Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree..

My sister is starting a new tradition to go and cut down a tree every year. In Folsom, we were too far from the tree farms to do that (plus, my mom has a fake tree), but here in Washington, there are tree farms everywhere.

So last Saturday, we got all bundled up for a cold, foggy morning here in Seattle. We met my sister at the tree farm out in the sticks, and got ready to saw down the tree. My sister brought some lovely hot apple caramel cider in mugs, which helped warm us up a little.

Carter and Graham look at a nice Noble Fir 



A random family picture

Carter thinks I'm being silly!

So, we had a very nice morning, and helped my sister put up her tree. It was a fun tradition that we hope to continue. It would be nice to get our own.. especially if Graham weren't allergic to trees!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

And I'm back..

Graham is done with school for the quarter.. which means I am no longer an engineering widow!

My birthday was a few days ago. The big 2-9. Graham automatically turns a year older on my birthday too, so he is now 27 per his report.

I just wanted to blog about one of my newest hobbies..

Couponing.

I know, it's getting kind of old with all of those "Extreme Couponers" shows on TLC. But, I've been able to save a substantial amount of money with this hobby, so it's exciting.

It's also a little embarrassing at times.. Example:

One evening after work, I stopped at Albertson's. It was a DOUBLE coupon week, and there were lots of free/almost free deals there. So, I had my 3 transactions with several coupons per transaction. I try to pick the self-serve lines so lots of people don't have to wait behind me. Eventually, some teenagers got in line behind me, so I was just thinking to myself, "ok, hurry up!". During my last transaction, one of the teenage boys snidely remarks to his friends, "coupon mom".

This ordinarily wouldn't embarrass me, because, hey, I paid like $5 total for $50 worth of stuff.. so he was just jealous. BUT, I happened to be wearing my one and only pair of mom pants that day. My mom bought me the wrong fit of pants at Ann Taylor (the regular, high-waisted cut that I would never buy), but I liked them enough to wear them to work with long shirts to hide the high-waisted look. However, the pants totally give me mom butt. (Word of disclaimer.. this is not my butt!)


Remember in one of the episodes of The Office this year, when Pam said,
"I used to be young and cute and sort of funny and, I could do those cute little cartoons and everyone who came through here was like, 'who's that receptionist? I like her.' Now I'm just a fat mom!


That's totally what I felt like!


But anyways, embarrassment aside, I totally rocked the grocery stores last month:



This, my friends, is my loot:
--6 bags of Steamfresh vegetables
--10 cans of Campbell's soups
--4 boxes of Thai Kitchen noodle bowls
--3 packets of Idahoan potatoes
--4 cans of evaporated milk
--1 package of Farmland bacon
--1 pint of cream
--2 package of reduced-fat cream cheese
--2 packages of Challenge butter
--2 sweet potatoes

The market value is over $80

I paid $18. I'm so proud. That's over 75% savings!


You may think to yourself, as I have, well geez Sherri, that's mostly processed food. And yes, it is. However, frozen vegetables are a great standby for quick dinners, noodle bowls are good for Graham's lunches, the instant potatoes are good for homemade bread, and the soups and milk are good for food storage or if money gets really tight.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Reality of Dining Out as a Vegetarian

So, I'm 4 weeks in. The one-month experiment is almost up.. with a possible extension into December.. and maybe the whole year of 2012..?

I am down 3.2 pounds, including losing 1 whole pound after last week.. even after Thanksgiving and my carb-loading dinners at Graham's family's house. I even ate 2 bowls of ice cream last night. *Bad*.. I know. Don't ever buy brownie moose tracks ice cream. It's too good.

So, I'm feeling pretty good about this whole thing. I've gotten used to the feeling of a self-imposed diet restriction, and it's really not that bad. I'm still a pro at picking out pieces of meat/poultry from food served to me. I even found some new foods that I really love. Homemade slow-cooker black bean soup--who knew it could be so good? Carter KILLED some of the leftover soup last night.

But.. there is a dark side to eating vegetarian..

I can't go out to eat.

First of all, I don't live in Seattle or Portland, so vegetarian restaurants are few and far between.

Fast food? Forget about it. They only things I can eat are bean burritos or french fries.. Not that I haven't gotten those or anything...

Substitutions in normal restaurants SUCK. At our favorite Mexican restuarant in our area, they had only a few vegetarian options.. none of which looked appealing. So I asked for a vegetarian chimichanga, thinking they would throw in some rice, sauteed bell peppers with onions, and maybe some beans...

WRONG

That, my friends.. is what came out of my chimichanga. FROZEN vegetables. That's right.. Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and snap peas. Who in their right mind would eat broccoli and cauliflower in a freaking Mexican fried burrito (I mean, anybody other than my sister's ex who liked broccoli in tacos).

So, I emptied out my chimichanga and put in some beans and rice. I pretty much just ate a fried burrito shell, which kind of makes me sick to think about. I guess I can look at being vegetarian as a way to save money as well as I will no longer be dining out frequently.. or at all.

However, I did find some good options down in Portland. Burgerville's Yukon and White Bean Basil Burger was freaking amazing. I would eat it even if I wasn't doing the whole vegetarian thing. Chipotle's vegetarian burrito.. didn't even miss the meat.

So on December 1st, I don't think I'll be going back to meat. I will eat meat/poultry if that's what is being served at other people's houses, and probably 1-2 dinners per month (beef stew in the winter is a must-eat). I've learned a lot from these past few weeks, and I look forward to trying more meatless meals!

Our menu this week:
Quinoa pilaf with corn and jalapenos with accordian potatoes (both from America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Country)
Cheese Souffle (I've always wanted to try this) with vegs
Cuban black beans and rice
Black Bean Quesadillas

I'll let you know how the souffle goes.. especially with me cooking alone in the house with a 13-month old wild child. At least he's not walking yet!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My apologies

I have been a bad blogger my friends. I do have an excuse though. Graham has been working on an engineering project for school (total yawn, but he's really excited about it), which means he is up late every night working on homework and stuff.. heretofore hogging the computer EVERY night when Carter goes to bed. That means I'm stuck watching TV alone for 2 hours, or reading other people's blogs on my phone.

What have I been up to you ask...

--Avoiding meat still. I almost died the other day at work. They had fried chicken, which I don't even like, but I was drooling just thinking about the moist chicken inside. I got mac & cheese and green beans, which was a poor substitute. We've gotten used to the no-meat thing, so it really hasn't been too big of a deal.
--Couponing. Still reading my blogs and gathering my weekly coupons from online and newspaper. Albertson's has been having double coupons a lot lately, so I've been busy.
--Raising my crazy 13-month old child. Seriously. He loves any and all carbs (especially graham crackers, Satsumas, and homemade bread). He loves to throw food on the ground from his high chair and then laugh like Chucky when I get down on my hands and knees to clean up after him. He gets CRAZY in the bathtub. He tries to swim (including putting his face under the water), and even makes whirlpools back and forth. He knows how to turn off/on the water. He is an AWESOME catch player. He can throw 2 balls at once. Anyways.. you all know Carter is awesome. But, he still isn't walking. And, his weight has gone down to the 3rd percentile, so he has an extra weight check coming up in 2 weeks. His head, however, has remained at the 50th. Graham calls him a balloon.

