Archive | October, 2012

Stuff I’ve Cooked from Pinterest Lately

You remember when I used to do these? Well, pregnancy has reinvigorated my love for cooking. In fact, while you’d THINK I’d be pinning numerous baby whatnots, I’m instead filling my food boards with stuff. Lots of stuff. That I then sometimes cook and make. Let’s talk about that, shall we?

(Also, should you so desire, my family has a group board that outlines everything we’ve cooked or tried and what we thought about it and you’re more than welcome to follow along.)

Healthy Chicken Chickpea Chopped Salad

I made a big batch of this last night to lunch on during the week, and I have to admit – it’s pretty fantastic. I wasn’t familiar with a “chopped” salad – essentially where all contents are roughly chopped to the same size – but I like the idea. I followed the recipe exactly, except she roasted her corn and I didn’t, and I even really like the small bit of bbq sauce as a dressing. I also added the Hot Pepper sauce from Southern Plate as a dressing element as well.

Coconut Curry Soup

One of my comfort foods is curry. I don’t know why, considering that I hadn’t even ever tried it prior to 2005. (Bryan took me on my first trip to have curry. How’s THAT for turning the tables?) So red curry is my fave, and I also have a deep love of coconut soup, but the recipes I’ve found are incredibly complex. I found this recipe on Pinterest and YES. This is everything I ever wanted. I followed the recipe exactly (except I topped with crushed peanuts before serving) and it was perfect. I would go ahead and use the entire jar of red curry paste next time; while it was mild enough for everyone to eat, I like it a bit hotter. SO GOOD!

Funeral Sandwiches

First and foremost, I don’t know why they’re called Funeral Sandwiches. Every explanation I came up with didn’t make sense. But don’t let that deter you. This recipe is insanely easy and very yummy. They do require time to marinate, though, so factor that into your planning. (I think mine sat for 5 hours or so.) We followed this exactly, and took a tip from my Mom who tried to fit all the sandwiches tightly on a smaller sheet, but then the bottoms were soggy. So use a full-size cookie sheet – spread those suckers out – and enjoy! (Tip: They’re REALLY GOOD as leftovers!)

Currently in the Slow Cooker:

Slow Cooker Melt in Your Mouth Cube Steak

I am so enamored with the idea of cube steak, but no matter how I’ve soaked it and cooked it, it’s always been tough. Flavorful and familiar, but tough. I’m hoping this will prove otherwise. (Downside? Searing the meat first. Searing cube steak at 5:15 a.m. is not a great way to start a Monday.)

What have you been cooking lately? WHAT SHOULD I TRY?

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I Would Cut Someone for Thin Mints. (Unrelated.)

Well, if that wasn’t a mic-dropping post followed by a week’s worth of silence, I don’t know what was.

Truth be told, even though I’m all sorts of preggers, life doesn’t slow down much around these parts. I still have a full load of school work, and I’m not one to pull the Pregnant Card at work, so I’m still working lots there, and as it turns out, the kids that are already out of the uterus want to eat and play all the time. So I apologize for not being here more – October is going to be a challenge for us to get through.

Not only that, but Bryan is designing (and hanging) lights for not one, but TWO shows right now, so he’s been busy and gone and stressed as well. Add to that continuing school issues with Jack and we’re all just spent. We are all looking blissfully toward a holiday of some kind. Any kind, really.

Since I don’t have a lot of exciting stuff going on right now, it’s time for random thoughts about this pregnancy.

This is not the same kid.

When we met the doctor for our first visit, he calmed me down with the worries I’d been having – the cramping is normal (“Your uterus is now expanding again, but your first pregnancy really wore out any muscles in there. So expect to be huge the second time.”)(To be fair, my doc is an electrical engineer by trade, and I rather adore his bedside manner. I find him extremely comforting.). Also, this is not the same pregnancy.

Boy, he was not just whistlin’ dixie, brother.

I really had very few symptoms of anything with Tony’s pregnancy. I had no sickness; I was tired, but not exhausted; the worst of the pregnancy was at the very, very late stage (especially since I went a week past my due date).

But this time: AM SICK ALL THE TIME. Not like, actually productive sick, but nauseous. All the time. And this from a girl who would have a cup of coffee at 5 am and then not eat until dinner at night. I am now having to learn how to do small meals every two or three hours to stave off the awfulness. I cannot imagine people who do this with every pregnancy; you are my heroes.

Also: already am third-trimester sore and tired. Parts of me that didn’t start throbbing until late last time are now already gung-ho about making my life miserable. Let’s not even talk about my boobs, but MAN, are they demanding to be noticed. (PAINFUL.) I’m already getting twinges in my hips. And this go-around, I have a newfound asthma issue to deal with.

