Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Year in Review: 2008

The Lord has blessed me!

January 26
Having Caleb's birthday party at our house and seeing his reaction to the Batman cake I made for him.

March 22
Surprising my Mom like she's never been surprised before by throwing her a 50th birthday party!

March 27-30
Having Caleb come stay with us all by himself for a whole weekend! So much fun!

May 2-6
Chicago trip in May to see great friends and some family, too!

July 23-26
Oregon coast trip in July with my parents, sisters, their husbands, my sweet nephew, my grandparents, and my aunt and her kids

August 19-23
Vegas trip with my sisters and their husbands. Vegas was eh, but we had a great time together!

September 6
Pickling with my sweet mother-in-law and sister-in-law. Mmmmm!

October 14
Celebrating 2 years of marriage with my wonderful husband at The Melting Pot.

October 21
Hands-down the best moment of 2008 - finding out that my amazing husband is going to be an amazing dad. Baby Baldwin due July 2, 2009!

October 30
Telling my husband's parents that they're going to be grandparents for the first time and telling his sister and brother-in-law that they're going to be aunt and uncle!

October 31
Telling my parents that they're going to have another grandchild. My mom's reaction of "Are you serious?" then covering her face with her hands and sobbing will forever be tattooed on my brain.
Some of my other top moments of 2008 were when my sisters both announced their pregnancies. Since I couldn't remember the exact dates, I'm just going to mention it here. So exciting that we're all pregnant at the same time. My mom called the weekend that we told them we were pregnant "emotionally exhausting" (in a good way!)...they'll now have a grandchild born in April, another in May, and another in July. The only picture I have is of Caleb in his Darth Vader costume...

November 14
Seeing our baby for the first time and hearing that heart beat at 141bpm

November 18
Carrie and Chris are having a GIRL!

November 27
We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with the Baldwin family and the Dawsons.
This is where the pictures get a little dicey. For some reason neither D nor I have felt the motivation to pick up the camera at family events lately. I think we're just soaking it in too much to have a lense in front of our face :)

December 17
Lindsay and Craig are having a GIRL!

December 20
"Arctic Blast" hits the Seattle area. D put out bird seed after seeing so many birds in the trees and they definitely appreciated it. They kept coming back. You can kind of see their little prints in the snow... There are two birds in this picture, but many are out of my camera's view under the window where D put the container of seed.

December 22
We got to see our baby again...this time he/she was looking a lot more human. Cute, even! Heart beating strong at 162bpm.

December 23-28
We had a really wonderful time with my family for Christmas. My parents gave us, among other things, a Blu Ray player per couple. We opened those gifts then gave Dad his gift from all of us - the exact same Blu Ray player! In the time we were in Oregon, we ate (a lot!), played games, and went to see 2 movies: "Bolt" and "Marley & Me". If you go see Marley & Me, take tissues. If you go see Marley & Me and you've ever had a dog you loved dearly, take 2 boxes of tissues. If you go see Marley & Me and you're the spouse of a pregnant woman who has owned a dog, make sure she has 2 boxes of tissues then give her your 2 boxes, too.

Today at work is relatively quiet. Many people are out today. Tomorrow we'll be going to D's parents' house for a belated Christmas. I'm really looking forward to it! Tonight we have a New Year's Eve party to attend after a singing at church and hopefully I don't have to play the pregnancy card at the party so I can get home and in bed.

I realize I've probably missed many things in my review of 2008...if I remember some things then I'll definitely come back and add them.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ultrasound 12w4d

There are a lot of things I could post about. The 7"+ of snow we have at our house, the drive down to Oregon, the birds. But, today we were able to see our baby again and that takes precedence.

Healthy baby, measuring exactly where he/she should measure. 162bpm was the heart rate. D and I are completely and totally elated. The baby was literally jumping around in there and waving and kicking up a storm. It was so neat to see our own child moving around like that. I had orange juice at breakfast (was craving it like crazy) so maybe that's what did it.

