Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Ride on the "Choo Choo"

Firefly and I went downtown to visit Husband at the hospitals last week. Not only did we getting to see where Husband worked (the hospitals NOT the psych ward, *shudder*), but we took the "choo choo" to get there.

The local hospital systems are connected by an electric tram that shuttles patients, doctors and researchers across town.

Not only is the ride FREE, but it only lasts about 6 minutes which is perfect for a little one that really only wants to get on and off and point at it as it pulls away.

So we drove downtown to ride the train. He was really excited to carry his bag and explore a new place.

This was the image with now we started out. It was going to be great, Only about a 5 minute walk to the first stop. After a nice half hour detour because of some hazmat issue in an ER that closed down all the side walk we finally made it and even got to chat with one of Husband's colleagues. (Which was awesome as I was close to an asthma attack and incredibly nauseous after carrying the almost 2 year old for 30 minutes while pregnant.)

Not that Firefly minded. He was quite thrilled.

He was fascinated!

He really loved seeing the city from above.

We ate in the drowned in butter wonderful hospital cafeteria and met some more of Husband's colleagues. While we'll never really see where Husband works, the cafeteria is a good place to meet!

We loved watching the cars drive under the walking bridge.

Then, we made the secretary's day by stopping to say hi and giving her a drawing for her new office.

We said goodbye to Husband and jumped on the choo choo to go home.  When we got off to head home we had to stay and watch it leave so that we could say "bye bye choo choo!" 

All he's been talking about since is the choo choo and playing with his trains. It was a fantastic outing and I think we'll definitely be doing it again. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I Quit!

(sorry this might get wordy. I warned you!)

So, this is how it all went down...

  • We found out that we were expecting Lovely Babe 2 on a Thursday
  • We told our families that weekend (at my family's 50th reunion no less!)
  • I walked into work on Monday morning to put in my 2 weeks notice. 

We've made the decision that, for our family, I'm going to stay home.

It was the right decision and it was definitely time. The anxiety that I felt about telling my employer that I am pregnant again was enough to drive that message home for me. I didn't post about it at the time because I was to much of a mess, but my job as a female chemist and my first pregnancy DID NOT get along.

During the first pregnancy, I was afraid I was going to lose my job or be forced to work in an environment contaminated with documented reproductive hazards - on large scales. I was forced out of my group because they made claims I wasn't being productive and wasn't working 40 hours a week.  All completely untrue, but what they were claiming could have cost me my job. They didn't want to work around my limitation mandated by a company health assessment. After being forced out of my lab group, they had nowhere to place me because of hazards. They attempted to move me to a different lab without a health assessment, and told me about it the morning that I was supposed to transfer. I finally had to get HR involved and threaten to contact a lawyer. Then, when I came back from maternity leave, no group wanted to work with me because of the terrible rumors about me. I had to fight for my job and reputation while caring for a newborn, breastfeeding/pumping at work and being completely sleep deprived. Pumping at work was a large hurdle, because I would "disappear for large chunks of time" for no reason. And I continued to catch crap about having to leave early to get a sick Firefly from daycare.

I had been passed over for at least 3 promotions, denied raises and bonuses. But there was not much I could do about it because it was a she said/she said situation.

Anyways! that anxiety left me with a feeling of peace about our decision. So I walked in and gave my resignation. Unfortunately, my immediate supervision is a very good friend and I have worked with him for almost 4 years. There were tears his not mine, seriously and hugs and sad faces, for 2 long weeks. And there have been sad face messages since. I do miss our daily half hour coffee breaks every morning, but morning cartoon time more than makes up for it.

So far, quitting has been a wonderful decision for all of us. Now if I could only get a handle on this morning all day sickness...

Friday, September 7, 2012

Add One More

We are so excited.

I am beyond thrilled!

Husband is too.

Firefly has absolutely no idea what's going on, but...

Firefly's going to be a big brother!

We're expecting our second little Lovely Babe the beginning of April!

I'm about 10 weeks along and don't worry, I won't start the pregnancy posts yet.  I'll just say that I was doing really great until I hit 8 weeks and the soul crushing tiredness and morning sickness all day nausea hit. 

