Sunday, May 26, 2013

Magic milk cookies

I swear I didn't die. Someone actually emailed me recently asking if I started a new blog because she hadn't seen anything here in so long.

No, no new blog. Just still trying to get a handle on this new life. I hope to be able to blog some updates lately, but my poor sweet baby has struggled so bad with acid reflux that we pretty much have to constantly struggle with her to eat (not much appetite/throws it up) and to sleep (can't sleep - reflux wakes her up). Most days I feel like it's a success if I eat three meals and/or take a shower. Baby Zantac didn't do enough to help and now we're on to Baby Prilosec which, knock on wood, seems to be taking care of a lot of it. So maybe I'll return to the land of the living pretty soon.

In the meantime, I've had several people ask me for this magic recipe so I'm posting it here for everyone's reference! My wonderful neighbors brought over these lactation cookies and gave me the recipe. I find them very tasty and they're chock-full of ingredients to help boost milk supply. This batch made me 4.5 dozen - I froze 3 dozen in ziploc baggies of six and pull them out as needed (taste fine cold!) If you're needing a boost, whip up a batch.

What you need:
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. peanut butter
1 c. ground flax seed
4 T brewer’s yeast
1/3 c. water
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs1 3/4 c. rolled oats
Optional mix-ins (whatever you want!): chocolate chips, peanuts, walnuts, pecans, raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds - get creative

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.

In a separate, large bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Add peanut butter and sugars and beat well. Add vanilla, yeast, flax, and water and beat until smooth and creamy. Add eggs on at a time, beating well between additions.

Slowly beat in flour, then oats. Then mix in all your fun goodies (Mine have 2 cups chocolate chips, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1/2 cup chopped pecans, 1/2 cup raisins)

Drop onto parchment-lined paper and bake for 12 minutes.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Life according to Instagram

Whew. I'm tired. Who's surprised?

I keep intending to find more time to blog... I want to document all these little Emma "firsts" so we never forget a single thing. But then I end up just staring at her for an hour. Or taking a nap together. And I think that's better.

But I do take a ton of pictures of her every day. I'm sure to most people they all look the same but I keep thinking "look at that cute little smile! that's different than yesterday."

So if you're interested in seeing more photos of Emma than you'd ever care to see, follow me on Instagram (esweeting). And here's some of my recent favs:

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Emma's birth story

Emma was due Monday, February 25. We met with our wonderful doctor the Friday before and she told us that I was 3 cm dilated and 90 percent effaced. She asked if I wanted to have my membranes stripped, but I was reluctant. I asked if I could have the weekend and do it Monday and she said that was fine, she thought I'd go into labor that weekend anyway.

But the weekend came and went and by Monday morning I hadn't made any progress. I went in and had my membranes stripped (far less painful than I expected), but nothing happened. I was having no contractions at all. My doctor said she was surprised I'd made it that far and she started talking about scheduling my induction. We set a date for Thursday, February 28.

Tuesday night we went to Chuy's (where I asked for whatever was the spiciest on the menu) and then went for a long walk around the mall (we went in Janie and Jack where the two sales ladies were asking my questions about baby. "When are you due?" "Yesterday" "hahaha, I bet it feels that way" (sales lady #2, eyeing my misery and belly) ".... no, I think she's serious...")

I had trouble going to sleep that night... I was just feeling so anxious. I finally fell asleep around 1 am. But then I started waking up frequently with an ache in my back. Around 3, after waking up several times, I woke Hans and told him I didn't think he'd be going to work that day. He didn't really respond, just turned his alarm off and rolled back over.

Around 8 on Wednesday, I woke up because I felt something... weird. I rushed to the bathroom and discovered I'd lost a lot of fluid, but not nearly enough to make me think my water had broken. I texted a good family friend who recently had a baby and asked her what it was like when her water broke - she told me it was quite a lot. She recommend that I take a shower and walk around and see how I felt before calling the doctor.

I got in the shower and five minutes later it felt like I got hit by a train. I grabbed the side of the shower for support and I'm pretty sure I screamed because Hans came running. The contractions were so hard I couldn't stand up, couldn't speak, couldn't even really move until it passed. Hans started timing them and was surprised to find that they were two minutes apart. He wanted to go to the hospital, but I had always heard to do as much of early labor at home as possible - if you go to the hospital too early, they may send you home. I stayed in the shower until the hot water ran out and then I was kneeling on the floor next to the bed and kind of hanging off the bed to take the pressure off my back. After two hours of this, Hans was convinced this was not "early labor" and called our doctor. They asked if we could come in to the office and they would check me to see if it was time to go to the hospital.