The ultrasound technician gave us at least 10-12 photos of our baby, but for the sake of keeping my readers, I'm only sharing a few. The ultrasound technician did give us a guess on what gender she thought we were having, but for the sake of not driving ourselves crazy we're only sharing that information with immediate family. Once we know for sure then you will know!

This is the baby, head to rump. The tech told us that a black blob on the baby was the stomach and the baby was well-nourished. She could tell that the baby was full!

This is, obviously, the baby's open hand (a good sign). I just love this picture.

A closeup of the baby's profile - isn't that the sweetest nose you've ever seen!? There's also a foot thrown in the mix, too!

Well, D & I spent 4+ hours on the road today so we're exhausted. I'm going to head to bed. I'm really excited about spending this week down in Oregon and tomorrow we'll build a snowman with my nephew, Caleb. Fun, fun! My mom has already made 3 different kinds of treats with plans to make more. It's very festive with all the snow we've gotten the last week - and Portland got at least 10-12"!

Isn't family wonderful? I'm so blessed to have two wonderful families whom I love SO much!

Ok, enough for now. Maybe more later! :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow Day!

Sorry for my delay in posting. We've been pretty busy.

First, my little sister, Lindsay, is having a baby girl! We're so excited. Now both of my sisters are having girls! My mom predicts that we'll all three have girls. Guess we'll know around late January/early February!

Tuesday night we went to the Fifth Avenue Theater in Seattle and saw...
The guy in the green could really kick! It was great - I loved it. The dancing was incredible and they did a pretty good job with the original songs even though they didn't sing the "June Bride" song. Of course, I grew up watching the musical at least once a year if not more so my expectations were high! I'd love to own the musical someday (hint, hint, Santa!). Anyway, I couldn't take pictures of the show but I snuck a few pictures of the theater. It's a really awesome place. D & I are going to make going to the theater an annual tradition around Christmas time. We love going - we have such a good time together. Last year we went and saw "Jersey Boys" at the Fifth Avenue Theater.
The first picture is of the stage. The second is the ceiling of the theater.

Today, my husband and I are on our laptops on the couch, sipping hot chocolate in front of the fire. Snow started falling early this morning and didn't let up. There's not much on the ground, maybe an inch, but the freeway by our house is impassible. That's how we roll in Seattle. The littlest amount of snow and the whole city shuts down. Then there are those who try to get out and they stop in the middle of the freeway to put chains on their tires. Or, better yet, those who just stop in the middle of the freeway and abandon their vehicles. Smmaarrrrt.

My sweet husband saw some birds flying around the trees in our front yard so he put out some luke warm water for them and defrosted our bird feeder so they could eat. Isn't he sweet?
The first picture is the view off our back deck. The second picture is of my sweet husband putting the water out for the birds.

In other news, I'm 12 weeks pregnant today! Baby is the size of a plum! My next ultrasound is on Monday and I'm really excited. I can't wait to see him/her again!

Snow is still coming down. It would be nice if we could get a 4 day weekend out of this! Actually, I'm working from home but I'd rather be working at home rather than working at work! :)

Have a good Thursday!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Weekend Happenings

I know I've been away too long.

I spent all day Saturday on my feet in the kitchen preparing food for our holiday party that evening. D has hosted this holiday party for the last 7 years so it's become a tradition. Although, as the years pass we invite fewer and fewer people. Only about 9 of us there this year, but I still wanted it to be special. I made homemade York Peppermint patties, fudge, and sugar cookies with chocolate frosting.

I messed up the peppermint patties pretty badly. Instead of 6 cups of confectioners sugar, I added 6 cups of regular sugar. Grainy, grainy mess. Into the garbage it went and my amazing husband was kind enough to run to the store and grab me another sweetened condensed milk so I could start over. He also went to 2 different stores for marshmallow creme because apparently Safeway was completely cleaned out of marshmallow creme. Seriously. The fudge was very tasty, though. It was firm yet creamy.

