19 December 2010

15 Weeks

The belly is growing!!!!

Although it's still not super-obvious that I'm preggo, I feel like it is - and I definitely feel more pregnant, if that makes any sense. It is beginning to be more uncomfortable when I sleep, and I'm thinking one of those pregnancy pillows is going to be necessary before long.

For all you moms out there, what type of pillow (if any) did you use to help you find a comfortable sleeping position throughout your pregnancy? Do you have any tips or tricks you'd like to share? This mama would love to hear 'em! ;)

Christmas Date

On Saturday night, Clay and I went on a Christmas date. Both of us had SUCH crazy weeks that it was a much-deserved treat to spend some time with just us two. :)

We started off with one-hour massages at Massage Envy.
I got a prenatal massage for the first time, and although it was a little strange to lay on my side instead of my stomach, it was absolute heaven! This changing body is developing quite a few new aches and a massage was just what I needed. Clay has been working hard too, so a little relaxation was overdue for him as well.

Once we were nice and relaxed, we headed over to Fireside Pies 
in the new Seventh Street development for some dinner. 

It was quite crowded when we arrived, but they had space available at the bar so we took it. That meant we had a great vantage point of the chefs preparing our food and pulling pizzas from the wood-fired oven - so fun!

We started off with the modern caesar salad, served family-style.
It was super-yummy and just what my belly was craving!

Then we finished up with the Iowa Prosciutto Pizza with arugula. (Sorry, I couldn't find a picture.) It was also scrumptious! The crust was nice and thin, a perfect combination of crispy and chewy with some nice air bubbles around the edges. It reminded me of the pizza in Italy!

After that, we made a quick stop by Starbucks to get some hot chocolate
before heading over to the Chesapeake building to admire/ photograph the lights. 
And apparently we weren't the only ones with that idea; there were so many people out!
It was quite a challenge to get a photo without people - or cars, though we managed to get a few good ones...


It was such a wonderful evening to enjoy the festivity of the holiday season
and spend some time together just the two of us - although we're looking forward
to the day when we can share hot cocoa and Christmas lights with Baby Rich! :D

14 December 2010

Signs of Progress

Here's a little update on my 28 Before 28:

1. Take a cooking class at the Fort Worth Culinary Institute Central Market.

I looked into taking classes at the Culinary Institute and realized there really isn't an option to take just one class. They offer semester-long classes for people who are super-serious about cooking. And who apparently are loaded. To take a basic pastry class costs over $2500! And that's not including the chef's jacket, hat, textbooks, and all the other things you'll need to purchase. So let's just say I'll be sticking with my good 'ole Central Market classes! I know my friend Katie is always game to join me for those. :)

8. Make it through a chataranga in yoga without cheating. :D

Does a modified chataranga count? I'm definitely getting better at the version with my knees down (which is technically the only way they do it in prenatal yoga).

10. Floss. Everyday.

I went for my routine cleaning right after Clay and I discovered we were expecting. The dentist warned me about pregnancy gingivitis, which I do not want. That little extra incentive is enough to keep me flossing every night before bed! (So far, anyway.)

12. Host a craft day with my cousin Laura and sister-in-law Tara.

Although I technically didn't host it, the three of us got some good craft time in over Thanksgiving. We helped Laura get ready for a fair she was participating in to raise money for the Village of Hope. You can read more about Laura's adventures in Ghana here. So...a craft day for 2011 isn't exactly on the books yet, but I'm working on it, k?

14. Make photo books/ scrapbooks for our vacations.

So far I have gone through pictures for each of our trips and selected those I want to include in our photo books. They are ready to be uploaded to Picaboo and arranged into albums! It's just that the arranging is the most time-consuming part...

16. Try resale shopping more often.

I have signed up to participate (shop) the next Just Between Friends sale in March and I am SO excited!

18. Read 28 (or more!) new books.

So far I've read...

The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan - I wanted to read this book based on a recommendation by a friend without really knowing the storyline. I was expecting it to be light and funny, but it was actually a bittersweet memoir about Kelly's battle with cancer and her father's battle at the same time. It was extremely well-written and I just flew through it in a couple of days! I definitely look forward to reading more of her work.

