Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Adventures in Cooking -- Thai Red Curry

My co-worker brought this dish to work a while back and I couldn't believe it when she told me she made it herself... it looked like delicious Thai takeout leftovers to me! She also claimed that the recipe was quick and easy, so I slapped it on Pinterest and promptly forgot about it, as per usual. I'm not that into cooking...

However, lately I've become SO bored with the bland, repetitive chicken and veggie dishes that Stew and I eat every week that I decided to go out on a limb... On Sunday I spent some time browsing my Pinterest recipe board for meal variations, and stumbled back upon this gem:

Thai Red Curry with Shrimp and Snow Peas
(makes 6-8 servings)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 fresh red chili pepper, sliced
1 large yellow pepper, sliced
1 large red pepper, sliced
4 tbsp Thai red curry paste
2 pounds shrimp
2 cans lite coconut milk
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 cups snow peas
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 lime
Slice the bell pepper and fresh chili.
Finely chop cilantro.
Heat a large frying pan on medium heat and when it's hot add both vegetable oil and sesame oil.
Add chopped cilantro, sliced pepper and chili, and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
Add curry paste and cook it while stirring for a minute, then pour in coconut milk and fish sauce, mix to combine.
Add shrimp and snow peas and cook. As soon as shrimp is pink turn the heat off.
Add juice from one lime.
Serve over brown rice. 

The original recipe said to cook the shrimp for only three minutes, but mine still seemed pretty raw after that amount of time, so I left it in for quite a bit longer. I'm terrified of under cooking stuff. In hindsight, I probably would have just purchased shrimp that was already cooked. Also, I couldn't find snow peas at my grocery store, so I ended up using sugar snap peas which seemed basically the same. I also would have left out a little bit of the fresh cilantro to use as a garnish at the end.

To keep things a little healthier, I chose to use lite coconut milk instead of regular, and I served the curry over organic brown rice instead of white rice or noodles. You could also substitute with chicken or make it vegetarian (but personally I really liked the shrimp), and add any vegetables you like.

Frankly I was pretty proud of myself for accomplishing a dish like this from scratch! This made about 6 servings for me and Stew, but he's a pretty big eater so it's probably more like 8 servings for a typical family. I packed it all up into Tupperware and it's ready for us to eat for lunch this week.
Enjoy, my friends!
  post signature
Monday Meals Mashup

Monday, April 28, 2014

I barely know who I am anymore

I felt like kind of a failure as a wife this weekend. I swear I barely know who I am anymore.
As I mentioned, it was Stew's birthday on Friday, and typically I always plan something pretty fun for him. Last year it was the Bowling Bash; the year before it was the Pub Crawl. But this time I just could not manage to get anything pulled together, and I feel just terrible.
I did take the day off on Friday for his actual birthday, and we spent the time together lounging around the house and doing a few projects for baby. Then I had company tickets to the Mariners game that evening, so we grabbed a birthday bite at Pyramid and headed to the game, which we ended up winning... go Ms!
But that, my friends, was basically the extent of Stew's 33rd birthday celebration. Not our best effort.
The exhaustion of the end of this pregnancy has completely worn me down. I spent the remainder of the weekend either in bed or on the couch with my feet up, occasionally doing various projects in between. But the baby swing and stroller are assembled, his clothes are washed, folded, and put away, and his name is hanging proudly over his crib in blue letters. I'm also driving around with an infant seat installed safely in the back of my car. Like I said, who am I?!
So that's how we spent Stew's birthday weekend. I took no photos, drank no alcohol, and did nothing epic. Neither did poor Stew. As I said... wife failure.
I'll make it up to him...
post signature

Friday, April 25, 2014

Dear Baby Boy... 38 Weeks

Dear Baby Boy,

It's Daddy's birthday today!

And if you wanted to make it your birthday, too, I don't think we would mind one bit.

We had the families over for Easter last weekend, and it was my very first time hosting a holiday. I think it went really well, and everyone seemed to have lots of fun! Each time a holiday passes Daddy and I imagine how the next one will be with you in our lives. We both feel like holidays are really meant to be celebrated by children, and we had fun imagining egg hunts with you and your cousins, who plan to come spend Easter with us next year. And Daddy can't wait to introduce you to all his favorite Easter candies!

