Sunday, July 27, 2008

Swirly Baby Hat

Finally! I made it through this baby hat pattern. There was an error in the pattern, and Donna was able to find me an errata for the pattern. However, even with the correction, there was still something wrong. I managed to finish and I am glad to have it done. I could have made three hats if you actually counted all of the time I spent knitting, and then unknitting, and then re-knitting this pattern. And, there is STILL Madeline Tosh peony sock yarn left on that skein. Maybe enough to make some matching baby thumbless mittens. All of my detailed notes are out on ravelry.

Three Chimneys Inn

Michael and I went to the Three Chimneys Inn in Durham last night. We wanted a special place to go for a lazy length dinner to celebrate. It is our 7th anniversary of meeting each other today, and then Monday will be the first anniversary of our engagement.

We've been to Three Chimneys Inn a handful of times now. Built in 1649 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Three Chimneys Inn is one of the oldest homes in the State. So the Coppers Dining Room feels very historic and there's a restored cooking fireplace in the corner too.

Michael had the New England Clam Chowder and we shared an order of Crispy Fried Calamari with pepperoncini, lemon, lime, red pepper and roasted garlic. There's plenty of the calamari left over. We each had a spinach salad tossed in a pineapple vinaigrette, with roasted pineapple and almonds. Just perfect for the lady who has been craving pineapple! For dinner, Michael had jerk marinated chicken skewers with sweet potato chips. The jerk seasoning was warm, but the mango salsa helped to cool it down. I had a grilled Delmonico steak served with fresh green beans and a warm mixed potato salad. And for desert, we shared a piece of bourbon pecan pie with vanilla ice cream and fresh cream. The texture of the pecan pie was wonderful.

Thank you, Debbie, for our gift certificate!

The ride out and back to Durham afforded us the opportunity to see some of the tornado damage. It was quite the reminder of how powerful Mother Nature is. And on route 4, the section of the road that had been closed, the news photos just didn't do the damage any justice. There is a narrow strip of destruction that cuts along the edge of the lake across the road and into the woods, but the density of the houses there on the lake's edge meant that many houses were destroyed. Some are flattened, some are half standing with the other half of the house missing. A business just across the road from the damage seems unscathed, but then there is tree damage beginning again in behind the building.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Dark Knight

We joined friends last night (Dale, Jeff, Jacinda, Shane) at the movie cinema to help insure that The Dark Knight had another record breaking weekend. I think I have been looking forward to the release of the Batman Begins squeal more than Michael has. He's the comic book movie fan. I usually don't know who these characters are and I never read comic books as a kid. But in 2005, Michael dragged me to the stadium seating at Cinemagic in Merrimack to see Batman Begins and I loved the movie. And I became a Christian Bale fan.
I like that this movie series is dark and not a slap stick version of Batman. All of the hype around how good Heath Ledger was as The Joker made me a little skeptical since Ledger passed away earlier this year. I wasn't sure if people were flocking to the character because it was Ledger's last performance or because it really was stellar. But I can assure you that Ledger captured a very psychotic and scary rendition of The Joker. And he helps to perpetuate clown fears for many people across the world. (Have we mentioned NO CLOWNS for the baby!) He took the classic characteristics of The Joker but adds in very serious, sinister, and mentally ill aspects. This Joker character is portrayed as so evil that I really believe he could think up his sick pranks. The Joker stole the movie away from the other characters. The Dark Knight made me think and wonder through the whole movie who is really good and who is really evil, and how does society define it, and how quickly the definition can change.
I am excited since I have heard Bale say on TV that he would gladly do another Batman sequel. I hope that this project is already in the works. I don't know where they will get another incredible nemesis for Batman though, so a sequel project has big shoes to fill. I'm still debating with myself whether I liked Batman Begins or The Dark Knight better.
We haven't seen many movies in a while, but now with the pending birth, we have a new push to get in as many movies as we can before we're too tired as new parents to see movies. And then of course, we will spend several years going to the movie theater for Disney and Pixar flicks.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Tornado Tore Through

