Saturday, December 27, 2008

Caitlyn has a blog of her own!

I started a blog just for Caitlyn - come on over to Right now the only thing there is her birth story, but there will be lots more to come!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Caitlyn's birth story

It's a long one. And no, I don't expect anyone to actually READ it all the way through, I'm just throwing it out there. I don't want to forget it!

It was Sunday, December 7, 2008. I was 40 weeks and one day pregnant. My due date, December 6, had come and gone and I was getting antsy. My doctor told me that if I was still pregnant at my appointment on the 9th, he was going to schedule an induction. I had the notion that I was going to do the labor and delivery thing as naturally as possible, maybe with a little narcotics if necessary, but I wanted to avoid the epidural, and I knew an induction would make that difficult to achieve.

That was my ideal, anyway. I approached childbirth with the same attitude I approached my wedding five years ago – back then, at the end of the day, it didn’t matter what happened, as long as I was married. Same thing now – I just wanted a healthy baby, and if things didn’t go according to my ideal to accomplish that, well, so be it.

In order to avoid the induction, I’d spent as much time on my feet as possible over the past several days, trying to get gravity to “do its thing”. We’d spent most of the day Saturday shopping, picking up last minute baby supplies and trying to make sure that everything was ready when the time came.

I woke up the morning of the 7th feeling really crampy. Looking back now, it’s funny how my pregnancy ended the same way it started – I only took a pregnancy test because I had cramps for a week and my period never showed up. I had periodic contractions throughout the day, but nothing more than the Braxton-Hicks I’d been having for the past few weeks, but the cramps never let up.

We went to bed at 9:00 that night, as usual (we get up really early). Almost immediately the contractions started. I casually looked at the clock every time, and they were five to eight minutes apart, but still not very strong. At 9:30 I got up to see if they would go away, since I wasn’t going to be able to sleep anyway. Once I was up and about, they were spaced out a little more, five to 12 minutes, so I called the advice nurse to check in and see what was what. She told me to wait till they’d been three to five minutes apart for a couple of hours, then go to the hospital.

They kept coming, getting closer together, so I stayed up. Finished some laundry, watched some television, and timed my contractions. There are still little lists all over the house where I wrote down the times in whatever room I happened to be in. At midnight I accidentally woke up Larry while getting some socks because my feet were cold. I told him not to be surprised if he didn’t go to work the next morning.

By 1:00 they were three to five minutes apart, and I was starting to panic a little, so I got Larry up and we packed up our bags and headed for the hospital. We got there about 2:15, and I was three centimeters dilated so they decided to let me stay. I was quite relieved about that – I was going to be awfully embarrassed if we’d headed out in the middle of the night for nothing!

Once they gave us a room, I got in the Jacuzzi tub down the hall. We spent about two and a half hours there, till I was wrinkled as a prune and decided it was time to walk a little. I was also fortunate that they let me eat some fruit – for some reason I was famished. My contractions were getting stronger, but when they checked me I was only at four centimeters.

Somewhere around 9:30 or so (time is a little fuzzy, you can imagine), they checked me again and I was still at 4 centimeters. The midwife on call decided to break my water, which was a lot more painful than I thought it would be, but luckily it only took a second. Sometime after that, they decided my contractions weren’t productive enough, so they put me on pitocin, and that was when the roller coaster ride started.

I should pause here to tell you a funny thing about my labor experience – I think every piece of equipment in the room had a faulty cord at one point or another. Both the internal and external fetal monitors, the blood pressure cuff, and the contraction monitor.

Once they started the pitocin, the contractions came hard and fast, as I knew they would, which is why I was hoping to avoid the induction in the first place! The monitor showed that they still weren’t strong enough, so they kept upping the dosage throughout the day. It hurt to sit or lie down during the contractions, so I tried to stay standing as much as possible. They put me on a portable monitor, so I could be out of bed and wander the halls some, which helped for a while.

Finally, sometime in the early afternoon, I was tired of being in pain, so they gave me some fentanyl, according to my birth plan. That didn’t do a darn thing for the contractions but it helped me relax during the few seconds in between them (they were just about continuous by this point). Then they checked me again to discover that I was still only at four centimeters. I think that was the point where I began thinking I was never going to have a baby! Also at this point, they were having trouble keeping her on the monitor, and decided to do an internal monitor, which meant that I was stuck in bed for a while. The cord was faulty so they couldn’t get a read on that, either, and had to reinsert it once again.

Finally, around 4:30, the pain was too intense and too constant and I asked for the epidural. That was shortly after I asked Larry if it was too late to adopt, and not long after I started insisting that I was going to die from being turned inside-out by contractions. Randy, my hero, the anesthesiologist, came in to put it in. This was when the blood pressure cuff decided to malfunction and just kept squeezing and squeezing. So there I am, mid-contraction, arm being pinched off, giant needle going in my back. It was a memorable moment, LOL!

I think I instantly fell asleep once the epidural kicked in. It was the first sleep I’d gotten since Saturday night, so I was exhausted. I woke up a little while later as I started feeling contractions again, and pushed the button that was supposed to deliver an extra dose of medication. It didn’t. The nurse had me push it again. We waited again. Still nothing. The contractions were back, as strong as ever. I was starting to panic, and Randy was called in once again. He discovered that the epidural had moved into a blood vessel so it was completely ineffective. He took it out and we started the whole process over again, but this time he gave me a spinal, too, so I would get relief faster. The drugs kicked in, and back to sleep I went.

Somewhere around 10:00, they checked me again. I was 6 centimeters dilated but my cervix was swollen on one side, which meant that Caitlyn wasn’t coming down straight and wasn’t putting enough pressure on to finish the job. At that point, the doctor decided it would be best to do a c-section. Because Caitlyn wasn’t in distress, it wasn’t an emergency, so we had to wait for an operating room to open up. Shortly after midnight (it was now December 9), they took me in and we got started.

It’s a strange feeling, being awake and knowing that someone is cutting you open, but you can’t feel anything. Because of the spinal, I didn’t even feel the pressure they kept talking about, and I spent the whole time trying not to panic because I couldn’t feel my legs. I’m not a claustrophobic person in general, but I was at that point. I just kept focusing on my breathing, which I had been doing all day.