You are currently the size of a watermelon (about 7 pounds and 20 inches long), and you've really plumped up (yay for fat baby cheeks!) The last bits of vernix caseosa (white goo keeping your skin moist) and lanugo (downy hair) are slowly shedding into our amniotic fluid. All of your organs have matured and are ready for life outside the womb. Your head is about the same circumference as your abdomen, and your head could be covered in an inch or so of hair. You have a firm grasp, which we'll soon be able to test when we hold your hand for the first time!

Since my eyes are different colors, I've been wondering what color yours will be. We may not be able to tell right away; if you're born with brown eyes they'll likely stay brown, but if they are another (lighter) color they may change by the time you're nine months old.

I'm still not having any contractions, and when I saw the doctor this week she did not see any new progress. So life is basically a waiting game these days. My bag is all packed and waiting by the door, and every day I leave work with my desk perfectly clean, wondering if I'll be back. Your nursery is ready, and Daddy and I have been trying to spend as much time together as well can; tonight we're headed to the Mariner's game for a little birthday date (likely one of our last solo outings before you join us).

We're ready when you are, my darling!

Love Always,


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Live & Learn -- Baby Carriers and a New Daddy

Watching Stewart turn into a father will never cease to entertain me.
He has been such a good sport about the whole thing... reading books and articles, attending classes, putting together furniture. And he's never complained about any of it.
This post is a little bit about the Moby Wrap: Basically a Moby Wrap is a popular infant carrier. It uses the entire back and shoulders to distribute weight, keeps baby warm while freeing both hands, develops a strong and secure attachment to parents, and can be used for a preemie to 35 pound child.

But mostly I want to tell you about Stewart demonstrating how to properly use a Moby Wrap. My sister gave me one for Christmas, so I was excited to learn how to use it during our last Childbirth Preparation Series class. And the best part was when the instructor chose Stewart as that night's guinea pig.
To be honest, this thing is a little bit complicated to get on, but it sure does seem comfortable once you've got it figured out. And seeing Stew up there in front of the class, being such a good sport about wearing his future child, just about melted my heart.

I sure did pick a good one.

I knew it the first day we met, but even now he still makes me swoon. What a good daddy he's going to make! 

post signature
This has been another edition of...
Life As Always
Join the party... follow your host and link up your post!
1) Please follow me via GFC or Bloglovin' (or both!)
2) Place the linky button in your post using the code in my sidebar.
3) If this is your first time linking up, please comment on this post so I can follow you back!

Monday, April 21, 2014

What an amazing example

I just wanted to take a moment to wish my parents a very happy
35th Wedding Anniversary!
Not even having been alive for 35 years, I can't begin to fathom what spending 35 years with the same person must be like. All the laughter, the tears, the adventures... amazing.
Only 20 percent of married couples even reach this momentous milestone, and I'm so proud of my parents for enduring all the ups and downs that the past 35 years must have thrown at them.
They are such an amazing example, and I can only hope that Stewart and I will be as lucky in love as my parents have been.
Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!
post signature

