Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentine's Day

We made daddy a valentine today. Madison was NOT into it at all, she cried, but, I did get it done and think it turned out great. And it was super simple. I just used washable finger paint by crayola, and sat her in her high chair so she couldn't go anywhere. And then I used some stickers to finish the decoration. Here it is:


I tried a lasagna recipe last night that I found on pinterest. I made my own rendition, and it turned out pretty good! Its called Crock-pot lasagna , it was super simple to make, and made plenty for my husband and I have to have 3 meals from it (So 6 servings). Instead of 4 cups of mozzarella, I used two cups, and 1 cup of parmesan and 1 cup of cream cheese. Also, I used a 23 oz bottle of garlic tomato sauce with 3 oz of water for the meat sauce. I added a dash of oregano, and a dash of basil. Next time, I want to make more meat sauce and add some more spice! I used my crockpot, with the low setting on (8 hours), only cook for 4 hours. The pasta noodle do not need to be cooked, which was GREAT because I suck at cooking noodles and the steam from the crockpot cooked them perfectly!

I put the smoothie in an ice cube try and my daughter can get one in her mesh feeder. Its provided a yummy, semi-healthy teething snack!

A third favorite is homemade meat-balls. I found my recipe off interest. Crockpot Meatballs

My hubby made me a delicious dinner for valentines day. Lobster cooked with a dill citrus butter (made by new seasons). And he saut├ęd some fresh vegetables, zucchini green and yellow, and red bell peppers. One of the best dinners I have had!

This is our favorite salad/dessert that we found in a costco food recipe book that they hand out during the holiday time.  It is 50/50 spring salad/spinach, with craisins, red onion, mango, strawberry, and slivered almonds.  The dressing is sugar, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.

This is a stuffed chicken breast with potatoes and asparagus.  I followed this blog, and it was super easy!
Mashed Potato Stuffed Chicken with Lemon Parsley Sauce

Delicious Mini-Apple Pies.  I will most definitely be making these for Thanksgiving.  The only issue I had, was I wanted my dough to be from scratch, so I followed my Betty Crocker Cook Book, and it was too sticky, and I had the hardest time rolling it, BUT these still turned out delicious.  Hubby and I topped them with a scoop of french vanilla ice cream and a little caramel drizzle.  mmm good!  

Fresh Homemade Blueberry Muffins.  So great for a morning treat and a way to get my daughter and hubby to eat some fruit.  

Being a Mom

No one can prepare you for what you will feel when you become a mom. I always told my husband, and myself that I was a career woman. I wanted to be the breadwinner and depend on no man, and therefore, I would NEVER want to be a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM). My daughter was born, and that was completely out the window. I would do ANYTHING to stay at home with my daughter everyday now. But rather, I feel trapped and resentment for those that "keep" me stuck. For my family though, I have to make the sacrifice and have learned to cope and seek help to keep us afloat.

I know every woman feels different, but I wasn't prepared to feel like this. I never wanted to leave my daughter. And when I did, I felt(feel) guilty. I also worried if I had to be gone unexpectedly, and for long hours, what if she "forgets" me or refuses to nurse when I get home? Because, get real, your body does not respond to a breast pump the same as a nursing baby. So that 15 hour work shift I just had to pull caused a HUGE drop in my supply, AND because it was overnight, my body is really out of whack. My daughter is now 13 months old. She still breastfeeds once in the morning. I know she doesn't get a ton because it is followed by a sippy of whole milk, but at least I know I can give her some nutrients and antibodies to help keep her from getting sick. (13 months and free of a real sickness to date). She started weaning herself around 10 months old, mostly because I had to work an overnight shift, was awake for 24+ hours, and my milk supply plummeted, she got frustrated and my supply never bounced back. Even with fenugreek supplements, tons of water, and oatmeal. None of those "natural" remedies worked for me. I "helped" my mom with my sisters after they were born, I was 12 when the first was born. I had a great sense of what being a mom meant, responsibilities-wise, but because they were not my own and I was still young, I had no idea what being a mom would actually feel like.

I wanted to breastfeed because it was the best for my baby, and why, if I am perfectly capable, would I not breastfeed? I am so glad I chose to stick with it, but breastfeeding is demanding when you are not working, therefore super stressful when you ARE working. And the lack of sleep is difficult, which if you breastfeed, there's not any way to change that. Because the fact is, you WILL be up every 3 hours for the first 3-6 months (if not longer) of your baby's life.

At 6 weeks I was exhausted, so I tried pumping a bottle for my husband to try and take a shift during the night so I could get more than my 2-3 hours of sleep. That was a disaster because at the next feed I could not get my baby girl to latch. After crying for four hours with sadness and frustration, I finally got her to latch and said no more bottles until we have to give them to her when I return to work at 12 weeks.

No one told you all those things that bothered you when you were pregnant you couldn't have while you were nursing too. I could not drink any caffeinated beverages while I was nursing, no milk, no orange juice, no red pasta sauces, no broccoli. And I am sure I am forgetting some others. (No glass of wine before bed). So then I was nursing a baby every 3 hours, sometimes more, I was sleep-deprived, and I couldn't have any caffeinated beverages. It was hard. In between those 3 hours, if the baby isn't sleeping on you, you're hoping to shower, maybe eat, clean up around the house and maybe get some shut eye before the next feed. But you also have to change baby diapers, burp them, bathe them, give them a little activity time when they are awake.