At 1:16 a.m., Caitlyn was born. She came out screaming at the top of her lungs, which was great and scary at the same time, because there was meconium and we didn’t want her to breathe any of it in. They whisked her away to be cleaned up, weighed, and measured. She weighed in at 10 pounds, four ounces, and was 22 ¼ inches long. Her head circumference was 14 ¼ inches. It turned out that she was head down, as she had been for weeks, but facing sideways, and her head was coming down crooked, so she couldn’t make it all the way down.

It was a long, difficult, painful process, but, as they say, it was all worth it in the end. She is a precious, perfect, miracle child, and we are so glad she’s finally here!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

99 Things

This one keeps popping up in the blogs I read and I think it's pretty cool. I happen to have borrowed this one from hazeljoy.

Things you've already done: bold
Things you want to do:
Things you haven't done and don't want to - leave in plain font

1. started your own blog
2. s
lept under the stars
3. played in a band
4. v
isited hawaii
5. w
atched a meteor shower
6. given more than you can afford to charity

7. b
een to disneyland/world
8. c
limbed a mountain
9. h
eld a praying mantis
10. s
ang a solo
11. bungee jumped - oh hell no!
12. v
isited paris
13. w
atched a lightning storm at sea - that would be so cool!
14. t
aught yourself an art from scratch
15. adopted a child
16. had food poisoning
17. walked to the top of the statue of liberty
18. g
rown your own vegetables
19. s
een the mona lisa in france
20. s
lept on an overnight train
21. h
ad a pillow fight
22. h
itch hiked
23. t
aken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. built a snow fort
25. held a lamb
26. g
one skinny dipping
27. run a marathon
28. r
idden a gondola in venice
29. s
een a total eclipse
30. watched a sunrise or sunset - are there really people who haven't done this?

31. h
it a home run
32. been on a cruise
33. s
een niagara falls in person
34. v
isited the birthplace of your ancestors - but first I have to figure out where they came from!
35. seen an amish community
36. taught yourself a new language
37. had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. s
een the leaning tower of pisa in person
39. g
one rock climbing
40. seen michelangelo's david in person

41. sung karaoke
42. s
een old faithful geyser erupt
43. bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant
44. v
isited africa
45. w
alked on a beach by moonlight
46. been transported in an ambulance
47. had your portrait painted
48. gone deep sea fishing
49. s
een the sistene chapel in person
50. b
een to the top of the eiffel tower in paris
gone scuba diving or snorkelling
52. kissed in the rain

53. p
layed in the mud
54. gone to a drive-in theatre

55. been in a movie
56. v
isited the great wall of china
57. s
tarted a business
58. taken a martial arts class
59. v
isited russia
60. served at a soup kitchen
61. sold girl scout cookies - lots and lots of Girl Scout Cookies!
62. g
one whale watching
63. gotten flowers for no reason

64. donated blood
65. gone sky diving - again, I say oh hell no!
66. visited a nazi concentration camp
67. bounced a check - I once managed to bounce a check I wrote to myself between accounts!
68. flown in a helicopter
69. s
aved a favorite childhood toy
70. visited the lincoln memorial
71. e
aten caviar - nasty stuff!
72. p
ieced a quilt
73. s
tood in times square
74. toured the everglades

75. b
een fired from a job
76. seen the changing of the guard in london
77. broken a bone

78. been on a speeding motorcycle
79. seen the grand canyon in person - if from an airplane counts!
80. p
ublished a book
81. v
isited the vatican
82. bought a brand new car

83. w
alked in jerusalem
84. h
ad your picture in the newspaper
85. read the entire bible - almost every year I start out to do this, but never make it past the first few books!
86. visited the white house
87. killed and prepared an animal for eating - if fish count!
88. h
ad chickenpox
89. saved someone’s life
90. sat on a jury
91. m
et someone famous
92. j
oined a book club
93. l
ost a loved one
94. had a baby

95. seen the alamo in person.

96. swum in the great salt lake.
97. been involved in a law suit
98. o
wned a cell phone
99. been stung by a bee

Ok, obviously I need to travel more, LOL!

Monday, December 15, 2008

We haven't slept... two days. OH MY GOD I'M TIRED.

She sleeps great during the day, and then cries all night. I hope to heaven we can get through the snow to our mother-baby appointment this afternoon, because we could sure use some professional support right now!

Friday, December 12, 2008

A quick update

With more to follow, as soon as I have a little more time and energy.

Caitlyn Claire arrived via c-section at 1:16 am on Tuesday, December 9. She was 10 pounds, 4 ounces, and 22 1/4 inches long. Yep, we grow 'em big around here (and to think my doctor was worried about low birth weight!).

We weren't expecting a c-section, but everything worked out fine in the end, and she's perfectly healthy. We just got home from the hospital early this afternoon and have had time for one feeding and introducing her to the friendly beasts (who all want to be REALLY friendly with her, because, well, she smells like milk, LOL!).

I'll post more details later but, well, for now, I'm TIRED...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The nursery (and a belly shot)

For those of you who are just dying to see just how huge I was on my due date (which has come and gone (yesterday) and yes, I'm still pregnant...):

And, I finally got around to taking pictures of the nursery yesterday. It's far more "put together" than I ever thought a nursery of mine would be, and I absolutely love it. That was hubby's doing - he wanted the furniture to match and everything. Once we finish replacing the outlet covers, Caitlyn will be the proud owner of the first completely finished room in the whole house... :-)

That last one is the chalkboard that hubby painted onto her closet door. I'm sure we'll regret that someday when there's wall to wall chalk in her room, LOL!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

because inquiring minds want to know...

Just got back from the doctor...things are starting to head in the right direction, but we're still not having a baby any time soon. If I'm still pregnant next Tuesday, he's going to schedule an induction. Let's hope I'm not still pregnant next Tuesday - I've been hoping to avoid that!!!

At any rate, now that I've made a smidge of progress, I'm feeling much better about things than I was this time last week!

It's beginning to look a lot like...

...December? It sure doesn't feel like it.

