This is my site where I will be sharing my thoughts, feelings and happenings. In the words of Austin Powers, "It's my happening, baby, and it freaks me out...yeah!" Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Family Time

I'm just now getting around to posting about the Christmas and New Year's holidays we spent in Tulsa with my family.

Christmas Eve we went to my aunt & uncle's house for dinner and a candlelight service that my dad created years ago (involves Scripture reading while gradually lighting the candles around the circle, singing of Christmas songs and then maybe sharing whatever is on your mind). This year we also looked at lots of old pictures of family gatherings (from the 70's and 80's). There were some hilarious photos of us cousins when we were cute little kids.

Christmas Day my parents had all the family over for dinner, games and the gift exchange. We do the gift exchange game where everyone draws a number from the hat to see what order we go in. #1 opens a present. #2 can take #1's present or open another present. #3 can take #1's or #2's present or open their own present from the pile...and so on. A gift is "safe" and can no longer be taken once it's been taken twice (so the 3rd person to get it, keeps it). It is really fun and quite hilarious at times. We do $20 gifts so you end up with some good stuff.

Here is Aunt Cindy passing out the numbers:

This year we had some guests join us--Tonia and her boyfriend Ken. Tonia is good friends with Craig and I, as well as with my cousin and sister. Craig introduced me to her and she was my roommate the year after college. Ken, Tonia, sister Karen, cousin-in-law Becca, cousin Ben:

On Christmas Day and New Year's Eve & Day we played the usual Around the World Ping Pong. It's a great ping pong game that everyone can participate in at once. When it's your turn, you step up to the table, pick up the paddle, hit the ball over the net, set the paddle down on the table and move around the table to the right, standing behind the person who hits before you. This goes on and on with everyone rotating around the table, hitting from a different side each time, until all but 2 people are out. You are out if you have 3 strikes against you and the way you get a strike is if you don't hit the ball on your turn (if the person hitting the ball to you didn't strike on their turn) or you hit it but it doesn't hit the table on the other side of the net. Since it's impossible for the last 2 people to run around the table hitting in the same manner, they have to hit the ball then place the paddle on the table, spin around in place one time and pick up the paddle for the next hit (they stay on the same side of the table the whole time). The winner is the one who lasts longest without getting 3 strikes. It's very fun and high energy!

You are really racing to get to the other side of the table when there are only 4 people left!

Cousin Christy and sister Karen playing cards on New Year's Eve:

Christy pinching her baby Chloe's cheeks--so cute!

My brother John and his family travelled from Breckenridge, CO to Missouri to spend Christmas at Lindsay's sister's house with her family. Then they came to Tulsa on December 27th and stayed until January 1st.

Nieces & nephews Gracie (5), Isaac (4), Ella (3), Noah (1, but 2 in February!):

The night they arrived, the kids opened their presents from us while wearing their matching pj's:

Lindsay holds up the I Spy quilt my mom made for the kids. It has all sorts of great things on it for them to play the I Spy game with. They loved it!

Fun times playing with homemade playdough and drawing:

We went to Incredible Pizza one day for lunch (all-you-can-eat pizza/pasta/potato/dessert buffet). The kids played arcade games and rode go-karts and the carousel, etc.

Ella turned 3 on December 31st so we had a party for her. The cousins and one aunt were present for the festivities.

Noah was being funny on New Year's Eve. He spent a good deal of time running around the big room naked before getting his pj's on. He loved being the center of attention. He would run around and around and occassionally stop and bend over slightly to pat his little bare bottom. It cracked us up every time! I got it on video...oh yeah.

Minga had to be put outside a lot during our visit because she was so hyper, especially around the kids. She started spending lots of time on the picnic table because she could then see in the kitchen window better.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Feels Like Spring

My old home town of Tulsa has been hit hard with an ice storm. The weather there is around 25 degrees for the daytime high and will be like that for at least the next few days.

Not so in Tallahassee! We are having a warm spell and it feels like spring. It has been (and will continue to be) 75-80 degrees for the daytime high. So nice! Minga and I went for a walk down the street and then walked around the yard today taking pictures. Well, Minga ran around the yard rather than walked because she is a hyper puppy. She absolutely loves running around outside the fence and jumping in the creek every few minutes. There are plenty of sticks and roots for her to drag around and chew on.

Creek behind our house with the average amount of water in it:

The rye grass Craig planted is quite tall now. It makes the yard so nice and green. He planted 2 bags and didn't bother to buy more to finish because it's just a winter grass and we just needed it on the hill mostly to slow down the erosion during heavy rains.

