Tuesday, December 15, 2009

649.122 -- Welcome!

As you can see, I have one very good reason for being away from the blog. My beautiful daughter was born three days early, and we have been enjoying her ever since. You'll see more posts about Natalie in the coming months. For now, just consider this your introduction!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

128.4 -- Waiting

The changing table and diaper bag are stocked.

Our hospital bags wait by the door.

The car seat is ready.

Now that we have entered the two-week warning period, our little one might come any time. Nothing left to do but wait ... anxiously!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

641.568 -- Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

Last year, my side of the family gathered at our little house for a huge Thanksgiving dinner. We shoved two large and two smaller tables together, draped several table clothes over the whole thing, and broke out the chaffing dishes for the biggest dinner party our house has ever seen. To accompany the traditional pumpkin and apple pies, I made a pumpkin cheesecake that brought oohs and aahs from the entire table.

When I first stumbled across this recipe, I thought baking a cheesecake would be much too involved a process for me. In the end, I love cheesecake and pumpkin, so I gave it a try. Although the original recipe says that you can make it without the use of a springform pan, I recommend buying a cheap one anyway. (I say a cheap one, because really how many times are you going to make cheesecake?)

This year, I'll be making this recipe again, but for Matt's side of the family. Hopefully it will become a Thanksgiving tradition!

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

18 gingersnaps, crushed (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 pkg. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Dash ground cloves

1. Heat oven to 350 F. Combine gingersnap crumbs, nuts and butter; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan.
2. Beat cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each just until blended. Remove 1 cup batter and set aside. Stir remaining sugar, pumpkin and spices into large bowl of batter. (At the end of this process, you should have a large bowl of pumpkin batter and a smaller bowl of plain cheesecake batter.)
3. Spoon half the pumpkin batter into crust; top with spoonfuls of half the plain batter. Spoon in the remaining pumpkin batter, followed again by spoonfuls of the plain batter. Swirl with knife for a marbled effect.
4. Bake 45 minutes or until center is almost set. (If you cook it even a little too long, the top will crack as it's cooling, but it won't affect the taste as far as I can tell.) Cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Monday, November 16, 2009

306.8743 -- Working Mothers' Guilt

In several months, after the baby is born and FMLA leave is exhausted, I will have to return to work. I will have to leave my baby in the arms of a stranger. I know this won't be easy. In fact, I expect to be seized with guilt. So I'm trying to prepare early, and I'm starting with day cares.

I had hoped that finding the right day care would ease my anxiety, but after looking at a couple of places, neither one felt right. A coworker has since recommended her child care provider, so maybe my biggest problem is already solved.

Still, leaving a baby with even a trusted person is not the same as being home. How do people do this?

Friday, November 13, 2009

747.77 -- Baby Space

The nursery is finally finished! Would you like a tour?!

These three prints are from my mom. She found them at a "charity shop" in England. (Also -- new ceiling fan! :)

This view is my favorite. I love the furniture and bedding we picked out, and the curtain sheers are my favorite part of the whole room (though I know you can't see the cuteness in this picture). The baseball mobile may not match the room, but it is totally personal. The wall above the crib says, "Everyday holds a possibility of a miracle."

My dad bought this rocking chair for my mom when they found out she was pregnant with me. Matt had it repaired and refinished when we found out we were pregnant. I had to weed the baby books we had. They didn't all fit on our bookshelf!

This is the wall above the changing table. I was able to rip apart some old classic Pooh books to make these framed prints. And of course a Willow Tree... I love those!

Most of the toys won't see use for several months of course, but the baby will have lots of plush options to choose from. The basket is full of gifted blankets for our winter baby -- most of them were handmade!

See the plush green rug in front of the crib? Charlie has taken to laying on it as his go-to spot. When he is scared or bored or tired or when we are working in the nursery, he goes to that rug and curls up. It's so cute!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

618.2 -- The Final Countdown

After so long, the very last month of pregnancy has begun. Technically, that was on November 8th, but I was celebrating the bathroom over the weekend, so I'm celebrating the one-month mark today!

