Saturday, October 27, 2012

Happy Halloween!

The boys are carving Reed's pumpkin while Giselle and I watch.   :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

From the mouth of R...

Mommy: Get in the car Reed.
Reed: OK School bus driver!  Hey, school buses don't have seatbelts.
M: They don't?  How do you know that?
R: I learned it from the Berenstein Bears book!
M: Oh... hmmm interesting.  I wonder why they don't have seatbelts...
R: Because they don't get into car accidents.

(We watched the news last night.  There was a story about a school bus accident in Brighton.  After the news, there was a show like ET and they showed stories about weddings gone bad - including one where the bride was arrested and there was footage of her in the jail cell.  Apparently Reed was watching.)

M: They DO get into accidents though sometimes.  There was a bus accident yesterday!  No one on the bus got hurt though thankfully.  We saw it on the news, remember?
R: Oh yeah.  I saw that.  Did the bus catch on fire?
M: NO!  Why do you think that?
R: Because the firemen came!
M: No, the firemen came to help out and make sure everyone got out safe.
R: And then the police came and arrested them?
M: No... they police came to help out too.
R: Then why was that lady in jail?
M: What lady?  ohhhhh the lady in the dress?
R: Yeah!  That lady!
M: ummmm.  I don't remember why she was in jail Reed.  I think she made some bad choices.
R: What kind of bad choices?
M: I don't remember.
R: Mom.   Listen.  You need to start remembering things.  You need to pay attention to why that lady was in jail and when I ask you about it later, you need to try and remember.
M: laughing under my breath.... um. I'm sorry Reed.  I'll try to be better.  I was cooking dinner at the same time!  
R: Ok - but next time, you need to remember.

Sound familiar EMX?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Double D

OK.  So this post isn't about cooking - and it isn't even really about "food."  But I'm feeling very hilarious today (or as EMX calls it, corny) and felt the need to write and share.

If you are a mom, and have breastfed, and have had the devil infection called mastitis, you can totally relate.  If you are grossed out by nursing, you may wish to close your browser window now.  :)  That was your warning.

So I've been proudly nursing Giselle for 6 months.  Actually - 6 months today!  My original goal was 6 weeks.  Which is one week longer than Reed drank breastmilk.  During the first 6 weeks this time, I was lucky enough to get mastitis twice.  AWESOME.  (Sarcasm!)  The first time was actually not bad because I caught it SUPER quickly.  I knew what to look for having had it once with Reed, just a mere week into his life.  The second time, however, was probably one of the worst few weeks of my life.  I won't get into details about it now, but I literally thought I was dying.  I got past that (THANK GOD) and continued to breastfeed semi smoothly until this past Sunday.  I woke up tired, but felt fine, and then a few hours later - BAM.  I knew I had mastitis.  Went to urgent care and immediately got on antibiotics.  It took a full 48 hours for me to feel human again, however, the nasty little (big) blockage has decided to keep on keeping on.

I've tried compressions, massage, heat, no heat, pumping, nursing.  You name it, I've tried it.  Nothing is working.  So yesterday, I gave a call to Dr. Google to see if other moms had some suggestions.  That is when I came across this advice... which I wish I could say worked for me, but it hasn't yet.  It has however provided me with some laughter over the past 24 hours.

A few moms recommended letting gravity work with you, and said to do the following:

Get on all fours and place your baby on the floor.  Position yourself over the baby and let the affected breast "dangle" over the baby while she nurses.  That should hopefully help dislodge the blockage.

So.  Cut to me last night.  I had to go away from my other loving family members so that I could concentrate (read: not laugh).  Another tip I knew about was to position the baby's nose toward the blockage to help drain it.  So our position was me on my knees and left elbow, with Giselle's toes near my head, and my right hand compressing the heck out of the dangler.

It was like some kind of weird yoga pose, involving balance and strength.  So, to commemorate the pose, I decided to give it a yogatastic name.

The Downward Dangle.  Or - the Double D.

I hope you laughed.  I know my cousin K will when she reads this.  She gets me.

You're welcome.  :)

What is the weirdest thing you have found yourself doing since having kids?

Friday, June 29, 2012


I figured I would give a little background on the chosen name for the baby formerly known as "Kid B."

