Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tellus Museum Visit!

Today was another busy and fun day with my family! We had a great time and got to visit Tellus Museum for the first time (Kent's been there a couple times before, but he still had a good time!) :)

 Me playing astronaut!
 Kent acting like the teeth behind us might just come alive any second!
 Alligator chomp?
 Yeah, loooooong neck!!
Kent, the petrified astronaut!! :D

I had a great time, am completely wiped out but really had fun and am very glad we went. Since my family has been here I've been feeling pretty good pregnancy wise, but today was the first day I've felt kind of icky again. Not sure if it's because I'm tired from staying up extra late last night or just being pregnant catching up with me - but I was queasy off and on all day and really had a hard time keeping my sandwich at lunch down followed by nothing sounding good then being starving! :) Only about 3 1/2 more days 'til the ultrasound and I can't wait to see what we will see! :)

Tonight I got to take my sister to the local BBQ joint and she got to try out some good southern cooking, tomorrow we're going to have another busy day but start it off right with some pampering for our feet followed by some pool time then a visit to Perimeter area to see a book store Kylie wanted to visit and dinner at my very favorite veggie restaurant Cafe Sunflower! We've been trying to find places to eat that are vegan friendly (Jake is vegan) that still offer something for anyone who wants to eat meat too and it's proved a little challenging, but I think overall everyone has stayed full and happy so it's all good! Off to bed for a good night of sleep!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Zoo Atlanta Day!

Here are a few pictures from our day! We had a blast! Jake, Kylie and my niece Sofia got in late on Tuesday night, we took yesterday easy and did an Atlanta run for grocery shopping and some lunch at Whole Foods then spent awhile cooking up a curry feast for dinner that night. Today we had a leisurely morning and headed out a little after 11:00 am and spent the whole day at the zoo, not leaving 'til it was closed! We saw lots of beautiful animals, all got a little sun, had a nice picnic lunch together and really had a good time. It was a wonderful way to spend a day! :)

 At the petting zoo!
 Kent and me making some faces at the Kangaroo exhibit!
 Sofia, Kent and me on the carousel!
 Jake, Sofia, Kent and me on the train!
Me, my boy and my sweet niece Sofia!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

5 weeks today! Final beta!

How Jenn and Chad's baby is growing:

Deep in your uterus your embryo is growing at a furious pace. At this point, he's about the size of a sesame seed, and he looks more like a tiny tadpole than a human. He's now made up of three layers — the ectoderm, the mesoderm, and the endoderm — which will later form all of his organs and tissues.

The neural tube — from which your baby's brain, spinal cord, nerves, and backbone will sprout — is starting to develop in the top layer, called the ectoderm. This layer will also give rise to his skin, hair, nails, mammary and sweat glands, and tooth enamel.

His heart and circulatory system begin to form in the middle layer, or mesoderm. (This week, in fact, his tiny heart begins to divide into chambers and beat and pump blood.) The mesoderm will also form your baby's muscles, cartilage, bone, and subcutaneous (under skin) tissue.

The third layer, or endoderm, will house his lungs, intestines, and rudimentary urinary system, as well as his thyroid, liver, and pancreas. In the meantime, the primitive placenta and umbilical cord, which deliver nourishment and oxygen to your baby, are already on the job.
Today is 19dp3dt and I am anxiously waiting for the phone call to let us know our beta results today!! I don't know why - I just can't help getting nervous each and every time. I was fine until last night then the nerves crept on again... I am so ready to be past this whole first trimester and onto the 2nd trimester where I can relax a little and just enjoy being pregnant!! The first month or two are nerve wracking - you just want everything to be fine SOOO bad!!

So here is a quick recap of my very exciting morning...!! I had ordered a refill of my PIO last Thursday for delivery at my office on Friday; then I didn't go to work on Friday because of horrible stomach pain that lasted into the afternoon. I had enough PIO left to get through Monday's am injection. Got to work and the box was there with all my supplies - yay! Then what did I do? I left the box at work!!! So this morning when I woke up ready to get my injection ready I realized I had nothing to GET ready - it was all at work and I was out at home... Great. I left my EMLA cream patch on and went to work about 30 minutes early (which also meant not showering first thing this AM or else it would have washed the EMLA off and I am too big of a sissy to do the intra-muscular injections without my numbing cream!!) Took my heating pad to work with me, got here, drew everything up at my desk and put it in the heating pad. After about 10-15 minutes I (quickly) walked the syringe wrapped in the heating pad back to the women's bathroom, got everything ready, cleaned the injection site and did the shot really quickly. I was terrified someone was going to walk in the door the whole time, but thankfully that early in the morning there are very few others in the office so I thought I'd probably be ok, and I was! 

