Monday, October 25, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like there is a baby on the way.

First, let me just say I don’t like the word nursery. I think it sounds pretentious. Maybe if there was a pram in the room and a nanny in the house, it would make more sense.

When we found out it was a B.B. and not a B.G, I showed Rocky some of my thoughts for bedding to get the ball rolling. I thought I was consulting him to be polite, but it turned out he had very specific opinions on crib skirts and bumpers. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so surprised since he was also very vocal about bouquets during the wedding planning process. Next time I'm not asking.

We made some real progress with B.B.’s room over the weekend. We’re fairly pleased with how it is has turned out so far and think it is about time to reveal the fruits of our labor.

I'm sure we'll make more changes as we figure out what works and what doesn't, but for now we are happy. These pictures make me wish we had a new camera and Rocky is just thankful that it's hard to see where there is a drill bit stuck in the wall. Who knew this would be such a labor of love?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Baby You Should Be In Pictures

As we dream about B.B. it's hard to imagine exactly what he'll look like.

Will he be compared to E.T. when he is born, like I was?

Baby Allison, 1 day old. I personally don't see the likeness. Hopefully, the doctors will have something nicer to say about B.B. King. Maybe something like "what a moose!"

Baby Rocky, 3 months old. Full of pudge and smiles. It's looking like maybe the kid will have hair.
Baby Allison, 4 months old. Looking a little less like a generic alien baby. I wouldn't mind if he had dimples.

Baby Allison, 9 months old with a button nose and sitting up.

Rocky's first birthday. Loving the tube socks. It is pretty obvious our kid is going to inherit a love of red overalls.

Allison's first birthday. I was always such a lady, especially sporting the E.T. hat.

It's a full moon tonight. If I didn't feel so darned good, I'd be thinking that maybe we'd get to see him in person real soon. He might inherit his daddy's brown eyes and my ability to make funny faces, but I really hope he doesn't inherit the stubborn, always a little bit late genes.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fugly Feet

I need your help. Under ideal circumstances, I would say I have poor taste in shoes (Let's remember I have a history of wearing plastic shoes). Things that make footwear most appealing to me include comfort, cost, and works with the most outfits. I know this season I am supposed to wear:
Booties or Biker Inspired Chic.
Embellished Masters of Pain.

Tall Riding Boots. I swear the last time I was on the Hill, there wasn't a single twenty-something woman not wearing a variation of this boot. It made me feel old and very out of touch.

Because I want some comfortable, slip-on, walk the dog or run to the grocery store shoes, I started to consider Toms. I thought "ooh, not a bad price, people rave about them, maybe not total mom shoes." Then, I saw some teenagers on the Metro who had puffy-painted theirs. Like Keds. Like I did circa 1990. Tell me, besides the whole charity aspect, are Toms just wrong?

Toms Classics in Slate

Toms Cords

I don't want to embarass you when you come to visit B.B. and take me out to lunch to get out of the house. Really, I am just seeking your advice as it is in your best interest. This isn't about me. It is your reputation that is at stake here!

Monday, October 18, 2010

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bump

Rocky thought he was ready for a baby long before I was. But when I was ready, I was ready. I certainly shocked a lot of people when I announced we were going to be parents. More than one friend thought it might be an accident, the office secretary asked if we were going to keep it, and I think when I first brought the baby subject up to my mom she choked. It certainly didn't help that in Washington, people think we’ re still about ten years too young to start a family.
Yet we were so ridiculously happy when we heard the news from the doctor’ s office. We went out to dinner to celebrate, called our parents, and prayed like crazy that this was really happening. Like the dorks we are, we sat down and made spreadsheets about baby budgets, shopping lists, and diaper prices. I spent way too much time researching crib sets and baby names.

Somewhere between the positive test and going public I got scared. My poor not-ready-to-be-a-grandmother mother was inundated with phone calls asking if x, y, or z symptom was normal. Or was not having a symptom normal? My doctor’ s office closes noon on Fridays, and my x, y, or z symptom always happened to appear or disappear at 12:01. I was anxious, scared and nervous. We cleared the first trimester and I settled down a bit, but I didn’ t buy a onesie or a bootie for several more months. I was too paranoid that something could happen.

Then the miraculous twenty-four week threshold passed. The baby books all explained that a baby born by that point might not make it, but the doctors would at least try. I took a deep sigh of relief. Then something weird happened. I started to worry about me.

I would go to the mall and see these pretty girls who had enough disposable income to buy thousand dollar handbags. I realized I would never be one of those girls. Then, I would call up a single girlfriend and struggle to talk about something other than strollers. Now I wasn’ t just worried about being someone I never was, I worried about never being the same person I saw myself as. My friendships are so important and I discovered I was hurtling towards a life that would seem so foreign and distant to those people who who mean so very much to me.
I knew I loved this baby. I wanted this baby. We fought for this baby and yet I was stunned by how much this was going to change who I am. I think because my relationship with my family is so rock solid and I am very happily married that I questioned what this would do to how I see myself elsewhere in my life. It confused me.
But then the kicks got stronger. Rocky started calling him by something other than B.B. His closet began to fill with itty bitty jeans and monkey shirts. Somewhere along the way I stopped worrying and started caring about everyone else less. We were going to be our own family. I was going to have a son play in the backyard with Atticus. He will give sloppy kisses and probably kick me in the shin when I tell him no more cookies.

