Monday, September 29, 2008

Granny's Here!

Isabelle is at home today with my Grandma Margie. She agreed to come and stay with us for the last week leading up to our delivery day, just in case I should go into labor, we have someone to leave Isabelle with. But it’s also SOO nice not having to get up and get Isabelle ready for daycare and coming straight home after work! It makes our week much smoother!

Isabelle calls Grandma, “Granny” or “Grayiee” This morning I told her to go up and wake Granny up and she got a big smile on her face as she climbed up the stairs and barged into Granny’s room, “Wake Up Grayiee!” and proceeds to talk a mile a minute as she follows Grandma around while she gets up and about. There is indeed no privacy in a two year olds world!

Grandma came on Saturday and Conrad and Isabelle went to pick her up while I stayed home. It seems like being in the car that long makes me start having contractions! Not very comfortable, for sure. Before they left on Saturday night, Isabelle and I went to Circle S Farm with my good friend and ex roommate, Kim and her son Andrew. Isabelle and Andrew were so cute together running through hay bails and climbing on fences. Kim and I are also due one day apart with our second children. So, we were pretty darn cute too. Kim has a scheduled C-section on October 6, so it looks like our number 2’s will probably come two days apart!

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Name Game

Last night, about 10:45pm, after ANOTHER conversation about baby names:

Danielle: Okay, Honey, I’m going to bed. Love you.
Conrad: Okay, are you taking Pete with you? (referring to Baby M)
Danielle: There is no one in my tummy by the name of Pete!
Conrad: Shakespere? Jimmy?
Danielle: Urg. Good Night.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Isabelle loves those 80's

I just found this in an old file. It's from early summer, and I never posted it because I had turned the camera sideways, and couldn't ever figure out how to manipulate the clip to turn in. If you don't mind watching it with a headtilt, the kid has rhythm...

Baby M, Coming Soon!

Yesterday, I stayed home sick, but didn’t get much rest, because I had two doctor’s appointments downtown. My OB examined me with still no progress to note. BUT, she was happy to hear that I have been having contractions, which means we are heading in the right direction. And, after discussion of dates, and availability, she “tentatively” mentioned Wednesday, October 8 as the “probably” date we would induce Baby Michael, if I haven’t gone into labor before then. I think Wednesday’s are her scheduled days at her office near the hospital, and I’ll be 38 weeks, and 6 days. My last ultrasound is scheduled for October 3, so much of the plan still hinges on that ultrasound and how big Baby M is getting. So two weeks from today will be his/her birthday, if not sooner!!

Consequently, this is our nephew Arnold’s birthday, and he was really hoping that this baby was going to come a week early for this birthday! I told Conrad to call him and tell him that we worked it out as a birthday present for him! Also, Arnold is expecting a little brother/sister in December!

The little smiley boy is Arnold with his cousin Treza.

On other fronts, I feel as if I’ve been run over by a truck. Besides being very pregnant, this cold is wearing me down. Just working 40 hours a week and coming home to spend some time with Isabelle and Conrad is just about more than I can do right now. Needless to say, I can’t wait to have this baby. When I gave birth to Isabelle, I felt like I could run a marathon the next day, I felt THAT MUCH better. I imagine this birth process will feel similarly!

Besides all of the physical preparations, which aren’t much honestly, we have been mentally and spiritually preparing for Baby #2. Maternity leave is restful for a full time working Mom, so we are both looking forward to a little change in schedule. Of course, we can’t wait to find out the gender of this baby and see his/her little face. But we have also begun praying for a healthy birth process and a smooth delivery. Pray with us, over the next couple of weeks, if you think about it!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Catching Up & Catching Cold

Conrad and I had a wonderful weekend. Since Isabelle was as my parent’s until Saturday evening, we went shopping and re-did our bedroom, which I am very pleased with. We got new curtains, which Conrad was totally excited about. I had only valences up (over blinds). He just didn’t get a valence’s purpose. But was excited about the curtains that help keep the early morning sun out. Never mind that they don’t work to keep the early morning children out!