We made it to the doctor's, but I couldn't make it down the hall. They had to bring me a wheelchair. In the exam room, before I even got on the table for the exam, the rest of my water broke. They did the exam anyway and found that I was 6 cm dilated. Yup, we should be at the hospital.

Getting to the hospital is all a little hazy for me. I was in so much pain at this point that I was pretty incoherent. I don't really remember going to the hospital or getting into the room. I had no clue who was in the room and I know they were talking to me, asking me questions, but I couldn't process what they were saying and I wasn't capable of answering. They had trouble getting my clothes off and getting me into the hospital gown and into bed because the contractions were so hard and so close together that we had to time each thing for the 60 seconds between contractions. I discovered later (but have no memory of it happening) that they blew two IVs in my right arm before successfully getting one in my left. It also took them three tries to get my blood drawn.

I could hear them talking and heard them discussing my birth plan. I had said that I wanted to consider narcotics before the epidural, based on how my delivery was going. I started violently shaking my head and they asked "epidural now?" to which I nodded emphatically.

I know the guy came in. I couldn't pick him out of a lineup. I don't think I spoke a word to him. He said I'd feel a bee sting, which I did, and then a lot of pressure, which I didn't.

Then the room was empty. And 20 minutes later I felt like myself again. It was so wonderful. I can't describe how good it felt to have that pain gone. Since I'd been hard laboring for over three hours, they said they'd let me rest for a little bit before coming back to check my progress.

I felt so good that I was convinced the epidural had slowed my labor. I felt nothing - I was lying in the bed texting people! When they came back 45 minutes later to check me, I thought "please, let me have progressed 1 cm, or even just half a cm."

She checks and says "ok, you're 100%" and Hans and I are both thinking, "Ok, that's good, I was 90 percent effaced for a long time, so at least we're making progress." And she tells us that no, no, she meant I'm 100% everything.. effaced and 10 cm dilated and it's time to push. And I say no! She looks at me like I'm crazy but I'm thinking... I don't FEEL like I need to push, so I'd rather wait for my body to catch up so that I can push with the urge to push (hoping that this might reduce my odds of tearing). She agreed to let me wait another 30 minutes and see if the baby descended more. When she came back, the baby has indeed descended further and she tells me I need to try pushing, even though I'm not quite feeling it.

I ended up pushing for two hours, which many people have told me sounds horrible, but really wasn't as bad as it sounds. It certainly didn't feel like two hours. For the first hour, my contractions had spread to five minutes apart, so my pushes were fairly far apart and weren't as effective as they could have been. My doctor wanted to give me some pitocin to bring them closer together, but I was reluctant - I'd made it that far without pitocin and I didn't really want to get it. But after the first hour and my contractions weren't getting closer together, she convinced me.

When Emma was born, I didn't even know she was out. I was all geared up for the next push (which made delivering the placenta quick and easy!) I didn't realize she was out until they set her on my stomach and then I just kinda stared at her. I kinda went into shock - I couldn't believe it was over and she was here, she was mine.

Hans was in a similar kind of shock, but a little more euphoric. The only part of our birth plan that we were firm on was that Hans would get to announce the gender. They held the baby up to him and he just stared with a big silly grin on his face, wondering why everyone was looking at him.

"What is it?"
"It's a baby!!"
"No, what IS it?"
"Oh... it's a girl!!"

Daddy's first diaper change! 

Her little coming home outfit
From when I woke up to when Emma was born was less than 9 hours. We'd always heard the average first time labor was 18 hours, so we were totally prepared for that. We had a hospital bag full of magazines, games, an ipad with movies loaded up, and we'd planned on walking the halls, using the shower, the birthing bar and ball, all kinds of stuff and we ended up doing none of that. It all went so quickly and so much better than I expected. My epidural was wonderful and I can't believe I ever considered not doing it. I know plenty of amazing women who have gone without and man, I am AMAZED by all of you.

Recovery has been a little challenging and I am so thankful for the wonderful support system we have. I ended up with second degree tears (the doctor won't even tell me how many stitches I have... she avoided the question twice when I asked) and I must have had a bad reaction to *something* because three days after Emma was born, I started swelling terribly. I had to go back to the doctor and had a ton of tests run, but nothing was found. They gave me some medication that helped with the swelling and then I was finally able to start healing (stitches don't do well with increased swelling. Ouch).

