Sewing projects, anatomy scan and meeting a doula

During the week of Christmas/New Years, Steve had a modified schedule where he had a few days on and a day off so I took advantage of having him home and started some sewing projects! My plan has always been to make Jenna’s nursery bedding. Crib sheets, blankets, quilts, changing pad covers–all that stuff is easy. I don’t plan on using a bumper and I will probably reuse the crib skirt that I already have, but if not, I can always make one :)

I bought a new sewing machine as a gift to myself! It’s this one by Brother (I paid $120 for a warehouse box–never opened, but the box was a bit dented. Machine was fine!) mostly because it has more power, it’s computerized and it had a few extras like a quilting table and could do simple lettering. My current one was a Black Friday deal that Steve lovingly bought for me years ago and spray painted the cover pink because I told him I wanted a pink sewing machine. It’s been used plenty, but it can’t handle thick layers and broken needles have come flying at my EYES on more than one occasion.

Anyway, over the course of a week, I stayed up late on more than one occasion to sew three quilts, a big crib minky blanket, changing pad cover and crib sheet! The new sewing machine is awesome and it’s sooo much easier to thread the bobbin and it can handle multiple layers.

crib minky blanket

minky changing pad cover

My 1st quilt using a disappearing 9 quilt block pattern! The back of the quilt is the bird fabric with a bamboo batting.

So proud of my 1st quilt that I signed it. I hope she keeps it forever.

Crib sheet that I tested out on the only crib sized mattress we had in the house–Caleb’s bed!

Saw a jelly roll fabric pack at JoAnn’s so decided to pick it up and try my hand at a jelly roll jam quilt. Not perfect, but pretty! I put it together with bamboo batting and the back has a solid yellow fabric with pink and green chevron fabric.

Not pictured is another baby quilt, but it’s basically a smaller version of the minky blanket I made with quilted blocks of the same fabric. I’m hoping to start the nursery (painting, furniture assembly, etc.) by March, finish by April and be ready by May!

We had another snow day and Steve’s car got stuck for two days! He ended up taking my car one day to go take his GRE’s (yay for an SUV with AWD). It was sooo cold, but Caleb wanted to go play in the snow so I said ok. We made it an hour (well, I did, before I said it was time to go in). The snow was so powdery that it was hard to make a snowman so I shoveled a mound and called it a snow volcano…lol.

This week, I am 22 weeks along! I finally got to see Jenna kicking from the outside and took a video of it. She loves to party late, late at night and when I wake up. When I tell Caleb that Jenna is kicking me, he says, “Jenna, don’t kick Mommy. It’s not nice!”  He’s too funny :)

22 week update

I had my anatomy scan at 22 1/2 weeks. The actual ultrasound was done by the OB and he was very detailed in describing what we were looking at–it was really neat! Everything looked good: saw the heart’s 4 chambers, umbilical cord, no cleft lip, kidneys looked good, spine looked good. She is measuring a bit small–11th %tile. He said anything above 10th %tile is normal, but since she’s on the cusp, he wanted to do another ultrasound at my next appointment just to make sure she’s growing. She’s a lil’ peanut!

I asked him about my weight gain (or lack of, really). At this point, I’ve gained only 2 lbs. He said that my fluid levels were good and placenta was good so she’s growing and healthy–just to keep doing what I was doing and not to worry. It was reassuring to hear that! It’s just so funny how different pregnancies can be. By the time I was 23w with Caleb, I was already up 18 lbs!

I got two generic print outs. In Austin, we got a DVD with video, pics and lots of pics! Not that I’m complaining, but just interesting to see how different offices do things. I’m just glad I have a healthy baby.

Later that day, Caleb started his first parent-free, instructor led swim class. We had been going to one swim school for months, but it was a “mommy and me” type setting and I think he was bored. He couldn’t advance to the next level until he was 3 and potty trained. We told them he was already potty trained, but the age thing was the restriction and they seemed pretty strict about it. We tried out this swim school and the class he’s doing starts at 3, but they said he was close enough that he could try it. The limit the class to 4 students, but he just happened to be the only one there that night so he got a private 1 on 1 class. Steve and I sat across the pool and watched him–he warmed up very quickly to the instructor and did sooo well! Even the instructor said he took direction very well and will learn very quickly so we were super proud of our lil’ guy.

Today, Caleb and I met up with Steve for lunch before meeting with a potential doula. I didn’t have one with Caleb, but had been contemplating one with this lil’ one especially since I’m going to try and shoot for a med-free birth (crazy, I know). She seemed really nice and also includes birth photography on the side so that’s a plus! I’m going to meet with another doula and then decide.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on here! Tomorrow, we’re carpooling with friends to Harrisburg, PA, for a farm show and meeting up with other friends. Then, I have two newborn sessions. Never a dull moment here :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current Music: Bastille - Pompeii

Howdy from the half way point

Man, am I ever horrible at updating!

So, it’s Christmas Eve and I’m 20w3d along now. I can’t believe how fast this pregnancy flying by! With Caleb, I felt like the time between appointments always felt like forever and this one, it’s the total opposite. I’m enjoying my time in the second trimester now. I get to eat (and enjoy it), I don’t need a daily nap though I started watching Sons of Anarchy on Netflix so there have been many late nights.

