Thursday, December 22, 2011

A little nip and a little tuck

The Toolbelt Chronicles (now referred to as the TBC) got a little face lift.  One day I will spend a lot of time and make it really creative and beautiful, but for now - this will do. 

Why they change?  Well, here are my top 9 reasons:  (10 is so generic, so to be different, I will name 9.  Also, I couldn't think of a 10th reason.)

1.  I haven't talked about anything toolbelt related in quite awhile.
2.  I was getting sick of all of the earthtones.
3.  Sometimes you just need a change.
4.  Giving the TBC a face lift is cheaper and less painful than giving myself one.
5.  I'm nesting and so nothing is safe anymore.
6.  My husband is watching his 1,000th football game of the week and I'm bored.
7.  Other people have cuter blogs than mine and so I have "blog envy."
8.  I thought you would like it.
9.  Because I can.

If anyone would like to give me ideas, tips, free labor, etc toward a new blog design, I am open to suggestions as I'm sure I will be sick of this one very soon.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

'Tis the season

We hosted Steve's office Christmas party last week, and this year I decided to do all of the cooking so we could have a nice cohesive menu and so his co-workers would just have to show up and not stress about what to bring.  Oh lovely nesting.  First, I had to decorate the house and since I threw away the Christmas tree from last year (read about it here), we went live this year.  I bought a bunch of jewel-toned ornaments and peacock feathers and love how the tree came out.
I learned a little something while decorating the tree.  Here's a Christmas tip: 
Glass ornaments and hardwood floors do not mix.
You might want to write that one down.

As the branches of the tree began to relax, the way live trees do, I would wake up in the morning to at least one broken ornament a day.  I finally tightened all of the hooks and now I think that even if the branches of the tree were all dead and hanging straight toward the ground, those ornaments wouldn't budge. 

Thanks to Pintrest, I made some other decorations and love how they came out.

The best part about all of these candle holders is that I was able to use the glass cylinders we used at our wedding as centerpieces.

I got a little ambitious with the menu and as the party approached, I got nervous about how everything was going to come out, but it all came out better than I could have even imagined.

Here are the recipes I used:

Crustinis with ricotta cheese, prosciutto, arugula and honey
Bacon wrapped dates stuffed with almonds
Caprese salad skewers

Pork Tenderloin stuffed with goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes and I subbed fresh basil for the spinach
Caramelized butternut squash
Green beans and mushrooms
Wild mushroom soup
Creamy mashed potatoes

Everything was delicious and wasn't terribly difficult to make (just more time consuming than anything).  Most importantly, I think everyone enjoyed not having to rush home from work, make/buy something, and then come over.  The even better part - since the party was on a Thursday night, the dishes were done and I was relaxing on the couch by 9:30.  Last year I was scrubbing pans till 12:30...not fun.

Well, Merry Christmas everyone and try some of those recipes!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Florida loves my baby!

Well, I'm just assuming the entire state is a fan, but I happen to know that a special group of people definitely are.  One of my bestest friends Kimberly threw me a fabulous shower last weekend in Gainesville and we were joined by lots of family and friends (some of whom I hadn't seen in awhile which makes it extra special). 

I told Kim months ago what my ideal shower would include; have it short, no stupid games, great food, and plenty of time to visit.  Well, she nailed every single one.  I was concerned with lugging baby gifts back to Texas with me, so I brought an extra suitcase and Kim asked everyone to ship my gifts or request in-store pickup from Babies R Us.  Anyone who thinks this in-store pickup thing is a good idea, you are wrong - very, very wrong.  I swear they tried to make the process as difficult as possible.  Luckily for me, I have smart friends and so we managed to make it work and avoid any serious disasters.  Only a few gifts were canceled and had to be re-ordered.  Grrrr...

Here are a few pics from the shower:  (Please excuse my massive thighs and fat knees....I will stand by the idea that it is just a bad angle...right after I go jogging.)

I had lots of great helpers to open my presents.  They kept things moving at a very brisk pace.

How freaking cute is she?  Loved her tu-tu.

The only game we played.  It turned out to actually be pretty fun.

My delicious and adorable cake amongst the smorgasbord.

The hostess with the mostest!

