Thursday, May 27, 2010

2 years

Monday was our second anniversary. It is hard to believe it's already been that long; it has gone by so quickly! We didn't do anything particularly exciting, at least not compared to last year, but we spent the day together, went out for a nice dinner, and played games at home afterwards. It was a lovely day.

We are now 5 days away from the baby's due date! Thomas is for some reason convinced that he's going to come tomorrow. I am not so sure. I have been having plenty of Braxton Hicks contractions, but no real ones yet, and at my doctors appointment on Monday I was dilated a tiny bit, but not even quite a whole centimeter. I am really looking forward to meeting the little guy, so I hope he doesn't take too long!

Friday, May 21, 2010

chocolate peanut butter chip cookies

So Robin Hood wasn't very good. Kinda felt like we were watching Gladiator except without as interesting of a plot, character development, or good dialogue. Oh well. We recommend staying home and watching the Disney one instead; it's way more fun, especially with Prince John's nicknames for Sir Hiss: "procrastinating python," "reluctant reptile," "eel in snake's clothing" and so on... Last night we rented The Young Victoria, which we really enjoyed, though it may not be up everyone's alley. We also made these cookies to eat while we watched, and they are fantastic!

  • 1 c. butter
  • 1 1/2 c. white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 c. flour
  • 2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. peanut butter chips
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets.
  • In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; stir into creamed mixture. Finally, fold in the peanut butter chips. Drop cookies by heaping teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes in preheated oven. Cool on wire rack.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

baby prep

Yesterday I hit 38 weeks, so we don't have much time left at all before this little guy shows up! Since school got out, we've been working hard to make sure everything is ready for his appearance. We have cleaned our apartment top to bottom, and I've got all his clothes and toys washed, organized, and put away. It has been a struggle to figure out where to put all his stuff; I am really looking forward to him having his own room when we move. I've got his baby book filled out as much as I can without actually having him here. We have been practicing breathing and relaxation techniques, and I've continued with my goal of the past several months of trying to walk a couple miles at least 5 times a week. I've also been doing a prenatal yoga DVD. It is kind of new age-y and sometimes I can't help but laugh at the narrator, but it incorporates pretty much all the prenatal exercises I've seen recommended in various books, so I think it has been helpful.

I spent all of last weekend cooking, and we now have 8 casseroles and a huge batch of white chili in the freezer so we won't have to worry about cooking dinner for a while after the baby gets here. I made 2 enchilada casseroles, 2 lasagnas, a zucchini casserole, and three recipes I found online that I haven't tried yet but were easy to make and look yummy: chicken-biscuit casserole, chicken potato casserole, and santa fe chicken. I slightly modified all of them to our tastes. I'll have to let you know how they turn out!

The main other thing we've been doing to prepare is to go on as many dates as possible since we won't be able to as easily later on. Last week we went to the community theatre's current production, and on Friday we took advantage of the fact that Thomas had a doctor's appointment in Columbia. We picked up the last few things we needed for the baby and then in the evening had dinner at Olive Garden and saw the documentary Babies, which we loved! It was so, so cute. Tonight we are going to see Robin Hood; hopefully that will be a good time.

We have had some funny experiences with random people wanting to touch my stomach or give us advice. A couple of weeks ago we were grocery shopping, and a lady stopped us and asked when the baby was due. This is not unusual, but she then went on for literally about ten minutes telling us all the details of her experiences with labor and delivery (with a bit too much information) and giving us all kinds of advice, and she only stopped when she did because my phone rang. I love babies, so I get why people are interested, but it is really hard for me to understand how you could talk to a complete stranger for so long about a pretty personal topic! Crazy.

There are still a few things I'm working on and would like to get done, but I think for the most part we are pretty much ready for this baby to get here! 2 weeks to go and we can't wait!

graduation & mother's day

On the 8th, Thomas graduated with his Master's degree! (I did not have my thesis finished in time to graduate this semester.) It was unfortunately a pretty miserable day for graduation, as the ceremony is held outside and it was only about 50 degrees. We had just gotten back from Knoxville the night before, and it had been in the upper 80s while we were there, so it was quite a transition! But other than the cold and the wind, it was a nice ceremony, and afterwards his parents took us out to dinner at the Pear Tree (yum!).