My paternal grandmother's name was Gisela.  She was one of my favorite people in the world.  We were fortunate enough as kids to live upstairs from my paternal grandparents.  Nothing was better than going downstairs to see them, hang out, help them, make playdough, etc.  We remained close even after my parents moved to a suburb and my grandparents moved to an apartment, and then ultimately decided to stay full time in Florida.  I used to go and visit them a few times a year.  When my grandfather passed away suddenly on New Year's Eve 2001-2002, it was a huge blow to our family.  My grandmother remained in Florida, due to her chronic emphysema and MS.  It was much easier on her body to stay in the warmer climate.  We continued to visit as often as possible and I spoke with her on the phone weekly.  Even through my college years, I would go and visit her during my "spring break."  To me, spending time with her was more important and really more fun than partying it up in Cancun.  :)

My grandma was one of the strongest women in the world.  My grandparents used to tell the story of going to a wrestling match where one of the opponents was playing dirty.  My grandpa said that all of the sudden, he saw a little woman climbing the ring, hitting the dirty opponent with her handbag.  When he went to point it out to my grandma, he noticed that she was gone.  It was her!  My sisters and I LOVED that story.

My grandma survived WWII, living in Germany, hiding in the basement during air raids.  She also told us of a time when her mother and grandmother dressed her up as an old woman so when the basement was checked, they wouldn't see a young girl and take her.

Because of our close relationship, I have always wanted to name my daughter, if I were ever fortunate to have one, Giselle, as a tribute to my Grandma "Jay."  It makes me smile every time I think of Giselle, knowing that she is named after one of the most awesome people ever.  :)

ps - how cute is she?????

Monday, April 23, 2012

It's a.....


Giselle Marie born 4/11 at 4:39 am.  We are sooooooo in LOVE!  I'll post the birth story below for all my mommy friends.  If you do not want to read a birth story - DO NOT CONTINUE.  :)

Tuesday afternoon, I had my 37 week appointment and an ultrasound that I requested to check the weight of Kid B.  After the labor and ultimate Cesarean delivery of R, I was concerned that I was growing another linebacker baby.  I believe the exact words of our pediatrician at R's first appointment were, "Congratulations!  You gave birth to a 1 month old!"  My FIL brought R to the U/S appointment so he could get a peek at Kid B.  A very cute moment happened when R noticed the "hole" in the baby's abdomen - when the technicians were taking detailed pictures of the heart since Kid B was positioned well and one of the technicians was a student.  "Papa - Kid B is broken!  There is a hole!"

They estimated Kid B to be about 8.2 lbs at 37 weeks.  I was watching the measurements on the screen and the percentages that came with those measurements.  That's when I saw head circumference - 90%.  CRAP!  Seriously?  R was 95% across the board, including head circumference.  At my 36 week appointment, I was 3 cm dilated, so I was just praying that labor would happen sooner rather than later so I had a good shot at VBAC.... even if it were just to help me mentally since I know many women have given birth to larger babies than even R....

My OB was very open to VBAC all along.  I asked her if I had the right to change my mind and opt for C/S at any point and she said absolutely!  So that helped my confidence again.  At my appointment, I was 3.5-4 cm dilated and 90% effaced.

Tuesday evening, I came home and made a yummy dinner of pork tenderloin and something else.....  Then at the last minute, I decided to head to Booty Bounce class.  Normally I would do both Booty Bounce and PiYo to get a one hour work out, but after my appointment that afternoon, my back was hurting a little and I decided to go home after Booty Bounce.  I was thinking planks wouldn't help my back much.  :)  I got home around 8, helped get R to bed and hopped into the shower to clean up after my work out.  As I got out of the shower and dried off, I did notice more water than normal dripping on the floor.  I dried off AGAIN and then waited a few seconds to see what happened.  Drip, drip, drip.  I went to the top of the stairs and called down to EMX -

"Um.... EMX?  Call your parents, my water is breaking!"

We called my ILs to come and get R since he had just gone to bed and called the Dr on call.  We decided to head right to the hospital instead of waiting around at the house.  (Who wants amniotic fluid leaking all over the house?)

