Move Over Mary Poppins!

The real life adventures of one nanny, her husband, child, dogs, house, and whatever else crosses her path.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007


My littlest ghoulie here at work tried on his Hedwig (the snowy owl, not the cross-dressing rocker) costume last night, and charmed everyone on the neighborhood. This, while I was scooping and carving the kids' Jack-O-Lanterns. They started out enthusiastically enough, but somehow, in the end, I am the one who finished cleaning them out, and carving two out of three. Some days I really feel like I earn my paycheck!

So, apparently, despite my efforts to explain to the contrary, people felt that I didn't love the Red Sox, simply because I don't love the idea of an expensive, dirty, chaotic rolling rally for them when they win the Series. Au contraire, and my kids are not destined to be Yankees fans, for the simple fact that I'm not a huge fan of New York City itself, never mind Steinbrenner's Evil, obnoxious, cocky baseball franchise. And chances are, I will bitch equally loudly if there is another victory rally in Boston, come the beginning of February. But I'm not looking that far ahead in the football season, because to do that would be toxic for the Pats rather impressive streak thus far, and I don't want that kind of responsibility.

In knitting news, I've finished a few projects, including another Christmas gift, the Clapotis, and a stuffed Bear for my friend's baby shower, which I hope to attend this Saturday, barring a trip to the hospital myself that day.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Civic Pride and Commuter Prejudice

Days like today take away from the Sox's recent World Series sweep for me. I don't understand these victory rallies. I just don't. Celebrate! Party! Rally! Go nuts, but please don't barricade city streets that I use to get to work, when I already have to contend with a 23 mile commute that takes upwards of 45 minutes on a light traffic day. Don't invite fans to pile up alongside these barricades and force pedestrians out into the streets, further congesting them.

(and yes, at 7:53 AM there were fans in shirts, carrying signs and Starbuck's/Dunkies cups, settling in for a rally that won't roll through Copley Square until 12:30 PM. Gotta see it all on the JumboTron, man!)

I'm pretty psyched for this team. And this town, but sometimes it bothers me that we spend so much of our states funding on things like victory rallies. Think about it. Roads crews to set up/break down the barricades and scaffolding for the Tron and news crews. Trash crews to clean up afterwards. Police presence. And I'm sure Henry and Lucchino and all those guys are putting up a pile of cash, but still. Civic pride has its cost, I know. Something about the inconvenience sticks in my proverbial craw and makes me cranky.

Maybe it's the 8 1/2 month pregnancy making me cranky?

And the fact that I don't need to watch a baseball team roll by in a Duck Boat to be pround of what they accomplished.


Monday, October 29, 2007

I Took the Hill... on the way from O's preschool to the garage where my car is parked. I figured this would give me some much needed exercise, and it's also the most direct route - helping me not be late for my weekly OB appointment.

Apparently, I spent too much time squatting down to paint the built in shelves in the baby's room yesterday, because about halfway up the Hill, my glutes and quads were screaming.

And my blood pressure was elevated when I got to the Doctor's office, so they were all bothered by that. Boo. Next Monday, I'm scheduled for a Fetal Non Stress Test, which I think means they're potentially concerned about gestational hypertension leading to preeclampsia. Of course, no one actually mentioned that term to me... possibly to keep my blood pressure from getting any more elevated?

I think it's the Hill climbing followed by driving on the JWay.


Friday, October 26, 2007


I just received an email from one of my oldest friends, my first friend in kindergarten, and while we're not close in a day-to-day kind of way anymore, we try to stay on top of each other's major life events.

She was writing to tell me that one of our grade school classmates passed away this week after a battle with cancer. Janna was not someone I've kept in touch with, but I certainly remember her. I remember her as being preternaturally poised and adult, considering that I knew her when we were in grades 1-8. Like me, she transferred out of our town's school system for high school, and that's the last I'd known or really cared about her whereabouts.

Turns out, she's been a teacher for eight years, after getting her degree, and leaves a husband behind. And, like me, she turned 30 this year.

The news put a little cloud over my day, and while it would be untruthful of me to say that I'll miss her, or mourn her passing in a personal way, I guess I just hope for the best for her family. Her death makes me grateful for everything and everyone in my life, so her life touches mine in passing.

Be grateful for all you have today.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Can You Find My Friend?

He's in there somewhere, and no, he's not the underwear guy...
This would also be filed under "Scary!" if I had such a label.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Week 38 and Counting...