We also got a new duvet and sham’s at West Elm, and new frames and matte’s to highlight our new family pic’s in our bedroom. I’ll post pictures soon. I still didn’t find throw pillows I have been looking for in a nice autumn shade of orange, or a chair slip cover (by the way, does anyone have any good advice on kinds of slip covers to get??), and we haven’t painted the walls yet. But overall, I am still very pleased!

We topped the night off with a late dinner at the Cheesecake factory. Very crowded but the food was pretty good, and of course, the Cheesecake was really good!

I also started the washing and packing process in anticipation of Baby M’s arrival. We got much done before we picked up Isabelle on Saturday night, and by Sunday afternoon I started coming down with a wretched cold. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep last night and I was jonesin’ for some Nyquil. Oh sweet alcoholic sleep….I resisted the urge and sucked on sugar free cough drops all night, as I tossed and turned, coughed and blew. It’s already been a long morning.

Friday, September 19, 2008

To Grandmothers House She Goes...

Isabelle is at her Oma and Opa’s house for a few days. We met my parents half way and dropped Isabelle off Wednesday night so she could spend a couple of days with them, while we (meaning I) get some rest. We miss her terribly when she’s gone, and the first night was rather rough. She cried, “Momma” for a quite a while before her grandparents finally got her to sleep! Fortunately for her and for them, the next night went better. And she has spent her time visiting farm animals, going to Cedar Point, and generally being the center of their universe.

I came home from work on Thursday and laid down to take a nap…a nap! Let me tell you, I felt like a new person when I got up. I was rather surprised at how much better I felt! So, my plan is to do the same thing tonight after work…nap. Then Conrad and I have plans to go to some kind of “grown up” restaurant, where it’s relatively quite and no one is dressed up like a cartoon character.

I’m also anxious to get a “to do” list done. Nothing big, actually it has more to do with redoing our room. We bought curtains and picture frames and I have been looking (for a year or more) for a new duvet. I think I found something I liked at West Elm. So a trip to West Elm is also on our agenda for tonight. Now I only have to buy paint and paint the walls (i.e. convince Conrad that painting is something he wants to do!)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Baby Update

On Tuesday I had my 36 week prenatal exam. This also marks the week where they start checking to see if you are dilating or effacing. And by 36 weeks I’m always amazed how much I’m ready to be checked for this! Needless to say, I have not progressed at all.
Keep in mind, that I also just started twice weekly “Non-Stress Tests” for the baby, and I am supposed to count fetal movement twice a day. So my regular OB appointment is in addition to this. That means, at this point I have three doctors appointments per week. A little overkill, you think?

So, as of today, I am 28 days away from my due date, but hopefully we will deliver even earlier than that, if my body cooperates! Also, as of my last ultra sound, about two weeks ago, they estimated the baby at 5 and a half pounds, which was in the 50-60% percentile. I know they are not always right on, and the further along you get, the less accurate they are.

Now you know all we know on this topic. Make sure you keep checking in…remember after 37 weeks, a baby is considered full term. One more week and he/she can come anytime they are ready….

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Who's Your Daddy?

Is there any doubt who's child this is? And YES, it is indeed MINE. I had 9 months of "morning sickness" to prove it!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Chicken Korma

Rachel asked me to post a few of my favorite Indian recipes. Since her and Mark are in Malaysia, and there is a large Indian population, they have access to many typical Indian spices and ingredients.

While we were in Indian in the winter, we had dinner at Conrad’s uncle’s house and I discovered one of my newest favorite Indian dishes: Lamb Korma. They served it with this loooong paper thin Indian bread, which I hadn’t ever had before and haven’t ever seen since. It was lovely! So I came home and found a few recipes for Korma, but didn’t get around to making it till recently.

My first attempt at Korma involved chicken instead of lamb. Lamb, especially good lamb, is pretty hard to come by in central Ohio, and secondly, it takes much longer to cook. I especially like lamb made in the crock pot, tho. Anyway, I was skeptical about this recipe, but as it simmered down, it started to look and smell a bit like what I ate in India. It has a large amount of ground coriander seed, which is very pungent. I also take fennel out of ALL recipes that I make because I hate the flavor of fennel!! We ate it with parathas, which we buy frozen from the Indian store and they are wonderful with any kind of curry. They are a flaky and chewy round bread and ever so slightly sweet. You can also eat this dish with rice or chappatis, or just pita bread for that matter!

