Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Doctors all the time!

We have had doctor's appointments galore over the past few days.

On Thursday I had my 20 week ultrasound and appointment for Baby Trike. Baby was measuring great at almost one pound and the due date estimated by the computer system is right on the money. The heart beat seemed nice and strong at 156 bpm which is within 3 beats of MacKenzie's. We missed a bit of the ultrasound because the tech turned off the t.v. screen so we could keep our gender surprise and not accidently see anything. We do have the gender picture tucked away in an envelope to look at after Baby Trike comes though. The doctor said everything looked good except for one teeny tiny little thing. That thing was a small spot on the Baby's heart. The Doctor assured us that this is kind of common (it is called an echogenic foci) and usually poses no problem to the baby. It can however be a "soft marker" for Down's Syndrome. She felt confident that this wasn't the case, but sent us to a perinatal specialist for an extra ultrasound.

I went to that appointment today. I first had to go to genetic counseling which was nice but aggrevating at the same time. The lady kept asking me how I felt about things and if I understood the small chances of something being "wrong" with the baby. Once I assured her that the baby having Down's would not change our pregnancy status and that we would probably not risk an amniocentisis she knew that we had a good grasp on what was going on. I then went to the perinatalogist who spend a whole lot of time jamming the ultrasound wand into my gut to get a good picture of the Baby's heart. They printed off a ton of pics, but only gave me a very dark and grainy picture of the spine. She felt confident that nothing was wrong and that I didn't need any further looks or testing.

MacKenzie also had her one year doctor appointment yesterday. She was very brave during her 5 shots and blood draw! She is a whopping 32 inches long (off the charts) and weighs a measley 23 pounds 10 ounces (83rd percentile- which isn't saying much for how tall she is). The doctor assured me that she is doing great, developing nicely, and that we should keep up all of the great work!

Now it is time to rest, but here are a few pics...

I put "Uggs" on MacKenzie at Payless and they were sooo cute...now I have to convince Matt of how much she "NEEDS" them!

MacKenzie trying to impress her Daddy in her camo hat

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I know, I know...another website...

...but some of these are so I can come back to them too!

This website was too good to pass up, from twice baked potatoes to chicken fried steak, it lightens up a lot of "no-no" diet foods!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

20 weeks with Trike!

We have hit the half way mark with Baby #2! In some ways this pregnancy has gone by faster and in others it seems slower. We go to the doctor Thursday for our ultrasound (no gender reveals) and doctor appointment. I am feeling pretty good, sleep has been a little difficult and some back pain, but nothing of concern or to complain about. I am in that really awkward stage where none of my regular clothes fit very well and all of my maternity clothes are too big so I wear the same few outfits over and over again. This is strange to me as last time I was well into maternity clothes because I gained so much weight in my hips, bum, and thighs.

The baby is moving around a lot and on Sunday Matt finally got to feel the little Trike move! I love feeling those movements and cannot help but smile when I feel Trike kicking, punching, head butting, and running into me!

Here is my 20 week belly shot and I went ahead and put up T-Rex as a comparison.

That one is T-Rex

This one is Trike. I could have sworn I was smaller this time around, but it is all belly and a little higher this time too. Interesting to see the differences!

Monday, October 18, 2010

A whole year?!?!


I am starting to draft this letter a bit early because it is a big one...you will be a year old on Sunday. A whole year! You have been with us, staring at us, smiling at us, laughing with us, teaching us for a whole year!!! This year has gone by so fast. A year ago we went where we wanted, when we wanted. We ate what we wanted, watched what we wanted, spent money how we wanted and kept busy. The busy part hasn't changed, but you have brought so much responsibility to our lives. A year ago (plus the 9 months you grew inside me, but you know what we mean), God trusted you to us. He delivered you safely into our arms and I still think we were a little shocked that the nurses and doctors let us take you home with us. We brought you home and felt such responsibility, such obligation, such a duty to raise you right. We were excited, but so very, very fearful. You were (and still are) such a perfect, blameless, pure little creature, surely we would mess you up. We are only human, surely we would make mistakes and they would probably be big mistakes. Surely we would ruin you, surely we wouldn't do right by you, surely we would do something that would hinder and harm you. As unintentional as our actions might be, surely we were not worthy to raise such a perfect creature. I can remember thinking to myself, why would anyone, including God, trust me with such a life? This is how you have already taught us so much. We have learned, time and time again, that your love is so perfect for us that it doesn't matter that we are not perfect. You love us despite our shortcomings, despite our imperfections, despite our mistakes. You love us when we are at our worse and at our best both equally. Your love for us is as pure and perfect as our love for you. In fact, your love for us might be even more pure because the only expectation you have for us is that we love you, while we want so much of our own hopes and dreams for you already. You display your love for us in so many ways, they way you smile at us when we get you from your crib in the morning, the way you mimic us, the way you grin when making us laugh, the way you climb into our laps to read a book, the way you reach up for us to hold you, the list goes on and on. I can never thank you enough for your love and my heart swells at how much you mean to us!

