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Thanksgiving Leftovers Soup

November 28, 2015

Hi friends!  Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. 

When we learned Charlie’s due date (originally December 16th), I was admittedly a little disappointed—it probably meant that we’d be hanging out in Huntsville for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I love it here, but we definitely look forward to seeing family at the holidays—plus, we get so much time off (#humblebrag) that to spend all that time at home with just the four of us was a little daunting.  But, his early arrival changed our plans—we probably will head to Louisiana for Christmas now.  Traveling for Thanksgiving though, for obvious reasons, was totally not an option. 

And you know—although it made me a little sad to be missing out on our big family festivities—it was actually really, really nice.  Some friends of our from work invited us to their house—they have a daughter who is Lila’s age, so Lila and Molly played all afternoon, and we enjoyed a huge, delicious Thanksgiving spread.  It was so nice to get out of the house and be around *people* for a while, haha.  And Charlie slept the whole time. Winking smile 

Another perk?  They sent us home with a TON of leftovers.  We ate them again on Thursday night and some for lunch, and then I decided to do something a little different with what was left: soup!

We had a bunch of roasted vegetables:


…and just added them to a stock pot with some olive oil and chicken stock.  Brought it up to a boil and cooked for about 10 minutes, then pureed with my immersion blender.


The final step?  Topping it with the last bit of leftover turkey and stuffing.  YUM.


I should have put some pie in there too.  Smile 

Hope you had a great holiday!

Random Thoughts at 5:23 am

November 25, 2015

Ryan and I have divided up Charlie’s nighttime feeding schedule into two shifts: early (1 am) and late (4 am).  I take the late, which means that after I feed him, change his diaper (he seems to be a nighttime pooper—joy of joys Winking smile), and get him dressed and swaddled again, it’s usually almost five…which means that I won’t go back to sleep most likely.  So, I cuddle up with him in the reclining chair in his nursery and just take in all of the baby snuggles—he is like a tiny, cuddly little baby chimp.  Is that weird?

Oh, hey giant chimp nipple.  You’re welcome, internets.

This schedule is working really well for us—it means that we both get at least 5-6 uninterrupted hours of sleep a night.  This can make *such* a difference in how you feel—sleep deprivation is definitely one of the hardest parts of the early days.  And, Charlie is still so young—just a week old yesterday!  So there are probably a lot of less restful nights ahead.  Lila definitely woke up (and with a vengeance) around the week mark. 

But, because he’s still so sleepy, this first week has been—dare I say it?—easy.  After the scare of being in the hospital and the sleep deprivation that came with that—being checked by a nurse every half hour doesn’t exactly lend itself to great sleep, ya know?—this week of rest has been amazing. 

So here’s an amalgamation of thoughts and details and updates:


So, so good.  Last time with Lila, I had a third degree tear.  My doctor wouldn’t tell me the number of stitches I had to have because she said she didn’t want to depress me.  Great.

This time?  One stitch.

That, plus the fact that it was a relatively fast labor with minimal pushing and a small baby, has meant that my recovery, this time around, has been worlds easier.  Last time, I couldn’t laugh or cough without wincing in pain.  A week post-birth now, and I feel relatively back to normal. 


Not gonna happen.  I wrote about our breastfeeding woes with Lila in this post—it didn’t happen last time either, so I wasn’t exactly counting on smashing success this time.  But, I did give it a go—I breastfed Charlie in the hospital (or attempted to), so he got some colostrum.  And, I actually am pumping some too—I wasn’t going to, but I took home a free pump from the hospital and I’ve been able to pump a little bit of milk. 

But, overall, we’re pretty much just doing formula.  The doctors told me that with Charlie’s early arrival, breastfeeding was going to be a bit more difficult—pre-term babies aren’t usually as successful at latching, and it can take a while longer for the milk to come in.  Plus, at a smaller birth weight, you have less time to work with before supplementation becomes necessary.  He’s such a little guy—my number one concern is making sure he’s getting the nutrition he needs to get big and strong.  If that comes from formula, I think that’s great.  God bless Similac.  Last time, I feel like the whole breastfeeding issue was SUCH an emotional hardship, and I didn’t want it to be that way this time.  Way before he was born, I came to peace with the fact that Charlie would likely be formula-fed, and instead of allowing that to become a huge disappointment, I’m  just focusing on the fact that he’s happy and healthy—that’s what counts. 

