Saturday, January 29, 2011

Peanut's birthday

I wasn't sure whether to do a birth post or not, but since many of you asked, here's Peanut's birth story (no worries, I won't get gross on you).

Friday morning Jon and I woke up early to get ready for my 41 week appointment.  I decided that since I was already showered and dressed, we should take a 41 week picture.

P-nizzle, 41 weeks in my belly
We made it to the New Haven doctor's office as scheduled and got to see our little Peanut on the Ultrasound machine.  As usual, she was moving around and kicking.  Next, I was hooked up to the stress test to watch the baby's heart rate since I was past my due date.

Jon and I settled in for the 25 minute test and were chatting eagerly when I suddenly felt very uncomfortable and my belly got really hard.  We looked at the machine and it showed that I had a contraction.  I'm not going to lie, we got a little excited.  The midwife came by, looked at the monitor and told us to hang out for another 30 minutes or so to monitor the contractions.  Shockingly, they kept coming on average every 5 minutes and were getting stronger.  We were so excited!  Who else goes into labor while at the doctor's office?

41 weeks
After 30 minutes and continuing contractions, I was checked over and told that I was likely starting labor and should hang out close by since there was quiet a bit of snow on the ground.  Jon and I decided to go to IKEA nearby and grab some meatballs for lunch and see how things go.  By the time we finished our meatballs, the contractions stopped coming and we decided to head home, disappointed.

I sent reluctant Jon in to the office with promises that I would call him as soon as I felt anything and logged on to my work computer to get some stuff done.

Around 3pm I started feeling the same as I did at the hospital and messaged Jon.  By 4pm the contractions were getting stronger and closer together so Jon decided to head home.  We were both still excited (obviously I was in very early labor).

The rest of the evening was uneventful - the contractions kept getting stronger and closer together.  I was no longer all that excited.  I also started - how do I put this nicely - leaking.  Little did I know, I had broken my water.

By 11pm we headed to the hospital with strong contractions between 2-3 minutes apart.  We were checked over and admitted.  The rest of the evening is a bit of a blur as I was in ridiculous amount of pain.  I know that by 2 am I asked for an epidural because I couldn't take the pain anymore (ps- I had back labor as well, which, if anyone had it, is not fun).  Lucky for me (sarcasm doesn't work well online...but that was a sarcastic statement), there were about 13 other ladies in labor at the time being and 5 of them asked for an epidural minutes before me.  I continued "dealing" with my pain until about 3:30am when the anesthesiologist (yes, I used spell check for that one) finally got to me.  Honestly, at that point I was willing to do anything to get it.  Once the epidural was in I was told that it would take another 5 contractions for me to start feeling some relief and I am pretty sure that I cried.

Admitted and hooked up to all the monitoring machines.  Yep, we took a picture.
Right after we got to the hospital.  I have no idea how I managed a smile between those contractions.
The midwife came by to check on my progress as soon as the epi was in and smiled at me because it was time to start pushing.  I think I cried again.  Or begged for everything to just stop.  Then I think I pleaded with everyone that maybe they were wrong and it wasn't time because there was no way I was ready to have a baby.  I may have cried a lot.  But Peanut was ready and apparently so was I (obviously not mentally) and so we proceeded.

The next part took about 3 and half hours.  After about an hour and a half Peanut's heartbeat started decreasing with every push and everyone started paying way too much attention to what I was doing.  I got nervous and tried my best to be a trooper for her although I am pretty sure there were times when I pleaded with Jon to make it all just stop.  At 7am (3 hours of pushing) the doctors were crowding and talking about some alternatives to help the baby along, starting with some Pitocin.  I refused to take any drugs and asked for a few more minutes to see if I could do it.  Thankfully, Peanut's heartbeat evened out and she finally joined us at 7:35am.

There were a bunch of tears, a lot of kissing, and some more pain on my end as we finished the whole birthing thing.  Then everyone left us for a couple of hours to bond as a family. 

Peanut - 1 day old
I'll tell ya about the first 36 hours and our first day home in the posts to follow.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Survey results

Thanks for playing gang! Here are my answers and the results of the Survey from Friday's post.

 I don't commit either - in case you don't know me by now, commitment is not exactly my thing.

Gang, I love your answers.  Apparently I missed a whole bunch of fun stuff like dance and Zumba!  My favorite activity pre-pregnancy was definitely running.  After the first few months of pregnancy, I switched to walking.  I can't wait to start running again!