After such an eventful morning I'm ready for happy beta news and a quiet afternoon! :D Can't wait to go home this afternoon, get a few more things tidied up at the house, then try to grab a nap for an hour or two before we have the leave the house at about 9pm to pick up my brother, sister and niece at the airport! SO excited to see them all! It's going to be a long night, though, and I'm already so tired!

Here's a recap of the Master Beta Thread betas to compare to:

18dp3dt
SINGLETON: 791, 851, 909, 921, 968, 1101, 1629, 1843, 1900, 2056, 2140, 2178, 2288, 3044, 3114, 345, 2369, 3496, 3728, 3800, 4132, 4278, 4509, 4930, 5000
TWINS: 3212, 4101, 5281, 9156, 15883
TRIPS: 6685

19dp3dt
SINGLETON: 577, 590, 692, 778, 1313, 1567, 1591, 1702, 2111, 2263, 2438, 2500, 2606, 2980, 3887, 7038
TWINS: 5597, 6000, 6501, 7666, 7870, 8239, 9402, 12245, 19847
TRIPS: 3304
QUADS: 39524

20dp3dt
SINGLETON: 1260, 1514, 2337, 2373, 2655, 2714, 3561, 3872, 3913, 4260, 5193, 5857, 9813, 14152, 15816
TWINS: 2387, 4861, 5288, 5778, 6800, 7684, 10554, 26000
TRIPS: 17611

(It's helpful, in my opinion, to look at the betas the day before and after too to get a more complete picture!)

So far we've had a 12dp3dt beta of 605 and a 14dp3dt beta of 1183... what will today bring....!!

Ok after many long and torturous hours of waiting I finally got the call back - today's beta at 19dp3dt is 9,151 - it doubled in 40.7 hours or 1.7 days since the last beta... !! I think Jenn and Chad are in for double trouble! :) My hormone levels were great so now we just get to wait out the time between now and ultrasound and pray baby bean(s) keep growing healthy and strong!

Getting ready to head home and enjoy a few hours with my kiddo before heading out to get my siblings at the airport!! YIPPEEE!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

4w6d - 10 days to go!

The ultrasound seems like it's a bazillion years from now... that's what 10 days equates to when you're SOOO EXCITED for something... like Christmas, or a big birthday party, or an upcoming vacation... every day before it seems to drag and the days remaining loom ahead making your destination seem sooooo farrrr away!!!!!! However, it is just 10 days... or so I keep telling myself. Jenn and I chatted last night about ultrasound plans and just catch up and everytime we talk I am so much MORE excited for them and for this pregnancy - it is going to be an absolute honor and joy to get to be a part of this team and get to witness all the planning and excitement and anticipation as each day brings us that much closer to the ultimate goal of reuniting Jenn and Chad with their baby(ies?!)... still after all these years of being a part of surrogacy, it never ceases to just blow my mind with how incredibly special it is to just play a role, to get to be a part of something that is truly a miracle, to feel like both a spectator as I get to watch my IPs plan, prepare and be excited for their little one as they grow, and also a participant as I do my best to nurture and grow their little one and hopefully provide a cozy and comfortable environment that they will grow and thrive in so that on the day they are born they are strong and healthy and ready to meet their parents... It gives me chill bumps and brings happy tears to my eyes every time I think about it!

Tomorrow is our final beta at 19 days past our 3-day transfer, we'll be 5 weeks pregnant (only 35-ish more to go! Yippee! :D ) and I'm hoping for something in the 6,000 range or close to it... we shall see!! The farther out you get with betas, the more of a gap there is between singleton and twin numbers so I am VERY curious to see where this one will fall.

These are the ones from the Master Beta Thread that I'll be comparing to!!

19dp3dt

SINGLETON: 577, 590, 692, 778, 1313, 1567, 1591, 1702, 2111, 2263, 2438, 2500, 2606, 2980, 3887, 7038
TWINS: 5597, 6000, 6501, 7666, 7870, 8239, 9402, 12245, 19847
TRIPS: 3304
QUADS: 39524

My brother, sister and niece will be here tomorrow evening and then I get the whole next week of to be with them and I am thinking the days will probably fly by a little faster with family visiting so hopefully that means next time I stop to look at a calendar ultrasound day will be HERE! :)

BBQ Country Style Ribs

I really like using country style ribs. I've been using them for years; ribs without the hassle of bone! :) This was a very good recipe, very basic, and you can tweak the seasonings however you like them. Just be sure to use a good bottle of BBQ sauce that you like a lot. I usually use nothing but Sweet Baby Rays but had an open bottle of Kraft in my fridge, so I went ahead and used it up. I also didn't have a fresh lemon, so just sprinkled on some lemon juice in place of the lemon slices. I also didn't have the full amount of time for cooking, so I cut the cooking time down to about 1 1/2 hours and increased the temperature a little. They weren't as fall apart tender as they would have been if I'd done it "right" but they were still really delicious and my son loved this dinner!

