Friday, October 29, 2010

Carter Rockwell is here!!!

So, here is the birth story for all of you that are curious..

I had my 39 weeks check-up and non-stress test, NST, due to my GD on the 21st. The NST looked great, but my blood pressure was creeping up. It was about 130/90 the week before, but my OB wasn't too concerned. This week, it went up to 146/98, so she was concerned. They had me stay extra and re-took my BP several times. It went down to 130/90, so my OB told me to go home and rest and check my BP at work the next day. If it were high again, I was to call her and go into her office and possibly be induced that day. The 22nd was the one day we didn't want Carter to come because Graham had 2 midterms that day..

At 9:30 PM while watching The Office, I felt a large gush of fluid while sitting on the couch. We called the hospital to see what we should do. They told us if I soaked a pad and was having contractions to come on in. I was having consistent contractions, but just a small amount of leaking. They told us to come in anyways. A simple pH test and ferning told the nurses it was in fact amniotic fluid. So, I was admitted to the VIP suite--held for hospital employees and friends--and started on external fetal monitoring at midnight. My husband and I tried to get some rest.

Around 5 AM, my BP crept up to 156/102, so the on-call OB started me on MagSulfate, which is used to prevent maternal seizures due to high blood pressure. It causes extreme nausea, so I was given anti-nausea meds, and also causes slow-down of labor due to suppression of the central nervous system.. So I was started on Pitocin as well to augment contractions. Luckily, I tolerated all of that well and only had some flushing from the Mag. I was only about 8 hours into it, but this new development in my labor depressed me. I thought about all of the interventions I'd need, Baby Story on TLC was on TV and was stressing me out, so I just thought, oh man, just give me a C-section and get this over with! I calmed down a little, thank goodness. I was having consistent contractions, but they were pretty mild, like menstrual cramps, but worse. Due to my water breaking, they did not check my cervix due to the risk of infection.. So we had no idea how I was progressing until about noon when my OB showed up.. And I was only 1-2 cm, 50% effaced, same as the night before!! And, as it turns out, my water hadn't broken completely. We hypothesized that there was a small tear at the top of the sac.. My OB broke my waters at 1:15 PM and inserted a catheter into my uterus to monitor my contractions. It was like a bucket of fluid gushed out. Gross.

Then, the labor pains really started to get bad. At first, they were like bad menstrual cramps, but then they progressed to unbearable. My OB said I could get an epidural whenever, so I labored with these awful pains for about an hour, and then got an epidural. Ahhhh... RELIEF. However, my blood pressure dropped in response to the epidural, so the nurse started some meds to raise it. I felt better, i.e. no pain, but felt like crap. I had been in "labor" for about 17 hours by then, so I was starving and shaking. I was able to relax, post updates on Facebook and BBC, but by 5 PM, I'd only progressed to 2 cm dilation and 80% effacement. I almost cried.. I thought I'd have the baby for sure by now!

So, they kept upping my Pitocin (up to 24), and when I got to the active stage of labor or transition (I'm assuming), I started vomiting really bad. By 8 PM, I was still only at 4 cm dilation. I thought I would end up having to get a C-section after all of this, so I had Graham give me a blessing. After that, I was able to relax again, and by 10:15 PM, I was 8-10 cm dilated and effaced. My OB said I could start to push. I started vomiting AGAIN, blech. Anyways, at about 11:15 PM after an hour of hard pushing and not much progress, my OB suggested the vacuum because of my baby's changing heart rate and my extreme exhaustion (I could hardly hold up my legs, I was practically crying because I was so tired, and my epidural was starting to wear off). I could keep pressing the button to up the epidural, but I wanted to be able to feel to push. So, after 14 scary minutes of pushing with the vacuum assistance, and one point in which the vacuum slipped off the head, Carter was born at 11:29 PM. He was a total champ through this whole labor. His heart rate never dropped even with all of the stress and changes from drugs and stuff, which I consider a huge blessing.

My room was full of RN's and respiratory therapists due to the vacuum-assisted birth and the reputation of "Mag babies" for having weak cries and being very lethargic. My baby was wide awake, loud, and scored 7/9 on his APGAR's. He laid on my chest for an hour but he would not feed. He was very fussy and was taken to the Nursery overnight for observation due to the wound on his head from the vacuum. Turns out his head was wedged in the wrong position! I also had a 2nd degree tear, but couldn't feel anything while my OB stitched me up.

Carter was 6 pounds, 13 ounces, and 19 cm long. He measures in the 10-25th percentile for weight, length, etc. He's a tiny guy.. We were taking bets, and both Graham and I were guessing he'd be at least 7 pounds, so he was a surprise. Oh and by the way, my sister won the baby guessing game. We've had some challenges along the way with breastfeeding, and jaundice, but he is such a darling baby and we're amazed by everything he does.