So... today marks four short weeks to my due date. To say I am looking forward to that glorious day is an understatement. Aches and pains have increased, as have day-to-day stresses and frustrations. The good news is that the nursery is one shelf away from being completely finished! (Where did I put those screws??) Look for pictures of the completed space on Friday if not before. I promise!

A sneak peak at the nursery and the final belly pic... unless I go past my due date!

004 -- The Serendipity Machine...

... also known as The Internet.

As I have mentioned to people who recommend tv shows to me, I do not have time in my life (or room on my DVR) for another series. That's not to say that new shows don't pique my interest. I was, for instance, intrigued by previews for FOX's series Glee. This is possibly because I am a music nerd from way back.

However, I was trolling the internet recently and read something that made my eyes bug out. Glee is set in Lima, Ohio?! Could this be? My own hometown? Who knew about this? Why was I not told?

I missed the premier of Glee, probably for one the other series I watch religiously. I do know that it was reasonably well received. According to Lima natives, the locale does not feature prominently, and it would be hard to guess where the show actually takes place other than a small Midwestern town. Despite this, I plan to Netflix this series during maternity leave -- because what else will there be to do? (hah!)

And that was my serendipitous discovery of the day.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

747 -- Visible Progress

For the last two weeks, Matt has been working really hard on the bathroom. However, there hasn't been much visual progress until now. While I know all the work he's put in, any other person might look at the room now and think, "What've you been doing?" Well, here's what he's been doing:

When he tore up the ... well ... entire bathroom, he found some water damage to the plywood floor, so he put down all new plywood. The stack for the toilet stuck out of the wall at a funny angle, which prevented us from enlarging the shower the way we wanted to. He rerouted the stack so it wouldn't interfere. Our new sink will be higher than our old one, so he rerouted the plumbing for that. The shower plumbing needed to be moved back about 8 inches, so he almost completely rebuilt that. The mirror we had in the bathroom was not recessed, and our new one will be, so Matt framed out a cabinet in the wall. He also framed out two wall inserts in what will be the shower. Then it was time to install the new can lights and exhaust fan, requiring some time in the attic (never fun).

After all this was done, Matt used a combination of drywall and moisture-resistant cement board to make the walls, ceiling, and floor. He then installed the shower pan, and built a curb between the shower and the rest of the bathroom. We painted a water-impermeable concoction called Mapegum onto the shower floor and part way up the shower walls. (Mapegum takes 12-24 hours to dry completely, so it's a huge time suck!)

Somewhere in between all of this madness we made several trips to various hardware and home design stores. We picked out tile for the bathroom floor, the shower floor, and the shower walls, as well as the new vanity, counter top, sink bowl, and sink and shower fixtures.

Yesterday, we painted on another layer of Mapegum, filled in all the drywall holes and seams with drywall mud, and set the tile for the bathroom floor. (And managed to get the new ceiling fan installed in the nursery.)

Today we'll paint on a third and final layer of Mapegum, and sand and re-mud the drywall seams. Monday night, we'll tile the shower floor and curb. If there is time, Matt might also sand and mud again.

With only 1-2 hours each night to work on this project, of course it has been slow going. And it's hard for me to accept that so much prep work has to go into the project before the visible progress begins. I have no doubt we'll have a functioning bathroom by December, but getting there will include a lot more late nights for both of us!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

747 -- Bathroom Remodel

Matt and I (but mostly Matt) have decided to undertake one final pre-baby home renovation project: The master bathroom. It's really needed an update ever since we moved in. Now that Matt is out of the National Guard, his evenings and weekends are a lot freer. And since he got a new job involving bathroom and kitchen remodeling, it seemed like the perfect time.

For the last few days we've been pricing vanities, counter tops, ceramic tile, and faucets. Matt is on a golf outing this weekend, so the project is on a temporary hiatus, but we expect it will be done before the baby comes. Below, see the "before" and "during" pictures... already a huge improvement!

Before ................................... During

Thursday, October 8, 2009

618.2 -- Two months and counting!

