The Pregnant Science Teacher

Well, it’s been quite the school year. After two years of being out of the classroom, I returned and immediately found out I was expecting. My pregnancy is uncannily in line with the school year — about 40 weeks long, from August through the end of May. Including a couple weeks of time off before my due date, I’m only going to miss three weeks of school.

Teaching science to elementary school kids has been such a blast — definitely my favorite job thus far. The staff I work with are fabulous, my principal is super supportive, and science experiments are inherently exciting (and therefore kids are engaged without too much effort on my part!).

The kids are obsessed with my pregnancy. I have the apps The Bump, Nurture, and Ovia, all of which give me weekly updates on the size of the baby. The Bump and Nurture tell me a fruit or vegetable (for instance, at week 32, the baby is either the size of a large bok choy or summer squash); and Ovia lets me choose among a fruit or veggie, a weird-but-cute animal, a toy, or an item in a French bakery. This week, the baby is a naked-tail armadillo! Anyway, the kids get a real kick out of this.

In between 3rd-graders designing and testing parachutes, 4th-graders growing mold in plastic bags, and 1st-graders discovering that rainbows can happen even without water, I’ve been able to fit in a lot of fun stuff for myself and my husband too.

Since our New Year’s trip to Yosemite, Sean and I hosted my 15-year-old niece, Melody, for a weekend in February. We took her to San Francisco to see the Ferry Building, ride a cable car, browse the shelves at historic City Lights Bookstore, and eat gelato in North Beach. We also got to see a jazz singer perform in Oakland with Sean’s cousin and his wife and have Sunday brunch with my mom and aunt in Walnut Creek. It was a memorable weekend!

In March, my family threw me a beautiful baby shower and my little sister a beautiful bridal shower…all in the same weekend! We also fit in birthday celebrations for both my mom and mother-in-law. It was both exhausting and wonderful! Baby Bourne has everything he/she could ever need; now we just wait his/her arrival. Seven weeks to go!

The following weekend, Sean and I returned to Yosemite Valley; this time with Sean’s cousin, Steven, and Steven’s wife, Katelyn. At 31 weeks pregnant, I wasn’t quite as sprightly as I was for our New Year’s trip, but I was still able to hike to Mirror Lake and do part of the Valley Loop Trail. Sean, Steven, and Katelyn hiked to Clark Point, just beyond Vernal Falls (8 miles round-trip). The icing on the cake was Sunday brunch in the grand dining room of the Majestic Yosemite Hotel (forever known as The Ahwahnee). We’ve now seen Yosemite in winter and spring this year; the goal is to go in summer and fall too. The only difference will be that we’ll have a baby in tow!

Last weekend we went on a very speedy trip down to LA to have lunch with my dad in Santa Monica (we ate at True Food Kitchen, which was fantastic), do a 20-minute tour of UCLA (now Sean and I have seen each other’s alma maters; he attended gorgeous UBC in Vancouver), and hang out with our dear friends, Nick and Hitomi in Glendale…all on Saturday. We spent the night with Nick and Hitomi (and watched Michael Bolton’s Valentine’s Day special on Netflix…highly recommended), and then on Sunday we drove the scenic route (highway 101) back home. We stopped in San Luis Obispo for brunch at a restaurant Nick and Hitomi told us about, The Gardens of Avila. Great food in a gorgeous setting!

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Sean in SLO

Now that we’re in the final stretch of both the school year and my pregnancy, we’re hunkering down. The only mini-trip we have planned is to Petaluma to visit Aunt Becky and dog-sit for her one weekend in May. Otherwise my weeks are full of school events like the Science Fair and Open House; and our weekends are full of childbirth classes, building baby furniture, and installing car seats, and prenatal yoga…with some socializing with friends in between. Life is good.

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Road Trip: NYC to Asheville & Back

My little sister, Aly, lives with her boyfriend, Ryan, in Asheville, North Carolina. Last July Sean and I rented a car in Manhattan and drove for more than 13.5 hours (690 miles) to visit them!

 

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Starting out!

We loved our road trip, which spanned eight states – most of which we had never seen. We stopped in Lexington, Virginia for lunch on the way down and in Johnson City, Tennessee for coffee on the way back up, and took quick breaks in several other little towns in between.

 

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Made it!

Aly and Ryan live in a cool house in a woodsy neighborhood in Asheville.

During our stay, Sean and I got to:

  • Explore the historic and fabulous Biltmore Estate, which is just outside of town. We toured the inside and the gardens, and tried the wine made from grapes made on the property. I couldn’t take photos inside, but trust me – that place is spectacular!
  • Float down the French Broad River during an Independence Day rainstorm (not pictured, for aquatic reasons)
  • Play with Avi, Aly and Ryan’s cute pup
  • Hike in the Appalachians
  • Eat fantastic food! Those biscuits were dreamy! And Asheville is great for all the world’s cuisines, as well as excellent microbrews.
  • Hang out with the band (Ryan is in an awesome band called River Whyless, and we got to hang out with all the members. Click here for their fabulous NPR Tiny Desk Concert.).
  • Take a Pure Barre class (Aly is an instructor!).
  • Experience the Blue Mountain Parkway (the cabin you see in the slideshow is where Aly and Ryan lived when Aly first moved to Asheville)

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We had such a great time experiencing the Asheville lifestyle. We understand why Aly and Ryan love it so much!

