Monday, April 18, 2011

When The Cat Is Away, Murphy Will Play

Keeping warm with a furnace
Who is Murphy?  Murphy's Law, of course!  As stated in my last blog post, David, Madeline and I just returned from Indiana on Monday......just enough time to unpack suitcases, do laundry, and re-pack a suitcase for David.  David departed  for Turkey on Saturday morning.  He is traveling to Istanbul, Turkey and Bursa, Turkey for work. 

The Blue Mosque - Istanbul, Turkey
I am happy to report that this is the last major trip on David's agenda until after "Porkchop" is born.  All of us (David, Madeline & I) are happy about this as David's travel has been fairly regular as of late.  Although there are two other travel items (May & June), they are domestic trips and fairly quick jaunts. 

Bosporus Straight - David's apartment is next to tower in middle of pic.  Tower is Galata Tower
David's apartment is on the 4th floor of the peach building that is jutting out.
The international travel, of course, had to go out in grand fashion.....and this is where Murphy's Law comes into play.  As usual, *something* always happens when David leaves town.  Last month, when David was in Germany, we got a fairly large snowfall.  Certainly my pregnant butt wasn't about to heave snow and so I simply waited for the "solar plow" to melt the snow a few days later.  This time around you could say that I have been a bit more inconvenienced.

Grand Bazaar - Istanbul
The first (and most minor) breakage was Madeline's baby monitor.  Although Madeline rarely gets up during the night, I like to sleep with the monitor on due to the location of our rooms.  I want to be able to hear if she does awaken during the night or, heaven forbid, if there is an intruder.  Luckily, we have a second "listening" receiver that can replace the broken easy fix but a minor annoyance to add to the list of other Murphy's Law items since David departed.

Turkish food - Appetizer (middle) a pastrami quiche and Main Course a Shepherd's pie type thing with lamb
During this week that David is gone, Madeline's school is on spring break.  I normally use the 3 mornings per week that Madeline is in school to tackle items that I need to catch up on around the house.  No school for Madeline means no break at all for Mama.  Although I am not a big advocate of an "electronic babysitter", you can imagine that turning on an educational PBS show here and there can come in quite handy during a week such as this.  Unless of course Murphy visits.....that's right, our cable is on the fritz.  This means no DVRed kids shows for Madeline as well as no pay-per-view chick flicks for Mama in the evenings once Madeline is in bed (a treat for me when David travels).  Not good when you call the cable company and, after completing some diagnostics over the phone they say, "That doesn't sound good".  And so, I have to wait until the cable company can come out on Tuesday.

The biggest inconvenience, however, was the furnace.  Yep, our furnace (which is just over 1 year old) broke.  Now, for all my southern friends, you might not think that this would be an issue for the end of April however, here in Buffalo, temperatures have been below normal with highs in the upper 30's/low 40's.  Although David was able to lead me through some diagnostic things over the phone from JFK airport, I ended up having to call the heating company.  Although the heating company responded quickly, they weren't able to obtain the replacement part needed (gas valve) over the weekend and so Madeline and I spent the weekend without heat.
David on Skype from apartment in Istanbul
As far as David's travel goes, he is keeping busy with meetings while in Turkey.  He feels better about checking in on me while he is gone and I enjoy hearing about the different things he gets to see on his limited free time.  I especially enjoy seeing pictures of where he is as well as our time to talk over Skype when he is done with his day.  Although David and I have traveled to many places together, I look forward to a time that we can travel together again.  Maybe one day, after retirement (if that ever happens!!) we can travel the world and explore exotic lands together.  Sigh....nice to dream about. Instead of Murphy's inconveniences, I just need to count our blessings, in particular being married to someone with whom I would want to travel the world.

A Visit From Grandpa

Madeline & Grandpa playing blocks
We have been very busy since my last post.  Two weeks ago (4/3), David's dad came from Indiana to visit us.  It was a nice opportunity for him to get away and a nice opportunity for us to visit.  Well, I am not sure if David's dad is aware that it is no small secret among the kids that we do not want him driving.  In order to avoid chaos on the roads, David and his sister met half-way between his home in Indiana and our home in New York for a "dad swap".  They each set off on Sunday morning for a 4 hour drive to meet up in Windsor, Ontario, have lunch together, do the "dad swap" and return home. 

Sabres pre-game show
Madeline, Papa & Grandpa at the Sabres game
David, Madeline & Sabretooth
Madeline was beyond excited to have Grandpa come and visit.  She certainly kept Grandpa busy.  The activity level was constant for Grandpa.  She was either asking Grandpa to play blocks on the floor with her, dragging Grandpa up to her room and "holding him hostage" there so he could watch her draw on her easel, following Grandpa around like a puppy and asking, "What are you doing?" or "Why are you doing that?".  I even overheard Madeline asking Grandpa to hop on one foot (no small task for a 76 year old man) and Grandpa obliged.  So I wasn't surprised when Grandpa would want to take a nap.  But, what I am not sure of is if Madeline simply tired Grandpa out or if Grandpa was retreating to the guest room to get a break from our very active little girl.

Gifts for "Porkchop"
Grandpa also came bearing gifts.  Madeline got a new supply of coloring gear while "Porkchop" received his first gifts - clothing, hats, diapers & wipes.  David's dad was very proud of himself and the fact that he navigated through the Carter's store by himself and picked out these items on his own.  I must say,  he did a GREAT job as I love everything he picked out.

Aside from keeping David's dad busy at home, he also went to see Madeline swim (unfortunately, ice skating lessons finished the week prior), we went out to dinner one night and went to see a Buffalo Sabres game another night. 

