Friday, March 27, 2009

19 weeks

Today I'm 19 weeks, and while I don't have a picture of me yet (packing all day in a pair of Tim's gym shorts and a tank top...not very picture-worthy!) I do have one of baby! Well, baby's surrogate to show the size: a large heirloom tomato!

Also, yesterday morning when I was brushing my teeth, I thought I felt the baby move: unmistakable fluttering on either side of my abdomen, as if baby was swimming backstroke! I felt it several times and then didn't notice it for the rest of the day, and nothing so far today, but I really believe that's what it was!

Tonight is the last night in our apartment. We're going to pick up a couple of pizzas and knock out the rest of this packing. I have been under the weather this week with frequent headaches and a cold/allergies, but I'm thankful that Benadryl is pregnancy-approved because that means I can get some relief! Bye bye Bellevue, we're off to Kirkland!

Monday, March 23, 2009

18 weeks

Sweet potato baby at 18 weeks last Friday! :)

Hopefully I'll feel some kicking any day now!

How we move

Can you guess the location of the following?

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Foodie Couple's Favorites

I thought it would be fun to post a round-up of our favorite Seattle area restaurants in the last 18 months or so of living here. There is a ton of great dining to be found out here, and I have a list of places we still want to try. But here is a sampling of the places we really enjoy!

Racha Thai. Our go-to place for Thai. The pad Thai is aways pitch perfect, not ketchupy or colorless like other places' offerings, and they serve ice-cold Singha and free sides of rice. The interior decor is a bit out there--think life-size buddhas and bamboo--but it's Microsoft Prime Card approved, meaning we get our second entree for free! No other Seattle area Thai we've tried comes close.

Cafe Juanita. We came here for the first time on my birthday in 2007, which was also Tim's first day of work. Our dinner was a Christmas gift from my parents and I know I blogged about it...veal sweetbreads and all manner of other delicacies reign at this Northern Italian den of delight. Then we went back with my parents that Thanksgiving. I don't think we've been back again since, but it's definitely our favorite celebration spot!

Lola. We just discovered this Greek restaurant, which is part of Seattle celebrity chef Tom Douglas's culinary empire in Belltown. It was our belated date night the Sunday after my weekend retreat with the church youth group, and we were pleasantly surprised by the excellent service, top notch eats (we had a delicious anchovy tapenade and tzatziki duo with pitas to start, then fall-off-the-bone tender lamb and a wild goat tagine, followed by the biggest piece of coconut pie I've ever seen) and rustic-romantic vibe. I say surprised only because service, and some dishes, at Tom Douglas's places tend to be mediocre for all the hype. But we'll definitely be back at this one.

Tavolata. Another new discovery! My mom treated us to dinner here during her recent visit. It's safe to say we agonized over where to go--while flipping through our copy of Zagat's nothing sounded good to me--but we totally scored the jackpot. Chef Ethan Stowell also has a collection of spots around town, and this Italian restaurant with booths and communal seating in an industrial space with crazy lighting is top-notch. They make their own pasta, and while the gnocchi and ravoli were great, my fave was actually a simple but enormous greens-and-walnuts salad topped with a mountain of creamy shredded pecorino. Oh, and the dessert doughnuts, hot out of the fryer and sugar-sparkly in the candlelight. Yum.

Mediterranean Kitchen. Sensing a theme here? Yep, Italian and Mediterranean are our faves, and whenever we want to smell like garlic and eat it, too, for days on end, we get dinner here. The place has about eight tables and is just a block up from our current apartment. They start you out with a vinagery tomato soup and endless baskets of pita, and then your jaw drops to the table when the entree arrives: served on a platter is your mound of saffron rice, half the carcass of whatever meat animal you've ordered, a garden full of vegetables and the most delicious tahini sauce. I think I already wrote in a past post about the lamb couscous I got that had two whole legs of lamb and several whole vegetables (onion, potato, zucchini, carrot). Recently with friends I ordered the chicken shawarma, and I'm pretty sure I got the whole chicken. Leftovers provide dinner for the next three days. Absolutely delicious. We'll be coming down from Kirkland for this one.

Monsoon. The best Vietnamese in town! It's totally upscale but down to earth as well. Our best service was at the Capitol Hill location the first time we tried it, but we haven't been able to resist the food at the new Eastside location in our very own apartment building. They have crisp, fresh salads with seasonal fruit and unusual ingredients like jicama, and the crayfish clay pot with a syrupy soy dressing and wilted greens is to die for. Just about any of their preparations, from the woodear mushrooms and baby bok choy or the paper-thin fresh rolls to the locally-raised pork are a hit. They also do fun themed dinner parties that we get email updates for.

