Saturday, August 30, 2008

Our Hobbies...

Or should I say, obsessions. For the past week, we have busied ourselves with our favorite subjects. For me, everything is about the baby- I can't stop thinking or talking about it! I think that most of my conversations with Tom this week have been about either being pregnant or having our baby. My obsession is due partly because we went in for an ultrasound on Thursday.


First of all, I was extremely impressed with the radiologist who did this service for us. I'm not sure what the average time to spend with a patient is, but he spent a good 25 minutes just moving that magical sound wand around my belly, showing us lots of great pictures of our little one. He took time to get to know us, and answer all our questions- and this is just the ultrasound doctor! My OB is a great German doctor who's delivered over 5000 babies in La Ceiba. We're in good hands. Though it's still to early to tell if it's a boy or girl, we do know that this baby is gonna be smart! Just look at the brain development...


The doctor said that everything looks great. The baby's major body parts are coming along nicely, and my body appears to be doing all the things to make a comfy home for the next few months. I am officially 17 weeks pregnant, and I have an estimated due date of Feb. 7.

Right now, he/she is the size of a loaded baked potato and the doc gave a weight of 6 ounces. The baby wanted to show us what he/she thought of us as parents, and is giving us a thumbs up in this picture. (See the thumb right below the word "good")


This was the best "whole baby" picture we got. We're working on getting him/her to smile for the camera.


Tom is nesting in his own special way. He has been spending every hour at home digging random (or at least they seem random to me) holes in the yard, clipping plant parts from other places and re-potting them, stringing vines up our walls, and buying bag after bag of dirt and spreading it around the yard and then sprinkling with grass seeds.


He's determined to make a tropical paradise in our back and front yards before our little one arrives. (There I go making it about the baby again! It could just be that he's into gardening lately.)


Keep checking back for many more updates on the baby and the yard!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Karen Lewandowski: Extreme Weather Photographer

My little sister Karen took this picture of a tornado from her backyard. She lives in Denver. She said there was no wind, no hail, no rain, no thunder and lightening. Just a tornado sucking up houses about a mile from where she lives. Great job Karen! Maybe next time there is a deadly tornado in your neighborhood take some pictures of a closet or bathroom located in your basement.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

What's Cookin'

I'm not sure if it's a nesting thing, or that I was just hungry when I woke up, but I've spent the past 6 hours in the kitchen working on some tasty creations! I really debated whether to put the whole recipe on the blog, or just the link. I settled on the links, but I really think you should check the recipes out!

When I woke up this morning, I really wanted some cinnamon rolls. Since the closest Cinnabon is in a mall somewhere in Miami, I did my best to make some of the tasty rolls myself. I used this recipe for some Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls.



It turns out that they actually take closer to 4 and a half hours to make (with the rising and stuff), so they were more of a lunch dessert than a breakfast. They were well worth the wait though... Tom's comment- "Wow, Karine."

Since the weather has been extra hot lately, I decided to do a bit of a mediterranian lunch with some homemade hummus (yesterday's creation), fresh tomatoes, pita bread (Yay! This is a new item in our grocery store.), and some tzaziki, a cucumber/yogurt sauce.



I made this tzaziki recipe today using my mini-food processer. I've begun writing a post several times, meaning to urge everyone to buy themselves a mini food processor. I personally own a red Kitchen Aid Chef's Chopper Mini model. They retail for around $45 and I love it. I probably use it 3-4 times per week. Instead of grating 2 cucumbers and ruining my knuckles, I simply peeled, de-seeded, and threw them in the food processor. Same with the garlic cloves- so easy!


The other 4 hour project I've been working on today is this awesome ginger soft drink. Last night, we had an amazing Indian dinner with our friends, Sophia and Patrick. Sophia is an excellent cook, and she introduced me to the yummiest, most refreshing drink I've had in ages!

This recipe makes 3 quarts of an extremely refreshing beverage concentrate. It is made by boiling ginger root and cinnamon sticks in water, and then adding a few more types of juice. This is perfect for our hot, hot days, but I'm also excited to make it as a spicy holiday beverage.


The ginger flavor makes it almost sparkle, even without adding sparkling water or soda. I love the hint of cinnamon and lime too. Served over a tall glass of ice, I know this will be my favorite new drink!




FYI- I also saved my knuckles and some major time on this recipe by using the mini food processor instead of grating the ginger root with my cheese grater.

