Sunday, December 29, 2013

Planning for better

I was doing really well with my 30 Days of Thanks and then life struck. When it rains it pours and sometimes it's hard to do anything but subsist and survive. We all are fine though and in good health and spirits. People are truly resilient creatures. 

There is so much to write though. I did a lot of baking for the holidays with delicious goodies from my Foodie Penpal and started a new hobby. There is also the awesomeness that is Bug's Christmas kitchen with a little image tutorial. Let's just say we are awesome Santa's elves. 

I'm excited to start moving forward with blogging and life in 2014. It's going to be a fun year and I am planning for better this time. I don't plan much but I decided to try and think of what I'd like my life and home to be more like. It's not super fun and it's kind of overwhelming but I think avoiding it just makes me feels stuck and in a rut. 

My hopes are that I can plan my way into a more fulfilling life. I'm pretty fulfilled and happy now but there are always areas for improvement. My Dad always said that you never stop learning and to some extent hats true. I know I find joy in learning and experiencing new things. I just haven't made it a high enough priority this last year. 

I have a habit of collecting self help or inspirational books and journals. I skim them with the best intentions but they never leave the shelf. I hope to change that this year. I'm inspired to make changes. 
I have all the tools but now I need to find the time. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Momma's Night Out

Today I am super thankful for Momma's night out with one of my nearest and dearest friends, April.  April and I worked together for over two years. We grew a lot together and through the course of our employment, we formed a strong bond.  She's one of my closest friend and I love her to death.  We have similar ideas, we can tell each other our opinions and I just love her.  We always laugh and enjoy ourselves together and we can comfort each other during the dark and difficult times too; we have seen each other at our best and worst. April is my sister fom another mister.

I think what sealed our friendship is our journey toward motherhood.  When I was pregnant  we would talk about everything that was going on.  The day after my baby shower, when I was about 7-8 months along, April surprised everyone, including herself, by announcing she was pregnant! It was awesome.  Our children are now six months apart but we can share so much about parenting and life together.  I really appreciate having her around.   We don't work together anymore, she's lucky and blessed to be a stay at home mom in a far off town, but whenever I can I drag her away from her beautiful family and make her do things with me.  We've driven to LA to see New Kids on the Block and tonight we went on a whole new adventure.

Tonight, we got lost trying to avoid horrible traffic on the way to wine and canvas night.  It was part technological error, part me.  It was a whole lot of fun.  We talked and laughed and experienced something completely new...painting.  It's difficult to hold your wine glass in one hand and paint brush in the other when you are trying to blend and shade colors that look like they make no sense.

We drank wine and ate delicious cheeses while we chit chatted about dinner parties, weddings, babies and our families.  It was a night to relax and enjoy ourselves outside of our husbands and babies.  It was a time to reconnect and rejuvenate. It was wonderful and I can't wait to do it again.  It's nice to find people who refill your spirit bank and help you to feel renewed again.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Time for Faith

"Because of your little faith.
Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you will say to this mountain,
"Move from here to there," and it will move.
Nothing will be impossible for you." - Matthew 17:14-20

Today, I am thankful for my faith and the peace it brings me.  Regardless of the size of my faith, I know it is mine and that I am loved.  I am truly blessed in this life I have been given.  I'm fine and so is my family.  While life isn't meant for the timid and somedays prove more challenging than others; I take comfort in all the blessings I have and realize that I am never truly alone even when I feel it the most.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Sneaky Squirrel

Today I am thankful for my son's laughter while we play the sneaky squirrel game on our first family game night. It's the best thing I've ever heard and it makes my heart happy. 

Today for numerous reasons heightened by hormones I was in a really bad mood.  I was irritated by life the moment I woke up.  I was tired from not sleeping well at night.  I was sore from being smushed in my bed by the tiny Bug, he takes up so much room. I was flustered that I was bloated and clothes didn't feel right. It sucked. 

Once I was at work it just spiraled. I was irritated at the thought of my day and dealing with this copier project and roll out.  I was just over it.  I also was missing my boss who was sick today.  She always brings a levity to the office and her laughter and energy perk me up.  I was just missing my normal and wanting more weekend.

Tonight, I had a casserole all made up and ready for the oven when I came home.  I was thankful for that Tator Tot Shepherds Pie, the recipe is easy and to taste below. It gave me the opportunity to grab a glass of wine, relax and play with my baby.  An easy worry free evening of bonding and playing a game.  It was like the me of yesterday gifted me of today with a delicious, warm, home cooked meal and quality time with my little family to make up for the stressful crap of today.  The me of yesterday was so thoughtful.  I hope she comes back again soon.

Tator Tot Shepherds Pie

These are all rough measurements depending on personal preference. This also makes a huge batch, like two 9x9s.

2 lbs ground beef
4 cans cut green beans
A small can of corn
A small can of peas
2 cans cream of mushroom
A medium sweet onion diced
2 carrots fine dice
HP sauce or Worchestershire sauce
Shredded Cheese
Tator Tots

Sauté the onions, carrots, and ground beef, seasoning to taste with salt, pepper, garlic salt, etcetera.

Add in the rest of the vegetables, cream of mushroom soup, and the HP Sauce (to taste).  When fully mixed week, place into baking dishes and top with shredded cheese.  (Two 9x9s used roughly 2 cups.)

