Thursday, September 26, 2013

Positive Thinking Thursday

Um, I haven't blogged yet today, have I? Geez I'm getting kooky. The days are all starting to run together and really I'm just in a fog most of the time. On the bright side, however, the weather here has been pleasantly fall-like for the last few days. It has been mildly hot during the middle of the day but nice and cool in the mornings and evenings. I like this weather pattern. Too bad it won't last long and we will be in the thick of winter in about a month or so. Speaking of which, how is it October 1 next week? And on that note, should I try a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks? All the blog girls seem to like them and I've never partaken. It just seems too crazy to order a drink that has a pump of sugary syrup in it. And yet I ate three handfuls of chocolate alphabet cookies last night and a number of those homemade chocolate chip cookies last week. Go figure.

I have precious little to report today. I ran some errands for David, went to BodyPump, began the process of assembling our baby monitor, made the dough for more chocolate chip cookies (which I'll be taking in to the shelter for my co-workers tomorrow), made dinner, and watched the final episodes from season two of Homeland.

Dinner was the same mexican-inspired bowl that I made a few weeks ago--millet, ranchero beans, greek yogurt, and cilantro.

I also made some sauteed swiss chard that just looked too disgusting in the picture I took of it. You're welcome.

Since I didn't do _anything_ interesting today, I thought I'd show you pictures of our budding baby room. Until this week it was an office for Popsockets, so things have been developing very slowly. Here's baby's crib:

The rocking chair we just got:

The cushions for the chair have yet to arrive, little painting project is definitely a success:

I put all the little baby's clothes into her little drawers. When she's fourteen she's probably going to hate that dresser and kick it, sticker it up with idiotic pop band stickers, etc., etc. And all the while I'll just remember how I dragged my fatty pregnant a$$ out to garage to paint that thing for her. Sigh. I think I need to work on being more positive:-)

*What is something that you're working on right now, either physically, like a home improvement project, or mentally, like not being consumed by anxiety and uncertainty? Heh.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

All Dairy All Day

How is it only Wednesday? Is it just me, or doesn't it feel like today should at least be Thursday with tomorrow being Friday? I'm not sure exactly what's been tiring me out since I'm not working anymore, but it feels like I'm busy everyday and the day just goes by and is filled with random tasks and errands, most of it baby related. 

Luckily I've eaten several tasty things of late, including this spaghetti squash dish that I cooked in olive oil, salt and pepper, and garlic powder. I also added aduki beans and parmesan cheese, of course. 

I also treated myself to some pre-made falafel from the grocery store. I used to eat these all the time, mostly because they have very few calories. Tonight I spruced them up with some feta cheese, roasted tomatoes, olive oil, and zucchini.

Doesn't that feta look delicious? It was tasty, though now that I'm typing this I realize how much better the feta was when we ate it in Switzerland. Poor me, right? :-)

Continuing my dairy fest, I had milk and cookies for dessert. 

That's real cow's milk, people. I've had a craving for it recently. It's not even fat-free--it's two percent!! Who the #$%^ am I, right? 

Aside from my new dairy desires, my need for an early bedtime hasn't changed, so I'm afraid I'm going to sign off for now. It's 8:05 p.m., peeps, and I've got half an old episode of Homeland to watch before I go to sleep at 9 p.m. :-)

*Do you feel like a lot of your time is spent doing random crap that is unimportant to you? Is this the final descent into adulthood, and I've just now figured that out?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

One Week Countdown

I'm officially only one week away from my baby due date, peeps. WTF, right? Doesn't it seem like I just announced I was pregnant? Especially with the temps getting cooler it feels just like I just got pregnant and I've missed all of spring and summer. I'm kind of sad, actually, since I spent most of the summer wishing that time would pass more quickly. Normally I don't wish summer away--since it's when I get to ride my road bike the most--but since I wasn't able to ride this summer I suppose it's okay that I wished for time to pass more quickly.

