Monday, April 30, 2012

It's a rough job...

I got back from my three-day business trip late Friday night.  It was a pretty good conference overall but probably not my favorite to date.  The highlight was meeting my "pen pal" and going to Epcot.  We both felt guilty for about 5 seconds that we ditched our bosses to have our own dinner but then my friend declared, "we deserve this" and the guilt magically disappeared! 

It was hard to be away from Baby Boy, I missed him so much and all I wanted to do was cuddle with him non-stop when I got home.  I definitely got my wish because he came down with a stomach bug and we had a projectile vomit and diarrhea filled weekend which means all he wanted to do was cuddle and be with his mama.

It's amazing how your mama can make everything better when you need her.  Conversely, it is amazing to BE a mama and have the power to make everything better.  There is no better feeling in the world than having my son's head resting on my chest with my arms wrapped around him.  It brings me peace and contentment that I've never experienced before.

I had to miss work today because he is still not 100% and there is no way I'm sending him off to daycare when he isn't at his best.  I'm taking one for the team, you know???  I'm suffering through a day with my beloved Baby Boy as we snuggle on the couch and read books and watch The Lion King.  I'm doing what has to be done even if it means going for a nice long walk to get out of the house and get sunshine on our faces.  I'm putting on my "big girl pants" while I get caught up on my neglected DVR shows while Baby Boy is napping.  I'm just saying... It's a rough job, but someone has to do it! ;0)

Tomorrow it is back to business as usual.  Until then, this mama is right where she needs to be.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Biz Trip, New Friendship, and a Potato Chip

This post will have nothing to do with a potato chip in any way, shape or form.  It just rhymed with the other things and I was in a rhyming sort of mood.  Mostly because I'm in a good mood but really because I've had too much coffee in an attempt to hammer out all of my work before heading off to Orlando, FL for a conference.  The problem with currently drinking too much coffee is it intensifies my already anxious feelings of leaving...

I always get a bit anxious before traveling.  I'm not afraid to fly or anything like that, I just get small butterflies that usually disappear once I take off.  This time will be different because I will be leaving my Baby Boy for THREE WHOLE DAYS!!  That will be hard for a couple of reasons.  First, there is the obvious... I will miss his sweet, chubby-cheek-face and his infectious smile and adorable giggle, and his big brown eyes, and his wiggly toes, and the way he snuggles with me when he is exhausted, and the way toddles side to side as he walks around, and his temper tantrums.  Well... maybe I won't miss EVERYTHING!  The second reason it will be hard to leave is knowing that my amazing husband is left behind to do all of the things that it usually takes the both of us to do.  I'm not at all worried that he will struggle with it, I just feel bad and I know how hard it will be.  Baby Boy is a precocious toddler that is also starting to throw some pretty crazy tantrums these days and I hope he takes it easy on the 'ole man while I'm away.  I will miss "my little-fussy butt" and my husband terribly but I am also looking forward to the conference because...

I HAVE A PEN PAL!!!!  Well she is actually an "email pal" and we have been corresponding for quiet some time now.  We have never met face-to-face but we have talked on the phone several times and mostly banter back and forth over email.  I lead a National Marketing Roundtable group and we have conference calls to discuss our marketing efforts for our respective firms.  We have members from Montana, California, Illinois, Texas, North Carolina, Minnesota and Colorado.  The Roundtable had to go on hiatus while I was on maternity leave and once I got back, my friend went on her maternity leave.  Once she rejoined the Roundtable I was eager to talk to her about anything other than marketing!

After one of our Roundtable calls I asked her to stay back on the line with me and I asked her all about her new role as a mama.  As a new mom myself I just loved to talk to other new mothers sharing stories and experiences, giving advice and asking for it too.  We quickly learned that we have so much in common....  I'm not talking about, "oh, we are both full-time working mom's!"  I'm talking about how we have SO much in common it is like we are leading parallel lives!  I mean, it is eerie how similar we are.  In fact, she was one of the first people I told about my blog and she responded right away letting me know she had just started one too! She lives in Chicago (or close enough to call it that) and I live in Denver.  We have known each other through the Roundtable for at least a year or more and we have been sharing our lives through email since January and we will both be at this conference in Orlando!!  I can't wait to meet her in person!  I'm down-right giddy about it!

