Thanksgiving, Lazy Style

Two days before Thanksgiving I went to the doctor for my weekly appointment. Although my blood pressure had gone down (a good thing), she wanted me to stay on modified bed rest. And then she asked me about my turkey day plans.

I hadn’t made any, because my family does dinner at my grandmother’s house in San Jose every year. Its the one time each year that my aunts from Hawaii come to town. My dad has six brothers and sisters, and I’ve got a boatload of cousins. Its kind of a big thing. But with me being 9 months pregnant and on bed rest … a 2-hour round trip wasn’t sounding relaxing or restful.

My doctor agreed. In fact, her response to my family’s tradition/plan was: You know, Whole Foods makes a FABULOUS turkey dinner. Translation: You’re an idiot and you’re not going.

My family totally understood, and one aunt promised to swing by the house on Black Friday to drop off leftovers. But that still left the actual turkey day itself: What were we going to do?

Enter Trader Joe’s. Damn, but I love that store. Did you know that the clerks will let you test the cookies before you buy them? And that at the sample counter, they keep a stash of cookies for little kids to try? Or that they don’t care if your kid eats a banana while you shop? (Some of the checkers know us and will either offer to toss the peel or give us a plastic bag to put the remainder in before they even start unloading the cart.)

But did you know that they do a riff on turkey dinners? That they sell a 1/2 turkey that you just throw in the oven for an hour? That they sell frozen mashed potatoes that actually have a GOOD texture when you microwave them to life? That although their brussels sprouts au gratin looks like a hot mess, it is actually DELICIOUS beyond belief? Or that their carton of ready-made turkey gravy is one of the best I’ve had? And even though I’m not a stuffing person, their sausage and sage stuffing? Good stuff. It even had cranberries in it.

The sides spent about 4 minutes each in the microwave before serving. The turkey spent an hour in the oven before I got to carve it. The portions were perfect — enough that the Hubbs and I could gorge in Turkey Day fashion yet still have just enough left over for soup. And although we didn’t cut into the pumpkin cheesecake until last night? That sucker was TASTY.

All that food and the only things we actually had to wash were the oven pan, our plates, silverware, and the mug with the gravy in it. Everything else went in the recycling bin.

All in all? It was a quiet and tasty turkey day. And although I missed seeing the rest of my family, it was really nice to just relax at home all day.

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Couch Surfing And Crazy Home Remedies

So I went to the doctor today (I know, its like I live there), and my blood pressure has spiked. This is generally looked upon as a “bad thing” in the medical community.

The entire pregnancy, my blood pressure has been a perfect 120/80. No worries, no problems. But today? I hit 140/86. That’s a big jump. So they said to lay down on my left side and relax for a bit. Fifteen minutes later, they were back to check it again. No change. They checked it again after I had seen my doctor. Again, no change.

So I’ve been sentenced to modified bed rest, and I had to go get some blood drawn so they can run some tests.

What is modified bed rest? It means that I can get up to go to the bathroom and to eat. Aside from that, I need to be horizontal with my feet elevated, preferably on my left side. I also need to drink tons of water.

The point of this is avoiding preeclampsia, which is also known as toxemia and pregnancy-induced hypertension. You have preeclampsia if you 1. are pregnant, 2. have high blood pressure, and 3. have protein in the urine after the 20th week (late 2nd or 3rd trimester).

I have two of the three conditions. We’re trying to avoid No. 3.

And so I went on my trusty friend, the Internet, to see if there was anything I can do besides planting my butt on the couch.

A Facebook friend told me to drink 2+ cans of coconut milk every day. To me, that sounds like a dirty trick to get me sitting on the throne all day long instead.

But the most hilarious suggestion comes from Wikipedia: Semen. No, seriously. Scroll down to the subhead titled: Induction of Paternal Tolerance. According to the dubious “advice”, I need more of the Hubbs’ stuff in my body. And one of the most effective ways of reaping the benefits? To drink it. A lot of it.

I forwarded Hubbs the link just for kicks and giggles. His response: I love you and I’ll do whatever it takes to help you.

He’s such a giver.

And maybe this is totally TMI, but I’ve been giggling about it all afternoon, so I had to share.

Lights Out

Five minutes into Sean’s dinner last night, the power went out and our house was plunged into darkness and silence. Sean was not amused. Even though I was sitting right next to him at the time, he let out a wail, and once I picked him up, wouldn’t let go of my shirt.

Jason came walking into the room with his Touch lit up so we could see where we were walking, and waited until I had found the flashlight I keep near the front door. After opening the front door and seeing the entire neighborhood blacked out, we came back inside and went on a flashlight scavenger hunt. And to quote the Hubbs: “For someone as flashlight crazy as you, how come we have so few?” Duly noted.