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Best Candy Holiday

Even though my family lives only about an hour and a half away, I just wasn't up for the trip this year. Instead, we invited both of the families over for Easter and ended up having a really nice weekend.
I succeeded as a hostess but failed as a blogger... it was just one of those weekends where I really didn't feel like staging or taking any photos, so you'll have to imagine our lovely Easter celebration.
Stew and I do not celebrate Easter in the religious sense, but it's actually one of Stewart's favorite holidays for one main reason:
The Candy.
Apparently Easter is hands down the Best Candy Holiday.
Here are some of his absolute favorites:
Cadbury Mini Eggs
I do have to agree with him on this one. These things are absolutely addictive... something about the crunchy outside combined with the yummy chocolate center. I may or may not have bought a bag for Easter a couple weeks ago and eaten the whole thing in only a couple of days. Apparently Baby Boy was a fan, too.
Original Peeps
I don't know about you guys, but I've never been a fan of Peeps. Frankly I'm not a huge marshmallow fan in general, and the texture/taste of peeps really doesn't appeal to me at all. Stew loves them though. I think he's also one of those weird people who prefers them stale. Blech.
Whoppers Mini Robin Eggs
Again, not my favorite. I don't like Whoppers because of the strange, dissolving, mildly foaming quality of the center part... it reminds me of eating chemicals. The taste isn't particularly yummy either. I mean, I'll eat them during a dire sugar craving, don't get me wrong, but they're definitely not at the top of my list.
Brach's Marshmallow Chicks and Rabbits
No, just no. These things are absolutely disgusting. I don't know why they are different colors, because they are all one disgusting flavor: banana. They are like stale, hard, banana flavored hunks of marshmallow. I can't believe they even sell these things. And Stew absolutely LOVES them.
As for me, I'm more of a traditional girl. Give me classic jelly beans (I love the black licorice ones!) and Cadbury Cream Eggs and I'm a happy girl.
But one thing we can both agree on is those solid milk chocolate bunnies... is there anyone out there who likes those?! That much pure chocolate is too overwhelming, and why does it always seem to taste mildly of wax or plastic? No thank you.
I must say I do feel mildly ill today after all the yummy foods and uncountable handfuls of candy I consumed yesterday. But we had a wonderful day with our families and it was so much fun to host our first holiday in our new house.
Wishing you a happy holiday from our family to yours!
post signature

Friday, April 18, 2014

Dear Baby Boy... 37 Weeks

Dear Baby Boy,


Yes, I'm pretty freaking excited. At 37 weeks you have officially reached full term, which means you've developed your most crucial functions. Of course you'll get even healthier and stronger over the next few weeks, so I'm trying not to get too impatient, but wheeeeeeeeeeee! I'm so thrilled!

Daddy and I were quite busy last weekend with lots of celebrations for our lovebird friends. But we were able to get some work done on the house on Sunday, which was very satisfying since I've been nesting like a bird on crack. We have a few more items getting delivered this week, and after that Daddy swears that he will never, ever put together another piece of furniture. I've been focusing on making sure all your tiny clothes are laundered and put away, packing my hospital bag, and putting decorative finishing touches on your nursery and a few other rooms in the house.

We're having the family over on Sunday for Easter and I'm really excited. After an entire year our house is finally starting to feel like a home, and once you're there to fill in the missing space I think everything will really be complete.

You are now the size of a winter melon (about 6.5 pounds and 20 inches long), and you'll continue to pack on about a half pound a week at this stage. Spending the next few weeks in the womb will allow your brain and lungs to mature just a bit more, and you're still practicing some skills like inhaling, exhaling, sucking, gripping and blinking. Many babies have a full head of hair at birth, and for some reason that's how I imagine you, with lots of thick, dark hair.

I'm sure it's getting a little crowded in there, and you're definitely not kicking as much... I'm feeling more stretching, rolling, wiggling and squirming movements now, and even occasional hiccups!

I mentioned earlier this week that I'm pretty much over being pregnant, but I'll hang in there a little longer for your sake. I still haven't felt any Braxton Hicks contractions or cramping, and you seem pretty content up high with your feet kicked into my ribs, so I don't get the sense that you're in a rush to join us out here. That's fine, we'll see you soon enough...

I got the results of my Group B strep culture and they were negative, which was a nice relief; just one more thing we don't have to worry about. Daddy and I aren't sleeping well at all with my frequent trips to the restroom all night, which I assume is meant to prepare us for sleepless nights with you in just a few short weeks. But I'm still trying to rest up as much as I can so I'll have some energy for you, my love!

We are anxiously waiting for you, sweet boy!

