Monday, March 30, 2015

Mommy Mondays: 30 Weeks

It's beginning to get real people. Only 10 weeks to go!  Thatboy and I realized this weekend that we should probably get moving with the things we want to get done on the nursery, since right now it's a mostly a storage area for "stuff."  I'm hitting the "huge" stage of pregnancy.  Huge in that I can no longer paint my own toenails.  Huge in that I can't reach into the cabinets to get or put dishes away.  Huge in that when I drop things on the floor, I have to really think about whether it's worth it to pick it up.

I'm realistic about this whole adventure.  I know I'm only going to get bigger and more awkward. And I also know that it's not going to last too much longer.  Which is both comforting and terrifying.  I feel like there's so much to do in the next 10 weeks, and of course, I'm too ridiculously busy to do it.  I've been starting to delegate things to Thatboy, who has magnanimously stepped up to fill whatever duties we I'm failing at.

Total weight gain/loss: +18

Next Appointment: April 10
Maternity clothes? Depended on what I was doing.  For court, I put on my maternity finest.  Days in the office were non-maternity - either skirts with elastic waistbands that sit below my bump, or pants with a bella band.
Stretch marks: nada.
Sleep: In addition to the regular poor sleep, this week I'm especially lacking in sleep due to staying up late and waking early for work.
Best moment this week: This week has been a rough one.  I don't know that I have a best moment.  It's all just one crazy blur.
Movement: Yup.  I feel bad saying this, but I'm starting to get annoyed.  I wish this kid were a little bit quieter.  Not substantially, but it just seems like I don't have a moment with crazy nonstop movement or hiccups.
Food cravings: Nothing
Food aversions: Nothing
Gender: Not finding out
Belly Button in or out: In.  But it never popped last time, so I'm not expecting it to this time.
What I miss: I would kill for a nice glass of red wine or something along those lines.
What I am looking forward to:  Next weekend.
Contractions: None this week
- Baby has clear rhythm of sleeping and waking.
- Baby's red blood cell production switches from the liver to the to the bone marrow.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Runday: Good and Bad Influences

Work has been crazy lately.  Long days that continue well into the night when I get home and on the weekends. 

Which means my weekday running has been virtually non-existent.  There's no way I can even sneak in a quick 30 minute run with my current schedule.    I've gotten in a couple "after work" runs with Thatkid if I manage to get out of work by 5, but they're incredibly short due to time, heat and the fact that it is incredibly difficult to push Thatkid in a stroller up very steep hills in our neighborhood.

And so, to Thatboy's chagrin, I've been getting up around 5:45am on Saturdays so I can get in at least one run for the week.  Why so early?  Because it means I can meet up with friends at 6:30, and running with people is always a great motivator.  Sometimes too much so!

I tend to be fairly good at pushing myself and keeping pace, but also monitoring how I feel and knowing when I need to drop back.  A couple weeks ago I met up with some friends who claimed they were running 11:30-12 minute miles.  Which sounded like a good starting point for me.  And it was, I kept up with them for 3 miles, but was worried if I pushed it for much more I might be sorry the next day.  And so I waved them on and slowed myself down.  Turns out, we were going faster than they had planned, so those first 3 miles were actually under 11 minute miles.  Last week I was more successful in taking it easy.  This time my group was planning on 12:30-13 minute miles.  And we stuck with it!  For 6 miles. 

Yesterday I was pushed again.  I was planning on going out with a bigger group, but it ended up just being my friend NeighborRunner and I.  NeighborRunner is much, much, much faster than I am.  So before we started I told her to just take off, and I would meet her back at her car.  I didn't want to slow her down.  She told me she'd do the first 2 miles with me, and then finish her remaining 6 on her own.  I could really feel those first 2 miles.  Without knowing how close we were, I decided to tell her to go on without me when we hit the next stop light, which was coincidentally right when my 2 mile alert beeped.  I continued on for another mile before turning back the way we came.  Those first 2 miles? We'd done them in around 10:30/mile.  Yeah, that's why I was feeling them.  Part of me is proud of myself for still being able to hang for a bit, and part of me thinks "Hey stupid - you're pregnant, slow it down!"  Peer pressure is a powerful thing.

The reason NeighborRunner planned this little run yesterday was so she could hit up the warehouse sale at Running Skirts.  NeighborRunner is a huge fan of Running Skirts.  I think their clothes might make up most of her running wardrobe.  I tend to stick to just their skirts, but I am definitely a fan of those.  Nevertheless, I wasn't really planning on buying anything at their sale, because I doubted they would have their maternity line and it will still be a couple months before I'll be back in regular running clothes. 

I should have known better.

It started innocently enough, I can definitely use a new sports bra.  My old ones aren't as comfortable right now, since they have hook enclosures that chafe a bit.  So finding an over-the head one for the next couple months, for less than $20?  Into the bag it went.

Then all the shirts were only $10.  So even though I won't be able to wear this tank for a bit, it's a good investment, right?

And as long as we're tossing things into the bag, the running skirts were all 65% off, so it seemed silly not to get one of those too.  And now I have a fun new outfit to look forward to after all this baby nonsense is over!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Some things don't go as planned:Ketchup

Earlier this year we signed Thatkid up for a "preschool pass" at Sea World which gave him a free annual pass.  The only catch was we had to make our first visit before March 27.  No big deal, we had months before March 27!  Except all of a sudden it was the last weekend before March 27 and we hadn't gone yet.  And I was working all day Saturday and we had guests coming over for dinner Sunday night.  Yikes!

