Monday, October 10, 2011

productivity + kicking baby

What a long, productive weekend!

Friday evening, Chris and I went to Applebee’s for dinner, to watch the pre-game festivities.  I got a salad, and only ate about half of it because it was so filling – and delicious!  We went home to watch the game, though; and thank goodness we did because what a heartbreaker! To say the absolute least, I’m pretty upset, but well, it’s just a game.  I have no desire to watch the rest of the postseason, though, considering some of the rude comments I’ve gotten from other people, so my thoughts are that I no longer care who wins, loses, whatever.  Time for me to focus on preparing for the baby and when February arrives, so does Aria… and baseball season again!  :)

Saturday morning I woke up around 7 to the sounds of Chris washing dishes – what a pleasant surprise!  So I got up and helped dry and started a load of laundry, then prepped the pancakes.  His parents arrived at 8 and I turned on the skillet and off we went!  The pumpkin-apple pancakes were just divine, and the apple cider topping to accompany was very delicious.  The pancakes were smaller than your average pancake (how I made them anyway) but they were thick and filling.  I forgot to take a photo but I’ll just say I highly suggest trying them, if you’re into that kind of thing!

After breakfast, my MIL and I cleared and washed the dishes while the men set off to work – they were putting another coat of primer on the walls in the nursery – and we settled down to clean the entire kitchen, top to bottom.  It was great because I got a ton accomplished with her help, and she also is highly-organized so she made some suggestions on where to move things to make them more accessible for me and my growing belly. 

We also went on an adventure to Bed, Bath and Beyond where I got a new absorbent mat to put underneath my drying rack and a rug for the baby’s room!  I haven’t taken a photo of it yet, but once we have paint on the walls and things are more organized, I’ll be sure to do that.  I also went to Ollie’s and got a great, painted terracotta pot for my newest acquisition – a rubber tree.  It was at work and was dying due to a lack of sunlight, so I brought it home to try and revive it.  Thus far, it’s doing great – it still looks awful since it’s missing half of its leaves, but what leaves are there are doing well so the plant-caretaker said that it should revive nicely given some ‘rehab.’  We shall see what my ‘green thumb’ can do.

Speaking of green thumb, picked the last of my cayennes on Saturday as well – we got over 200 peppers this year and I couldn’t be happier.  So I’ve been threading them on and off when I get a few minutes, so I can hang them to dry for the winter.  I sent some home with my in-laws, seeing that I don’t truly need that many anyway.  My FIL is excited, since he really wanted to try some.  I think he’s going to plant them next year too. 

I was pretty sick Saturday night; not entirely sure what my problem was, but I was throwing up and that’s the first time I’ve done so since I got pregnant.  Not happy!  I ended up sleeping pretty late on Sunday, but woke up feeling cautious but better.  I ate (and kept down) cereal with milk, so I took it slow and did some walking, some light housework, etc.  Then Chris really wanted lasagna for dinner, so I did a spin off this recipe
for dinner.  It was delicious!  Again, I forgot to take a photo but you can take my word for it, the meal was great. 

Only made a few changes – I used less mozzarella cheese, as I felt that 4 cups was a bit overkill for the meal.  We also used a smaller package of noodles (13 oz) and I had two left over… they were whole wheat pasta as well.  I used the spinach as directed, but also added a pound of lean, grass-fed ground beef because hubby loves lasagna with meat in it.  He likes spinach lasagna, but he prefers meat to accompany it, so I don’t mind the compromise.   I also cooked the meat in hoagie spread for a little bite to it, and added various Italian spices besides the garlic and oregano and basil.  We have tons of leftovers, so I have a serving of lasagna for lunch today (so does he) and will have plenty for dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow. 

After dinner, Aria was really active and kicking away, so Chris sat down with me and rested his hand against my stomach – kept pushing just slightly harder and harder until I thought he’d make me wet my pants (he wasn’t hurting me, but the lightest touch makes my bladder ready to explode at this point haha) and she thumped against his hand a few times.  It was the sweetest thing, because he started tearing up and then the waterworks began.  I’m so glad to have been blessed with such a wonderful and supportive husband who’s sharing in this excitement with me.

He now spends his evenings practicing Mozart on the piano so he can play it for her.  Makes my heart melt.