I feel like Julia Child about to meet Avis Devoto for the first time.  Except I'm not six feet tall, I'm not a cooking genius, I don't live in France (but my "pen pal" and I will be eating at a French restaurant in Epcot), and I have no published books to speak of... but other than that, exactly the same!

Monday, April 23, 2012


I had a great weekend!  I spent all day Saturday with one of my girlfriend's from college and I had the pleasure of meeting her beautiful baby girl for the first time.  Her daughter and my son are two months apart almost to the day!  The weather was too good to be true and we spent the entire day, just us girls and our babies, catching up, walking outside, playing at the park and then enjoying dinner with our husbands.  I hadn't seen my friend since my baby shower over a year ago.  She lives about 5 hours away and that drive involves a mountain pass that should only be negotiated under proper weather conditions.  Although we don't get to see each other very often we still do a pretty descent job of keeping in touch via phone calls and the all-too-easy, Facebook.

It warmed my heart to see my friend as a mom...  We met at Colorado State University when we both worked for the Provost.  We sat next to each other in a small room with two computers.  We started in with the usual "get to know you" banter and before long we discovered many common interests which may or may not have involved some extra curricular activities that may or may not be the kind that you put on your resume.  My motto is, "there's a time and place for everything... it's called college!"  But I digress...

That was ten years ago and we have managed to stay friends all this time.  Of course, life puts space between friendships and there was time that lapsed without any contact.  But we would always pick up where we left off.  That is what real friends do.  They aren't a fad or a product of your environment, true friends weather the storms of life and stick by your side in good times and in bad.  They are there for you to confide in and to chat about life's important topics, because our husbands really can't give us an honest answer when asked,"don't you think Christina Aguillera should cover up her boobs on The Voice?!?!?" 

True friendship should be an effortless, trusting relationship that both people want to invest time in.  It should be nurtured and appreciated.  It should not be judgemental or challenging.  It should be kind but if conflict should ever arise it should be respectful and have resolution.  Friendship should not be a chore, it should not leave you feeling taken advantage of.  It should not leave you drained, it should leave you refreshed!  Friendship should not be one-sided and if it is, you should reconsider that relationship.  Giving will only get you so far... you deserve a little "take" every once in a while.  True friendship should be celebrated and cherished. 

To my dear friend, K and to all of my other dear friends... I love you.  Thank you for your gift, thank you for your time and thank you for all of the memories... yesterday, today and tomorrow too!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Self-loathing, No More! (an update and some inspiration)

Old habits die hard.  That's a fact, Jack!  My plan to start getting my butt into gear and living a more healthy lifestyle is off to a slow start.  Since my first "Self-loathing" post I have been eating healthier and moving my body more.   I've attempted to keep a food journal but I'm not sure I'm cut-out for that.  I'm not going to give up on it yet because it has helped me to become more aware of what I'm putting "down the hatch."

The negative self-talk however, has not made any drastic improvements to speak of.  That is what I mean by "old habits die hard!"  I try, believe me, I try.  But a quick glance in a mirror can take me from feeling good about myself to scrutinizing over every little thing that I think is wrong with me.  And don't get me started with the elevators at work which are really mirror-covered-capsules-of-hell that let you examine yourself from every angle!  Then there are my lunch breaks.  I've been bringing my sneakers to work and walking.  The weather has been beautiful and I have really been enjoying the sun on my face, the birds chirping and the view of the Rocky Mountains.  Then all of a sudden... some girls from the office building next door apparently have decided to RUN on their lunch breaks and proceed to do laps around me with their bouncy, blonde pony tails, toned bodies and tan skin.  It's April... in Colorado.  You aren't supposed to look that good when I am feeling this bad!!!! Grrrrrr