Let’s see what’s been going on. Caleb and I flew over to Chicago and had a mini reunion with the Lisa and Angela (we were all Army wives with husbands stationed at Fort Hood, TX) to celebrate the first birthday of Lisa’s daughter, Caroline! It was an interesting challenge flying pregnant with a toddler while lugging a heavy Britax carseat with me, but it all worked out. We spent a week there catching up and relaxing–even got to see snow!

At the airport when flying back, I sat down at the gate and took off my wedding ring to lotion my hands (they were SOOO dry in Chicago). Caleb distracted me and before I knew it, they were calling people with kids to board. It wasn’t until we had landed and we were out for lunch with Steve that I realized that my ring was missing and that I had never put it back on after lotion my hands.

I was SO upset and I was sure the ring was lost forever. I looked up the lost and found for the airport and it said that if an item was left at the gate, to contact the airline. Well, Frontier only has a form that you can fill out and if you do not heat back in 30 days, they said to consider it permanently lost. I thought there must be a way to contact the airport directly so I called the Chicago police at the airport and after they asked me to describe the ring, SOMEONE HAD TURNED IT IN! I was so relieved and it restored my faith in humanity. Lisa was kind enough to go back to the airport to pick it up and mail it back to me–still in the police evidence bag.

We spent a week at home before I packed up again with Caleb in tow and drove to MA to photograph a wedding of a friend’s younger brother. Smecky was my sidekick and she did great! I also ran into some people from high school. What a small world. I got to meet my mom’s puppy, a doberman named Bella, who is already HUGE!

When I was 16 1/2 weeks along, we went in for an elective ultrasound with Steve’s mom and her mom’s cousin (who had never been to one) and we found out that Caleb was going to have a little sister! We were all ecstatic :) We even got to sneak a peak in 3D/4D which is a little creepy that early on, but it was still really neat. We watched her brush her cheeks with her hands and move all around. The tech said our baby was already “meaty” haha.

a profile view

sneak peak in 3D

The next day, I had my 16w appointment with my doc and she had been noticing weight loss and no gain. I had lost some weight during the 1st trimester since I had all day nausea, but I had been eating legit meals for a month now, but nothing was sticking. She was concerned and wanted me to return in two weeks to get weighed so I told Steve to make sure I got third and fourth helpings at Thanksgiving to pack on the weight.

Chanukah was early this year so I cooked a Thanksgiving-type meal on a smaller scale to celebrate and get a jump start on pigging out. We spent Thanksgiving day with friends and family. Steve’s older brother, Jeff, and his girlfriend came into town to spend the long weekend with us so that was nice.

On Black Friday, I went a little crazy shopping for a little girl. Lots of lil’ dresses, jumpers and rompers :) People were telling me not to buy so many things so that they could buy something…haha. I’ve bought two baby carriers (a ring sling made from the Natibaby dandelions wrap, and a mei tai made from the Hoppediz purple pune wrap), and a JuJuBe BFF diaper bag in a purple/pink begonia print. I also bought fabric to make the nursery bedding which should be fairly simple. For $90, I bought enough material to make 2 crib sheets, 2 changing pad covers, crib skirt, two bedding blankets and 2 stroller blankets.

I had won tickets in a lotto to the National Christmas Tree Lighting at the lawn of the White House, but Steve couldn’t come with us so I invited my friend, Kelly and her son, Patrick. It was a super crappy and rainy day so before leaving, Caleb and I made a stop at REI where I bought ourselves waterproof rain pants and I bought Caleb a raincoat and waterproof boots, especially since umbrellas weren’t allowed to be up during the performances.

We met at the metro station and took the train into DC. We walked a few blocks, went through security and found some seats. We bought plenty of snacks for the boys and they did great! They lasted an hour before it became too much with the rain, wind and cold so we left. We got to see the tree get lit, the Obama family, Train, and Aretha Franklin perform. We found a Starbucks for hot chocolate and to warm up before trekking back home.


Obama counting down the Christmas tree lighting with silly faces from Caleb

Train performing at the NCTL
Train performing

nctl-2
The Obama family


Aretha Franklin performing

The next day, we spent a long weekend at Great Wolf Lodge in VA with friends of ours who have an 8 year old son who Caleb just adores. Kelly and her family also met up with us that weekend. They had a blast! It was a bit chilly in the waterpark even though they say they keep it at 83*f. It didn’t stop Caleb despite shivering and getting purple lips. We’re definitely planning to return–maybe in the summer.

mosaic4516eccaa2b9171cdbdb7c802d329b17340ae2e2 mosaicacc79695cbfb717fd774d1228ac55b121fae6f83

When we returned to MD, there was snow on the ground. That night, it snowed even more so Steve got a snow day from work and Caleb got to build his first snowman (the previous winters never snowed this much). He also had fun throwing his first snowballs :) So, I let the boys have fun while I shoveled and salted the driveway.

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I went back to the doc at 18 1/2 weeks to get weighed and finally gained some weight! I guess Thanksgiving and pigging out on vacation will do that to you :) So, we’re back to appointments every four weeks and I have my anatomy scan on January 7th.