Top with the Tator tots and bake for about 20 minutes at 450 degrees or until golden and toasty.  

To prep for later cooking right out of the fridge, bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes uncovered and 10 minutes covered.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Momma's Back!

Tonight is short and sweet because I've been "living the fat pig" as my momma would say.  It's her version of living high on the hog.  My mom comes up with all kinds of wonderful sayings that make me laugh so much. I keep track of them and pull them out whenever I need a pick me up.

As I mentioned previously my mom was on a trip to Chicago for my cousin's marathon.  Tonight she came home and told us all about the wonderful time she had connecting with her sisters and her niece.  It's a good reminder about investing in your relationships with family; to continue with that theme we had a welcome home family dinner. I am thankful for family dinners. 

My sister Allie's boyfriend Joe and I cooked.  It's a really simple but impressive meal.  We started off with delicious fresh French bread and butter.  The butter is from Wisconsin and is very creamy and has a great flavor. Next we made Marcella Hazan's simple spaghetti sauce. It's ridiculous how easy it is; San Marzano tomatoes, butter, and a cut onion simmered together into a glorious and rich sauce.  Ugh! I love it way too much for my own good.  My favorite pictures and version come from Smitten Kitchen. Their take can be found here:

Joe is quite the gourmand and his favorite version adds a small bit of thinly sliced red onions and parsley marinated in red wine vinegar. It really adds a little something extra to enhance the dish.  Since he prepared it for me I haven't gone back to just the sauce alone.

We added a simple arugula, lemon and Parmesan salad with a spicy Italian sausage link.  Red wine was of course abundant.  I had saved two bottles of wine for +6 years and broken them out.  They were the '07 and '08 Reserve Shiraz from Yellowtail vineyard and even though they were the same wine they were night and day in flavor. The 2007 was acidic with strong notes of tobacco and leather to me.  The 2008 was sweeter and smoother with more fruit.  

It was a great way o relax and reconnect with each other.  I wish my other siblings had been there. I really relish having all my people together in one place.  Hopefully soon we can all get on the same page and coordinate our calendar. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Take a picture, it'll last longer

Today was another busy day.  We had our family photos scheduled for this afternoon with our neighbor Shae.  She is a fantastic photographer and she takes pictures of my family that will last forever.  You can find her at

I always go into my photography shoots planning something "timeless" because I know, ok I hope, these pictures will be passed down to my grandchildren and beyond. I want them to have pictures of us as we were. It's a little bit of me they can keep forever. I feel it's important because people are on loan, you never know when they will be gone.  The only things I have now of my grandparents are pictures and sadly there aren't enough for my liking.  I want to change that for my family.  I'm thankful I have the money and time to take such beautiful keepsakes. More importantly I am thankful for the photos themselves. One day my Bug will be a grown man with a life and family of his own but these pictures will remind me of when he was all mine.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Thankful for it all

TheToday has been such a wonderful and blessed day.  I woke up to a smiling and cheerful little Bug in my face saying , "Hi Momma!"

We went to Bug's toddler soccer practice and they had their first team picture and a little scrimmage. They look like little bees running around together. It melts my little heart to see Bug have fun learning new things and making friends.

After soccer we had a really nice brunch with my Dad, Sister Allie and her boyfriend Joe.  We always have a good time eating and talking about news stories. I had a delicious tri-tip and eggs. OMG it was delicious.  If you are ever in San Diego you need to go to Cali Comfort.  Their BBQ is so much better than Phil's; both are tasty but I'd take Cali Comfort over Phil's any day. 

On the way home the Bug fell asleep and took a glorious several hour nap whil I got ready for date night.  My hubby knows how much I love Harry Potter and he surprised me with tickets to the Potted Potter play at the Balboa Theater. Allie and Joe were kind enough to have a night in with Bug so we could be out on the town for a bit. It's fun to trade spots with them every so often. We get a taste of single com and they get a feel for the family life.  

After Potted Potter, my love took me for an amazing dinner at Bankers Hill.  This place is another must eat at establishment.  The service is wonderful, the bartender Christian is so knowledgable and talented, oh and the food is incredible.  We started off with a few cocktails and appetizers.  The bacon and orange marmalade "bruschetta" is to die for.  I wish we had ordered two servings; it was that good.  The toast was lightly grilled and topped with a goat cheese, orange and bacon marmalade with a frisée and apple salad on top.  I can't rave enough about this dish! I may go back tomorrow for more.  We followed this up with a delicate but delicious pear salad with pomegranate, goat cheese and honey over watercress. It was a solid dish but I still want more bruschetta.

My main course was a seasonal dish of fresh gnocchi and rosemary chicken meatballs with mushrooms and pumpkin.  It was so flavorful and filling but not too overwhelming.  It was a good portion but I wish there was more. I had to stop myself from licking my plate clean.  My Honey had a chipotle meatloaf over broccolini and scalloped potatoes. He let me have a few bites and his dish was tasty too.