I didn't take a picture of the food. None of it. Didn't take any pictures at the party, didn't take any pictures of the Christmas decorations that I finally got around to putting up on Thursday night. I'll tell you why. It's because my heels hurt. My back hurt. And, some funky nerve in my lower back has been killing me for a couple of weeks and that hurt, too. When I could sit down and do absolutely nothing, I did. Even taking pictures was too much of a comittment for me by the end of the afternoon on Saturday.

During our party it began to snow. By the end of our party we probably had about an inch on the ground, and then after everyone left we kept accumulating. D got out his tape measure and measured 1 3/4" of snow. The trip to church on Sunday morning was interesting. We live on a hill and there's no way to get off the hill other than driving down the hill (makes sense, right?). The roads were icy but D managed to manuver like a pro and we arrived safely at worship. Evening service was cancelled and it's probably best - the temperature didn't reach above freezing the entire day so the icy roads just got icier and by Sunday night our cul de sac was a solid sheet of ice. Fortunately for us a sand truck came and sanded our cul de sac and road to our neighborhood.

This morning on my way to work, my car temperature gauge said 18°. Seriously - 18°. In Seattle. Right now the sun is shining and there are only a spattering of clouds in the sky. We are forecasted for more snow on Wednesday.

Tomorrow night, D and I are going to see Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at the 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle. I'm SO excited. I grew up loving the musical and it thrills me to be able to see it live on stage. D, of course, is not as thrilled...but he loves me and because he loves me he is going with me!

Whitney at Glamorous Life of a Housewife has a giveaway today - go check it out.

And now... Recipes

Homemade York Peppermint Patties

1 (14−ounce) can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 tablespoon peppermint extract
Green or red food coloring, optional
6 cups confectioners' sugar
Additional confectioners' sugar
1 − 16 oz. bag semi−sweet chocolate chips

In large mixer bowl, combine Eagle Brand, extract and food coloring if desired. Add 6 cups sugar; beat on low speed until smooth and well blended. Turn mixture onto surface sprinkled with confectioners sugar. Knead lightly to form smooth ball.

Tear off enough of the mixture to make 1" balls and knead in hand until the consistency of bubble gum. Roll into 1" balls and place 2 inches apart on wax paper−lined baking sheets. Flatten each ball into a 1 ½−inch patty immediately after placing each one on the wax paper. Let dry 1 hour or longer; turn over and let dry at least 1 hour.

Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave set on high for 2 minutes. Stir halfway through the heating time. Melt thoroughly, but do not overheat. Melting the chocolate chips can also be done using a double−boiler over low heat. With fork, dip each patty into warm chocolate (draw fork lightly across rim of pan to remove excess coating). Invert onto wax paper−lined baking sheets; let stand until firm. Store covered at room temperature or in refrigerator.

Note from Jamie: I dipped a few, but it was a MESS. I ended up just using a butter knife to coat the top of the mint with chocolate and I left the bottom untouched.

Carolynn's Sugar Cookies
(Carolynn is my mom!)

1 c butter or margarine
1 c sugar
1 egg
3 T heavy cream or whole milk
1 t vanilla
3 c flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt

Cream butter & sugar in a large bowl. Beat in egg, cream, and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Chill dough while oven is preheating. Preheat oven to 400 F. Roll out dough 1/3 at a time. Cut with cookie cutter. Bake 5-10 minutes.


1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line an 8x8 inch pan with aluminum foil. Set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine marshmallow cream, sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt. Bring to a full boil, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and pour in semisweet chocolate chips and milk chocolate chips. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in nuts and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours, or until firm.

I love the holidays. I can't wait for a week from now when D & I head down to Oregon for my family's week-long holiday tradition extravaganza. Always something happening around the holidays with my family. I think every day and night that we're down there is filled with something to do - never a dull moment!

I'll try to update again if we get snow on Wednesday. This is one of those weeks that I'll be taking my laptop home from work every night just in case it's too dangerous to get out on the roads the next day.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Last night was a good night.

