Monday, January 31, 2011

Hold Please...

So, my pardon my bloggy-break but:

1) I spent the weekend in Albuquerque for work (but at least my Mom came with). In case you are planning an exclusive Albuquerque vacation, please think again. You need 2 days there max. And if someone tells you to go to "Old Town" think of Branson or the WI Dells and decide if you want to go there and then if you still decided to go to Old Town don't say I didn't warn you.

2) I am in the midst of reading on of the best books I've read in the better part of a year: Room by Emma Donaghue. So Good. It feels so goodt o be totally immersed in a book again after being too tired to read, or too bored by the book I'm reading.

3) I mean...I hate to play this card...but I am buidling a baby.

4) I have been spending a weird amount of time reading articles on the Green Bay Packers, watching Raji videos, tearing up over Donald Driver, etc. It takes a lot of time to be a dedicated packer fan.

5) It's winter, and to be honest I don't have all that much you would really want to be reading about, unless the hibernation of a 5 month pregnant lady is interesting.

But there is lots of REALLY fun stuff coming up in the next 3 months so, there's my teaser. Stick with my please!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Art of Procrastination

It's always amazing to me that if I have one thing that I really just do NOT want to do, all of the items on my to-do list that are neither urgent or (sometimes) necessary seem to call my name and sound SO much more fun to do.

I'm in that dilemma at work today. I have one huge thing I need to just buckle down and do. But instead I have got my inbox down to a an amazingly low amount, I sorted through a bunch of decks and filed them, I followed up with vendors I have been ignoring for months, and I even clorox wiped my desk.

And yet, 3 glorious hours of no meetings (a rarity) later, I have one sentence of this one huge thing, done. And I have no good reason for not getting it done.
I've always known I work better under pressure, but self-imposed pressure is not something I recommend making a habit.

I mean I just BLOGGED about my procrastination to procrastinate a little longer. And the really sad thing is that I clearly have 100% self-awareness that this happening, and yet here I sit still typing.

So if you try to call me tonight, I might just not answer as I'll be addressing my self-imposed pressure between the hours of 6-10PM. But hey--at least I"ll do it in pajamas.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Meeting of The Bumps

I feel so lucky to have one of my best friends due just 3 weeks before Nate and I are due. Amy came to visit us this weekend and it was the first official meeting of Baby H (20 weeks) and Baby J (23 Weeks).


We are sure there will be many play dates to come and while the babies themselves were not exactly active, it was a complete chatterfest between Amy and I as we discussed our birth plan (mine is: "Well it has to come out"), nursery design ideas, shop for baby and maternity gear, and talked about all the crazy things we have been going through.

But we also did manage to some non-baby related things too. Like go to a kick-butt Roller Derby bout. My friend, Holly, was in the championship game so we got to cheer her on. Those chicks are pretty hard core. It was fun, and we got ice cream from a guy on a bike, in the middle of winter. Does it get any better?


Even though Amy was cheering for the Bears, it was still really hard to take her to the airport and say goodbye. Seriously, when is someone going to invent some sort warp-speed travel that makes a distance like Milwaukee take only about 10 minutes?

It was a great weekend and clearly all the baby talk made Baby H feel special because I felt it kick tonight! Okay, fine it could have been the Packer win, or the Fun Dip I had just eaten..but whatever the reason it was pretty freakin cool.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Magazine Cuisine: Episode 2

Nothing says comfort food like Chicken Pot Pie. Perhaps the answer to the ridiculously frigid temperatures should not in fact, be food, but the reality is that our trip to Jamaica is still a ways out and there is no possible way we can jump a plane to Mexico this weekend (not that we would, Dad..just saying). And so we cook. And bake. And light lots of candles to give the facade of warmth.

And I can't take ANY credit for this creation. Nate did everything from start to the end (which for the record included the awesome photo). This was a January Cooking Light special, and it was really good for being light. The crust was amazing.

I think its a fair assumption that Nate shouldn't quit his day job to become a food photographer but after tasting this, I think he could quit his day job to just cook all day.

We need to pick our lucky Packer recipe this weekend since the last two weekends have been successful. Anyone have a good recipe for BEAR?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Awkward...

Ahh..the 19 week ultrasound. A thing of anticipation. Joy. Beauty. Awkwardness?!?! (queue the screeching record sound).

Nothing about the ultrasounds should be awkward. You are fully dressed. You just have to lay there. And a wand goes over your stomach.

And perhaps our tech should have kept her hand over her mouth because everythign she said left me with an eyebrow raised and asking myself: "did that just happen?"

