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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Meals on Wheels

You know how older folks get "set in their ways?" Well, our parents are no different. My dad is perfectly content to eat at Emil Villa's or Hannabishi every single day while my father-in-law is happy eating a burger for lunch and a steak for dinner. Repetition with food is b-o-r-i-n-g in my book.

Since the end of my icky first trimester (when I didn't really cook lest I barf into the food), I've been back to cooking up a storm each weekend when Dave is home with me. Normally I make way too much for us to eat in only 3 days so I often send some back with Dave to eat in Gualala since I don't want to get stuck eating it all for the whole next week.

"Normal" food in our house ranges from Indian curries and Thai soups to homemade pizza and whatever random thing strikes my fancy that day. By my father-in-law's standards most of my food is super exotic and he's apparently been enjoying eating my food each week. Dave's mom said she's always excited to see what he's brought home with him. She doesn't have more than a taste, but John always eats the leftovers with Dave. I love hearing his dad's reactions to my dishes ("Oh my God Dave! You didn't tell me this was so hot!" ...even when it isn't hot at all...).

So now it is my goal each week to come up with something fun to cook on the weekends so John can enjoy a new flavor. This past weekend Dave took smoked ribs, pasta salad, and homemade cherry-lemon soda. Next week it will be tom ka gai soup, green curry, and pad thai noddles. The weekend after that my own dad will be here in Davis and we always like to cook up something new together so we'll just have to wait and see what we decide to make. I know I want to try making potato gnocchi again soon. Last time I made them the dough was terribly sticky and cooked up too fluffy for our taste. We like them dense.

Dave is my sous chef but he's becoming head chef at his parents' house. A few times he's made something for dinner up there that I've made before (like my stir fry with lots of diakon). His cooking skills amaze his dad so much that John has actually called me to tell me about it. I wasn't surprised at all--Dave's a great cook when he puts his mind to it!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Second Oven!

Last week after school I cleared out all the cabinets plus two pantries and un-wired the cabinet lights in the kitchen so Dave could rework the cabinets. It literally pained me to have all my stuff piled all over the dining and living rooms. I'm such a neat freak!

Pantry contents...think we have enough food stored away?
All my other displaced kitchen goodies:
The dining room restored (notice the gorgeous flowers Dave brought home for me):
This weekend we FINALLY finished the kitchen cabinet and oven installation. Originally the oven was going to be placed on the floor, but I realized that was a bad idea so poor Dave had to rearrange all the cabinets so we could install it properly (since it is a wall oven by design). I LOVE all the new storage (we basically tripled the cabinet space in our kitchen compared to when we moved in).

Two weekends ago:
Friday:
Saturday (done!):
Dave did such a nice job on the cabinetry--he made shims so everything was level and he modified the bottom of two base cabinets for our HVAC system's return air vent that is in the floor beneath them. Because the oven is deeper than the base cabinets he also had to move out the pantries to line up with them. He was able to use the stock toe kick material from Lowe's to fill in the gap--you'd never know he did that because he did such a seamless job!

Since we ended up with an extra cabinet during the redesign, we decided to install it and a mini fridge in the dining room to hold all our beverage items (coffee pot, tea kettle, liquor). We bought most of that liquor for our 2007 New Year's party thinking our friends would make some drinks...but everyone drank wine and beer instead. Oh well, at least it keeps!Now we just need to get the Corian counter tops installed and we'll be totally done with this project...that has lasted since we first bought the house.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

I LOVED having Dave home for four whole days--we got to see a movie together and once Edward arrived they saw a movie together, too. I hate it when Dave has to leave but at least this is a short week so he'll be home in only 3 days.

We got so much done this weekend! I'm too tired to make this a wordy post and I really need to go take a shower before I crash so here's the rundown:

1. We got to hear our little parasite's hearbeat again on Friday at the doctor's office. We love that sound! I'm now at the point that I have to go in every 2-3 weeks instead of monthly. This pregnancy is flying by!