The highlight of my evening was a cocktail.  My hubby has really been delving into whiskey, bourbons and scotch but they seem to strong for me.  I am always on the lookout for an approachable cocktail that we could share and help me understand his passion for the hooch.  I finally found one and it wasn't too girly either.  While I was at the vpbar chatting with the bartender we were discussing different bitter and a cocktail that was on the menu and how the bartender, Christian, would change it up for me. The original drink was called The Revolver and was a bourbon, coffee liquor, orange bitters and a orange rind.  Christian said he'd change it to a smoker scotch and exchange the orange bitters for a chocolate mole bitters.  It sounded wonderful so I ordered one and then another.  The smokiness of the Bomar Scotch paired beautifully with the bitters and liquor.  There was a smoky, salty and fresh smell that melded into a smooth drink with a strong smokiness on the back end.  It was the best cocktail I have had in a long time.  

Lastly, we ordered some desserts.  

A chocolate coconut tart with espresso gelato and kettle corn and....

A butterscotch pudding topped with creme fraiche, toffee and shortbread.

They were amazing but probably a little much.  The pudding was hands down the favorite.  I loved the flavors and textures between the pudding, creme and the shortbread.  It was perfect.

I am so thankful for days like today.  These days make all the other ones worth suffering through. Again, I am blessed. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

When Yaya's Away...

My mom, Bug's Yaya, is on a little vacation. My cousin is running in a big marathon this weekend in Chicago and my mom went with some of my aunts to cheer Les on.  This is an awesome experience for my mom and I am so excited for her.  My mom is Bug's primary caregiver while we are at work and I am really lucky that I have my mom to rely on.

Since my mom is on her little vacation we were really thankful the my sister Allie and Dad stepped in to watch Bug today.  They went to the Scripps Aquarium for a fun date just the three of them.  I have to say I have a fantastic support system and I am so thankful to have my sister Allie fight to watch Bug.

My son has a great relationship with my siblings and they each play a special role in his life but Bug and Allie are a team.  They love hard and fight hard.  They love to be with each other. They bake, they practice soccer, they do everything together.  Allie is his other mom when I can't be there and I'm greatful.  I love for the pictures of his day that she sends me occasionally or the videos of him fighting sleep or playing tricks on her.  

They are too cute together. It cracks me up to have Bug tell me about Auntie Allie or Ah-Yi as he calls her.  He will purposefully ignore her to make he mad but he cries whenever he isn't with her and he talks about her all the time.  He pines for her.  They are so close.

It's nice to take time to give thanks for the people around you and the roles they play and the ways they help you function.  Thank you Allie for all you do for Mr. Noodle and our little family.  We are so blessed to have you there for us.  We love you.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Momma's Night Off

Tonight I am really thankful for a surprise Momma's night off from cooking.  My hubs was craving his Mom's spaghetti and in his house, only he knows how to make it.  My spaghetti recipes, and there are several, are just to fancy for him. Even the basic ones won't do when you want frozen meatballs with Prego. 

I can't blame him though; his spaghetti is quicker, easier, and just as delicious. He will have to share his recipe of opening packages some day but tonight I am feeling so loved and special.  Being pampered by the person you love making you dinner, especially a delicious comfort meal complete with a clean kitchen and washed dishes...every adults dream come true.  I really lucked out.

Tonight was also Bug's first time really feeding himself Spaghetti. It was adorable to watch the struggle.  I learned that forks are optional; they are only used to help move the noodles from the messy bowl so you can pluck them off piece by piece. I tried it my self and it was kind of fun.  I had a fabulous night tonight. I have a messy little love bug and a sweet, caring honeybun.  This momma is really blessed. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Nothing is more important

Today was long day. I'm incredibly tired. The Bug is crying and refuses to go to sleep. He's had a long day. 

This afternoon was Bug's two year check up and everything with him is perfect. I am so thankful for his good health and growth.  It's something you take for granted until it's gone.  I have an old co-worker who has a son just a few years older than Bug who has been battling childhood cancer for over a year.  The family recently got great news that there is no evidence of disease left.  It's every parents worst nightmare and even though my son is happy, healthy, and thriving I am always afraid something horrible is around the bend.

Tonight I will snuggle my cranky son and thank God he's here, attitude and all, and he's healthy.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Today I am thankful for Dr. Kimberly Ventus Darks. As I mentioned previously I went to a women's conference with Dr. Kim a few weeks.  It was a life changing experience.   Dr. Kim is phenomenal and entertaining.  Her personality is almost as big as her hair!

I had no expectations for the day and I left feeling so fulfilled but I can't really explain what happened.  I know I was up in the front of the seminar so I participated a lot.  One of Dr. Kim's quirks, and there are several, was petting me constantly.  It was odd but I was willing to flow with it.  She petted lots of people in my seminar but I seemed to be her favorite.  She was drawn to playing with my hair, holding my hand and just touching me.  I've been listening to her seminar in the car the last few days while I was driving and I wonder now if it's part of her testing people's boundaries. I could have always said no or please stop touching me but I honestly didn't mind. In fact, having my arm petted like Mr. Bigglesworth just seemed like it was part of the process and experience.  The woman is freakin brilliant, entertaining, and wise.  I felt like I was part of something special and was soaking in every word. I didn't want to disrupt her flow. The one time my hand was unavailable to her I did throw off her flow and she mentioned it.  I thought it was hilarious and promptly replaced my hand in hers.  I felt a connection to her and the material.  It was a powerful experience and I relish it now weeks later.

