3.30.2011

our first tasty tuesday - a recap

I swear I have half a dozen posts swimming around my head that I keep not getting around to writing. Always there is something else from my day-to-day that I want to share. Today is no exception.

Yesterday was my first day working from home and it went great! We did our morning routine like usual. After Trav & Gwen left, I ate some breakfast... then I headed to the store. I had just a few things to pick up for the dinner I wanted to make that night. When I got home, I put everything away, headed upstairs with a big glass of milk and my phone, put away some clothes, and used the bathroom. Then it was time to start my work day. Yesterday ended up being a ton slower and quieter then I think it will normally be, since my boss was out sick, and I didn't have a lot on my plate otherwise. So I just did the work I had, checking my work email frequently... all while in my comfy clothes!  ;-)

Over lunch I ran out to grab some beer (for the beef), came home and threw the marinade together, then made myself a quick lunch. Then it was back to work. I signed off a little after 5, and had plenty of time to head downstairs to cook. For my first "tasty tuesday" I made (ETA: click the names for recipes!):

Beer-Marinated Flank Steak

with a side of Oven Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan:

It turned out pretty darn good!
I was definitely pleased with my first work-from-home day, and look forward to doing it again next week.

For now though, back to work!



Ps. Check out this great article on breastfeeders coming in all looks and styles from the Leaky Boob. I think I would get along with her in real life.

3.28.2011

Oh Monday, Monday

Puppy love.

A busy Monday, and I'm trying to remember everything I need to get done. That includes leaving my computer on at the end of the day because tomorrow is my first day working from home!!!! I'm so excited and tonight I plan on perusing some recipes to pick a yummy one to cook tomorrow night. Yay yay yay! I seriously have about 2 dozen that I printed out, so I'm sure I'll find something great.

This weekend was a nice one. Gwen and I headed up to my parent's place on Saturday, where we hung out for a bit, then got my hair done before popping over to see my Gram. She's doing so much better now! The defibrillator, low-sodium diet, plus the neat oxygen machine she uses seems to really have turned her around. My Aunt and Uncle were down visiting from New Hampshire, so it was great to see them too. They all loved watching Gwen play...


She made herself right at home in my Gram's pots and pans cabinet!

We headed home (with Gwen's new toy chest in tow... a belated birthday gift from my parents, which I'll have to snap a picture of... its pretty), Gwen sleeping hard the whole way, after a tiring day with lots of playing. I absolutely love that she gets to see her grandparents and great grandmother every month.

That evening we went out to dinner at the Red Lob.ster. Say what you will about the place, but the food was yummy, it was inexpensive thanks to a coupon, and it is VERY family friendly! We never once felt like we had to shoosh Gwen (though she was actually great), and we all enjoyed a really good meal. Gwen tried fish for the first time and seemed to like it. She also mastered drinking water from a straw.

Sunday we had no formal plans... which was nice. Gwen joined me for a shower in the morning.



We went for a drive to pick some skis up in the afternoon (old ones... Trav is collecting them to make a table and benches for Gwen). Gwen napped the whole way, and we selected "find an alternate route" on our GPS for the ride home, skipping 95 and taking some smaller roads. It was really nice and I'm going to do that more when we aren't in a rush to get somewhere.

Once home we went for a walk, enjoying the sun, though not the cold! Then it was home to sky.pe with the in-laws. Gwen donned her still slightly too big, great Uncle David original, lovely purple sweater for the occasion.

Showin off the teeth!

He is a wonderful knitter!! This is one of two sweaters she's received from him and both are gorgeous!


We had a low-key evening, eating leftovers, then heading upstairs to get our PJs on. Lately we've adjusted bedtime a bit. Now we come upstairs after dinner, get her PJs on and diaper changed, brush teeth, then hang out in the computer room for a little bit... playing in a quiet, relaxed way until Gwen starts acting sleepy. Then its into the bedroom to read a book together (all three of us), then lights out, and I nurse her while singing her night-night song. Its been working pretty well to help her fall asleep a little faster, and she's been sleeping better at night to. Last night she woke once at 10:30, but I just rocked her to sleep (no nursing needed), and she slept until 5:30 when I brought her to bed with us for morning nursing and snuggles.

