Saturday, November 26, 2005

We have walls!

plaster 3
Originally uploaded by stacy's plate.
The plaster is still wet, but we now have walls and we'll hopefully be able to start priming and painting next week.

Click on the photo to see a slightly out of order series of photos from insulation to blue board to plaster.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Bean and other updates Part II

I'll start with the house this time.

Half of the upstairs has been plastered. The other half was scheduled for today, but as of this writing (10:00 am), no plaster people are at our house. There are however people hanging doors. Seems out of order to me, but what can I do about it...

This weekend, during the busiest shopping days of the year, we must buy a shower curtain (so I can get the right paint color for the bathroom), paint and paint supplies, light fixtures, and a medicine cabinet. We'll probably get other things, too as we walk past them in the aisles. Matt and his brother will start priming this weekend as well, in anticipation for the electrician who is supposed to come next week to finish his work.

Things seem to be moving along, but it's still very stressful and frustrating. Mostly because every time our general contractor says so-and-so will be there Monday, it ends up being Wednesday or Thursday before they actually show up to do the work. Then, it usually takes more than one day for them to do the work, and then we're already into the following week.

The thing is, we don't have many more "following weeks" which brings me to the Bean update.

I mentioned last week that my bean was estimated to weigh 7 pounds 5 ounces on 11/15. Babies at this stage in pregnancy gain up to 1/2 pound a week. As I sort of suspected, my doctor wants to induce me early before the baby gets too huge for a safe delivery. My scheduled inducement is Tuesday, 12/6! That is likely going to be my baby's birthday!

While we now have all of the gear we need for the first couple of months, we still don't feel prepared, mostly because of the house construction. I realize that many people bring babies into the world under much less ideal circumstances than ours, and that many first-time parents are in the middle of house renovations or even moving when they have their babies, but this feeling of not being in control and totally prepared goes against every grain of my personality. I feel like I've been cheated out of the "nesting urge" since I can't set up and decorate the nursery. I am also concerned about bringing an infant home to a messy construction zone and having workers (who reek of cigarette smoke) traipse though the house while I'm recovering and nursing.

Again, what can I do? Not a whole heck of a lot.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Bean and other updates

First, the bean.

The bean, according to recent ultrasound results, now weighs a whopping 7lb 5oz. The thing is, he's still inside of me. And, I have 4-6 weeks left of the pregnancy. And if you've never seen me, you probably don't know that I'm only 5' tall and pre-pregnancy weighed about 105lb. I've only gained 18lbs so far, although I've been on a strict low carb diet due to the diabetes.

According to several sources, babies this late in pregnancy gain about an ounce a day. I could to the math here, but I'd rather not try to figure out how big he'll be on his due date. I'm thrilled that he's plump and healthy, but scared to death as to how he will exit my body and enter the world.

In other bean news, we have finally started accumulating baby pariphinalia. We're still nowhere near ready for this kid, but I feel better that we at least have some stuff.

Speaking of not being ready, I'll move on to the next update.


Not sure where I left off on the blog, but after a stressful month of virtually nothing happening for various annoying reasons, work has picked up again. We now have walls. Well, wall board. Plaster should happen this weekend or early next week. Once that's dry, there is trim, tile, bathroom fixtures, paint and carpet. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this may be done before Mr. Bean Giant comes, but given his size, I'm concerned that he may not last inside of me until 12/15.

The Blanky!

The Blanky!
Originally uploaded by stacy's plate.
My MIT Stitch 'n' Bitch knitting group surprised me today with this beautiful baby blanket. Each person knitted a square in a unique pattern and then a couple people knit the border. Danielle, God bless her, blocked each piece and seamed them all together.

I absolutely love the blanket. I love colors and the soft fuzzy texture of the wool. And it is real wool - Mission Falls 100% superwash, to be exact. Danielle machine washed and dried it and it didn't fall apart or shrink, so we can actually use it and not just display it. But it's so pretty, I may want to drape it over the crib for a while. We'll see how messy the kid ends up being I guess.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Is that a turtle on your chest?

baby cardigan detail
Originally uploaded by stacy's plate.
My latest knitting project is a cardigan for my baby who is due to arrive in about one month. Oh boy....

Visit my MIT knitting group blog to see another view.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Soup Mama

I make pretty darned good soup, if I do say so. You could say it's my specialty. Sometimes I follow a recipe, sometimes I stray from a recipe, and sometimes I just throw a bunch of things in a pot and cook it and eat it with a spoon and it's usually really good.

A little secret dream of mine is to one day own a lunch place that sells home-made soups and sandwiches. I could call it Soup Mama. I'll never do it though because I worked in a mom-and-pop bagel shop/bakery/deli during college and while I enjoyed it, the lifestyle wasn't for me. I prefer a predictable 9-5, M-F work schedule where I leave work at work and have my own life at home. Anyway...

Here's a basic recipe for Vegetable Soup with Shortcuts that I made the other night. I concocted this on the fly - no recipes or measurements.

  • one large can of V8 vegetable juice (shortcut #1)

  • one empty large can of V8 filled with water to dilute above

  • one large onion chopped

  • one or two parsnips chopped

  • two or three ribs of celery chopped - use leaves if possible

  • one bag of frozen mixed veggies (corn, peas, lima beans, carrots) -- (shortcut #2)

  • one bag of fresh shredded red cabbage (shortcut #3)

  • one - two cups of cooked pearl barley

  • one can of white beans (shortcut #4)

  • olive oil

  • dried parsley (use fresh if you have it)

  • dried dill weed (use fresh if you have it)

  • one bay leaf

  • salt and pepper (you really don't need much salt if any if you use the regular V8 as it is very high in sodium - even when diluted)

  • cayenne pepper*

  • red wine vinegar**

* Add cayenne pepper at your own risk. I tend to make the soup a bit too spicy, so test as you add. You shouldn't taste the heat of the cayenne pepper. It's not a Southwest style soup. The pepper just wakes up the flavor in the same way the vinegar does.

** Only use a couple of splashes of vinegar as you don't want to actually taste the vinegar. It's just supposed to brighten up the flavor a bit. I find lemon juice works well for chicken stock based soups but red wine vinegar works better for tomato based soups.

Saute onion, celery, and parsnip in olive oil until soft, but not brown. Add V8 juice and water. Add frozen veggies and cabbage and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add barley, beans, spices, and vinegar. Let simmer partially covered for about a half hour. Adjust seasonings before serving.

Use any fresh veggies you happen to have instead of frozen. Or use all frozen. If you prefer to use pasta or rice instead of barley, go for it. Just be sure to add it already cooked - never try to cook it in soup. Experiment and have fun. Making soup is a creative endeavor. That's why I enjoy it so much more than baking, where you must be precise to get good results.