One High-Priced Poo Toter and the Love of Me Familia

I am a total bag girl. I've loved bags of all shapes and sizes since about high school. And I have way too many. If I walk into a store, I'm immediately drawn to the bags like Paula Deen to a stick of butter.

The whole diaper bag concept has had me tied up in knots for awhile. On the one hand, I've heard from "been there, done that" moms that I'll need one that's durable and washable and able to carry around mass quantities of baby gear. But the ones I've seen in stores have done nothing for me. Yes, I know they're practical. Yes, I know that I'll probably count the time in days rather than weeks before the diaper bag receives some sort of stain of the baby waste variety.

But it's still a bag, my bag, afterall, and it needs to be stylish!

Which leads me to the bag I ordered, or rather, that a certain fabulous, wonderful, super cool blogger friend and real-life pal of my sister ordered for me, utilizing her store discount so instead of getting the bag for an arm and a leg, I snuck by with just giving the arm. Thanks, Leslie!

It's a Petunia Pickle Bottom bag, this one, to be exact. And there aren't words in the English language for me to describe how much I love it. Made of brocade on the outside, it comes with a foldout changing pad, and I can use it as a backpack, or sling it over my shoulder. And best of all, it doesn't look like what it is: a carrier of poo.

On Sunday, my aunt handed me a brown paper bag. Inside said bag from an Italian bakery she frequents, was this. The two-degrees-in-English/writer/editor in me will choose to look past the bad grammar, and just see this for what it is: pretty freakin' cute, and if Beastie is anything like me, pretty accurate as well.

The 5s Meme

I've had a busy couple of days with lots of new things going on, and lots to share. But in the meantime, Shannon over at The Westering Hills tagged me for this meme. And since I love lists (and memes), I'm more than happy to oblige.

5 items in my fridge

This meme arrived with perfect timing, as we just had our brand new fridge delivered Saturday! Our old one was about 20 years old, decrepid and disgusting, with a broken shelf and broken crisper drawer. Our new one is fabulous, with the freezer in a pullout drawer along the bottom of the fridge.

1. Canadian bacon (his, not mine)

2. Diet 7Up, flavored with Splenda, the only "artificial" sweetener I can have.

3. Cheese. Sometimes, it's what's for dinner

4. Bottles and bottles and bottles of water

5. The detritus of my IVF cycle. Three Gonal-F injectible fertility medication "pens." Simply dial your dose, pull the plug out, point, and shoot into your thigh or abdomen. Your choice! Also, one vial of Lupron, also an injectible medication, but this one needs to be drawn up into a syringe with a needle the length of Shaq. And one half-used box of progesterone suppositories, that don't go where you think they do (not pictured). I want to donate the unused Gonal-F pens, which cost the equivalent of the GNP of Laos, to a fellow infertile in the blogosphere, assuming I can figure out how to ship something that needs to stay refrigerated. Bet this is more than you ever wanted to know about my fridge, eh?

5 items in my closet

1. Dozens and dozens of clothes that no longer fit me. And about 10 items of clothing that do. These 10 have "panels" and are "roomy" and "stretchy."

2. This shirt, which may look familiar. My favorite item of clothing to date. I haven't even worn it yet. My sister gave it to me for my birthday. Hope it's comfortable sitting on that hanger. It's going to be there for awhile.

3. A box of old cards, mainly those made by my sister over the years. Someday when she's a famous artist, I plan on selling them and retiring to Fiji.

4. 5 pairs of Docs.

5. A carpet that hasn't been vacuumed in 6 years.

5 items in my car

1. Lint. My Jetta's seats attract lint like nobody's business

2. Broken sunglasses. Somewhere under the seats, is the missing right arm

3. A Nerf gun, minus the Nerf bullets

4. A first aid kit

5. Snow brushes

5 items in my purse

1. Splenda. Because one never knows when one will be in a restaurant that offers pink packets and blue packets, but not the yellow ones.