Basically I'm a work in progress.  I will get there I just have to stay strong and keep at it!  I've been looking for inspiration to help me do just that.  It is usually the stories of people who have been where I am and have "made it out."  I like to read about how they did it and try to see if their methods are something that might jive with me.  I stumbled across the blog, Healthy Tipping Point.  I love Caitlin's mission statement: "when everyday decisions add up to something amazing."  Her approach to living a healthy lifestyle is very inspirational to me and although I'm not a runner (I've had a foot surgery that makes running very painful), she has inspired me to find an activity that I am passionate about that I can work into my busy life.  I love, love, love yoga but my mat is collecting dust right now because I can't afford to join a class and I can't bring myself to do it at home amongst the baby's toys all around, the cats weaving in and out of my poses and my mind constantly shifting to all of the things I should be doing around the house instead of harnessing my chi!

Not only does Caitlin Boyle have a great blog about healthy living, she has also started a great organization called Operation Beautiful.  I consider it a complete serendipitous moment that I happened to stumble across this when I did.  Get this... the mission: 

The goal of the Operation Beautiful website is to end negative self-talk or “Fat Talk.”  If this little blog only does one productive thing, I hope it helps readers realize how truly toxic negative self-talk is  — it hurts you emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

I encourage you to look into this cause.  It is such a unique idea and I love how easy it is to make an impact.  As women we are constantly pegged against an unrealistic ideal of how we are supposed to look in order to be considered beautiful.  I love that Caitlin's cause is trying to change the way women view themselves because we can be our own worst enemy.  :: raising my arm in the air ::  Guilty!  

In a nutshell... I'm not giving up.  This is only the beginning of a very exciting journey.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Dinner That Practically Makes Itself

I love me some crockpot action!  Especially when the final result is a yummy Tex-Mex-ish type dish.  This recipe couldn't be easier and it acts as a basic method which you can add to and build upon to make even better!  Don't get me wrong, it is great as is, but I would have liked a bit more heat in mine and maybe a thicker sauce.  But for starters... this was dynomite!

One Major Note:  BE SURE TO CHECK YOUR SPICE RACK BEFORE MAKING THIS DISH!!!!  I failed to do this and by the time I was elbow deep in the recipe I realized we were out of cumin.  Every bite I took I kept thinking how much better it would have been with that spice.  DO NOT make the same lame brain mistake I did! 


Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken
Servings: 8 servings

  • 24 oz (1 1/2) lbs chicken breast
  • 14.4 oz can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • 8 oz frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 14.4 oz can fat free chicken broth
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • salt to taste


Combine chicken broth, beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt in the crock pot.

Season chicken breast with salt and lay on top. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours. Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. Adjust salt and seasoning.

I chopped up some fresh cilantro, scallions, grape tomatoes and avacado to serve on top of the chicken.  I also included sour cream and pickled jalapenos on the side. 

After spooning the chicken over couscous (which I made with chicken broth, diced canned tomatoes, cayenne, and chili powder to taste) I sprinkled cheese over the top then added the fresh ingredients.


Source: Skinny Taste

Monday, April 16, 2012

Toddler Food: Chicken and Broccoli Pot Pies

I have been thouroughly enjoying finding new recipes that are toddler friendly.  I look for healthy and easy recipes that yield enough to last about a week or that freeze well to always have on hand.  I made this recipe yesterday for Baby Boy and it was a hit!  Even the hubby and I enjoyed a few bites.  I've tried to give our little guy broccoli before and he was not a fan but he seemed to gobble it right up in this recipe. 

I didn't have a mini muffin tin which the recipe calls for so I just made six regular sized muffin pot pies and I froze three of them for future use.  I had everything on had to double the recipe to fill my 12 count regular sized muffin tin, but I didn't want to waste the ingredients and go through the trouble if Baby Boy wasn't going to like them.  Now that I know... I will definitely double the recipe next time!