Today we celebrate exactly two months until Baby M's due date. Sleep is getting tougher as my bathroom breaks and discomfort increase, but all in all I can't complain. I think I've had it pretty easy this pregnancy! Hopefully the little one will be as cooperative after he or she is born too!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

823.914 -- The Book of Lost Things

by John Connolly

David is just a boy when his content life in London is quickly upended. With World War II picking up around him, David must deal with the death of his mother, a new romance in his father's life, the birth of his stepbrother, and a daunting move from his childhood home. And the fact that books have begun to whisper to him.

For awhile, David successfully avoids his step family, quietly resenting their existence in his life. But when a fight with his stepmother leads David into a world of fractured fairy tales and tangled nightmares, David comes to terms with his new family and his place within it. This is a darkly disturbing coming-of-age tale with a few moments of levity and lots of adventure. Highly recommended!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

793.2 -- Raining and Pouring

Matt and I have a lot of organizing to do! Both his family and mine threw baby showers for the little bundle, and our house is overflowing. Luckily, all of our furniture has also come in, so there is no shortage of drawers, shelves, and baskets for storage. Thanks to the generosity of family and friends (and family friends!) we are set for diapers, receiving blankets, onesies, bibs, wipes, diaper cream, travel gear, and bedding. The few items left to buy will be a joy... I have been waiting for the pending shopping spree for weeks!

The first event held in Baby M's honor was in Lima in August. I felt like the shower was so early, but I wanted my mom to be there, so there was no getting around the early scheduling. I hardly felt pregnant at that point! Guests were split between family -- near and extended -- and family friends -- some of whom I haven't seen since our wedding! The games were fun, the gifts were much appreciated, and the food was amazing. The most fun of it was being surrounded by a wonderful, loving, supportive group.

Baby M's second party was in Ross this past Sunday. I've wanted a book shower since I found out we were pregnant, and my sister-in-law was kind enough to think of it! Baby M got about 20 books -- some of which we never would have known about. There were also a couple of new moms at this shower, which meant I got a lot of great tips on things like toys, books, travel accessories, and clothes. Another fun part was the number of preggers ladies -- 25% of those in attendance! (I'm told at least two of them were taking notes on things to register for for their own showers!)

Thanks to all who attended or sent well wishes for our family! I'm grateful that Baby M will be born into such a large, loving family.

Friday, September 18, 2009

641.5884 -- Beef Stroganoff

Since starting my "new" job, we've tried 4 new slow cooker recipes. It's been so nice to come home to a kitchen that smells like home cooking and a dinner that just needs serving. This is easily one of the tastiest we've tried.

2 pounds beef stew meat
1 cup chopped onion (we used red)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of onion soup
8 ounces canned sliced mushrooms
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces cream cheese (cubed)
8 ounces sour cream
6 cups egg noodles (about half a large bag worked for us)

1. Mix the first six ingredients into slow cooker.
2. Cover and cook on low heat for 8-10 hours or until beef is very tender.
3. Stir in cream cheese and sour cream.
4. Serve over hot cooked egg noodles.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

355.00973 -- Congratulations Matt!

Saturday, we celebrated the official end to Matt's Army career. It was an emotional day in many ways. Sad because we both closed a huge chapter in our lives, full of friends and experiences we'll never forget. But mostly it was a happy occasion. Especially because we will soon be a family, we are looking forward to less time away from home and more stability.

Matt gave a great speech. He teared up a little talking about his experiences over the past 6 years, and I don't think I was the only one in the audience who did the same just listening.

The actual Change of Command was really quick. Matt's replacement is standing opposite him, with the Troop's First Sergeant on the left and the Lieutenant Colonel on the right.

Matt receiving his Army Commendation Medal.
This is the first and only time I have been able to pin Matt. His promotions have all taken place overseas, either in Korea or Afghanistan, and the awards he got following his deployment to Afghanistan were awarded in a group by senior officers.
Please ignore the fact that I look so huge as to be (as Karen put it about her own pregnant self) "houselike."