Here's a quick video I took during our playtime last night... she has been saying "baby" a lot lately (apparently the kids in the toddler room call her baby when she comes to play with them), and she also does this funny talking thing that I wanted to capture. Then end cracks me up to...  ;-)

video


How cute is she.  


On an unrelated note, I'm excited for a "green" purchase I made last night. This great reusable cup.


Its 16ozs (the size of a star.bucks grande) and made for hot drinks. I love me some star.bucks hot chocolate, and I'll admit that I get it more then I should. But my plan is to keep this at work. And if I want a SB treat, then I'll have to go up to my office first (instead of just popping in as I walk by)... and I'll be able to save the paper cup, plastic lid, and cardboard sleeve! Good for the environment, and by making me think extra about it (and walk more for it), I'm sure, good for my wallet and waistline.


And with that, I'm back to work!!

3.25.2011

Gah. Monday and Tuesday went so slowly and felt so long that I was ready for a weekend after each of them. Then, I blink and Wednesday Thursday Friday are gone! Not that I'm complaining about that, but there weren't enough hours in the day to get everything done.

But its the weekend now and time to relax. Time to visit family, play with my baby, and go out to eat. For now though... time to sleep!!

3.22.2011

1 year pictures

With what happened to Brandy, I realized that I never shared any of Gwen's one  year pictures. So here are some of my favorites...








You can view them all HERE (password our last name in all lowercase).

I don't know what's going to happen with these now. I never got a chance to order any before she passed. These were just screen captured and saved off of the website. I don't know what her husband is going to do with this stuff, if anything... if he'll have someone else come in to sort it out, or just not do anything with it at all. And I am not going to ask! I'll definitely be sad though if I never get to have any of these pictures. She was a talented lady.

3.21.2011

I woke up this morning, the same way I woke up yesterday morning, with a throat so scratchy and dry that I wanted to cry. Thankfully, besides a little bit of a runny nose, that seems to be the worst of it... and hot tea with honey seems to do the trick. I'm still rocking out the "phone sex" voice though!

This weekend was an interesting one. Lots of good playtime with Gwen... but Trav and I were at each other's throats all day Saturday. I think we both woke up on the wrong side of the bed, and misunderstandings abound. I kept crying on Saturday, unable to get unwound enough to handle any off comment with grace. By the end of the day, after a long walk (and another disagreement), we sat down outside, watched Daisy play with the neighbor's dog, and actually talked in a way that was productive (while Gwen toddled around us and clapped for the puppies). Thankfully we were all made up by Saturday night, had finally found some common ground to stand on, and had a really nice day yesterday. Though I didn't sleep well Saturday night at all, and I think that was why (ironic, since Gwen slept from 12 - 6... yet, I lay in bed awake until 2... ugh.).

In between fights, we did run some errands together, take walks, and Trav/we finished the bathroom (pictures below...). With the bathroom done, we were left with the big box the toilet came in. Well, I came downstairs at one point to find that Trav had been a bit crafty:



This one cracks me up... if you click to make it bigger, you can see her grinning behind the door.

(Sorry this one is so dark... its the only one I managed to grab of her leaning out the window, but the darn flash didn't go!)


Since then Trav used the cardboard stacked to the side there to also added a shelf inside, and hooks on the outside (for her to hang her coats on)! She LOVES her little house and pops in and out all the time. Its sweet. Also sweet is how much Trav loves that she loves it. He's a good dad.

And here is the finished (for now) bathroom:

Sunday I had to work... so Gwen and Trav hung out in the morning. They made my favorite pasta dish, which was waiting for me when I got home. Mmmm... the rest of the day was pretty low-key. We got free Rita's for the first day of Spring, and relaxed a bunch.

Despite the frustrations of Saturday, the weekend ended pretty nicely. And last night I was actually able to fall asleep! Here's hoping for more of that tonight.

3.18.2011

Things I've done this week:

- Read this blog entry, that says the things I've been feeling about Japan ("We go on, and it feels both wrong and right, simultaneously obscene and sacred.") and Brandy's death ("how many horrible months lie ahead before everything stops feeling wrong?") in far more lucid and poetic ways then I ever could.  
"In the midst of life we are in death, but it goes both ways, amen."

