Expecting our Little Brother in November!

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Friday, April 30, 2010

Water (and Cleaning Update)

Alright, so tomorrow I think I might do a little experiment and see exactly how much water I am drinking every day. Because honestly, I feel like it could easily be two gallons. I almost wonder if that is abnormally TOO much, and I have gestational diabetes or something--but it's supposed to be too early for that and I am already eating really healthy and everything.

::Sigh:: I just feel like I am CONSTANTLY thirsty. Last night after James and I ate dinner I drank at least 4 pints of water. That was just in a few hours.

Of course this makes the constant peeing really fun. Sometimes I just feel like I should be a fountain--some water trickling into my mouth constantly while I sit on the toilet and let pee trickle out the other end.

In terms of cleaning: It was super hard to motivate myself, as you might tell by the fact that this is my fourth blog today. BUT I did FINALLY eventually straighten up my kitchen and load the dishwasher (and run it). It isn't perfect, but we'll be ahead for final cleaning tomorrow.

(James' comment on my water worries is that I am constantly being paranoid and worrying about something. Worried about cramping, worried about diabetes/eating sugar, worried about gluten, worried about everything. I think it's pretty normal for a pregnant lady to be constantly worried about the health of the fetus. It doesn't help that I have a tendency to anxiety anyway, but I'm not THAT crazy!)

The Truly Breastfeeding-Friendly World!

Though I have not myself ever breastfed a child, it is something I have looked forward to, with great anticipation, for many years.

I became interested in breastfeeding several years ago, and proceeded to do a ton of research on it. The idea that your own body could make food to grow and nourish your child was absolutely amazing to me.

But quickly I realized that breastfeeding is a bit controversial in our society. To do it or not to do it in public? To cover up or not cover up? To wean at 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 24 months . . . To breastfeed if the baby is not gaining well, or gaining too well, if it isn't sleeping through the night . . . There seems to be plenty of people, doctors included, who don't really understand or support breastfeeding, especially in any extenuating circumstances, and the answer to any problem with a breastfeeding baby always seems to be: wean the baby.

I will not go too into my personal plans with breastfeeding--I will let things happen as they happen. But I did LOVE the following article:

Breastfeeding in the land of Genghis Khan

Imagine a world where everyone REALLY loved and valued breastfeeding for the health act that it is?


So obviously I am getting a lot of cleaning done.

But as I approach 12 weeks, I am getting more and more excited about "really" letting the cat out of the bag! It is T-minus-9 days until Mother's Day when we tell our parents, siblings, and Grandmas, and I am REALLY getting excited about it, and being able to talk about it to everyone. :-)

Since I last updated about telling Amy and breaking my telling ribbon, James has told Karl, and I told Clare. I would LIKE to tell Mariclare and Sky but my attempts to hang out with them continue to be foiled. Maybe on Wednesday I'll be able to hang out with them.

Anyway, I feel sort of bad about telling too many people before we tell our families, but I really wanted to tell the family in person, to fully enjoy all the excitement, and that means doing it on Mother's Day when we will see everyone in person. Plus, you have to admit, there is something precious about telling your Mom and Mother-in-Law that you will be giving them a Grandchild for Mother's Day.

So anyway, I think we are trying not to really tell too many people before we tell our families, which means that I guess it has worked out that I just plain haven't seen a lot of the people I had intended to tell.

But I don't think I wrote about my plan for telling them yet (did I? No). Well, I got "Grandma" cards for my Mom and Mother-in-Law, and "Great-Grandma" cards for my two Grandmas!! I am so excited. It will be my Mom's first Grandchild and the first Great-Grandchild for both my Grandmas (unless my cousin Emily is secretly also pregnant right now--ha, how fun would that be!?). I think everyone will be super super excited, and my sisters will be, too, especially my sister Marilyn since she lives in the same town as me, so she'll be able to visit the wee one to heart's content.

What I haven't quite decided yet, is if, after telling our families, I want "the world" to know--like, our entire extended family, which in my case, is quite extensive, and Facebook, and EVERYONE, or if I want to wait just a few more weeks until we make some kind of public announcement. Technically when we tell our families, I will be almost 13 weeks, which is the end of the first trimester, and really I'm already pretty far out of "fear of miscarriage" land. But I might want to wait just a couple more weeks--like maybe until 15 or 16 weeks until we really tell everyone in the world. I haven't decided. We'll see what James thinks. What would be really amazing is if I attempted to wait until 20 weeks, when we will find out the sex of the baby, to tell about the pregnancy. But honestly if I am waiting until 16 weeks it is only another month until 20 weeks . . . we'll have to see how it goes.

Part of why I like the idea of telling as late as possible is then it makes the pregnancy go faster for everyone--like before you know it the baby is here! And there isn't as much waiting. But honestly, people love pregnancy almost as much as babies, so maybe I am depriving them by not telling them sooner.

