Thursday, July 30, 2009

Less and less time

If you haven't noticed the baby T-rex tracker at the top of the page please take time to do so now. Yes, those numbers are right, we have less than 100 days until the due date of our little T-rex. We are so happy that he or she continues to grow normally and we haven't reached the "Get it out" point yet. We are super excited to meet him or her and expect that we will only grow more excited in the coming days.

I really like how young kids interact with the belly. A friend of ours has a two year old little boy who asked "If we could open the baby yet". Apparently Nate is ready to meet this little one! Nate's mommy, Jamie, is an ultrasound tech and after watching our ultrasound video she said she has a guess about what the baby is, but she would not tell a mommy to paint the room pink or blue based on her guess. We are glad that our baby is determined to be a little surprise!

This weekend we are off to Dallas to see Ben, Martha, and Liam. We are excited to see such dear friends of ours and to spend some good time with them.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I just spoke with our doctor who let us know that the baby is approximately 1 pound 11 ounces. Having no frame of reference she informed us that this means the baby is in the 55th percentile which is perfect. When the baby is in the womb you don't want the baby to big (could be a sign of gestational diabetes or you don't want to push out a monster baby) and you don't want the baby to small (obviously we want our t-rex to be growing properly). So I am happy as a clam and very freaked out by the fact that my baby is already the size of some babies who are accidentally born to early!!!

Becco replica

Recently I took a little trip to New York for the JFR Lerner Fellowship. There were some fabulous meals and snacks to be had in an entire new part of the city that I had not explored (the Upper West side around Columbia). One of the restaurants that we ate at was called Becco. It is located just off of Broadway in the Theater District.

The outside of Beco

All in all the food was very good a Becco. We were a large group so we had a preset menu, but at one point I looked at the rest of the restaurant and it looked as though the entire restaurant may be preset. One thing that automatically made the meal wonderful was excellent conversation with the Croatian teachers that came to the fellowship whom we tried enthusiastically to teach how to be Southern/Texan. I was a bit envious of the friend next to me who ordered a glass (or two) of Prosseco. I really enjoy the Italian sparkling wine and it would have matched well with the variety of food we had. I do not remember much about the anti pasta we were given. It was marinated artichokes and red bell peppers and marscapone cheese with some sweet glaze that I felt would be better suited for dessert. The salad was mixed greens in a typical house dressing even though we were supposed to have Caesar until too many people complained about anchovies in the dressing not realizing that most Caesar dressings have anchovies. On to the unlimited (yes I said unlimited) servings of pasta. There were three types and I do not remember much about one of them. The other two were mushroom ravioli and oreichette with cauliflower. The ravioli was good and had a very nice sauce that complimented the dish well, but for me the real winner was the oreichette with cauliflower. All of the pasta was homemade and some of the shell shaped pasta had a tendency to stack together making a larger pasta filled bite (which I loved). The cauliflower was a little soft, but had good flavor when tossed with a really light and smooth tomato sauce. Topping all of this off with a good dose of Parmesan really made the dish come together. I rather enjoy the way that Parmesan acts as a last minute "binder" for lighter pasta sauces. I came home and duplicated what I ate!

We try to eat a lot of veggies and this was a new way to prepare them. I took zucchini, yellow squash, and carrots and using my vegetable peeler cut slivers of veggies. This was all sauteed with finely sliced red onion, garlic, olive oil, and a bit of fresh ground black pepper! Really good and fresh tasting.

I boiled the pasta (I used rigatoni at Matt's request) and used the steamer basket to steam chopped cauliflower. I took the cauliflower after it was "al dente" and sauteed in a little olive oil and garlic.

All real pasta dishes need lots of fresh basil. We roughly chopped this and tossed it when we were mixing all of the pasta together. The basil will wilt just enough from the residual heat of the pasta and sauce. We have found that it tastes a lot fresher and makes the basil much more noticeable when not cooked in the sauce.

For the actual sauce I took a shallot and half a red onion diced and sauteed that with a couple cloves of chopped garlic. When everything was translucent I added one large can of diced tomatoes, seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a bit of Italian seasoning. After letting it mellow and blend a bit, I tasted and adjusted my seasoning. We like sauces like this sometimes because it is super fresh and almost raw in that it is not your all day simmered marinara or meat sauce. It is great for the summer time!

We tossed it all together with Parmesan and topped with sauteed chicken (this is when you add the fresh basil)!

A word about your chicken. Mattie and I sometimes buy vinegar based salad dressings that we end up less than thrilled about. When this happens, we keep it in the fridge and use it for a quick marinade on our chicken. Just because you don't like it on your salad doesn't mean that it won't impart wonderful flavor on your poultry!

A real baby!