My husband is a planner and I really love that about him. We balance each other out pretty well. What I forget, he remembers; what he forgets, I usually remember. Although, since I like to be honest, I'll tell you that it's almost always me doing the forgetting and him doing the reminding. But, as I said, his need for organization and planning and "doing things right away" in general have worked very well for us. He has a Treo that he writes everything lists, instructions from my doctor's visits, books people recommend, general "to dos" around the house, reminders to send emails to certain people. Really, I don't know how our little family would function without D's list-making. However, sometimes it gets a little frustrating when D needs to ask me 10 questions before we go out on a date night. In his defense, he's just trying to make sure I get what I want, but, being a woman, sometimes I just want him to guess! :) Spontaneity is something that requires stretching outside his comfort zone, but hey, if that's the only thing he might be a little lacking on, I'll take it!

I guess lately I've been more vocal in my need for a little spontaneity in our relationship...probably to the point where if D hears the word "spontaneous" again he'll go running and screaming in the other direction.

Which leads me to, once again, say that last night was a good night. Right before I left work, my wonderful husband called me and told me not to make dinner when I got home. I asked him why not and he said "I'm trying to be more spontaneous". When he got home from work, he was ready to go. When I asked him where he was taking me, he said "I was thinking of that Chinese place that we haven't been to". I have been craving Chinese food, and here he was guessing that I wanted to eat Chinese! So, we ate at this place down the hill called Stir. It was actually pretty good! We both agreed that we'll be going back there often. THe prices were great and the atmosphere was really nice. D was able to order Thai food and I ordered my Chinese dish. They also served sushi which made me think that my dad would enjoy Stir, too.

After dinner we went to Target for some random items. The company I work for is adopting a family for the holidays so I wanted to pick up some things for the kids. The family is a single mother with 5 children ranging in age from 2 to 12 years old. All they asked for is tennis shoes, but of course we will provide them with more than that. I have heard one person complain about giving to a family where the parent "obviously" keeps popping out kids without being able to provide financially for them. This person outright said that she judged this family from the get-go and was hesitant to donate. I told her that we are doing this for the kids and, since the kids can't help how many siblings they have, they shouldn't be judged. I'm sad that some people feel this way. Wouldn't it be fun to be a fly on the wall when those kids receive the gifts?

There's a new shopping center by us with a new movie theater and outdoor area and it's really nice. The Target is new as well as a few other chain retailers who have opened their doors in the last 6 months or so. There's a Ross over there, too. I'm not usually a Ross shopper, but I figured since it's new it probably was pretty clean and organized. WRONG. I don't think it matters how new a Ross store is, they will always be completely trashed. I won't go in to why I think that's the case, but I will say I'm sorry for the Ross employees...seems like a lot of work.

Christmas decorating and everything involved with that is going slowly this year. After we got home last night I was exhausted. I just wanted to go to bed, so I did. I have probably 25 Christmas cards ready to be mailed - some missing addresses that I need to look up - and at least 30 more cards to write. It's those cards as well as the 8+ boxes of Christmas decorations that make me wish I was Mary Poppins and could just snap my fingers and have the decorations magicially adorn themselves around the room. I wouldn't even bother this year if it weren't for a Christmas party we are having at our house this weekend for some of our close friends.

I think I've rambled enough. Have a happy Wednesday!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Belly, Baking Disaster, Seattle Underground

First, because it's been requested, here is a picture of me at 10 weeks, 1 day. Yeah, not much there besides the "fluff" I already had in plenty supply. And yes, I sucked in for the photo. Between the fluff and the bloat, I figured sucking in was the best chance I had at actually showing a baby belly. Still nothing much to see. Next photo at 15 weeks and in 5 week increments after that. Carrie said she never took belly pictures with her first kid and now wishes she here I am.
We went to a gift exchange on Friday night and were asked to bring a potluck item. Yes, I chose a dessert. I found a recipe for a peppermint cake and I already had the ingredients so I made it when I got home from work on Friday. I was in a hurry, but I let the bundt cake cool down for about 8 minutes before placing the designated Christmas-themed paper plate on top of it and turning it over. I was too close to the edge of the countertop so when I turned over the cake, it started to fall off the edge of the counter. I tried to catch it. This is the result of when an oven mitt meets a warm bundt cake while trying to save its life...
I still took the cake to the party and people ate it so I guess the note I wrote that I attached to the plate worked. The note just explained that a dog didn't get to the cake - just an oven mitt.

