rose kennedy greenway

Kaelin came to visit us in Boston for a week and on Saturday the three besties took “Bestie Fest 2014, the summer edition” to the Rose Kennedy Greenway.  Of course, Mr. Henry joined us for our outing as well.  When we started school in Boston (shhh about 10 years ago), the greenway didn’t exist. Instead it was a massive construction site full of concrete madness. The promise of the greenway loomed over future Boston but it never seemed like the plan would be actualized. Nevertheless, it opened in bits and pieces and now is a beautiful series of parks that line Atlantic Avenue. We made our way there in order to snack on some food truck delights and walk about the little market of local artisans. It was a beautiful cool, crisp, and sunny afternoon. Henry was in stellar form and our reunion was thoroughly enjoyed! It was the perfect outing for a new baby and a bunch of best friends looking to reconnect over a easy stroll and ice cream sandwiches!

39 weeks 5 days and a few delusions

2 days, or 48 hours, or 2,880 minutes, or 172,800 seconds until I arrive at the baby’s official due date.

The 39 weeks leading to this moment went by in a blink, but these last few hours feel like slow, grinding years.

Everything on the to-do list is complete (seriously, I have no list for the first time in my life!). And, yes, these last quiet hours before the arrival should be relished and cherished as this kind of solitude will probably not be revisited for another let’s say 5 or 10 years! Yet, I feel nothing but restless energy. So many of the mommies I have spoken with  describe a similar emotion when it was their time. They shared that now that the finish line is completely in sight the waiting becomes unbearable. When I try to describe this to the non-pregnant around me, they tell me to relax and to rest my aching body.  The thing is my body doesn’t ache.  I am very lucky that despite my large belly full of baby, I do not have any aches or pains to complain of and could theoretically continue on in this fashion for quite a bit longer. The only “ache” I have is in my emotional center. I am ready to meet this little guy, I am ready to face labor head on, and I am ready to endure the birth process. And this waiting, this daily waiting around, goes against every fiber of my busybody being!

So what happens to one’s mind under these conditions? Delusions start.

Delusion number 1: I am not pregnant. Despite the protruding stomach, I have begun to rationalize that there is not a baby in there after all.

Delusion number 2: If delusion number 1 is not true and I am indeed pregnant, then at this point my body has begun to reabsorb the baby.

Delusion number 3: I don’t look pregnant in the mirror.

Delusion number 4: If I wake up in the morning and have not already started labor than that day is “lost” and won’t turn into a labor day.

Delusion number 5: I will be waiting forever.

Obviously, I know that these thoughts are nothing but frivolous notions that fill the lagging time until the baby’s ultimate arrival but with each passing day they become a little more vivid and I have to check in and remind myself, “Melissa, you know this is just your boredom talking.” To counter the boredom, I have tried to at least venture outside once a day.  David doesn’t want us to go too far in case my water breaks but, “See delusion 4,” I  sometimes say to him.  We have gone on walks in the park, the mall, and the arboretum. We have spent some time shopping around Whole Foods and lounging in our backyard. These have all eased my spirit a bit but inevitably the restlessness returns. I know I am on “his time” and I know the closer we get to the due date the better for the wee man but I also know that this is hard for me and I am trying my best to stay relaxed while I wait incessantly for the inevitable.

steak with balsamic reduction potatoes

Saturday was a gorgeous day in Boston.  We ran some errands in the morning and then came home to play with the pups outside and enjoy a lazy weekend with each other. When it finally approached dinner time, David started this delicious dish. Unfortunately, just as he had finished off the steak, I called my midwife a little concerned that during our lazy day  I had not felt the little man moving around. As a precaution for low fetal activity, the midwife suggested I head into the hospital for monitoring. So David turned the stove off, slid the steak onto a plate and we dashed off to the hospital both worried and a bit hungry. We drove in nervous silence punctuated with questions like, “Are you feeling okay?”, “Have you felt him yet?”, and “Do you think you could be going into labor?” When we arrived at the hospital, the staff was incredibly efficient and kind. We were rushed into a room and I was hooked to a fetal monitor. They asked us some questions about our day, brought us some water, and we waited for the heart monitor to “tell” us something about the little guy. Of course, as soon as they placed the monitor on my belly, the little man started to have a dance party. It was quickly established that despite his silence all day, he was perfectly fine.  We were dispatched and hurried home feeling much more assured and definitely ready to eat some dinner.

David headed straight for the kitchen and went back to whipping up this delicious meal! Thankfully, it still tasted AMAZING despite the delay.

Ingredients

1lb hangar steak

salt and pepper

1tbsp canola oil

3tbsp unsalted butter

fresh thyme

4 slices of thick bacon diced

10 fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise

1 red onion thinly sliced

1 clove of garlic

5tbsp balsamic vinegar

Place a cast iron skillet on high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper, add oil to skillet. When it almost smokes, sear the steak for 4 minutes on each side. Reduce heat to medium-low and add butter and thyme (4-6 spring). Using a spoon, bast the steak for 2-3 minutes flipping once to coat other side. Remove steak from heat and set aside.

Discard all the fat and thyme from the skillet. Over medium heat cook the bacon until crispy about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes cut side down to the skillet and cook until crisp and golden about 4-5 minutes. Turn the potatoes and continue to cook for another 4-5 minutes. Add onions and cook until they are caramelized 10-15 minutes. Lower heat and add garlic. When you can smell the aroma of the garlic add the balsamic vinegar and reduce for about 3 minutes.

Carve the steak into strips and return to skillet and serve!

It is such an amazing dish. Flavorful, simple, and satisfying it was perfect after our hectic evening.

yard work: phase II

Today we can happily announce that phase II of the backyard remodeling project is complete!  Unlike last year’s phase I, this year’s project was smooth and completed within the time frame that the contractor originally noted. Last year, we built the great wall. What was supposed to be a three week project turned into a three month nightmare of fighting with the contractor, begging him to come to work, and praying that the whole ordeal would end with the wall being completed. The contractor was slippery to say the least. Of course, this left David and I exhausted, feeling abused, and incredibly nervous about embarking on any future projects in which a contractor would be called in.

Thankfully our friends recommended a fence distributor who very quickly and easily provided a reasonable quote, set up time to install the fence, and then installed the fence.  It is the small things like doing one’s job which now greatly impresses us!! Who knew a house project could be so simple. Whew! With the baby just a few weeks away, it feels so good to have this yard project complete.  Now Buster and Bella can enjoy the yard fully. I was SO scared opening the back door to the house this afternoon to just “let them out.” A part of me wanted to still have them on the leash despite the fence. But, David assured me that the whole point of the fence was to give the pups the freedom to run and play in the yard uninhibited. They raced out of the door (I was surprised they didn’t hesitate at all, clearly they would just run away from us in general!), and immediately started barking and chasing each other. It was so great seeing them instantly excited about their new yard experience. I can just see us all now sitting out back for a cookout and just relaxing together as a family. This will definitely change how we all experience the summer and I am just so excited to be outside more with the pups! We even bought two new zero gravity chairs to “christen” the new space.

Phase III of the “never ending” yard remodel will be to plant arborvitae trees along the back of our property to increase some of our privacy and to plant hydrangea bushes in front of these trees to add some color and depth to our backyard garden. Ah!  After this successful phase, I am REALLY looking forward to phase III next Spring.