Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Family Photos

One of my great friends from high school came over Christmas eve day to take some family photos for us.  Both Paul and I are terrible at taking photos of us, or having someone take our photo, so when Theo was born we decided to make more of an effort to document us.  Baby Theo is 6 weeks old in these photos, and man he has changed so much since then.  I wanted to share a few of my favorites that she took.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Monster Cookies

Before school started my co-workers threw a baby celebration for myself and another teacher.  I was searching for what I was going to bring, we are big food people, the pressure is always on.  I try to be very conscious of that fact that one of our co-workers is gluten intolerant.  We both were new this past year, so adding someone who is gluten intolerant and another who does not eat meat really shook things up!  I came across a a few monster cookie recipes that looked good and just needed a few tweaks to be gluten free.  The day before the party our GF friend could not make it, so the rest jokes of our co-worked joked that I could make gluten cookies now!  I decided it was time to play a fun gamed called... "gluten or no gluten?!"  Most people did not believe that there was no gluten in the cookies, which I call a win.  No gluten should not mean it does not taste good!  
1 egg
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 Tsp Vanilla
1/2 Tbsp Honey
3/4 Tsp baking soda
3 Tbsp salted butter (use real butter, if you don't have salted just add a pinch of salt)
1 1/2 cups gluten free rolled oats
1/3 cup choco chips
1/3 cup white choco chips
3.14 oz  regular M&Ms (King size bag)(read the bag to make sure gluten free, I've read that some of the holiday bags are not guaranteed to be gluten free due to cross contamination on the line that the color is made, but everything I read said that plain regular colors are fine.  Someone correct me if I am wrong!)

Feel free to mix up what you add, nuts would be delicious or butterscotch chips.

Preheat the oven to 350 F
In a large bowl beat the eggs, and add ingredients in order.  (I used my kitchen aid mixer - this dough is so thick that it is likely to burn a motor on a handheld mixer)
Scoop onto a cookie sheet (I used a medium cookie scoop, 1 &1/2 tablespoons) and bake for 12-15 minutes.

Makes roughly 2 dozen cookies.
I don't typically bake cookies unless it is Christmas, I am a cake girl, but I was forced out of my comfort zone to make a gluten free dessert, and I think these were great.  I hope you make these and enjoy them!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Friday Five

1. I got sick this week, it hit me last Saturday and it is still hanging around.  Every day there was a new symptom, like the worst gift ever that just won't stop giving.  I finally broke down and took some breastfeeding friendly medicine because the cough was keeping me up. On a plus side, I think coughing this much is a literal ab workout. 
2.  As a result, my house is still a mess from Christmas... and our tree is still up.  I'm soaking it in as it will be coming down this weekend.  I always struggle with how to decorate once the tree is down - it is not like we are ready for spring decorations but what is winter decor without a tree?  My Christmas decorations never made it to the blog this year, but maybe once I figure out what winter decor will look like I'll share.  I'm thinking I need to swing by the thrift shop and pick up some brass candlesticks.  I'm thinking a nice collection with white tapered candles like this one from Lindsey at Better After would be perfect winter decor.
3.  Last Friday looked a lot like the following, and it was perfect.  When I can get baby snuggles AND cat cuddles my day is made.  I'm hoping for a repeat tonight.
4.  My co-worker hosted a bread class today, she taught us how to make 5 different breads.  Both bread and pie are skills I am hoping to learn, and there are a few breads I feel comfortable trying on my own now.  I have a focaccia in the fridge ready to bake, so tomorrow already looks great. 

5.  Paul came home yesterday with the news that I knew was coming eventually.  He has to travel for work in the next few weeks.  He will be gone all work week, so I'll be home taking care of our 2 month old alone.  I've been blessed so far to have him around with no work travel, it is nice to know I don't have to do every feeding at night and I can say "your turn" to some diapers in the evenings. This mama is going to have a tired week coming up.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Word of the year 2018 || Peace

Before I jump into my word for 2018, lets take a moment to reflect on my word for 2017.  I chose balance, and boy did I ever need it.  Funny thing is I published this post not knowing we were pregnant but we found out 7 days later.  Balance was forced on me for sure, papers sat in piles never to be graded while I slept.  We ordered food occasionally more so we could spend more time bonding just the two of us before Theo came, and bonding with our sweet little Theo.  
Now  on to 2018's word - Peace.  I was sitting on the couch snuggling with Theo and the news was on, and my word struck me.  Story after story of deaths, terrorism, mobilizing police in preparation for New Year's Eve celebrations flashed across our screen, I looked at Paul and said "This makes me sad."  That is the simple truth, on a global level our world is in desperate need of peace, and I fear the world all the sweet little babies have to grow up in. 

