31 October 2012

happy halloween!

We dressed Eliad up as Yoda for his first Halloween. He's too young for the trick or treat candy, but he did go to Bible study this morning as Yoda, and we visited a couple neighbors. He also enjoyed seeing all the kids come to the door, and a lot of the trick or treaters recognized his costume. They loved the baby Yoda. 

I made his hat and ears from wool that I felted. (Technically it's wool that I fulled, but I usually get blank stares when I use that term.) 

I think he's a pretty cute Yoda. Happy Halloween!

32 weeks old. 31 Oct 2012.

04 October 2012

pumpkin coconut walnut breakfast cookies

I worked out these pumpkin cookies this past summer when I wanted something yummy, healthy, and filling. They're based on a banana cookie recipe, but I didn't have bananas at the time, and I did have a big can of pumpkin left over from the winter. So I cracked that open, and made a couple batches of these delicious Pumpkin Coconut Walnut Breakfast Cookies. They're healthy and perfect for fall.

Pumpkin Coconut Walnut Breakfast Cookies

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes 
1 Tbs golden flaxmeal
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice*
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup pumpkin
1/4 cup oil of your choice
1 Tbs agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease cookie sheet.
Combine oats, coconut, flaxmeal, spices, salt, walnuts, and cranberries. Stir together pumpkin, oil, agave nectar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients.

Roll and flatten 2 tablespoons of mixture into a 2 inch round cookies and place onto greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until fragrant and golden. Cool on pan.
Yield: about 16 cookies.
*pumpkin pie spice is 4 parts cinnamon, 2 parts ginger, 1 part allspice, 1 part nutmeg
so for this recipe use:
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg

03 October 2012

homemade whole wheat dutch oven bread

I made bread for the first time ever. I found an easy bread recipe that requires lots of rising time and no kneading. The bread is baked in a preheated dutch oven. I've made several whole wheat loaves now, and it's going well. I'm looking forward to trying different flours soon too.

The first loaf didn't look so great, but it tasted good. The loaves since this one have looked much better.

Whole Wheat Bread

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
1 1/4 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp instant or dry active yeast
1 1/3 cups cool water
additional flour for dusting

In a medium bowl, stir together flours, salt, and yeast. Add water. Using your hands or a wooden spoon, mix until you have a sticky, wet dough. Cover bowl and let sit at room temperature until the surface is bubbly and the dough is more than doubled in size, 14-18 hours.

When the first rise is finished, generously dust a work surface with flour. Scrape the dough out of the bowl in one piece. Using lightly floured hands or a spatula, lift the edges of the dough in towards the center. Tuck in the edges to make it round.

Generously dust a tea towel with flour. Place dough on towel, seam down and dust top lightly with flour. Fold towel loosely over dough and place in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 2-3 hours. The dough is ready when it is almost doubled. The dough should hold the impression when pressed with your finger. If it springs back, let it rise for another 20 minutes.

Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 F with a rack positioned in the lower third, and place a covered 4 1/2 – 5 1/2 quart heavy pot in center of rack. Remove the preheated pot from the oven and uncover it. Unfold the tea towel quickly but gently invert the dough into the pot, seam side up. (Remember the pot is hot. Be careful.) Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep chestnut color but not burnt, 15-20 minutes.

Makes: One 10-inch round

recipe source

02 October 2012

baby led solids (BLW)

I've been pretty intrigued with the idea of baby led solids since I first heard about it several years ago. To me it makes a lot of sense for Eliad to feed himself and decide how much he needs; he's been doing that for 6+ months when he nurses. So instead of starting him with runny or mushy purees that we would spoon feed to him, we give him slices or chunks of soft food to feed himself.

Eliad has been interested in putting everything in his mouth for a couple months. So now that he's 6 months old, he's sitting up well on his own, and he seems to be swallowing some water when we help him practice using a cup, it seemed pretty safe to let him start trying solid food.

A couple weeks ago, on his 6 month birthday, I made some roasted sweet potato fries. He was certainly interested in trying them. But he was not impressed! 

We've since let him try avocado, a plum, cooked apple, cooked carrot sticks, and sweet potato fries again. He was happy with all of those. The problem he was having with everything except the sweet potato fries is that they're all slippery, and it all has a tendency to shoot out of his little hand. The plum was the easiest for him to hold since he could grab it with both hands. So now I'm trying to give him some larger pieces of food that he can hold with two hands, rather than the fry-like slices of fruit we tried serving.

first solid food. 6 months old. 21 Sept 2012.

