Thursday, May 26, 2011

Midwives by Chris Bohjalian

I really enjoyed this book from start to finish.  I was actually pleasantly surprised that it wasn't about what I really thought it would be...all babies and home birthing experiences cover to cover.  My favorite part of the book was that it was told from the perspective of the midwive's daughter, Connie.  How very creative to tell the story from that angle.  There was mention of births and blood in the novel, but it was really about the trial of Sibyl Danforth, Connie's mother, a midwife who lost a patient and fought to save the life of her unborn baby by doing a c-section in the women's home.  If your squeamish don't hesitate to give this book a shot.  It really isn't about labor and afterbirth.

I'm really bummed that I had the opportunity to meet this author at my local library not five minutes from my house, but M got sick and had another explosion on my way out the door, so alas I was needed at home.  The pleading eyes of A.R. and M kicked me into mommy duty.  His eyes said, "please don't leave me here alone with another potential poo-splosion moments away" while her eyes pleaded because what child doesn't want extra snuggles with Mom when they aren't feeling well?!  Alas, I missed meeting Mr. Bohjalian, but I did thoroughly enjoy his writing and would definitely recommend you add this book to your reading list.  I hope to read more novels by him in the future as well.

Next book: The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cannoli Cake

Here is a link to my most recent post on The Recipe Nest.  I made a Cannoli Cake as a test cake for my best friend's upcoming baby shower and it tasted amazing.  Here's hoping that she loves it this weekend at her shower!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My First 5k is in THREE Weeks...

I started working out again the end of March after M turned a year old and I didn't have to be overly concerned about my milk supply anymore.  To get back in the swing of things I decided to set some goals for myself to have something to work towards and keep me motivated.  I've always wanted to run (jog) in a 5k race.  In fact, it's one of the items on my proverbial Bucket List.  What a nice way to keep me motivated...I could run in my first 5k and start training for it in advance, so I wouldn't collapse on race day.  Even better.  I would run for a charity that is close to my heart.  I told my brother about my quest and he thought he would capitalize off of my idea to get himself back in shape as well and we could run together on a team either in Boston, NYC, or Hartford.  Now, to pick out a cause...

I wanted to run for a charity that was close to my heart.  Ideally, something related to adoption (for obvious reasons) or to HIV/AIDS.  A relative of mine was diagnosed with HIV in 2009 just before my wedding to A.R.  It was a scary time, but this person has been doing well and is monitored regularly for any signs/symptoms of the virus or disease.  So far he/she is not on the cocktail and has no outward signs of the virus and could very well live this way for a long, long time.  However, it can all change in an instant.  Please never forget that life IS precious.  I want my family member to have a cure and for this, I run.  Fortunately, a friend of mine happened to mention in my healthy living email group that there was an annual race in Boston we should look into that supported HIV/AIDS.  I looked up this year's event info and it was almost like it was meant to be.  The date was perfect (June 5th) and the location was perfect.  My brother is flying in from Florida and we'll be driving up the night before and staying in a hotel just outside the city to be ready on race day.  We call our team the Bucket Listers. :)

As of today, it is three weeks until race day and we're in the middle of our training and fundraising efforts.  I've been reaching out to friends and family and am almost halfway to my fundraising goal of $500.  To donate click HERE.  I'm hopeful that in the next three weeks I can get some more support and meet my goal.  Training is going slow as I still can't run on a dang treadmill.  I used to get motion sick/vertigo on it back in the day and after speaking to my doctor about it and finding nothing wrong in the past, I just had to stop using it.  I thought if I started up slowly I would be able to use a treadmill now, but it was a no go.  After two episodes on it that left me feeling ill for a full 24 hours after the initial onset of symptoms, I gave up.  If I can't run outside I use a bike or elliptical machine.  I've done some training jogs outside and I also started a cross training program through the gym at my work to help build my strength, endurance, and stamina.  I must say that now that I'm in my thirties I sure don't bounce back as quickly.  My hips ache, my left knee (an old gymnastics injury) bothers me, and I really feel the workouts the next day.