- Talked to my Gram, who got a defibrillator placed on Tuesday. She sounded so... tired. Hopefully after some rest, the defib will help with oxygenation issues. We'll see about the rest.

- Bought new lipstick for the first time in YEARS, in pretty new shades (one red, one pink), in "adult" brands. I'm excited to try them.

- Worked, worked, worked on logistics for our event this weekend. Its always hectic before one of these.

- Felt excited about things, then alternated right to overwhelmed. So much going on at the moment.

- Listened to my poor baby cough and cough.  :-(  But at least she is happy most of the time, and hopefully getting better. The coughing is still bad, but the episodes of coughing are spacing out a lot.

- Went out for sheppard's pie and ale for lunch on St. Patty's day. Unfortunately my coworkers were all in different stages of busy... so I went alone and sat at the bar. Which sort of made me feel old and tired and awkward and lonely.

- Enjoyed the amazing, beautiful early spring weather! Seriously, the past few days have been beautiful (its going to be 72* today!).

- Best: Today, haammering out the details with my boss, so that I can work from home one day a week (starting next week? the week after?)!! I'm so excited about this one and have high hopes it will really help me get some more balance... level this rollercoaster I'm letting myself be taken on just a little bit. I'll still have my full day of work, but with an hour - hour and a half of me time tacked onto the front and back (which is normally spent getting ready to leave and in transit). That's one day a week I'll be able to cook a long, involved dinner (soul nourishment!). One day a week I can easily run an errand before or after work. One day a week I can get laundry in the wash, or take the dog for a walk. One day a week I can work in my PJs if I want!


And on that positive note, I'm out!

3.17.2011

Happy St. Patty's Day!!

From Gwen and her best friend at daycare, Dominic.

(Her shirt says, "I'm so cute, I must be Irish!")

Aren't they cuties?

3.16.2011

pretty things: a review

(Something light and pretty to break up the someone's sick, world disaster, etc etc posts!!)

Ever since Gwen was born, my hands have been pretty bare. I stopped wearing anything but my plain wedding band when I was home on maternity leave. I didn't have time for putting on rings in the morning, or the need, plus my engagement band sits a little high, and I was afraid of goring my brand new baby!!

It felt a little weird at first... I was used to rings, wedding and engagement rings on my left ring finger, a thick plain silver band (that was my mamacita's) on my right ring finger. After 12 weeks though, I was used to naked fingers. So, for the past 9 months, I've worn only my simple white gold wedding band, which I don't remove at all.

Well, that changed when I spotted the beautiful stacking rings offered by Olive Bungalow.


I couldn't pass those beauties up! Seriously, aren't they lovely?


I'm now the proud owner of two beautiful birthstone rings... one with my birthstone (the thicker ring, Peridot) and Gwen's birthstone (Amethyst). I love wearing something "for" Gwen everyday. I have my family necklaces that I wear... but they don't go with everything, and this ring does. I'm actually thinking about going back for another ring with Trav's birthstone (May) on it... because the color of her emeralds is so so lovely!!

There are 9 different band styles to chose from, and you can add whichever stone you want, in multiple sizes... so there is really something for everyone. 


Most days I just wear Gwen's... since its delicate and thin, and easier for my fingers to adjust to after being naked for so long! But I love that they stack so nicely for the days that I want to wear both.


I'm so glad I picked up these lovely rings... for a steal too. Check them out. And use code ND10 for 10% when you do!! (Shipping is always free over $75 too.)

If you do get something, let me know what you think! 



I received nothing in exchange for this review... I just really wanted to show off my pretty rings! All opinions in here are my own. Though Michele from OB was sweet enough to provide the 10% off code! 

3.15.2011

Home with a sick baby (bronchitis!!), who's currently napping... so you get pictures.

This is what we did with our busy, busy weekend:


Old, ugly, cracking tiles:

Well, technically, that's what Trav did. I went grocery shopping, cooked dinners, and wrangled these two:


But the end result was worth the hours and hours of work (that didn't end until 11:30 on Sunday night!):


New toilet too... yay!

