Nursery Part 1

Friday, April 29, 2011

Sorry I haven't posted anything on the nursery yet. It's been sorta touch-and-go playing musical furniture, trying to get stuff out of there (it was our office) so we could paint and prep. Happy to say it's now painted (thanks for your help, Dad!) and we have a crib! (or, what Jonny has been calling "Red's bed")

In this color:



(sorry for the fuzzy thumbnail)

And we have this crib set up.



Couldn't resist the Jenny Lind.

Besides that? Nada, yet.

This is going to be her room (on move-in day):



Remember with the weird painted mirrors, that were on top of the single grasscloth'd wall in our entire house? We had those removed during the laundry room extravaganza, and the wall was sanded and smoothed, ready for a fresh coat of paint.

Here's the room mid-painting:



Aren't those windows great?

This bedroom is right next to ours, connected by a bathroom (back there on the right). The crib will be maybe 10 steps away from where I sleep. Thus, I don't think I'll be using a bassinet right at first (as of now).

In the spirit of full disclosure, here's our front living room with twin bed (thanks, Reasons!), drum set (for sale!), and large desk, that had to move from elsewhere so the painting could happen.



So maddening, all this stuff everywhere, but it's slow progress with one of us gone a lot. (And I know, our house has no shortage of ceiling fans!)

I have fabric picked out (with Marthie's help, of course), and still working on chair, rug, light fixture (?), and dresser/changing table combo decision.

It's very fun to dream up and plan all of this, but I have to stop every now and then (remember my post from the other day) and say, Who is this person who is caring so much more about this room than any room she's ever decorated in her entire life? I know it's for my little daughter, but sheesh! Twilight zone, a little.

The Everything-I-Like Trifle

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

When our monthly bunko group sent the email sign-up for food, I signed up to bring a dessert. I've not been in the making-things mood very often recently, with morning sickness in the early months, and the whole my-husband-is-a-med-student-and-never-home thing going on, but I decided it was time to get out of this rut.



The theme was springtime stuff/gardening, so I decided to make a pretty trifle.

I was very lucky to get a lovely trifle dish with a lid for a wedding gift. It sat in storage for a few years, until my sister dug it out to use, and then when we moved from our tiny condo, it got a permanent spot in my pantry.

I wanted to really go for it with this trifle. The ones I've had/made in recent years have been on the healthier side: angel food cake, reduced-fat cool whip, etc., blah blah blah. Also, I didn't really want an intensely chocolate-focused trifle. I (typically) err on the side fruit-focused desserts in general anyway.

I wanted none of this let's-make-it-healthier stuff. I wanted the good stuff. Not low-fat and homemade, but still light. With only things in it that I like, and nothing in it that "needed" to be in it, like nuts or blueberries (I like both nuts and blueberries, but I don't always need them in a trifle).

So, may I present, one of the few (if any?) concoctions that I have totally made up myself. The parts (pound cake, vanilla pudding, and whipped cream) are all homemade, but not my own recipes. The combination of them, however, is my own. Let me be clear: I don't think this is super-genius or anything, but maybe some of you will find its simplicity of taste-combination freeing?

I'll show you the parts individually, and then bring it all together at the bottom.

Let's start with the VANILLA PUDDING. Having never made pudding-pudding before (except for pudding-ish pie fillings, like so), I found this recipe from NYTimes here, so I figured it was a safe bet.

Some lovely half-and-half, a wonderful start to many tasty things.





I had one more vanilla bean, so I went for it on this one, for the authentic factor (I guess...whatever that means). I'm sure it's just as yummy (and slightly simpler) with vanilla extract.





Pudding made and about to put in the fridge to chill (you can see how thick it is on the side of the bowl):



STRAWBERRIES:

Cut and sprinkled generously with sugar:



POUND CAKE, recipe from my lovely & talented sis-in-law Amanda (and her sis Diana), similar to this one. (I am holding out hope that one day soon, she will get her own blog going and share it with you from there!)






WHIPPED CREAM
, doubled this recipe (starting with a chilled bowl, popped in the freezer for a few minutes):

- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla

Easy! And so much tastier (to me) than Cool Whip. So why not?





And DARK CHOCOLATE CHUNKS, Kroger brand. I trust that you can all imagine what they look like by themselves.


Leslie's Trifle (with everything she likes in it)

- 1 quart (or this full recipe) vanilla pudding, chilled
- 1/3-ish of one pound cake, cut into small cubes
- 1 pint strawberries, sliced and sprinkled generously with sugar
- 2 batches (at least) of whipped cream
- 2/3 bag (or however many you want) dark chocolate chunks


Cover the bottom of the trifle dish with the pound cake chunks. Spread (generously) half of the pudding over the top. Spoon strawberries over the pudding until covered; sprinkle chocolate chunks on top. Top this layer with whipped cream until covered. Repeat layers: pound cake, pudding, strawberries, chocolate chips. Top all with whipped cream with garnish with strawberries and chocolate chips. Chill at least one hour.




Enjoy!