Anyway, it’s Monday.  Have a load of laundry waiting for me at home, and leftovers tonight since Chris has a haircut appointment at 7.  Second episode of House, final season, is tonight – cannot wait!  :D 

Friday, October 7, 2011

hearty bean and barley soup + pregnancy cravings strike!

So last night… was complete win, followed by complete fail.  I’ve been doing well most of this week – getting more active, eating a lot healthier, just promoting a healthier lifestyle for myself by trying to be less of a train wreck.  When I rolled out of bed yesterday morning, I reminded myself that I needed to get up when my alarm went off rather than hit snooze because I needed to put together soup in the crock pot, so we would have a meal ready when we got home, rather than have to grab something on the way (as Thursdays are the nights when we have 30 minutes to change, eat and leave again). 

I found this recipe online and decided to tweak it for my own liking.  I can follow recipes, but I don’t… like to, mostly because I’m kind of picky and also because I like my food spicy.  So here’s the changes I had made.

- I filled my crock pot about ½ the way with water, added two packets of chicken bouillon powder (no sodium) and mixed that up nicely.
- Then, I added 2 cans of (rinsed) kidney beans – one dark, one light – and a can of Great Northern beans (rinsed).
- Sprinkled in a dash of crushed red pepper, a nice dose of cayenne powder, another dash of rosemary (dried) and a tablespoon of minced garlic.
- Threw in half of a bag of baby carrots and 6 stalks of celery, sliced.
- Added 1 can of (no-salt-added) diced tomatoes.
- Topped off with a bit more water to cover everything, put on the lowest setting and covered.

The night before, I made the barley so when we got home from work, I threw in a carton of frozen spinach and the barley, stirred and let simmer for 10 minutes while we let the dog outside, changed, etc.  Then, we served it topped with some freshly-ground black pepper…

 Sorry, I know, I own an expensive and wonderful SLR and what do I do?
Post a photo from my iPhone.  My crappy, ghetto, flash-less phone.

It was delicious!

As you can see, I’m great with measuring and stuff – I tend to just wing it if I’m buzzing around doing things, especially first-thing in the morning.  But seriously, this soup was great.  It was super filling, and tasty; also, definitely had a nice little bite to it, but nothing too overwhelming.  I don’t “do” onions, hence leaving them out and hubby didn’t say a word about it.  I have a ton of soup left over, so some of it will be for lunch in an hour, some will be frozen for later this winter (post-baby probably) and the rest will be dinner tonight, as an accompaniment to cube steaks.

Highly recommend trying this if you like hearty, filling soups!  Try it their way, my way, take your own spin on it; whatever.  But if you do change it up a bit, let me know what you did differently and the result of it!  I always like new suggestions for meals. 

Anyway, so that was win.  We went to choir with full bellies and when we came home, I thought for sure a simple apple would be a good snack to accompany my prenatal (horse pills) vitamins before bedtime.

Then, it hit me.  Like a tidal wave, I felt this insane desire to eat a quesadilla.  Mind you, it’s 10pm and we have no cheese and no tortillas in the house.  Well, we had hubby’s fake-cheese (sliced American) but nothing that would appease my cravings for a quesadilla.  So he looks at me and goes, “What my baby mama wants, she gets; what about Applebee’s?  Half-price appetizers until midnight, right?”  Well sure, why not?  I’m trying not to gain a zillion pounds and suddenly we’re at the bar at Applebee’s and while he nurses a pitcher of Oktoberfest, I guzzle down two waters and snarf a cheese (with bacon, as that’s their ‘thing’ – whatever) quesadilla.  I housed that thing in a manner I’ve never experienced before, I swear it, and it was SO GOOD.  He had wings too, and however much I love their wings, they didn’t even remotely smell good because all I wanted was tortillas and cheese and salsa. 

Needless to say, I woke up this morning feeling hung-over because me + late night eating = bad news bears.  Especially when the late night eating is NOT of the healthy variety.

I still feel awful and I’ve been awake for 6 hours already, and have been drinking water and already ate my breakfast (cereal, almond milk and an apple).  Blech.  I think at 1 I am going to eat my soup and pray for the best.  Hopefully that’ll settle me, because I’m really looking forward to my cube steak for tonight. 

