Tuesday, April 15, 2014

No-bake "energy" "bites"

Lately I've been obsessed with these no-bake energy bites that my college pal posted on Facebook. The source appears to be… Pinterest, with several bloggers offering up different versions. Highly scientific sourcing. So in this post I'll just source the closest post to what I've been making, and their photo. There is no photo of my own because the first two times I made these I forgot to take one, and the last time I made a batch I got pretty classy with it and simply ate gobs out of the bowl with a spoon for two days. Not exactly photogenic that way.

Bottom line: I really dig these. They're the exact level of sweetness I seem to crave these days (did I mention that my pregnancy sweet tooth is still around?), can almost qualify as health food if I pretend not to know better, and feature everyone's favorite milk buddy, oats. (Although in an example of why research is maddening, they also feature ground flaxseed, which appear in lactation cookie recipes but also in warnings about what not to eat while breastfeeding.)

If you can't win, at least don't lose hungry? Something like that.


No-Bake Energy Bites


1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix and form into balls. Enjoy playing with your food. Ingest.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday I'm in Love

Oh my WORD it's been ages since a Friday I'm in Love post! This Friday is especially fun, because it's my birthday! After years of weekday birthdays, I'm so happy to be celebrating on a Friday night this year. Last year I was newly pregnant and wanted nothing more than to cuddle on the couch. This year, though, there's a lot to toast with my favorite guy. (Mostly, you know, my favorite girl.) Anyway, on to my picks for the week!


Games of Thrones, in your teenage dreams
 
 
Man I love reminiscing about disaffected teen angst. Man I love Game of Thrones. This brilliantly illustrated mashup, then, is my kind of thing for days.

 
Still Hating Walmart, all these years later....
 
 
Sometimes I feel like I've spent an eternity hating Walmart. I've written more research papers, blog posts, zoning codes, and 140-character missives against the company than I can remember. So this stuff is old news. Yet conveyed simply and graphically in this video, the message has never been as strong.


Vance Joy's "Riptide"
 
This song hasn't left my head for a month.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Ready to take on the world.

Much love to everyone who commiserated with me after my milk mantra this week - you really helped me ride out a dry spell. My luck changed today: 27 minutes just got me 8.3 ounces - huge improvement. Patience and perseverance is the name of the game over here!

This morning we had our cherry blossom photo shoot at the Tidal Basin, and I can't wait for the results. Naturally, our eternally smiling baby decided she wasn't interested in smiling for our awesome photographer Amanda. Isn't that always the way?! I'm hoping we got at least one happy expression in there, because we sure did work for it! After the outdoor shoot we went back to our house for some nursery photos. I've only taken casual Instagram shots of H's nursery, so I can't wait to show the details here in full! Her room makes me so happy.

Speaking of fun, it really doesn't get more fun than this, does it? I think it's the cutest thing in the world. The world that H can now conquer.


The best.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Milk mantra

Right now it's past midnight and I'm sitting alone downstairs pumping because I'm in a dry spell. I hate these. Everything's going fine and dandy for weeks and then omgwillibeabletofeedmybaby happens. H is a beast of an eater - 25 ounces just while I'm at work?! - and I so want to be able to keep up with her. So I'm working in late-night pumps and dawn pumps until my body sorts itself out. In the meantime I smell like maple syrup due to all the fenugreek, which makes me even hungrier than I already (always!) am.

Hazel's such a big eater that I find myself only barely staying ahead of her. It's a delicate balance to be sure, sometimes veering dangerously close to the edge. Some days I have one extra bottle in the fridge when I get home from work. Often there's nothing left over, and we have only what I pumped that day. There is no freezer stash. And no Plan B. And so when my body decides it's temporarily only going to work for the baby and not her mechanical equivalent, I have to go into overdrive. I can't not do everything I can to get her what she needs, even though her needs appear to be a tad on the extreme side. The pleasure she gets from eating probably comes from me anyway. So here I am, filling a quiet house with the loudest machine ever as the clock ticks.

I wonder if she'll ever know what this is like. The crazy balance of moving my computer and papers two or three times a day at work to set up in a different room, muting conference calls over my incessant whirring, having all of my colleagues know my pumping schedule? It's weird. But it also just feels like life, like the realities of women in the workplace, and there's a part of making people get over their weirdness about it that I really enjoy.

H is so awesome, though. She's my girl. Her grin just melts me. She's teething already, and having a tough time the last few days as a result. She's also rolling like mad and moving so much at night that she'll wake herself up, stuck in a crazy position. So between the extra pumping and middle-of-the-night wakeups to rescue an upside down baby, it's a tired house. That grin, though! Worth it.