Current symptoms of late pregnancy include hands swollen up suddenly, so my rings don't come off, feet permanently swollen, so I can't wear actual shoes, achy joints, and fatigue that scares me when I'm practically nodding off behind the wheel sometimes. As much as I've got a few things left to take care of before the little guy is born, I'm really tired of being pregnant. Miracle? Yes! Pain in the ass? Definitely!

However, my mother came over on Friday and Monday (yay, long weekend!) and helped me get the nursery painted, so despite the giant pile of baby-related foolishness in the center of the room, the baby will have a room to sleep in. I have some small touch-ups to see to, and I need to paint the bookshelves, but again, I'm banking on him being a little late, so I can do these things after I leave work at the end of next week.

Baby to-do list:
Finish painting bookshelves
Finish painting clouds on blue ceiling
Assemble crib
Wash baby clothes
Wash baby linens
Unpack toys/books from boxes and put away
Hang art
Pack bag for hospital stay
Have baby!

Of course, with the Sox in the Series, I will go into labor exactly when the whole of Fenway and Longwood are full of the crazed, foaming-at-the-mouth Nation, trying to find parking for the game, and Mark, driving my little old VW will be looking for the hospital.... It's like Murphy's Law.


Seriously, how cute was Dustin Pedroia when he hit that homer? The look on his face was the same as the first time he hit a ball in a Little League game. He was so jazzed, it made me happy to watch him. And then to bring them around again a few innings later! That's gotta feel pretty good.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Birth and Pie

Today was our day at Isis Maternity in Needham for our prepared childbirth class. It was a marathon class, lasting from 9:30 AM until 4:30 PM, with an hour's lunch break. We covered a ton of information, but our instructor was great. She was funny and knowledgeable. I think even Mark didn't hate it altogether...

After we got home, I was feeling all domestic and nesty, and so, I baked an apple pie. I don't like pie. But Mark loves it, and changing my own mind is always a fun challenge, so I searched out a pie recipe that might do the trick. I modified it a little, and used my own techniques here and there. It was really good, especially the filling (mmmm, like apple crisp), and the crust was flaky and tasty. Trouble is, as flaky and tasty as it was, I'm still just not fond of pie crust.

If you want to give it a try, though, I highly recommend the recipe.

Caramelized Apple Pie
adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

2 pounds Fuji apples
2 pounds Granny Smith Apples
1/3 c. unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 recipe Oat Pastry (below)
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
dash fresh nutmeg
1 egg
1 tsp. water

Preheat the over to 475 degrees.
Peel, core, and slice the apples.
In a large bowl, toss them with the butter and cinnamon. Transfer to a large roasting pan.
Roast the apples for 10 minutes, turning once. Remove the apples from the oven and cool in the pan. Reduce oven heat to 375 degrees.
Meanwhile, make oat pastry, and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 15 minutes.
While pastry is chilling, mix brown sugar, salt, cornstarch, and nutmeg in the original apple bowl. Add apples and any juices back to the bowl, and combine.
Divide the pastry, refrigerate the unused half while you roll out the bottom crust. Roll out the crust for your pie plate, planning for some overhang. Transfer crust to pie plate.
Fill the pie with the apple mixture.
Roll out the top crust, transfer to pie, crimp and trim the edges, cut steam vents.
Combine egg and water in a small bowl and mix. Lightly brush the mixture over the top crust. Cover the edges with foil (to avoid over browning), and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove foil, and bake for another 35-40 minutes, or until top is golden and filling is bubbly.

Oat Pastry
adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. quick oats
1 t. salt
dash fresh nutmeg
dash cinnamon
10-12 Tbsp. ice water (I usually fill a measuring cup with ice water, and just take water out by the tablespoonful)
1/3 c. shortening
1/3 c. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled

In a medium bowl, combine flour through cinnamon and stir to combine.
Add shortening and cold butter. Combine with a fork or pastry cutter until shortening and butter form "pea" sized pieces.
Add water in 1 Tbsp. increments, fluffing lightly with a fork, until mixture is cool and moist, but not sticky.
Form into a ball, smoosh with the heel of your hand once against the side of the bowl, reform the disc, and repeat the smooshing action. Form dough into a ball.
Wrap the dough ball in plastic and chill for a minimum of 15 minutes.