Some pictures..



Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sensory Overload

I don’t know about all of you, but I often find myself craving some form of entertainment.. whether it be music, a book, the internet, TV, etc. It even got to the point where I’d require more than one form of entertainment at one time, like I needed the internet and the TV, or I needed to listen to music while reading a book. Total sensory overload. I constantly felt like I needed something to keep me distracted… distracted from what, I have no idea.

So anyways, I decided to institute a no-TV night in our house a few months ago. It seemed to me like the TV was always on. We ate dinner and watched TV, and would then sit there for the rest of the night. Now, every Monday, Graham and I get home from our days at school and/or work, make dinner, talk to each other, and actually interact without the background noise. I’m not going to lie, it has been really difficult, especially yesterday. We’d been gone all weekend and I had a list of shows I DVR’ed that I wanted to watch. Having DVR does make a no-TV night more easy and more enjoyable so I can record the shows I’d miss, but still..

It’s really been nice. We have Family Home Evening, we play music, and we enjoy the quiet in our home. Graham will play for me the songs he’s composed, and it makes for a really relaxing night. We are definitely going to continue this tradition as our family grows. I strongly believe in detaching yourself, even if just occasionally, from media and taking an old-fashioned break from the world.

Oh and P.S.. Sorry if you received a spam e-mail from my gmail account. Some freaking hacker sent an e-mail to 440 of my closest and farthest friends, colleagues, and acquaintances that I have ever sent or received an e-mail to/from. Thanks bud!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Exhaustion

So, I am now at the point in my pregnancy where every day seems to drag on and I hardly have the energy to get through the day. My cankles are practically thankles now (thighs--ankles), and my belly is stretched so thin I feel like I'm losing sensation around my belly button.

But.. there is light at the end of the tunnel.. Less than 4 weeks left! I will have this baby by Halloween.. I know it. I am honestly looking forward to midnight diaper changes as opposed to hobbit feet.

Anyways, I had a fabulous weekend in California last week. I flew down early Saturday morning, had a baby shower, went shopping (I had to sit down in stores most of the time), dined at Benihana's, went to church, caught up with some old friends, and had an amazing pregnancy massage. Just thinking about the massage relaxes me. They even gave me a brownie at the end. I would definitely go back!

My mom's family was amazingly generous with baby gifts. Seriously. I had 2 large suitcases PACKED full of stuff. Plus, my sister-in-law threw the cutest baby shower ever with the theme "Cute as a button". You can see pictures on my sister's blog. Believe it or not, I still have one more shower next week down in Portland with Graham's family. I'm not really looking forward to the drive down, but hey.. whatever works.

Anyways, I'll keep you updated on the progress with the baby. Hopefully he won't come too soon! I'll be 37 weeks on Wednesday. By the way, if you haven't guessed our baby's weight and due date, you probably should. You can go anonymous if you wish.

P.S. Graham's family.. If you are reading this.. Please do not buy any newborn diapers. We have a ton! Thanks.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Baby Pool

So, I added a game on the side of my blog where you can guess our baby's gender, height, weight, date and time of birth, etc..

Winner gets an e-mail... or maybe something cool like an iPad. We'll see.

Feel free to guess even if you're a stranger.. We don't discriminate.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Some Pictures

So, I am really bad about taking pictures and uploading them. Luckily, my phone makes it pretty dang easy to share pictures online. Now, for your viewing pleasure..
Baby Carter's nursery
The crib. I was a little bummed to see that you can't see the crib skirt very well since the pattern is so cute.. but oh well.

So, it's a tight fit in our nursery.. but the chair glider is awesome right. Plus, it glides in a way that doesn't make me motion sick.


Our re-purposed bookshelf. We bought the canvas bins from Wal-Mart for toys and miscellaneous, and we'll be using the middle shelf for books and such.


We spray painted those picture frames to match the room. We also painted the IKEA shelves white to match the bookshelf. Graham made the wooden frame to go around the changing pad so the pad will not shift during diaper changes. Then, when our kids are done being babies, we can remove the frame easily. (I got the idea from Pottery Barn Kids.) Notice the Ken Griffey Jr bobblehead on the shelf? I think we're having a little baseball theme going on. I'm considering putting Graham's baseball glove on the top shelf.. Do you think that's cheesy?


The vinyl wall monogram. Call me Mormon or whatever, but I love it. Don't worry, our baby will eventually have a mattress to sleep on.

The 34 week belly shot.. for those of you who missed it on Facebook.