The wonderful thing about being one of the last in our group of friends to have a baby is that we have some very knowledgable friends to help us out. We were blessed to have the whole Powell family here for our first weekend home and Aaron and Karina were so great helping us figure out how to swaddle the baby, give baths, and Karina helped me a lot with breastfeeding. My good girlfriend Jess should really be a midwife - she had some amazing herb concoction that felt fantastic on my stitches. And my friend Erin was so sweet to come over in the wee hours of the morning on Emma's first night of cluster feeding to help me recover after my alien baby wanted to feed for 8 hours straight. And then we had so many people bring meals and stop by to keep me company while Hans headed back to work... it's been such a blessing. We are so lucky to have so many good people in our lives.
Welcome home, little one!

We are still adjusting to life as parents. I look at her beautiful little face sometimes and can't believe the hospital let us leave with this gorgeous little creature. We love her so much and feel so blessed to be her parents. And, of course, we always stick a camera in her face so expect to see more photos of her than you'd ever care to see :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Welcome, Emma!

Emma Carolyn Sweeting
Born at 5:09 pm on Wednesday, February 27
Weighed 7 pounds 8 ounces
Doctors announced her as both 19 inches and 19.5 inches 
(and the pediatrician measured her the next day at 20.5, so who the heck knows)
Full head of dark black hair, mommy's eyes and daddy's nose

My blog has been a bit silent lately as I try to figured out mommyhood. Whew! But expect a lot more posts - and photos! - coming soon.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Finished nursery

Part I of our nursery makeover took us from nasty beadboard and blue walls to a neutral and blank slate.

We've spent the last few months making and adding little details and decorations. We wanted to continue the hot air balloon theme and add some subtle color without going overboard. Check it out!

We really struggled with what to do with the curtains ... everything we tried seemed to overpower the room. We ended up repurposing curtains from the downstairs living room and we're happy with the way it makes the window feel finished without being over the top. 
We did add some tie-backs using leftover fabric from the bunting. I was surprised by how easy these were to make. If you need the tutorial, it's here - just adjust the size. I doubled what she had listed because I wanted thicker ones and I'm glad I did.
Hans added some shelves inside the closet and I'm so glad for the extra storage space! And yes, I realize that's a lot of pink clothing. No, we don't know anything, we just have friends who recently had twin girls and sent us a box of all their newborn clothes. 
I couldn't find a crib skirt I liked and they're shockingly expensive! I really loved the bumper that went with our bedding set, but we had already decided not to use bumpers. But it was cheaper and cuter than the crib skirt, so we bought it and decided to put it UNDER the mattress, instead of above. And I really love how it looks there! 
Our frame gallery! I made the "child of god," "places you'll go," and "dream big little one" prints and bought the other three off etsy. The frame will eventually hold baby's going home onesie, which is currently packed in my hospital bag (it also has hot air balloons on it!) 
This was easy, just took forever! I had fun picking out the fabric. I actually made two of these and we were going to cross them over each other, but it was too much. So I have an extra if anyone wants one :)
I am particularly proud of this mobile - it was a project!! But I'm so happy with how it turned out. Hans helped,  of course :) You can buy the pattern from Craft Schmaft, or off etsy.

Thanks to the Schadalees for the giraffe - he matches perfectly! And I finally found this turquoise lamp at Home Goods. Gosh, I love that place.
The only thing missing is that we plan to put the baby's name on the wall above the crib... once we figure out what that is :) Come on baby, we're ready for you!

Monday, February 25, 2013

40 weeks!!!

Well, it's 11:11 PM on my due date and.... no baby. So we're going over due. That's fun.

How Far Along: 40 weeks
Size of the Baby: Jackfruit (what the heck is that?), 20 inches, ~7.5 lbs
Weight gain/loss: Nope. No clue. I think total for pregnancy is in the 20-25 pound range.
Sleep: Actually not sleeping too badly, when I can fall asleep. But it's kinda like the night before Christmas when you were a kid... I'm so anxious and nervous and excited it's hard to fall asleep.
Best Moment of the Week: This weekend wasn't particularly remarkable, but it was still wonderful. Since it was our last weekend just the two of us, we kinda hunkered down and just relaxed together. We went out to dinner Friday (Thai curry, extra spicy) and went for a nice, long walk around Town Lake Saturday. We also did a lot of just napping and relaxing together. It was wonderful - I'll miss this.