Of course Matt got some great "parting gifts" in appreciation of his time spent as Troop Commander. The first frame contains the Squadron colors. The second picture is the Troop's Guidon, accompanied by Matt's name tape and rank on the lower left and a troop photo taken that day on the lower right.

The Troop photo. About two-thirds of the troop are deployed right now. Matt is in the Cavalry branch of the Army, and the horses and stetson hats (and spurs, though you can't see those) are part of the Cavalry tradition. Cool right?

Seven of Matt's closest friends came for the day, as well as his parents and myself. (His fan club was easily the largest!) During the open house that followed the ceremony, friends and family got to climb into and around the humvees and check out the mounted guns and long range site equipment.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

395.22 -- Happy Anniversary!

a post-wedding candid photo

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

618.2 -- Counting Down

I am no stranger to countdowns. In the past few years, I've been doing a lot of that. Sometimes I do this in my head, like when Matt was getting ready to leave, and I didn't want to stress either of us out more than necessary by posting a daily reminder of how many days we had left. Usually, the countdowns are happier, like counting down to our wedding day, counting down to Matt coming home, counting down to my graduation from grad school, or counting down to Matt's last day in the service (4 days to go!). When countdowns are happier, I don't mind sharing them... I even have a "count-up" tallying days since our wedding. (We're working up to 1,500!)

So when December 8th -- my due date! -- starting seeming like forever away, it seemed only natural to create a physical countdown to the happy occasion. The clipped-together sheaf of papers now hangs on the refrigerator, and though we don't always remember to change it every day, it's fun to see just how far we've come and how few days we have left. In fact, today we celebrate 91 days left -- exactly three months!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

394.2644 -- Worst Oktoberfest

Last weekend, Matt and I traveled minutes from our house to Germania's Oktoberfest celebration. We always enjoy Germania's Oktoberfest, and we have a tacit agreement that we'll go every year. But now that Germania's has ended, we decided to try some other area celebrations.

Hamilton, just north of us, is known neither for its culture nor its class. But since Matt and I are fans of Oktoberfests wherever they may be, we had to try Hamilton's annual celebration at least once. And having tried it once, we will never go back. The highlight of our trip was the authentic biergarten look of the area. It was cool and dark, save for the bare bulbs strung between the trees. The festival seating, the crowds, the German beer (Spaten even!) was all very authentic.

Then there were the lowlights. Despite the fact that the band was dressed in leiderhosen (denim leiderhosen) and playing brass instruments, the music they played was awful. YMCA? Love Train? Do they know any German songs? We didn't even hear Ein Prosit, which is inexcusable. The whole song lasts only about 30 seconds. They couldn't learn it for Oktoberfest?

And the food. It might have been good, but there were 200 people in line for the "real food" so we settled for German desserts. We decided to try their Black Forest cake and a cream puff. They brought out these (and other) desserts still in their Costco packaging. Could you not try to make it seem authentic? The huge pretzels we got to tide us over (while the men drank their Spaten) were cold and a little wet. Ew.

So, instead of waiting an hour in line for bratts, sauerkraut, and schnitzel, a lot of people chose the much shorter line for that other old German tradition. Southern pulled pork BBQ? Seriously? I shouldn't have been surprised when I saw someone walking by with a "German eggroll" sitting on his plate, nestled between potato pancakes and sauerkraut balls. But I was. I was surprised and disappointed. Not wanting to wait in line or spend any more time there than we needed to, we opted to forgo the German food... at least until MainStrasse's Oktoberfest next weekend!

Monday, August 31, 2009

641.5884 -- Slow Cooking

The library where I currently work is in the middle of a major budget crisis. Many people have recently lost their jobs at the library. I was one of the lucky ones -- I still have my job. While that's enough to make me thankful, there will be challenges. Most of what I am struggling with right now is my schedule. I'll be getting home at either 6:45 or 7:45 four nights a week. And for the next few weeks at least, I'll be working a lot -- like 6 days a week. Add to that the fact that Matt will be home late most nights as well, and you have a recipe for a 9 p.m. dinner (or lots of take-out). Not fun!

