I just entered an online contest, and to enter, I had to say what I liked to cook for my family. My favorite all-time recipe is this: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Savory-Chicken-Breasts/Detail.aspx. It is soooo easy.

Not sure if there's anyone out there reading my blog anymore, but if there is, what's your favorite thing to make for your family?


Good Morning!

Greta's been smiling for some time now, but just recently, she's really started laughing. As I walked into her room this morning to get her from her crib, I could hear her usual sounds of cooing and thumping her legs on her crib mattress. As soon as she saw me this morning, she generously let out a big ol' belly laugh.

Sometimes, she's so serious. Last night, Eric came home and greeted her with a bunch of hellos, and she just stared at him blankly. She's quite particular with the smiles she doles out. If you're not amusing her, she doesn't waste her grins. If I want to get her to smile, one sure thing is to kiss her cheeks and wiggle my nose into her neck rolls. Gets her going every time!


Bottoming Out @ Babies R Us

I went to Babies R Us this afternoon.

I hate that store.

Prior to having a child, I absolutely despised BRU. I'd visit the place a few times a year to purchase gifts from baby friends' baby registries, and that was a nightmare. All the STUFF. Stuff I didn't know what to do with or what it was for. Anyone who has ever shopped at the store knows the anxiety I'm talking about -- print someone's 11-page baby registry list, locate a few items in your price range, and then do your best at navigating the baby megalomart to locate the gift. Better treat yourself to a few margaritas at the local Chevy's beforehand, lest you'd prefer to stab yourself in the eye from the pain of such a scavenger hunt.

Now that I have a better understanding of all the STUFF in the store, the anxiety has calmed just a bit. I can now focus a little better and don't feel so consumed by the monstrosity of the task at hand, of the store, of the selections. Yet, still, I remember at least two times during today's shopping trip where I paused for a moment and felt the need for a cigarette. I'm not kidding. And I don't even smoke.

Does anyone else absolutely hate shopping at BRU? I dread it. But, today I figured, what the heck -- I was out and about for my yearly ob/gyn visit, and you might as well get all the shitty tasks off the things-to-do list all at once, right?

I must preface this with noting that I enjoyed the well-woman exam much more than the shopping trip. Yes, enjoy was what I said. Because THAT is how much I hate shopping at BRU. I'd rather have my girl parts poked and prodded than patronize the monopoly-of-a-store that seems to only employ childless 16 year-olds who insist that they know what they're talking about when it comes to what children need.

Because I am not particularly fond of BRU, I try to limit my shopping excursions there. I keep a running list of things we need to buy there, you know -- baby things. Things that you could buy at Target or online but things that are just easier to buy at BRU because they offer more of a selection.

Today, I braved the frigid four-degree temperature, and headed to the local BRU with my accumulated list of baby needs. White long-sleeved onesies. Rice cereal. Baby food. Sippy cups. Pretty basic, or so I thought. $175+ and two hours later, I walked out with:

  • white Carter's long-sleeved onesies (Whether the brand be Carter's or Gerber, I absolutely love love love white onesies. I wish I would have known this a year ago because I could have saved so much moolah and not have bought so many fancy schmancy shirts.)

  • Carter's short-sleeved onesies (I couldn't pass up the pale blue and red cherry pattern!)

  • Gerber baby food (This is where my mind started to boggle. There's baby food in jars. There's baby food in plastic containers. There's stage 1, stage 2, stage 3... Peaches, pears, prunes. Carrots, peas, green beans. Ham in ham gravy, turkey and sweet potato dinner, chicken noodle dinner. TOO MANY CHOICES. I had no clue what to buy. All I could think of was all the cute little craft projects I wanted to make with the jars when we were done with the food).

  • Gerber rice cereal

  • Dapple baby toy wipes (Even though we don't leave the house often, I thought that when we do, these would be great to keep in the diaper bag for when toys get thrown on the ground.)