2. Business cards to stuff in restaurant fishbowls to win stuff.

3. The phone number to the Andrology lab at my fertility clinic.

4. A package of Kleenex.

5. My car's new insurance card.

5 people who are thusly tagged

1. Practigal
2. Kross-Eyed Kitty
3. In My Own Little Corner
4. M
5. Eat Stuff

My Hopes for Beastie

On M's blog, she chronicled her hopes for her future daughter, who is due in October. I thought this would be a great exercise to make permanent the aspirations I have for the baby, before he/she is born and I get sidetracked with the chaos that's bound to be my life for awhile. Please excuse the sap factor in some of the following statements. Hormones, people. They change your life.

Beastie, I would like to teach you:

That no matter what you do, or where life takes you, the most important and most constant thing in your life is the love of our family.

To have clearly defined beliefs and values, and causes that are important to you, and to then stand up for what you believe in, even when the opinion or belief is an unpopular one.

To treat the creatures with whom we share this earth with love, respect, and kindness (or you will make mommy very angry, and no one likes an angry mommy. Just ask daddy).

To be confident enough in yourself and your abilities that you never doubt for one second your value as a human being.

To treat all women with respect (if you're a boy) or to value your status as a woman, and to never gauge your self-worth according to what a man thinks of you at any given moment (if you're a girl).

To never, ever vote Republican. You'll see why. I won't even have to teach you this one.

Beastie, I hope that you will:

Realize that I am your mom, and not your friend. Much as I want to make you happy, it's my job to protect your best interests first.

Actively seek to improve the world around you, even in small ways, and to tread lightly and leave a small footprint on the Earth.

Respect your older family members because you have much to learn from them.

Cook better than both mommy and daddy (which shouldn't be a stretch) so you can keep us fed at least until you leave the house. In return, I will make you fantastic birthday cakes and birthday treats to bring to school that will make your friends wish I was their mommy instead of yours.

Beastie, I hope you get your dads's:

Patience. Because mommy? Has none. Zero. Zip. Not an ounce.

Easy-going nature. Dad rolls with it. I do not roll. Not ever. You'll see.

Eating habits. He eats everything. I am pickier than most three-year-olds.

Beastie, I hope you get my:

Compassion for critters and for humans not as fortunate as we are.

Love of literature and the written word in all forms.

Ability to say no when you have to (and sometimes, just when you want to).

Debating skills. Because having and winning arguments (ahem, heated discussions) is sometimes fun.

Beastie's Birthday Will Be...

August 21st (most likely). I say "most likely" because I found out yesterday that my OB won't be the one performing my c-section. Boo! Hiss! Unfortunately, she's going to be on vacation that week, so before she can confirm the 21st, she has to check with the doctor in the practice who is doing the surgeries for that day. Assuming she agrees and doesn't have too many other c-sections scheduled for that date, Beastie will make his/her debut into the world on August 21st.

My appointment was routine, as they all have been. I gained three pounds (which Rich is thrilled about, because he's been harping on me to eat, eat, eat and stop exercising, as he was under the impression that I wasn't gaining enough weight). So far I've gained a total of 11 pounds, which my doctor said is fine. Beastie's heart was pounding away in the high 140s, and my blood pressure was good as well.

I start going for my appointments every two weeks now, since next week begins my 3rd trimester. I can't believe it's here already. At my next apppointment I have to take the 1 hour glucose challenge test. I have to drink this 12 ounce bottle of what looks like orange soda (or pop if you're from my part of the country) in five minutes, and then one hour later have my blood drawn. This is to check for gestational diabetes (GD), which I am praying to G-O-D I don't have. Any pregnant woman can have GD, and if I have it, it will involve taking my blood sugar every day, and radically changing my diet to eliminate virtually all carbs and sugars. Considering my...ahem...restricted and constricted diet as it is, if I have GD I'll basically cut my food list in half.

We survived registering last Saturday. We spent almost 4 hours in Babies R Us. Rich was getting tired, cranky, and frustrated about one hour into things, and I can't say I really blamed him. The store was crowded with equally clueless couples registering and annoying children running about. That and the fact that we really were questioning every item we scanned (that is, once we figured out what the heck some of the items were for. The nasal aspirator does WHAT?).