Wedding Day & Earth Day

Friday, April 22, 2011

I'm glad that for us, they are/were one & the same. {Except after the fact, I guess you say "anniversary" instead of "wedding day."}

Happy Anniversary, Jonathan Jerkins! You are truly my other half.

Some images from April 22nd, 2006, the day our family was established.




{I am the luckiest to have had TWO redheaded bridesmaids. You're all beautiful! And I miss you out-of-towners. And I miss seeing my collarbones.}





Look at these youngsters:





Jonathan's younger brother, Michael, caught the garter...and got married on March 25th of this year, just several weeks ago! (and GO GRIZZ indeed! This year was the last time the Grizzlies were in the playoffs too.)





I'm sure that very soon (in oh, say three-point-five-ish months), there will exist a very very very close second for the title of Best Day of My Life.

But for now, this is still it.


Blast from the Past:
4 year post
3 year post (none, whoops)
2 year post
1 year post

Trying to Take a Chill Pill

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Despite my best/conscious efforts at the outset of this whole having-a-baby thing, I have slipped into Overthinking-Waffler-Nervous-Nelly-New-Mommy-Shopper mode. YUCK.

I started a registry a couple of weeks ago, and it was my first real foray into the overwhelming world that is Baby Stuff.

Will she even like a swing? What about a bouncer? A playmat? Which car seat? Which changing pad covers? A Moby wrap or an Ergo?

Somewhere underneath all of this has been the overwhelming desire to pick the "right" thing. Like there's ONE right thing in this whole mess.

One example: I'll think, what will it say about me as a parent if I don't want loud primary-color-y items all over my house? Does that mean I'm not interested in Baby's visual development? I'm too cool for school? I don't want it to mean either, but what if it does? I've never done this before!

So, to all of you whose phones and email boxes I've blown up with questions like, "So why did you choose the diaper bag you have?" ... I'm sorry.

And I'm aware and trying to chill out a little.

Example? I picked out a baby book... spontaneously.



My mom and I were in Anthropologie, and she got me this one for my birthday.

I loved the pages and the adorable way it's illustrated, so I just said "YES, thank you!" and haven't looked back (the way I make decisions under normal circumstances). Thanks, Mom.

Have you ever slid over into spaz mode without meaning to? Or is parenting just one big control-yourself-from-spazzing-out fest?

The Fall of the Flip Cam

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Along with many others, I was very surprised to learn this past week of the Flip Camera's demise.



This gadget was on our very short list of electronic goodies to acquire before Baby comes.

Did the smart phone really kill this device in less than 4 years after its conception, as this article suggests? This NY Times blogger is upset too, here.

Am I being irrational to worry that the way things are trending in electronics, my children's entire lives are going to have to be documented on my cell phone?

Will things regress, or will quality cease to be compromised with the all-in-one device?

In 20 years, what will her childhood multimedia heritage be?

Dramatic? or something you've also thought of?

Italia: Cinque Terre & Roma

Monday, April 11, 2011

Let's pick up where we left off...

Our what-we-thought-would-be-short train trip from Florence to Vernazza (Cinque Terre) was not uneventful.



The trip from Florence to Cinque Terre involves a train to Pisa, then Pisa to La Spezia, then a smaller train to the five towns of Cinque Terre and ultimately for us, Vernazza.

We didn't leave Florence until around 6 pm, since we did the Uffizi and Accademia that day. Made it to Pisa with an hour lag until the next train to La Spezia, but not enough time to see the Leaning Tower.

Unfortunately, when we got to La Spezia around 9:20 pm, we'd missed the train onto Vernazza by about 10 minutes. And the next one? Oh, it was at 11:10 pm. So I hunkered down to update our trip journal while Jonathan had a photo shoot.



There were lots of interesting characters in the La Spezia train station at 11 o'clock at night, and I wasn't sad when our little train finally came. And how long was the final leg of the trip via train, for which we waited almost 2 hours, you might ask? A MERE 20 MINUTES. Yep.

So, after checking into our room around midnight, and checking out before 10 a.m. the next day, we were ready to explore Vernazza for the day until leaving for Rome that afternoon.

Vernazza is one of five little towns built into the mountainside, facing the sea, on Italy's west coast.



500 people live in this town.



And, as I learned from our Rick Steves book the Burkes loaned us, there is a Commissioner of Good Taste who regulates the buildings' multi paint colors. {sounds like a fun job! or at least a fun title to have...}

Yes, this is real.





{the largest aloe plant I've ever seen... and, do you like my birthday-present leather jacket that Jonny got me in Firenze?}



{succulents and sedum just grow out of the walls...beautiful!}



At the top of Vernazza's castle.

SO, as I understand it, all five towns are connected with a hiking trail, which is supposedly breathtakingly beautiful and fun. This was not in the cards for this preggo and husband this time.

Instead, we took the train one town over to Corniglia, which is unfortunately ONLY accessible from the train station by a very long and very steep path...maybe something like 350 long steps I think I read? Whoops.

While waiting the hour until the next train back to Vernazza (a maybe 10 minute ride through the mountainside), we sat on a bench, enjoying the perfect weather and view of the sea.





I definitely want to go back to Cinque Terre for longer and when not pregnant.