In our own home as well I seek peace.  I haven't shared our breastfeeding issues on the blog, but simply put little guy won't latch.  When I can get him to he pulls off and screams, and screams.  We were making some progress with a lactation consultant but he isn't transferring enough milk and I am struggling with low milk supply since I am pumping.  Trying to find peace in the fact that I am not feeding my baby that way I wanted to is hard, and I still haven't come to terms with it.  I feel like everyone in the world judges you, and I feel the need to explain our situation to every person. But why should I have to?  I know we are doing the best we can and I am making decision that are best for Theo and I.  We haven't given up yet, he gets his lip tie cut at his 2 month appointment and we will go from there and determine our feeding future.  I'm getting emotional writing this, it has been hard to deal with and I am seeking peace with what comes. 

I also seek to find peace in what come work wise.  I am currently in a place that makes me dread going to back to work, I don't want to leave Theo.  I love my coworkers, and the kids are great.  I get updates about which ones are in jail, arrested, and killed on a regular basis - please pray with me that these kids find peace in their lives.  That they stop revenge killing and their communities can find healing and peace.  I am still unsure of what the future brings for me work wise.  I know I teach where I am needed most, but is there enough of me emotionally and physically to be a great mom, wife, and teacher?  I still don't know, but I hope to find peace in whatever decision we make. 

I hope Theo grows up feeling peace in our home.  Even when he is screaming and our dinner is burning, may he always feel peace.  And may he poop in peace in 2018, and not struggle with too much gas 😜.

If you choose a word of the year please share!  Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Theo || 1 Month

We blinked and it happened - our baby was 1 month old on the 11th of December and boy did he change in a matter of 4 weeks.  My goal is to take monthly photos of him, and get them posted on the blog before he turns another month old.  We will see how that works out.

Just as expected from a newborn, Theo spent most of his first month sleeping, eating, and pooping.  He did tummy time with daddy after work, and demonstrated some very impressive neck strength.  That boy loves staring at his dad's face in adoration.   He gave us several 5 hour stretches of sleep at night which was amazing.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Choco Mint Snap Cookies

These little morsels have been a staple around our house as long as I can remember.  They go perfectly with a glass of milk.  They are exactly how they sound, a nice chocolate mint cookie with a lovely crunch to them.  They are by no means as snappy as say a traditional ginger snap.  I might indulge in a few too many over the holidays, but they look oh so pretty and they are seriously easy to make.   I'm also guilty of smashing these up and putting them on ice cream.  

  • 1 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 3/4 Cup unsifted flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • Sugar for rolling


  1. Melt chocolate chips in a small bowl; set aside.  We cheat and just use the microwave for chocolate melting. 
  2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine shortening, sugar and egg; beat until creamy.  Mix in corn syrup, peppermint extract and melted chocolate.  Gradually blend in flour mixture.
  4. Chill dough for at least 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  6. Shape dough into balls, roughly 1 tbsp.  A small cookie scoop is perfect for this!
  7. Roll the balls in sugar and place on cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes.  Makes 36 3" cookies. 
Do share any family favorite cookies!  What is the cookie your family just has to make every year?

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Our Birth Story || Part 2

If you missed part 1 of our birth story you can go back and read it here.  The week following our failed induction I was on modified bed rest, with additional OB appointments during the week to have nonstress tests done to make sure Theo was still OK.  I  left the hospital dilated 5cm, they call it a fake 5 because the foley is a manual dilation.  I was also taking and recording my blood pressure multiple times a day at home, it was still high, but not as bad as it was.  I mostly spent this week sewing with my mom, and Thursday we took a trip to Sam's club to stock the freezer.

Friday (11/10) rolled around and I had my nonstress test in the morning - I just had a gut feeling that we were about to repeat the last week again... My blood pressure was high still, but the nonstress test was great.  It was decided that we would schedule induction for the following week, it isn't recommended that women with high blood pressure deliver past 39 weeks.  I was able to convince them (or so I thought) to be induced on Wednesday, which would have been 39 + 4 weeks.  Before I left the nurse took my blood pressure again, and it had gone up.  Our midwife talked with the doctor, and guess where we were headed.  Oh right, the hospital for induction that day.  I was offered a foley for induction again, but I pretty much said heck no.  I left the appointment, not crying shockingly, and called Paul to tell him leave work and come home.  This time we felt more prepared, and more confident that we would be leaving with a baby.  But also we actually had our bags packed.