So now I need some help from you! I envision becoming queen of the crock pot, and I will be needing some recipes. My stockpile of tried and true crock pot recipes is not large, and it will quickly get repetitive. What recipes do you use/have you used time and again as an easy-to-prepare go-to crock pot meal?

Here's what we're having tonight:

Basic crock pot roast

1-2 pound beef roast
handfuls of carrots, potatoes (cubed into bite size pieces) and pearl onions
packet of brown gravy mix
packet of italian dressing mix
1/2 packet of ranch dressing mix

Put roast and veggies into crock pot. Sprinkle mixes on top. Add 3/4 cup of water. Cook on low 7-9 hours or until veggies are cooked through and meat is done.

Seriously, how easy is that? I love crock pots!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

618.2 -- Third Trimester

Tuesday, August 25th marked the beginning of my 25th week of pregnancy - more commonly known as the third trimester. Changes? Lots more kicking. I don't think by the 20th week I had felt any definite kicks, but now I can regularly feel and see movement. Also, although I have yet to waddle, the baby is making some things - like tying my shoes - a lot more difficult.

My books say I am supposed to be experiencing a host of uncomfortable symptoms at this point in the pregnancy: stuffy nose, sciatic nerve pain, decreased energy, trouble sleeping, headaches, and the list goes on. Luckily, any aches or pains that I have experienced have been minor and fleeting. Hopefully the rest of the pregnancy will be this laid back!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

372.4 -- Bedtime is Booktime!

In anticipation that our bedtime routine will soon be changing forever, Matt and I have begun reading two stories a night to our little one. We quickly exhausted our supply of children's books, so we turned to the library for a cheap fix.

Even though I worked for two years as a children's library assistant, I had forgotten a lot of really great titles. Luckily, lists abound online and in books about the "best" books to read to your child. While I may not agree with all of the lists, they do help to jog my memory.

I don't know how effective reading in utero is to the brain development of Baby M. I do know that it's helped us bond with him before he's even arrived. Do you recognize these books? Are there any favorites that I've forgotten?

Monday, August 3, 2009

618.2 -- Milestones

Baby M is already changing the lives of her* parents. About a week ago, Matt and I had our 20 week ultrasound where we got to see the little one all curled around herself. She kicked a few times and twisted and turned, and we even got to see her tiny mouth open into a yawn!

Since then, Baby M has gotten bath towels, bath decorations, crib bedding, clothes, a bib, and books. This Friday, we'll pick up her crib.

The most exciting milestones for me, however, have been developmental. She's been kicking me several times a day, and yesterday -- for the first time -- I saw my belly move. Since Baby M can now hear her parents' voices, we've also been reading to her every night for the past week or more. My belly is getting bigger, and it won't be long until I'm out of my pre-pregnancy clothes for good. Luckily, I have a journal to jot down all of these lovely firsts. I don't want to forget a thing!

*Note that we do not know the sex of Baby M, so I will be referring to Baby M as him and her alternately. Starting today with "her".

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

618.2 -- Half Way Point

Tuesday, July 21st marked the half-way point in this pregnancy. We are 20 weeks along with 20 weeks to go. Our big exciting ultrasound is this Friday. If we are going to find out the sex of the baby, it will be then. We're still hoping to be surprised at the birth, but as friends and relatives keep pointing out, sometimes it's just obvious.

I'm looking at this picture thinking, "Good heavens! Am I really that big?" Most days I don't feel like it. I do enjoy prodding my belly to marvel at how hard it's gotten. It annoys me when people touch the belly without asking, but I can absolutely see myself being that first-time mom who is like, "Here, feel this! Isn't it cool?!"

Because, you know... it is pretty cool.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

771 -- Photos!

More pictures from our trip to Camp Atterbury!

Click each picture to make it a little bigger. Matt's parents got to go on this family day, too, so there are some great shots of them below. It was such a fun day! I think active duty companies should do this too... it's a great family building exercise. And the range was nothing like I envisioned it would be. My only regret was that it came so near the end of our military life!