This is shaping up to be a weird holiday season. I don't know why, maybe it's because Christmas is about the last thing on my mind right now. Maybe it's because I rushed through our holiday shopping just to get it done early, and didn't take any pleasure in picking things out for people this year. Maybe it's because I'm not making anything for my friends. Maybe it's because I'm not even decorating or baking this year. Oh sure, we could set up the decorations now, but I know when the time comes to take it down, I just won't have the energy.

At any rate, Thanksgiving didn't feel like Thanksgiving, and it sure as heck doesn't feel like the beginning of the holiday season. I think I need a little snow to put me in the mood, but if it's going to, I'd prefer that it holds off until I at least get to the hospital on the big day, and maybe not till I'm safely home!

I'm sure a week or two from now, it won't matter one little bit to me that it doesn't feel like the Christmas, but for now, well, it's just WEIRD.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends in the States.

Thought after my last hormonal rant, I should probably make a quick list of things I'm thankful for. Here goes...

1. I have a great husband whom I get along with and who takes very good care of me.

2. One of these days (soon!) I will have the little one I've been waiting for for so long snug in my arms.

3. We have the most entertaining dogs ever born (stupidity does make for fun times, you know?).

4. Our house is snug, warm, and affordable.

5. We both have good jobs that are secure for now.

6. We get to eat two Thanksgiving dinners this weekend and I don't have to cook for either of them!

Ok, ok, there's lots more, but I have to go get ready for dinner #1. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

You might be a hormonal basketcase if... spend a good part of the day panicking because you suddenly realized that any day now you could be going into LABOR (and what the hell were you thinking, wanting to give birth, anyway, that's going to HURT LIKE HELL!), and then leave the doctor's office in tears because, after two weeks of contractions, you're not even starting to dilate yet.

Let's just say I'm having a bad day. Everything's fine, Caitlyn's doing great (and, while the nurse didn't measure her at my weekly non-stress test, she did say she is a "good size baby"). My doctor started talking induction, and I'm still 11 days from my due date. As in "I hope I don't have to induce you, especially if you're not ready yet, because that just makes things difficult." Not that he's ready to actually schedule it yet or anything, but obviously he thinks things should be moving in a forward direction by now, too. I left the clinic with a post-due-date doctor and non-stress test appointment, whereas before my last one was supposed to be next Tuesday.

By the time I got home, I just couldn't keep it in any longer and begged hubby for a big hug and started crying. Gotta give him kudos - he didn't get mad at me for being all emotional like he sometimes does, and even tried to help me see the bright side if I *do* have to be induced - like, I'll know when, and I'll have my doctor (because if you go on your own you get whoever's on call at the hospital, but if he has to induce my doctor will schedule it when he's there), and I'll definitely know for sure when I finally get to leave work (since I've been ready for that for a while now!).

Don't get me wrong, I haven't begun to reach the "desperation point" where I just want to rip her out myself. I didn't sleep well last night, so I'm overly tired today which makes me overly emotional even when I'm NOT just shy of nine months pregnant!

I think it's because I'm a planner and a prepper. We've been all but ready for a while now - I've been wrapping things up at work for about six weeks, the nursery is nearly finished (and if we just buckled down and did it, it would be done in a couple of hours), the baby laundry is all done, the freezer is full, the car seat is installed, and we're just waiting. Just waiting. Twiddling my thumbs, so to speak. This is why I didn't set a date to leave work, much as I'm ready to be done. At least it's a distraction.

Who knows...maybe I should make hubby take me to the beach for a day this weekend...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Still here...

Haven't had much to post about lately, but I wanted you all to know I'm still here!

Still having contractions, hopefully they're doing something by now. I'll find out Tuesday. I did pull the "nearly 9 months pregnant" card to get out of actually cooking anything for our two Thanksgiving dinners - probably the only time I'll ever be able to get away with that!

My office is almost clean (at least by my standards!), the freezer is full, the Christmas shopping is all but done (I told hubby I'd buy his aunt's gift for him at lunchtime on Monday), and I only have one more load of baby laundry to do. Just about ready!

Monday, November 17, 2008

There's illness afoot...

So hubby has come down with a monster cold. It started with a sore throat on Saturday, and today it's the full blown nastiness. He sounds awful and is staying home from work. I'm sure he caught it from his coworker friend, who missed three days of work last week.

So now I'm trying to figure out how to avoid it. I've done so well at avoiding all the crud that's gone around the office in the last couple of months, but I'm not sure I can miss this one - the proximity is a little too close.

I tried to insist on sleeping on the couch last night, so he could get good sleep and I wouldn't be so close to the germs, but then he insisted that I shouldn't since I'm now almost 8 1/2 months pregnant, and said he would. Well, our couch is a full-size futon. WAY too short for someone who's 6'6! So I told him we'd both sleep in bed and I'd just sleep facing away from him. Which pretty much worked, I think.

In the meantime, I made sure we have plenty of chicken soup in the house, and mixed up some orange juice for him, and I've been force feeding him Airborne at every opportunity, so hopefully it won't last too long! Now I just need to bathe the house in Lysol, LOL!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

the bet

I just bet my dad an ice cream cone that Caitlyn will NEVER do this...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Still contracting...

...but not having a baby any time soon. Just practicing for the real deal... :-)

Things are happening...

Nothing major yet, but things are definitely moving in a forward direction! Yesterday I went in for my weekly non-stress test (since I have high blood pressure, they've been monitoring Caitlyn weekly for a few weeks now, to make sure she's active enough and that things are going as they should). I told the nurse something was definitely happening, but I wasn't sure what. I figured either she was starting to drop or that I was having contractions, but I wasn't sure which.

So, the nurse hooked me up to the monitors and, sure enough, I had three contractions in the half hour I was there!

Now, these aren't the real "oh my goodness I'm about to have a baby" contractions, but Braxton Hicks, or "practice" contractions. Just getting things moving, I guess. It's exciting because it's the first time I've felt those through the whole pregnancy, even though I may have been having them all along and I just haven't known it.