We ordered a glider for the baby's room, which should arrive sometime in late June. And last night, the travel system Rich's mom bought us as an early shower present arrived. Rich is painting the nursery yellow on Saturday. I can't believe this is my life now. I am about 12 weeks away from bringing home the baby I thought I would never have. And I'm not taking one second, not one sleepless, multiple-trip-to-the-bathroom night, nor one slower-than-it-used-to-be trip up the three flights of stairs to my office, nor one caffeine-deprived morning for granted.

Here's my latest "belly shot," taken last night at 26 weeks. Quite the difference from the previous two, taken at 18 weeks, ad 22 weeks, respectively.

18 weeks

22 weeks

26 weeks

Strawberry Crumb Cake

I'm a big fan of crumb cake. My favorite has to be Starbucks' crumb cake, by far. I hadn't attempted to make my own prior to Mother's Day, but I decided to give it a try. I found this recipe in the May issue of Cooking Light. I was pleased with how it came out, except I ended up baking it in a 9-inch springform pan instead of the 8-inch pan the recipe calls for, so it came out a little flatter than it should have.

I couldn't tell this was a low-fat recipe either. It was very tasty, and the strawberry jam gave it just the sweetness it needed. Only 191 calories per slice!

Cooking Light's Strawberry Crumb Cake


Crumb Topping
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 TSP cinnamon
2 TBSP cold butter, chopped into small pieces

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 TSP baking powder
1/4 TSP baking soda
1/8 TSP salt
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 TSP vanilla
1 large egg
6 TBSP fat-free milk (I used 1%)
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup reduced-sugar strawberry spread (such as Smucker's)


1. Prepare crumb topping. Combine 1/4 cup flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in 2 TBSP butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives under mixture resembles course meal. Set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. To prepare cake, lightly coat an 8-inch springform pan with cooking spray and set aside. Combine 1 1/4 cups flour, baking powder, baking sode, and salt in a small bowl, and set aside.

4. Combine powdered sugar and 1/4 cup butter in a large bowl and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 2 minutes). Add vanilla and egg and beat 2 minutes. Combine milk and juice, add to sugar mixture, and beat 2 minutes.

5. Add half of flour mixture to sugar mixture and stir until smooth. Add remaining flour mixture and stir until just combined.

6. Spoon half of batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Top with strawberry spread. Spoon remaining batter over strawberry layer, spreading evenly. Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over batter. Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in a pan on a wire rack, then remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Makes 12 servings.

Repent, Sinners!

According to this article, the City Council of Black Jack, Missouri is forbidding unmarried couples with children to live in their city. An unmarried couple with three children was denied an occupancy permit on a home they had purchased in this St. Louis suburb based solely on their marital (or lack thereof) status. The city ordinance forbids more than three people who aren't related by "blood, marriage, or adoption" from living together to prevent overcrowding problems.

Now, as my wise friend Andy says, legislating morality against gays who want the same legal rights as their hetero counterparts do is easy and obvious. I mean, what's more immoral than two individuals who have spent the last 10 years of their lives together, paying their taxes, raising their children, supporting their local economy, and contributing to their community wanting to make their union permanent and valid in the eyes of the goverment through marriage, right? But legislating morality against immoral heteros? Scandelous!

Once again, we have a governmental body stepping in to decide what constitutes a "family" and what does not, based on a narrowminded, religion-based viewpoint. Clearly, two adults and three children living together in a house does not an "overcrowded living situation" make. Yet the City Council is upholding this law, and in doing so is clearly sending the message that those who choose to "live in sin" with children born as a result of that relationship are not welcome to live together in their town. They are the "other." They have done something wrong, and they are being run out of town because of it.

Is it still 1952 out there in middle America?

WCB #50

One of Chubbie's most favorite activities (one that is, of course, by its nature, most annoying to her humans) is to jump on the bed when it's being made and bury herself under the covers. She then sits there, unmoving, hoping we won't notice the 12 pound mound protruding like an Easter ham in the middle of the bed.

If she wasn't so cute, this penchant of hers would get very old, very fast.

For pictures of more fiesty kitties, head over to Clare's.

100 Days

As you may have noticed, I've added a pregnancy counter to the blog. Look to your right. There it is! Clare suggested it a few days ago, and I thought it was a great idea. After all, I like to keep my handful of readers happy, so there you have it.