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin - This was very interesting concept for a book, one of those "why didn't I think of that?" kind of thing. The author detailed her quest for a happier life and her monthly goals for achieving this state of bliss. While I have some issue with the concept of happiness as the ideal versus joy, there were certainly a lot of great tips to take away from this book.

Beside Every Great Dad by Nancy Swihart and Ken Canfield - This was highly recommended to me by my sister-in-law. She took a Ministry to Fathers course at ACU (which I wish I had known about!), and this was one of the texts they used. Seeing as our parenthood is impending, I thought I would get a little insight as to what I can do to encourage Clay as a dad. There is so much information in each chapter, I think I'm going to have to re-read it all several times to make sure it soaks in!

Next up: The Book Thief by Marcus Zusac and Stones From the River by Ursula Hegi.

28. Keep up with (and document) all these goals!

I think so far I'm doing pretty well. Not all my posts will include multiple items from my list, maybe just one with some pictures. But it's not a bad start, eh?

12 December 2010

Time Flies When You're Making a Baby

Yesterday marks 14 weeks this little baby has been cookin' in my oven. :)

Here are a few belly pics from weeks 12, 13 and 14:

As you can see, our little bun is growing and I'm starting to show a bit. :D

I've been reading the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, which is chock-full of great information for a first-timer like myself. However, it also refers to your growing midsection as a "small potbelly" at this stage...terminology which I'm not so sure about. Although if I'm going to have a potbelly, this is the best kind! Let's just say the Bella Band is my new best friend.

Earlier this week I had a doctor's appointment and everything looks good. They even mentioned the upcoming 20-week appointment which totally freaked me out. Am I really this far along in my pregnancy already?!
But you know what they say: Time flies when you're having fun - or making a baby. ;D

05 December 2010

The Cat's Out of The Bag

It's no secret anymore - Clay and I are expecting
a little addition to join the party in June 2011!

We have been trying to keep the pregnancy a secret for over two months, and it was absolutely excrutiating not to tell at times. There have been multiple instances where one of us (usually me) almost caved in or where someone made a comment that threw us off guard. But for the most part we feel like we were pretty good at hiding it!

Clay and I wanted to tell our families after we had been to the doctor for the first time, but we also wanted to make sure it was a HUGE surprise to everyone. (Most people are expecting us to announce it any day. We can tell by your looks. ;)) We knew that if we did anything out the ordinary, it would be a dead giveaway. So we thought and thought about how to break the news...
Since a quick trip to Florida to tell my parents was out of the question, we decided the next best thing was video chatting. I sent a little package to my mom and dad with a webcam, a picture of us, a few other things (to throw them off our trail ;)), and an envelope labeled "Do not open until instructed." So for our inaugural webchat, we asked them to open the envelope and read each of the cards out loud. Here's what they said...

Postage to send this package: $4
Belated birthday CD $11
Webcam: $22
Realizing there are actually three people in this photo: pricless

My parents were SO excited! They had already been talking about how they would love to take grandkids camping, fishing and hunting one day. Looks like that day is coming a little sooner than they thought. :D
We had planned to go to Abilene to spend Thanksgiving with Clay's family. It was a little tricky figuring out how to tell Clay's immediate family without disrupting the traditional flow of events, but eventually we decided on creating a little word puzzle. Clay was the brains behind this operation and came up with a pretty fancy word scramble. So on Wednesday night after dinner as we were all gathered around the kitchen table, we pulled out a "Thanksgiving puzzle" for everyone to solve...

The answer to the riddle "Everyone was confused by the new names" was, of course, "Mom and Dad"!
Oh, what fun to see the reactions. :)

We're especially excited as our Christmas cards go out this week
with a special message from my growing belly. (Thanks, Ashley, for the super-cute cards!)

More and more people will be discovering that the cat's out of the bag! :D

17 November 2010

On This Day In History

On this day in history, the 17th of November, many important things have happened...