Belly in a different light.
I've had people tell me I don't look very big, and then I've had people who look shocked when I tell them I still have 5 weeks to go. Luckily, this pregnancy weight gain has ALL been in the belly and chestal region. I like when people tell me I don't like pregnant from behind, because I always wanted to be one of those women. Unfortunately, when you have all of the weight gain in one area.. you get certain results... like STRETCH MARKS. I almost had a nervous breakdown when I first spotted them. So.. you will never see me in a tankini that shows my lower stomach ever again.
Anyways, our nursery is ALMOST done. Just a couple of more things to buy.. Oh, and the baby needs to arrive too.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Life Lessons from Solitaire

Have you ever learned something significant about yourself just by life's little stupid things?

This post is dedicated to the lovely game of Solitaire..

So, I used to have a very specific method of how I'd play the game on my computer. If I didn't score a certain amount of points before drawing the first card from the deck, I would start a new game right then and there. It was pretty tiring to constantly start new games and almost never get to play out a full game.

Then, it got me thinking.. "What does this strategy say about me?"

--I'm a very competitive person.
--If I can't win, I just won't play.
--I'm obsessed with winning and points.

Then I started thinking about my life's experiences that totally demonstrate this quality of mine. I thought about my 5 years in Provo, UT, at BYU and the competitive nature displayed there.. and totally saw the same behaviors there. First of all, I hated dances because I felt like I wasn't cute enough to "win" any guys. Then, there were the wards... and the extreme competitiveness I felt comparing myself to the other girls. Flirting was a bust as well.. as sarcasm wasn't always understood by Utah guys.

So did I end up giving up after 5 years of trying to find a guy there? Hmmm.. almost. I mostly just gave up in the small "games", like dances, ward prayer, FHE, etc, but I never ended up playing the game altogether.. just like I have still not given up playing Solitaire, even though I am currently $500 in the (hypothetical) hole on my phone.

I am still trying to work on my inner competitiveness. I don't know about all of you other women who used to play competitive sports, but it is HARD for me not to have something to be competitive about, even if it is just in my head. It annoys me to NO END that I can't just accept other people's achievements and attributes and not compare them to mine. Why do I have to be competitive about everything, even if it is stupid?

Anyways, random ramblings.. I've been meaning to write this one for a long time.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It Lame..

So, I have totally been a lazy blogger. I wish I could blame it on the pregnancy, but it's not. I downloaded a blogger app on my Droid smartphone, but let's face it.. Typing a full blog on a touch screen keyboard sucks.

Anyways, let me clue you in on a couple of things in our lives:

--Graham is finally done with the Census Bureau job. He is now fixing people's Playstations, babysitting a co-worker's autistic child, and offering piano lessons as side jobs. Random? Yes. But hey, whatever works! Plus, he can clean up with the house when I elevate my legs at night.
--My ankles and feet started swelling in June.. Cute. Seriously, I have like one pair of shoes left that are comfortable. The rest just suck, even my flats.
--My sister lived with us for a couple of weeks until her apartment was ready for move-in last week. It was so weird having somebody else in the apartment. She ate our food, brought her own weird food into the house, and crowded our little 2nd bedroom/baby nursery. Plus, my sister makes a lot of noises.. like MREHH and stuff. Graham just called her "Noise". Even though we were annoyed we couldn't hang out naked when the temperatures reached 95 degrees.. which is deathly with no A/C, we got used to her being there. When she moved to her new place, we were both wondering how she was doing and if she was ok. It was like our apartment was silent and empty without her.
--I am doing a little crafty project for the baby before he arrives. I'll post before and after pictures when I'm done. I literally almost gave up on the first day because I had no idea what the heck the different types of stitches even meant and the demo pictures made no sense at all.
--We are still searching for a day care provider for our little guy. I hate the thought of leaving him with someone else all day, but hey.. it's what will have to work for our family.
--We really haven't done anything cool lately. I've been working more Saturdays, so it definitely takes a toll on our social life. Plus, I can't say I feel like doing much after I get home from working all day. Graham is ALWAYS trying to get me to go to our community's pool, but thinking about all the kids peeing in the pool really turns me off. Oh, and pregnancy and maternity bathing suits are NOT cute.
--I just got diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. I am one of the lucky 2-5% of pregnant women who get diagnosed with GD. Needless to say, I was pretty upset. Luckily, I know how everything works and what to do. It's just lame. What will I do without my stops to Dairy Queen? It really just takes the pleasure out of being pregnant, even though I wasn't pigging out or anything. So yeah, I have to check my blood sugars 3-4 times per day and really watch my carb intake. Fun.
--The baby's nursery is almost done. I'll have to post some pictures when it's finished. It's nothing spectacular, but I love it.
--I am really looking forward to this fall. Not only will I get a baby, but I get to put up decorations soon and my family is coming up for Thanksgiving. I think it'll be a lot of fun having a big group of us up here together.

Ok, I swear I'll try to update this blog more..

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nice Surprise

So, I have to tell this story because I think it's disgusting and hilarious all at the same time.

So, I went up to the private bathroom on the 2nd floor at work and noticed something weird with the paper toilet seat covers. It looked like someone had torn out 1/2 of the toilet seat covers, so you only would have half of your bum protected on the toilet.