And if you'll notice, it says that as of today, I have 100 days left to go. 100 days and so much to do. Of course, I'm having a scheduled c-section due to previous abdominal surgery, so in all likelihood, I actually have less than 100 days to go. I'll find out the baby's birthday on Wednesday of next week.

Wish me luck, because tomorrow we're going to register. I've been told this is a long and involved process. And given my proclivity towards anal-rententive detail, I know this will be the case. There are so many decisions to make, and if you've been in a BRU lately, you know they have seven zillion of every product. How can you possibly make the right choice? So I've been researching the best brands with the highest safety ratings so that we're informed consumers. And my husband? He's simply excited because the Best Buy located right next store offers him a quick exit strategy.

Speaking of Clare, she has some exciting news of her own. Go visit her blog (this entry) and read all about it, if you haven't already. Congrats again, Clare!

Finally, in addition to the baby counter, I also added a recipe index to my blog, in case you want to try out any of the desserts (with a few main courses mixed in) I've made.

Anyone have exciting weekend plans?

Baked French Toast Casserole

While my food selections for the other two meals of the day are, shall we say, limited, I love me some breakfast foods. Pancakes, waffles, bagels, muffins, and of course French toast are all good in my book. I don't like eggs though. I know. Strange.

So for Mother's Day brunch this year, I decided to give the lovely and charming Miss Paula Deen's Baked French Toast Casserole a try. And I was very happy I did. I used a somewhat small (in diameter) loaf of French bread, and I think next time I would use a bigger-sized loaf. But it was a breeze to make, and came out tasting yummy. Best of all, you make it the night before, and the morning of your breakfast or brunch, just pop it out of the fridge, sprinkle on the topping, bake it for 40 minutes, and enjoy.

Baked French Toast Casserole


1 loaf of French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 TBSP sugar (I used Splenda for Baking)
1 TSP vanilla extract
1/4 TSP cinnamon
1/4 TSP nutmeg
Dash of salt
Praline topping (see below)
Maple syrup (I omitted, since the French toast seemed sweet enough without it)


1. Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch thick each. Arrangle slices in a generously buttered or sprayed 9x13 flat baking dish in two rows, overlapping the slices.

2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended, but not too bubbly.

3. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some mixture in between the slices. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

4. The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Praline Topping

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

2 TBSP light corn syrup

1/2 TSP cinnamon

1/2 TSP nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Spread evenly over the bread, and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden.

Mother's Day 2006

Four or five years ago, I decided to invite my extended family over to my house for Mother's Day brunch. The women in my family, from my mom to my grandma to my aunts, are so generous with their time, energy, and food (and keep this non-chef in leftovers for at least a few days of the week thanks to Sunday dinner) that they all deserve something special for Mother's Day, and I figured I could gather us all in one place and try to provide that for them. It's become a tradition, and I've hosted Mother's Day brunch at my house ever since.

Each year I try to make them a little gift to take home with them. This year's giftie was a little vase with gerbera daisies in them, each tied with a bow.

Here's my dining room, all set up before everyone arrivied. On the menu was Paul Deen's Baked French Toast Casserole (recipe coming soon), freshly baked oatmeal muffins, fruit salad, two quiches prepared by my great aunt (you can't stop an Italian woman from cooking, even when she's one of the guests of honor), and for dessert, strawberry crumb cake.

My family members and Rich gave me presents, which made me feel both incredibly special and incredibly disconcerted. I don't consider myself a mother yet, although I have worried about and loved the Beastie since the second I found out he/she existed.

Rich gave me a book called Love You Forever. It's the story of a mother's love for her son as he grows from a baby into a man. I'd like to go on record and say that this book should come with a warning label on the front. By the time I got to the end of it, I was balling. Yes, balling. I'm blaming pregnancy hormones.

It's okay if you want to laugh at me. I'd laugh at me if I were you. But after talking with a few of my friends (some mothers and some not) I've realized that this book has the same effect I experienced on quite a few people.

Chubbie asked me to read the book to her, and so I did, even though she's perfectly capable of reading it herself. She regresses sometimes.