I decided we would try to fit in a quick morning trip to Sea World on Sunday, heading home at naptime.  I had the whole day mapped out, we'd get there at opening, spend a couple hours, have lunch and head home.

But like so many things in my life, just because I plan it out, doesn't mean it happens according to plan.  We ended up getting a late start out, which meant we arrived at Sea World long after it opened and just in time to wait in line for around 40 minutes to redeem our pass.  Guess we weren't the only ones with a last minute agenda.  By the time we got in, it was already 11:30!

We spent a majority of our short time there in the Bay of Play where Thatkid rode rides, climbed ropes, and slid down slides.  But we couldn't leave without some animal encounters, so I asked Thatkid to pick out what animal he most wanted to see before we settled down for lunch and head home.  He picked the sharks!

On the way to the sharks, we passed by the sea lions, and we stopped to watch them being fed.  They were crazy active and loud!

Thatkid's favorite part of the shark exhibit was the tunnel of sharks, a moving walkway that went through the aquarium while sharks swam above us and all around of.

Right beside the sharks were the turtles, so we went to visit them before heading out.  Giant turtles.  And tons of them.  I can't remember the last time I saw so many sea turtles in one place!

All in all, my disaster of a plan came together and everyone had a great time.  Sometimes you get lucky like that.  Like with this ketchup.  It seemed like such a good, easy idea - the basic instructions were to put tomatoes in a pot ad cook them.  Easy peasy.  Except for 2 things.  The quantity of the ingredients meant I spent an inordinately long time chopping veggies.  Way longer than I would have expected.  The second problem was that I don't own a food mill and my strainer is tiny.  Do you know how long it takes to strain 10lbs of tomatoes?

But like Sea World, the end result was worth it.  Okay, maybe not worth it, but the ketchup really was a treat! (Nothing is really worth straining 10lbs of tomatoes for hours.)

Ketchup (From the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
10 lbs tomatoes, peeled and cut up
3 onions, chopped fine
2 bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 inch stick of cinnamon
1 tsp peppercorn
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp whole allspice
1 tsp celery seed
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 Tbsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

  1.  Combine the tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and garlic in a pot and cook slowly until soft, at least 30 minutes.
  2. Strain through a food mill or a fine sieve.  Return to the pot and simmer until the mixture is reduced by one half, about 30-40 minutes.
  3. Tie the cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, allspice, and celery seed in a cheesecloth bag and add along with remaining ingredients to the tomato mixture.
  4. Cook slowly, until the ketchup is very thick, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
  5. Remove the bag of spices.  Spoon into small, clean, hot jars, leaving 1/8 inch headspace.  
  6. Close the jars and process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Boys, Boats, and Planes: Grape Conserve

We are so lucky to have friends.  For a lot of reasons.  One of the reasons is because friends sometimes come with perks like extra passes to the Midway Museum.  A couple of weeks ago we met the L&Os at the giant ship for a day of fun for the boys.

The USS Midway was an aircraft carrier from 1945 until 1992.  Now it serves as a museum, docked in the San Diego harbor.

Being on the ship is a fascinating experience.  We got to see the living quarters of the naval officers and crewmen, the radio room, and the training rooms.  But for the boys, the highlight was the airplanes.

The boys love airplanes.  I realized that this is the second "airplane museum" they've explored together.  And it's fun to watch the two of them together.  After the Midway, Thatkid professed that Little LO was his best friend.  They go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Do you have a favorite jelly for your peanut butter and jelly?  I tend to like red jams - strawberry and raspberry.  Thatboy prefers grape.  I have some issues with grape jelly because to me, it doesn't really taste like grape.  Just sweet.  Since I've become so adept at jam making, I decided to try making grape jam myself.  I like this so much better than the commercial stuff.  It still tastes more "sweet" than "grape" to me, but I love the addition of walnuts!

Grape Conserve (From the Fannie Farmer Cookbook)
2 1/2 lbs Concord grapes
1/4 orange in thin slivers
1/4 cup walnut pieces

  1.  Wash the grapes, remove the stems, and separate the pulp from the skins (reserving the skins).
  2. Heat the pulp gently to free the seeds, stirring to prevent sticking.
  3. Put through a sieve and discard the seeds.
  4. Add the orange to the grape pulp and skins and measure.
  5.  Add an equal amount of sugar to the grape mixture and cook slowly in a large, flat skillet until the conserve is thick.
  6. Add the walnuts, spoon into hot sterilized jars and seal.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Crave Wednesday: Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

You may recall that I started this "Crave" adventure with a Chicago-style deep dish pizza.  This is Cooking Light's version of the same dish.  I'm not going to lie, this one is more complicated and not quite as good.  

Honestly, I would probably like it better if it wasn't quite as labor intensive. There's a lot of steps and waiting.  I have a feeling it would work as well with prepared dough.

Despite my reservations, the rest of the family really enjoyed this.  Thatboy much preferred it to the pepperoni deep dish pizza I felt tasted like cafeteria pizza.  And the chicken sausage was mild enough for Thatkid to enjoy.

This pizza also makes for great leftovers - because the beauty of deep dish pizza is that one slice is really enough!