No one told me that my baby wouldn't sleep laying down, on her back, in her bassinet. She did not want to be in her bassinet but maybe 15 minutes, and then would wake up crying and we would have to start all over again. (Even in the hospital she did not sleep in their makeshift bassinet). The only way we got some sleep in the beginning was if she fell asleep on our chests (which I am a stomach sleeper ONLY, so sleeping on my back was difficult, but guess what, you're tired enough you'll fall asleep!!!) or if she was swaddled and in her swing, turned on, with white noise, and a binky. I have another blog post that describes all the crazy methods we tried to get our daughter to sleep. But really, no one warned me that not only would I be sleep deprived, but I would have to try a million different things to try to get my baby to sleep at all, other than on me. (Next time I will be buying a rock and play sleeper, and/or a co-sleep extension for my bed, as well as a swing that swings side-to-side and back and forth).

My biggest "warning", for lack of a better term, to soon to be mom's or families that are trying to conceive out there is to not plan for when baby arrives, but be prepared for many different scenarios. For example, set yourself up so that you COULD be a SAHM if you find after having a baby that's what you want to do. Leave as many options available so that when the time comes you aren't cornered to do something that makes you cry every day that you are away or feel guilty that you can't pump enough for your baby anymore.

Thankfully for me, my employer worked with me and allowed me to go part-time, because I had to face it, I couldn't just flat out quit. But that also "cornered" me when thinking about having baby #2 because federal law does not protect part-time employees with FMLA, which meant if I wanted any sort of maternity leave with the next baby, I'd have to quit. So for baby #2, we are going to plan better. So I have the option to continue work or not continue work without putting my family in financial jeopardy. Or putting myself risk of going to a mental institution from my misery due to work stress. (I have to laugh a little bit, but am slightly serious).

Next baby, I will drink coffee to maintain my sanity if I must. I will have a can of formula in the house so its available if I really just need the help to catch a break, and I will not feel guilty. I will call my mother or mother in law to watch the babies so I CAN get sleep, even if I don't think I need it. Fortunately, my mom is young, at 43, so she has been a tremendous help. But even with her being my daughters caretaker when I am gone doesn't make me feel any less guilty when I have to go to work for who knows how long and be gone from my daughter. The first bedtime I missed, I bawled my eyes out.

In all of this I have learned that my sanity is more important than being a "perfect" mom in my terms. I was so worried about being the perfect mom to my daughter that I didn't care what cost it came at. But truth be told, a happy mommy = a happy baby. An unhappy mommy = an unhappy baby. Everything you feel, they feel. For instance, my daughter knew when I was stressed because my heart rate would skyrocket and my motions would get faster and my grip tighter, and we would sweat like crazy. This would only cause my daughter to become more inconsolable. Another piece of advice, buy earplugs. Hearing my daughter cry is one of the most stressful things for me, even 13 months later. I learned to cope with it and maintain calm by taking deep breaths, and earplugs for those really extreme moments, or taking a timeout in the other room while she was safe in her crib for 5 minutes. Purple crying, my hospital sent me home with this DVD, which they also made us watch before going home with our daughter, and I am glad they did. Because it was the "ok" to set my daughter down to gain my composure and start over again. Your sanity is most important.

I love my daughter and wouldn't change anything. But I will prepare myself better before we have any more children because I don't want to go through all of this again. I am *hoping* the second is easier because I'll know more about what I am doing and I'll have more confidence as being mom. All I ever wanted was to be a mom, and its reward, joy, love is much more than I ever thought it would be. It's definitely one of the best, and hardest, things I have ever done to date.

Saeco Espresso Maker

We FINALLY got our coffee maker. In order to keep up with my, now, toddler, I have needed a little extra boost! So I talked my husband into buying us an espresso maker, with the agreement that he would start to use it too. So far, its easy to use. It warms up fairly quickly (no waiting 15 minutes for the machine to be ready), and my latte's have turned out splendid. The original coffee maker we ordered was from zappo's, they had the best deal and my husband can get free shipping through them. So we ordered the Saeco cappuccino syntia espresso maker, only to receive the saeco syntia espresso maker. No cappuccino maker (which meant the machine would froth the milk FOR you, instead of having to do it manually). So we called zappos and they sent us the new one, only to find they sent us the SAME coffee machine. Apparently, they were advertising a machine they do not sale. So, they price matched amazon for us and fixed it. But, all in all, I am super happy with the machine! Here is a picture.

And here is the link to the espresso maker on amazon: Saeco Syntia Stainless Steel Automatic Espresso Maker

"Waterfall" Braid

My sister came over to hang out, and I was showing her the wonderful world of interest and a few hair styles I had tried. She wanted me to try out the Waterfall braid on her, it turned out very successful the first try. Now if only I could do that to my hair by myself! Here is how her hair turned out:

Her hair was curled prior to the braiding, but even with the curls, you could see the braid, and it looked nice on her and kept her flyaways out of her face. You will see the end of the braid on the right side, all the photo's we looked at did not really show the end of the waterfall braid, but this is how we did ours. I used a clear tie band for the end.