And finally here I am with mamacita who came into town without #4. Again! For the second time in two weeks! Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

Lately, she's obsessed with touching my belly. And since my last "belly shot" at 22 weeks, that belly has grown, let me tell you. It seemed to happen all at once. You'll see what I mean when I post my 26 week shot next week.


A year ago at this time, I was in full-on preparation mode for the Mother's Day brunch I put on for my family each year. In attendance are my mom, #4, my grandma, my great aunt and uncle (who are also my Godparents) two aunts, and some combination of one of the aunt's three children. Staying distracted with the details, at least from several days beforehand to mid-afternoon on the day kept me busy. There were muffins to bake, and fruit to chop for fruit salad, flower baskets to make for each mother, and a table to set that would make Martha proud. But once the brunch was over, and the last guest had gone home, and the final dish was put away, it was just me and my infertile mind left to contemplate the meaning of the day, and to question whether I would ever be a mother. Like many days of 2005, Mother's Day wasn't one of my shining moments.

Now, I've always considered myself extremely lucky in that I have a reason to celebrate on Mother's Day at all. I have a wonderful mother, a doting grandmother, and the most generous and amazing great aunt (and Godmother) a girl could ever want. Many people don't even have one of these mothers in their lives. I have three. But there was something different about Mother's Day last year. We had been trying to conceive for over 18 months at that point, and I was no closer to motherhood than I was when we first started trying.

Mother's Day this year is going to be different than those of the past. I'm on my way to becoming a mother myself.

At 25 weeks pregnant, reality is setting in. Baby furniture has been purchased. So has nursery bedding. Rich reads and sings to the baby nightly. I'm feeling constant movement and sometimes soccer star-worthy kicks. I've received my first ever Mother's Day cards (Mother-to-be cards, actually), including a beautifully handmade one from Karrie. Friends and relatives have bought me Mother's Day presents. What once I thought would never happen, has. And this time next year, a nine month old will be celebrating me.

But on this Mother's Day, I will be thinking of those of you who are still waiting for your miracles. I'll have Thalia and Beagle and Hopeful Mother on my mind, as well as countless others who are living through the painful waiting I know so well. And I'll also be thinking about those who have been through the infertility gauntlet and didn't come through with a baby on the other side. Each of you is in my thoughts today too.

So, whether you're celebrating as a mother yourself, or you're awaiting the news that will hopefully make next Mother's Day special for you in a way it's never been before, or whether you're celebrating your own mother, or grandmother, or special woman in your life, Happy Mother's Day from this very blessed and extremely fortunate mother-to-be.

The Procreation Police

The woman in this story was fired from her job teaching at a Catholic school in Wisconsin because she told her employers she was pregnant via IVF. Apparently, this woman violated the part of her employment contract saying that a teacher had to act in accordance with Catholic doctrine. And as you can imagine, having gone through IVF myself, I have an enormous problem with this.

Yes, I understand that the Catholic church is a private organization that has the right to enforce any rules it likes for its members. And I understand that this woman probably signed her employment contract knowing this. But that doesn't make this right.

You see, the Catholic church's position on IVF is one of several reasons why I didn't tell my own family about my infertility struggles, and why after announcing my pregnancy I kept the IVF details to a minimum for most of my family members. I knew they wouldn't agree with my choices.

The bottom line is this: IVF is the creation of life. Not the destruction. IVF creates more Catholics! Sometimes two or three at a time. The Catholic church is against IVF because its viewed as morally wrong for replacing the "natural" union between husband and wife and because it doesn't protect the "dignity of procreation." Why does the church see fit to enter the bedrooms of its members? What business is it of the church to tell Catholics how and under what circumstances they can conceive their children? And my guess is that there are millions of Catholic children walking around the world right now who were conceived in the back of a car, or by accident after a drunken night of partying, or even as a result of a crime. Doesn't seem very "dignified" to me.

This woman was fired because she wanted children and couldn't conceive of them in the way most people can. If this Catholic school saw fit to fire her for not acting in accordance with Catholic doctrine, then the school leaders better go around to each and every classroom and ask the other teachers the following: Have you ever used a condom or other form of birth control? Are you divorced? Have you ever had an abortion? Missed mass on Sunday and not gone to confession? And if the answer to any of these questions is yes, then those teachers should be shown the door as well because they are in violation of the rules of the church too.