Baby name! Steve and I had a lot of difficulty coming up with a name for our baby girl. We just could not agree on anything and it just felt like it was going to be a battle of the wills before one of us caved. Steve like Alexis, Alexa, Alexandra, Cara, Maya whereas I liked Emma, Ava, Brinley, Clementine and Journey. We FINALLY agreed on the name Jenna. It’s not in the top 200, but it’s not too far fetched or a name that people would really mispronounce or mispell. Her middle name will be Mackenzie after Steve’s dad who passed away this summer whose name was Kenneth. So, there you have it–Jenna Mackenzie! Caleb took to the name right away and will refer to the baby by name.

Little Miss Jenna is very active a night–kicking and moving. Caleb was always in-sync with my sleeping schedule and would be active during the day and sleep at night. This little girl is just the opposite! I just hope she sleeps at night once she’s out of the womb.

belly progression weeks 4-19

the half way point

That’s the news here from here :) I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas! Steve is coming home from work and we still need to do some last minute Christmas shopping. Fun times!

 

Baby #2 Annoucement!

I can’t believe it’s been two months since my last blog update. The day we went apple picking was the day before I found out I was pregnant. I remember looking back at pictures and thinking that my boobs looked bigger and Steve agreed! Ha, men.

Anyway, here’s a more in-depth entry about what the heck has been going on for the past two months and this pregnancy! As you guys know, we had an early miscarriage during the beginning of August right after Steve’s dad passed. The week that Steve planned to go to Texas to help his mom go through some of his father’s items and figure out what to do with the house, I drove to MA with Caleb a few days earlier than planned. Since the pregnancy ended so early (I think I was only 4 1/2 weeks along), we decided not to wait and to try again right away.

Since I had been temping, my cycles were textbook–28 days and I always ovulated on day 14. Right after I returned home, I still hadn’t ovulated, but I did read that sometimes a miscarriage can change things. Steve had booked a B&B getaway at the Chesapeake Bay to kind of get away together while his mom watched Caleb for a weekend. Unfortunately, he started developing a rash on his face that just got progressively worse with the weekend. Later we figured out it was from gluten especially since he was doing so well on paleo and then just fell off the bandwagon with all the crap that had been going on.

Anyway, a week later, I finally ovulated and so from then on, it was just a waiting game. Steve didn’t want me to test early especially with the heartache we both endured from testing so early. I’m just so impatient so eight days later, I tested and got a super, duper faint pregnancy test. I was trying to decide if I should tell Steve or wait and see if the line would get darker as time progressed.

August was a crazy month. I went from pregnant, to not pregnant, back to being pregnant.

I decided to keep the test result to myself for the day and try and figure out a way to tell Steve. I saw on Pinterest that you could decorate mugs with Sharpies and bake them. So, I bought a huge soup mug from TJ Maxx and with a Sharpie, I wrote “You’re gonna need more coffee….for baby #2!”

I forgot why I was up, but it was to do some cooking (maybe for a potluck?), but Steve had gone to bed early so that’s when I started my project. I also decided to pee on a digital test to see if it would register yet and it did! So, my plan was to put the mug and pee stick by the Keurig since he always gets coffee in the morning and that’s how I would tell him. Well, at 1am, he woke up and decided to come down so I was scrambling to hide everything and get him back to bed…lol. I put everything back when I went upstairs for good, but Steve had trouble sleeping and ended up going downstairs AGAIN and seeing my present :)

Steve showing off his new mug

As the days passed, I peed on more sticks to see if the line would get darker. With the early miscarriage, the lines never got dark and after about four days, they were non-existent so it was reassuring to see the lines get progressively darker. I had 20 cheap Wondfos that I had gotten from Amazon so I didn’t feel bad about using 2 or 3 a day. After about two weeks, I stopped especially since the line was as dark as the control line.

Clearblue Easy with the conception indicator finally got FDA approval for the US so I bought a pack of two so I could watch the number go from 1-2 weeks to 2-3 weeks. Every little bit of reassurance helped!

test with indicator

I started taking my weekly pictures at week 4. Of course by then, there’s nothing but bloat so I figured I’d write a lil’ update to the baby as well so this has been my photo project for this pregnancy.

 

week 4

We told Caleb right away that he was going to be a big brother. I’m not exactly sure he knows what it means quite yet, but he knows that there’s a baby in my belly. He likes to lift my shirt and “knock knock” to talk to the baby. He also tells me that the baby is a girl and her name is “Sophie” and that he has a baby in his belly, too. He is a boy and his name is “Rice”…lol.

week 5

At about week 6, all day nausea hit with it being worse at night–no puking though. With Caleb, I didn’t have any of this so this was all new to me. I drank ginger tea and took b6 to help. I had no appetite and could only really stomach starchy foods so I ate a lot of bagels and chips. Sometimes chips would be my dinner. I also had zero energy. I had experienced fatigue with Caleb, but after an hour nap, I was good to go. With this pregnancy, I needed a 2-3 hour nap everyday (and still do at almost 13 weeks). I just feel sooooooo tired with this one.

week 6

week 7

Finally, the day of our first prenatal appointment came around and both Steve and I were a nervous wreck! But, when the doc said we were going to start things off with the ultrasound, I was happy because it would mean our weeks of waiting would be over and we would know if we had a viable pregnancy. As soon as the doc said, “everything looks good,” a HUGE relief came over us. We got to see and hear the heartbeat (156 bpm) and see our lil’ blob.

our baby blob!

week 8

As my week 8 update stated, according to my LMP, I was 8w3d, but I knew I ovulated late and the baby was measuring 7w5d. The doc still wants to stick with the due date based on my LMP so it is officially May 10, 2014, the day before Mother’s Day!