On rainy days or days when I skip the gym I workout with Jillian Michaels doing her 30 Day Shred DVD.  M gets a huge kick out of watching her mother bounce around like an idiot.  Jumping jacks are her favorite exercise to watch right now.   She helps me try to do sit-ups by lying across my stomach and during the stretching she tries to copy me (adorable!).  Mostly, she just stands back a little, watching, with a grin on her face and you can totally tell she thinks her mom is an idiot. 

Last week, I got measured at the gym by my trainer to see my progress and I've lost an inch off my waist so far and 4 pounds.  I thought I had lost more inches, but I'm happy with my progress to date.  Getting in shape is a good thing for me and my family.  I don't want to be the fat mom on the playground and I know M will appreciate that!  Plus, it's good to teach her healthy eating and exercise habits.  Anyhow, back to the subject at hand...I run my first 5k in THREE weeks and I need your support!  If you can't donate to the cause come by the race location on race day and cheer us on.  It's also not too late to join us in the 5k, so if you wish to join our little team of two click here.  I have also posted a clickable picture on my right-hand toolbar on my blog page that will bring you to my personal 5k race page where you can donate or join our team.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day Round 2

My second Mother's Day was just as fabulous as my first.  I got to wake up hearing my two loves communicating over the baby monitor.  The "conversation" went as follows:

A.R.: Good morning Baby Girl!
M: MA!  ::indecipherable:: Ma MA!
A.R.: Shhh, Mama is sleeping.  Let's let her sleep a little more.  Do you need a dry diaper?
M: Ma! some more gibberish ::giggle:: (A.R. blowing raspberries) ::Squeal::
A.R.: I got your belly! Something in Espanol ending in Mi Amor (my love).
M: Dada ::more indecipherable:: some humming, and then more Dadadada
A.R.: ::starts singing to her::
M: Giggles and squeals and then an "up!"

Okay, you get the picture.  I totally eavesdrop on them on the baby monitor and it melts my heart everytime.  She is growing into such a Daddy's girl even though she always goes to me first when we're separated.  Her biggest smiles are always reserved for her Papa (I like to believe it has more to do with him acting like an idiot to elicit said smiles, but alas when I act like an idiot I get an OMG, Ican'tbelieveyou'rerelatedtome look).  Once their bonding was done I nursed M and then the spoiling began.  While I was nursing her, A.R. placed two cards on my pillow and then sent me back to bed when M was done eating.  I read the cards all snuggled up with M and then A.R. took her downstairs and they started conspiring together to cook me homemade blueberry pancakes (with blueberries I picked and froze last year) and scrambled eggs while I got to catch some extra sleep.  The extra 45 minutes was HEAVEN.  I have no idea why it took 45 min to cook said breakfast and why it needed to involve dirtying every dish in the kitchen, but I don't ask such things and he did clean up!

Mother's Day 2010
After breakfast, we played as a family in the family room and debated going to church. We opted to stay home and relax.  M went down for her morning nap and A.R. and I cuddled on the couch.  I read my Dummies book for my camera and A.R. ended up taking a nap.  When M woke up, we showered and got ready to head out to the park to enjoy the beautiful day.  While we were in the shower the doorbell rang and it was the USPS delivering a package.  On a Sunday.  Who knew?!  A.R. took M to the door with him and they got the package.  He helped her carry it to me and said it was for me.  I was so shocked to open it and find a new lens for my Canon DSLR camera!  He also got a UV lens cover protector, and another item that hasn't arrived yet.  He got me the Canon EF-S 55-250 f/4-5.6 IS zoom lens.  I was in so much shock at his thoughtfulness (he's usually giving me a sigh and the eye roll because I want to take "just one more photo, really quick") and his splurge as I thought my new purse was my Mother's Day gift.
Mother's Day 2011
After the shock wore off I was so excited to play around with it, but I left it in the box and we went out to lunch at our local diner and then off to the park with M.  We pushed M on the swing and she LOVED it and then helped her slide down the slide a few times and took her for a walk.  After the park we headed to Dick's Sporting goods and I got a new gym bag, a knee brace, and A.R. got some roller blades so we can go blading with M and her stroller on the weekends.  Then, we went to our local ice cream place for ice cream (mint chocolate chip with rainbow sprinkles on a sugar cone, Mmmm) and then to my parents-in-law's house for dinner.  We grilled out hamburgers while M entertained us all being silly and running all over the place.  After dinner, we headed home and just played together in the family room and enjoyed each other's company until it was M's bedtime.  I got exactly what I wanted on Mother's Day...quality time with my family and hugs and kisses from both my loves to show their appreciation.  All the rest was just added bonus.  It feels so good and gives me the warm fuzzies to call A.R. and M my family.  I am so blessed.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