I guess I am just a little afraid that 13 weeks will roll around, we will make a grand announcement, and then I will have some tragic late-term miscarriage at 15 weeks or something. God that would be horrible. But it is SO unlikely, I'm just super paranoid.

Okay, enough of this rambling.

So what do you think, will I go clean my house now?


Alright, this is not a topic I will probably blog about very often. Despite having a TON of time on my hands, my house is usually a mess. I DO have ADD and I'm obviously off my meds while growing the wee one, so it's difficult to accomplish much cleaning-wise during the day.

Honestly, I'm at my best when the house is already relatively clean. Then I feel motivated and I'm more likely to do "upkeep" and keep it clean. But keep in mind that James has ADD too and it only takes ONE episode of: making pasta sauce, shopping at BJ's, or generally James attempting to clean another room, to completely destroy our kitchen. Once the kitchen is in this other-worldly state, then it becomes super difficult for me to clean. I walk in there with the best intentions, look from one mini-task to another until my eyes are spinning in my head, and then get the hell out of that room and retreat to the safe, organized world of the internet.

However, there are times in my life when motivation wins out over fear, and that is when we are expecting guests. So I invited James' cousin Doug up to our house--the crazy archeology student spends more than half his life in Timbuktu (no, seriously), so when I saw that he was back in the country I itched to visit with him--he is really fun and we have a great time together whenever we see him. So he will be at our house on Saturday, and now the cleaning has moved into the realm of "must be accomplished today and tomorrow". Akk!

I should be grateful because this is when I can actually get things done, when I have a good deadline and reason to do so.

So the goal today: clean the kitchen and living room. (One saving grace of this whole messy house situation is that BOTH my bathrooms are clean. Hardly EVER happens, but yeah.)

I will have to update on my progress later.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Soup Stock

Time for another blog about cooking. I mentioned in my pasta sauce blog that I used homemade soup stock.

Well, I can’t really say enough about the benefits of homemade soup stock. It can be used instead of water in a variety of recipes: to make rice, quinoa, lentils, stuffing, gravy, and, obviously, soup. It adds WAY more flavor to these things than using just plain water (and buying soup stock can be expensive when you compare it to homemade soup stock being COMPLETELY free).

See, one thing I love about soup stock is that it puts to use all of the things we would normally throw away. Here is how I make my stock.

In my freezer I have a plastic container, and I take this container out whenever I cut up veggies. I throw into it: the ends of carrots, celery, squashes, the stringy middles of pumpkin or other squashes, the tips of mushroom stems, the stems from spinach, the peels from carrots, potatoes, and onions, the stems from fresh spices—pretty much anything vegetably. Even the ends/stems of lettuce, cucumber, and other veggies you might not think of cooking normally. I experimented with throwing lemon or orange peels in there—don’t do it.

Other things you do NOT want to put into the stock (I learned this the hard way after making ratatouille) the bits and stems of tomatoes and peppers. This will make your stock too acidic. I have never had heartburn in my life EXCEPT for after I used the stock from ratatouille odds and ends to make rice or something and ate that rice. It was horrible—I mean, it tasted fine but I had SEVERE and INTENSE heartburn for like three days. I was eating baking soda at its maximum suggested usage. Yeah. So don’t put those things in your stock.

Other things you CAN put in your stock: oil left in the pan after cooking something else, the rest of a beer that someone didn’t finish (are you thinking “eww?” It’s normally just James, so whatevs), the liquid that is around tofu in its container, or the liquid around other vegetables in their cans—you might NOT want to use canned liquid if you are anti a lot of preservatives, though.

(Oh yeah and for you non-vegetarians: scraps and fats from chicken/beef/lamb/fish/etc, the bones and carcasses, all this can go in your stock too. Though from watching my Mom do this, if you have a whole chicken carcass that you are planning on making stock from, I think THEN would be the time to pull out your container of veggies and make the stock, instead of trying somehow to freeze the carcass. Ugh, just thinking about making food from an animal’s carcass reminds me why I’m a vegetarian. But whatevs, meat-eaters, you deserve delicious stock, too!)

So basically over a period of a week or two, you would collect all these odds and ends in this plastic container that you keep in your freezer. Sometimes you might need more than one, depending on how often you want to make stock! And just think, all these things COULD be going to waste, getting thrown away, but instead you will be extracting tons of flavor and nutrients from them!

So you put this frozen chunk of stuff into a deep pot with a bunch of water, and then you boil it until has reduced by half, and then you fill it up again with water, boil it again until it has reduced by half, etc etc. Depending on how many veggies and stuff you start out with, you could use more water, boil down more times, and eventually end up with more stock, or less.

