Friday, April 30, 2010

Heaven in the Form of Food.


I am here today to talk to you about my favorite food in the world. Since I was a little girl, and was in school on the first day, and you had to go around and introduce yourself and tell everyone your name and favorite color and favorite food, this has been my favorite food. So please, for a moment, imagine, a little second grade girl...

Hello, my name is Kaitlin. My favorite color is pink. And my favorite food is artichokes.

I swear, that's how it went down. For as long as I can remember. It's a wonder the other children associated with the girl whose favorite food was one they couldn't even pronounce. I thought it was so normal! I would go on explaining what kind of food it was, thinking they would all understand as soon as they heard how amazing artichokes are. Instead, they said, "You mean, your favorite food is leaves?"

And this is when I realized I was just a little bit different than everyone else. And that I liked it that way. And now, a recipe.

This is handed down from my Mama, who had it handed down to her from my Poppy. Poppy was her father in law, and he taught her how to make them in my Grandma's kitchen. Poppy was very special to me. He called me his little Pip. Pip #3, to be exact. Poppy would have loved to see me pregnant. But instead, I will carry on his memory via artichokes.

Look at these beauties. Start by cutting off the very top leaves, and the stem.


Then, using a good old fashioned scissor, trim the tips of each leaf. This seems tedious, but it goes very quickly. And also, it is necessary, because you are actually cutting off tiny little thorns from each leaf tip. Don't be frightened. Artichokes are beautiful.


Then, spread the leaves of the artichoke open all around, using your thumbs. Here is a choke before it is separated, and after. See how it is opened like a flower?? As you pull the choke open, you will hear a wonderful squeaking sound. This sound is part of the soundtrack to my childhood.
Next, we pull out the very inner purple-ish leaves.


Grab them with your thumb and forefinger, and twist them out. This is not an exact science, just get some of those leaves outta there to make a place for the stuffing. Again, here is a before and after! I know, you are so welcome.


Next, time to make the stuffing! The stuffing recipe we Reggio's use is simple and no-nonsense. Grab 2 pieces of white bread per artichoke. Then, using your old fashioned scissors again, cut into cubes (4 slices in one direction, 4 slices in the other). If you don't have old fashioned scissors, you could just use regular ones.


My husband would be proud if I told you to cut the bread into 1/16. But that would be confusing. Sorry, honey. You math people are a rare breed.

To the bread, add olive oil (EVOO!), garlic powder, salt, pepper, and parsley. I'm really sorry, but I don't have any amounts for these ingredients. But I think that makes it fun! I have faith in you! You can't mess it up! Do not fear the spices. Be generous with the EVOO, until the bread it somewhat covered. Sprinkle other spices and stir. Taste and add according to your liking!

Next, we will stuff the artichokes! Press the stuffing firmly into the center of each choke. Use all the stuffing, they will be over stuffed, and glorious.

The hard part's over! Now, just put the chokes in a pot, and fill the pot with water halfway up the chokes. Drizzle EVOO over chokes, and in water. Bring chokes to a nice boil, then cover and simmer for an hour. The leaves should pull off very easily. Your house will smell so delicious that you will wants to lick your walls.

Forgive me, I do not have a picture of the finished product! Husband was hovering at that point, and I was quite anxious to devour them as well, and we got ahead of ourselves. Please tell me if you make and enjoy my favorite food in the world, and a piece of my heart as well.

This Weekend


This weekend I am:
  • Playing hostess to my Mama & sister! And enjoying girl-time baby anticipation with them.
  • Finishing out our registry & getting the last of our baby necessities
  • Having our Maternity Photoshoot by Gina Lenz!
  • Enjoying the beautiful weather
  • Celebrating the life of little Caleb with those who love him
I'm sure I'll have lots to share come Monday with such festivities! Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Love,

dirt road Mama

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

An Announcement



This is an excerpt from an email I received yesterday, from Dirt Road Daddy.


Anyways, thank you for the email! I am reading your blog, and I think that I am going to be the Executive Assistant to the blog, which means a cool title for your proof-reader. Here is one correction to make! I love the post!

"Now these doors may look finished to you. But they are not. There is something still be assembled. But where??"

I can't wait to see you today!

<3>
Which brings me to the following statement.

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to formally announce that I have an Executive Assistant to this blog. Which is a cool title for proof-reader.