And at 8w, I started wearing maternity pants full time. Between the bloat and the bump, the rubberband trick and the belly band were not cutting it so I pulled out my old maternity pants and bought some clearanced ones from Target. Ahhh, sweet, sweet relief.

week 9

I rented a doppler at 9 1/2 weeks, but could not find the heartbeat. With Caleb, I found his at 8w5d so it made me a bit nervous. I tried not to think about the possibility of a missed miscarriage happening, but the thought lingered in the back of my mind each time I would try and not find anything.

A strange thing happened a few days later. Caleb and I were laying in bed together when he told me that the baby was gone. Gone? I asked where the baby went and he told me the baby was “working with Zeydie”. Zeydie is what he would call Steve’s dad. And Steve’s dad is not with us anymore. So, that statement really freaked me out especially when they say that little kids are really intuitive. Did I think my kid was a medium? No, but for him to say something like that out of the blue kind of caught me off guard. I told him the baby was in my belly and he replied with, “ohhh. I’m so silly.” I told Steve about what happened and he was saying that in a lot of the books that he’s read about the afterlife, that the spirits are often referred to as “working” so he was starting to worry.

THANKFULLY, a few days later, I finally found the heartbeat. This baby was on the right side of my belly whereas Caleb was always on my left. And it is stubborn! I can’t always find the heartbeat, but I have found it a few times. Steve was so happy to hear it and I recorded it so I could have a copy.

week 10

Around this time, the all day nausea started to subside which was AWESOME! We did a bit of traveling with a weekend trip to NYC to visit Steve’s brother, Jeff, and also a trip to Nashville to visit Steve’s cousin and attend a friend’s wedding. Let me tell you, sitting in a car for 12-14 hours straight is not comfortable, especially while pregnant!!

week 11

Two days before our scheduled NT scan, I got a call that Tricare was not going to cover the ultrasound. Out of pocket, it would have cost $3k soooooo, we decided to pass on it. I’m not sure why they covered it with Caleb–though technically we didn’t really get one because the stinker was measuring a week ahead and was too big to do the scan, but we still got a lot of pictures out of it. Ah well.

week 12

So, I went to my regularly scheduled 12 week appointment where the stubborn lil’ baby couldn’t be heard on the doppler so the doc did a quick ultrasound. Baby was moving all around and heart rate was 154 bpm. I didn’t get a picture, but I did snap a pic of the screen before leaving :) I had lost a few pounds during my first trimester and the doc noted that. She said as long as it didn’t continue, I should be ok. My appetite is slowly coming and I can stomach beef now so I think I’ll be making up for it later on.

12 week, 154 bpm

Pictures from the wedding of me in Nashville started surfacing on Facebook, particularly one of me looking pregnant so I told Steve that we had to take our announcement photo soon. I had plans to do it sooner, but with the fall foliage and wedding season, I’ve been SOOOO busy! So finally I told Steve that we had to do it one night after he came home from work before the sun set so I quickly set up my tripod and snapped a few photos. Caleb was very anxious because we were on the path to the playground so when we finished, Steve took Caleb to play for a few minutes while I edited and prepped the pic for the public.

official announcement!

I think that’s everything so far. It’s almost nap time–yipee! I really hope I get my second wind in second tri soon.

Fall is almost here!

We celebrated the the start of Labor Day with a trip to an apple orchard! I’ve been taking Caleb apple picking every year since he’s been in the womb because 1.) I LOVE mac apples 2.) they’re bigger, better and cheaper than buying at the grocery store and 3.) I have a lot of fond memories as a kid going apple picking and I hope that it is something Caleb will remember, too.

Last year, we went to Stribling Orchard 75 miles away in VA because I couldn’t find any other orchard that carried macs. Then a fellow mac lover and friend, Gloria, mentioned that Baugher’s had macs and it was also half the distance so the score was settled. 

We planned to go in the morning since it wouldn’t be as hot and humid, but got a late start. We arrived around 11am and the cloudy morning and cleared up! We took a tractor ride (which Caleb LOVED) to the orchard and they had one row of macs open. Perfect! We stuck around the same trees towards the front since they were so plentiful, the apples were huge and they had many that were low enough for Caleb to pick himself. We filled 1/2 a bushel in 10 minutes–just in time for the tractor to makes its round and come back.

I haven’t made any apple butter yet, but half our bag is gone already. We’ve been chomping on them like crazy especially since I made some honey caramel! I also made a paleo apple pie, but I swear if I want an apple pie next time, I’m making it the old fashioned way because the crust was SUCH a pain to work with. I’m just glad Steve likes it.