My other two pregnancy-related updates are:

1) The people at the grocery store are starting to get really hesitant about letting me carry my own bags. They are also dubious that my bags should have very much in them, i.e. they say things like, "Are you sure you want it all in one bag? It's very heavy."

I find this behavior nice and well-intentioned, but it's still strange. I feel awkward insisting that I can carry my own bags, but really, I can carry my own bags. When I have an infant, however, and I'm trying to maneuver a car seat, bags, etc., etc., then I will ask for help readily. Maybe I should just get IOUs now?

2) The women at my gym are amazingly nice and supportive. Really. I've never had many female friends, largely because I just don't feel like I can be myself and feel accepted around most women. But being pregnant has been nothing but a firestorm of compliments and encouragement, even from women that I barely know. This has been a nice surprise, though it also entails two "side effects" that are somewhat strange (not bad, just new and strange) for me:

a) Women get really, really excited about babies. I mean, even women that I've never spoken to get excited that I'm having a baby, and even more excited that I'm having a baby girl. Shrug. I never know what this is about. Like, I cannot imagine getting really (and I mean really) excited upon hearing that someone I've never spoken to is having a baby. Is it just me?

b) People must have pretty low expectations about pregnant women and exercise/fitness, because people are just f-ing astounded that I'm still going to the gym. Every single day someone says the equivalent of "I can't believe you're still coming!" This also gives me pause because I just don't have any idea what to say. Today I just went with, "Well, I have to fill the hours in the day somehow...<shrug, awkward laugh>." Maybe tomorrow I'll go with "Well, my uterus has encroached upon my digestive system so much that I need to take frequent breaks between eating ice cream and french fries. This seemed like a decent way to pass the break between stuffing sessions. At least I can watch TV even if it's not while lying down."

*Be honest: do you give a #$%^ when people whom you're not very close to have babies? I was thinking recently about how I used to react when friends had babies, and honestly, no, I definitely did not really care. (Excepting a few very close friends and family members.)

Oh, and p.s., here's a belly shot from the pizza party/baby shower last week:

Monday, September 23, 2013

Weekend Shots

First up: our Friday night pizza party/baby shower. I think I mentioned this on Friday, but my sisters-in-law and my mom simply would not relent about throwing a baby shower for me and David. So, we insisted that it was a night-time pizza party where beer and pizza and dessert were pretty much the main attraction.

They even got us a vegetarian pizza! We ate, caught up, talked about baby stuff and baby names, and just generally relaxed until later in the evening, when we opened a few gifts and organized a pool for when baby might arrive. In case you're not Irish Catholic, let me tell you that a bunch of male Irish Catholics _love_ something to bet on. Hence:

Apparently my uncle, who wrote this, had trouble spelling "baby." Also, the "Mc" is short for my last name and the "David?" is short for my uncle's jokes about how David doesn't really know if the baby is his. Heh.

On Saturday David and I took our infant CPR/First Aid class and also made a trip to the Farmer's Market. It was pretty lovely walking around the market in the cool air and sunshine. I've had to work Saturdays for awhile now and had missed making those Saturday market trips.

Also of note this weekend was Haruki's latest attempts to get as close to David as possible during a rain storm.

Yes, David wears Crocs around the house.

And finally, some recent eats. I'm still cooking every night, and last night we had a simple dinner of brown rice, aduki beans, and some roasted broccoli. I topped mine with parmesan cheese, olive oil, and hot sauce while David opted for nutritional yeast and cashews.

It doesn't sound very appetizing, but I can vouch that brown rice (cooked with some veggie or meat bouillon) with parmesan cheese and olive oil is pretty tasty and comforting.

This morning I had something of a food fail, as I tried to put some protein powder on my raisin bran. So I can also vouch that you shouldn't do what I did.

I mixed it all up before eating it, but it was still pretty yucky.