01 October 2012

6 months old

Eliad turned 6 months old a little over a week ago. It completely blows my mind that he's already half a year old. He had his 6 month check up with his doctor that same day. We learned that he is 28" tall and weighs 19 lbs, 14 oz. Here are some photos of the big boy on his half birthday.

6 months old. 21 Sept 2012.

26 August 2012

5 months old (22 weeks)

Silly baby boy. 5 months old. Tuesday 21 August  2012.

Waiting for Daddy at the gym. Practicing sitting and taking the paci out and putting it back in. Wed 22 Aug 2012.

Sweet napping. Thursday 23 August 2012.

21 weeks old

These photos are from last week on August 17, 2012. Some afternoons, for my snack, I like to eat raw carrots with lots of hummus. A couple weeks ago, Eliad and I figured out that a cold raw carrot provides good entertainment for him, for long enough for me to peacefully eat mine.

Eliad is getting pretty good at sitting up by himself. He can't get into that position by himself from lying down yet, but if we help him sit up, he can stay that way for a couple minutes. I'll post some photos of that soon, but for now, here he is in a high chair. He plays with toys while we eat.

I think this is all pretty good practice for when he starts eating solid food. We'll try it for the first time in a few weeks; after he's 6 months old.

12 July 2012

breastfeeding when mom is sick

It stinks. Being sick is never fun, but being sick when you're responsible for another person is worse. When I was lying in bed so sick a few weeks ago, I kept thinking, God should have made it so moms don't get sick. He didn't. But He has provided amazing protection for a breastfed baby. 

I found some info about breastfeeding while sick on the KellyMom website. I've known for a long time that the baby gets good immunities from his mom, but then when it was me and my baby, I definitely needed some reassurance. At first I didn't know if I had food poisoning, or some stomach/ intestinal virus, but it doesn't seem to matter. Here is what I learned:

During any “ordinary” illness such as a cold, sore throat, flu, tummy bug, fever, mastitis, etc. you should continue to breastfeed. Just remind your doctor you are nursing so that if medications are needed he can prescribe something that is compatible with breastfeeding. . . If mom has food poisoning, breastfeeding should continue. As long as the symptoms are confined to the gastrointestinal tract (vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps), breastfeeding should continue without interruption as there is no risk to the baby. . .
The best thing you can do for your baby when you’re sick is to continue to breastfeed. When you have a contagious illness such as a cold, flu, or other mild virus, your baby was exposed to the illness before you even knew you were sick. Your milk will not transmit your illness to baby, but it does have antibodies in it that are specific to your illness (plus anything else you or baby have been exposed to) – they’ll help prevent baby from getting sick, or if he does get sick, he’ll probably not be as sick as you. (Go to the KellyMom website for more info.)

The challenge could have been making sure Eliad got enough to eat over those couple days I was sick. The first 12 hours all I could keep down was some ice; the next 24 I had diluted unsweetened apple juice and gatorade and eventually a banana. But I knew he was getting adequate milk because he continued to have wet diapers. I didn't know I could be so excited about a wet diaper. But if things hadn't gone as well, I would have gotten IV fluids before I supplemented my milk. Giving him anything from a bottle would have been worse for us in the long run. I needed him to nurse to help maintain my milk supply.*

Eliad hung out in bed with me a lot, which made frequent nursing doable for me. Thankfully he napped easily. When Jonathan had to run an errand for us, and Eliad was awake with me, he held his friends, we read a few books, or I helped him sit up and he talked to me with his baby words. We usually sing lots of songs during the day, but apparently singing takes more energy for me, so I think we sang half a song and I was done! Jonathan took care of us in the morning before work, and my mom came for the afternoon and evening to help.

So even though it was miserable, I did feel good about continuing to provide the best thing I could for my baby-- my milk with the healthy antibodies and superior nutrition to help him stay healthy. I'll probably say it a million times, God created our bodies so amazing. 

Hanging out in bed. Eliad is holding my baby doll; I think he likes the texture of her terrycloth clothes. It's funny to me that Jonathan changed Eliad out of his pajamas that morning, but didn't get him dressed since he was going to be in bed with his sick momma.