Consequently, you can tell we are becoming a truly “blended” cultural family because I crave different Indian dishes during my pregnancy (especially ones I can’t have much of, like Masala Dosa, because of the gest. diabetes) and Conrad wants to have something sweet each night before he goes to bed!

I know not many of you will try this recipe, but if you love Indian food, getting this stash of basic spices at a local Indian store you can basically make any Indian recipe. Consequently, I always had nice spice racks that stood empty or with the spices that the rack actually CAME with! Now, I have them labeled and filled with beautiful Indian spices and actually use them all of the time!

2 pounds lamb (or chicken) cubed
Spice Mixture (you can grind spices in your coffee grinder)
6 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground red pepper
½ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground turmeric

½ cup sour cream
3 c thinly sliced onions
4 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp butter
2 inch piece cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
4 cardamom pods, broken open slightly
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp minced ginger
1/4 tsp fennel, coarsely ground
¼ cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1 ½ tsp salt
¾ c water
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Marinate meat in mixture of ground spice mixture and sour cream for 30 minutes. In a dutch oven, over medium high heat, fry onion in oil and butter until edges are browned. Add cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and garlic and ginger (use 4 tsp of garlic ginger paste to simplify recipe). Contiue to fry until onions turn medium brown.
Add marinated lamb to onion mixture and stir over medium to high heat until sour cream disappears and meat is no longer pink on the outside, about 2 minutes. Stir in fennel, coconut milk, salt, and ¾ cup water; bring to boil. Turn heat down and simmer, covered for 30 minutes.

Uncover and simmer for another 20 – 25 minutes to thicken sauce, adding more water if sauce is too thick. At this point, the meat and sauce should have darkened somewhat.

Stir in lemon juice and remove from heat. Taste for salt.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Cuti Mamu

Conrad, being the youngest of four children, doesn't have many pictures of himself as a baby. Actually, the last two times I visited his family we looked for pictures of him. We found lots and lots of his oldest brother, and fewer the more syblings there were. Us oldest kids are certainly the lucky ones when it comes to posterity, I guess!

But a few months ago, his Mom called to tell me that she had found a few baby pictures of Conrad! I was so excited, especially having another little one on the way..I was excited to see what our newest addition may look like!

Conrad's cousin Susan, was gracious enough to scan them in and send them to me, since I've been so excited about seeing them! Thanks Susan!! On a side note, Susan is one of Conrad's favorite cousins and she works for Deloitte and Touche in Hyderabad. All of Conrad's younger cousin's call me "Bhabi," (pronounced like Bobby) which means "Sister-in-law" Of course, my other two sister in laws, Sudha and Anthony Mary are also called Bhabi, so everyone turns around to respond when "Bhabi" is called in the house at home. Just thought I'd share a little Indian culture with you on this dreary Monday...

Mamu is what Conrad's family calls him. Roughly translated, it means "the littliest guy." since he's the youngest in the family, which has turned out to be quite ironic, since he is the biggest brother, by a few inches. Cuti means small, and Cuti Mamu is what Conrad's mother calls Isabelle often. "Little Conrad" for lack of a better translation (and since I get my translation second hand!) We do think that Isabelle looks like Conrad in the family picture, where his Dad is holding him. And, I want to point out, that Isabelle's wild hair comes squarly from HIM...I had straight hair when I was little!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Family Pictures

Last weekend we had family pictures taken. Isabelle wasn't feeling all that well and was in no mood to be photographed. In fact, we had a major fallout about the bow in her hair before we even left the house. Her hair was wild (no one but me and heredity can be blamed for that one!) and she didn't smile for most of the shots, but they still turned out pretty well.

These are obviously, just the online shots, but you can get the idea. And the much sought after belly shots are here for your purusal too!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Polite Decline

A conversation with Isabelle last night before bed:

Mommy: Isabelle, do you want a baby sister?
Isabelle: No
Mommy: Do you want a baby brother?
Isabelle: No. (Progressively louder) No. Thank. YOU!

