Friday, May 28, 2010

Ten-pound gerbil
















A certain baby book says our little one is about the size of "a small
gerbil" right now, but I don't know... I think I look more than sixteen and a half weeks pregnant, so maybe gerbil was a typo. Maybe they meant full-grown male marmot. More likely, I need to cut back on these and these.*

I was prompted to make a note of the gerbil issue after a friend who is in a more advanced stage of pregnancy told me that her forthcoming baby is now the size of Toto from the Wizard of Oz.

* And definitely these.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Whoopee!












I ate my first whoopee pie at the age of 19 while doing the summer camp counselor thing at a sleepaway camp in New England. When whoopee pies were served for dessert in the dining hall, I'm not kidding, joyous shouts of "whoopee!" were emitted by kids and 'dults alike.*

I came up with these vegan banana whoopee pies last week, having at my disposal a pan like (but not as expensive as) this. And I whipped together a variety of things you'd expect** to create the creamy filling, with the hyper-banana-y flavor being owed to actual bananas and some cheating. Since this was sort of a baking experiment (successful, unlike sometimes), I didn't really keep track of what in god's name I was doing, so I can't share a recipe, but next time I'll write something down for my banana-lovin' comrades.



* This is one of the happy memories of my various summer camp jobs in Connecticut, Ohio, and upstate New York. There are plenty of less idyllic memories too, such as complete and utter exhaustion, living with a dozen children in a tiny log cabin (not as cute as it sounds), and being taken to the emergency room after a camper-caused cycling accident somewhere in Vermont. But still... whoopee!
** Like this and this. Just because it's vegan doesn't mean it's healthy.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Visible changes
















I know it looks like I'm purposely jutting about my belly in this photo, but I assure you that that is not a) the case, or b) necessary!

I'm almost sixteen weeks along now, and this photo is from a week or two ago. Ben and I aren't particularly busy with baby-related stuff right now... busier, instead, with looking for a house to buy, and with arranging Ben's forthcoming job change. 2010 is full of changes for us, and we just haven't had time to get obsessed with buying baby things or even take our class at the hospital... but really we're waiting to do that because we'll likely be switching doctors and hospitals as a result of moving to the country!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bento, still

Ben claims he still loves these bento lunches and doesn't
find them at all embarrassing, so I keep making them. We
both like it!











Orange slices, spice cake, carrot sticks, and falafel with lemon-tahini dressing.











Canellini bean salad with fresh spinach, chocolate muffin, carrots and edamame, and sweet potato fritters.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Baking bread, buying house












I baked ciabatta from a recipe in this book of bread recipes. It tasted good, and was great for some picnic sandwiches we lugged (in the most idyllic little wicker picnic basket*) on a recent daytrip to a charming little town that I'll just call CLT for now, but the bread wasn't really ciabatta-y. Despite taking all day to make, there was little chewiness payoff. The crust was nice and crisp and the inside good'n'bready, but that's not ciabatta, know what I mean? Oh well. Ben thinks the starter needs to ferment longer than the four hours prescribed by the recipe. He's probably right, but tell that to Paul Hollywood!

We were in CLT for the day because we were looking at houses. We're seriously considering moving to a small Minnesota town surrounded by countryside! CLT is a pretty special community. It's in the midst of the rural midwest, but for some reason has two prestigious liberal arts colleges (one of which Ben attended for undergrad**). I can totally live with an intellectual community surrounded by countryside; in fact, it sounds darn near perfect right about now. Ben and I have always valued the great things that cities usually offer (for example, diversity, arts, music, restaurants, job opportunities,*** and liberals). But every city has its disadvantages, too. Like, if we moved back to Seattle, we wouldn't be able to buy a decent house. Crime, too, has become an increasing stressor to me. Since we moved to Minneapolis less than three years ago, we've already had a couple of things stolen, including our car from in front of our apartment. Then there's the traffic, the vast number of rude city-dwellers (yes, even in Minnesota) and, you know, not being able to walk around outdoors alone after dusk if you're female.

Don't get me wrong, I've read Sinclair Lewis and know all about the potential defects of small-town life: neighbors knowing your bidness, nobody around who isn't white, not as much to do as in the big city. But there's something so peaceful about our potential new town, and we're having a baby soon, so, frankly, don't really plan on "doing" much anyway. We like the town, so the pros have started to roundly outweigh the cons: we'll be able to afford a lovely house, send our forthcoming child to a good school, attend tons of great local concerts and intellectually stimulating lectures, and probably even be able to afford the extras we've given up in the last five years, like going to the movies more than once every sixteen months or (and, like some of you, we have forgotten what this is like) going on a vacation! (I can hear you playing your tiny invisible violin right now.)

If we do move, I'd like to do it soon. This baby is coming in November whether we've settled in or not, and I'm ready to be where we're going to be. I want to see CLT's reknowned baby-havin' center,**** meet our new obstetrician, and just, you know, get ready. It's probably because of this.

* I made pink walnut pâté as a spread for the faux-ciabatta sandwiches, with carmelized onions and some spinach and tomatoes. We also had jelly doughnut cupcakes from the world's most formidable vegan cookbook, Veganomicon. We enjoyed our picnic on a riverbank. Keep in mind that I'm on vacation right now, so I have time to do this sort of ridiculously cute thing.
** And if you'd told him he'd someday be moving back to CLT with his pregnant wife, I doubt he would have believed it.
*** If we make this move, Ben will commute to the Cities (we'll have to start calling them "the Cities"!) for work. As a freelance illustrator, I can work from anywhere.
**** Affiliated with the Mayo Clinic!