We headed to triage, had an IV put in my arm in case I did need a c-section later on and waited to be admitted.  Before we were even in our room, we got a text that my two sisters and their guys were in the waiting room.  As we walked to our room, we passed the waiting room and gave them a wave.  We got our stuff settled and then headed back to the waiting room to chat until my next "check" at midnight.

Throughout those 2 hours, I had consistent contractions 3 minutes apart, but they weren't painful really at all.  I could talk through them, and when I was checked at midnight, I hadn't dilated any more at all.  The Dr offered pitocin to help get the contractions going and I agreed.  I wanted to meet Kid B!  She recommended  a very low dose.  That did the trick.  Almost immediately the contractions picked up and started to get painful.  I asked for a birthing ball to sit on to help alleviate some of the back labor.  It helped quite a bit.  Kid B continued to do well through contractions.  I continued to breathe through the contractions for way longer than I did with R.  (With R, I believe I asked for the epidural after the first contraction, lol.)  THANK YOU YOGA!  At around 2 am, I was thinking that I still had quite a while before pushing and asked for the epidural.  At that point, I was thinking that I was only around 6-7 cm dilated, however, I got the epidural and soon after, the Dr checked me again and I was at 9 cm!

The epidural did begin to work, but only on my left side.  I could still feel pretty much EVERYTHING on the right side of my body.  The anesthesiologist fiddled around with the epidural placement to see if it was too far in, but that didn't work.  I laid on my right side to see if the medication would work itself into the right side but that didn't help either.  The only other option was to replace the epidural.  At that point, I decided just to let it be since I was getting at least partial pain relief!  I also felt that since I was already at 9 cm, I could last the little bit longer.  EMX napped for a little bit while I continued to breathe through the contractions.  I attempted to lay down and rest a bit, but even the partial pain relief wasn't enough for me to really relax.  Around 3:45, I felt like it was getting close to push time and our labor nurse called the OB in to confirm.  It was time!

At around 4 am, I began pushing.  The OB resident said that Kid B was SUPER low and she thought he/she would be out in 2 pushes.  I didn't believe anything that they all said to be quite honest.  Having pushed with R for 2.5 hours, I was really not sure at this point that pushing was going to get the baby out.  :)

Nonetheless, I began to push.  The Drs and nurse kept reassuring me that I was doing a good job and that the baby was moving lower, but again, I didn't believe them!  But, after 39 minutes of pushing (and intense pain and pressure), Kid B was born.  They announced that it was a GIRL and EMX and I just burst into tears.  We couldn't believe that 1, we had a girl and that 2, I actually had a VBAC!  They asked if I wanted to hold her right away and I said YES right away!  Holding my screaming baby girl kept my mind off of the after labor stuff that was going on and gave me a chance to have the immediate bonding time that I missed with R.  (I don't even remember the first time I saw R in the OR.)

At one point, our nurse made a comment about Kid B not being a big girl since we had multiple conversations during labor about the size of R.  When she made that comment, it still hadn't hit me that we had a girl and I asked them to confirm that it really WASN'T a boy.

In keeping with making inappropriate comments in the delivery room, EMX busted out with, "Well, I guess I'm going to go and get a gun!"

After I was all cleaned up, my sisters and their boys came in and held our baby girl.  We hadn't decided on the name and EMX said that I had to choose before our nurse had to leave for the day.  Even though EMX and R really liked the name Nora, I knew in my heart that I just could not NOT give our daughter the name that I've loved ever since I thought about having kids 10 years ago, even before EMX and I were engaged!

Welcome to our family Giselle Marie!  We are so excited you are here!

For up to date pictures, go to  EMX cannot stop taking pictures!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Another letter to Kid B - Love Mommy

Dear Kid B,

Hi.  Remember me?  You should.  You're growing inside me.

For the last several weeks, I've been freaking out your dad at night when you decide to move or shift in my belly.  It's a cool thing to watch with my shirt covering my belly, but lift up the shirt so you can see the actual belly, and Daddy gets super freaked out.  I find it to be quite humorous actually.  The other day, your big brother R (who is SOOOOO psyched to meet you btw) was sitting on my lap and you kicked him in the back.  He didn't mind though.  He thought it was pretty cool!

