First of all, I had to share this because it was just too good. Now, I'm an Obama supporter (and I don't need any flack for it, thanks), but I thought the title of this CNN article was a little, well, redundant: Obama expected to address change in speech. Um, duh!

Secondly, the blog A Year of Crockpotting makes me wish that my crockpot was not older than me. If it were a newer version I would feel more comfortable leaving it on when I wasn't in the house, but as it is I only feel comfortable running it when I'm nearby. It's really that old. Maybe I should go out, buy a new one, and give this one to my sister. She has her first apartment right now and yummy crockpotted meals might make her even more popular than she already is (as if that were possible).

Finally, I'm doing something this year I've never done before - I'm thinking about Christmas presents before the month of December. I've decided I want to buy everyone's presents off of Etsy (I'm sure almost everyone has heard of Etsy already, right? If not, please go and check it out. You won't regret it.) and figured it would probably be better not to wait until the last minute to do that. The reason I want to buy from Etsy is twofold:

1) I HATE shopping. With a fiery intensity. This allows me to do my shopping without setting foot in a store. Sounds wonderful to me!

2) I might as well support artists while I'm at it, right? My mom's an artist and I know that she always appreciates when one of her pieces sells.

This seems like the perfect solution. Now I just have to dig through all of those wonderful things to find what I want. This may be harder than it sounds.


That's the number of additional weeks the doctor says Gabbie needs in the harness.

We're getting a second opinion.

Of course

Of course, Gabbie nurses perfectly when we have the $85-per-visit lactation consultant in for an appointment.

Of course, she nursed horribly for the rest of the day, culminating in a one hour of battle to get in ten minutes of nursing. Oh, and there was that 4 a.m. scream-fest too.

Of course, she got me so worked up during that 4 a.m. scream-fest (another hard fought, and this time lost, nursing battle) that I couldn't fall back asleep until nearly 6 a.m.

Of course, then Aaron let me "sleep in" so that I was late for work today.

Of course, it's supposed to rain and thunder and be ridiculously hot today, the day of our work picnic. And Gabbie doesn't handle heat well.

Of course, my quickly grabbed because I was running late MickyD's breakfast is making me ill.

Of course it's going to be a GREAT DAY! Right?


My stomach is full of nervous butterflies right now, even though the main reason for them is nearly a week away. I can't get them to stop, nor can I concentrate on anything other than tomorrow morning and early next week. Being a mom is just as stressful as I imagined, but I still wasn't truly prepared for it.

Tomorrow morning we have a meeting with the early intervention people about Gabbie's hips. I don't think I wrote about it, but at her six week appointment with the orthopedic doctor he said that her left hip still wasn't in place well enough and so we've had an extra six weeks with the harness. It hasn't been nearly as difficult as I'd imagined when we first got the news, but it's still not the easiest thing in the world and has caused a lot of worry. Our pediatrician hooked us up with the early intervention program because her hip dysplasia automatically makes her eligible for services as she may be at risk of a walking delay or other related problems. I'm nervous about what I'll hear from them tomorrow, about all the possibilities of things that could go wrong with my little angel. As I'm sure is true of all moms, I would do anything to make her one hundred percent better, would give anything to make sure she didn't have any problems, even though I know that the problems will exist no matter what I do.

We also have an appointment with a lactation consultant to talk about the nursing issues. At 12 weeks it shouldn't be this hard, and it's breaking my heart.

But next Tuesday. That's the thing that has both Aaron and I experiencing raw, exposed nerves (which we're using to snap at one another, a bad habit we need to work on). That's the day when we find out if she's made enough progress to come out of the brace. It's also the day that we could find out that the brace hasn't done enough. That we need to do something more drastic. Something that could entail casts from the waist down or even surgery. I'm trying to stay positive, but also realistic. Trying not to get my hopes up in case they're dashed to pieces. Trying to figure out how I'll make it through the appointment without sobbing if we receive bad news.

I just want her to be better.

This is going to be a long week.

The (Belated) Return of Monday Meal Planning

Happy Monday! (I obviously wrote this part yesterday before I got insanely busy.) I (finally) have another week of meals for you to try! We're getting better about planning and cooking meals again, now that we've reigned in some of the chaos of living with a new baby. Here's what we've enjoyed in the past week:

Monday: Mediterranean Mostaccioli

We loved, loved, loved this quick and easy dinner. Lots of veggies (which, sidenote: we have a ton. My mom pretty much emptied her garden and gave us half. Yay, but also, what do we do with that many vegetables before they spoil?) and even more flavor. We used more pasta than what the recipe indicates, and shredded mozzarella instead of feta, but otherwise followed the recipe as it is. The leftovers were even more delicious the next day.

Tuesday: Barbeque Tofu Salad

Upon hearing the name of this recipe that Aaron picked out (we're trying to eat more vegetarian meals - but failing sometimes - and this was his choice this week), I was a little hesitant to try it. But! It wasn't bad at all. In fact, I really liked it. We served the salad on rolls that we had split, buttered, and broiled till brown. We also added a lettuce leaf for a little added crunch. This was a great, easy meal.

