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Last Tuesday marked my original due date and Rigby’s 16th day of life. Despite having to endure labor contractions, we feel so lucky that Rigby chose his own birthday and, particularly, that he chose to arrive early. My last weeks of pregnancy were pretty uncomfortable.  As expected, the days are slipping past so quickly; I wanted to capture some memories, along with many photos, of course, of Rigby’s first few weeks of life.

I unexpectedly went into labor at 4:00 in the morning of April 26th.  Jack, quite thankfully, was spending the night out at a dear friend’s house so despite not being able to tell him in person that his little brother was coming, we knew he would be well taken care of which eased our worries for him.  We got ourselves and things ready (since I had a c-section scheduled for May 5th, we had not yet packed our hospital bags or even installed the infant car seat!) and headed to the hospital around 8:30am. After being monitored and checked in triage for about an hour or so and learning (with great joy and relief) that my OB, Dr. Flum, was the OB on call that day, I started being prepped for Rigby’s birthday!

 

Rigby arrived at 11:31am on Sunday, April 26th. To say that the actual c-section was as different as night and day when compared to Jack’s isn’t quite doing it justice. It was strangely peaceful in the OR and I was completely pain free. The whole surgery was brief. They were able to pull Rigby’s head out without any trouble (even though his eyes and face were bruised to a bluish-purple like he was working really hard to try to push his way out), but his shoulders were wedged in pretty tight and they all commented that he was like a little line backer. When he was finally pulled out, he let us all hear how well his lungs were developed and when he gets mad, he still has this same very loud cry! When they showed him to us, our tears started flowing as we squeezed each other’s hands a bit tighter. There is nothing quite like meeting your babe for the first time.

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I only had to wait a few minutes until I was able to hold him skin to skin, and I just drank in that newborn smell while falling in love as his eyes met mine and he peered up at me as if he were thinking, “Oh, there you are! I’ve been anxious to meet you, Mama”. I was moved from the OR to the recovery room where we stayed for 2 hours under the care of a wonderful nurse, Allison. After recovery, I was moved down to the 4th floor, which became our base for the next two days and nights.

Shortly after being settled into the room, Jack was brought up to the hospital to meet his little brother. The meeting was such a sweet exchange between brothers that I hope was the beginning of a close lifetime bond between Jack and Rigby. I was holding Rigby in the bed as I was still unable to get up and Jack came right over to snuggle with us and then requested to hold Rigby himself. The love he felt immediately for his brother was so touching as he showered him with kisses and snuggles. Jack came back for a visit on night 2 and this time he ate his dinner with us before returning to another dear friend’s house for a 2 night sleepover. So thankful for such a wonderful community!

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We were discharged on Tuesday, a week before Rigby’s scheduled arrival, and we enjoyed a Thai food lunch with a beer to celebrate our homecoming. David picked Jack up from school that afternoon and we kicked off our life as a family of four. Jack has had some trouble adjusting to his role as big brother, but with every day, things seem to be getting a little better. And, despite, some unusually mean behaviors towards us which drives this hormonal Mama to near daily sobs, he has shown nothing but adoration towards Rigby and is always wanting to be close and to help. We have taken extra care to carve out some special activities for him like an ice cream outing and to uphold some of our typical routines like bedtime and morning book reading and drawing, but I know he is not so fond of Rigby being in my lap so often for nursing and the undeniable changes that have impacted his world, for good and bad.

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After a few days of just the four of us, our visitors began to arrive. First, came my Mom and Dad along with my Aunt Diane and Uncle Wayne.  We are so appreciative of my parents for agreeing to spend their summer here with us. It’s been so nice to be able to do the simple things like take a shower every day, to have help with errand running and meals, to have a clean kitchen at the end of the day, and, most importantly, to have their company.  Next, my sister arrived for nearly a week visit.  And, Mother’s Day weekend, brought the arrival of my wonderful sister-in-law, Martha. Having such great visitors was a treat for all of us, particularly for Jack.

So far Rigby is a dreamy newborn.  He nurses well, when I can keep him awake, and he is sleeping so well swaddled in his crib at night that we keep pinching ourselves and waiting for the day when he really wakes up and decides that he no longer likes sleeping or his crib!

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Rigby Joseph is now 3 weeks old and growing even faster than the weeds in our garden which we are currently not tending since we are busy tending to him.  He entered this world at 6 lbs and 11.2 oz and lost down to 5 lbs and 15 oz before his weight regain began. Now he weighs more than he did at birth.

He’s had a busy two weeks and checked off a lot of “firsts” for being such a little guy…he has been to his first doctor visit (twice, actually), his first tee ball game x 2, swim lesson x 2, a trip to a brewery and several meals at a restaurant, a stroller walk, Trader Joe’s shopping, his first holiday celebrations – both Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day, and his first picnic. The second child always achieves these firsts much sooner given life’s structure, I presume.