* It should probably go without saying, but I still feel like I need a disclaimer here. I'm not a doctor or lactation consultant, so I'm just sharing what I feel was the right thing for my baby and me.

23 June 2012


We like to read books, lots of books. Here are our favorites so far.

22 June 2012

rolling over

Eliad turned over from his back to tummy on Monday this week, a few days shy of being 3 months old. Even though he has a surprised look on his face, he was pretty pleased with himself and was cute and smiley about it. It took me a minute to grab my phone to take the photo so this is more of a working-to-keep-my-head-up kind of face.

Monday 18 June 2012.

Monday 18 June 2012.

birth story

This is my long story of the day Eliad was born. There are lots of details about the way I remember things that day. For an artist, I took a lot of health and science classes in school, so medical stuff is just biology to me. While I didn't want to share personal medical info about myself during the pregnancy, I'm okay with sharing now because I want to encourage others. I had two drugs during my labor; an antibiotic and pitocin. I want other ladies to know that you can have a labor and delivery with pitocin and not take any pain medicine or have an epidural. It's hard work, but I did it. And ladies that are going to be having a baby, yall are welcome to ask me more questions. I want to help and encourage you.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A little before 6:30 Wednesday morning, I was kind of between awake and asleep, thinking I probably wanted to turn over, but wondering if it was worth the effort. I began to feel what turned out to be my water breaking. I headed to the bathroom. Every doctor and nurse I talked to that morning wanted to know "in a gush or a trickle?" my response every time: "it was a substantial amount." After determining that my water breaking was very likely what had happened I woke Jonathan up and told him what was going on and that I was going to take a shower before I called the doctors' office. Jonathan got up took care of Ben, ate breakfast, and packed his own bag for the hospital. I started some laundry, took a shower, finished packing my things and the baby's suit, hat, diapers and wipes for coming home. I had already decided what I would wear home from the hospital-- but I couldn't figured out what to wear to get there. I finally settled on some comfy clothes.

I called the OB office about 7:30, talked to the operator, and she paged the doctor on call at WakeMed. Dr. Bass called back within 5-10 min, and I told him what was going on. He decided to have me go to the office to get checked out there before going to the hospital. I wasn't feeling contractions yet, but because I needed to take an antibiotic I was going to have to go on in to the hospital, rather than waiting 6 or so hours to see if things moved along on their own. I ate cereal and orange juice on the way to Raleigh. I hadn't had orange juice to drink in forever because it was too high in unnecessary sugar, but since I wasn't sure how my day was going to go, and when I was going to want to eat again, I wanted the extra calories that morning. For 8 am, traffic wasn't too bad-- heavy, but not slow.

At the doctors office, I ran to the restroom, and Jonathan checked me in. They didn't make me wait, there was a nurse waiting for me when I came out of the restroom. I talked to the nurse, and got set up in an exam room. While we were waiting for Dr. Smith, I emailed our potential doula. I had received her email address to contact her on Monday, I emailed her on Tuesday, and I hadn't even heard back from her yet, but I still wanted her to know what was going on.

It was obvious my water had broken, so the doctor got to skip the usual test for that. He did check my cervix and said it was closed-- but I knew it was dilated a little over 1 cm because I had been checked the Friday before. But for baby birthing purposes, it was basically closed. He explained that I was going to need to start pitocin at the hospital since I wasn't having contractions yet.

We headed to WakeMed and I called daddy on the way to let him know what was going on, and that Ben had been in his kennel since around 7:45. We got to the hospital early enough that there were still plenty of parking spots in the deck by patient registration. We got checked in, and they made me ride in a wheel chair to get the 4th floor. I objected to it, but it turned out to be good because it was so far to the elevator we had to take. The lady delivering us to the 4th floor took me to the triage area, where they were waiting for me. I got to skip the triage procedures since I had just come from my doctors office. One of the nurses walked us to the labor and delivery side-- 4B-- and we went straight to my room where my nurse for the day was getting things set up. I changed into the awesome hospital gown and undies. Then I answered lots of medical history questions, some pregnancy questions, and talked to her about some of my labor and delivery preferences. I hadn't written up any kind of birth plan, so the main thing I wanted to communicate was that I did not want to be offered any pain relief drugs. If I wanted anything, I would ask for it. We talked about getting me an exercise ball, and I told her that squatting was a comfortable position for me if I needed to do that. (I understand that it isn't comfortable for lots of people, so I didn't want her to assume it wouldn't be good for me.) I also got set up with the monitor to keep tabs on the baby's heart beat and my contractions. It turns out that I was having contractions about 7 min apart, but I had thought they were Braxton hicks contractions.