--Work. We hired ANOTHER new Dietitian, who just started last week. It'll be nice once she is trained and everything, but right now it's difficult to get everything done.
A little something to make you smile.  :)


So I hope to get back on the blogging wagon as soon as Graham's school work lets up a bit. Oh, and my 29th birthday is coming up soon. How did I get to be so old??

Friday, November 11, 2011

Baked Risotto and Leftover Risotto Cakes

This is by far one of my most favorite vegetarian recipes yet. I love risotto because it's so creamy and filling, and really versatile because you can add in so many different fillings. The usual way of making risotto is time-consuming and requires at least half an hour of standing by the stove and ladling hot cups of broth into the starchy rice and stirring the rice. This baked risotto recipe, from Cook's Illustrated, is so easy because you can finish it in the oven and avoid the long stirring time at the stove. It is such a great method for a working mom like me. Then, the next day, you can make risotto cakes with the leftovers!

Baked Risotto
Serves 6-8

3 TB butter
1 medium onion, minced
1/4 tsp salt
3 minced garlic cloves (~1 TB)
2 cups Arborio rice
4 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine (you could substitute white grape juice with a splash of vinegar)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Ground black pepper

1) Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
2) Melt butter in large Dutch oven over medium hear. Add onion and salt, stirring often until softened, ~5-7 minutes. Stir in garlic anf cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the rice and cook until the grain edges are transparent, ~4 minutes.
3) Stir in 3.5 cups of chicken broth and wine. Cover the pot, increase the heat to high and bring to a simmer. Place the pot in the oven and bake the rice until tender and no water remains, ~20 minutes.
4) Just before removing the risotto from the oven, heat the remaining broth. Remove the risotto from the oven and stir in the hot broth and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.



Risotto Cakes (pictured above)
Makes 2 cakes

1 cup leftover risotto
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I only had Italian-seasoned ones, and they worked fine)
1 egg
1 pinch cayenne
2 TB shredded mozzarella cheese
Cooking oil

1) Prepare "breading stations" with breadcrumbs in one tray, and egg mixed with cayenne pepper in another tray.
2) This is how I prepared the cakes: put 1/2 cup risotto in 1 cup measuring cup. Put 1 TB of shredded cheese in the middle of the caked, making sure it stays in the middle. Add 1/2 cup of risotto on top and pack in tightly. I tapped the measuring cup on the counter to get the cake out intact. Repeat with the next cake.
3) Heat up 1/2 inch oil (I used canola) on medium-high. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Seriously, it is worth making risotto just to have these little crispy cakes. You could probably even bake these after spraying them with Pam, for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

1st Week Vegetarian Challenge Summary

Here's how the first week went..

It really wasn't too bad. Really. Our meals have been fairly hearty and haven't really left me wanting more. I did cheat though, and I kind of went on a chips and salsa binge over the weekend. That's pretty much all I ate Saturday and Sunday, which is kind of gross but delicious at the same time. Graham also bought us some Tillamook Old-Fashioned Vanilla ice cream, which was another treat. However, when all you're eating is beans and vegetables, ice cream sundaes with chocolate syrup and toffee chips are necessary!

My favorites from this week were the baked risotto and leftover risotto cakes (recipes and photos coming). We all inhaled the food, even Carter. The arborio rice is so starchy that it fills you up in a good way. We had Caesar salad on the side with pita chip croutons.. amazing! It would be better if there were such a thing as short-grain brown rice (in my grocery stores at least), but no such luck. I will be trying a barley risotto this month, which will make it whole grain with more protein and fiber.

Next week's menu:
--Claim Jumper's for my sister's birthday
--Skillet Cheese Pizza from ATK's Healthy Family Cookbook
--Pasta Fagioli from Cook's Illustrated Best Recipe Cookbook with garlic breadsticks
--Fajita Tostadas from Martha Stewart with some sort of rice side dish

Oh, and the best thing about this week?... I lost 2 pounds, even with the chips and ice cream!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

To be polite..

I ate chicken tonight.

A family from church invited us over, and the wife made roasted chicken. Since there weren't hearty side dishes, and I couldn't overdose on my homemade dinner rolls, I decided to partake in the chicken. Plus, who wants to be that annoying person who says, "Sorry, I'm a vegetarian," (said in a snooty, smug tone of course).

I did enjoy it, but it kind of gave me a stomachache.

To be fair though, I did eat banana bread to be polite, which I don't like at all.

Here's to a meat-free next week! Menu coming soon.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Veggie Talk + Carter's 1st Birthday

So, the vegetarian thing is going ok. I do find myself craving meat, though.. and not even the good stuff. I normally don't drive past fast food restaurants on my way home, but I did yesterday, and the big billboard picture of the KFC Dubilicious made me drool.. even though I think it's disgusting. Today for lunch, I had a veggie pita with romaine lettuce, bell peppers, olives and hummus, and it was pretty satisfying. Tonight is slow-cooker marinara sauce with spaghetti, so it should be delicious.

On to the main event: Carter's 1st birthday party. The party itself wasn't exciting. I mean, how could it be? We're all there just to see Carter (or 2.5 year-old Lorelai) open presents, play with the boxes/wrapping paper or balloons, and have his first taste of cake. Our townhouse was crammed full of 15 people to celebrate Little Dude's birthday, and Carter couldn't have cared less. He did get a taste of some new foods though, which we found he enjoyed immensely.

Our menu was:
Appetizers: Caramel Toffee Dip with Apples and Spicy Hot Artichoke Dip (recipe from co-worker) with pita chips
Main dish: Make-ahead lasagna (Carter's new fave meal) from Cook's Illustrated
Salad: Spinach salad thrown together with random veggies and croutons
Dessert: Old-fashioned chocolate cake cupcakes with buttercream or whipped cream cheese frosting, and funfetti cake with buttercream frosting.

My theme for food was anything I can prepare ahead of time before Graham's family arrived. I definitely don't like cooking when there's a crowd. I don't like other people seeing that I'm such a disaster in the kitchen! I also made a breakfast casserole the day before, to be heated up the morning of. It was a huge hit!
I've been doing research for 1st birthday decorations for months, and this is what I came up with, all inspired from Pinterest and/or Martha Stewart. Since the party was low-key, I figured the decorations should be as well. I made all of them myself.. of which I am totally proud! The pictures suck though.. please don't judge.