The Great Mulch Project

In a gallant effort to save money this year on our spring yard work, I went on a mulch mission to have a truck load delivered straight to our house in lieu of buying the small bags that overloaded our car on three separate trips to Home Depot last year.  First of all, let me ask if you know how many different kinds of mulch there are?!  Holy Toledo has it become apparent that I know little about landscaping from my mulch project 2011.  Some companies that I researched had at least a dozen different kinds of mulch from different materials and in different colors.  I was almost embarassed to call and ask for more information about "plain brown mulch".
Ok, this angle doesn't do the pile's large. Trust me.
At long last, I got my courage up and after attempting to figure out how much mulch really needed, I called three different local companies for prices and delivery dates.  I wanted to buy local to help out my hometown business owners and I found a great company that only sold one type (and color) of mulch for a great price and they delivered on Saturdays.  Their mulch was recycled, so it was all the better.
This tree is going bye, bye but the bed behind it and in front of the porch were just two of the ones to be re-mulched.
Two days later the mulch arrived.  Oh. My. Gosh.  What was I thinking?!  As a dump truck dumped ten cubic yards of mulch on half of our driveway I realized I pretty much grossly overcalculated the amount of mulch I'd need. OOPS!  Our neighbor saw what was happening and told us later on he had a good chuckle.  I did try to use a mulch calculator a friend had sent me, but I think I estimated too much in my head (the bed lengths and widths) and probably did the conversion to cubic yards wrong.  Alas, after my husband teased me, rolled his eyes, and then chuckled we shared our stock pile of mulch with my in-laws for two of their homes and two of our neighbors and some good did come of it.  Next year, we'll be purchasing less mulch but we're going to do it in bulk again and all our neighbors are going to chip in with us and order it at once. 

The tulips were just coming up in this photo, but I'll be mulching under this fence now and planting more bulbs.
So, my goofball math mistake (and to think I'm an accountant?!) led to some great neighborly bonding. :)  The pile is almost gone now and five homes have been fully mulched from said monster mulch pile.  We even have some in bags in our garage stock piled for after we remove/replace the trees in our front yard that we hate.  More to come about that in another post.  I'm even adding mulch in under the fence in our front yard where we planted a ton of tulips last fall.

Oh, and do not be disappointed!  Operation vegetable garden 2011 is underway and I will be posting about my new method of planting madness in a post to come.

Monday, May 02, 2011

M's 1st craft project

Okay, so it probably doesn't even really count as a craft project and the only participation M played in the making of said "project" was providing her adorable hand print.  I have the guilty pleasure of watching Teen Mom on MTV (it's even set up on my DVR ::embarassing::) and I saw one of the moms take her daughter to a pottery store on her 1st birthday where she could paint some pottery and get her hand print taken to keep for posterity.  I thought it was a cute idea and being a sentimental gal at heart, decided to do this on the first birthday for each of our children.  M was my first victim- er, I mean child.