So, I figured I'd do a good deed and tear out the ruined toilet seat protectors/covers until I got to the non-damaged ones.

About 3 toilet seat covers in, I noticed something pink in the wall holder. I thought to myself, hmmm.. weird! I wonder if someone like is trying to smuggle drugs into the hospital by leaving them in a random place like this, stuffed in a pink t-shirt.

So, out of curiousit, I pulled the pink "shirt" out from the toilet seat cover holder, only to find out that it was a pair of dirty underwear... adult-sized, mind you....

Located in said pink underwear was a couple of large turds, plus some definite skid marks/racing stripes/Hershey stains.

For one, the logic of this act is completely beyond my comprehension. There was a large wastebasket in the private bathroom where the turd burglar's underwear could have easily been stashed or hidden. Secondly, was this just a mean joke someone thought to pull on a stranger in the hospital? I mean, the poop was definitely real, but come on.. Let's think with our heads people! So you pooped your underpants.. fine! Toss 'em in the trash!

Which one would have been better to have found in the wall holder? Probably drugs..

Monday, July 5, 2010

just for a change of pace..

So I usually write about silly things Graham does.. for the humor factor. I married a goof and I love it.. mostly.

Anyways, I am so proud of him. He just finished his first full year of school with a gpa of 3.89. This means we qualify for some pell grants and some scholarships. woo hoo! go graham

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Quick

So everyone.. it's been a little busy up here in Brem Brem... I'll detail what we've been up to later..

But anyways, for those of you that missed the announcement on facebook..

It's a BOY!

Carter Rockwell will be his name... And boy does he like to kick my organs!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

so...

Well, I don't have much to say on here, so I'll just talk about some random things in my life:

**Haven't bought anything for the baby yet. I just really hate spending money!

**We find out the baby's sex on June 9th.. so excited.

**We also drive down to California on June 9th.. should be nice to get a break from work, see my family, and start baby shopping.

**Graham is working for the census as an "enumerator".. i.e. taking people's names. Pretty exciting job, but hey.. it's money and flexible hours.

**I am tired of waking up 3 times in a night to pee!! Last night, I didn't even get up at all. I was THIRSTY this morning, so I probably was a little dehydrated.

**My belly is finally starting to "pop". People at work are finally asking if I'm pregnant.

**I hate Bally's gym. We canceled Graham's membership almost 2 years ago and sent them a check to cancel everything, so we thought everything we taken care of because they cashed our check. However, because the cancellation was not mailed as CERTIFIED MAIL, we just got a collection's bill for $140.. Awesome. I thought I'd read the fine print thoroughly, but apparently not!

**Maternity clothes.. don't want to buy them!

**I have totally been craving sea salt and vinegar kettle chips. Salty and delicious.

**Graham went into the doctor because of some severe heartburn.. and wound up having to get an abdominal ultrasound to rule out appendicitis, cholecystitis, etc, because he had elevated liver enzymes. Luckily, his ultrasound was normal after my nightmares of having Graham in the hospital for a surgery. Turns out, Graham has a fairly common bacteria, Helicobacter pylori, that causes gastric ulcers. He's now on 2 antibiotics and a proton pump inhibitor. When asked what bacteria he had, Graham said "b pylon?... I mean b python?".. Oh Graham and your refusal to say real names.. So, it looks like we will max out our insurance out-of-pocket fees this year.. So maybe my hospital delivery will be covered 100%... hah. Not with our luck.

**I'm stressing about how we will pay for childcare, and that's still 6 months away. How do people do it??? Even if we still didn't have any credit card debt, we couldn't afford it on my salary. Dang student loans..

**It has seriously been crappy weather out here. I am literally still dressing as if it were fall/winter. I mean, I like that aspect, but a little sun here and there wouldn't kill me...

Anyways, I'll keep you all updated about our little baby T-rex.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

When men become primates

Ok, so I still haven't figured out how to blog from my BlackBerry. Does anyone have any tips?

Anyways..

So Graham and I went on our baby moon to Seattle this weekend. We started things off by taking the ferry over and enjoying the beautiful weather. We then went to the Mariners game against the Angels. Graham wanted to go to this game specifically because of the Ken Griffey Jr bobble head giveaway.

Anyways, after the game, we were taking a long walk back to our hotel along the pier. There were a ton of cars driving next to us stuck in traffic, and we heard someone yelling at us from their car. I was feeling really self-conscious because I'm in an awkward stage of my pregnancy where I just look chubby and not quite pregnant yet. We tried to walk faster, but the guys in the truck caught up with us anyways. I was thinking the guys were telling me I'm fat, so I didn't want to hear what they were saying!