  • Vegetable oil cooking spray

Pot Pie Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 small store-bought rotisserie chicken breast, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup meat)
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, cut into 1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces, steamed (about 2 ounces)

To Assemble:

  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • Two 10-inch round unfold-and-bake frozen pie crusts, thawed
  • 1 large egg
  • Special equipment: 12-cup mini-muffin pan; 3-inch round cookie cutter; 2-inch round cookie cutter


Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 12-count mini-muffin pan with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.

For the pot pie filling: Melt the butter in a 1-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Simmer over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thick and smooth, about 6 minutes (it took much less time for me... about 3 minutes).

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the salt, pepper, Parmesan, chicken and broccoli.

For assembly: On a lightly-floured work surface, roll out the dough 1/8-inch thick. Using the top of a ramekin as an outline, cut out 6 pieces of dough. Using the 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out another 6 pieces of dough.

Press the large rounds of dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spoon the sauce into the pastry.

Combine the egg and 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl, using a fork. Brush the edges of the pastry with the egg mixture and place the remaining pieces of dough on top.

Lightly press the edges of the dough together to seal. Press around the edges of the pies using the tines of a fork. Brush the tops of each pie with the beaten egg.

Cut a 1/2-inch-long slit into the top of the pies using a paring knife.

Bake until the tops are golden and the filling is bubbling, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and serve.

**Since I only made six regular sized pot pies instead of 12, I poured water into the empty "cups" of my muffin tin to ensure even cooking.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Self-loathing, No More!

Would you EVER tell someone you know that they are a, "fat gelatinous waste of space?!?"  Seriously.  Would you???  I never would. So why do I feel the need to talk to myself that way?

I'm done.  I'm done feeling sorry for myself.  I'm done complaining about the way I look and not really putting forth the effort to do something about it.  I'm done with the negative self-talk that I have become so good at.  I'm done.

I want to love myself.  Not in a narcissistic, ego-maniac kind of way.  I want to love myself in a positive, prideful way.  I want to be good enough just as I am.  Not good enough in the eyes of others but good enough to me, because I am my harshest critic.

I want to be confident and comfortable in my own skin.  I know that my appearance is only a tiny piece of that puzzle because even if I do lose weight that doesn't automatically mean I will be 100% happy and all my insecurities will disappear.  Some of them will for sure but to be truly confident and comfortable in my own skin I need to start changing the way I think.

Cause and effect.  Know what I mean?  I am planning my company's Team Retreat for this weekend and the theme I came up with for this year circles around "turning mediocrity into greatness."  I put together a stellar power point presentation (thank you very much!) chalk full of inspiration, motivation and action items to help my "team" be the best that they can be.  But why not apply it to myself?  What really spoke to me is a quote from a book called, Secrets of the World Class by Steve Siebold.  He says, "the cause is how you think, and if you improve the cause, the effect will take care of itself."

I'm changing my cause, or as Mr. Siebold puts it, my thinking.  I'm going to focus on loving myself and taking care of myself and the effects of that will in turn boost my confidence.  I'm not going to put pressure on myself to lose X amount of pounds by such-and-such date or to crucify myself for eating the things that I love.  I am going to make simple changes to my lifestyle and see what sticks.

Here's my plan:
  1. Start a food journal - Super lame, I know.  But I think I have to because I know full well I am not being honest with myself about what I put in my mouth.
  2. Move my body - I sit for a living.  I work behind a desk staring at a computer screen all day.  My ass and my chair have become one.  I need to liberate my ass and let it be free! 
  3. I will not depend on my husband to hold my hand - He will support me, no doubt about that.  But I can't rely on him to be my rock on this journey.  I have to be my own rock.  He can join in if he wants but I can't expect anyone to do this for me.
  4. Learn how to handle my stress better - I tend to eat my feelings and stress.  I also tend to drink my feelings at times (something else I am struggling with, but not quite ready to share here.)  I'm hoping the exercise will help with this...
  5. Be kind to myself - Let's face it, I know I'm not too far gone.  I'm not a complete eye sore roaming around the earth.  I have a lot going for me and I need to recognize that more often.
So there you have it!  My plan.  My starting off point.  My intention is to make this stick.  So many times before I have made "announcements" instead of commitments when it comes to losing weight and getting healthy.  I want this time to be different.  I want to be a good role model for my son and most importantly I so desperately want to feel confident and comfortable in my own skin.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sippy's and Paci's and Milk, Oh My!