We have our first appointment and ultrasound in about a week and a half and I can't wait to see the images and hear the heart beat to make it all seem real.  But, honestly, what I really can't wait for is getting out of this first trimester and being able to look at food before 1pm. 

This is just the first of the HUGE changes happening in our lives right now, but the one that's lead to all the rest. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Very Merry Un-Birthday

Or rather half-birthday.

Firefly is a Christmas baby, having been born within a week of this most fabulous and all about full of presents holiday.

Having a brother born in December, I've seen what it can be like to have a Christmas time birthday. My brother always got so upset every time people lumped his special day with the holiday and tried to combine gifts not that he didn't try to finagle larger gifts for himself by proposing the idea.

That being said, I realized while I was shopping for both Christmas and Firefly's birthday that he was going to miss out on certain gifts because they just weren't available or practical to buy in the middle of winter and every little boy needs a bike or toys for the pool. So I decided we were going to celebrate his half birthday.

Just something small, no parties or cake, but he was very excited! (and I may have put half his birthday presents aside for this purpose because he's only one and doesn't know any different)

Just what every boy wants. New shoes!

He was so excited about his new ATV that I couldn't hold him back while Husband was trying to open the box. He managed to squeeze his little butt onto the seat though!

He loves just sitting on it and pushing the buttons for the horn and engine. Have you learned the trick of putting tape over the speaker to make it quieter? because we sure have!

He was thrilled and he got some things that he can or can't because holy hell its hot out there play with outside. 

I took this idea from celebrating the half birthdays of summer babies during the school year and this is something that I want to continue as he gets older. Though, I definitely want to keep the celebration and gifting on a small scale.

What would you do to help keep a Christmas baby from resenting their birth-date and keep the holiday and birthday separate?  

Monday, July 2, 2012

Seven Years of Luck

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful Husband!

Today we have been married for seven years.

But all of this started well before that, when we were both 15 years old. We have been lucky enough to grow into adults together, find our way in the world together and support each other through the lowest of lows and the highest of highs.

While I hope that all of the lows are behind us, I know that we have yet to reach the highest of the highs.

The last year has been full of record setting highs that have surpassed both of our imaginations:

  • Our Firefly has brought us to a new level in our relationship and our lives. He has been the most amazing gift that we could have ever given to each other. He is our combined heart. 

  • Husband is finally finished with medical school and completed his intern year as a psychiatry resident. I am so proud to watch him thrive in his field and find such fulfillment in what he does every day. He has become such an amazing man.
I can't even tell you how many pictures I have like this of Husband. I'm thinking of doing an entire study on the many faces he has for my camera

  • Our plans for the future are getting closer and closer to being realized. We are just months from seeing our more short-term plans coming to fruition and it is an amazing feeling.

I love this picture of my boys.

So, to the man who is my strength, the one person to truly knows and understands me, I love you.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Daddy Diaper Check

We're at the very beginning of the potty training process with Firefly. He's to young to really understand the concept yet, but he's interested in the potty.  We went out and bought him his own little potty chair and he loves sitting on it and 'flushing' the thing. Every time I have to change a poopy diaper, I ask him if he needs to used the potty and he runs in the bathroom to do his thing.

We're learning to associate pooping with the potty. So, every time I hear the little man rip a fart I check his diaper. His teachers are doing this at daycare too.

Apparently he's getting pretty good at associating...

The other night Husband ripped one (charming right?) and Firefly ran over and said uuuh ooooh. He then proceeded to try and look into Husband's shorts to check for poo. I was laughing uncontrollably! Its happened at least once more and it just keeps getting funnier to watch Husband try to keep his shorts in place while Firefly is trying to look in them.

Its small things like an unwanted diaper check that keep the smile on my face every day.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Two-by-Two Hands of Blue

(If you don't get the reference from the title, go watch Firefly and Serenity. Your inner geek will thank you.)

As some of you know, our little Firefly was sick. He had a cold, a virus. It was nothing to worry about, just a couple of days home with momma and some meds to keep his fever down. 

