Wednesday, December 29, 2010

9 weeks



Here's what is going on with Noah this week according to babycenter.com;

Your baby's salivary glands have been working since she was in utero, but you may notice that she's started to drool. She's also putting everything in her mouth and producing more saliva than she can swallow. This doesn't mean that your baby's teething just yet, though — that probably won't happen for another two weeks, at least. The vast majority of babies sprout their first tooth between 4 and 7 months of age. If your baby's an early developer, you may see her first white cap, usually one of the bottom two middle teeth, as early as 3 months. (And in rare cases, a baby's first tooth is visible at birth!) Many parents permanently affix a bib to their baby about now to catch the drool. Just remember to take it off when your baby sleeps to prevent strangulation. The good news is that your baby's drool coats toys and other objects with disease-preventing proteins. That's fortunate — since she'll continue to explore anything she can get her hands on.

If your baby's sleeping through the night (five or six hours at a stretch), you're one of the lucky few. Most 10-week-old babies still wake up in the middle of the night. But even babies who aren't sleeping through the night at this stage should be sleeping and staying awake for longer intervals instead of cycling back and forth so much. Your baby will most likely have two to four long sleep periods and as many as ten hours of awake time in 24 hours. An interesting note: Whether your baby is a night owl or a morning lark, a long sleeper or short sleeper, she'll probably stay that way throughout childhood.

Your baby is learning how to rock and roll — well, maybe just roll. At this age, she'll probably be able to move from her side to her back and her back to her side. The complete roll over won't come for another month or so, though, because she needs stronger neck and arm muscles for that maneuver. Your baby's increasing mobility means that you must keep a hand on her during diaper changes. Never leave your baby unattended on a bed or any other elevated surface now that she can move around.

This week we had our two month doctor's appointment.  Noah is up to 11 lbs, and 22 inches long (he was 7 lbs 8 oz at birth, and 20.75 inches long).  Our doctor said that Noah is a little smaller than the average baby, but that the rate at which he is growing since his last visit is right on track with where he is supposed to be.  He is still sleeping through the night consistently, and usually goes down around 9 or 10 pm and gets up at 4 or 5 for his first feeding and diaper change.  Then, if we don't have anything to do early that morning, we sometimes go back to bed until around 8 or 9 am.  After that he continues to eat every 2.5-3.5 hours all day long, and takes a few naps throughout the day.  He is definitely awake more and more as each week goes on, and he is getting increasingly more alert.  Now I can see him watching me from several feet away.  He is starting to be more and more fun also.  He goes through longer and more frequent periods of happiness where he will smile and make noises at us for up to a half an hour straight.  We recently borrowed a swing from Jeremy's cousin (that we get to keep until she has her baby in March) and Noah is loving sitting in the swing while listening to the compilation of classical music it plays.  Although  Noah loves to sleep on his belly (during the day while I am awake and watching him), he doesn't seem to be too fond of mat time.  We can squeeze in a few minutes before he turns into a complete fussy baby.  For the most part when Noah fusses it can be easily cured by walking him through the house and constantly moving while he stares around at his surroundings in awe.  He also doesn't like to lay down much anymore (unless he is sleeping) and would much rather be sitting up where he can see what is going on around him.  I am in awe at how much he changes each day, and how he keeps getting more fun and more cute each day, although I don't think that either of those are possible cause he is so great just the way he is.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sweet and Spicy Baked Brie


Sweet and Spicy Baked Brie

Since brie is a little more expensive then "every day cheese" I tend to save it for special occasions.  This is a nice elegant appetizer that can be thrown together with very minimal effort.  I like to serve this with a more gourmet cracker, like a rice cracker which has a nice lightness and crispness.  Apple slices would also be delicious for dipping in the cheese.  Any other jam/ jelly (or even honey) could be substituted for the pepper jelly, and dried cranberries/ cherries could be added for a tart kick.

- 5 oz wheel of brie
-few tablespoons pepper jelly (I like jalapeno pepper jelly for a bit of a kick, but red pepper jelly would be fine for a more mild dish)
-few tablespoons chopped pecans

Place brie in baking dish.  Top with pepper jelly.  Top with pecans.  Bake at 350 for 10-20 minutes, until center oozes out upon cutting.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas pics

Here are a few pics from our Christmas and Christmas Eve. We got to spend time with Jeremy's parents and sister, my mom, and some extended cousins and friends of the family.

Jeremy's sister lisa, diving into the loot

me in what seems like my usual position these days... nursing our son






silly face

my mom and Noah

Jeremy's parents

Handmade Christmas

For the first time ever we didn't buy a single gift for Christmas. I've always enjoyed doing some homemade items, but our budget this year required that we only do homemade items. With a newborn around I kept it simple and just did a few small items. It was quite refreshing this year to not have the pressure of shopping or worrying about how much to spend on items. Here's a glimpse at a few of the goodies that I came up with;

a soft ball for my niece... I made this out of 3 different fabrics that I got for $0.50 each (for about a yard of each) from a yard sale about 5 months ago, and I had gotten a big bag of stuffing from a different yard sale for $1
rose earrings for some family and friends
a car cozy for my nephew, with a road to drive on and pockets to hold his cars... this is made entirely out of our old clothes... the tan on the front was from a pair of maternity capris, the black was from an old t shirt, the blue from an old pain of work pants, and the denim from an old pair of Jeremy's jeans
some homemade granola

In addition to these items, we also gave some family cookbooks (like this one from last year), and of course plenty of pictures of our little one.

Merry Christmas!  May your day be filled with love, laughter, and the presence of our Savior!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

8 weeks



Here's what is going on with Noah this week according to babycenter.com;

Your baby can tell the difference between familiar voices and other sounds, and he's becoming a better listener. He can also show you that he's in tune with his environment. Notice how he looks to see where certain noises are coming from.  An ongoing conversation (although seemingly one-sided) can help your baby develop his sense of place. He may even watch your mouth as you talk, fascinated by how it all works. You'll be amazed by his ability to communicate with a growing repertory of coos (musical, vowel-like sounds), smiles, and unique cries to express his different needs.