Exhibit 1:   
Nate and I tell her that we don't want to know what the sex of our baby is. And she proceeds to drill us on why, and gives us the classic response that everyone tells themselves if they do find out the sex: "It's a pure surprise no matter when you find out."

And so we have to keep defending our decision to NOT find out the sex. Weird. It was like she had some vested interest in the matter.
Maybe she just sucks at keeping secrets.
Someone should alert her friends.

Exhibit 2:
I ask her if the massive thing outside of the baby was a huge roll of fat. She laughs and says no it was my placenta. One would think that this would be the end of the conversation.
Wrong.
She proceeds to tell us that it is 'uncomfortable for everyone' to give ultrasounds to overweight people. And she emphasizes, the pushing into the stomach, the lack of good pictures, etc, etc.
Nate and I just stared ahead at our baby that was moving around and tried not to add any commentary.

It wasn't all awkward. Parts of it were amazing.
Like seeing little Baby H resting its fists on its chin, deep in thought (or arguably pulling the Finn "suck on my shirt right by my neck to fall asleep" move).
Seeing it drape it's head dramatically over its forehead (Nate said it gets this move from me)
Seeing all 4 chambers of the heart--PUMPING blood. Did anyone even know that they can actually show this in color in an ultrasound? I didn't. It blew my mind.

And of course seeing it flip and dance and kick and wave, and not feel a thing yet but knowing it is all taking place inside of me.

While I know we have LOTS to do in the next 4.5 months, I cannot wait for Baby H to get here so we can meet it!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Autocorrect Hilarity and Horror

If you own a phone that can do anything beyond just dialing out, you know what I am talking about. The auto-correct mechanism that THINKS it is doing you a big favor, but in reality can sometimes really change the meaning of what you are trying to get across.

Take this text exchange between Nick (my brother-in-law) and I after my sister had a car accident. He sends picture of her in neck brace, and I respond with a seemingly very insensitive "Sweeeet!" sentiment...but in reality that was just the iphone's interpretation of "Awwww..."


Nothing is more annoying than the fact that still, 8 months later, my iPad STILL autocorrects "hanson" to "Chanson". I mean, I get "sweet" to "awwww" because one is a sound and one is an actual word. But can anyone tell me what Chanson means? And why Apple keeps trying to screw me over. I can't tell you how many times I've emailed and signed off with my name as Chanson by accident. It can be really confusing for people.

Anyway, one of my new favorite 'pick-me-up' sites that I go to when I need a good chuckle is called: Damn You Auto-Correct.

Check it out here: http://damnyouautocorrect.com/category/best-of-dyac/.

Do you have any good auto-correct stories? I want to hear them!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Listmania: The top 10 things people ask when you tell them your pregnant

Yes, you read it right! Nate and I are expecting and could not be more thrilled to become parents. Now, I told a handful of people early on, a few people trickled in over the last few months and the BIG announcement to everybody (i.e. Facebook) went out yesterday. I have to admit I find it totally awkward to say "i'm pregnant' just in random conversation so thank god for Facebook.

So while my relationship to the people I tell, and when I told them changed, the questions that people tend to ask do not. SO, here is the list, in most popular order of the questions I seem to get asked by most everyone and their respective answers:

1) When are you due?
     This is an easy one. June 15th. Assuming everything goes as it should.


2) How have you been feeling?
     Pretty darn amazing. Sure there was some VERY strong food aversion, especially to anything ethnic, and there was a puke session in my gym's parking lot and NYC hotel bathroom, but other than that I would give this pregnancy an A+.
     
3) Are you going to find out the sex? 
     Nope. Well....no. Maybe....no. I mean we could...nope.

4) Are you going to keep working?
     I always love this question. First of all, isn't it pretty early on to determine this. And second of all that is kind of a personal question---are you my husband? Then I'm probably  not telling you. And finally, do you even know me? As much as work can frustrate me or exhaust me, I do love to work. So.....yes. I am planning still working.

5) Are you excited?
    Now, I assume this wouldn't be that weird if I was say 55 with grown up children announcing a pregnancy, or a 15 years old. But ummmm...yes. Of course we are excited. That doesn't mean that a fraction of fear doesn't exist but the overwhelming emotion is definitely excitement.

6) Do you want to take any of my baby stuff?
     This was a surprising question that came up very early on in many conversations. Moms who want to get rid of baby stuff. And it's awesome! I mean who wants to buy a bouncy chair that your kid may or may not choose to bounce in for the 3 months it fits in it?

7) Where are you going to put the kid while you are working?
    While it would be great to put my kid in a little play pen by my desk like dog beds at places that allow dogs, I don't actually think that would promote a productive work day. But I am doing the next best thing to it: General Mills Day Care. For. The. Win.
    