Love Always,


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Live & Learn -- Fat Feet Fixes

I actually think feet are super disgusting, so writing about them here is kind of a stretch, but I just had to share a couple things I've learned about during this pregnancy.
During the third trimester I've experienced a horrible amount of swelling, or Edema (if you want to get technical). It started as mild puffiness that forced me to take off my wedding rings and only wear my most comfy shoes. Since then, I've gone up two whole shoe sizes and had to buy new ones to avoid going barefoot (actually my preference), and my hands and feet hurt all the time (except for the portions that go completely numb).
It's pretty uncomfortable.
As you know I'm a pretty busy person, and since I work full time I don't have a lot of opportunities to just sit down and elevate my feet above my heart throughout the day (my doctor's recommended solution to help alleviate the discomfort). So by the end of the day, when I limp home and collapse into bed, my feet look something like this...
Sickening, just sickening.
I can barely even look at those fat piggies.
And Stew has taken to calling me his little Hobbit.
Since my doctor can't prescribe me anything to help water retention during pregnancy, I decided to explore some nontraditional remedies (with her blessing).
First up was trying some alternative medicine.
I made an appointment with a local acupuncturist who was recommended by my yoga instructor. For over 3,000 years people from all walks of life have enjoyed the many benefits of Chinese medicine. Acupuncture is a time-tested form of health care based on a medical theory that defines good health as a balance of systems and circulation in the individual. It can reestablish balance by improving the flow of energy and blood, by enhancing circulation to systems that are depleted or by directing it away from areas of excess.
The doctor examined my feet and hands, took my pulse, looked at my tongue (I promise I couldn't make this up), and concluded that I am suffering from "dampness." As treatment, she intended to target my kidney function and fluid metabolism through four acupuncture treatments, along with having me avoid foods that exacerbate "dampness."
So far I've been to two appointments and haven't really noticed any results, but that hour long, extremely relaxing appointment has to do some good by helping my stress level, if nothing else.
Next came some real hippie stuff.
My yoga instructor also recommended using cabbage leaves to help with swelling. Apparently cabbage has quite a few medicinal qualities. Uncooked cabbage is high in glutamine, an amino acid that is essential for intestinal health. It has also been proven to be both antibacterial and antiviral. The Egyptians ate cabbage with vinegar before a night of drinking to prevent hangovers, and cabbage is still today considered one of the best remedies to cure hangovers! I'll have to try that after Baby Boy is born... Cabbage leaf compresses are often suggested by herbalists to reduce swelling, and I figured it couldn't hurt to try!
Rinse and dry common green cabbage leaves. Right before applying, puncture the veins of the cabbage leaves with a fork to break them open. Apply the cabbage leaves directly onto the swollen area, making sure to cover all inflamed or engorged tissue. Wrap lightly with a towel to keep the leaves in place. In 45 minutes to an hour, when the cabbage leaves wilt, remove the leaves and reapply fresh ones as needed.

Reduction in swelling.

Okay, okay, I'll admit it... the cabbage didn't really seem to reduce any swelling. But even if you don't really see results, the cool cabbage on my elevated feet did feel nice, and it forced me to sit and relax for almost an hour, something I rarely do...
Your husband laughing at you, and calling you a hippie.
Whatev. I'm in so much pain at this point I'm willing to try anything. Stew keeps saying that I brought this on myself, but I seem to remember there being two of us involved in creating this baby... Perhaps I deserve a little more sympathy.

post signature
This has been another edition of...
Life As Always
Join the party... follow your host and link up your post!
1) Please follow me via GFC or Bloglovin' (or both!)
2) Place the linky button in your post using the code in my sidebar.
3) If this is your first time linking up, please comment on this post so I can follow you back!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I Confess... I'm Over It