In 1855, David Livingstone discovered what is now Victoria Falls on the Zambia/ Zimbabwe border.

In 1950, 15 year-old Tenzin Gyatso was named the 14th Dalai Lama.

In 1973, Richard Nixon told the nation in a television address that he is "not a crook" in reference to swirling allegations concerning his involvement in the Watergate scandal.

In 1989, more than 15,000 protesters gathered in Wenceslas Square in Prague to call for the resignation of the country's communist government.

In 2003, my dear husband I went on our very first date to the Starbucks in Abilene, Texas. Although I was initially unsure about this dorky-but-charming upperclassmen, I soon realized we were meant to be. The conversation between us flowed so naturally that night they had to kick us out at closing time. (And Starbucks is open late!)

Each year, we (try to) commemorate this occasion
with a stop by the place where it all began...

[Sorry so fuzzy. It's an iPhone for crying tears!]

Clay orders a hot chocolate and I order a chai tea latte, just like our first date.
(Funny that neither of us got coffee!)

About three years after that fateful day, we tied the knot. And the rest, as they say, is history. :D

13 November 2010

Look Who's Coming To Town!

When I drove past the University Park Village last week and saw the silver letters finally identifying the mysterious construction, I could hardly contain myself.


Immediately I was siezed by visions of myself purchasing adorable dresses like this:

Or maybe a serving platter like this:

Perhaps a fun necklace like this:

Or maybe an unusual throw pillow like this:

Let's just say I already know where my Christmas money is going! :D

02 November 2010

I Gotta Brag

...on my wonderful husband! He absolutely spoiled me rotten for my birthday. :D Birthdays are not a big deal to him, so it really meant a lot that he put so much thought and effort into making mine special!

He handed me this on Saturday night:

and asked me to pick what I wanted for breakfast in bed on Sunday morning! (This is a Masters family tradition which I just love. When else are you allowed have crumbs in the sheets?!) Dear Clay even went out and bought a breakfast tray with legs for the occasion.

So Sunday morning I enjoyed a lovely breakfast in bed (sorry, no picture). Afterwards, I had some time to read one of the books my parents sent; it's called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.

It was so nice not to get out of bed until almost 11:00am!

I finally showered and got dressed, then we hopped on the scooter and headed to the Movie Tavern on 7th Street. We ate lunch there and watched Life As We Know It, which I had wanted to see.

Watching a movie in the theater was such a treat! And it was actually very entertaining - I caught Clay chuckling pretty hard during a few of the scenes.

Since it was such a nice day, we ran a few errands on the scooter before heading back to the house. Then Clay presented me with his gift:
I am now officially an adult because I have real watch (not one of those $12 ones from Target).

Next we headed over to my friend Lindsay's house for a Halloween party. Clay didn't really know many of the people there, but he was so sweet to do just what I wanted! We also stopped by the Kinzie's to watch a little bit of the World Series before calling it a night.

Even though my birthday technically ended, that didn't stop Clay! On Monday morning before he left for training in Orlando, he stopped by my work and brought me these beauties:

When I got home that evening, I discovered I had these waiting too!

I just kept finding flowers all over the house!

Needless to say, Clay really outdid himself for my birthday this year. I am so lucky to have such a thoughtful and loving husband! That's definitely the best gift of all. :)

What the What?

You may be asking yourself this question after looking at the above picture of my husband. It's definitely not something you see every day...

Let me give you a few hints as to what my dear Clay was up to on Saturday morning. He could have been...

a. Starting a new house project. (You know how they always get worse before they get better!)
b. Checking on the prisoners in the dungeon below our house.
c. Lighting one of our floor furnaces.
d. Trying out a new yoga pose.

If you picked c, you're correct! Clay is, in fact, lighting one of our floor furnaces.

We live in a house that was built in the 1940s - which means it has a LOT of quirks. One quirk is the floor furnaces. (I actually had to ask what they were when we were looking at the house.) Turns out that these large heaters set into the floor with a metal grate on top actually keep our house really cozy and warm in the colder months. We've been toughing it out the past few cold nights and finally decided to break down and light them. It's a little funny seeing Clay with his head stuck halfway into the floor (so he can see if the pilot light is lit or not), but you gotta do what you gotta do.