The 10 wax myrtle bushes we planted to create a hedge someday haven't grown too much yet (the grass may become taller than them soon):

This stuff is starting to grow again and cover the manholes that were exposed when we had our land cleared...we thought about planting stuff here to hide them but we may not need to:

We were pleasantly surprised to see some daffodils and other flowers sprouting up near the house:

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Belly and Ultrasound Pics

Baby Alisa will arrive in about 11 weeks! My belly has definitely grown over the past 3 weeks and I've become a little more uncomfortable. It is hard to watch movies in the theater because my back starts hurting and I have to constantly shift my position to get some relief. Also, when I walk around too long or sleep at night my back hurts. I still wake up every few hours and have to roll over, but at least that strange ache in my legs doesn't happen every night anymore. My left ankle and hands have been a bit swollen for over a week now.

Here's my bare belly with my belly button popping out:

Alisa's movements are a bit stronger now and just the other day I started feeling them up by my belly button (they had all been really low before). Craig was finally able to feel her move last week (end of week 27)!

This week we had our 2nd 3D/4D ultrasound. We had one the day before we left for Tulsa (see details at end of this post) but the ultrasound tech scheduled a free redo for us because we didn't get a great view of Alisa's face from the front (the placenta and umbilical cord were in the way sometimes or she turned away). This time the view was better, but still not ideal. Alisa sure likes snuggling up to the placenta and keeping her hand near her face!

It was really cool for me to see Alisa's movements while feeling them at the same time during the ultrasound. The tech took still images from it and burned them onto a CD for us. She also recorded the whole hour long ultrasound onto a VHS tape so we can watch baby Alisa's movements again whenever we want. We actually have 2 hours worth of video since we got the free redo. Nice! Also, she recorded Alisa's heartbeat and put that on the video and took a still image of the heartbeat graph. Groovy!

We saw Alisa open and close her eyes, suck her thumb, open and close her mouth, throw her head back, move her limbs (one time she put her hand under her chin as if she was resting her head on her hand), etc. It was wonderful. So amazing that you can see all that just with them rubbing a transducer around on your belly!

This profile shot during the 1st 3D ultrasound on 12-15-06 revealed that Alisa has chubby cheeks already:

Here is Alisa on 12-15-06 with her eye open (the dark spot, so she's looking out of the corner of her eye)...her hand is up beside her face:

The placenta, umbilical cord and Alisa's arm obscure her face some in these 3D ultrasound pics from 1-11-07:

Looks like she's puckering up those big lips here as she snuggles back into the stuff of the womb (her nose looks bigger in this shot):

Sometimes the ultrasound tech displayed the regular ultrasound view and the 3D view at the same time. The regular view on the left was usually a profile shot and the 3D view on the right was from above:

Here is Alisa's foot, ankle bone and lower leg (the tech said she has big feet):

Here's what happened during my 1st 3D ultrasound on 12-15-06:
I drank most of a soda in the lobby beforehand as instructed so baby Alisa would wake up and move for us. The tech couldn't get a good front view of Alisa's face so she kept having me shift around. She had me lie flat on my back for a bit until I felt hot/flushed (you are not supposed to lie on your back for long this late in pregnancy because your circulation gets cut off). I switched to my side and felt fine. After a bit Alisa stopped moving and we didn't have a good view so the tech had me finish the soda and walk around a bit. I also jumped up and down and poked my belly to wake her up. I did that in the bathroom and accidentally knocked over the tall trashcan because I wasn't watching where I was jumping. The nurse outside asked if I was okay and I laughed and told her what happened. The trashcan had a lid so it didn't was just loud.

We continued the ultrasound but still couldn't get a great shot because of her position and sometimes because of her arm or the placenta. I started to feel really hot again even though I wasn't flat on my back anymore. I told her and she had me roll on my right side. I still felt hot and said I really needed to burp but couldn't. Then I felt nauseated and she had me sit up and asked if I needed a trashcan. I said yes because right then my mouth filled with saliva and I knew it was coming. I puked twice in the little trashcan and then felt great. I laughed and asked if anyone had ever puked during an ultrasound before and she said no. We continued the ultrasound for a little bit longer but realized Alisa looked like she was going back to sleep so that was about it.

So, the thing about having to pay for a 3D/4D ultrasound is that you never know what you are going to get (it just depends on the baby's position...and the other stuff drifting around in the womb). It's a risk we wanted to take though...for a chance to see our baby better. We are sure glad the tech didn't feel that we got our money's worth the first time. And I learned not to jump up and down after chugging a soda. :)


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Baked Potstickers RECIPE

This is an awesome recipe I got from Pampered Chef:

Baked Potstickers with Sweet Asian Dipping Sauce

1 can (8 oz) water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
1/2 c thinly sliced green onions with tops
1/4 c grated carrot
1 tsp peeled and finely grated fresh gingerroot
1 can (10 oz) chunk white chicken, drained and flaked
1 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/4 c mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, pressed
24 square wonton wrappers (found in cold produce section of grocery store)
Pantry Basil Oil (this is a Pampered Chef blend...regular vegetable oil would work too)