As far as the past month we have learned that you are a funny little goober! You act very serious around strangers and pretend to be shy, but as soon as you warm up to them you make sure to ham it up as much as you can. You grin in several different ways and it is so cute to me that you can see teeth with your grin these days (it makes you look like such a big girl). You laugh at everything we do and try to copy us. Our most recent thing is you holding your arms over your head while we all say "Yay!". You also like to clap, wave bye-bye or hi, and to bounce to music. We are trying to get you to blow kisses, but I think you are quite unsure of the point of blowing a kiss so you don't want to do it. You will give Mommy open mouth kisses when she is holding you, it is sweet if a little slobbery! You have learned to sign airplane (which might seem odd, but we live under a flight path into Bush airport so we hear them a lot), you clap to say more, and are working on being more consistent with milk. You like to sit on the floor and read all of your books and you love playing with blocks and stuffed animals. You will push anything, boxes, stools, your highchair, around the floor using it for a walker. Daddy says he saw you take two steps a few weeks ago, but all of your other steps have been holding onto something with at least one hand. You will stand on your own without needing to hold onto anything and you can climb stairs (which Mommy discovered when she found you shrieking for help on the fourth step one day). Your climbing of stairs led to Daddy feeling the need to build your baby gates for the top and bottom of the stairs. We all realize we could purchase them, but Daddy didn't think any were good enough for his little girl.

We had our last nursing session two weeks ago. I had slowly cut you down to only nursing at night and we finally gave that one up one night when Mommy was working an event for Grammy KiKi. You adjusted well to the cup rather than nursing, I think Mommy was sadder than you were! You are drinking three bottles/cups of part pumped milk from the spring with half whole milk. You have adjusted well and it actually seems to hold you over and make you feel fuller. Speaking of the pumped milk, Mommy and you took a lot of your pumped milk to the drop off site for the Mother's Milk Bank to donate to babies in need of it. We donated over 500 ounces of milk and you got a little t-shirt in thanks for sharing your milk! You are eating a bit less these days (we think it is because of the whole milk), but you still love a lot of food. You enjoy raisins and craisins a lot, love bananas, enjoy green beans and peas, and prefer red meat to chicken. We discovered that you LOVE fried calamari recently and ate as much as Mommy and Daddy did. At the church Fall Festival we did splurge and gave you sno-cone bites and Daddy (much to Mommy's dismay) gave you a little taste of cotton candy.

You sleep well through the night, usually 8:30 to 8 or so. Right now you are taking two good naps during the night as well. We try to do something outside of the house every day so you can get some fresh air and don't feel cooped up. We spend a lot of time visiting your grandmothers, your great grandmothers, or friends. If we have nothing else to do we will go wander around Target, the grocery store, or Hobby Lobby. I just like taking you out and hearing everyone ooo and ahhh over you. With the weather getting to be so nice Mommy has been taking you for walks (with the exception of the past week or so since we have both had some nasty sinus crud that is going around). We will walk to the neighboring neighborhood and sometimes we stop at the park so you can watch other children play or you love to swing. I know we have already discussed playtime, but here is some more...You love to look through your books and will bring us books and sit in our lap so we can read to you. You also like to turn the pages yourself and to feel the "touch and feel" books. You will shout out "Puh" every time you see a puppy on the pages of your books. While you entertain yourself with books for a large amount of time, you also like to play music, and with your basket of bath toys.

The past month has been very busy with visiting in College Station, seeing family around Houston, going to Cy-Ridge homecoming where some of Mommy's students made you your very own mum, and just exploring. I still cannot believe that the year went by this fast and I cannot believe how much you have already grown up!!! I hope I am remembering enough! You are such a joy, such a pleasure, and such a happy part of our lives. There is not a day that we don't marvel at everything you do and feel really blessed with your presence in our lives. We cut out cable for the t.v. and hardly have noticed because we try to spend family time with you and love it.

Thank you for the past month and the past year. You surprise us in all that you do and we love you very much. Never forget that we love you today and will love you beyond the point that we have no breath left in our body. Happy Birthday Mac, MacKenzie, Mac-a-doodle, Mac and Cheese, Booger, little girl, baby girl, T-rex, and daughter!

Mommy and Daddy

P.S. I will post about your actual birthday celebrations next week!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

More recipes online!