Before I take you on to Roma, here's a chubby face/sort of belly-ish shot for those of you who've asked:



Mmm.

Okay, so that afternoon, onto Roma! It was about a 4.5 hour train ride, but the logistics went smoothly this time (...except for finding our hotel once we got there, but I'll spare you the details because we eventually did find it).

Pantheon at night, 5 mins from our hotel:



Never in my life could I say, "My eyes are looking at something that was built in 127 AD." Well in Rome, that would change!



Colosseum (truly colossal!)...and I love how that kid is looking straight at the phone camera.



Inside the Colosseum:



Mind-blowing.

And then...St. Peter's, Vatican City, from the top of the dome:







There really aren't words for this. It's completely overwhelming.



At the Vatican post office box:



My illegal phone pic of the Sistine Chapel {Probably the most impressive of all in all of Vatican City...I can't believe that took Michelangelo only 4 years--seems so short--and he didn't lie on his back to paint! ouch}



Mente (mint) gelato on the way back to the hotel, in front of St. Peter's:



That about sums up our adventure!

If you'd like to know more about international travel while 20ish weeks pregnant, email me. For now, I'll just say it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be (at least for me). And I won't post a photo of my feet after the flight home, but let's just say I've never seen them look like that before (so swollen!).

After a looooooooong flight back (on which we each had our own freak-out moment, mine involving a convinced fear that the baby was taking all of my oxygen), we made it home to our kitty!

What a way to celebrate five years of marriage and the upcoming arrival of our little baby girl! Ciao!

Italia: Venice & Florence

Friday, April 08, 2011

Finally! I've done enough laundry to sit down and do this.

I'll split the trip into two cities per each post, so the photos + commentary won't be too laborious.

Please indulge me in this precursory comment: I really dislike all of the photos taken of me during this trip (or any time in recent months). But alas, I am pregnant, and I am larger (everywhere) than I've ever been in my entire life. I know that sacrificing your vanity is just part of carrying a child. This doesn't mean I have to like these photos. But this is my blog, so I get to say my piece if I want to. Also...you can safely assume that the good, high-resolution photos were taken by Jonathan.

We left Memphis Saturday around 10: 30 in the morning, flew to Atlanta, then flew to New York. We left New York around 7:30 pm ET, and got to Venice around 11 a.m. their time on Sunday morning.

We took a water bus into town from the airport... it was fun to see this storied city built on the water with my own two eyes. And thus began the mind-blowing that happens when you realize how old everything is.


{not far from where we saw a local teenage couple TOTALLY MAKING OUT in one of these doorways, oblivious to the world. Our baptism into seeing public makeout sessions all over the place.}



So, what I learned in Venice: maps are useless. Any sort of strong directional sense is largely futile. You WILL get lost and you WILL have no clue where you're going. And yes, we did make a circle once or twice. But, it was fun wandering around, and we managed to stay awake all day until about 8:30 Sunday night.

We went to St. Mark's Square (the "big" thing there, right?), where part of the front facade was under scaffolding.


{those little boys in the green jackets were trying to get pigeons to sit on their head and arms and stuff. gross.}

Jonny making a pigeon-face (and you can see the beautiful church and scaffolding):

So, we meandered around, had some not-so-great/touristy pizza (better pizza was to come) and went to sleep. Funny, we both woke up around 2:30 am and realized the other was awake. We ate snacks, and went back to sleep until 8 am.

That morning, I got this best gelato pic (grapefruit...MMM!):



And then we packed up and headed to the train station for FIRENZE!

Jonathan downloaded this new app slash toy, Autostitch, and had fun playing with it.

Here's the Duomo in Florence (which is so jammed into the city, it's hard to get a comprehensive picture while you're standing next to it):



Inside:



Those famous "Gates of Paradise" on the Baptistry doors, (so beautiful in person, even on a grey day!):



While in Florence, we were SO graciously hosted by our friends Laura & Ryan Stephens, who are participating in mission work through Avanti Italia.

Here's the 4 of us from the Piazza di Michelangelo (a wonderful view of the city and a better idea of the size of the Duomo):



Ryan & Laura's apartment was so cozy and comfortable, and we got to enjoy some of Laura's Italian-refined culinary skills. They also took us to visit two of their artisan friends they've met while there, one makes intricate jewelry and detailed metal accoutrements, and one works mainly in watercolor...we bought 3 small watercolors of his (two for the baby's room!).

THANK YOU so much, Stephens, for hosting us! We had such a great time with you both.

Also in Florence, Laura took us to Harding University's Villa where Jonathan spent a summer in college. We ate a delicious lunch, and I got to meet Robbie, the longtime famous program director:



We finished off our trip to Florence with visits to the Uffizi Art Gallery and the Accademia, where I got this illegal phone pic of the David:



So formidable and so much larger in person than I expected. We walked into the gallery where he stands, and I just said, "Whoa!" Completely beautiful. We also liked seeing Michelangelo's "unfinished" slave sculptures there.

Of course, before getting on the train to Cinque Terre, one more stop at J's favorite gelato place from his college days, FESTIVAL!



Next we go to Vernazza (Cinque Terre) and Roma! Stay tuned!
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