Chicago Deep-Dish Pizza (From Cooking Light)
2 tsp sugar
1 pkg dry yeast
1 cup warm water
4 tsp olive oil
2 3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
cooking spray
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
2 precooked mild Italian chicken sausage, casings removed 
1 can whole tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh basil
2 cups tinly sliced mushrooms
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  1. Dissolve sugar and yeast in 1 cup warm water in a large bowl and let stand 5 minutes.  
  2. Stir in 1 Tbsp olive oil.
  3. Combine 2 1/2 cups flour, cornmeal, and salt in bowl.  Stir flour mixture into yeast mixture until dough forms a ball
  4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead until smooth and elastic.  Add enough of the remaining flour to prevent dough from sticking to hands.
  5. Place dough in a large bowl coated in cooking spray.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.  Punch down, cover, and let rest 5 minutes.
  6. Roll dough into a 15x11-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface.  Place dough in a 13x9 inch glass dish coated with cooking spray, pressing dough up side of dish.    
  7. Sprinkle 1 cup cheese evenly over dough.
  8. Arrange chopped sausage over cheese.
  9. Preheat oven to 400.  Chop tomatoes and place in a sieve.
  10. Stir in oregano and basil and drain for 10 minutes.
  11. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat.  
  12. Add mushrooms, cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  13. Stir in bell peppers and cook 8 minutes until tender, stirring occasionally.
  14. Arrange vegetables over sausage.  
  15. Spoon tomatoe mixture evenly over vegetables nad sausage.
  16. Sprinkle easily with 1/2 cup cheese.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Cut pizza into 8 rectangles.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mommy Mondays: 29 weeks

I've started my bi-monthly apointments!  Every 2 weeks I get to see my doctor and check on this kid.   This is both fun in that I don't have to wait as long between appointments, but seriously, it's not really conducive to my work schedule right now.

This week's appointment consisted of a weigh in (lost a pound), blood pressure reading (higher than last time) which are evidence of my higher stress level right now.  Then just going over my test results from the Glucose Tolerance Test.  Next came my fundal height measurement, which is when they measure the uterus to see if it corresponds with the number of weeks pregnant you are.  Mine is always right on track.  Then comes the fun part, the heartbeat.  Sometimes it takes a minute or so to find it, but I'm not as worried at that stage since I can feel this little one moving all over the place.Oppo-baby's heartbeat is always so very fast!  This week it was 160/158!

That's it.  Just a quick little checkup that I get to look forward to twice a month for the next month...then it moves to every week.  EEK!

Total weight gain/loss: +18

Next Appointment: April 10
Maternity clothes? Mixed this week.  I've been in depositions all week, so I have at least a week's work of "court appropriate" clothes that work...this week.
Stretch marks: nada.
Sleep: Still having big problems with sleeping in the morning.  I'm waking several times a night due to kicking.  And I have trouble getting back to sleep.
Best moment this week: Going out with the girls on Thursday night.
Movement: Yes.  Thatboy is starting to get nervous.  He's worried this kid is going to be crazy.  Between the super high heart rate, the constant movement that wakes me up, and the crazy movement that makes my stomach goes in waves, this kid never slows down.
Food cravings: Nothing
Food aversions: Nothing
Gender: Not finding out
Belly Button in or out: In.  But it never popped last time, so I'm not expecting it to this time.
What I miss: sleep - I'm actually really looking forward to having this baby and life being less stressful!
What I am looking forward to:  Next weekend.
Contractions: None this week
- The outer layer of the brain has started developing into six distinct layers.
- Bi-monthly appointments

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Runday: Grunion Run

Earlier this year Thatmom told me she really wanted to run a 5k with me sometime before the baby came.  So I looked over the race schedules in the area and sent her a few options.  She chose one near her that fell on her birthday weekend.  How could I say no?

I drove up Saturday afternoon, picking up our race bibs and gear.  You gotta love a race tee with spawning fish on it.

Sunday morning we got up and headed out to the race.  It's been months since I've done a race, and even then it was just walking a 5k back in December.  I haven't really raced since November and I was itching to get back into it.

This was a small local race, which is always nice.  The field was small and the course was coastal.  Which meant lots of beautiful views.

The course was out and back, through the state park.  In reality we were running through parking lots, but hey, they were parking lots beside the beach!  And once you finished with the first 1.5 miles, you knew exactly what to expect on the way back.

The 3 miles passed quickly as Thatmom and I chatted about life and family.  And it wasn't long before we finished.  Really not long.  In fact, it was a PR for Thatmom!  As for me, no PR, but it was a minute faster than the race I ran when I was pregnant with Thatkid.   37:33! That race made me feel so slow and frustrated.  Since this is my opposite pregnancy, it's not surprising that I felt really good about this race.  I felt good when running it, and I felt good after.  I'm looking forward to my next race next month!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Rainbows Everywhere: Happy Birthday to Thatmom!

It's  no secret that birthdays are a pretty big deal in my family.  Partially because of Thatmom.  She's always made a big deal about them, and in turn, instilled the belief us.

But part of the problem with that is that birthdays are always a bit of a let down for both of us.  For Thatmom, her ideal birthday is being surrounded by family.