I must admit, I look forward to the warmth of the floor furnaces. I love to stand over them in the cool of the morning and let the heat warm my legs (although I have to be careful not to stand on the metal grate too long - I melted my house slippers a little bit last year!). Turning on the floor furnaces is a sign that fall is really and truly here after weeks and weeks of flipping the window units on and off. And let me tell you - it's about time! :D

30 October 2010

28 Before 28

Everyone has a bucket list - you know, that neverending list of things you hope to do someday-in-the-really-distant-future-which-may-or-may-not-come. Variations of this list have started circulating recently, such as the 30 things to do before I turn 30, usually on that person's birthday.

This line of thinking really jives with me. I get deadlines, things that are concrete. "Before I die" tells me absolutely nothing. Could be tomorrow - could be 40 years from now. This is why I like something a little in betweensies.

So in honor of my blessed day of birth (which is tomorrow), here are my 28 Before 28:

1. Take a cooking class at the Fort Worth Culinary Institute.
2. Ride in a hot air balloon.
3. Watch less news/ TV in general (two hours a day MAX).
4. Do a Bible study with my sister.
5. Plant more things in my "container garden."
6. Go paperless in the kitchen.
7. Revive AndWritelySo, my old handwriting/ calligraphy business.
8. Make it through a chataranga in yoga without cheating. :D
9. Stop buying greeting cards from the store and make them myself instead!
10. Floss. Everyday.
11. Find a place to volunteer regularly.
12. Host a craft day with my cousin Laura and sister-in-law Tara.
13. Invite someone over for dinner once a month.
14. Make photo books/ scrapbooks for our vacations.
15. Get in the habit of taking better care of my skin (wearing sunscreen daily, using moisturizer, etc.) so I can wear less makeup.
16. Try resale shopping more often.
17. Take a certification course so I can drive the scooter legally!
18. Read 28 (or more!) new books.
19. Get into the habit of washing dishes every day or every other day...instead of every seven. :{
20. Finish painting those dead-gum baseboards.
21. Plan a fun reunion weekend for my college roommates.
22. Practice using the little Spanish that I know more often.
23. Pray with Clay every night before bed.
24. Start composting.
25. Travel somewhere I have never been (preferrably an international locale :)).
26. Take an art class.
27. Stay within my budget categories.
28. Keep up with (and document) all these goals!

What's on your list? :D

26 October 2010

Weekly Wows!

We have continued our dancing escapades with much success. We had a lesson last Wednesday night, then another impromptu lesson Thursday night followed by a group class. (Note: It is not recommended to dance for 1 1/2 hours in heels.) Now we know the foxtrot, the jitterbug, the waltz, the rumba, and the two-step - and how to do a turn in each one! Clay has been such a good sport about everything, especially when the male dance teacher had to dance with him to show how to do some steps. Too bad I couldn't get a photo of that face. ;) It was especially interesting to take the group class and dance with other people, which made us appreciate each other that much more! I still need to work on not taking the lead from Clay...but that's another story.

The photo arrangement is finally finished! I've been working on putting up some photos in our living room, rearranging the existing frames and pulling out some unused ones. We have quite a few photos from recent trips that we wanted to display...and I finally got around to it! I am quite satisfied with the finished product:

The Rangers are going to the World Series! Not that I'm a huge baseball fan or anything, I'm just seriously impressed that the Rangers were able to pull this off. Now if only the Cowboys will start playing a little better too...

Saturday morning Clay and I got to have a Chick-Fil-A breakfast date. Nothing like a little chicken biscuit to start your day!

The person who purchased the house next door (which has been vacant for over a year) is fixing it up! So far they have cleared the forest of a backyard, put on a new roof, fixed the eaves, painted the siding, and installed new windows. It is looking SO MUCH nicer! I can't wait to see the finished product.