Hours: However long it takes him to read each post.
Employment Period: Starting immediately. Many times I get excited & type too fast, which is a bad combination. I need help.
Wages: A home-cooked dinner each evening, and all of his laundry done except when I am too tired. And kisses. And okay fine, I'll give you a baby too.

I have an employee! This will be fun. Maybe sometimes I'll make typos, just to keep him on his toes.



Hubby, if you are reading this, you have been hired as Executive Assistant! Congratulations! Feel free to bring home some wine and/or champagne for us to celebrate your new position. We can add it to our "post-baby" stock pile of alcohol that needs to be consumed. That will be my favorite day. And yes, the consumption will all take place in one day, thank you. Maybe it will be tomorrow? Okay most likely not. But a girl can dream.

Love,
dirt road Mama


Where's Daddy?

So we had a doctor appointment, in which he told me that I could "go any day" now. Which made Hubby and I look at each other with wide eyes and huge smiles. We were not expecting this statement. But it gave us a little kick in the bum!

So last night, we put closet doors on Baby's closet. And by "we" I obviously mean the Husband, and I sat on the bed in a mountain of pillows and painted. For some reason, the closet in this room never had doors. But now, look how pretty!


Now these doors may look finished to you. But they are not. There is something still to be assembled. But where??


What is that I see under there? I think there is a Hubby in the closet!

Husband suddenly said "Be right back." And closed himself in the closet. I couldn't imagine why this needed to be done in order to install closet doors, but I don't ask questions, I just paint.

Then I hear this.
Him: Honey? Can you slide the directions under the door?
Me: Oh no, you're really gunna make me bend?
**[Bending is very painful when baby is contracting. Which is now all the time. Thank you for not judging me. The end.]
Him: No, just slide it over with your foot under the doors.
Me: Oh, okay.

...5 minutes later...

Him: There is very poor lighting in here.
Me: That's because you're in a closet, honey.

...5 more minutes later...

Him: There's not much room in here. I'm very cramped.
Me: That's cause you're in a closet, honey.


Then I decided I was curious and wanted to see what he was building in there.
I asked. And he explained. I wish I could tell you. But I rarely understand these things. But it was something constructive.


Reading his instructions. Please note the tiny tiny tiny freaking adorable clothes. On tiny hangers. I will provide a closet & nursery tour in the coming week. I'm very excited. Everything is tiny.


With his masterpiece after the work was done. Didn't he do great??

Insight into Hubby's soul: He likes building and doing manly things that require a lot of tools. The more tools the better. If he has to go out to the Home Depot & buy a new tool, better still.

Insight into my soul: I encourage this behavior because things get done. Lots of things. I told him I didn't really mind when those closet doors got done, I just wanted to see his self esteem get a little boost when he was all finished! He didn't believe me. Maybe because I've been saying the phrase "closet doors" in different capacities every day for a week. As if the baby could not be adequately prepared for it's life here on Earth without those doors installed. So Baby, we're ready now. I know you've been waiting on those doors, but rest easy, they are in!

Three cheers for Daddy! Baby and I love you.

Love,
dirt road mama

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ready to POP!


Wow! You're ready to pop, huh?!

You ready to go yet?

Starting to get uncomfortable?

Getting sick of being pregnant yet?


These are some things I have been hearing lately, as I start my ninth month. I'm 36 weeks pregnant!! And yes, I'm feeling big. I may not look big, but the baby is big and for my body, it's a lot to carry around all the time. But no, I'm not done being pregnant, or sick of being pregnant, or at a point where I'm screaming "Get this baby out!" I have a different kind of view of pregnancy I think. And it correlates with my view of engagement. Allow me to explain.

I was engaged to Hubby for 22 months (I corrected anyone who said "2 years"). This was mostly due to the fact that I was 19, and still finishing college. He was finishing up school as well. And we still resided in different states. These things worked themselves out beautifully by the summer of 2008. Would we have gotten married sooner? Sure. We would have been married a year after we met, had it not been when we were 14. Did I dislike the length of our engagement? Not at all. And here's why. Being engaged is a short period of time in life. Even though ours was "long", 2 years is not long in the grand scheme. And this time is one of excitement. Anticipation. Planning. Elation. Every time you look down at that ring, you feel jitters and your heart jumps and you just stare and admire it when nobody is looking. Then you go on your photographers website and dream of your pictures, listen to your wedding song, and add some notes to the vows your writing. And dream of that I do and first kiss.