Also, the last: WHY AM I ALREADY HUGE?

I pretty much hate everyone.

Okay, not you. I like you. But .. man. What little filter I had prior to the knocking up is now completely evaporated. I am .. kind of a horrible human being right now. And it’s not like I can even say that I’m possessed by hormones and I don’t know where it’s coming from.. it’s that I’m literally like Jim Carrey in Liar, Liar and when I think of something, I SAY IT. OUT LOUD. You’d think it would be freeing, but it’s happening at work, y’all, and I’m terrified that I will sass my way out of a job.

Maternity clothes. As in: I should get some.

Gah, I hate shopping for maternity clothes. First of all, there’s nowhere around here that sells them reasonably. Sure, we’ve got some upscale specialty boutiques that sell Seven for Mankind designer maternity jeans (?!), but um, NO.

But then yesterday, my already basketball sized child let me know in no uncertain terms that some elastic-band waists need to happen with a quickness.

Yes, this is how I wore my pants to work yesterday. I am not proud of this.

So last night, I was perusing maternity clothes online and reading reviews, because you really are just at the mercy of the manufacturer when you’re forced to only buy maternity clothes online. And I was looking at some Gap maternity jeans, because I like Gap jeans anyway, and I thought, Why not?

And these were some of the reviews.

These jeans are amazing! I’m six months pregnant and the size 2 fit me PERFECTLY. But I had to size down because I don’t want a frumpy butt!

These are the perfect maternity jeans! I’m five months along and just grew out of my pre-pregnancy jeans, so I decided to splurge on some of these and I’m so glad I did! I usually wear a Size 00, but the baby bump has brought me a to a Size 0. Hopefully I’ll make it back.. LOL!

Seriously. I’m eight weeks along and had to use a FREAKIN’ HAIR ELASTIC TO MAKE MY PRE-PREGNANCY FAT JEANS WORK FOR EIGHT HOURS. I wish these women acreage of stretch marks.

Food is Amazing.

Oddly enough, I’ve cooked almost every night. I’ve missed cooking; I love how soothing it is at the end of a chaotic day. And when I cook, I control what we eat! So if I have a craving – I COOK WHATEVER THAT CRAVING IS. It’s pretty damn awesome, if I do say so myself.

Also, since I now have to have small snacks all day, I’m reverting to my childhood loves.

Also: anything dipped in peanut butter. Also: olives of any and every kind.

BRAINSTORM: Peanut butter filled olives on Triscuits. YESSSSSS.

I am having some guilt issues.

Lemme tell you about this night I had the other night.

My first dream was that I had the baby and I was so excited to get back to non-pregnant life that I knowingly left the baby at the hospital. I had no emotional attachment to this baby whatsoever.

Like, have you seen Eraserhead? If you’re pregnant, DON’T. But .. that’s kind of how I saw this baby.

So the hospital calls and they’re like Don’t you want your baby girl? and I was all, “Wait, it’s a girl? I have to get a wreath for my door!” And I picked her up and she was overjoyed to see me, like full-on grinning, and I handed her over to Bryan, because I had better things to do.


So about this time, in real life, Tony comes barreling in to the living room (it was my night on the couch), yelling and screaming at me about “not turning off the powers”. I bluntly tell him to get back to bed NOW, and then I go back to sleep.

In my next dream, Tony and I are hurrying to get somewhere. Tony, per usual, is taking his sweet four-year-old time to dawdle behind me and generally not keeping up. “Stay with me,” I threatened, “or I may leave you here.”



(I’m crying now, as I type this.)

Still in the dream, Jenni finds out what I’ve done and is livid, so she makes me go get him. I find him wandering in a neighborhood close to the parking lot, cut and bleeding and bits of trash in his hair. I barely acknowledge him while Jenni cleans him up.

And then – THE COUP D’ETAT – Lola jumps in the van. FREAKING LOLA. The cat that we gave away because she was continually attacking Tony in the eyes made a freaking guilt cameo in my dream.

Now, I know that pregnant dreams in general are weird and don’t follow logic of any type, but DAMN.

Brain, lighten up just a little.

No matter what: the Hot Apple Cider is back.

So I encourage us all to go get one.

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Where God Closes a Door, He Opens a Uterus

You know how you felt at the end of The Sixth Sense? You felt like NO WAY I HAD ALL THE CLUES THE WHOLE TIME AND I NEVER PUT IT TOGETHER. We all felt that way.


Back in late July, I had my IUD removed. At first, it was because we were going “to try” and see what happened. But in all honesty, that lasted about two weeks.