When we first discussed her birthday this year, the plan was to get together with Thatbrother, UDubb, and Baby B.  Thatmom wanted to expand the list to include the extended family, and started running into walls.  She started getting disappointed and down about the whole thing, and I volunteered to take over.  I told her to pick a place and I'd take care of the rest.

I sent out invitations to the whole crew, figuring if they came, great, and if not, there'd at least be a nice dinner for the immediate gang.  But the RSVPs started pouring in, and I had to keep calling the restaurant to update our number.

I also decided with the number that I should do a little more than just a dinner.  So I started churning out the decorations.  To keep it bright and cheery I went with a rainbow theme.  Colored yarn pom poms and birthday hats dotted the table.

And since my mom loves sweets and desserts, I made sure there were plenty of those too.

Like rainbow decorated cake pops.

And rainbow sugar cookies.

And rainbow candy skewers.

And of course there was cake, which Thatmom had picked out and I delivered.  It was a sweet overload.  Which Thatkid took extreme advantage of.

The evening was almost entirely a success.  For Thatmom, it was one of the best birthdays in that it was exactly what she wanted.  A night surrounded by her family, pizza, and sweets!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Crave Wednesday: Prosciutto Pizza with Tangy White Sauce

I'm very picky about my pizza.  Not so much the toppings - but the crust.  It can be think or thick, hand tossed or deep dish.  But it must, MUST be crisp.  Soggy crusts are not my thing.  So much so that I can't handle microwave pizza.  All my leftovers are reheated in the toaster oven. 

This can be a real issues when making your own pizza.  Because loading up dough with sauces and toppings can often lead to too much moisture and a crust that never seems to crisp.

There area couple answers to this.  Up until now, I've been parbaking the crust a little.  I pop it in the oven for a couple minutes before topping it. 

This is another solution, one I like better - preheating the pizza stone!  What I like best about this method is that it's not an extra step.  I mean, you need to preheat the oven anyway, so just throwing the pizza stone in while it preheats isn't all that hard.  And then you end up with a nice, sizzling hot stone which starts cooking the crust as soon as the dough hits it.

This method works especially well with a nice thin crust like this one.  It's basically cooked before you even put it in the oven!  And the sauce serves as a nice counterpoint to the salty prosciutto.  White pizza, because it's almost summer, right? 

Prosciutto Pizza with Tangy White Sauce (from Cooking Light)
2/3 cup warm water
1 tsp yeast
1 1/2 cups bread flour
4 1/12 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
cooking spray
1 Tbsp yellow corn meal
3/4 cup milk
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp pepper
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp flour
3/4 cup shredded gruyere cheese
2 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, torn
1 Tbsp chopped chives

  1. Combine 2/3 cup warm water and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attached and let stand 5 minutes, or until bubbles form.
  2. Sprinkle flour over yeast.
  3. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and salt.  Mix at low speed for 2 minutes or until dough forms a ball.  Increase speed to medium and mix 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic.  Place dough in medium bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size.  Punch dough down.  Cover with plastic wrap lightly coated with cooking spray and refrigerate 24 hours. Remove from fridge and let stand for 1 hour until it reaches room temperature. Punch down.
  4.  Sprinkle cornmeal on a baking sheet.  Roll dough into an 11 x 16 inch rectangle on baking sheet.
  5. Brush dough with 1 1/2 tsp olive oil.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Place a pizza stone in th oven and preheat oven to 500.   Preheat pizza stone for 30 minutes before baking pizza.
  6. Combine milk, mustard, black pepper, and egg yolk in a bowl.  
  7. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. 
  8. Add garlic, cook 3 minutes or just until butter and garlic begin to brown, stirring frequently.
  9. Add 2 tsp flour to pan and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. 
  10. Remove plastic wrap from dough.  Spread sauce evenly over dough.
  11. Sprinkle evenly with cheese. Slide pizza onto preheated pizza stone. Bake for 18 minutes,
  12. Arrange prosciutto on pizza and sprinkle with cheese.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Mommy Mondays: 28 weeks

 This past week has been absolutely nuts - because of work, nothing really baby related.  But at the same time I'm exhausted because of that combined with the pregnancy. 

The movement has started hitting the uncomfortable phase, in that the baby is getting bigger, but my uterus isn't, so now all those fun turns and flips?  They actually kind of hurt.  Like I'm being stretched and bruised from the inside.  And again, this is so distracting at work!  I was at a hearing on Friday and afterwards, walking to the elevator with opposing counsel I had to take a sharp breath and I swear the poor woman must have thought I was going into labor because right away she froze, eyes wide, asking if I was okay.

I am one hundred percent pregnant right now.  Obviously pregnant.  So far past the "fat" phase.  I feel like you hear about so many moms being bigger the second time around, but Thatboy and I compared the below picture with a picture I took at 28 weeks pregnant with Thatbaby and my stomach is exactly the same size.

Right now the baby is as big as a kabocha squash!  Seriously, look at the size of that squash.  Now imagine it with arms and legs and a head.  Now look at the size of my stomach.  You can kind of understand how the nonstop movement feels!