I know I have been heavy on the websites lately, but we are cleaning out the freezer in preparation for chilis, turkey, soups, and other wonderful fall foods. I watched The Biggest Loser this morning while folding laundry and what not and was really impressed with the Vegan recipes Bob served some of the contestants. With a little online searching I found the recipes on his blog! I hope to try some of them soon. While I don't normally eat vegan, I like having more veggie filled sides to try. Many of these look a lot like the foods I ate at JFR and in Israel. While I will never adapt even a partially Kosher diet, I still contend that the healthiest I ever feel is when I attend some of the conferences and I am forced to eat Kosher or Partial Kosher diets. Maybe Matt and I can look at eating partial Kosher for a certain number of meals a week! Give the recipes a try, but only if you love delicious and healthy veggies!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Great website

One day when looking for an Irish Soda Bread recipe to make for Matt's mom I stumbled across this website. The recipe for soda bread looked simple and it was. The bread turned out great (perfectly moist and cakey and should be easy to modify in the future (with extra golden raisins, dried apricot pieces, and maybe some tart dried cherries). I was looking through the website using the side bar and realized it had a plethora of great recipes waiting to be enjoyed. Most of the recipes have a picture and the site loads fast enough that you can quickly scan through it. I was drooling over the soups (I am really into soup right now) and was distracted by the sandwich tab as well (soup and sammie night anyone?). I wanted to make sure to share it with anyone that was looking for some inspiration.


One smart cookie

I should start by saying that MacKenzie loves raisins. She will easily polish off a regular size box of raisins as a snack. We are fine with that because surely she is getting some vitamins and nutrition from the dried fruit! We often find her "foraging" for raisin boxes, in her bag, on the dining room table, looking in the pantry...she can't get enough of them. She will drag the box around the house, shake it until it opens everywhere, and then eat them off the floor. Recently I found her surrounded by raisins on the floor and as I was trying to gather them she would grab for them. This was funny in itself, but as she grabbed for them, 10 raisins would fall out of her hand. It was very cute.

This morning she found an almost empty box of raisins on the table. She grabbed it and brought it over to me shrieking in delight and shaking it as voraciously as she could. When she couldn't get it open, I obliged and poured the raisins into my hand so she could partake. The empty box sat on my leg waiting for her to want to play with it. When there were about 10 raisins left in my hand, she stopped eating them. She then grabbed the box, opened the flap all the way, and began delicately putting each raisin back into the box! I was surprised by her precise movements and how deliberate she was in her actions. She put each raisin back in the box then spent the next few minutes closing the flap. The little smartie got the flap perfectly closed on the box except for one of the little side tabs. She then proceeded to open the box, pour them out, and repeat the process all over again. She slowly ate her raisins as she played with the box for 15 minutes.

I might just be a proud Mama, but I think that is pretty good for a not even one year old! Let's just go ahead and enroll her in college classes!!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


The Pioneer Woman does "Confession" posts a lot...here is my attempt...

1. My house was somewhat straightened up this morning (MacKenzie was taking a nap). At some point between her waking up from nap and Matt getting home from work, the house was no longer straightened up...I'm still not exactly sure what happened.

2. I actually smile when I see a goldfish cracker, raisin, or other bit of food on the floor...it is usually, not always, but usually a reminder of the little creature Matt and I made who makes us smile every day.

3. I don't clean out the lint filter of the dryer as much as I should. The dryer takes two or three times to dry anyways (it was free, but it is old) so I figure it doesn't help that much. My mom always yelled at me for this as a kid too. Sometimes kids never learn.

4. I spend a lot of my day shaking my head in frustration at people...people on message boards, people on facebook, people driving down the road, people at stores, people in news stories...the list could go on and on, but I'm not going to elaborate.

5. The garden in my backyard could easily get approved as a wildlife refuge. I weeded it several times earlier in the summer, but much to my dismay the stupid plants came back within a day and they were several inches high. So rather than continue my battle...or actually get a weed eating product to assist me in my battle...I quit...Matt was ok with that, but now it is a bit embarrassing that one of the weeds is as tall as our silver maple we planted last spring.

6. There is a new love in my life...it's name is Dark Chocolate Velvet and it comes in a Breyers carton on the ice cream aisle. Matt tries to keep us apart, but you can't expect me to resist something that amazing.

7. One of the reasons I like MacKenzie to watch Signing Time is it means I get to lay on the couch (and usually fall asleep) for about 30 minutes. Because it is educational, I feel less guilty.

Well, that is a pretty good start. I am sure I have more dirty laundry that needs to be aired out...actually no, all the laundry is done, but I am sure I will come up with more to confess!!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


With Fall peering in between the heat I figure it was time for a good cinnamon recipe. I love cinnamon, it is one of my favorite spices. If you have a baked good of mine and you aren't sure what that subtle flavor is in the background...guess cinnamon, it is usually the right answer. Because I don't want to overload the blog with fall recipes (and I have many that need to be prepared and pictured), I thought I would start with a nice and simple Snickerdoodle cookie recipe. Snickerdoodles are fairly new to my life. I can guarantee that I had never tasted a snickerdoodle cookie until I had graduated from college (the first time). I don't know why, I think it has to do with the fact that few people in my family bake cookies on a regular basis and that I was always more tempted by the double fudge or sugar cookie at Great American Cookie Co (yes that was two facts, but nobody ever says "it has to do with the facts").

