Thursday, March 29, 2012

Margot's Room

While I posted some progress along the way I never posted pictures of our finished nursery. I am so happy with how her room turned out. It is bright and cheery. We spend a lot of time in there and it's such a happy place in our home.

I'm amazed at how well this room came together considering how randomly we seemed to acquire everything.

Furniture: We had to special order our crib. It is the Jennylind crib by Divinci. My Mom found the dresser at a garage sale and Chris sanded it down so we could paint it white. The rocking chair was in my Mom's garage and the book shelf is a hand-me-down from my Step Mother.

Bedding and linens: My Mom made all the bedding. Her and I picked out the fabric and she put them all together. She also made cushions for the chair and two baby Afghans that match. My friend Beth made the curtains for me after I was put on bed rest.

Details: The chandelier was sitting in my father and Step-Mother's garage along with the two lamps. Katrina also helped me make the pom-poms. I bought the picture frames at Ikea. And the basket (full of stuffed animals) was left over from a gift (it had houseplants in it).

In total all we had to buy was our Crib, picture frames, the dresser and paint. In total I think we spent around $400.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tuesday Night Dinner

I am so excited about this recipe. It was fast enough for a week night but yummy enough for company. This recipe comes from who else but the wonderful Jamie Oliver. Really the man can do no wrong. I don't think Chris and I have been unhappy with a single one of his recipes. They are always just so good!

Dry grilled chicken and noodles with herb broth, cilantro and red chili*

2 chicken breasts
dry rice noodles
boiling water
5-6 cups of homemade chicken broth
1 inch of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bunch fresh cilantro
2 fresh red chili, seeds removed.
2 fresh limes
soy sauce
bok choi, remove course stems and roughly chop

Heat cast iron grill pan over med-high. Pound chicken breast 1/4 inch thick and season with salt and pepper. Once grill pan is hot add chicken. Bring water kettle to boil. Place broth into sauce pan along with garlic and ginger, bring to boil, reduce to a simmer. Cook chicken 4-5 minutes on one side before turning over. Cook 2-3 minutes on second side or until chicken is cooked through. Set aside. Place rice noodles into large bowl. Once kettle is boiling pour boiling water over the noodles. Stir around with chop stick to make sure they are submerged in water. Check periodically (should take 5-10 minutes) until they are soft but not mushy. When done, drain and divide into 4 bowls. Finely chop your cilantro and chili, set aside. Place bok choi into simmering broth. Cook just until wilted, divide into bowls over noodles. Slice chicken and divide it among four bowls. Ladle broth into each bowl. Squeeze fresh lime juice onto each bowl, along with some soy sauce and garnish with cilantro and red chili.

*Adapted from Jamie Oliver, The Naked Chef. Ingredients and flavors are the same. I altered the recipe to simplify it a bit and speed it up. For even more simplification you could simply poach the chicken in the broth.

Monday, March 26, 2012


I am reading the letters of John and Abigail Adams. They are fascinating. Abigail Adams is one of my hero's. I loved this quote from the second letter:

"Let us, therefore, my dear partner, from that affection which we feel for our lovely babes, apply ourselves, by every way we can, to the cultivation of our farm. Let frugality and industry be our virtues, if they are not of any others. And above all cares of this life, let our ardent anxiety be to mould the minds and manners of our children. Let us teach them not only to do virtuously, but to excel. To excel, they must be taught to be steady, active, and industrious."--John Adams

Friday, March 23, 2012

some kind of party

It is almost my wonderful husband's birthday. Next week he turns 27. This will be his fourth birthday since we were married and the fourth birthday party I have thrown him. I look forward to throwing his party each year. It's usually not a huge affair but it's a fun chance to bring together our friends and celebrate Chris. And since Chris is wonderful, kind, loving and fun everyone loves to celebrate him.

This year...per Chris' request...we are having a Le Miserables themed birthday party in honor of the fact that Chris has finally finished the epic french masterpiece. Among Chris' many talents is reading horrifically long historical novels. Since we've been married he has completed War and Peace, The Brothers Karamazov and now Le Mis.