You may remember from this post, that your Auntie Tay likes to write letters.  In her letter to you, she talked about our work out sessions together.  We worked out together tonight actually.  Aunt Jen was there too!  Tonight, Auntie Tay and Aunt Jen, along with 2 other women who happened to be near us, had the pleasure of seeing you move around while I was working out!  While doing our ab workout, you decided that you  needed a little work out as well and started moving all around.  Right now, I cannot figure out how you are positioned and I was REALLY trying to figure that out, but you kept moving and shifting.  I think you and I freaked out everyone, but again, I thought it was pretty humorous.

I'll get serious now for a moment or two.  Daddy, R and I are so excited to meet you!  It seems like we just found out about you, but in about a month or so, you will be here!  R tells me he is going to be my BIG helper. He assures me that he'll help me change your "stinky" diapers and sing songs to you to help you sleep.  We've been practicing some songs every night actually.

Daddy took some pictures of us this past weekend.  R and I decided that we should pose with the stuffed turtle that R picked out for you a while back.

This is proof that R DOES love you.  :)

And this is proof that Mommy and R are goofy and your dad makes us crack up.  :)

In closing, Kid B, I promise, we'll figure out a name for you too.  I SWEAR we will not call you Kid B after you are born - at least not for very long.  :)

We love you!


Sunday, March 18, 2012

An Open Letter to Kid B - love Auntie Tay....

Prepare yourselves..... If you need to pee, do it now, or else you may pee yourself laughing.

My BFF Tay wrote this letter to Kid B last weekend while I spent time on the couch attempting to feel better.  AND she said I could share it with you!  Best.friend.ever.  Maybe someday I'll share her letter to R as well, if you are lucky.

Monday, February 6, 2012

An informal name poll for Kid B

Kid B is "due" in 12 weeks (Yea for 3rd trimester!) and EMX and I, while we both like each other's top picks for names, cannot agree on a boy or girl name.  So, while we are not going to commit to a poll like these people, I thought an informal poll would be fun.

To keep it a little fair, I won't reveal which pick is mine and which pick is EMX's.  The links are there just for easy reference, though the reason why we each like our choices is not really dependent on the names' meaning.  We are also open to help with the different spellings listed below.  While we like different names (not in the top 10 name set), we do like names that will be easy to understand/read out loud in class.


Nora Gisele (Giselle)


Clark(e) Douglas
Trent Douglas

So, to reiterate again, just in case, the final choice will NOT be dependent on this poll, but I thought it would be fun to get some outside feedback.  I'd still like to believe that I'll have the final say - you know, after I've carried Kid B for 40 weeks, and given birth.  That whole chestnut.  


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The mystery of the missing cookie - SOLVED

On the way home from our recent quick Boston trip, EMX and I made a stop at Holland Farms in Yorkville, NY.  What looks like a normal "convenient store/deli" from the outside houses some of the best desserts I have ever tasted  I am not exaggerating.  Their half moon cookies are amazing and their headlight donuts make you never want to eat or drink ANYTHING ever again.  Ever.

Once I realized how close Holland Farms was to the Thruway on the way to Boston, I immediately contacted my Mother-in-law and told her to get her order ready so I could call it in.  Holland Farms will ship their half moon cookies, but they will not ship their headlights.  My in-laws requested 6 "fingers" and 6 headlights.  For the younger Obers, we ordered 6 headlights and 6 half moon cookies.  3 chocolate bottom, 2 white bottom and 1 full moon - a white cookie with all white frosting.  I also knew that I would get a headlight for the road.

We stopped Sunday afternoon, picked up our order and ordered some goodies for the road.  I immediately regretted not getting a 2nd to-go treat, but EMX talked me into staying in my seat and just eating the one.

When we arrived home on Sunday, we had to share our treats with my L and her fiancee B, since we are oh so generous.  But there were stipulations.  They could choose a headlight or a half moon - one or the other.  And they were under strict instruction that if they chose a headlight and did not appreciate the awesomeness after their first bite, that they were to let me know immediately and I would finish the headlight and let them have a half moon cookie.