Dr. Kim constantly says, "Flow with me" when she is getting to a point you need to take notice on. My favorite point was, "If you always do what you have always done you will always get what you have always got. If you want something that you have never had then you need to do something that you have never done!" It sounds funny at first but it's absolutely truthful.  You can't expect things to change unless you do too. She also makes you turn to your neighbor and repeat what she says.  It's fun and helps with retention. When I had to do an impersonation of this wonderful woman the first thing I thought of was to ask the attendees to turn to their neighbors and say, "This has been an strange day."  Dr. Kim had made us say it earlier on and she was was and it was wonderful.

I can't and won't give too much of the experience wih Dr. Kim away.  I fully wish everyone had the opportunity to experience this woman.  I truly feel like I have learned a lot from her and my life is going to be better for having met her and learned at her feet.  I hope that one day I can pass on her wisdom to my own family and friends. I'm thankful for her and the time we had together. It has made a difference in me. 

You can find more of Dr. Kim at

Monday, November 4, 2013

Egg-celent Mornings

It's time to bring the food back to the blog. One thing I am currently doing is weight watchers. I'm not unhappy with my weight really but my friend April was doing WW and rocking it so I thought I'd try it. I thought at the very least it would teach me good eating habits to pass on to Bug.

I suck at eating breakfasts. I have never really enjoyed breakfasts and eating them are supposedly keys to weightloss and good health. It's a struggle for me.  My favorite breakfasts are usually early lunches. In following WW I have been on a quest for a good breakfast. My easy go-to is a Chobani Flip. I really love the coconut yogurt with almonds and chocolate chips or the key line pie with white chocolate and pie crust.  They are amazingly good. I can forgive them for being my breakfasts. 

I bought the Weight Watchers 50th Anniversary Cookbook and it rocks. The best thing I've made so far is the Bacon and Broccoli Egg cups.  I didn't have everything I needed and I couldn't share it even if I did but what I can share is the "base" recipe which I have made twice. It's a play on the original and I love it. It's so easy to change up the mix ins. If you are on WW just make sure to point it out for yourself. So today I am so thankful for my breakfasts.

Broccoli Mozzarella Muffins 
Makes 11-12 muffins, 3 muffins per serving
Approx 5 points plus per serving

1 package frozen broccoli pieces
1 small onion diced
1 cup low fat buttermilk
3 eggs
3 egg whites
1-2 tsp coarse mustard
1 table spoon Penzey's Pasta Sprinkle or other Italian Seasoning
2 Garlic cloves minced
2 table spoons flour
1/3 cup shredded low fat mozzarella
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350*. 

Spray the muffin tins with cooking spray or line them for easy on the go breakfasts. 

Place the frozen broccoli and onion in a pan and sauté for 6-10 minutes with the Italian seasonings. After they have sautéed take them off the heat and sprinkle the flour over them and mix.

While the broccoli and onions are cooking place the buttermilk, eggs and egg whites in a bowl and mix with the cheese, mustard, salt and pepper.

Mix the vegetables with the eggs and cheese. Measure out 1/3 c and place in each muffin slot.  This should make 12 muffins.  Bake for 20 minutes or until set.  Remove from the times and eat or store for weekday breakfasts. These are delicious heated up in the microwave for 1:30-2 minutes.

I'm thinking you can add in other vegetable or sub whatever you want.  I'm going to try spinach with sun dried tomatoes soon.  I think that will be delicious.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Date Day

Today was wonderful and I really enjoyed myself. I was able to do something I should do more often and need to make more time to do...I dated my parents. I spend a lot of time with my parents but I miss having the one on one experience with them. As the oldest of four I have to share my parents.  I don't really mind and I love being around my entire family but it's always a little special and indulgent to have my parents to myself. It's even moreso when I can have one on one time with each of them and for that I am extremely thankful.

I spent the morning shopping and hanging out with my mom.  It was a lot of fun. My mom is an awesome woman with such a big heart. She is always really smart and insightful. My mom has a great laugh and I love to see her smile too.  I love to make my mom smile.

So today we were shopping for my Mom's trip to Chicago with her sisters to see my cousin run a big marathon. It's always an adventure to find the right article of clothing.  Not to short.  Not too warm.  It can't be itchy.  Oh and it can't be tight!  It was quite a task because everything right now is warm, tight, short and covered in itchy embellishments, like sweaters woven with tinsel.

Spending time with my mom today was more than just running through stores and trying to find the perfect fit. It was more like connecting with her on another level as women...friends...moms.  I found myself listening to her several times today like a sage advisor and I was trying to soak it all in.  When I was younger I didn't always understand why she would say or do or feel the way she did.  So much has changed since having Bug and I get it now. Mom, I understand everything now and I am sorry for ever doubting you or questioning your reasons!

Later in the day I grabbed my Daddy to go meet my sister Allie and her boyfriend for a delicious lunner at The Carnitas Snack Shack.  It was nice getting to take my Dad out as my date. I think he really enjoyed being out with two of his girls.  He was so cute and surprised my sister with a steaming bowl of delicious mussels, her favorite. That's my Dad's way of communicating. Growing up he would always bring us home a favorite treat or buy us a little small gift. We all call it "love stuff". It's his way of acknowledging he's thinking of you.  "Love stuff" is so special and it never gets old, it can heal event the deepest of wounds.