 Happy Birthday banner, made from scrapbook paper and letter printouts from Martha Stewart online.

 Carter's funfetti #1 cake with buttercream on top. Don't look too closely at the piping.. You'll notice my impatience and inattention to detail.

 Carter's matching scrapbook paper tie and party hat with "1" on it. I saw a picture online where the baby boy had a tie on while only wearing a diaper, and I obviously loved it. However, Carter would NOT keep the hat on.

 A papier-mache "C" from Joann's, weighted down and spray-painted blue. It now sits on Carter's room's shelves, where it's a perfect fit.


Carter's own little smashcake. I love this picture because you can see the only fat he has on his body: his little thigh rolls. So cute!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

1st Day as a Vegetarian

So, it was a little harder than I thought it'd be. Remember, I get free food at the hospital, so I'm not really wanting to bring in lots of food for myself. So, I'm pretty limited in my choices.. especially since they're remodeling our kitchen/serving area/dining room.

This is what I ate:
Breakfast: Kashi Heart to Heart cereal
Snack: sliced apples
Lunch: Romaine and greens salad with kidney beans, grated cheese, olives and low-fat Ranch dressing (yuck); with a whole wheat roll.
Snack: chocolate cupcake leftover from Halloween (oops)
Dinner: Black bean soup with corn muffins

I did end up still having some pieces of leftover candy, but I limited myself.. I'm quite proud.

The black bean soup was pretty good. I don't like the smell of hot homemade cooked beans, so it didn't smell appetizing at all. But, I warmed up to it (nice pun huh) and ended up enjoying it. The real showstopper were the corn muffins. I'll have to post the recipe sometime. They are amazing. Honestly. Graham, who professed his hatred for cornbread a couple of months ago (which seemed blasphemous to me), has since been converted to these sweet and soft corn muffins. Mmmmm.

Anyways, the most difficult thing was deciding what to eat for lunch. Hmmm, flank steak, lime chicken, chicken tortilla soup, beef vegetable soup, or tuna sandwich. So, salad it was. I realllllly wanted something warm (it's getting to be pretty chilly here now), but I didn't give in. Let's hope tomorrow goes better!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

And so it begins..

I've been eating more meat the past few days to prepare myself for going without.. But I am ready. I weighed myself this morning, and it turns out I've gained 3 pounds over the past month. Ugh. I guess that's what happens when you have 3 pieces of fun-sized candy every day at work. Gosh dang Halloween. Anyways, so I'm feeling fat today but ready to take this vegetarian challenge head on.

Here's our menu for the week:

--Slow-cooker Black Bean Soup from Slow Cooker Revolution. I will probably make corn muffins from ATK's Healthy Family Cookbook to go with it, if Graham has washed the muffin tins.
--Slow-Cooker Marinara Sauce with Spaghetti and roasted veggies (haven't picked which ones yet).
--Baked Risotto from ATK's Family Coookbook and Broccoli.
--Risotto cakes (for leftovers).

I'm kind of cheating with the black bean soup, as the recipe calls for a ham hock to be cooked with the beans. I'm still using it to flavor the soup, but I'll toss it at the end.

I'm not really venturing out too far into the vegetarian/vegan world much, but I have a bunch of recipes picked out to try.. and I haven't even hardly pinned any recipes on Pinterest that are vegetarian. I must get to work!

So anyways, I'll post more about my successes and failures, and the reality of trying to go vegetarian in a meat-lovers world. I'll post the delicious recipes too if you're interested.. Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Inspired by Pinterest

Carter's 12 month photos:



Special thanks to our friend Sherilyn who took these photos.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

There's a WHAT in my drink??

So, Carter's birthday was this weekend (pictures coming soon), which means our house was packed full of family for a couple of days.. Which also means I wasn't going to sleep very well, being a light sleeper and all. I was up early every day, due to Carter's schedule.. definitely not by choice, preparing for his birthday party and guests.

So, I depend on my daily Diet Coke in the morning. Call me addicted, whatever. I don't care. It's delicious.

On Sunday morning, I decided to finish the Cherry Coke Zero I'd left on the coffee table from the night before. It'd be flat, but hey, it'd still taste good.

Later that morning, Graham, 2 of his brothers and I were playing pinochle before church. I was leisurely sipping my soda, enjoying our card game.. when I got to the end of my drink and something NOT liquid slipped into my mouth. I thought it might've been crumbs or something that accidentally made its way into my soda can. I spit it out and took a second look...

It was a freaking PINCHER BUG!!

I screamed for 10 seconds.. And Graham's family laughed for like 10 minutes. Can you believe the bug was still alive after chilling in my drink all night?! Ick.. even just typing this story makes me itchy.

So, ladies and gentlemen.. I now fully believe in karma. Let me explain why.

A few nights ago, I was cleaning up after dinner on the dining room table. Graham often leaves crumbs on the table after eating (we had corn muffins, so it was extra messy), so I was scooping them into my hand. Since Graham had left his soda on the table, I figured it was empty, so I dumped the crumbs and grated cheese into his soda can. When I picked the can up to throw it away, I realized it was practically full. A normal wife would probably dump out the soda and tell their husband about it.. An evil (ok, maybe mischevious) wife like me would do something different..

I left the can on the table and didn't tell Graham. When we were watching TV together later, I asked Graham is he was going to finish his soda. He went and grabbed the can and drank away. I somehow held my laughter in as he kept drinking. As he got near the end, all of a sudden he started gagging and ran to the sink and spit out the soggy crumbs/cheese. By then, I'm cracking up... literally tears were running down my face (see.. am I not totally evil?).

Graham was still gagging, trying not to throw up. You see, soggy bread is his ultimate enemy. He will not even finish the last bits of hamburgers if the bun gets soggy at the end. He was yelling, How the heck did this happen? What is in this can?

By now, I can hardly speak I'm still laughing so hard. I did confess that it was an accident.. but Graham vowed that somehow he would pay me back. As it turns out, he didn't have to. The pincher bug was payback for my joke. Tit for tit right?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Dietary Guidelines

So, I've been doing lots of research for my 30-day challenge of consuming a whole-foods, plant-based diet.. And I've decided I want to make some modifications to a few of the recommendations. As a Registered Dietitian, I think I have that right..  :)

1) The doctors in Forks over Knives promote a practically vegan diet, including no added oils or fats, including nuts and avocado. I am not going to follow this recommendation. I, for one, do not feel it is necessary to avoid all fat and I'd like to avoid fatty acid deficiency, which I thought I had freshman year of college. (I didn't--it was just dry skin from the cold Utah weather.. I also thought I had scurvy the following year. Sigh.. I'm crazy. That's what nutrition classes do to you!) I will stick to my canola oil, olive oil, and butter (if necessary). I will consume nuts if they are present in a dish. Since Graham is allergic to tree nuts, I doubt I'll be eating them much.