On Friday, instead of having David's sister drive out for another "dad swap" to get Dad back home, David and I decided to drive his dad the full way back to Indiana and stay through the weekend so that we would also have an opportunity to visit with David's mom.  We felt this was important because (a) there won't be many opportunities to travel there before I have travel restrictions and (b) Monday (4/11) was David's mom's birthday. 

David, Madeline & Tiger at Michigan City Zoo
There was some beautiful weather while we were in Indiana.  We took advantage of the weather and enjoyed a little family time at the zoo.  I have been going to Michigan City, Indiana for 16 years and this is the first time I visited their zoo!!  While in town, David's sister, Carolyn, arranged for the family to have a private dining room at the home so that we could have a mini-birthday celebration on Saturday night with Mom.  Carolyn always goes all out with decorations, etc. so even though our party was a small group, it was a special event for David's mom.

Grandma & Madeline celebrating Grandma's birthday
On Sunday we headed back home but decided to only drive half-way home and complete the rest of the trip on Monday.  Sunday was another beautiful day.  We enjoyed the sunny day as we drove to Windsor.  Once in Windsor we checked into a pet-friendly Radisson.  We enjoyed the rest of the sunny Sunday by the family (including Sobaka) taking a walk along the river and giving Madeline an opportunity to play on the riverwalk's playgrounds.  After returning to the hotel, Madeline was able to burn off more energy with a trip to the pool.  Afterward, we enjoyed a pizza "picnic" in our room for dinner.  Our overnight in Windsor was a nice family time before David had to return to work on Tuesday. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Blog Identity Crisis

Sonogram - 20 weeks
Geez, is this a "Mommy Blog", an "Adoption Blog", a "Pregnancy Blog", "Travel Blog", "Food Blog"????  Pretty bizarre, I guess, when I have just as many blog posts about what I cooked for dinner as I have about my daughter.  But, if you know me, I guess it really isn't *that* unusual.  I am hoping that you readers forgive my fickle nature and allow me some swings in what I discuss.  I have always said that I am convinced I could be diagnosed with Adult ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder).  My mind is in constant motion, constantly shifting is this blog.  If you love the blog, well then, you have a good handle on how my mind works.  And so, in light of the profession above, today's blog post will be a complete hodge podge, mishmosh of items.

Today, I am 20 weeks pregnant.  Half-way there already!!  So far, things have been a relative piece-of-cake.  In general, I am feeling great.  Although, the more difficult half has just begun.  I have been feeling the baby ("Porkchop") for the last 3 weeks.  The majority of this time, porkchop's movements have been very regular.  A few days ago, I kept feeling occasional sharp stabbing pains in my lower abdomen.  I wasn't overly concerned, however, as there was no regular pattern to the pains and I had no unusual bleeding.  I figured that this pain was round ligament pain (a result of stretching ligaments to make room for the growing baby).  I did have a raised eyebrow, however, when after these pains I did not feel the baby move for several days. Although I realize that I am still early on in how regular I should feel the baby, because of the fact that I *was* feeling the baby regularly and then  no longer felt him,  I decided to call the doctor to see what he had to say.  I probably would've even waited a little longer to call but since it is Friday, I figured it would be best to make the place a call to the doctor before the weekend. The doctor's office had me go to the hospital's fetal monitoring department to take another peek.  When I arrived, my blood pressure was surprise, I was worried!  They did a quick peek and all is well.  Porkchop was squirming away (and I felt none of it) and his heartbeat was 153 bpm (normal).  Ahhhh.....tears of relief! They took my blood pressure before I left and it was back to normal.  The sonogram picture on this post was taken today.  Happy 20 weeks, Porkchop!

My yummy crab cakes
The day began with me dropping Madeline off at school, a trip to the Indian Reservation to gas up the vehicle, out to the hospital, and then a trip to Destination Maternity.  Yep, time for new bras...$70 for 4 new bras and there is no guarantee that this size will even get me through the pregnancy.  Ugh!!  Cha-ching!

Next stop, waxing.  I gotta look good while sporting those new bras.  And NOOooooo.....I didn't get my chest waxed!  My eyebrows, however, no longer look like caterpillars.

Time to pick up Madeline at school - red face and all.  From school, a super quick stop at home to pick up our library books and movies and then off to Madeline's library story time.  Straight from the library to Wegman's for a super-sized two week grocery shop.  Zip home, unload groceries and whip up dinner.  I am amazed that, with all the running around, I actually got a yummy, Lent-friendly dinner on the table.  I tried a couple new recipes that I had to share.

Roasted red pepper sauce with capers & dill
I made crab cakes for dinner.  Although real crab meat is more expensive, it is very much worth the extra cost.  I am really pleased with the way they turned out. Click HERE for the crab cake recipe I used.  I also made a roasted red pepper sauce with capers and dill (recipe here).  The sauce was good, although I believe next time I would prefer to try a sauce with a little more kick - maybe a horseradish flavored cream sauce??  Initially, I had planned to fry up some sliced cooked potatoes with onions and parsley yet, due to time I did the easy version of potatoes by throwing some frozen french fries in the oven.  I zipped up the fries by adding Tastefully Simple's Seasoned Salt.  Initially I was disappointed that I did not have the time to make the potatoes I had planned, however the seasoned fries hit the spot.  I also served dinner with salad.  I only had creamy dressings in my fridge but felt as though a lighter dressing would pair better with the crab cakes.  I whipped up a dressing recipe that I had found on line (click here) that was perfect and so easy - olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar and fresh basil.

My dressing and David & Madeline mocking my food photos
And now my feet are up after a long day.  TV time and tea with the hubby and grateful that the weekend is here.