Getting ready for the range meant suiting up in kevlar vest and helmet and wearing foam earplugs. Protective eyewear was also provided, but Matt conveniently forgot about that so we didn't have to wear it!

I got to shoot first. The targets seemed really far away, but using the laser sight was SO easy!

Terrie went next... she made it through her clip in about half the time it took me! (I would never make it in close combat. Maybe I was a sniper in another life :)

Dan was last to shoot. Everyone did really well hitting the targets, which I attribute to Matt's excellent zeroing prowess. (And our killer instincts ;)

Matt arranged for several humvees to be available. We got to see the tracking system they use (like a glorified GPS) and the supercool Long Range Scout Surveillance System. This is me waiting in line to check out the LRAS. (This is also the first picture of the bump!)

Terrie was amazed at the view through the LRAS!

We ended the day with a mini-tour of the .50 cal range. A group of soldiers was qualifying on a machine gun, and we got to watch. The coolest part was watching the red tracers disappear into the distance. Man you would not believe the range on those guns!

We also got to check out the simulation trainer, which is just like an arcade game where you shoot at bad guys. But instead of simulating people enemies, they used turkeys. (I think this was because we had a lot of kids there, and they didn't want the kids to shoot at people, even if they were simulated.) I didn't get many good pics of the simulation part, because it was inside and dark. Very cool to see what the guys do when they are away. I have learned more about the workings of the Army during Matt's two years in the Guard than I did during his 4+ years on active duty!

Monday, July 13, 2009

355.370973 -- Camp Atterbury Family Day

Matt's National Guard Troop meets once a month to train for upcoming deployments or just to keep their skills sharp. This past weekend they spent at Camp Atterbury, a training facility for National Guard soldiers from across the country. The only difference was that this time, their families got to go with them!

I don't have all the pictures back yet, so I will have to post more later, but the day was a blast! We got to fire M4s, crawl around on some Hum-vees decked out with lots of cool toys, visit a simulation trainer, and watch as a couple of soldiers fired rounds from a 50-cal mounted machine gun! The coolest part was definitely getting to fire the M4, but I enjoyed the whole day.

This is one pic of me firing the M4 on the actual range that the guys use when they have to qualify on their weapons. I hit all the targets! Instead of the targets popping up and down randomly, the control tower just kept them all up. So it was a lot easier than the guys usually have it, but for my first time ever firing a weapon, I think I did pretty well! There will be more pictures and another post later! So exciting!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

917.5 -- Myrtle Beach recap (finally!)

Matt and I returned over a week ago from our week of sun, sand, and surf in Myrtle Beach. Everything was wonderful, and the weather cooperated nicely. We spent one day in Charleston, getting our history fix at Ft. Sumter and several WW2-era navy vessels. The rest of the time we spent in our room, around the pool or on the beach. In fact, except for our Charleston day, we spent over 4 hours on the beach every day!

The view from our hotel room was great! We spent lots of time on our balcony reading or just relaxing.

This is a picture of Ft. Sumter from the ferry. It was really cool, but we didn't feel like we had enough time. Since you come and go by ferry, there is a limited amount of time for wandering.

Where the Ft. Sumter ferry docks there are also some historic naval vessels that you can go aboard and explore. We saw the carrier and the submarine. Matt's grandfather was on a carrier just like this in WWII, which made it all the more interesting to see what naval life was like at that time.

On the way home, we stopped in nearby Wilmington, NC to visit with Karen and Clay -- two friends from our Fort Drum days. And of course, at the end of the exhausting car trip, we enjoyed seeing Cincinnati from one of our favorite views.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

917.69 -- Mini Trip to Kentucky, day 2

After a restful evening on Saturday night, we got up semi-early to go to Mass on Sunday. (Because it was Ft. Knox, and because it was a Mass for soldiers in basic training, it was slightly amusing :)

We had a hearty breakfast back at Joe and Jenny's house before we headed to Heaven Hill, a bourbon distillery on Kentucky's "bourbon trail." Although they don't distill the bourbon at the Bardstown facilities anymore, the museum, tour, and bourbon tasting (none for me!) were fun and enlightening!