This week we're attempting our first real family photos. I meant to do newborn photos, but I got cheap and time just sort of flew by. She's so much more fun now anyway, so I'm excited that we'll be capturing her at this age. My Wednesday morning work calendar proudly says "PTO - Cherry Blossom Photos." Part of me thinks my colleagues assume this is a euphemism for a strange pumping ritual and don't want to ask questions. I'm excited, though. And since I'm always calculating events as being good or bad for the supply, Cherry Blossom Photos are a WIN. Bonus hours of feeding her myself. Birthday dinner date on Friday with a babysitter at home: bad for the supply. And so it goes. One day at a time, though, that's the milk mantra around here.

Speaking of that most precious liquid, I'm now 30 minutes into this pump with 4.5 ounces on the books. Not great. But every bit counts. And tomorrow is another day.



Friday, March 21, 2014

Eggs!

You know those moments when you stumble upon a new way of doing a very simple task and feel utterly lame and excited all at once? That's me with this video of how to scramble eggs.

I know... how to scramble eggs. Every child's first cooking project, right?

I've always scrambled eggs by cracking them into a mixing bowl, whisking, and then putting them into a warm pan with a little melted butter or olive oil. I thought I made some pretty decent eggs. But then yesterday, I got an email from Tasting Table showing me just how shortsighted I've been my whole life.

Here's what they recommend:
  • Crack your eggs right into the pan, which should be cold
  • Add butter after your eggs
  • Use one extra yolk in addition to your whole eggs
  • Use a spatula, not a whisk
  • Don't stop stirring
I followed Tasting Table's recommendations to a tee today, and holy cow... seriously a thousand times better than any eggs I've ever made before. Absolutely creamy, and without any milk, cream, or cheese. SO yummy.

There are more details in the post itself, so go get your egginess on at The Perfect Egg. And look, a video!



Mind blown and bellies full over here. Please tell me I'm not the only one who's been scrambling eggs the wrong way!

Edited to add: Don't let the runniness in the video scare you! Mine have never looked like that. And yes, you can limit the amount of butter and they'll still be delicious :-)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Grand Cayman or bust

The wind chill outside is currently in the single digits. In March. In Washington DC. Yet there is hope on the horizon, in the form of an anniversary getaway.

We've spent our last two anniversaries in New Orleans, as you might remember. It's one of my favorite cities in the world, and there's something about the vibe there that just speaks to us. Strolling the streets hand in hand, music in the air, our bellies either full of delicious food or on the way to eat more delicious food... my kind of city in every way. This year, though, with baby in tow, New Orleans just didn't feel right. We also really wanted to get away, to take real time off (unlike our usual long weekends), to celebrate each other but also our little gal, and to go someplace new. Here's what we settled on:

Yes please.

We've rented a condo at Grand Cayman Island for a week in May. A week! T and I have actually never been to the Caribbean together, so it'll be new for all of us. H will turn six months old while we're there, and I practically squeal when I think about her baby toes in the Caribbean. I'm also excited that we have a condo instead of a hotel room to help create more of a "home away from home" atmosphere. Other good things: having a washer and dryer, having baby furniture already there, and being able to toast English muffins for breakfast instead of having to order $30 omelets every day. (Ever practical over here!)

We've booked a direct flight and to T's chagrin, I've placed us in the very back row of the plane to hopefully limit the annoyance factor if she's fussy. Fingers crossed!

For those of you who've taken your wee ones on beach trips, do you have any recommendations that were vacation-savers on the beach or in the pool together? We'll obviously be taking swimsuits, rash guards, and hats, but what am I missing? I have my eyes on a tented pool float that packs flat, for one. Anything else? Flat-packed beach tent? Oh, and what's your favorite baby sunblock?

Now excuse me while I stare at those palm trees the rest of the afternoon.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Snow days

Here in the winter that never ends, we're trying to maintain a sense of humor. Although yet another snow dump is certainly testing the patience of everyone, I keep a couple of things in mind:
  • This isn't anywhere as bad as my freshman year of college in Boston, when I was na├»ve enough to believe that spring actually existed in New England and then suffered through an April Fool's Day blizzard (followed promptly by an "I must see green immediately" trip back home to North Carolina, of course).
  • Even though I literally pay for the privilege of skipping work to stay home snuggled in with H due our nanny contract's coverage of snow days (standard procedure here - in any other year it would be a complete non-issue!), it's still pretty awesome. (Our nanny is fabulous, by the way. Not complaining!)

I find myself cooking a lot when the family is snowed in together. And playing with (store-bought) flowers. Last time, two batches of cookies, a salted caramel pie, and a big pot of chili. This time, a big pot of soup, some fresh, oh-so-spring-green chive oil to garnish anything and everything, decadent baked oatmeal, and a couple of kick-ass dinners. Something about seeing white outside makes me immediately want to fire up the stove.


Mostly, though, I laugh a lot with our little gal, who manages to squeeze more personality into her 14-lb frame than I ever thought possible.


I really didn't know that babies could have this much personality. I think that's been the best part of this whole parenthood thing... this girl makes it so much fun.