Wednesday: Grilled Chicken, Hot Crash Potatoes, and Green Beans

We just marinated the chicken in Italian dressing and grilled it in our grill pan. Couldn't be easier. The Hot Crash Potatoes are one of my new favorite ways to do potatoes, and we just steam the green beans and toss a little butter and salt in the bowl when they're done. The butter/salt thing is a total concession to Aaron. I like them just fine plain, but he always manages to butter and salt them before I can stop him. Good thing I like them just fine that way too.

We grilled extra chicken this night to use for Friday's meal.

Thursday: Macaroni & Cheese and Broccoli

Also known as the night before I found out that Gabbie just really can't do broccoli. So! No more broccoli for me for a while. But it was good while it lasted. This is my new recipe for macaroni and cheese when I have a little extra time. Aaron likes this better than my normal recipe, so he's been asking for it regularly.

Macaroni and Cheese
1 c. skim milk
5 tsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups shredded medium cheddar cheese
2 tsp. butter or margarine (the recipe calls for margarine, I don't keep that in my kitchen)
1/4 tsp. plus 1/8 tsp. salt (or a big pinch, which is what I did)
1 3/4 c. cooked elbow macaroni (about 3/4 c. uncooked) (I made half the box and then added and stirred until it looked like the sauce was stretched as far as it would go)

Whisk flour into skim milk in a small saucepan. Place the pan over medium-low heat.

Add shredded cheddar cheese, butter or margarine, and salt, and stir often until the cheese begins to melt. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Use a whisk to stir the sauce every couple of minutes so that it becomes smooth and thick.

While sace thickens, prepare macaroni according to package directions.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

When cheese sauce has simmered for 30 minutes, pour pasta into a medium bowl. Gently stir in cheese sauce, and then pour mixture into a casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes until brown and bubbly.

Friday: Chicken Salad and Watermelon

I never used to be a big fan of chicken salad. Then the same friend who brought over the yummy macaroni and cheese also brought over this salad, and I fell in love. I'm also in love with watermelon lately, so it was the perfect side to the salad. In fact we're having the same again tonight, but with corn on the cob for a second side.

Here's the recipe:

Chicken Salad

1 1/2 c. diced cooked chicken
1 c. sliced grapes (seedless red are my favorite in this salad)
1/4 c. chopped walnuts
1/4 c. heavy whipping cream
1 c. mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)

Whip the cream to soft peaks. Combine all ingredients. Chill.

Could this be easier? Probably not. Love it!

The Return of Weekend Baking!

I haven't been baking much lately, but I'm still trying to make one treat a week so that Aaron has dessert every night. However, the sweet treat I made this week disappeared without him getting to taste a single bite (I took it to book club instead of keeping it for us).

One of the things I craved the most while pregnant (aside from Mexican food) was anything citrus-y, especially anything lemon-flavored. Then all of a sudden, a couple of weeks ago, I got a craving for lemon meringue pie, and I decided I wouldn't be happy until I made one. So I did. I used Paula Deen's recipe, which made a pie that, while delicious, didn't quite taste how I'm used to a lemon meringue pie tasting. In a way it was actually even better. Then I realized why. It's basically my recipe for key lime pie, using lemon juice instead.

I would make this again in a heartbeat, and actually may have to again this weekend because I've raved about it to Aaron all week and he's getting a little sore that we ate it all and didn't save him any. It was so easy to make, that this won't really be a problem. Happy weekend to all!

Some Random Points of Interest (for me at least)

You know what's funny? Babies farting. Seriously. You'd think they'd be small-sounding because they come from such small people, but they sound just like everyone else's gas. It's an especially funny way to wake up in the morning. Lesson learned? No more broccoli for me. Poor Gabbie.

Aaron is being very sweet this week, and is once again proving just how great of a husband and father he really is. One of the ways he's trying to be sweet, though, is sneaking candy into my purse so I have a treat for work. This is very nice, and appreciated while I'm snarfing down the daily candy bar, but I'm also trying to lose weight. This is not helping. However, how can anyone be expected to say no to chocolate?

Tomorrow my mom and sister are coming to visit and they're going to babysit Gabbie while Aaron and I go out on a date. Our first alone time since the end of May! We're planning to go see The Dark Knight and maybe grab a bite to eat. I'm feeling mixed about this because of how much I've missed Gabbie while at work this week, but am also realistic that we might not have alone time again any time soon. So we're taking advantage of it, after which I'm sure we'll rush home to smother our little girl with kisses.

Quick question: anyone have a good fix for cracked heels? I've never had this problem before, so I don't know why it's happening to me now (I blame hormones. For everything.). I've tried a pumice stone in the shower followed by some lotion when I get out, but they're not getting any better. Any suggestions?

Pumping something other than iron

I currently feel as if I spend half of my day in the office naked from the waist up. I realize it's much less than that, but pumping for Gabbie is taking up much more time than I expected. And it's not going nearly as well as I expected. So much for my expectations I guess.