Darn pregnancy cravings.  I’m watching you… o_o

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

all about food ; are we surprised ?

After the initial excitement and happiness of finding out that we were expecting a baby, I remember one of my predominant thoughts was (continuously), “Score, I can eat _______ because nobody can comment on me getting fat because I’m pregnant.”  This was my excuse for everything – Arby’s multiple times a week (well that and every time you go there, there’s a coupon on the back of your receipt for a free sandwich, meaning MOAR ARBY’S!), cheese as often as I pleased, wings if the craving struck, and a severe lack of exercise to boot, seeing that I was feeling sick and run-down for awhile in the beginning. 

Now, I step on the scale and realize, “Well, grand.  That was a great plan until… now.” 

For one, as someone who never ate much fast food to begin with, my body almost immediately hated the shift of diet and I got sick after eating most of what I devoured greedily.  Did that stop me?  Not really.  Also, combined with my lack of exercise, covering my adorable baby bump is a layer of blubber that makes me feel like a whale, or bear preparing for hibernation.  It’s a bit revolting, actually; to me, anyway.  Everyone else says I look cute, I’m all belly, etc. 

Yeah, all belly except for that nice double-chin that peeks out in photos sometimes, the flab on my butt and thighs that used to be almost-toned and the jiggle that my arms surrenders every time I breathe, let along make any sort of hand gesture.

So this week, I’ve decided that I really need to stop saying, “Hi, I need to be less of a fat kid,” and actually need to be proactive.  Now I can’t really lose weight, as that is severely frowned upon by doctors – or from what I’m told anyway.  But I was told my goal should be to slow down my weight gain, and focus on just making healthier choices and getting on my feet a bit more.

Subtract out a celebratory Snickers last night after the Phillies’ close-call win against the Cardinals and a must-have-or-I-kill-someone brownie from Starbucks from today’s lunch, and I’ve actually done okay. 

Saturday I walked all over creation with my mom, and it felt amazing.  I was sore, so Sunday I didn’t do anything (which well, I was in a car for 6 hours total anyway), but I felt I deserved the rest.  I did a light pre-natal DVD workout Monday, and some of the moves from said workout last night while I watched Glee.  Today I plan to break out the DVD again and do the full routine (30 minutes), plus dishes and laundry. 

Eating-wise, I’ve been at 2-3 apples a day, filling with them instead of empty calories from the vending machine.  Breakfast is always cereal (organic cheerios, essentially), unsweetened vanilla almond milk and an apple.  Lunch has been varied – leftover chili, spaghetti squash, a fruit and veggie plate that I mixed up myself… etc.  Dinners were all home-made; no eating out this week! 

So I’m proud.  It’s only Wednesday, but I’ve really been pushing myself to get back to a shadow of the person I used to be, pre-pregnancy.  Not that I was thin and healthy but I was doing a lot better than I have been lately. 

Anyway, going to keep busting my butt and trying to slow down the gain just a tad.

In other news, I told Chris that after I have the baby, there’s two things I’m demanding be delivered to me ASAP for consumption: a giant Turkey Diablo Primo Hoagie (best hoagies in the world) and a giant glass of Riesling wine, semi-dry.  Yes, indeed. 

Also, sharing a yummy-looking recipe for the sake of such; I’m making these this weekend:

Om nom nom.

Cheers to healthy eating, healthier lifestyles and a healthy baby / momma-to-be!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday is usually not a fun-day.

 Normally, Monday would be the bane of my existence.  I mean, let's face it - back to work, the Phillies lost last night (even though the Giants did win, I'm still bummed about the Phils), it's chilly and damp today (yet sunny, so there's a plus!) and I have a headache. 

But I signed onto the baby boards today to find out that BabyLegs was having a sale that ends TODAY and there was a code for 75% off $75 dollars' worth of merchandise... and I went nuts.  Absolutely, positively overboard and insane with buying cute little leggings and stockings and oh my word Aria is going to hate me and I don't care

Just to, you know, remind you why this is so exciting, let's evaluate how cute it is to see chubby legs jazzed up in adorable little baby leggings:

You get the point.  They're adorable. 

So, there's that.