I didn't wish away this time. I savored it. Every time someone saw my ring, they wanted every detail, and I loved giving it. When else do you have an excuse to go on and on about the love of your life? And marriage is the most wonderful blessing that two people can be given, in my opinion. But that engagement...is the anticipation of this blessing. And it's like the world is smiling with you the whole time.

I have seen pregnancy the same way. Many people are so excited to be pregnant, and then start complaining about discomfort and feeling huge and "get this baby out now". Now I know that some pregnancies are harder than others, and I'm positive that these comments are merited most times. I will probably say that last sentence to Hubby in about 3 weeks or so. But for today, I'm optimistic. They say that the love you have for a child is like no other feeling in this world. That it is the greatest blessing to be given a family, and it will change your life forever. I can't wait. But pregnancy...is a short period of time in life. Right now, 9 months without wine seems like an eternity, but it is a short time in the grand scheme.

And this time is one of excitement. Anticipation. Planning. Elation. Every time you look down at that belly, you feel jitters and your heart jumps and you stare and admire it when no one is looking. Then you go into the nursery and fold some more onesies, and think about what your baby will look like, and put together a bouncer, and look at your ultrasound picture. And dream of that first breath and first cry.

As you may have read, there have been ups and downs throughout my pregnancy. But I wouldn't change a thing. I feel like Baby is almost ready to be here. And I know I'm going to miss this time. I'm smiling all the time because Baby is in there, kicking away. And it's like everywhere I go, the world is smiling with me.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Random Monday Musings

1. I found out that Baby Love is head down, and facing back, which is so exciting to me. It makes me feel like Baby is so ready to go, just like we are! Not only that, but naturally Baby is also already quite the genius. I mean, it just knows exactly how it is supposed to be laying in there? Genius, I tell you. So Baby, whenever you are ready to come out, we are ready to meet you! Just wait and listen for God to tell you when. And don't be scared, Daddy and I will be there to hold you.


2. I put together our bouncer last night. I'm in love with it. It reminds me of a Baby Spa vacation. I can't explain why. Something about the colors, and the fact that it plays nature sounds, and womb sounds, and vibrates. I think Baby will love it too.


I took this picture of my hand in the river right after we got engaged. I don't know why I love it so much, but it just reminds me of summer.


Whenever I think of my new little baby, I think of this picture. I think it's their eyes. This is my baby cousin Jenna. Who is no longer a baby, but I think I'll always think of her like this. She was at her 2 week Doctor appointment, and I was there at the same time to get my vaccinations for college. The irony made me laugh at the time.
And that pretty lady is my Mama, and Jenna Benna's Godmama. When I look at this picture, I can't stop staring at it. And then I ache to meet my baby.


I love Disney World. This was my hubby's 21st birthday, in Disney. It's funny to me to think that this was our first trip to Disney together, it feels like it was yesterday, I was 19, and Hubby didn't even have an obsession with Sam Adams yet. This was a month before he proposed to me. So much has changed since then! In conclusion, I love Disney World. I warned you that this post was random.


Sometimes I want to go back to Rhode Island, to Thayer Street, at the drop of a hat, just to go here. As it is, Hubby and I went all the way to Vermont last May to go to the headquarters! He likes saying that I made him drive 7 hours for an ice cream cone. Tee hee.
Ben, Jerry: I love thee. The end.


But one more thing. This picture makes me laugh out loud. And let me tell you why.
This is Mama and aforementioned Goddaughter Jenna in the stroller. She and I went to the city for the day with Aunt Judi (Jenna's Mama) and Taylor (Jenna's sissy). We were on the subway. Judi is a city-walking pro...and Mama hates the subway. And I love my Mama.

This picture speaks volumes about my Mama. Notice a few things that make me laugh:
1. Her stance. Ready to run, attack, protect her young.
2. Her grip on the pole/her purse/the stroller. Nothing will tear her from any of these objects. Nothing, I tell you.
3. Her face. I don't know who she was looking at, but she was threatening them with her eyes. Death and destruction. Compare this picture with the warmth and love of the earlier photo, and few would know it's the same person.