I am a Catholic. And since learning I was pregnant via IVF (if they only knew), I have returned to church because I want to renew my faith, and because I believe that this baby is, in part, the miracle I was praying for. But it is often extremely hard for me to reconcile my beliefs on a variety of topics (gay marriage, IVF, abortion, etc.) with those of my church. And I suspect there are many other Catholics with the same problem.

Knitty Kitty

I've written about my penchant for knitting on this blog before, and I know many of you visit the blog of the goddess of knitting herself, Crazy Aunt Purl.

I'm attempting to knit a sweater for the Beastie. Now, while I've knitted many an item in my time, including scarves, blankets, and one sock (I never got around to knitting the second one), I've never before knit a sweater. However, the pattern comes from a book called Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, so really, how hard could it possibly be?

The answer, my friends, is very hard indeed, when you live in a house with three cats. Three cats who love yarn, and think the special-order, way-to-expensive-to-mention-the-price-here yarn I had to buy to knit said sweater is their own personal cat toy. What is it about cats and yarn?

Here's what the finished sweater is supposed to look like.

And here is my work-in-progress with Claudia, who while looking as sweet as can be, is actually the worst offending yarn-chaser of the lot. Wish me luck.

Toot and Puddle

When someone close to you (so close, in fact, that the person almost feels like an extension of yourself at times) is hurting, and there is nothing, nothing you can do to help this person, it's an awful, terrible feeling. Some of you who read this blog also read my sister's, and you know she's going through a tough time right now. And she's 3,000 miles away. If my circumstances were different, nothing would stop me from hopping on a plane right now to be with her. But even if they were, I'm not sure my company would be something she'd even want at this point.

I sent her a package a few weeks ago. Just some little things to cheer her up, albeit temporarily. I made her scones, which I know she loves. I sent her Godiva chocolate, of which she's always been a fan. But they're not the hug I want so badly to give her. They aren't the distraction I want so much to provide. They aren't the company I want to fill her house with.

I was in an antique store this past weekend, and the store had an old books section. Wandering around, I came across the children's section. Now, I've never been a fan of kiddie lit. Rich loves it, as he's obviously immersed in all things kiddie and has been for years in his job as a teacher. Yet I've never been able to relate to or to take an interest in children's books. But something made me stop in this bookstore's children's section.

Two books came home with me. I hadn't yet purchased a single item for the Beastie. It's always seemed like bad luck to me. Or too soon. Or too concrete an action to buy something for this baby, which still doesn't feel "real" yet, despite the kicks I'm feeling daily. But I know I need to get over myself. And by buying these two books, I did.

One is a Golden Book about a duck. I bought it because I remember Golden Books so fondly from my own childhood, and the baby's room is going to have a duck theme. The other book is called Toot and Puddle.

Toot and Puddle: You are My Sunshine is a story of two pigs who are best friends. Toot is down in the dumps, and Puddle tries everything he can to boost his pal's spirits. He makes Toot his favorite dessert. He takes Toot boating. He sings him silly songs. But Toot, for no discerable reason, just isn't happy.

At the end of the book, a thunderstorm occurs, and Puddle and his other animal pals are all terrified. Everyone, that is, except for Toot. And the next day, Toot is back to his old happy self. Puddle says, "Sometimes you need a big whopping thunderstorm to clear the air."

Despite Toot's sad feelings, Puddle never leaves his side, and never stops trying to boost his friend's spirits. Even when Toot is clearly not interested in doing any of the things he usually does with his pig pal, Puddle stands with him.

So, because I know you're reading, I want you to know I love you, Toot. You're in the storm now, but I'm right there with you. And when it passes, I'll be there for you then too.

Weekend in Pictures

I'm back from my weekend trip to Skaneateles, which was exactly what it was supposed to be: relaxing.

We arrived here on Friday night. This is the Village Inn, located right in the center of town. Once we checked in, we realized we had the entire inn to ourselves (at least for Friday night), which was a nice surprise. The room was beautiful and decorated in the French Country style. It had a huge king size bed, a fireplace, and a wonderful and huge whirlpool bathtub, in which I took several long (lukewarm) soaks over the weekend.