8) Have you had any food cravings?
     Well Nate would say differently, but I think I've only had one craving in terms of the crazy cravings one associates with pregnancy. And it came in the form of pineapple at the grocery story that I started to eat, in the grocery store because quite frankly I couldn't ingest it quickly enough. And I ate the whole thing.


9) What are you going to do with Lucy?
    Weeelllll....TBD. With a cat that is 22 years old, you just gotta play it day by day. I mean seriously now. But we have been discussing options because right now she is the QUEEN of the would-be nursery.

     
10) What strategies will you employ to ensure you raise a Packer fan in VIking Country?
    Fine, this is not an actual question, but one that Nate and I talk about. Ideas have ranged from negative reinforcement upon purple stimulus, to an over the top Packer Pizza Party every Sunday they play...but I suppose that will only work once they can eat pizza. I am just looking at this as an early opportunity for our child to learn how to avoid peer pressure.


So there is the list. Have other questions? Let me know and I will share the details...so don't ask if you don't want to know :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Squirrel-mageddon

2012 is approaching people. Birds are dropping dead from the sky. Fish are popping up expired in the water and all hell is breaking loose.

Sure it seems like it doesn't affect you in the balmy midwest because we still have birds in our sky and fish in our water. BUT--have you looked in your trees lately? Because I am here to be the first to report: SQUIRREL-MAGEDDON.

Yes, you heard it here first--squirrels are dropping dead out of the trees in MN.

Here is the proof (not for the faint of heart):

Nate tries to keep telling me that it isn't actually a sign of the apocolpyse, but in fact a sign of a hard winter, but clearly he hasn't been thoroughly schooled on all of the badness that is about to occur in 11 months.

We are talking squirrels here people. They eat nuts for months to get ready for winter. Hard winter, schminter. I mean these squirrels are bigger than my cat. What's next? Miniature ponies dropping over dead?

All I am saying is look alive people. And seriously, watch out for dead stuff falling from the sky, trees, buildings, or anything that could surprise you with a dead animal on your head. I'm. Just. Saying.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Magazine Cuisine: Episode 1

A new year, means a new cookbook for Nate and I to scour for yummy recipes to try every week. After a year with Martha (Great Food Fast), a year with Nigella (Nigella Express) and one with Cooking Light (Way to Cook), we decided we needed more variety in our lives.

And thus, Magazine Cuisine was born.

2011 will bring lots of fun food inspired magazine to the Hanson mailbox: Food Network, Cooking Light, Food, and a few others I know I am forgetting.

But the point is that we are really excited to keep our cooking  a new recipe a week tradition alive!

With football season upon us, could there have been a more perfect recipe than: Homemade Soft Pretzels (from January 2011 Food Network magazine. Recipe Here).

We made three version: Original, Cinnamon and Sugar and Italian (parmesan, garlic and oregano). Italian was hands down the best.

These were best straight out of the oven or slightly heated up in the microwave. Either way, they were delicious and the Packers won the day we made them, so perhaps this wil need to be playoff tradition.....assuming they can hold it together for 2 more minutes tonight. :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Behold the Miracle that is Neti Pot

This is a neti pot.

This special little pot is single-handedly keep me alive. I've always been afraid of this thing, but depsarate times called for desparate measures and lo and last night I am bent over the sink pouring water in one side of my nose and watching it come out the other.

It was weird.

But then, I lifted my head and felt this amazing release of congestion (which came in the form of the most epic nose-blowing scene you have ever seen). But alas, it only lasts for like 2 hours. Long enough for me to fall asleep and then wake up feeling like i am choking because: I. Can't. Breathe.

I carry a cold-toolkit whereve I go:
Kleenex (which is 95% useless save for giving me the impression I trying to blow somethign out)
Chapstick, because I am now a severe mouth breather
A massive cup--filled with chicken broth or tea, because lets face it I can't taste a thing
Thermometer--is it time to start popping tylenol yet?
And my phone in case I literally stop breathing from utter blockage in my face--although that would be a very interesting 911 call.

I despise being sick. And I think last year when I had the flu I said I would rather have a bad cold any day of the week. So wherever the karma gods are: I take it back. I prefer NO sickness any day of the week.

I don't like being a whiny patient. I usually take my sickness in stride and life keeps on ticking. But this one came out of no where and just hit me like a semi--truck.

Extra special kudos to be seriously sweet husband who has made Target runs for said Neti-pot, and tonight's new addition: a humidifier! Get excited. Who has made me tea, soup, picked up my nasty dishes/kleenex/, and kept the house clean these last few days. Let's just say he isn't doing it because I look good....