We talk about what he might look like. Will he have curly hair? Will he inherit his grandfather's webbed toes? Is he really going to weigh nine pounds? We dream about the man he will become. Will he play for Alabama? Will he go to Harvard? Will he vote for a Republican? We are wishing big dreams and praying he grows up happy and healthy.

I am so darn excited. So happy and so incredibly blessed. Today I am full term and feel more than ready to meet him and be his mom.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Flashback Friday: Footloose Friend

Erica was my first friend when we moved to New Brighton. She introduced me to Brownies, New Kids on the Block and fanning my bangs. We spent so many hours playing with our Magic Nursery Babies, Amanda and Mikey, ouija boards, R.L. Stine and the Babysitters Club. Friday nights we almost always had a sleepover with macaroni and cheese for dinner, Entenmann's donuts for breakfast and hours of T.G.I.F on ABC. We were particularly disturbed one Friday when some guy named Nixon had died and the station had the audacity to interrupt Step By Step.

But not even junk food or consecutive viewings of Troop Beverly Hills could compete with our love of dance. We loved to make up dances to Michael Jackson and Paula Abdul in our basements. One summer, we were preparing a special one night show where we would invite our parents and the cute boys in the neighborhood. We even discussed sets and ticket prices. Wearing flattering lycra costumes was just icing on the cake.

Erica continued to compete in dance while I was immersing myself in the speech team and student council. Eventually, we seemed to drift apart. This past summer, we reconnected at our class reunion. We commiserated over babies, husbands who sometimes work too much and living thousands of miles away from our families. It was so special to see the woman who Erica had become and realize that even decades later, it is easy to see why she was such a good friend. Even as my friendships over time have grown and changed, it is comforting to know that you can come back to an old friend after time or distance have kept you apart.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I think someone important reads our blog

With the belly pictures, dog stories and bad hair posts, who wouldn’t, right? But last night on How I Met Your Mother, Marshall and Lily start contemplating their cradle list. They even called it a cradle list. Rocky and I just looked at each other with dropped jaws. So either this blog has made it big, or I’m not as smart and clever as I thought. But our list so beats their list. I already know how to ski and we've already done Paris. So there!

Rocky and I are getting ridiculously close to crossing off the last remaining items from The List. Saturday night we made a huge dent on the leftovers. We went for a progressive dinner approach to three of the restaurants that remained. This allowed us to: 1)spend more money on itsy bitsy baby socks rather than itsy bitsy portions; 2)keep Saturday nights free to watch more college football; 3)limit the number of nights I stay up past my new bedtime to a minimum.

Appetizers: 2941, Falls Church VA

The chef opened a chichi restaurant in an office building of all places after he left Café Boulud in NYC. As we pulled in, Rocky saw a wedding party congregating on the driveway and immediately thought we were a little under dressed. Thank goodness I saw the bride, or we would have high-tailed it out of there before we stuffed our faces with garlic popcorn, chestnut ravioli, and a fig-mascarpone-endive salad (If I was a judge on Top Chef, I'd let him know it was a beautiful presentation, but it needed some salt).

Pizza: Liberty Tavern, Arlington VA

We enjoyed a lovely lamb meatball pizza with fennel and roasted cherry tomatoes. Before B.B. King was B.B., we called him pecorino. Seeing that the pizza was covered in the fine italian cheese sealed the deal. The bar provided a lovely perch to people watch, catch Vanderbilt football on tv, and judge all the hoochy mamas trying to pick up middle-aged men. Very romantic.

Dessert: Corduroy, Washington DC

Rocky and I ate here the night we got engaged. They have since moved to a snazzier residence in a more umm, transitional neighborhood. It didn’t have the same je ne sai quoi of the old Sheraton Hotel, but I suppose some may appreciate the cozy row house decor (this is where Rocky would criticize me for my aversion to change). We reminisced about the night I knew I was going to get a ring, all the while making Rocky painfully uncomfortable as I tried to talk him into making plans for after dinner. I enjoyed a lovely chocolate sabayon and we called it a night.

Besides being 1/2 Minnesotan and executing a Cradle List, the Kings, like the Eriksens also love our margaritas (when we are not busy incubating).

So do you think the Eriksens read Shrimp and Kings?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Flashback Friday: If He's Anything Like Me

Brad Paisley's newest single is a song about learning he was having a baby boy. He knows the trouble and mischief he got himself into and now that he is having a son of his own, he has an idea of just exactly what he is getting himself into. Let me just say Rocky can relate.