Yesterday we went in for our routine checkup and an extra ultrasound to make sure that the placenta was carefully migrating to a better position. The babies placenta had moved and we were glad for the extra ultrasound to get another peek at our beautiful little one. While the baby still does not like profile shots and in fact had his or her body turned completely away from us, we managed to get a couple of great pictures. We were amazed to actually see a real face with some cheek, nose, and eye definition in place. For the first time we are not thinking of our baby as a scary alien/T-Rex, but a real life baby that (if we do say so ourselves) is kind of cute! As of right now, the ultrasound tech did not give us a sense of how big the baby is, but I have a message placed for them to call me back!

Matt says the T-Rex is waving "Hi", I say the T-Rex is shouting
"Get out of here before I punch you"

I think the baby is hiding behind it's arms

On more baby related matters we are reading up on the Bradley method to adapt some of their principles for an unmedicated birth. I really like the concept of working with your body to push the baby out. Before we got pregnant I was adamant that I would want an epidural as soon as possible, but I am really looking forward to trying a "natural" birth.

On more material matters, I made my first big baby purchase last week! I bought a used glider with ottoman off of Craig's list. It was a really good deal, had almost no stains, and cleaned up well with Oxyclean. For those of you who have not sat in a glider you will not understand how beneficial these chairs are. I am really looking forward to quality time with the T-Rex in this chair!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pasta E Fagioli

One of my favorite modified recipes is my recipe for Pasta E Fagioli. Pasta E Fagioli is pasta with beans and is often served in soup form. If you order this at Olive Garden you will get a soup tasting very much like chili. It is good, but a little less authentic than the recipe I modify. For the soup: In olive oil sautee one diced onion and two to three diced carrots. If red, yellow, or orange bell peppers are on sale I throw a finely diced bit of that in too. When the veggies are well on their way to being tender you can toss in some chopped garlic. I then drain three or four cans of Cannolini beans and rinse those to remove some of the salt and starchiness. I usually let those soak in some of the veggie-ness for a bit in the pot as well. This next step is up to you: you can add in a bit of tomato paste or canned diced tomatoes. I would not add a lot, just enough to add a bit of flavor. Top everything off with water or chicken stock. At this point I usually season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, fresh rosemary and some Italian seasoning. Sometimes I also add a bay leaf or two (it is soup after all). Once the soup is to a full boil add ditalini or some other small shaped pasta. Once the pasta is cooked you are ready to stir and serve.

You MUST top this with a drizzle of good quality olive oil and parmesan cheese. Optional is browned Italian sausage (removed from the casing). With Mattie the carnivore, I must add the sausage!

Serve with salad and toasted bread or combine the two and serve with bruschetta!

24 weeks and counting...

It does not look that big...

Whoa mama...never mind...

Here we are at 24 weeks. We just passed this marker and we are frantically realizing that this baby is very much on the way. We have known for some time that the baby is actually inside of me growing, but when you say we are down to 16 weeks left it makes it very real. We have so much to do, but we also realize that in the end as long as there is a place for the baby to sleep, diapers, and warm clothing we should be ok. Everyone has been so supportive around us, but we think it is tremendously funny to see people who have not seen me in a while react to the hugeness that is my belly. This weekend we go to my family reunion in Chapel Hill, TX and a good majority of those people we only see once a we should have some good reactions and belly touching.

Speaking of belly touching...some of you know that I have issues with people in my personal space...not people that I know, but strangers. I thought that this personal space issue would translate over to people I know touching my belly because of how personal and special it is to me, but I really haven't. It is kind of fun to watch (only females) people that we know come up and show love for the belly. I figure as long as I continue to get warm fuzzy feelings from it, by all means they should continue. I have not had to tell any stranger to back off yet, but we will see what happens...I think the ferocious mama t-rex will come out at that point!

I did have two interesting interactions with two separate people yesterday. When going to get my hair trimmed (just an inch) the Korean woman that was folding towels insisted that I am having a boy. I told her I didn't know and she said "No, you are having boy." So we know where she is on the gender debate. Later, I had to stop and get a few dollars of gas into my loaner VW Beetle while my car was being worked on (it made me angry to drive...not happy...I like my Jetta much better) and the woman at the counter said "You are having a boy". When again I told her I didn't know she said "You are having a boy, you will see. Come show me later." I don't think it is anything to base paint and onesie colors on, but kind of funny interactions to have in the same day!