2) No dairy products are allowed on this diet. I don't drink milk and I don't eat yogurt hardly ever, so that's not a big problem. The bigger issues are butter, cream cheese, and cheese. What I'm going to do is avoid the fatty cheeses like cheddar, and stick to small amounts of parmesan, if needed.

3) Nothing with a face or mother. I am going to avoid all meats and meat products. No eggs, bacon, chicken, nothin.. However, I do have chicken and beef stock that I may use, in the sake of not going broke buying vegetable stock.

4) Nothing artificial, like Diet Coke, Pam spray, etc. If you know me, you know that I must have my diet soda in the morning. Therefore, I am not giving it up.

5) Whole grains without added fat or sugar. This is where it may get tricky. As with #1, I may just have to ignore the "no added fat" recommendation. The no added sugar also rubs me the wrong way. I think I'll just ignore this for now, and just avoid added sugars when possible.

As you may or may not know, I get free food at the hospital I work at.. which means I will probably have to bring in some food to work. Seriously, the only fruits they have every day are apples, oranges, grapes, and bananas. Boy am I freaking sick of apples and I can't stand bananas.

I received a panicked call from my sister today about my "vegan" challenge. She was concerned about my plan for Thanksgiving. Don't worry.. I will consume some turkey that day in the name of tradition. I also clarified my dietary goals..

I'm going to follow the Word of Wisdom (WoW). Now, for you that aren't LDS (Mormon), we have guidelines on how to take care of your body, i.e. no alcohol, coffee or tea, drugs, tobacco, etc. There is also a recommendation to "eat meat sparingly". I'm going to go off on a little tangent right now. Not to knock some people (ok maybe I will..), but some LDS people are so strict about the WoW that they believe caffeine is of the devil because it is in coffee/tea. I cannot say for sure why we have been asked not to drink those items, but for me, it doesn't mean caffeine. But, these same people who avoid all sources of caffeine willingly eat meat every day, possibly even every meal. Is this "sparingly"? I doubt it. It's a bit ironic don't you think? Where are all of the Mormon vegetarian supporters huh??

So, that's my plan in a nutshell. We'll see how it goes!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Radical Change

I am considering a radical change in my lifestyle..

I am thinking of converting to.. VEGANISM.

Well, actually, more like a plant-based, whole foods diet.

I know what you're thinking. It's the same that I'm thinking... That's impossible.

Also, isn't a strange for a Registered Dietitian like me who preaches about "moderation in all things" to try an "extreme" diet?

But, I'll tell you what I've been thinking for the past few weeks. A Dietitian friend of mine recommended this documentary called "Forks over Knives", which promotes a plant-based, whole foods diet. It has pretty much changed the way I think.. It even has inspired Graham to exercise more, stop eating his Costco muffin every morning, and drink less soda. After watching the movie, we committed ourselves to more meatless meals every week, and made a goal of more physical activity.

But, remember when I got diagnosed with high cholesterol  (actually, re-diagnosed since I was previously diagnosed with hypercholesterolemia when I was 8 years old).. I haven't had it re-checked, since I was pregnant and everything, which makes your cholesterol go up anyways. I was pretty much resigned to the fact that I will have to go on a statin (a cholesterol-lowering medication) when I'm done having babies. I mean, a life without meat, without FAT, without treats.. it seemed like a life not worth living.

But, as I sat here (in my Spanx), feeling uncomfortable and fat, I realized it doesn't have to be this way. I don't have to have high cholesterol. I don't have to be overweight. I don't have to go on my way to a heart attack.. I've always felt that I could lower my cholesterol if I just followed a vegan diet, but I wasn't willing to go there..

But, I'm going to try it for a month, starting November 1st.. and I'm going to blog about it. More details coming later...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mommy Confession

So, I have a secret about something I've been doing for the past few weeks..

I got the idea from Christina Applegate's character on the show Up All Night, which, by the way, we love.

So, to give you an idea of what this is.. She offhand said something about her having to wear 2 pairs of Spanx and a girdle to look the way she does.

So I thought, hey I have a pair of (imitation) Spanx, why don't I try and see how I look in work clothes with tummy control hose improving my figure...?

Let me tell you ladies.. If you have a persistent saggy belly from pregnancy, this stuff will do wonders. I've worn them under jeans, work pants, etc. The panty hose developed a pretty big run in it, so I decided to cut them off to make my own shapewear. Now, that was not a great idea, as my cheap-o shapewear now has legs that roll up under my pants and drive me insane, but it works for now.. until I can afford real Spanx shapewear. I feel more confident now that I don't look like I'm still pregnant, and I have a more streamlined look.

Another bonus: I have a decreased appetite, because my stomach is squished and it can't fit a ton of food under such pressure!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New Look + Cake Recipe

I changed the template to my blog. What do you all (all as in the handful of family and friends who read this) think? Are the leaves too distracting?

Anyways, I will have some pictures to post soon. Carter is turning ONE in a little over a week! How fast the time flies!

Like I said before, I am loving Pinterest right now, but I wanted to add one of my own pictures to the mix, so I am posting an amazing recipe for America's Test Kitchen/Cooks Illustrated for a delicious cake. I've made this a couple of time, and it has turned out awesome! The strawberries don't hold that well, so make sure the cake will be eaten within 1-2 days of putting it together (not like it'd be difficult to finish).
Strawberry Cream Cake
Cake


  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour (5 ounces) (essential here--don't use all-purpose)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup sugar (7 ounces)
  • 5 large eggs (2 whole and 3 separated), room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • Strawberry Filling


  • 2pounds fresh strawberries (medium or large, about 2 quarts), washed, dried, and stemmed
  • 4 - 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Kirsch (I didn't use)
  • pinch table salt