And, he has already earned several nicknames: Rig, Rigo, Rigster, Moonshine, and Rig-a-ma-roll.

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Oh, how all of our lives have changed in two weeks! I still have trouble believing that I actually get to kiss and hold and mother these two beautiful boys. I feel like the luckiest Mama, especially, since I have the most amazing life partner to share it all with.  These boys have a great Dada.

Welcome to the world baby Rigby…we love you so!

Dinner Menu, Week of March 9th:
(Currently, we have a standing Friday night pizza dinner while Jack plays soccer and on Saturdays we get take-out or go out, so these days will be skipped in the dinner planning.)

Monday: Rotisserie chicken; maccaroni and cheese; arugala salad

Tuesday: Black bean and kale quesadillas

Wednesday: Cheese raviloi with olive oil and parmesan; sauteed zucchini

Thursday: Scrambled eggs with scallions; pancakes; citrus slices 

Sunday: Japanese Noodle Salad with Scallion-Chile Oil

Japanese Noodle Salad with Scallion-Chile Oil

Ingredients

Chile-Scallion Oil

2 scallions, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger

½ cup vegetable oil

Noodles and Assembly

10 oz. Japanese udon wheat noodles 

tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar

teaspoons toasted sesame oil

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

2 scallions, thinly sliced

1 large cucumber, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced

radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced

 Preparation

Chile-scallion oil
Cook all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until scallions and garlic are just golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Let cool; transfer oil to a jar with lid.
May store oil in refrigerator for several days, which works nice for leftovers.
 
Noodles and assembly
Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions; drain. Rinse noodles under cold water, then shake off as much water as possible.
 
Whisk soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and oil in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Add noodles, chicken, and scallions; toss to coat.
 
Toss with cucumber and radishes and drizzle with chile oil just before serving.
 
recipe adapted from Bon Appetite

This is a delicious smoothie and It really tastes like carrot cake! In fact, it reminds me, slightly, of the best frozen yogurt mix-in from Angora that we used to order in Boston to be delivered to our front door. Yes, free delivery of frozen yogurt of which I very rarely strayed from the carrot cake mix-in, although cinnamon and blueberries was a close second choice. Oh, those were the days of late nights and delivery service!

Anyway, back to this healthy carrot cake smoothie. I can’t wait for you to try it and tell me what you think! One note, if your banana isn’t frozen, add a handful of ice.

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Makes 3 Good-Size Smoothies
2 large frozen or non- frozen bananas

2 cups vanilla unsweetened almond milk

1 cup organic carrot juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup raw almonds

4 pitted medjool dates

Combine all ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth.

Recipe adapted from Goop

Dinner Menu, Week of February 9th:
(Currently, we have a standing Friday night pizza dinner while Jack plays soccer and on Saturdays we get take-out or go out, so these days will be skipped in the dinner planning.)

Monday: Garlic and herb fettuccine with sage butter and topped with crispy prosciutto; green garbanzo beans with lentils, tomatoes, and olive oil
Tuesday: Egg scramble with Boursin herb cheese and scallions; biscuits
Wednesday: Pan-seared polenta cakes topped with marinara; sautéed eggplant and zucchini
Thursday: Pulled pork BBQ sandwiches; baked fries; sautéed greens
Sunday: Ginger tofu stir fry with Brussels sprouts, green onions, and mushrooms; roasted broccoli

Truth be told, I don’t have much of a system in place when it comes to stir-frying. I add whatever vegetables we have on hand and tend not to really measure the spices or sauces. I will attempt the recipe here, but know a bit of interpretation is fair game.

Ginger tofu stir fry with Brussels sprouts, green onions, and mushrooms
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Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil

1 package firm tofu

1 pound Brussels sprouts, shaved or cut into very thin slices

1 package crimini mushrooms, sliced

About 1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

Low sodium soy sauce

4 green onions, chopped

Sesame oil

Salt and pepper

Preparation
Heat olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Meanwhile, cut tofu into small pieces and add to skillet. Cook until starting to brown.

Add Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, grated ginger, and a healthy drizzle of soy sauce. Stir fry, turning with spatula every few minutes to prevent sticking and to ensure even cooking.

When the vegetables are tender, add the green onions and a light drizzle of sesame oil.

Salt and pepper to taste.

We usually eat this by itself, but it’s also good and more hearty served over brown rice or barley.

2015/01/img_2204.jpg *photo taken at Carkeek Park, 24 weeks and 5 days

I love the surge of energy after the first semester energy drain. I’m thrilled about regaining my passion for being in the kitchen and eating healthful and flavorful food. Oh, there is nothing quite worse than not being able to think of one thing to eat that sounds good.

