08Sep 2014

Scenes from the {Labor Day} Weekend

Posted by at in family, weekends

I’m a week late but eh, whatever. Honestly, I’m shocked anything is getting posted in this space at all right now. It’s been commotion over here. You understand. So anyway! Over the Labor Day weekend, my sister got to meet my son for the first time. She lives about 10 hours away from me and I hate it. If there is someone you want to go through stuff with you, be there for things (good and bad), play with your babies, or whatever, it’s your sister.

Marin’s first social smiles were directed at my sister. Ever since then, Marin has adored her Aunt JuJu. They go months without seeing each other but they pick up right where they left off when they are reunited. Every time I say JuJu, Marin points to Julie’s picture. So needless to say, Marin was elated when Julie popped up at the house this weekend for some aunt-niece bonding and to meet Miller.

We cooked. We baked. We stayed up incredibly late drinking wine and playing board games. We weren’t able to go run around and do too much because of the heat and a newborn and all that but I have no complaints. We did make it out to “the best chicken fried steak in Texas,” which was most decidedly NOT, and my mom, sister, and I were able to pop over to Sur La Table. It was kind of a perfect long weekend. Side note: Uncle Tye taught Marin how to tell a secret. Funniest. Thing. Ever. 

Seeing Julie with my kids is one of my favorite things. Sisters have a bond that no one can understand, so seeing her love them and them love her is kind of the best. I wish it was much more frequent of an occurrence than it is. I wish we lived near one another. But right now, that is not our reality. And it could very well never be. So I soak up these precious interactions whenever possible and look forward to the holidays when we will all get to be together again.

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04Sep 2014

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Posted by at in food & drink, recipe

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It’s fall. You know what that means. Time to jump on the I love everything pumpkin train! This pumpkin cheesecake is the perfect starting point because it’s got all the flavors of autumn that I am ready to devour and yet it’s a chilled dessert, which is exactly what I need right now while the weather is still pretty warm. OK, very, very warm. My sister made this over the weekend and it was a major hit. So put it on your to do list for this weekend. I like it best with a fresh cup of coffee for a perfectly decadent afternoon treat. Enjoy!

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Ingredients for the crust:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg yolk

Ingredients for the filling:
4 8 ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups (1 pound) dark brown sugar
5 large eggs
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 15 ounce cans pumpkin puree

Instructions for the crust:
Whisk together flour, sugar, and graham cracker crumbs. Add butter and egg yolk. Mix until all the crumb mixture is moistened by the butter and egg yolk. Press into the bottom of a 9″ springform pan and bake for 10 minutes at 375. Remove from oven and let cool.

Instructions for the filling:
Drain any liquid from the pumpkin puree. Two cans should yield a bit more than 2 cups once the excess moisture has been removed. You want exactly 2 cups of puree.

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl. With a wooden spoon, mix in the salt, pumpkin puree, and vanilla. Beat in the eggs.

Using a stand or hand held mixer, combine the cream cheese and brown sugar until completely smooth. Gradually add in the pumpkin mixture until fully incorporated. Bring a kettle of water to a boil.

Place the crust/pan in the middle of two layers of aluminum foil. Fold the foil up on the sides of the pan and the trim. Place the pan in a large roasting pan. Pour the pumpkin cream cheese filling into the pan.

Pour boiling water into the roasting pan so that it comes halfway up the side of the springform pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Turn off the oven heat and prop the oven door open. Let the cheesecake sit in the oven, cooling for another hour. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it come to room temperature. Once it has cooled down, chill for several hours in the refrigerator, preferably overnight.

When ready to serve, gently remove the springform pan from around the cake. Tip: run a knife around the sides of the cake to prevent sticking as you unlock the pan.

Serve the cheesecake topped with fresh whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon.

 

adapted from this recipe

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03Sep 2014

Tales from the Trenches {Battle of the Binky}

Posted by at in baby, tales from the trenches

Ever wonder what it’s like with two babies under the age of two? I’ll tell ya.

Marin was pretty much off of her beloved binky (“beeeenk”) when we brought Miller home. It did not leave her crib except for the occasional meltdown in the carseat, which rarely happened. We use the Soothies in our house, which is also what you get at the hospital. It was really important to us that Miller get to sucking right from the get go because he would not be bottle or breastfeeding for awhile so the first night, Dustin got him going on the pacifier. The same Soothie Marin has come to know and love. And I mean looooove. So anyway, flash forward to the day we bring Miller home. Marin is cooing at him and things are going great….until he needs a binky. Marin lunged at him like a baboon and ripped it right from his mouth. As we are all, “Noooo, that’s the baby’s binky,” Marin is like, “Give me the precious!!!” We knew we had a problem. Dustin ran to Target and got Miller some Gumdrop pacifiers. Nope. Spit them out. He was totally used to the Soothies by then. My dad suggested different colors. So Dustin got Miller the blue binkies and Marin got pink binkies. It worked! The baby didn’t have her binky.

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Here we are and Miller is 8 weeks old…and Marin is now 8 weeks more addicted to her binky. Miller has a binky, Marin suddenly needs her binky. We keep them in her bathroom and she will stand outside the bathroom door, leaned into it in the most dramatic fashion, wailing as if her life was over. We even have a little song my mom made up because it’s so ridiculous. “The b-i-n-k-y, I need it or I’ll die…” Seriously.

