Tuesday, August 27, 2013

28 weeks!

bump watch: i have to say i greatly enjoy watching people subtly try to figure out if i'm pregnant or just fat. you can just see the wheels turning. my favourite of all was a patient who just could not look away from my belly. i was about to jump in and put her silent question to rest when she said, "you look like you're glowing!" how clever was that? still, it's mostly the 90-year-old ladies who beam up at me and ask if i'm "expecting" without a qualm. it won't be so great when i'm rocking the postpartum belly, but for now, i'm loving it.
sweet pea: is a rocking, rolling, jiving dance maniac! part of my childbirth class weekly assignment is to do daily kick counts (you mark off a box corresponding to the time it took to feel 10 kicks -- normal is up to 2 hours). without fail, sweetpea gets those kicks in within 20 minutes -- sometimes 5 minutes if he or she really gets going! at 17 inches long and 2.9 pounds, there's not quite as much room in there for wriggling but that doesn't seem to slow baby down. 

best moment: making it to the third trimester! in some ways it seems ridiculously long ago that i was announcing my pregnancy on a cake, and yet i can't believe we're already in the home stretch. i'm getting more and more eager to actually meet this little one ... to rock and snuggle and, yes, inhale that delectable baby smell. i still have moments of PRENATAL PANIC as was so eloquently coined by Amy Boots, but deep down i know everything will be just fine.  

symptoms: it's definitely getting tougher to put on my pants and shave my legs, and i've found that instead of bending at the waist, i naturally just drop into a squat. much easier and actually fantastic for preparing for labor, but i fear sometimes it looks like i'm actually about to pop out a baby on the floor. at least i can still get up unaided! 

cravings: not so much this week! i'm definitely filling up faster than before. still, whenever a craving does strike, it's more of the sweet variety. i did my 1 hour glucose challenge last week and get the results tomorrow, so we'll see what that reveals ...

what i miss: well, i'm still enjoying a full night's sleep, but am already sad about the future lack thereof. how come they can't make babies who sleep through the night from day one?
looking forward to: starting prenatal appointments every 2 weeks! i just can't believe we're to this point already. next one's tomorrow and i can't wait! 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

26 weeks!


bump watch: helloooooooo, belly! it is large and in charge for sure. and my belly button is such a weird shape. it looks kind of like a big grin. no stretch marks yet (all that protein is good for something!).
sweet pea: is as long as a cucumber at 15 inches from head to foot, and weighs 2 lbs 4 ounces. baby is continuing to kick and flip, and this week's new trick is hiccups! the first time i felt them, i thought it was a series of kicks at first, but quickly realized they were too regular and all in the same place to be anything but a hiccup. (does it make me a bad mother that my first thought was "go home, baby, you're drunk"?) 
Fetal Development Week 27

best moment: definitely, without question, the surprise baby shower that my amazing friends and family threw on Saturday! it was so great to share that afternoon with family from out of town. and Sweetpea got some pretty sweet swag :) it was also wonderful to have Mom come along to my midwife appointment last week! 

symptoms: baby frequently gets wedged way up into the bottom of my ribcage, so the past few days especially i've felt the need to lean back when i'm sitting. last week i was actually wondering if something might be going on with my gallbladder since i would have so much pressure on the right side after eating, but since i haven't had pain or nausea, the midwife said it sounds more related to baby's position than anything else. and i'd much rather deal with the upper stomach discomfort than a tapdance on my bladder. 

cravings: we had quite the indulgent week with family in town and all the festivities. the one thing that definitely hit the spot was a Heath blizzard ... we passed a Dairy Queen while on the search for lunch for Kira one day and i managed to convince everyone to hoof it back over there after she got her Jimmy John's sandwich (with a huge pickle!). 

what i miss: seeing my toes.
looking forward to: touring two more daycares next week! we visited one on Tuesday that i really liked, but they won't have openings in the nursery until April 2014 (aka lots of other parents like them too). i'm planning to return to work part time in January or February and will feel so much better once we have a definite childcare arrangement figured out. although i don't like to think about leaving baby with anyone else besides Nick and me, i'm so glad that we're on the same page! 