Noah is getting bigger by the day.  I'm now putting him in 3 month and 3-6 month clothes, even though he's only two months old.  He's not outgrowing them in width, he's still a fairly thin little guy, but he's growing like a weed in length while he bulks up slowly.  Neither Jeremy nor I are tall, so I'm not sure where his height is coming from.  Each week he starts being awake more and more... in general he sleeps most of the morning (in between feedings), and then is awake most of the afternoon and evening.  Right now his fussy time is mostly between 5 and 8 pm.  He just wants to be held and moved around during this time, rather than sitting alone (unfortunately this just happens to fall around the time that I make dinner and that we try to sit down and eat).  We can see his eyes focusing on things a lot, especially us, or the mobiles in his bedroom.  He loves to go for walks, either in the stroller or the Baby Bjorn carrier.  For the most part he's sleeping straight through from 9 pm to 5 am now, with a middle of the night feeding every few days.  He's especially happy right when he's done eating and will sit and grin and "talk" to me for about 30 minutes. He loves to look around the room and in general prefers sitting up and facing out to laying down, or being held facing me. 

Shannon

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

be the change...

Often in Christian culture we use the saying "be the change that you want to see".  Meaning, rather than sitting around complaining about the way things are, do something about it.  This can be difficult, because it's easy to feel that I'm so small that I can't make a difference, or sometimes I feel that I just don't know where to start.  It's easy to be overwhelmed by issues like poverty and violence, and the lack of unity among the Church.  I could go deeper into this (and probably will in another post soon), but today I'm pondering this "be the change..." phrase in relation to my home/ family life.

I'm taking inventory of my life, my values, and the messages that I'm sending with my actions.  I'm looking to see where my actions don't line up with my values... if my time, energy, and resources are being used wisely, or if they are being squandered.  I'm pondering the values that I want to be instilled in Noah, and evaluating on if that is what is being modeled by my example.  I want him to learn from watching me, I want to model the values that are important, I want him to learn through doing things with me, and not just by me telling him what is important and "good" to do.

As a result I feel a call to action, to "being the change".  I want to pray more, laugh more, read more, stop to cherish each moment, play more, connect more, create more, and have more deep conversations.  I want to limit my time in front of the TV, or on the internet and really engage in life...in living, serving, loving, and connecting with others.  I want Noah to grow up knowing that the Lord is the center of my life, and not just hearing me say those cliche words.  I want us to take lots of time to create, play, explore nature, and snuggle.  I want us to take time to be still and reflective.  I want all of our days to be led by the Holy Spirit... to have constant communion and communication with Him... to be aware of how He is working in, through, and around us, and to experience Him.

So today, I'm moving towards being the change that I want to see in my family, in my son, in the next generation...

What changes do you want to see?  How can you take the first step?

Shannon

Monday, December 20, 2010

Roasted Mushrooms

Roasted Mushrooms

These were delicious!  They could be a great quick and easy side dish alongside any meat.  The parmesan cheese isn't necessary, but I had some on hand that I wanted to use up.  A splash of lemon juice or wine would also add a great dimmension of flavor to this dish.  Garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired.

- 16 oz button/ white mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed (any that were large I cut in half)
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp black pepper
-2 tsp dried rosemary
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-parmesan cheese for topping (optional)

In medium bowl, stir together olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary, and garlic.  Toss with mushrooms.  Place mushrooms in greased baking dish.  Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.  (Optional) Top with parmesan and continue to bake until cheese melts.

Shannon

Friday, December 17, 2010

Linguine with Clam Sauce


Linguine with Clam Sauce

I've been wanting to try this dish for years, but for some reason have been putting it off.  I combined several different recipes until I came up with something that I thought would match our tastes.  This was delicious, super easy, and pretty inexpensive for a gourmet dinner.  If you would like to omit the white wine then substitute it with more reserved clam juice, although I loved the excuse to open a bottle of white wine for a treat.  Serve with crusty bread for soaking up the extra sauce.

-1 lb whole wheat linguine, cooked to al dente
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-1 Tbsp butter
-1 yellow onion, diced
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
-4 (6.5 oz) cans chopped clams, drained with juice reserved
-3/4 cup white wine (I used a Pinot Grigio since that's what I wanted to drink that evening)
-juice of 1/2 lemon
-fresh parsley, chopped
-3/4 cup heavy cream
-1/4 cup reserved clam juice
-salt and pepper to taste (since the clams and clam juice are so salty I didn't need to add any salt)
-parmesan cheese

Heat butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Saute onion until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and clams, cook 3 minutes.  Add wine, cook 3 minutes.  Reduce heat, add lemon, a handful of parsley, half and half, and clam juice.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cook on low for 3 minutes.  Add extra clam juice if desired to thin sauce.  Add pasta to the sauce and toss to combine (letting the noodles finish cooking).  Top serving bowl (or individual bowls) with shredded parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

Shannon

Creole Okra and Tomatoes

Creole Okra and Tomatoes

This dish would still be authentic with or without the corn, depending on your preference.  Celery and/ or bell pepper could also be added along with the onion for extra flavor.

-1 yellow onion, diced
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
-1 Tbsp sugar
-1 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp black pepper
-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
-1/2 tsp dried thyme and/ or basil
-1 (15 oz) can of corn
-1 lb frozen sliced okra, thawed

Saute onion oven medium heat until soft (about 5 minutes).  Add garlic, cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).  Add tomatoes, sugar, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and thyme/ basil.  Stir well to combine, simmer 3 minutes.  Add okra and corn, cover and simmer until okra begins to soften (5-10 minutes).

Shannon

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Oven Fried Okra

Since I've been staying at home I've been able to enjoy lunches made up of all sorts of vegetables that I don't normally make (like okra, cauliflower, cabbage, and brussel sprouts) because Jeremy doesn't like them. 


Oven Fried Okra

Instead of the combination, either all flour or all cornmeal could be used for the batter.  Serve this as is for a typical (but healthier) southern side dish, or serve it with ketchup for okra "fries".  Fresh, sliced okra could be used also, just increase the cooking time by about 5-10 minutes.  The cayenne gives the okra a nice kick, if you don't like spicy food reduce it by half.

-1 lb frozen sliced okra, thawed
-1 cup whole wheat flour
-1 cup cornmeal
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp cayenne pepper
-2 eggs, beaten

Whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt and cayenne in medium sized bowl.  In batches, use a slotted spoon dip okra in eggs, and stir to coat well.  Transfer okra to flour mixture, tossing to coat.  Spread okra out on a greased baking sheet.  Spray the okra with cooking spray.  Bake at 450 for 15 minutes.

Shannon

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

7 weeks

Here's what is going on with Noah this week, according to babycenter.com;

Reaching out: Your baby's hands should be mostly open now — ready to reach out to the world. In the early days of your baby's life, grabbing was mostly automatic and instinctual and she couldn't let go if she wanted to. Although she can't really grab objects just yet, she can hold things placed in her hands. And, once she wraps her hands around something, she might not let go so easily. She'll also begin to try and bat at objects, so keep potentially dangerous objects far from your little one's reach. This means not holding hot liquids or sharp objects while you're holding her.