And people will wonder why I will say: Why yes, Baby is going to the city
for the first time. He/she is 6 weeks old. No I'm not nervous. Mima will be there.


Happy Monday!
Love,
dirt road Mama


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Seriously?

Seriously? This is my baby's newborn teeny weeny onesie. And my shoe. I can't believe my little baby will really be this small. I can't wait to hold it's teeny little body!!

p.s. How adorable is the onesie? It totally says "My daddy's a math teacher." :)

Love,
dirt road mama

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Best Pasta Dish You'll Ever Make

The time: maybe about ten years ago.
The location: my grandma's house.

We arrive at my grandma's house after traveling for three hours and ask her what is for dinner. She responds: Pasta with Cauliflower. I sort of cringe in my head. My grandma is a great cook! Why isn't she making something delicious and Italian? Maybe something with a nice red sauce? Do I even like cauliflower?But we carried on with our afternoon, and I thought "Oh well, it's pasta, and I have a wide palette in terms of foods and flavors that I enjoy. How bad can it be?"

So a little while later, we go into the kitchen to start preparing the meal, and Grandma lifts the cover off of a large pan, and begins stirring it with a wooden spoon. She turns the burner on low to warm the mixture up. The most phenomenal smell fills the kitchen as she stirs.

"OH my goodness, what is that??" I asked her, leaning over, wanting to taste it right then.
"That's the cauliflower."

And thus began my obsession with Pasta & Cauliflower. I wish there was a better name for it to adequately describe the delicious flavor and consistency. I mean, who would go into a restaurant and order "Pasta & Cauliflower" off the menu? But trust me. And make this. Even for those of you who think you don't like cauliflower. Jump in and do it. You won't be sorry. And bonus: IT'S SO EASY! Don't you love it already?

Disclaimer: You must like garlic in order to like this meal. You also must like garlic in order to enter my home. Unless you're willing to do dishes. Or you are bringing wine. Then you are welcome anytime. Glad we got that squared away.

Ingredients you'll need:
1 head of cauliflower
1 pound of pasta (any shape really, I usually use Angel Hair or Rigatoni. Or Rotini. So yeah, any shape.)
5-7 nice sized garlic cloves, crushed
Extra Virgin Olive Oil ("EVOO")
Salt & Pepp
1-2 cups water


Start by roughly chopping the cauliflower.


There is no right or wrong way. Little florets if wish, because florets is a really pretty word. And how much fun to tell your friend: "Oh can you just chop that into florets real quick?"


Give em a nice rinse. We want to keep our babies safe from supermarket-packaging diseases. And our husbands. Oh yes, and then there's ourselves. Let's not forget about the chef!


Next, add about 3 tablespoons of EVOO to a large saucepan, and turn it on med-high. That's about 3 generous spins around the pan. There's no need to measure, you'll be adding more later. Don't be afraid of the EVOO - this will essentially be the "sauce" to your pasta, and nobody wants a dry pasta dish! (p.s. Check on the blue sky reflection in the oil! How glorious and Springy)

**Side note about Extra Virgin Olive Oil: It is a Super Food. Which means it has unbelievable health benefits for the human body. The "extra virgin" part means that it is the first pressed from the olive. It therefore has a very high level of antioxidants, and is less processed than even regular olive oil. Studies have proven that consuming 2 TBl. of EVOO per day, for just one week, will lower your risk of heart disease and raise level of antioxidants in your blood. Spread the EVOO love! I could write a whole post on EVOO I think.

After the oil has heated for a bit, add the cauliflower and begin cooking. Your pan will remain on the stove - I needed to move mine so it would catch the sunlight :)


While the cauliflower begins to cook, peel and crush your garlic. These are QUITE large cloves, so I only used 6. But I almost always use at last 7. The garlic simmers for a while, so don't worry about the flavor being too strong. The first time I made this, my only mistake was not adding enough garlic, which severely changes the flavor.

Add garlic, salt & pepp, and a some more EVOO to the already cooking cauliflower. We won't want the pan to sound angry - if it does, lower the heat a bit and add more EVOO. You know what I mean by angry - loud, really sizzly, smoking. These are not adjectives that should describe the cooking cauliflower. Give the pan a nice stir every so often, allowing the cauliflower and garlic to begin to brown in color. This should only take a few minutes. Careful., as always, not to burn your garlic. Brown garlic = good garlic. Black garlic = burned garlic.