National Weather Service meteorologists are confirming today that tornados did in fact touch down in abutting towns yesterday just before and after noon time. Here is a link to the track of the tornado damage. It must have been so scary for the people who saw that severe weather approaching. Up in this neck of the country, it's not like we see tornados on a regular basis or really know what to do when one is bearing down. I am glad that I was at work and didn't see or hear the cloud banks coming through. Not a thing was displaced at our house, despite some of the major damage being a few miles from our house. Michael and I are just amazed since even a mild thunderstorm can usually bring branches down out of our trees in the yard and displace stuff on our deck. If we hadn't seen the news reports, we would not have known anything out of the ordinary happened in the area yesterday, besides some hard rain. WMUR has some intense ariel photos of the damage if you want to go to this website to view them.

Test Results

On Tuesday afternoon, I had two blood tests. I worked on Sunday night, so I didn't feel bad about leaving work early to go for blood work on Tuesday. I had a one hour glucose tolerance test and a second Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) Test. The glucose test usually is done a few weeks later into pregnancy, but I am at higher risk to develop gestational diabetes, so we decided to do one earlier. This is actually the second AFP test I had. The first one was part of the first trimester screening at 12 weeks and 1 day. The good news is that the nurse from my doctor's office called me this afternoon to say that both test results were fine. I am happy to not have to sign up for a 3 hour glucose tolerance test. And it's nice to have double confirmation that the AFP test results are still not indicating any problems with the baby. I linked both test names in this blog post to other web pages that will give you more information on the tests if you are so inclined to read more about them.

Monday, July 21, 2008

We're Expecting!

Michael and I are very eager to share "officially" on the blog that we are expecting. The estimated due date of our bundle is January 5th, 2009. I am hoping (now) for a later baby so there can be some distance between the holidays and the baby's birthday.

We have tried to get to most of our friends, co-workers and family with the news personally over the last two weeks. We told our parents first during the last week of the first trimester. We both agreed that we didn't want to start telling people too early.

Even though we were trying, it still took us by surprise. We both seem to be adjusting to the thought of being parents though. It's interesting to think that this time next year we could have a 6 month old baby.

We do not know if we are having a boy or girl yet. We do plan to find out if possible. Some people (Nana Doaner) are firmly in the camp of one gender or the other, but Mike and I are not spending too much emotional energy on it until we get an ultrasound confirmation.

The first trimester for me wasn't too bad. The standard symptoms, especially being tired and having heart burn. (You may have noticed the marked decline in blog posts through the first trimester.) But uneventful enough that I didn't feel truly pregnant until my June 17th ultrasound when the little fetus could be clearly seen bouncing and waving erratically. And oh yes, I must post the obligatory ultrasound photo.

We had a second ultrasound on June 24th, when Michael got to see the baby bounce around on screen for the first time. We had the second ultrasound as part of our first trimester screening and the results of that were favorable. This ultrasound photo is from June 17th, but it is better than the 2nd ultrasound photos. The baby would have been 11 weeks and 1 day into development at the time of the photo.

I thought the second trimester was suppose to be the "good one," so I had been expecting my energy to return and all symptoms to go away. Unfortunately, my energy has not bounced back yet and a few of the symptoms have worsened. It still could be much worse, but our doctor says that many woman experience this and that there's nothing to worry about. My doctor also made mention that sometimes with girls that the symptoms can get a little worse in the 4th trimester, but that is just his observation and he said there is absolutely no research to back that up.

Child care has really been the biggest issue so far. A few woman from work had mentioned to me that once you get a positive pregnancy test that you have to start putting yourself on child care center waiting lists. We are on a few so far and I am still searching for more. None yet that even remotely seem like they will have an opening come the end of April 2009 when we estimate I would return to work. The hospital has a child care center, which would be the ideal location, but we are only #83 on the waiting list in the infant room.