I also made mac and cheese with stewed tomatoes, a variation on homemade favorites from both Mark's and my childhood. A very fallish kind of dinner, as far as I'm concerned.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Thank Heaven for Little Boys

There's just something simpler about the little boys in my life, especially the two year old. This morning, O & I headed out on foot to the Charles/MGH T station, and took a red line train into Cambridge. We walked around Porter Square, got a snack, got back on the train home, and walked back to the house. Along the way, we saw garbage trucks, firetrucks, Duck boats, front-end loaders, ambulances, and of course subway trains, and he was the happiest little thing.

Not a complicated outing, nor an expensive one, but one we both sincerely enjoyed.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

One Hobby at a Time...

It's quiet here at work this morning. I think O's still asleep. He's still adjusting to the loss of his afternoon nap the three days he goes to preschool. I had one of those sleepy drives in where you feel like you maybe shouldn't be driving?

I was craving coffee and donuts all the way in, so I decided to go to the 7-11 and get hot chocolate and donuts, so I'm not totally pumping the baby up with caffeine (only a little bit....). Yummy. Donuts.

Torn between whipping out one of the three Christmas gifts I'm working on at present, and updating this here blog, I decided not to neglect the blog, but I'm not exactly sure what I have to say. I've been knitting, and pregnant, and somehow, blogging has gotten lost by the wayside, which is sad, because I'm sure there've been some good little tidbits to share... Or is no news good news?

Even the kids have mostly been themselves. Obviously, that means they're nutjobs, but this is nothing out of the ordinary.

I did read a fabulous article this morning, at the recommendation of a friend, about snoring remedies, since apparently I've started snoring, and in a comical (perhaps ironical?) turn of events, it's disturbing my partner's rest. (For those of you out of the loop, Mark snores like a fighter jet engine, sometimes even when he's wearing his CPAP mask.)

Enough, I suppose with the senseless blogging, and onto the knitting... or maybe waking up the O for his speech therapy session... Sleepy kiddo.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007


2007 is an auspicious year for the Brown/Garriepy families.

Mark and I are producing an heir. My brother and Dyanna got married, formalizing his family circle.

Now we discover that Mark's youngest brother, who is Army Military Police Reserve, is being deployed to Iraq, possibly before the Christmas holidays, and is planning to marry his fiancee before he goes. This doesn't shock anyone, but the timing is challenging, since they want to have their wedding within days of our due date. So, I have to have a chat with our unborn son about when he's going to arrive.

Hopefully the old adage about first babies being late is true...

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There's Something Squirmy in My Belly

And I think it's alive!

OK, so I know it's alive, but still, even after many weeks of fetal activity, I still get such a kick out of watching my whole abdomen twitch. The books say it's time for him to slow down, but I'm not sure he got the memo...

We're at 36 weeks now, so we're sort of on baby watch, though I've been given no indication that I will deliver any earlier than average. We do still have to go through our one day childbirth seminar, so it'd be good of him to stay put for another 5 days or so.

On the homefront, my Mom and I did some serious tidying and organizing in the future nursery, and we're making plans for paint and window treatments, so hopefully the kiddo will have a room to come home to.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Julie has a blog now!

I totally forgot a doctor's appointment today, and now will have to schedule another date for my group B strep test. Oooh, fun.

I slept through the night last night! No three AM potty trip for this pregnant lady...

I am an ADD knitter. I couldn't stop myself from casting on for yet another project. I now have five projects on needles, though two of them are technically snoozing until I have the holiday knitting done.

I ran into a friend I haven't seen or even heard from in almost three years. It seems that he is still married to his man, still living where I last left him, and now getting a degree in interior design. I fell like I kind of shocked him with the whole married-house-in-the-suburbs-two-dogs-baby-on-the-way-ness of me, but then again, three years is a long time...

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Crib? Check!

Yesterday, Mark and I saddled up the VW and headed into the Longwood medical campus to tour the maternity floors of Brigham & Women's, where, barring an emergency, I'll be delivering the baby.

The tour was OK, it was nice to see where we'll be and what things will look like, and it was comforting to also be with all sorts of people who're having first babies, too. I think people (mostly people in Beacon Hill...) forget that while I'm well versed in child rearing of all varieties, I've never actually produced one of my own before.

After that, we swung by Lime St, to pick up the crib and changing table that belonged to Big Brother J, Miss E, and O. A fine lineage, if you ask me. There's some quality juju in that set!

The photo shows the chaos that is the nursery right now. Shower gifts, unassembled furniture, attempts at paint samples, the crap that's been in this room since we moved in... oh, the organizing that I must do! Good thing I've got a couple of long weekends of work planned. If anyone feels like moving furniture or painting, let me know! Maybe I'll even bake you cookies....