March 17, 2013

Waiting for baby

With baby number two (and final), the pregnancy has gone by so much more quickly.

Even these last three weeks, while I'm waiting, the days fly by.  I'm now only a week out from my due date - though I'm anxious to get the party started, I know the baby will eventually come and life as we know it will cease.

Our Au Pair has arrived and I'm already so grateful for her.  She swooped in, got started right away, and T can't stop staring into her eyes and smiling.  She plays really well with him, and since he's madly in love with her, he does whatever she says.  We adults love her too.  She fits in really well, seems to need as much alone time as we do, and joins in when we have company.  This process could have been a total disaster in a number of ways, but so far, we feel so lucky.

A my midwife appointment last week, my blood pressure was a bit high.  Even with visualization, which helped me bring it down when it was high when I was pregnant with T, didn't do much.  They had me come back two days later, and it was even higher.  After a little cry about possibly having to be induced (but being assured my midwives would be there while it happened), we headed to Kaiser for some testing to see what was going on.  Bubbs is home now for his leave, so luckily, he was able to take me to Kaiser for testing.

I have no other symptoms of pre-eclampsia than high blood pressure, but our midwives take no chances - if I want a homebirth I have to do whatever they say to ensure them that I have a normal pregnancy.

So, after an amazing mexican breakfast, we headed to Kaiser.  Navigating the parking lot is sure to raise anyone's blood pressure.  We arrived in labor and delivery and they had us wait in a yellow waiting room with burgundy chairs.  I started crying again - "I don't want to have my baby here, it is so ugly!"  Sobbing and laughing at the same time helped to relieve some of the stress.

Aside from how ugly Kaiser was, I realized just how grateful I am for my midwife team:

- The Kasier nurse demanded that I take of my clothes and put on a gown.  When I asked why, since they would be taking my blood pressure and doing an ultrasound, she said it was "just in case."  Um, "just in case WHAT?"  I put the damn gown on, but over my clothes :)

- When it was time to take my blood pressure, there were three alarms going off, plus my baby's heart rate monitor.  I'm trying to visualize being on a hot deck in the summer with an ice cold glass of wine while I have what sounds like a war going on around me.   Helpful.  In my midwive's office, I'm a lovely sofa and she checked to make sure I was okay with the light conversation going on outside the room.

- When my urine tests came back, the nurse says, "negative."  I was like, "um, negative for what?"  My midwives would have explained it all upfront.

- The nurse who came to take my blood couldn't find a vein and was really rough with me.  This is after I told her I hate getting blood draw.

-They gave me instructions for a 24 hour pee collection - I followed them, then brought the pee back the next day only to be told that I didn't do it right and they couldn't use it.

The good news is - I went from having 152/70 to 118/69 using visualization.  All my testing came back perfectly normal and my homebirth is still on.

I had acupuncture (twice) to help me keep my calm - and man was it groovy (the second time - the first time was just weird since I didn't speak the language of the acupuncturist).

We're in the waiting game now - trying to keep the house clean with all of us here full time and trying to keep me calm.

The birth tub is set up, the meals are frozen, and now it is just time to relax.

March 8, 2013

Au Pair Room Done!

It is 3pm on Friday, March 8th.

Our Au Pair arrives at 8pm.

I JUST finished the room.  It has been mostly done for weeks, but the workers were going in and out to finish painting the exterior of house and I didn't want to start cleaning the bathroom and finishing the floors, making the beds, until they were done tramping in and out.

I spent a long long time decorating, planning, and spent about double our budget to get this room together - a room I won't see again for many many many months.

Just so you remember where we started:

When we moved in...

Starting work to build the rumpus room...

Halfway there.


It lived like this for awhile.

We played down here a lot on rainy days and grandparents slept down here regularly.

Then mama got knocked up, we found out about the Au Pair program, and decided to invite a total stranger to come live with us in our tiny 2 bedroom apartment. it is!

This isn't the most glamorous entrance, but it is her own.

I imagine that rug won't be white when we get the room back in 18 months, but it was SO cheap I don't care.

It would have been nice to iron that slipcover, but this mama's very pregnant and was so not doing that.

We got her a netbook and a cell phone so she can watch netflix and skype and get some privacy from our crazy house.

View from the bed.

View OF the bed.

The bathroom, finally clean.

Frosted the windows with contact paper so she could have some privacy.

A white orchid makes everything look pretty and put together.

Her "kitchen" - I filled it with snacks, tea, a couple cups and plates.  She also has a microwave and a fridge/freezer.  She can use our kitchen anytime, but our house is SO small so if she wants friends over I want them to have a place to hang out and have some privacy, drink wine, and have some snacks.

There's no closet in her room (that wall of doors are the water heaters and furnaces).  I bought these from ikea to hopefully act as a closet for her.  Not fancy at all, but hopefully it will work for her.

I'm a little nervous about having someone come live with us, but this adventure starts in just a few hours...

March 5, 2013

March 4, 2013

Riverhouse Updates - Bolting it down and Jacking it up

Bubbs and I snuck away this weekend for some mineral pool floating and delightful eating in Calistoga.  Exactly 24 hours of getaway was exactly what I needed.