You better believe there will be many more prenatal posts.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Michael Timothy's

Michael and I met our friends Dale, Nancy, Alison, Glenn, and Jacinda in Nashua at Michael Timothy's last night for dinner. It's always nice to get out for a nice dinner. Michael and I shared the Quick-Fried Eggplant Chips that came with a mozzarella dipping sauce and herbed marinara. The mozzarella sauce was the perfect consistency to dip the eggplant pieces into. There was no cheesy stringy mess. I had a small Mediterranean Salad that was loaded with greens, grilled zucchini, marinated mushrooms, artichokes, olives, chick peas, feta cheese and couscous, topped with balsamic dressing. It was big even for a small salad and the popping ingredient was the grilled zucchini. I really have to remember how good that tastes and grill a few more zucchinis on my own grill. For dinner, Mike and I shared a wood grilled Sweet Cherry Pepper, Sausage and Prosciutto Pizza. It had five cheeses, San Marzano tomatoes, and fresh basil on it as well. Salty, but good. We had a little left over pizza this morning for breakfast and it was even better cold! And always my favorite, dessert. Michael and I shared the Warm Soft Chocolate Cake. It was bittersweet chocolate cake baked half way, pierced at the table, and served with fresh strawberries and crème anglaise. The waitress made a big deal out of the presentation, doing the final preparation right at the table, which made the whole thing taste even more delicious. Michael focused on the fresh strawberries and crème anglaise and I went for the molten, oozing chocolate center and the cake.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Fisher Cats v. Rock Cats

Michael, Shawn, Denise and I went to see the NH Fisher Cats play a game of baseball against the New Britain Rock Cats on Friday night. What's a Rock Cat? Michael received tickets for the game through his work. When we left the house, a thunder storm was just passing through Pittsfield. The sky brightened as we drove into Manchester. We parked down on North Commercial Street where Denise worked, and then walked to the stadium. We enjoyed seats in the second row behind the home team dug out. We sat down once we had our appropriate ball park food dinners in hand. I had an Italian sausage and Mike and Denise had jumbo dogs. Mmmmm. Denise and I brought knitting, but I didn't actually net any knitting since my Swirly Baby Hat project seems to be a little too difficult to knit while I am also trying to talk and watch for foul balls. So I knit about a half inch and then unknit about a half inch to fix a mistake. Sometime after the half way point of the game, lightening could be seen off in the north distance. And then eventually full bolts of lightening could be seen. But the game did finish and we never got wet, so that was a happy ending. The Fisher Cats won 3 to 2 in the bottom of the 9th, and it was a close game the whole way through. Pittsfield was still soaking wet when we got home, so apparently the storms all stayed north of Manchester.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fried Green Tomatoes?

On one of my trips to see my parents in May, I was given one of my Dad's home grown tomato plants. The last few summers, I have grown a cherry tomato plant in a huge pot on the back deck. This year, I took one of Dad's tomato plants instead for a change of pace. And good thing since the whole salmonella scare has cropped up since I planted the tomato plant. Dad started the plants from seed in his little movable green house in early spring. The plant I brought home was already taller and healthier looking than any that were for sale at the local NH nurseries about the time I planted it. The whole plant has taken over the corner of my deck. I wish I had caged it before it got too big to do so. I am going to have to tack it to the deck so the weight of itself doesn't break off any more branches. There are huge fruit already on the vines. Here are two green tomatoes that get bigger before my eyes every day. These two 'maters fill my palm right now. Dad has advised to let them vine ripen, or at least start turning red on the vine. I am getting a hankering for fried green tomatoes, so maybe these two big ones won't make it to red. Mmmmm.... Now of course, I heard this morning on Good Morning America that they now suspect the salmonella may be coming from cilantro or jalapeno peppers. I didn't grow hot peppers this summer, but I do have a sprig of cilantro growing since it is my favorite herb.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Madeline Tosh Baby Socks

The one skein of Madeline Tosh sock yarn is still going! I love the peony colorway, of course, since I love peonies. In April, I bought this yarn to make Serena's baby leg warmers and was pleased to find I had leftover yarn. So then I made this pair of baby socks in June thinking it would use up the rest of the skein. There is still enough yarn left over to make another project. So I have cast on a new Swirly Baby Hat. That has got to take care of the remainder of this skein, but we'll see! I suspect I will have to find a coordinating yarn to finish the top of the hat, but I could be pleasantly surprised.