Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dear USPS,

When can you send this mail carrier to my neighborhood? I've been receiving far too much junk mail.

Thank you,


This year, Thanksgiving will be a little different for me than it has been in the past. Mike and I won't be heading up to Oakland to spend the day deep frying turkey with my side of the family, but will instead spend the day close to home with his grandparents. When you are married, splitting holidays between families isn't unusual, but I think it will take some getting used to. I will be sending my brother his toffee apple pie (actually, it's a tart this year - sorry Ben, I was a little too tired last night to make pie crusts!). And on Saturday, we'll be having Thanksgiving all over again at my parents' house here on the Central Coast. All in all, it will be a turkey-filled weekend. So, on that note, I thought I'd put together a list of the things I am most thankful for:

I am thankful...
...that my family is healthy and happy this year.
...we have shoes on our feet, roofs over our heads and food on our tables.
...that despite the economic troubles, our business is doing very well.
...we beat the odds, and are anxiously awaiting the arrival of a healthy little boy in March. marriage and my life are filled with more love and support than I could ever ask for.
...for the little things that I often take for granted.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Never Let the Pregnant Lady Pick the Restaurant

Last night, I got home, and I was starving. Mike was walking around in a towel, having just gotten out of the shower, and I asked him what he wanted for dinner. He said, "Whatever. I've got 50 bucks from the audio equipment Tom just picked up!" I said, "Sweet! Well put some clothes on, Baby gotta' eat!" He laughed and proceeded to finish getting ready. First we had to go to the bank. Then we had to go to Rite-Aid because he was out of Listerine strips (yuk, I know, but waaaay better than a smoking habit). Then, it was on to food!

Again, I asked him what he wanted to go, and he said, "Whatever." I told him he should pick. Really. I pretty much knew his response would be, "Mystery salad* at Embarcadero Grill?" and it was, and I told him that was fine... but I was getting a chicken sandwich and fries. And I also told him, "See, never let the pregnant lady pick the restaurant. If it was up to me, we'd be headed for the Chinese buffet right now!"

We got to Embarcadero Grill, and ordered our food. We were, literally, the only people there besides the two employees. It was nice. We laughed and talked as loud as we wanted, and I didn't have to worry about being judged for my condiment habits, or the bbq sauce that was accumulating on the corners of my mouth. Good stuff.

*This is kind of our inside joke. The "mystery salad" is either the steak salad or the house salad on the menu at Embarcadero Grill. We call it this because it always seems to be different, and it has never contained all the things that are listed in the menu description.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Go ahead, kick me again!

The past couple weeks, the baby has been pretty active - fluttering around, and thumping on my bladder every now and then - but this morning, at about 5:00, we both got to feel him move... from the outside! We were dog sitting for Ruby last night, and the poor little thing has recently been diagnosed with both a bladder infection and bladder stones, so she decided at about 4:30 that she needed to go outside. Mike (because he is the most awesome husband ever) got up with her and took her outside. Naturally, I was awake, too, and as I lay on my side with my hand on my belly, I felt our little guy push against my hand. I couldn't believe it, so I waited a little bit, and there he was again!

Mike stayed up for a little while and watched some TV because he was having trouble sleeping, and I hoped that when he came back to bed, the baby would still be moving around. Sure enough, when he came back, I rolled onto my back and he started kicking again. I grabbed Mike's hand and placed it on my belly. When he kicked again, I anxiously asked Mike, "Did you feel that??" and he replied with, "Hah - yea!" I couldn't see it, but just by the sound of his voice, I'm pretty sure there was a smile on his face. Even though I've been feeling the kicks for a while, it was incredible to feel them from the outside and have Mike feel them, too.

When I first found out I was pregnant, one of the things I thought about was how weird or creepy it would be to feel a little person moving around inside you, especially to feel and see him from the outside. I can now say it's not weird at all. It is absolutely amazing.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I'm Sorry

I apologize in advance, because I may be about to offend you. On my way home from work today, I was behind a minivan with a TV screen mounted to the ceiling. I hate this. I think DVD players for everyday use in vehicles are absolutely ridiculous, especially when they are meant to keep your children quiet.