I'm into a variety of things - shocker, I know.  Did you notice that most of my answers had that option?  By the way - thanks for your fun comments on this one.  As for whomever put down that their husband cooks their meals for them - please e-mail me a.s.a.p. with training guidelines to get mine to do that.  PS- ramen noodles don't count.

Wine, wine, wine.  Oh and another glass of wine please!  Can we say how excited I am that I can have a glass of wine in the evening again?  So far I've only tried about half a glass because I'm a paranoid freak and have absolutely no tolerance anymore, but OH MY DID IT TASTE GOOD!  PS- Spiked hot chocolate? What?! Why didn't I try that before?

Alright, so 1/23 was a popular answer and you were close!  To those of you who guessed 1/22 - congrats!  You're winners.  Your prize - more picture of Peanut!  Enjoy.

PPS - Don't you love how awesome the 50mm lens is working out?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Peanut is here!

Hello blog world! Sorry for being MIA but I totally have an awesome excuse - Peanut is finally here!

I'll keep this post short since I'm holding the baby and typing with one hand.

I (finally!) went into labor on Friday afternoon after a short false alarm earlier that morning.  We made our way to the hospital around 11:30 that evening and were admitted to Labor & Delivery.  Peanut was born on Saturday morning (1/22/2011) at 7:35 am.

Addison Haley King is 6 pounds and 5.5 ounces and 19 inches long.  The first thing Jon and I both said (after all the tears of happiness) was that she really looks like a little Peanut!

Needless to say, we are absolutely smitten with her.  We can't get enough of her. 

And yes - we did end up using both outfits because, shocker, I couldn't resist dressing her up right away.

As we get adjusted I have lots more to post (including the survey results!).  As for right now, Jon and I will be here, staring at our little Peanut.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The waiting game

While we wait, I have a fun little random survey for you guys and gals.

I'll post the results and my answers Sunday!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chocolate cookies and walnuts

All I want these days is cookies.

It's not like I'm pregnant or anything.

Here's a recipe for some absolutely delicious Chocolate cookies with walnuts.

What you'll need
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
What to do

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine butter and both sugars.

Use a stand-up mixer, like the one I'd dying to get, or a hand mixer to mix the ingredients.  Beat on medium for about 2-3 minutes until it looks fluffy.

Resist the urge to eat the mix with a spoon.  Are you listening?  Resist the urge!  Ugh, now you have to start all over.

Add vanilla and egg and beat it some more.  Then sing Michael Jackson's "Beat It" song to yourself.  Maybe do a little hip swivel.

In a separate bowl mix flour, baking powder, and cocoa powder.

Then mix it in with the butter and sugar mixture.  Mix everything until it looks like it's incorporated.  Add walnuts.

Grab a baking sheet or two (you'll probably need two) and either line them with some parchment paper or get yourself one of these guys.

That's right folks.  I've been sulking and whining and begging that I needed the Silpat baking mat and the cookie scoop for, like, a year!  Guess what was in my stocking this year?  Thanks, hubs!  Apparently asking directly over and over and over again for a year does get my point across.

Anyways, scoop the cookie dough onto the cookie sheets.

Space them about 2 inches apart so they don't crowd each other.  Cookies don't like to be crowded.  They like space.  And butter.

Stick the whole shindig on a middle rack in the oven for 8-10 minutes (I prefer 8 because I like mine soft).

Remove and place on a cookie rack to cool off.

Stuff every one of them in your mouth as quickly as you can before your husband notices the delicious cookie smell.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Christmas gift review - Canon 50mm lens

I'm still showing off my Christmas gifts.  Next up is my new and shiny Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 Camera lens. 

Guess who got to be the guinea pig for my new toy?

Poor Travis - I wonder if he even has eye sight anymore after all the pictures that I take of him.  I'm sure he does.

Once I got bored of taking pictures of the dogs, I realized that I have all this fun baby stuff that I can take pictures of.

And pretty little girlie bows.

Isn't life exciting?

Perhaps I need to get a new life.


Let's talk about the lens.

It's so freakin' tiny!  And cute!  Now, I know this isn't the reason to go and buy a lens but it's just so darn cute!  I love it.