In other fun weekend news... While I've been working in the kitchen, Tom has spent the day working on the backyard. Here's a picture of Tom just before watering the lawn (his favorite Sunday activity). The little purple flowers you can see in the background are a part of a vine-type plant. Tom spent part of today transplanting some of those fines to cover some walls and support beams in back of our house.



Ruby has had some excitement the past few days as well! On Friday, Ruby was spayed. The neighborhood stray dogs were becoming a bit more interested, and we're just not going to take any chances. We're also dog-sitting for Ruby's best friend, Fisher this weekend. Yesterday was a resting day, but today, both Ruby and Fisher are having a blast together. (Playing gently, of course)


Some advice is needed. Tom and I are entertaining the idea of getting a second dog. Ruby is so much happier and less needy when Fisher is around. We sadly realize that by the time our baby comes, Ruby will not be the center of attention in our family anymore. Right now, Ruby is home alone for about 8 hours per day, and we know she gets bored. We're curious on others' thoughts and experiences with two dogs versus one. Is it a good idea? Tell us what you think in the comment section!

Monday, August 18, 2008

No Hay Luz!

No Hay Luz. (Or for you non-Spanish speakers "There is no light") Or air conditioning, or electricity to keep our fridge from spoiling all our food. (Gross smells for the preggo girl!)

It seemed like an adventure when we came home from school on Friday to learn that our power had been cut. The nice people at the electric company came by with some big cutters and snipped our power. Turns out that we were a little late in paying our July power bill. They take that stuff pretty seriously here!

Friday night was an adventure with candles and headlamps. Saturday was pretty hot (110 degree heat index) and loud (neighbors partying till 5 am with horrible taste in loud music) and Sunday was getting just plain tough! Today, the novelty has completely worn off.

We paid the bill over the weekend, and Tom went to the electric company this morning to show them our receipt and ask them to please come re-connect our cable. They promised to come this afternoon, but it's starting to get dark again!

We've had several offers from friends to come stay in their air-conditioned homes. After toughing it out for the past 3 nights, we feel like it can't really get any more uncomfortable to sleep. I guess we're both midwesterners through and through. We'd rather stay it out and be proud of surviving. So we're crossing our fingers that the men who drove by a little while ago will come back and re-connect us.

On a more positive note- Baby Lew appears to be growing! My belly is getting a little bigger every day. Every day, I look in the mirror and feel kind of surprised like "Hey look! I'm pregnant!" I keep expressing my delight and surprise to Tom, but I think he's less and less surprised than I am. (Although he's still delighted) I'm also starting to become a bit on the klutzy side - walking into the edges of doorframes, stumbling over lines on the ground, and dropping stuff. But nobody judges me! (One of the biggest perks of being with child)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Oh Baby!

No, this is not a school science project... You are looking at the next member of the Lewandowski family!
We are excited to announce to our blogger community that we are expecting a little baby in early February! I'm approximately 14 weeks pregnant. This means our little one is about 4 inches long and growing quickly!


To answer a few of the most common questions...
I've been feeling great. I didn't really experience any morning sickness, and I made it through the first trimester, so hopefully I'm in the clear!

Yes, I am going to have the baby here in La Ceiba. We've got some great doctors, and our baby will be lucky to be born with dual citizenship! Unfortunately, this does mean that he/she will never be able to be President of the U.S., but I wouldn't really wish that job on anyone I loved anyway.

We don't know yet if it's a boy or a girl. According to all the "tests" (Chinese zodiac, wedding ring over belly going back and forth, citrus cravings, and lack of morning sickness) we'll have a boy. We'll just have to wait to verify that answer...

Our family, friends, and school have all been very excited and supportive. February is sure to be an exciting month full of new surprises.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Home Sweet Home!

After 3 days of trying to get here, we're finally home! Our house and dog look great and we're excited to wear the clothes we haven't seen all summer. We're going to try to find some food here soon, and then settle in. Glad to be back!

Atlanta


Tom accidently eats cow stomach.

We were trapped in Chicago. We had six hours to kill after checking our bags and we decided to return to the city for a little Polish sight seeing. Chicago is a great city for Polish-Americans. We took the train to the Polish Museum of America. There was a very friendly man working there and it had a nice little gift shop. We got a cute new Christmas ornament!


