We’ve had our first bout of warm and sunny spring weather and even though we still have much time to go before it is here consistently in all of its grandeur, the brief time we have gotten has sent me and everyone else in this city into positive vibes, hope and renewal. I’ve captured some of these things in photos.
This past month has been smooth sailing in terms of baby making. We just checked in with our doctor for the monthly appointment and essentially a summary of the past month is:
Babies heartbeat is still pounding fierce at around 145 bpm
My weight is up by about 2-3 pounds which doctors seemed to indicate as good
Blood pressure still low
My energy has been up and steady
I’ve felt pretty darn normal in all my normal activities
Heartburn and indigestion still definitely there after large and/or late in the evening dinners
Appetite is slowly increasing
Have had occasional head aches early in the morning that I attribute to baby (or studying I don’t know)
Belly is just beginning to round and is noticeable if wearing tight clothes
Slight aches in my lower and side abdomen region which I am attributing to stretching of those muscles
Middle region is feeling tighter in clothes
No noticeable movements from baby yet
Some lower back pain during long periods of sitting (could also be attributed to how frequently my neck is bent from studying)
We keep on rolling, this week moving into Week 18 and going in for our 20-week ultrasound for baby parts (but not gender) in 2 weeks or so. In the meantime we continue talking names we like, we have started gathering ideas and goods for the nursery (I have picked out some crib bedding) and started rearranging the nursery, we sold the tall wardrobe in the guest room to make more room, and we are doing research on childbirth classes to sign up for.
With the never ending fun I am experiencing in the study world continuing, the little indulgences I do get are just so good. Those being, mostly, long walks with Bryan, exercise classes, nice dinners or meals of any kind, FareStart, Girls Group/yoga, basketball games, church and a considerable amount of TV. My brain doesn’t really have the capacity to focus on much of anything else right now.
So how have I indulged in the past week? Well, I got to watch Michigan play basketball four days straight over the weekend (and with it playing on my phone next to me at work). We had two Michigan State fans over for snacks and to watch the defeat on Saturday, nothing better when you have to hide that you are gloating…I’ve been on the opposite end of the spectrum too many times. Bryan and I went for a nice long walk through Leschi and the Central District on Saturday, stopping for the views and conversation on a park bench overlooking the city.
Sunday we had church, more basketball, then indulged in a fancy “four” course feast at Tavolata for their monthly Sunday Feast with our friends Tim and Jason. This month’s theme was seafood and everything was delicious and executed perfectly. It even got Bryan and I out of our small comfort zones for a few items that turned out to be great decisions. We both ate the oysters! And Bryan’s favorite dish of the night was the squid ink pasta with squid and uni butter, which was amazing but way too difficult for me to pick a favorite of the night. Though, the pastas were both amazing and comforting. Fortunately portions were just right so after so many dishes we were left feeling comfortable and not completely over the top (which is essentially me post dinner every day of the week currently).
Shigoku Oysters with Champagne Mignonette and Cucumber Granita Octopus Carpaccio with Taggiasca Olives, Mint, and Bottarga
Lobster Bisque with Poached Lobster, Fennel Sofrito, and Basil
Grilled Spot Prawns with Wild Watercress, Fennel, and Salsa Verde
Amazingly tender octopus carpaccio
Lobster bisque with chunks of lobster
Conchiglie Nero with Grilled Squid, Uni, Pickled Fresno Chili, and Colatura di Alici
Linguini Aglio e Olio with Dungeness Crab, Garlic, and Chili
Scallops with Sunchokes, Applewood Bacon, and Brussels Sprouts King Salmon with Asparagus, Pearl Onion, and Black Trumpet Vinaigrette
Lobster Risotto with Parmesan, Lemon, and Chive
Roasted Cauliflower with Bagna Cauda and Pangrattato
Lemon Meringue Tart
I’ve managed to get in a fill of food, fun and exercise this week. I attended the theme cycle ride at Live, Love Flow for Odeza vs. The Chainsmokers which was a good sweaty class. I filled up with soul-soothing calliloo stew afterwards. I was treated to dinner at FareStart’s Community Dinner for the month of March on Wednesday after my Girls Night was cancelled. Community Dinner’s lasagna bolognese was again a comforting plate of happiness that I needed mid week. Back at FareStart on Thursday for 2016’s Restaurant of the Year chef and James Beard Award nominee from Salare and JuneBaby for a Southern-inspired dinner expedited by your very own Bryan. Bryan ran the restaurant super smoothly and soon enough we were all dining on the delicious dishes of roasted beets with walnuts, tangerines and buttermilk sauce, oxtails with peas, rice and carrots, smoked carrots and collard greens and pineapple upside down cake with caramel ice cream. Heavenly all around!