Chris with a 2 week old Margot--reading Le Mis

Chris with 7 week old Margot--still reading Le Mis

To celebrate we will have the musical on in the background and our menu will feature classic french cuisine appropriate for young french revolutionaries. Our party also will be family friendly--no whisky tasting this year:)--now that we and several of our friends have children with bedtime routines.

On the Menu:

Cheap red wine

French baguettes

French cheese

French Onion Soup

rustic berry tart

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Snow Day!

Yesterday started like any other Wednesday. The alarm went off and we woke to find Miss Margot once again in our bed. Chris got in the shower while Margot and I promptly fell back asleep nursing. Chris got out of the shower, woke us up with the light, and realized once again that his clean shirts were still on the couch were I folded them. But on his way to retrieve clean clothes he discovered...SNOW! Lots and lots of snow, 6-7 inches with it still coming down. A few minutes later our power went out.

In truly classic Chris fashion we immediately reacted. Really, the boy scouts would have been proud. Chris retrieved flash lights and lit candles. I bundled Margot and myself. We brought all of our necessities, phone, blackberry, blankets, diapers, wipes, hats, toys and the activity gym into our bedroom where it was a cozy 70 degrees and settled ourselves, Margot and her activity gym on our bed.

It was quickly established that my office was closed. Then we analyzed the situation. How long would it stay warm without power? At what point might we have to leave? Where should we go? What were we going to eat? What about the freezer? Could we cook breakfast on a camp stove? Would the toilet flush?

Fortunately the power came back on a few hours later. We decided to take Margot out to experience her first and maybe only great snow storm.

Margot was not a huge fan of her snow suit.

But she did like my funny snow dance--the things I will do attempting to get my child to smile for the camera.

The view from our front porch.

Our rather buried little house.

Margot, like her mother, does not like the snow--in fact we only made it about a block to our Friends Luke and Kayun's where we stopped for some much needed hot chocolate.

We spent the rest of the day safely indoors playing, napping, nursing and doing laundry.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Margot You are Four Months Old

Dear Miss Margot,

You are four months old! I can't even believe how fast time goes by. It seems like just the other day you were a tiny fussy little thing and now you are a big happy grinning baby.

This month you have learned so much. You have started to laugh, grab your toys, put things in your mouth, suck your thumb and roll onto your side. You continue to talk non-stop I think you are going to be a chatty little thing. You are a very social baby and you love to meet new people unless it's after 6pm then you'd just rather hang out with Mommy and Daddy.

You have adjusted really well to Mommy going back to work. You take your bottle like a champ and are so excited to nurse again at the end of the day. You just love going to Grammy's house while Mommy is at work. You play and talk and smile all day.

You continue to love to play in your activity gym and bouncy seat. You also love walks in either your stroller or the Ergo. And you love love love your bath time and baby massages.

You have been sleeping in your cradle now for a whole month and you go right to sleep each night. You still wake up A LOT to nurse in the night but we are hoping you will start to go for longer stretches now that you have adjusted to the new schedule.

We have started our Birth to Three Incredible Infant class and you love to go and see all of the other babies. You especially love the singing at the end of the night.

You are such delight to be around. We love you so much--

Weight: 13 lbs 9oz

Height: 23 1/2 inches long

Clothes: 3-6 months and 6 months

Tuesday Night Dinner

For the second installment of my Tuesday Night Dinner series I made spicy black bean cakes from the Martha Stewart Every Day Food: Great Food Fast book. If you don't have this cook book you must get it. It is full of great weeknight recipes.

This recipe was a huge hit. It took 40 minutes start to finish although it might have been closer to 30 if I hadn't done the last half with a squirming baby on my hip. It was easy, yummy, and cheap. But perhaps best of all it was just a nice change.