What's wow-ing you this week? ;D

23 October 2010

Restaurant Review: Chef Point On Wheels

 On Wednesday of this week, my supervisor suggested that we try out a "new" restaurant - called Chef Pointe On Wheels, which sets up every Wednesday from 11am to 2pm in the Gordon Boswell parking lot. Luckily for us it was a little before noon on a Wednesday, so we hopped in the car and headed on over.

We pulled into the parking lot not really knowing what to expect, and discovered this:

A big trailer outfitted with an industrial kitchen inside!
There were only a few people in line when we got there (mostly nurses from Harris Methodist across the street), but the line was maybe 15 deep when we left! Needless to say, it is a popular place.

We stepped up to the window to place our order from the menu, which was an abbreviated version of the actual Chef Point menu - mostly sandwiches, burgers, some pasta dishes, and their signature "Better Than Sex" Chicken. The prices were all very reasonable, and the portions were huge just like at the restaurant! They even sell canned sodas for 75 cents - a real deal. 

I ordered a cheeseburger
(I ended up eating half for lunch and half for dinner)

and my supervisor ordered the chicken fettucine 
which was enough to feed a whole family! 

There is no seating (it's in a parking lot, after all), so everything is packaged to go. When we brought our food back to the office, all our coworkers kept stopping by to see what smelled so good. ;)

Having visited the real Chef Point Cafe, located in a Conoco gas station up near Watauga (for real!), I knew that the food would be good - and I was not disappointed! I definitely recommend trying out Chef Point on Wheels if you're in the medical district on a Wednesday - or even the stationary version if you're in north Forth Worth. Your tummy will be glad you did!

19 October 2010

Shall We Dance?

A few months ago, my dear, sweet husband surprised me with a gift certificate to Arthur Murray Dance Studio. For actual dance lessons. Yes - lessons, plural. When he told me, I think I might have actually fallen off whatever chair I was sitting on. I couldn't believe it! He knew I had always talked about us taking dance lessons together, but I never thought it would actually happen.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it sure did happen!
Last Friday night was our very first lesson, and what an adventure it was...

We learned front steps, back steps, side steps, rock steps.

We learned about the "connection" between dancers, as demonstrated here:

(As we were heading home from the class,
Clay asked, "Do people really dance like this?" ha ha)

Our instructor taught us the basics of the foxtrot and the jitterbug, and we even started working on a turn. Fancy us. :D She was so incredibly impressed that two people WITH NO DANCING EXPERIENCE WHATSOEVER could be such naturals - ha!

Just to make sure your expectations are set, we are not planning to audition for Dancing With The Stars anytime soon. Only in our wildest dreams will we ever look like this:

More news from the "twinkle toes" Riches to come!
(Trust me - you don't want to miss this.)

13 October 2010

Yummy Plummy

So, there I was with three pounds of plums (thank you, co-op!)
and NO IDEA what to do with them...

Then I remembered my friend Jaci's lovely Oregon wedding and the sweet favors her grandmother whipped up for the guests: little jars of peach, pear, and apple butter! Inspired by this old-fashioned tradition, I decided to attempt my very own plum butter.

First, I cut the plums into large chunks, discarding the pits.

Then I put all that plummy purpleness into a six-quart saucepan...

...added some sugar - okay, a lot of sugar...

...a bit of ground cardamom and cinnamon...

...and some water.

I brought it all to a boil, then reduced the heat and simmered for about 20 minutes
or until the fruit was soft and mushy, like this:

Next I pulled out my handy-dandy immersion blender to puree the fruit. ;)

The saucepan went back onto the eye over a low heat
for THREE HOURS until the fruity liquid ends up like this:

Then I slathered some yummy plummy butter on crisp wheat toast for breakfast the next morning - and the next morning. And the next. I love me some plum butter! ;D

11 October 2010

Zen and the Art of Motorscooter Maintenance

Clay and I have been capitalizing on this lovely fall weather as of late and riding the scooter pretty much everywhere we can. So naturally, being on the scooter so frequently has made me realize a few things...

There are a LOT of smells out there. Exhaust from the diesel truck in front of you at a stoplight, aromas from the neighborhood fast-food joint, the smell of a smoking fireplace, roadkill you just passed - you know, all the things your car protects your nostrils from. Sometimes they are nice smells...and sometimes not so nice.