Dipping Sauce:
1/2 c red jalapeno jelly (I couldn't find this at Wal-Mart, but I did find it at grocery stores such as Albertson's)
1/4 c rice vinegar
2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce

Preheat oven to 425F. For potstickers, combine 1st 9 ingredients in a bowl. To assemble potstickers, place 12 wonton wrappers on pizza stone (baking sheet should work too...not sure if they will stick to the pan though so could use parchment paper to be sure) and lightly brush edges of each wonton with water using a pastry brush (or just your finger). Using a small spoon, place filling onto center of each wonton. Shape and seal wontons as desired (see options below). Lightly spray potstickers with oil. Repeat process with remaining wontons. Bake 12-15 mintues or until edges are golden brown.

Meanwhile, for dipping sauce, place jelly in bowl and microwave on high 30-40 seconds or until warm. Add vinegar and soy sauce and whisk until blended.

Serve potstickers with dipping sauce. Great as a party appetizer! Yields 24 potstickers.

WONTONS: Wonton wrappers are 3-inch square sheets of dough similar to pasta dough. They are used to make a variety of Asian-style dumplings, which are typically boiled, pan fried or deep fried. They can be found in the produce section of most supermarkets.


Envelope: Brush all four edges of wonton with water. Fold one point over filling and overlap with the opposite point. Repeat with remaining two points.

Candy Wrapper: Brush only top edge of wonton with water. Beginning at bottom edge, roll wrapper to form a cylinder shape. Pinch to seal, leaving ends flared.

Pyramid: Brush all four edges of wonton with water. Fold up two opposite points toward the center and pinch to seal only at top. Fold up remaining two points toward center and pinch all seams to form pyramid shape.

Ruffle: Do not brush wonton with water. Fold edges up in a ruffled pattern, forming against filling and standing straight up. Do not pinch at top.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Home Again

We made it home safe and sound. I was worried that I'd be very uncomfortable during the ride home since I had been gradually becoming more uncomfortable over the past 3 weeks (like I had some back pain just from driving around town), but again I had no problems. Craig is a driving machine and did most of the driving (as usual).

Minga was exceptionally well behaved so I think her first heat matured her a little. Also, having to leave her outside alone a lot at my parents' house helped with her separation anxiety. She didn't whine when Craig got out of the car to pump gas, which is a first. We ended up actually eating our meals in the restaurants and leaving Minga in the car by herself because she just sat there and didn't whine. It was truly amazing.
Minga loved sticking her head out of the window while we were driving...we let her do that when we were going 50 mph or less (it was too breezy for us when we went faster that than with the window down).

We had a good laugh when we first got on the road to drive to Tulsa because Minga's window rolled down and she casually stuck her head out. I thought Craig had rolled it down for her but he looked at me and asked if I rolled the window down. I said no because I don't have control over the other windows like the driver does. He said he didn't do it so I looked back at Minga and saw that her paw was right on the control on her door. We laughed and joked about Minga rolling her window down on purpose when really she didn't even know she is the one who did it. Can you imagine if she did do it on purpose? There would be a battle of the window during the whole trip unless Craig locked the control so she couldn't do it. Ha!

Our house was in good condition upon our arrival (we didn't have anyone check on it while we were gone) and actually smelled like when we first moved in (that new paint smell). I thought it would be stuffy and stinky from being shut up for 3 straight weeks. The bright green grass is very tall now and makes the yard look so much better. We have yet to buy a mower.

The weather has been 65 degrees during the day (35 at night) so I went for a lovely walk yesterday afternoon. I was sure tired and a bit achy by the end of it (an hour in our neighborhood, which has many hills) but after I rested for a bit I felt great the rest of the night. I plan on walking again today. I haven't been exercising lately (it's always so hard to get started!) but I think I can keep it up now. I have a prenatal DVD I can do as well.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Visit to Tulsa

HAPPY NEW YEAR! To explain my lack of posting during the past month--something changed where I could no longer post to my blog until today. I finally found a fix online to the "Access Denied" error I was getting. I found the answer in a Google group (another person was getting the same error) and just had to change my FTP path slightly. Now it works! Maybe the change was made because they now offer a new Blogger version through Google. I haven't switched to the new version yet because I've heard that there are some problems. Anyway....

We've been in Tulsa for 3 weeks visiting friends and family for the holidays. We ended up bringing Minga with us because the dog sitter cancelled on us the day before we left. It turned out to be for the best because Minga started going into heat the day we left. We suspected that she would be starting soon because she is 9 months old and was suddenly whining to go outside in the middle of the night (several nights in one week and several times each night) and wasn't eating like normal. Sure enough, she started bleeding the day we left for Tulsa. Luckily, we had bought her a doggie diaper with the padded inserts so we put that on her during the car ride. Even though we had bought the appropriate size for her weight, it seemed too big because it kept slipping off as she moved around in the car. We had the whole back seat covered with an old blanket so we ended up just leaving her diaper off since the blanket would catch any drips. She only bled a handful of drops each day, but it's enough that you want to keep a diaper on her whenever she's inside so you don't have to clean up her mess.