You can find the recipe here. I made a few modifications most notably I used one can black beans and one can kidney beans (rather than two cans of black beans) just because I only had one can of black beans. I also added scallions to the lime sour cream as well as the jalapeno and lime. This wasn't spicy so for some heat next time I might leave some of the jalapeno seeds in. I served these with green salad with ranch dressing because that was the dressing we had made. I think it would have been really great with a citrus based vinaigrette instead. My only complaint about this recipe is it dirtied a lot of dishes.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mom Fail Weekend

This weekend was a really hard one for me as a Mom. It was supposed to be a very nice weekend. We had little plans except a date night Friday night and St. Patty's dinner at my Father and Step-Mother's on Saturday night. But then I had failed to factor in Margot's vaccinations into the mix. Friday at noon Margot had her 4 month well baby check up and I completely forgot it would include vaccinations. So there I was Friday on my lunch hour holding a screaming baby. And all I wanted to do was stay with her but I had to go back to work. After work we'd barely gotten home with, our by now very fussy, baby when my Dad and Step Mom arrived to babysit so we could go out. As much as Chris and I wanted and needed some time alone it was very hard for us to leave Margot. But we did and we had a nice dinner out. When we came home Margot was sound asleep and it all seemed okay.

But when I picked her up to nurse her before I went to bed she was burning up and shivering. As soon as I picked her up she started to cry the most heart breaking little cry. It was horrible. We took her temperature which was 101.4. Then both Chris and I sort of panicked. How could she have a fever? How could we leave her? why did we let them give her those shots? After a few minutes of freaking out and debating taking her to urgent care I remembered the doctor sent home a sheet about her vaccinations. It said we only needed to bring he in if her temperature reached 104 or lasted longer than 24 hours. It advised lightly dressing the baby, giving lots of nursing and infant Tylenol. We did all of those things then just brought Margot to bed with us and let her cuddle and nurse throughout the night. I have never felt so guilty laying there with Margot burning up and clinging to me. Luckily her fever started to go down and was gone by morning. But she was lethargic, clingy and kind of fussy the rest of the day. We just did everything we could to make her comfy and happy. We cuddled, and nursed, and bounced and let her sleep in our chests. By afternoon she was quite a bit better.

We dressed her up for St Patricks Day and went to my Dad's for corned beef. Sunday she woke up screaming but settled down after some bouncing and cuddling. We walked to church so she didn't have to go in the car seat and then I just kept her in the service with us. She did look darling in her little pink jumper and tights with shoes on them.

I was supposed to go to the opera Sunday afternoon but I canceled because I didn't dare leave her again.

I logically know Margot is fine but I still feel so awful about the whole thing. I feel bad that I didn't know to block out my calender the rest of the day after her shots. I feel bad that we scheduled a date night for that night. And to make matters even more difficult We've had really mixed feeling about vaccinations anyway. We ultimately decided to give them to her but I can't say either of us felt very settled about that decision. Seeing her react and suffer from them didn't help our feelings any. I suppose I learned a lesson. I have already blocked out my calender for the rest of the day for her 6 month well baby appointment.

Friday, March 16, 2012


  • I was so tired last night that I woke up at 2am to find Margot our bed with absolutely no recollection of putting her there--I think she crawled in...

  • I am so glad it's Friday and tomorrow is Saturday

  • Margot will of course celebrate Saturday by waking up at 5:30 am with no intention of going back to sleep despite the fact that I have to wake her up every week day morning

  • Chris and I are going on a much needed date night tonight

  • We are going to try this new brewery downtown

  • I am so excited to eat corned beef and cabbage tomorrow

  • Margot has a special green st patty's day onesie just for the occasion


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Then and Now

Miss Margot is 4 (sob) months (sob) old (sob) now. No longer my tiny little baby. Now she's my big chubby baby. Joking aside I actually prefer this stage. I loved my tiny cuddly little newborn but it was so much harder. not that its sun shine and rainbows over here all the time (I woke up 5 times last night and believe me that 5th wake up was a long way from sunshine and rainbows) but the last month has been so much easier.