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Best of the Rest

I've had a few requests for a longer list of the best books of the past 4 years. Find the original list (and in my opinion the truly BEST of teh best) HERE.

But for those of you looking to legnthen your own reading list, here are my next 13 books.  Again, in no particular order:

Here we go:
14) The Story of Edgar Sawtelle     by. David Wroblewski
15) Half Broke Horses                   by. Jeannette Walls  (**Note, this is best if you've read The Glass Castle)
16) Kindness of Strangers              by. Katrina Kittle
17) Kabul Beauty School               by. Deborah Rodriquez
18) Any Bitter Thing                      by. Monica Wood
19) Loving Frank                           by. Nancy Horan
20) Bel Canto                                by Ann Patchett
21) Peony in Love                          by. Lisa See
22) Birth of Venus                          by. Sarah Dunant
23) In the Woods                           b. Tana French
24) Me and Emma                         by. Elizabeth Flock
25) A 1,000 Spendid Suns               by. Khaled Hosseini
26) The Cotton Queen                   by. Pamela Morsi


So there you have it. The next 13. Not to be confused with the first 13 which are truly my top picks. But who am I to deny people who want to read good books?

So, keep on reading. And make sure to share your own recommendations with me!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Years

My behindedness (is that even a word...perhaps Webster will pick it up along with refudiate...) is slowly going away as I shrink the gap to 4 days behind on the going on's of Nate and I.

We were happy to celebrate New Years with our friends Katie and Ryan, and even MORE happy to finally meeting some of Ryan's famed buddies. I mean, these are the guys that knows 'the man, the myth, the legend'--one Ryan Plonske in his true glory days. Although, I would argue Ryan will never fully be out of his glory days.
We enjoyed dinner at one of our favorite spots in town, Cafe Lurcat, which always knows how to end a good meal: with warm cinnamon and sugar doughnuts. Mmmmm.

I have to admit, things got a little embarrassing as we watched an i-kid-you-not AT LEAST 85 year old couple push through the crowd to make it to the dance floor at about 11:45, about the time I started yawning and looking at my watch. But it was insipring to say the least--Note to self: don't use age as an excuse to not do really fun stuff in the future.

So here's to another year of doing lots of fun stuff, be open to trying new things, and staying up past midnight :)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Merry Belated Christmas

No, we didn't boycott Christmas. Or the more likely scenario--Christmas didn't get canceled this year. It's just a case of the 'on-vacation-lazies'. But on the eve of the first day of work in 16 days, I figured it is about time to get back into a routine.

So that includes Sunday Football, Sunday new recipe, check email, and blog! Which brings me to my recap of Christmas 2010.

There were hardly any presents. Especially for Finn.
 And after he hand selected his first gift from this scant pile, he was content with just that one little package of cars, and really wasn't interested in opening any others for about 30 minutes.  He just took those cars over to the coffee table and lined them up, pushed them around, and talked about how 'cute' they were.
A stand-out gift that had the adults laughing just as much as the kids was the Sing-a-ma-Jigs. If you haven't seen these little guys, they are programmed to harmonized amongst themselves, sing their own songs and just be generally cute. Finn was very interested in showing Leo his new toys.
We enjoyed a very Ekern Christmas on the 26th with all of the Ekern cousins. This meant 3 things:

1) A serious viewing of Packer Football. Do you even see these Tutu's? They are homemade and green and gold. Enough said.



2) A potentially even more serious game of Killer Bunnies. This was a new addition for the 'other' Ekern family.

3) And, more kids in the house. This Grandpa doesn't look like he minds so much.

And there were plenty of firsts. Like, Finn's first taste of (Great) Grandma Ekern's Cranberry slush-the non-alcoholic version of course. He doesn't seem to notice...and I'm pretty sure he had like 3 glasses.

Leo got to have his first taste of CANDY! It is only fair because I let Finn suck on a red vine when he was about 3 months old, so I felt a candy cane was appropriate for Leo. He was concentrating VERY hard.

And Finn's first time being plopped into a giant hole--dug into the snow. Now Nick and Nate both thought this would be so much fun. And if you look very quickly at this picture, it looks like Finn is having a blast. But take a closer look.....and you will see he is really not wanting to be in that hole.

We also had a pretty sweet dance party..prompted by Finn's awesome beat-boxing abilities and his break-dancing skills. I am fully aware this video embarrasingly implicates both Becca and myself, but I think Finn's dancing ability needs to be shared with all.
video

So that about sums up our Christmas. Fun, Family, Football and lots of  Finn/Leo!!