Thursday, April 28, 2011

Royal Hullabaloo

I'll admit it.

I've followed the news and gossip surrounding the Royal Wedding and am enjoying getting to learn who designed the dress, who's doing the flowers and wondering what ridiculous hat the Queen is going to be wearing.

And while I'm not getting up in the wee hours of the morning to watch it live (Tater Tot will afford plenty of wee morning hours once she gets here), I am going to record it and watch it later.

You men could care less, I know.

But as someone who's always loved weddings, going to them, helping plan them, helping out working at them--and especially getting to plan and enjoy my own fairytale wedding with a Prince who's not just Charming but the Champion of my heart--I love getting all these fun details.

My mom told me she watched Prince Charles and Princess Diana get married (and how shocked everyone was at how wrinkled the silk dress was!), and I remember being 13 years old and staying the night with my grandma and watching Diana's funeral and thinking how sad it must be for those boys to lose their mom. Harry is about the same age as I am, and seeing them walk behind that casket was heartbreaking.

By some fluke of a previous British crew member who subscribes to the British Hello! magazine, we here at the office have had our weekly fill of all British gossip. And I can't help but have a little respect for William, who spent a summer scrubbing toilets in some South American country, or Harry who tried so hard to hide the press knowing he was in Afghanistan so he could stay and continue serving in the armed forces.

So, yes, I've read through the downloadable souvenir wedding programme and have to say I love the language that is used. Not only the "thereto I give thee my troth" stuff, but the seriousness and sacredness of the vernacular. That the congregation will sing "pray for the peace of Jerusalem" and hear verses in Romans that urge them to not be conformed to the world, but transformed by the renewing of their minds so they may discern the will of God.

Maybe most people will just see it as some archaic and formal language, but I think its pretty amazing that God's living Word will be broadcast to millions of people tomorrow. And He promises that His Word does not return void.

So what about you? Are you going to get up in the wee hours of the morning to watch the wedding? Or catch it later on in the day? Or do you, quite frankly, care more about the amount of lint collecting in your belly button?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Week 27

Reminder from the Mama 2 Mama post--I'd still love to hear your birth story! Even if you're a Dad...what was the experience like for you?

It now officially looks like I've swallowed a soccer ball. 

Apparently my uterus is basketball-sized by this point, though.

On Saturday we had one glorious, warm (67!) day of sunshine and Matt and I went to Lake Sammamish to walk around and enjoy the sun. There was this one, poor loner duck who the Canada geese and mallards kept chasing away.  Mr. Loner Duck.

Matt and I both enjoy watching animals and giving them voices and thoughts, and we were just having too much fun with this poor guy.  Anyone out there even know what kind of duck/goose this is? He's twice the size of a mallard, but not as big as one of the Canada geese that were there.

Whatever he was, at least he was our afternoon of entertainment!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

How Having a Dog is Good Toddler Training

First off if you missed the Mama 2 Mama post, I would love to hear your birth story!

Roy and I had a fight this morning.

And if you're new to this blog, Roy is our dog. Our 90-lb Chesapeake Bay Retriever (we think) with more personality and a will of his own than any other dog I've met.

He is a great dog. Wouldn't trade him for the world. He's very intelligent, superbly loyal and overly-attached. If someone ever tried to harm me they would have to kill Roy to get to me. But this having-a-mind-of-his-own-thing means that we're capable of having wordless arguments. And this super-attachment means that if I'm in the apartment then he is wherever I am...usually not more than 3 or 4 feet away.

There are a number of reasons why dogs are a great warm-up to having kids. In fact, I started this blog and decided to turn it into an article. You can read it HERE, but I thought I'd throw in a few more personal experience touches on the blog.

1. You learn to deal with bodily fluids. 

For me, having worked in nurseries and being a nanny for 4 years my gross tolerance is pretty high, but Matt was a different story two years go. Heck, Matt couldn't hardly take care of Roy's "business" without gagging when we first got him, and the first time Roy vomited Matt called me on his way to work and told me Roy had thrown up in the bedroom and he had covered it with a towel and LEFT it for me since "I knew how to handle that stuff better." That was not a fun mess to clean up, let me tell you.