  • Whipped Cream


  • 8 ounces cream cheese , room temperature (I used reduced-fat and it turned out ok)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • Instructions
    1. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour round 9 by 2-inch cake pan or 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and all but 3 tablespoons sugar in mixing bowl. Whisk in 2 whole eggs and 3 yolks (reserving whites), butter, water, and vanilla; whisk until smooth.
    2. In clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat remaining 3 egg whites at medium-low speed until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes. With machine running, gradually add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form, 60 to 90 seconds. Stir one-third of whites into batter to lighten; add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert cake onto greased wire rack; peel off and discard parchment. Invert cake again; cool completely, about 2 hours.
    3. FOR THE STRAWBERRY FILLING: Halve 24 of best-looking berries and reserve. Quarter remaining berries; toss with 4 to 6 tablespoons sugar (depending on sweetness of berries) in medium bowl and let sit 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Strain juices from berries and reserve (you should have about 1/2 cup). In workbowl of food processor fitted with metal blade, give macerated berries five 1-second pulses (you should have about 1 1/2 cups). In small saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer reserved juices and Kirsch until syrupy and reduced to about 3 tablespoons, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour reduced syrup over macerated berries, add pinch of salt, and toss to combine. Set aside until cake is cooled.
    4. FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM: When cake has cooled, place cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whisk at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Reduce speed to low and add heavy cream in slow, steady stream; when almost fully combined, increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture holds stiff peaks, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes more, scraping bowl as needed (you should have about 4 1/2 cups).
    5. TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE: Using large serrated knife, slice cake into three even layers. Place bottom layer on cardboard round or cake plate and arrange ring of 20 strawberry halves, cut sides down and stem ends facing out, around perimeter of cake layer. Pour one half of pureed berry mixture (about 3/4 cup) in center, then spread to cover any exposed cake. Gently spread about one-third of whipped cream (about 1 1/2 cups) over berry layer, leaving 1/2-inch border from edge. Place middle cake layer on top and press down gently (whipped cream layer should become flush with cake edge). Repeat with 20 additional strawberry halves, remaining berry mixture, and half of remaining whipped cream; gently press last cake layer on top. Spread remaining whipped cream over top; decorate with remaining cut strawberries. Serve, or chill for up to 4 hours.

    Saturday, October 8, 2011

    Tuesday Morning (the store)

    Their motto is: "First Quality. Legendary Savings."

    I don't know how many of you have actually been in one of these stores, but I recently found one in my area. Now, I do want to first disclose my bias against these types of liquidated products from department stores and the like, such as Marshalls, TJ Max, etc. I cannot stand shopping in these stores. They stress me out. Like one stand-up comedian said, going into a Ross is like walking through downtown Beirut.. i.e., like a clothing bomb has gone off. These jeans the wrong size? Just throw them to another aisle!!

    So, I was looking for some stuff from Michael's the other day when I noticed a Tuesday Morning store a couple of stores down. I ventured in, wondering what the heck they have in there..

    I walked around in a stupor.. do they really have pajamas and bras on sale from before I was born? Are the kitchen appliances supposed to have dust on them? Are crocheted kitchen towels really still in style? Shouldn't the merchandise at least look new?

    I only lasted for about 5 minutes when I literally ran from the store, vowing to never go in there again.

    Seriously, Tuesday Morning stores are the stores that time forgot.

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    My 1st experience with couponing

    So, I've never been one to clip coupons. I thought it wasn't worth my time, it was mostly processed junk food (and I still think a lot of it is), and it wouldn't benefit my family.

    However, I came across some couponing blogs from women in the Pacific Northwest (Frugal Living NW and Thrifty NW Mom), and I decided that I could spend a little time reading their blogs with deals and clip coupons occasionally. I found a deal to get the Seattle Times for 46 cents per issue (Sundays only), and I started clipping coupons last week.

    I found some free deals on the blog for toothbrushes, and some good deals for cereal with Albertson's doubler coupons.

    So, off I went to Albertson's for cheapo cereal. First mistake: I went right after work, when everybody and their grandma go to the grocery store! Second: I didn't double check the price on the computer. Third: when I noticed how much it cost, it was too busy and I was too scared to ask the cashier if the price was wrong. So, my shopping trip wasn't as productive as I'd hoped.

    Lesson learned: always ask the cashier if the price is different than you thought.

    I remembered this on my trip to Rite-Aid today when my free toothbrush was actually $2. The cashier responded nicely, and it was fixed quickly.

    So, my deals ended up totaling to $7.00 with the following as loot: 2 toothbrushes (including one battery-powered), 1 container of spreadable butter, and 2 boxes of Cheerios.

    Still a good deal even though I didn't get a steal on the Cheerios.

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Heaven on a plate

    Obviously, this is not a food blog or anything close to it. I can't make up my own recipes, nor do I have a good enough camera to take a good food picture in the slightest.

    I do, however, like to try new recipes all the time. Graham likes to brag that we didn't have the same meal twice for the first year of our marriage. That probably isn't true, but it makes me smile.

    Anyways, I've made this slow cooker chicken with lettuce wraps a couple of times before, and it's always been good. This time, I added coconut rice and it put the meal over the top. It was AMAZING.

    Just thought I'd like to share:

    Sweet and Sour Chicken with Mango Lettucs Wraps from A Year of Slow Cooking.

    --We used ground turkey from Costco instead of the chicken, and used apricot-pineapple preserves instead of the mango jam.

    Sweet and Savory Coconut Rice from Our Best Bites.

    --No changes to the recipe. One hint: do NOT use a Le Creuset French Oven to cook rice. It doesn't cook right.

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

    Carter's Creed

    So, apparently Carter is learning to fend for himself at daycare. He got into a fight with an 18-month old baby for a toy, and Carter won. It was a toy vacuum. Was it worth fighting for? Probably not. Carter does have an unhealthy obsession with our vacuum though, but that's a different story.

    Anyways, I was talking to someone about this story at work, and she referred to me a poem called A Toddler's Creed:

    If I want it,
    IT'S MINE!

    If I give it to you and change my mind later,
    IT'S MINE!

    If I can take it away from you,
    IT'S MINE!

    If it's mine it will never belong to anybody else,
    No matter what.
    If we are building something together,
    All the pieces are mine!

    If it looks just like mine,
    IT'S MINE!

    If it breaks or needs putting away,
    IT'S YOURS!


    Yes.. definitely looking forward to the next few years!

    Thursday, September 29, 2011

    The only craft I've ever made..

    So, last year I decided I'd do one crafty thing for Carter before he was born. I decided to hand-sew a felt stocking from Herrschner's. My mom made felt stockings for all of our family growing up, so I figured I would continue the tradition. I really didn't think it would be that hard... until this packet of STUFF showed up in the mail:

    A ton of felt, sequins and string. I didn't even understand what techniques of sewing/embroidering they wanted me to do, and I almost gave up. Graham even had to help me figure out how to correctly sew a sequin on!
    However, after months of long hours on the couch while I was pregnant, watching LOTR with Graham and sewing sequin after sequin, I finally finished (actually my mom helped me finish) the stocking the week after Carter was born. He had a cute stocking ready for his first Christmas:


    Now, if only I could get rid of Graham's perverted stocking and make him a real stocking as well..

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011

    My new obsessions

    Ok, so I'm a little behind on Internet fads, but I blame that on the fact that we didn't have the Internet at home for 2 years..

    So, I'm trading in my internet obsession from Babycenter for 2 new sites:

    Mint & Pinterest

    Babycenter, you were good to me while trying to conceive and while I was pregnant, but I don't need you anymore..

