Food, glorious food

woman-cookingI’m happy to report that the long cooking drought is over. We even made fish stew last night, and the lingering smell in the kitchen doesn’t make me want to hurl! During the first oh, 13 weeks of pregnancy I cooked maybe once a week. And I had this bad habit of forgetting key ingredients like oil or leavening.

While I haven’t missed the cleanup work entailed in cooking, I’ve gotten mighty sick of eating restaurant and previously frozen foods. And nobody’s happier than David, he loves him some home cooking. Here are some recipes I’ve made recently:

Emeril Lagasse’s Fish Stew
I don’t cook Emeril’s recipes that often because 1) they’re usually wicked complicated and 2) they’re usually very, very high in fat. However, nobody does it like Emeril. I always turn to him for special occasion and comfort food recipes. This one is relatively easy (meaning it’s not four recipes in one) and while not low in fat (there’s a roux) it’s not too bad since none of the other ingredients have much in the way of fat. We used 2 lbs of the redfish David caught last weekend in it and it was DELISH!

Butternut Squash Soup
I’m mostly avoiding cooking meat at home, the after-cooking smell really bothers me. We also have sorely neglected our CSA (farm membership) so a lot of veggies have been given out to friends or languished. But winter squashes are pretty hardy, and I finally used one of my butternut squash to make this. It’s a great recipe, really easy. It has a lovely texture and the flavor is quite sweet. For that reason, I like to swirl some yogurt in it (tip via Emily) or some low fat sour cream. It’s really good served at lunch with some cheese toast. I added a little ginger paste to the recipe, because I almost always do.

Gingered Pumpkin Pie
In addition to the butternut, we get some other green and orange, pumpkin like squash from the CSA. I baked up two of them and scooped them out to freeze and use later. But first, I made this recipe. You would never know it’s lightened! Maybe because of all the sugar… Still, you use nonfat evaporated milk instead of sweetened-condensed and it comes out really nice.

Stove-Top Mac and Cheese
I am not the only currently pregnant lady with a wicked mac and cheese craving. And not the only one to suffer from the curse of the lumpy white sauce. Unless there’s butter involved, starting with the flour and gradually adding milk always leads to disaster for me. I usually heat the milk and then gradually sift in the flour. Takes more time, but not if you count how may times I’ve had to re-do lumpy white sauce. Anyway, this recipe avoids that problem all together. Be warned, it’s wicked rich. Normally I might say “bring it on!” but in my current state, overly rich food makes me very ill. So I reduced the fat a bit by using non-fat evaporated milk. Next time I’ll probably also combo some lower fat cheese in with whatever else I use. Maybe gorgonzola? Yum.

Enjoy! I know I am.

P.S. For readers of my other blog, please excuse the cross-post.

Personal Growth

Of my belly. I had a request from a friend for a picture of currently pregnant me. Just for reminders, this is me at just about 10 weeks:


This is me now at almost 17 weeks (pardon the bumpy zipper):


Yikes. And keep in mind I’ve lost about two pounds since that first picture. That belly is all Tiny Josephine and assorted structural changes. Hi! I’m going to be HUGE!

Much Better

Early September at ZilkerThe perinatal office called me this morning to let me know that the early amnio results are all good. Whew! That is some seriously stress-causing stuff, I tell you what. We should have final results late this week or early next, but all the major trisomy and sex chromosome stuff has been ruled out. Did I mention HUGE RELIEF? Cause, yeah.

They also confirmed the girlness. I will henceforth be referring to her as either Tiny Miss Quimby or Tiny Josephine (instead of Napoleon – get it?). The name is going to remain secret until she makes her debut, so don’t ask.

Now all I have to worry about is surviving another 5 months of pregnancy, getting the room together, getting all the stuff we need, and oh yeah – childbirth! I’ve heard it’s all easy and fun like ice cream and puppies, right? Right?

Other fun facts about my pregnancy so far. I’ve lost about two pounds since my first pre-natal appointment. Which means I’ve probably lost a few pounds more in body fat, since TJ is growing. I’d be worried, but she’s five ounces now which is a good size for 16 weeks. I’ll take it! Makes it easier to shop for clothes since they’ll probably fit all the way through.

Now the challenge is to NOT buy all the cute baby clothes I see and to start making a plan for the room, which needs new paint and carpet. And interviewing Doulas. And lots of other stuff.

I'm ready to sleep for a week.


Miss Tiny Quimby

I had my amnio appointment this afternoon. I was soooooo freaking stressed about it. First part, fill out tons of papers (with mostly the same information) covering information I already filled out for my OB. Computers, where art thou? Next part, talk to a geneticist about creepy stuff. Check. Then, an ultrasound. Then I meet Dr. Barry (who rocks and says I should eat smoked salmon if I want to) for another ultrasound and the sticking of a big needle in my belly. The current results: good looking girl-child! Woo! Normal size, good heartbeat. Cute little hands and nose. Pretty awesome.

