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.


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.


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


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).

Monday, November 15, 2010


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.


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.