Friday, August 16, 2013


can i just explain how dearly, dearly i love surprises? from my perfectly pulchritudinous purple 18th birthday party, to Nick visiting me in Ireland over Thanksgiving break of sophomore year, to Nick's amazing proposal, to my bachelorette party, it seems that almost every special occasion in my life has been preceded by several weeks of intense planning on the part of my friends, and somewhat embarrassing cluelessness on the part of yours truly. the past month has been no exception. and truthfully? i don't want to start snooping around or suspecting that when people invite me to estate sales or take my picture next to a statue in the park, they have ulterior motives. 

long-haired Nick with pajama-clad me, in Galway circa 2005!

short-haired Nick with a very shocked me, in New Orleans circa 2009!

Gordon Ramsay's gun show with a horrifyingly-pleased me, in Shadyside circa 2012!

bottom line, there is just nothing quite like a well-planned surprise to make you feel loved. a few weeks ago, our beloved Pirate Wench Amelia was visiting from California and so we had all planned to meet for brunch at up! in Shadyside. this was not a shocking choice given their lauded breakfast buffet, including all-you-can-drink bloody marys for $6. (oh, pittsburgh, how i love you.) what was shocking was that one of the waiters congratulated me when i walked upstairs. in typical Kate fashion, i didn't think too much of it because Jeremy works there and i rationalized to myself that he must have said something about his group of friends, including the pregnant chick, coming in for brunch that day. and then i turned the corner and saw a table covered with gifts and the cutest baby-shaped balloon i've ever seen in my entire life. before i could say a word, a tiara was slapped on my head and my baby shower had begun! 

we had a marvelous time and i thought that was that. fast forward to last week, when Mom, Dad & Kira flew in from Seattle to spend some time seeing the Pittsburgh sights (and getting acquainted with Kaiser!). before they arrived, i had been brainstorming weekend activities and Blair mentioned an estate sale taking place in their condo on Saturday which was purported to have plenty of baby things. normally i would have been all. over. that. business, but i figured it wouldn't be much fun for my family so didn't mention it to them. fail #1. finally, on Saturday morning, Mom asked when we were going to see my friends and i spent an hour texting Jon various ideas about when we could get together, which he systematically shot down with a nonchalant "oh! i have work!", "oh! we have a housewarming party to go to!", "oh! the first pre-season Steelers game is tonight!". we finally stumbled upon the plan for me to drag my (surprisingly willing) family to the tail end of the estate sale, followed by happy hour before Jon, Blair and Amy attended to their other social obligations. (ha.)

so as the afternoon wore on, i began to get a little antsy about actually making it over to the estate sale "before all the good stuff was sold". my gentle efforts at prodding my family to get out of the house were not too successful. by the time we actually arrived outside the condo, we were running 45 minutes "behind schedule", which - of course - was all part of the plan. we took the elevator down to the party room, which seemed to be a rather festive place for an estate sale, but what do i know about these things? i hesitated for a minute outside the door because i could see through the glass that there seemed to be a whole contingent of people at the far end of the room, and i didn't want to barge in if the auctioneer was in the middle of displaying a particularly fine object. fail #2. finally i just opened the door, and ... 


i was so confused, and then ecstatic, and then confused again to see Kelli and Krista! 