Then your pan will look like this. Some sides starting to take color, but the cauliflower will still be firm. Notice you can see the salt & pepp. I am not one to skimp on the seasonings.

Now, essentially, your work is done! At this point, you will add about 1-2 tall glasses full of water to the pan. The cauliflower should not be submerged in water completely, that is not our goal here. [Don't worry - this pasta will not be watery! The water is added in order the soften the cauliflower and make it a glorious consistency that is able to be broken with a wooden spoon. Mmmm. ] Anyway, you will cover the pan and lower the heat to nice low simmer. Then walk away, and leave it simmering for about 45 minutes. The more time you let it simmer - the better!


When your cauliflower looks like this, it is finished. It will be a beautiful golden color, that only comes from the time spent simmering in. When you go to stir it, the cauliflower should break and fall apart easily. The water should simmer off, just leaving the oil in the pan. Now, mix with your favorite shape of pasta!


Then top with Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Please note: after taking this picture, I added lots more cheese to my dish. The amount of cheese I enjoy would not adequately be able to still display the pasta in all it's beauty.

Then say, "Yessss honey, dinner is ready. Thank you, I love the way it smells too. No, you can't eat all of it tonight, that's too much pasta for one person. Yes, I'll give it to you for lunch tomorrow." This conversation really happened.

Possible Things You Might Think You Did Wrong, But Should Not Freak Out About:

1. "Darn! I added too much EVOO!" First of all, don't freak out, because you probably didn't. Let the cauliflower keep cooking, and I bet it will all absorb nicely, you just won't add more later. Secondly, if you did, and it looks like it's drowning already before you add the water, just pour some oil into a small Tupperware, and freeze it! Defrost it for your next sauce, it will just have a nice mild garlic-y flavor.

2. "Darn! I added too much water!" Don't freak out. But also, don't pour any out. This would also mean pouring out valuable and beautifully flavored EVOO. Just simmer it for a bit longer, and it will be glorious!

3. "Darn! I think I added to much garlic!" Don't freak out. This is impossible.

Godspeed, & happy tummys!
Love, Kate

Friday, April 23, 2010

Effleurage


Confession: I love Lamaze class.

It's 3 hours long, we live an hour away from the hospital where it's held, and we didn't get home until almost 11 pm. But I love Lamaze class.

I was so excited to go. And Husband was too, whether or not he would admit it to anyone but me. When we were getting in the car, he said "Who's ready for three hours of breathing!" That is him being excited.

But it was so different than we had imagined! The nurse in charge was so great, she kept saying things like "You think you have no idea what to do. But you do. Your body knows how to go into labor and birth your baby. Just listen to your body. You are a strong woman and I KNOW you can do this." I wanted to put her in my pocket and bring her home with me.

We also did progressive relaxation techniques that I had already learned in Prenatal Yoga, so I was a pro at it. My husband may or may not have dozed off at this point, which only I knew because I heard his breathing pattern change. The poor thing was working on a 17 hour day! I cut him a break and let him nap until we were instructed to "return ourselves to the exterior world around us".

Then there was this woman who is due 3 days after me. AFTER ME. Keep this in mind. I am technically further along than she is. This woman was so over the top, Hubby and I could barely keep ourselves together. And of course she sat right next to us. First of all, she was no bigger than any other girl in the whole room. But she walked as if she was carrying triplets, and was in actual transition labor. She demanded that her husband hold her arm up as she entered the room, and had her other arm out to the other side for balance, as if she might spontaneously fall into a wall as she shuffled across the room. Then, when sitting, she made a groaning sound that literally alarmed the whole room. We all looked. Is she okay? Did she fall? Is she injured in some way? Conversations stopped momentarily. No. She is just sitting down. Into a cushioned rocking chair. I think she's going to live.

She acted as if she was the only woman ever to have gone into labor or bear children. Anytime she got out of her chair, she had he husband stand in front of her, she shifted to the front of her seat, and held out both hands for her husband to hold. Then, she proceeded to take 3 deep breaths. Every time - 3 breaths. I wish I was kidding. Then was the big heave, as he pulled her out of the chair, and she looked as if she was getting pulled from a burning car. Interesting how the other 15 pregnant women in the room (here is where I will remind you that I am FURTHER ALONG THAN SHE) managed to get out of our chairs all by ourselves, with the help of those fancy little arm rests!