Learning begins now: You may notice short periods of time when your newborn is quiet and alert. This is prime time for learning: Your baby's brain will grow about 5 centimeters during her first three months! Use these calm intervals to get better acquainted with your baby — talk to her, sing to her, describe the pictures on the walls. She may not be able to add to your conversation just yet, but she's learning nonetheless. New textures for her hands to feel and new sights and sounds (all in moderation) are all learning opportunities. Even bath time becomes a laboratory for understanding life.

Eyes can track objects: With both eyes now able to follow things consistently and well, your baby can track a moving object much better, something she may have been able to do for only brief periods since birth. The stores are packed with developmental toys, but you'll do just as well with everyday objects. Pass a rattle or a bright plastic ladle horizontally in front of her. Then try moving it up and down. This should attract your baby's attention, though she probably won't be able to smoothly follow things vertically for another three months and diagonally for another six months. You can also play eyes-to-eyes by moving very close to her face and slowly nodding your head from side to side. Often her eyes will lock onto yours.

Our little guy is now finally big enough for his BumGenius cloth diapers and has been wearing those exclusively since Sunday.  For some strange reason I love the process of washing the stuffing his diapers... maybe it's the soft cuddly material, maybe it's how cute he looks in them, and maybe it's that I know that these are much better for his little tooshy than all of the chemicals in disposables.  We could still possible use an extra 2-4 cloth diapers, but we are doing well with what we have, I just need to throw in a load of diapers to wash every morning when I wake up so that we have enough for the day.  With the first load I just crossed my fingers and threw it in in hopes that the diapers would come out clean.  Much to my delight they have come out looking and smelling clean ever single wash.

I still don't know if we've gotten a full smile out of Noah, but we get a whole lot of smirks and grins, especially right after he's done eating and he's content with a full belly.  It seems this week that Noah is starting to sleep longer at night.  In all prior weeks he went about 3-4 hours a time at night before waking up to eat or to dirty his diaper.  The last two nights in a row he has slept for over 6 hours at a time each night... I LOVE it, I feel much more refreshed by the time we are getting up for a middle of the night feeding, and then I've only had to get up once per night, as opposed to twice as I was doing before.  He's also started enjoying listening to the music on his crib mobile while watching the lights and the the hanging animals spin.  It has almost stopped and eliminated his 1-2 hours of fussiness each night around 10 pm when he is put in his crib.  We keep wondering if his eyes are going to stay the pretty shade of blue that they currently are, or if they are going to change.  Our little man is starting to visibly put some weight on and is getting just a little bit thicker each week.  For about 2 weeks he's been too long for newborn clothes and has been wearing 0-3 month clothes, he's growing so quickly in length that I don't think those will fit him for that much longer, but 3-6 month clothes are still huge on him width wise since he's just not a chunky guy (yet anyway).  He's also holding his head up on his own a good bit now.

Shannon





Tuesday, December 14, 2010

weeks 1-6

I have the desire to do a weekly post with a picture of Noah and an update on how he's developing that week, kind of like I did each week with pregnancy.  I'm not sure if I'm up for the task of keeping up with it, but I'll give it a whirl and see how it goes.  Here's some catch up for weeks 1-6.

Here's how Noah has been developing according to parents.com (in italics).



Week 1: It's only been a week, but already your newborn knows she can rely on you. By now, she can recognize your voice. Hearing her parents' familiar voices helps her adjust to the strange new world outside the womb and lets her know that she's not alone. So the more you talk to her, the better. She can't understand your words, but your love comes through loud and clear.

At this point Noah pretty much slept all of the time, and almost never cried.  He was 7 lbs 8 oz at birth, 6 lbs 14 oz when we left the hospital, and back up to 7 lbs 1 oz at his one week doctor's appointment.



Week 2: This week, your baby can focus on objects 8 to 14 inches away--just about the distance between his eyes and yours during feedings. In fact, babies this age prefer faces to other objects. By looking at him during his meals, you'll encourage him to practice focusing. As you feed him, move your head slowly from side to side and see if his eyes follow you. This helps build his eye muscles and tracking skills.

At this point our little one was still sleeping most of the time, and still not really crying ever.  We were a little worried that he still looked so skinny, but his 2 week doctor's appointment revealed that he was still gaining weight, and was up to 7 lbs 5 oz.



Week 3: Though her movements are still random and jerky, your baby can control her body in one amazing way by this week. She can snuggle! As you hold her, watch how she adjusts her posture towards you. She finds your arms and even your scent calming and comforting. There couldn't be a more perfect and relaxing way for the two of you to bond.

Just after two weeks Noah's umbilical cord finally fell off and he got his first bath.  He wasn't too thrilled or impressed with it, but he didn't cry, which was a victory in my opinion for such a new experience.



Week 4: Have you noticed your baby using his vocal chords in ways other than crying? He may coo and make "ahh" sounds this week, especially when he sees mom or dad. Babies learn by mimicking--so replay his sounds back to him. He not only loves the attention, but he's also finding out that his voice has power: he calls, you appear!

Somewhere between weeks 3 and 4 Noah found his lungs and started being a lot more vocal, including several hours of screaming between 5 and 9 pm each evening.



Week 5: This week, your baby's movements are becoming smoother and more purposeful--those random, jerky motions are beginning to disappear. She's not ready for gym class, but try to give her time each day for using her body. You can give her a gentle mini-workout by slowly pulling her to a sitting position, or letting her "fly" by resting her tummy-down on your forearm. Always support her head.

Around this time we realized that Noah sleeps much more peacefully on his belly than on his back (the recommended sleeping method these days).  At night we still swaddled him and put him on his back in the cradle in our room, but during the day when I could be around to keep a close eye on him, he would take most of his naps on his belly in our bed.  By this point his nightly screaming reduced from 3-4 hours, to 1-2 hours.


Week 6: It wasn't gas! At about this age, your baby will flash an adorable gummy grin that is his first genuine smile. How can you tell? His eyes will brighten and widen as he moves his mouth upwards. By smiling back and cooing to him, you'll do more than get another smile. You're teaching him that his actions cause a reaction--with pleasant results!

Not quite smiling yet, but flashing lots of smirks to mom and dad at this point.  Noticeably focusing his eyes a lot more at this point also, and would follow us or objects with his eyes, just a little delayed.