When you get toward the end, you have the choice to spice the stock or not. Generally if I spiced it, I would add oil (there might already be some depending on your ingredients), salt, and pepper. But I sort of stopped spicing it because depending on what you use it for, you might want it to be less or more salty/spicy. So now I generally don’t spice it anymore, and just spice the food in the end to taste.

Then you let it cool off to room temperature, and pour it into plastic containers to freeze. I generally freeze it in 1-2 cup containers, since often when you make rice you will only need 1-2 cups of liquid.

I think you could definitely can the stock as well, if you are into canning, which would eliminate the need to de-thaw the stock before you used it, but I have yet to do that. I was making a big pot of stock before my power went out today, so maybe I will try canning it to see how I like that. We have a low freezer capacity so canning things is definitely attractive.

When you pour it into the containers/cans, you will want to strain it through a wire wesh. I use the thing that you are supposed to use for sifting flour. When you have a bunch of the veggies piled up on the mesh, press them hard to extract all the juice. This is where a lot of the flavor is. When you’ve extracted all the juice, you can throw that stuff in your compost and continue straining.

After that, pile all your containers into the freezer (or cans into the canner), rinse out your plastic freezer bucket, and walah, you have a bunch of delicious stock, and you are all set to start collecting “ingredients” for your next batch!

Anyway, either way, like I said, this is an awesome way to “use up” your scraps and get delicious and very nutritious food out of the deal. Happy soup stock making!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Symptoms 2

I forgot a symptom, and you'll laugh when you hear what it is:

Pregnancy Brain--Basically, pregnancy turns everyone into people with ADHD. I recognize these symptoms for what they are, because I HAVE ADHD. Pregnancy brain makes you do things like start your car right before you leave, and then forget that you started it and decide to have an entire meal before you leave--while your car is running away out there (happened to me TODAY). Not only are you forgetful, you are distracted. Driving becomes the most difficult task in the world because you suddenly find yourself staring at the scenery only to swerve back into your own lane, or, just plain stop absorbing what is going on in front of you, so you don't realize that the person in front of you has stopped until you have to SLAM on your brakes to avoid hitting them. I could go on.

Luckily, Yaling saved me from the worst of the pregnancy brain by suggesting that I start taking a DHA supplement. See, there is a reason that you get pregnancy brain, just like there is a reason for most symptoms. While your body is building the baby's brain, it needs Omega oils and amino acids, and more than one will eat every day. So what does your smart body do? It steals the omega oils right out of YOUR brain for the baby--therefore eroding your brain cells and their functioning. But alas, there is a solution! By taking a DHA (omega oils) supplement, you can help the baby to get all the omega oils they need, and therefore, your pregnancy brain will not be that bad.

I started taking the DHA a few weeks ago, and I noticed a marked improvement in this symptom. Thanks Yaling! What a smartie she is.


I haven't talked too much about the symptoms I had. Well, here's a nice little list, some of this may be TMI, because a lot of these things are apparently really common, but no one talks about them! I'm just being honest, so be prepared for that:

Big Sore Boobs--My boobs were always on the small side, about a B cup--well they're C's now, baby! And so tender that the last few times I saw my family and was involved in the non-stop hug-fest that is part of seeing my family, I was cringing and struggling not to push my sisters and parents off me with a huge: "OUCH!" This is one of the first symptoms I noticed, shortly after my period was late (week 4), and it has been a continual thing ever since. Along the same lines (possibly TMI), my nipples are darker and somehow bigger or different.

Tiredness/Exhaustion--This is another symptom that can hit you right away--for me it started a few days before my period was due and lasted until about 6.5 weeks, but occasionally resurfaces (as you could see from my previous post about it).

And to say that "you are tired" is NOT the reality of the situation. It is more like, you are wearing a metal body suit and every step is torture. There was maybe only about a week that it was really THAT bad for me, but it was really that bad. Some days I was "tired", and MOST days between 4-6.5 weeks, 2pm would roll around and I would get hit with this sudden and overwhelming need to immediately take a nap.

But during that week that it was really bad--tiredness is not a good word for it. I was tired, but it was more like PHYSICAL EXHAUSTION. I literally could NOT stand up and/or do ANYTHING for more than ten minutes without feeling like if I didn't lay down and rest, I would die.

I was pregnant and then had a chemical pregnancy (and didn't realize what was happening until in retrospect) last year when we visited Laur in Scotland and she thought I was a FREAK. There was an exhibit at the Art Museum with all these metal beds and I literally almost took a nap on them. The entire time we were looking at the Museum I was just thinking about how much I wanted to be on those beds.

Well Laur, now you have an explanation for how unfun I was on that trip! Which brings me to another symptom:

Bitchiness/Super Emotional--From a few days before my period was due until probably 5.5 weeks, I was SUCH A BITCH. Erik, remember what a bitch I was to you when we had that phone convo about your diet? It was during this time (we pulled it out in the end, though, readers). Mom, remember when you asked if I was on bed-rest and I practically went to pieces on you? And both parents, do you remember HOW upset and offended I was when you said my house was a mess--all during this time.