After our lunner we decided to go driving around to talk and just spend time with each other. It was really nice. Driving is a special thing for my Dad.  He drives as a way to think and clear his head and I can see why.  Just being on the road with nowhere in particular to go can be very freeing and creative too.  It leads to great ideas and conversations. 

My Dad is the coolest, most insanely smart, and interesting man ever.  He can captivate your attention with his easy going ways and words. I think he and I like using each other as sounding boards because others might think we are crazy.  We have a way of communicating with each other openly and honestly.  I always leave conversations with him feeling a little better.  This long drive was no exception.  I feel like we are on the same page, as part of a team.

If anything, today's Thankfullness solidified in me that as we age we really need to foster our relationships with our parents on different levels.  I was in a training a week ago with Dr. Kim.  The woman is a dynamo and everyone should have the pleasure of hearing her speak.  One point she made that sticks out to me today is the roles of parents in our lives. According to Dr. Kim, parents play four different roles in their child's life. Not all roles happen at the same time but the roles present themselves as the need occurs. The first role is as nurse, parents primarily care for the physical, spiritual and mental wellness of their children.  The second role as King/Queen of their household, the authoritarian of the child's life.  The third role is as coach to mold and teach their child.  The final role is as a special friend to support and interact with your child as they age to adulthood. 

I am really lucky that I have had the best parents possible. They have been all these roles to me and more. I hope I can learn from them and foster the same good relationship with my children because in all the ways parents do everything to mold us, we mold them too.  For good or for bad we have shaped each other and the way we relate and interact. As we age we need to continue to foster and deepen our relationship roots. It's how we learn, love, and continue to grow. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Adventure Time!

I may actually be getting on track here for the 30 Days of Thanks! I'm shocked and in awe that I actually have some time to collect my thoughts and write. It could be because both my boys are under the weather and tucked in for the night. I wish they were both feeling better but I'll cherish the silence and me time however I can get it.

Today's thankful moment is brought to you by impromptu adventure in mommying. My husband and our dear friend were treated to free tickets to the San Diego Brewers Guild Beer Fest and Bug and I were the designated driver and tag along.  Josh and Doug had an awesome time. Below is evidence A. 

Bug and I were free to just do whatever we wanted. He requested Yaya's House so we hung out at my parents for awhile. When it was time to pick up the boys, Bug and I got in a little early and the boys were running a little behind. To kill some time it thought I'd show Bug the Star of India and the other cool ships in the marina. A visiting ship, the Arc Gloria, is visitng from Columbia and was free to tour. I was real lye cited to take Bug on his first boat. We climbed aboard and he was so excited. The ropes and sails were flowing in the wind and the waves rocked the ship gently. It was awesome getting to experience all of this with Bug.

He was so cute exploring the cabins and seeing the sailors working. He tried so hard to climb the steep stairs by himself. Some were just to steep and dangerous but always the chivalrous young man he'd say to me, "Momma Help." He was such a sweet date. 

I am so thankful for the impromptu adventures that are placed in our way. It's a blessing to try new things and experience through my Bug's eyes. 

30 days of Thanks...just one day late

I wanted to blog yesterday and start the 30 days on time but I was too beat. The Bug is still sick and I am waffling between sickness and being well.  I want to do each of my blessings justice but none is better than the other. I will post the disclaimer that these blessings and things I am thankful for are random in order and the ones most present in my mind at the time.  

November 1 -

I am thankful for my sick baby snuggles. I know one day he will grow up and will be able to carry me.  One day he will prefer to snuggle with someone else. For now, I am so greatful for the quiet times he clings to me; the moments when only Momma's arms will do. 

The snuggles help me more than he knows. There are times I doubt myself as a mom but Bug never doubts me. I was reminded of this when I was watching a video on YouTube about mom's perceptions compared with their children's opinions. 

I need to listen more to what Bug thinks of me.  He has a better grasp on life and isn't as jaded and bogged down with baggage. Ok, I should note he is learning the art of manipulation by calling me Mommy in the sweetest tone ever instead of the usual Momma. He's such a smart kid. Whatever happens though I know he needs me and I need him. In the quiet safety of our cuddles I just stare at him in awe and am so thankful for him and our bond. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

The One Where I Become a Mom

Where we last left off, things were getting real. I was unable to sleep in the throws of labor while my husband snored on the couch in my birthing suite. My nurse had been taken and replaced by a sweet but not social one. Then the pitocin started. 

It was probably about midnight when the pitocin started and they increased it little by little every hour or so.  I tried to cat nap but contractions were coming so regularly and getting more and more uncomfortable. The hospital bed was pretty cool too in that it could be transformed into a bed like chair. In the chair position the contractions felt stronger, more regular and productive. I figured since I couldn't sleep much I wanted to get the show started. I wasn't able to walk because of the fetal monitors but that was ok. I just wanted to make progress and feel the pain. Pain meant things were moving forward. It was like a promise of light at the end of the tunnel. 

It all came to a halt about 2 AM. The contractions were starting to be too much for bug so we had to lay off the pitocin and forgo the next does of cytotec. Things were progressing too "strongly" and to avoid complications and an emergency we backed off. 