We are currently in the process of: 
1) Weaning Baby Boy from his bottle to a sippy cup
2) Weaning Baby Boy from his pacifier
3) Weaning Baby Boy from formula to whole milk

He is currently NOT enjoying any of these three items!  I received a call from daycare yesterday around 2:00pm and all I could hear through Baby Boy's screams of agony was, "he's refusing his sippy and has not had a drop to drink since you fed him at home and I can't get him to calm down... he's been like this for two hours..."  I responded, "well did you give him his paci?"  "No, you said you didn't want us to give it to him."  :: deep breath in... exhale out :: "Actually, what I said was to please try and avoid the paci but if he ever becomes inconsolable or it is evident that he might need the paci do not hesitate to give it to him!"  "Oh, well that's not what the morning teacher told me."

ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!?!?  So my son has been screaming at the top of his lungs for TWO HOURS and you are A) just now calling me and B) didn't think to give him his paci?!?!?  Daycare, FAIL.

I'm not mad at the teachers... entirely.  My son is going through a major transition right now.  He is trying to get more proficient with his walking, he will start transitioning from the infant room into the toddler room and that's on top of the three other big transitions I mentioned above.  He is also a precarious little fella that is now pushing his boundaries with us to see what he can and cannot get away with.  He is putting up the biggest fight when it comes to diaper changes or getting dressed, he is feeding the dog from his highchair, he is climbing everywhere that he shouldn't, etc.

What is the hardest for me is that I don't get to help him through these tough times.  I send him off to daycare to let other people work with him.  He trusts me... I should be helping him.  Instead I am at work taking care of a grown ass man, who happens to be my boss, and helping him run his business while anxiously awaiting the big lottery jackpot to come my way so I can afford to be at home with my son.  But that is just me feeling sorry for myself...  I will stop now.

I don't know what else to do for my son.  I have purchased more sippy cups than I ever thought possible because apparently, not all sippy cups are created equal.  We have one that he likes the most and I can no longer find it ANYWHERE!  He will drink water out of a sippy all day long, but formula or milk??? Fuhgetaboutit!  Then there's the paci...  The glorious, wondrous paci that brings parents everywhere relief from tantrums, has the power to calm and soothe a sick or upset baby, and brings comfort when they get sleepy.  I will miss the paci and it's special powers.  But I must be strong and continue on with our mission of weaning Baby Boy now before he get to an age where reasoning with him will be difficult. 

I'm hoping we can just keep trying all of our methods to get him used to the idea that change is a comin'.  But I truly hope he will let us know when he is ready to tackle all of this.  I will not force him to make these changes but I will help him along.  For now... I am getting much more upper body strength as I wrestle with Baby Boy on the changing table, I have mastered putting on his shoes in 10 seconds flat, the dog now has to be separated from him during dinner, I have to leave very detailed and annoying notes for the daycare teachers, and I've succumb to the fact that the beloved paci isn't going anywhere anytime soon.  No biggie.   

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Baked Oatmeal with Fruit

This is one of my favorite breakfast recipes.  It is healthy, delicious and too easy for words!  It is kid-friendly and super versitile allowing you to get creative with different fruit combinations.  I've made it with blueberries and bananas and this version is with peaches and blackberries.  You will not be disappointed with this gem!