Earlier That Day

He went down for his afternoon nap and when he woke up was clingy and starting to feel warm again. I let him lay on my chest for a few minutes and just as I was getting up to measure out his medicine, he lifted his head off my chest, looked around, began drooling and his eyes round up in his head. I called Husband because that's what you do when daddy is a doctor. 

By the time he answered his phone Firefly had started shaking in a full body seizure. Husband started going through his emergency lists and just as he asked me if Firefly was still breathing, he stopped.  

My baby boy wasn't breathing. His lips were turning blue.

I called 911. EMTs came. 

The seizure stopped when the were coming in the front door and he finally started breathing again. They gave him oxygen and we got a ride in the ambulance. He was strapped down and was just staring at me, groggy and not really able to understand what was going on around him. (I was trying not to puke, with the adrenaline and car sickness in the back of that truck.)

The seizure lasted under 5 minutes, but it took Firefly about an hour to regain his strength and his ability to take in his surroundings. When he did, he latched onto me and wouldn't let go. Husband met us at the hospital and we went through a few tests to make sure there wasn't something really wrong with him.

What happened was that Firefly's fever spiked to quickly and he had a Febrile Seizure. Luckily, they are generally benign and may never occur again. He was predisposed to them because there is genetic component and I had had one when I was 18 months old. 

Still nothing prepares you to watch your child's lips turn blue. 

Not being able to do anything about it. 
Have to wait out the seizure.
Seeing his small frame bundled up and strapped to a stretcher, huge by comparison.
In the tiniest little green hospital gown.

He did so well, even ate the applesauce they brought for him and learned to drink out of a straw.

That small cold made its rounds in the household and Firefly and Husband were both sick and miserable together.

He was even back to his cute self when Grandma came down to stay with him while I had to back to work. (Until he got an ear infection on top of everything. sigh.) 

This was, by far, the scariest situation that I have ever been in (topping listening to his unborn heartbeat slowing drop during labor). I am proud of myself for staying calm, remembering details and handling the situation appropriately. 

Still, let's never do anything like this every again. Ok Firefly? Ok.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Menu Monday {27-Feb-12}

Only a week late! Things got a little... complicated last week. Anyways, on with the food!

Homemade Pizza
An Original

I use a boxed pizza dough and store bought sauce when I make it at home. It's simply to much effort to make dough from scratch. That and I don't get along with yeast. (If anyone has any yeast/bread baking tips I'm all ears!) Make the dough according to the direction on the box and pre-bake. This time I used Classico pizza sauce and added some basil, oregano, chili powder and garlic powder. I topped it with roasted red peppers and pepperoni (plus some jalapenos for Husband). Finally, layer with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. bake until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown. 

Italian Turkey and Polenta
Adapted from: Elefantitas Alegres

Another of my attempts at making a beef dish with ground turkey. I can't say that it translated well, but it wasn't bad. I think it would have been better with a more robust tomato sauce. Modifications: As I said, I used ground turkey instead of beef, but I also left out the red pepper flakes for me and Firefly. We also aren't so concerned about cooking light so I used whole milk and a large, unmeasured amount of cheeses.

Greek Quesadillias
Adapted from: Annie's Eats 

This turned out quite yummy as you can tell by the picture of a happy Firefly below. I don't know if he liked the flavor as much as momma did, but he sure did like feeding himself and taking huge ginormous little bites. Modifications: Totally forgot to buy spinach that week so that was left out. However, I think in the future I might used basil leaves instead. We also left out the black olives because, well, yuck!

Orange Pork Chops
Adapted from: FoodNetwork

These were delicious, but we were all feeling kind of crappy and didn't eat a lot of them. The orange juice made a delicious crusty layer that I loved. Modifications: I left off the garnish ingredients but used the other ingredients in mostly the directed way. I'll have to try this one again some time. I served it with...

Brussels Sprout and Quinoa Slaw
Adapted from: Eat, Live, Run

We really fell in love with this dish. It would be a great summer slaw, served cold or even a cranberry dish for the holidays. Modifications: I left out the bacon because it just seemed like a lot of work I didn't think the dish necessarily NEEDED it and opted to used quinoa - a grain- in place of couscous - pasta. We also used cranberries instead of bing cherries. Cranberries are way more cost efficient!