Also, I had an amazing weekend.  Saturday I ended up taking an improptu venture to visit Momma and we spent hours upon hours just enjoying one another's company.  We window-shopped at the outlets, had lunch together and did one of my favorite fall activities: apple picking!  Also, an added plus was that I got pumpkins at the orchard (and picked them myself as well) so I was doubly excited to haul home 15 pounds of apples and 18 pounds of pumpkins.  Chris was relieved he didn't have to accompany me, since I'm like a child when I get to the orchard (memories of childhood, come on, it's fun!) and he doesn't get the concept of paying to pick produce when people get paid to pick it.  He doesn't care that I get to take it home and that's what I'm really paying for, he thinks it's rubbish.  Or he says so, I think mostly to drive me nuts.

Regardless, I went.  I picked.  And I had a blast.

All in all, wonderful weekend but I am exhausted.  And I now need to focus on getting myself done and accomplished for the day, so I can feel as though I've been majorly productive.

Here's to one more week - and to fall festivities in abundance! :)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Tipping over the half-way point

I know I haven't been very proactive in my blogging thus far, but I need to focus on changing that.  I love writing; in fact, I miss writing.  I just feel I've hit a slump (mentally) - with both my writing and photography.  Such an annoyance, to say the least, but I'm trying to overcome it.  So I figured that since I'm struggling, why not just stop waiting until I take some worthwhile photographs and post something now about something - anything - about which I'm currently interested.  You need to light a fire under me somehow, right?  I think my biggest 'issue' was that I started this blog as a means of posting photos, accompanied by snippets of works of literature by wonderfully talented literary greats.  As I said, I haven't gotten enough photography done lately, as I have just been slacking, so I figure I need a little... nudge toward change.

I can promise you it'll be photo-heavy at times, unpredictable at others, and filled with adventure and chaos.  But is there not, truly, beauty in chaos?

So as anyone who has talked to me recently knows, I'm pregnant.  It's an exciting point of my life, and I'm already just beyond 21 weeks - so more than half-way to meeting our princess, Aria Adelle.  I'm eagerly anticipating February for the first time in my life.  But now that I know we're having a girl, and we're getting closer and closer, I find myself struggling to resist buying all sorts of fun and fabulous baby items. 

For awhile, my best distraction was my fruit chart, which I've posted on Facebook.   I'll probably post it here when it's done, but for now it's just there.  Weekly I take a photo of baby's bump progress, compared to the fruit of vegetable most comparable to baby's size.  I am still digging the photo project, however I also am really motivated to go out there any buy fun baby things.  I mean, why not?  There's so many awesome and exciting things out there to buy babies: has a great variety of legwarmers, tights, etc. for little ones and oh, what could be cuter?  I'm really struggling to resist buying a thousand pairs of these for Aria.  You better believe I'll have a few by the time she's born, but right now... I'm hiding my credit card.

Also, I am in love with everything on - seriously, this shop could cause some serious damage to my bank account.  I mean, come on, look at that adorable hat!

Literally makes me squeal and get even more impatient for Aria to arrive.  I'm buying her one of these, but I did not decide what, yet, and am kind of waiting to see what new things may get added a wee bit closer to her birth.  I love Etsy.  For real.

Here's another gem, that a friend actually sent me a photo of because she couldn't resist buying it for Aria:

 For one, if that doesn't scream "little Zeta princess in training" I don't know what does - short of buying her ZTA outfits anyway.  Also, hello - how adorable is that?  So I'm looking forward to dolling her up in that.

Not that I don't adore boys, because seriously, my nephew is awesome.  He's 9 months old, and he dresses super cool - almost always in baseball or camo or football and he looks great.  He is one cool kid, head to toe, not to mention one of the sweetest babies in the world.  But since I'm having a girl, I'm going nuts over all this cute stuff. 

Okay, and finally, I'll end this rambling pointless entry with the glorious... headbands.

(as borrowed from - seriously, go check out the shop, it's awesome!)

Mom goes, "oh you're not going to be one of those mothers with those headbands all the time, are you?"

Oh you had better believe it Momma.  They're so darn cute.  And ugh, just look at those cute cheeks, those big eyes, those adorable little girls!

Can't my little girl just arrive already?

Anyway, that's where I am at this point - shopping, dreaming and waiting... impatiently.