Shannon

Friday, December 10, 2010

Maple Roasted Brussel Sprouts


I made these maple roasted brussel sprouts, and I have to say that this was the best way that I've eaten brussel sprouts. EVER.  I reduced the olive oil down to 1 Tbsp and increased the maple syrup up to 4 Tbsp, but otherwise I prepared the recipe as is.  If you're a brussel sprout lover you have to try these, and maybe even if you're not... they have a nice sweetness and chewiness that may win over some skeptics. 

Do you love or hate brussel sprouts?

I've loved them ever since I was a kid and my mom made them frequently... I know, I was a VERY exotic eater for a child.

Shannon

Shannon

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Handmade Christmas Cards

I love doing fun picture holiday cards and sending them to everyone that we know, but this year I kept it simple in order to respect our shrinking budget (now that I'm not working).  I put together these simple cards from scraps of scrapbooking paper that I had lying around, and sent them only to members of our immediate family.  I forgot to take a picture of it, but the inside of the cards included a small cluster of trees in the lower right hand corner also.

Shannon

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Creamy Potato Soup


Creamy Potato Soup

A cool front moving, in and a cold overtaking our house makes for a big pot of soothing soup.  Jeremy loved this soup as is, but it was a little thick for my taste (too much like a big bowl of mashed potatoes), I'd add an extra cup of water next time if Jeremy hadn't made me promise to make it this same way always.

-4 carrots, diced
-2 ribs celery, diced
-1 yellow onion, diced
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-5 cups chicken broth

- 5 medium to large Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced
-1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
-1/4 teaspoon pepper
-1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
-1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, cut into chunks

Saute carrots, celery, and onion over medium heat until soft (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and saute an additional 30 seconds.  Add broth, potatoes, and spices. Boil on medium heat until potatoes are tender. Smash the potatoes in the pan, or puree with an immersion blender. Reduce heat to low. Add cream cheese. Heat, stirring frequently, until cheese melts.

Shannon

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dark Chocolate Cake

Dark Chocolate Cake

I got this recipes from my mother-in-law years ago, and it has been my go to chocolate cake recipe ever since.  It is one of my favorite cakes, and is definitely my favorite chocolate cake recipe.  It comes out unbelievably moist and chocolatey.  To frost it I just make the frosting/ icing recipe that is on the can of cocoa powder and smother it on top of the cooled cake.

-1 3/4 cups unsifted all purpose flour
-2 cups sugar
-3/4 cup cocoa
-1 1/2 tsp baking soda
-1 1/2 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp salt
-2 eggs
-1 cup milk
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-2 tsp vanilla
-1 cup boiling water

Combine dry ingredients in large mixing bowl.  Add remaining ingredients except boiling water; beat at medium speed 2 minutes.  Remove from mixer; stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).  Pour into two greased and floured 9" pans, or 3 8" pans, or one 13x9 pan.  Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes for layers, or 35-40 minutes from 13x9, or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes on rack.  Remove from pans and cool completely.  Top with frosting.

Shannon

Friday, December 3, 2010

Cheese Grits


Cheese Grits

Jeremy doesn't normally like grits, but he thought these were great.  It is a very versatile dish, you can serve it as a side dish for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  You could leave out the tomatoes with chiles, you could stir in cooked meat, or you could use a different type of cheese to change the flavor depending on what you will be serving these with.  These weren't quite as spicy as I would have liked so I added extra hot sauce to my bowl, next time I think I'd add some hot sauce or cayenne pepper into the mix prior to baking. 

-1 cup grits
-4 1/2 cups water
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp black pepper
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-2 cups shredded cheese (I used a mix of jack and cheddar, but pepper jack would be amazing here)
-1 can diced tomatoes with chiles
-1 egg, beaten

Bring water to a boil. Add grits and salt and stir, then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in black pepper, garlic powder, tomatoes with chiles, and grated cheese. Drop in a couple of tablespoons of hot grits into beaten egg to temper, stirring constantly. Dump it all back into the pot and stir. Pour into a greased baking dish and bake at 375 for 30 to 45 minutes.

Shannon

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Shakshuka



Shakshuka

This is a traditional Middle Eastern dish that would be served with pita bread for soaking up the yummy sauce. This makes for a quick, easy, inexpensive yet flavor filled breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.

-1 Tbsp olive oil
-1 onion, diced
-1 green pepper, diced
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tsp cumin
-1 tsp paprika
-1/2 tsp chili powder
-1/8 tsp cayenne
-1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
-3/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-6 eggs
-1/2 cup feta cheese
-fresh chopped cilantro or parsley for garnish

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and bell pepper until soft, 5-10 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, chili powder and cayenne. Saute 1 additional minute. Add crushed tomatoes, salt and pepper; stirring the spices into the mixture. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 10 minutes. Crack eggs of the top of the pan, cover and cook 5 minutes. Add feta cheese, cover and cook 5 more minutes. Top with cilantro or parsley and serve.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mashed Cauliflower

After a month of little to no cooking I am slowly starting to get back in the swing of things.  I had a head of cauliflower that needed to be used up, and thus I whipped up this dish.  Even my cauliflower hating husband ate a bowl of it, which says a lot.


This is a great side dish for those on low carb diets, or is a great way to get kids to eat vegetables that they wouldn't normally touch.  You could even combine a mixture of 1/2 mashed cauliflower and 1/2 mashed potatoes to make it a little more kid friendly.  1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, or 4 oz cream cheese would also be a great addition here, but honestly it was great without it and I was able to whip this up without a trip to the store by not adding either.  Butter could be used instead of the oil, and the cauliflower could easily be steamed instead of boiled if that is your preference.

Mashed Cauliflower

-1 head cauliflower, chopped into large chunks
-salt and pepper to taste
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-1 clove garlic
-a few Tbsp of milk or chicken broth

Boil cauliflower in salter water until soft (about 6-10 minutes).  Place boiled cauliflower and remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.  Add additional milk until desired consistency is achieved.

Shannon

Monday, November 29, 2010

Over the past month

The last month has been filled with adjusting to and enjoying life with a newborn.  We've had family make trips in town to visit and share in our joy.  We've been blessed to have a months worth of meals provided to us by our family and friends.  But now our family is gone, the meals have stopped, and it's time to settle into some sort of normalcy and routine with our little family.

Noah is doing well, growing and changing by the day.  He's not the same quiet baby that he was for the first two weeks.  He's taken to some crying and screaming, normally a few hours a day, and always in the evening or at night.  Him and I normally get up 1-2 times a night to nurse, and then we sleep in until about 9 am as a result from getting up during the night.  Some days we even manage to squeeze in an afternoon nap together.  Other than being awake for his feedings Noah generally sleeps all night, morning and afternoon... it's exhausting growing so much, and he needs to save up his energy for his evening screaming sessions.