You might think that I'm the picture of a happy, glowing, pregnant woman, but it's all smoke and mirrors. Last night I was up almost every hour with heartburn, congestion, hip pain, hot flashes, and the urge to just save myself the trip and pee in our bed.
Although it seems like an eternity, I only have about three weeks to go. So let's look on the bright side and review the reasons why I cannot wait to get this baby out of my body...
I haven't been able to breathe properly in nine months: Pregnancy gives a whole new meaning to the word congestion. And even though I've never done so in my entire life, I now snore like a drunken sailor, which I find extremely embarrassing.
I can't remember what my vagina looks like, I can't go more than an hour without rushing to the closest bathroom, and even then I still feel like I have to pee almost constantly. And since I can't see past my belly any more, every week when I go to the doctor and have to leave a urine sample I end up peeing all over my hand. Yuck.
I'm sick of feeling guilty about every medication that I put into my body, even if it's only the occasional Tylenol for an excruciating headache or Tums for unbearable heartburn. I just want to be able to feel better without worrying that I'll cause my child to grow a tail.
I want my energy and mobility back. My appearance and the fact that I've gained 30 pounds doesn't bother me so much, but I hate that walking just a few blocks causes panting, a cramp in my side, and aching feet. I dream of exercising, something that I generally loathe...
I miss my regular clothes, especially my shoes. In the beginning I thought I put together a pretty cute maternity wardrobe; now I want to light it on fire. Sometimes I sit in my closet and stare dreamily at my size six stilettos before resentfully shoving my swollen feet into size eight orthopedic flats.  
My boobs are way too big. I never thought I would say it, but these things are getting downright pornographic. I really took for granted those years in my early twenties when I would wear pasties at the beach. Because these huge knockers that rest on my giant belly and are too painful for my husband to touch are not any fun at all.
All my extra time is taken up by sleep. I'm a very busy person, and I have things to do. Work full time, read, blog, work out, organize, socialize. Meetings, errands, events; I could do it all in a single evening. But now my energy is zapped to the point where sleep consumes me in a matter of minutes if I dare to slow down, rest, or god forbid shut my eyes for just a moment. And I think we have about 10 weeks of our favorite television shows backed up on our DVR because I have to watch them in ten minute intervals.
I could use a drink. Or five. And I'm so desperate for a sushi roll that I dream about them...
But most importantly, I cannot wait to meet our son. I'm dying to see what he looks like. I feel like he's going to be chubby with lots of dark hair, but one never knows... I might be carrying a ginger devil child! Anything is possible...
So those are my Humpday Confessions: I'm over being pregnant and I don't care who knows it.
The countdown is on...
post signature

Monday, April 14, 2014

Love is in the Air

I spent the absolutely gorgeous Seattle weekend (hello, sun, how I've missed you!) celebrating some of my very favorite people at a couple of absolutely lovely showers.
First up was an afternoon at the Seattle Yacht Club for Haley's nautical-themed event.
Then later that evening Stew and I headed up to Edmonds for a couples shower in honor of Alissa and Matt.
I just love attending wedding showers. They are so filled with joy and anticipation and excitement. And so many of our dearest friends are tying the knot this year! We have five weddings to attend between now and the fall, believe it or not. Stew and I are actually both in the wedding party for Alissa and Matt's big day, but since it's scheduled just five days before Baby Marshawn is due to arrive, we're still not quite sure how that one will work out... Try to cooperate, Baby Boy!
The rest of our weekend was fairly low-key... putting together some furniture, running errands, placing orders, getting organized. Nesting away!
How was your weekend?
post signature

Friday, April 11, 2014

Dear Baby Boy... 36 Weeks

Dear Baby Boy,

Just four weeks left, my little man!

Can you believe how fast the time is flying by now? It seems like just yesterday you were the size a lentil, and now you're basically a fully formed human being!

Things have remained crazy busy for us, but we can see the end in sight! All of the furniture for your nursery has arrived and been put together, and we finished our last child birth class earlier this week. I now feel confident that I could perform CPR on your tiny body, or save you from choking if necessary. Hopefully we won't be faced with any of those scenarios, but don't worry; you're in good hands if it happens!

Daddy and I are both in nesting mode, working on getting lots of house projects done before you get here. That way when we bring you home we'll only have YOU to worry about! Daddy has been working hard on getting the yard in order, and I imagine we'll spend lots of time out there with him this summer. It's going to be so strange for me to have the entire summer off work... But I'm sure we'll find many ways to occupy ourselves! I have big plans to take you for miles and miles of walks, because Momma's got to take care of this baby weight!

This week you are the size of a head of romaine lettuce (about six pounds and 20 inches long). Your skin is getting smooth and soft, your gums are rigid, your liver and kidneys are in working order, and your circulation and immune system are basically good to go. You would be able to breathe on your own if you were born right now. You're shedding most of the downy covering of hair that covered your body, as well as the vernix caseosa, the waxy substance that's covered and protected your skin during your nine-month amniotic bath. Unfortunately I've learned that you swallow both of these substances, along with other secretions that result in a blackish mixture called meconium that will form the contents of your first bowel movement... yuck!