We kept the overhead lights off and I got Jonathan to open the curtain so we could have the pretty natural light come in the window. I also kept the tv off all day. I didn't want a bunch of background noise to annoy me. 
At some point early on, Dr. Bass came in to basically say hello, and say that the pitocin was going to make me hurt A LOT. He said that if I was going to end up getting an epidural at some point that there was no reason to mess around with other (narcotic) medicine that was going to affect the baby. That's about all I remember from that visit.
Jonathan had forgotten his headphones, so we all thought it was a safe time for him to go get some.

The nurse got me set up with penicillin which burned my arm, so she adjusted the IV machine to make it hurt a little less. When it was time to start the pitocin I cried. I was sooo disappointed that strong contractions hadn't stated on their own before my water broke. I had prayed and asked others to pray for me that contractions would start on their own so I wouldn't have to have pitocin. But that is clearly not how things worked out. 

Jonathan returned, and things were pretty boring for a while. I texted/chatted with Austin at work. Left Em a voice mail, and texted Nia to let them know I would (hopefully) be having the baby that day. I distracted myself with my phone-- facebook, pinterest, and words with friends. Other than immediate family, we didn't tell anyone that I was at the hospital. And I didn't give family updates about what was happening. Although Jonathan might have-- I don't know.

The doula called and I let her know what was happening-- boringness. She said she was available that day, and around noon she left me a message that she was heading to the hospital. I thought it was premature, but by the time she got there, contractions were strong enough that I only wanted to talk between contractions.

I think the hard contractions started around 1:00. Not the worst contractions. But definitely hard and strong.

I signed Kim's papers and I really don't remember what we talked about. I ignored her when she asked me to do things that weren't my style-- like holding her hands during a contraction. We kind of had to work out her role as we went along since we hadn't met before that day. But, I also could have never known how inwardly focused I was going to be.
I didn't want a lot of attention from Jonathan, the nurse, or the doula. I mostly asked them for water, juice, Chapstick, or to please make the iv machine stop screaming at us.

One of the IV regulating machines kept malfunctioning and being really loud. It was the one that regulated the penicillin, but I only had to have that every 4 hours. Unfortunately it decided to mess up during my second dose of penicillin. I didn't even notice it at the time, except for the burning in my arm, but when the machine messed up and started beeping loudly, all the drug in the bag left the bag and went into my arm. A couple minutes later when I looked up at the bag and it was empty, we figured out what had happened, and I realized why it had hurt so much at the time. And probably because of that, my arm was super sore the next couple days. Or maybe it would have been sore anyway. 

I worked through contractions rocking on the ball, sitting cross-legged on the bed. I tried standing some, but leaning on Jonathan didn't work bc he was too tall for what was comfortable to me and it hurt my arms. I stood by the bed and leaned over on my hands or forearms, but that never lasted more than a few contractions and I would end up crawling onto the bed. We had the head of the bed sitting all the way up so I rested on my knees facing the head of the bed and leaned on it. At one point I tied lying on my side but I couldn't handle that even through one contraction. I mostly focused on breathing during the hard contractions. During the really really hard stuff  I thought about how I was getting closer with every contraction. And that this was the only time I had to feel this contraction. I never had to have this contraction ever again. I thought about staying relaxed so my back and shoulders wouldn't get tense. I wanted to cry because I was hurting so bad.

I think I remember at one point when contractions were in the 2-3 min apart range, the nurse saying i would probably need to labor like this for a few hours. But before too much longer, i needed to push against the contractions-- i wasn't actively trying to push, it's just what my body needed to do. I was kneeling on the bed, leaning on the upright head of it-- sometimes burying my face in the mattress. I had Jonathan put the railings of the bed up so I could hold on to them. I asked Jonathan later if I was grunting or whatever during that transition part of labor, and he said I was pretty quiet the whole time. But the nurse recognized my change in posture or behavior and probably the sounds I was making too, and ask me if I felt like I needed to push. I told her I couldn't help it. I was feeling a lot of pressure. For the first time since I left the doctors' office that morning, I was asked if my cervix could be checked. She checked me out while I was still kneeling backwards on the bed, and her response was "that's a head!!! I feel a head!!" She said she couldn't feel the cervix at all. She immediately got on the phone to locate my doctor-- who was in the OR. So she requested the doctor from another practice who was on call to come in. Nurses or aids also came in to prep the room for delivery-- mostly just wheeled a bunch of stuff in from what I could tell.