Started with about 2 lbs of country style ribs, placed in a baking pan.

Sprinkled on some lemon juice.
Added a helping of minced garlic and rubbed it in.
After baking for the first hour (uncovered) I drained off all the liquid that had accumulated.
Poured on the bottled BBQ sauce.
Spread that around and popped it back in the oven!
About 30 minutes later I pulled these out!
Sticky and delicious!
Perfect with some corn on the cob and homemade mac n cheese! Yumm!
BBQ Country Style Ribs By: Coolundrprsr on AllRecipes.com

Ingredients
  • 10 country style pork ribs
  • Salt (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced (or lemon juice if you don't have a lemon)
  • 1 (18 ounce) bottle barbeque sauce
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. In a shallow baking pan or roaster, place ribs in a single layer; salt if desired. Spread the garlic on the ribs, then place the lemon slices on top. Bake in a preheated oven for 2 hours - the ribs should be tender. Drain any grease and liquid. Pour BBQ sauce over the ribs. Return to oven and bake one more hour at 200 to 250 degrees F.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

To Die For Blueberry Muffins

I had bought a carton of blueberries and thought muffins sounded like a good way to use them! I browsed through AllRecipes for something new to try out and this particular recipe definitely caught my attention. It had great reviews and I was excited to try it out!

Started with sugar, Stevia, AP Flour, applesauce, milk, blueberries, salt, cinnamon, an egg, butter and baking powder.
Started by combining the dry ingredients, beginning with the flour.
Then used Stevia in the batter mix.
Followed by the salt.
And the baking powder.
Next the wet ingredients were combined in a measuring cup, I used applesauce (no sugar added) in place of oil.

Then the egg.
And the milk (this ended up not being enough milk for me, so I added more after the wet and dry were combined until I had a good batter consistency).
I put the wet ingredients in the Kitchen Aid and let those combine.
Next the dry ingredients were added.
Got the batter to the consistency I wanted by adding some more milk.
Then came the blueberries.
Stirred those in gently by hand.
This filled 10 regular sized muffin cups for me (pre-sprayed with cooking spray).
Next came the topping ingredients - beginning with the flour.
Followed by sugar.
Then the butter and cinnamon.
All mixed up and looking pretty!
I sprinkled the crumb topping over the muffins and into the oven the pan went!
18 minutes later these lovely muffins emerged.

These were really delicious. The batter has the perfect moistness and tenderness and the crumb topping is absolutely terrific! We ate a few and put the rest in a bag in the freezer and pull them out and defrost to desired warmness for a yummy morning treat!
Slightly modified from To Die For Blueberry Muffins By: Colleen on AllRecipes.com

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar (or powdered sugar substitute)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (or applesauce)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
  2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
  3. To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done. (If making regular sized muffins, this will make 10-12 muffins; bake for 18 minutes).

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sheboygan Grilled Brats

This was a good summer dinner we had a little while back that I'm just getting around to adding! Great for the grilling weather. Just a few simple ingredients kick your normal grilled brats up a notch. Use your favorite buns or rolls; using good bread always makes a difference with these! :)


Start with 1 lb of brats (4 links), an onion, butter, 2 bottles or cans of beer, and minced garlic.
 Thinly sliced the onion.
 Heated the butter in a large pot.
 Then added the onions to caramelize.
 Those cooked for about 10 minutes until they had some good color on them and were getting tender.
 Then in came the minced garlic (I almost always used jarred instead of fresh, since that's what I keep on hand!)
 Mixed that up and let that cook another couple minutes.
 Then in came the beer.
 The mixture simmered for about 10-15 minutes while the brats finished cooking on the grill.
 Then I added the brats to the mixture and let them simmer another 10-15 minutes.
These were really good!! Great for a change of pace, although I do love plain grilled brats with ketchup, mustard and relish too. It was fun to try something out, and simmering them in the beer sauce definitely gave them a new flavor. I didn't love the onions with this, but obviously the beer you choose will strongly affect the flavor you end up with. The recipe calls for dark and I used medium at most, not sure how the dark would have changed the flavor. In any event, I think these were very tasty and we all really enjoyed them!


Slightly modified from Sheboygan Grilled Brats By: PBFITZ on AllRecipes.com

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 (12 ounce) bottles dark beer
  • 1 pound fresh bratwurst
  • 4 hot dog or bratwurst buns
Directions
  1. Lightly oil grate then preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, cook and stir the sliced onions for 5 to 10 minutes, or until tender and translucent. Add the chopped garlic and cook, stirring, for an additional 2 minutes. Add the beer and let simmer while the bratwursts are cooking on the grill.
  3. Grill the bratwursts for 20 to 25 minutes, turning often. Be careful not to poke holes in the casing. Remove the bratwursts from the grill and simmer in the beer sauce for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot with onions on the rolls.