*What have you cooked/made recently that sucked a#$?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Blog or Nap?'s one-thirty right now and I have until two-thirty before David and I have to leave the house. David has a department meeting and I'll be running errands before we both head East to my brother's house for a little get together tonight. Technically, it's a kind of baby shower, but really it's a pizza and beer party.

Anyway, since I have limited time and could really use a little rest, I'm going to post some quick pics and sign off.

This is the home improvement/craft project I've been working on:

I'll show you all the finished product when I'm finished, but as you can see, it's a dresser that I've been painting. And yes, it's for the baby. And yes, the baby is a girl and that paint is blue. David is against traditional paints that tend to have toxic materials in them so we opted for a water-based milk paint. The only downside to such paints is that they don't come in very many colors and most of the colors tend to be pretty natural/earthy in tone. So, blue it is.

For the most part I enjoyed painting the dresser, though I must say that I'd hate to find myself in the grips of a professional painter. I mean literally in their grips, since those dudes must have really strong forearms and hands. (Either that or I need to up my forearm exercises from zero to something above zero.)

My other project? Baking for tonight's party. I was going to get my favorite carrot cake from my favorite cake baker, but unfortunately they were too booked to take new cake orders for today. So, I made peanut butter scotcheroos that I saw on Tina's blog the other day, in addition to chocolate chip cookies that, I must say, turned out really well.

In fairness to Tina's recipe I should disclose that I messed up and failed to put the crisp rice cereal on the bottom. Hence why the cereal is on top and the dessert looks like crap. I haven't tasted it yet, but I'd say looks notwithstanding, all that peanut butter and sugar can't be a bad thing:-)

*Do you like soft chewy chocolate chip cookies or do you like them crunchy and a bit flatter?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Things I've Eaten

While spending time at a coffee shop in town the other day (while our power was out), I indulged in a decaf whole milk latte.

Sadly, either it wasn't as fatty and delicious as I was expecting or I had a sudden change in my food preferences, since I only drank about 1/3 of it before I just didn't want to keep drinking. I wonder how much food is wasted by pregnant women. I mean, it's not like I waste a ton of food, but there have definitely been a few times during pregnancy where I started eating something or ordered something and then just didn't want to keep eating it.

Something else that I don't want to eat anymore? This toffee:

I know, right? How could anyone _not_ want to eat that? Oh well. I'm sure if I wait a few days it will sound really, really good again.

And lest you think I only eat sugar and coffee, check out a recent lunch:

That's black beans, olives, and hard boiled egg chunks on the left. Sounds weird, doesn't it?

I had a bit of a busy day. It included the gym, a baby/home project that I'll fill you in on tomorrow, a doctor appointment, and a tour of the hospital birthing center. When I got home I didn't really want to cook but threw together a pasta dish and some sauteed greens.

Not too shabby for this lazy mamma to-be.

Now I'm off to read and veg out. I just finished reading Jon Krakauer's _Into the Wild_ and have since started his _Into Thin Air_. The latter book is about a tragic expedition up Mount Everest, and even though I'm not into climbing at all it has me pretty riveted.

*What are you reading right now?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Yes, I'm afraid this will be just what the title suggests--a pseudopost. I'm positively exhausted. I just thought I'd drop in with a baby update, namely, that I'm exactly thirty-eight weeks pregnant today. Wow. WTF happened to the last nine months, people? I mean, given that every single week since January 10ish has seemed interminable, the time sure did go quickly. 

In general I'm still feeling pretty good physically. I attribute this to not having gained a ton of weight and continuing to stay really active. However, there's only so much that you can do to stay comfortable when you're carrying around a decent amount of weight in a strange bullet-shaped mound on your belly. Sigh. Getting comfortable at night has really become a challenge, as side sleeping has started to make my hips sore. Also, the random bouts of insomnia, usually where I wake up and can't go back to sleep for 1-2 hours (in addition to waking up every three hours to use the bathroom), are getting OLD. 

My back hurts too. I'm having sciatica, aka, sharp needle-like pulses of pain in my back that shoot all the way down to my calves. 