the devious party planners (dressed in gender neutral colors, of course)

when my poor brain finally comprehended what was going on, i was overwhelmed all over again at the thought and detail that went into this shower. (apparently the brunch shower was a "decoy" baby shower. WHO DOES THAT?!?! best friends ever.) the theme was "Once Upon a Time" and all of the guests (who included Nick's family traveling from Altoona and Washington DC, and my aunts traveling from New England, in addition to my sisters traveling from Seattle) had brought children's books. the whole room was decorated with said books along with a vast collection of Disney movies on VHS. the tables were decorated with paper pinwheels made from book pages and little bags of candy garnished with a "library card" tag with the date of the shower in place of the bar code, and a note explaining that a donation to our local library had been made in lieu of prizes for the shower games. melt my heart! a literal tree stood in the corner decorated with "leaves" also made from book pages, and the walls were hung with baby pictures. the delicious food (all homemade!) was paired with signs tying each dish into an appropriate book (my favourites were apple crisp with a book about Adam & Eve, and an empty plate with The Emperor Penguin's New Clothes. yes, just like The Emperor's New Clothes but better because PENGUINS). the icing on the cake was that Jon painted a gorgeous pallet-board with the "Once Upon a Time" motif ... in our nursery colors. ridiculous, i'm telling you. and some smart cookie figured out that the inflatable ducky infant tub could be filled with ice and drinks. now that's what i call multitasking.

so, the moral of this story is that i love surprises. and most of all, i love that our Sweetpea is surrounded by such caring, creative people who truly make our lives a Happily Ever After.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

csa night

if you haven't yet had the immense pleasure of watching a KitchenAid pasta extruder attachment in action, let me tell you -- it's surpassed only by the gustatory delight of eating the homemade pasta that results. in this case, bucatini tossed with a plethora of sauteed vegetables and coated in a homemade cream sauce. and what better to serve as a palate cleanser than homemade lemon basil sorbet? nothing. that's what. 

bucatini with vegetables and cream sauce
made up by our very own selves!

  • 12 oz bucatini, cooked and drained
  • 1/2 of a large onion, chopped
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup cooked corn, cut from cob
  • 1 cup green beans, trimmed
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 1 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1/2 TBSP crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 3 TBSP flour
  • 2 cups milk, room temperature
  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 TBSP salt
  • 1/2 TBSP pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium skillet. Saute onion, garlic and shallots for 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the mushrooms, green beans, and bell pepper. Cook until softened, 15-20 minutes. Add corn and stir until heated through. 

Meanwhile, heat a saucepan over medium heat. Melt butter and gradually whisk in flour to create a roux. Cook 2-3 minutes or until browned and fragrant. Slowly whisk in milk and cook over low heat for 15 minutes, until thickened. Add Greek yogurt, salt, and pepper. Continue to cook over low heat until the sauce coats the back of a spoon.

Cook pasta according to directions. Drain. Toss pasta with vegetable mixture, then toss with sauce. Add seasonings to taste. 

lemon basil sorbet
recipe from Cuisinart
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 TBSP lemon zest, divided
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
Combine water, sugar, and 1 TBSP lemon zest in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until sugar is fully dissolved, then remove from heat. Add basil and salt. Let steep for 30 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate 2-3 hours, or overnight. Strain the chilled mixture through a fine mesh strainer.

Turn on the Cuisinart ice cream maker. Pour mixture into the frozen freezer bowl and let mix until thickened (about 15-20 minutes). Add reserved zest and churn until combined. Serve topped with blueberries and additional basil. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

friday faves, vol. 5

i can not believe we are already into August! this summer feels like it's just barely begun. and this weekend promises to be chock full of adventure with Mom, Dad & Kira in town, so i'm sure it will fly by all too quickly. some highlights of the last few weeks:

--this honest reflection on family trips from one of my favourite bloggerseverything she writes resonates with me. i love imagining the vacations we'll take in the future, everything from staying in the cabins at Lake Raystown to a beach vacay or two to going back to Germany as often as we can.

--fluffernutter chip ice cream. yes. this may even overshadow my recent obsession with salted caramel. 

photo from Jessica at How Sweet Eats

-- yet another glimpse into the future. if our future includes lots of babies, which i hope it will. 