As it was nearing dinner time, we ventured out to find a place to eat. We made reservations at a lakeside restaurant called The Bluewater Grill, and then we walked out onto the pier beside it.

Stand back! That Beastie belly bites.

Skaneateles lake is surrounded by these beautiful waterfront homes, which we later learned are worth millions of dollars. If any of ya'll are looking to buy, here are a few.

The lake is incredibly clear and unpolluted, very unlike the Great Lake in the city where I live. I'm not sure what Lake Ontario is like in Canada (Ramona?) but where I live it is a cesspool of filth, to put it mildly. But you could see to the bottom of Skaneateles Lake!

We ate dinner, and for dessert I had key lime cheesecake, my absolute most favorite dessert in the world. Rich had creamsicle cheesecake, which was also very delicious. I should know, because I had some of both.

We went back to the inn (after a quick stop at a candy store) and Rich watched the Sabres playoff hockey game, while I ate this. It was yummy.

On Saturday, it was about 25 degrees colder than it was on Friday, which was a bummer. Plus, it rained for most of the morning and half the afternoon. After we had breakfast, we headed back to the inn and I took a nap, not having slept all that well the night before. When I got up, it had cleared, so we went shopping and picked up a few things, including a laser pointer cat toy for the children back home. We went to dinner at an Italian restaurant that used to be an old auto garage (sounds scary, but the food was actually really good), and then we walked around the village and the water some more.

And on Sunday, we got up, ate breakfast, strolled around town a little more, and headed back home. Babymoon over. Back to reality. I hope we'll take more trips like these once the baby is born. Getaways like this have become as much a part of our relationship as our shameful addiction to reality tv, and it really feels good to spend time alone with your partner in a place where the distractions of everyday life aren't getting in the way.

Tomorrow, I'll tell you about Toot and Puddle. Intrigued, aren't you?

One Last Trip

Babymoon: one last vacation taken by a couple before their first child arrives and they no longer have the time to breathe, let alone go away for the weekend.

Rich and I love to travel, me more so than him. And while my anal-retentive, planning personality doesn't allow for many spontaneous, pack-up-and-go-on-a-whim trips, we've (or rather I have) sought out and organized many a weekend trip for us so that we can just get away for a little while. I love exploring new places, new towns and cities, new restaurants, and Rich does too, although I secretly think he humors me quite a bit when the couch and remote and 1000 cable channels would suit his sense of adventure just fine.

This weekend we're going away for our last hurrah. We're headed to a cute little town in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York called Skaneateles. I've tried to "unclench" just a wee bit for this trip and not plan every second of the trip, but basically we plan on relaxing, walking around the lake, shopping, and trying to take several thousand mental pictures of the last shreds of our baby-free existence.

Now obviously, I wouldn't change one thing about having the Beastie join our life in about 3.5 months. This baby is so wanted, I can't even put it into words. But Rich and I will definitely have some adjusting to do. We've been afforded the luxury of being 100% selfish with our time for the last 9+ years we've spent together as a couple. If we don't feel like cooking dinner (read: microwaving), well, we don't, and we order a pizza instead. If we feel like picking up and going shopping at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, we don't have to consider anyone else's schedule but our own when we pick up and go. These things, and a whole lot of others, are about to change.

And not only that, but there will soon be another person living in our house with us and the cats, all the time. It won't just be "Kristi and Rich" anymore. Our relationship is going to change as well, and from some of the things I've been reading lately, it might not be for the better, until we get used to how a little screaming being fits into the pretty well-defined fabric of our lives.

But for this weekend, for one last trip, it will just be us. And hopefully once Beastie arrives, we'll be able to remember our lives as a couple, go out once and awhile just as a couple rather than a trio, and remember that we didn't get married to have children, but instead to spend the rest of our lives together. And that the needy little person in the next room only adds to the joy.

So Happy Together...

You'll never believe what arrived via UPS today. Let me tell you, it was a complete surprise to me, of course. My own was quite adequate.