The not fun part: waiting for the genetic test results which could be as early as tomorrow afternoon, more likely on Monday. Pray to the deity of your choice that all is well.

Next up, decorating!

Looking for the Zen

659402I’ve been trying not to stress about my upcoming amnio, but I’ve been having creepy dreams about it. Hey subconscious: Not. Helping.

We are excited to learn what flavor of kid we’re going to have, however. Let the decorating begin! We’re going to re-carpet and paint the room for starters. I have two different themes in mind depending on the outcome, which I will reveal in the near future. The room will not, however, be themey. Meaning it will not resemble a Disneyland ride or a catalog. Things will not match, they will go. Important distinction.

I’ve had some fatigue the last couple of days, I think Tiny Quimby is growing, and therefor I needs must sleep. My most annoying symptom these days is eye strain headaches, which I get a lot. I wear my glasses almost all the time now, but I still end up with ugly pain around my eye sockets. Anyone had this one? It’s driving me nuts, as my pastime of choice (other than sleeping) is reading.

I’ve had pretty much no weight gain since this whole thing started, despite the growing belly. Not complaining, but I wonder when and how it will happen. I’m eating as much as I’m capable of – small meals or snacks, 5-6 times a day. And I eat what I can tolerate, which is some fruit and veg, a lot of carbs and protein.  I can’t seem to eat much more or less than what I already am, and I have a low tolerance for super rich food (hello indigestion!) so I hope it’s enough for the kid. I feel like the whole thing is out of my hands, my body is dictating what, how much, and how often I eat without any input from me. Even though the pervasive nausea is gone, it shows up to tell me when I need to eat, and when I’ve eaten the wrong thing or too much. Food is definitely not as much fun as it was, but it some ways it’s nice not to obsess about how much and what I should eat. Someone else is calling the shots.

Life gets busier

I’m doing better with the nausea these days. Don’t seem to need the medication any more. I still have bouts of it, but they’re mercifully brief. My energy level is still pretty variable. Last week I was pretty energetic, this week not so much. But energy or no, I’m starting to get busy. I avoided most work during the weeks where I was feeling like death. The last few weeks have brought me several new potential clients, so I’m the proposal-negotiation phase which is always tricky. Still, it would be great to have some work. Even conservative estimates on what this whole baby thing is going to cost on the front end are fairly intimidating.

You can find almost anything on Craigslist, but most sources say the major stuff (crib, car seat, stroller) need to be new for safety. I got a subscription to Consumer Reports since they seem to have a good process for safety testing.

Mostly I feel like I’m holding my breath until the amnio is over and the results are back. Hopefully all will be well and we can relax a bit after that. There’s just such a seemingly infinite amount of stuff to worry about, plan, and anticipate, it’s hard to find the mental space to relax. I hope it will gradually all fall into place.

Food and I are still not great friends. I get so tired of having to eat every couple of hours. When I worked in food service somehow seeing and smelling food all the time made me feel as if I’d been eating all day, and I lost my appetite. I feel similarly now. Cooking is wholly unappealing. The idea of preparing, eating, and cleaning up food is pretty yuck, since I get to start all over an hour or two later. But I’m also really sick of prepared and restaurant food. I’ve been experimenting with low prep food like crepes. My major craving last week was re-fried beans. Do not ask me why, as I have no idea. I was having practically erotic feelings towards them, and that’s just weird. It seems to have passed.

That’s the latest news on the grumpy pregnant lady front.

Trundling onward.

Nothing particularly funny or sad to report. My belly is kind of funny feeling, especially my lower abdominal muscles. I assume this is because of stretching. I finally ventured back to yoga yesterday with my favorite teacher and it was good. She gave me modifications for my injury and did a special stretch for it. Very nice.

I’ve had a lot of headaches, I think mostly from eye strain. I’m having to be religious about wearing my glasses and about trying not to squint. Pregnancy can apparently cause temporary vision changes. The nausea still comes and goes, but as long as I eat pretty frequently it’s only really annoying in the evenings. Eating is no joke. I start to feel a little sick, and then I start to feel, well, just freaky. This is the sign that I need to eat NOW or suffer unspeakable yuck. So my purse is a repository of granola bars, breakfast bars, and other easily packaged snacks. I’m still not hot on cooking. I’m sick to death of food as it is, the idea of preparing it, eating it, and then cleaning it up is singularly unappealing. But if anyone would like to come over and cook for me….