As for the rest of Labor Day weekend, we cleaned up the basement, added a counter height table and stools, and brought Caleb’s train table down so now he can play down there. Steve hosted his fantasy football draft on Sunday followed by a BBQ with some friends where everything was grilled by yours truly :) Corn, marinated drumsticks, baby-back ribs, hamburgers and hot dogs. The big hit was surprisingly the broccoli/cauliflower salad with feta cheese! Oh, and even though my caramel filled apples never fully set, they were still soooo good!

Tomorrow, we’re going peach picking one more time before the season is over with some friends. I’m hoping we can get some white peaches this time–yum!

 

paleo blackberry cobbler, paleo peach cobbler and conventional peaches & cream cobbler

Cobbler, cobbler, cobbler!

That seems to be the “thing” to make whenever we pick fruits. A few weeks back on a hot, sunny morning, my friend Kelly and her son (Caleb’s BFF), came up to go blackberry picking at the farm around the corner from our house. The blackberries were HUGE and we all filled our buckets with the sweet, juicy fruits while the boys sampled every other berry.


Our berry stash! Each bucket weighed ~8lbs.

With so many blackberries, the first thing I did was split my batch in half, wash them and freeze them. Then, from the remaining stash, I decided to make a paleo blackberry cobbler, a conventional blackberry cobbler and leave the rest to munch on.

If you’re looking for a simple and delicious conventional blackberry cobbler recipe, I always make the one by Pioneer Woman. This what what I made for my mother-in-law after my father-in-law passed when she had guests in the house.

Paleo Blackberry Cobbler (or Crumble)

enough blackberries to fill a 2 1/2 qt. casserole dish (~3 cups)
1 1/2c almond meal
1 egg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2Tbsp coconut oil
honey (optional, not needed if your fruit is really ripe)

Preheat your oven to 35-*f. Wash your blackberries by putting them in a big bowl filled with water and using your fingers as a colander to scoop them up. Pat them dry and place them in your casserole dish.

Mix the almond meal, egg, cinnamon and coconut oil until it almost looks like dough. Using your hands, you can form the “cobbler” dollaps over the blackberries or crumble it over them (like I did below).

Bake for 30-45 minutes until the topping is golden brown. Serve and enjoy!

You can do this with almost any fruit to make a nice cobbler. I used the same recipe for a paleo peach cobbler since we went peach picking earlier on in the week and had sooo many left after I had made peach butters and fruit leathers. The topping was slightly different than the one I made with the blackberry cobbler because I ran out of almond meal and used coconut flour, but it was still very tasty.

Paleo Peach Cobbler

6-7 peaches, peeled, sliced & de-pitted
juice from 1/2 lemon
honey (optional, not needed if your fruit is really ripe)
1c coconut flour
1/2c almond meal
1 egg
2Tbsp coconut oil
1tsp cinnamon
1Tbsp arrowroot starch 

Preheat your oven to 350*f. Over medium heat, cook your peaches until they turn liquid-y. Mix the arrowroot starch with the lemon juice until it’s completely dissolved and add it to the peaches to thicken up the juices. Place them in a 2 1/2 qt. casserole dish and then mix the remaining ingredients together to make your dough. I formed a ball and squashed them in the palm of my hand and placed them on top of the peaches until the dish was covered. Bake for 30-45 minutes until the top is golden brown and then you’re ready to eat!


Years ago when Steve and I purchased our first house in TX, it had a peach tree in the front yard. That summer, it yielded soooo much fruit that I met many of my neighbors who quickly introduced themselves and then then asked if they could pick from peaches. One of the things I made that summer was a peach cobbler with cream cheese in it. I didn’t remember the exact recipe and when I Googled, I didn’t find exactly what I wanted so I ended up combining a few recipes to make my own. I brought it to a birthday party that night and left with an empty casserole dish :)

Peaches and Cream Cobbler

6-7 peaches, peeled, sliced and de-pitted
juice from 1/2 a lemon
honey (optional, not needed if your fruit is really ripe)
8 oz. package of cream cheese
1/4c sugar for the cream cheese, 1c sugar for the batter, 1Tbsp for sprinkling
1c all purpose flour
1c milk for batter and 1/4c for the cream cheese
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp baking soda
1/4tsp salt

Pre-heat the oven to 350*f. Just like the other cobbler recipe, over medium heat, cook the peaches, juice from 1/2 a lemon and honey if you’re using any. Once the peaches have cooked, put them in a 3 qt casserole dish.

Mix the cream cheese, 1/4c sugar and 1/4c milk with a mixer until everything’s blended and smooth. Dollop the cream cheese mixture into your casserole dish.

Mix 1c flour, 1c sugar, 1 cup milk, baking powder, salt and vanilla. Pour the batter over the peaches and cream cheese mixture. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes before sprinkling on a sugar topping. Continue to bake for an additional 30 minutes.

The cake will sop up the oozy peach juices. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

 

 

 

 

 

felt food – I wish I had known about this stuff earlier

With Caleb being my first kiddo, there were certain things I knew for sure that I wanted to do with him–breastfeed, cloth diaper and babywear. There were also a lot of things that I never heard of until having a kid including felt food!