Three months ago:

  • Miss Margot screamed in the car almost every single place we went, including one truly horrid trip to Portland

  • She screamed every time she was dressed or diapered

  • She usually peed everywhere the second we got her diaper off

  • She would only sleep on mommy or Daddy's chest or in the Ergo/baby bijorn/sling

  • She nursed every 1-2 hours 24 hours a day

  • It hurt like the dickens every single time she nursed

  • She hated with a passion her swing, car seat, bouncy seat, and the stroller--basically the child could not be set down without screaming

  • She thought it was great fun to wake up in the middle of the night to eat and then to stay awake for two hours during which time she would only to be pacified if walked around the house--because you know walking all over the house for 2 hours is just what I wanted to do at 2am

  • she fussed from 5pm-10pm unless bounced in a very precise manor (all about the knees) unless of course she was nursing

sleeping on Daddy

That was then... and this is Now:

  • She hardly ever cries in the car anymore

  • She smiles and laughs while you dress her or change her diaper

  • She occasionally still pees everywhere but now she laughs and grins while she does it

  • She sleeps in her cradle at night and takes most naps in her crib occasionally she still naps on with me or in her Ergo or car seat

  • She nurses every 2-3 hours and will usually go one 3-5 hours stretch at night

  • I wish I could say nursing has has become completely pain free* but alas I can't it is however much better

  • Margot loves her activity gym and bouncy seat. She also seems to like her swing for short periods

  • While she does still wake up a lot during the night she goes right back to sleep

  • After months of what we termed the "evening fussies" Miss Margot hardly ever fusses anymore and usually when she does it's very briefly and when she's tired

  • Additionally, Margot is so much fun!

  • She has this huge happy grin which she loves to share

  • She talks all the time which is so funny

  • She loves to kick and stomp her legs which can be really funny

Just hanging out in playing with our hands

So basically---It gets so much easier!!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

sequins and sleep

So sleep...I'm not getting any!!!

My darling child has decided for the past 2 weeks that she needs to go back to waking up every 2 hours all night long. I don't know what happened. She was going 4-5 hours then 3 hours then 2. I went from waking up 2-3 times a night to 4-5 times. She hasn't woken up every two hours since she was 2 months old. And when she was two months old I was on leave so I could at least take naps. Now I'm working full time and then some and I'm so tired...

Sequins however I do have in the form of one fabulous J Crew sequined sweatshirt which I am wearing today with my black ankle pants, denim jacket and black flats. Yay for casual Friday.

Not sure why I look angry in this photo but whatever.

How about you? Do you have sequins? Do you wear them to work?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tuesday Night Dinners

I have been wanting to start this series on my blog for a while. I am calling it Tuesday Night Dinners because it's going to feature recipes you can have on a Tuesday night AKA an easy weeknight dinner. My plan is to post recipes that I have successfully made in 30 minutes or less. I have found making dinner to be such a challenge as a working mom and yet it's something I think is so important to keep doing. Hopefully we can help each other. I will post my quick weeknight dinner successes and you, dear reader, please share some of yours as well.

To tacos. Yes...I know...the past two recipes I have posted have been for tacos. But here is the thing, my darling Margot has been waking up every 2 hours for the past week which means I have not had more than about 1.5 hours of consecutive sleep in many nights and I have been working full time. So tacos is about all my poor brain can muster right now.

Weeknight Fish Tacos*

1/2lb Tilapia (fresh or frozen)

1/2 cup green (tomatillo) salsa*

12 soft corn tortillas

1 cup sour cream

2 limes

1 bunch cilantro

green, purple or nappa cabbage

Place tilapia in shallow baking dish. Squeeze the juice of one lime over it. Drizzle with some olive oil and generously season with salt and pepper. Set aside to marinate.

Place sour cream in bowl. Squeeze the juice of second lime into bowl along with 2-3 table spoons of chopped cilantro and some salt and pepper. Set aside.

Shred cabbage.

Heat a dry skillet to medium high and heat your tortilla 3 at a time for a minute or two on each side. Once warmed place in clean kitchen towel to stay warm. Once tortillas are heated melt 1Tb of butter in skillet along with a drizzle of oil. Saute tilapia for 3 minutes on one side and 2 on second side. Shred fish with fork.