Anyway, needless to say, it was pure comedy. We are very excited to see what happens next week. Or, Lord help us, on our last class in mid-May. She'll be 2 weeks from due, and I won't be surprised if her water breaks in class and she faints.

But my favorite part, was the effleurage. As we were learning ways that our support partners could help us relax, she started talking about massages, including effleurage, which she said she guarantees we had all done before. We all looked at her, very puzzled. Then she started rubbing her belly in a circular motion. This subconscious action that I have done since I was 3 weeks pregnant actually has a name!! I have been rubbing my belly since there was barely a belly to rub. I never knew why. It made me feel close to my baby, it reminded me that I had a little growing chickpea, even when nobody else could tell. It reminded me to take things easier, rest when I needed, and take care of my body. And it made me smile. When I would be at work or stressed, I would sit and "effleurage" (what a beautiful name it has now!) and it would remind me that there was a miracle happening every minute, even though no one but my baby and I knew it. Then I would keep doing it as I got bigger because my baby would kick me, and I rubbed back to communicate with it. I started talking at the same time too, letting it know that it was Mama saying hi when I was rubbing. Early on, people would even say to me, "Why do you keep rubbing your belly?" I would sometimes say, "I don't really know...I think baby likes it." Turns out, this whole time, baby really did know and enjoy the massage! Baby has been calmed and soothed by this motion since day 1, and it will continue to relax both baby and I during labor. Effleurage. What a magical concept, that is evidently instinct in the female human body. I never cease to be amazed by this process that God has created.

Oh, and if you happen to be in my Lamaze class, and happen to be reading my blog, I was not talking about you before. I was talking about that other girl. Yes, that one.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Am I Ready?


Husband and I were making dinner the other night, when a commercial for Remember the Titans came on. I ran in the living room and stared at the TV, riveted by the movie trailer recap, and suddenly dying to see the movie again.I really am a sucker for advertising. Honestly, every time one of those huge Friendly's trucks passes us on the highway, I suddenly need an ice cream cone with giant M&M's rolling off of it.Anyway, I said to husband, "Remember the Titans really is such a classic movie. I just love it." He agreed and we briefly discussed the amazingness of this film.

Left side! STRONG SIDE!
I mean really, did you not just get chills?

But then I had a horrifying thought. Because this is how my mind works. I had the frightening realization...that our baby would think this movie was old. OLD. I am not OLD! Remember the Titans is not OLD! DENZEL WASHINGTON IS NOT OLD! This is what I will tell my baby in a frenzy when he or she is about 10. And then they will roll their eyes at me. Because to them, I will be old.

I voiced this to my husband and he gave me that look that makes me thankful that he puts up with my crazy thought processes about life. But then, he did agree. They will think this glorious movie is old. Like I thought about "Field of Dreams" before I saw it. [My dad just cringed that I thought this movie was old. And I bring you the circle of life.] Now, of course, I love Field of Dreams and James Earl Jones and the beautiful representation of Iowa and the good old days of baseball. But when my dad first put the movie on, I did not think these things. I'm pretty sure I thought the movie was old.And then, the other day, I thought wow. In a few years, there is going to be a generation of children who just know me as Reggie's Mom. Or Reilly's Mom.

Little Kid at School: Who is that lady carrying all those amazing cupcakes and 15 Mylar balloons?
Other Little Kid: Oh, that's Reilly's mom. It's her birthday.

Little Kid on the Baseball Team: Why is that lady wearing a shirt that says "I love the Coach" and holding a banner that says "Reggie West is the Best"?
Other Little Kid: That's Reggie's mom. And Coach B's wife. You know how she is.

I won't have a name. Or an identity at all really. I'll just be that psychotic mom who baked too many cupcakes again and won't stop suggesting a PTA Yoga fundraiser. I mean sure, these times will be the highlight of my life. I secretly can't wait. Notice how I already have a slogan that will be on my child's posters. But still. It's weird. I'm still young! And to these kids, I will be anything but.

Okay, I'm exaggerating. But still, it makes me wonder...am I ready for this? Not motherhood, I'm totally set to be a Mama. I mean diapers, love, no sleep, reading, child rearing, singing, keeping another human being healthy and well, ice cream cones, teaching children everything they need to know to survive and be successful in the world...that's just cake. Peaches and cream. Kittens. Simple! For this, I am so ready. Bring on the babies, I say!