I am so proud of Thomas for all the hard work he put into this program; I'm pretty sure he took more credits each semester than anyone else in the program, and he knocked out his thesis rough draft in a week. He is pretty much amazing! Congrats!!
The next day was Mother's Day, and my cute husband got me a nice card and a bouquet of stargazer lilies, which I love! My mom also got me a gift. It made me feel pretty special, especially since I'm not technically a mother yet. It was a lovely day :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

knoxville trip

Last week, we headed out to Knoxville to go apartment hunting. It was finals week, but Thomas's only finals were on Monday, and all I had was a paper I could turn in at any point during the week, so it actually worked out really well.

It's about an 11 hour drive, though it took us a bit longer since we had to stop frequently for me to use the bathroom. It definitely made for a long day, but it was totally doable, and we got there with enough time to go out to dinner and relax for a bit before going to bed. My first impression of the city was just how pretty it is! When you're on the major highways that go through town, you can barely tell you're in a city at all because of all the trees lining the roads. The nearby mountains (which look to me more like big rolling hills) are simply gorgeous, and two rivers flow through the city. It is lovely. The other thing I noticed first off was how much there is to do! We passed so many restaurants and shops and theatres and saw signs for a whole host of other cool attractions. I don't think we'll ever have a hard time finding something to do!

We spent the next couple days touring apartments in the morning and exploring the city in the afternoon. We saw a lot of apartments, some of which we hated and some of which we loved. Somehow, we always seemed to like the more expensive ones better... We narrowed our list down to just a few places, and now we just have to wait and see which ones will have availability in August. We're so used to living in places where leases run on the school year, but since we avoided apartments targeted to students, the residents just have to give 30 or 60 day notices before they move out, meaning that we won't know til June or July which ones will have openings. Most people we talked to seemed pretty confident there would be open apartments, though, so that's good.

Since this was our last "vacation" before we become parents, we tried to squeeze in as many fun activities as we could. We went swimming, went to a movie, went mini-golfing, toured campus, explored World's Fair park and the downtown area, checked out some really yummy local restaurants, and basically just had a great time. It was really nice to be able to relax and have fun after a stressful semester. It is weird to think that we'll actually be living there in just a few short months--and with a baby, no less. And for the first time since I was five, I won't be starting a new school year... EVERYTHING will be different. I'm really excited, though!

Thomas at World's Fair Park

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

baby shower

The Saturday before last, my sister-in-law Emily and my friend April threw me a baby shower. It was so much fun! We played a few games, including a mad lib, one where everyone had to cut a piece of yarn as long as they thought my belly is round, and one where we had to guess which celebrity baby names were real and which were fake. We got so many nice gifts: clothes, books, toys, blankets, diapers, wipes, a stroller (yay!), etc... One of my favorites was a blanket that my sister-in-law Kim made. It is so cute and was so thoughtful of her! I love that he'll have something that was made especially for him. Another big surprise at the shower was that my best friend Bethany and her mom came! They live in Oklahoma now, so it was a very long drive, and I had no idea they were coming until they got there. It was a great surprise!

And here's my 36 week belly picture. It was taken a week ago--I am now 37 weeks, which is exciting because he is now considered full term!

Monday, May 10, 2010

banana coconut cake

My dad's birthday was about 2 weeks ago--happy birthday Dad! The two of us have very different tastes: he hates tomatoes and I eat them like candy, he loves condiments like mustard and thousand island dressing which make me gag, and he also loves coconut, bananas, and just about anything with nuts, while I can't stand anything with the first two and pretty much only like nuts by themselves, certainly not in cakes. So when I first saw this recipe in one of my cook books, I thought "ew, gross" and moved on, but then I realized how perfect it would be for my dad, and I've made it for him a few times now, including for his recent birthday! If any of you share his tastes, I'm sure you'd really like it. I can't actually vouch it for myself because I've never tasted it, but everyone else seems to like it, for some strange reason...

Banana Coconut Cake

  • 3/4 c. shortening
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. mashed ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 c. cake flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 1/2 c. chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1 c. flaked coconut
for frosting:
  • 1/2 c. shortening
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 2 c. confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. coconut extract
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 c. cold evaporated milk
  • In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs; beat for 2 minutes. Add bananas and vanilla; beat for 2 minutes. Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Mix well. Stir in pecans if desired. Pour into two greased and floured 9 in. round baking pans. Sprinkle each with coconut.

  • Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until cake tests done; loosely cover with foil during the last 10 minutes of baking. Cool in pans 15 minutes then remove to a wire rack, coconut side up.

  • In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and butter. Add remaining frosting ingredients. Mix on low until combined; beat on high for 5 minutes. Place one cake layer, coconut side down, on a cake plate; spread with some of the frosting. Top with second layer, coconut side up; frost sides and 1 in. around top edge of cake, leaving coconut center showing.