Since then, though, Matt's level of handling the grossness has increased significantly. He's even offered to clean up so I wouldn't have to! This is a huge plus because when our little Tater Tot comes along, I know he'll be able to handle diaper changes a lot easier!

2. Your Personal Space Goes Out The Window

Take this morning, for example. I wanted to sleep in, I really did. I know my days of sleeping late on a Saturday morning are quickly drawing to a close, and I want to treasure each and every one of those lazy mornings I have left!

Usually Roy will let Matt or I sleep pretty late. He may not even leave his bed until close to noon (bladder of steel). But some mornings, like this  morning, he was ready for me to get up.

First he tries the nose technique. Getting on the bed and lying on Matt's pillow, he puts his nose right on mine. I kept my eyes closed, trying to ignore him. After a minute he gives a huff and starts itching. Not because he's itchy, but this is his way of irritating the heck out of us. I reach out and grab his foot with my eyes still closed.
He huffs.
A paw lands on my head. A big, scratchy, heavy paw.  I move it off.
He huffs.
He tries scooting closer to me (how much close can he get???) and nudging my hand. I oblige and rub his ear and let my hand drop.
Another huff.
Then he licks my chin. I roll over. He jumps off the bed and gets in my face again. I pull the covers over my head and he huffs yet again, sits down and begins to itch some more.

I finally think maybe he just wants to be let out and then fed, so I get up, let him out, feed him breakfast, give him some Benadryl to 1) make him a bit sleepy and 2) stop the stinkin' itching! Then I get back in bed.

He repeats his process of nose, paw, itching, licking. I continue to try to ignore him. When I finally realize my defeat and get up, I see I've spent and hour trying to win this battle of a few more minutes of sleep.

Roy won the argument today.  He's currently asleep.

This intrusion of my personal space pervades a lot of my time at home. I can't go to the bathroom unaccompanied, and if I shut the door on his face then he sniffs at the crack, then lays down in a huff in front of the door. 

I cover having your stuff demolished and losing the ability to keep a house perfectly clean in the hub, just thought I'd share one of Roy and mine's wordless arguments for the day. 

And again, would love to hear your birth story!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Mama 2 Mama

Update: To read the birth stories collected, click here

This post is to all you lovely Mamas!

I was reading through a book called Birthing From Withinwhich is a bit touchy-feely but has some great exercises. One of them was to talk to women about their birth stories. 

I would love to know yours.

Each birth story is like a love story, unique and sacred in its own way. Each of you brought a life (or lives) into this world in a way that happened just to you. 

So, if you want to share, I'd love to listen.

I'm a horrible question asker (reason #1 I didn't become a journalist), so luckily this book has a few to ask. If you want to address one or all of them, you can respond just to me with an email or leave a comment for the rest of the mamas to read.

 I would love to hear anything you wise women have to say.

Here's a few questions if you want to answer of of them:

What helped you most when you gave birth?

What was your spiritual experience of giving birth?

If you could do it over again, what would you do the same?

Is there anything you would do differently?

What do you wish you had known beforehand?

Mostly I'd just love to hear your story. Where did you give birth? Medicated or unmedicated? Was the father of the baby there and/or involved? Was it how you planned? What happened? Write as much or little as you want!

Thanks all you Mamas!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Making Muffins on a Busy Morning

Last night I got a craving for blueberry muffins. It was a bit too late to start a batch, and I wasn't hungry at all so I decided it could wait until morning. The normal recipe I use is actually pretty healthy, substituting flax seed meal for oil to give it a rich, nutty taste.

But last night as I flipped through the latest issue of Self magazine (which is getting increasingly irritating as I can't wear any of the clothes, do most of the workouts and certainly won't be going on any diets anytime soon), I came across a few recipes from Gwyneth Paltrow.