They appreciated the awesomeness, so I decided to eat a white bottom half moon cookie as my dessert (which I did share with B).  So that would leave one white bottom half moon cookie.

Cut to last night - Tuesday night.  I had a headlight Monday evening and the rest of the headlights are nestled safely in the garage freezer.  I was moving the full moon cookie to my lunch bag (a gift for my friend J at work) and was looking for the last white half moon cookie.  BUT, it was MISSING.  Where was the cookie?  I checked the garage freezer to see if I had frozen it.  Nope.  Not with the headlights.  I asked EMX if he had eaten it.  Nope.  He only will eat the chocolate bottom half moon cookies.  I tried to think about when I could have possibly eaten that last white bottom half moon cookie.  I sat and sat for a good 10 minutes trying to remember.  Then I got tired and decided to go to sleep.  But I STILL could not remember eating that darn cookie and it was really starting to bother me.  Did I sleep walk and eat the cookie?

This morning I woke up, went to work, and as soon as I got there, I emailed my sister L to see if I had given them a cookie for the road.  NOPE.  I also emailed my father-in-law to see if he had moved the cookie.... or, if when he came over our house on Monday to make sure my straightener was turned off (benefits of living in the same neighborhood as your in-laws), he had snatched the cookie and taken it.  NOPE.  That left sleepwalking, which I simply could not accept.

Tonight after work, I was pressed for time.  I had only 45 minutes from the time I left work to drive home, change, make the boys dinner, find the cookie and get to Super Strength class.  I checked the recycling bin which held the cookie boxes.  Not there.  I checked the fridge again.  Not there.  I asked EMX AGAIN if he had eaten the white bottom cookie.  NOPE.  I then checked the garage freezer AGAIN.  And there it was - IN the freezer door shelf.


Yet another example of pregnancy brain.

Kid B better be super cute and super smart because it is seriously taking all of my brain cells.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Minestrone soup - the lazy way

I've been loving soup and sandwich for lunch lately and I would rather make soup and bring it than eat canned soup. It just seems so much healthier to me.

So here is the original recipe that I've been using:

I was introduced to a few months ago and I LOVE it!  I love being able to make more healthful versions of usually decadent or unhealthy food. 

Yesterday when I had originally planned to make soup, I only needed a few things from the grocery store, and used a few substitutions so as to reduce the amount of items that I needed to purchase.  My modifications are as follows:
  • Instead of diced tomatoes, I used canned whole tomatoes and just diced them up (b/c I had a ton of whole tomatoes and didn't get the right size can of diced tomatoes while shopping).
  • I used dried herbs instead of fresh (b/c I was lazy).
  • I added 3 cups of fresh baby spinach instead of 2 (b/c I like spinach).
  • I added 1 cup (before cooking) of ditalini pasta (b/c that is what I had).
  • I added 2 tbsp parmesan cheese (b/c I didn't have a leftover cheese rind).
  • I added more like 4 cups of reduced sodium chicken broth - I didn't measure.  I just poured it in my crock pot until it looked full enough.
For a 1 cup serving here are the nutritional values of my modified/lazy version:

111 calories, 23 g carbs, 0 g fat, 8 g protein, 5 g fiber. 

Paired with a sandwich or salad and it's the perfect lunch for me!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

An Overdue Christmas Oberview

The Christmas season is a busy time for everyone and we are no exception.  Between Thanksgiving and Christmas is when I do "the baking."  It's a stressful time for me - but I love doing it and I cannot imagine not doing it every year.

This year I tried a new chocolate crinkle recipe and it did not disappoint.  You can find the recipe here.  I quadrupled the amount as I like to have a good amount of every type of cookie that I make.  I could have probably tripled the amount and been fine.  In fact, these cookies are the only ones that we still have left.  :)

For our Christmas day meal, I always make the same meal.  It's one of my favorites to prepare and is quite nice to make a lot of the dishes ahead of time.
Spiral cut ham with cloves and pineapple
Creamy Potluck Potatoes
Smashed Sweet potatoes
Rosemary and Sea Salt Rolls
COOKIES for Dessert

Since I am baking cookies for a month prior to Christmas, I don't see a point in making another extravagant dessert for Christmas Day.  Instead I just put out a big plate of every kind of cookie and let my family graze on them.