Rocky has a scar on his chin from his first attempt at flying. He had watched one too many Superman episodes and took a running leap from the retaining wall. Another good one involves him and his cousins taking turns hanging from a rope in the barn. I can't remember who, but one of them smacked straight into a wall and broke through. He has another scar from losing a fight with a briar patch.

I can't look at a kid on some death trap they call a toy, barreling down the hill and not want to put a helmet and some elbow pads on the guy. With those ribs sticking out, I'd want to cover him in bubble wrap too.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Souffle in the Cradle and the Silver Spoon

Alternate Title: Who is suprised my longest post is about food?

Last weekend I marked off another cradle list to-do, baking a souffle. This has been on my to-do list for ages, ever since I read an article in Bon Appetit more than two years ago by the famed Molly Wizenberg ( I was trucking along on the eliptical machine (I hope I get bonus points for reading food porn while pumping a sweat.) when her tale of her time in France really struck a chord with me. It was a beautifully written article about the simplicity of simple French food. I clipped it out, put it in my trusty recipe binder where it sat, begging to be attempted for days, weeks, months, and yes a couple of years.

This weekend I could take no more of the recipe staring back at me, taunting me for my inability to perform. My belly reminded me that the days left to cross this off the cradle list were quickly passing me by.

What you need:

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup of whole milk
2-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of ground nutmeg
5 eggs

1 Eyed Dog in Need of Haircut for Emotional Support
Cute Aprons from Thoughtful Friends to Distract from Bad Hair and Poor Photo Angles
Not pictured: 1 cup of packed grated Gruyere cheese.*

Directions to Finding Personal Fulfillment and Getting Dinner on the Table

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Butter 6-cup souffle dish (preferably a souffle dish you registered for 3.5 years ago and have only used once).

Warm milk in heavy small saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming. Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until mixture begins to foam, about 3 minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat; let stand 1 minute. Pour in warm milk, whisking until smooth. Return to heat and cook, whisking constantly until very thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in paprika, salt , and nutmeg. Curse useless Pampered Chef Unitasker. Make up with husband so he will help you separate egg whites from the yolk.

Ta Da!

Add egg yolks 1 at a time, whisking to blend after each addition. Scrape souffle base into large bowl.

Go pick up your Cousin Casey. Warn her she is taking her life into her hands by eating French food prepared by a novice.

Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in another large bowl until stiff but dry. Fold 1/4 of whites into lukewarm or room temperature souffle base to lighten. Fold in remaining whites in 2 additions while gradually sprinkling in Gruyere cheese. Transfer batter to prepared dish.

Place dish in oven and immediately reduce oven temperature 375 degrees. Bake until souffle is puffed and golden brown on top and center moves only slightly when shaken gently, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately with a green salad and a silly smile.

*Funny story. Rocky picked up a lovely $8 wedge of Ementaler. Ementaler is not Gruyere. We argued over who was to blame. He got in the car to return the $8 wedge of Ementaler and purchased a lovely wedge of $9 Gruyere. We learned several things from this exercise 1) Harris Teeter does accept returns on perishable items, 2) Read labels, 3) Following the directions to a T is very important to husbands, 4) It wasn't my fault.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mile Marker 35

I’m 35 weeks pregnant with just 35 days to go. It is scary and exciting and a whole lot of yippee up in here. His room is taking shape, and would be done if we weren’t afraid of nailing things into 70 year old plaster…and if the crib didn’t just break (We’re on it, I promise!).

My big plans for the week include packing a hospital bag and installing the car seat. However, this calls into question “if I start doing things now, will that just curse me into going two weeks late?” The illicit cheese industry and I certainly hope not. Besides, his dad and I are too eager to meet the little man.

At the beginning of this roller coaster ride, I just assumed that I would go very early. I was so paranoid for the first two trimesters, every pain, bump and pimple meant something very bad was going to happen. Yet, here I am, with a due date just a little over a month away. Besides a few aches that I’ve grown accustomed to and a few too many bathroom breaks keeping me up at night, things seem to be clipping right along.

The flip side of my previous mental block tells me that this baby is going to be born sometime around Thanksgiving. He’ll just be so itsy bitsy that he has enough space to keep cooking until he’s able to shave. Packing my bag, installing the car seat and fixing the crib will just guarantee me a butterball wrapped in gravy and Baby Gap.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Flashback Friday: Fanny Fashion

The fanny pack, belly bag or hip hippy hugger, whatever you call it, the thing was the height of fashion. And so convenient too! You could keep your wallet, sunglasses and keys right where you needed it, and it would take one fearless felon to try to pick your pocket.

Here we are on a trip to Disney World in 1995. My guess is, about two years after the trend really peaked since all three of us were in on it (and they were neon nylon). I am sure mom needed it to hold her cash money, but I really wonder what Mary and I needed one for. Lip gloss? Gum? Mine is smartly hidden beneath another lovely rain jacket. Mary's looks so full, my guess is it held extra socks.