Did you know that Seattle has an underground? Such an interesting story. On Saturday morning, D and I went to brunch at the Library Bistro downtown with some friends and then afterward went on the Seattle Underground tour. Oddly enough, most of the people with us had grown up in Seattle yet none of us had ever been on the tour. You can read more about it here, but here's the scoop in general:

In 1889, there was a Seattle fire which leveled most of the buildings in the city.

The city was already a stinky mess because of tides and sewage and other problems, so the mayor decided to use the fire as an opportunity to "start over" and even out the terrain.

The people who had come to Seattle to start businesses didn't want to wait 8-10 years (while the terrain was being leveled) to make money so they built their businesses anyway (now out of stone and brick instead of flamable wood).

Thick stone walls were built around the buildings making "alleys" where the streets would be.

The hillsides surrounding Seattle were blasted with water and the erosion of the land forced the terrain into the "alleys" in the city below, effectively making the streets 2nd story to the buildings.

The picture to the right is an original "Crapper" toilet used back in the late 1800s in underground Seattle. In Seattle, because of the tide, these used to flush backwards...sometimes 4 to 6 feet high. Yuck!

At first, pedestrians climbed ladders from the businesses to the streets above. Some of the walls that pedestrians were climbing were up to 32' high! No one died in the Seattle fire, but 17 people died by falling from street level to the "sidewalk" below. They finally decided to build a sidewalk on the 2nd story level, making the 1st story of the businesses "underground".

The underground portion of Seattle was a den of drugs, gambling, and prostitution after it was condemned in 1907.

The picture to the left is of the Seattle Underground. We are walking on what used to be the first level sidewalk. You see the stone wall to the left then to the right you would see the actual building's first floor. Above us is the street sidewalk and above the stone wall is the street!

Today, the Underground is used as a tour. When you're walking around downtown Seattle around Pioneer Square, just remember that if you're on a sidewalk, chances are there are people taking a tour right underneath you! They have glass skylights original to when they first paved in the sidewalks to the 2nd story of buildings. So fascinating how the glass is now purple instead of clear because of age.

What a fun tour! I highly recommend taking the Seattle Underground Tour if you come to Seattle (which you should!).

Yesterday we placed membership with the church in Kent where D's family attend. We had a great meeting with the elders and I'm already signed up to substitute teach the 4-5 year olds and D is signed up to substitute teach the 7th graders. D also volunteered to help record the sermons and anything technical. We feel at home - it's a great group.

We put up our Christmas tree yesterday afternoon. I've been a big advocate of fake Christmas trees, especially since the critters that crawl out of the live ones really don't appeal to me. And all the cleaning up pine needles is for the birds! However, I've realized once again this year that separating the branches of fake trees isn't all that fun. I guess either way there are advantages and disadvantages! Do you do a fake or a real tree?

Tonight my Christmas decorations go up. I'll be glad when it's done!

Have a good Monday.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Happy Birthday, Tess!

Today our long-haired chihuahua, Tess, turns 7 years old!

We love her so much and I think she's going to be in for a rude awakening when the baby arrives and she's not the center of D's attention anymore. She's such a good girl. She never barks unless she hears or sees something out of the ordinary outside and she's super cuddly - you can hold her like a baby and rub her belly or just hold her normally and she'll nuzzle your neck.

She's getting old - she can't jump up on our bed anymore unassisted and that makes me sad. I hope she lives for a long, long time!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hello, Sensodyne

I literally ate pickles and ice cream for dinner a couple of nights ago. Thinking about it right now doesn't do great things for my appetite. Last night I made Poppyseed Chicken for dinner which was my first attempt at making a "real" meal for David since I've been pregnant. Sad, I know. I ended up eating a bowl of cereal instead of the chicken last night, but I got bonus wife points for making my husband green peas even though I despise green peas with a fiery passion.

