Wednesday, July 29, 2009

On Becoming a Parent

On Wednesday, a week ago today, I officially became a mom. I had been anxious for this day for the past few weeks wondering when she was ever going to come. I knew I was standing at the precipice of a huge life change yet I didn't know when my life would truly change forever- it is like riding a roller coaster in the dark, you know you are climbing the really steep part slowly but you don't know when the bottom is about to drop out from under you. I can't describe the feeling of seeing our daughter for the first time. When they placed her on my stomach right after being born and she let out her first cry I was completely overcome with surprise, joy, excitement, awe at how beautiful she is, love for my husband, and of course hormones. There really is no other moment in life like that moment. I loved the visitors who came to the hospital as I wanted everyone to see our new beautiful baby, and there was also a measure of assurance and back-up at the hospital because of the staff- I knew they could take care of me and I knew they could take care of Daisy. Going home...that is a different story.

After two nights and three days in the hospital, we were released to go home. We made the 2 minute drive after taking 5 minutes to make sure Daisy was in her car seat correctly - really we could have walked home (well, at least Micah could have while holding Daisy). Micah drove like an old lady, of his own admission, to our house and we unpacked our new baby and all the gear and gifts we had with us at the hospital. Daisy started crying shortly after getting home so we put her down for her first nap in her crib, made our way to the living room, had a champaign toast to becoming a family of three, and then we both cried. We were all the sudden overwhelmed with the responsibility and the mostly unknown and small known of what lay ahead. This feeling continued to evolve with each cry from Daisy that we would hear over the next couple days to what I now can define as feeling a lack of confidence. Regardless of the dozen or so books I read while pregnant on parenting, it was as if I hadn't read a single one, I didn't know how to feed her, didn't know why she was crying, didn't know how to organize my life anymore, didn't know how to put her on a schedule even though I had printed multiple and brought them to the hospital, I just didn't know how to be a parent. We had lots of visitors over the next couple days, family in from out of town, my own healing and recovery still to be had, and not to mention once again the crazy amount of hormones that go through a woman post-partum. Those added to the reflux episodes, one in which Daisy was choking, and unexplained evening and afternoon of crying, and also trying to figure out a schedule for all of us led to me feeling completely inadequate, in over my head, and un-confident as a parent. It is easy now for me to see how "baby blues" are very common. I am still a little weepy when I try to talk about my feelings over becoming a parent. Fortunately, I am not alone in this; I know these same sentiments have been shared by many a new parent, and my husband has had his own moments where he feels similarly, Micah has also shouldered a couple of the more difficult crying episodes where I had not felt capable of easing her discomfort.
I did cut out dairy over the last 48 - 72 hours (the days are running together still a bit), as well as tomatoes, onions, garlic, citrus, strawberries, eggs, peanuts and a few of the other known foods to cause issues with reflux and gas in babies. Since then, it has made a huge difference. Daisy doesn't have unexplainable crying episodes, the schedule is getting a little more defined, we have a happy and content baby, and Daddy and I grow in confidence with each successful feeding, wake and nap time. It looks like it will be a bland diet for me for a while, but it makes such a difference in both mine and Daisy's day. Micah and I also spent some time praying together, re-reading On Becoming Baby Wise the parenting method we personally chose to follow, and developing a little more of a plan for how to shape our days as a threesome. I know I am still hormonal, I know the rollercoaster has taken off and my life will never be the same again and I know I have a great partner in Micah to help me on the journey. I think in the next couple weeks there will still be moments where I will not feel confident in what I am doing, where I will feel overwhelmed by the change that has taken over my life (and only by something that weighs a little over 6 pounds,) but I also know that parenthood has joys unspeakable in our future. It is going to be something for me to work at to find a new life rhythym, to have confidence in God working in me and God working in Micah to know that we are prepared and have what it takes to take care of Daisy and shape her into the person God has destined her to be. I was warned by a few new moms that the post-partum period can be intense, and it is without a doubt - it is everything you think it would be and more.

Our Little Flower is Here

Daisy Renee Barnard was born on July 22nd, weighing in at 7 pounds and 5 ounces, and 19.5 inches long. She was surprisingly petite in my mind as I was expecting an 8 pounder since both myself and Micah weighed in at over 8 lbs at birth. By the time we left the hospital, she was just a slight 6 pounds 13 ounces. Really, I can't get over how tiny she is!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Friendly Reminder

Micah and I have been purchasing one large piece of meat at Sam's and then cutting it into individual steaks. Well, he tends to cut them a little large for me, so I have him cook about half of mine at a time. So, with the remainder steak we had ready to be grilled one night I decided to make the classic black and blue salad. So, this is just a friendly reminder of what an incredible taste confection the following can be:

Grilled Steak
blue cheese or some other soft, pungent cheese
roasted red onions and Brussels sprouts
herbs (basil in my case)
Balsamic Vinaigrette

So, my friendly reminder is to make this salad at least once this summer!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Grilled Gruyere and Zucchini Sandwiches with Smoky Pesto

From a useless amount of airline miles (useless meaning I can't get a flight out of them for years to come), I have instead used them for magazine subscriptions including Food and Wine (and my guilty pleasure- Entertainment). I recently cut out this recipe from Food and Wine and it was SO wonderful I had to share it.