That's all I have for that week and last week? The new recipes that I had planned were scrapped in favor of a trip to Wendy's on the way home from the emergency room. More on that later...

For now the sick little Firefly is waking up from his nap!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Menu Monday {20-Feb-12}

This last week was a disaster in the kitchen. First, Husband wasn't able to make it to the grocery until FRIDAY! So our meal plan flew out the window and I had to throw together meals from what we had on hand. Firefly was happy because he got to have mac 'n cheese the night daddy was on call, but the rest of the week... it was sad panda

I just love his frowny face

Here's what I did manage to scrape together:

Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings
Adapted from: Polish the Stars
I made this for lunch to serve during Firefly's first playdate with an adorable little 2 month old baby girl (ok maybe it was a mommy date...) and I literally threw it in the crockpot while we were rushing out the door to get to the gym on schedule because I forgot i needed to start it. I think it went over well, but my friend would be to nice to tell me otherwise. Modifications: I added 32oz of chicken broth instead of 14 because it didn't look like enough liquid. It seemed like it would be kind of bland to me, so I also added some pepper, ancho chille powder, marjoram and garlic powder. I had husband put the biscuits in while I answered to door and they all congealed together and when we went to eat some of them were not cooked through. Next time I think I might use crescent rolls or another store bought pastry.

Balsamic Vinegar Pork Chops with Roasted Carrots and Potatoes
Adapted from: la Petite Maison Verte
This was a meal that I just kind of threw together and I didn't feel well so I can't really attest to how it turned out. Modification: This is really a recipe for roasted vegetables that I applied to potatoes and carrots and carried over to the seared pork. I seared the pork and while still in a hot pan added balsamic vinegar. The vinegar cooked off leaving behind delicious caramelized, burned bits. I transfer the pork to a plate to keep warm while I made a pan sauce with garlic, chicken broth and vinegar. 

So there you have it. A week of hodge podge. Happy Eating!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Menu Monday {Week 13 February-12}

Well Monday turned into Tuesday this week with a crazy day at work yesterday. 

First I want to say happy birthday to Kate's little LJH some time today! I look forward to her introduction.

On to the meals from last week

Chicken with tomato herb pan sauce
adapted from: Cook Like a Champion
Our Valentine's Day meal. This was a meal for Husband to enjoy after he requested a form a chicken that was not shredded. I couldn't actually stomach eating the bites of chicken, but I did enjoy the veggies and couscous! Firefly actually loved the chicken and couscous. Modifications: I didn't flour the chicken, just seared it and put it in the oven while I made the pan sauce. Because I didn't flour the chicken, I used corn starch to thicken the sauce. I added zucchini and yellow squash (because no one in our house really like tomatoes...) for more substance. I think I may have forgotten the paprika and the oregano, but I added some fresh basil both during cooking and a handful on top for the fresh flavor. I served it with couscous, prepared in chicken stock with fresh basil, to soak up the sauce.

Crockpot Steak Fajitas

This is one of our favorite meals and it is super easy to make. The most prep required is cutting the steak and the bell peppers. Firefly usually loves the steak, but this time he couldn't get enough of the bell peppers. Modifications: We use 2lbs of steak in order to feed the three of use and still have some for lunch the next day. I use an entire jar of whatever salsa we have on hand because I don't like to measure and honestly, why the hell not. We use the yellow and orange bell peppers and try to avoid the red and green, as I don't like the flavor. 

Pork and Hashbrown Casserole
adapted from: The Country Cook
This one is simply the equivalent of cheesy hashbrowns with a seared pork chop on the top. Whatever we want to call it, Firefly devoured it and I will make it again. Modifications: I actually almost followed this recipe! I mean its hard to not follow it when it says to add a whole can of this or that. I usually don't like using cream of anything soup, but maybe we'll find a replacement next time. I eyeballed the amount of pre-shredded cheese and also added some herbs. It just needed more flavor. I think this time I used marjoram. 