I went to the dentist yesterday afternoon. Never a fun experience, but especially awful when you're pregnant and your gums are extra sensitive and extra likely to bleed. Apparently I have "pregnancy gingivitis" and one of my roots is exposed on my teeth which is probably why it hurts to brush. Either way, the dentist is not a fun place to go even though the staff are all very friendly. However, I did want to rip the floss out of the hygenist's hands when she was flossing my teeth. She had just told me that I had "pregnancy gingivitis" and here she was digging the floss as far into my gums as humanly possible. I don't have to go back to the dentist until late July after the baby is born, but I can still smell the dentist's office. You know - the scent of flouride and latex. Gag.

In more positive news, I'll be 10 weeks tomorrow! Only a couple of more weeks until I am done with the first trimester. I'm ready!

I never made the Maple Scones. Sad.

Off to attempt to find something appetizing to eat. :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Turkey Day run-down

I hope you all had a really great Thanksgiving! I did. As I expected, I wasn't up for much eating, but I did manage to shovel down some of my father-in-law's amazing fried turkey (I had a pile of it on my plate that I should have been ashamed of, but I wasn't) and some yummy stuffing made by my mother-in-law, and a really, really good roll. No pie for me this year.

The cheesecake I made (from Pioneer Woman's website) had a good flavor, but the crust was hard as a rock and difficult to chew. Gross. My dad liked the flavor, though, so hopefully he'll polish off the rest of it since I left it at their house.

My husband decided to tell me about my Christmas gift early this year because he wanted my input on the specifics of what to get. Here's what he bought for me on Friday and before you say it, I will: I'm spoiled.
KitchenAid 5-Quart 475-watt Professional Stand Mixer

Mine is silver to match the stainless steel appliances in our kitchen. It came with the 4 mixing bowls and the KitchenAid timer. I'm going to have SO much fun making holiday treats with this mixer! Thanks, D! He really knows what I like!

D & I drove down to Oregon on Thursday night after Thanksgiving with his parents. No traffic - we got there around 11:45pm. The next morning my sisters picked me up at 5:15 and we headed to Kohl's. Carrie was able to get a couple of Christmas gifts bought, whereas I just bought a few baby outfits and a Christmas cookie stand for myself. The three of us bought 'Baby's 1st Thanksgiving' outfits that match but that aren't exactly the same...I can't wait to see all the babies in their outfits next year!

After that, the guys and my parents met us at a local restaurants for our annual "Black Friday" breakfast. I've been craving ham, so I had ham and toast then got fruit instead of hashbrowns. I can't wait until Christmas dinner when my mom will serve a HoneyBaked Ham...I'm salivating just thinking about it. Mom, if it's not HoneyBaked that's okay, too - any ham will do! My mom isn't a big ham person - she wanted to do hamburgers or steak. But, when 3 pregnant daughters simultaneously gagged at the thought of beef, she caved. What a nice mom!

Mom, Carrie, Lindsay and I hit a local craft store then the mall after breakfast. JC Penny had a really great deal on men's dress slacks. Normally $60 each, they were marked down to $23 with the "early bird" discount on top of the sale price. I also found a pair of nice khaki-colored maternity pants and a red maternity sweater at JC Penny. I'm currently wearing both because they're so comfortable. I love that the pants don't fall down, but I can tell that they'll grow with me. Right about the time we were done at JC Penny, we were kind of done shopping, too. But, we stopped in Motherhood Maternity and my lovely mother bought me a nice assortment of maternity clothes. Thanks, Mom (& Dad)!

On Saturday I helped Mom put up her Christmas decorations then later we all met for family pictures at a local photography studio. That night, it was decorating the tree and watching "It's a Wonderful Life" while the men in the family played cards.

Yesterday after church we ate at my favorite Chinese restaurant. I always hate leaving Oregon - it's always hard to come back home. I know I'm blessed to have family that I love to be around (on both sides!).

Tonight, I start on Christmas cards.

Gobble, gobble.