My baby month group is still very active and a few ladies got together and created a felt food exchange. I thought it’d be fun for Caleb so I joined two of them. I was kind of handy with a sewing machine and I could sew by hand so I figured why not?

For the first exchange, I decided to make watermelons because it was summer, they looked adorable and seemed easy enough to make on my own without having to buy a pattern. There were 23 people in the exchange so I had to make 23 watermelons. I managed to pull everything off in about five days, but mostly because I could work kid-free after Caleb went to bed and because he stayed with Steve’s mom for the weekend while we went to relax at a B&B by the Chesapeake Canal. I cut all the felt the first night, sewed the seeds and did all the machine sewing the next night and spent the weekend and following Monday handsewing and stuffing them.

For the second exchange, there were less people involved so I decided to make two items. I decided to make oranges since they’re somewhat similar to the watermelon in construction and an avocado because when I saw it, I thought it was the CUTEST thing ever with the removable pit and everything! I bought a pattern for the avocado off Etsy and it took me about two hours to make it because I had to hand-sew everything (machine was NOT going to work here) and because it had so many pieces! But, as I get working, things  usually move faster so I’m hoping to be a whiz and sew these things with my eyes closed by the time I’m done.

For anyone interested in making their own kiddo some felt food, there are lots of tutorials out there! Some are even no sew, but you can hand-sew a lot of them with a simple whip stitch.

I’m really excited to start getting the goodies from the other moms for the felt exchanges! Caleb is going to flip when he sees everything :) And I think I found a new fun craft to do on my down time.

Peach picking! And all the goodies made from them {vanilla peach butter, lavender peach butter, peach fruit leather}

We’re back from MA! We’ve been home for about a week now and finally got to go peach picking–our third year in a row :) I had planned to go peach picking in MA, but it rained. So, we did it here in good ol’ MD instead. We went to Larriland Farm which is the farm when we first went peach picking back when Caleb was a wee one.

I invited Steve’s mom to join us and we met at the orchard. The peaches were HUGE and plentiful that we barely had to move from the 1-2 trees we started at. You never seen peaches this big at the grocery store. We ended up filling our 1/2 bushel box within 15 minutes with 26 lbs of delicious peaches! I went to take some pictures and realized I forgot the memory card to my SLR! Grr…so point & shoot pictures will do.

me and my lil’ guy

Caleb going to work and him and Bubbie showing off the fruit of our labor

When we got home and I put Caleb down for a nap, I went to work! I had visions of peach butter, fruit leather and cobblers in my future. I first started off with a vanilla peach butter recipe that I could make in the crock pot. We ended up using it on our toast the next morning and Caleb was a big fan!

Crock Pot vanilla peach butter–I used honey as a sweetener so it’d be paleo friendly (pretend the bread isnt there…)

Then, I stumbled on a recipe for lavender peach butter. I was first introduced to lavender in food back when we lived in TX and LOVED it so when I saw it, I knew I had to try it. This one I made on the stove top since my Crock Pot was soaking in the sink–the sugar content had caramelized so it was really on there!

lavender peach butter–buds and all. I’m enjoying this on a piece of toast now as I type :)

My next project was peach fruit leather. I didn’t have a dehydrator so I used my oven by lining a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. It did take a LONG time. I started at 5pm, but by the time we went to bed, it wasn’t ready yet. I wasn’t brave enough to leave the oven on all night so I had Steve shut it off and I started it back up in the morning when we all woke up. After a few hours, it was finally ready!

Select five peaches. This will make enough for a 17×11 jelly roll pan.

Peel & de-pit your peaches and place them in a pot on medium heat on the stove


After a few minutes, your peaches should cook and look liquidy like this. Add a sweetener if you’d like though if your peaches are super ripe, it won’t be necessary. I added some honey to ours.


Once your peaches have cooked and any sweetener you’ve added has melted, take an immersion blender and puree everything until it’s smooth. You can put everything in a food processor, but I love the immersion blender because clean up is easy and I can do everything in the pot.


Pour  your peach puree onto your lined jelly roll pan. Tap the edges to make sure everything is even. You’ll want it to be about 1/4″ thick.


Place in the oven at the lowest setting (150-200*f) for 6-8 hours depending on your oven. Your fruit leather will be ready when the center is no longer tacky. Often times, the sides will be ready before the center so I usually start cutting the edges off first and put the center back in the oven.


Cut along the shorter edge of the fruit leather for “Fruit Roll Up” style leathers. The fruit will peel easily from the parchment paper.


Store your goods in an airtight container and enjoy!

Next on my agenda is peach cobbler! I ended up making on for my family with store bought peaches despite the weather foiling my plans. It was delicious and a big hit. I used the Food Network’s recipe for buttermilk biscuit peach cobbler (without the plums). Still turned out great.

 

Thank you.

Thank you for all of you who have taken the time to read my previous post and even bigger thanks to those who reached out to me with your kind words–though FB, my blog, email, text, and phone calls. I had a number of ladies message me with their own struggles with their experiences of miscarriages and it was really an eye opener of how many people have had to go through with it. I guess it’s because it’s not something that’s usually shared openly so thank you for those who have shared their stories with me.