Bourbon has to age for several years. In that time, it's stored in oak barrels. The barrels are stored in "ricks" and the ricks are located in ... rickhouses! Original, huh? This is an inside view of one of Heaven Hill's rickhouses.

We only had time for one stop on the bourbon trail this time, but Matt and I will be back. We've visited three so far, and it's a pleasant drive from our house. It's only a matter of time until we get to them all!

After bidding farewell to Joe and Jenny, we had a pleasant drive back to Ohio. What a fun weekend!

Monday, June 15, 2009

917.69 -- Mini Trip to Kentucky, day 1

Matt and I spent part of Memorial Day weekend with his parents visiting his sister and brother-in-law in Kentucky. To make the most of our two-day trip, we headed from their house straight to Louisville for a much-anticipated trip to the Louisville Slugger Museum. It was more educational than I expected. Not only did we learn about bat-making, but we got information overload in the newly-renovated museum area. And we scored mini-Louisville Sluggers!

After the museum we made our way to the Louisville Slugger Baseball Field to catch some great minor league baseball action. The Louisville Bats (as in flying mammals, not wooden clubs) are one of the "farm teams" for the Cincinnati Reds. The game was not as intense as a major league game, but the experience was really fun. The stadium was amazing, and all the seats were SO close to the field! Plus, it was much cheaper than the cheapest seats at Great American Ballpark.

I don't know if you can see the golden retrieve (circled) next to home plate. He was the "bat boy" for the Louisville Bats. He came out after most at-bats and retrieved the bat! He and his handler also played catch on the field with a frisbee between innings and before the game. At the seventh inning stretch, the dog actually took a basket with towels and water bottles out to 3rd base for the umpires! How fun!

The ball park was really fun. You could walk the entire way around it, and there were fun things for kids to do when they get antsy during games. My favorite -- although I didn't ride it -- was this carousel!

At the end of the day, it was back to base camp for a relaxing night of summer picnic food and watching the Reds lose to the Cleveland Indians :)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

618.2 -- First Big Purchase!

Thursday, Matt and I drove out to a gorgeous Hamilton subdivision to take a look at a brand new Pack N Play I saw advertised on CraigsList. Long story short, we loved it. It doesn't match the stroller we registered for, but the Pack N Play (and matching Swing N Bounce, both by Graco) will mostly be in our living room (or other people's living rooms). I'm guessing they won't come into much contact with the stroller :)

The future nursery is still a guest room until at least the end of August. Until then, we can't set up much baby stuff. Here are stock images of both our big scores. I love that they were so cheap, and that the black pattern will go nicely in our living room. I super love that these both come with the vibrate feature, and that the Pack N Play comes with all that extra storage!

Monday, June 8, 2009

636.7 -- Mirror Image

Several weeks ago, our neighbors bought a new puppy for their live-in grandchild. The first time I saw the little guy through the office window, I did a double take. I thought it was Charlie!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

011.73 -- Hooray!

I have officially exorcised my book-slump demon. Yesterday I brought home two books from work. Today, I started and finished one of those, as well as finished (finally!) a book that I started months ago. (The library will finally be getting it back!)

Today, I also realized that this slump wasn't really a slump at all. I have been reading after all. Pictured here, the pile of books that have been occupying my time.

My theory is that the 12-week point marked a period of less worry and anxiety. It's not that I'm not interested in which piece of fruit the baby most resembles at this stage of development. I'm just glad to finally be interested in everything else again. Plus, let's face it -- I read the pregnancy books start-to-finish weeks ago!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

618.2 -- Surprise!

I'll save you the time counting back from the due date ... As of today, I am 12 weeks and 2 days pregnant! :) While we've known for awhile, I've been waiting to hear the little one's 12-week-old heartbeat before making an official announcement. This is it! We're pregnant!