Even though I know in my heart that delivery day isn't imminent, it still shook me up a bit, and I went home and packed most of my hospital bag (I was going to do it last weekend, anyway!). And I'm finishing the last of the baby laundry, so I can pack some things for her, too! Now I just have to get hubby on board, or pack his bag for him, LOL!

Today I'm 36 weeks, four days pregnant. Just three and a half weeks till my due date!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Way too emotional

My preggo hormones can't handle this whole election thing. At 8:00 last night I was cruising the local news websites, looking for early returns on some state measures. I flipped over to about 8:15, and couldn't believe it when I read that they'd called the election already! I ran over to my television, and, sure enough, there was John McCain, giving his concession speech.

Good thing hubby was in the shower at that moment, because I was bawling like a baby, I was so happy.

Then, this morning, one of the news channels showed a group of students at an African American college somewhere singing the black national anthem, which I had never even heard of until about five years ago, when we started singing it at the beginning of each of our all staff meetings at work, thanks to a staff member who would get up and lead it for us every time. Well, that staff member passed away unexpectedly a few years ago. As soon as I heard the song, I thought of him. Suddenly I'm standing there, doling out baby carrots for hubby's lunch, crying all over again.

Sheesh. I am an election basket case!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Another domestic day

Sunday seems to be my day in the kitchen lately. I was so happy to have a rainy weekend so I could just stay inside and do my own thing! Got up this morning about 6:00, completely confused as to why hubby got up at 4:45 (I forgot about daylight savings time, so he actually slept in an hour).

Tried out a new recipe - buttermilk oatmeal pancakes - for breakfast. They were excellent topped with some of last year's canned apples! Then, I did some dishes, and went through my recipe folder trying to find some quick and easy things to plan for dinners this week.

In a continuing effort to prove to myself that all was not lost with this year's garden, I went out and picked the two little pumpkins that planted themselves in my bean patch. After roasting and pureeing them, I ended up with about six cups that I'll freeze for using in baking later. Then, I made myself some rice pudding - easy, delicious, and halfway healthy! Now, my back is hurting so I'm taking a break...

In spite of trying to give them all away, we ended up with some apples from our tree, which I've been slowly (very slowly) trying to use. I'm taking a box of them to work tomorrow, but on Thursday I made a huge apple crisp and two loaves of apple bread, and I'll make another crisp this afternoon and maybe shred a few more to put in the freezer for future loaves of bread (it's really good!).

In addition to dealing with the apples this afternoon, I also need to prep the meat and veggies for tomorrow night's dinner - crock pot beef stew. I'll start it when I go to work tomorrow and the house will smell wonderful when I get home!

I have half a week's dinner menu planned out:

Tonight: either hamburgers and oven fries or pizza (hubby's choice)
Tomorrow: stew and cornbread
Tuesday: cider curry pork chops and baked sweet potatoes
Wednesday: honey dijon chicken and rice.

From there, who knows...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Stocking up

Well, with less than six weeks to go (and time is really flying, now!), I've been focusing on food lately. Namely, stocking up on quick, easy prep things that hubby might actually make, so that after Caitlyn arrives we won't end up eating Burger King at every meal for two weeks. We may not get the best nutrition ever during that time (not that we are now - I've barely been cooking in the last six weeks), but it'll be better than a constant diet of fast food, I'm sure.

My plan has been to cook ahead and put several things in the freezer. This hasn't worked out as well as I wanted it to, but so far we have three meals' worth of meatballs in there (for quick spaghetti) and three quarts of chili (made that yesterday. Good stuff!). I'd still like to make some creamed chicken base (for chicken and biscuits, chicken and stuffing, stuff like that), and some of hubby's favorite hamburger casserole (problem is actually getting that to the freezer before he eats it all!).

Yesterday I practically bought out Winco. Well, at least it felt like that, I spent so much money! At least at Winco when you spend $160 you have a full cart of food to show for it, unlike most of the other stores in town. I warned hubby ahead of time I was doing a stock up shop, so he didn't fall over when I came home with a trunk full of groceries! We now have stuff for chili dogs (including prepackaged shredded cheese, which I almost never buy, but it just seemed easier), Helper of all varieties, soup, tons of cold cereal (suddenly everyone has cold cereal on sale), a variety of juices, jambalaya, lots of canned fruit and veggies, and lots of other stuff.

I also bought all the nonperishables we need to take hubby's family's version of orange jello salad to Thanksgiving and Christmas, which will be our contribution to his family's meals (he'll make it so I don't have to!). No idea yet what we'll be contributing to ours, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

Slowly, we're putting the finishing touches on getting ready. I really wish I could go buy a bunch more stuff that we need for the baby, but I have to wait till Babies R Us sends us our registry completion coupon, which won't be for several more weeks.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Hunkering Down

I don't know if it's the economy, the return of fall (thank goodness!), nesting, or preparing to live with my income cut in half (I'm only going back to work part time after Caitlyn is born), but lately I have the urge to hunker down and get cozy.

I've started restocking the pantry - I could actually see the shelves in several places, which makes me nervous, like we don't have enough food on hand (odd, since I haven't been hungry a day in my life, but I'm weird that way). We cleaned out the big freezer (I still need to do the little one), and now I'm prepping food for easy meals come December. I have a list to work from, and I've decided to make one thing each weekend, as my schedule allows. Last weekend I made a big batch of meatballs, enough for four meals. We ate one as spaghetti and meatballs, and three went into the freezer.

I've gotten back on the internet (as much as my sore tailbone will allow, anyway), and am back to reading the frugal websites. I've also put down the childbirth books (I'll pick them up again in a week or two, I'm sure), and have gone back to reading my cookbooks, refreshing my meal ideas.

Although I let my garden go this year, I've been keeping an eye on what's still out there, thinking about how I can salvage it with my limited energy (which has come back a little bit in the last week or so, amazingly). Same with the apples that my parents didn't take - I gave them most of them, but there are still some left on the tree.

I've reworked the budget a couple of different times, just to see how much we can save even though our income will go down. Like everyone, our big savings has been drastically cut with the dip in the market, but I know it will come back eventually, and I know that now is the time to be setting more away if we can.