What I am not ready for... is being the next generation. Being the recipient of the eye roll. I am the eye roller!! I'm guessing when you are a Mama, you can no longer whine? That's just out of the question? And I have to say things like "No TV before your homework is finished" ? And "No ice cream before dinner" ? Maybe I can say the homework one, because I'm a teacher and all, but not the ice cream one. I refuse. How can I? I JUST had ice cream for dinner the other night. As in, in complete place of the meal. I think it's a mandatory summer ritual. Sigh. This is what I am not ready for. This transformation that you HAVE to make when you become a mom. And there is no choice. Sure, you can be young and youthful and fun. My parents are the youngest and the funnest. For real, they're little whippersnappers! Just look at em.

No one is younger or funner than these two. You can be the youngest and the funnest, but you are still the parents. The next generation. I will be the next generation. You can wear your cute little sundress with your cowboy boots and kiss your hubby, but your kids will look at you and say "Ew, Mom!". They just will. There's no way to stop it, it's a fact of life.


And Husband and I will just look at each other and smile and pour a glass of wine. Or four. And watch a really old movie, like Avatar. And whisper about our memories and how we can barely imagine what life was without our kiddies. And then we will remind them that our love is the reason they are alive, the reason their very beings came into existence, and I will kiss him again. And one will look at the other and say "Geez, what's with Mom?"

Except our baby will in fact just be a baby forever. And if it does happen to ever break all the rules and grow up on me, it will think I'm the coolest Mama ever. And want to tell me everything. And love my taste in movies and music. (Mom, can we listen to Michael Buble again? He's so awesome.) And will never act up, so I'll never have to say that sentence about TV and homework. And that is the cloud that I can live on for 5 more weeks. So there. :)



Wednesday, April 21, 2010

April Showers Bring May Babies

I think I'll call this the Baby Shower of Creativity.

Seriously, everything was so thoughtful, unique, and creative from the gifts, to all of the little details that my girls put together for me and Baby R. It really made me feel so loved, and unbelievably blessed. Which is just a wonderful way to feel.

This was actually my second shower; since half of my family and friends are on Long Island where I grew up, and Brett family is here, the planners thought it would be better to have separate ones so no one has to travel. It worked out so beautifully! Here is a little peek at the fun:



Teeny little clothes. This has got to be the thing that makes me melt the most. These may look like boy clothes, but they in fact are not. The hunting onesie could easily be feminized with the right khaki skirt and Ugg boot combination. And a Yankee fan is a Yankee fan is a Yankee fan. No gender specificity needed. Now I just have to win the Yankee/Red Sox fan argument with the hubby, and we'll be golden.

Creativity at it's finest...my girls that threw the shower for me made a CD for our drive to the hospital. The drive is an hour, and they know me, and know that the hour will be one of an anxious heart and a racing mind. And possibly some pain, but hopefully minimal. So they filled this CD with songs of inspiration to get me through that hour, and pump us up for the big moment. I have no idea what kind of magic is on this CD, but all I know is I am FORBIDDEN to listen to it until I go into labor, and that my Mama was almost crying when they gave it to me. She knows something. I'm very excited for this drive now. Which, I believe, was their intention. :)


You know Mama's a lush when she gets a nice Champagne for her shower. But man, am I pumped for that bottle! I have no shame.


Who knew that this magic existed? Lullaby versions of classic Coldplay songs. I'm already playing it for Baby in the womb. We are loving it.


Scarlett is eyeing my loot. How precious is she?


Hubby's cousin made me an elephant cake!! I have an obsession with elephants, that is inexplicable really. But oh, do I love them. They are the most adorable animals in my opinion. And don't get me started on the way the Mama's care for their young. But anywho, how precious is this cake? Man is she talented.


Belly measuring! Such a fun game. I just love my belly, so a game involving it made me smile.

My girls also had little cards that had "New Mommy Advice", where everyone gave me some words of wisdom. And they bought be thank you notes, and had everyone address their envelopes already! Which is a dream come true.