We got to the hospital about 1, they already had a room ready for us so we skipped triage again.  Over the course of the week I had actually regressed to only being 3 cm dilated, oh yay.  It makes sense since I was on bed rest there wasn't as much pressure being applied to my cervix.  They placed my IV line, drew several vials of blood, and got the pitocin going.  About 5:30 our midwife came in and was going to break my water to get things started, but since Theo was still sitting a little high she was concerned that her method risked having the placenta come out with the water.  At 6pm my water broke on its own, and the contractions started hurting quite a bit more.  At this point I ordered dinner, because I assumed it would be my last meal.  It all came back up shortly, I got the shakes really bad and I could not keep it down.

Paul decided that it would be a great time to start filling out the birth certificate paperwork... which meant he was me questions like "where were you born?"  Really dude?  I believe I responded with "Why are you asking me this now?!"  He thought I was between contractions and it was OK.

About 9:15  I requested the epidural, the pain was increasing as was my blood pressure, and I had the shakes bad again.  I had dreamed of this beautiful natural birth, not hooked up to machines and I would move freely without restriction, but at this point nothing was really going according to how I dreamed.  I had to tell myself I was still strong, and getting an epidural wasn't failing.  It was hard for me to come to terms with.  It didn't take long for the anesthesiologist to show up.  I'll be honest I was moderately terrified of how it would feel (I have issues with needles...), but I was also at the point where I had been poked enough times that what was one more in my spine right?  It wasn't bad at all, and I'm totally going to get one again.  With every contraction I felt them less and less, it was like a wave of relief.  I texted my mom "drugs are great", and I stand by that statement.  Getting the epidural was the only time Paul had any issues, I look up and he was white as paper and had to sit down.

I don't quite remember the next few hours, it really all felt like a blur to me.  I lost track of time, partially because my eyes were closed and I was tired.  By the time I was fully dilated my blood pressure had risen to 170/100.  I remember my midwife saying I wasn't allowed to push before we got my blood pressure down.  Several more nurses started to show up, they had to place another IV in my other arm to start me on magnesium sulfate, which was to lower to blood pressure, and fast.  The concern was I was going into a dangerous territory where I could have a stroke.  I think it took about 30 minutes and then I was able to start pushing.  Maybe it wasn't as long, but it felt like an eternity when I was ready to go.  At one point while I was pushing our midwife said if I wanted to reach down I could feel his head,  I was too tired to move but I would have otherwise.  I just had no energy left but we were so close.

Finally after a few hours of pushing (I think?) our sweet Theo was born at 2:37 am.  My first reaction when I reached out to grab him was "he's so small!"  We had some skin to skin time, it was magical.  Meanwhile I was having some hemorrhaging issues.  I remember hearing "she won't stop bleeding" which doesn't ever make anyone ever feel good, but it is pretty common.  There is some research looking into the use of magnesium sulfate and an increased risk of hemorrhaging.  As a result of my blood loss, being on magnesium, and epidural,  my blood pressure plummeted - which now made me at risk for having a seizure.  They called the anesthesiologist back, not totally sure why, and he wasn't pleased about it.  I think it was when my blood pressure dropped that Theo was taken off my chest to weight him, a tiny 5 lbs 6 oz, and he was having some issues getting and staying warm so the took him to the nursery.  Paul went with him while I was being put back together.  They both came back not long after, and we ordered some food because I was starving.  A fruit plate, cheerios, and a chocolate milkshake- a shake has never tasted so good in my life.
It was finally after 5 that we were able to get some sleep, and we slept until 8.  When we woke up our favorite nurse from the previous weekend was here and took care of me the next day.  We spent another 24 hours in labor and delivery because I had to remain on the magnesium.  They needed to do some blood work on me,  but I had swollen so much due to all the fluids that were being pushed.  2 different nurses tried 3 times to get blood, and failed all 6 times.  At which point I started having an mild anxiety attack and started to feel very faint and I was on the verge of passing out.  They called a phlebotomist up, and man she studied my arms for awhile, and even she took a few tries.  Man, I was a human pincushion for a bit.
Both Theo and I spend the whole next day zonked out, the magnesium was making me exhausted.  Poor little Theo had it in his system as well since it was started pre-delivery.  The only visitors we allowed were our parents because I was not up for much, and we did some more sleeping that first day.

All in all we feel blessed that we safely welcomed our baby boy into the world, and avoided a c-section.  It certainly didn't go to plan, but we are grateful he is here and enjoying how full our hearts feel.

It is crazy to see how he was swimming in those newborn clothes, and now he is filling them out nicely at 4 weeks. 

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