crowd.

I know people judge baby names, because I’m as guilty of judging as the next person.  I have friends who have fabulous baby names.  Some of my faves.  And I have other friends who have named their children names that raise eyebrows when I talk about them behind their backs.  And yes, I do talk about them behind their backs (how could they name their child that? Don’t they want their children to be successful? Do they want their children to be beat up on the playground? –although, to be fair, my favorite boy names are the really nerdy sounding ones that make me picture little boys in glasses getting wedgies during recess.)  

Total weight gain/loss: +24

Next Appointment: Today!
Maternity clothes? Yup.
Stretch marks: Yup
Sleep: I do well at night, still getting up early in the morning.
Best moment this week:  Getting the nursery done.  And all the cleaning.
Movement: Yes. And I'm now getting hiccups in my crotch.  Good times!
Food cravings: Nothing
Food aversions: Nothing
Gender: Not finding out
Belly Button in or out: In.  But basically it's flat.
What I miss: Being comfortable.
What I am looking forward to: Last hearing this week!
Contractions: I think I'm getting Braxton Hicks, but I have no idea if I am or not.  Your stomach is supposed to get tight, but mine is tight all the time.
- Baby's behavior is now exactly the same as a newborn.

Friday, May 15, 2015

A Homemade Life: Blueberry Raspberry Pound Cake

We met James the day after we moved to our current home.  Due to one mishap after another, we ended up doing the physical move in the middle of the night.  Well, practically.  It was around 10pm when the moving truck pulled into our driveway.

The next morning we met James.  He lived across the street and was awoken by our midnight move.  Rather than be annoyed, he was worried.  He knew that the house had just been purchased and seeing a moving truck pull in at such a late hour made him fear that someone was stealing the new family's stuff.  When he saw that things were being moved INTO the house, he went back to sleep.  It's nice having neighbors who look out for you.  And we're very lucky to have James across the street.  He's lived in his house since the 70s and knows all the history, which he's happy to share.  And they have a killer view of the Fourth of July fireworks from their front yard.

James is an artist,  A glass blower to be exact.  He used to have a studio at a San Diego winery, but earlier this year he started working on his own space.  The grand opening of Stone and Glass was earlier this month.  We couldn't NOT go.

The large space is divided between the front room, showcasing the work, and a back room, which is where the real magic takes place.  In addition to being the space where James works, it's also where he teaches classes or hosts events.

On the evening of the grand opening, the space was set up as a demonstration so that we could watch James at work, creating one of his signature pieces - a sea turtle.


Baking is an entirely different form of artistry.  I'm probably not the best to compare it with glass blowing, since I have absolutely no experience in the latter.  But I do know that both rely on a specific blend of ingredients, the perfect amount of heat, and patience.

In Wizenberg's family, her father was the cook and her mother was the baker.  My family was similar.  It wasn't that my father couldn't bake, but according to him my mom wanted something that she could shine with.  So she was the baker.  Her signature baked good (back then, now she prides herself on biscotti) was her 20 lb cake.  A recipe she had culled from a cookbook years earlier.  For Wizenberg, her mother's signature baked good was also a pound cake.  Though slightly lighter and fruitier than the chocolate and butter one I grew up with.   Right now I am oh so into fruit, so the berries were a very welcome addition to this golden dessert.  Each berry is a burst of color, similar to the designs in the blown glass we had seen at the gallery.  But less delicate.

Blueberry Raspberry Pound Cake (From A Homemade Life)
2 cups plus 8 Tbsp cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
5 large eggs
1 2/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 sticks butter at room temperature
2 Tbsp kirsch
1 cup blueberries
1 cup raspberries
  1. Preheat oven to 300.  Butter a 9 cup bundt pan and dust with flour.  In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups plus 6 Tbsp flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, blend the eggs and sugar until thick and pale yellow, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the butter and kirsch and blend a minute until the mixture is fluffy.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and process to just combine 
  5. In a large bowl, toss the berries with the remaining 2 Tbsp flour.  
  6. Pour the batter over the berries, and, using a rubber spatula, gently fold to combine, taking care that all the flour is absorbed.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly across the top.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the cake's cetner comes out clean, 1 - 1 1/4 hours.
  8. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool in the pan for 5 minutes.  Carefully invert the cake out of the pan onto the rack, and cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.