I assemble both types of potatoes the day prior to Christmas or Christmas Eve so all I have to do on Christmas day is bake the ham (so simple), warm/bake the potatoes and rolls and cook the corn and peas.

I don't change much from year to year for the dinner menu because it works and it's SO good.  With the leftover ham this year, I diced it up and stuck it in the freezer and now any time I'm making an omelette or frittata (which happens quite frequently), I grab a handful of ham to throw in.  LOVE IT!

R-ster had a fabulous time opening gifts.  The fact that he is the only nephew/grandchild in the family makes him QUITE spoiled, but hopefully we are doing an OK job of keeping him at bay in the spoiled brat category.  He asked for a Spider-man Toy "like Joshua's" and a piggy bank this year.  Santa did bring him the Spider-man Toy and thankfully it was JUST like Joshua's.

My youngest sister L made Reed this amazing piggy bank!  (My middle sister J and I are insanely jealous of L's craftiness.)

R-ster insisted on wearing his new tie all day from Grandpa G and this Spider-man mask from Grammy made an appearance throughout the day - on numerous people naturally.

And lastly, my favorite picture from Christmas Day.  :)

Happy New Year!  I hope 2012 is a great year for everyone!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Yet another example of how having kids changes you

I ran across this article the other morning which made me kind of happy.

I'm a fan of Jay-Z.  Not in the I have all of his albums kind of way (I don't think I have any), but in the "if I hear him on the radio I turn it way up" kind of way and I kind of appreciate the fact that he's going to stop using the B-word.  Baby steps, but I appreciate it nonetheless.

Since having R-ster, EMX and I definitely had to edit our musical choices at home.  When R-ster was first born, we listened to A LOT of Radiohead and Coldplay.  Nice, easy, softer tunes with no real threat of bad words.  Now, everytime I hear either band, particularly Radiohead, I think of the early days of babydom.

I like to "get my groove" on to all kinds of music.  One of my favorite things to do is to put some music on and just dance around the house with R-ster.  Thankfully, he usually likes to do the same, so he obliges.

Monday, January 16, 2012

"Kid B"

So here we are.  Week 25!  HOLY COW this pregnancy is going fast.  I'm definitely not complaining about it.  I'm not the "Oh I LOVE being pregnant type."  Don't get me wrong, I don't despise it, but I like NOT being pregnant more.  :)

Seeing as I haven't written much about the pregnancy at all, I figured I would give a little update - don't worry.  It won't be TMI.  :)

So according to this pregnancy website, the baby is now the size of an eggplant.  Yea!  It's now weighing between 1.5 - 2.5 lbs.

As you may notice, I am calling Kid B "it."  I know this may annoy some people, but I have no problem calling Kid B "it" until "it's" born, since we don't know if "it" is a boy or a girl.  In daily conversation, sometimes I call Kid B, "he" and sometimes I call Kid B, "she."  I have no idea one way or the other and the words I use change daily - or sometimes several times through the day.  And I'm OK with that - so you better be too!

I'm feeling great so far.  In the first trimester, I thankfully didn't get much of the dreaded morning sickness.  I had moments of queasiness and certain foods totally grossed me out, but thankfully, I felt overall OK. In the second trimester, I'm continuing to work out as much as possible, to try to keep my weight gain down since I gained "a little" too much weight with R-ster.  I've had a couple of cravings that were non healthy (the day I HAD to have a Tom Wahl's cheeseburger and fries instead of the veggie burger and roasted vegetable meal I had originally planned for that night, and the pizza and wings that we had last night), but overall, I've been wanting to eat a whole lot of baby spinach, both steamed and raw, with a little splash of dressing or lime juice, and blueberry stuff (yogurt, blueberries in my morning oatmeal, etc.).  So that has definitely helped me so far in my weight gain situation.

I'm continuing to track my food intake vs exercise.  I'm definitely more sporadic with it since I'm supposed to be gaining weight.  But it helps to make sure I'm not overindulging too much.

As a family, we are keeping SUPER busy.  It seems that we have at least one activity planned each weekend, or even multiple activities.  Maybe that is what is making this time go by so quickly.  :)