Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

I thought this little trick-or-treater was too cute, especially considering we live in New England.

Cranberry Sauce

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I made cranberry sauce today and I'm quite proud of myself, thank you very much. I love, love cranberry sauce, especially on my turkey sandwiches. I think a cranberry turkey sandwich tastes divine. We have all these cranberries from the Cape Cod Cranberry Festival, so I'm constantly trying to find ways to include cranberries in different recipes. Making cranberry sauce was way easier than I thought. Here's the recipe (from my Very Cranberry Cookbook) in case anyone would like to try it:
1/2 Cup Water
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
1/4 Cup Dry Red Wine (I used Charles Shaw Cabernet- 2 buck chuck, can't go wrong)
4 Cups Fresh or Frozen Cranberries

In a large saucepan, bring the water and sugar to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the red wine and cranberries. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool. Serve now, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Isn't that easy? And now I can enjoy my turkey cranberry sandwiches every day for lunch. Yum!

A Mover & A Shaker

Tuesday, October 27, 2009
This baby loves to move. They (the baby experts) say the baby is starting to develop its sleep and wake patterns that it will have when it’s a newborn. This baby loves to play in the early morning hours, so I figure she’s going to be an early bird like her dad. I tend to refer to the baby as “she” because my husband is CONVINCED the baby is a boy (he refers to the baby as Matt Jr. for goodness sakes). I’m just trying to even things out. We were sorting some laundry last weekend and Matthew found a little pink baby T-shirt I had washed and was like, “umm, who’s this for? Matt Jr. can’t wear this.” I keep telling him he’s in for the surprise of his life when this baby comes out a girl.

Anyways, I digress. The baby has been really active the entire pregnancy. She likes to practice her soccer kicks and karate chops in there, especially around dinner time. For the past day or so, she’s been elbowing me in the side (at least it feels like an elbow). It feels like she has her head propped up on her hand and is just leaning into the side of my belly. Just relaxing, pondering the meaning of life. I’m sure she’s running out of room in there, poor thing, and is trying to figure out the best positions in which to get comfortable.

I can’t wait to meet this little person for a million reasons, but one being I can’t wait to see what type of personality she has. To see if she is a little tomboy like her actions indicate or if it is, in fact, an active little boy in there. Only 2 more months to go!

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Happy Birthday to my Mom!

Two special birthdays in a row! My mom turns 53 today, but you would never guess it. She’s so youthful looking, people always mistake her for being much younger than she is (I hope I look as good as she when I’m 53). She’s fun and active (she’s on an over 50 water polo team) and a fantastic mother.

Being an almost mom, I’ve come to appreciate all the little sacrifices my mom went through for each one of her children. Not only can I appreciate the carrying us each for nine months part, but the little day in day out parts of being a mother, like taking us to the pool, or driving us to soccer practice, or making dinner for a family of eight every single night of the week. Plus, there were countless little acts of love, many of which I intend to copy with my own children. One of my favorite things my mom did for us when we growing up was to leave little notes in our lunches. On our napkin she would write things like, “good luck on your spelling test,” or just a simple “I love you!” Of course, at the time (being 8 or 9 years old), I would oftentimes become slightly embarrassed by these notes and try to jam them back into my lunchbox. But here we are, 20 years later, and I fully intend to leave the same little love notes for my children.

One thing I look forward to most about having the baby (besides being able to sleep on my stomach and put on my shoes more easily) is my mom coming to visit. I swear, I am just as excited about my mom coming out here as I am about the baby coming. There’s just something about having a baby that makes a woman want her mother. It’s been hard being so far away from her. Having had six children herself, my mom knows so much about pregnancy, babies and motherhood, she’s a wealth of information. She’s going to be such a wonderful grandmother. I feel so blessed that my child will have her as a "Grams".

Happy, happy birthday, Mom! I love you and can’t wait to see you in January!

Happy Birthday To My Nane!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Birthday to My Nane!

Today is my grandmother’s 80th birthday! My Nane is one of my favorite people in the entire world. When I was little and would get into trouble my parents would always sigh and say, “what are we going to do with you? “ Apparently, I would reply, “give me away. Give me away to Nane.” It seemed like such a natural solution in my own mind and definitely a bargain for me. I could eat chocolate chip cookies and swim in Nane’s pool and my days of getting into trouble would be over.

Needless to say, my parents never gave me away (although on more than one occasion I wished they would). But even as I grew up, Nane remained a constant ally and source of support in my life. She is the epitome of what a grandmother should be and exactly the type of grandmother I hope to be some day. When we were little, she would take us out on lunch dates and shopping on our birthdays. (In fact, we still do this. She thought once we were older we wouldn’t want to go out to lunch with her anymore, yet it’s something all of her grandchildren look forward to every year.) She would play kick the can with us and take us on walks along the old railroad tracks and even have us over for sleepovers where we would stay up late, watch movies and eat popcorn and apples with caramel sauce. Those sleepovers were the best.