We're working on some big house projects that we want to finish before Caitlyn arrives. The new heating and cooling system will be installed on Monday; we got a new garage door opener yesterday (the old one hadn't worked since shortly after we moved in). I don't know if we'll get our pathways installed in the front yard this year or not, depends on the weather, but at least we finally have grass!

We have about two years' worth of firewood in our backyard, so bring on the cold!

All in all, I'm rapidly becoming a major homebody, more than normal. Now I just have to get my schedule to accommodate that urge!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Decluttering, continued

Ok, ok, so the decluttering is going in fits and spurts, rather than on a consistent, week to week basis.'s a cleaning day (well, hubby is cleaning, I'm doing bits and pieces but generally sitting around and hoping he doesn't notice, LOL!).

We're about to take a load to Goodwill, and it has, among other things, an old free weight set, my Ouija board that I've had for about 15 years and only used once or twice, a box of misc. kitchen crap, seven VHS movies (I'm slowly replacing my VHS stuff with DVDs), a garden watering kit we bought, hated, and never returned, an old TV, a bunch of old computer stuff, and who knows what else - the truck is looking kind of full! So, see, even though it's not consistent, at least it's happening! Have to do SOMETHING to make up for the piles of baby stuff that keep making their way into the house!

Next weekend is a hazardous waste pickup not too far from my house, so we'll be getting rid of even more. Yay!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Back up and running

Phew - it was just the router. We're back in business, folks! Yay! Thanks to the good folks at Verizon and UPS for getting us back up and running just when they said they would.

On another note, we're getting quotes this week to replace our furnace and put in an air conditioner. Them suckers are EXPENSIVE! Apparently we're lucky our furnace has lasted this long - both people who've come out to give us estimates said that most last 15 - 18 years, and ours is 24. I guess it's time! So, just when our income is about to be drastically cut, we're going to plunk down a huge chunk of change to put in the new system. Oh, and we ordered a new garage door opener last night, because it hasn't worked since we moved in and the door spring finally broke a few weeks ago. Ka-ching!

Between those and the stock market, my kitchen remodel is getting farther and farther away. It's ok, I can wait. I'm comforted by the fact that, once these purchases are made, about the only thing in this house that we haven't replaced since we moved in four and a half years ago is the water heater, which isn't original so hopefully it will hold out a while longer!

This homeowner stuff sure gets expensive sometimes...

On another note - tonight we start birth preparation class. Time's flying by!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


our internet has crapped out, and we don't know if it's the router or the motherboard. Pray it's the router because if it's the motherboard we have to send it back to the manufacturer (it's under warranty), which means we'll be without a computer entirely and I'm not sure we could survive that!

In the meantime, I'll leave you with a profile picture of Caitlyn at almost 29 weeks. We hit 30 weeks this past Saturday - just 10 to go!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Decluttering, weeks 2 and 3

Hubby decided we needed to clean, and we got rid of so much stuff this weekend that it's good for a couple of weeks, I think.

During the week, I decluttered my email boxes by unsubscribing from seven lists that I never read. I also cleaned out the veggie bin in the big freezer and tossed some really old, dried out fruits and veggies to make way for the beets and beans that I harvested and prepped last weekend.

This weekend, we took a load to Goodwill, which, in addition to all the other stuff that's been accumulating by the front door for about a month, included
- 15 tablecloths that don't fit any of our tables
- two sets of place mats
- eight doorknobs (we're replacing the knobs on all our inside doors)
- three sets of hinges (we're replacing those, too - we just haven't taken them all off yet)

and an old shredder we don't use anymore.

We also took two garbage bags of pop cans back to the grocery store (only five more to go - we don't take them very often!).

To the "stuff to give to my dad" recycling box (he recycles metal and gives the proceeds to the Boy Scouts), we added three old doorknob sets (our old outside door knobs, and we must have tossed the keys because we can't find them) and a set of car chains for a car we no longer have.

And, finally, this afternoon we cleaned out the rest of the big freezer and got rid of a bunch of old, dried out food that we'll never eat.

That's definitely more than seven things, so I'm counting it good for last week and this.

Next week, I clean out the medicine cupboard and the medicine box in the bathroom!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

26 weeks

Well, we're heading into the third trimester - I hit 26 weeks today. I feel a lot more pregnant than that, though. My hips are sore, my tailbone is KILLING me, I wake up two or three times a night because there's a head squishing my bladder, I barely have an appetite, and my feet look like balloons most days.

I can't even imagine what it's going to be like come late November, as I head into the last couple of weeks!

But I'm not complaining, really! Things are still going well. Compared to a lot of women I know, my pregnancy is a breeze. It's the weirdest thing, watching her kick me (my whole belly jumps sometimes), feeling her spin around, randomly losing my breath as she smashes my lungs. Utterly fascinating.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Declutterng - week one

I've decided to look at this decluttering thing more as seven things a week than one thing a day. And at this point, it's a lot more about cleaning up than about getting rid of actual stuff - we're not so good at, say, taking the recycling out of the bathroom on a regular basis. So maybe this will help!

Anyway, last week I either gave away, tossed, or added to the Goodwill box (which will someday make it to Goodwill):

1. Five boxes to a friend that's moving
2. bubble and foam wrap to the same friend
3. two old light fixtures
4. four pairs of unworn underwear that will never fit me (washed them before I tried them so I couldn't return them, darn it all!)
5. a book I finished with and will never read again
6. a pile of toothpaste boxes off the bathroom counter
7. some perfectly good skin care products that I will never use

All in all, a good first week!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

365 days of decluttering

Just ran across this blog posting, and I'm taking the challenge!

That's right. Starting today, for the next 365 days, I'm going to donate, recycle, or toss one unused thing from my house. Granted, I may take a few weeks off in, oh, December or so, but I'll have to get rid of multiple stuff (like that box of stuff to go to Goodwill that's been sitting by the front door for weeks) on other days to make up for it!

Today, I started with the alumni magazines I know I'll never read...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cheddar-Bacon Muffins

I haven't posted a recipe for a while, and Amy's been going through withdrawals, so here's one I made today. Even hubby likes these, and he doesn't like muffins. They'd be perfect with a big bowl of potato soup on a cold winter's night (yes, I know it's 80 degrees outside - a girl can dream, can't she???).