2. We bought a new fridge and snagged it for almost 20% off the regular price because of the holiday sales! It won't be here until next Saturday but we're really excited. It is a white, French door style with an ice maker so I don't have to mess with those lame ice trays anymore (we use a LOT of ice when it is hot for iced tea and lemonade...and I'm REALLY good at spilling the trays as I set them in our freezer).

3. We finished the kitchen cabinet and oven installation. Finally.

4. Edward arrived in California this past week so he could attend his friend Jeremy's wedding in Livermore. He spent a day with us before he left for a road trip with my mom and her friend up to the Oregon Caves. Since I have limited mobility now (i.e., it is really uncomfortable to bend over) he helped us dig trenches and lay PVC pipe for some sprinklers in the utility yard.
As younger brothers are wont to do to their older sisters, Edward is relentless in making fun of my big belly. He is constantly commenting on how fat I am these days. (This is Edward's way of being affectionate, believer it or not. Charming, I know.) But I know that he's excited for his little nephew, although certainly not as excited as Allison is! He was able to feel little Eddie kicking after I ate, which was really cool.

I can't wait until Edward comes back--this coming Friday we're planning on going to the lake in our little boat for swimming. The weight limit on the boat is only 600 pounds...hopefully we won't sink!
5. Speaking of swimming: I bought myself a maternity bathing suit this weekend. I could not stop laughing at myself in the Target fitting room. Choosing a maternity tankini (tanktop/bikini style bathing suit) is much like choosing a circus tent. I chose the least tent-like one I could find. I just know the boys are going to laugh at me when we're at the lake.

6. We bought a whole pallet of flagstones this morning at a landscaping supply place for our next undertaking: extending the front patio and laying new walkways in the front yard.

7. Ruby chewed on a roach bait station that I threw way underneath the shed this evening. I seriously have no idea how she even pulled it out from there since the only holes under the shed are in the cinder blocks...I guess it is the terrier in her.

I called the UC Davis small animal clinic's emergency hotline and the vet told me that she'll probably be fine since she only chewed on it and didn't actually consume it. I'll monitor her tonight to make sure her breathing, pooping, and general behavior doesn't change. So far she seems fine...she's snoozing behind me on the futon with Potatoes:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Single Mom: The Plan

Over the last few months I've become accustomed to people saying this to me:

"So Dave is going to get a new job down here so he can live at home with you, right?"

My response is always the same: No.

First of all, he likes his job a lot. It offers great variety (office work, meetings with the public and/or agencies, reading water meters, replacing water lines, preparing bids for jobs, painting, operating heavy equipment, etc.), he gets to work with his dad (they adore each other), he gets to use his education and the handiwork skills he's honed his whole life and--most importantly--the work he is doing will directly benefit us in the future.

Our plan for me has always been for me to finish my Ph.D. or masters, work for a while either as a professor or researcher, and then to move up to Gualala to work for the family business. Our plan for Dave was for him to work in the Sacramento area while I was in school and then for him to work for his dad. Technically our plans are still on track--Dave working for his dad just happened sooner than either of us expected.

Since it is expected that Dave will eventually "take over" the family business (third generation of Bower men in Gualala!), the sooner he can learn the ins-and-outs of the company's many, many facets the better. Although he would prefer to be driving a backhoe all day, he knows that the mundane office work and tricky policital manuevering is a must. I'm so proud of his telephone and writing skills now that he works for his dad--he couldn't draft a coherent email/letter or speak professionally on the phone a few years ago and now he's a master at both! I actually swoon a little when I proof read the letters he's written. (I just get a lot of satisfaction knowing he's thriving in his career I guess.)

Second, what are the chances of him finding a comparable job in this area? The economy sucks and people are getting laid off every single day. I'm thankful every day that he even has a job, let alone that he works for his dad (you can't beat that kind of job security!).

Third, why fix what ain't broke? Our system works out really well: he arrives in Davis every Thursday night and doesn't leave again until Sunday night. (He claims that he doesn't mind the 3+ hour drive.) I keep the dogs here in Davis unless I'm really stressed, in which case he'll take them. (We don't do that often because I miss them too much!) I do all my major cooking projects on the weekends (except cooking in bulk to stock the pantry and deep freeze) since he's actually around to enjoy the food and I mostly eat left overs during the week. Major house projects are done on the weekends and with 3 full days to work on them we usually get a lot done.