Total weight gain/loss: +19

Next Appointment: March 20
Maternity clothes? I got some new stuff in this week, which makes me very excited!  I was in maternity clothes pretty much all week.
Stretch marks: nada.
Sleep: Not enough!
Best moment this week: Running a 5k with Thatmom yesterday.  More on that next week, but it's kind of fun to do a race pregnant.
Movement: Holy moley yes.  I'm trying to work out a deal with this kid that s/he can move and groove as often as s/he likes, but not at 5am in the morning when I'm trying to sleep.  It honestly wakes me up.  This kid also gets hiccups several times a day.  Just like Thatbaby did.  And I started kick counts this week.  This week it's taken me between 3 and 14 minutes to get 10 kicks.
Food cravings: Nothing
Food aversions: Nothing
Gender: Not finding out
Belly Button in or out: In.  But it never popped last time, so I'm not expecting it to this time.
What I miss: sleep
What I am looking forward to: Another appointment this week.  On Friday.  Afternoon.  So I can cut out of work a little early!
Contractions: Maybe on Saturday?  I seriously have no idea.
- Starting kick counts
- Lungs are mature enough to survive outside the womb (but we'd prefer Oppo-baby to stay in longer!)
- External appearance is fully formed

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Very Complicated Gestation of the Girard Twins

It's easy to take things for granted.  And most of us do.  Our health, our families, they seem ever present.  We don't even think about how lucky we are to have them.

Today I'm writing, not about me, but about someone else.  A friend who has asked for help in sharing her story.  A friend whose story reminds us that we can't take anything for granted.

I've mentioned before that I wanted to wait and share my pregnancy news until after we'd heard the baby's heartbeat, and I'd moved into the second trimester because both decreased the risk of loss.  There is a sigh of relief with each of these milestones.  And, as I said in the introduction, it's easy to take things for granted. 

But there is no safety when it comes to pregnancy.  Decreased risks don't always mean you bring home a baby at the end of nine months.  One of the comforting things about decreased risk means that the majority of mothers do, but that makes it even harder on the ones that do not.  What happens when you are one of the unfortunate few?  Who do you turn to when you're part of the minority?  The resources for these women are few and far between.

I got to know Cait in the early part of our pregnancies.  Back when we were all geared up about our first appointments, anxious to hear the heartbeats signifying all was well.  And Cait had the exciting surprise of hearing not one, but two heartbeats.  Pregnant with twins.

Shortly after Christmas, Cait started having some complications related to her pregnancy.  Which resulted in hospitalization and bed rest.  It was a time of highs and lows, which she began documenting in a blog.  In part to share the graphic details with other moms going through something similar.  In part with the hope that she would one day be able to share the story of this time with her twin boys. 

Last month, Cait lost the battle she fought for daily for those boys.  Following the loss of her sons, Cait has made it her mission to help other moms going through late term loss, which comes with its own set of hurdles.  She has asked us to help share her story, which I am linking below.  She has made a video about her family, detailing the "very complicated gestation," birth, and death of her sons.  It is a story of love, of loss, of strength, of weakness.  But it is an important story.

Join me in helping to share Cait's story to help raise awareness of late term loss.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Purim Time!: Chocolate Cherry Hamentaschen

This post is kind of almost a week late.  Purim was last week, but we really didn't celebrate till this past weekend, when our synagogue held their Purim Carnival.

Purim is a combination of Halloween and Mardi Gras.  It celebrates the story of Esther, the brave queen who, along with her Uncle Mordecai saved the Jewish people from the evil Haman - the Old Testament version of Hitler.

Haman had convinced the King to exterminate all the Jews.  What the King didn't know was that his wife, Esther was Jewish.  When she confronts him and tells him, along with the fact that his decree means he must kill her too, the King relents.  The Jewish people are saved.  

Each year we celebrate by eating, drinking, and being merry.  This is the Jewish holiday of pagents - similar to the Christmas nativity, the Purim "Megillah" is re-enacted by Sunday school children worldwide.  Costumes are worn and carnivals are held.  When I was growing up, the costume choices were Esther, Mordecai, Haman, or King Ahasuerus.  But since Thatkid has been in school, I've noticed that Purim nowadays is more any costume goes. 

Thatkid decided he wanted to wear his Halloween costume to the carnival last weekend.   At first he was hesitant to go inside because he didn't see the giant rides and inflatables his school had last year.  But once we got inside, he was more than happy to play all the carnival games.

And because the carnival is geared for kids, they were very generous with the prize tickets, no matter how poorly Thatkid played.

There was also face painting, which is one of Thatkid's favorite things ever.

He spent the rest of the day trying to talk without moving his mouth and making me cut his food into little bites so he wouldn't mess up his facepaint.

Almost as soon as we got in the car, he let us know what a good time he had:

After he woke up, we continued with the Purim celebration with the quintessential Purim food - Hamentaschen.  Meant to symbolize the 3 cornered hat worn by Haman, they are filled cookies.  Traditionally the cookies are filled with jam/jelly/preserves, but Thatkid requested we make ours with chocolate chips.  When I agreed, but told him I wanted to make some cherry ones (my favorite!) he suggested we combine the cherry jam with the chocolate chips.  Not a bad idea kid!

I laid out the ingredients, which he mixed together in the Kitchenaid.  Then I rolled out the dough while he cut the circles.  Next I placed the jam while he sprinkled chocolate chips over top.  While we worked we sang "My hat it has 3 corners."  Then we baked the cookies and ate them.  But really, when Thatboy is gone all afternoon surfing, we have to find some way to entertain ourselves!