Friday, September 05, 2008

September Book Nook

I am an avid reader. I am neurotic about carrying books around with me because I might have downtime somewhere in my daily schedule that will be wasted if I don’t have a book in which to absorb information/utilize my time/kill my time. Of course, these habits have been slightly altered with Isabelle, because I don’t have as much downtime, but we still frequent the public library and I still have a 2 foot stack of books by my bed.

This month I thought I would recommend two books I recently finished reading that have really challenged me and I hope I can absorb enough of the principles to make changes in my life! (By the way, I almost always read the books that my friends recommend on their blogs. I LOVE doing that! So recommend away!)

Not For Sale
This non-fiction book by David Batstone is about modern day slavery. How it is more prevalent now in the world than at any point in history. Shocking? Yes! You should read the stories of children taken from homes in Africa to perform in “African Children’s Choirs” in the US only to be exploited by the managers, or the child soldier slaves of Northern Africa, or the rice slaves of India. Unbelievable and difficult for the middle class American mind to absorb. Many of these people are in bondage to slavery because of $3 loans or less. Or young girls kidnapped from bus stops in Cleveland Ohio and sold into the sex industry. It happens right under our noses, as well as all around the world. I’m still really processing what this means for me and for our family and HOW we can help.

Safely Home
This fiction book is based on a lot of real facts about the current situation in China. Randy Alcorn’s “hero” is a middle aged American Businessman, who is doing business in China, and comes face to face with the harsh realities of Christian persecution through his old Harvard roommate, a Chinese citizen. The book vacillates between what’s going on in character’s lives on earth and Heaven’s perspective on the situation, as Christ and the Saints look down and respond and intercede for the “Shadowlands.” Being pregnant and prone to weird dreams, I had to stop reading both of these books at night before I fell asleep because of the crazy dreams they gave me. But I walked away from this book asking myself if I were really a Christian. If what I was living my life for was really God’s priorities. I’m still struggling with that.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Name Him What?

Conrad and I have been talking about baby names. I’m settled on names, but him? Not so much. Needless to say, whenever I ask him, he starts throwing out weird random names that come to him at the moment. So a few days ago, the following conversation ensued:

Momma (currently carrying said child): “Babe, if you don’t like our current name choices, give me some ideas.”
Daddy: “How about Andrew? Andrew Zimmerman?”
Momma: (Silent Pause) “Isn’t that they guy who eats bizarre things on the food network?”
Daddy: “Oh ya. I knew I had heard that name somewhere before.”

I know what my husband watches on TV. Next thing you know he’s going to be suggesting Wolf Blitzer Michael.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

...and on the farm he had a...

We had a great holiday weekend this last week. We started it early, by heading up to my mom and dad’s so Conrad and my dad could go to a Brown’s game on Thursday night. Isabelle and I stayed home with Grandma and Mom. Fine with me! I had to work in Cincinnati that morning, so I had logged several hundred miles by the time we made it to Norwalk.

We spent most of the weekend resting and relaxing and doing not much of anything. Isabelle has lately been enamored with horses. So every trip in the car in rural Ohio is a delight for her senses! Actually anything on four legs warranted an excited response. These city girls….

Friday night we went to my parent’s friend’s farm and Isabelle actually got to get up close and personal with some cows, horse, pig, pigmy horses, roosters, cats, rabbits etc. She was having serious sensory overload. She loved it and did not want to leave the farm. Of course, she really didn’t want to get too near the animals either.

My sister and niece also came up on Friday night so we got to spend some time with Jona and Abby. Isabelle is totally in love with Abby and gets so excited when she’s around, she will literally run in circles around the baby. Abby is just looking around like, “What the…?” Consequently, since Aunt Jona is the bearer of the baby, she’s not too far down on the favorite list either. Whenever she was out of Isabelle’s sight she would say, “Where’s Aunt Jona?” or more often, go screaming down the hall, “Aunt Jooooooonnnnaaaaaaa?”

Isabelle had a great time, and she was a little delight most of the weekend. It seems like the more she learns to talk, the less frustrated she gets. That’s good. Yesterday, we were at the mall to pick up some things, and she saw her daddy across the store. She started yelling, “Daddy! Daddy! How are you?” And when we got home from my mom and dad’s on Sunday night, Isabelle spotted our neighborhood and started crying, “No home. Go to Oma’s house!” Over and over…I guess that means she had a good time!