Here's how the conversation went:
Guy in truck: hey man is that your girl?
Graham: yeah man
Guy: yeah she looks as hot as f&$%!
Graham: yeah she's my wife
Guy: You should be proud
Graham: I am
Guy: you better watch out or I may steal her from you. Woo!

Luckily, the traffic kept moving and they passed us up. Apparently this interaction really bothered Graham. He was all ready to go for a fight. He clenched his fists and kept saying "man I just really want to fight someone right now!!"

It reminded me of the head male gorilla in the show "Life" when his troop is threatened by another male. The gorilla gets up and starts hooting and banging on his chest to show his superiority and authority. Graham is my gorilla I guess..

I was just glad I wasn't being called fat.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A post about nothing

So, I guess I don't really have much to talk about.. I just thought I'd update everybody on how we're doing up here in Brem Brem.

--Pregnancy: I'm finally starting to feel better; however, that does not mean I've gotten up off the couch any night this week (besides for church youth activities). I feel fat, but I've only gained a pound.. probably all in the boobs (seriously). I'll be 14 weeks tomorrow.. yay! My risk for miscarriage in the 2nd trimester is pretty low, so that's good. We will find out the gender in early June, so we are really excited. So, the word is out at work.. The director of my department congratulated me at lunch, and made me feel good. She only thought I was 5 or 6 weeks along, by how I look. So, I only feel like a fatty apparently. I'll post a picture sometime later when it becomes more apparent that I'm pregnant and not just bloated.

--Work: Still working full-time. Blech. Can't believe I have to do this for at least 3 more years. Graham got a temporary job working for the Census Bureau. He says he works with a bunch of dim-witted people.. to put it nicely. He's also a sales/marketing manager for a software product, so we'll see how that goes.

--Church: Graham got put BACK into Young Men's as the Scoutmaster. I told him I can finally think of him as a man again (after his Primary Chorister calling).

--Summer: Our one and only vacation is planned for California in June.. and I cannot wait. We're driving down, which should be fun, but hey.. at least it's better than not going..? We hope to go camping with our friends in the area a couple of times, which should be interesting with a pregnant belly..

--Miscellaneous: I got a ticket for running a red light. I was turning right, and apparently didn't stop all the way. I thought I could fight it at court, but when I saw that they had VIDEO cameras, I admitted my mistake. I figured humor would work best, and it did. I had the judge and courtroom laughing, and the judge reduced my ticket down to $60 from $124. Not bad eh? Plus, it doesn't go on my driving record!

Anyways, I haven't figured out how to post a blog using my phone, so my posts will continue to be few and far between. Stay tuned though..

Monday, April 19, 2010

Announcement

To all of you that missed the big announcement on Facebook, here it is again..
Our little baby T-Rex is due October 29th, so mark your calendars!

Friday, April 2, 2010

South Park Sherri


I South Park'ed myself. Go to this website to make your own for free.
We had a lot of fun doing this at work :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

I looked out the window, and what did I see?

This amazing sunrise!
And Mt. Rainier.
I mean seriously, I talk about how beautiful it is up in the Northwest, but how could you not have a good day after seeing this?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Big Changes in our Family

Just so you all know...

Graham got BRACES yesterday!

He only got the top teeth done, but he has the brackets, wires and everything.

He still looks adorable (I mean, how could he NOT), but he says he feels really self-conscious. Hence, why I'm not putting a picture online... yet.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Root of All Evil

Ok, so we're not as bad off financially as we were a couple of months ago.. But things are still tight. We are trying to pay off debt as best we can so we can be prepared for our future. So, we feel bad about spending money on non-essentials, like an occasional dinner out or whatever.

We recently had a spat (not really an argument, more like a situation) about money. I don't think I told this story on my blog, but here goes the short version. In October, we went on a group trip to go ATVing in a local ATV park. We were using a friend's family's ATVs. Before the whole group got there, Graham's buddy Ryan talked him into going on a joy ride for 15 minutes. To make a really long story short and to spare you the painful details (it was a really BAD day that ended with me accidentally washing and drying Graham's BlackBerry and rendering it useless), 5 hours later, Graham's borrowed ATV was finally towed from the tree trunk in which it was stuck.

The guy was nice about the ATV and said perhaps Graham could work the money off for the repairs. It was really unfortunate since the ATV was defective in the first place. There were several reports of this certain model lacking reinforcement in the front end. I mean really, ATVs should be strong enough to bump off stuff! So, the guy wants us to pay him $3000 for the repair of the ATV...

Needless to say, that is money we definitely do NOT have...

Oh, and we just got a bill from our health insurance for $1500 worth of allergy shots... that uses up ALL of our deductible. Thanks allergist for explaining these things to us! We won't be referring anyone to your practice because your billing practices SUCK.

So, what do you do when you keep getting knocked down financially?

I just keep paying bills and thanking the Lord that we both have jobs..

