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!