Chocolate Cherry Hamentaschen (Adapted from the Joan Nathan Jewish Holiday Cookbook)
 1/4 lb unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, beaten
2 Tbsp orange juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp wheat germ
2 cups flour
cherry preserves
chocolate chips

  1. Cream the butter in an electric mixer.
  2. Add the sugar and mix until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg, orange juice, vanilla, baking powder, and salt and mix well.
  4. Add the wheat germ and the flour, 1/2 cup at a time.    Mix until the dough comes together into a ball.  Shape into a disk and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 375.  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/2 inch thick.
  6. Cut the dough into circles using a 2-inch cookie cutter.
  7. Place 1 Tbsp of cherry preserves in the center of each circle.
  8. Top preserves with 1 tsp of chocolate chips per circle.  Pinch together 3 corners evenly spaced along the edges of the circle to form a triangle.  Arrange the cookies on parchment paper or silpat lined baking sheet, 1 inch apart.
  9. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the cookies are light golden brown.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Crave Wednesday: Pepperoni, Onion, and Olive Pizza

Thatkid is strange.  Well, he's not strange, meaning abnormal, because really I think he's a fairly typical toddler.  He makes arbitrary decisions with no basis in fact or reality. 

Like his thing with vinegary foods.  I made cucumber salad the other day - just cucumbers, vinegar, and sugar.  Thatkid loved it.  He always does.  He loves cucumbers in vinegar.  But pickles?  Not a chance.  Even though pickles are cucumbers in vinegar.  And olives?  He won't go near them.  Won't even try them.

Which poses a problem, since Thatboy and I both love olives.  Especially on pizza.  This pizza was a problem in our house because it had two things Thatkid dislikes- onions and olives.  And he's only recently come to like pepperoni (which he always declared as "too spicy.")  Thatboy and I really enjoyed this.  I rarely use sweet onions, but they were great on this.  The sweetness of caramelized onions without the time consuming caramelizing process.  Paired with tangy olives and spicy pepperoni.  And while I usually opt to shred my own cheese versus the pre-shedded, this is a pretty good use of it!

Pepperoni, Onion and Olive Pizza
1 lb refrigerator pizza dough
1 Tbsp yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup marinara
1/2 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
1 oz pepperoni slices
10 pitted nicoise olives, halved lengthwise
3/4 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 450.  Let dough sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal and roll out dough into a 12 inch circle on the baking sheet.
  2. Spread sauce evenly over dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border.
  3. Top with onion, pepperoni, and olives.
  4. Sprinkle with cheese and bake 17 minutes.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Mommy Mondays: 27 weeks

 This is a story with a happy ending.  But it doesn't start out that way!

As I said last week, I had my 1-hour GTT on Monday.  Last time I was pregnant, I passed the test with flying colors.  The standard cutoff is 140, although my doctor uses the more conservative 130.  With Thatkid I came in at 97. 

Monday I went in and drank the orange drink, which is almost straight sugar.  Then I went to my regular appointment, and after went back for a blood draw.  Ugh, I hate needles.  I felt awful for the rest of the day.  I crashed so hard from the sugar!

On Wednesday I saw my results were posted online.  It should be no surprise that with Oppo-baby I did not have a result of 97.  I had a result of 139.  139!   So I got the call that I needed to come in for the 3 hour GTT.  Booooo hisssssss.  Because that's 3 hours sitting in the lab.  And 4 (4!) blood draws.  Did I mention I hate needles?

Friday I went in as early as I possibly could and drank a drink that had twice as much glucose as the one on Monday.  The one that wiped me out.  The one that had my stomach queasy for the next two days.  The first hour after the drink I felt really nauseous and dizzy, the phlebotomist thought I might pass out during the second draw.  The last 2 hours I thought I might just fall asleep in the waiting room. 

Trying to be smart, I brought a snack with protein in it for after the test, a bag of almonds.  Word to the wise - bring something else, something more substantial. Between the lab and the car I lost my keys in my purse twice.  I went to CVS and when I got there I couldn't remember why and kind of wandered aimlessly trying to find the things I came for and almost started crying.  I got some food in my system and headed to work.  My boss kept asking if I was okay to drive home.  I fell asleep twice between dinner and 8:15pm.

I didn't expect to hear from the lab before Monday, but Friday night I got an email that my results had been updated.  I passed!  I couldn't believe how much I passed by.  I texted every single person I'd ever met to let them know my results. 

All my values were waaaaaaayyyyy under the reference value.  The reference value for the last blood draw is 140.  I had an 87.  It was such a good feeling I made myself a bowl of ice cream and then fell asleep!

Total weight gain/loss: +19

Next Appointment: March 20
Maternity clothes? I'm running low on shirts!  I think I'm set with pants, but I'm having a hard time finding a shirt to wear.
Stretch marks: nada.
Sleep: Same as before - fine at night, not so good in the morning.
Best moment this week: Passing the 3 hour GTT!
Movement: Yes.  This kid goes crazy at night.  Thatboy spent some time just feeling it the other night and was impressed with the ferocity and consistency.  And I'm definitely getting hiccups.
Food cravings: Nothing
Food aversions: Nothing
Gender: Not finding out
Belly Button in or out: In.  But it never popped last time, so I'm not expecting it to this time.
What I miss: I think I painted my toes for the last time this weekend.
What I am looking forward to: Working on ordering the baby's coming home outfit!
Contractions: Not this week
- No Gestational Diabetes!
- Sleep/wake cycle has developed
- breathing patterns are developing
- yawning is more coordinated
- baby's eyes are open and eyebrows and eye lashes have grown

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Sunday Runday: Second Trimester Running Recap

Well the second trimester was a bit of a roller coaster for me.  It started out great.  First trimester I felt so slow, sluggish, and had difficulty breathing.  My pace actually picked up second trimester!  And the breathing difficulties went away (except of course for whenever I climbed stairs). 