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup shredded cheddar (medium works just fine, but sharp gives it that extra zip)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (gives it a little heat, but not too much)
1 tbsp. dried minced onion
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup cooked, crumbled bacon (sometimes I cook up some bacon and keep it in the freezer for this, other times I just use bacon bits (the real stuff, not the Bacos).

In a large bowl, combine first 8 ingredients. Add eggs, milk and oil all at once, stir just to combine. Mix in bacon. Spoon into greased muffin tins (about 2/3 full or so), and bake at 375 for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

You can also make this into squares by pouring into a greased 9x12 pan and baking for 35 minutes or so, until your toothpick comes out clean.

I always store these in the fridge - I don't know if that's necessary or not, but leaving something with cheese and bacon out on the counter gives me the heebeejeebees!


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Getting Ready

Phew - time is flying by! I've had a couple of comments about how I should be blogging my pregnancy and all, but really, these days I'm lucky if I get on the computer for 20 minutes a day, which almost gives me time to clear out all my junk mail! So my apologies for being MIA, but things are going well.

It's hard to believe, but we're more than halfway there. I'm 21 weeks along now, so in 17 - 21 weeks we'll have a little one in our arms. For those of you who haven't heard, it's a girl - we found out a couple of weeks ago. Her name is Caitlyn Claire, and I don't expect that to change unless she suddenly sprouts a penis!

We've been hard at work getting things ready - hubby got the nesting instinct so bad I'm beginning to think it's just going to pass me right by! We've painted the nursery (periwinkle blue and purple) except for the trim, bought our furniture and crib bedding, and have already started accepting hand-me-downs from friends and family who have been waiting for this for years (literally) and are eager to get stuff out of their closets and attics!

I've started our first baby registry. Feels a little early, but people have been asking, so I guess I should get on board. I'll do one more, so people have two stores to choose from. Registering is really difficult, since we'll have so many people giving us things. I have no idea what we're going to get so I have no idea what we'll still need! I know my hormones are seriously at play when it comes to this, because, while I'm so excited (and truly grateful) that we have so many generous people in our lives who can't wait to shower us with the things their children no longer need, it kind of takes the magic out of registering because I don't get to have the fun of looking at all the options and figuring out what I like best, like I did when we did our wedding registry. Of course, that makes me sound like an ungrateful selfish cow but, like I said, let's blame it on the hormones. Heck, we're blaming just about everything on the hormones these days!

On the whole, everything is going really, really well. Caitlyn is healthy, and she must be strong - I'm getting kicked A LOT, which is pretty darn cool! I just wish she'd flip over sometimes so I can get it somewhere besides my bladder, but I'm living with it. We have another ultrasound on August 22, to check her growth (since I'm a "fluffy" person, shall we say, my weight gain or lack thereof isn't a good growth indicator, so the doctor's doing it with ultrasounds. I don't know if that's common or not - used to be you only got one ultrasound in a pregnancy, but the people I know have been all over the map in recent years).

That's it for now - later gaters!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

First of the Season...

First harvest...


First visit to the farmer's market -


First laundry on the line!


Happy Saturday, everyone!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

I guess it's time I spill the beans...

Wow. Guess I haven't blogged in a while, huh? Sorry about that. I've been, um, a little busy. Yeah, busy, that's it.

Ok, fine, you all know me better than that. LIES! It's all lies!

Truth be told, well,

I'M PREGNANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

True story! After two and a half years of trying, waiting, trying, waiting, screwing with my hormones and trying some more, waiting, and finally all but giving up, it happened. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 13 weeks ago.

I have proof! Here's a picture:


Yep, there's a peanut in there! That's an old picture now, taken at seven weeks. Anyway, I'm due December 6, which is just about the worst time to have a birthday in our families (simply because between the two families, I think we already have seven birthdays, plus a couple of friends' birthdays, plus Christmas, in November and December), but hey - we're not complaining!

So my big excuse for not blogging? Well, first it was too early to tell anyone, and I didn't have anything else to talk about. Then, I was sick. Oh, and I pretty much can't stay awake past 9:00 anymore, so blogging had to take a back seat. Then, my computer died. So now I have to share with darling hubby, which pretty much means kicking him off one of his games if I want to get online (like now, he's off watching Fantastic 4 on TV so I took over the internet). But, we're working that out!

At this point, all is well - and I'll keep you posted!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Chicken Corn Chowder

I made this for dinner last night, and now have leftovers for several lunches this week. So easy, and so good!

4 chicken tenderloins
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 cup butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cans creamed corn
2 large potatoes, diced
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons cold water

In your soup pot, saute the chicken in the oil until they are brown on both sides. Remove and dice. Add the butter to the pot, then add the onion and saute until it starts to brown (I like to add a pinch of salt to this step if I'm using unsalted butter).

Add the garlic, corn, potatoes, chicken broth, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Heat just until boiling; reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are cooked, about 15 minutes.

Add the milk and diced chicken and heat five minutes more. Check your seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Mix the cornstarch and cold water and add to the pot. Continue to cook until slightly thickened, about five more minutes.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Someday, I'm sure, I'll have something to say again. For now...

It's too cold to plant anything new.
I've been too busy to try any new recipes.
I'm still recovering from our big event at work last week, so I've been too tired to think of creative things to blog about.

In short, nothing exciting is happening in my life at the moment and I don't really have anything to blog about!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I've died and gone to 80s heaven

Apparently, the rumors are true - the original loves of my life - Danny, Donnie, Joe, Jon and Jordan, are getting back together. That's right, a New Kids on the Block reunion! WOO HOO!!!

There was a time when, believe it or not, I loved them more than Johnny Depp...

Ok, I'm pathetic. And I don't care who knows!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

My first quilt

It's my first quilt! Made for my dear friend Heidi, who is expecting a little girl in a couple of weeks.

The nursery is purple so it will go perfectly with that. You can't see the top two rows in the picture here, but they're identical to the bottom two (I gave it to her at her shower yesterday, and meant to take a picture with it hanging on the line beforehand, so I could get the whole thing in, but I ran out of time so you get the idea).