Baked Oatmeal with Fruit
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted, divided
½ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
¼ cup maple syrup
1 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Sliced peaches (fresh or frozen), enough for a single layer to cover the baking dish
1 1/2 cup blackberries (fresh or frozen), divided

Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.  Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish.  

In a medium bowl, combine the rolled oats, half of the nuts, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Stir with a fork to combine.  

 In a liquid measuring cup, combine the maple syrup, milk, egg, butter, and vanilla.  

Spread the sliced peaches in a single layer over the bottom of the baking dish.  

Top with half of the berries.  

Sprinkle the dry oat mixture over the fruit in an even layer.  

Pour the liquid ingredients evenly over the oats.  Sprinkle the remaining nuts and berries over the top.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is browned and the oats have set.  Let cool before serving.


SOURCE: Annie's Eats

Friday, April 6, 2012

My Bradley Method Experience

I would like to preface this post by saying that my opinions are just that, my opinions.  I am simply sharing what worked for me and my husband and I am in no way preaching about what other women or couples should do.  Everyone should seek the education and resources they need to make the best decisions for themselves and their family.  Additionally, I am in no way discrediting anyone else's labor and delivery.  Birth is a genuine miracle no matter what method you subscribe to and no matter how your beautiful child(ren) came into this world.

As I mentioned in a past post, my husband and I decided to follow the Bradley Method for the birth of our son.  I had no idea what it was or that it even existed before getting pregnant.  Labor and delivery was something I was very anxious about right from the get go.  It was intimidating to me and down-right scary.  Believe it or not, I would even hope that I had a C-section because I was so scared of a vaginal birth and I knew for sure I would be getting an epidural at the first signs of a contraction....  I was clearly uneducated and in need of some schooling ASAP!

I had learned about the Bradley Method from a dear friend of mine and I immediately started doing some research.  Everything I kept reading about sounded perfect for me and my personality.  I've had a past history of hyperventilating when I was in scary or stressful situations.  I certainly did not want that happening to me while I was pregnant and giving birth to my baby.  The fact that Bradley Method helps to prepare you both mentally and physically for labor and delivery as well as gives your husband an active role throughout the entire process had me signing us up for a class right away.

The classes are 12 weeks long.  At first we were a bit sceptical about that.  Why do they need to be so long?  The answer is simple... The classes literally cover every aspect of pregnancy, labor, birth, and even the "4th trimester" after the baby is born.  On top of the basics you also learn about medical interventions and how so many of them are not necessary for laboring mothers and how you can talk to your nurses and doctors instead of letting them take over and run the show.  When a doctor tells you, "we are going to start administering Pitocin at this time because you have plateaued and we should start moving things along," how can you not agree?  They are doctors and know what they are talking about, right? 

Yes, they do know what they are talking about and it is very possible that Pitocin will speed things along if you have plateaued, but once things get forced into an unnatural state by drugs contractions worsen which you may or may not be able to handle after however many hours you've already been laboring for... blood pressure could rise because now your body is in even more of a "stress" level... and by now you are just welcoming a slew of many other possible medical interventions just because someone else wanted to "move things along."  Learning about many of the medical interventions and whether or not they were truly important was very valuable to us.  **If you are in an emergency situation and a doctor or nurse explains that a medical intervention is necessary then of course it should not be questioned or rejected.  The health of you and your baby is most important and I firmly believe most nurses and doctors are doing their best to protect their patients. 

We also learned about the importance of nutrition and exercise throughout my pregnancy which not only has a direct impact on the health of your baby but also your labor and delivery.  Going through labor is like being an athlete in a major event that you need plenty of training for.  While pregnant I amped up my protein intake in a major way.  This was not only good for my baby but also for my beloved perineum.  Did you know that by upping your protein intake you can strengthen your perineum in order to prevent natural tearing or an episiotomy?  I have that along with the always fun kegels, which I took VERY seriously by the way, to thank for not tearing during my delivery.  Not one stitch touched my body.  That is a big deal to me!

