Friday, October 21, 2011

32 Weeks (second time around)

32 weeks today!

Yikes, only eight more weeks to go! I went to the doctor yesterday and all is well on the baby front. She should be weighing about 3.5 pounds by now. She's head-down and quite low. She's so low, in fact, that my doctor wanted to check and make sure I wasn't dilated and in danger of preterm labor (I'm not [dilated, that is]). I gained another kilo in the last four weeks which puts me up to 17 pounds (8 kilos) gained. I'm three pounds behind what I had gained with Lane at 32 weeks, which might explain why my maternity pants are still falling down. It's quite annoying, because they fit great with Lane. Regular pants are too tight to be comfortable (although amazingly I can still get them on and buttoned), maternity pants are too baggy. I look like a frump. Thank goodness my friend Diana loaned me some of her maternity tops this past week so now I have more than four shirts to choose from!

I'm feeling well, just tired. My doctor wants me to try to not walk more than 30 minutes each day and to take it easy, and although she didn't put me on official bed rest, I think she thinks that Baby Girl shouldn't be quite so low so early. I'm already waddling and going to the bathroom, oh, a million times a day (or at least every hour). Ahh, well. It just confirms what I've thought all along, which is that I feel further along than I ever did with Lane, and that this one might come a bit early. We shall see, though. I wouldn't be surprised if we end up with a 2012 baby, either, since Lane was so late.

Baby girl is quite the squirmy little thing, and I often feel her feet in my ribs on my right side. I also feel either knees or fists rolling around sometimes, and it's still the weirdest feeling. I am still enjoying being pregnant overall, even though I'm getting more uncomfortable. I'm trying to remind myself that it'll all be over in about two months, which is just insane. We'll have another little person to take care of and to love. I'm just trying to enjoy these last weeks of being a family of three, of being able to give Lane lots of attention, and of getting to sleep all night! Life will change soon enough...I'm trying not to wish this pregnancy away but instead to savor it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Menu Plan (almost) Monday

It's official: fall is here. The weather has turned rainy and chilly. We turned our heaters on (yes, we are very fortunate to have control of our own radiators in this new apartment!) yesterday after some clothes had been hanging up for almost 48 hours but still weren't dry. It's been raining, or at least drizzling, for about a week straight. And we're swamped with busyness. I can't believe my due date is two months from today...we have way too much to do before this baby comes!

I've been trying to get better at planning our menus for a month at a time in preparation for when the new baby comes. It's a little bit more effort, but it's quite nice in the long run. I spend 2-3 hours coming up with a menu and a nonperishables-grocery-list at the beginning of the month (or, actually in our case I do it in the middle of the month when Shannon gets paid). I try to make one big shopping trip to stock up on everything we'll need for the month that won't spoil. And then each week I can decide what we'll eat from my monthly menu and buy produce accordingly.

This month I'm trying something new. We usually eat leftovers for lunch, since Lane isn't really into the sandwich thing, and I'm not big on processed meats. I made a huge pot of minestrone soup on Wednesday for dinner that we're still finishing up (and that's after I put about two meals' worth in the freezer) and I thought that it would be nice to try making one big pot of soup at the beginning of the week to eat for lunch every day. It'll cut down on the amount of meals I have to cook (only 22 or so instead of 30 or so) over the course of the month. And it will save me time as well, since it'll just involve an extra 15-20 minutes of work when I make the soup as opposed to the time spent to make an extra three meals that week. We don't mind eating the same thing every day, as long as we get some variety for one of our meals! And if I'm making a soup with meat in it, I'll just freeze half of it and pull it out mid-week.

So, without further ado, here's what we're eating this month:

Soups (for lunches):
Tomato with grilled cheese

Baked potatoes with broccoli
Pizza (x4)

Spaghetti with salad or broccoli
Whole chicken with potatoes and a veggie (x3)
Enchiladas with Mexican rice

I'll also be making some homemade chicken broth, chai shortbread, pumpkin bars, pumpkin french toast, and hopefully an apple crumble or two. I'll get recipes up for you as soon as I can. I'm trying a lot of new recipes this month since I'm getting tired of some of our old staples. I also have a crockpot again, so I'm trying to utilize it at least twice a week. Tonight I made the whole chicken in the crock pot and it was quite easy and tasty...I will be doing it again.