James would do something or ask something and I would TEAR HIM TO PIECES FOR NO REASON. Luckily, a few minutes later I would, typically, apologize.

Anyway, this symptom is like the WORST PMS EVER. Keep in mind that your hormones are COMPLETELY wacked out. Along the same lines, I was super emotional and sometimes spent an entire day crying over stupid little things, would obsess or worry about nothing, you get the picture. Luckily, like I said, these things didn't last too too long--though the over-emotionality, is, I fear, here to stay until sometime post-partum (or perhaps forever). But it's not as bad as it was, luckily.

(This may be a real TMI one, be prepared)
Increased Cervical Mucus--This was actually ALWAYS one of my first symptoms of pregnancy, and it starts/has started as soon as a few days after conception. All of a sudden, my vagina starts acting like a cervical mucus factory (ie, more wetness "down there") and I have to change my underwear 5 times a day.

Bloating--Luckily, this wasn't a huge deal for me, but from about 4.5-5.5 weeks of pregnancy, I was SOOOO bloated that I looked like I had a bigger belly than I do right now. I attempted to take a belly picture during that time and it wasn't even worth it because I was so freaking bloated. As I said, this only lasted about a week for me, which I am grateful for, because I know for others it can be a whole "first trimester" thing.

Super Smell--That's right, this symptom will make you feel like a super-hero. You will suddenly know from talking to people what they ate last, what deodorant they use, and what they just did in the bathroom, no matter how many hours later you visit it than they did. You will know if they fried something and didn't shower after, if they smoke or were next to someone smoking, if they have drank beer or alcohol since last brushing their teeth.

"Hey parents! Mom, you worked today, I can smell the coffee from across the room! Dad, you were staining wood, or making a fire, or mowing the grass. Oh yeah and you guys had salad for lunch with chicken. I am not psychic, just super-smeller."

You might think I am exaggerating but I'm not. Some strong smells may even be WAY too much to the point where you need to excuse yourself out of the room so you don't die. This symptom can be related to morning sickness, but not necessarily--you don't have to get nauseous from the smells, but you obviously COULD if you are already apt to be nauseous from that smell.

Anyway, this highly interesting symptom seems to be a constant, though some days are better than others.

"Morning Sickness"--Alright, so we all know this is a symptom, right, and you think morning sickness=nausea. Well, I actually wasn't nauseous very often. I seemed to be one of the lucky ones who did not have very bad morning sickness. From about 6.5-9 weeks, I had what I guess was morning sickness for me, but I never threw up once.

Twice I ate food and WOULD HAVE thrown up if I had continued eating the food, but I stopped and it was fine. "Bad foods" for me included: Things that were fried, things that were too sugary, and vegan cheese.

My good foods, on the other hand, were SO good and I lived on them: Soy yogurt--I was eating like a cup of this a day. Fruit: grapes, strawberries, grapefruit, plums, nectarines, you name it. Fruit=yummy. Salad, and a few times I cut up a tomato and ate it with salad dressing. This is HIGHLY irregular--I don't even like tomatoes (well, not plain and alone like that). Oh yeah, and Mexican Food. We had bean tacos and tostadas VERY OFTEN during this time.

When I did feel sick, my feelings ranged from flu-like (slight nausea, feverish and weak feeling--weird, right, I didn't know morning sickness could cause all that), to--and this was the most common feeling for me: That pre-nausea feeling where your mouth waters a lot and your stomach feels sort of off--and you think in one more minute you will start to feel REALLY nauseous and/or throw up, but you never do. This was the worst for me if I ate any of the bad foods.

Which brings me to another symptom:

Watery mouth--For some reason, pregnancy apparently turns your spit factory on overdrive. Who knows how much this correlated with the morning sickness. If my mouth hadn't been watering overtime, would I have had that pre-nausea feeling? I don't know!

Metal Mouth/Sour Mouth--Luckily, this symptom only hit me for about one day, but it was the day from hell. I had this taste in my mouth that can only be described as VERY FOUL. I brushed my teeth a million times, I scraped my tongue, I tried eating different foods, nothing worked. Thank GOD I woke up the next morning to find it gone/much improved.

Peeing--You think people are exaggerating about excessive peeing during pregnancy, but they aren't. At least, I heard about it but didn't quite realize how big of a deal it was.

Basically, since the day before I got a positive pregnancy test (alright, at least since my period was due to come), I have RELIGIOUSLY woken up in the middle of the night to pee. The amount of nights I haven't done this could easily be counted on one hand. Before becoming pregnant, I pretty much NEVER woke up in the middle of the night to pee.