After that we went to an adorable little Polish restaurant in the neighborhood. We walked in and everyone was speaking Polish. They had Polish newspapers on the counter. It was really neat. The menu was even in Polish. I had Pierogis, a traditional Slavic dumpling dish. Tom ordered something called flaczki. We ate our meal while we listened to the locals converse in Polish. After we paid the bill the waitress informed us that flaczki is a Polish delicacy: cow stomach soup. Yummy!

Delta, Delta, Delta, Can I help ya, help ya, help ya?

This woman works for Delta Airlines. She helped us get our bags checked for our flight to Honduras. While we were speaking with her we felt as if she actually cared about us. Thank you woman at the Delta ticket counter!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Worst. Airline. Ever.

We're still in Chicago. Our flight from Chicago to Ft. Lauderdale was canceled. The delightfully helpful ticketing agent pictured here told us we could rebook our tickets free of charge on the next available flight. On Friday. We said no thanks. We are done with you Spirit Airlines. We booked a flight on Delta. God has blessed us with one more day in Chicago and we're not going to waste it. We're going to the Polish Museum of America tomorrow.


Pointing Woman: Can I please get on the plane? I have a ticket.
Ticketing Agent: Bite me.
Pointing Woman: Please. I am a human being.
Ticketing Agent: A what?
Pointing Woman: Can I use my ticket for anything besides a flight on Friday?
Ticketing Agent: Eat it.....Next!

We found this review of the Spirit Air experience posted online:

"The Bottom Line: Under no conceivable circumstances would I ever fly on this airline again. I was treated with incompetence and contempt for the duration of my delay-riddled 24 hour spirit experience."
Follow the link for the whole sad story.

Everything in Chicago, Part 2

Tom and I have found Chicago to be a wonderful city! We started our day with a visit to the tallest building in the United States, the Sears Tower.


The view from the bottom....

103 Floors later


This is Tom, lip pointing towards our next destination...


Me getting on the El, the smoothest form of public transportation we've been on all year!


Here we are! We bought some tickets on the street for a shady seat (the kind without direct sun, not the sketchy kind of seats) in historic Wrigley Field.


Jeff Tweedy of the band Wilco, was in town for Lollapalooza. He threw out the first pitch.


Here's what baseball looks like when it's not covered in a dirty dome!

After the game, we stopped in at a pet store to buy this rope bone for Ruby. We're so excited to see her!


After a day of more sightseeing and baseball, we were exhausted. We ordered some yummy Chicago pizza and watched Ironman in our hotel room. It was a great visit, and we'll definitely come back! (Especially if Spirit Air and American Airlines keep up the incredibly low flights between San Pedro Sula and Chicago). Now we're going to pack up our summer suitcases for the last time and go to the airport. Our next post on Karine and Tom in Honduras will actually be from Honduras. Woo-hoo!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Everything in Chicago, Part 1

We walked about forty-seven miles yesterday, but we made a lot of progress toward our goal of seeing everything in Chicago in 36 hours. It was fun. If we could wrap up our experience in Chicago in a simple phrase it would be this: Chicago is neat!


Our first destination was that really famous fountain in Grant Park. But Lollapalooza got in our way. It was okay though. We got to listen to listen to DeVotchKa while we walked to Millennium Park. They are Karine's favorite band that she had never told me about until now.


Then we went to Millenium Park. I've wanted to go for years. I'm a big fan of public spaces and this on cost like $500 million. So I thought it should be pretty good. I was not disappointed.


The Bean. It crushed my expectations. Karine and I, huge bean fans.


Here we are in the bean.


I always like places that make you feel like you are in the future.


We walked along Lake Michigan to Navy Pier. These guys were all like, "Hey, wanna get on our boat?" We were all like, "...whatever."


Chicago Lighthouse on Navy Pier.


Saturday, August 2, 2008

AMTRAK

We just got into Chicago. The train from the Wisconsin Dells was a lot of fun. Way more fun than the Megabus we took from Chicago to Minneapolis two months ago. We're going to try to see and do everything there is two see and do in Chicago in 36 hours. Ready, set, go.

Here I am waiting at the station in Wisconsin Dells in my new pants. I was pretty excited.


Coming 'round the bend.


Karine working away like a busy little beaver in the lounge car.


video
Passing another train loaded with pipes and other stuff.