Long Island Long Weekend

Sean and I decided to take advantage of the East End’s off-season deals during our February long weekend.

We rented a little car near LaGuardia airport and drove 113 miles through Long Island, along the south fork, all the way to the very tip to a village called Montauk. (I, probably like most of my peers NOT from the East Coast, first learned of Montauk from the awesome 2004 film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind; movie clip here.)

Sean and I stopped for brunch in Sag Harbor at a Hamptons institution called Estia’s Little Kitchen.

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We arrived at the lighthouse in Montauk in the early afternoon and took a quick look around.

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Sean’s eyes froze while looking through the binoculars, so we figured it was time to get back in the car. We rolled up to the historic and majestic Montauk Manor and got settled into our little studio with a lovely ocean view.

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That afternoon we drove over to the taproom at the Montauk Brewing Company to try some local brews and mingle with some local people. One pair of locals in particular gave us a great recommendation for dinner that night. We ate at Harvest on Fort Pond and had a fabulous meal – pizza with artichokes and a perfectly cooked piece of salmon. All the plates are served family style, which meant that we had pizza for lunch the next day!

We were indoors 95% of the time we spent in Montauk because we were there during New York’s coldest day on record. We woke up on Valentine’s Day to find the ocean steaming up into the frigid winter air.

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We were so thrilled by this temperature (-19C, for my metric friends and family) that we decided we needed to truly experience it, so we bundled up and drove to Ditch Plains for a beach walk.

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Sean lasted about 20 minutes out there, a good 13 or 14 more than I did. My fingers reached a painful level of cold that actually scared me. I’d never felt like I was in physical danger just by standing outside. I headed back to the car, which never really warmed up, and waited for Sean to come back.

I’m happy I at least got a few photos before scurrying back to the car.

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We drove back to the hotel for a nice inside day. Unfortunately, Sean caught a cold (and then I ended up with it too), but we still had a relaxing afternoon watching HGTV and planning our trip to Ireland. This seagull was somehow able to hang out outside on our balcony.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Oh and it’s a good thing we brought wine! Bacchus = new favorite.

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We watched the sunset and then headed to our Valentine’s dinner at Swallow East: a nice salad with goat cheese, beets, and pistachios; a simple ravioli dish with marinara sauce; seared tuna in dashi with broccoli rabe; and sea salt dark chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

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It snowed on our way out of town, but the temperature was almost 30 degrees warmer than the day before. That makes a real difference! We stopped for tea, coffee, and a muffin at the Hampton Coffee Company and continued our journey west. It was a memorable, freezing, and romantic weekend way out at The End. 

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The Bournes & The Bournes

Sean and I had the Brooklyn Bournes over for dinner in our tiny Manhattan apartment tonight, and we all had a lovely time.

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Dinnertime for the grown-ups!

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Miles

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Eland and his mama

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Uncle Sean with Miles

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Miles, going over a letter Sean and I got from the bank, and Eland in the foreground

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So sweet!

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Hi Iggy!

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Playin’ around

The younger Bournes ate their macaroni & cheese with carrots, followed by the adult Bournes enjoying some red wine, lentils with honey-roasted carrots, kale, and latkes…while the young ones played. And then the six of us ended the evening with ice cream and homemade chocolate chip cookies.

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coriander close-up

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kale close-up

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cilantro close-up

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our California wines for the evening

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crooked dinner plate

It was such a fun time, and I saved the best photo for last:

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Eland loves his Uncle Sean! (For the record, neither of these Bourne men were injured and both ended the night with smiles on their faces!)

Christmas in British Columbia

Sean is now a Green Card holder, but before that lovely piece of plastic arrived in the mail, we were unsure of his ability to travel outside the US. Because of this concern, it took us a whole year to get back to Sean’s hometown of Vancouver.

Though it was a long wait, the excitement and comfort of being home for the holidays almost made up for the homesickness.

We got to see all of Sean’s family and our closest friends, and we were able to eat and walk in some of our favorite Vancouver-area places.

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Hiking to Jug Island with Tori & Kitty

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Rocket, representing our great friends, Angelique & Stuart!

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“We made it to the beach!”

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Kitty & Tori sampling some Port Moody brews

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One of the best things I have ever tasted (note: that’s a veggie dog)

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The Bournes at Crescent Beach New Year’s Day

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Lunch with Geoffrey & Arthur

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The famous Inukshuk at English Bay

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Jenny in moody B&W

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Boats of Vancouver

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Burrard Street Bridge

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Have you ever seen a mom more happy to see her son?!

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Lovely Miles ladies

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Jenny & her papa

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The view from my mother-in-law’s window. WOW factor for sure!

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Sunny walk in White Rock

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I can’t believe this is real.

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Bourne Christmas!

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my yummy vegan Christmas dinner!