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Meatless Meals

So, to try and make our home meals more healthy and economical, I've been trying meatless meals at least once a week. I use beans and hearty vegetables as the main attractions. Honestly, Graham hasn't even noticed or complained.. probably because most of the meals are delicious.

Anyways, Cooks Illustrated is my favorite website and they make the best cookbooks. I was looking through my "New Best Recipe" cookbook the other week, and saw a recipe for an asparagus pasta. I thought it sounded delicious, so I decided to try it.

Verdict: absolutely fabulous. The reduced Balsamic vinegar dripped over the top made it perfect! Also, I didn't have fresh basil, so I just used some dried basil (in small amounts), and it still tasted awesome. Graham took TWO huge helpings of the pasta. Oh, and feel free to substitute Parmesan for the Pecorino cheese. :)

So, I'm posting this recipe with the hope some of you may try it and revel in your vegetarian, almost vegan, dinner!

Campanelli with Asparagus, Basil, and Balsamic Glaze
Serves 4 to 6 as a main dish.
Campanelli is a frilly trumpet-shaped pasta. If you cannot find it, fusilli works well. Take care not to overreduce the vinegar, or it will become bitter.

Ingredients
1 tablespoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 pound campanelli
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound asparagus , bottom 1 inch trimmed and discarded, spears halved lengthwise if larger than 1/2-inch in diameter and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 medium red onion , halved and sliced 1/8-inch thick (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup shaved Pecorino Romano

Instructions
1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in stockpot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta, stir to separate, and cook until al dente. Drain and return to pot.
2. Just before putting pasta in boiling water, bring balsamic vinegar to boil in 8-inch skillet over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium and simmer slowly until syrupy and reduced to 1/4 cup, 15 to 20 minutes.
3. While pasta is cooking and balsamic is reducing, heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until beginning to smoke. Add asparagus, onion, black pepper, pepper flakes, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir to combine; cook, without stirring, until asparagus begins to brown, about 1 minute, then stir and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is tender-crisp, about 4 minutes longer. Add asparagus mixture, basil, lemon juice, 1/2 cup Pecorino, and remaining 3 tablespoons oil to pasta in stockpot; toss to combine. Serve immediately, drizzling 1 to 2 teaspoons balsamic glaze over individual servings and passing remaining 1/2 cup Pecorino separately.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Dream Sherri is a Jerk

So, Graham and I don't actually "fight" much in real life, but apparently we do a lot in Graham's dreams..

He often dreams I am either 1) a slut, or 2) a jerk.

Example from last night's dream:

Graham was calling my cell phone and my high school boyfriend, Brett, answered the phone (whom Graham inherently hates). Come to find out, I hired a bum who sounded like Brett to play a trick on Graham.

Graham quickly forgave me and then we "made up".

Now I just wonder.. are these his subconscious fears or what?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Halle-freakin-lujah

Graham finally got a permanent job!

Almost a year since his last permanent job, he got a job in the mall, working in a kiosk.. He starts tomorrow.

He'll be working part-time, evenings and weekends.. With a base pay and commission, it's the perfect part-time job with school.

Seriously, thank the Lord!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Ingredients

I may not get into cooking ruts, but I do tend to use the same ingredients over and over, like cilantro, parsley, chicken, lemon, etc..

So, I decided to be adventurous and try something new in my cooking. This month I tried tarragon and short ribs.

The Verdict

Tarragon: Beautiful herb, but not to my taste. It has that "black licorice" flavor, kind of like fennel. YUCK. I just don't like that flavor profile AT ALL. I used it in a creamy sauce for chicken.

Short Ribs: I freaking worked my butt off all day to get these puppies tender. The day before Valentine's Day, I roasted the ribs, braised them with aromatics in a red wine sauce, strained the cooking liquid, and refrigerated them overnight to be able to skim the congealed fat off the top of the liquid. On Valentine's Day, I sauteed some bacon, parsnips, and pearl onions and added the cooking liquid and the short ribs to re-heat. Was the cooking marathon worth it? Absolutely. When placed over a potato puree, it was heaven on a Waterford china plate. I can't say exactly what Graham said, but I'll have you know, these ribs were damn good. Simply said.

My next mission: Collard greens.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My Life is a Mormonad

Graham and I have been practicing singing for the past couple of weeks.. I mean, he is the primary CHORISTER and all..

Anyways, I've been trying to learn how to sing alto parts, because my voice is a bit lower and it's easier for me. Graham told me I'd probably do better as an alto, but that he likes the way our voices harmonize together when I sing soprano and when he sings tenor in the LDS hymn "I Need Thee Every Hour".

We started singing "I Need Thee Every Hour" while getting into bed, pulling out our Book of Mormon while we harmonized together. Graham then said, "ok we need to stop singing or I'm going to get sick from our cheesiness."