During the day, I guess it is hard for me to tell if I am peeing a lot since I am just home and can pee to my hearts content, but to give an indication: I will pee twice in a 1.5-2 hour movie--even a movie in the theater. When James, Tim, and I drove to NYC to see Laccone's show, it was a three hour drive and I we needed to stop twice on the way so I could pee--and let me tell you, I had been holding it and straining for a WHILE each time.

Excessive Thirst/Hunger--This might be related to the peeing. I am *almost* constantly thirsty. And when I am thirsty, it isn't a little thirst--it is a "I must drink water now or I will die" kind of thirst. Some people have excessive hunger as well, (and during some chemical pregnancies I have had that--where I wake up in the morning STARVING), but it hasn't been that bad this time--though there have been at least three occasions where James and I are laying in bed at 10 or 11 at night and I suddenly MUST HAVE--a bowl of cereal, a tostada, a piece of fruit, etc. But I haven't been too too hungry this time around.

Constipation--Yet another TMI symptom that all pregnant women seem to get. I was actually VERY lucky with this as, if you recall, I ate almost nothing but fruit and soy yogurt for almost two weeks, so I wasn't too constipated then, but things have definitely slowed down. I actually wouldn't say I have often been really "constipated", but as someone who used to "go" after every meal, I will say there are now some days where I don't go at all. And if I have a high protein meal like some veggie hot dogs--well forget it.

Cramping--This is a scary/weird symptom, but cramping is a common thing (apparently). Firstly, it is really common around the time that your period is due--so much so that it feels like your period is going to show up at any second. The explanation here is that your little egg is burrowing into your uterine lining (implantation), and this can cause some cramping. Then, later on, like at 10 and 11 weeks, like I'm at right now, you can get more cramping again. Sometimes they are painful and shooting (but then very brief) and sometimes it is constant sort of "uterine feelings" that aren't very painful but make you realize that something is going on in there. This is known as "round ligament pain", and basically is that your uterus is growing, your body is expanding and so it can be a little crampy. It happens around now because that is when the uterus is big enough to grow out from behind the public bone.

Personally, I know all this stuff like the back of my hand but it is still a little weird/scary to have these crampy feelings.

Bleeding/Spotting--Unfortunately, this is a very common (and worrisome) symptom. It is somewhat normal to have spotting around the time of, or slightly before, when your period is due--again related to implantation. But people also get spotting sometimes when their next period is due (8 weeks/12 weeks), or just randomly. I had spotting from about 6 weeks to 7 weeks--including when I was visiting Jessie in Philly and it was scary. Almost every day I would have a little red or pink or brown on the toilet paper (usually only once during the whole day, but still). Personally, I believe that I actually was pregnant with twins but one wasn't viable. This is EXTREMELY common to the point that they theorize that up to half of us may have "started life" as a twin.

Anyway, my spotting was what put me into bedrest from then until about a week or two ago. Luckily it has NOT returned since then. ::Knock on wood::

And I think that is about it!! Those have been my symptoms so far. So, for anyone who has pregnancy to look forward to, you can look forward to all that crap. LOL.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Baby Names

I have had our baby names picked out for like, 5 years. So they aren't really negotiable, and I never had any problem sharing them with people who asked (like people who knew we were trying or whatever). But now I'm starting to get worried! I've heard so many horror stories of people who shared their names and got a horrible unsupportive response to it.

For example: An online friend of mine has a GORGEOUS daughter named Charlotte. I LOVE this name! I think it is classic and beautiful. While she was pregnant with Charlotte, she shared the name with someone who responded: "Charlotte! That's a horrible name! Everyone will call her Charlotte the Harlot!"

I assured my friend, as someone that worked in a middle school, that NO one under the age of about 15 knows the meaning of the word harlot. I also guessed the person who responded to the name that way must have been at least 60. Because that's how long ago it was that kids (of name-calling age) DID know the meaning of the word harlot.

So now I'm a bit nervous to share our names, and won't do so now.

I will however say that: They are family names, they are non-negotiable, and we picked them and haven't budged for five years. So when I tell you what they are, no matter what your opinion, smile and say: That's lovely.

I will guarantee you that even if you hate the name now, my child will transform it into a name you love, and associate with the most precious parts of life.

Lazy Days . . .

So, I'm having a lazy day today. Not only have I not accomplished a SINGLE thing yet today, I don't really have any plans to try.

On the one hand I feel bad, on the other hand, I think to myself: Hey, I'm pregnant--WHATEVER!

Plus I'm once again feeling a little pukey today. Not REALLY, but just like my stomach is off and not feeling good.

So I'm all snuggled up on my couch with no plans except to make dinner.

I think I'm making Chinese cabbage and shittake mushrooms baked in a dutch oven, and beans and rice to go with it. That's the plan, anyway.

Monday, April 26, 2010

OMG A Follower!!