We do have various stores around town that I could've taken her to, to do it, but instead I opted to buy a home kit that I found at Burlington Coat Factory for a whopping $7.99.  Trying to get a one year old to press their hand in cool, wet clay is no a small feat.  It took three attempts before I was able to do it without her curling her fingers to try and grab said clay.  Once her hand print was in the clay, you mixed up plaster according to the kit's instructions and then poured it in a mold over the clay hand print.  Then, you allow to dry for 24 hours and gently separate the mold from the hand print plaster.  The kit comes with metalic paint in pink or blue and a tiny paint brush to paint the hand with.  I had to add water to the paint as it was a ball of goop when I first tried to paint with it, but it still came out okay.  Last, you attach the ribbon and hang it up.  I hung her hand print in her nursery for now right above the light switch.  It has to be the cutest hand ever and so tiny compared to our hands and I can't wait to show it to her someday. :)

My 1st Blogger Award: Versatile Blogger

I just received my first blogger award!  I received "The Versatile Blogger Award" from Selina over at Urban Granola.  I was so excited when she left me a comment to tell me about the award and couldn't wait to share it with my readers.  Thank you, Selina, for the recognition and for reading my blog.
Anyone receiving the Versatile Blogger Award must follow the rules to pay it forward, if you will. The rules are as follows:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.
2. Tell your readers seven (7) things about yourself.
3. Give this award to fifteen (15) recently discovered bloggers.
4. Contact those bloggers and let them in on the exciting news.

I like paying it forward, so I will definitely participate and share this award with others.  Now, here are 7 things about myself you may or may not already know:

1. I had a mole removed from my cheek when I was 5 and I still have a scar from it.  It could've been my "Cindy Crawford" mole and made me famous, but alas it was removed due to some changes in it and found to be benign.

2. I cried when I listened to our 1st dance wedding song (Book of Love by Peter Gabriel) and my Father/Daughter dance song (I Loved Her First by Heartland) when I was suprised to find our old wedding CD in the Camry's CD player while I drove to NH yesterday to meet some gal friends who coincidentally also got married in September of 2008.  A.R. usually drives the Camry now, so it was super sweet that he even still listens to that CD 2 1/2 years after our wedding. :)

3. I enjoy gardening and while I'm quite successful with our vegetable garden, I suck at growing flowers.  The tulips I planted by our mailbox are all lying on their sides!  I've killed ferns and most recently a pine tree my mother sent us for our yard.  In my defense, the tulips I planted under the fence in our yard are all upright. Dang it!

4. I love to travel and never feel complete without another trip itinerary in the works.  Our next voyage will be a camping trip in July with my in-laws (if my brother-in-law actually books it correctly this year) and then we're going on a cruise in August to Bermuda!

5. I graduated highschool at 16 with my GED and started going to college.  I double majored and had two Associate degrees (Accounting and Business Administration) by the time I was 19.  Then, it took me another 5 years to finally get my Bachelor's in Accounting (I worked full-time and went to school part-time, plus I moved from NC to CT in the middle of it all).  In 2009, I graduated with my MBA.

6. I was born in Attleboro, MA and moved south to NC when I was in the 5th grade. I didn't move back to New England to CT until I was 21.

7. I love all animals (except snakes) and rode horses competitively when I was a teenager.  My first love and specialty was Dressage and Eventing, but I did it all: rodeo (goat tying), western, hunt seat, and jumping.  I also bred my horse, Hartwin, and trained and sold him myself just before I got married.  I'm horse-less right now, but hope to get back into riding someday.  (Here's hoping Miss M likes horses and animals like her Mama!)

And without further delay here are the blogs that I would like to pay it forward to and award the Versatile Blogger Award in no particular order:

1. Cinderella and Princess Charming
2. ...Into The Womb
3.  Not-So-Newlywed Adventures
4. Three Legged Race
5. C is for Chocolate and Cheese
6. Newlyweds!
7. Pieces of Me
8. P, little B, and J
9. Simply Nesting
10. Life on 19th
11. Loving Baby M
12. Life with Mrs. T
13. Seriously!?
14. Growing a Lemon
15. City Love