Plus—allow me to be honest for a minute—formula feeding has its perks.  Namely, the sharing of the feedings.  We split it equally basically, which not only means that I get more of a break and time to myself than I would if I were breastfeeding, but also means that Ryan gets to bond during feedings with our little guy.  Bottle-feeding, to me, is really special in that way.

Well…he’s still out like a light, but big sister is stirring.  I guess that’s my cue.

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving—we have so much to be thankful for this year!

Welcome, Charlie!

November 22, 2015

Man—what a week we’ve had!  Someone decided to show up four weeks early:


This guy!

Lila was born at 41 weeks, so you can imagine the loop that this has thrown us for—a big one, haha.  No hospital bag packed, no carseats installed, no firm plan set in place for who would take Lila…you get the idea.  Because Lila’s birth came late in the pregnancy and was basically totally uneventful, I had assumed Charlie’s would be the same way and that, at 35 weeks, we still had all the time in the world to finish prepping for his arrival.  Boy was I wrong.

But, let me back up—here’s how things went down.

Last Saturday was just…normal.  We went on a hike, attended a church silent auction, and were turning out our lights to go to bed by 10.  Looking back on it, I guess maybe I felt a *little* off—I was having some light contractions, but it’s not like that’s abnormal for almost 36 weeks pregnant. 

But.  About ten minutes after we turned out our lights to go to sleep, I felt a gush of warm liquid run down my leg.  I turned the light on and told Ryan, “I think my water just broke!!”  I ran to the bathroom to check it out and saw blood.  Lots and lots of blood.  We both just kind of stared at each other in shock. 

Ryan, luckily, kept very calm and immediately called 911—they told him to have me lay down and that they’d send an ambulance.  I laid down in bed in shock as Ryan moved into action—he called our friend who lives down the street from us to come stay with Lila, packed a few things in a bag, and by then the medics were at the house, asking me questions and strapping me into a gurney.  Our new house is literally 3 minutes from the hospital, so before I even had time to really think about what was happening, I found myself up in labor and delivery.  They immediately strapped me to a monitor and checked on Charlie who, thank god, was doing absolutely fine.  This bit of reassurance calmed me down a little—although I also think it pulled me out of my shocked state, and at this point I began crying uncontrollably.  Even though I finally had confirmation that Charlie was okay, I think it finally hit me at this point how scared I was. 

The nurse asked question after question about the pregnancy, my medical history, etc.  All the while, they were checking on the bleeding, which had slowed a bit, but definitely not stopped.  Anytime they would move me or sit me up, I’d feel another gush.

Finally, the on-call doctor came in and talked to me; at this point, I had no idea what she was going to go with for our plan of action—emergency c-section?  Or more of a “wait and see” situation? 

Because Charlie was doing so well on the monitor and because I was still slightly pre-term (it was Sunday, and I’d be 36 weeks on Wednesday) she ended up going with the latter—she recommended that I stay in the hospital until at least Monday, when my regular doctor would be able to see me and decide further how to proceed. 

As far as what caused the bleeding, the doctor said that her best guess was a partial abruption of the placenta—when it tears away from the uterus.  A full abruption can be really dangerous (obviously), but she said that if that were the case, I’d be doubled over in pain and the bleeding wouldn’t slow.  So, I guess that was the good news—that it was only partial.  But, the bad news was that a full abruption was much more likely to happen eventually, now that there was a small one.  She basically said that if they let me go home, there was a chance that at any point, the placenta would abrupt fully and then we’d really be in a bad place.  So, a long hospital stay seemed to be in the cards.  I wasn’t happy about that, but I obviously also didn’t want to do anything that would put Charlie (or me) in danger.

So…I’ll try to be brief about what happened next.  My regular doctor saw me, a specialist saw me, and they came up with a plan: go ahead with delivery.  I’d been having regular contractions since checking in on Saturday night—not strong ones, but regular ones.  I was also 1 cm dilated, and my cervix was soft.  So, my doctor basically said that my body was starting to go into labor anyway, and helping it along made the most sense, even though it was earlier than ideal.  They also did a complete ultrasound on Charlie and estimated him at 6 pounds 10 ounces, which gave me reassurance—if he was coming this early, at least he seemed to be a pretty good size, and they said that he looked absolutely perfect, development-wise.