Here's what I do like about it:
Pictures of objects up close come out super sharp and the settings allow you to choose how much you want to blur the images in the background.  Check this out:

Pretty sweet!  I'm still learning about the settings and choosing my focal points, but it's a start.

This lens is not super expensive, which is appealing. But it does allow you to take great pictures of objects up close (i.e. tiny little baby fingers and toes).  It's also great for portraits or some sharp and creative weddings shots.

The down fall is that it's only good for one distance.  This can be hard to face when you spend $$ on a lens, but after doing a bunch of research on what was right for me (portraits, weddings, baby toes), I decided this was a perfect fit.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Artichokes with garlic butter

I want to tell you a story.  This is a story about a boy, a girl, and artichokes.

Way back in the day when Jon and I were just roommates, we used to hang out in front of the TV on Sunday nights, eating our dinner.  Since we were just friends we didn't always eat the same thing.  One of these Sundays Jon decided to buy, steam and eat some artichokes.  When he returned from the store I looked at his purchase with uncertainty.  He had a bag with this green, sharp plant.  I asked him what it was and he announced that they were artichokes.  I asked him what an artichoke was (English is my second language, leave me alone).  He explained that it was a cactus.  Then I asked him what he intended to do with this 'cactus.'  And he told me that he was going to eat it.  I was outraged.

An hour or so later Jon steamed his artichoke, melted the butter, and set up the whole weird scene on the coffee table in front of him.  We turned on the Simpsons.  I sat there, staring at Jon, wondering what he was going to do with the cactus.  That's when Jon ripped off a leaf, dipped it in the butter, and bit off the end.

I stopped watching TV and watched this weird American creature eating a cactus.

Jon continued, eating a little more of the cactus as the leaves got closer to the middle (or the heart) of the artichoke.

Freakin' weirdo.

But he had my interest.  I didn't eat the artichoke then nor the second time he had one.  But by the time we decided to start dating, I decided to give the cactus a try.

Boy, am I glad I did!  They are amazing!

Since then we've altered the recipe a bit (we added garlic to the butter) and perfected our cooking methods.  But the cactus (I can never remember to say artichoke) is still among our favorite, easy and somewhat healthy meals (hey, at least it's a vegetable).

I'm going to start by saying that if you are interested in being around people later on or have any intention of being intimate with your partner, do not make this.  However, if you plan to keep vampires away, by all means, make this.

These are artichokes.

Hello, gorgeous.  I love thee.

This is my husband, cutting the stems off the artichokes.

Hello, handsome.

Now that we've all met, let's get right into it.

What you'll need
  • 4 artichokes
  • Garlic (however much you want)
  • Butter (however much you want, usually about 1/2 cup)
Start by cleaning up the artichokes.  Cut off the stems (shown above), remove a couple of the outside leaves,

and cut off the top.

Rinse the artichokes.

Then stick them in a rather large pot of boiling water to steam (you'll need a steamer insert) for about 45 minutes to an hour.

While these are steaming, you can prepare the butter and garlic.  This is a tough one.  Chop or press the garlic and put in a large amount of butter.

Phew.  That was hard.  I think I need a break.  And a glass of wine.

If you're like me and the sight of 1/2 cup of butter makes you have images of your husband dying a terrible death by high cholesterol, you can substitute regular butter with the 65% vegetable oil, heart-healthy stuff.  We actually prefer it because it's saltier. And we love salt.

To finish, just zap the whole thing in the microwave at 50% power level for about 1 minute.  I'd save this part until the artichokes are almost ready.

Now check the artichokes.

You'll know they're ready when you can easily insert the tip of a sharp knife into the heart (where you cut off the stem) of the artichoke.  It should feel super soft.  These are perfect.

Grab the artichokes and the butter and set up shop in front of the TV (not much has changed).

Now I'll teach you about eating an artichoke.

Rip off the leaf and dip it in the garlic butter.

Insert the end of the leaf into mouth.

Then use your teeth to scrape the soft part of the leaf (only eat as far as the soft part goes), then throw out the rest.


When you get toward the end,

be careful not to eat any of the spiky stuff.  Remove the rest of the leaves and use a spoon to clean up the heart.

Use the spoon to make a circle around the edges.

Throw out all the spiky, icky stuff.

This is the best part.  Cut this up into pieces, dip into lots of butter and enjoy.

The end result should look something like this.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you eat a cactus.


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