What are you eating this month (or week) for dinner? Anything I should add to my repertoire?

Friday, October 7, 2011

30 Weeks (second time around)

Today marks 3/4 through! I can't believe we're going to have a baby in ten(ish) weeks!

Anyways, since I'm such a bad (ahem, busy) blogger these days and only get around to one post a week, I thought I'd celebrate being 3/4 of the way there by giving you a week in photos. Don't worry, this won't be photo least not too much so.

My week started with a trip out to an outlet mall in search of a few things for our apartment. (I still plan on posting pictures of our apartment, but I've been waiting until it's "finished." Big purchases have to happen over time, so it'll be at least another month on the grand finale for you all.) Anyhow, on Sunday a friend and I hauled our toddlers to an outlet mall. She needed pants for her kiddo, I needed some things for the apartment. I only got a couple of things, but you can only haul so much back when you have to take two buses and haul a toddler and a stroller with you!

Our new entryway mat. I'm hoping it cuts down on the amount of mopping I have to do!

Last week my friend Kecia posted on facebook about her apple pancakes with cider syrup. We eat pancakes every Saturday, and I'm always on the lookout for new recipes, so I requested hers. I made a few modifications when I made them for the second time. And Kecia, the originals were great, but I have to say...try them my way. They're even yummier. =)

Yum. Click here for my (revised) recipe.

On Tuesday, Shannon's Russian teacher stayed and cooked us all dinner. She lives about two hours away and wanted to have us all over to her place one night, but we all knew it was just never going to happen. So we proposed she cook here one day after class, and that's just what she did! Four hours of cooking (and tons of dishes) later, we sat down to some traditional Uzbek dumplings and pilaf. It was fantastic, although I have to say that I'm glad we eat more vegetables in our normal food!

Uzbek plov (pilaf) and samsas (dumplings). Mmm.

I started a Turkish class at a local language school, so I'll be going to class three days a week for four hours a day. We decided that if I was ever going to take an actual class it was now or never. My class is seven weeks long, so we should finish right around Thanksgiving. Hopefully I'll learn a bit of new grammar that my conversation partner hasn't been able to explain to me.

With my new class comes lots of homework!

I love baked potatoes. But I only like them either a) loaded with butter, cheese, salt, and pepper, or b) with a bit of the butter, cheese, salt, and pepper, and a ton of broccoli. You can't find broccoli here in the summer, so we don't eat many baked potatoes in the summer. But now that broccoli is back in season (and less than $1 a pound, even!), we're eating bakers about once a week. And I love them, because it's one of the easiest meals I can prepare. They're healthy. And Lane loves them.

Huge baked potatoes topped with steamed broccoli, cheese, and a bit of butter, salt, and pepper. Full of potassium, vitamins A and C, calcium, fiber, and iron.

Since autumn officially arrived Shannon has been complaining that the world is cold. It's absolutely hilarious to me, since it's still in the 60's at the coldest part of the day. I love it. At any rate, we changed out our wardrobes this week, putting up shorts, tank tops, and short-sleeved shirts, and pulling out our sweaters, fleece pajama pants, and fuzzy socks. And we took the quilt off our bed and pulled out the down comforter. Now the world is warm again, at least when we're sleeping.

There's nothing like a poofy down comforter and fresh flowers on the nightstand to make you want to crawl into bed!

Last week we went to the emniyet to start the process to renew our ikamets (residence permits). Thursday we trekked back to the emniyet to pick them up. Praise the Lord, this process was about a gillion times easier than last year. And a whole lot cheaper too. We got two-year permits for the three of us for less than one of us cost last year.

Renewed! And we don't have to go back for two whole years! (Well, except to get New Baby Girl's sometime in the late winter/early spring.)

After I discovered last week that Lane is a pretty good (and enthusiastic) helper in the kitchen, I've started letting her help with anything I can. She puts vegetables in pots for me, raisins or nuts in cookie dough, spoonfuls of spices or cupfuls of flour into mixing bowls. She's a great helper, and loves it.

Helping me put broccoli in a pot. (Love the winter hat she's wearing. It's hilarious, but she insisted. Gotta love toddlers and their strong wills!)

Today I came home from class to find that Shannon had bought me roses. Miniature ones. Orange. I love them. And I love him.

I love fresh flowers.

