Monday, June 30, 2008

Date Night (and a description of the dinner in Full Pornographic Food Detail)

I bought a cute, new maternity sun dress on Wednesday at the Salvation Army (for $4, still had Motherhood Maternity tags on it). As I now had cute duds, I needed a place to go. And a sitter. My original plan was to go to the City for an early dinner at Frontera. You know, Frontera? The best restaurant in the US, according to some survey and rankings. It’s 4-star all the way. And they don’t do reservations. It’s strictly first come, first served. Taste of Chicago is going on now (and we’re boycotting), so I figured all the foodies in town would be there and we’d be able to snag a table, particularly if we went at 4:30 pm. That would require dropping Boy off with Mimi around 3:00. Did not happen.

Here’s what did happen. Chuckles went down for a nap around 3:30. At 5, I started vacuuming in his room so he’d wake up. We then called the restaurant and made a 6:15 reservation. I threw my dress on, Chuckles freaked out because I was already wearing clothes. My husband just then realized we were going out to dinner and maybe he should shower, shave, and iron a shirt. I said, “No.” Put your shirt on, wash you face, and let’s go. So, Chuckles was deposited with Mimi (to have chicken nuggets for dinner and swim in her indoor hot tub). We headed out only to hit a torrential downpour that lasted 15 minutes but put the most beautiful rainbow in the sky. People were actually pulling over on the side of the highway to snap pictures. The entire sky was filled.

We were having dinner in Gary, Indiana. Now, trust me, I know Gary is not exactly known for its haute cuisine or safe parking. I know. But, I had heard good things about this restaurant and I had been assured that the neighborhood was OK. It’s true. The neighborhood was OK. It wasn’t great, but I didn’t feel really bad leaving the car unattended on the street. After all, it was still light out. The restaurant looked like quite a dive. I was a little disappointed. People had raved. Eh, we had a reservation so we walked in the door, and I was floored. It was very nice inside. Very urban-hipster. The lighting was subdued. There was heavy fabric over the windows. We were asked if we had a preference for seating. Restaurant side or bar side. Live jazz would be coming to the bar side at 8:00. We chose restaurant side. We were led to a table. My chair was pulled out for me. The girl came to fill our water glasses and put my napkin on my lap for me. Then she complimented me on my dress. Woo Woo.

The waiter came and brought us nine menus or something ridiculous like that. There were two dinner menus, specials for the day (including the daily risotto), beer list, wine list, and bar list. It was almost comical. I got a lemonade and the man got a glass of syrah that I tasted and could have really enjoyed were I not pregnant and stuff. Next, they brought the bread basket. There were two kinds of bread. One, I swear to you, was pretzel bread. It tasted like a loaf of giant, soft pretzel. It was so very, very good. The other was a tougher European bread with large air pockets in it. They were served with warmed butter and half a head of roasted garlic. My husband was surprised when I put my knife in, removed a clove of roasted garlic and spread it right on the bread without hassle. He had never seen that before. But I am pretty sure he came to love roasted garlic and has found a new, favorite food. He wanted to know whether I knew how to do that. I do, and if he’s good, I might make it for him.

Then we ordered. We got a spinach and strawberry salad tossed with a champagne vinaigrette. It also came with goat cheese, which was unpasteurized (I asked), so I had that put on the side and the Man ate it with his salad. The salad was very good. Even the stems on the spinach were tender and the dressing was a little tangy but also sweet, paired with the strawberries, it was divine.

Next up was soup. It was a pureed squash with andouille sausage soup. It had an Indian curry flavor and it was quite good. It, too, was a hint of sweet with spice. The sausage was either very finely chopped or ground. It was quite smooth and went down easy.

Next up was the main course. We had the daily stuffed chicken selection and one of the three daily fish (Grouper). The chicken was stuffed with roasted red peppers, tomato, crimini mushrooms, and spinach. It was then rolled and grilled. It was served over a bed of garlic smashed potatoes and lightly cooked summer veggies (zucchini, green beans, carrots, very sweet onions, garlic, and some other things I cannot remember). The whole thing was artfully arranged with swirls of a very good, creamy white wine sauce. The grouper was grilled and served with a red tomato and pepper sauce that I am sure had capers in it. It was served over the same potatoes and veggies.

Lastly, we had dessert. There were 10 choices, but 4 of them had coconut. I like coconut OK, but I prefer other flavors. One of my favorite desserts is key lime pie. They had it but with a coconut crust, so I opted for a chocolate mousse with fresh berries. And I was not disappointed. The man ordered something like a chocolate volcano or a chocolate bomb. Something like that. It was a chocolate brownie with a liquid core topped with vanilla bean ice cream. Both plates were decorated with fresh berries and drizzled with an array of fruity and white chocolatey sauces.