Soon enough...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

explore life

It has been far too long since I've updated this blog.  I guess that I could sit and make up excuses, like pregnancy, summer, traveling to visit family, all that jazz... but that's not valid, considering how many hours I spend checking twitter, facebook, et cetera. during the day.  So really, we'll just chalk it up to me being lazy, and having not been taking a lot of photos that aren't just casual nonsense lately.

Thursday and Friday, we spent most of the evenings - post-work - preparing for Irene's arrival.  Though we are not in the eye of the storm or anything, we're predicted to get hurricane-strength winds and over a foot of rain.  So we cleaned up the yard of anything that might blow away/damage something, straightened up the basement, stocked up on snacks and water and armed ourselves with movies - at least, to occupy ourselves until the power goes out... if it does, heaven forbid.

While Chris was on the roof cleaning out the gutters, pregnant me spent a good half-hour crawling around the yard, taking photos of the small, yet intriguing, living 'critters' that I found.  I wanted to get a few photos from the view off the roof, but apparently that's dangerous when you're 10 pounds heavier + with child, so I was told to stay on the ground and call 911 if Chris fell off the roof.  Yes, great plan.  So although I missed what he says was an amazing view, I did get some cool photographs. 

 My once-beautiful hydrangeas are saying their final farewells - yet they still retain such beauty, despite their lack of vibrant coloration.  I am really tempted to pick a few and dry them in the basement over the winter, but I didn't think of this in a timely manner and I can only hope they're not too damaged after the storm...

Our yard's completely covered in mushrooms and other types of fungi, due to the excessive rain we've been getting over the past few weeks.   Chris was fascinated that I was taking photos of them, because he's been waiting for a dry day during which he can destroy the massive amounts of fungus.  I told him that he can... after I'm done photographing them.  

 This is the first year that my butterfly bush has taken to the weather and blossomed with multiple, healthy blooms.  I've been tickled to watch the various critters who come to visit (when it's not raining outside, anyway) - and got a few close-ups of a bumblebee.  He's not quite as pretty or fascinating as some of the other visitors, but still, it's not very often where I get to have such a close encounter with one, since I normally pay no attention to them.  

 My most frequent visitor - I think he's out there every day when I get home from work.  But again, first time I've gotten close enough to get some photos.  Hoping that next year, we get even more butterflies since I've only seen two varieties this summer, thus far. 

Okay, I admittedly had no idea what this was - and at first I thought it was a hummingbird.  I got closer and realized that it was not, but appeared to be some type of insect, and was lying on my stomach snapping photos while yelling to Chris, "Be ready to call 911 if it stings me!"  (I'm allergic to bees.)  He was off the roof by this point, and told me that he thought it was a hummingbird bee, but was unsure if they sting or not.  Google informs me that this is actually a type of moth; and completely harmless.  Needless to say, I was totally pumped I caught him with my camera since who knows when I'll see one again!

More fungus; growing on the stump in my neighbor's yard.  

One tiny glimpse into the marvelous garden that my neighbor has cultivated.  He truly has the blessing of a green thumb, and I need to get out to photograph his gardens more often, because they're amazing.

Anyway, that's enough of an update for now; but I hope to get myself posting more frequently on here again.  The world's just too beautiful to be ignored, and wasted. 


Thursday, May 26, 2011

almost paradise

actually, it was entirely paradise, but that's besides the point.  I took over 700 photos while on the cruise.  deleted some when I got home, narrowed it down to under 600.  the entire thing is on facebook, if anyone is bored and wants to look, let me know.  personally, that's crazy talk but hey, I enjoyed looking at them.

but for everyone's sake who may bother to read this, I'll run down the days and add a photo from each day.  or two.  simplicity.