TGIF! And starting the weekend off well with the company’s monthly staff meeting followed by a night at the Seattle Rep with Club 20s/30s for their hosted pre-show food and drink for the latest play Ibsen in Chicago. Looking forward to the weekend and the sunny and warmer weather we are expecting. Studying may or may not pay a price because of it.
We continue to move forward with the year and what it brings with every new week and month. Enter March. February is always so short, it just seems to fly by. Certainly as we approach March we are getting a bit more sun, there are more buds and blossoms blooming and the birds are out there chirping. We are now only exactly 6 weeks from the first day of my exam. Eeek.
Our weekend came and went as they all do. We had a great dinner at Din Tai Fung in Bellevue before catching the highly-rated Black Panther movie at Cinemark. We were battling the pesky little ants when we returned home and a good portion of Saturday. Saturday was mostly spent studying and cleaning for me while Bryan was out wine tasting with the FareStart crew. And Sunday we took a long walk to get lunch at Araya Thai in Madison Valley before continuing on through Madison Park and back. We concluded the weekend with an impromptu bake of what came out as an exceptional apple pie with inspiration coming from the granny smith apples we have had on hand and watching a few episodes of the Great British Baking Show.
The week, like usual, was quite packed with activities. I managed to get my fifth class in on ClassPass before the month of February ended with a good barre class Monday night. We had tickets to see Hamilton with Karen and Holly (from FareStart) at the Paramount on Tuesday night and loved it! We met at FareStart beforehand for the hosted happy hour for the outgoing CEO at FareStart for the past 18 years before getting more snacks at Market Hall before heading to the theater at 7:30 pm. Late night for us and I’ve been singing the tunes and thinking about the play ever since.
Wednesday I managed to study a bit before heading over with the newly engaged Polly to a Yelp preview event of a new event space in Belltown called Vue Lounge. We got to sample some drinks and food (well Polly got to sample my drink portions for me) and enjoyed the karaoke machine, DJ, and blackjack tables. It was a fun night that got my head out of the study grind.
Thursday was your typical FareStart but with an outstanding Japanese-inspired bento dinner creation from one of the chefs from Tulalip Casino. And we have hit another Friday and don’t have too much on the agenda for the weekend…said me every Friday for the past two months.
This is the month for celebrating how thankful we are for friends, family, God, food, peace, etc. And that we are. But I’m also not thankful for rain, football losses, and more rain. I’m a little worried that it’s going to rain the whole time we are in Kauai. No one told me that was the rainiest of the islands…during the rainy season. Oh well, I guess if there are at least some sun breaks and warm weather I’ll be okay. There will still be food, family and fun.
This week leading up to Hawaii has done pretty much nothing but rain, except for Saturday thankfully where we actually caught some sun and Bryan and I were able to enjoy our run around Seward Park in pleasant weather. 24 hours later I was playing soccer in essentially a downpour, but we won 2-0 with one assist by me. In addition to activity we watched a lot of football, enjoyed the holiday harvest bash at Novelty Hill for the last wine party of the year, went to church, and made a few good meals at home.
Neither of us are packed so that will be the main priority tonight with a very, very early departure in the morning to go to Hawaii! We have excursions booked and a few meals planned for our condo and I’m beyond excited. Even if it does rain everyday…
Yikes!! I’m freaking old. My birthday has come and gone and brought good times with good friends. I enjoy my birthday because I enjoy spending time with friends and family but my birthday stresses me out too so in a way I always exhale when it is over. And that I did because the weekend was a bit of a whirlwind.
Friday night Bryan and I started the indulgent weekend out with burgers at 8Oz Burger Bar. We split two kinds of burgers and they were both just about the best burger I’ve ever eaten. We picked up ice cream from Bluebird on our walk home from Capitol Hill and we bought a couple of books at the Elliott Bay Bookstore. I also got my nails done and a facial Friday afternoon after work so I was half purdy and half rosy-faced.
Saturday was the big day and both Bryan and I were busy right up until 4 pm. Bryan had his men’s group at church which was fine because I wanted to use my free barre class at the Bar Method in South Lake Union before going to get my hair cut. Class was good and it was a beautiful sunny day for riding around to get errands done. My hair cut took forever per usual and I came out a shade darker than going in. Still getting to used to it and still really mixed about the color. I picked up Starbucks on my way home for lunch and was greeted by the smell of my birthday cake and my lovely husband. I prepped some dishes for the night’s party while Bryan went off to Lowe’s to pick up a firepit for our backyard. We finished up with prep before heading to South Lake Union to pick up our hot tub boat. Bryan, Philipp, Mark, Stephan and Ewelina joined me for a two-hour ride on South Lake Union in a hot tub, in a boat. It was pretty fantastic. The sun was out, the sunset, stopping for brewskis and chips at the market on the lake, listening to jams on the bluetooth speakers and really being the only people out on the lake.