So, no, Dave won't be looking for a new job down here.

What this means, of course, is that I will be a single mom four days a week. Some days that sounds more daunting than others but I figure the more organized and stream-lined I can get our household now, then the easier it will be with a baby. My hope is that we'll have video chat time together every night so Dave can say good night to Eddie (and so I can vent to him). =)

Yes, the laundry (including the cloth diapers I'm planning on laundering myself) will have to be done by me even when I'm exhausted and covered in spit-up, there will be no one around to make dinner for me, and I will have to make sure the dogs get enough attention and exercise (they are border collies, after all). Yes, there will be days when I freak out at the weight of the responsibility that has been placed on me and will feel resentful. I'm sure there will be days when I call Dave begging for him to come back early. And yes, there will be days on end when my poor doggies get no walks or ball-throwing because I will be too busy/frazzled/tired.

But at least I'm lucky enough to have Dave come home every single weekend--there are many, many military families out there with parents stationed in scary parts of the world. I don't know how they deal day-to-day taking care of their kids as single parents wondering if their spouses are alive and well. Dave and I are in a great situation, if you ask me.

But Dave will be on full-time "Daddy duty" those three days a week when he is home. You better believe it.

I'm writing this post on a hormonally/emotionally normal day in part to share our plan with everyone who has been wondering but mostly so I can look back at it when I'm strung-out after hours of unsuccessfully trying to calm my screaming infant and feel like I'm about to lose it. (So, in about 4 months!)

Whenever I vent to Dave about how "it just isn't fair that I will have to do all the work" of raising this baby, he reminds me that I'm totally capable and he'll always be there if not in person all the time then on the phone or computer to help or offer advice/encouragement. I know he's right. Of course I can handle it............right?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Zzzzzzzzz

Yesterday marked the beginning of my third trimester. Yesterday also marked the return of my exhaustion.

I really, really, really hope it is just a coincidence and not the end of my "second trimester energy burst." Dave and I had a super busy, super hot (~105 degrees!) weekend of hard work and seeing friends--hopefully I'm just recuperating from that.

Honestly, I just have too much to do to deal with being tired. Our to do list is nearing completion but my lab work to do list is still pretty long. The instrument on which I'm running samples takes 3 hours from start to finish so there is a limit to the number I can get done each day (at least it is a "set it and forget it" type experiment so I don't have to actually do anything once the sample is loaded).

I have a graduate group meeting with the faculty in 25 minutes and I should get started on my trek across campus. It takes longer now to waddle than to walk and it is already getting hot outside.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wagon Car

When we arrived back at the house this morning after our morning walk, the dogs and I were greeted by our neighbor, Art, and a film crew for Fox 40 News. He has a hotrod that he retrofitted to look like a Radio Flyer wagon. Apparently, the Radio Flyer company wouldn't give him permission to use the logo so he altered it to say Radio "Fiyer" (like fire).

It is super cool...and super loud. Luckily for us, he's considerate about the noise and doesn't drive it around the neighborhood at night.

I made a video of the news clip about it. Our house is in the background--you can see my Volvo and our charming dirt pile in the front yard.


video

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Beekeeper's Apprentice


Look at that handsome man (I love his beard and the shape of his face)!

It is "swarm season" for bees right now and Dave's been busy many days capturing swarms with his dad. The local paper ran a half-page full of pictures of Dave and his dad working the bees. Dave was referred to as the "beekeeper's apprentice." He was quick to point out that most days he's only out there because he's the only one available to help. So a more accurate description would be "beekeeper's slave." (He does like working the bees, but after a full day of work the last thing he wants to do it get suited up for hours of more work in the sun and risk getting stung.)

I love this picture of Dave because it says so much about him: he works hard, even if he'd rather be doing something else he's always ready to help out when needed, and he has this amazing ability to get past the parts of a job he dislikes and finds pleasure in it (you can see his smirk in the picture).