I cannot recommend my dinner highly enough. We went to the Miller CafĂ©. Total bill with tax and tip (and without the use of coupons…Entertainment Book only valid after 8:30 on Saturdays) was a little over $80.

It was about 8:45 now and we deicded to go watch the sunset at the lakefront. It was 1.5 miles through the National Lakeshore to the beach, so we headed there. The rain had caused things to chill off and I didn’t have a sweater, so the beack trip was necessarily short. Also, we were still in Gary, and it was getting dark. We walked the beach, checked out the Chicago skyline (must figure out what building that was to the right of the Sears Tower with a giant light on top...answer: 311 S. Wacker), looked right to see Michigan City, IN's most famous site, I dabbled my toes in the lake, and we headed back to the car. It’s a good thing too because groups of teens were starting to mill about and hang out in the parking lot.

It was dark by the time we got to the Expressway. We went to Mimi’s to get Chuckles. He was laying in her bed watching TV in his jammies when we got there. He did not fall asleep on the way home. I pulled him into bed with me and he was out in 15 seconds. I had hoped that up until 10:00 would mean later sleeping, but it did not. 6:45 Sunday morning and we were at it again. But I put him down for the night shortly after 7 and he slept through until Monday morning, so it was all good.

Friday, June 27, 2008

All Good News - All The Time

THe Graco Nautilus got to my house on Tuesday. Yes, Tuesday. As in, the day after I ordered it with Free Super Saver Shipping. The next day. For free. And with no sales tax and a better price than the local store. I lvoe the internet.

I had an ob appointment and BoBo is perfect. Perfect. Heartbeat in the 150s. Movement? Yes. Weight gain: 4 pounds so far at 19 weeks. Excellent. My complete UltraScreen results had not been faxed to the doctor (unsurprising) so I need to get on that this afternoon. OTher than that, a lovely time. And my headaches are nothing to worry about.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Highlights from the Last Few Days

  • My sister thinks Bobo is a boy based on how I am carrying.
  • Mr. Long-Suffering felt Bobo move on Thursday (almost 18 weeks along...we know it's early, but it's undeniable).
  • Bobo continues to exercise his/her limbs (the pressure to be thin starts so early these days...).
  • The little breakfast place on Saturday was awesome and we got there before the rush. We only had 7 as my father came alone. Everyone else decided they couldn't get up for it. Losers. They have only seen their niece maybe twice in her almost-four years. You'd think they could get out of bed by 8:30.
  • The phone rang shortly before 8:30 Saturday morning and the caller asked if it was too early. The answer: No, we've been up for hours. Incidentally, the caller has two kids, ages almost 1 and 3.5, so she had been up a while too.
  • Today, I bought a Graco Nautilus car seat off of amazon. Free shipping, no sales tax, and a better price than Babies We Are and Lo*Mart. Should arrive next week.
  • I washed and inventoried all the baby clothes and put them in the drawers. That was pleasant. One of the boxes of clothes I unpacked smelled like baby spit up though. Which I think is odd because I know I washed everything before putting it away and those were girl baby clothes that we never even wore. Oh well. They don't stink now.
  • Many of the baby clothes have already been through 3 kids (my niece, Chuckles, and my nephew). Some of them are not in pristine condition any longer, but kids don't wear clothes that long, so I'm not too worried. I am assuming growth will be like Chuckles's and we'll be out of 0-3 month clothes at the 3-week mark (length, not weight).
  • Because of this perceveid growth situation, I also washed all of the 3-6 month clothes and put them in the drawers. And I was a few pieces of 6-9 month clothing that got mingled in with the rest.
  • The VAST majority of baby clothes are YELLOW. I didn't know with Chuckles and I don't know now, so the clothes, they are neutral which is all well and good.
  • The person who called Saturday morning was a mom from day care whose son left at the end of the school year because mom is a teacher and stays home summers. She wanted a play date. We did it, and Chuckles had a MARVELOUS time at the splash pad (big sprinkler thing at the park for a buck). And they played in the sand. Very fun. They were so good together. Really angels. I did not have to intervene during the entire 3-hour play date. It was my first play date ever. I hope I did OK and she wants to do it again. She even said weeknights are OK with her. Awesome. I might take her up on that.
  • And she had a baby with her who was quite cute and I held the baby. And the baby sat on top of my baby and it was weird to hold a baby and well, I guess I had better get used to it.
  • This Friday the Parks Dept is having Touch-A-Truck, where the pre-school set climbs in and around and on trucks and blows their horns. We went last year (right before salmonella hit). We had fun. Should I take a vacation day and do this again? Or maybe see whether grandma would like to take him?
  • My husband jokingly said he should put us in a bubble between now and our vacation so no one gets sick. Funny guy. More funny guy:
  • As I ate sushi
  • My wonderful husband said,
  • "Don't come crying to me
  • When you're all puffy
  • Because the soy sauce,
  • It has sodium."
  • I went to Costco Saturday morning, I bought a rotisserie chicken. Last night, I made salmon burgers. I think I may have hit a new lazy. But the salad I served with teh burger was divine (lettuce, black beans, corn, fresh cilantro, olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, and Catalina dressing). And Chuckles ate a surprisingly large quantity of salmon (more than I had since he ate half of mine, all of his, plus some of his Dad's).
  • Sunday, I pretended to be asleep so Chuckles would take a nap. I woke up 15 minutes later, panicked but Chuckles was asleep next to me.
  • My shoulders are sore today because I (manually) trimmed all eleventy bushes in front of our house yesterday. I think I got some sun too because the area between my eyes where my sunglasses cross the bridge of my nose is white when compared to the surrounding skin.
  • I sleep like a rock every night (until 3 or 4 am when I wake up in some sort of mom-related panic, usually involving car seat safety….except last night when I have no recollection of anything from 10 pm until 6:24 am).
  • I asked my kid (who was looking out the window at the bird feeder with me yesterday) how many birds were on the feeder. Answer: 3. Then I asked him how many would be there if one more came. He thought for a bit and answered, "Four." Many hugs and good jobs were offered.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