All of this was reassuring, but I was still really scared.  And, on top of all that, there was just the general stress of the fact that we’d planned on having another month before Charlie’s arrival—my head was constantly streaming with a list of all the things I still needed to get done—plus Lila’s schedule, my own classes…ack.  Luckily, my parents came to Huntsville from Louisiana on Sunday and planned on staying all week to help us out—and boy, did they.  They basically had Lila all week while I was in the hospital—they took her to school and her activities, and slept with her at the house so that there was at least some sense of normalcy maintained in her routine.  They were lifesavers, truly. 

We called my doula and filled her in on the plan—induction with pitocin at 5:30 am, followed by a manual breaking of my water.  It’s funny—I think my doctor (who also delivered Lila) thought I’d be *way* more disappointed with the idea of being induced.  Last time, I’d been so set on trying to do it naturally—which worked out really well.  But at this point, it really didn’t matter to me at all—whatever we needed to do to get Charlie here safely, I was totally willing to do.  And although I was willing to try going the natural route again with pain management, I knew that pitocin would make the odds of that much, much less likely—and honestly, that was fine. 

They came and got me at 4:30 am and wheeled me into labor and delivery, and started me on a flow of pitocin around 5.  At 6, my doula arrived and started coaching me through the contractions.  At 7:30, my doctor checked my progress—I was at a 4, and she said that she’d be back to break my water around 8.  The contractions at this point were laughably weak—which wasn’t good, since I knew that meant that they’d probably dial up the pitocin to get them stronger.  But, they didn’t have to do that after all—after my doctor broke my water, they picked up—BIG TIME.  They felt much stronger this time around—again, something my doula attributed to the pitocin.  With Lila’s birth, I remember them being painful (obviously), but not unmanageable.  These contractions were starting to feel…well, unmanageable.  One would start as soon as the previous would end—they seemed to come in waves that I just couldn’t get on top of, couldn’t breathe through.  About thirty minutes after they broke my water, I was in big, big pain—I asked them to check me again, expecting (hoping) to be at around an eight or nine.  Nope—I was at a six.

That’s when I asked for the epidural.  Winking smile 

And let me just say, it was a damn lifesaver.  They got it to me within thirty minutes, around 9:30.  And my body basically just exhaled into one long, relaxed, “Ahhhhhhhhh.”  That’s what it felt like, anyway.  And, that relaxation allowed me to stop fighting the contractions—I went from 6 to ready to push in 45 minutes, and Charlie was born with three big pushes at 10:25 am:




He weighed 6 pounds, 3 ounces, and was amazingly healthy—they had warned us that there was a good chance he’d be taken to the NICU, at least for a while just to be observed. But, he was doing so well that he was able to just stay with us—no trip to the NICU needed!   Lila was so excited to meet him—and very excited about the Princess Celestia he’d decided to bring her as a big sister gift.  Winking smile

We can’t believe how well everything has turned out, despite the scare that the early delivery put us through.  I feel unbelievably—well, there’s no other word for for it—blessed.  My recovery has been remarkably easy, and Charlie is still doing great—they released us from the hospital at 48 hours, and we’ve been settling in as a family of four since Thursday.

More details to come, but thank you for all of your kind messages and comments!


Lazy Weekend

November 9, 2015

Things have been hectic around here lately, and I think I mentioned that I’ve been under the weather—just a bunch of coughing and congestion that I just can’t seem to shake.  Between school stuff, Lila, and everything in between, by the time this weekend rolled around, I was ready for a serious break.  And luckily, other than a busy Friday afternoon/evening, we had nothing planned.  I woke up on Saturday STILL feeling not 100%, so Ryan took care of Lila—basically all day…while I hibernated in my bed with cough syrup, tea, the dogs, and a good book:


I rested and read ALL. DAY. LONG.  And when I woke up this morning, I finally felt human again. 

So human that we were able to go to church and then hit up Target for some nursery stuff.  Slowly but surely, it’s starting to come together. 

While Ryan put together the storage cubicle and bookshelf that we bought at Target, I made dinner.  We had a bunch of leftover ingredients from homemade pizza earlier in the week, so I threw together a pasta bake that made use of all the stuff in the fridge that needed to go.  It ended up pretty tasty, if I do say so myself!  I wish I’d made two—this would have been a great thing to freeze.  Oh well.