I haven't decided yet if I enjoyed making it or not. I certainly enjoyed parts of it, but as for the overall experience, well, the jury's still out on that. I must say I did love the final product though!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Top o' the mornin' to you!

Anyone have any big St. Patrick's Day plans? I'll admit I kind of forgot about it, except for a brief conversation with friends last week, until my mom mentioned yesterday that she and my dad have my nephews for the whole day today. I wondered why, and Mom reminded me that my sister-in-law is playing at the Irish festival today (she plays drums in a bagpipe band). Oh yeah, that! One of these years I'm going to get down there to see her play...

I didn't even buy a corned beef this year. Hubby won't eat it anyway. My friends and I are going out for Mexican food for dinner tonight. Guess I'll have to find something green to drink!

I just did a quick scan of my closet, and I don't even have anything green to wear. You know, for someone who could possibly be 1/8 Irish (it's either that or Scottish, there's some family confusion), I'm sure not very good at celebrating the wearin' o' the green!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Garden is Ready!

WOO HOO!!!!! I am SO excited. We went and got a load (3 cubic yards) of compost today. Filled four half barrels, filled the garden bed (and I mean FILLED - we are now officially raised bed, because the soil is to the top edge of the cinderblocks). We didn't even till because it ended up being so much soil.

I planted the peas and beets in the garden itself, and I planted a lettuce mix and some assorted salad greens in two of the half barrels. We'll get strawberries for the other two half barrels.

I've decided to try something different this year. Instead of planting in rows, I'm going to plant in chunks. We're going to get some more cinder blocks to make a sort of path down the middle of the garden (one cinder block wide).

While we were shoveling dirt out of the trailer, we had a long conversation about year-round gardening and how we could get by with buying as little produce as possible. I think we're going to give it a shot. In the fall we're going to expand the garden (we were going to do it this spring but it's been too rainy and the one weekend we actually could have done it, we were both sick). That will help a lot.

The one type of vegetable we haven't had success with is the brassica family (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, stuff like that). They grow fabulously well, but they end up COVERED in aphids and we can't get them off. We've killed the grass around the garden this year, so hubby thinks if we stay on top of keeping that dead (and maybe I'll get get some organic aphid spray) we'll be ok. So I'll just buy a single broccoli plant this year and see how that does. Broccoli is hubby's favorite vegetable, and it would be wonderful if we could grow it ourselves.

In the meantime, the seeds I started inside are doing fabulously. The tomato plants are HUGE (for those of you who live near me and have a garden, I'll have some tomato plants to give away this year), and the celery root is actually starting to look like a celery plant. Soon I'll move the tomatoes to a different container and start some leeks. I need to give the onions a hair cut - they're getting awfully leggy.

I am so excited about gardening season this year! Now, I just need to maintain that excitement, through all the weeding, and watering, and harvesting, and prepping before eating...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Blog, Blog, Blog

It occurs to me that it's been a while since I blogged. I guess it's because I haven't had much to say - nothing exciting is happening, except I'm working on a new crafty project that I can't talk about here in case the person I'm making it for happens to be reading the blog, as she does from time to time. You'll find out more about it next month (or if you see me you can ask me and if you're not that person I'll tell you all about it...).

I'm madly trying to hunt down yarn for a needlepoint project I inherited from my grandmother. She had it halfway done, and I got the canvas but not the yarn. So if any of you happen to have Dimensions Needlepoint kit #2364, Seaside Morning, sitting in a pile of "to be worked" projects and you are willing to part with it, I'll buy it from you. The pattern has been retired so I can't get replacement yarn, and it appears that their needlepoint kits now use embroidery floss, not yarn, so that doesn't help me either!

Other than that, I'm watching way too much television - anyone seen the new show "New Amsterdam"? EXCELLENT show. Jericho is also supremely excellent this season. Too bad there are only two episodes left, and I'm guessing even a ton of peanuts won't save it from the chopping block this time.

So, as you can see, nothing new going on around here...

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Stuffed Flank Steak

Golly, it's been a long time since I posted a recipe! Apparently I've been falling down on the job...

Anyway, I made this tonight for dinner and it was pretty good. Not spectacular, but a keeper, I think. No measurements for the ingredients because it's all dependent on how big your meat is (those of you who need to can go take your Beavis and Butthead moment now and return when you're ready to proceed!).

Flank steak
shredded parmesan cheese
baby spinach
shredded fontina cheese
steak seasoning
bamboo skewers

Soak the bamboo skewers for at least 20 minutes before proceeding with this recipe (that way they won't burn when you cook it). Prepare your pan by spraying a cooking sheet with nonstick spray and then sprinkle it lightly with steak seasoning.

Using a very sharp knife, butterfly the flank steak, without cutting it all the way through (you want to be able to open it up to make a larger steak). Cut with the grain (the knife blade should be parallel to the grain of the meat). Open the meat. Put on a layer of shredded parmesan, then a layer of baby spinach, then a layer of fontina. Roll up the meat very tightly and secure it with the skewers.

Make small steak rolls by cutting the meat in between the skewers. Lay each roll flat on your prepared pan. Sprinkle the tops with steak seasoning.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes or until it reaches desired doneness. Remove from the oven and cover the pan with foil. Let stand for five minutes, and enjoy!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Happy Birthday to me!

Is it bad form to tell the whole world that it's your birthday? Oh well. Celebrate with me! Since I firmly believe that I'm only as old as I act, happy 12th birthday to me all over again...

I've been celebrating since the 10th, when I had my first party with my sister-in-law, whose birthday was the 4th. Everyone gave me either money or gift cards, so I bought a ton of books and DVDs for myself on Amazon, and I've had packages arriving every few days. The celebration will culminate next weekend when my friends come over for a bead-making party, a party shared with my dear friend Carla, whose birthday is day after tomorrow.

As for my immediate plans? I took today off of work (yay!). I have big plans - sewing, reading, watching Gilmore Girls on DVD. Tonight I'm making chicken cordon bleu for dinner, because I love it, and I haven't made it for a very long time. We'll also be having Girl Scout cookies and Rocky Road ice cream for dessert.