1 cup packed basil leaves
1 large garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp. hot smoked paprika
3 tblspns. olive oil, plus more for brushing
one 8-oz zucchini, cut into 4 lengthwise slices
2 English Muffins, split
4 oz. Gruyere or Appenzeller cheese cut into 8 thin slices (I used Chevre' as I was out of Gruyere)

In a mini food processor, combine basil, garlic, and paprika and process until finely chopped. With the machine on, gradually pour in 3 tblspns. of olive oil until blended. Season the pesto with salt.

Light a grill (or use the indoor stove kind like I did). Brush the zucchini slices with olive oil and season with salt. Grill over high heat until nicely charred and just tender, about 2 minutes per side. Cute each zucchini slice in half crosswise.

Grill the English muffins, cut side down over low heat until just soft, about 30 seconds. Turn and grill until the muffins start to brown, about 1 minute. Spread the cut sides of the muffins with the pesto, then layer 2 zucchini pieces, and top with cheese. I ate open-faced, but you can close the sandwiches and grill again until the cheese melts too which is how the original recipe says to do it.

MMMM, good! It is also a fancy sandwich if you ask me; I think it would be great for picnics or when doing brunch with friends. (I served alongside a mozzarella caprice salad)

Friday, July 24, 2009

What is Your Guess?

So, today is my official due date. Since, I am writing this in advance and not in real time, I more just wanted to schedule a post to go up on our actual due date. So, what do you think- is she here yet? Do I still look like this?

(me at 36 weeks)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Fancy Gift

So, these kinds of finds are really much more why I decided to start this blog in the first place than the recipes or random notes I now post. When I was looking for gifts for the hostesses for one of my baby showers, I came across these extra fancy dish gloves. I couldn't resist, and got these, along with an aromatherapy scented dish gel for each of them.

I realize dishes are incredibly un-fancy, but I thought this could make them a little more fun to do. It is all about the every day, mundane things that we can find fancy that make life that much more enjoyable!

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Failed Nursery Decoration Project

A friend gave me the great idea of using an old window pane as a wall decoration in the nursery. It really was a great idea that I was excited about, but I failed to execute it very well, and it has now turned into hours of work, three cans of spray paint, scrap-book paper, and well finally trash. The idea was to use it as a unique picture frame, but when I purchased the window I was not sure exactly how I was going to use it so I probably didn't pick out the right one. So, I cleaned, sanded, scraped old paint, iron/glued on fake sides to hide the metal, rope and cracked wood on the sides (I needed to pick one that would hang the opposite way), spray painted it orange, and then after realizing that the age was still going to show through the orange, I decided to buy the crackle spray paint that would make it look purposefully aged, so the natural flaws would blend in instead of look as if I had tried to cover them up with the orange. Well, the crackle spray paint ended up turning out like white splotches and didn't crackle at all. So, basically, project is over, I am trashing this whole thing and I have moved on!
I have now decided to do this:I pulled this out of an Anthropologie catalogue along time ago and was going to do this in my living room but looks like the nursery gets it first. So, now I need to find some ornate picture frames (garage sale next weekend anyone?), spray paint those orange (yes, I will have to buy a new can!), and hang them on pink ribbons so I am still accomplishing my pink and orange combo with pictures. I have a baby picture of Micah and myself that I want to frame in the nursery, and then of course some of our sweet baby girl once she arrives. I am looking for 5 frames all together so if anyone has any good ideas of where to get some, let me know! Don't you agree that this picture is frame worthy!?!