StuffWhitePeopleLike (dot) Com

I am white. I wouldn't say I'm proud of that fact. It's just who I am, and I have no control over it. Kind of like being female. I'm not really proud of that either.

Anyway, I was reviewing the list of Stuff White People Like and I only like, maybe, a third of it. So, maybe all that being raised on the South Side of Chicago really did pay off (you know, it's the baddest part of town).

There are a few things on the list, though, that struck me since they are totally things I like: Ivy League Schools, Grammar, Front Loading Baby Carriers (I own a Baby Bjorn and a sling), and Gifted Children. So, there you have it. (I am also fond of expensive sandwiches, but I don't get them nearly enough, so we're not counting that.)

I also like Little Breakfast Places for going to on the weekends. In fact, I will be going to one on Saturday morning with my sister, niece, the au pair, Chuckles, Mr. Long-Suffering, my dad, his wife, and their 3 kids, (and probably various more extended family members) so that my dad can see all his progeny at once.


My niece is in town visiting her grandparents this week. She came with her au pair from South Africa.

My niece is 8 months older than Chuckles, but she has some delays so they are at approximately the same skill level (he might actually be a hair ahead in the verbal communicative realm although she's definitely the winner in gross motor skills).

The played My Little Ponies last night and trucks and ate Salerno Butter Cookies and watched teh first 20 minutes of Flushed Away before we went home to play outside and garden.

Chuckles is now totally in love with his cousin, who is quite the cutie and a good 2" taller than he is.

My sister is coming at the end of the week to retrieve my niece and the au pair. I get to see my sister and she will get to see my belly. I visited her when I was 4.5 months pregnant with Chuckles. That's roughly where I will be this weekend. We'll see whether she thinks I am bigger/smaller, more popped/less popped, out in front/all around this time.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Cute Story About My Kid

Chuckles and I were at his grandparents' house last night. Not wanting my in-laws to think I am raising a puppy, I had Chuckles showing off his new phonics skills. Below is a transcript of the ensuing conversation.

Me: What's the first letter in dog?

Ch: Duh, Duh, Duh, D.

Me: Right. What's the first letter in Bailey? (Bailey is the dog's name.)

Ch: Buh, buh, buh, B.

Me: Right again. What's the first letter in Mom.

Ch: M-O-M. Mom.

Me: But what's the first letter?

Ch: M?!?!? (looking at me like I'm an idiot since he just spelled the whole thing.)

Me: What's the first letter in toilet?

Ch: Puh, puh, PEE.

Me, MIL, FIL: ((Hysterical Laughter))

Me: Ha ha, catching breath. Can't breathe. What's the first letter in fork? Huff, puff.

Ch: clearly thinking he is onto something. Fuh, Fuh, PEE.

Peanut Gallery: giggle.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


I feel as though I have been neglecting the blog, and in a way, I have, but today, I am reinvigorating the blog by posting a re-run. You probably haven't seen it before unless you are you-know-who.
A dear friend emailed me a list of girl baby names that google said were "original". This is what I sent back to her.

Here are my first impressions of the names:
Jem – She’s truly outrageous
Ballari – Lost a bar fight
Ula – isn’t that the thing in the back of your throat?
Helia – Hellraiser
Kia – A cheap Korean car
Yanichel – We wanted a boy
Miyo – Yep, we wanted a boy.
Kabira – Just back from the Peace Corps
Rufina – We’re hoping finishing school turns her into a lady
Mahalia – She sure can sing the gospel
Polly – Girl always wants a cracker
Urvi – I suffered a horrible bladder infection while pregnant and this is my revenge
Radha – We love Gandhi
Robyn – It’s true, we wanted a boy
Maude – Abortions for everyone
Lotus – Man, I love that car
Anchoret – We’re hoping she joins the Coast Guard
Osanna – Because Osama was just too close
Frigg – When F&^% just won’t cut it
Senalda – Why yes, I do have allergies
Zandeleigh – I do use drugs, thank you.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Pregnancy Update

I continue to feel sporadic movement. Probably every day now but certainly not constant and there is no way I would know what this was if I was my first pregnancy.