The Bradley Method was instrumental in helping my husband and I be aware of what was happening to my body throughout every stage of labor.  We were able to both remain calm and we stayed safely at home for as long as I could possibly stand it before going to the hospital.  Our classes had also taught us a number of partner techniques that we could follow during labor to help get through the contractions.  We had them all down pat and I had even identified the few that I liked the best and thought we would try first.  HA!  That seems funny now because once labor started I did not want to move much at all.  Just the idea alone of moving made me crazy!  At least we had the partner techniques to fall back on if we really needed them.

In addition to the physical aspects we learned from our Bradley classes, I also learned how to mentally prepare myself for labor.  The most important lesson... Breathing is your friend.  I had figured out that it took 5 very... slow.... deep... inhales and exhales to get through the toughest of my contractions.  Once I started to focus on counting down from 5 instead of the pain itself, I was able to remain calm and get through a 12 hour labor.  That was the mental component that I was talking about.  If you let nature take over and run its course and stay calm, you can get through anything.

Overall I had a lovely birth experience.  I was in the moment, I was aware of my baby's every move and was able to appreciate what my body was actually doing.  My husband was actively participating in the event and we were a team.  Was it painful?  Yes.  There is no getting around that.  But I had the tools to get through the pain without any medical interventions.   Everything we learned in our 12 weeks was very valuable to us.  I started those classes feeling very nervous and scared about labor and delivery and by the end of our sessions I felt calm, confident and ready for the birth of our son.  I felt well informed and educated on all of the things I was questioning and more importantly, about the things I wasn't even aware of.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, the Bradley Method is what worked for me.  All I hope to leave you with is that even if you are horribly afraid of labor and you are certain that you will get an epidural, which is absolutely fine if that is what you ultimately decide, I just hope you at least educate yourself to make the best possible choice for you.  I never in a MILLION years thought that I would have sought out to have a natural childbirth.  The Bradley Method gave me the information and the confidence to make a firm decision that will remain the proudest moment of my life.  And hey, I give notable credit to my amazing husband, Dr. Bradley, the nurses and my doctor but when it truly comes down to it...  It was AAAALL ME, baby!!  I did it.  And so can you! 

Are you pregnant and thinking about how you want your birth to go?  Did you have a natural childbirth?  What's your story?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Cauliflower: A Love Story

Ahhhh, glorious cauliflower!  It is truly one of my all time favorite vegetables.  Not only is it packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, omega-3 fatty acids, and a slew of B vitamins, but it is delicious!  "Ummmm, no it's not."  That's probably what you are thinking but I assure you, it is.  I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a huge fan of the veggie tray cauliflower that sits idly next to the other more colorful and exciting vegetables just waiting to be dunked in copious amounts of ranch dressing to make it appear more tasty.  That, my friends, is no way to eat this wonder veg!

There are many ways to cook cauliflower but roasting is your best option for stepping into the light and loving cauliflower as much as I do.  One more awesome thing about "cauli" is that my Hubby and son love it right along with me.  It is very kid friendly however, like broccoli it can make your little one a bit gassy.  I'd wait until they are at least 10 months old and start with small amounts to see how they handle it.

So let's get roasting!

You will need: extra virgin olive oil, salt, ground black pepper, garlic powder, lemon, and parmesan cheese.  I also add crushed red pepper flakes but we were all out.  I omit the "crushed reds" on the portion I will be giving to the baby.

Chop the "cauli" and place on a foil lined baking sheet.

Drizzle florets with E.V.O.O.  The cauliflower will soak up the oil pretty quickly so you do want to be pretty generous with the drizzling.  BTW - We happened to be all out of E.V.O.O. as well (we've been in B-day planning mode so we are behind with the groceries) but my wonderful Hubby reminded me we had the bottle my mom brought back with her from her trip to Turkey!  I was excited to use it. :)   

Then season with kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper flakes.  Sometimes I will even add real minced garlic instead of powder or even add some lemon zest at this point. 