Friday, February 5, 2010

Not a joiner

I've had many titles in my life, including:
1) Cheerleader
2) Slut (see #1)
3) Nerd
4) Man stealer
5) Jokester
6) Best backspot (see #1)

Among many others...

But never the title of "joiner". What do I mean by this?

My mom always complained when my sister and I were older that we were not "joiners". We didn't try to hang out with other people all the time. We didn't go to parties. We didn't join in any reindeer games..

I am perfectly content being by myself, mostly.. In Portland, I became perfectly comfortable with seeing movies by myself. I would go to bars with grad school friends and be the only non-drinker there and feel ok about it. I don't feel the need to constantly talk to people and be the center of attention in groups. I am ok with listening to other people talk and say something when I have something important to say.

Even when I was young I was like that. It's not that I was shy. I just didn't enjoy other people's company all the time. Sometimes in elementary school when I'd get invited to sleep over at a semi-friend's house, I'd pretend to ask my mom and tell the semi-friend my mom said no. I never had a large circle of friends.. just a few close ones.

If I had been a "joiner", my life definitely would have been different. First of all, I would've been a drinker and your stereotypical ho-bag cheerleader. I would not have attended BYU, and who knows if I would have graduated college. Marriage? Maybe later, after I popped out a kid or two.

So, mom... I think my life turned out alright huh?

And no, I'll never be a joiner.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My Little Bubble Boy

Graham's family knows how allergic Graham is to everything, and I've told the story about Graham getting hives from a used basketball jersey last year...

But Graham's recent allergy experiences really are almost too much to take..

First though.. Let's take it back a bit, to February/March of 2008 when we were first married.
--Graham decided to get a Snicker's bar and he ate it before dinner. Graham wasn't allergic to peanuts, so he figured it was ok even though it may have some tree nuts in the bar according to the package. When he found a hive on his hip about 30 minutes later.. he started FREAKING out..

He literally tore all of his clothes off and was pacing around the house.

Imagine my face.. "Um, honey.. Why are your clothes off?"
Graham: "I don't know. I'm itchy!"
Me: "Are you going to shower?"
Graham: "I don't know!"
Me: "Well dinner is ready and getting cold... Do you mind if I eat now?"

Graham proceeded to take his plate of food and sat on the couch, naked, and started eating dinner. Me: "Um, what do you think you're doing? That's nasty. Put some clothes on!"

Obviously, Graham goes nuts (nice pun eh?) when he gets a hive, and I don't have any sympathy for allergies or hives.

Graham stopped going to the allergist in Portland when we met for an unknown reason.. But he found one up here and got all of his tests done again in November. Let me list his allergies:
trees
grass
tomatoes
watermelons
honeydew melons
cantaloupe
cherries
celery
cabbage
corn
apples
apricots
peaches
nectarines
green beans
shellfish (including shrimp)
all nuts (including peanuts), except walnuts and macadamia nuts
soy
milk
oats
barley
wheat
flax
mustard

I believe that's the whole list. And no, I'm not making that up. An allergy to healthy food. The allergist partly blamed it on me because I made Graham all healthy and made him eat whole grains and fruits/vegetables. We don't take all of the allergies seriously, like the wheat one (but I don't buy whole wheat bread anymore), but Graham stopped eating fresh apples and milk, and his headaches have all but disappeared.

But he has had an incident lately. His allergies give him severe sinus infections, with severe congestion. He took some antibiotics in December, but the infection is back in full force..

Anyways, Graham came home from church basketball the other night with a crazy story.. Why is it the crazy stuff always happens at church ball games?

Graham and another kid were going up for a rebound or something, and the other kid came down on Graham's right side of his face with his elbow.. HARD. Graham fell to the floor and almost blacked out. He felt a crackling noise in his nose and felt fluid pouring out of his nose.

He assumed his nose was broken and that it was bleeding profusely all over his face, shirt, and gym floor. When he opened his eyes and wiped his nose, the color was orange/yellow, kind of the color of Mountain Dew...

His sinus emptied out on the floor!! He said it took 3 paper towels to soak it up..

And man, have I been obsessed with trying to clear out his OTHER sinus (his left side). I keep trying to karate chop his left eye/nose area to.. you know.. "help him out". But Graham won't let me do it for some reason...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Might as well..

Ok, so the cat is somewhat out of the bag with this secret we’ve been keeping.. My family unfortunately found out, and now I’m just going to announce it.. (Sorry Graham’s family if you’re finding out here. It’s kind of an awkward thing to tell someone out loud.) I haven’t even told Graham I’m announcing it. Ooops.

We’re trying to have a baby.

There.. I said it.

Anyways, last March (yeah.. that long ago), we received personal revelation that we should start trying to have a baby. We originally were planning on waiting until December of ’09, so it was a bit of a surprise to get that strong of an impression. We talked it over and prayed about it. I can’t even describe what a spiritual moment it was in our house. I get tears just thinking about it..