The other doctor in her hot pink scrubs came in, and had me lie down so she could accurately check out my cervix. She described it as "a lip." no number. I didn't need to actively push yet because if the cervix was still in the way, that could cause it to swell, which seemed like a really bad thing.

I asked if I could rest on my back for a little while, and the nurse and doula said YES, since I hadn't been in that position before. They didn't seem concerned about it slowing down my labor.

Dr. Bass came in soon and said he was surprised I was the patient he was paged for. He said a couple times, that he thought he was paged for the girl in so in so room. He was also surprised I didn't have an epidural-- maybe because I was lying down-- but I was thankful for that break.

He checked me out again and talked about how he wanted me to push. Almost apologetically he said he wanted me to stay on my back and curl up, because of the lip of cervix on one side (posterior?) that needed to get out of the way. With strong arms and loose legs I held my knees toward my chest during contractions, and the nurse and doula supported my legs between contractions so I could rest. I pushed a few times with the doc in the room. Then the doctor left and I continued to push. The doula asked about me holding my chin to my chest while pushing, and the nurse agreed that was a good idea. Jonathan helped me remember to do that. I drank sips of water between contractions, but after a while, my stomach started to feel just a little blah, so I stopped with that, even though my mouth was super dry. I didn't want to add one more feeling to everything else already going on. At some point I started to be able to feel the progress of the baby moving down on the way out, but it was a little frustrating feeling him move back in. The nurse gave me direction in pushing-- mainly really encouraging me to stop and breathe then continue pushing through the end of the contraction. I didn't want to stop pushing. I didn't want to stop and breath. But with everyone saying "breathe breathe breathe," at some point I realized they were probably afraid I was going to pass out. So I did my best to follow their directions.

Jonathan was super encouraging. He seemed genuinely impressed with the work I was doing, so that helped me a lot. He helped support my head while I was pushing, then fanned my face between contractions. It was hard work, but when things slowed down briefly, we did talk some about my labor and pushing, between contractions. I'm sure my end of the conversation was super short phrases. After some particularly hard contractions and pushing I told them I was ready for the baby to be out. 

The nurse did some massaging as the baby started to make his way out. And at some point she suggested I try to hold the pressure or whatever between contractions so the baby wouldn't go back in as much while I wasn't pushing. As the baby was moving down, he needed to turn his head a little more, so the nurse started massaging just right to left to hopefully help him make that last little bit of turn. Dr. Bass came back in and was a huge help for me with what I thought was more specific, better direction in pushing. He had me wait longer into the contraction before I started pushing so I could do better work during the peak of the contraction. He also told me to watch him when I guess it was time to deliver the baby, so he could give me direction about when to back off from pushing. But I don't remember specifically getting that direction. It probably happened though. 

Then at 5:38 the baby was super stretched out in the doctor's arms. Kinda purple-y, his head was toward my right, legs toward my left, arms stretched out, and he was facing me. I felt the biggest relief and happiness. I was sooo thankful he had safely arrived and so thankful that the hard labor and delivery was over. I immediately thought about being so glad that was done, and I had my baby, and I never had to go through that again unless I wanted to. And I was glad it was still light outside. From the time I started pushing until Eliad was born was 53 minutes.

The nurse knew I wanted him immediately, so she helped unsnap my gown and helped put him on my chest. Jonathan cut the umbilical cord, which has always seemed weird to me, but didn't seem quite so bizarre at the time. And the baby pretty quickly pooped on us. I have no idea how much later I delivered the placenta, but it didn't seem like very long. I had a 2nd degree tear, so I got some local lidocaine and got stitched up.

Jonathan called our families to announce Eliad's birth. I tried to talk to my mom because I needed her to bring me a couple things. But it was really hard to talk to her because the doctor was still in the room, and I was afraid I was going to miss something, so I gave that up. 