Someone is following my blog!! Or at least she says she is! ::Waves to Cathy::

I totally thought this was like my secret blog, and of course I intended to tell people about it once I was farther along in the pregnancy and it was out there, so people could see how I was feeling and what I was thinking in the beginning, but being "followed" already totally surprised me.

Though, I suppose other people who have blogs could follow me pretty easily. I was just, for some reason, under a delusion that this was like a private, secret blog until I had told you about it. But I am obviously wrong!

Anyway, it is sort of exciting to have a follower, but, dear follower, just know that this pregnancy is still pretty much on the DL. As you might have read on another post, I could count on one hand the number of people who James and I have told about this pregnancy, and none of them are my parents or sister. So "Shhh!!" it is still a secret. ;-)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Symptoms Return?

So I've been feeling great for the past two weeks--thinking I was out of the woods in terms of crappy first semester symptoms, but today and yesterday I got hit with "overwhelming need to take a nap at 3 pm" which was a signature symptom for me around week 5.

AND today, I've totally had an off stomach and super mouth-watering-like-you-are-about-to-puke. What the hell! I thought I was done with all this?!

I totally shouldn't complain, since I barely got morning sickness at all, but feeling gross still makes me want to hide in bed all day, and I have a busy day tomorrow. Ugh!

She got Sauce!

As much as you might not be able to tell this by reading this blog, I do think about things other than pregnancy.

One thing I enjoy is cooking. And one thing I enjoy cooking is pasta sauce.

Me and James are pretty picky eaters. Not only are we vegan, and not only am I fairly newly gluten-free, but we also have other things like: We don't really eat onions or garlic. That's not to say that I don't eat onions and garlic when you, friend or family member, make a delicious vegan dish for us that happens to include these ingredients, but I rarely use them for myself, and we aren't typically very tempted to buy something like pasta sauce that often has a lot of onions and garlic.

Why, you may ask, don't I eat onions and garlic? Don't I know that they are delicious? Why yes, yes I do. In fact, they are so delicious that a few years ago I was probably eating almost an entire onion a day. Until my dear, brutally honest family told me that I had horrible BO that smelled, in fact, like onions. Since then I have come to realize that for some reason, my body expels onion and garlic like the plague. If I eat it once, I smell bad for days.

Additionally, strict Buddhist vegetarians do not eat onions and garlic. Something about the fact that they are bulbs, or something? I don't know.

Long story short, pasta sauce is something that I like to make myself. I always have, thanks to my dear Mother, who also makes her own sauce, but my recipe has evolved from hers--losing the onions and garlic and adding . . . oh, a vast variety of things.

Since we got a canner, this pasta sauce making has gotten even more interesting--I see just how big of a batch I can make, because the bigger the batch, the more cans, and the longer until I need to make it again.

We ran out of the last batch about 4 months ago, but I was in the middle of tired-ness from hell, jobless angst, and bedrest, and so, James has been running to the store for store-made jars of sauce for the past few months.

But lately I've been feeling better, and getting that itch to have my own WAY BETTER THAN FROM THE STORE pasta sauce. So when we went to BJ's last weekend I stocked up on tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes . . . and at the co-op I got red and yellow and orange peppers, and kale, and shitake mushrooms, etc.

So here is what James and I did yesterday--we made sauce.

First, we went out to the garden and I cut snips from our oregano plant and our sage bush (the poor thyme had had a rough winter so I didn't take any from it), and from the green onion grass that grows wild in our yard (yes, technically onions, but I can't turn down the free spices). I washed the herbs, cut them and sorted them into two batches.

Then I heated oil in the wok, and added one batch of fresh spices. I also added salt, pepper, a ton of dried basil, dried thyme, tarragon, and probably other things that I am forgetting, like cumin. I slow simmered the spices in the oils while I did other prep.

Then I heated the oven to 400 degrees, and put the peppers (yellow and red) in a baking dish--slathered oil on them, and roasted them in the oven while I did still more prep.

I melted soup stock (another thing I like to make) in a pan while we cut everything up.

James set up our food processor, and he grated carrots, and sliced celery and broccoli stalks. I cut up the heads of the broccoli, thin-sliced shittake mushrooms, and cut up the kale--one note here is that the veggies you choose to use are not that important. I typically always use carrots because they add sweetness and we always have them. I also typically use some kind of leafy green, but I could have used frozen or fresh spinach instead of the kale, or collard greens or swiss chard. But we had kale. I also would normally use a green and yellow squash, but we didn't have them, so oh well!

And then we were ready!

I got the oil hotter, added the broccoli first, then the celery, carrots, mushrooms, and finally a can of asparagus and the kale. I stir-fried all these veggies until they were aromatic and browning.

Meanwhile, we got out a big HUGE pot, James washed it well and I put more oil (and Earth Balance--veggie butter) in the bottom to heat, and I pulled the peppers out of the oven, and covered them to let them steam a bit. When they were done (and cooled a little), I cut them open, making sure to save the juices they were releasing along with the oil they were cooking in. I cut out the core and the seeds and chopped up the rest of the peppers. They, along with their juices and oils, got added to the big pot with melting oil and butter--I tossed them around a bit, and then quickly added the rest of the stirfried veggies.