You know, the waif-like movie star who happened to do her own cooking show with some famous Spanish chef and now has a cookbook and looks like nothing over 150 calories ever passes between her lips?

Yeah, her.

There was a recipe for--wouldn't ya know it--blueberry muffins that she asked her mom to make all the time while she was pregnant. Not exactly as healthy as my recipe, but looked much more delectably tasty so I thought I'd give it a shot for the morning.

If you're like me, though, mornings are usually pretty rushed and I pat myself on the back if I can remember to eat a bowl of cereal while I'm putting my makeup on. But hot, fresh muffins with coffee just sounded so darn good for breakfast I came up with a plan.

Last night I measured all the dry ingredients into a bowl, gave it a few stirs and covered it with a towel. I got the muffin pan out, a Pyrex 2-cup measuring bowl and stuck a stick of butter in it.

The next morning as soon as I got up I started the oven preheating. I unwrapped and melted the butter, and let it cool a tad while I ran upstairs to get the frozen berries. By the time I finished making the coffee the oven was almost ready, so I added the milk to the butter, added the two eggs and whisked around a bit. Added that to the dry ingredients already out, folded in the berries and poured in the ready muffin tins.

By the time I showered and dried my hair I had hot, homemade muffins that were just screaming EAT ME like the cakes in Alice in Wonderland. So I did. And they are very, very good.

Prep time at night? Probably 3 minutes. Total prep time in the morning? Maybe 5 minutes. Eating those steaming lovelies with fresh coffee? Priceless.

Give her recipe a shot...its pretty lip smackin' good!


1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk (I used reduced fat and it was still rich)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 1 tsp sugar, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries


Heat oven to 375°. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. Whisk butter, eggs and milk in a bowl. Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in another bowl. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients; fold in blueberries. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups; sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp sugar. Bake until muffins are golden brown and a knife comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm.


232 calories per muffin, 10 g fat (6 g saturated), 33 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bento Baby Girl Quilt!

I have to say I loove this quilt.  The back is so soft and cuddle and the front is so fun and funky.

The pattern is called "bento," and its the first time I've tried it out.  I think I'm a fan!

Its posted on the Etsy store, if you're interested!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Living in Limbo

At the moment, Matt and I are waiting to hear if he's got a second interview at a store that's, quite literally, on the other side of the country.

The shortest driving distance is 2,850 miles, and if he gets it we'll probably be there by the first week in May.

We're really excited for this prospect as wherever we move will most likely be much more affordable on one salary, and if this doesn't pan out there's a few more opportunities that may open up for us to move before the baby is born in late July.

While this is great news long-term for us, in the short term it makes things a bit difficult to plan for.

I can't buy my plane ticket to California for my baby shower yet, because I'm not sure where I'll be coming from.

Do we spend $130 to renew our WA tabs, or wait a couple of weeks (while they're still not expired) and see if we need to be getting new state licence plates?

Our pantry/closet REALLY needs to be reorganized...but do I want to spend a few hours doing that if I'm just going to be packing it in boxes next weekend?

I want to make more soup, but should we spring for the Costco-sized portion of chicken stock that's a lot cheaper or do I pay more for each carton so we don't end up with 6 unused cartons?

As I'm looking at the immediate future I know I'll need to do a lot more meal planning, making my own household cleaners, and smart shopping to stretch our dollars. We know we can do it, since we've managed to kick our debt and build up about 3 months of emergency savings in a year and a half (and aren't we glad now!), but all of those frugal choices tend to be made with the long term in mind.

Meanwhile, if we do have to move it will be a very quick turnaround...not giving this pregnant full-time worker much time to plan, prepare, pack or clean.

Here's what we're trying to do in the short term, as we wait in this odd-limbo-time.