Actually, I have a ton of flashlights. The problem is that their batteries died awhile go and I never got around to buying more. Because I’m forgetful like that. For example: I have a charger-based MagLite that is only useful as a billy club because about a year ago it stopped holding a charge. I have two … make that THREE SureFire flashlights in my posession and all of them have dead batteries. My camping lantern was broken in a move and never replaced. All things I have been MEANING to do before life distracts me.

We moved on to the bedroom, Sean still thoroughly freaked out, when I found my backup, hand-held lantern flashlight. As soon as we turned it on, Sean relaxed — and took it from me to run down the hall with so he could find his toy cars. I handed the Hubbs a quart-sized bag of tea lights before following Sean out the door. I also found my trusty small, hand-held, lantern-style flashlight that I had stored in Sean’s room since he likes to play with it. Amazingly, the batteries were still good.

And so while Sean and I played in the fireplace room lit up with flashlights, Jason went around the house, placing candles in strategic spots: Where they could give us some light without being anywhere close to Sean’s reach.

We never were able to get Sean back into his highchair to eat dinner. he was too amped. Instead, we played ball down the halls, watching the tea lights flicker as we ran, casting shadows against the wall. We laid on the carpet and played with toy cars. We sat and cuddled. I wish I had taken pictures. I wish I knew how to take low-light pictures. The night seemed almost magical in its simplicity.

When it was his bedtime, I changed Sean into his pjamas in the muted light from one of the lanterns. We sat on the couch, fiddling with the flashlights so I could read the stories and Sean could see the pictures while drinking his milk. Halfway through story time, the lights flickered back on, and blinking in the sudden brightness, we turned the flashlights off. Hubbs went around the house snuffing out all the candles. And bedtime took on its normal routine.

And today? I went on Amazon and ordered new flashlight batteries, a family-size camping lantern, and extra emergency candles. Next time, we’ll be better prepared.

Neither Here Nor There

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this before, but I have a confession to make: I shop at one to two grocery stores each week. Yeah. Crazy right? Why on earth would I put myself through the torture of TWO grocery stores? Because I’m a glutton for punishment? Crazy? Stupid?

I hope not. The biggest reason is this: I’m in love with Trader Joe’s. There. I’ve said it. We buy pretty much all of Sean’s food there. Unless Safeway has a sale on organic produce, its just cheaper. And now I’m totally gonna sound like a hippy … but I like to buy him organic stuff. I like to buy him organic milk from cows not treated with growth hormones. His string cheese and yogurt are also organic and hormone free. He loves their mini blueberry muffins because they’re the perfect size for his little hands and mouth. I like that they contain no preservatives.

I like that they charge per banana, because we can’t make it out of the store without him devouring one while sitting in the cart. He’s addicted to their graham cracker cookies and casava chips. He loves the banana muffins I make him — I buy the TJ’s boxed banana bread mix and add in mashed bananas, cinnamon, and nutmeg to make it extra banana-y good.

And have you tried their frozen meals? They’re excellent! Holy mashed potatoes with gravy, have you tried their Tikka Chicken Masala frozen entree? Because you should. You can thank me later.

If we’re pinched for time, or if I’m tired, the only store we’ll hit on the weekend is TJs. The only thing I don’t buy there is meat, because its prohibitively expensive, in my opinion. (Besides, I tend to stockpile meat in our freezer — we get it at Costco.)
 
But TJ’s doesn’t have everything, which necessitates going elsewhere. And that’s where the problem is: I have a love-hate relationship with Safeway. I like the Safeway in my area better than the Lucky and although I like Nob Hill, its too expensive. Hubbs practically had a heart attack when we went to Food Maxx one time and I made him two promises that day (which are kinda redundant, but whatever.): 1. I would never go there without him and 2. We wouldn’t go back.

So Safeway — the bane of my existence. I never seemed able to get out of there for less than $100 — no matter what I was buying. Note: I ususally go to Safeway for stockpiling purposes: chicken stock for 50 cents a can (and buy a case) or getting a ton of frozen meals. So I got selective — I’d only buy things that were on sale. Still couldn’t get outta there for less than $90. It was ridiculous. So I got REALLY selective: Only buying things that were on sale and stockpiling manufacturers coupons. I even have an acordian-style coupon folder. I KID YOU NOT. I organize the coupons by expiration date. It helped a little bit.

But then this URewards program came up. It takes a little more work, but people? I saved $48.89 this weekend. And I got out of there for $77.01 — hands-down the cheapest Safeway run for us in eons. We only bought things that were on sale. Some of my big wins? A dozen eggs for free (for signing up with the program), $1 off deli meats, 90 cents for a 2-liter bottle of Pepsi (no limit — I bought 8), 8oz bags of shredded cheese for $1.50, and a loaf of bread for 89 cents. I added a couple of manufacturers coupons to the mix as well. The cashier did a double take when telling us how much we saved. I did a happy dance in the parking lot, while wearing Sean on my back in the Ergo, which made both him and Hubbs laugh.