Because of our unusual sleeping situations (we take turns sleeping on the couch since Bryan’s snoring is preventing us from sleeping in the same room), I was INSANELY tired. Like, cranky pants tired, times eleventy frillion.

So about two weeks after the removal, I said, “I’m done. Really.” Bryan agreed and began to set plans in motion for a vasectomy.


As you can imagine, sleeping in separate quarters doesn’t really lend itself to spontaneity, if you catch my drift. I really, really, REALLY never thought twice about anything.


I was cold all the time. I’m normally always my own personal space heater, but all of a sudden, I could be dressed in layers of sweaters outside in 90-degree weather and still complain about the chill. I was EXHAUSTED.

But – again. I was working (more than) full time, going to school (more than) full time, and still had other stuff happening. Exhaustion and taking crappy care of myself were not a surprising result of these things.


One morning – at 5:00 a.m. before a big customer meeting – I got up and shut off my iPhone alarm, like I usually do. I stumbled to the bathroom and checked my bangs to see if I could get away without shampooing that day, like I usually do. And as routinely as I did everything else, I took a pregnancy test.

And it was positive.

And like any normal person, I held up the two blue lines and said out loud, “Nope, don’t have time for this,” and shoved it in a drawer.


Naturally, once I had caffeine in me, I assumed the whole thing had been a dream. It was so surreal, and really, WHO REACTS THAT WAY? So I came home, greeted the boys playing video games, and excused myself for a second test. While the first test had some fuzziness to it, the second test arrived with fanfare and confidence. Pos-i-TIIIIIVE, it sang.

So like any normal person, I shoved it in the drawer with the other one and went to do homework.


When I told Bryan I was pregnant with Tony, I had planned a nice little revelation that revolved around a cute baby book and a private, intimate moment, the kind of memory that is absolutely perfect to record in a baby book that you then hand over to your teenager and they can be embarrassed at how saccharin their parents were.

Bryan knew something was up when I offered to come lay down with him for a little while.

Noting how cold my feet were, he mentioned how odd it was that I was now cold all the time. “Well, I’m about six weeks pregnant.” There was no fanfare, no sweet hesitation, no cushion.

He began giggling while gushing about how excited he was.

“I’ll let you get through that,” I said, rolling away. “I’m not there yet.”


We had just made the decision of No More, which resulted in the final purging of all baby-related items in the house, and the dregs of my long-forgotten maternity wardrobe. It was all gone. We had finally settled into this being our forever family, and it felt okay, honestly. I didn’t feel incomplete, I didn’t feel discontent. And now. NOW.

Irrationally, my main concern – outweighing the fact that we’d now have to upgrade EVERYTHING: house, cars, more baby stuff – was that I already had a baby. I mean, he didn’t look like a baby any more, since he was now approaching his 5th birthday, but he was. He was MY baby. My lap was his; he occupied over half of the pictures on my phone. I already carry so much guilt that he doesn’t get enough time, enough attention, and this would just split us further.

Bryan and I had made peace with the decision that we were done having kids. I made no bones about telling Tony that he would always, always be my baby, no matter how old he got. How would I tell him that there was now another? HE WOULD BE SO MAD AT ME.


Yesterday, we went to the doctor, finally having reached the magical eight weeks point. I had both dreaded and longed for this day; the arrival of this news meant I could finally TALK about it, and y’all, it has been KILLING ME to not talk about this.

Well, while we did get good news, it was certainly surprising: we were not eight weeks along, as the data suggested. Because of my IUD, my cycles were way out of whack. I was about six weeks, from what they could guess. Which means I knew I was pregnant at, like, THREE WEEKS.


Anyway, healthy little bean thingie in there, good heartbeat, all that jazz.

Due to scheduling yesterday,  my master plan of us picking up Tony early and taking him for ice cream to tell him the news was kind of shit upon, so instead, I knelt in the kitchen and showed him the ultrasound picture. “There’s a baby in my tummy,” I admitted, like I had been lying to him.

“Where is the surprise again?” he asked.

“This is it, bud. Surprise.”

“Okay. I will keep this secret for the surprise tonight.”

And that baby – not a baby anymore – did, and we surprised the hell out of my family after a southern banquet.

Everyone is genuinely, truly excited. And I know I will be too. I think having to keep this a secret from EVERYONE is partly why I’m still so disassociated from it. I am trying to force it, trying to make myself feel excited because I know how some people would trade anything to be in my shoes, and I know that and that’s the logical way to see it, but I’m not there yet. I’m just not there. I am tired and overwhelmed and exhausted and I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel yet. I see a swirling hole of finances that are suddenly about to avalanche upon us and I see more uncertainty. I’m not there yet.