But not only is she a fabulous grandmother, she’s such a fun person as well. She’s so personable and amiable that everyone who meets her instantly likes her. She taught the 3rd grade at St. Mary’s Catholic School for 30 years and I still run into some of her former students. They all say the same thing, that she was their favorite teacher.

I could go on and on how grateful I am to have this woman in my life, but I’ll just sum it up by saying, I feel so blessed and lucky to have her as my grandmother and it makes me incredibly happy to know that our baby will have her as a great grandmother. So, happy birthday to you, dear Nane! Here’s to many more happy years! I love you!

Skype


There's a relatively new online program called Skype. It allows people to video chat online for free (at least it's free for now). So my parents and my siblings and I have been enjoying its use these past few weeks. The only problem with Skype is that sometimes the picture can be pretty fuzzy and the image will freeze every now and then. Of course, when the video image freezes it can make for some really funny pictures. Just last night I was talking to my sister, Libby, online and was able to take a few funny pictures of her during our Skype session. Libby, I love you, and now that I know you read this blog, I thought I'd post a picture for your enjoyment:) Don't kill me.

Pregnancy Updates

Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I had my midwife appointment today and the good news is the baby is head down! At least, the midwife was pretty sure it was his/her head she was feeling. Although, she also said the baby could flip again between now and the next 10 weeks, but at least for now there's a head where it should be.

The bad, or not so good news, is that I'm a little anemic and, this is embarrassing, she's worried about my weight gain. So far I've gained...40 pounds! Yikes. Truth be told, I'm a little surprised by it too. I told her I eat healthy and exercise, but the scale keeps going up, up, up. I don't have gestational diabetes or high blood pressure or stretch marks for goodness sakes and I swear I don't feel fat, I mean, I know I've gained weight, but it doesn't feel unhealthy, at least not yet. I'm going to try cutting out sugar for the next month and see what happens.

What's reassuring is that with the Bradley Method (our childbirthing classes/approach), they say as long as you're healthy not to worry about the weight gain too much. I'll just have to work hard to lose all the baby weight come February. I'm already planning on running a marathon in October 2010, so I figure that should do it.

Breads And Cookies and Pies, Oh My!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Things I've baked in the last week:

Cinnamon Apple Bread
Pumpkin Bread with cranberries (yum)
Pumpkin bread with Chocolate Chips (double yum)
Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pumpkin Pie
Chocolate Chip Cookies

I don't know if this is part of the nesting phase or what, but I have been baking up a storm. I love, love having my own huge kitchen to bake in!

Respect Life Walk Recap

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I forgot to write an update on the Respect Life Walk in downtown Boston that happened two weeks ago. Matthew ended up coming with me (his first ever pro-life walk), which was fun. He made me laugh the whole time.

There was a pretty good turnout, maybe around 1,000 people and a good many priests were there too, which was reassuring. They had set up a bunch of tables with representatives from different pro-life organizations, so we toured around a little before the walk began. The man running the Walk, I forget his name, was Jewish, which I thought was great since Christians (particularly Catholics) tend to dominate the pro-life movement.

I tend to have mixed emotions when it comes to the infusing of religion into the movement. Of course, being Catholic, I love seeing other Catholics living out their faith, and I understand that one's faith is oftentimes inextricably linked to being pro-life, but at the same time, I don't think the pro-life movement needs to be a religious movement. Abortion is a human rights issue, without the right to life, all other rights are meaningless. I think if we were to keep the discussion on that level we might have more success converting people to our cause. Needless to say, it's important to pray to end abortion, but I don't know if we need to carry a picture of Mary through the streets to make our point. I fear that singing Ave Maria or praying the Rosary (out loud) during such walks can be polarizing to people of other faiths (like the aforementioned Jewish man), or people of no faith. I worry that such actions allow the opposition to typecast us as those crazy pro-lifers and religious nutcases and essentially ignore our message. Does anyone have any thoughts on the matter? What do you think?

On a positive note, everyone was so nice to little ol' me. I must admit, it was quite fun being pregnant and attending the Walk. Everyone smiled and wanted to know when the baby was due, I felt a little like a celebrity. Ha. Hopefully next year we will have any even bigger turnout! I know there will be one more little pro-lifer in attendance next year.:)

Happiness is...

Sitting on the floor of our new apartment, eating lunch by candlelight with my husband while it storms outside.