So happy birthday to me! Party on, people!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Leave it to me... get the flu on the first gorgeous weekend in a long, long time. And a three day one, no less! Perfect weather for getting the garden enlarged, and we had plans to take the dogs out to play, and I was supposed to go to the symphony with my mom (fortunately we got the tickets switched for a different concert).

And here I sit with a temperature of 101.4. Lucky me...

I hope you all are enjoying your weekend more than I am!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Let's get gardening!

The days are getting longer, the air is getting warmer, the seeds have arrived and I have the gardening itch! I started seeds last weekend, and last Saturday I even had a little time to clean out the herb beds.

I have big plans for the garden this year. We're going to widen it by another couple of feet, and we'll either make it about four feet longer, or I'll convince hubby to build me a cold frame at one end. The talks continue in that regard, LOL! Things are growing UP this year, too. I ordered a six-foot-tall bean tower from gardener's supply, which I'm actually going to use for peas (shh, don't tell!), and we're going to build a trellis to hold the cucumber, vining tomatoes, and squash.

The herb beds will continue to expand - most of what I planted last year is still around, with the exception of a few annuals (I try not to buy those, but how can you say no to your husband when he looks at you with those big puppy dog eyes and says "PLEASE, can we buy this sweet sweet plant?" So the stevia came home with us. As well as a few others - marjoram, pineapple sage, and cilantro. Those will likely be replaced, and I'll get more. One of the beds will turn into a salsa garden - I'll grow my peppers and some garlic out there, too.

I'll also be adding a potted lettuce garden as part of our new front yard landscaping (Ringo the greens loving dog will eat anything I plant in the back yard). We're going to get a few half barrels and I'll be planting several varieties of leafy greens.

Here's what my first order from Territorial (my favorite seed company) looked like:

- yellow beans
- purple beans
- beets (cool ones, with red and white rings!)
- carrots
- celeriac (aka celery root)
- leeks (which, by the way, are an all-season crop around here - the ones I planted last year are still going strong!)
- lemon cucumber
- lettuce (a blend specifically for growing in pots)
- vit (salad green, aka corn salad)
- watercress
- purslane (yep, it's a weed. Also a salad green!)
- walla walla onions
- red onions (thin your onions by using the shoots when you need green onions)
- peas
- turnips (oh, yeah, I forgot to order those!)
- spinach (somehow forgot to order that too!)
- pattypan squash (that was fun to grow last year)
- currant tomatoes (little itty bitty things that grow on a vine)
- sauce tomatoes (for cooking - like Romas)

and one herb so far - borage. I plan to put that in the new side bed when we do our landscaping, but I may grow some in a pot for now - it's taller than I want to put in my front beds.

Now - let's get gardening!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Budget recap

Tomorrow is payday, and so we have officially reached the end of another budget month. I worked really hard to track everything this month, so I have a good feel for where we are. We did really well in some areas, and not well at all in others! All in all, we ended up about $60 over budget, which still left us $220 to send as an extra truck payment, so that makes me happy.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - for two people, we spend an obscene amount of money on food. I think a lot of this has to do with my love of cooking and my desire to constantly try out new things, and to use high quality ingredients whenever I can. I'm also a stock up shopper, so if I see a good sale I'll tend to buy it, even if it's not in my plan. This is something I need to work on! I budget $300 a month for groceries (which usually includes over the counter medicine, cleaning products, paper products, and stuff like that, but not pet food or supplies). We were about $86 over this month.

I also budget $200 for eating out. Usually we blow this figure out of the water, by $100 or more. We made a concerted effort not to eat out as much, and we actually came in under budget by about $5! Yay!

We also went way over budget in gas. I knew we would, with the new gas-hog truck, but I didn't know where to put the benchmark so I left it alone for this month. I budgeted $250, we were over by $57. I'll bump it to $300 for next month, though I think we would have come in close to budget if not for a few extra trips across the river because of my grandfather's death, including one in the truck because of ice. These things happen, though, so it's important to plan for them when budgeting!

Our other over-budget areas were donations (I made an extra donation this month), electric (our electric bill shot up $15 and I still haven't figured out why!), and water (just a couple of bucks). We came in right at budget or with a couple of bucks to spare on most of the rest of the categories.

Our saving grace overall was our car insurance - because we traded in two cars when we bought the truck, we got a credit and our bill was $100 lower than we expected this month. This won't last but it sure helped fill in some of the gap this month!

So, it's time to rework things to start over fresh with a new month. I may try to go cash-only on groceries this time to see if it helps, we'll see. We're coming to the bottom of the freezer (finally!), so I'll probably need to buy some meat this month, but if I make a concerted effort to use more pantry stuff, we may come out ok.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Tuesday's Kitchen Tip - Veggie Cubes

I'm rapidly realizing that it's kind of hard to think of kitchen tips! I probably do a lot of things that others would consider tips, but they're either like second nature to me so I don't think about it, or else I've picked them up from someone else so they're not original and I feel weird about posting them. But I'll keep thinking...

Here's one thing I do from time to time that sometimes helps speed things up in the kitchen. I started doing this a couple of summers ago when my onions were ready to be picked from the garden, and I wasn't going to use them all up before they started going downhill (I grow walla wallas - they don't keep in the ground as well as some others).

I took a bunch of onions and peeled them all, then chopped them into the standard size I use in all my cooking (I put onions and garlic in just about all of our entrees, even if the recipes don't call for them). Then, I took some old ice cube trays and put the onions evenly into them, added a tablespoon of water to each cube section, and froze them. Popped them out of the trays and into a freezer bag. Then, when I need onions for whatever I'm cooking, I just have to grab them out of the bag, throw them in the pan, and it's ready to go. No muss, no fuss. No chopping, and no crying! I use about four cubes for one medium onion.

I've also done this successfully with celery. One of these days I'll try it with bell peppers. I have heard it works well with certain herbs, like basil and parsley, but I haven't had enough of a crop to try them yet. I need to try it with cilantro, which always grows much faster than the rest of our salsa ingredients!