Now James started opening cans of diced tomatoes (3 or 4). The liquid in the tomatoes got squeezed into a bowl, the tomatoes themselves went into the wok with more oil and basil to stir-fry. While they stirfried, we also opened cans of crushed tomatoes (4 BIG BIG cans), and added those to the pot with the veggies. The cans were rinsed to get all the extra tomato out, and this liquid was also reserved in the bowl. Into this liquid bowl I threw some: quick-cook oatmeal (you heard me), green powder (like whole-food health powder), textured vegetable protein, chia seeds, and soup stock. This is our health-packed ingredient bowl. All of these ingredients need to absorb the water and soup stock, and so they chilled like that for awhile before eventually getting added to the big pot. By then, the tomatoes had finished their stir-frying and also got added to the big pot.

Now we were in the home stretch. I basically decided that we could stretch this further (it was tasty enough for more tomato stuff), and opened cans of tomato paste (maybe 4 8-ounce cans?) into a small bowl, rinsed them out well with water, and more water, which got added to the small bowl, whisked the paste and water together until it was a smooth consistency, and added this, too, to the big pot.

Now for final spicing. If you recall back to the beginning of this adventure, I cut the fresh spices up and separated them into two batches? Now the second batch of spices goes into the pot--and a cinnamon stick--and maple syrup (also homemade) for sweetness, and extra butter for deliciousness. And cumin, freshly ground--more pepper . . . and then we were basically done.

But since I worry about it sticking, I covered it with foil, and put it in the oven to simmer instead.

And while we sterilized our jars and lids, it simmered and became delicious.

Then finally we canned it--this is sort of a process as well, but James and I are a pretty good team now, and we are pretty efficient. It took two batches, while we ate quinoa pasta with fresh sauce and watched "The Wrath of Khan" on Netflix, but we eventually got 10 quarts of canned, fresh, homemade pasta sauce out of the deal.

You can even see all the chunks of delicious veggies! The thing I most love about this pasta sauce--it is never refrigerated or frozen. When I open those jars up, the most vital amazing smell comes out--I can tell those nutrients are as alive and special as they've ever been, and you can taste it, in the eating, and it makes it seem like something out of Italy.

So that was our adventure yesterday.

Facebook: This has nothing to do with Babies

For months I have been having issues with my Facebook account. I know you are all thinking I could probably stand to spend a little less time on FB, but it was a life saver when I was on bedrest, and I like keeping up with everyone.

Anyway, it is fine if I never sign out and don't restart the computer. But if I somehow need to log back in, my password doesn't work, though half the time somehow it just signs me in automatically without me putting my password in (maybe if I am still somehow logged in or something?).

When I am "locked out", there is no telling if it will somehow resolve itself in hours, days, weeks or what. I have written five million requests to the facebook help team and have NEVER gotten any response (and yes I check my spam filter--I mean, I get other Emails from FB!).

It is just super annoying. Especially because all the stupid games I play are time-sensitive. :-/

Okay, that's my rant for the day.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Okay a little more . . .

I am bored today and so even though I JUST posted that huge blog now I have more to say all of a sudden. :::And mind goes blank::: Dammit!!

Three Topics for Today

One--Midwives. That's right, those of you who know me well should not be surprised that James and I will be using a midwife to deliver our baby. There is an incredible amount of research out there that midwives are actually safer for mothers and babies than regular doctors in low-risk pregnancies. If I was feeling more energetic, I would find and post this research here for your perusal, but I am lazy and so it seems too difficult at the moment. Remind me later and I promise I will prove to you that midwives are a great choice for a birth attendant.

However, James and I feel as if we might have trouble finding a midwife that we like. We wanted one in a solo practice, covered by our insurance, who was willing to do a homebirth. (Yes, again, you should not be shocked that I am interested in a homebirth. Before you lose your socks, do your research, homebirth is just as safe, if not safer, than hospital birth for low-risk pregnancies.) So, we are put in the position to somehow compromise. Luckily, the fees of a homebirth midwife are generally about 1/4 of the cost of a hospital birth, and include all prenatal care as well, so if we are forced to go with someone not covered by our insurance, it would be okay.

While you reel from the news that I both plan to use a midwife AND may give birth in my own house, I'll distract you with a new topic:

Two--Telling. As I had mentioned, very few people know about the pregnancy so far. (Four, three of which are medical professionals, two of those happen to also be friends, though). All my online friends told people within minutes of the pregnancy test drying, including their parents, friends, and their network of Facebook acquaintances. As I mentioned before, given the vast array of chemical pregnancies I have gone through, my plan was always to wait.