Now, I must make one small exception to statement: long car trips - as in, those lasting more than 3 hours (actually, more like 5 hours) - because I understand that parents do need a break from the inevitable "Are we there yet?" game.

Anyway, as I drove home behind this mini van, I was just imagining the kids sitting there, eyes wide open and mouths agape, watching Toy Story, while mom talked on her cel phone. I imagined how the conversation went when she picked up the kids, "Hi kids. Get it. Buckle your seat belts. Be QUIET! What do you want to watch?" and contrasted that to how conversations at the end of the day went when I was a kid, "Hey kiddo! How was your day? What did you do? Who did you hang out with? What did you learn? Etc." My parents knew who my friends were, what we were up to, whose parents really would be home when they said they would, and whose were liable to leave us home alone (and those were the friends that always ended up visiting our house).

I don't know, maybe I'm thinking too far into this, and this may sound extremely judgmental (I'm sure some people that are reading this will think "What do you know? You don't even have kids yet!), but what ever happened to talking to your kids? You know, those little people that look like you sitting in the back of the car with their hand-held video games, listening to their iPods, sending text messages to their friends (who you probably have never met), and watching DVDs. I know, I know, times have changed, but kids like to be spoken to, they like to know that you care about what is going on in their life, and they like to know when you approve (or disapprove, for that matter) of their choices. I guess my main point here is this: Talk to your kids. Show them you care about them and the choices they make. Give them advice (whether they want it or not) and share your life with them.

You're probably really busy, we all are these days, but take a few minutes and just ask your kids how their day was. And listen. You just might be surprised by what they have to say.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Prenatal Visit #4

Yesterday, I had another routine doctor visit, and I found out that our ultrasound scans were free of any abnormalities, and my AFP test came back negative... both very good pieces of news! The only addition to my appointment this month was a measurement of my fundal height (the external distance from the pubic bone to the top of the uterus - or fundus). The first time I said the word "fundus" to Mike, he thought it was pretty funny (and, admittedly, so did I - c'mon, we never really grow up, do we?). Anyway, despite my insecurities about my lack of a baby bump, my fundal height is right on track where it should be. So, on that note, I decided to focus on the good points of not having a round baby belly quite yet:

1. I only own 4 pieces of "maternity" clothing so far: 2 pairs of jeans, a black babydoll shirt (that quite frankly was cute, and I figured, 'heck, I am pregnant, why not'), and a white cami tank top (which, I swear to you, I picked up accidentally because it was on the wrong rack at Target with the other white camis).

2. I have yet to purchase maternity drawers. Although I have put my cute thongs in storage, so to speak, I can still wear most of my cute full-booty chonies.

3. Unsolicited advice is few and far between. Since I can pick and choose who knows I'm expecting, I haven't had the pleasure of a middle-aged woman stopping me in the grocery store to tell me I'm gaining too much weight and proceed to pick apart the contents of my shopping cart.

4. I have not been rubbed by a stranger like a genie bottle. Thank God! I think I would subject myself to an hour of unsolicited advice from strangers each and every day if it meant my belly would never be rubbed by one. That just freaks me out to no end!

5. I can still wear shoes that tie and paint my own toenails (although I've been slacking on the latter).

6. I can still shave my own legs.

7. The only thing getting in the way of seeing my feet are my boobs, and there's nothing unusual about that for me!

Monday, November 10, 2008

10 Things

Well, since our office server is defragging, and I can't actually do any work, I figured I'd accept the gauntlet Meghan threw down and write 10 things about myself.

1. I am painfully shy. The thought of going anywhere where I don't know people (especially if I have to go alone) makes me sweat. Once I get there though, I'm usually OK. It even took me over a year to be really comfortable hanging out with Mike's family on my own. And I fully admit, it still freaks me out sometimes.