I cooked the pasta and sauteed the veggies (onion, bell pepper, olives, mushrooms, spinach) in a bit of olive oil, seasoning them with garlic salt and Italian seasoning as they cooked.


Then, after the pasta was cooked, I tossed it with tomato sauce in a casserole dish and topped it with about 1 cup of shredded mozzarella.



Added the veggies plus peperoni, and topped it with more cheese.  Then, I baked it at 375 for about 10-15 minutes, until the cheese was bubbly.  So easy!


It was a hit with all of us.  Smile 

Happy Sunday—hope you’re ready to face the week!


Comfort Food: Lentils

November 2, 2015

What?  A blog post about food?

Shocking, right?

One of my goals for November is to really focus on making a lot of meals that I can make in large batches and freeze so that when Charlie comes in December, we have a nice stock of freezer meals to choose from. 

Luckily, a lot of the meals that you would freeze tend to be warm, heavy comfort foods—soups, stews, casseroles, etc.  Perfect fare for the month of November—our weather has turned chilly and drizzly, so these lentils were just what we wanted for a Sunday night dinner!  This recipe makes a lot, but you could easily halve it.


Bacon Tomato Lentils

4 strips of bacon

1 large onion, diced

5 carrots, diced

2 tbsp. tomato paste

2 cans diced tomatoes

2 cups dried lentils

5-6 cups chicken broth

2 tbsp. lemon juice


In a large pot, heat bacon.  Cook 4-5 minutes on each side, then remove to a plate with paper towels.  Cool. 

While bacon cools, add onion to pot.  Cook 5-6 minutes, then add carrots.  Tear bacon into bite-sized pieces, then return to pot.  Cook another 10 minutes, until vegetables are soft.  Add tomato paste, tomatoes, and lentils.  Stir well to combine.  Add broth and bring to a boil, scraping bottom of the pot to loosen any bits.  Add lemon juice and salt if necessary (between the bacon and the chicken broth, additional salt wasn’t necessary for ours, but you be the judge!).  Cover and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for another 30-40 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and lentils are soft.  Add additional liquid (water or broth) if needed until lentils are cooked through.

Like all good food, serve with bread. Smile

Welcome, November

November 1, 2015

Man, long time, no blog—October kind of came and went for us after about the halfway point!

Let’s play “ketchup”! Winking smile 

Lila got to dress up for many, many different things this year—is it just me, or are we celebrating holidays for basically the entire month before the holiday actually happens?  It’s fun, but exhausting.  Lila dressed up for ballet, gymnastics, school, AND Halloween!  And we would have dressed up on Friday night as well, but I’ve been under the weather lately, and we opted to stay home instead of going to the party at our church as we’d originally planned.

Anyway, here are some of her costume variations:


Truly, every day is dress up day in our house.  Halloween kind of felt like just another Saturday night. Winking smile 

But, we did have fun plans for the actual event: trick or treating, and then a party at our friend/neighbor’s house.  Unfortunately, the pouring rain kept us from doing too much of the first—we hit up two houses in our neighborhood and then Lila said, “I’m ready to go home.”  Fine by me, really.

Luckily, when you’re only three, six pieces of candy feels like quite the haul—she was excited about her treats!

So trick or treating was kind of a bust, but the party was still fun!  I made this dip (using real shredded chicken instead of canned), which was a big hit.  Instead of mixing all of the cheese in, I put half of it on top, melted it, and used blue tortilla chips to make a jack o’ lantern face.  Smile 

We dressed up again:

…though one of us was clearly the odd man out, this time.  This pumpkin costume was wayyyy more comfortable than the genie costume, haha.  I might just wear it until my December due date. #kidding  #notreally

Hope you had a very happy Halloween!


Fall Break at the Beach

October 13, 2015

Last week was fall break for Huntsville schools—the kids get a whole week off!  At the university, we have a half week…just enough time to get out of town for a bit.  We drove down to the gulf and met up with Ryan’s parents in Pensacola, Florida for a mini beach vacation—after a hectic start to the semester what with the move and everything, the break was really nice.  We had *perfect* weather, hung out at the beach and pool all day, and ventured out to visit the Gulfarium.  Here are some pics!


It felt like summer down there, so it feels a little strange being back in Huntsville, where fall is in full force.  Hope your week is off to a good start!



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