We should have another post tomorrow or Thursday after our doctor appointment with our extra ultrasound!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ole for Burritos

This is a method I learned from my dad. We would eat this fairly regularly and seeing as it is so easy and delicious, Mattie and I have it probably once a month or so. The concept is take a frozen burrito and spice it up to your liking. We always choose to bake our frozen burrito in the oven, but from what I understand the frying method is even better. While the burritos are baking and getting toasty we heat up refried beans and canned (or homemade) chili. We also shave some lettuce, dice tomatoes, avocado, and onions and grate some cheese. When the burritos are ready we put down a layer of beans, a layer of lettuce, the actual burrito, spoon a generous serving of chili on top, cover in cheese, avocados, and tomatoes and get ready to enjoy. My favorite part about this dish is that after the burrito is done, you usually have a little miniature taco salad left on your plate from all of the toppings and burrito guts. We have a neighbor who took this same basic concept and put all of the hot stuff (beans, chili, burritos, and cheese) in a casserole dish for easy transportation. This is a very simple meal, but sure to please and if people can find frozen burritos in other parts of the country or world, a nice way to remind them (fairly closely) of some good texas flavor!!!


Monday night Mattie got off work early so we ventured down to Babies R Us and Target to register for baby gifts for the little T-Rex. We were more than a little overwhelmed by all that there is to buy for a baby. Picking out a few outfits was fun, as was the couple of toys and books that we registered for. Other things were a little more difficult. We are not completely satisfied with a lot of the travel systems (stroller/car seat combos) out there. We were also unsure of how many burp cloths, bottles, pacifiers and such that you need as well. I know babies puke a lot, but how much is a good place to start?!?!? We did not register for furniture for the baby yet (we might throw it on there later) because we are hoping to find something we like on craigs list. Basically, any experienced mommy's who want to scan through our registry and give suggestions please do. We would love some extra advice and input!!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Daddy's birthday

Me and my birthday boy

This past week we celebrated Mattie's 28th birthday. I woke up and made Mattie a bacon waffle and a chocolate chip waffle which he was immensely happy about. That night I made a pork tenderloin with veggies and rice, and most importantly a dark chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and chocolate chips between the layers. We were definitely on a sugar high after that. What is most important and touching is that with the extra sugar in my system, the baby was moving around enough and strong enough that Mattie was able to feel two or three good kicks/movements. He was a little surprised and did not believe it at first. He thought I was making those movements and I assured him otherwise. When he said that he was feeling the baby move when I knew the baby was moving I got a little emotional and teared up. It was so nice to share that with him on his birthday!!! Of course I am a little jealous because it is a reminder that soon this precious little package that has, for the most part, been all mine will soon be ready to share with the world. Just a little bit of mommy jealousy coming out!!! All in all, I don't mind because as much as I love this little baby being all mine I am looking forward to meeting him or her!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Learning the Rules

Today I learned rule #497 about living with a pregnant woman:
Don't take the chocolate away until she says OK. -Matt

Traveling with baby

This baby, even though he or she does not realize it, is a traveling fool! The week before last I participated in the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous Alfred Lerner Fellowship at Columbia University in New York City. It sounds very prestigious and truly is. I was one of 34 teachers selected from around the world to participate in this five day fellowship. I met some wonderful people and acquired more information about the Holocaust (which I only have two class periods to teach) and really adjusted my thought on how I want to teach the Holocaust next year. Several of our speakers, when giving information, helped guide us to certain conclusions that I think I would like to try with my little Sophomores. This past year I let the students determine the direction of what we were going to talk about in relation to the Holocaust (I felt that confident in my knowledge) and it worked really well. So next year (especially if I can squeeze in an extra day or so) I think I would like to add the challenging part too! A group of girls (and a few guys) on the trip and I decided that as long as we were living in a dorm (I had forgotten about dorm mattresses and sharing bathrooms suite style) we might as well live up the dorm life. We stayed up late several nights talking, laughing, and gorging on snacks. It was a good time had by all, except maybe the people in the room next to our "hangout" who had to hear us all night...

In addition to all of the scholarly things, I did revisit a few places that I had been before and a few new places while in the city. New things I accomplished: flying all by myself (thank goodness I am a good packer and know the airports fairly well), got into a car accident in NYC (not my fault obviously and we were all fine), rode the subway by myself twice (again, good thing I had ridden public transit before), travelled as a very pregnant woman (I was only a little pregnant in Europe), saw a Comedy show (yay for high school friend Katie Larsen and her comedy group the Harvard Sailing Team), and explored the Upper West Side of NYC (there are some really great food places up there!). Three major old things: visiting ground zero, going to Lombardi's, and walking around Times Square.

This is standing at Ground Zero
I had visited Ground Zero when we went with Matt's family in 2003 and it was, for me, a bit of a surreal experience. The day we were there it was a bit foggy and you could hear a fire truck off in the distance responding to a call. I immediately felt the weight of what had occurred less than two years before. This time it was a bit harder to get back into that mind set. New York and New Yorkers have started to move on... This is a good thing in some ways, but it is hard to see such literal emptiness in the skyline (as shown in the picture above), to see the construction still occurring, and feel like it matters less and less. I was glad for a chance to revisit and think I will revisit on any subsequent trips.