The real adventure happened on the way from Jacksonville to Gainesville though.  My mom and I drove my grandma's 1994 Buick for the trip and on the way back to Jax (which if you have never made this drive is mostly on a county road that passes through about 4 teeny tiny towns that pride themselves on being known as speed traps).  As we were driving through the biggest town of the 4 and were made to slow down from 65 to 35 in about a 1/4 mile span, the car's temperature light came on for a few seconds and then turned back off.  This car doesn't have a temperature gauge, just a light, so I had no idea it was heating up or how hot it actually was....great engineering Buick!  My mom called my dad to ask what he thought we should do, but he was in a meeting and got off the phone pretty quickly.  Because the car is so old and the check engine light randomly comes on when several diagnostic tests have been done and nothing is wrong, when the light turned off, we decided to ignore it.  (This part of the story is known as mistake #1.)

Everything was fine until we reached the next small town and the light flashed on again.  Because it quickly turned back off, we thought it was definitely just a fluke and kept driving (aka...mistake #2).  Not 2 miles outside of this small town, we'll call it Lawty...cause that's what it's named, the light came on again, the car made noise when I pushed on the gas and refused to accelerate, and smoke started pouring out of the hood.  There were 2 semis quickly approaching behind us and we were frantically trying to turn on the flashers, but they didn't seem to work either.  I put on my blinker and prayed as we coasted into an abandoned welcome center of sorts. 

We sat in the smoking car on the side of the road in the parking lot of the abandoned building with boarded up windows on this cold and rainy day wondering what in the world we were going to do.  About that time, a man who looked just like these guys:
and was missing a good number of his teeth, came walking out of said boarded up building and approached the car.  I instantly regretted watching all of the Lifetime movies I have seen over the years because my first thought was that he was going to kidnap me and try to steal my baby.  I rolled the window down and he offered to help but I assured him help was on the way...although we hadn't found anyone to save us yet. 

My aunt has AAA, so we tried to call her so she could come get us and call them when she got there...but she wasn't answering the phone.  My uncle in Jax doesn't have AAA, so we told him not to bother.  I then remembered that on my parents' Amex, they have free roadside service and free towing.  We called them only to find that it is only good for $50; great, that will get us about a mile and a half!  That's helpful!  My aunt finally called to let us know that her AAA will only tow you 4 miles.  WHAT!?!?!?!?  We called some family friends who said they would try to head that way but it would be about an hour.  I then began to text Steve and it went like this:

That's for the concern Steve.

Frank and Susan finally came to save us and I was very concerned that we would have to pile into their car and have my grandma's towed because our car was full of luggage and baby gifts.  Frank came prepared with lots of water and was able to get the car running enough to get us to the next gas station.  We then proceeded to stop every 6 miles the rest of the way to my aunt's house to add more water to the engine.  Thank God for Frank! 

As if the trip hadn't been traumatic enough, about a mile from my aunt's house while sitting at a red light, we were REARENDED!  I can't make this stuff up!  I pulled into the nearest parking lot and when I saw there was no damage, I was so relieved I hopped back in the car, and went home to where I hoped I would never see that car again.  If I had been made to wait for a police report, I think I would have lost my mind. 

Oh, have I mentioned that I am in the point of my pregnancy where I have to pee a minimum of 3 times an hour?  Yeah, we left Gainesville at 2:30 and didn't get to Jax until 7:30.  Do the math.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The final countdown

I had a 31 week check-up today and everything looks fantastic.  The doctor said I am measuring perfectly and I have only gained 21 lbs.  If I can stick to 1 lb a week, I will stay within my 30 lb goal.  (I suggested to Steve that we start going on evening walks just to help my cause.) 

There was one alarming thing at the appointment though....when the nurse checked his heartbeat she said, "154" like it was a great thing.  Then she started to laugh and said, "Most babies heart rates slow down as they get bigger, but apparently not for this guy.  You have a hyper one in there."  Oh. Dear. Lord. Help. Me.

I'm hoping that maybe since I go every two weeks that she thinks I'm further along than I am (we will choose to ignore that she had just finished updating my chart complete with the stat: 31 weeks 1 day).  Steve thinks it may be the extreme amount of sweets I am eating that is keeping his heart rate up.  That can't possibly be it!

