Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

Happy Turkey Day!!

No, not that Turkey...this Turkey!!

Tomorrow we are on our way home. WooHoo!!! We haven't been home since Christmas of last year so we are anxious to get back and spend time with family. While it won't be exactly what we are used to, it will definately be a blend of what the days to come are going to look like.

With our first child on the way, we are going to have to rethink how we do holidays. I just don't think I will survive caring for an infant in the car for that long next year, Thanksgiving and then 3 weeks later, Christmas.

It takes about 12 or 13 hours to get home and so my husband is going to have alot of fun riding with an 80 pound dog and his wife who is 6 and a half months pregnant, ...this should be interesting!! I think Maggie will do better than me. Swollen feet, achy back and a full bladder....Ugh! This is going to be a long trip!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Staying at Home??

Since I am now 13 weeks away from giving birth, ideally, (can you hear the panic in my voice?), I figured I would start researching my childcare options. Our first plan was to ask if I could bring the baby to work for a while. That got NIXXED pretty darn fast. Next was putting her into care here at the university where I work so she would be close by. Unfortunately, they don't accept infants. Then, I started asking around for someone to keep her in my house. But when I actually looked at the cost of having someone keep her, it wasn't even worth it.

So I talked to E the other night and laid out my options for him:

A) paying someone to keep the baby so that I could work through the summer and then quit in August (3 extra pay checks)
B) finally get a chance to use the short-term disability benefits through work (5 extra pay checks at 60%) and then quit afterwards

Work has been pulling money out of my check for a year and a half now in case I ever want to use my short term disability so why not take advantage of it? I don't know if he just really didn't care or was preoccupied by the magazine he was reading when I brought up the subject, the response was frightening.

Me: So what do you think?
E: I think you should just stay home!

Wow, I didn't even have to fight or discuss any of this. I had all of my points ready to make my case. Maybe he knew how stressed this was starting to make me or maybe that's really what he thought but his "matter-o-fact" answer caught me off guard.

All that to say...I am staying home ladies and gents!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Great Wall

We have had the floor tiles in our house for over a year with a purpose in mind. We have big plans for our laundry room/den/my office. These floor tiles were involved in the grand scheme of things and now that we finally have free time, we got around to putting up the tiles this weekend. It really didn't take that long but we were both really surprised at how much we like it once it got on the wall. On the left hand side, E is going to build me a shelf for storage baskets and then a built-in storage bench to go across the rest of the space. There will also be a hook for coats and other accessories. Now that I can finally see the difference, I am getting excited.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Brushing Maggie's Teeth

E decided Saturday morning that he was would brush Maggie's teeth. Normally we would let the vet or the groomers deal with that but not that day. He is a picture of the struggle. Maggie's wanted to eat the brush and chew on E's fingers...just a little bit...and E wanted to go ahead and get his done.

It wouldn't have been so bad if he hadn't sent me to get his own personal toothbrush for the task!! Luckily, he had just gotten back from the dentist and had received a new one.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thanksgiving Social

This weekend was our annual Thanksgiving social which includes a meal, dessert, wonderful fellowship and of course, what would a Thanksgiving social be without a game of Thanksgiving themed pictionary. Very strange the games these people play but I am always up for a good time. Here are a few pictures from the event...sorry, there were so many.

I thought I would start off with this picture and the story that goes with it. I went home early from work on Friday to get the food cooked that I was supposed to bring. I made a sweet potato souflee' and 2 casserole dishes of apple dumplings (E's favorite). With an hour left before the party started and all three dishes needing to be cooked for about an hour, I opted to cook the souflee' and the biggest dish of apple dumplings. I figured that I would bring the extra dish of apple dumplings to the party and see if there was room in the oven to cook them during dinner. Once we got there, there wasn't room in the oven so I resigned to the fact that one large dish would have to suffice. I was eating dinner inside when Elizabeth came and whispered in my ear:

Elizabeth: Are those dumplings cooked all of the way?
Me: Yeah, why?
Elizabeth: Well, everyone on the porch is eating them and they don't taste like the last ones you made.

I looked into the kitchen and saw the dish they had been eating from was the dish of raw apple dumplings. But that's not the funny part. The funny part was that they were eating them and going back for seconds and ended up eating almost the WHOLE DISH of the RAW dumplings. I look on the porch where half of our group was eating and Renee' (who is also pregnant and due 3 weeks before me) is just sawing through the raw apples with her plastic knife. Here's what was left in the raw dish. I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes. Seriously, they were going back for seconds on the raw dumplings!!!

