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More gratitude

Gratitude

Since we’re still in November and so close to Thanksgiving, I think a little more focusing on gratitude is in order. We have had some amazing kindnesses heaped upon us in the last few days and I just have to share with you.

While we were in the hospital, my brother-in-law and his wife came to visit. They were eating Thanksgiving dinner and then were going to bring us some of their leftovers. Awesome! But they changed their mind before they got there and instead brought the ENTIRE dinner to share with us. At first, I was wondering what possessed them. That’s a lot of work and we didn’t have much space in the room to spread out an entire meal. But you know what? It was great. The food was terrific and getting to spend Thanksgiving with family – when we thought we would miss out – was such a great mood lifter. Even better, they were still there when we got to bring the baby back up to be with us. It was a special time and reduced our stress way more than we realized.

And today, a friend asked if she could meet up and drop off a gift for the baby. So I show up at the designated time and guess what? I was surprised with another couple of friends arriving as well! It was a stealth, impromptu gift drop off from a big group of my Twitter buddies. They got us gift cards to some restaurants and the grocery store. So very perfect for us right now. I am so touched by their thoughtfulness. It’s kindof late right now, but I’m going to come back later and link to all of these lovely, wonderful women. I am so grateful for such wonderful, wonderful friends. So very blessed.

Without further ado, here are the wonderful ladies who have gotten us lovely gifts for Baby Bravia. Love these women. All of them:

@jenboydsd
@picklesugarplum (she MADE us some super-cool blankets)

And these lovely ladies pitched in for the gift cards. Seriously appreciated, especially since we’re getting ready to travel for the holidays.
@Jen_eration_X
@sandiegomomma
@mamamaryshow
@birdrockfab
@bernthis
@lajollamom
@rockonmommies
@ooph
@nataliewardel
@gingeranderson
@sugarjones
@everydaymama
@coffeemommyof3
@hip_m0m  

Category: Gratitude in my Attitude  Tags: ,  Comments off

Resolutions

Funny enough, I got a call from the hospital today asking how things went while we were there. So I told the lady how great the nurses in the NICU were. How kind and caring. How they did their best to make sure I could see my boy as often as possible. They always had a rocking chair ready to go so I could hold and nurse my boy.

It was getting my son released from the NICU that was the problem. It took about eight hours longer than it should have. Hours in my new son’s life that I’ll not get back. His first 48+ hours in which I should have been with him constantly. And I wasn’t. He needed medical care and I’m so grateful that he got it. But those extra hours of waiting were unnecessary. And yes, I’m still a little bit angry about it.

There’s more to it, and I will get around to telling the story. But right now I need to find a way to move on. It’s over. Done. I can’t change it. I need to focus on spending time with both of my sons, not getting angry about something I can’t change.

But at least I was able to tell my story to someone at the hospital. And hopefully it’ll change for the next mom whose baby graduates from the NICU during a very busy time.

Out and about

We managed to get out of the house with both of the boys. We didn’t go far – just to the mall. But it was someplace where we could walk around and let the oldest expend some energy.

The ladies at Williams-Sonoma ooohed and aaahed over the baby. And when they found out he is 5 days old, they didn’t know whether I was brave or crazy.

Funny, neither do I.

I just *have* to get out of the house. Even if I’m tired, there’s only so much you can do inside these walls. And I’m certainly not bedridden. Being forced to get out of bed the day after surgery will do that to you. I had no choice – I had to go and see my son. There was nothing – not an IV, a catheter, a sore abdomen… nothing – that was going to keep me away from him. As it was, it took at least 8 hours longer than it should have to get him back with us. And it probably would have been longer if I’d not suffered a meltdown right in the middle of the NICU.

Let’s just say it was an emotional time, I was exhausted, and I didn’t handle the multiple delays very well. It sucks when the kids who are ready to leave the NICU are kept there simply because the doctor hasn’t made it through rounds yet and the ones that are out of danger are the last ones to be seen. Let me say it again. It SUCKS. I’m still not happy with how that was handled. But the nurses and staff were so kind. And amazingly patient. And awesome.