I can't tell you how many times we had to pull up the sagging diaper as Minga excitedly wagged her tail and romped around for each family member and guest that came into my parents' home! We didn't buy another one or add velcro to the one we had so we could pull it tighter because we kept thinking she only needed to wear it for one more day. Well, unfortunately for us she bled at least 10 days longer than most dogs for a total of 17 stinkin' days! Hopefully it was only long because it's her first. We haven't talked to the vet about it yet. All I can say is we had to wash the diaper several times because it was so rank due to the blood that didn't make it onto the padded insert because the diaper kept slipping. What a joke!

We have been staying at my parents' house in the nice guest room. My brother Greg has the room downstairs (he's going to undergrad at ORU but living at home now) and the other extra room was occupied by my sister Karen for a few days around Christmas (she has an apartment in town) and then by my brother John and his wife Lindsay and their 4 kids when they came to visit for 4 days after Christmas. So, it was a full house and full of laughter and fun!

I've worked in the office every day except for holidays (gotta keep those paychecks coming!). The computer at the office is much faster since I don't have to access network documents and spreadsheets through a VPN connection like I have to do when working from home in Florida. It's nice to see my co-workers again (rather than just hear them on the phone or read their emails). Also, it's very nice that my supervisor stressed that I could come and go as I please since I'm now considered an independent contractor (I get paid by the hour now). That allowed me to take long lunches to visit with friends or finish Christmas shopping.

We decided to stay in Tulsa for such a long time so we could see all our friends and family. However, there were a few friends we didn't get to see (mainly because they were out of town for about 12 days during that time). Sorry we missed seeing you! We were busy almost every night, which is a lot for us because we are used to and enjoy just staying home by ourselves almost every night (we are homebodies and need lots of downtime). We had a great visit though and were quite relaxed because we didn't have cooking and cleaning of our house to worry about. A big thanks to my mom for all those wonderful homecooked meals! We visited with many friends, played many board games, saw several movies, went out to eat many times, hung out at a couple of coffee houses, went to a few parties, played with the nieces & nephews and my sister, cousin and mom hosted a baby shower for me. Good times!

The only stressful part of the trip has been the Minga situation. Since she was in heat we had to keep her away from other dogs. We didn't get her fixed because we want to breed her with another pure lab when she's older. Part of the fence in my parents' yard had been taken out some time ago so the lawn guys could drive their large mowers in easily, so Craig went to Lowe's and bought a section of a picket fence and put that there. It didn't quite reach all the way across but it deterred Minga from leaving the yard. I've read about how male dogs will jump fences and do just about anything to get at a female in heat so I knew that section of fence wouldn't deter them. I worried and prayed about that quite a bit. I guess there just weren't any unfixed male dogs roaming about because we didn't see any on the streets or in the yards nearby. Thank God!

Minga is still too hyper when there are other people around so we kept putting her outside during the family gatherings. We just had to keep checking on her to make sure she was still there and that no other dogs were there. She threw up on my parents' new Berber carpet one day after someone fed her some roast beef scraps (I warned them not to give her too much). The puke was very liquidy and soaked right into the carpet. It was so hard to clean! The other carpet in the house was easy to clean, but not the Berber. My mom had an extra section of the carpet by the back door as a floormat and Minga managed to puke inches away from it but not on it. If she would have puked on the mat we could have trimmed off the dirty section or just thrown the whole thing out instead of scrubbing and scrubbing and scrubbing. Oy!

We drive home tomorrow and go back to our normal lives. It's about a 16 hour drive with food and gas stops. We are going to drive 12 and then stop for the night at a pet friendly hotel. We did that on the way to Tulsa and it worked out well. We were both tired after 12 hours and couldn't have safely made it another 4. I was worried that I'd have a rough ride because of my pregnancy but I didn't have any problems. We stopped more than usual so I could walk around to get my circulation going and avoid getting blood clots in my legs...Minga sure enjoyed the many opportunities to run around. Craig actually had to go to the bathroom more than I did because he was drinking lots of coffee. I urinated at every stop but never really really had to go and we never had to stop just because I had to go. Craig is usually so anxious to get to our destination, but he was so relaxed on this trip that it just made my day. He and didn't rush me at all and actually suggested that we stay at one rest stop for several more minutes because it was nice outside.

Craig's classes begin again on Monday. This semester he only has 3 and they don't start until 4pm.

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