Movement: Slowed down considerably. I guess there's just no where to go! But there's definitely a lot of being able to feel very hard, round things poking out.
Symptoms: The swelling has gone down amazingly the past few days!! it feels wonderful.
Food Cravings: French bread with nutella.
Gender: Can't wait to find out.
Belly Button in or out: It's not poking out, but it's definitely not in anymore. I'd say just flush.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Just kinda in general, but I can't pinpoint what's causing it.
Labor Signs: I'm getting a little frustrated, actually. I'm up to 3.5 cm and 90 percent effaced, and I lost my mucus plug over the weekend. But I really don't think I'm having contractions. If I am, I'm not feeling them. I saw the doctor Friday afternoon and again this morning and she was absolutely shocked that I didn't go into labor over the weekend. Why doesn't baby want to come out??
Wedding ring on or off: Mostly not wearing anything still, occasionally the fake.
What I miss: Routine. I kinda feel like I'm just in limbo right now, just waiting for things to start happening. I even missed work today!
What I am looking forward to: One way or another, baby will be here by the end of the week (I'm scheduled for an induction later this week).
Nursery: As of tonight, I'm finished! I'll try and do a whole post on it tomorrow, but we're really happy with how it turned out.
Emotions: I feel like I'm on an emotional roller coaster. I'm so excited about meeting baby and can't wait to hold him/her. I'm also so terrified of delivery it makes me want to puke if I think about it too much. I'm nervous about being a mom and how much our lives are going to change. I'm anxious just sitting around waiting. I swing back and forth between feeling ready and completely unready so fast I can't even figure out my current status. It makes me want to cry, but not because I'm upset or anything - just emotionally overwhelmed. Definitely time to get this kid out.
Stupid things I have done:  Can't think of anything in particular, just the normal stuff. Bumping into things, not being able to think of words, dropping things. Today I visited Hans at work and when I got to my car, had no clue where I left my keys. Turns out, David Banda's desk had acquired them (i don't know how...)

Still hoping baby makes an appearance on his/her own before my induction at the end of the week. Send some prayers our way!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

5 Quirks to Love

Today is one of my favorite days of the year - today we get to celebrate my favorite person. Happy birthday, Hans!

In honor of his big 2-7, I've decided to post five of Hans' cutest and most endearing quirks, if for no other reason than to embarrass him on his birthday.

1). "It's too dry."
He must have some sort of saliva problem, because his chief complaint with most food is that it's too dry. Short of water, pretty much everything is too dry. This is why he won't eat any sort of chips or crackers and he's not the biggest fan of any kind of pastry. Anything that can be covered in something wet will do - this usually involves copious amounts of syrup or ketchup. This is also why our freezer is continually stocked with ice cream - it's passably wet enough.

2). He has a weird obsession with Ikea mini pencils.
I kid you not, we probably have at least a hundred of these around the house. Every time we go to Ikea (which is more often than you might think) he grabs a whole handful of them, probably 25-30. You can find them stashed in any drawer, our night stand, on the kitchen cart, in the garage, in the glove compartment of the car. They're everywhere. He's a hoarder when it comes to these.

3). This is probably driving him crazy right now.
He has some OCD tendencies  Like, for example, it's probably driving him crazy that the extra paper towel roll rack in the bathroom is empty. It must have three in it at all times. Two or one is unacceptable and I'm not sure how this emptiness hasn't consumed him yet. For your birthday, I will make sure it's stocked tonight, sweetie.

4). Cereal monster from birth.
Looking through old photos sure explains a lot about Hans. For example... apparently his cereal obsession is life-long. We still have to buy 2-3 boxes of sugary cereal just for him each week. This week it's cocoa puffs and apple cinnamon cheerios. And he still likes to make the occasional cereal box fort while he eats.

5). He still sleeps this way!
Finding this photo made me laugh so hard. I don't know why he always has to sleep with his arms up like that, but he does. And actually, we noticed on one of the sonograms that baby sweeting lies like that, too. A family trait, I guess.

He has many, many, MANY other adorable quirks that I have yet to obtain photographic evidence of. Maybe next year I'll do 28 of them :) Happy Birthday, sweetheart. Babe and I love you so much and we are lucky to have you in our lives!