Etta's Seafood. Another Tom Douglas spot, Etta's is located right next to the Pike Place Market. Tim and I have been a couple of times, and despite a mishap with a rather rude hostess one Sunday long ago when we tried to go for brunch, we've enjoyed the experience. We haven't been in a while, but it's a great place to get fresh seafood.

B&O Espresso. We've only been here once, but it's the Madeline's of Seattle (Cornellians and Ithacans will know what I mean)! The dessert case is just gargantuan. I had a mammoth slice of German chocolate cake and the chocolatiest hot cocoa ever, and Tim got a delicious chocolate mousse and some crazy kind of chai. I think I've blogged about this too. Unfortunately it's on Capitol Hill, so it's a bit of a drive, but worth it for a splurge on dessert!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Baby doesn't like kickboxing

I've been talking with a couple other pregnant friends/new moms lately about how difficult it is to keep up with your normal self when pregnant. Not that this should be a surprise--we're not drinking alcohol, eating sushi, or climbing Mt. Rainier--but there are smaller things I've ended up throwing out the window that I didn't think I'd have to.

Exercise is uppermost in my mind because it's been a big part of my life for years and is something I really enjoy. Because of my knee problems and being unable to run last year, the change isn't quite as drastic as it might have been, but some things are still disappointing.

Case in point: my Thursday evening kickboxing class. All throughout college I took an amazing kickboxing class from this spitfire little freshman (who did, yes, become a senior and graduate eventually; but I met her when she was a freshman) who was just great. When we moved out here and I started going to the Pro Club I found a class I thought was almost as good on Thursdays, but had to bow out over the summer after my MRI and ongoing knee pain.

But it occurred to me sometime in February: I'm not really running anymore, but that's no reason why I can't jump around and kick the air for an hour once a week! So I went back to the class for one week, and then the instructor left for her honeymoon and never came back. The subbing instructors were so bad (ie, unable to stay on the 8-count beat and impossibly clumsy when trying to mirror the movements) that I was tempted to stop going....but I was always hopeful the next week would be better. Having a group fitness class mixes up my own routine and it's just plain fun, so I didn't want to give that up.

Until last week, when halfway through the class my legs felt like they'd been hit with hammers and the twisting/bouncing/jumping made my stomach just say, NO! Not to mention there was another pregnant woman in the class who looked to be doing just fine, when I was huffing and puffing and about to fall down. Okay, baby, I said, and we left halfway through. My belly was grateful. I'm just not quite sure what to try next. Water aerobics? I can't really stop from laughing long enough to seriously consider that one. But I want to find something else to replace my kickboxing class. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Signs of Spring!

In the Pacific Northwest we've been spared much of the bitterness of winter, but I still love to see real signs of spring on its way!

One of my springtime favorites: a magnolia tree!

Lily of the Valley?

A funny little flower I see planted a lot around here...

Pots ready to show off.

Blurry proof that another favorite, quince, thrives in Seattle!

New green leaves!

Something yellow and cheery!

Monday, March 16, 2009

17 weeks

Last Friday I was 17 weeks, and the cute little fruit I was waiting to hear about did not deliver: the email said the baby was the size of turnip! Turnips are not very cute. Also, they are usually smaller than avocados, so I was confused. It seems BabyCenter has changed from comparing baby to produce based on length to weight. Baby is 5 inches long and about 5 oz (which is how much a turnip weighs).

I know these belly pictures are terrible -- we do need to get a new camera! Maybe sometime after we move.
When my mom was here she brought a baby gift from my grandma: a new take on that gift given to high school and college grads everywhere (I got two), Oh, The Places You'll Go! called Oh, Baby, The Places You'll Go! It's meant to be read in utero so that's what Tim did last night. Baby's first book! Thanks (great) grandma!

Friday, March 13, 2009

My husband the binge eater

Oh, Tim. Tall and skinny. Ever since crew ended in college Tim's been a fairweather friend to the gym, not that I can really blame him. And it obviously doesn't matter. I'm afraid that at the height of my pregnancy, I will weigh more than he does. You may laugh, but it's a legitimate concern.

My husband has funny eating habits. A lot of times he simply "doesn't remember" to each lunch, so whatever I've packed him sits in his messenger bag or the office fridge if he remembered to put it in there in the first place. Because Tim doesn't like breakfast--not breakfast food in particular, just the act of eating in the morning--he's often a one-meal-a-day kinda guy. He subsists at work on the endless supply of free black coffee, a little like the kind of English major I never was. I don't know how he does it.

Sometimes hunger does get the best of him, though. This past Wednesday I forgot to pack him lunch, so he didn't eat (read: I am not a neglectful wife -- there is a building cafeteria he could go to and buy something! If he remembered). On Wednesdays I go to the church from about 6:30 to 9 for the high school youth ministry I volunteer with, and typically pick Tim up at work afterward. It's a long day at the office for him, but sometimes he sneaks home on the bus and I can just meet him there. This week he got home before me and polished off a pot with leftover spaghetti and meatballs. Then he proceeded to make himself an ice cream sundae:

That's one of our mixing bowls, with about six brownies, the end of a jar of hot fudge, half a carton of ice cream and a mountain of whipped cream on top. Yay!