We still have to put the trim stuff around the bottom of the wall, caulk around the tub, and get a new dang mat for in front of that toilet... but overall, 500x better!!

Okay, baby's up... back to my sick girl. 

3.14.2011

winners

Weekend... busy, busy, busy.
Today... busy, busy, busy!

Real stuff later... but here are the winners:

#6... Jackie


#9... Ashley


Congratulations to both of you!
And a HUGE thanks to Maternitique for providing one of the boxes of tea, and the discount/promo code!

3.11.2011

lord, don't trust me so much.

Love is stronger than death even though it can't stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can't separate people from love. 
It can't take away our memories either.

In the end, life is stronger than death.


Some of this will be a bit of a repeat, but here's what's making me feel emotionally fragile today: 
My gram has been in and out of the hospital a lot lately, she's in again as of a few days ago. It was bad enough this time that they sedated and intubated her. She seems to be doing better now (is off the breathing tube), but the treatments they are trying are the polar opposite of what they were doing before. If it works, great... but its frustrating because it seems like they are just grasping at straws.

My coworker is from Japan, and my bosses SIL was traveling there. My coworkers family is okay, thankfully, but we still haven't heard anything about the SIL.

Brandy, the photographer who did my wedding, and has been doing all of Gwen's pictures, passed away suddenly yesterday. She was only 32 and has two babies, the younger of the two is only 15 months. She was such a great girl and just sort of always present in our life. I was actually just thinking the other day, "I wonder if Brandy will do Gwen's senior pictures." I'm just shocked, and sad. I'm completely heartbroken for her family, and every time I think about her husband trying to explain to her 3 yr old that mommy isn't coming back, I end up crying. I'm crying now. Its unreal. 



Two winners selected, and I just sent emails... so check yours. 
Off to distract myself with work.

3.10.2011

Bullets for a busy day:

  • Gram is back in the hospital... pneumonia? nope. beginnings of congestive heart failure? not sure. in check for the moment? thankfully! 
  • Approached work with An Idea. crossing my fingers, toes, arms, legs, eyes, etc... but trying not to get too hopeful in case it doesn't work out. don't want to be disappointed, but man do I want "this." Hopefully I'll be able to expand on this soon, because that would mean they said yes! 
  • Not sure when exactly it happened, but Gwen is now walking most of the time. Sometimes she falls, and will crawl the last few steps, but 90% of the time she's walking places. Its crazy to watch. She loves this bag that we use to carry her food and milk to daycare, and its the cutest thing watching her toddle around holding it out in one hand. I'll have to try to get a video.
  • Last day to enter my giveaway (win for you or someone you know that is pregnant/breastfeeding), and take advantage of the amazing promo coupon code Maternitique has offered. Good until the 14th. 
  • Daisy is out of her crate now all day. Our little stinker has calmed down enough that we can trust her to spend the day lounging on couches, chewing her giant bone, and not eating our things. I'm so proud of her.  :-)   That's always been what we wanted, it just took us a little longer to get there then we thought. She really is a good girl though.
More later! 

    3.08.2011

    All the carefully laid, by non-official plans we had for this weekend ended up being shelved. We were going to replace our bathroom floor, but Trav got only a row into removal of the old, cracked, dingy tile stuff when he realized that he wasn't just tired, he was sick. That also threw out the window the casual cocktail party a friend was having that night, and the family trip into the city to visit the Penn Museum and see some Chinese mummies. Poor guy had a fever, and tried to just spend the day resting.

    I entertained Gwen with toys and a bath:
    She loves to splash now and its really cute... although I've learned the hard way to lean back from the tub when she starts! Her eyes look a little red here, but that's just because her splashing was so exuberant that she kept getting water in her own eyes!

    We also hid out in the computer room some, and gave the dog kisses: 

    Then we took some naps:

    Sunday we ran out to Trad.er Jo.e's and the grocery store to pick up some treats and try to give Trav a few hours of no noise. He had slept until 11 (holy sleeping in batman!), and was feeling better, but still not great. I was able to get the last few ingredients for an interesting dish I wanted to try...