So how does the program work? From my experience, it goes as follows: You register through the Internet and type in your Safeway club card number. It shows you what is on sale in your local store and also has a tab of “Personal Prices” — meaning it takes a look at your buying history and gives you “coupons” based on that history. You select which savings you want “loaded” onto your rewards card. They say it takes about 30 minutes to load, and then its active. You can also print out your “shopping list” of savings — which is a necessity: Because it will give you sales prices for 8 oz of cheese, but I normally buy the 16 oz bag. Tricky! So you need to pay attention to that kind of thing to get the savings.

The downside of this program: What if you just want to swing by the store real quick and didn’t have time to plan the list out? You still get the normal “club” savings, (you don’t have to load those on your card — I think) but may miss out on something cheaper. Also? The older generation isn’t likely to take advantage of this. And I’m talking about my 80-something Chinese grandmother who scours the weekly ads and goes to 5 different grocery stores to get sale items. (I kid you not.) She would totally geek out over this if she could use a computer.

So it looks as though Safeway will become a larger part of our routine — as long as I have time to scour the weekly ad and personalized savings beforehand.

Randomness And Apologies

I’m calling it now: I’m not going to be posting much in the near future. Why, you ask? Because my brain is mush. Because I’m going to pop soon. And because I’ve got no energy left at the end of the day. Plus, I’m hitting that point in the pregnancy where I feel like a beached whale and that just makes for crabby rants and TMI posts. About boobies. (Or so the Hubbs tells me.) Maybe I’ll do shorter things, maybe I won’t. We’ll just have to wait and see.

And now for the randomness:
Halloween was a bit of a downer for us. We had my grandma’s birthday part on Saturday and our neighborhood block party on Friday. Both involved keeping Sean up past his normal bedtime (on Saturday that bedtime was simply nuked, poor kid), and on Saturday he didn’t even get in a good nap. So when Halloween rolled around on Sunday, I threw in the towel. We didn’t even put him in his Halloween costume. (The few pictures we got of him in the outfit the previous two days are probably blurred by him ripping the Darth Vader helmet/hat off of his head. He was not amused by that hat.)

Instead of getting dressed up and trick-or-treating, we had a leisurely dinner, a bath with extra play time, and a normal bedtime routine with milk and stories before brushing his teeth and putting him to bed at 7:30 p.m. Sean was falling asleep in my arms about halfway through story time. He really needed his routine back. And so did we. And there’s always next year.

Little girl clothes should come with warning labels. We went to the Carter’s store this weekend with my family because 1. They were having a 50% off sale and I also had a 25% off coupon which made for 75% off full-price clothes, 2. I wanted to get Sean some clothes for our Christmas card/Santa photo and 3. because he needed pants. We got tons of 18-month clothes for his birthday in April, so he has a ton of shorts and maybe 4 pairs of jeans. And its not like you can wash them every 2-3 wears like you do with adult jeans. The kid comes home with schmootz ground into the fabric every day.

While we were there, we also got some clothes to fill out Peanut’s wardrobe: A couple of long-sleeve onesies, a couple of cute random outfits, and Hubbs picked out this dress for when my family comes to visit on/around Christmas. (And for the ensuing holiday pictures) And once we decided on the dress, we also decided that she needed tights. And then we looked at it and said, its going to be cold in December. So we bought her a turtleneck to go under it.

Hubbs wandered around the store (mostly in the girl section) and come back with armloads of clothes for me to look at, his eyes all soft and puppy-ish. “Isn’t this cute?” Of course it is. Its girl clothing. Retailers are evil. They make clothes with matching shoes, tights, and hairbands, so you feel like you need to get the whole set, because when you put it all together, rainbows and sunshine burst from behind the clouds and unicorns exist while kittens sponateously burst out of random doorways and you get cavities from all the cute.

Moral of the story: Shopping for girl clothes is hazardous to your wallet. Just sayin’. Oh, and we got Sean this vest and a red turtleneck for his Santa picture. He’s gonna look so cute!

I have discovered leggings. And now I want to know where they’ve been this entire pregnancy. Because they’re freaking comfortable. It feels like I’m wearing pjs with no waistband. Only downside of that: I’m extra sleepy today and I can’t wear slippers at work.

Time flies. Its early November. I’m 34 weeks pregnant (8 months!). And I go on maternity leave the Monday after Thanksgiving. Including two days I’m taking off next week due to our day care provider having Veteran’s Day off, that means I have exactly 14 work days remaining (not including today). And while we’re doing a count down, I’ve got 6 weeks left in this pregnancy. But how is that, you ask, when a pregnancy is for 9 months and you’re already 8 months pregnant? Reality: You’re pregnant for 10 months. Yeah. I know. The baby is due at week 40. Only 6 weeks to go …