You wouldn't normally think 40 miles an hour is that fast. But it is. We have these cute little white helmets (think Chips) with nifty little wind visors that pull down to about your cheekbone. The unfortunate part is that they are not quite long enough to completely deflect the wind. When you're riding along, the wind comes up and underneath the visor - and right into your eyes, making them water excessively. My husband's solution? These bad boys:

 A nice addition to his ensemble, don't you think? ;)

It actually matters what the weatherman says. I used to go about my business not paying much attention to the daily forecast - until I started riding the scooter. It's important to know how hot or cold it will be outside so that you can dress appropriately. Because when it's 70 degrees outside and you're zipping along on the scooter, it can be quite chilly. Last weekend I needed a scarf and gloves for our little jaunts around town!

Who knew there were so many bugs out this time of year? Without the protection of a windshield, all those little winged friends end up on you. (Definitely incentive to keep your mouth closed!) It has been quite funny to count the splatters on Clay's chin and neck after a particularly speedy ride. Thankfully he catches most of them for me. ;) Maybe we should have considered a scooter like this:

I don't trust my husband as much as I thought I did. I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but it made me super-nervous to ride the scooter with Clay - which is wierd because he is such a good driver! His helmet mostly obstructs my view, which means I can't see what's up ahead. I can't see oncoming cars or little squirrels darting across our path, I can't tell if the street is curving right or left, I don't know if there is a speed bump or dip I should prepare for. I just have to trust that Clay knows what he's doing, which can sometimes be kind of scary! Riding together has taught me to have more faith in my husband - although if I do have a concern, I can just yell in his ear. ;)

There's a beautiful world outside your car window! It's amazing how much more I feel like I notice when riding the scooter - a tree whose leaves have finally begun to turn yellow, the way the colors of a starry sky fade into the horizon, a new flower arrangement in the yard of that house on the corner. I have certainly learned to be aware of and appreciate God's creation so much more now that I'm not securely enclosed in my steel box on wheels!

Needless to say, I have been quite surprised just how much this scooter is teaching me! Who knew riding a motorscooter could be such an educational experience?! :D

04 October 2010

Rich-Craft: Put Your Best Foot Forward

A loooong while back I mentioned that I had purchased an adorable pattern from Sweet Pea Patterns on Etsy to make some baby shoes. I have had all the materials to make them for months, and finally had the time (and the motivation!) this past weekend to make them!

Let me tell you, this project is not for the faint of heart! I made four shoes before I got two that were actually close to the same size. (Let's call it character - not crooked seams. ;D) Imperfections and all, they are pretty darn cute if I do say so myself...

They even match a snappy onesie that was inspired by the fabric!

I finished these just in time for a friend's baby shower this weekend. I hope her little girl enjoys them! :D

29 September 2010

Soup Weather

I love fall for many reasons, one being that the weather (and the seasonal produce) are perfect for making soups. So with a crisper full of veggies from the co-op and a free afternoon, I decided to whip up a batch of apple-potato soup.

First I gathered all the ingredients together:

1/2 red onion
1 - 2 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 medium leek, chopped
large garlic clove
2 tart apples (I used Anna), peeled and chopped
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 large celery root, peeled and chopped
3/4 quart vegetable broth
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme

First, I sauteed the onion in the olive oil over a medium-low heat in my lovely blue Lodge dutch oven. After about ten minutes, the onions were soft and transluscent.

 Then I added the leeks, celery, and garlic, sauteeing for about five minutes.

Next, I stirred in the apples, potatoes, celery root, veggie broth, apple juice, ginger, salt, and pepper.

 Bring it all to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes, or until it looks like this:

 Turn off the heat and let cool slightly. Then process with an immersion blender in the pot. (I love these things!)

Once the mixture is smooth, add cream, chives, and thyme. Cook on low heat until heated through.

Garnish with more thyme or chives to serve. Yum!

What's your favorite soup to enjoy on a fall evening?