I love him. Plain and simple. Except my feelings for him are anything but simple...you know.

Anyway...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Changing Table: Phase 1


Check out the awesome changing table my dad is making for our hall bathroom! It is made of box tubing and is super sturdy. He designed it to work as an outdoor plant stand after Eddie is potty trained.

I bought the smallest changing pad I could find since our bathroom isn't that big (we can't accommodate a standard-sized changing table in there)--I got a partially inflatable kind from Ikea and he customized the top to fit it.

The top will be painted a sterile white color so we can tell when it needs to be cleaned (unlike dark wooden tables where poop can linger because you can't see it if it drips off the pad...yummy, I know). The base will have drawers and will be painted a cream color.

Most people have their changing tables in the baby's room, which I don't prefer because no matter what sort of fancy diaper pail you have the room always reeks of dirty diaper. I'd rather restrict stinkiness to the bathroom where it is expected and keep the nursery clean-smelling and inviting for nursing, playing, etc. No one wants to hang out in a foul-smelling room. Besides, with dogs in the house I figure having the changing table in bathroom will be more convenient since we can simply keep the bathroom door closed to prevent diaper-pail-diving. Can you imagine the insanity of having a poop covered dog dragging dirty diapers around the house and a screaming infant? No thanks. (I'm sure it'll happen at least once...)

Our plan is to use a Simple Human garbage can as a diaper pail for our soiled cloth diapers. We have one in the kitchen and even if you have rotten meat in the can you can't smell it unless you open the lid. They are pretty amazing. Ours is from about 5 years ago (purchased because they are dog-proof) and the pedal mechanism was oringinally made of plastic. It broke about 2 years ago and Dave just fixed it with a metal plate. We noticed that the newer one we bought for the bathroom now comes with a metal mechanism so it should last a good long time. I bought an XL sized water proof, washable diaper sack that can be washed right along with the diapers and I'm ordering enough cloth diapers/covers so I only have to wash them every other day.

Hopefully my cloth diapering dreams work out because we really can't afford disposables. Besides, I don't like the idea of my baby contributing 1000s of non-decomposable diapers to the the landfill.

Once the table is complete I'll post pictures of it. I'm sure it'll look fantastic!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Manual Labor

I really don't know where the weekends go...it seems like it was just Thursday night and Dave had just arrived back here in Davis. I guess when you're super busy time really does fly by!

Our routine lately has been that we figure out what projects from our looming to do list we're going to tackle on Thursday night and then we spend most of Friday shopping for the items and getting set up. Normally I put in a few hours at school on Fridays but last week turned out to be a hard week so I only went in and started a run on the thermal analyzer on the way to Home Depot.

We bought all the tan retaining wall blocks in stock (only 50 or so), which got us a long way towards finishing the front yard's wall. The extra pallet of blocks comes next weekend so we'll be totally done with it soon enough!

We also bought a bifold wooden door for the hallway/living room area. Of the 4 that were in stock all of them were either cracked or had grooves in them from rubbing up against something during shipment. The sales lady gave me 60% off one of the lesser damaged ones. Not bad! This doorway is so gross--there are gobs of paint and the exposed edges of the sheet rock are uneven. Hopefully the new door will improve the appearance. My hope is that this door will cut down on the noise between the bedrooms and the living room/kitchen areas of the house for when little Eddie is napping. Surly he'll get used to the dogs barking after a while but the door should help a lot.
Saturday: Dave worked on extending the existing wall while I worked on digging the ditch around the planter bed under the living room window for a new wall. It was slow going because it was so hot and I'm nearly 6 months along but I did get my ditch completely dug before digging the rest of Dave's while he laid the blocks. I'd rather dig any day than hunker down and heaving those 23 pound blocks around!

We had plenty of help throughout the day from our darling doggies. Ruby practically filled-in part of my ditch by lying in it and she also took refuge from the heat by nestling down in my flower bed.
Here's Potatoes not helping his Daddy but cocking his head when I asked him if he was "such a goody boy":
I know people say that a person can't know what true love is until you have a baby...I'm sure that's true but I can't imagine feeling anything stronger than what I feel for Dave and my pooches. Our dogs are our babies at this point and we love them so much. How could you not love something as cute as this?