About 4 AM the pitocin started back up again and was ever so slowly increased to avoid the same stress for Bug. Throughout it all my husband slept. He can pass out in an instant and it's really impressive. I'm glad one of us got rest. 

Around 7AM my mom and dad showed up.  It was so comforting to have my Momma with me. My Daddy was cute too because he was so concerned about his baby, me.  He has this way of cracking jokes and giggling when he's nervous and jokes were abundant. As he left, the nurse and my OB came in for the first check during morning rounds.

I was progressing but not too far. I was maybe 1CM but the contractions were coming like clockwork. The plan was to pop my waters and keep upping the pitocin. I was so excited.  

The feeling of your water breaking is trippy. It was odd to constantly gush warm water every time I moved. It wasn't uncomfortable really but it did intensify things. I liked that though. This was pain with a purpose and it meant I was getting closer to my goal. My bug would be here soon. 

More mucous plug was being lost by the minute, water was gushing with every readjustment and exhausted as I was I had never been so focused. I was envisioning my happy place, breathing and trying to relax. The anesthesiologist was making rounds and I turned him away for the epidural. I didn't want one if I didn't need it and I was going to hold out as long as I could, at least 4 CM, if I absolutely needed it. I didn't want to stall this labor train at all. 

About 9 AM my sisters arrived with my MIL and the pain was ramping up. I finally agreed to a little something to take the edge off. It was wonderful! It was short acting Fentanyl but it was glorious. I still felt the pain but it made it a little more manageable. I felt like I had this down. You can have a shot every 15-20 minutes but I was hanging with one ever 45. As the day progressed I started spacing the shots closer together. The shots and constant foot rubs for my my mom and sisters really helped me cope with the pain. They also gave me so much love, support, and laughter that made everything more bearable. I couldn't have handled labor without my people for support. They made everything better.

I was checked again about 11AM and the progress was not what I had hoped. I was about maybe 2 CM. The plan remained; more pitocin, more fentanyl and breathing. Again, I turned away the epidural. I just wasn't ready. 

About 1PM things got really intense and I started using the birthing ball to help open my pelvis and get Bug to drop and engage more. In a swift instant I felt like I jumped onto all fours and needed that epidural immediately. There was no time to wait. Unfortunately, I had to wait...for an hour. The anesthesiologist had just gone in to the OR for a c-section and it would be another hour before he could help me. It was the longest hour ever at the time but looking back it wasn't so bad. 

At about 2 PM, twenty hours in to labor at this point, the anesthesiologist walked in carry the tray of goods.  He was a delightful man from the UK with a great accent. My husband can't stand needles so I asked my Momma to stay and hold me for my epidural. I had been so afraid of needles that I dreaded this instant but it was a breeze. I felt nothing until the epidural medicine started to flow. 

I felt horrible and chilled. I couldn't stop shaking and I started chastising myself in my head for doing this to myself. The shivering and chattering teeth were almost worse than the pain. I felt so uncomfortable but then the side effects went away and I was fine. I was even able to get some sleep. 

I napped for a few hours and woke up about 4 PM to my OB with his hands in my va jay jay and the nasty feeling in my stomach.  I don't ever want to feel that pressure and grossness ever again. I remover looking at him and not even recognizing this as awkward. I looked at him and he looked at me.  He said that I was dilated to a 3, maybe close to a 3 1/2, and he could feel Bug's head. He said the head was wedged in the birth canal really tight and that he was stuck. He would let me labor as long as I wanted but he felt that at the end of it all I would still most likely need a c section. Bug's shoulders were larger than his head and the head was already stuck. All I could say was ok. I was tired and ready to meet my baby. 

I asked what this all meant and he said, "You're going to meet your baby in about an hour!" The room turned into this cyclone of action and the only thing I was fixed on was my husband. We looked at each other, both in the verge if tears, telling each other we were about to meet our baby. It was such an emotional and powerful moment. 

My Daddy an Momma came in to kiss me and tell me I'd be ok. I think it was more to make them feel better but it put me at ease too. I said good bye to my family as I was wheeled into the OR. The next time I'd see them I would be a mom.  

Once in the OR I thought it would be a great time to tell them that I could still feel my left leg. The anesthesiologist was none to please and I had another epidural. It didn't work either so I had a spinal done at the last minute. The curtains went up and my husband, clothed in a white painters suit, was brought in to me.  

In what felt like minutes, at 6:58, minutes shy of 24 hours active labor, Bug was brought into the world holding his umbilical cord for dear life screaming while Puff the Magic Dragon played in the background. With the feeling of release, there he was, this whole new person that I made. 

He was perfect and had his daddy's eyes and a great set of lungs. The OB said he now knew that Bug would have never been born the vaginal way. He was too big at 9 lbs 4 oz, 21 inches long and my pelvis was too small. I guess if my body didn't know what to do after all with such a beast inside of me.

As the baby was taken to the nursery I was cleaned up and put back together. I had hemorrhaged but I didn't know. I was fine and so was my baby and that was all that mattered in the end. 