I'm trying to use up what's in the freezer and the pantry. Tonight we're probably going to go vegetarian and have Potatoes Romanoff that were made and frozen a couple weeks ago, with some sauteed asparagus and mushrooms before they go bad. Tomorrow I'm eyeing the half bag of navy beans and some frozen greens from last summer's CSA box for some sort of "anything soup." Not having been the biggest fan of chicken the first half of my pregnancy, I think its time stir-frys make a re-entrance as they're an easy way to throw together veggies, a protein and a carb in a short amount of time.

And Matt recently requested, yes, requested red beans, cornbread and fried okra for dinner. Not only is this something I was raised on and is definitely part of my comfort food list (I may be a California girl but my Mama's from Texas and raised us right on white gravy and chicken fried steak), but this is a pretty cheap meal to make from scratch. We may have to be making a weekly comeback of this meal as I have oodles of cornmeal, pinto beans are cheap and you can always find frozen okra. Plus its just darn good...oh man, now I want that for dinner.

The past two weekends I've made it a point to do a little bit beyond my regular house cleaning. Scuffs on the baseboards got wiped off, drains got cleaned out, the oven got a good scrubbing.  My thought is if I don't clean it now, I'll have to clean it later anyways. So, if we end up in a different state a month from now, I'm just saving myself future hassle of more cleaning.

We go through paper towels pretty slowly, and are nearing the end of our Costco-sized pack that we've had for almost a year. I'm trying to really stretch those last couple of rolls to avoid the high prices that single rolls in grocery stores cost. We have a cubby of rags and a bucket where wet/dirty ones go and it fills up fast every week...I can't imagine how many paper towels that would normally be!

Those are a few of the ways we're trying to not spend too much money while we wait in limbo. I'm sure there'll be a deluge of take-out pizzas and Torero's enchiladas if we do find we're moving and I'm coming home from work to pack until I go to sleep, but for now I'm trying to make do with what we have.

Any other tips you have for Living in Limbo?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Birthing Class and 24 Weeks Along

After searching through not-too-many-options for birthing classes that were either more natural-birth focused or during the time slots we could make it, I signed Matt and I up for The Birth Zone classes led by Liz Chalmers.

Oh yeah, before I dive into that, here's what the Tater Tot's looking like at 24 weeks:

So the class.

Seeing as we're sort of in this transitory-limbo-state-of-living (more on that later), and we don't know exactly where I'll be popping this baby out (not as in hospital or birth center, as in which state), I wanted to take classes early to be prepared for wherever we end up in July.

Matt was all for it, rearranged his schedule on Wednesday nights for a month and a half and went with a willing attitude, but I don't think he quite understood the point of 6 weeks of 2 1/2 hour classes. Thankfully he was fully supportive even while chugging caffeine en route to the class to try to wake up, so really, what else could I ask for?

We walked into the guest house, slipped off our shoes and found our seats amid 5 or 6 other couples in a comfortable living room. I won't lie, I was checking out the other mom-to-be's bellies and trying to guess how far along they all were. 

The instructor, Liz, is a very personable, charismatic woman who clearly has a passion for what she does. Having given birth to two of her kids in a hospital, one in a birthing center and one at home, she has a very well-rounded perspective it seems. 

When everyone arrived Liz gave an introduction, then  we set out introducing ourselves and giving ourselves a descriptive adjective to go along with our name to help Liz remember. Seeing as there aren't too many K adjectives and in the past few weeks my sense of depth perception has become increasingly off, we're now Klutzy Kait and Mountain Matt.

I was surprised to find how varied the bellies on the various mamas were. One women, who I was certain was due a month before me, was due a week after. When I got home I Googled pictures of women at week 24 of pregnancy and there was definitely the whole gamut of belly sizes!

It looks like its going to be a great class, and I think Matt now understands how helpful the class is going to be, as well as having heard some positive perspectives for giving birth in a birth center as opposed to a hospital. And we found out Matt's insurance does cover birth centers, which is great news! 

That's all the news I've got for you today. I'm sure there's more, but I can't seem to remember anything else so oh well!  Hope you're having a great weekend!