Dave is so proud of his perfectly level block-laying skills:
Anyway, we wanted to get the kitchen cabinets finished around the new oven this weekend, too. But then I noticed this scary warning on the top of the oven that I hadn't seen before. It states that the oven should not be installed below the 36" level (counter height) and should not be installed underneath work surfaces (like counters). Crap! That was our plan all along.

We think this warning has to do with the intensely hot flue at the top of the oven--it is clearly a safety issue but could also damage the counter top material. Given that we will likely rent this house to tennets before we sell it, we're having a baby who we don't want to get burned, and I have to get a permit signed-off for this new appliance installation, I decided it'd be better--groan--to install it according to the manufacturer's directions. And that means on top of a cabinet like a wall oven ought to be.

Knowing this change in plans would be result in more work for Dave, I actually considered ignoring the warning but my instincts told me not to. He is of course understanding, but I can tell that he doesn't like the idea of another day or two of reworking both the upper and lower cabinets. Poor guy--I kept apologizing and telling him that if I'd known it wasn't supposed to be installed under a counter then the originial plan would have been for it to be wall-mounted.

I honestly don't go around looking for things for him to work on--all my requests are logical and usually stem from wanting everyday chores in this household to run as smoothly/safetly as possible while also making our home look presentable. Considering I will be a single mom during the week, he's very willing to help me get the house in order for efficiency with cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. If only he could find some way to prevent the dogs from shedding...

So next weekend we'll be finishing that cabinet/oven project. At least we only have to buy one additional cabinet for this last-minute retrofit. The wall cabinet that the oven will displace will be moved into the hall bathroom to hold all of Eddie's diapering/bathing supplies above his changing table (which is perfect because we weren't sure what type of cabinetry/shelving unit to install there and it is nice to avoid building something from scratch).

Sunday: I planted some ferns in the utility yard that I'd divided from the bed in the front yard. Hopefully they survive! I also put a small length of fence up near the boat to (hopefully) deter the dogs from plowing through my still-unplanted garden bed and spreading dirt all over our nice clean gravel paths as they dash to the fence along the park to investigate noises.

Dave painted the doggie door as well as painted and installed a bi-fold door between the hallway and the living room. It still needs some touching-up and some minor adjustments...not to mention some trim but is off to a very good start.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

This past week has been mother's week for me. My mom decided to come up and spend the whole week with me. (She was also here last weekend so she basically just went home for chemo on Monday.)

It was nice having the company but I'm not used to going out to eat so often, much less being so active after school everyday. Since my mom wandered around town or just stayed home and read during the day, she was rearing to go when I got done with lab each evening. I was pretty worn out by then, but eating out and shopping with her was nice (especially since she did all the driving).

On Tuesday night we went to see Celtic Woman perform at the Memorial Auditorium with my Uncle Bill. (Take a look at this picture...can you believe they are twins?)
The concert was amazing! Since we sat so far away from the stage we couldn't see their faces at all. My uncle and I have seen their shows on PBS but my mom had no idea what they looked like. So on Wednesday she watched their Christmas concert that I have on DVD. It was amusing to be listening to holiday music at this time of year when I have all the windows open and fans blowing on us.

To celebrate Mother's Day this morning we took my mom to high tea service at Ciocolat--a scrumptious little dessert bar/cafe/bistro place downtown. My mom was in heaven with all the yummy foods and pretty china. They accommodated my pregnancy no-soft-cheeses-like-brie-and-no-luncheon-meats diet but I forgot to tell them that I also couldn't have chocolate. Luckily there weren't too many chocolately things on the menu and they did have decaf tea. Dave was being dorky and kept holding his pinky finger up in the air as he sipped his tea.