I've given up on pants with buttons and zippers and have embraced the large elastic waist bands.

I've decided to enjoy myself and assume that a real-live take-home baby is coming at the end of this. If that's not what happens, I will deal with it then. Until then, La-la-la I can't hear you.

If I feel like sushi at 10 am on a Saturday morning, I get thee to the supermarket sushi counter and find myself some packed on Today's date sushi (made with cooked ingredients) and I eat it in the car on the way home.

I hate round ligament pain, but I guess that's the price I pay for having "popped" a little.

Speaking of "popped", I had an ob appointment on Thursday. I am measuring a week and a half ahead. I am sure of my dates, so it's really just one big baby. Very long. Same thing happened with Chuckles and he was almost 22" long at birth, so I am unconcerned. More proud that I grow 'em big.

Are we a sickly bunch?

My child runs fevers intermittently and has had an ear infection, suspected mono, strep throat, and various other ailments on-and-off since March.

I had food poisoning back in March and am pregnant.

My husband has either heat stroke of food poisoning. No one else in the house is sick like he is, but we don’t all necessarily eat the same things, nor do we all walk around sweating at work all day. Man of the House was actually home this morning while I was getting ready. It works much better when we are not both getting ready at the same time. So, since he was on the couch moaning last night, I got a lot done around the house.

We’ve been collecting rainwater from the downspouts on the house and using it to water the garden and flowers. Pretty neat set up. We put a pump into it last night and Chuckles watered the grass.

And Chuckles flew his battery-operated birthday airplane all over the neighborhood, much to the delight of Mrs. M next door who thinks he’s the bomb.

This morning, he took the banana and the cucumber from the food set Jamington gave him for his birthday and was singing into them like microphones. I got a nice rendition of Jack and Jill followed by Baa Baa Black Sheep. Everyone slept through the night and the world is a wonderful place today.

Round Ligament (OH MY GOD, I'M DYING)

I discovered “round ligament pain” Friday night. It only usually happens in 2nd and subsequent pregnancies and it is like no pain I have ever felt before. I honestly thought my body was being ripped to shreds by angry Jack Russell Terriers. But it goes away when you change positions which is odd since you’re sitting there about to cry and breathing through the pain and you stand up and feel like spring breezes and sunshine. No harm, no foul, I guess. But, could we not have any more of that, please?

Newsflash: Second Hand Goods Rock the House

After my last post, I went to the Salvation Army on my way home from work and I am sold. The prices are so much better than at the Goodwill. 45 cents for a long-sleeved maternity tee. $1.50 for brand-new maternity jeans that still had the Target tags on them. Unfortunately, the Salvation Army is literally in the ghetto and I was worried about leaving my car in the parking lot. But the prices. I spent $14 and got enough clothes to go through the summer, I'd say. Shorts, pants, tops, dressier tops, less dressy tops, and a pair of khaki cargo pants in size medium that is not long for me.

In other second hand goods news: I was out in public on Saturday and someone actually asked me when I was due. Uhm, hello? But I was buying baby clothes and a double stroller at a garage sale (multi-family, nice subdivision, tons of good stuff). We have a dresser coming, so I can wash all the clothes and put them away (nothing like rushing things right, but I get stuff done so slowly with Chuckles “helping”). I bought a Baby Bjorn front carrier thing at Once Upon A Child on Saturday for $12 (reg retail price $89) and a fleece Bundle Me car seat cover that goes over the top to keep the baby warm for $8 (reg retail about $40), so I feel pretty good. My husband finds my bargain-hunting nature endearing. I’m excited to save money. Must look on ebay for the last few things I want. I still want (need) almost $1,000 worth of car seats, so I need to save where I can, I guess. And I won’t do used on car seats. Not on safety gear. You just never know. And I bought more baby hats.

I'm obsessive over baby hats because the season is all wrong. I had a baby going in to summer last time so all my newborn clothes are sunny rompers (btw, to me, newborn clothes are size 3-6 months because I grow them long).

And here I go burying the lede: I am officially making my predicitons. I did a bang up job when I was pregnant with Chuckles and was very close on everything so we'll see how I do this time. Here is my guess...
Day: Monday, November 24, 2008
Gender: Girl
Length: 22"
Weight: 8 lbs 13 ounces
Miscellany: Blue eyes, curly dark hair, born before noon, puffy lips like Angelina Jolie and a round face that is slightly reddish

We'll see...