  • Gerber sippy cups (At our last appointment, our pediatrician suggested we start having Greta practice drinking water out of a sippy cup. I dread the mess that will soon ensue.)
  • Boon divided plates (This was an ORDEAL -- finding plates with divided sections, especially if you wanted plates minus splatterings of Elmo, Barbie and other obnoxious characters.)
  • bibs (Although we already have a decent assortment, I've fallen in love with the Bumkins brand of waterproof bibs. They wash up so nicely.)
  • Top 100 Baby Purees (Because apparently I think I have tons of free time and should enlist in making homemade baby food? Hell, after all the cash I dropped on jarred baby food today, I'll give anything a try once!)
  • two new Swaddle-Mes (My friend, Cara, lent me her daughters', and they have been a true Godsend. Greta can't sleep without them. But now that she is growing, she's starting to bust out of the small size.)
  • miscellaneous toys (Despite my best efforts to keep the toy explosion to a minimum, I felt the need to purchase some new little sound-making, brightly-colored doo-dads to entertain Greta. We think she's starting to teeth, so I got her toys that were chew-safe. Wait, that's dog-talk. I should rephrase that: I chose toys that are appropriate for teething babies. Sound better?)
  • a cloth book (As I type this, I'm too tired to remember which Roger Priddy book it was that I purchased.)

I just realized that perhaps it's a bit obnoxious or mundane to list my purchases, but I just spent too much time hyperlinking the products to go erasing my hard work. ;-) The main reason I included the links, though, is because I've got a few friends who are expecting or are new moms, and I know when I was on the hunt for products, I was constantly hounding my friends for their thoughts on must-haves. I'm not saying these items are all necessities, but I just thought I'd throw in my two cents on some baby products...

I think BRU overwhelms me because of all the choices it offers. And everything is displayed right BAM! in your face, so you're not sure if you need Dr. Brown's bottles or Avent or Born Free. The clothing situation is horrendous because IT'S JUST TOO MUCH. I imagine that the way I feel when shopping at BRU is similar to a man shopping at Walgreens, trying to pick out sanitary products for his girlfriend.

When exiting the store today, I realized that when I entered the store it was still daylight, and it was now dark. That's too much time spent in a place I feel sucks the air out of me.


Feeling happy...

because the new season of 24 starts this evening and American Idol begins this week as well. I never was a huge TV junkie, but with not leaving the house very often in recent, TV is my friend.


Growing Greta

I took Greta in for her RSV injection this evening, and she weighed in at 14 pounds, 9 ounces! We see the pediatrician Monday for Greta's six-month appointment. Am I bad for secretly wondering what I can do in three short days to beef her up to 15 pounds?

Yoga Mama

I recently signed up for a yoga class at our local rec center. My main goal for 2009 is to get healthy, so I thought a yoga class fell right in line with that. A little stretching, meditation, mindful movement -- how hard can it be? The instructor kept saying that yoga shouldn't hurt. But can I just say that I am sore today?! THAT is how out of shape I am -- I'm sore from basic stretching. Sad.



Dear Greta,

Happy half birthday to you! You're now six months old, and some times I feel like it was just yesterday that I first met you, and then some times I feel like I've known your little old soul forever.

Today marks six months since I met you for the first time. It was the day after you were born, after I finally came out of the haze of the c-section drugs. Despite it being the most emotional moment of my entire life, I don't think I cried when I first saw you. I think my mouth just hung open as in, "She's mine? That little beautiful thing is mine?" It was like Christmas when you get a toy that you really really wanted, and you assumed you'd get it, but you never really believed it until you actually got it. Only this -- this -- you -- it's better than any Christmas gift I've ever received.

As I write this letter, I am slightly overwhelmed as I try to remember all your most recent little milestones. I'm kicking myself in the butt for not writing you a 5-month letter, because now, with two months passed, it's hard to recollect two month's of accomplishments. You wouldn't think THAT much has changed in such a short amount of time, but YOU! You are constantly changing!

We began feeding you rice cereal at the end of November, and since that time, you've tried peas, peaches and applesauce. For the record, YOU HATE PEAS.

You're now a little over 14 pounds, and you've got the chunk on your legs to show it. We are so proud of your chub. Goodbye skinny little legs, hello rolls.