My mom was telling me a story of how my aunt got one of her sons off of his pacifier. Apparently the doctor snipped the end off and it lost its allure. So as of last week, the binky Marin gets when not in the crib has been snipped. She can’t suck on it properly so she just kind of chews it. Hopefully this is our ticket to getting her pacifier free. Fingers crossed, everyone.

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19Aug 2014

Meeting Marin

Posted by at in baby, pregnancy

So this story is 15 months late but after writing down my delivery experience with Miller, I wanted to put Marin’s into words, as it is quite different from her brother’s entry into the world. Though it is also dramatic. If you know Marin, that should come as no surprise. 

I woke up on my due date over it. And I mean over it. 40 weeks and I was done. The day before I had an appointment with my OB and she stripped my membranes, in hopes to get things going. I had been sitting at 1 cm dilated and 80% effaced for about three weeks. Side note: that shiz hurt. A lot. I had also been informed at this appointment that she was leaving to go on vacation the next day (my due date). I may or may not (read: definitely did) have cried so hard that the nurse was nervous. Poor Dustin just stood there, holding my very swollen hand while I tried to put my head around the fact that my doctor, that I loved and adored, would probably not be delivering my first child, all the while having some serious cervical pain from the membrane stripping. But what are you going to do?

So, on my due date, I decided we should go shopping. My parents had come to Baton Rouge for “Baby Watch 2013,” so we all piled in the car and took off. I am going to go ahead and say now that I was not a very nice person that day. Like, not even a little bit. Everything was on my nerves. I had a feeling something was going down that day, so I had my mom take some pictures of Dustin, me, and the bump. I looked horrid, swollen, and kind of rude. That sums up my attitude that day. So I’ll just post this…

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We went out for some lunch and then went shopping. As we were in Baby Gap, I looked at my mom and told her I thought that perhaps my water had broken. I was very calm because I wasn’t totally sure and also, I just wanted the ball rolling. Dustin could not get us home fast enough. He was totally panicked and very curious as to why I was not. We got home and he had me texting my OB, asking her if she thought we needed to go in. I took a shower, washed and dried my hair, put on some makeup, and calmly wondered if today was the day.

Contractions started coming, probably around 7 minutes apart. I knew I didn’t need to rush to the hospital for this. Dustin did not care. He would rather sit in the ER until it got real than sit at home and wait. Around 9:00 PM, he threw our packed bags in the car and off we went. We held hands the entire way to the hospital, said a little prayer, and wondered if this would be our last night without a daughter.

Here is where I offer up too much info for some of you. Because it was May, I was super big pregnant, and we were outside, it was not broken water, but just general sweat in that vicinity. Sorry. This IS a birth story, you know. However, to my surprise, I was contracting every 4 minutes or so. An ultrasound was ordered to check up on the baby, since we were there and all. Eventually, the doctor on call let us know, in her words exactly, I had bought myself a ticket to an induction. Marin was not practice breathing, I had one high blood pressure episode at 37 weeks (I basically had a panic attack at my doctor’s appointment because I was like ummm this is all about to get real), and I was contracting. So at 11:00 PM, we settled in to a room up in L&D.

At 11:01 PM, my parents came waltzing through the door. My mom had full makeup on and they were totally grinning. I sent them home with a “what are you doing here, inductions can take forever.” They were just besides themselves excited about the first grand baby coming. But good grief. (love you, mom and dad) What I remember about that very long night was this: Friends played on TV Land all night and I was not upset about it, and Dustin slept on a tiny sofa and every time he woke up, he was after me to get an epidural already. Also, I did not like my night nurse.

After discussions with several people, I decided to get the epidural at around 6:00 AM. The OB would be in to break my water around 8:00 AM and apparently it’s super painful and then contractions would start hurting like a you know what. I figured I would have a baby with a lot of pain or no pain at the end of it so why bother with pain? I wanted to enjoy it, so the epidural came early. And it came heavy. So heavy, I was blocked as though it were a spinal. I was freezing cold, could not move a single toe, and even felt heaviness creeping up my chest. The day passed without any commotion and I slowly dilated to 5 cm…and then I dilated to 10 cm in an hour. It was go time. I pulled my hair into a ponytail and said let’s do this. I was all ready to go and then, because of that heavy epidural, my leg fell out of the stirrup. My nurse and Dustin were horrified but I didn’t even feel it. I sat there, laughing, as Dustin picked up my dead weight leg and placed it back into the stirrup. Then delivery commenced.

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Towards the end of an hour of pushing, the doc came in and announced that Marin was OP, or off position. Often this results in a c-section. I went beast mode and got her out in one final push. It resulted in a third degree tear for mom and seriously wonky head for daughter. So wonky, in fact, Dustin and I burst out laughing when they showed us our screaming bundle of joy. Normal parental reaction? Not sure. But after the laughter, my first thoughts were, “Hey, I know you.”

It took 45 minutes to stitch me up and I loved that time in the room. Our nurse snapped tons of pictures of us, though most came out blurry. Dustin and I were in that new parent bliss mode, marveling that we made a baby and she was here, in our arms, turning us into a little family of three.

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