But thanks so much for your support thus far. All the kind words and sweet sayings and .. really, thank you. I’m not there yet, but you guys will get me there, no doubt about it.

Say hello to the world, bean.

I’m sorry. This is just CLEARLY a dancing chipmunk.

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Some Movies I’ve Watched Lately

And by lately, I meanin the last six months.

Cabin in the Woods

First and foremost – be warned that I am a HUUUUUUGE fan of scary movies. Scary, gory movies. I actually love gore, so there is no too much in my book. But I also love scary movies that are a mind-trap; I will openly admit that I saw Blair Witch Project in the theatre and didn’t think twice about it .. until it was dark later that night and I couldn’t stop wondering WHAT IN THE WORLD I JUST SAW. Cabin in the Woods was THAT good. Produced by cinematic demigod Joss Whedon, it carries his normal humor in places you’d least expect it. I loved this movie so much that I watched it initially by myself and then I made Bryan watch it so I could compare the mental notes I’d racked up. GREAT flick.. probably one of the best I’ve seen in years. In fact, I could happily sit down right now and watch it again.


I wanted this to be more than it was. But really, here’s all I could think through the entire thing: WHY IS THAT OLD-MAN MAKEUP SO BAD? I’m not even giving you a spoiler here, because he’s in the beginning, but I kept waiting for a plot twist to reveal that he was an aged version of another cast member. Otherwise: WHY WOULDN’T YOU JUST CAST AN OLD MAN? I know Christopher Plummer doesn’t have anything going on! Okay, now, the rest of the movie – answers no questions, confuses the hell out of you, and has your stereotypical characters. The special effects were very good, admittedly. (WHICH FURTHER INCENSES ME ABOUT THE OLD-AGE MAKEUP.) Also: it drives home the fact that you should never trust an Android.

The Green Lantern


I can’t even, y’all. Can’t even.

Despicable Me

I was strictly forbidden to watch this movie but one day Tony was in the living room by himself watching something and so I came in to see what he was watching and BOOM. Instant tears. Okay, this is a sweet, cute, funny movie. But you’ll cry. A lot. The kitten story? OHMYGOD. I’m crying just thinking about it. It’s not quite Toy Story 3 ugly-cry, but there’s definitely moments that “Momma just needed a minute”. What I really appreciated about this movie was that I had trouble guessing the vocal actors because they were so far off their norm. Obviously, Steve Carrell I got, and Julie Andrews, but I had NO IDEA it was Russell Brandt or Kristen Wiig. I always love surprises like that.

So. As you can see, I’ve not seen anything recent because, um, I’m old and tired.

Anything I should make a point of seeing soon?

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Enjoying the Stretch

We were driving to dinner late one night this week and we began the usual round of Well, how was YOUR day today? and the kids (as always) had good days while Bryan and I just shook our heads with dead eyes when asked about our days. After the round concluded, Tony said, “You know what, Momma? I hated my day today.”

We’re pretty sensitive about the use of the word hate in my house, so I was startled by his choice of words. “You did? What happened?”

“All that work I have to do, Momma,” he sighed, clearly exasperated. “I just HATE all that work.”

(.. he’s four.)

Bryan and I looked at eachother, knowing that he was parroting us. Or, rather, he was parroting what our body language and heavy sighs tend to relay.

So I had to correct him.

“You know what, buddy? Daddy and I love our jobs. We both do something we really, really love, so even when it’s really hard work, it’s not terrible. We never hate our jobs. We never hate the work.”

And while, yes, obviously I was saying this to make him understand that it’s not all gloom and doom, the more I ruminated on it, the more I realized that I actually meant it.

Bryan’s office has been in a constant state of flux since they’ve been undergoing an acquisition since May. The majority of his office has relocated two hours north to Nashville, leaving a small crew behind here. Understandably, it’s been a stressful and often overwhelming experience, but dude? What an opportunity to grow, you know? It’s a chance to find out what you’re made of, and even better, what you can stand and how resilient you really can be.

Although my job doesn’t have the additional stress of new management, the last two weeks have been a great example of how dynamic my job is too. I love the challenge (.. mostly), and I genuinely like the people I work with. I’ve waxed poetic many times about my love of engineers, and my engineers are downright funny. (Funny goes a long way with me.) So although I’ve worked 12+ hours every day this week (and am WOEFULLY behind in schoolwork as a result), I never go home hating my job. Never.

Every job requires that you be stretched thin occasionally. I think the trick is finding the enjoyment in the stretch. You know, there’s that really good stretch: the one right after a massage, or the one yoga position that finally releases that cramp you’ve had for days. It’s learning where that happens and aiming for that.

(And throwing up the white flag before you hurt yourself.)

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