I’m currently in MA staying with my parents with Caleb and two of our three dogs, Cody and Coco. Salado drove down with Steve. My original plan was to drive up on Wednesday since I have a friend from college flying in, another driving up and my brother who moved to TX earlier this year is flying in, but since was Steve was leaving for TX on Sunday, I figured I would do the same and just stay a few extra days. The drive took me 9 1/2 hours with traffic (damn GW Bridge–gets me every time). I left at 5pm hoping that Caleb would sleep, but he ended up talking/singing for the first three hours. We had a small dinner as a rest area and filled up on gas and after that, he fell asleep for the rest of the drive so I could listen to my audio book in peace.

Ash flew down to DC on Sunday to accompany Steve for the drive and to help out. We had lunch with Brian and Rox before they left and that’s when I finished up packing and I left a few hours later. They spent a night in TN before making it to Steve’s parents’ home in TX to bring back anything they want to keep and to work with a company to do an estate sale so they can get the house ready to rent (anyone interested in renting a home in Copperas Cove, TX, let me know).

I got a hair cut today at a salon down the street from where my parents live called Scizzors. It was much needed since I meant to get it cut before our cruise back in June and then there was all the stuff with Steve’s dad and the baby that happened afterwards. So, the hair cut was to “start new”.

The hair cut was FAB! They had rave reviews on Yelp which also included $20 off if I checked in so that worked out really well. Included in their services is a scalp, neck and shoulder massage which was very much needed. Bledi was my stylist and he did an awesome job. If I ever need a haircut and I’m in MA, I’ll be going back.

Caleb loves staying here. My mom has over 26 tanks in the basement for her guppies that she sells on eBay. She also has a tiger oscar fish that Caleb helps feed–he knows exactly how many pellets to give. There’s a playground and the pool all within walking distance and we take the dogs for lots of walks.

So, that’s where we are now. It gets a little better each day.

A sad, depressing post about all the crap that happened last week….

A week ago last Saturday, Steve and I both woke up from our phones ringing. Mine was an 800 number that I chose to ignore, but Steve’s call was from his mom. When he answered, I could hear his mom sobbing and that’s when I knew that no good could come from a call at 6am. That’s when we found out that Steve’s dad had passed away some time during his sleep.

Steve broke down after he hung up and immediately got ready to head up to his mom’s house. We had friends, Ash & Julie, who had driven in the night before staying with us. Ash, who grew up with Steve, went with Steve to his mom’s while I stayed home with Caleb and let Julie sleep in.

Julie went with me and Caleb to the playground, lunch at Uncle Julios and then some fro-yo at 16 Handles. Once we finished up, the guys were home. Since we were all pretty much running on little sleep, we all napped. Steve napped for an hour, but he couldn’t sit still so with the help of Ash, they started working on our garage (which we still haven’t been able to park in–we’ve been here a year). Caleb and I napped for three hours.

When I woke up, I took a pregnancy test. I had started charting and temping back in May so it was already 11DPO (days past ovulation) so I decided to take a pregnancy test. After 5 minutes, I didn’t see a line so I tossed the test. I’m notorious for digging in the trash to re-assess the pee stick and when I did that later that night, I saw a faint line. I didn’t want to get excited in case it was an evaporation line so I decided to re-test in the morning before anything else.

And when I did, I saw this….

I showed Steve and he was so happy! Amongst all the sadness going around, he was glad that there was some happy news that he could share with his mother. And about the same time we found out there was going to be another baby, Caleb woke up. I scooped him up and told him he was going to be a big brother! The first thing he said was, “I share my toys?” LOL.

And since it was 7am on a Sunday, no store was going to be open for me to buy a “big brother” shirt for Caleb so I decided to make my own with some iron-ons from Walmart. That was how we let Steve’s mom know about the baby since we were heading over to her house later that morning.

Throughout that week, we spent a lot of time at Steve’s mom’s house. Steve accompanied his mom to the meetings at the funeral home and the office for VA benefits. I had NO idea who expensive funerals were or even to publish an obituary! I always thought it was a free service offered by newspapers, but now I know better. Here is a link to the obituary of Steve’s dad if anyone is interested. A lot of family flew into town so we were hanging out with them especially since some of them had never met Caleb or hadn’t seen him in a long, long time.

Monday was the viewing of Steve’s dad before they had him cremated and Wednesday was his burial ceremony. It was a beautiful morning and about 20 people showed up between family and members of the Jewish congregation that Steve’s mom belonged to. Steve and his brother, Jeff, both wrote eulogies that Steve read since Jeff couldn’t make it.

At one point, the rabbi invited everyone to shovel three heaps of dirt over the hole after Steve had placed the urn in. Caleb got to participate and he did great! He even had the placement of the shovel correctly (first scoop, the shovel is overturned so you’re shoveling with the back of it, and then you flip it over to shovel normally for the second and third scoops). I was really proud of him. The finished off the funeral with a military ceremony where they unfolded an American flag and re-folded while performing “Taps”. And then it was presented to Steve’s mom. We’ll have to make sure we get a nice case for it.

After the ceremony, Steve finished burying his father with a little help from Caleb. What I forgot to mention earlier is that he also dug the hole for his father–it doesn’t get more personal than that.