I didn’t want to tell people at all because I didn’t want people (especially my family) to ask me questions I didn’t have the answers to (e.g. how are you going to manage a full-time job and a baby, or how is Graham going to help with bills while he’s going to school full-time?), or telling me we should wait. Personal revelation is just that—personal. I’d never felt more right about anything, except maybe to marry Graham. That’s why I felt like keeping a secret from everybody.

Anyways, we’ve had some ups and downs during this whole process. 3 doctor’s visits and 1 early miscarriage later, I’ve gotten so downhearted it’s been hard to feel happy for other people and their pregnancies. I never thought it would be so hard. I just thought it’d happen within a month and POOF, I’m pregnant. I get so jealous when I see people's pictures of their cute little kids and just wonder when it's going to happen to us..

On Monday, finding out I was not pregnant had to be one of the hardest nights of my life. No, it wasn’t a miscarriage or anything like that.. I just assumed I was pregnant after trying for what feels like forever. I cried inconsolably for hours. Poor Graham was trying to say the right things, but he only made me angrier. I was losing my faith. We have been doing all of the right things: praying, paying tithing, studying scriptures, serving faithfully in our callings, etc. Plus, Graham has been having a hard time finding a job in this crappy little town, and it only made it worse. I kept saying, “when is it going to be enough?”, “I don’t know how much more I can take!”, and my personal favorite (which I can laugh about now), “Well I don’t want a baby if it doesn’t want me!”.

I just really felt the need to express my feelings, because I have been struggling over the pas few days. Oh, and my grandpa is dying... Just to add one more difficult thing to my life…

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Really sir?

I can't go into much detail about this one due to HIPAA and everything, but this experience was a first at this hospital...

A patient hit on me.

No, not an 85 year-old blind man, but a 41 year-old man with some serious problems.

Does that count as a compliment?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The dog with 9 lives

So, my last post directed at private bloggers was a bust.. Thank you Mallory for being the only respondent.

Ok, so funny story.. I have been saving this for a long time since our camera wasn't working..

I have a stuffed husky dog from 2000 when the cheer team I coached for (the "Huskies") gave me one in appreciation for my 4 years of coaching. I've always kept this dog on my bed as kind of a neck pillow of sorts. I had it in college, and yes, I still use it as a married woman. It supports my head quite nicely.

However, Graham hates my dog. HATES it. Let me demonstrate his hatred...
The 2 other death scenes not pictured included a "roasted dog on a spit" scene in our fireplace, and a worried phone call from Graham about our vacuum being broken, but it was my dog who was cruelly stuffed into the vacuum bag area.

My dog is STILL alive though.. I just need to clean him from his time spent in the vacuum. I have since adapted to sleeping with a beanbag mini football (Graham's idea), which broke open in our bed, and now nothing...

I miss my Husky.

I guess all I have to do is wash him.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Private Blogs

I'm going to go out on a limb here...

If you are reading my blog regularly, and you have a private blog.. I would appreciate the reciprocation and be able to read yours regularly as well.

It annoys me when I see which people are clicking from which sites, and I don't have access to them. What if you're trashing my blog?! Just kidding.. I don't write anything interesting enough for people to talk trash about me. But seriously though, my curiosity has been piqued and I want to read your private blog!! I mean, we somehow are connected enough for you to read about my life, so let's make it official..

So, if you're willing to extend a branch of bloggership, please send an invite to your private blog to sher (dot) fech (at) gmail (dot) com.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy new year?... No such thing

Seinfeld anyone?

Well, Graham and I had an eventful night last night.. We chaperoned a youth church activity from 7-9:30 at the ice skating rink. I finally talked Graham into ice skating with me after the activity was almost over. Disappointingly, he did not fall. We went to bed around 10:30 and only woke up at midnight from our neighbors' obnoxious fireworks outside.

Obviously, I hate New Years Eve. It's not a real holiday.

Anyways, here are some of our family's highlights from 2009:

--I learned how to swallow pills.
--I confessed to my addictions.
--Graham and I survived our health problems.
--I had a bad experience with fish.
--I encountered a mystery at my work.
--We took some road trips.
--I had an unfortunate misunderstanding at work.
--Graham got what he deserved for losing something special.
--I purchased a car for the first time.
--I got a wake up call.
--I agonized over stupid baby names.
--We celebrated Graham's 24th birthday.
--I learned that life is not perfect.
--Graham is going to get a good education.
--I proved that I need to wear a helmet.

Wish you all the best of luck over the next year.. and please Lord, do not make 2010 any worse than 2009....

Mo money.. Mo problems..

This was me two weeks ago. Literally. Our foundation was dug out at the beginning of August, based on measurements made by our cons...