From weeks 17-22 I was running consistently and actually felt really good.  And then week 22 hit.  I don't know what happened, but I got hit with a ton of bricks.  All of a sudden my runs got really uncomfortable.  Pelvic pain when running, sciatica, back pain all the time.  My 11:30 pace dropped to closer to 14/15 as I interspersed walking in with my weekday runs.

After about 2 weeks though, my pain disappeared.  My runs became comfortable again and my pace went back up.

So why?  What happened?  I have no idea.  Maybe taking it easy for 2 weeks was what my body needed.  It's so important to listen to your body, especially when pregnant.  Of course, my return to "fitness" coincided with my busiest time at work.  So second trimester I felt better and ran faster.  But of course, had less time to do it.

I'm really looking forward to my third trimester running.  I've got a couple races lined up and have already started back in on  my longer runs.  Yesterday I even managed a couple of sub-11 minute miles!

Friday, March 06, 2015

Rainy Days and Sundays: Kumquat Preserves

When I first moved to California I rolled my eyes at the whole "it never rains in Southern California" phrase.  It rained.  It rained all the time.  For the first 2 winters I was here, it rained all the time.  And everything flooded.  And it seemed like it would never stop.  But the thing about California rain is that it comes in waves.  After that it was dry for years, until well after I was married.  And then dry again for a number of years.  This is one of our wet winters.  It's been raining since September or October.  Major rainstorms.  

This intro is to let you know it rained this weekend.  A lot of rain.  Which ruined my plans of grilling burgers outside.  Or heading to Sea World for a nice family day.  Instead we spent the days inside, trying to keep a toddler occupied.  We did lots of arts and crafts.  Thatboy got a bunch of household odd jobs done.  I decided to take the opportunity to can some fruits, and Thatkid and I sat and peeled apples.  Except once I got my apples all peeled and cooked, I realized my kettle didn't hold quart sized jars.  Nice.  Good thing Thatkid and I like apples!  We were more than happy to eat the fruits of our labor.  

Instead I turned back to something that didn't need a water bath, and was easy for a 3 year old to help with.  No peeling, no cutting, just dumping and cooking.  This jam phase of mine is very family friendly. And perfect for rainy days.

Kumquat Preserves
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup fresh kumquats
  1. Combine the sugar with 1/2 cup water in a pot and boil for 5 minutes. 
  2. Add the kumquats and cook gently until tender, about 45 minutes.  Pour into a hot, sterilized pint jar and seal.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

15 Years: Dill Pickles

Yesterday Thatboy and I celebrated the fact that we have been together 15 years.  15 years ago we took the first step in our relationship.  It's so crazy to think about, such a huge chunk of time.  And the people we are now are so very very different than the people we were then.  Not in the major ways, because people don't really change, but we are so much older and wiser.  We've weathered storms, we've grown up and become more responsible, we're parents!

We had decided we weren't going to do anything to celebrate.  We tend to acknowledge this anniversary with a simple "Happy Anniversary!" and use our wedding anniversary to really celebrate our relationship.  However, yesterday Thatboy texted me and told me he really wanted to head out to dinner.  While on our wedding anniversary we tend to go out just the two of us, last night we headed to a family dinner at one of our favorite restaurants.  Thatboy drank beer while I drank root beer.  Ahhhh pregnancy. 

One of the stereotypes of pregnancy is the idea of pickles.  I don't know how true that is, but I know the vinegary things are high on my list of favorites.  I can't entirely blame pregnancy, I've had a thing for pickled onions since making them last summer.  But I do know that olives and pickles are some of my favorite snacks.  And while olives have a little bit of a complex brining process, pickles are easy.  So much so that I've been making them at home, on my own.  So easy, not terribly time consuming, and just as delicious as what you've picked up in the stores.  So much so, Thatboy has become just as addicted as I have become.  And he certainly can't blame pregnancy!

Dill Pickles
 12 cucumbers (3-4 inches)
1 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup salt
dill sprigs
1 peeled garlic clove
  1. Put the cucumbers in the sink and cover with cold water.  Let stand overnight
  2. Drain and pack the cucumbers in a hot, sterilized quart jar.
  3. Combine the vinegar and salt with 2 cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil.  Pour over the cucumbers leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
  4. Add sprig or two of dill and garlic clove to the jar and seal.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Crave Wednesday: Pepperoni Deep Dish Pizza

Do you remember school lunches?  Did you have a favorite?  In Jr. High my favorite was potato bar day, with a baked potato, and then a bar filled with cheese, bacon, broccoli, cauliflower, sour cream, chives, and butter.  I had health/gym at the farthest end of the school from the cafeteria and my teacher used to let us out a minute or two early before lunch so we could get to the cafeteria and beat the crowds.