If Tim were a college-aged girl I'd be worried (or any girl, for that matter--worried on multiple levels ;) ), but this is just him. I love you, silly!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Leaving Fort Knox

We're planning to move in the next three weeks. Many of you know that this time last year we moved into our current apartment after a break-in at our Seattle rental house. That was a really hard time for us, probably the toughest thing I've had to go through. As a year has gone by, I've realized that though I'm still angry about the things that were stolen, the more lasting devastation has been to my sense of security.

Our current apartment is notoriously hard to get into. Friends who come over have to get buzzed into the building if it's after 7 or 8pm, and can't take the elevator (you need a key for that) and can't get into our floor. So they have to call us when they get here so we can run down the hall and let them in.

While this makes it a bit more difficult when we have parties, I've loved the feeling of security I have living here. When we first moved in I would lie in bed and count all the doors that were locked: two doors in the parking garage, the front and back doors to the building, the door to our hallway, the door to our apartment. Plus the elevator. No way was someone getting in here. I was finally able to sleep at night without listening for weird noises, and I could enjoy naps during the day without feeling vulnerable. But I still have always locked the bathroom door when I'm in the shower. Some things never change.

Now that we're looking to move, mostly to have space for baby, I know that I'm going to miss that security (along with the apartment itself; it's been a really nice place to live). But I think I'm ready to graduate to something less intense. Some places we've looked at are gated communities where you have to be a resident to drive in, but your door is then accessible from outside stairs. There have also been some traditional apartment buildings with locked exterior doors and individual apartment doors along hallways (but these hallways aren't restricted).

I go to bed at night knowing that my time here, with this particular assurance of safety, is limited. I try to imagine going to sleep knowing that our home's front door leads to the outside. Can I do it? Can I stop my brain from imagining things? I know this sounds silly, but I never felt safe in that other house, not from the day we moved in in August 2007. The break-in was simply the life shattering culmination of eight months of fearful insomnia. Can I trust that when I get home from doing errands during the day, our home will be safe, and I will be safe in it? That nobody is out to get us?

I have been praying for the ability to trust the Lord to keep us safe. It took me a long time to stop feeling vulnerable, and I'm not anxious to go back to that. Especially with a child. But I know God is gracious and mighty, and he will lead us to just the right spot.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Quick update: Mom's visit and prenatal appt

We had my mom in town last weekend and it was a great time! The weather held up most of the time, and we ate great food, went on walks, got pedicures (thanks, Mom!), saw the much-lauded (and rightly so, I thought) Slumdog Millionaire, and just had some good hanging out time. It was too bad that our proprosed trip up to Whidbey Island for the Penn Cove Mussel Festival was, ahem, snowed out--I don't believe the recent low temps and hail/snow are typical Washington weather for March--but in spite of that we enjoyed ourselves. Plus, it was a great opportunity to celebrate Mom's birthday and her and my dad's wedding anniversary, which I know they will be celebrating together sometime this week. Thanks for coming to visit, Mom!

Today we had another prenatal appointment and I just have to say again how much I like this office. My doctor is so great and we were able to congratulate her on her recent engagement. Baby is looking good, for all we can tell: we got to hear the heartbeat again, which they will do at every visit, and I'm so excited for our next visit in 3 weeks to see baby's precious little self in the mid-term ultrasound.

They confirmed that we don't want to do genetic testing; we decided prepregnancy that we weren't interested in that, and though we're so thankful that we have no reason to assume anything abnormal is happening with the baby's development, we know we would keep the baby no matter what. So we are just praying and trusting God that this little one is healthy and will continue to have a smooth ride inside the womb!

We didn't take a picture last week, but at 16 weeks last Friday baby was the size of an avocado. Can't wait to see what's on tap for 17 weeks!

This will just be quick as I'm on deadline with a freelance project for tomorrow and don't even have a complete draft yet...eek!

And lastly, I just want to thank everyone for all your comments and well wishes. We are just so so excited and love this baby so much. It is a joy to be able to celebrate this time with family and friends. God is good!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Apples and oranges

Friday marked 15 weeks, and baby is the size of an apple or a navel orange! (Sometimes my book and the BabyCenter emails differ).

Blog readers have spoken!

The polling is over and 19 of you voted as to whether we should find out the baby's sex. You readers were overwhelmingly in favor, with 14 affirmative votes and just 5 negatives. We've now got just 5 more weeks to decide for ourselves, as I'm currently 15 weeks and they do the next ultrasound at 20. Stay tuned for our decision. And thanks for participating everyone!