I finally was taken to recovery where Bug waited for me. I remember them handing him to me and it was the strangest feeling ever. This was my baby. It's a different kind of love than I had ever felt before. It was something more akin to fierce protection and responsibility. This was my baby and he looked like an adorable glow worm. I often wonder if it's how my mom felt when she first held me or how my grandmothers felt when they first laid eyes on my parents. 

He knew me instantly and within seconds of snuggling with me he rooted for boobies and latched. I hadn't blossomed much in the boob area so the Dr had thought I may not be able to breast feed but Bug and I worked it out and were just fine. He was meant for me and I was meant for him. He was his amazing little human that God made from the best pieces of me, my husband, and our family; A genetic collection of diverse ancestors rolled into this cute little boy with his Daddy's eyes and Papa's hands. 

When we were taken to our room he and I spent the entire night learning about each other. Starring into each other's faces. Smelling, touching and feeding. It was the most intimate and impact-full moment I have ever had. I think about that night all the time and miss it. If Bug's birthday was my best day ever, that night of his birth starring at him and bonding were my finest hours. 

He is and continues to be the coolest person I have ever met and the best thing I have ever made. Happy birthday my beautiful Bug. Momma loves you more than you will ever know. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Forty Days of Labor...and then some

Two years ago at this moment I about killed my sister for eating a Lorna Doone. Let me preface it by stating I was in labor. I was two weeks late and I was so tired. I hadn't really slept in at least 36 hours. 

I haven't written my birth story down until tonight because I was to busy trying to keep up with having a little one. Bug is a really active little guy and he really loves attention. I think I also wasn't ready to process the changes that have happened. It feels like another lifetime ago. So much has changed in the last two years that I've been trying to stay afloat instead of sinking in memories. 

Tonight, I finally feel ready to memorialize the best day I've had so far. I think it could only be matched by the birth of another child should we be so blessed. There is something about childbirth that at least for me brought me the closest to God that I have ever been. In the moments of labor, you are teetering on a balance between life and death simultaneously. Anything can and does happen. There is nothing that can prepare you for the pain, the joy, the fear, the exhilaration and the immense sense of love, awe and accomplishment. It's the closest I have and will ever get to being Godlike and giving life to another wholly distinct individual. It's amazing and a gift I didn't think I would be able to experience.

When I was ready to contemplate becoming a mother I figured it would be easy. It's natural and there shouldn't be any problem.  I took the challenge of making a person seriously. I don't like to make my life harder than it ever needs to be so I studied and really researched and prepared for parenthood. I took a wonderful preconception class to help me figure out how to get ready for pregnancy mind, body and soul. I was surprised to learn I was more ready than I had thought. 

I had also started seeing a Catholic Doctor to help me physically prepare. I was and am a plus size woman but I'm in pretty good health. I had been scared by statistics linking obesity to difficulty getting pregnant, miscarriages, and still births. I was quite freaked out. In working with the Dr. it was discovered that I had wonky hormones.  I was told to prepare for a long journey to motherhood; my hormones would make it difficult to get pregnant and if or when I finally was pregnant I faced huge odds of miscarrying.

I was surprised when we found out we were pregnant. It happened the first month we decided to "pull the goalie".  It made it even more terrifying for me and I don't think I fully bonded with my pregnancy because of the fear of impending miscarriage. In any case, our Bug was coming at the right time. Two days after our pregnancy was confirmed by the OB, our beautiful fur baby Lucille passed away. She waited long enough to make sure our arms wouldn't be empty. I see Lucy as Bug's furry dog mom. 

My pregnancy was pretty unremarkable and easy. I was so blessed. It made me even more apprehensive that something horrible was going to happen. I just had to wait. That horrible event never came. I spent too much time being fearful and worrying. Looking back my only obstacle was me but this is my birth story about how the two of us became three. 

On September 11, 2011 I woke up about 3 AM and panicked because I hadn't felt Bug move in a really long time. I drank cold water and juice and he still wouldn't budge. I was also getting annoying tightening. I finally woke up my husband and decided to go to Labor and Delivery to get checked out.  We had to wake our poor neighbors along the way because there was a body passed out on their lawn. Turns out some drunk guy got lost in the neighborhood and decided to take a nap. 

At L&D I was checked in quickly. I was hooked up to monitors and they easily saw Bug was fine and more easily saw I was in silent labor. I couldn't really feel contractions but more the normal pains of advanced pregnancy.  What I couldn't feel though was my baby moving at all. The contractions were so regular the they held him tight so he didn't really move too much. My biggest worry after I knew he was ok was making sure he wasn't born on 9/11. I went home with instructions to take it easy. The OB was worried Bug would be coming a month early. Every week at our appointments the OB would tell me Bug was coming any day and yet that day didn't come on its own. Laboring was horrible and daily. When I was up and about the contractions would grow stronger and closer but the moment I stopped to rest, labor stopped too. This went on for a month. Every day. For a month.  I would labor like this on the couch every day. 

My due date, October 11, 2011, came and went and finally the OB scheduled me for an induction he didn't think I'd make it to. I was to check in on October 20 at 7 PM.  Suddenly it was getting real. I was a natural birth warrior. I wanted to ride out the pain and bought in to the "my body knows what to do"  "I was meant for this" crap from recent documentaries. I had planned and researched and planned some more for an event I now realize is unpredictable. Hind sight is 20/20. 