I’ve been thinking about why I have an aversion to the hysteria that is pregnancy and birth “culture”, such as it is. There’s so much dogma about how to be, how to feel and how to prepare for every aspect of the process. The amount of stuff you’re supposed to accumulate is insane. All of this seems to leave out one essential fact. From the doll-like clothing and decorations, to the cultish schools of breastfeeding and child-rearing, where is there room for the fact that this being you’re bringing into the world is an actual individual person? Not a doll, and not living play-doh to be molded and shaped into something that fulfills your own needs. It’s a person. And my awesome and intimidating responsibility is to get to know this person as fully as possible (while bringing as little of my own baggage into it as I can), so I can help them figure out who they are and who they want to be. I’m pretty sure this process starts at birth, and I need to be prepared to jettison any expectations I have as things unfold.

I’m not saying I don’t love cute kid clothes, or I’m not going to show off or brag on my child (or take TWELVE THOUSAND photos with my fancy camera). But the big message here is IT’S NOT ABOUT ME. And that’s why it’s so scary, and so intimidating, and so important that I don’t start putting my own expectations on this child before he or she is ever born. And all the crazy ideas and stuff that go with this process in our culture seem to be about helping us ignore the scary and intimidating bits and focus on the stuff we think we can control. And it’s not about the stuff.

I’m not a fan of ambiguity, but it seems insane to expect anything less when I haven’t actually met this kid yet. So I’m all about not knowing how birth and feeding and sleeping and development is going to go. I’m reading some stuff, and learning about child mental and physical development so I have a general idea –  not a course of action that doesn’t allow for deviation. Is not knowing what is going to happen stressful? Yes. Is it realistic? Very yes. Because there’s no way to know if this kid is going to like to be swaddled, or is going to take to breastfeeding, or is going to sleep easily or not. We’re just going to try to take it as it comes, and try and maintain our sanity as much as we can.

In which I start to receive stuff

0900631b81713381LMy sister in law gave me this yesterday. It’s even cuter in person. She’s very anxious for me to find out what flavor of child I’m having, but she couldn’t resist something gender neutral in the meantime. And did you see the little duck feet?

Sorry, I almost lost my cantankerous there for a second. I’m back. Things are chugging along. I’m wearing a maternity shirt today and it fits, pretty much. I just need a few more shirts that aren’t falling apart from overuse and I’ll be cool. Funny, no one is rushing out to buy me cute clothes. Of course, I’m not going to outgrow mine forever each week. Hopefully.

The nausea is still a lot better, though not gone. I’m thinking about ditching the medication in the morning tomorrow and seeing if it’s cool. I’m still going to take it in the evenings until the ick totally abates. My butt injury is also somewhat better, yay for massage and ice. Because icing your ass is glamorous and cool. Just ask David.

Almost forgot! It has magically fallen under 100 degrees here in Austin for the last 4 days. For the first time since sometime in June. Apparently we are one day short of the record for the most days over 100. And I’m okay with not breaking that record, really.

Mostly Good News

SMARTFOOD_White_Cheddar_Cheese_Flavored_PopcornThe nausea continues to abate. Still a bit in the evenings and if I forget to eat EVERY FIVE MINUTES. Okay, maybe not quite that often, but pretty dang often. It’s all about Smartfood and Pop Tarts. I did make hatch mac and cheese this week. That’s right, I cooked! It was pretty good.

I went to the chiropractor today and got that injury worked on, so I’m hoping it will heal up faster now. It also seems marginally cooler now, I’m hoping to start walking in the mornings a bit. While I’m not exercising nearly as much as before I got pregnant, I’ve got to give myself props for keeping up regular (5-6 days a week) exercise of some kind. I pretty much start to go crazy if I don’t do anything.

So now that I don’t want to sleep all the time, I’m starting to think about all the stuff we’re supposed to accumulate before the big event. I’m trying to find lightweight, non-bulky gear. I hate carrying around tons of crap. When I go on vacation, I pack and repack for weeks in advance because I HATE bringing stuff I don’t use.

Also, finding stuff for babies that doesn’t look absurd is somewhat challenging. For example, bassinets. There’s this:


Does this make anyone else want to hurl?

or this:


Much better.

I am not a big fan of excessive frills. I’m also in favor of the second one because it doubles as a co-sleeper. And you know what that means? More sleep for me.


Slightly betterish.

The nausea has been better during the day, and I seem to have a bit more energy. This is good. I’m still battling it in the evenings so maybe that will die down soon as well. I got a call from the perinatal office today and my amnio got moved up by a few days, so I should know the flavor of kid we’re having on Sept. 17th. Unfortunately, we will have to wait the weekend for the amnio results. I’m obviously a bit stressed about all that, just want it to be over and for the kid to have the right number of fingers and toes and chromosomes.

On a lighter note, I got some clothes today I’d ordered from Old Navy maternity. Best. Jeans. Ever. And a tee shirt that actually fits and doesn’t hit my knees, and a good cardigan for the fall. Woo!