Noah is still in disposable diapers... his legs are so skinny that our cloth diapers leak on him.  We are trying to fatten him up so that we can make the switch to cloth only.

I've been working some exercise back into my routine, and have gone for several walks of 3-4 miles, and have made two trips to the gym, where I was able to ride the eliptical machine for 45 minutes.  My body feels like it is slowly starting to return to it's pre-pregnancy shape and size, but it can't happen soon enough for me, and it seems like this is going to be a long process.

Jeremy and I have ventured out of the house without our little one several times now for a coffee date, trips to the gym, and a dinner date.  We are super grateful to have family nearby that loves to watch our son.  We didn't even spend much of the time that we were out talking about Noah, as I feared he might steal all of our conversation going forward.

All is going well, and we are loving our time together as a family.  The hardest thing for me currently is to have confidence in our decisions and choices.  Everyone seems to have an opinion about everything having to do with babies... from feeding, to scheduling (or lack there of), to how to handle when they cry, to sleeping and so on, everyone has an opinion based off of their own experience/ feelings, and I feel like I am constantly being judged and evaluated on what I do, and then I question what I do.  I need to learn to be confident that I know my son, know what is best for him, and how to gently and graciously let all of the opinions roll off of my back.

That's all for now, but I'll leave you with a few pictures from the last two weeks.











Shannon

Luke 11

Here are my notes from Luke 11;

v 1-4
  • A disciple is someone whose life is disciplined by another.  The disciples saw the example of Jesus and wanted to pattern their lives after Him.
  • The disciples who were Jewish should have known how to pray... they would have been accustomed to reciting liturgical prayers... so why did they ask Jesus how to pray?
  • Prayer isn't about frills or religious language etc., it's just a straightforward conversation with our Father in Heaven.  Prayer should be natural and have natural language, like you are talking to your best friend.
  • Why do we fold our hands and close our eyes when we pray?  This isn't found in the Bible... is this just religious ritual and custom?
  • By following Jesus' example we should pray for; to keep God's name Holy, for His Kingdom to come, for our daily needs, to seek right relatedness with God and others, for protection from temptation
  • the phrase "our father" here is familiar, it could be translated as dad, it implies relationship... this was different from the term for father that the Jews used, which generally referred to Father of Israel.
  • "hallowed by your name"... Biblically your name is who you were... it describes and defines you and your reputation... hallowed by your name means for His name to be kept holy.  God's reputation hangs on us, we are His body and we either desecrate and profane His name or exalt His name.  We are His walking talking billboards, we are His letter.  How am I representing God's name?
  • "daily bread" means our daily needs.  this relates back to when the Israelites had to depend on God daily for their manna.  It is easier for people in poverty to pray this authentically because they have to trust in God for their daily needs, but most of us Western Christians have no idea what it means to actually depend on God for our daily needs... our needs are already met, our wealth creates the illusion of self sufficiency.
  • "forgive others"... forgiveness is releasing the debt of others, it's not saying that what they did was okay.  the only one whom unforgiveness harms is the one who holds it.
  • "lead us not into temptation"... this does not mean do not tempt us, we know that God doesn't tempt us, but that it is by our own evil desire that we are tempted (James 1:13-15). tempting is someone testing you and wanting you to fail.  God tests us, but not to see us fail, but that we may develop perseverance (James 1:2-4).
v 5-13
  • in these verses Jesus is still answering the question of "teach us to pray".  in the first 4 verses he talks about things to pray for and here he addresses the attitude of prayer.
  • "ask and it will be given.  seek and you will find..."... pray boldly and specifically.  pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).  we should make our day a long conversation with God, reacting to news/ stories/ events/ people in prayer... when we talk to God about something we are inviting Him into that situation, we should want Him in everything we do, experience, and encounter.  God created us for relationship with Himself, which requires constant communication with Him.
  • "if you who are evil know how to give good gifts..."... expect prayer to be answered, ask in faith (James 1:6)
  • we make prayer a religious activity and then compartmentalize it in time and function.  we need to make it a natural part of life, like "a child asking for an egg"
  • prayer is powerful and effective (James 5:16).
  • prayer can change the outcome (ex/ 2 Chronicles 7:14), (ex/ Exodus 17)
  • unanswered (or delayed) prayers don't necessarily mean that God said "no".  we have to take into account spiritual warfare and sin. (ex/ Daniel 10:12-14).
v 14-28
  • the demon was what was causing the man to be mute... not all illnesses/ afflictions in the New Testament were caused by demons, but some were which would mean that some are today.  our first step to fighting all illnesses/ affliction should be to engage in spiritual warfare.
  • the world is supposed to be God's "house" (v 17), but the world is currently being operated by Satan.
  • "strong man"= Satan, "his house"= creation, "stronger man"= Jesus
  • v 28 the woman makes an idol of Jesus, she doesn't worship Him in faith, but worships what He did
v 29-36
  • to a Jewish audience Jesus praised a pagan Queen and pagan nation for responding to what light had been given to them... this would have infuriated the hearers... Jesus isn't concerned with our heritage, but our heart.
  • repentance is to turn around and go in the opposite direction.  it does not have to be (and should not be confused with) an emotional experience.  repentance does have to involve change and surrender.  you can be sorry, but that's not the same as repenting (2 Corinthians 7:9).  repentance is an action, not an emotion.
v 37-54
  • Jesus spoke harshly to the religious leaders of His day, but spoke in mercy and kindness to sinners.
  • you can't adjust your behavior to get holy... behavior changes because you are holy... you can't change yourself... only God can change you

Shannon

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My birth story

My due date was October 24th, and my doctor not wanting me to go past 41 weeks had me choose a day between week 40 and 41 that if I didn't go into labor naturally by then, that she would induce me.  So Jeremy and I chose Wednesday October 27.  My whole pregnancy Jeremy and I were sure that Noah would arrive early and that I'd never make it to my due date, so needless to say we were surprised when my due date came and went, without any indication that labor was coming.