After a while, a nurse took Eliad to weigh and measure him (they stayed in our room; 8lbs, 10oz, 21.75 in). They toweled him off a little, and put a hat on him. Then the nurse helped me try to nurse Eliad, which mostly consisted of him checking things out. Some latching happened, but it never lasted very long.

I sat on some ice, and got some instruction from the doctor about pain medication. The nurses needed to change shifts, so the new nurse helped me to the bathroom and in the bathroom. I couldn't pee, so I just cleaned myself up as much as I could, and washed my face. I got a little light headed, so they brought a wheel chair in for me, and that's where I stayed until it was time to move to the postpartum wing-- in the wheel chair, not the bathroom. Jonathan went to the cafeteria to get me a sandwich. The nurse left and I held Eliad and drank apple juice while we waited to move. 

I don't remember what clued me, maybe he started to fuss a little, but Jonathan and I decided I should try to nurse Eliad again while we waited. That time we did get a good latch (after a few painful tries) and he nursed for a while-- including as we wheeled to our new room in 4C.

There were 2 new nurses when we arrived at our new room. One stork nurse who took care of Eliad, and my nurse. Both the nurse from l&d and the new nurse helped me to the bathroom, where I did pee, to everyone's satisfaction. Eliad was given a bath during that time-- over 2 hours after he was born. I didn't care at the time, because I was preoccupied in the bathroom, but in hindsight, I might have asked to delay his bath little longer. After his bath I held him on my chest, under my gown. I ate some cold super that was waiting in the room-- but I didn't care, because I was so hungry and thirsty.

We invited my family in to visit, and Jonathan video chatted with a lot of his family that were in FL, including some extended family. My family left around 9 because the nurse had told me she was coming back around that time to check on us, and I wanted to be able to focus on that and the baby. But they didn't leave before they all made plans about when they would visit the next day.

Eliad was slow to warm back up, so he ended up needing to go in a warmer for a little while before we went to bed. (which is why I think I should have asked to delay the bath longer.)
When we finally settled down for the night I thought I was never going to get to sleep. I was so excited and wound up from my eventful day. While I was lying wide awake in bed, wishing I was asleep bc I knew the baby was going to be up soon to eat, all I could hear is what sounded like his heart beat. We had been monitoring and listening to his heartbeat all day long, and the rhythm still sang in my head all night.


As I mentioned I was very disappointed about needing to take pitocin. For a few days I really questioned God about why He said "no" to my prayers that contractions would start naturally. I wanted to be able to labor at home as long as I could, in the tub or shower if I wanted, and I was concerned about one intervention leading to another and another. I finally came to a peace about God taking care of Eliad and me on my baby's birthday. Eliad was head down and in a good position, the doctor on call was a good fit for me, I had a nurse who was supportive of my desire to not have pain medicine during labor, my body responded well to the pitocin and getting ready for the baby to be born. The nurses that day said that if we have a next time, and my water breaks first again, contractions would likely come pretty quickly on their own.

Jonathan and I took a childbirth education class with The Birthing Well. I think those ladies had a great class to help me be prepared for labor and delivery.

If we have another baby, (which we probably will, but not anytime soon) I will want to labor with no pain relief drugs again. I will also ask if another position would be ok for pushing. I trusted the doctor, and everything went well, but I do wonder how things would have gone if I had tried something besides being curled up on the bed.

WakeMed Raleigh and Cary follow the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative to help support breastfeeding. I think it was a great help to be in a place where the nurses, doctors, and staff encouraged breastfeeding, and taught and gave us lots of help to get us off to a good start. I nursed Eliad within the first hour, they have no nursery so Eliad stayed in the room with me, they don't have pacifiers available, and we were told not to give him a paci til after he was 4-6 weeks old, they do not have the diaper bags and formula samples from the formula companies to send home with the new baby, all the nurses offered assistance with breastfeeding, and I had visits from hospital lactation consultants both days we were there, and they sent us home with info about LLL and Nursing Mothers of Raleigh, as well as the phone number of the on call lactation consultants at the hospital.

minutes after Eliad was born. 


Eliad and me with my mom, sister, and brother in the postpartum room

15 June 2012

playtime. june 11-15 (12 weeks old)

Two of Eliad's favorite things this week have been rolling onto his side and eating his hands. Here are some photos from our late afternoon playtime this week. We play on the floor in his room after his long afternoon nap.
Monday 11 June 2012.