Good food!!!

Dave and Russell carving the turkey and the ham.

Erika decorated the porch SO BEAUTIFULLY!! I am super jealous of her front porch.

Everyone finally digging in to the food.

Everyone eating on the front porch.

The infamous game of pictionary...I started us out by drawing "giblet gravy." Just a small note, pictionary between the men and women gets VERY competitive as you will see in the next few pictures.

Dave looking up "turkey wattle" on his iphone to make sure he is submitting the right word. Lucky me, I picked that one.

Lindy was upset that he had picked Sam's entry "Uncle Benny's Hangover."
Erika relaxing on the front porch after cleaning house and cooking all day.
Me, Kristy and Matt focused intently on the board.
With all of the pregnant women in our class, let me rephrase that...With half of the women in our class being pregnant, this drawing in particular got us all a little scared before she drew the eyes. I was seriously starting to reconsider everything post childbirth.

But once she drew the eyes, we all immediately knew what she was drawing...Russell's snake vest.
And Matt couldn't resist...he had to try on the snake vest and bust a move!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hashbrown Casserole...OH MY!!!

Hash Brown Casserole...I first saw this on Paula Deen's website and decided to try it. But now...it's nothing like hers. The first time I made this,...ehh...I wasn't so impressed. Yeah, it was good enough to eat for breakfast but I didn't think I would ever make it again. The hashbrown crust was mushy, I didn't like the diced ham, there wasn't enough flavor...and the list goes on. This weekend, I had an epiphany. "I should add sausage and more veggies and make the hash brown crust CRISPY!!!" So Saturday night, I did just that. I thawed out the hashbrowns and cooked them much more than I was supposed to in a 9x13 dish instead of an pie plate. I chopped and seeded 2 tomatoes and 1 onion. I also went ahead and cooked a pound of sausage instead of adding diced ham and WOW! What a difference. I got lots of yummy sounds when I brought this to church Sunday morning. And everything was make ahead too so all I had to do when I got up was add eggs to the chopped veggies and the sausage I had chopped and cooked the night before and pour it over the crust. SO EASY!!

Try this! You will love it!!
(I forgot the pictures this morning...so I will post them later on when I get a hold of them!!)

Friday, November 14, 2008

E Revelations

Lately, I am noticing that everytime I turn around, E is building a backyard fire in the firepit. It doesn't matter that it's 85 degrees outside, evidently we are in desperate need for a fire every night of the week. This weekend was no different. After starting a fire on Friday and Saturday night, E came home from church on Sunday around lunch and immediately started throwing logs onto the fire. I will never understand men and the attraction to burn things!! We sat around the fire and reminisced about where we were 5 years ago and if we every thought we would be discussing house renovations around fire, in Texas, with a dog, and a baby on the way. Our life has completely turned out much different than I, personally, expected 5 years ago when we got engaged. In a good way though.

Other new things about E I am noticing is his need for a project. I honestly think that's why he got his master's degree. And once the program ended, he walked around the house for the first few days trying to find something to do. But, no worries, I have enough projects around the house that he is getting excited about and they will keep him quite busy for a few months. Hopefully, the renovation funds will keep up with him. And I think I overheard him talking with our Sunday School teacher about substitute teaching our class. I don't know if I will ever get him all figured out.

Hmmmm...Christmas Cookies???

I saw these advertised as Christmas cookies this morning and was a little confused ... but maybe it's just me!! However, I did like the tag line..."Now everyone can have a bun in the oven!" Fetus Cookies? I think I should definately take these to my Sunday School Christmas Social. Or maybe I will just forego the cookies all together.