Jim + Pam

Thursday, October 8, 2009

As every Office fan knows, Jim and Pam are getting married tonight. We're really excited over here at the R household. We love all Office episodes, but this is a special one hour event and from the looks of the promos, it's going to be really cute. Although, I hope that apart from being sentimental that it's funny too. It will be tough to compete with Phyllis's wedding episode. My favorite exchange from that episode was between Angela and Kelly.

Angela: I thought you weren't supposed to wear white to a wedding.
Kelly: Yeah, but it was an emergency.
Kelly (later to camera): I look really, really good in white.
Ha, I love Kelly, she's one of my favorite characters.

Anyways, I'm excited for tonight's episode. Apparently, my husband is too. He had a dream the other night that Pam came onto him. She wanted one last fling before her wedding day. Ha. (Needless to say, he turned her down.) It's funny, we talk about the Office characters like they're realy people, now we're dreaming about them as well.:)

My Husband, He's the Best

My cute husband surprised me with a prenatal massage yesterday. This is the second time (in the past two months) that he's arranged a massage for me. All I had to do was show up. It was divine. He thinks I should get a massage every week to two weeks, how can a girl argue with that?

Boston Respect Life Walk

Friday, October 2, 2009

On Sunday there is a Walk for Life in downtown Boston. It's a fundraiser to support local pregnancy centers, obviously a good cause. I'm really looking forward to it, even though I know no one going. I'm working on a long blog post about how being pregnant has taken my pro-life beliefs to a more visceral level. My mama bear instincts make me very protective of my little cub, and all little cubs for that matter.

Just now as I was looking up more info on the Respect Life Walk I came across a website for a counter-protest, sponsored by none other than the ACLU, of course. What kind of people protest fundraisers to help pregnant women in need?

If you're in the area, come out and support the walk. If you're out of town, you can always donate online:
http://www.masscitizensforlife.org/

Sister Elizabeth

One of my very best friends, Elizabeth, is a Religious Sister of Mercy in Alma, Michigan. It’s a beautiful and devout order and one that is growing! The Sisters are very highly educated, many have advanced degrees in Education and Medicine and they help to run the local hospitals and colleges. If you want to learn more about the order, check out their website.
http://www.rsmofalma.org/index.html

Elizabeth entered the convent last September 1 (the birthday of Our lady) and since then we’ve only been able to write to each other through snail mail. All advanced forms of communication, cell phones, email, etc. were surrendered last August. A few weeks back, she wrote to tell me she will be staying for another year (not too surprising). This will be her second year, her novitiate year, which means she will un able to send or receive letters until September 2010. This is so that she may truly discern God’s call for her life. I can understand the need to be virtually cut off to really determine whether the religious life is for her, but it’s hard too. I miss her.

When she first told me she was considering becoming a nun, I was so excited for her. She converted to Catholicism in college and her faith has put me to shame ever since. Odd but true fact, sometimes I wish I were a convert. Anyways, I wasn’t very surprised to hear that she was considering the vocation because it fit her. And I was so very proud that my best friend would be a nun, I figured that had got to earn me some points in Heaven.

And now we get to the self-centered part of this blog post, I did not realize how difficult this journey would be for ME. I can’t just call her up to chat or tell her a funny story. And she was probably one of the last people to know that we’re having a baby because I had to force myself to sit down and write her a letter. And I can be pretty lazy about those sorts of things, so I think she found out when we were about 5 months pregnant. The girl at Starbucks knew I was pregnant before my best friend. Sad.

But I take solace in the fact that she is indeed following God’s call for her life. Fulfilling her vocation will bring her true happiness and that makes me happy. And I believe I will see her again soon. There is a chance her first station, so to speak, will be in either Boston or DC. She and I are both praying that will be the case. We have a plan that we’ll meet in a discreet location and that I’ll bring her a change of clothes and we’ll head out for a night on the town. Soon enough.


Elizabeth is the one on the far left, back row (partially hidden).

Is It Bad?

Thursday, October 1, 2009
Is it bad that I have to check my own blog to see how many weeks pregnant I am? I keep forgetting. Plus with all the odd ways they calculate a pregnancy, I tend to get a little confused. What's a girl to do?

Ode to October


Happy first day of October! Oh October, how I love thee. I love October weather, the smell of the crisp cool air. Going for a walk and hearing the sounds of the leaves crunch underfoot. I love being able to sip apple cider as I enjoy a slice of pumpkin bread. And cranberry pancakes, I could eat you all year long. I love watching the leaves change color,giving one last burst of life before succumbing to the cold winter weather. I love celebrating Halloween and Oktoberfest and my mom's and grandmother's birthdays. Pumpkin patches and apple picking and hayrides, oh my. Oh October, I hope you are good to us this year!
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