Speaking of sweets...I have never been a dessert person.  I am a savory and salty eater.  Give me some potato chips or a Thanksgiving dinner and I will not come up for air until it is gone.  (Steve saw the seriousness of this shortly after we got engaged and he took me out for Alaskan King Crab legs...he said he had never seen me that way and would have skipped the diamond and proposed with those if he had known this about me.)  But, give me a cookie, and I am normally good after one.  That was, until I got pregnant.  Now, I am baking constantly and buying donuts, pop tarts, and cakes every time I go to the grocery store.  That and ranch dressing....I would bathe in the stuff if it wouldn't make me smell after a few hours.

I am at that lovely stage where he moves a ton at night (my stomach is contorting into weird shapes as we speak) so I'm not sleeping great, and then I wake up to him hosting the World Cup in my belly.  It's funny how we wait to feel that first movement and are amazed for a few weeks...maybe even a few months...and then by the end we would give anything for a little stillness.  I know, I know....I haven't seen movement yet.

9 weeks to go.  Kinda scary and exciting at the same time.  Steve is starting to see the enormity of how our lives are about to change....I'm not sure I'm ready.  Are we ever ready???

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The greatest day of the year.

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday of the year.  Does that make me a glutton?  If it does, I'm perfectly okay with it.  I love to cook, so preparing the meal is fun for me (although Steve and I have been nomads the last few years), it is a great time to have quality time with friends and family (which in our case lately has been our friends' families), you don't have to spend 100 hours decorating the house, and you don't have to go through the pressure of buying gifts for people that you aren't sure they will like and receiving gifts you may not like but have to be nice about.  Also, did I mention the food????  Turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, broccoli and cheese, rolls, pumpkin pie, and my favorite STUFFING!
This year, we went to St. Louis for the big day and stayed with one of my dear friends Amanda, her husband Ryan and their amazing, adorable, funny 11 month old daughter Collins.  Our original plan was to stay one night with these friends and then spend the rest of the time with some other friends at their parents' house so Steve could go deer hunting.  Well, the parents decided to go to Spain so that plan was a no-go.  Rude!  They could have at least invited us to join them in Spain...  Luckily, Amanda and Company were kind enough to take us in for the entire weekend and to take us home with them so we could feed our faces.

The first stop was Amanda's aunt's house to have lunch with all of her family.  This ended up being a girls only trip because Steve and Ryan needed to go set up their tree stands for hunting the next day.  Amanda and I went to town (one of us more than the other).  I had 2 heaping plate-fulls of food and didn't feel guilty about it one bit.  I just blamed it all on the baby.  These people don't know me....they don't know that I would have eaten the exact same way whether there was a baby involved or not, so they bought my excuse and didn't judge me.

At one point, I looked down to make sure my napkin was still in my lap during the feeding frenzy only to find that I couldn't even see my lap, much less my napkin.  I then relocated my napkin to the nice little shelf on the top of my belly to protect my clothes while I behaved like a little piggy.  It kept falling though, which has inspired me to invent a pregnancy napkin....patent pending.

As we sat on the couch rubbing our full bellies, Amanda said 4 of the most glorious words ever spoken, "Time for round 2."  We packed up and headed over to Ryan's mom's house to have dinner with his family.  Here I had another massive plate and some pumpkin pie.  Had I been given another hour for digestion, I bet I could have taken down 2 plates at this house too.  I take Thanksgiving very seriously.
After all of this eating, my back was killing me.  The poor little guy was probably so excited at first to have all of this delicious cuisine headed his way, and then quickly realized that his mom is a heifer, and he was out of room and was shoved up against my spine.  Also, my normally active little guy was in a food coma all weekend and hardly moved.  He's back to normal now though!

Oh, did I forget to mention that Steve's office had their annual Thanksgiving lunch on Wednesday?  Yeah, I overate there too.  Steve and I were in charge of the turkey and I decided to brine one this was DELISH! 

I had a turkey sandwich today with some of the leftovers and the baby got extremely active.  I wonder if he got scared that the gorging of the weekend was about to happen all over again.....I wish!

Well, until next year...  Bring on Christmas!

PS.  I learned yesterday that Canadians celebrate their Harvest at the end of October with a day just like Thanksgiving.  I'm invisioning a new Callaway Tradition...Canada in October.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Post Halloween Wrap-up

Steve and I are not huge Halloween people.  By this I mean, we live in a neighborhood with only 3 children, so we turn off our porch light and hide in the living room so we don't have to hand out candy.  Also, what we decide to "be" depends entirely on what we have in the house and will require the least amount of effort and investment.  (Not sure what that says about us for this year's costume though.) 