2. I once tried out for American Idol. OK, not in front of Paula, Randy and Simon, but a local TV station held a contest to get you a guaranteed audition for the actual show (it was called Central Coast Idol - how clever). I drove myself down to Wal Mart in Arroyo Grande, and didn't tell anyone I was going. I can only sing in front of friends if I've had a few drinks, or in front of people I don't know, and will likely never see again. I am getting a little better though, as I will sing in the shower when Mike is home, or when we are in the car.

3. I always think I am right unless you can prove me wrong (I will, however, admit if I am wrong). This pretty much got me fired from a job once. My theory: living life constantly doubting yourself is no way to live! Granted, I try not to voice my opinions or offer advice on subjects I truly know nothing about.

4. I hate answering the "hobbies and interests" questions on surveys and the like, because I think my answers are always really boring. The truth is, my interests revolve around cooking, and hanging out with my friends and family, or any combination of the two. Of course I have other interests, like music, movies, reading, but again, all pretty run-of-the-mill. I don't rock climb, sky dive or travel the world (although I wouldn't mind it).

5. I'm often happy with "good enough." Mike and I were talking about school last night, and we were both the type that could go to class, do our homework, not study for tests, and usually pull off B's. If I had put a little more work into it, I probably would have had a 4.0 in high school and probably a 3.5 in college. It's not that I don't have goals and aspirations, it's just that I am happy with my life, and I feel very blessed for the people and the things that are in it.

Don't get me wrong though, I do work hard, and I believe there is no such thing as a free lunch. Case in point: My grandparents scratched lotto tickets for as long as I can remember. Even after my grandma (Google) passed away, my grandpa (Pop) continued to pick up tickets on his morning walks. One day, he got a scratcher that said "TV SHOW" three times. He was going to be on The Big Spin for a chance to spin the wheel. Unfortunately, he passed away before he was able to go. My mom took his place, and the whole family went along to be in the audience (all of us wearing pictures of Google and Pop on our shirts.) What did she win? The minimum prize you could get (I think it was about $1200) which was basically just enough to pay for the family's trip to LA!

6. While I am often happy with "good enough" I do love a challenge. Tell me I can't do something, and I'll try to prove you wrong. I love to learn how to do new things, even though I'm not always good at them all, which is why I call myself a "Jack of all trades, master of some." I can fix a toilet, hang a shelf, lay tile, and make a pretty mean apple pie.

7. I knew I would marry Mike about a month after we started dating. "How," you ask? I was moving, and he offered to help. While we were hauling things into my new place, my mom called and said she'd be stopping by. I got off the phone with her, and told Mike, "My mom is coming over, you don't have to stick around if you don't want to." His response was something along the lines of, "Why would I leave? I don't mind meeting your mom." LOVE.

8. I am an eternal optimist. No matter how bad things get, I believe there is something to be learned from any situation. Good is where you find it.

9. I have met a handful of famous people including Sammy Davis Jr., Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, and Rachel Ray. I was the most star struck by Rachel Ray.

10. When I tell people we are having a boy, they usually say, "Your husband must be so excited!" I am very excited, too. I have an older brother and I grew up a bit of a tomboy (I played t-ball on an all boys team, and I can swing a hammer with the best of 'em). That's not to say I wouldn't be happy with a little girl, a little boy just seems like more familiar territory.

Whew! I'm glad I didn't wait until tomorrow to do this, I don't think I could have thought of one more! Now it's your turn.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Behind Closed Doors

This was so exciting, I had to copy this post over from our remodel blog:

Our interior doors were finally painted last Monday, and Gregg did a fantastic job. As if that wasn't exciting enough, yesterday when I was having my oil changed, Mike installed our interior doorknobs. It's the first time we have slept with our bedroom door completely closed since we moved back in! Awesome.

Friday, November 7, 2008


It's Friday. I couldn't be happier (well, if it was 4:55, I would probably be a little happier). It's been a relatively slow week at work, and considering how busy we've been, it was a nice little break (hopefully it doesn't keep up this way though).

Things are good.