Thursday morning we woke up, walked to the bagel store, ate a heart NY bagel breakfast and then headed down to the ship.  We were on board by noon, and poolside by 12:30.  It was glorious.  The minute we began to leave the harbor, my excitement was building and I was psyched.  It finally dawned on me - the long-awaited cruise was finally here!  So, excited and such, we eagerly put on fresh clothing and went to our first dinner.  Here's us, in our room, before leaving for said dinner:
Well we had a great night - unpacked, explored, etc.  I was feeling a little light-headed but I figured my body wasn't used to the movement of the ship yet.  Went to bed, had a restful sleep and woke up to our room tossing and turning, while our tv went back and forth on its spinning stand.  No, seriously, the TV was spinning back and forth, back and forth.  Sat up, and immediately knew it was going to be a bad day.  Put on shorts and a tank top, got breakfast, felt sick, took a nap by the pool, ate lunch, felt sick, slept in my room the rest of the day and only woke up for formal dinner.

I'm masking it, or trying, but I honestly felt horrendous at this point.  I never threw up, but my stomach was in knots and I just kept rocking back and forth, even though the waves were slowly calming.  I was miserable.  And I overdosed on Bonine because it wasn't working.  Then the nurse gave me a high dose of medication and suddenly, I wasn't caring about the rocking because I was high as a kite.  It was glorious!  I enjoyed the evening show, and then proceeded to have a photoshoot in our room with our towel animal:
So clearly, I was hanging in there.  I did mention how many puke bags were in the hallways, and my mom said, "that's an indication of how bad the seas are."  I heard later that room service was backed up a few hours due to the large amount of sick people who couldn't leave their rooms.  I empathized and secretly prayed the rest of the cruise wouldn't be miserable.

The next day, I woke up feeling awesome.  Granted, we weren't moving - because we were in Bermuda.  But I felt awesome.   So we took a boat tour of Bermuda, including a visit to a sunken ship - the Vixen - and snorkeling in a glorious little cove.  The sun was out, the water was chilly but beautiful.  Photos cannot do justice to the color.  Seriously.
Isn't it wonderful?

So yes, I enjoyed Bermuda immensely.  Upon returning, we showered then took to the town for awhile.  I really enjoyed myself, it's a quaint town - King's Wharf, that is.  That evening, I felt much better, even after we began moving, and the seas went from "extremely rough" to "extremely calm."  Great!  So I put on a sundress, went to dinner and then went up to the helipad for a sunset photo shoot:

Yeah, we're kind of cute sometimes.    Or something.  ;D

Anyway, slept, had a day at sea which meant I was in the pool all day, then we had another day of FUN - this time in St. Maarten/St. Martin.  We toured the island, then walked along the beach.

Granted, sun's not out as it was overcast, so you can't really see the true blue, but it was beautiful.  Trust me.   We had a cocktail or two, wandered around, Chris bought me a stunning necklace, and we enjoyed our explorations.

Next morning, we arrived at my favorite island - St. Thomas.  We got dropped off at a resort on Sapphire Beach and snorkeled off the beach.  Seriously, the coral began 3 feet from shore.  Fish everywhere!  It was amazing.  And then?  To the left, swim ten feet out and there's turtle grass.  Know what's in there?  SEA TURTLES and STINGRAYS.  I swam above a five-foot-wide sting ray and watched others from a distance.  I swam between two sea turtles who were close enough to touch.  It was surreal and beautiful and I was in love

So yeah, there's my snorkel buddies.  We look like drowned rats, but that's okay.   I also refused to use a floatation device because if I was going to die, at least it was with sea turtles.  And I hated how it felt wearing one.  I survived, clearly, and preferred it since I was diving under the water to the bottom, checking out rays and turtles and stuff. 

Then we went along skyline drive and I met Monica Lewinsky.

No really, he said that was her name.  Isn't she cute?  She smelled horrendous though.  He was telling me to get on her back, take a ride.  Yeah, no thanks.  I didn't pay a ton of money to have some jenny throw me on my head. 

Anyway.  Went back, showered, watched the sunset and had another glorious dinner.

So yes, breathtaking.  Woke up the next morning and it was stifling.  I mean 80 degrees at 7am.  Welcome to Puerto Rico, folks.

Dying from heat exhaustion but it was beautiful.  And short-lived, because I soon needed to get in the pool before I melted.

So, vacation was awesome.  And that's not even the beginning of my photos, actually.  But I don't want to bore you all, so I'll leave you with a final one.  Our last night on board, Chris wanted to do a photoshoot.  So:

There you have it.  I'm sure I'll post more photos as time passes and I continue with my blog post a day (or so), but that's a glimpse of my cruising. 

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  xo