Therefore we went ahead with the planned induction.  We arrived at the hospital at 12:01 am the morning of Wednesday October 27.  This was such a strange experience... I've always had images of car rides in pain, rushing to the hospital in the heat of labor, hoping that we make it in time... those pictures are quite different from having a calm dinner and watching some TV before making our way to the hospital to "check in".  We arrived at the Labor and Delivery department and were shown to my room.  I promptly changed into a hospital gown while Jeremy took up his post on the sofa bed.  We enjoyed some Bravo TV (a real treat since we don't have cable at home) while my nurse got me hooked up to an IV of fluid, a fetal monitor, and a contraction monitor.  Upon hooking me up to the contraction monitor we found out that I was already having contractions on my own, just not feeling them.  They gave me a pill (that I can't remember the name of) to get my labor started.    Four hours later my contractions were starting to get more intense, and they came back to check on me.  At this point I still hadn't slept at all (probably from the excitement of it all... plus the fact that I was stuck in certain uncomfortable positions due to the monitors).  I was mortified at how much of a production it was just for me to use the restroom... I had to have someone help me un-hook my monitors and IV and role all of the cords with me to the restroom (parading my open hospital gown there), only to have to re-hook-up it all again upon my return.  Normally patients will have up to 3 doses of this pill prior to starting Pitocin, until they've started to dilate well.  There were some problems with how Noah reacted to the pill (his heart rate was dropping), so they were unable to give me another dose to kick start labor, and at this time I was only dilated to 1 cm. 

Next they decided to start me on Pitocin, hoping to get things moving along.  They hooked up Pitocin through my IV.  My contractions continued to get more intense, and closer together, and by this point I was feeling pretty nauseous also.  I think I managed to get 1-2 hours of sleep (in between prodings from nurses) until my doctor came to check on me (around 9 am) and broke my water (which was highly uncomfortable).  Over the next hour my labor continued to get more and more intense and I requested an epidural.  The actual process of getting the epidural wasn't nearly as bad as I expected... probably mainly because I kept my eyes closed in order to avoid seeing the needle.  The worst part of that whole thing was that yet another nurse, and an anesthieologist had to see me baring my body through my hospital gown.

Over the course of the next hour the epidural started kicking in and my legs became numb and tingly, and the pain of my contractions faded.  I was having cold shakes, but was also extremely hot and sweating.  All the while they were continuing to have concerns about Noah's heart rate.  When I either sat up, or laid on either side his heart rate dropped, so I was basically stuck lying flat on my back.  His heart rate dropped frequently after my contractions, which if it had been with the contractions wouldn't have been a concern, but the fact that it was dropping after the contractions led them to believe that there was a problem... possibly the cord was wrapped around him causing the delayed heart rate drop as it constricted him with each contraction.  They continued to monitor me closely, and talk of a possible c-section began.  A little after twelve my doctor returned to announce that the dropping heart rate was too much of a concern to allow it to go on long term.  At this point I was only up to a level of 4 on my Pitocin (most people make it up to 20), and they couldn't increase the Pitocin due to the problems with the way Noah's heart rate was reacting.  I was dilated to 3 cm... basically no where near having this baby, and unable to have any additional medicine to help things along... and unable to be allowed to continue to labor for a long period of time as things progressed (due to the heart rate concern).  So it was decided that I would have to have a c-section.  Everything was such a blur, and happened so quickly.  I was wheeled into an operating room and prepped for surgery (all the while slighly freaking out inside because this is not how I had wanted things to happen, and it was all happening so quickly, and kind of overwhelmingly).  Jeremy was escorted to the operating room, decked in scrubs.

The c-section itself was quite uncomfortable... the feeling of them cutting, pulling and stretching my inner parts was just not great, even with an epidural.. however I'm sure the process of having a baby in any manner is bound to be an uncomfortable process, so in the scheme of things it was fine, and fortunately over in about 20 minutes.  Jeremy was awesome, and continually tried to take my mind off of what was going on and encourage me.  Once Noah was out I was overwhelmed with emotion and tears, someone showed him to me before hauling him off to be cleaned up and monitored (he was in distress in the nursery for a couple of hours due to some fluid in his lungs, but everything turned out well).  Jeremy and Noah went to the nursery while the doctors got to work on stitching me back up.  Jeremy and I met back up in my hospital room so that he could fill me in on everything, and I could emotionally begin to grasp everything that just happened.

Eventually they brought Noah in to us, and I got to hold him.  I found a whole new level of love in that moment... amazing!!!!  A lactation consultant came in to help me with my first nursing, and I was blown away by how God programs us to function, how it is knit into us from within.  This little child just knew how to nurse, no one could have taught him, it was just programmed in him... amazing.  Eventually we were all moved into another room where we would spend the next two and a half days getting to know each other before we were released to go home.

This is definitely not how I pictured Noah's birth going, and definitely not how I would have chosen it.  But everything worked out well, both him and I are healthy, everything went smoothly, and  I'm healing up well.  I figure any birth is going to have some recovery time, it just depends on how you give birth on what body parts and processes are effected.  It's a little discouraging to know that every other baby I have will probably have to be via c-section now, but it could also be comforting to know exactly how my labor is going to go, and what to expect for next time.  In hindsight, there are a lot of things that I probably would have done differently... I probably would have gone to a midwife and birthing center rather than a hospital (not that I didn't like my doctor and hospital, but I think I'm just more of an alternative medicine person).  I would have enjoyed the benefits of a birthing center approach (opposed to the hospital approach) particularly in not having to constantly be hooked up to monitors, and being able to move around freely at my own will... I believe that this would have made my little bit of labor MUCH more comfortable.  I probably would have pushed a lot harder not to be induced, now thinking of all of the people that I know who were induced, and knowing that the majority of them resulted in c-sections also... I think there's something to be said for letting the body progress naturally, in it's timing, and that medical intervention to speed things up tends to lead to more complications.  All of that said, there's no use crying over spilt milk, and I'll do my best going forward to try to achieve the birth experience that I want (while remaining flexible, and knowing that nothing is ever going to go according to my perfect plan).  And to seize hold of the lovely and praiseworthy from this experience, I have a beautiful son, who is perfect in every way, and really what else could I ask for?