(Even with my awesome new camera that Sean bought me for Christmas, I failed to take photos of a bunch of people we got to see over the holidays! There is no proof that we had wonderful times with Judy & Brian, Nancy & Wally, Angelique & Stuart, Winnie & Jason, Cherry & Gordon, and many more. Will. Remember. Next. Time.)

I can’t help but list some of the eateries we dined in (besides, of course, the fabulous home-cooked meals we enjoyed at Sean’s mom’s apartment, his dad and stepmom’s house, his aunt and uncle’s Sunnyside cabin, and his cousin’s awesome remodelled home):

  • The Tea House in Stanley Park…for a beautiful view and either high tea or a scrumptious lunch (they also do a brunch that seems spectacular)
  • Beaucoup in the South Granville neighborhood…for croissants that rival ones I had in France!
  • East is East on Main Street…for excellent chai tea and Indian fusion cuisine
  • Edible Canada…for a nice sit-down lunch or gourmet dinner on the famous Granville Island
  • Aroma in Port Moody…for delicious Indian food in a nice setting that is close to breweries and the Burrard Inlet (read: OCEAN). We enjoyed Aroma after a fun hike with Tori & Kitty.
  • Moody Ales in Port Moody…for sampling some great local brews.
  • Portobello Ristorante in Vancouver…for solid Italian dishes preceded by incredibly tasty garlic bread.
  • Bacchus Restaurant and Lounge…for some classy late-night cocktails by the fire

We had so much fun and already miss all our BC people; we look forward to another trip this summer.

Turning 30 in NYC

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This week marks the close of both my third decade of life and my first year living in Manhattan!

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As I look ahead at my life as a 30-year-old person, a few goals/resolutions have come to mind:

  1. Write. I miss blogging. It’s such a great way to document life events and to share my experiences with friends and family whom I don’t have the fortune of living near. And I’ve got a lot to tell you all about — family and friends visiting us here in NYC; visiting people in California, Colorado, and Vancouver; sight-seeing in New York, Philadelphia, the Hudson River Valley, Asheville NC, Washington DC, and Mystic CT…and more!
  2. Photograph. Sean bought me a camera for Christmas so that I can take better photos and also learn a new skill. I know very little about photography, but this year I’d like to learn more.
  3. Run, Stretch, Strengthen, Meditate. New York has made me a serious walker, but I have lost sight of my identity as a runner and yogini. I have no regrets about taking a break from two activities that have always been part of my routine, but I’m ready to get back into the groove. Alison and I are planning to run a half-marathon in the spring, and strategically placing my yoga mat in the middle of my tiny living room has been encouraging me to practice more yoga (i.e., I trip on the mat, fall down, and figure I may as well do a chaturanga…you’ve got to start somewhere!).
  4. Cook. There is something about Manhattan that has made me less of a home cook. Could it be the long work hours? Could it be the lack of AC (at least in the summer)? Could it be the extreme availability of every food known to mankind within a five-block radius? Yes, yes, and yes. But Sean and I both miss the fun, creativity, and cash-saving that goes along with cooking at home. We’re making it a priority to cook at home more frequently, but of course we still have a checklist of New York restaurants to try! (It’s all about balance.)
  5. See. Sean and I won’t be on the East Coast forever, so we’re trying to see as much of it as we can while we’re here. Our next official escape from the city will be Montauk next month; we are looking forward to borrowing Alison and Cameron’s awesome car and driving to the very far East End of Long Island.

I just wanted to formally announce to the blogosphere that I’m back! Stay tuned!

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Recipe #9: Corn Chowder with Irish Soda Bread

In honor of the first day of Spring (even though it snowed) and to celebrate my Irish heritage during the week of St. Patrick’s Day, I made Corn Chowder and Irish Soda Bread, respectively. The soda bread was a bonus because I actually just googled a recipe, so it doesn’t count towards my challenge. But the Corn Chowder does because it came from one of my cookbooks!

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The cookbook the chowder recipe comes from is The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook: Eating Well for Better Health. To be brutally honest, I don’t recommend this cookbook. In fact, I’m planning to sell it or trade it in at used bookstore because the recipes are too simplistic and obvious. The table of contents has good ideas, but the recipes are unnecessary. For instance, I think I could figure out on my own how to make linguine with mushrooms or stamed bok choy. That’s because I grew up with parents and aunts and sisters who are great cooks, and I watched A LOT of The Food Network in my formative years. If you have trouble boiling an egg, this cookbook might be helpful, but anyone with some basic cooking chops doesn’t need it!

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That said, the Corn Chowder was scrumptious! It was super easy — throw some roasted peppers and potatoes and onions and corn into a pot with veggie broth and almond milk, et voila! It’s the type of thing that can be made from memory and changed around depending on what’s in the fridge. It would be really hard to mess up. I will definitely make a version of it again.

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On the side, we had some really tasty Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread (recipe here). Per the suggestion of a random guy in the elevator in my office building last week, I threw some caraway seeds in…and wow, that was a great idea. I used to loathe caraway seeds, but I’ve acquired a taste for them and actually really like their unique flavor.

 

Happy [belated] St. Patrick’s Day and Happy Spring!