All in all I'm lucky that this level of "doneness" with pregnancy and its negative side effects has taken this long to kick in. One thing that I didn't expect, however, and with which I'm not coping as well, is anxiety. I've looked it up online and it appears that feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed are pretty typical for the end of pregnancy. Double sigh. I wish I would've been more prepared for this. When the flood evacuees were staying with us I was literally paralyzed by the uncertainty of the whole situation. Thinking now about how many people will be using our road to access the flood zone, and how much Haruki is going to continually bark at them, is stressing me out. Hearing David say that he's having a friend fly out right after the birth so that they can spend several days filming a video for Popsockets is scaring the shit out of me and making me wonder if I can even take care of the baby by myself--all day and all night--while he teaches, does his usual work with Popsockets, and also does the video. 

Whew. The slightly good news is that I was able to take a shower in my own bathroom today, unlike a lot of people who live near us and have been dislocated because of the flood. In addition, it turns out that all of the pain management techniques I've been learning are also pretty useful for anxiety attacks. I may have boosted the relaxing effects of these breathing exercises with a shit-ton of alphabet cookies and toffee, but what the hell--only two more weeks before everyone starts asking me how I'm going to lose the baby weight, right? :-) Heh. 

*What's stressing you out right now? Does it warrant the stress you feel, or are you perhaps at the mercy of some chemical/hormonal melee?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Guess I'm Not a Meteorologist

So after my last post, when I said that it was supposed to get a bit sunnier and less rainy, Boulder and the surrounding areas got flooded. Heh. Whoops. Too bad my idiotic wishes aren't powerful enough to create better weather patterns.

It rained for about four days straight, and the result is the kind of flooding that apparently only comes around once every hundred years or so. As I've mentioned before, David and I live in Sunshine Canyon, right in the middle of the burn zone from the 2010 Four Mile fire. It's a blessing, really, that the house burned down then, since during the rebuild we were very diligent about flood prevention and water diversion. So, our house is just fine. Our neighbors that live below us, however, weren't so lucky:

Yikes, right? Apparently there are still so many people who need evacuating in various parts of Boulder County that today the National Guard is mounting the biggest aerial rescue mission since Hurricane Katrina.

I should add, just in case it's not obvious, that the "river" you see in the photos above wasn't there last week. In fact, a road was there last week. I used to ride my bike up it.

So things are a bit kooky around these parts lately. On Thursday morning we took in two people who hiked out of Four Mile Canyon to our house since a dislodged propane tank had begun spewing propane in their front yard. They stayed with us for two days and have since been able to get to town to friends and family. All that I will say about that situation is that four days of rain + excessive amounts of dirt and mud inside and outside the house + two stranded house guests + a lack of power = not a good situation for a woman expecting to give birth in two weeks. Nesting? Not so much. Sigh. I had just about the worst panic attack in the middle of the night on Thursday, worrying about if they would open our road so we could get to town, if our evacuees would need to stay indefinitely, if I'd go into labor and have to labor at home while we had guests.

Since our water comes from our well and necessitates a pump we are also without water. Thus, no showers and no dish washing. Luckily we can flush our toilets with the water that has been filling up Haruki's outdoor doggy pool. But our house is still a disaster area and it feels like my efforts to get everything together for baby are utterly stalled. I had actually hired a cleaning person to come tomorrow to do a big big deep clean before the baby comes, but with no power we had to postpone.

Oh well. It could be a lot worse, right? Hopefully Xcel will fix the power today and I can veg out and de-stress with some Monday Night Football.

And, on the bright side, Haruki sure did have fun running in the streams of water that miraculously appeared all around our house. Here are a few shots of the new landscape. I should add again that everywhere you see water in these pictures is new, i.e. water didn't used to be there.

*How would you "deal" if you were without electricity or water for four days?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wednesday Updates

Ho hum, another dreary day around these parts. Apparently it's going to get a bit warmer and more sunny tomorrow, though, so at least I have that to feel good about.