    Any idea what this is?
    No?

    This is raw veggie cereal! Sounds weird, right?
    I thought so too at first... but its actually really tasty and you have to love starting your day with almost a full serving of veggies.

    Recipe is as follows:
    3 tablespoons raw pecans
    3 peeled baby carrots
    1/2 cup cauliflower
    1/2 cup broccoli
    1 large peeled, cored apple

    Chop the pecans and carrots in a food processor. Pulse until all they are chopped into small pieces. Add the cauliflower, broccoli and apple and pulse again until all ingredients are chopped into pieces as small as you desire (I went very small).

    Scoop a generous serving into a bowl; add cinnamon and milk (I used almond milk, to add a little extra sweetness).


    It sounds weird and I was definitely, uh, wary... but it is really good! There's an occasional aftertaste of broccoli, but for the most part you just taste a mild cereal that takes on the sweetness of the almond milk with a little "spice" from the cinnamon. I've eaten it for breakfast yesterday and today, and really enjoyed it. I love that I am starting my day with veggies too. Try it!

    I also put together a broccoli and cauliflower side dish, and made some yummy balsamic chicken. Tonight, fried rice!  :-)   Maybe I'm getting a little of my kitchen mojo back?

    This week has been busy, but we have no events at work so the stress level is low. Thank goodness. I do have to get back to it though.

    ****Make sure to leave a comment to get an entry in my giveaway (win for you or someone you know that is pregnant/breastfeeding), and take advantage of the amazing promo coupon code Maternitique has offered. Good until the 14th. Remember to leave a comment for EACH of the entry methods you chose. Thanks!****

    3.05.2011

    taking a moment

    Today is two years. I can't even wrap my head around how much has changed since then. How much I have changed. How our first baby, our lost baby, changed me.

    So today I'm taking a moment. To remember that baby. Our first.

    3.03.2011

    from the other side (giveaway inside!)

    All things are better on the other side of a great night of sleep. Trav offered to take over baby duty on Tuesday night, and Gwen slept so well that night, that he offered to do it again on Wednesday night. Lucky me!! I have some great friends who commiserated and offered advise, and all in all, I'm feeling much more positive. I got a lot done at work, balanced the checkbooks, we had two nights of yummy (non-thrown together) dinners, and I have some plans in the near future with friends and family.

    Also awesome and making me feel great... after a week plus of hard work (pumping longer, pounding the water, more milk plus, oatmeal, milk maid tea, brewers yeast, etc) yesterday and today I pumped my normal amount for the first time since the big stinky stomach bug! Not to mention Gwen was able to nurse easily, fully, and contently at bedtime. Phew!

    So.... in honor of all that, I'm going to do 10 Things I Love/Want to Remember about Breastfeeding!!  :-)  And at the end... a rockin giveaway and discount code! You're welcome.

    Without further ado:


    10 Things I Love or Want to Remember about Breastfeeding!!

    1. Amazing sleepy snuggles at bedtime... and two free hands to do it with. I get to snuggle Gwenie close with one arm... and use the other not to hold a bottle, but to brush her hair away from her face or rub her back. 
    2. Boobie Yoga. Sometimes when she's antsy, or getting close to done with nursing, Gwen does what I lovingly call bobbie yoga. She is still latched on, but she will throw her legs up in the air, twist around so she's kneeling, or, my favorite - balance on one leg and put an arm above her head! Not kidding. Girl is silly.
    3. No bottles to pack when we go out together. No formula to mix in the middle of the night. No paying for formula, period! 
    4. Instant comfort. For her and me. 
    5. More fat, and more easily absorbable fat, then cow's milk... a good thing for my skinny-mini. 
    6. Lower risk of SIDs for Gwen, lower risk of breast cancer for me! 
    7. When she wants to nurse and is feeling impatient, Gwen will grab my neckline and try to pull my shirt down... funny and embarrassing all at the same time! 
    8. Nursing in the side-lying position! More sleep on weekend mornings!! ;-) 
    9. Her little hand coming up to pat my face (sweet). Or when she sticks it down the front of my shirt between my boobs (silly). LOL.
    10. That its something only I can give Gwen, and that only we share. We'll have other mama/daughter things as she gets older, but for now, this is only ours.