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Food and its Discontents

Fourteen weeks into pregnancy, my relationship with food has
changed slightly. I haven't had any real cravings*, but I have been extremely... suggestible. Anything I see anyone eating on
television becomes an immediate semi-obsession, and once, early
on, I wanted nothing but Eggos after watching a sitcom in which
the characters kept referring to frozen waffles... they didn't even
eat or show any frozen waffles, just kept talking about them. I
ended up satisfying that lust with homemade pancakes and maple syrup, which is so much nicer than Eggos anyway.

One of my first clues that Ben and I are having a baby was a strong aversion to my cherished morning coffee. The smell and taste made me want to retch. And, man, un-pregnant Aimee really loves coffee. But this is one of those aversions that's a boon to pregnant women, since we're really not supposed to have coffee anyway.** Recently I've had a couple of run-ins with what I think of as "spontaneous aversions" -- this, of course, is when I thought I really wanted to eat a certain thing, until I put the thing in my mouth and started chewing. I won't explain further.

Overall, my diet hasn't changed a lot, though. I still eat a healthy vegan diet full of veggies, beans, tofu, and other soy products. Ben and I continue our "Spinach Challenge" each week, buying an enormous bag of baby greens every seven days and challenging ourselves to finish the whole damn thing within the week (which we almost invariably do, by adding spinach to everything from pasta sauce to casseroles to soups).

There have been just a couple of other changes and additions. Instead of coffee, I drink a glass of chocolate soy milk every morning.*** And I've been eating oranges by the bag, because they are so gloriously sweet and delicious lately! Oh, and edamame with a little salt. I've added tomato juice once a day, because that stuff is seriously good for you. But it's not all roses... sometimes there's cake, and sometimes there's mango sorbet, and sometimes there's ice cream. I am pregnant, for Chrissakes, and the baby has informed me that he or she wants--nay, requires--more mango sorbet.

P.S. Sorry about the "puking" tag. I figure I might as well get that one established before our kid is born, so I can be ready--if one can be at all "ready"--for all of the vomiting children do.



* I accidentally typed "crazings," which is also appropriate.
** Some experts say a little bit of coffee is okay. But who wants a little bit of coffee? And why risk it?
*** Still has some caffeine, but apparently far less than coffee.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

And THAT is why I love my MacBook

video

I coaxed Ben into recording the baby's heartbeat at yesterday's
ultrasound. Surely, I conjectured, we won't be the first couple
to show up at the obstetrician's office with a white laptop and
some editing software. Ben agreed (what was he going to do, say
no to his pregnant wife?), and here is what he recorded! Babies'
hearts beat really fast in the womb (175 beats per minute at my
first check-up, and 150 BPM yesterday!) -- "Like a hummingbird,"
as my sweet husbeau phrased it.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Daguerreotype















Ben and I can finally share our big news, which involves a baby:
we're having one!

Keeping my mouth shut for the first twelve weeks was a challenge, but at the same time it's quite nice to have a special secret, isn't it? Well, today I had a 12-week ultrasound. Ultrasound isn't standard at twelve weeks, but we got a freebie because my obstetrician's office is working toward certification in some sort of fancy extra-advanced sonography technology, and since they need to submit a series of "perfect" ultrasound images with their application they asked if we'd like to come in and get an extra glimpse at our little one. We wanted to, and we did, and it was pretty wonderful. And our baby kind of looks like a cute little turtle!

Everything was totally normal at the ultrasound. So, the rest of this post might be really boring unless you're one of the baby's grandparents (just a warning). So: our baby seemed to be sleeping, or was at least immersed in quiet meditation, when we began the ultrasound. He* wasn't in the position the technician needed for the baby's closeup, so about thirty minutes of tapping my belling commenced. I wasn't convinced the tapping would accomplish anything, but the baby started rolling around and changing position right away. At one point the poor thing was standing on his head. Still: wrong position. I hopped around a bit. Still no profile shot. Just when I began to worry that we were harassing the poor baby a bit too much, the technician gave up on the glamour shots, reassuring us that all looked great nonetheless. We left with some new snapshots, no worse for the wear. And I thought the baby had Ben's nose.**

Two more things: a few times, the baby rubbed his face with his hand! I mean, are you kidding me? I thought I might die from cuteness overload. Also, the baby had his legs crossed at the ankle, which the ultrasound technician*** found remarkably funny and cute.

P.S. Is it just me, or do ultrasound images always look weirdly like 1840s daguerreotypes?



* We'll just say he, because the pronoun situation is already getting cumbersome.
** Right now you're looking at the ultrasound image and saying "Nose?!" But I swear, the live show was way better than the photos! We saw fingers, toes, the aforesaid handsome nose, eyes (well, eye sockets), a ridiculously tiny and amazing ribcage, and what the technician termed "a beautiful spine."
***Pat has been an ultrasound technician for thirty years; imagine the changes in technology she's seen in her line of work. While I was in the restroom peeing to give the baby more room to roll into the desired position, Pat told Ben that when she first started, they basically had to use their imaginations. Which I imagine didn't result in the most satisfying ultrasound images.