But when I was in Elementary school, the number 1 school lunch was pizza day.  There's something about cafeteria pizza.  I mean, it doesn't even really taste like pizza.  Not the pizza your family would order in for dinner, or the pizza you and your friends would eat at the roller rink.  School pizza was it's very own entity. 

After one bite of this pizza both Thatboy and I declared that it tasted exactly like school pizza.  Which for him, wasn't a great thing.  But for me, it brought back all those memories of sitting around the table with friends, talking about the dumb boys in our class, or the crazy teacher we had.  That feeling of no responsibility.  Who knew there could be so many memories packed into a slice of pizza?

Pepperoni Deep Dish Pizza  (From Cooking Light)
 1 cup warm water
12 oz bread flour
1 pkg dry yeast
4 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
cooking spray
2 Tbsp olive oil
5 minced garlic cloves
1 can San Marzano tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 oz pepperoni slices
2 Tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  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; level with a knife.
  3. Add flour to 3/4 cup war water; mix until combined.  Cover and let stand 20 minutes.
  4. Combine 1/4 cup warm water and yeast in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes or until bubbly.
  5. Add yeast mixture, oil, and salt to flour mixture; mix 5 minutes or until a soft dough forms.  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. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  7. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  8. Remove dough from refrigerator.  Let stand, covered, 1 hour or until dough comes to room temperature.
  9. Crush tomatoes and add them with the juice, salt, and oregano to the garlic. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
  10. Punch dough down.  Roll dough into a 14x11 inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface.  Press dough into the bottom and partially up sides of a 13x9 inch metal baking pan coated with cooking spray. 
  11. Preheat oven to 450.   Arrange 1/2 cup mozzarella over dough.
  12. Top with pizza sauce, pepperoni, parmigiano-reggiano, and 1/2 cup mozzarella.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Cut into 6 rectangles and serve.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Mommy Mondays: 26 weeks

I'm about to enter the third trimester, and (knock on wood) I'm feeling really good!  I'm in that perfect stage of pregnancy where I'm not uncomfortable, I don't have any symptoms, and I've got that constant reassurance of steady kicks and punches in my abdominal region. 

We've pretty much finished Thatkid's room and so now I can start focusing on the baby's room.  Which is fun, because it's just decor since I've got all the furniture already.

Today is the start of my 2 week OB appointments!  That's a big deal.  Up until now it's been once a month.  Transition time!  Which means I should really get on top of the whole childcare situation!

Today is also my GTT test - the test for Gestational Diabetes.  Which always makes me nervous.  I passed with flying colors last time around, but that really means nothing in terms of how I'll do this time.  Wish me luck!

Total weight gain/loss: +15

Next Appointment: This afternoon!
Maternity clothes? I am going on a shopping spree for maternity clothes.  I had to go to court twice this past week.  I can still get away with most of my suit pants with a bella band.  I tried to wear my brown skirt suit and.....let's just say I won't be doing that again.  It was such an awkward fit when the back rose up.  The second court appearance I couldn't find a good top to wear.  The struggle is real y'all.
Stretch marks: nada.
Sleep: Restless lately.  I miss good sleep, but in truth, it's been years.
Best moment this week: Nothing terribly exciting, just those little moments of sitting on the couch with Thatboy after Thatkid has gone to sleep. 
Movement: Yup.  Now everyone can feel and see it.  Thatboy was uber impressed this weekend with the intensity and frequency.  Plus it's super distracting during work.  And I think the little one had hiccups this week.
Food cravings: Nothing
Food aversions: Nothing
Gender: Not finding out
Belly Button in or out: In.  But it never popped last time, so I'm not expecting it to this time.
What I miss:Running.  But that's more busy work week related than pregnancy related.
What I am looking forward to: Second trimester this week!
Contractions: Not this week
- Baby's eyes can open!
- Even though we don't know whether Oppobaby is a boy or a girl, his/her reproductive organs are now in place!  If we've got another little boy on our hands, his testes have now descended into the scrotum.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Sunday Runday: Cold Weather Gear

When Thatbrother was a teen, he stuck a bumper sticker on his car that said "Soccer Mom."  Why?  Because every time he looked at it, he would smile and think "I'm not a soccer mom!"  That's kind of how I feel about cold weather running.

Don't get me wrong, it gets cold here - morning runs are in the high 30s, low 40s in the winter.  But I don't kid myself that those temperatures are in any way comparable to conditions other winter runners are used to.

Even still, I do have my favorite winter gear and I'm sharing it with you!

Let's start from the top down.  It's funny, in the summer a hat is a necessity for keeping the sun off your face, in the winter you need a hat to keep all that warmth in.  My personal favorite is my Under Armour Fleece Beanie.

So much better than just a regular beanie because the inside lining is moisture wicking - because even when it's cold outside, you still sweat. 

Moving down we start getting into fleece.  I love my hyper-warm long-sleeve from Nike. 

It's lightweight, super warm, and has the perfect little thumb holes so that my entire arm is covered and it doesn't rise up.

Speaking of thumb holes, gloves are a must.  Fingers get so very cold.  And you need something lightweight.  The Brooks Essential Gloves are perfect for that.

For bottoms, this is not the time to break out capris.  Running tights are the way to go.  Fleece lined being the best for cold weather.  I can't find a link, but Target carries a great C-9 fleece running tight, and rumor has it they're on clearance right now!