Hot tub boat crew
The view on the way back
After our two hours were up we headed back to our house to light up the grill and wait for the rest of the friends to come over. We had a solid group come over for some snacks, drinks and my birthday cake. We enjoyed both the indoor and outdoor fireplaces and our last guests left just after midnight.
Sunday morning we headed to church for a super short service so I was able to make it to the 11:15 am soccer game just a tad bit late. It was a gorgeous day and we had subs playing that were faster and more skilled and a bunch of fun to play with. After my game we relaxed for a bit before packing an overnight bag and heading to Issaquah for a mystery shop at the Hilton. We checked into the hotel and then set out to Snoqualmie Falls. Neither of us had ever been so we did the 1.4 mile round trip “hike” to see the 250 foot drop of the falls from both the top and bottom. After our hike we had dinner reservations at the Salish Lodge for their restaurant week menu. The Salish Lodge is known as the lodge from the 90s show Twin Peaks. We got a window-side table and enjoyed three courses of food along with three courses of wines paired with each dish. Together we got the spot prawn bisque with imperial rice, the beet carpaccio salad, the braised short ribs with parsnip puree and sweet potato gratin, the steelhead with roasted brussel sprouts and fingerling potatoes, and the squash panna cotta and molten chocolate cake. The food was good, not amazing, but definitely worth the $30 experience and the wines paired with them were actually fantastic! Leaving dinner stuffed we had plans to enjoy the hot tub at the hotel but instead decided to chill out in bed. We got a solid 9 hours of sleep that night, sleeping in and enjoying the hotel’s made to order omelets in the morning before each heading to work.
The celebration has continued this week with lunch with the girls at work for sushi on Tuesday and the monthly October birthday cookies in the office also on Tuesday. But I think the celebrations have finally come to an end. Next up is Halloween!
Not really meant to be funny because lately I have felt the most incapable of meeting and keeping female friends in Seattle. It’s entirely frustrating and for some reason the most noticeable to me this time of year. Maybe it is because people, like ourselves, are more tempted to begin to hibernate and seeing anyone becomes less natural and more of a challenge. Then you compound that basic nature of humans with the fact that it is football season and for whatever reason, my girlfriends in Seattle don’t give two hoots about football, which puts me one step into the male bracket. Then there is the obviousness of the fact that I work with a good majority of men. Fortunately, my surrounding office-mates are female which helps a smidge but when you tend to be more in a formal, businesslike mindset during the work day, you still FEEL like you are working with only men. So then, when your lovely husband plans a hot tub boat party for you on your birthday, the only people to agree to boat are all guys. Nothing wrong with that unless you want to come across as some floozy celebrating her birthday in a hot tub with a bunch of guys. Thankfully we do have one lady coming so I fell one million times better about the guest list.
But, it’s true that I have felt very alone in this city without girls to hang out with and talk to. Some have had serious injuries that have prohibited them from hanging out, some have had mental/emotional slips that are nearly friendship-ruining instances, some have had babies, and some are just always too busy or too flustered for me to either schedule something with them or I feel like doing so would not actually allow me the outlet and release that I need. It’s something I’ve talked to Bryan about at times but to anyone else.
…And then the clouds parted and I could see the light. I joined a women-only life group through church with the greatest of apprehension and nerves because of how life groups like these with women have gone for me in the past. I had low expectations and was floored that it could actually be a big step in moving forward to finding women of similar interests and faith as well as not have to deal with the scheduling nightmare of making time to spend with one another, AND they were genuine, interesting, and also women who have struggled making friendships themselves in this introverted city. I was overjoyed!
I should have not worried at all, but alas, that is not my strongest suit. The pastor’s wife, Sue, is leading the group and she is one of the easiest, welcoming, sassy women that I have met (not at all unlike my own mom, Sue). She’s relaxed, she’s fun, and she owns a yoga studio. So for our 90 minutes we girl-chatted (this should be a dictionary word), ate popcorn and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, drank pumpkin spiced tea, and then did about 40 minutes of yoga stretching that left me feeling totally at ease and grateful. I used to admit that yoga was my church; the one way that I could actually feel myself surrender to something outside of myself and let my mind and my spirit rest and recover. There were seven of us girls on this particular night and I’d say half were younger than me and half older. Three are parents, five married, all active and intelligent, and most all of us transplants. And not only transplants; we had one from Minneapolis, one from Columbus, and one from Idaho but whose mom graduated from East Lansing High School. I felt so in common with these other girls. I honestly can’t wait for next week and can’t wait to begin reading Present Over Perfect, authored by a woman from Michigan even.
And my shared message this week from Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not onto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.” I did that.