I finally got a pretty normal night's sleep, most likely thanks to my prenatal yoga class (that I skipped last week). My hip barely hurt at all last night when I climbed into bed (and, another small victory - I didn't wake up to pee once!!). As hard as it is to drag my butt there, and as much as I loathe the downward facing dog, I do always feel better afterward. (Granted, the class is only once a week, and it's pretty pathetic that I have to psych myself up to go.)

Anyway, I started going about a month and a half ago, and after my first class, I felt like I owed all the yoga devotees a big apology. I had always heard what great exercise yoga was, but always had in the back of my mind "how can laying on the floor and stretching for an hour be considered exercise?" Believe me, it is. I am in awe of the women that are at the end of their third trimesters (one that was there last night is actually 4 days past her due date) and can still participate in the class.

When the instructor talked to me about the class, she said it was a great place to meet other expectant moms or moms who have recently delivered, and trade stories, experiences, problems and solutions. I thought, yeah right, this is so not me. I've never been one to gravitate towards things like this (I am actually painfully shy), but it has been great so far. I think the hardest part (besides actually doing yoga!) is seeing all the other women in the class with their cute little bellies. Aside from the woman that is 4 days past due, I was the most pregnant out of all the others last night, and I don't even look like it! This is totally an issue that is all in my head, but it doesn't make it any better when people say, "You are so lucky! You don't even look pregnant!" Yeah, thanks. That really doesn't make me feel better. I know every pregnancy is different, and every woman carries differently, but I'd like a little something to show for the past five months (except a pre-Thanksgiving ten pounds!). Oh well, I know what's really important is that the baby and I are both healthy.

On another pregnancy front, hormone-induced emotions have finally caught up with me. Last weekend, Mike and I were shopping in Fresno, and I almost burst into tears right in the middle of the mall - yep, for pretty much no reason at all. Thank goodness we made it out the door and on our way to the car before the tears started to flow. About a week prior to the mall incident, I asked Mike a question, and he didn't hear what I said, and just the "what the heck did you just say?" look on his face made me cry. Hormones - gotta love 'em.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Measuring Time... in Wine

I just received a call from Zenaida Cellars (that's where Mike and I were married last year) that my wine club shipment is ready to pick up. This is the second shipment since we found out we were expecting, so if my calculations are correct, we should receive one more shipment in February before the baby is born. And, subsequently, by the time the baby is born, we will have about a case of wine to catch up on! Whoo hooo!!

On another note, I finally caved and joined Facebook. Look me up!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bed Time

Typically, climbing into bed at night is one of my favorite times of the day. I mean, what's not to love? A warm, soft bed, big fluffy pillows, and the hubs to cuddle with. But lately, I dread it. Over the past week, my hip pain has gotten worse. It's the worst when I lay on my left side, and now, instead of falling asleep for a while and having it wake me suddenly, it starts right when I lay down. I Googled the problem, and pretty much found the usual explanation, sans solution, of most common pregnancy complaints: It's normal, it may or may not go away on its own, and there's really nothing you can do about it.

I did find one recommendation that said to place one pillow under your waist, and one right below your hip to basically elevate the problem area off of the mattress and take some pressure off of it. So, what the heck. What did I have to lose. I took two small throw pillows and positioned them accordingly. The pillow below my hip was out right away. I am like The Princess and the Pea. I can't even lay on a folded sheet, or it literally hurts. Yeah, I know, I'm weird. So anyway, like I said, the pillow below my hip was out, but I was able to tough out the one at my waist. It was, after all, much better than the searing pain I've had in my hip. So, I was left with an achy waist, and only a dull pain in my hip. Unfortunately, this fix did not last all night, and I spent a least a couple of hours trying to sleep partially sitting up with two pillows beneath my knees.

I'm hoping yoga class tomorrow night will stretch me out a little bit and help with the pain. *fingers tightly crossed* I will report back with results!

'Cuz You Need a Laugh

Here are the top 10 searches on so far today:

Glad to see "Kung Fu Panda" landed right between "Election Results" and "Electoral Maps." At least someone's cooking dinner though (see #10). And who the heck is Terri Seymour? Guess I'll have to Yahoo search that one.