-- will i ever tire of permutations on the buffalo chicken motif? i think not. thank you to Mountain Mama Cooks for this incredible recipe for buffalo chicken tacos, in the crockpot, no less. 

Taco Tuesday: Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Tacos with Blue Cheese Slaw

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

25 weeks!


bump watch: i still feel like this varies by the day (and the clothes!). there's no doubt that something is going on in the belly region, but sometimes it can be hard to tell if it's a food baby or an actual baby. all the women in my hypnobabies class are between 1-3 weeks ahead of me and they all have the cutest, round bumps! all in good time i suppose!
sweet pea: according to What to Expect, baby is still the size of an eggplant, just a bigger one at two pounds and over 9 inches long from crown-to-rump (aka head-to-butt). this week's big accomplishment is opening those eyes! i think the bebe in the illustration below looks like he's plotting some mischief, perhaps a harbinger of things to come. baby's brain is also developed enough to respond to sounds with increased activity and pulse. 

Fetal Development Week 26

best moment: my first Hypnobabies class last week! i absolutely loved the instructor and all the other couples are first-time parents, all around the same age and with similar personalities. i was a little afraid that everyone would be sporting unshaven legs and birkenstocks. i knew we'd all get along when we were discussing our weekly snack and one of the guys suggested beer and pizza. Nick has the great privilege of reading a childbirth hypnosis script to me three times per week as part of our "home play" (what they call "home work" -- okay, that one makes me gag a little) and we've gotten through it with surprisingly few giggles. 

symptoms: hooray for less heartburn! i don't know whether to credit this to random good luck or Sarah's suggestion to try apple cider vinegar. it can't be a change in diet because i'm still wolfing down the tomatoes and marinara sauce. it seems impossible that ACV is the reason because i only took it once and have only had the slightest twinges of heartburn since. obviously the vinegar doesn't create lasting changes in your stomach's pH, but since the heartburn has subsided i haven't felt the need to take it again. whatever the reason, i'm happy!

cravings: definitely more into the sweets recently. chocolate peanutbutter cheese cake. a snack-size Twix bar (how did i forget how amazing Twix bars are?!). Oreo Klondike bars. yup. 

what i miss: real beer. 
looking forward to: the imminent arrival of part of the Geiger clan! mom, dad & kira will arrive tomorrow and we can't wait to see them! 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

23 & 24 weeks!


bump watch: there's no hiding it now! we're flying through the second trimester and the bump seems to be growing by the day. 
sweet pea: is the size of an eggplant, weighing in at 1 1/2 pounds and 9 inches long! the craziest thing about the past week has been feeling arms and legs going at the same time -- a veritable dance party! sweetpea's nostrils are starting to open, and the lungs are starting to produce surfactant (the key to reducing surface tension on the alveoli so the lungs can properly expand). annnnnnd all of this means that baby has now reached The Age of Viability -- the point at which a baby has at least a 50% chance of surviving when born. i'd like to wait for much better odds, thank you very much! 

Fetal Development Week 25

best moment: getting our third (and probably final!) look at Sweetpea via ultrasound last week! this was a follow-up ultrasound to our anatomy scan, where they were unable to fully visualize all four chambers of the heart due to baby's position. everything on this ultrasound looked absolutely perfect! 

symptoms: a little ankle swelling here and there (mostly if it's hot and i've been on my feet all day), a little more middle-of-the-night wakening, and a little more charlie-horses when i first stretch out in the morning. 

cravings: so we went to lunch at burgatory yesterday and i had a salted caramel pretzel milkshake that was seriously one of the most delicious things i've ever eaten in my entire life. i can't even imagine how atrociously bad for you it is, so it won't become a habit, but if nutrition didn't matter i would have one every day. 

what i miss: on a totally selfish note? the way i looked 15 pounds ago. my weight gain is right on track, but i wish my face didn't look so pregnant! 
looking forward to: getting our new mattress and boxspring so we can move into our actual master bedroom upstairs! after two years in our house, it's about time!