    In honor of Breastfeeding, the amazing Tara from Maternitique is giving away a box of Milk Maid Tea to one lucky visitor. And, I have one to give away too! So that means 2 lucky winners will both be sipping their way to more milk soon!  :-) 

    Tara is also providing everyone with a great coupon code, MARCHMOM - which will get you a whopping one-time 25% off everything in the store if used by March 14!! Pretty amazing coupon there! So if you've been wanting to try some of their other amazing products, now's the time!




    Buy: Use code "MARCHMOM" to get 25% off! Now through the 14th.

    Enter to Win: Simply comment on this post telling me what Maternitique product appeals to you.
    Two (2) winners will be selected, and each will receive one (1) box of Milk Maid Tea.

    Optional Additional Entries for:
    1 extra entry if you follow this blog publicly with Google Friend Connect (I'll check, so no cheating!).
    1 extra entry for liking A New Day on facebook (leave first name, last initial in comment so I know who you are).
    1 extra entry for liking Maternitique on facebook and post on their wall that you found them through A New Day.
    3 extra entries if you blog about this contest (post the link back to it in your comments).



    Rules:
    An email address is required to enter. Please leave it in your comment, or make sure one is visible for me to find in your blogger profile. If you qualify for additional entries please comment separately, for each extra entry earned, telling me which options you have used. A winner will be chosen via random.org. The winner will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to reply before a new winner is chosen. This contest is open to 18 + USA only. Ends on 3/10/11, 11:59PM EST. Winner will be announced the 11th or 12th, after the winner is confirmed.


    Normal Disclaimer: I am providing one box of tea at my own cost. Maternitique is providing the other at no cost to me! Because they are awesome!

    3.01.2011

    balance

    How do you find balance in your life? I ask because right now, I'm not. I don't feel balanced at all. I feel unsettled, upheaved. There are days when it may seem like I have some balance going on, but then something small happens (or something big), and I watch the plates crash down around me and realize that it was just a freeze-frame before everything fell.

    Oh damn that all sounds so dramatic!

    I don't mean it in any horrible way. Trav and I aren't divorcing. I'm not losing my job. Despite some recent hiccups, for the most part my family has their health. I have family and friends who love me. I have the most beautiful, loving daughter.
    But for some reason, I just don't feel settled at the moment. I don't have a groove.

    Last night we had a bad sleep night after a few good ones previous, and I lost my cool, yelled at Gwen, then couldn't fall asleep for a while, even after she was contently tucked in next to me... soothed, fine, happy, asleep. I forgot my appointment this morning for my annual, and while it is frustrating and annoying (couldn't reschedule for something like three more weeks), it wasn't the end of the world. But I couldn't stop myself from breaking down into hot, angry tears when I hung up the phone. Right in the middle of the damn train station.

    ::crash, crash, crash:: See the plates shattering?

    I don't feel like I'm able to give 100% at work lately... I'm missing things I wouldn't normally miss, forgetting things, slower to get things done. I don't feel like I'm giving my best to my marriage because when I'm tired, frustrated, etc Trav is the one that bears the brunt of it. Not to mention, when all you do is work then home then work then home then ... well, the conversations can become less then riveting (I guess you all know that, if you've been here lately!). The only plate that I seem to be able to keep in the air consistently is my mama plate... but even that was teetering last night, showing some cracks.

    Some plates... well, then never even seem to get back in the air anymore. I take pictures, but I'm not breaking out the camera randomly so much anymore. And the ones I do take, are okay, but not great. I cook the occasional good dinner, but most of the time I feel like I'm frantically trying to figure out something I can quickly cobble together. Gwen always gets a combination of good things, but its all so haphazard. Forget daily exercise, our occasional weekend walks about about all I manage at the moment.

    I need to find balance. I need time with just Trav... and more then just the hour or two in the evening. I need to exercise my body, my mind, my soul. I need to be creative, with food and photography. But right now I'm in a tired rut, and its all I can do to sweep up the pieces and start spinning those plates again.

    How do you do it? How do you find balance?