A few of my random reflections on our hospital stay...
  • why does a place that is designed for sick and recovering people serve food lacking any real nutrition to its patients?  only once in my three and a half day stay was I actually served a fresh fruit or vegetable with my meal, but they made sure to have a dessert with each lunch and dinner.
  • after more nurses/ doctors then I can count got to see my whole lower body in the buff I found myself not caring at all if I was topless and nursing when anyone walked into my hospital room... I figured they weren't seeing anything worse than anything that EVERYONE had already seen.
  • I was shocked to find that the hardest/ most frustrating part of this whole process for me was recovering... it was the day after the birth, when I was first allowed to get out of bed/ use the restroom/ walk/ shower... I was shocked at how hard it was to do these things, and that I needed so much help to do them.  I was frustrated to the point of tears that I was so dependent on others... I guess I'm a lot more independent then I would have known (or at least I apparently like to think I'm independent).
Shannon

Monday, November 15, 2010

Update

I have been a bad blogger lately.  I've been busy enjoying my son, and time with family that has been (and is still) coming in and out of town.  Please be patient with me.  I'm still trying to figure out what it looks like to connect with others via blogs, facebook, and email now that I stay at home with my son, as opposed to sitting at a desk in front of a computer 45 hours a week.  I am definitely not going to spend the same amount of time surfing the web now as before, and I am finding that I would much rather connect with friends in person, cook rather than read new recipes, and just live life, than spending so much time living it virtually, through the internet.  But I'm looking for a balance, a way to still enjoy connecting with far off friends through the technology available to me, a way to continue to be encouraged and inspired by the amazing women and blogs that I've come to love.  So I'm still working out the kinks and looking for balance.

The last two and a half weeks have been a whirlwind, and they have been amazing.  I love being a Mom... Jeremy and I love being parents, and we love this little man that the Lord has entrusted to us.  Jeremy has said things like "why didn't we do this sooner", and "we should have a baby this age at all times".  Basically we are just loving parenthood and everything that it entails, but we still really value the three and a half years of marriage that we had with just the two of us. 

This has been a much smoother transition than I expected, although I'm quite scared to say that for fear that things will start getting more and more hard as Noah gets older.  I love this age/ stage so much and think it's the best, I don't want him to change or grow a bit.  I hope that each stage is like this, and that I enjoy each season that we go through as parents for what it is, thinking that those are the best moments.  As of now we are convinced that we have a pretty easy/ good baby.  For the first two weeks all he did was eat and sleep and was awake maybe 1-2 additional hours per day.  Over the past few days he's been starting to be awake more during the day (fortunately he hasn't had his days and nights mixed up).  He doesn't cry much, and only does so when we has gas/ an upset tummy that he just needs to work out.  I get up with him 2-3 times a night, for about an hour each, to feed him and change his diaper, but other than that he sleeps great at night.  I've been surprised to find that getting up in the middle of the night doesn't even bother me.  I will say that this is largely due to knowing that I get to stay home with Noah during the day though, that I know that we can sleep in if I need to, or that I can squeeze an afternoon nap into our schedule when needed.  Because of this I haven't felt overly tired or exhausted and feel like I'm getting as much sleep as I need most days.

Nursing is going well (so far), I have a little pain and soreness, but nothing nearly as bad as some horror stories that I've heard.  Noah eats every 2-3 hours and is gaining weight at the rate that our doctor expects him to... although he still is a very skinny guy and we want to fatten him up a good bit.  (He weighed 7 lbs 8 oz at birth, got down to 6 lbs 14 oz by the time we left the hospital, was up to 7 lbs 1 oz at 1 week, and was up to 7 lbs 5 oz at 2 weeks).

I'm doing well recovering from my c-section (birth story still to come soon).  No matter how you have a baby there's going to be some pain and recovery to go along with it, and although a c-section wasn't my plan, or what I would have chosen, it worked out just fine... both me and Noah and healthy and happy and I'm healing up nicely with a little minor soreness on my incision.

I've been surprised to find that although other people's kids spit up/ pee etc. has always disgusted me, that my own child's bodily excretions don't repulse me at all.  Not a day goes by that me or some piece of our furniture don't get peed or puked on, but it doesn't bother me, and I just clean it up without cringing at all.  Before I had Noah other parents always told me that I would just know my baby, his needs and his cries... I thought they were crazy, that that was for people who had lots of baby experience and were just made to be parents.  Fortunately those people were right, and within two days of being home from the hospital Jeremy and I already felt like we knew Noah, what his cries were for, and how we needed to respond.  It's amazing how the Lord just works all of this out for us.

Surprisingly for me, the biggest adjustment in parenting hasn't been anything relating to caring for Noah, but it has all been in how Jeremy and I relate to each other and how much time we have for each other.  We've been spoiled for the last few years, by getting to spend such large amounts of time together.  Especially over the last year and a half where we commuted together 2 hours a day.  We got very used to being together almost all of the time, and to mostly being the center or each other's attention.  Now we have this whole new member of the family to care for, and spend time with.  It is such a joy to do this together, to become even more of a team than we have been before, to really work together for the good of our family, but it has had its challenges also.  We both spend so much time giving attention to our new family member that we just aren't giving each other as much attention as we were before Noah's arrival.  In fact, most days the first chance that we really get to snuggle up alone together is when we put Noah in bed at night, which is a huge contrast to the way we used to spend our Sundays snuggling on the couch and watching movies.  Or how we used to go for long walks every weekend holding hands.  We've still been doing some walking together, but now Jeremy's hands are generally occupied by the stroller.  It's just a different season, and will take some adjusting.  We'll have to learn to be more intentional in connecting with each other, and having time alone together.  I will say that I'm proud of us though, we already left Noah with Jeremy's parents one evening (in between feedings) for us to go out on a double date with Jeremy's brother and his wife while they were in town.  We may not have the chance (or the budget) to go on weekly dinner dates like we used to, but we can still find ways to enlist some Grandparent time so that we can have a gym, walk, or coffee date alone together.

This week my Mom will be visiting us from Thursday through next Friday, and following that I'm hoping to get more settled into a schedule/ routine... to start being more intentional about connecting with friends, returning emails, blogging, and maybe even getting back into the swing of some crafting and cooking again.

Shannon

Thursday, November 4, 2010

our new arrival

Noah Dominic Mangerchine was born at 12:58 pm Wednesday, October 27, weighing 7 lbs 8 oz.  He is beautiful and perfect in every way!  More pictures and my birth story to come soon, both mommy and baby are home and doing well now.