You're a happy baby. You don't cry much. From blowing raspberries to squealing like a cat that had its tail stepped on, you're constantly surprising us with new developments. Most recently, you've started to kick your feet when you get really excited, and you like to slap your hands on your belly with glee. You like to hear yourself make noise, and your laughs are priceless. Your smiles win over my heart a thousand times a day. The way you wake up in the happiest of moods, to the extent that Daddy's started a video diary of you waking up in the morning just to capture the cheerfulness.

You've started to gain more interest in playtime, and I love watching you explore your toys with your little hands and mouth. You stare at everything in awe and wonder, constantly reminding me that the simplest of things are often the most interesting and beautiful. You remind me about a lot of things, things that adults can often easily forget. Mainly, that life is about the basics. A nap can fix everything, and a snack can cure the crankiest of moods. That, when in doubt, a little snuggling calms unresolved anxiety. Love always trumps things because a little one-on-one attention feeds the soul more than any fancy toy ever will. Thank you for reminding me.

As time goes by, this thing called motherhood gets less and less daunting. I feel like I understand you more and more each day. I've learned to read your cries and am pretty proud that I can usually tell if you're hungry or bored or tired based on the sound of your cry. I'll brag about this knack now, but, because you're a girl, I know all too well that I won't be able to predict your moods as you grow into a little girl and eventually into a woman. I'm going to enjoy it now.
And enjoy you, I do.
I love you, baby girl.



One of my favorite blogs is http://www.simplemom.net/. I subscribe to its daily feed, and there rarely is a day where I'm not intrigued by what Tsh has to say. In one of her most recent posts, she encourages her readers to reflect on 2008 BEFORE setting 2009 goal's and resolutions. She brilliantly points out that "resolutions made in haste can be pointless, discouraging and depressing." She suggests setting yourself up for success by really thinking about what you want out of 2009 instead of just aimlessly naming lofty new year's vows. Here's my stab at her reflection questions.

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?

Greta Laine entered the world!

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?

I had a baby seven weeks prematurely.

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?

I expected joy when Greta was born. What I didn't necessarily expect was that I'd fall in love with my husband all over again for different reasons than why I originally fell in love with him. He is now a father, the father of our child, and he is wonderful at it.

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?

I had high blood pressure prior to getting pregnant, so I decided to consult a high risk obstetrician to treat my condition along with the pregnancy. I knew that because of my pre-existing condition of hypertension, I was at a higher risk for developing preeclampsia. Through diet, exercise and medication, my doctors controlled my blood pressure throughout the pregnancy. However, eventually, around my 30th week, my blood pressure started to spike, and I started showing signed of preeclampsia. Despite all my efforts to fight it off, preeclampsia was not just knocking at my door; it was beating it down.

My original due date was August 19. I ended up on bedrest in the hospital on July 3. Greta was born July 6. Although I'd tried my best to dodge preeclampsia and to educate myself on the condition, I was never fully prepared for the what-ifs of it all. I knew about preeclampsia, and I knew its symptoms. I didn't fully realize how things would go down. I wasn't ready for my baby to be born early and to spend the first two weeks of her life in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.

5. Pick three words to describe 2008.




6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2008 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).




7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2008 (again, without asking).




8. What were the best books you read this year?

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Your Pregnancy Week by Week by Glade B. Curtis

It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff by Peter Walsh

Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth about Pregnancy and Childbirth by Jenny McCarthy

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?

Eric -- Poor guy had to deal with a crazy hormonal pregnant woman. God bless him.


Cara -- The girl offered so much support to me as a clueless pregnant girl AND as a clueless new mom. Words can never be enough to thank her!

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?

I became a mother.

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?

My heart expanded two-fold when I had my daughter. I never knew I could love someone so much. At the same time, I never knew that it could hurt so badly to love someone so much, to worry so much about them.

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?

As cheesy as it sounds, I feel like having a baby made me feel more in love with life and more appreciative of the soulfulness and spirituality of people. Everything is so much more beautiful now that I see things through the eyes of a mother.

13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?

I grew a baby!

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?

I grew close to Eric, as we bonded over an experience that tested every aspect of our relationship. Expanding from two to three was challenging, but I feel that we passed with flying colors.