With just one quick trip to Wal-Mart and pulling out some of Steve's hunting clothes, we were able to quickly and easily transform into white trash.
Steve already had the camouflage and I already had the wife-beater (I did cut it up did not look like that before), the trucker hat, and the cut-off shorts.  Wal-mart provided the AC/DC shirt and the tattoos.  I gave myself a white trash perm (just add moose and hairspray to straight hair and pretend it looks pretty) and caked on the makeup.  We decided I DEFINITELY needed the rose tattoo on my boob (which a surprising amount of people thought was real...) and, although no one got to see it because of the cold weather, a tramp stamp.  Steve went patriotic with a huge eagle tattoo on his arm.  I also bought some fake cigarettes and was tempted to carry around a vodka bottle filled with water but instead opted for this prop:
If we had 7-11 (the king of all convenience stores) here, it would have been a Super Big Gulp, but this option allowed me to enjoy a tasty cherry lime-ade.  There were other props, such as Steve's pack of Red Man, that were not highlighted but definitely were not overlooked. 

We didn't stay too long because, well, I am pregnant, boring, and tired all the time.  I have found that certain things just aren't as much fun when you are the only sober person.  Things like: Happy Hour, Tailgating, Church (hehe...just wanted to make sure you were paying attention), and Parties. 

However, when weighing the options of weather to give my child fetal alcohol syndrome or to be the only sober person at a party, tailgate, or church, it is an easy choice, and I would rather just go to bed early. 

Now I am already thinking of costumes for the little guy next year.  He won't be walking yet, but who of the best parts of having kids is all of the Halloween candy....right?  That's what the brochure said. 

Here are a couple of ideas I have seen:
Clark is that you? (how cute is this?)
This might be better in a few years.

Guess what the little guy will be next year...
I ABSOLUTELY love this!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Just a little dry run...

I woke up Monday experiencing a lot of cramping in my lower abdomen.  After having lunch and still not feeling any better, I came home to relax and see if maybe the little guy was just in a bad spot and needed to move, but I still didn't feel any better.  While making dinner, I was doubled over in pain and decided to google my symptoms to see if this was anything to be worried about.  (note: all of the books say cramping OR spotting are not a problem but cramping AND spotting are something to worry about...I had no spotting so just kept ignoring it...but 8 hours is a long time to ignore something.)  After typing in "lower abdominal cramps third trimester", I discovered that menstrual type cramps are a sign of pre-term labor.  Ahhhh what???  I then called the on call doctor from my doctor's practice and she suggested that I come down to labor and delivery to be monitored and checked for pre-term labor. 

Steve and I were planning to do the hospital tour so we would know where to go on the big day and not have that stress hanging over our heads, but we hadn't done it yet so we were flying blind.  We got up to labor and delivery though, and they had a room waiting for me - talk about service!  I was hooked up to 2 monitors (one for him and one for me) and they immediately saw the cramps, which they refered to as small contractions, that were occuring every 2 minutes.  They ran a few tests and after 3 hours, they decided I was not in pre-term labor, but they think I may have kidney or bladder stones and my body was trying to fight that off and started contracting in an attempt to get all foreign things out of my body.  Did my body just call my baby foreign????  Rude!

They gave me a shot to stop the contractions and waited about 30 more minutes to see if it worked.  I was also told that I need to drink a lot more water (4-5 of the cups they gave me a day).  The cramps/contractions were really weak at the end of the 30 minutes, so they sent me home. 
I went to the hospital and all I got was this cup.

The baby did not enjoy this occasion very much.  He kicked the crap out of the monitors for all 3 1/2 hours...guess he wanted those things to go away.

Here is silver lining to this event:  We now don't have to do the tour and have made a list of things to remember to take for the big day.  My list includes, my glasses, computer, my own pillow, and maybe a blanket.  Steve's includes an air mattress (I don't think he liked the husband chair), but I will not allow "the Clampets visit the hospital" to take place. 

I had a doctor's appointment the following day and after double checking everything, she wasn't worried and said that if I start to show signs to kidney stones to give her a call.  Glad there was no real emergency....he just wanted a little attention.