Roast in a 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes.  You want the florets to be fork tender and I even like to let them get crisped up around the edges.

As soon as they come out of the oven add the lemon juice.  About 1-2 tlbs or so.  You want to do this while they are still piping hot out of the oven.  Also grate the paremsan cheese over them, and toss.

You certainly could have tossed them half way through the cooking time of you don't like so much caramelization on the bottoms but I like to leave them alone... that caramelized goodness is what it's all about! 

So there you have it!  My dreamy roasted cauliflower.  It is so yummy and easy you will want to make it all the time.  Plus one head of cauli makes plenty of servings, it's inexpensive and you probably have all of the ingredients on hand.  We eat it with fish, steak, chicken or pork chops.  I put it in with whole wheat pasta for the baby and I've even pureed his and added it to guacamole as a secret ingredient.  It sounds random and weird but he loved it!  I've also shared these recipes as another scrumptious option for making my fav veg. 

Give it a try and let me know if I've turned you into a cauliflower enthusiast like me!  Happy eating!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Operation Birthday: COMPLETE

What a weekend!  We had such a great time celebrating Baby Boy's 1st Birthday!  He had a blast and I am so thankful that he is such an easy going, go-with-the-flow kind of baby.  He was passed around a room of 30 people on Saturday and 20 on Sunday and it didn't phase him at all.  He smiled and clapped when the crowd sang the birthday song in unison and he enjoyed smashing his yummy cake into his sweet face!  Hubby and I were beaming with pride and feeling very blessed that our son was surrounded by so many people that love him to pieces.

As for the party planning and execution... It went off without a hitch! {blowing on knuckles and brushing on shoulder}  In addition to the few details I already shared, here are some more of the Cookie Monster themed decorations:

First I wanted to share the gift Hubby and I gave the Birthday Boy.  We found this couch at Babies R Us and couldn't resist!  It folds out into a sleeping bag. 

I think he liked it!

The "Happy Birthday" sign is from the printable items we purchased.  You can't really see the triangles on each end, but they have cookie monster images.  I also had a picture for each month leading up to his birthday.  I found little clothes pins in primary colors at Michaels which I used to hang the pictures.

Here is one of the centerpieces again.  The confetti was also from the printables.

Here is the dessert table.  We found a toy ice cream truck with Cookie Monster as the driver, perfect for this set-up! 

The cupcakes were white cake with chocolate chips, cream cheese frosting and some had crumbled chocolate chip cookies on top.  I did not bake these.  When it comes to baking I prefer to leave it to the professionals!  The lolli pop sticks were from the printables as well as the "cupcakes" table card.

Another cupcake shot.

Could this smash cake be any cuter?!? 

The basket is holding the party favors.  Chocolate chip cookies, of course!  We put them in plastic favor bags I got at Michaels and then topped them with favor tags that read, "Thanks for coming to my party!"  The "Me Love Cookies" sign is also from the... you guested it, printables.

Another of the plush toys we had displayed around the room.  This is also a bib I found at Party City.

I realize this is a terrible picture...  But I had to show off the banner.

Sadly, these are all of the pictures I have.  I now realize being the mom and host of my baby's party meant I didn't have time to snap a ton of photos.  Luckily my mom took plenty and I can't wait to see them all.  Some of the other details that I didn't capture include the menu.  It consisted of deli sandwiches and wraps, caesar salad, pasta salad, spinach dip, cheese tray, fruit tray and chips.  For refreshments we had the bottled water with cookie monster labels, juice for the kids, soda and we did have some beer and wine available for the adults.  I also purchased a number of individual bottles of milk for the dessert table but left them at home!!!!  Argh! 

So there you have it.  My Baby is 1 and we are ready and excited to begin our journey into toddlerhood.  Now I need a nap... think my boss will let me??

Cupcakes and Smash Cake - Mulberries Cake Shop
Printables and Invitations - Shin Dig Parties To Go