    Mint, I love you, even though you tell me my "net worth" is negative and that I've gone over my budget for clothing.

    Pinterest, you inspire me to be more creative and to surround myself with things that I like.

    Anyways, that is all.

    Sunday, September 25, 2011

    A Recipe Post

    I don't know how many of you have read Amy Sedaris's book, I Like You, but it's this quirky hostess "advice" book. She also has recipes in it, and I tried this one a few months after we got married. It is honestly one of the most delicious and tender chicken recipes I've ever eaten. I highly recommend it, especially if you're into cooking with wine. The combination of red wine and tomatoes is AMAZING.

    Chicken of the Taverns
    Lightly adapted from I Like You
    (serves 4-6)

    Ingredients:
    1 whole chicken (or 3-4# of chicken pieces, skin on)
    4 TB butter (I'm still experimenting with how much I can decrease this)
    2 TB oil (I use olive oil)
    juice of 1 lemon
    salt & pepper

    28 oz can of whole tomatoes
    14 oz can diced tomatoes
    1 onion, thinly sliced
    1 tsp dried oregano
    1 tsp dried marjoram
    1 tsp dried savory (this herb is hard to find--if you can't find it, I originally used "poultry seasoning" in its place and it was still delicious)
    1 bay leaf
    1/2 cup red wine

    Noodles
    Parmesan cheese

    Instructions:
    1) Heat butter and oil in small saucepan. Pour half of oil mixture into a shallow baking pan (I use a 9x13 pan), and rest the chicken pieces on it.
    2) Mix lemon juice in remaining fat and baste chicken. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
    3) Bake chicken at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes.
    4) While chicken is cooking, put tomatoes, onion, herbs, and red wine into a stockpot or Dutch oven. Cook for about 25 minutes and bring to a boil. If you don't like large chunks of tomatoes, break down the whole tomatoes with your spoon near the end of cooking when the tomatoes have softened.
    5) Pour tomato sauce over chicken, reduce oven to 350 degrees F, and bake for 1 hour.
    6) Serve over noodles and top with grated parmesan cheese.

    Enjoy!

    Saturday, September 24, 2011

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    A story for the ages...

    So, I was trying to think of a funny story from my life lately, but there hasn't been anything.

    But, I did remember a hilarious story from my college days at BYU... Let me take you back... 

    The year was 2003. Tisha and I (along with our roommate Meri), lived in a 2-bedroom condo complex in Provo called "Santa Barbara". It was fall semester, so it wasn't quite snowy yet. Tisha and Darren were engaged. I wasn't dating anyone in particular, but I was "having fun". I was working as a manager at good 'ol Hogi Yogi, and I worked every Friday night until midnight.

    Tisha & I on a late-night run to Wal-Mart in 2003.

     So, now you know the background.. Let me get to the real story.

    Tisha, as you may or may not know, has a habit of "collecting" things, whether they be items of clothing (cough cough.. skin tight leather pants..), books, or pets. This year, Tisha had decided to adopt a mouse, which I was cool with because it didn't make noise, it had its own cage, etc. However, Tisha's compulsion to collect things took a wrong turn when she decided to adopt a hamster... that she found on the street.

    That's when the red flags should've popped up.. What kind of hamster/guinea pig do you find on the street? (I mean, besides the thug hamsters in those car commercials.) Seriously.. this isn't Argentina! This hamster/guinea pig/rodent had beady little eyes.. and was totally evil. I could tell he was plotting my death.

    So, we soon found out WHY this rodent had been wandering the streets in Provo. This hamster was an escape artist. He found his way out of his cage many many times. Let me illustrate the scenarios in which this hamster was found:

    1) Tisha had a private room right next to mine and Meri's room. One night as we were getting ready for bed, we heard Tisha scream loudly. We ran in to her room and found her under her bed. Apparently, she had heard some noises under her bed, and when she stuck her head under, the hamster was there staring right at her.

    2) I used to sleep with the door open until this night.. I woke up to some weird noises at 2 AM. The hamster was right near the head of my bed, trying to crawl up on the computer cords and plastic bags that were there.

    3) When the hamster escaped again, I decided to sleep with the door closed. One morning we found a patch of carpet the hamster had worn through to the carpet pad right under our bedroom door. The hamster REALLY wanted to get into my bedroom!

    4) One last time when the hamster was MIA, Tisha left for the weekend. I got home from work late that Friday night. I opened the door and the hamster froze in his tracks, right by the front door. I decided I'd had enough with this sociopathic hamster. I grabbed my umbrella and ushered this hamster out the door.

    I don't know how many of you know the layout of these condos (other than Tisha, Whitney and I), but the condo complex had indoor stairwells for 6 condos. We lived in the basement condo, so this hamster had to get up a flight of stairs and out of of the stairwell's door to get outside. I didn't feel bad for this hamster at all. I kind of hoped he would die. When Tisha got home on Sunday, I lied and told her the hamster escaped. A few days later, I confessed and told her I kicked the hamster out.

    I thought the hamster wouldn't make it.. But I should've known this hamster would somehow convince another sympathetic human to take him in.

    A week later, we were at a neighbor's condo, and this guy said, "Hey check out this hamster we found running free!" It was the same little evil hamster..


    Would you have done the same thing?

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    Carter's Newest Trick: The "Windmill"


    Remember this hole at the mini golf course? It was the hardest one, and the windmill always seemed to swing around RIGHT when your ball was about to go through!

    Well, Carter has decided to imitate this motion and make it nearly impossible to feed him. He holds up his left arm up by his head, and when you bring the spoon to his mouth, he will suddenly swing down his arm, directly hitting the spoon. He gets the food all over his hands, which he then smears everywhere on his high chair and his face. Sometimes we are quicker than he is, but sometimes.. he times it with exact precision and we are unable to prevent it.

    It's hilarious. He thinks it's funny and sometimes I can't stop laughing... but it's getting annoying. Hopefully it is just a phase!

    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    Oh yeah.. THAT'S why we're here!

    Occasionally I will surf the Internet, looking for other Dietitian jobs in Seattle, Portland, and Sacramento. Usually I find crap, like being a Dietitian for the CA prison system..

    But the other day, I got super excited when I found a full-time RD position in Portland with a home health company. I started thinking about being near Graham's family again, living closer to an actual city, being able to get *free* daycare from Graham's aunts, Graham could get an engineering degree from Washington State Vancouver and it wouldn't take as long to graduate, etc. My mind was running a mile a minute and I was thinking about actually putting an application in.

    Then reality hit me like a ton of bricks.. Exactly why did we stay here in Brem Brem?

    The co-op program with the shipyard, which not only allows Graham to work full-time (get paid $15/hr) and get "tenure" with the government, but provides a guaranteed job right out of college with a salary of at least $55K starting off, and also pays for school and student loans.