Yes, it is my dear, sweet husband Micah!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fellafels and Salad

I randomly picked up a box of Falafel mix at the grocery store in an effort to get a couple somewhat healthy but also very quick-to-make meals. I made the baked version instead of frying them, and made a Greek yogurt sauce to accompany them and it turned out quite good. I also made a quick Greek salad to go along with it and used the same yogurt sauce as the salad dressing. So, if you need a quick meal, pick up one of the falafel boxes at the grocery store. I honestly don't remember what I put in the yogurt sauce (I think it included onions, mint, lemon and garlic), but a recipe for one was on the falafel box to get you started. So, not necessarily fancy, but still reasonably healthy and definitely quick!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What I have been working on this summer

It has been a summer of growing and firsts- growing a baby, growing a garden, and yes a first for both! I have a very bizarre back-yard. It is a giant hill that is so impractical for any use, other than to hide us from the neighbors up top, that we let it become completely overgrown and it is a free-for-all. However, there is a lower tier, separated by rail-road ties (I know you are thinking of how beautiful that must look), that has been quite useful this year. With the help of Heather, we weeded the lower tier, and planted, yellow & green zucchini, onions, tomatoes, red peppers, jalapeno peppers, watermelon, lettuce, rosemary, basil and cilantro. I have been able to harvest quite a bit of the lettuce and herbs, but so far only one zucchini, and none of the others have produced yet. I have been a little impeded from giving it the true TLC it deserves due to growing a child at the same time which my pain tolerance doesn't really allow me to consistently weed the garden, fertilize, etc. As always, my husband has been a huge help and has watered, and once even weeded better than I ever did in that section. So, I thought I would show you a few before and afters.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Corn and Summer Vegetable Saute'

While at a recent doctor's appointment, I was leafing through their magazines and discovered a link to this - 20 fast and delicious summer meals. I wrote down a couple of the summer recipes and have enjoyed each one of them, so I thought I would share one of the new favorites with you. I happened to have my father and brother-in-law staying with us at the time too, and they both seemed to enjoy it. Especially for my brother-in-law, I think it was the most vegetables he may have eaten in the past year!

1 tblspn oil (coconut or olive is what I use)
1/2 c. chopped green onions (approx. 4)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 c. sliced okra (I couldn't find this at 3 stores, so I substituted with green beans)
1 c. shopped red bell pepper
1 finely chopped / seeded jalapeno
1 c. corn (2 ears)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 c. cilantro
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for 1 min. Add okra, saute 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add bell pepper and jalapeno; cook 5 minutes. Add corn, cook 5 minutes, stir in beans, cook 2 more minutes. Stir in cilantro, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

I added chicken to make this a little more hearty (and because some people are skeptical of calling anything a meal if it is vegetarian.). The recipe also mentions shrimp would be a good addition, but we happen to not really eat shrimp. I also served with a side of lemon-y cous-cous as I was also a little unsure about serving this to company without a grain or side-dish and I happened to have that on-hand. Enjoy!

Monday, July 13, 2009

It's a bird, a plane, a rash, a family, a firework, a pregnant lady

Our July 4th celebration was a lot of fun this year, but also a secret! Both Micah and I, as well as our dear friends, Jessica & Curtis (and their two kids) wanted a small, uncomplicated celebration. So, we combined our uncomplicated wishes, and came up with a great way to relax! We didn't tell anyone else of our plans so it could stay low-key (and because we were sneaking into Jessica's parent's house). I put on a bikini for the first time since pregnant, and we all went swimming, grilled out, and enjoyed each other's company while watching a variety of fire-works shows.

You might be asking what the title of this post has anything to do with the above description, well, here are some photos that will help fill in the gaps. (birds was just to get the quote started and I am sure there were plenty in Tulsa that day)

I had been craving some jalapeno poppers, the kind wrapped in bacon with cream cheese, and when I saw them recently published here on the Pioneer Woman blog, I knew I was making them for the 4th. Well, apparently with my super sensitive pregnant skin, cutting the jalapenos burned my poor hands and I developed this terrible rash that truly freaked me out for a couple of days until I was able to guess that most likely the burns, blisters and marks had to be from cutting over a dozen jalapenos. And here is what it still looks like, over a week later:(I have been hiding my hands in embarrassment ever since. A day later when it showed up, we were almost convinced I had preeclampsia and were on our way to the ER. Glad we didn't go after all just to be turned away for cutting a few too many jalapenos!)

While blogging, the TV is on in the background and we are half-watching a show on France and they were interviewing a photographer. He said the art of photography is , "showing life as it is, reflecting the world in which you live." If that is the case, I live in a world filled with beautiful children and families:

So, the plane part of the title comes in with this picture. I think I could double for the plane that landed in the Hudson Bay a couple months ago. Okay, just kidding, I know I am not that big, but still, wow!Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, enjoyed the freedom we have, and is grateful for our armed forces, and God's favor which has been upon America.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Officially Full Term!

I am officially Full-Term; it is safe for Daisy to arrive now! Unfortunately, she and I are showing no signs of being ready, or her actually being here anytime soon. So, I am trying to be patient, and make myself think of still needing to wait at least 2 more weeks before it is time for her to arrive. Granted, the nursery still isn't finished yet, so I could still use a little time to complete that project, but I am not entirely sure that is going to happen regardless of when she arrives.

Photos taken by Brenda Horan