It could have been so much worse. We were pretty fortunate. We ARE pretty fortunate. I can’t stress that enough.

It’s going to be an adjustment to having two instead of one. But so far? It’s awesome. Both of my sons are amazing. What more can I ask for?

Thank you. Sincerely.

It’s going to take me days to go around thanking everyone. And I will. But in the meantime, while things are still a little crazy, I just wanted to say thank you. So many friends have sent emails, facebook and twitter messages, called us to check in… it has been tremendous. Thank you so much for all of the love and support. We truly needed it.

We’re home, together as a family, and adjusting to having four of us here in the house. Baby Bravia is doing great. He’s just a teensy bit jaundiced, so we’re working to improve that. And he’s still learning to nurse, so we’re working on that, too. But he’s a joy, his older brother can’t get enough of him, and we’re enamored of our two little boys.

So while we’re tired. Exhausted. Zombies. … we have so much to be grateful for. It has all been put into crystal-clear perspective for us. So again, thank you for all of the kind, warm messages. You have made this last week even more special. I truly mean that.

Baby Bravia thanks you as well.

IMG_20101127_221153.jpg

Today you’re three

me and my son

Dear Son,

Today you are three years old. It’s hard for me to believe it has already been three whole years since you joined us. You have brought so much joy and light into our lives. You’re funny. You’ll do just about anything for a laugh. You’re charming. That grin where you wrinkle your nose and squint your eyes is so very cute (but I’m on to you). You’re silly. You love to stand on your head and look at things, or use the wrong end of the binoculars to view your world. You’re sweet. There’s nothing better than hugs and kisses from you.

You are my little buddy. We’re together day after day, just the two of us until daddy gets home from work. You’re my constant companion. You keep me company. You want me to play cars all the time. You stand in my chair and run cars on my head while I type away at the computer. You give the best nose rubs and hugs. I hope you always have a special place in your heart for mommy.

You love to help. I hope you’ll love helping with your little brother. I don’t quite think you understand yet what it means. And I hope that it only brings you joy when we arrive home with him just days after your birthday. You and your brother will be exactly 3 years, 1 day apart. But I hope that you’ll always be good buddies.

I love you so much, little buddy. That will never change, even as we move into a new dynamic with our family. Happy 3rd birthday, little man. I cherish these years with you. I hope you do, too.

Always,

Mama

Restless

me & the boyToday I’m just plain restless. There are things I could be doing, but I don’t have the mental capacity to concentrate for long periods. I’m trying, but just not succeeding. I’ve caught up on my Google reader feeds. I’ve read everything I care to on Twitter and Facebook. I’ve cleaned most of the kitchen and about as much of the living room as I can stand. It’s still cluttered and crowded. It definitely needs more “it’s time to get rid of this junk I’m not using” and less moving things around just to make it look a little better.

But I’m sick of it. All of it.

I even have some things to read on my Kindle. And I’ve been perusing our baby registry. But none of it is keeping my attention for long.

I’m impatient. Just biding my time. Do you know how boring that is? I’m going stir crazy. It doesn’t matter if I get out and go to the store. Or go through the mail and pay bills. None of it. It’s all busy work.

I knew this would be a long weekend but GEEZ. Enough already. Either go into labor or something. Please.

As much as I’ve wanted to see Harry Potter, I don’t know if I could sit through it, even. First, I have to pee every 10 minutes so I’d probably miss a lot of good parts of the movie. And since I didn’t already go and see it, I doubt I will tomorrow considering it’s my son’s third birthday tomorrow.

By the way, this time three years ago? I got induced mid-morning. I was still in labor at this point and wouldn’t have the kid until almost six o’clock tomorrow night. That’s right. It was a very long labor. In spite of that, I’d still rather go into labor about right now. EVEN IF it means both boys have exactly the same birthday. I’m that desperate.