But as the waiting got longer and longer it started to feel more and more funny to tell anyone about it. Around 8 weeks I thought I had developed a telling phobia and would not tell until people could know because of my huge belly. But then, around 9.5 weeks, I did start to have the itch to share my news with my dear friends (and there are so many of you, really).

But folks I have finally broken the telling ribbon. I hung out with Amy on Wednesday and she asked how trying to conceive was going, and I said "Well . . . " BIG SMILE.

Now, don't be jealous that you didn't find out sooner, if you are reading this and are not Amy. Basically, when I decided about a week ago that I wanted to start telling people, I thought that: 1. I wanted to tell them in person, and 2. I wanted to tell them in more of a personal setting.

James wanted to tell a table full of Norm, Jessie, Sagar, Amy, Karl, and Tim when we ate dinner with them on Sunday (before Laccone's show), but since I had told zero people, telling all those people at once scared the wits out of me. But the plan now is to tell you, dear friend, when I see you and hang out with you. Though I have been a socially withdrawn bad friend and family member (which now I can at least partly blame on bedrest), I do miss you and love you and hope to see you and tell you soon.

And another topic:

Three--Belly!! Yep, I've got a little one. James, Yaling, and Amy have assured me that it is not noticeable, but I think that is because it generally resembles my gluten belly. You see, I always have had sort of a round belly. Many of us have laughed about past photos in which I look 20 weeks pregnant--however, it turns out that this swollen belly was a reaction to gluten. When I stopped eating gluten, within a few days, my normally round belly had suddenly gone flat. I was flabbergasted. I began to notice that when I DID eat gluten, the bloated round belly would come right back. Weird, right?

Anyway, my 10 week belly very much resembles my gluten belly, and so, may not be noticeable to the untrained eye. And yet, the size 6 pants that I looked quite cute in a few months ago might as well be size 2's for how well I can button them. Luckily I have an ample supply of 8's and 10's to see me through for some time.

But fear not, dear reader, I have further proof:

I know it isn't a HUGE difference, but there is a bit of a difference. I will have to update on Sunday when we take our week 11 picture, I feel like it has really popped out this week.

Anyway, those three topics are probably enough to wrap your brain around today.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Here's a picture of my Fertility Friend Chart:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Happier Things

I am really (this time, I think) actually finally pregnant. I attribute this almost entirely to starting a gluten-free diet in December (and glumetza ). After beginning the gluten-free diet, I got pregnant every month for three months (my rate before the gluten free diet was about once every six months)--only to experience two (more) chemical pregnancies (very early miscarriages) before finally getting pregnant this time, and staying pregnant with the help of the medication progesterone.

Of course, after the miscarriage last summer and a grand total of six chemical pregnancies over the last three years, I have been EXTREMELY hesitant to allow myself to get excited about this. The list of people we have told is ridiculously short: Ophelie, Craig and Yaling (our acupunturist and chiropractor), and of course our doctor. And that's it. One SERIOUS blessing with the miscarriage was that almost no one knew we were pregnant, so we didn't have to deal with the dreaded "untelling". So this time, I haven't told anyone.

BUT! I am ten weeks today and several times we have seen a little heart beating away in our blob of a baby bean. Still though, you can always find the stories of people who miscarried after seeing a heartbeat, so I have remained cautious--and yet as my stomach begins to pooch out and my breasts grow heavy, it is hard to contain my excitement for much longer.

So here is this blog post. Honestly the very short version of things. But I have to start somewhere, and apparently ten weeks is when my excitement has beat out my nervousness in beginning to record my life with baby within.

James is glowing at least as much as me. And again, I cannot stress how ridiculously amazing he has been. I have been on bedrest since about six weeks--I had some spotting and of course my doctor wanted to be as cautious as possible with my history--and I have spent the last month on the couch. And James comes home, and he cooks, and he cleans, with never a hint of a complaint, and when I apologize for not doing more, he hugs me and kisses me, and puts his hand on my belly and says: "You are growing our baby--that's enough." There are no words, right?

Infertility definitely makes you appreciate the fragile miracle that life is. So here is the start, and I am happy to report a happy, moving, heart-beating little baby with an almost complete set of organs here at ten weeks. He graduated just today from being an embryo and is now a fetus. Congrats little Irwin, you are doing great!


I had forgotten that I posted about the miscarriage. It is so weird now to read my happy excited words--it was only a few days later that we found out it was a blighted ovum . . . and I had a D+C . . . I remember shaking in the hospital gown, some kind of reaction to the IV and stress . . .

Throughout this infertility (because, as you'll note, this blog was started in 2008 as an attempt to chronicle our pregnancy journey and it is now 2010), James has been so amazing. I feel as if it has almost given us a window into how deeply we can love each other.

Anyway, this blog is not an infertility blog--or it would be much much longer. On to happier things.
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