Now that you're taking up so much room, I'm having quite a bit of difficulty with simple things like walking, eating, sleeping, and even just sitting for long periods of time. It will be amazing when you start to drop down into my pelvis and the heartburn lightens up a bit. This usually happens a few weeks before labor and I'm definitely looking forward to it!

I haven't had (or at least noticed) any Braxton Hicks contractions, but my doctor said that not everyone gets them. I'm slightly concerned that I'm going to go into labor and not even realize it, thinking I have indigestion or something. Hopefully my water will break as a tell tale sign... I really don't want to end up having you on a Metro bus.

By the end of this week you will be considered "early term" which means if you decide you're ready the doctor will let labor progress naturally. You've been head down for quite a few weeks now, and the doctor suspects that you are a pretty decent sized child, so I'm curious if you will decide to have an early birth day. Just make sure you're fully cooked before you join us, okay?

See you soon, my darling!

Love Always,


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Live & Learn -- Sometimes the government doesn't suck

Ugh, dreaded Tax Day is almost upon us.
Of course our Type A personalities forced us to file weeks ago, but I still thought the experience was worth sharing. We had prepared ourselves for an absolute nightmare...
Last year we decided, for the first time, to hire an accountant to file our taxes for us, since we had some complicated items like filing jointly for the first time and the sale of a home that Stew and his brothers inherited. This stuff seemed a little too complicated for Turbo Tax to handle, and we didn't want to make a mistake, so we found someone local who helped us file for a small fee.
Last year sucked.
For the first time ever we had to pay, even though for our entire working lives we were both used to getting pretty decent returns. Enough to pay for a vacation or something at least. But last year we had to pay thousands of dollars in back taxes to the IRS due to the sale of the inherited house... something about landlord taxes since it had been a rental for the prior ten years or something. That hurt.
Then our accountant warned us that due to changes by the Obama Administration, we should be prepared to pay that much or more this year as well.
Oh and the kicker... When we bought our condo in 2008, we took a government New-Home Buyer Credit of $7,500 which had to be repaid in equal payments over 15 years. Don't even get me started about the fact that a few months later new homebuyers received the same credit, but were not expected to pay it back. The point is that since we sold our condo, we were expected to pay back the entire credit on our next tax return. So that meant an additional $6,000 added to any other taxes we would owe this year.
But resigning ourselves to what was inevitably coming, for the past year we saved and saved to make sure we could pay all our taxes without going into debt. But in the meantime, Stew did some research...
And this is where I found out that sometimes the government doesn't suck.
Apparently there is a loophole... since we sold our condo at a loss, we were not required to pay back the credit after all! And on top of that, Uncle Sam decided to throw us an additional few thousand dollars back as well!
We still have no idea what that accountant was talking about, but needless to say we didn't use him again, and went back to filing on our own via Turbo Tax. It was a bit of a long, complicated process, but Stew is a smart cookie and he figured it all out. And my only responsibility in the whole thing is to decide how we want to spend all that extra cash!
post signature
This has been another edition of...
Life As Always
Join the party... follow your host and link up your post!
1) Please follow me via GFC or Bloglovin' (or both!)
2) Place the linky button in your post using the code in my sidebar.
3) If this is your first time linking up, please comment on this post so I can follow you back!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sh*t Men Say v4

Since I was in college I've spent almost every Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend at my friend Evan's cabin in Sunland, on the Columbia River Gorge in Eastern Washington. Basically, we head out on Friday for three days of drunken debauchery with all of our friends. Boating, beers, sunbathing, wake boarding, volleyball, theme nights, card games... Oh, I couldn't even begin to list all the silly activities we've done to keep ourselves occupied over there. Plus my brain cells are deadened from too many weekends drinking in the sun.

Anyway, quite a few years back I had the genius idea to start a Quote Book, so we could catalog all the ridiculous and hilarious things that were said on these amazing Sunland weekends. And I thought this week's link up with Amanda and Danae would be the perfect opportunity to bust it out.

So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite quotes from my favorite guys...

Rockin' it with pride, my friends!

Sunland = Funland, every single time.
 post signature
Voyage of the Mee Mee