Something else that's been making me feel good lately is millet. In case I didn't mention this last week, I recently tried millet and am really liking it! In case you don't know, millet is an ancient grain that, according to one website, is in fact not a grain but a seed. That's why it's often found in bird food. I've been eating it with some spices, olive oil, and beans lately, and it's tasty! Way better than yucky quinoa in my opinion. Last night we had it with some acorn squash:

We ate it with the fog rolling in around the house, and it really felt like winter.

Today has been pretty typical. First bootcamp, then a hair appointment. My hair has been growing at a much faster rate since getting knocked up, and I have to say I don't appreciate it much. My hair feels long and shaggy like two weeks after having it cut and getting it cut more often is kinda out of the question since it costs so much. At least I don't dye my hair; a girl at the gym told me today how much she spends between cuts and coloring. I guess I'd rather spend my money at the Whole Foods hot bar:-)

After my hair cut I went to have lunch at Native Foods. We had a coupon for a free lunch and I got their sesame macro bowl.

I got it with extra tofu so I could take some home and have for lunch at work this week.

After lunch I ran a quick errand at Target before meeting David for my baby appointment. Apparently there really is a baby in my stomach, and she will likely weigh about six and a half pounds when she's born in a few weeks. We didn't get any good shots from the ultrasound they took today, but here is a beauty of a little baby femur:

Still seems pretty creepy to me:-) If they had given us a picture of her spine I'd show that to you--it's even more creepy. It really looks like I have some kind of reptile in my belly. (Uh, in a good, super maternal way...heh.)

Not much else is going on around here. I have my last two days at work tomorrow and on Friday, after which I'm all about finalizing our baby stuff/plans and just generally being lazy. David keeps joking that he hopes I get into a cleaning nesting mode where I want to clean everything with a toothbrush, but I suspect that phase will not come. I think I'll spend next week mostly horizontal instead:-)

*No question today. Instead of thinking up a question I'll just think nice thoughts about all those people who have sad anniversaries to celebrate on Sept. 11.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Autumnal Delivery

So, fall is definitely here, friends. I know this because it's been rainy and foggy all day up here in our little mountain house. Hence the photo taken from indoors:

And hence the fall produce that is in the oven right now:

Like the basil I've been consuming so copiously, these acorn squashes were a gift from my friend Liz's garden. If only we lived closer together I could just go to her house for dinner instead of mooching her produce and having to cook it myself:-)

In typical Nikki-fashion, this first day of clouds and fog made me a less productive person. Granted, I am cooking dinner right now instead of eating cereal, which is an improvement that I can attribute only to nesting hormones. But I did have a few things around the house and on the computer that I should've taken care of and did not. I did go to Body Pump, however, so there's that. And I've spent the rest of the afternoon watching a Werner Herzog documentary about these trappers in Siberia. It's pretty interesting. I wouldn't say I'm an uber-intellectual documentary person (I mean, I watch Teen Mom too, after all), but this documentary is interesting because it's basically like pulling back the curtains and watching people live in a way that is entirely foreign to how I live. I like that. Watching stuff like that is like going somewhere new.

In other food news, last night our doula came over and I made some more of Emily's Lemon Parsley Pasta.

We ate noodles, we talked about how David needs to avoid making dumb jokes while I'm in labor, etc., etc. I have a feeling that I may have to either: 1) punch David in the face while I'm in labor, or 2) kick him out of the room. This is because when we talk about the pain of childbirth he usually says something about how women should think less about the pain itself and instead think more about how lucky they are to be conscious beings that can experience a range of sensations. To this I usually reply with an expletive. And to be fair, he's not really being serious; it's just part of his nature as a philosopher and jackass to say idiotic things that are based on philosophical ideas and not reality.