Nevermind that I recently dropped its old and stained carafe, or that every time I moved it, the LCD display would shut off, and only turn back on again after I gave the machine a vigorous shake (and had to reset both the time, and the programmable morning setting-6:10am, in case you're curious). Or that a mysterious brown liquid had begun to leak out of its base. No siree, I was completely happy with my old coffeemaker.

Until she arrived.

Yes, I broke down and ordered the Kitchenaid JavaStudio Coffeemaker in Empire Red. She's very retro, don't you think? You can fill her water reservoir from the front instead of the back (as you have to do with most other coffeemakers), she displays the "time since brewed," so you know how fresh (or not) your coffee is, and most of all, she's red and beautiful. And she immediately found a playmate in my kitchen.

They make a lovely pair, don't they?

Four Generations and a Beastie Update

This past weekend, my mom came into town...wait for it...are you ready?...100% alone and #4-free! I cannot tell you what a cause for rejoicing this was for me. Originally, he was going to posion the visit...ahem...join her, as he always does, but at the last minute decided, much to my absolute shock and pleasure, to stay at home and stain his deck. Alleluia!

So my mom arrived solo on Friday night, and we spent a wonderfully blissful and incident-free weekend together. She was relaxed. She was happy. She wasn't having to constantly worry about him, whether he was bored or thirsty of hungry (you'd think I was talking about a three-year old here), and she wasn't constantly on guard against the inappropriate garbage that spews out of his mouth on a regular basis. It was heaven. And the best part is, she envisions more solo trips in the future because dear #4 is not a "kid person." I knew spending the equivalent of a new car on fertility treatments for the past two years was worth its weight in gold, I just didn't know that it would produce two miracles!

My mom and I took my grandma and great aunt to see the crib and dresser my mom ordered for us a few weeks ago, then on to Babies R Us (or as I fondly call it, Babies R Ugh-that store is a confusing labrinyth of paraphanalia) and then the four of us went out to lunch. It was quite neat, actually, when my mom mentioned that there were four generations together on Saturday: my grandma and great aunt's generation, my mom's, mine, and of course, the Beastie's. My dear grandma ordered the Beastie a changing table for the downstairs portion of our house (because trekking up a big flight of stairs after a C-section is not something I want to attempt right away). My mom got us the changing pad for the changing table and a mattress pad. She has bought so much baby swag for us, and I feel so grateful. And with each purchase (dear G-O-D is baby crap expensive) it's becoming more and more real to me that we are actually having a baby. I honestly feel as if I have won the lottery somedays, because we've been given something I know not every couple who has gone through IVF is blessed with. And not a day goes by when I'm not grateful for it.

Saturday afternoon, my aunt's friend's daughter (follow that?), who is an ultrasound technician, snuck me in for another glimpse of the Beastie. And holy cow, has this baby grown in the last four weeks since my last ultrasound. So my mom, Rich, my aunt, her friend, and her daughter, the tech, watched Beastie for 15 minutes (all recorded on tape of course) yawn, stick his/her tongue out, play peek-a-boo, and confound all of us trying (but not trying at the same time) to get a glimpse of his/her identifying parts. I still think Beastie is a boy and have thought this since almost the beginning. Based on yesterday's ultrasound, Rich thinks Beastie is a girl. My mom wants Beastie to be a girl so badly, she's virtually drooling pink.

And the best part of the ultrasound was that the tech accidentally left the microphone on the entire time, so throughout the whole ultrasound, we can hear our voices commenting and talking to Beastie, which will be a lovely little momento to pull out at his/her 18th birthday party. No pictures, though, since those would record in the computer, and since this was an "after-hours, secret scan," that wouldn't go over too well.

Yesterday, we finally cleaned out the "baby's room" (I can't believe I'm typing these words). It had been our catch-all room for years, full of bookshelves, books, boxes, a seldom-used espresso maker, etc. And soon Rich and my great aunt will paint it. And in about a month the furniture will arrive. And then, Beastie will make an appearance at the end of the summer.

Pinch me. I need to wake up.

Quick Snapshot:

  • 34-year-old writer and
    mother to a daughter
    born in August 2006 following
    IVF and girl/boy twins born in October 2008 following FET. Come along as I document the search for my lost intellect. It's a bumpy ride. Consider yourself warned.

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  • "All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware." -Martin Buber

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