I love the flutters. The ones that start out so soft like tiny bubbles and then grow into strong kicks in the ribs and gut. These make me feel like so much a part of you, little guy. One of my favorite times of the day is when I lay down in bed to read at night and I can watch my stomach move as a result of your movements…it’s blissful and surreal. I love to watch your big brother talk to you and kiss you and rub you and call you by your name. The name thing really melts my heart. I am looking forward to watching our family bond and grow together.

While this pregnancy has not been an easy one, I still cherish the time I have left to keep you inside where we can be more connected than ever. As we embark on our last trimester together, growing with each other, and nourishing each other equally, I hope for peaceful days ahead as I take the time to slow down, continue to nest, and prepare to be your Mama. You cannot imagine how excited we are to meet you!

Happy last week of January, y’all! 2015/01/img_2151.jpg *picture of snowy evergreens at Steven’s Pass

I know people have mixed, and sometimes strong, emotions about the month of January. Some people fall into the camp of having the January blues…post holiday let-down, short days, cold, and snow/rain. In other words, not much excitement to follow the long Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s Eve run.
I actually think it’s the lack of excitement that draws me into this month. I love the quiet following all of the festivity. I love the expanse of a clear and open set of 12 new months on the calendar. I love feeling alright about retreating inward, about staying home a little more often. I will admit that I think January might be one of my favorite months. I’m not sure if this is a new feeling or if this feeling has just surfaced with the passage of another trip around the sun. Sometimes age can make you look at things differently.
As we move out of this month and into the next, I hope the feelings of serenity and quiet remain. I hope I can keep finding some time to write and to be reflective. I think this feels especially important to me this year as I sense the change about to descend upon our lives. A change we are thrilled beyond belief to welcome, but a change nonetheless (and one that is sure to bring a little chaos and a little less time for writing and inward reflection).
Wishing you all a peace filled week as we close out January 2015.

Dinner Menu, Week of January 26th:
(Currently, we have a standing Friday night pizza dinner while Jack plays soccer and on Saturdays we get take-out or go out, so these days will be skipped in the dinner planning.)

Monday: Roasted Vegetable Lasagna; simple arugula salad
Tuesday: Veggie burgers; baked fries
Wednesday: Egg and cheese wraps; roasted potatoes with green beans and mushrooms
Thursday: Gnocchi with marinara sauce; roasted Brussels sprouts
Sunday: Cauliflower fried “rice”; edamame 2015/01/img_2179.jpg Cauliflower Fried “Rice”

Admittedly, this dish did not really taste like fried rice, so I would be wrong in claiming that it’s a fair substitution. But it is really quite tasty and feels so light and healthy. You could add whatever vegetables you have on hand, or add an additional protein like tofu or chicken.

Ingredients
1 medium head of cauliflower, cleaned and broken into large florets
large glob of olive oil
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 cup diced zucchini, about 3 small zucchini
2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 sliced green onions
2 large handfuls of cleaned and chopped kale
2 large eggs
1 spoonful coconut oil

Preparation
To make cauliflower “rice”, finely chop the cauliflower florets by hand or in a food processor. You want the cauliflower to look like fairly uniform pieces of couscous or quinoa.

In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil and toasted sesame oil over medium high heat. Add garlic, zucchini, green onions, ginger, and a pinch of salt, and cook until beginning to brown. Next, add kale.

Once kale has wilted a bit, add cauliflower and sauté for another 3 minutes. Meanwhile, scramble eggs in a separate skillet. Once the eggs are cooked, add to the vegetable skillet along with the coconut oil. Sauté another few minutes until all flavors have had a chance to mingle.

Recipe adapted from Goop

2015/01/img_2140-0.jpg It’s hard for me to proclaim any smoothie as my favorite, since they are a favorite breakfast of mine and each one I make tastes so different and so uniquely different making the morning a happy surprise. But, I might just be caught saying that this smoothie is at the top of my favorites list, in fact, it might just sit right smack on top of the list. It’s seriously so good. It’s creamy from the banana, but not thick. It’s sweet from the fruit and honey, but not overly sweet. And, the coconut oil adds such a nice depth, giving it a tropical flavor, which adds some sense of warmth to a winter morning. I think this would also taste yummy with a squeeze of lime and with mangos or pineapple instead of pear.
2015/01/img_2139.jpg Green Tropical Smoothie
2 large handfuls of spinach leaves
2 ripe bananas
1 pear, cut into large chunks
small piece (about 1 inch) of ginger, peeled
2 spoonfuls of hemp hearts
glob of honey
large spoonful of coconut oil
several ice cubes
1 1/2 cups of unsweetened almond milk

Blend all together.
2015/01/img_2143.jpg This was the first smoothie Jack drank in one sitting (he usually puts half of it in the refrigerator for later on the day). Not only did he drink it in one sitting, he drank it in about 1 minute and then drank some of mine!

Enjoy! And, bottoms up!

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