Wednesday also marked that I was four weeks along. I was running on no sleep and just found the dress I was going to wear to the funeral not realizing how wrinkly it was under afterwards. Ah well, just pretend they’re no there! I took my first picture of what I thought would be the start of many weekly photos. It was unfortunately not only my first, but my last…..

The next day, I took another pregnancy test because I had so many of those cheap Wondfos from Amazon. When I was pregnant with Caleb, I liked to watch the line get darker and darker. Well, the test barely registered a second line. With the help of Google, I was going crazy and decided to go out and buy a First Response test since I still had the one from the weekend. I took it again that evening and it, too, was very, very faint–almost non-existent and much lighter than my initial test.

Steve saw the tests and asked what it meant. I broke down because I knew that no good could come from it. We had a mega cry-fest that night…between burying Steve’s dad and possibly losing the baby, it was just horrible timing. Steve refused to believe it and kept holding onto a small glimmer of hope especially since we found out the day that his dad had died. He said this baby was the bright spot that was keeping him together.

I had one more test that was digital. We decided that we would test that morning to see what it said and call the doc to see if I could get a blood test to measure my beta levels. I still hadn’t had any cramping or bleeding to Steve was trying to be optimistic. But, it was still bad news in the morning. The test flat out said “NO -“.

There was a lot more crying after that. Unfortunately, Caleb had to see most of it. He came into our room and I just gave him a big hug as I sobbed. He looked at me and said, “mommy, you sad?” I told him that I was. He told me not to cry and wiped my tears away from my face. Then he asked, “wanna see my silly face?” I told him that I did and he showed me all these crazy faces (most of which I taught him how to do). I gave him a little smile and he said, “I make you happy!” Oh, how true that statement is.

I didn’t want to get out of bed that morning, but I had to since Steve was going into work for a bit that morning and Caleb was already up. I called my doc office explain what had happened and she said they’d need doc approval for a blood test and that she’d call me back. So, I waited and Googled, and waited and Googled. And I ugly-cried while holding onto Caleb. Poor kid was probably so confused as to what the hell was going on this week.

Steve came home during lunch time with another pack of pregnancy tests. He had read online about false negatives, but in my heart, I already knew it was over. But, I peed on one anyway and it came up, “not pregnant”. He even bought Lucky Charms cereal (which we never eat). I asked him why and he said he said he thought it’d bring some luck. I had to laugh at him, but the box was demolished in half a day (Caleb LOVED them).

Poor Steve was in a fog all day and really, really depressed. Even though I knew the early miscarriage wasn’t any fault of my own, I felt like I had let him down since it was the only thing that kept him going all week. And now that was gone. And here we were. His father was gone and so was our baby.

Throughout the day, I started to experience some cramping and then spotting. Knowing my body, that’s usually a precursor to something heavier later on so I began to tell the friends that I had told about the baby that there was no more baby. What really upset me was the fact that I never got to tell my mom that I was pregnant in the first place. My plan was when I went up to MA the following week, I would tell her then, but we never made it that far. I decided to text her that night because I knew if I called, I would just break down. And I was right because seconds after I sent her the text, she called and I bawled.

Today, I woke up with heavy bleeding so it’s officially over and my temps dropped below the coverline (a usual sign that my period is coming). I’m doing ok and Steve is doing better. I think now we’ve both accepted the fact that this pregnancy was not viable and that we can try again next month.

And for anyone who is interested, this was my chart. My temps stayed elevated until today which was when the heavy bleeding started.

I was naive to think that since I already had one healthy pregnancy that this would be no different. Steve was always worried from the get-go that something could go wrong, but I would tell him, “nawwww, it’ll be ok.” I had even ordered a few things online like a sibling journal for Caleb, a baby journal for me, a carseat adapter for the stroller and some clothes. They’re just now starting to arrive at our door step and I feel a little ping in the pit of my stomach, but Steve reminds me that they will get used….so now they just pile up.

Support has been overwhelming for us and especially me. I’ve received a number of phone calls, texts, emails, and FB messages from people with their kind words during this especially difficult time. I’m grateful to be surrounded by so many people who care about us. And I’m especially grateful to have such a wonderful husband and amazing little boy. Every time Caleb sees me upset, he makes his silly faces to see me smile. And it works every time. I hug him a little tighter now and count myself lucky to have him.

 

ch-ch-ch-chia! Paleo vanilla chia seed pudding

If you can get over the look of chia seeds once it absorbs the coconut milk, then this pudding is actually pretty good and not to mention packed with omega-3, anti-oxidants, fiber and protein. It’s got the consistency of tapioca (which used to be my favorite as a kid). Since buying a huge back from Costco, I’ve been trying to figure out ways of using it short of just adding them to water and chugging them (I’ve added them to smoothies, baking in muffins and stuffed cabbage).

Paleo Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

2c coconut or almond milk
1/4c honey, maple syrup or agave syrup
1/2c chia seeds
2tspn vanilla extract

Mix everything together and let it sit in the fridge for 3-4 hours in a covered bowl. Give it a good stir about half-way through. Top of fruit, add cinnamon or cocoa to jazz it up though I’m a Plain Jane and like it simple like this.