We set up a swing in our crazy floor-to-ceiling windows, which is hilarious both from the inside and outside. Cue the "baby in a window" jokes. We already stop pedestrians in their tracks when the pets are sunning themselves in these - by the time we warm up a bit and the weekend rolls around, I expect crowds out on the sidewalk smiling at the roly poly grinning machine doing her thing for all to see.


Life is really good these days. I mean, look at this little creature. Even when she's the Hungry Hippo or having an off day, I swear she's a total delight. I sort of feel like I did when I was pregnant, waiting for the awful shoe people talk about to drop. My "maybe I'll feel like crap during the third trimester" has become "maybe this will become awful when she's teething." Time will tell. (I never did feel awful when pregnant - I know it's weird how much I loved it. Except for the swollen feet at the end!)


We're two nights in with H sleeping in her crib, by the way - woo hoo! Everyone's making progress but you, weather. Everyone but you.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

1-2-3

I knew it would happen this way, that I'd look up and have a three and half month old and be back at work for so long it's like I never left. That's a good thing, in my mind. Time is flying, but it's great. It's more of a balancing act than ever, but I've always been pretty decent on the tightrope. I think the years leading up to now were so full of angst at times, that actually being a parent, after all it took to get here? Not stressing me out. Still grateful.

I mean, this kid!


She's sort of a tank, and she's a grinning fool, and she's ridiculously adorable. Pastimes include hanging out watching us cook dinner, talking to herself, wanting us to "stand" her up, smiling, and eating. That's H in a nutshell these days.

On the eating: this girl of ours can eat. She's downing 18-25 ounces of milk just while I'm at work. Our nanny says she's never seen anything like it. Somehow, someway, I'm keeping up with her with the pumping. Today I realized my allergy meds have recently decreased my supply a bit, so I think I can get back on top of her appetite a little now that I've stopped the Zyrtec. I hope so, because the freezer stash is gone, so I'm on the hook. Never fear: I'm already all over the fenugreek, oats, and special tea.

She's becoming a good little sleeper, thankfully. Lately we've been moving her bassinet ever so slowly away from our bed, down the hall, and into her room. This will be her third night in the bassinet in her bedroom. We can usually depend on her to sleep from 10ish to 5ish, which works pretty well since that's when T wakes up, too. Of course, last night she randomly woke up to eat at 2:30, so we're far from 100%. But I feel good about where we are and how she's doing.

I was talking to a favorite friend tonight and saying that I wish I'd taken time to blog about more of this transition - about H being breech for a while, about our birth story, about all the moments leading up to now. This is why Instagram exists, I suppose - helping harried folks like myself snap moments to remember when there's just no time or brain power for paragraphs.

I'm getting back into the swing of things, though - I can feel it. (Hell, I'm wearing workout clothes as I type and just marked an X on a brand new Calendar of Shame - remember that?) More to come. I really want my little corner of the world here to stay alive, even if just a little bit.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Three things

1. Jimmy Fallon continues to dominate; The Boss continues to rock; Chris Christie continues to fail; I continue to be amused.



2. These 1920s mug shots are… hot. What's going on here? Whatever it is, I'm a buyer.


3. Babies in letter sweaters are as cute as you might have suspected. Even better, this one is 30 years old. T was a proud dad at the Yale-Harvard game at Madison Square Garden. Baby H getting in her first hockey game at eight weeks… yeah, he's a proud dad.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Recent favorites

Some favorites boppin' around my world lately:

This song. I could listen to it endlessly. It's been months, and it's still on heavy rotation over here.



This show. 

Man, am I hooked. I started Season 1 Episode 1 while nursing H one day, thinking it'd be a casual fling I'd have over maternity leave. By Episode 3 I was calling in T so he could join the fun. Marathons being what they are, we finished the entire series a week ago. So there we were, halfway through Season 3, ready for new January episodes… and it's not coming back until the end of February?! What are two hopeless addicts to do?

(Answer: House of Cards, Season 2, starting February 1.)


This sketch. Because there's simply nothing funnier on the internet to me right now, weeks after my original guffaw. (Confession: this ditty actually gets stuck in my head worse than the aforementioned actual song that I love.)



This photo. There's not a shot in the world that's ever made me happier… and the competition is pretty fierce.


In the morning we're heading up to New York to meet T's family for a big hockey game. My baby daddy's excitement at taking H to her first college hockey game is adorable - a tiny letter sweater is involved. There will be photos. 

On Monday I'm back at the office, and I feel good about that. I miss work. I know I'm heading back earlier than a lot of people do, and I'm partially complicit in that, thanks to the demands of my pet project. The other part of it is, you know, this. I'm nervous only about how well daytime pumping will go and if I can keep with her. The rest is, well, the stuff of life. I'm sort of ready to get that going already, you know? 

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