I wanted to be like those women in history that squatted in a field to give birth and just tied their suckling newborns to them and went about plowing the fields. Ok, maybe not really but I was dead set on letting my body do its thing. This was pain with a purpose and in all honesty it felt good until it didn't. 

So after being too excited to sleep and too pregnant to get comfortable, I greeted my induction day exhausted. I was beat but I was ready.  I felt the most "me" I ever had; awkward and fearful, excited and anxious. I had planned my steps for this day down to minutiae. I was horrified at the prospect of pooping on the table during birth so I planned the most nutritious meal that would be the least likely to be digested when pushing time came. I had planned on going to my favorite sushi house Okawa for Tepanyaki . The rice and noodles would be great fuel for the marathon ahead with the vegetables and steak providing more long lasting fullness. This was my last meal before evicting my tardy fetus and I wanted us both to be going into this labor with full bellies. 

One thing that's a huge horror is telling a very pregnant woman she can't have what she wants. That happened to me on induction day twice!  Okawa was closed when we needed to eat so I had to go to my back up plan, Shogun's. It's equally delicious but it wasn't what I had planned. I was pissed. The cool, crisp carrot ginger salad and warm onion mushroom soup were delicious and they made me feel a little better about not getting my way though. After that I pregnancy gorged aka "attempted to eat food I had no room in my belly for" on a crunchy roll and filet mignon. I was feasting since once I was admitted I wouldn't be allowed to eat anything until the Bug was in my arms. 

After dinner I called the hospital and due to the abundance of women spontaneously going into natural labor I wouldn't be able to check in on time. I was even told I may not be able to check in at all. I was pissed again. Now I'd have to plan a lasting non-poopy snack to extend my full belly. I settled on a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat with a banana. I was too full to eat it at the time I was allowed to check in but I forced myself to eat a few bites as I walked into the hospital out of the fear of not knowing when my next meal would come. 

I was able to waddle myself to check in at 7:30 PM so I wasn't too far off schedule. It took awhile to go over my birth plan and get settled with my nurse. I was already having contractions every 5 minutes lasting 60 second each so they only gave me half the dose of cytotec to getting things moving "harder better faster longer".  

My nurse was wonderful but I didn't get to keep her long. She was transferred to another mother further along than me. She did spoil me though with this wonderful pregnancy cocktail she created. It was simple sprite with cranberry juice but to me it was delicious nectar from God. I sipped my drink as my parents, sisters and mother in law came in to tuck us in and wish us luck. They would be back the next morning when the real work began. That is when I snapped. I don't know what got in to me but I lit up my sister for sneaking a box of Lorna Doone cookies in to my room. I had explicitly said that if I couldn't eat in there than no one could. I lost my ish over a cookie. After that the family left and we hunkered down for the night. I was texting and face booking in between contractions  and watching Harry Potter while my husband snored away. Things were getting real and it was happening fast. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I Suckity Suck Suck! AKA I'm sorry Kate

So I start off with an apology to Kate, my wonderful Foodie Pen Pal. I am sorry I haven't posted my review of your wonderful care package. I am going to rectify that in pieces. I promise.

I am horribly sick with a nasty cold that has drained my every inch of energy and all I think about is my bed. On top of that I think of my poor Bug who has the same cold and my honey bun who has it even worse than me. Of the three in my house I have the most manageable illness and it sucks. One thing I took for granted in my pre-Bug years was the joy and ability to get sick. I would of course feel horrible but I could languish in NYQUIL twilight tucked in under covers on my comfy bed and rot my drugged brain on reality TV and epic movies. Titanic, The Patriot, and Gladiator are my favorite flu movies ever. You always know the ending, the soundtracks are pretty relaxing and you can wake up in any part of the movie know exactly what is going on.

Unfortunately, as a mom you will never have a day like this again. There are tiny hands that pull at your covers and demand to be red their favorite Frog book where funny voices are a necessity. There is a sicker spouse or toddler hacking up lungs all night and struggling to breathe that keeps you awake counting each rise and fall of their chests. It's hard and sad realizing that I will never truly be sick again, at least not in the way I was before. Now, sickness is just another drag on my day that makes my responsibilities that much harder to deal with. Such is life I guess. Sickness makes me grateful for frozen meals for sure and easy sandwiches because anything with effort means we aren't eating.

So I've been MIA for a really long time too. When I last left I had an itty bitty baby and now the Bug is a big dude of almost two. A lot has changed and I'm not sure of the direction of this blog but I'll figure it out eventually.

One thing I got involved with in the recent past was Foodie Pen Pals. My cousin, Les at Running Away from Cancer sent me an email about a fun informal program she joined Called Foodie Pen Pals. It was the brainchild of a dietician and blogger, Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean. I will be honest and admit I had not read Lindsay's blog before but I really enjoyed looking through it and signed up at once. The premise is you are set up with another foodie and are pen pals for a month. You have $15 to spend on goodies for your pal (not including shipping) and you mail off the package by the 20th of the month. On the last day of the month, all the foodies with blogs post about their packages however a blog is not a requirement of the program. I suck in that I am too sick to go over my lovely package in detail today but I will in the very near future. I can't wait to share what I got and how I've been using my treats. For now, I have some chocolate donut TastyKakes calling my name at my desk.

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