To assemble tacos. Place three tortillas on each place. Put some fish in tortilla. Top fish with generous amount of green salsa, some flavored sour cream and cabbage.

Serve tacos with re-fried beans, green salad or chips and salsa.

*I had homemade tomatillo salsa left over in the fridge. I had made this recipe (which is super easy) over the weekend. However if that hadn't been the case I would have bought fresh green salsa from the store or used one of the canned tomatillo salsas from the Mexican aisle which I think are good, although they are spicy.

*This recipe is a muddled adaptation of a few of the fish taco recipes I have tried. It is not the most exciting or best way to make fish tacos but it is good and it is fast so it's perfect for a tuesday night.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Baby Shoes

I have been wanting new shoes. The problem is that new shoes are both unnecessary and expensive. Rather than buying myself new shoes on Saturday I bought Margot new shoes. Unnecessary...yes.! And so I begin to live vicariously through my child. But just look at them:

I bought these at the baby consignment store so they only cost $4

So cute...right

Margot loves them too. See how happy she is to be standing in her new shoes?

She even wore them to church on Sunday with her red dress, Costa Rica jacket and fancy grey hat. She was one styling baby.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Margot's Birth Story

I have really debated with myself about posting our birth story. Mostly because it is so personal but also because I don't want to get into the politics of birth. In the end I am sharing it but with a few disclaimers. A natural birth was very important to us. That doesn't mean it is what everyone wants and that is okay. That being said I do believe that barring some very particular medical issues (breech, severe preeclampsia etc) any woman who wants to have a natural childbirth can. I think our society often paints pregnant women as week--they are not.

I was 36 weeks pregnant on Monday November 14th and at that point was officially released from bed rest. I had been put on bed rest two months prior, at 28 weeks, because I have an incompetent cervix. This means that my cervix, which is supposed to be around 3.5 cm, was only 1.5cm. This can cause pre-term labor and is often treated with bed rest. I had been having some irregular contractions for several days. That Monday they became more regular, although they were not that painful, basically like bad menstrual cramps, but because we were still so early I called my Doctor who had me come in. She checked me and said the contractions were monitoring at 3 min apart and I was dilated 2 cm and fully effaced. She said the baby could come as early as that night or it could still be a few days. She told us to go to the hospital to get checked if the contractions intensified. Because I was already so effaced she was a little concerned about the baby coming really fast. We decided to make the following day my last day of work. The contractions continued throughout the following day. I had an appointment that day to meet our pediatrician. I told her I was in early labor and that our baby would likely arrive that week. We were able to discuss some things I could do to help breastfeeding because babies that early often have serious challenges breastfeeding. That evening the contractions intensified and we headed to the hospital to get checked. I was 3 cm and the contractions were regular and more painful but I was still in early labor so we decided to go home and wait.

That was one of the best decisions we made. We went home, the contractions subsided and we both had a wonderful night sleep. Wednesday morning Chris made me banana pancakes for breakfast and we had a nice morning together. I was really relaxed and looking forward to a day at home to finish last minute baby things. My step mother came over and we made pom poms for Margot's room. Midway through our craft the contractions started back up. Throughout the morning and early afternoon they progressed. By 1:30 they were quite painful and I had to stop what I was doing and work through them. I called Chris at 2:30 and told him he'd better come home. We left for the hospital once they were 3 minutes apart and I had to breathe to get through each one. That was around 3:30. When we got to the hospital I was only 4cm and so we walked and walked and walked some more! As we were walking the halls of the labor/delivery ward we saw this couple leaving with their baby and I so wanted to be there!