Hold me?

Category: babbling, spawn  Tags: ,  4 Comments

A stress-free Thanksgiving

Maybe Thanksgiving can’t be totally stress-free if you’re cooking for a large group, or even just your family. But you can take steps to reduce your stress. Choose simple side dishes that are flavorful, but not time-intensive. Use a crockpot. Or two. Or even have your guests bring several sides while you concentrate on the turkey and gravy.

Last year, I made dinner for us, the daughter and her boyfriend, and the bro- and sis-in-law. That’s not a large group for most people, but it’s about the max we can fit in our small place. And with a small kitchen, large meals aren’t easy. But it can be done.

The rolls I love to make (Pioneer Woman’s No Knead Dinner Rolls) can be started a day or two ahead of time and stored in the fridge. My candied sweet potatoes can be partially done the day before and refrigerated until you’re ready to pop them in the oven. And you can cook your dressing and green bean casserole in crock pots. Just get things ready early, pop them in the crockpot, and you’ve got two side dishes with minimal fuss.

Speaking of dressing, my mom usually makes hers from scratch using stale bread and homemade cornbread. It’s really good. And I need to learn how to make it. But to shorten things, I use a box of stuffing. Yes, I do. But to make it more my own, I sauté an onion and some celery and add it to the mix. I also add dried sage (I really like a lot of sage in my dressing). Add those things, and use chicken broth for your liquid and it’ll taste just as good as homemade!

Here are a couple of recipes for some tasty side dishes that aren’t too hard to make. I really like the carrots, while the entire family just LOVES the sweet potatoes. I believe I originally found these recipes in my Better Homes and Gardens CookBook. I have a newer edition (the pink plaid one), but I actually prefer the recipes in the much older edition my mom gave me. I need to put it in another binder, though, as it’s falling apart. There are some seriously good recipes in there (the cinnamon rolls are amazing) and it’s a great reference. I’m constantly looking up cook times for meat and veggies – it has several references based on the type of cooking you’ll be doing.

On to the recipes!

Candied Sweet Potatoes

4 med sweet potatoes (~2 lbs)
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 c tiny marshmallows
(you could also use chopped nuts, but we all prefer the marshmallows – it really makes the dish, trust me)

1. Peel your sweet potatoes and then cut into 1 1/2″ chunks. Cook them in just enough boiling water to cover until tender – about 10-12 mins or so. Drain. (You just barely want them tender, or they’ll overcook later.)

2. Transfer to 2-qt baking dish. Add melted butter & brown sugar, stir to combine.

** Now, you can stop here if you’re doing prep the day before. Just cover and chill up to 24 hours. When you’re ready to start again, uncover and bake as directed in step 3. Don’t forget to let it come to room temp before putting it in the oven. Cold dish + hot oven = broken dish & a big mess. **

3. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 mins or until potatoes are glazed, stirring gently twice during baking. Then sprinkle on the marshmallows and bake an additional 5 mins more.

Brown Sugar-Glazed Carrots

1 lb. med carrots peeled (baby carrots will also work just fine)
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp brown sugar
Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Cut carrots in half, cross- and length-wise.

2. In med. saucepan, cook carrots covered in a small amount of boiling salted water for approx. 8-10 mins or until crisp-tender. Drain and remove from pan. (You definitely want the carrots on the crisp side so they don’t get mushy.)

3. In same pan, combine butter, brown sugar, and salt (a dash). Cook and stir over medium heat until combined, then add carrots. Cook uncovered, about 2 mins, until glazed. Stir frequently. Then season to taste w/black pepper.

There you go – a couple of my Thanksgiving standbys. If you want the green bean casserole recipe, it’s always on the side of the french-fried onions can. And yes, I do make it every year. Total comfort food for us.

What’s YOUR favorite side dish for Thanksgiving?  

The home stretch

Today marked my last doctor’s appointment before the baby arrives. Last ultrasound at the office. Last trek to be poked and prodded. Finally.