Already Thinking Obituaries

So when I die, I haven't decided if want someone to write something like this about me. My friend Elizabeth's husband, Matt, just made a site for himself. On his new site, he described himself in these words:

"While in high school, Matthew dabbled in croquet, the banjo, welding, tap dancing, and raising show hogs. "

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Why bother at all? Because I don't have a fortune to spend on new nursery furniture. So let's go over how this is all coming together:

Crib: My mom and dad bought one for us second hand. Supposedly it is mission style and painted white. I have yet to see it though. All we have to do is buy a mattress.
Bedding: A friend had 2 sets for girls that she wasn't using anymore and wanted to pass them on and since I like free stuff!!!! The one I chose is pink and brown polka dots.
Changing Table: Still in the works. I have one picked out at the local supercenter but would rather find a crappy piece of furniture that I can put my stamp on. So the verdict is still out!!
Dresser: E has an old dresser that we are painting it white and replacing the hardware. So it is being repurposed in the babies room. Here is a little sneak peak of the progress I am making on the dresser so far.
Shelving: This shelf was left at our house when we moved in and I really liked it. I knew I wanted to use it but I didn't know how or where. But now it has a new place and new purpose. I am planning on painting it brown.
Walls: Since I really have no desire to repaint the walls, I don't plan on it. The walls are already tan and I plan on making that work.
This is what the baby's room currently looks like. Lots of work left to go. But my new policy is "One Hour a Day!" I worked 2 nights this week and I am almost done priming the dresser drawers and have started priming the shelf.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Babies and Diapers and Wipes... Oh My!!

Have you ever registered? Are you one of those people who actually enjoys registering? If so, our blogosphere friendship is over...or maybe I should take you shopping with me!! I haven't decided yet!

Maybe it was my lack of attention span, my sore feet and the warm temperature of the store, but I hate registering. With a shower coming up next month, and the fact that I am trying very hard to avoid holiday crowds this year, I decided to register in early November. E offered to go with me, which I am eternally grateful for, since he was the one trying out the car seats and the strollers and all of the items that I didn't have the energy to test out. All it took was the payment of one Eggnog Latte from Starbucks. Eggnog Latte? Already? Whatever floats his boat!!

But all of that shopping brought back memories of registering for our wedding? What do you really need? Will I actually use that? I don't cook so why would I want all of these kitchen items? (HA, boy has that changed) Except this time, the threat of everything I didn't know about having kid was starting to give me a small anxiety attack. Seriously though, I had no idea what I was doing. Both of us were flying blindly trying to figure out what we really needed and what normal people actually register for while trying to be practical. With all that being said, I really enjoyed registering for stuff online. I could prop my feet up, throw the laptop in my lap, take my shoes off and slip into some pj's, and enjoy a nice cup of hot chocolate while I shop at home.

So we registered for a few things and then decided we needed to do a bit more research before registering at the other store. Oh well, it was quality time together right?

P.S. while I didn't enjoy registering, I LOVE EXPECTANT MOTHER PARKING!!!

Pumpkin Muffins

Since I have been charged with helping my mom and sister prepare Thanksgiving breakfast and dinner, I have been trying a few new things a week that I might be able to use during the holidays. Last week, I made the Ham, Egg and Cheese bake. This week, I made these Pumpkin Muffins. And next week, I am making a hashbrown breakfast casserole.

But back to this week...the pumpkin muffins. I got this out of the Cooking Light magazine a few years back and forgot to make it last Thanksgiving and decided it needed to be made before another year had passed. I love pumpkin. Ironically, not pumpkin pie, I would rather have pumpkin breakfast treats or soups.

But why is this a Cooking Light recipe? And if it's light, does it actually taste good? They were much lighter because the recipe calls for buttermilk instead of butter sticks. However, I thought they could use a little help and added a little bit of struesel to the top of each muffin before I threw them in the oven for some extra crunch (2 parts brown sugar, 1 part flour). These were really great and you can mostly make it from things you have around your kitchen already if you are like me and always have a can of pumpkin and some raisons sitting around. I will say that this was my first time cooking with molasses and I think I am going to look for a few more molasses recipes.

Mom, I think we have a keeper!

Thanksgiving Tip: You can make these up to 2 days ahead of time and then throw them into a greased pan on Thanksgiving morning.

Sighs of Relief

While I have been sitting quietly in my house, trying not to say anything and waiting patiently, the day finally came this weekend. "What day is that?" you might ask! Oh...a very grand day. The day when all of the stuff that came from our two car garage that's been STUFFED into our house for 3 months slowly chipping away at my sanity IS NO MORE!! E worked really hard this weekend and got floor sealed and almost all of the new shelves hung so we could clean out the house.

You might be asking yourself "Why did this drive her so crazy!" Well, since I couldn't even enter the door threshold of the baby's room, my husband is currently using a green plastic patio chair for a reading chair in his office, and the door into the laundry room from the kitchen was blocked with all of our hurricane and camping supplies (luckily there were 2 entrances into the room), I was starting to loose it. Oh yeah, did I mention the giant blue tarp that covered the items in on the patio from the garage that we ran out of room for in the house?