Monday 11 June 2012.
Tuesday 12 June 2012.
12 weeks old. Wednesday 13 June 2012.

12 weeks old. Wednesday 13 June 2012.

Friday 15 June 2012.

Friday 15 June 2012.

07 June 2012

zucchini chocolate chip muffins

I made more zucchini muffins. These had chocolate chips and pecans. I used this recipe from Taste of Home but made some changes to make it a little healthier. Here is my improved recipe:

1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
3/4 cup all-purpose flour 
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 + cup sugar 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1 egg, lightly beaten 
1/2 unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup milk 
1 tablespoon lemon juice 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips 
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tins. Yield: 12 regular muffins 
  • Shred the zucchini, then place in a colander and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Let it sit, for about 10 minutes, while combing the other ingredients, so that the excess water from the zucchini can be released.
  • In a bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  • In another bowl, whisk the egg, then stir in the applesauce, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla.
  • With a paper towel, gently press the zucchini in the colander to release any remaining excess liquid. Add the zucchini to the egg mixture and stir.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts.
  • Fill each muffin cup.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • After 1 day, keep refrigerated.

01 June 2012

garden and sneaky weeds

It's June 1st. I finally finished planting my garden this morning. Hopefully I'll be able to harvest something before frost this year. I pulled the weeds out of it (again) Wednesday afternoon. I was pleased to find lots of volunteer basil, marigolds, and dill from seeds that fell on the garden bed from last year's plants.  But when I got out there this morning I had to laugh at a couple plants that I had missed pulling. WEEDS. There was one weed that looked a lot like dill and was even in the line with some of the other dill plants. It became really obvious this morning with all the other weeds out of the way that it didn't belong, but Wednesday it seemed good enough to be the real thing. It made me think about what Jesus says about wolves in sheep's clothing.
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. (Matthew 7:15-17)

(Paul talks about this too in 2 Cor 11.)
Yesterday Jonathan and I had an extended discussion about how I need to handle a situation where someone has hurt me. One day she told me she wanted to encourage me in my new role as a mom and then literally the next day she spoke hurtful things about me to someone else. Pretty sure that wasn't meant to encourage. It's been a few weeks since the problem happened, and we've seen her a couple times, but she hasn't apologized or even acknowledged the incident. I have forgiven her actions, but that doesn't mean I know how to trust her yet. Sooo, we need to move forward and we need some reconciliation; and since she hasn't initiated it, Jesus says I should. (Matthew 18:15-20) If only that was an easy thing to do. When we've had challenges in the past she doesn't usually want to hear from me and quotes me scripture out of context about peace and love (or for her, peace seems to mean ignoring the problem-- which doesn't work for long for most people, and I can't even imagine the emotional chaos happening inside those that continually sweep things under the rug). Anyway, when I shared this with Jonathan, about how hard it is to talk to her, when she misuses scripture and pretends everything is fine, he reminded me that Jesus used scripture correctly when he was confronted with God's word used the wrong way (Matthew 4:1-11). Jonathan wasn't comparing this person to the devil or a false prophet or teacher; he was just reminding me how I could be like Jesus, not Eve, who was swayed by lies disguised as God's words (Genesis 3:1-7). Got it. Live like Jesus.

So I have to know God's word. I can spot the fake and the lies better when I know the real thing. Just like I can spot a weed when I know what the real herb is supposed to look like. (see how all this relates. loosely.) And Jonathan and I are praying for God's timing in addressing this tough situation and that my motives for dealing with it are correct-- in love for healing.

Right now Phillips' translation of 1 Corinthians 13 is my favorite. It helps me apply God's love in my life in how I am loving others:
This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience - it looks for a way of being constructive. It is not possessive: it is neither anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance. Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage. It is not touchy. It does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails. Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen. (1 Cor 13:4-8a)

30 May 2012

double chocolate strawberry zucchini muffin recipe

It's good someone figured out that it's smart to put strawberries in zucchini bread; there are plenty of both being harvested this time of year. My sis-in-law, Ashley, has a huge zucchini crop this year and shared some of the yummy green squash with us. 