It's definitely weird to be unclothed at work, and a lot of other things about it are weird too. For some reason I feel strange carrying my expressed milk from my office to the refrigerator in the work room. I sneak it in there so no one will see it, as if it's very private and might offend. Same deal with the pump parts I have to clean after using them. Why should I care? It's milk, for heaven's sake, and it's basically a food for someone to eat, not something to be ashamed of. Still, I sneak it in there quickly so no one will see.

Another mom at work is currently weaning her daughter, so there has been an overabundance of boob talk around here lately. There has also been a lot of baby talk, which is, of course, my favorite subject. I try not to bring it up unless asked, though. Don't want to be that annoying person that only talks about their baby and nothing else (even if that is sort of what's happening here on this site). Still, people bring her up constantly, so I get to brag like the proud momma I am.

And now for something completely different - Monday Meal Planning may be coming back next week. May, but it's looking like probably. We made some excellent meals this week (along with one night of macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, and green beans because we really didn't have the energy to do anything fancier), and I'd love to share them. Now that I don't have Gabbie to distract me during the day, I can do things like plan meals, eat lunch without being interrupted a thousand times, and even pee in peace and quiet.

(I'd still rather have her distracting me all day, though.)

Strike 2

Just last week I was telling someone how nice it was now that we were past Gabbie's nursing issues from the previous month. Due to a forceful letdown (we - the lactation consultants and I - at least think that was the problem) she would eat for a couple of minutes until I had a second letdown (or first if she was particularly cranky) and then pull off and scream in such a heartbreaking manner that I would start to cry as well. It was nearly torture to get her to eat, but we finally made it through. I discovered that if she had just woken up from a nap she would eat pretty well, and then that translated into her eating well nearly all of the time.

Then we had a stressful week. Two Fridays ago, we started the day at the emergency room after Gabbie threw up bile and then was having a hard time staying awake. The problem seemed to just be that she ate too fast after her longest stretch of sleep yet (9 hours - boy were we freaked out when we woke up and realized that she slept that long), because there was nothing physically wrong with her. We capped that day off with a trip out of town for three days, followed by another 3 days traveling just the two of us (Aaron had to work). She started waking up in the middle of the night (I shouldn't complain, because one middle of the night waking is really good for a baby her age) which is completely out of character for her.

This past Friday was another really stressful day for both of us. She had to get vaccinations (during which she let out the most heartbreaking cries yet) and a new brace fitted. I started stressing out that it was my last day home alone with her before returning to work.

And she started a nursing strike.

Now she'll eat for maybe a minute (five if she's in a peaceful mood, and that has only happened twice) and then start screaming at me. It's hard to be calm when she's doing this. It's so incredibly frustrating, for both of us I'm sure, that I feel like yelling right back at her. I've tried all the tricks in the book and nothing is working. Yesterday was even worse, but I'm sure being away from me all day had something to do with that.

We regularly have conversations with her telling her that mom is just trying to help her, not hurt her, that she's fine, that she doesn't need to cry, she just needs to eat. EAT DAMNIT. Obviously the frustration gets the best of me sometimes. All I want her to do is eat peacfully. It's impossible to reason with an infant, unfortunately. I just feel so bad that it's so stressful for both of us. After each battle with the boob (as we call it - have to add humor to make it bearable) her dad comes and swoops her up, gives her a little stern talking to, and then a big cuddle. Then it's mom's turn to cuddle and we play patty cake.

It's a good thing she's so cute. Otherwise, this would all be impossible to take. Someone knew what they were doing when they made babies the way they did.

Day One

It is 2:30 p.m. on my first day back to work and I cannot wait for the day to be over. I miss Gabbie so much it nearly literally hurts. I have a picture of her in a frame along with dozens that flash by on my screen saver, and although it's nice to get to look at her face all day, it's nowhere near the same.

I miss my baby girl.

It is a little weird being back at work. There's no one clinging to me, drooling down my shirt, or biting my nipples. It's incredibly quiet and I'm going through Will & Grace withdrawal. Last night Aaron said, "Shoot! I forgot to find that job that covers both of our salaries so that you don't have to go back to work!"

It's a little late for that now.

I miss Gabbie so much that I'm leaving early. My boss was surprised that I was planning to be here full days all week. I wish she would have told me this sooner, because I would gladly agree to an alternate schedule. But, now my boss is gone for the rest of the week and so I'm stuck.

I just can't wait to get home with her to play and cuddle, to rock her while she sleeps, to kiss her tiny, perfect head. There's nothing about being here that's better than being home with her.

A Trick a Day

Lately it seems that Gabbie has been picking up one new skill a day. In the past week we she laughed for the first time, started smiling at herself in the mirror, is more regularly holding her head steady, is now able to bring her hands together, has gotten exponentially better at grabbing her toys (and subsequently bringing them to her mouth), and then today we have this:

(She also treated us to her first emergency room visit, but that's a story for another day, and she was perfectly fine, of course.)

My baby girl is growing up way too fast!
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