Brussels Sprout Slaw with Mustard Vinaigrette 
adapted from: Kate
So I wasn't so sure how this would go over with the boys and lets just say that Firefly nearly vomiting was a clear indication that he didn't like it, but he's a 1 year old and us adults liked it just fine. Modifications: I left the Brussels quartered and roasted them in the oven because Firefly cannot eat raw veggies yet. We also left out the avocado, grapes and vanilla bean (those suckers are expensive), but it turned out just fine in the end.

Well that's the week. This week we're off to a shaky start, eating mostly leftovers after our trip last weekend to visit grandparents, but things should get more exciting towards the end of the week!

Hopefully there will be a picture post soon too, as I have procured a copy of Photoshop CS5 to finally be able to process pictures! I am so ecstatic about being able to finish the hundreds of pictures I have backing up and the possibility of starting to take pictures for others again.

Until then, Happy eating!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Menu Monday {Week 6-February-12}

I'm coming back. I'm starting slow. With our weekly menu. I love to cook, but am just getting back into cooking regular meals.

I had a lot of problems with food while I was pregnant and breastfeeding. I couldn't stomach most foods cooked, let alone raw. Poor Husband survived mostly on what he could make for himself and protein shakes.

Now Husband is in this kick of trying to eat protein and a lot of it because of his weight lifting 'hobby'. Only he doesn't want ground beef, he'd prefer to avoid pork and I still have issues with chicken. Were trying to make compromises. At least I don't feeling like vomiting every time I cook ground turkey any more! {damn hormones}

Husband is also trying to avoid to many carbs because they're just filler and won't help him build muscle.

Plus i'm trying to make a 1 year old happy. Luckily he'll eat almost anything right now! {and can tolerate more spicy foods then his momma}

So here's what I served up this week...

I will warn you, I suck at following a recipe. Its a hazard of my profession, but that's a topic for another post.

Beef and Barely Stew

This is a throw together meal that I actually have no recipe for. I put stew beef {cubed by the butcher} in the bottom of the crockpot, then throw some carrots, onion and potatoes on top of it until the crockpot is full. Add 1 container of beef stock and fill with water until all the veggies are mostly under water. I add salt, pepper and a few spices {whatever i feel like that day} to taste and add a bay leaf. Cook on low until i get home in the evening. I add 1 cup of barley about an hour before dinner and that's that!

Parmesan Garlic Chicken with Orzo
adapted from How Sweet It Is

This one seemed like a good compromise for the entire household, but there was to much chicken in it for me. Modifications: I will admit it. I use canned chicken. A lot. When you can go through an entire 10 lbs of chicken in just a few days you start to think of cheaper alternatives. Husband just eats A LOT! So instead of marinating and cooking the chicken in a crockpot, I used 2 cans of chicken and cooked/heated them in garlic and white wine vinegar plus some sugar to balance the acidity of the vinegar {because we don't drink alcohol in our house}. 

Enchiladas with Ground Turkey or Zucchini 
Adapted from  Simply Recipes and Skinny Taste

I kind of mashed these two recipes together because I really didn't feel like eating ground turkey and I had made the zucchini recipe for a vegetarian before. And of course I can't follow a recipe to save my life. Modifications: I mostly followed the concept for the Simply Recipes meat enchiladas and did the same prep to the zucchinis instead of meat. I substituted the ground beef for turkey. I also used vegetable oil because that's what I had on hand.

With the enchiladas I added...

A Quinoa and Corn Hash {of sorts}
A recipe that I just made up on the fly 

I had family ask me if I had any good recipes for quinoa, which I didn't so I made this one up on the spot. I have no idea the amounts of any ingredients I added, save the quinoa, because I added them until it tasted right. I cooked 1 cup of quinoa in chicken stock according to the package. Saute together 1/2 of an onion with garlic and corn kernels and add to the cooked quinoa. Add lime juice, cumin, salt, pepper and fresh cilantro. It is delish. Perhaps next time I'll try to measure what I added...

I also made an asian crockpot stirfry concoction, but alas accidentally set the crockpot to cook on high. Needless to say, NOT so yummy!  

Happy Eating!