And finally, today's belly picture. 30 weeks. I'm feeling just fine, overall. It's starting to get uncomfortable to lay on my back or to sit in one position for too long. My maternity pants are still too big if I'm walking around...I have to wear a belt to hold them up, which absolutely cracks me up. My legs kill me if I do too much walking (or if I just do too much, period), but if I take it easy for a day or two and soak in really hot water, I can get to feeling pretty normal. One thing is for sure...I only have 10ish weeks left!

30 weeks today. I feel ginormous.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

What Do I Do?

Barbara over at Footprints in the Sand wrote a post this week entitled "What Would I Do?" about what she would do if she didn't have to go to work. And it made me think about all the work that I do on a regular basis, even though I don't go to work. I wake up at work and I go to sleep at work. Some of the things on Barbara's list I do, but a lot of them are pipe dreams even for those of us who stay at home. Here's a peek at yesterday, which was my day off (meaning Shannon worked at home so could help with Lane a bit, and I didn't have any language lessons).

It all started at 5:30 when Shannon's alarm clock went off. No way was I getting up that early! I asked him to come and get me at 6:15. At 6:34 I woke up and realized that he had apparently forgotten to come get me. I dragged my feet out of bed and got in the shower. Read my Bible and had my prayer time. Got Lane out of bed. And started my chores.

Chore 1: ironing.

I despise ironing. I've purposely managed to get our wardrobes down to things that don't need to be ironed. But the only problem with that is that they don't need to be ironed if you have a dryer. Which we don't. So I have to iron. Ugh.

Chore 2: laundry

We only have one set of sheets for Lane's bed, which means that I have to wash them on the fast cycle and get them hanging to dry as quickly as possible. This time of year is really tricky for laundry, because it's not cold enough to turn the heaters on, but it's damp so you can't hang your clothes outside.

Chore 3: entertaining Lane. And making an apple-walnut cake.

I needed to make a dessert to take to small group tonight. Lane was itching for some attention. So I thought I'd see if Lane was up to the task of helping me out. Surprisingly she did quite well. I was glad I hadn't swept or mopped the floors yet, since a lot of stuff ended up on the floor, but overall she was a good helper and it kept her from getting into trouble for a bit.

Chore 4: sweeping/vacuuming/mopping.

I usually sweep and mop our kitchen/entry/hallway when Lane is asleep because otherwise she plays in the mop water. But after the baking-with-a-toddler adventure, the kitchen floor definitely needed to be swept. After I swept up the big mess, Lane took to the rest of the kitchen. Shannon did take a break from work later in the day to entertain her while I vacuumed the rest of the house, and I did sweep and mop while Lane was in bed at nap time.

Chore 5: cleaning 2 toilets, 2 sinks, 1 tub, and 1 shower.

I hate cleaning toilets. Shannon, God bless him, usually cleans them for me. I'm getting too pregnant (i.e.: big) to clean the bottom of our shower and our bathtub. But Shannon hurt his back last Saturday and has been in worse shape than me for the last week. So this week cleaning toilets and tubs fell to me.

Chore 6: making dinner: Mexican rice and homemade salsa. (Finished apple-walnut cake in background.)

I do make dinner almost every night. We don't eat out very often, mostly because I like to know what's in our food. It's the same reason that I bake most of our cookies and desserts from scratch. Friday night was Mexican night. I make salsa and Mexican rice from scratch, blend up some canned pinto beans, chop up some lettuce and warm up whole wheat tortillas. Even Lane likes it...she doesn't mind the spiciness at all.

Chore 7: more laundry.

And of course there's the normal laundry to do (in addition to bed sheets). And the regular dishes to wash. I studied Turkish for an hour. And after Lane went to bed we pulled out all of Lane's newborn clothes and I went through them to see if we need anything. I pulled out all of the next-size up clothes for Lane and went through them to see what will fit her now and what needs to wait a few more months. We watched a movie. And we went to bed at 10:30, exhausted from the day.

Barbara finished her post with the question, "What would you do if you didn't have to go to work?" I think the appropriate question for me would be, "What would you do if you could still stay home, but could hire a maid to do all your chores?" Because those of us who stay home still have our days full and want days off. We still have loads of work to do. But maybe our homes are messier since we're in them all day? Maybe we have more dishes to wash since we eat three meals a day at home? I'm not sure, but I do know that I'm glad to be able to stay home, even if it is a lot of work!