    My spirit was quickly deflated. Oh well.. my only solace is that we will NOT live here forever!

    Saturday, September 3, 2011

    End of Summer

    So, it's my favorite time of the year..

    The time when I get to put up my FALL decorations. Woohoo!

    There are other reasons I love the fall season coming up this year..

    1) It's almost time that I will stop being a single mom and Graham will be home before 10 PM every night..

    2) Carter is turning 1! But, I haven't decided on birthday stuff yet..

    3) I love the slight chill in the air and the reminder of high school football and cheerleading. I love the turning colors of the leaves and trees.

    4) Sweaters.. although I CAN wear sweaters practically all year long here in the Northwest.

    5) Soups and stews.. More dinner choices..

    Life is boring lately. I work, pick up Carter from daycare, make dinner, work out, and put Carter to bed.. and then wait for Graham to come home.

    I have started working out again, though.. which is definitely a good thing. I freaking hate this baby paunch that remains from my pregnancy. I don't even like to look at my body in the mirror anymore! And, what's with the saggy boobs?!

    What's Carter up to lately? He's learning to "crawl like a man", ie, on all fours.. He still loves his army crawl though. He's started pulling himself up on stuff, which is not fun. He sometimes wakes up in his crib sitting up and crying because he's too tired to lay back down. He still is the cutest boy ever with the happiest disposition ever. He like never cries and is always smiling. His eyes are turning the coolest hazel color. His hair is still blond, and is growing out after his haircut. He is currently sprouting his 6th tooth. He loves ALL food, from quinoa with zucchini to Greek yogurt with fruit. His favorite food has unfortunately become the Graham cracker, which we are limiting to one half-cracker daily. He also is able to drink water from a sippy cup.

    Graham is finishing his ice cream truck driver job next week. He heads back to school on September 19th and is gearing up for a hard core quarter of engineering physics and differential equations. We recently got a new desktop that has enough memory for Graham's engineering programs so he can do homework at home.

    It also means we are getting the internet at home soon.. So I should be posting more.. but like I said, life isn't exactly moving fast here..

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011

    An update

    Carter with mom before church. Doesn't he look like a missionary?


    Below: trying a raw onion. (Yes we are mean parents.)





    Before haircut




    After haircut..

    So.. to all of you faithful readers.. I think you deserve an update on our lives.


    1) We moved to a new place, just across town. Graham was spending about an hour and a half every day in the car driving me to work, Carter to daycare, to school, etc., so we made the decision to move in June. Now, we live 3 minutes from daycare and 5 minutes from my work. It's a 2-story townhouse with more storage and a bigger kitchen, so it's nice. We don't have a view of the water anymore, but it's ok.

    2) Carter is 9 months!! How crazy is that?! He has teeth and he's crawling!

    3) Graham has a summer job as an ice cream man. Graham, Graham, the ice cream man. So random! Too bad the summer SUCKS right now. I think it'll be better in August though. So yeah, Graham works until like 9:3o every night, so I'm a single mom every evening. Carter really misses his dad like crazy and gives him the biggest smiles whenever he comes home.

    4) I am not working weekends this summer due to staffing changes, which would be nice if Graham weren't working every weekend!

    5) I am no longer pumping/breast feeding anymore. Long story, but it got extremely painful, so I stopped cold turkey around the 4th of July. I had rocks for boobs for almost 2 weeks!

    6) Carter is hilarious. He has the happiest disposition as a baby that I've ever seen. He is literally a joy to be around. He does some funny things, like sucking his tongue to comfort himself, crawling around like a wounded soldier and dragging one leg behind him, wrestling with pillows (I wish I could post the video). He is also so sweet. One night when I was holding his bottle, he was running his hand through my hair as he ate. I wanted to die it was so cute!

    7) Carter eats food like a champ. He likes everything, including raw onions (gross I know), lime rinds, and pureed prunes. However, some things he did not like included lime-cilantro rice and beef taco meat. He actually threw up after trying the rice.

    8) I posted this on Facebook, but I wanted to clarify that Graham has 3 more years of school left. The Washington State extension engineering program at our local college only offers classes at specific times, and requires him to go over to Pullman, WA, to the main campus for 2 summers in 2013 and 2014 for labs he can only complete there. Soooo, the extra year SUCKS, but it also allows us to remain here in our town, where Graham can get his school paid for and an guaranteed job out of college. Oh, and Graham is doing very well in school. He's been on the Dean's Honor Roll for 7 out of the last 8 quarters.



    So what are we doing for the rest of the summer?

    1) Graham's sister, Grace, is here this week watching Carter for us while our daycare is closed.

    2) My parents are coming up next week in preparation for their Alaska cruise. Their cruise leaves from Vancouver, British Columbia, so we are going up to Canada next weekend. Carter has his first passport with a giant baby headshot! We are planning on taking a Greyhound bus tour, and I want to walk over this awesome suspension bridge.

    3) Graham turns 26 next week.. I've gotten him some fishing supplies for the salmon season coming up.

    4) Losing weight. Now that I am no longer breastfeeding, I am 0.6 pounds from my pre-baby weight, but my spare tire doesn't agree. I'm slowly but surely trying to lose my gut. Graham has also gained weight rather quickly. When your diet subsists of Costco muffins, 3 bags of Famous Amos cookies, 3 PB&J sandwiches, and Mountain Dew, you can gain a belly even with Graham's metabolism. I am also trying to get the motivation to exercise, but it's been difficult. I almost always choose time with Carter over exercise.

    5) Nothing! Graham is working 5 afternoons/evenings a week, and he has Scouts the other nights. Sucky summer.. but it's ok.


    Hope you all are doing well. I'll try to post more pictures of Carter.

    Sunday, April 3, 2011

    My experiences with "alternative" medicine...

    So, I guess I should actually write a blog about life huh? Hmmm.. what is interesting about my life... Somebody at the hospital I work at was selling these certificates for $20 for a 30 minute massage, 30 minute acupuncture, and chiropractic exam at a wellness center.. so I jumped on it. I've been having a weird tingling in my left shoulder blade since I had Carter, so I figured I should get it checked out. My being a total skeptic has to be put aside for a bit and just enjoy the ride.. Anyways, the chiropractic adjustment was AWESOME. It was the best freaking back and neck cracks in my life. What can I say.. I'm a crackwhore! Interesting note: I got all dressed up in normal clothes and put on makeup and perfume for my appointment, and Graham accused me of getting all sexy for the chiropractor. Mind you, I didn't even know who the chiro was, man or woman. It was pretty funny when I found out it was a young, fairly attractive male. Graham hasn't stopped teasing me about it yet. The acupuncture was interesting. It didn't hurt at all, and I could barely even feel the needles. It was quite relaxing, because I felt like I'd just woken up from a deep sleep. Did it make a difference? No, not at all, but it felt good. I got a massage, and not only was it lame, it was also only for 15 minutes because my chiro appointment was running late. Yeah, I know it was a cheap deal and all, but come on! So, now this chiropractic/wellness office keeps bugging me to come back. The treatment plan for chiropractic adjustments included some visits of up to 3 times in a week, which would be $30 a session, and that is AFTER my insurance coverage. Uhhh.. I have a kid in daycare and there is NO WAY I can keep that up. Yeah, don't think I'll be going back anytime soon, and I think I'll be avoiding all calls from now on.