You can see my charming farmer's tan in this picture:
Isn't he so handsome? =)It is unbelievable that I will actually be a mother in a few short months. I'm excited...don't get me wrong...but it is just going to be so different. As we hopped out of the car in front of the restaurant this morning (okay, okay, I rolled out), I kept thinking about how for next year's Mother's Day if we decide to go to high tea again we'll have so much more stuff to bring along: the baby, his diaper bag, a hooter hider in case he gets hungry, a few toys, etc.

So here's us on our last Mother's Day before we become parents to a creature other than our beloved doggies:

Only 13 weeks left!

Exercise Ball?

Last week was my first "uggg...get outta my way because I'm a waddling and tired pregnant lady who will sit on you if you don't get out of my way" experiences. First, I was exhausted. Secondly, my body was having to adjust to my bigger belly. And thirdly I was worried about the baby's lack of movement.

It started on Tuesday morning when I woke up feeling like I'd gotten NO sleep whatsoever, like I'd gained 20 pounds overnight (I hadn't...I checked), and realized that I wasn't feeling little Eddie move much. Normally he's having a dance party after I eat in the afternoons and evenings but he just stopped wiggling. I rationalized that he'd just changed positions or his sleep schedule changed but it still worried me.

When my friend came into my lab that morning he exclaimed, "Whoa Julie! Last week you had a basketball under your shirt and now it is an exercise ball!" I think the baby must have shifted in my belly overnight because I was suddenly carrying him much more "outward" than before. And man-o-man my back and feet could tell the difference!

After two days of feeling not much more than a faint internal shift, I went to the doctor on Thursday morning to have them check his heartbeat just to ensure he wasn't stressed out or anything. They ended up doing a quick sonogram, too, and he sure was moving on the screen...even though I couldn't feel a thing. It was reassuring. (My mom was with me at the doctor's office and I think they offered to do the sonogram for her benefit. Not that she looked particularly worried, but I think they took pity on her because of her obvious cancer patient look. She clearly loved seeing her first grandbaby move in real time on the screen.)

The doctor told me it is normal for the baby's movements to disappear for weeks on end, depending on his position. I think that was supposed to reassure me, but it really just made me want to rent one of those hospital grade fetal dopplers so I can hear his heartbeat whenever I get worried.

Wouldn't you know it, not two hours after the appointment Eddie started moving a LOT more than usual. Instead of the benign bumps I was feeling before, he started all-out jabbing me with his bony little appendages! Even Dave was able to feel his mighty pokes yesterday--it feels like someone's knuckles are poking through my skin.

Here's my latest picture, taken today at 26 weeks and 6 days (along with my darling Ruby who insisted on sitting next to me during the picture):
And here's the progression thus far:

Thursday, May 7, 2009

You Know You're Pregnant When...

...your feet hurt even when wearing your Dansko's...

I am truly in love with my Dansko clogs--all 3 pairs. They are the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn. My first pair was bought as heel and back pain relief two summers ago when I found myself standing at the stove during canning season for a good 8-10 hours every night after a full day of work/school. There is a reason professional chefs and doctors who have to stand all dang day wear Dansko's. They are amazing. Simple as that.

Yesterday afternoon my mom and I went to the mall and I bought 2 pairs of Dansko sandals for this summer. My aching feet are already complaining about the fetus/fluid/fat-weight I've put on (over 25 pounds so far...and I still have about 3 months to go...ugggg...).

I bought the red ones--wearing them now and they feet great--and I want to buy the brown ones. The brown ones are a little tight on my swollen feet so I didn't get them...but I might later this summer after I pop out this kid and slim down a bit. The other pair of sandals I bought are basically dressy black wedge heels that I plan on wearing to our friend's upcoming wedding. They were on clearance and I just couldn't pass them up.

In preparation for the summer heat we also found some cute jean shorts at Motherhood Maternity and a few cheap tanks. Then we had to buy me some new bras because I've outgrown even the earlier maternity ones I bought a few months ago.

Sigh...everything is getting bigger and bigger except my bank balance.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Happy Birthday

Yesterday was Edward's 25th birthday. He's still living in New York so we couldn't celebrate with him this year. But our family got together anyway and had some birthday cake without him.