Shannon

Monday, October 18, 2010

39 weeks


Here is what is going on with Noah this week according to babycenter.com;

Your baby's waiting to greet the world! He continues to build a layer of fat to help control his body temperature after birth, but it's likely he already measures about 20 inches and weighs a bit over 7 pounds, a mini watermelon. (Boys tend to be slightly heavier than girls.) The outer layers of his skin are sloughing off as new skin forms underneath. At each of your now-weekly visits, your caregiver will do an abdominal exam to check your baby's growth and position. She might also do an internal exam to see whether your cervix has started ripening: softening, effacing (thinning out), and dilating (opening). But even armed with this information, there's still no way for your caregiver to predict exactly when your baby is coming. If you go past your due date, your caregiver will schedule you for fetal testing (usually a sonogram) after 40 weeks to ensure that it's safe to continue the pregnancy. If you don't go into labor on your own, most practitioners will induce labor when you're between one and two weeks overdue — or sooner if there's an indication that the risk of waiting is greater than the risks of delivering your baby without further delay. While you're waiting, it's important to continue to pay attention to your baby's movements and let your caregiver know right away if they seem to decrease. Your baby should remain active right up to delivery, and a noticeable slowdown in activity could be a sign of a problem. Also call if you think your water may have broken. Membranes rupture before the beginning of labor in about 8 percent of term pregnancies. Sometimes there's a big gush of fluid, but sometimes there's only a small gush or a slow leak. (Don't try to make the diagnosis yourself. Call even if you only suspect you have a leak.) If you rupture your membranes and don't start contractions on your own, you'll be induced.

As for me, I'm feeling okay, but about done with all of this pregnancy stuff.  I'm not completely miserable, but I get more and more uncomfortable each day.  I'm still really fortunate though, and have only a tiny bit of swelling in my feet every few days.  I have a little back and hip pain, mostly in the evenings, but nothing unbearable.  I'm still sleeping through the night most nights, just with frequent (hourly) trips to the restroom.  Stretch marks are starting to form right around my belly button and I want to get this baby out of me before they spread all over my stomach.  I've been walking for an hour everyday, but still don't have any signs that Noah will be making an appearance soon.  I haven't had a single contraction in over two weeks.  If I haven't gone into labor naturally before then, my doctor will be inducing me Wednesday Oct. 27, but I'm still praying that things progress naturally on their own.

As of now I'm a stay-at-home wife and mom, just without the kid.  It's been nice to sleep in a little, relax, and have some time to finish up last minute things that I wanted to do before Noah's arrival.  All this waiting and unknown is starting to get old though, and I'm just excited to welcome him into our family and begin this new season of life.

Shannon





Saturday, October 16, 2010

elephant softie

I used this tutorial and template to whip up a quick elephant softie for Noah out of an old pair of sweatpants.  I added buttons on each side for the eye, because I'm not that great with embroidery.  The tag on top can be used with a link to hang this elephant from a stroller or car seat.  He is very imperfect, and very homemade looking, but that's part of the fun of this little guy.

Shannon

Monday, October 11, 2010

38 weeks

Here is what is going on with Noah this week according to babycenter.com,

Your baby has really plumped up. She weighs about 6.8 pounds and she's over 19 1/2 inches long (like a leek). She has a firm grasp, which you'll soon be able to test when you hold her hand for the first time! Her organs have matured and are ready for life outside the womb. Wondering what color your baby's eyes will be? You may not be able to tell right away. If she's born with brown eyes, they'll likely stay brown. If she's born with steel gray or dark blue eyes, they may stay gray or blue or turn green, hazel, or brown by the time she's 9 months old. That's because a child's irises (the colored part of the eye) may gain more pigment in the months after she's born, but they usually won't get "lighter" or more blue. (Green, hazel, and brown eyes have more pigment than gray or blue eyes.) For many women, the next couple of weeks are a waiting game. Use this time to prepare your baby's nursery or to take care of necessary tasks you may not get around to for a while after your baby's born. Take naps, catch up on your reading, and spend uninterrupted time with your partner while you can. Some swelling in your feet and ankles is normal during these last weeks, but call your practitioner without delay if you notice excessive or sudden swelling of your feet or ankles, more than slight swelling of your hands, any swelling in your face or puffiness around your eyes, or have a sudden weight gain. Also let her know immediately if have severe or persistent headaches; visual changes (such as double or blurred vision, seeing spots or flashing lights, light sensitivity, or a temporary loss of vision), intense upper abdominal pain or tenderness, or nausea and vomiting. These are symptoms of a serious condition called preeclampsia.

As for me, I'm still feeling good, but about done with this being pregnant stage.  I'm not having any problems, or super uncomfortable, it's just that I thought that Noah would already be here by now, and this constant waiting and wondering when my water is going to break (and praying that it doesn't happen in public) is getting old.  As of my doctor's appointment last week I wasn't dilating yet, but some signs were appearing that things are starting to progress.  I've been doing the eliptical machine and walking a lot in hopes to help speed things along.  As of today my belly is starting to look lower, as if it is dropping some (at least in the opinion of me and my co-workers).  I've had random contractions here and there (usually directly after a trip to the gym), but nothing that has become regular, or intense.  My doctor informed me that she won't let me go longer than 41 weeks, and that we needed to pick a date as early as 39 weeks, and as late as 41 weeks by which if I haven't gone into labor naturally yet, I will be induced.  We chose Monday, October 25 (the day after my actual due date).  So if no later than that, Noah will be arriving two weeks from today.  It's nice to now have a date by which I know all of this will come to an end, but a whole new journey will be beginning.  I've been having a little swelling in my feet off and on for the last few days, and have been joking that my toes look like sausages and my ankle bones disappear into the puffiness that has become of my ankles.  In the scheme of things though this has been a very easy pregnancy for me, and a little swelling at this point is to be expected.  We are still unsure of which hospital we will be delivering at... it has been quite a roller coaster with my insurance company this week.  As of now it's looking like I will not be delivering at the one that we were planning on (and toured) and that I will need to go register at an alternate hospital within the next few days.

My last day of work is this Friday, and then I might just walk all day every day until it makes Noah come out.  Everything is pretty much settled and done for Noah's arrival.  I gave the house a good cleaning this weekend, hoping it will still be clean when we come home from the hospital.  And so, the waiting continues...

Shannon

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Marinated Pork Chops


Marinated Pork Chops

Pork chops were on sale for $1.69/ lb at the store this week, so that became our quick and easy pre-church dinner for tonight.  I served them with baked sweet potatoes and some roasted (10 minutes at 425) asparagus that I tossed with garlic, red pepper flakes, and sesame oil to mirror the Oriental flavors in the pork marinade.  This marinade would also be great on chicken or steak, and would be great on anything cooked on the grill.

-6 pork chops
-4 Tbsp ketchup
-2 Tbsp soy sauce
-1 tsp Sriarcha sauce
-4 Tbsp brown sugar
-2 Tbsp rice vinegar
-2 tsp lime juice
-1 Tbsp sesame oil
-1/2 tsp ground ginger
-2 cloves garlic, minced

To make marinade, whisk together all ingredients beside pork chops.  Let pork chops soak in marinade for 2-8 hours.  Bake pork chops at 350 for 45-60 minutes, turning over halfway through cooking.

Shannon