On our way home, we stopped by the riverhouse to check on the progress.

When we got there we were shocked - the demo had gone much further than we anticipated - it was AWESOME.

My/our vision was starting to come through!

Imagine these ceilings painted white, drywall instead of faux paneling, and hardwood floors.

deck demo




This room used to be a water closet - but apparently ALL the plumbing in the house is bad - so pretty much any room connected to a pipe has rotten floors.  SURPRISE!

The toilet will come back, we'll have white hex tile on the floor, and white walls.

I love cast iron tubs - they keep the heat so well.  We'll be tiling a backsplash around the tub so the walls don't rot during bathtime and that amazing ornate gold frame is getting painted.

Another leak below.

Who needs a floor?

I have been afraid to go into the bathroom since we bought the place.  The floor moved and creaked and I was pretty sure it would fall through.  When we pulled back some dirt outside, we realized it might be because the wood was all rotted and the foundation was not complete underneath.  Apparently when the poured it, it didn't fill in correctly - and the past owners never fixed it.

Voila!  Concrete poured and siding patched!  We'll be building a deck up to the side of the house here - the Grill and hopefully and outdoor sink will live here.


When we bought it, there was lattice all along the side of the building, we took it down and the house looks NAKED and unstable.


The actual house wasn't connected to the retaining wall - so we're bolting it down.

And the floors had a 5 inch slope, so we're jacking it up.



Decks are getting repaired and rot is getting fixed.  No pictures were taken of the 9 month pregnant lady climbing the ladder into the house.

Holes are being CUT!  We need to connect the top floor and bedrooms down below - so an internal staircase is a must.  Good thing we didn't bring the toddler.

I suppose I'm learning lessons in construction management here.  We left a sleeping bag up there as well as a couple of my favorite folding chairs so I'd have place to sit and T wouldn't get too cold during the winter when we visited.  Well, there's my sleeping bag.  My other folding chairs have giant workboot foot prints on the white canvas seats :(


Even though the house was in shambles (good shambles, but shambles), the deck was fantastic.  Hot, sunny, and surrounded by redwoods.  If we had a working bathroom, we would have stayed up on this deck the rest of the day - but my pregnant bladder wouldn't allow for it.


Driving back to the city it was 15 degrees colder, fogged in, and cozy.  Best of both worlds.

March 3, 2013

Baby Dropped and Heartburn Gone!

I've had NASTY heartburn for the last 8 weeks or so. 

The kind that wakes me up.

I was taking Papaya enzyme for the majority of it, but lately I've had to resort to Tums.

So, a few days ago I was convinced I was going into labor.

I was having lots of regular braxton hicks PLUS pain under my belly (across my lower abdomen).

I even had Bubbs stay home and take T to school that morning so I could rest.

Anyway, I realized that the baby had dropped and that was the big difference.

Now, three days later, I realize that my heartburn is GONE.  I haven't taken papaya in three days!

Baby dropped = heartburn gone?   I don't remember that from last time, but groovy.

I also heard that second timers don't have the baby drop early - but this guy is low.  Very low.

March 1, 2013

Pot Pie!

We have lasagne in the freezer.  That was super easy.

I decided that pot pie would be easy to make.  HA!

It wasn't complicated, but it was messy.

Thank goodness the end result was AMAZING.


I used Williams Sonoma Pie Crust recipe (leaving the sugar in).  I have made many versions of pie crust, and this was spectacular.  Spectacular.  But, I had to add WAY more water than the recipe called for.  I was really insecure about my dough getting too warm, blah, blah, but it stayed out a long time, the kitchen got hot, and it was still amazing.

Triple the recipe to fill 8 mini loaf pans.  A mini loaf pan can serve 2 people.

To make the filling, I roasted some chickens using Thomas Keller's Favorite Chicken Recipe a few days before.

Chopped up the chicken breast (2 breasts).

Then I made a simple roux:

A cube of butter, melted in a pot, then sprinkle flour in (about a 1/4-1/2 a cup).  Whisk it good.  It should turn pasty and smooth.

Then slowly add chicken broth (2.5 boxes is fine) whisking it in.

It should get thicker - let it boil.

I added 7 diced (unevenly diced) tiny organic white skinned potatoes.

Add them to the boiling broth/roux mixture for about 10 minutes.

Then I added a whole bag of organic peas, carrots, and green beans (TJ's carries them).

Let this cook up a bit.

For my test batch, I put crust on the bottom of the mini loaf pan, baked it at 450 until it was brown and bubbly, poured in the vegi/chicken/stock goo, then put another piece of crust on top (just lay it on the goo).

I think the bottom crust was too much.  More crust than goo - overwhelming.

So, for our other batches, I just spooned the goo into the loaf pans, put a layer of crust on top, brushed with egg and froze.

I was able to fit 6 mini loaf pans in the freezer.

I'm too lazy to take them out and individually freeze them.  Hopefully some time today.

Oh - best pot pie I've ever had.  I wouldn't substitute the crust for store bought.  The crust was too good.