In my brief search to find a strawberry zucchini muffin recipe, I found this: Double Chocolate Strawberry Zucchini Muffins. YES!!! They are delicious. The slightly tart strawberries pair well with the chocolate, and the zucchini makes these muffins moist. And they're mostly healthy. Check out the original recipe, or follow what I did here. 

If you want more healthy, tasty muffin recipes, check out my "muffin girl" board on pinterest

2 cups shredded zucchini, shredded
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt, divided; (use half for zucchini, see directions)
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
2 eggs
4 Tbsp skim milk
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 + cup strawberries, chopped
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tins. Yield: 18+ regular muffins.
  • Shred the zucchini, then place in a colander and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Let it sit, for about 10 minutes, while combing the other ingredients, so that the excess water from the zucchini can be released.
  • In a bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, cocoa, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and allspice.
  • In another bowl, whisk the eggs, then stir in the applesauce and milk.
  • With a paper towel, gently press the zucchini in the colander to release any remaining excess liquid. Add the zucchini to the egg mixture and stir.
  • Add the zucchini/egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in the strawberries and chocolate chips.
  • Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full.
  • Bake for 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • After 1 day, keep refrigerated for up to 4 days.

24 May 2012

smiley baby

I love this smiley little fella. Eliad is 9 weeks old. Today was a pretty good day for him; no major meltdowns, which is nice for everyone.

23 May 2012

chicken cooking and meal ideas

Here is an example of what I do with a whole chicken:

1. Cook the chicken.
I have 2 ways I like to do it depending on what kind of time I have--roasting and crock pot cooking.

Roasting a whole chicken.
I use a 9x13 pan and a rack from my toaster oven turned upside down (because I don't own a roasting pan). I take the chicken out of its bag and put it straight onto the rack-pan combo, breast side up. I don't wash it first. All the bacterial is going to get cooked, so it seems to me that rinsing the chicken is just going to potentially contaminate more of my kitchen with salmonella. But I am careful about washing everything that touches the raw chicken with soap and warm water-- including the sink and soap dispenser after I finish washing my hands. I usually rain salt over the chicken in the pan, then put it in the oven, preheated to 350. I cook the whole chicken for 20 min per pound plus 20 additional minutes.

Crock pot cooking a whole chicken. 
I use the same health safety precautions when handling the raw bird. This time it goes straight into the crock pot, breast side up. This way works with either a frozen or fresh chicken. I sometimes sprinkle salt on top, but I've mostly stopped doing that. I cook it on high for at least 4 hours. I keep an eye on it after 4 hours to see when I want to turn it off. I basically just wait til it looks thoroughly cooked. I know this isn't super safe, but I haven't had any trouble cooking it this way. I do err on cooking it a little too long, because in the crock pot, it just gets more tender, not dry. If you aren't comfortable cooking poultry this way, don't do it. Easy enough. I prefer the crock pot over roasting because it makes the next step easy..

2. Make chicken broth by boiling the bones and drippings with a generous amount of water. I usually refrigerate the broth before using it so I can get the fat off the top and throw it away.

3. Make/ cook meals from the meat. I usually get at least 2 meals with 2-4 servings each. Suggestions:

--Just chicken (best the same day I cook it).

--Chicken salad.

--Chicken enchiladas.

--Chicken pot pie (I usually make a version with a biscuit topping rather than making pie crust).

--Tex-mex chicken casserole.

--Chicken tetrazzini.

--Chicken on salad.

--Chicken sandwiches or wraps.

--Chicken chili.

--Pizza with chicken.

4. Make soups from the broth. In the summer I use the broth to cook fresh veggies, but we have soup a lot more in the winter. I also use the broth to make cream of chicken soup for cooking. Sometimes I'll chop up and throw some chicken in the soup too. I get at least 2 pots of soup, 4 servings each. Suggestions:

--Chicken noodle

--Vegetable soup with chicken broth base

--Green soup. I don't have a good name for it, but I use tomatillos, cilantro, black beans (if I planned ahead) or lentils (if I didn't), and sometimes corn. And of course other spices.

--Veggies, lentils, and curry.

--Chowder of some sort, like potato or corn.

--Various beany chili recipes.

It looks like I get 4 meals, each with about 2-4 servings from cooking one whole chicken. Of course, I'm adding veggies, beans, cream soup, spices etc to make the dishes, and we eat appropriate sides with a lot of them. But the chicken is a good/ cheap starting place for lots of different kinds of healthy meals.