To add to the love, two of my girlfriends who I haven't seen in way too long, traveled to come to the shower!! One came from Rhode Island, one from Boston. They came just for one night, to celebrate our Baby R. Seeing them made me remember why girlfriends are a necessity of life. And how the good ones will be there till the end, no matter what. Speaking of which, Sex and the City 2 comes out on the DAY my baby is due. Let's reflect.

Thank you to my girls for loving me. And to everyone who came and celebrated. I hope you know how much I love ya back.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

This Should Be Mandatory


So there's this little place called Woodloch. To most people, it is a family vacation resort, golf community, and destination spa in the mountains. But not to me. To me, it is where my family has vacationed and made our most precious memories for the past 15 years. It is where I fell in love with the country, and realized I wanted to one day live surrounded by evergreens. It is where I met the love of my life at the age of 15. It is where he proposed to me on stage in from of hundreds of people. It is where we both work over the summers, reliving the memories of when we first met. It is the first place to sell my paintings in their gift shops.

So, as you may imagine, I was quite excited when the opportunity arose for me to take my baby-to-be to The Lodge at Woodloch, their destination spa! My baby obviously had to start it's life making glorious Woodloch memories, as Mama and Daddy have.
Funny thing, though, about going to a spa when you are a week shy of 9 months pregnant. There are lots of things that people are very nervous for you to do. For example...hot tubs, steam rooms, pools. So naturally, I shuffled/waddled around in my robe, drank ridiculously delicious teas, sipped cucumber water, took photographs, read my book, and basically loved life.

My wonderful girlfriends and I had the most relaxing day. Since we went on a Monday, we only saw about 3 other human beings the entire time. We had it all to ourselves - just the way we liked it.

This is not even the bathroom. It is the primping room. Our tour woman really called it that. It was glorious. See the little pyramid of towels there on the counter? Those were everywhere, and seeing as a went to the bathroom every 12 minutes, I used on every time I washed my hands and then threw it in a cute little wicker basket under the counter. But my favorite part, was that 12 minutes later when I returned to the bathroom, the little towel was replaced. It was back. It reappeared. And I never saw anyone replacing them! It was quite mystical. I imagine the tiny-rolled-towel-replacement-worker was quite peeved yesterday at the darn pregnant girl who peed every 5 minutes and kept messing up the pyramids. But just so he/she knows...I noticed your diligence and precision. Can we get this person a raise?!
And onto things that impress normal people, not just the Weird and the Pregnant. This waterfall. Oh my heaven. Couldn't you just stare at it all day? Well due to the temperature of the hot tub, that pretty much all I was able to do, but I promise that's enough! Imagine how much I would have loved it if I could actually go in?

It is a hot tube with 2 levels. This is a picture of the girls in the top level, under the massaging waterfall. Trust me, we are not normally such synchronized and reserved ladies. This is them in their natural state of excitement..

I believe this is where Vanessa said, "Oh my gawd, I love it hea!"
She's from Boston. I'll cry if she ever loses her accent.

The towels were arranged this way on giant rocks around the pool area. As if they were waiting there for us. Why am I so fascinated by towel details.

This is me and baby in our favorite shirt, in the changing area. There are like 20 rooms, just for changing, with showers with river rock floors. Again, still separate from the actual bathrooms. [Hi Baby!]

View to one of the sitting areas, with a fireplace and overlooking the lake.


Enjoying our teas and granola and fruits. Why is everything so much better when wearing a spa robe and sandals?

So I have babbled for this long without even mentioning the actually treatment! We all got the Reflexology treatments, which my pregnant shuffling feet just loved. When I went into the treatment room, the woman said to me "So some people feel that Reflexology is not safe for pregnant women. But I disagree, I had it done every week of both my pregnancies." I pondered this. How could a foot rub be bad for pregnancy?? I would think an ancient Chinese pregnant woman invented reflexology! So then I said something to this effect out loud. And she explained that if you hit the pressure points of the ovaries and the uterus, which are behind the ankle, some say it induced contractions!

I asked her to kindly stay away from my ankles. And then I told her I'll see her in 5 weeks for an ankle rub.


Again with the magical reappearing towel formations.


Baby, how did you like your first Woodloch experience? I can't wait till you can see where Mama and Daddy fell in love.

I will absolutely be returning to the Lodge as soon as possible. Preferably when I can participate in hot tub waterfalls and Eucalyptus Steam Rooms. And maybe some wine. Doesn't wine and spa go really well together?