In the mean time, here's my awesome pork chop recipe for those of you looking (just please be sure to turn off your burner or remove the pan from the stove top before you add the whiskey - I will not be held responsible if you burn down your house):

Whiskey Pork Chops

4-6 Center Cut Pork Chops, 3/4 to 1" Thick

Zest of 1 Orange
Juice of 1/2 Orange
1 Sprig of Rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
1-2 Sprigs of Tyhme, leaves removed and chopped
1/2 Shallot, minced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2-3 Tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Fresh-Ground Black Pepper

1/2 Shallot, Minced
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1/2 Cup Whiskey or Bourbon
Juice of 1/2 Orange
2-3 Cups Chicken Stock
1/4 Cup Cranberries
1 Sprig of Rosemary, Whole
1 Sprig of Thyme, Whole
3 Tbls Cold Butter Cut Into 1/4" Cubes

  1. Heat oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Combine marinade ingredients in a zip-top bag and add pork chops. Seal bag and massage marinade into meat. Let sit for at least 1/2 hour.
  3. Heat a large skillet, and add 1-2 Tbls canola oil. Brown pork chops on both sides, remove from pan and place in an oven-safe dish or on a sheet pan. Place pan in oven and cook until pork chops reach desired doneness (5-8 minutes for medium).
  4. Pour off any excess fat in pan. Cook shallots and garlic until fragrant, TURN OFF FLAME OR REMOVE PAN FROM ELECTRIC BURNER and deglaze pan with whiskey. Re-light flame, and set to low. Replace pan on burner and allow alcohol to burn off. Make sure to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a whisk or wooden spoon.
  5. Add chicken stock, orange juice, cranberries, rosemary and thyme sprigs. Allow sauce to reduce by at least half.
  6. Remove herbs, and season to taste.
  7. At the last minute, whisk the cold butter into the sauce a little at a time until completely melted. Serve over pork chops.
Now make yourself some mashed potatoes and green beans, and you're all set! DO NOT overcook your chops, or they'll be "dryer than a popcorn fart" as Mike's grandpa likes to say.

A Dark Day for Small Business

Well, it's official. Obama is the president elect. It will be interesting to see how America's small businesses are affected. I received the following email forward:

The plans of one small business owner

Dear Fellow Business Owner:

As a Business owner who employs 30 people, I have resigned myself to the fact that Barack Obama will be our next President, and that my Taxes and Fees will go up in a BIG way.

To compensate for these increases, I figure that our customers will have to see an increase in my fees of about 8%. I will also have to lay off six of my employees. This really bothered me as I believe we are family here and didn't know how to choose who will have to go. So, this is what I did. I strolled through the parking lot and found eight Obama bumper stickers on my employees cars. I have decided these folks will be the first to be laid off.

I can't think of more fair way to approach this problem. If you have a better idea, let me know.
I am sending this letter to all business owners that I know.


Monday, November 3, 2008

(Reluctant) Daddy

Since before we found out we were expecting, Mike has had cold feet about becoming a father. He had, and still has, many concerns that a lot of men do when faced with the prospect of raising a family (and I can't say I don't have my own).

Will we have enough money? Will we have enough room? It's kind of nice just the two of us, how are things going to change? I've never really been a "kid" sort of person, what do you do with them?

Since we found out we are having a boy, I think he has relaxed a little bit. He's in "familiar territory," so to speak. We were at Target on Saturday evening adding some things to our baby registry, and as we picked out burp cloths, onesies, and bibs, I pointed to a section and said, "Sports, or marine life?" "Sports!" he replied, and pointed the scanner gun *beep* to add an item to the list. He even picked out a little pair of blue high-tops.

It may seem trivial - picking out material things for our son - but watching him make sure we had burp cloths on the list was heart warming. It felt good. I know all his fears about having a baby haven't dissolved, and some of them never will. I guess it's all part of being a parent - there will always be something to worry about, and hopefully a lot of things to celebrate, too.