Of course, the cake wasn't for him...
April 27 (?) would have been my Grandma Halliday's 100th birthday (she was my mom's mom). My Uncle Bill decided that we should have a small celebration to commemorate the special day. So on Sunday my parents, my aunt and uncle, Dave, and I went out to Little Prague for an early dinner and then came back to our house for some cake.

Knowing his mother despised cakes with blue flowers on them, my Uncle Bill bought just such a cake. That is such a "Bill" thing to do. I'm sure she's up in heaven rolling her eyes and saying "tisk." I never really knew her since she passed away when I was so young but I have a feeling that since she and my mom had such similar personalities I bet I know how she'd react to such a cake.

We dined on some of her fancy tea party plates and cups, used her gorgeous rose silver cutlery, and passed around a collection of pictures, jewelry, and her academic diplomas.
To some people, celebrating a dead person's birthday might seem morbid but I think it is nice. I recall that my ex-boyfriend's family regularly celebrates the death-anniversary of their grandparents with a huge feast and party. I guess I just savor any celebration that brings family and good food together.

This is a picture of my Grandma, Thelma Rena Halliday, taken in about 1936 when she took a leave of absence from her teaching credential program at San Jose Teacher's College (now San Jose State University) so she could buy a car, a black dress, and a fur coat, which she's wearing in the picture. She finished her program a year later and was an elementary school teacher for a looooooooooong time in Roseville.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Whoa What a Weekend

This weekend was super productive! We were able knock several items of our Pre Baby To Do List, which is wonderful.

On Friday my dad had to be on campus to meet with some chemist/engineering guys he's working with. Once his meeting was done I walked over to get him since he doesn't know his way around campus. It was fun to have my dad on campus. That afternoon we headed over to Home Depot and bought a new hot water heater and all the fixings. Our old hot water heater was super old and should have been replaced right when we bought the house...we were really living on borrowed time because it could have died any day.

I really wanted it replaced before the baby comes because it would be just my luck that it would die the moment Dave returns to work up in Gualala and I'm stuck at home with a screaming infant.

Dave rigged up this clever cover so they wouldn't get soaked while they changed it.
The new heater is much more energy efficient and is also 25% larger in capacity. I'm honestly surprised that Dave and my dad were able to squeeze it in through the closet door--they literally had about 1/16th of an inch of extra room. I was up on a ladder on the other side of the house cleaning the leaves out of the gutters (again) and I heard them hooting and hollering with joy when they got it inside the closet. It was pretty funny.

Here they are saving some of the hot water from the old heater to wash our hands since we weren't 100% sure the installation would work out:
I couldn't believe it, but by 10:30am they were done with the water heater and it was working great. After a lunch of fish tacos they started on the gas line installation for my second oven. Neither my dad nor Dave had ever eaten fish tacos before. I eat fish tacos a lot and I was surprised that neither of them had enjoyed them before.

Traditionally fish tacos consist of corn tortillas with shredded cabbage (not lettuce), some sort of sauce--we had cocktail sauce, yogurt, and/or homemade salsa--and fried white fish. We made ours with catfish and simply breaded it like we do abalone but seasoned the flour with salt and chili powder.
A few months ago my friend Alex ordered a gas wall oven for me and got me his Lowe's employee price--a whole $300 off! It is a wall oven but we're installing it on the floor since we have no wall to put it onto. I'm sooooooooo excited to have two ovens since I do so much baking and cooking.

Once we got it installed and I tested it out we realized that the top aluminum vent thing gets REALLY hot (unlike a range where a lot of the heat is dissipated through the sides and out over the cook top). Now we're planning on making a baby gate/fence thing to surround it and attach it to the cabinetry on either side of the oven with hooks so little Eddie doesn't get hurt. Our other oven/range will have the stove knobs removed unless we're cooking and a lock installed on the oven door. Lucky for me the door doesn't get hot even at 450F so I won't need a gate around that one.

Here's the new oven in place. We still have to install the new base cabinets and get a proper counter installed by the Corian people. It looks pretty ratty so far but I know it'll be great when it is all done.
Wow--according to our baby ticker we have only 99 days until little Eddie comes. That's so soon!