When I tried a snickerdoodle for the first time (and it was I that made them on the request of a friend) I was floored. These are amazing I thought...no...they are the perfect non-chocolate, non-oatmeal cookie. A simple and light slightly sugary, slightly buttery cookie that is crisp on the outside and soft and tender on the inside! Magnificent! Then you coat it in cinnamon (sigh) and sugar! Wow! I love the way the cookies "crackle" a bit when done if you have made them right.

I use a recipe out of my Betty Crocker cookbook. It is simple (making the dough literally takes 10 minutes in my stand mixer) and I usually have the ingredients on hand. Make sure you do not over bake...nobody likes a super crispy snickerdoodle.

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose or unbleached flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
(P.S. I usually make more cin sugar mixture than this, but it is a good starting point, we usually have tons on hand because we like it on fruit and in our oatmeal)

1) Heat oven to 400ºF.
2) Mix 1 1/2 cups sugar, the butter, shortening and eggs in large bowl. Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
3) Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls.
4) Mix 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture.
5) Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
6) Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack


My worst pregnancy symptom...

You will rarely find me complaining about pregnancy symptoms. One, mine are not that bad...Two, I know the end result is well worth it...Three, there are many people around me who have lost children or have difficulty conceiving and would love to feel those symptoms. I have the usual nauseau, some cramping, some bloating, difficulty sleeping, skin problems, hormones out the wazoo, but if someone asks me about how I am feeling it is usually responded with a "Great" or "A little nauseuos, but not too bad". All in all, I love being pregnant...

Except for this one odd symptom that isn't reported by many women. This symptom shake me to my core and I really, really don't like it. This symptom is "The husband is cheating on me" dream. I have read little articles that this dream is somewhat common in pregnant women. It has a lot to do with our subconcious (like all dreams) and that fact that in years past a pregnant woman was very vulnerable, so if her husband left her she was in a very bad place. I do not recall having dreams like this outside of pregnancy (and I do recall many dreams) and I know for a fact that they are not as vivid as these.

When pregnant with MacKenzie I dreamt that Matt had me watch the kids of two ladies he worked with in the living room while he "entertained" them in the bedroom. When I walked in to see what was going on he looked at me and kept on keeping on...if you catch my drift. It was so upsetting because dream Matt was very in your face about it. Last night I dreamt that I found out Dream Matt had been cheating on me and confronted him about it. He was very matter of fact about it and when Dream me thought it couldn't get any worse when asking him questions it did. Dream Matt told me it had been going on for months, that it happened at least 6 times, that he had taken her on a weekend trip away (which really ticked Dream Me off because we have been working on our budget and saving money). This dream was so resonate with me that it spanned over waking up (to use the restroom of course) and made it very difficult to get more sleep.

I realize that these are just dreams and that this is in no way a reflection of reality, but there is no closure in the dreams and it really bothers something deep inside of me...something that I cannot control. I do not like Dream Matt in these dreams and while I am not upset at real Matt it takes a day or so to shake it off.

So didn't know if anyone else had crazy pregnancy dreams, but there is my worst symptom...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Adventures with Goat Cheese

Tonight we had a delicious salad/bread combo that I had to recommend. We are very fond of dinner salads and tonight was no exception. We tossed fresh spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, shaved red onion, and avocado together. No big deal right...just another everyday salad...oh no my friends...that wasn't the end of it. The first batch of pomegranates showed up at our local grocery store last week so we added pomegranate seeds. I am not really a fan of pomegranate juice, but I really love how fresh pomegranate seeds burst in your mouth with a sweet, yet tart, almost grapefruit taste. We then added marinated and grilled (thank you George Foreman) skirt steak that was thinly cut against the grain of the meat (please ladies and gentlemen...cut your skirt steak against the natural grain of the steak). We then topped it off with goat cheese crumbles. It was delicious. Sweet, savory, tart from the cheese and pomegranate seeds, creamy avocado contrasted with crunchy cucumber...oh yum! We dressed it with a modified version of Matt's mom's balsamic dressing (balsamic vinegar, sugar, olive oil, a touch of mustard, and an ice cube shaken together). It was a perfectly sweet and tart addition to the salad.

We also served it with one of my favorite little treats. We rather enjoy Panera's baguette bread. It is perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside and the cell distribution of the bread is amazing. It is a perfect mixture of large and small air pockets which is important to the baking and tasting process. We cut the bread, slather it with goat cheese (the spreadable kind like Chaverie works best for this), and top it with shaved red onion. Put it in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes, top with cracked black pepper and if you desire, a drizzle of olive oil and consume. So delicious, so simple, I am so going back into the kitchen for more.