    Thursday, March 31, 2011

    I know..


    I need to post more than just pictures. Anyways, please ignore the giant arm and enjoy Carter..

    Tuesday, March 29, 2011

    Sorry


    So the video doesn't work.. sorry! Here is a picture of Carter on his toy instead.

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    5 months!

    So we bought this jumper/exersaucer yesterday from Wal-Mart. Needless to say, it was worth every penny. I had to take a video because he was sooooo excited. He was making his "excited" noise. Love this kid!

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

    4 months!


    Yes, Carter just loves to scratch his face, no matter how much I clip his nails.

    Monday, February 28, 2011

    Musings on Motherhood, Part 3

    Mommy Guilt...

    So it turns out that motherhood is full of inherent guilt trips.. If you don’t do this, you feel guilty.. Or if you do that, you feel even more guilty.. So how does it all even out?

    I’m not gonna lie, I knew the first few months after Carter was born would be hard.. but they were harder than I expected. Like I said before, I felt like I had lost a part of myself after having a baby. But I didn’t expect to feel so much guilt for what I was doing.

    I felt guilty first off for not feeling an immediate connection with my baby. Sure, I loved him, but I kept thinking to myself, shouldn’t I just be gushing with joy at this moment?

    Then I felt guilty for not liking breastfeeding. I thought I would like it, but it was a struggle and not a joyful time. I knew I should keep doing it for my baby, but I couldn’t shake the guilty feeling for not enjoying that special time with Carter.

    Then I would feel guilty for forgetting that I had a child. He slept in our room in the Pack ‘n Play for the first 8 weeks, right next to my side of the bed. He would start fussing, and wake me up from a deep sleep, and I would immediately felt guilty for actually forgetting that I had gone through labor, my pregnancy was done, and that my child was actually right next to me. It’s like my dreams ignored that big event in my life. I felt bad that I wasn’t dreaming about Carter and that the dream version of me didn’t have a kid.

    I still feel guilty for not wanting to spend every waking moment with my baby. Sometimes, I just want to be by myself, taking a bath, or reading a book. I work full-time, and sometimes I just want to relax. Then I remember how blessed we are to have a healthy and happy baby, and I feel guilty for ever having these thoughts.

    So, is this a lifetime problem? Will I always look back at my kids’ lives and wonder if it was me that made them turn out a certain way?

    Friday, February 4, 2011

    Musings on Motherhood, Part 2

    Ok, so what I’m learning about being a mom is that I need to be less selfish.

    I guess that’s why it is in God’s plan for us to have children. We can become more and more like him with each passing day.. if we can handle it.

    To have a child, I gave up my body. The stretch marks and spare tire prove it.

    I gave up my time. I spent many hours at the doctor’s office, more hours on the couch due to my swollen ankles, and hours spent on Babycenter or reading materials about pregnancy, babies, and the like.

    I gave up my money. My hospital bill was over $20K.. Good thing I have good insurance! I also am investing significant money in daycare monthly.

    But my goodness.. I do not want to give up my sleep!

    Anyways, during my maternity leave, I put so much into Carter I felt like I lost myself. I didn’t wear makeup for months. I could not cook or bake. I hardly even laughed or made jokes. I felt so drained from my responsbilities and the pressure to be completely selfless and focused on the baby that I lost my sight of the big picture—i.e. raising a well-adjusted child while I can stay sane. I even worried if I had post-partum depression.

    So yeah.. the last week of my maternity leave, things finally started to normalize (is that a word?). And when I went back to work, I actually felt like myself again.. except I had added a new adjective to my description: mom.

    I may not be selfless yet, or not even close, but I’m at least trying..

    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    Thursday, January 27, 2011

    Musings on Motherhood

    Being a mom has actually taught me a lot about myself and life.. and I’ve only been one for 3 months now. I want to share some of my insights over the next few posts..

    Ok, I’ll admit it. I hate breastfeeding. I was prepared for how long it would take. I was prepared that it would be hard. I was prepared that it may hurt. I thought I was prepared for all of it, but I wasn’t... not even close. It was exhausting!

    When Carter got hungry, I had to get all prepared..
    1) Grab the Boppy
    2) Get the nipple shield
    3) Apply the nipple shield (which would take at least 30 seconds to a couple minutes to put the nipple shield on because it would pop off)
    4) Soothe crying baby--by that time, Carter would be crying hungrily, so I had to deal with red-faced baby who was so mad he didn’t want to latch on… Then, he’d latch on, but he’d start whining/crying within a minute because the milk wouldn’t let down fast enough;
    5) Sit on the couch while he’d eat for 45 minutes to an hour while I sit and watch TV;
    6) Wait 1-2 hours and repeat.

    It was just too frustrating! I felt like I never got a break. I was a milk machine.. and I guess I still am. I would actually dread feeding time because it was such a battle. Plus, and this may be TMI, my nipples were so sore I wanted to scream even if my shirt or bra rubbed against them. The actual act of breastfeeding doesn't hurt, but it does do a number on your boobs. I thought I would enjoy breastfeeding for the cuddle time and the closeness with my baby, but I didn’t. Not at all.

    We got off to a bad start with me being on magnesium sulfate during my labor, which causes babies to be lazy eaters.. and then with my milk coming in late.. and then with Carter getting jaundice and having to supplement with formula until my milk came in… Ugh. Also, I’m a very private person, so I am not comfortable with breastfeeding in public. I should’ve known or expected that!

    Right now, I am strictly pumping, and actually enjoy that much better. I think I might do that next time around too. Then, we both can enjoy feeding time together. My baby can get the nutrients from breastmilk, and I can have a less stressful feeding method with bottles. Plus, I still reap the benefits of breastfeeding (i.e. burning 500-700 calories in a day).

    I am jealous of those women to whom breastfeeding came so easily, but then again I’m not. I’m not tied down to the couch anymore, and it doesn’t take an hour to feed my baby. However, I do feel like I am constantly hooked up to the pump, but that is an acceptable price to pay for my sanity.

    I am fiery hot with anger

    I wish I had more news to share. This process has been so painfully slow that I want to scream, or cry.. or both. I know we will have a hom...