I grew close with several "mommy" friends of mine -- girls that were friends before but became even more invaluable once we shared the common bond of motherhood. Y'all know who you are -- THANK YOU THANK YOU! :-)

A couple days after Greta was born -- hormonally-charged, anxiety-ridden, dealing with the emotional pain of having a baby in the NICU and suffering from post-c-section aftermath -- in a moment where I felt like the world was falling apart, in walked my sister-in-law into my hospital room. As I sat there crying, she saved me from feeling so alone. I am forever grateful for her being there that day.

15. What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home?

I like to decorate.

16. What was your most challenging area of home management?

Keeping up with the laundry is a bitch. I don't mind washing it, but I hate putting it away.

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?

Surfing the Internet is like this big black hole where all my time seems to escape.

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?

I rested when I needed to so I could grow a baby!

19. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?

Motherhood is the best thing I've ever done with my life.

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2008 for you.

I could get flowery and wordy here, but in a nutshell, all my dreams came true in all my first moments with Greta -- the first time I felt her little body against my skin, the first time I heard her little cry, the first time I tried to nurse her, the night we brought her home, the first time she smiled at me...


2008 was a big year. I had a baby. I met the most beatiful girl in the entire world, and she is mine. We became a family.

I got cut to part-time at my job at the law firm. That sucked at the time, considering I was in my first trimester of pregnancy and there was no way I could go find another job while pregnant, because who wants to hire a woman who will be soon be taking a 3-month leave of absence? Being cut from full-time status resulted in discontinuation of health insurance. Dealing with this while pregnant was stressful, but we got through it. I'm proud of how we handled it.

Eric made partner at his law firm. I'm quite proud of him and all his hard work.

I developed friendships that I think are going to be life-lasting. And even if they're not, I'm still blessed to say those friendships have been a huge part of some very important chapters in my life. The impact of those friendships cannot be measured by any means or adequately described by words.

I feel like 2008 was the first year that depression didn't play a big part in my life. Having Greta is definitely my biggest "accomplishment" of 2008, but keeping depression at bay, especially while pregnant -- that was huge for me.

I've so much to be thankful for, this I know.


Beautifully Written

I've got a bunch to say but am too tired to write right now. Instead, I'm going to post a link to something I came across earlier today. It's written by Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer. Reading it brought tears to my eyes. I hope you enjoy it just as much as I did.

My Daughter's Hands
Tonight my one-year-old daughter
Corrie has a cold. She was having trouble sleeping, so I had the distinct pleasure of rocking her--for a long, long time--to sleep. We sat there in the dark of her room, the rocking chair creaking slightly, her slow, even breaths a little raspy from her cold. Her head was nuzzled into my neck, and her right hand softly gripped the fabric of my shirt on my chest.

Corrie's hand. It's a plump little thing--dimpled, smooth and creamy white. I've always been fascinated by my children's hands, but tonight as I looked at Corrie's, I was overwhelmed with happiness--and a little sadness--to think of where those hands will travel. Tonight they're flawless little hands, untested by life's challenges and inexperienced in its joys. But where will those little hands go tomorrow, and the next day, and the next?...

Any day now those little hands will let go of mine as she takes her first step.

They'll grasp a pencil as she clumsily but surely learns to write.

They'll grip handlebars with a mix of joy and horror as her Daddy runs behind her on her bike, almost ready to let go.

In the teenage years those hands will wipe away many adolescent tears and slam many doors, but maybe, if I play my cards right, they'll still reach out for mine every now and then.

They'll pack her belongings as she leaves for home. And they'll open our front door again as she comes back to visit. A lot, if she knows what's good for her.

How I pray those precious hands spend more time spread open in joy, rather than clenched in anguish. But wherever they travel, I hope they're often clasped in prayer. I hope they're helpful hands, and merciful ones, and I hope they always have many, many other hands to grab onto.

They'll wear a diamond from a handsome young man, and they'll loosely hold her father's tuxedoed arm, eager to reach out for her future at the end of the aisle.

Those hands will grasp the bedsheets in pain as she fights to deliver her child, and they'll tremble in joy when she holds him or her the first time. They'll feel many little foreheads, apply many band-aids and hold open many books. And then, one night, she'll rock that baby to sleep, and she'll stare in bittersweet wonder...at its little hands.