After all was said and done, it was rather quiet around the house which never happens unless something is wrong. So I went on a hunt for my husband and dog. After searching the yard and the house, I was dumbfounded. "Where are they?" The car was in the driveway, Maggie's leash was still there so they didn't go for a walk...and that's when it hit me that he had a new workspace in the garage. I wish the camera battery wasn't dead because the picture was priceless. E, in his new "Man Space", had pulled out a folding chair and had propped up his feet on the ottoman that is going in the baby's room and was taking a nap in the garage. And there was Maggie, asleep at his right hand.

He is really going to town with this garage renovation project. He stayed out there all night reading Handyman magazines and designing a new workspace for himself. And then last night, I went out to check on him and noticed he had moved one of our spare computers out there and it was all setup and ready to go. I have a feeling that this could either go very well and very bad!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Make Ahead Main Dish

I always have the hardest time finding main dishes that I actually like.  The choices I seem to find all use ground beef as a staple (sorry if you like ground beef but my pregnant belly DOES NOT like ground beef) or it is super fancy and will take all night to make.  While I typically don't like ground beef recipes, this one I swapped for ground turkey so that both of us could eat it.  

It only took about 30 minutes to make, that's not so bad.  But the best part is that you can make this meal ahead of time, come home from a long day at work and throw it in the oven for an hour while you deal with your life.  E says he wants me to make it again so that's a pretty big deal at our house.  Try it if you dare.

P.S. The recipe made ALOT of noodles so had enough left over to make a few individual macaroni and cheese dishes to throw into the microwave tomorrow.  Just layer noodles, cheese, noodles, cheese and then add a little milk in the bottom.  2 birds...one stone!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Belly Blast

I know I know.  I have been super delinquent about posting belly pictures.  I took one a few weeks ago and meant to post it but forgot and the camera memory card had to be reformatted and we lost the photo.  Sorry!  But here I am at 24 weeks.  I still can't believe I have made it this far with no major anxiety attacks.  It's bizarre that the life as I currently know it, will be completely over in three and a half months.  

We got a good report at the Dr. yesterday.  I was literally told "You are looking good and doing pregnant proud!!"  I think that's good, right?  Swollen feet and swollen fingers are dominating my life these days.  So much so that I have already starting putting certain pairs of shoes into storage.  Since they say you grow a have size shoe size and don't shrink back, I am going to be well deserving a whole new shoe collection.  Thanks E!!!  I eat everything in sight (and in my thoughts).  Homemade chocolate chip cookies go a long way, as does Ben and Jerry's Everything But The...  I love that flavor.  Nothing is left out of the pot.  Soup is still a prominent craving.  Also, strawberries, oranges and apple sauce.  Oh yeah...did I mention I have gained 20 pounds already?  Opps...I guess I forgot that part.  Rachel (the baby) kicks at bed time, lunchtime and REALLY HARD about 4am until I finally get up and feed her breakfast.  What a spoiled princess!!  haha I can already tell she is going to keep me up all night when she finally comes home.

But I hope you enjoy the picture.  I don't think I will ever get used to seeing myself this way.  I just hope the weight comes off as fast as it is coming on!

The Family That Votes Together, Stays Together

Me and E always try to go and vote together in the mornings before work. It's nice because we have someone to talk to while we wait in line and someone to laugh with about the crazy things going on at our voting precinct. This morning was no exception. My husband has one of those names that if you add a letter to the end of his name, it turns into a girls name. Well, fortunately, the letter needed to make his name a girls name is also the first letter of his middle name. Since his name is on my military ID, we are often confused for each other. I went through the line, handed the beehive haired old ladies my id, and watched her write my last name on the signature chart but got distracted and didn't watch her write my first name. I signed and stood in line to vote.

The next thing I know, E is in a very confusing predicament because he is having to explain his name and his wife's name are NOT the same. Aunt Bea says "Who is Mrs. Bailey?" I walk back over to the table and we have to explain our names all over again. Luckily the people in line behind us all thought it was pretty funny and weren't too annoyed. ...And I didn't even get a sticker!! What's up with that?

All worth it though!! Don't forget to go and vote. You can't complain about politics for the next 4 years unless you vote today!!!

Lots of pictures coming from our weekend activites but E is supposed to send them to me later on.