Um, anyhow, I'm off to check on the millet that is bubbling away on the stove top. I hope it doesn't suck and that wherever you are you're eating something tasty too:-)

*What would it take for you to punch your partner out if you were in labor?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Weekend Photo Crush

Some things I ate and some revelations I had:

The best cookie I've had in awhile. And I don't usually like jam/thumbprint cookies anyway. But this one was made with hazelnut flour. It was crumbly, nutty, just sweet enough but not overly sweet, and just plain delicious. I ate one cookie per day I worked last week because they only sell them at the coffee shop near my work. The limited availability prompted me to buy some hazelnut flour too. I haven't used it yet, but I'm currently looking for hazelnut flour inspiration...

Cheese is soooo good. Lately I've been wanting to just eat cheddar cheese and crackers but have abstained because my ED habits think of cheddar as being uber-unhealthy. (Mozzarella is doable for me though.) Anyway, you might be seeing cheddar cheese on the blog soon...

In the category of things I ate mostly because the baby apparently appreciates it:

Canned salmon. Not as bad as it sounds or looks, I should add.

I also ate some roasted green beans that I found pretty lackluster.

Is it just me, or are green beans just _not_ that good? I don't even think they have a ton of nutritional value, do they?

Something that does have a ton of nutritional value? Swiss chard. Despite being a kale fanatic swiss chard has always been on my list of veggies that were so-so. A lot of the time I'd eat swiss chard and think: "That tastes bitter," or "That tastes like dirt." But last week I took the plunge, purposefully bought swiss chard, and sauteed it.

I sauteed it with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, and two cloves of split garlic. It was good, people. So good, in fact, that I did it again the next night and also purchased more swiss chard at the store today. So that's nice, right? A little foodie revelation that means I've got another healthy food with which I can balance out my new found cheese addiction:-)

And lastly, I mentioned my 2% greek yogurt last week, but let me just reiterate that 2%, and not nonfat, yogurt is where it's at. Example A:

That's yogurt, heated black beans, brown rice chips, and cilantro. In other words, yum! All it needed was some cheese to really amp up the dairy/fat/calcium consumption.

*What food has surprised you lately, either because it was surprisingly good or because it sucked a$$ when you were expecting something tasty?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Debby Downer here. OK, not quite Debby Downer, but how about Debby Outofit? I slept okay last night but for some reason I've just been kind of slow and spacey today. Perhaps it's the heat? It was in the mid-nineties today here, despite the fact that our seasonal average is about eighty-three degrees. On the flip side, I looked up statistics on when Denver usually gets its first snowfall, and last year that day came on October 5. That's four weeks away, people!! And it was ninety-something today!! The weather sure is kooky.

Anyway, I started out the day by getting hot at Bootcamp. After showering and running a few errands (Target and the pet store), I went to a doctor's appointment. I have to go every week from here on out, a fact that I would mind less if I didn't always have to wait when I go.

After my appointment I stopped at the grocery store (where they didn't have the chocolate alphabet cookies I wanted) and came home to bake, cook, and do laundry. Yah, I guess this is nesting, even though I still don't have _any_ desire to scrub every corner of my kitchen floor. (I really, really doubt the instinct to do that is going to kick in for me.)

I started by baking banana bread:

And then I moved on to roasting garlic. I wanted to see if roasting garlic for pesto would make eating pesto at lunchtime a possibility.

Lucky for me my friend Liz brought me more basil!!!

Which led to more pesto!!!

I froze that container on the left so we have some pesto on hand for once the baby is here and the only thing I can manage to do is boil some water for pasta. What do you guys think about our fridge contents? I can't let David see this picture since he really rails on me to always keep the refrigerator doors closed except for the very briefest of seconds.

I also roasted some green beans

that I threw together with the pesto, some pasta, and _more_ tomatoes. What will I do when tomatoes are no longer at their peak?!

Lucky for me my friend Liz also brought me some acorn squash from her garden:-) So maybe fall and winter won't be so bad after all:-)

*What winter produce item are you most looking forward to?