And by this time next week, we’ll have a wee little one to hold and love and lose sleep over. I am so very ready. In fact, we finally found the car seat. The clothes are ready. I just need to pack my hospital bag. Finish cleaning said car seat. Do a little more cleaning.

Most of my work projects are finishing up. I’m starting to hope I’ll go into labor early, but only AFTER I finish this last project. So I guess I’d better get on that, huh. So just that one to finish and then I’m off of work for a few weeks. Not entirely sure how long. Probably about three or four. Six at the most. I’ll be back at work most definitely after the beginning of the year.

It won’t be long before we head out to see family for the holidays. I’m really looking forward to that part. We have so much going on that it’ll be nice to just relax, bask in our new addition, and enjoy time with the grandparents. I know they’re going to have so much fun with both kids. Especially the older one – he’s such a funny little guy that I know my dad is going to have a blast with him. He’s so precious. Last night, hubby was getting him to say “mommy” instead of his usual “mama” and it was the most beautiful sound to my ears.

I think he’s on the verge of being willing to make more sounds, especially as we try to work on getting him to repeat things. I bet my dad will try to get him to talk as well. We’re stubborn like that.

So that’s where we are. Full of anticipation. Waiting it out. Looking forward to a new chapter — except for the lack of sleep part. I mean, really. Who looks forward to that? EVER?

Category: babbling  Tags:  Comments off

Good intentions

America's Test Kitchen Light & Healthy 2010 Light & Healthy 2010 from America’s Test Kitchen

I originally bought this book for the low-fat recipes. After a severe gallbladder attack, my doctor told me to cut down on fatty foods. I thought these recipes would be perfect, given how much we love America’s Test Kitchen. And the recipes are really good and I want to try a bunch of them.

BUT.

I’m also currently pregnant and have gestational diabetes, which means I also have to avoid sugar. It’s quite hard to find low-sugar recipes in this book. I’m not just talking about added sugar either. High carbs. Lots of fruit. Those all contribute to higher blood sugar for a diabetic and there are a LOT of those types of recipes in here. So even though I anticipated great things, I haven’t really used the cookbook that much. I certainly will after the baby’s born and some of my dietary restrictions are removed.

What I’d really like to see, though, are more diabetic-friendly recipes. It doesn’t need to take up the entire book, but how about a few thrown in here and there? Or a section just for low-sugar recipes? My ideal cookbook would contain low-fat, low-carb recipes with alternatives to fruit and sugar. Some fruit is fine, but dishes that rely heavily on it just won’t work.

If you want low-fat, I think you’ll like this cookbook. I’ll be cooking more from it very soon. But if you’re diabetic AND looking for low-fat recipes, you might want to take a really close look at the recipes before buying. Or stick with a diabetic-friendly cookbook. Maybe America’s Test Kitchen will come out with that next?

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Climb every mountain

Today we finally got something off of the to do list. LAUNDRY. I’ve been complaining for weeks that we have a mountain of laundry to do. And that I really wanted to get it done before the baby gets here. Because once the baby arrives, we won’t have time to do it and there’s nothing worse than coming back from a trip and having a ton of chores staring you in the face.

So we took the morning, went to a big laundromat (found on Yelp & it was perfect for our needs), …. and spent about $40. Give or take. BUT, they had huge washers. Seven-load washers, in fact. (However, I never get how they figure that, because I’m pretty sure it’s not seven loads of a top-loader machine.) And five-load washers. And so on. And? Over 30 dryers. Of which we used FOURTEEN. I kid you not. Of course, we split up some of the wash loads to have things dry quicker.

Our laundry filled up the back of the Odyssey. No joke. FIVE Ikea bags crammed full, plus several trash bags. But by going to the laundromat, we got it done in less than three hours. And the boy was entertained almost the entire time. Bonus!

It is such a relief to have all that done. Now, we need to get the mountain of dishes done in the next eight days. It could go either way.

Category: miscellany  Tags:  Comments off