Because the results of my strep b test hadn't come back the nurse had to hook me up to an IV to administer an anti-biotic at about 6pm. The IV had to stay in for 1 hour and during that time I had to stay in the bed. That hour was pretty awful. The contractions were much more painful in the bed and it became very difficult to work through them. I was horribly nauseous and thirsty. About that time our nurse from the night before Ralynn came back on. I was so happy to see her. I had really liked her the day before and was hoping she could be our labor nurse. Once the IV was done she helped me get into the jacuzzi tub. We were at McKenzie Willamette hospital in Springfield which has wonderful labor delivery recovery rooms. You check into your room and can stay in the same place until you go home. The rooms have bathrooms with jacuzzi tubs. That tub was AMAZING! Once I got into the tub I felt so much better. My contractions felt much more bearable and I felt relief throughout my whole body. I stayed in the tub until I became too hot and then we walked some more. For the next couple of hours we just went back and forth between the tub and walking. At 9pm I was 6 cm and the doctor had arrived. She told me I was doing great and that I could either keep going or she could go ahead and break my water to speed things up. Chris and I talked it over with her and decided to break my water. I was getting very tired and I was worried about my ability to work through transition if I still had several hours to go. She broke my water at 9:30pm. The next half hour was the worst part. I was in the tub and the contractions were almost unbearable. Ralynn and Chris stayed with me and it took both of them helping me through each contraction. Ralynn kept telling me to stay on top of the pain. She had me vocalize the contraction to the peak and then she would help me breathe my way back down. After 30 minutes I was pretty close to tears. I was so tired and so discouraged and I honestly didn't think I could do it anymore. Chris told me later that I looked terrified. But then Ralynn checked me and I was fully dilated and ready to push. I started pushing on my back but that did not work and so I switched to my side. I'd wanted to try and push in a squatting position but I was too tired to attempt it. Pushing was much more difficult than I had anticipated. It took me awhile to get the hang of it. After a while I was able to feel Margot's head and the doctor came in. Form that point on things are a little blurry. There were more people in the room and a lot of lights. I do remember I kept saying "this has to be over, we have to be done". But Chris, Ralynn and the doctor were really encouraging and finally I felt her slide out. I vaguely remember them holding her up. But I do remember feeling the biggest wave of relief. I can't even describe how relieved I was to be done pushing. I had pushed for an hour and twenty minutes and it was awful. They put Margot on my chest immediately and her eyes were wide open. She was looking right at us and it was wonderful.

But...yes there is a but. I felt horrible. I had read all about oxytocin, which is a hormone that floods your body after birth. I had somehow gotten the idea that I would feel great after the baby came out because of all the oxytocin in my body. That was NOT the case. I actually asked the nurse (who I'm sure laughed), "how come I feel so horrible? what about the oxytocin?". To which she responded, "you just pushed out a baby". I was in a lot of pain and my legs were shaking so hard I could hardly keep my hands steady. After a while I was able to lay my legs down, which helped. I was able to hold Margot on my chest for almost an hour. During that time she began to root and actually latched on. After an hour the nurse told me I was still bleeding too much and that they needed to have me empty my bladder so the baby nurse and Chris took Margot over to the weighing table and the heat lamps (which were still in our room) to weigh her, measure her, diaper her and swaddle her. Then Chris was able to cuddle with Margot while I was cleaned up and taken care of. All this time my family was waiting to see us. Margot was born at 11:16pm and at 2am my Mom, sister and Step-mom came to meet her.

In the end we were so very blessed by our birth. The baby nurse said it was a beautiful birth which really meant a lot to me. I attribute it to God. So many things could have gone wrong considering Margot was early and I was considered high risk. I think it helped that we were both very determined to have as natural of a birth as possible. However, we were also glad to have the guidance and support of our doctor and nurses. We did a lot to prepare for such a birth. I read a number of books and did pre-natal yoga until I was put on bed rest. And we took a natural birthing class together. We did have a birth plan which said we didn't want to be offered pain medication. All of our nurses respected our wishes and nobody offered me pain medication even when I was saying, "I can't do this." We were also very lucky to be delivering at such a wonderful hospital. We can't say enough good things about McKenzie Willamette. All of our nurses were great. The room was very nice and felt comfortable and private. I think we just both felt very comfortable.