Times Square
I honestly think that the baby bulge (it is so much more than a bump...maybe I should call it baby basketball) gets larger throughout the day. On our last night we all had a very nice dinner just off of the Theater district so a few of us walked around Times Square to buy overpriced trinkets and take stereotypical pictures. One thing we found amusing that I don't remember being there before was the people in lawn chairs. As you can see in the bottom corner of the picture there are people sitting in Times Square. Apparently this is something that enough people wanted to do that NYC tourism people have invested in chairs to place out for people to enjoy. While a little strange, I could see Mattie and I buying a slice of pizza, a pretzel, or some popcorn and watching and making fun of people as they passed by!

Random beauty and patriotism
This picture was just off one of the streets. It was pretty and patriotic (two of my favorite things) so I snapped a few. I will have to look at the larger prints to see if I want to enlarge any of them.

On a baby note, the baby is getting to be much more active and is kicking with more strength and consistency. I am enjoying the little bumps and love feeling that this baby is alive and growing inside of me! It is beginning to get very difficult to sleep and even worse is getting out of bed to use the restroom 4 times a night (which is at least double what I usually do for all of you who know my frequent urination tendencies).

Monday, July 6, 2009

Summer time means fruit galore!

Just a quick post to write about the glories of summer time fruit! We love this time of year when HEB and Kroger vie over customers with ridiculous weekly specials on otherwise expensive fruit. We find ourselves perusing the grocery store ads to see who has Strawberries for less than $1 or cherries for a cheap amount per pound. The plethora of fresh fruit means that Mattie and I tend to stay away from traditional dessert and opt for fresh fruit with a bit of sugar, cut up over our favorite light ice cream (Dreyers Slow Churned Vanilla cannot tell it is lower in fat...I swear), or as a topping to angel food cake. It is a dessert or snack that you can feel really good about. We rather enjoy sweet strawberries that can be eaten as we cut them up in preparation for a dessert later in the day. We also like blackberries and raspberries that merely need to be washed and popped in your mouth for that burst of flavor. When we can get some good peaches or nectarines I will break out the ice cream maker for a nectarine/peach and raspberry sorbet. Lastly, we like to add cut up berries and granola to yogurt for a snack or breakfast (my favorite combo is a blackberry, cinnamon granola, apple turnover yogurt concoction). The picture was a fruit salad that Matt commissioned after he bought kiwi, strawberries, nectarines, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, it was a delicious and light end to a wonderful meal.


Our lives have been a bit topsy turvy for the past few weeks getting everything together for the floors. Matt worked so hard to prep the floors. I really enjoyed the little bit of help I was able to give, but felt extremely limited by my inability to lift much (and thus I was unable to help move furniture) and the fact that I am getting tired more and more easily. I did rip up a good portion of the two layers of laminate flooring in the kitchen which was satisfying to get rid of poor remodeling on previous owners part. We moved all of the furniture from the downstairs to the garage, storage shed, or upstairs. Here are some pictures.

The Concrete Slab

Who says that a garage is for cars?

Our temporary loft upstairs, we have been reminded why we like our bedroom without a t.v.

The concrete company came after Matt finished up all of the demolition (along with Jessie's help). They finished cleaning the slab, polished the concrete down, and got to work staining. We picked the color "Spice" for our base color and that is shown here below.

I was freaked out when I saw this looked way more Terra Cotta than we wanted.

The finished product has made us very happy. They add darker tones and a wax that brings out all of the natural imperfections of the concrete (which is exactly what we wanted).

The kitchen turned out awesome (now we need to re-do the counter tops).

The Concrete guy was worried we wouldn't like the is actually our favorite part!

So far we love the concrete, it was kept the house a lot cooler and while we have not resettled downstairs we are enjoying our choice. For the stairs and upstairs we have a shipment of hard wood planks from Vietnam that are on a boat headed to us via one of Matt's customers so you will hear more about that later!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Recent baby pictures

Here are the most recent ultrasound pictures (from the appointment last week). The baby was still giving us a front view, but he or she definitely looks less like an alien than before. It was difficult to get a good picture because not only was the baby being very still, but he or she was all folded up like a little clam. T-Rex is apparently very flexible right now! Mattie refuses to put this picture on his desk in hopes of getting a better one when we go in a few weeks. We do have video of the baby that we watch a few times a week and share with people in person!

On other news, I have more to post about the remodel and T-Rex's and I's recent trip to NYC later!