Friday, April 30, 2010

Wow, can't believe it's Friday already! By this time tomorrow we'll be on a plane headed to 85 degree weather!

This has been a good week. By Tuesday Craig seemed pretty much all better so I took off to the movies with some girlfriends and he stayed home while baby was sleeping. I hadn't been to the movies since Thanksgiving so it was a treat and I really enjoyed The Backup Plan. There were a few risque parts, but not anything you haven't talked about or dealt with as a married and/or pregnant person. The movie theatre popcorn smelled SO good but I behaved and stuck to my smuggled in trailmix and water :)

When I got home Craig had cleaned up the house for me, too. Since getting Elly Amoxicillin on Wednesday for the ear infection she's been so much better. Yesterday she was a doll patiently running a million errands with me and when she got some vaccinations in the afternoon she only cried for 30 seconds. What a blessing she is! I almost hadn't realized how much not like herself she had been for that week until yesterday when she was her silly little self again. I'm glad to have my Eliana back and am praying for a safe flight and that she'll have fun and her ears won't hurt.

Craig and I did the majority of the packing last night. Just clothes and shoes takes a while. It's pretty much just toiletries left and that should be quick. I'm hoping to fit Elly's stuff in my bag so I don't have to pay for a 2nd bag, but we'll see. Tomorrow's wake up time is 4am at the latest with the drive out time 5:30 am. Early for me and Elly! I'm thinking I'll try to put her to bed at 6pm tonight so she'll get close to her usual 12 hours of sleep. Although she's already making the plan tricky since it's 9am and she's still sleeping. We'll see. I'm hoping to go to sleep around 8pm.....but that's hard for me since I'm a night owl.

I'm sure Craig is working like a maniac today trying to get all the last minute stuff done so he can leave peacefully and not pile stuff on his coworkers. I remember that back when I had a paying job  :), how frantic I was the last couple days before a vacation. This time is a bit different and pretty nice. I actually got to run errands during the day and get things prepped during the day (gasp!) instead of staying up til 2am to get things done like I did pre-baby and pre-staying at home. Once again I'm thankful I married someone like-minded about how we'd raise our family and what our financial priorities are. And I'm thankful he works so hard to take care of us.

At a baby shower recently (there's been lots!) I heard someone say to a younger person, "well everyone has to work now when they have kids, you don't have a choice." So of course I interjected, "well, I stay home." That got a surprised look from the older person and opened conversation with the younger one. I'm not pointing fingers because I know there are truly some circumstances where mommy has to work. However, I also know sometimes it's about being willing to have old cars, an old house, basic cable, few vacations (if any), and living frugally. Cutting out the 'fluff' basically. I just hate to hear people be told that there's no options, because there are! Sell your gigantic house with a huge mortgage......downgrade your vehicles, etc. It's not 2007 anymore folks, living frugal is actually cool again :) And for what some people may be thinking, "well, your husband probably makes a ton of money...." We do ok. Our household income is a bit over 1/2 what it was when I was working He's worked hard to get raises over the years and we make what we have go as far as possible. We also have child support for his son which is more than our 1 car payment or student loans. I wish we could say we're 100% debt free, but the reality is we have a mortgage, car payment, Craig's student loans, and child suppport (for another 8 years). Even still, we manage.
You have to decide what's more important to you. Going to Maui annually? Splurging at Macy's every weekend? Having 300 channels on your cable and all the bells and whistles on your cell phone? OR spending every day with your child, raising your child, being there to see all the firsts, sharing lunch with your kiddo and getting kisses before naptime.......for me the choice was obvious.
In our dream world we'd get to have all the money and stay at home, but for most of us it comes down to 'or' not 'and'.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Being your own advocate

Ok, so who knows whether we had food poisoning or the flu or what. As most of you know as soon as you say you have food poisoning or the flu you get about a million opinions on what caused it, what it is, and what you 'need' to do. So anyway, there's no way to really know what happened. All I know is it took me a full week to be able to eat again and just to feel normal. Since then Craig got sick (again) and spent his weekend between the bathroom and the couch. And then poor Eliana got sick also. She was unconsolable yesterday and hadn't really been eating or playing for about a week so we took her to Prompt Care and sure enough she has a double ear infection, her first ever. I kind of figured that because I know ear pain can make it miserable to chew food and she was walking sideways and falling down some which I guessed was from blocked ears. The Dr said I was pretty smart :) haha. So, 10 days of Amoxicillin, which we'll continue in Mexico and then we'll be good to go. After only 2 doses she's already acting much better and has been eating and playing some. It's funny because just smelling the Amoxicillin made me remember taking it all the time as a kid (I had ear infections and all kinds of infections all the time). It's the same color, smell, etc as it was 20 years ago! I actually loved it as a kid and Elly seems to love it, too :)

Eliana's passport came Saturday which was a huge blessing. It took 15 days from door to door which is pretty darn good. After reading a blog from a mom that travels with a toddler a lot, I picked up some Horizon organic milk (chocolate and regular) that doesn't need to be refrigerated, for the airplane. I also picked up tootsie rolls and a ring pop- both of which I've NEVER given her, but will have them ready on the plane just in case a melt down ensues.
It still hasn't quite clicked that we're going on vacation in 4 days, I think it'll hit when we're on the plane :)
In the meantime I need to get the house 'show' ready in case someone wants to see it while we're gone and try to pack by Friday.
It's really been stressful and awful at the Frazier household with a solid 2 weeks of us being sick, so I'm hoping we can get back to normal in the next couple days and be able to reconnect and leave happy.

Earlier today I shared a Facebook page on my wall and it is obviously something that causes debate and which people tend to feel strongly about. The page is called An EDD is an estimated due date not an expiration date. I love this page as it educates women about knowing their bodies and being their own advocate. It seems that so often women just say ok to whatever they're told to do and there isn't actual thought going into decisions. An example I can give is when you're first pregnant and they do all the initial bloodwork and stuff. They hand you a piece of paper to let you know they'll be testing for HIV and 'will you please sign it'. There is another line of the bottom of the page to opt out and that is what I chose to do. However, the nurse seemed a little surprised and said, "You don't want this test? Are you sure?" I said, "I'm positive. I've been with one man for a long time now and all these tests were done on X date and nothing has changed since then. Being that I pay out of pocket for this and it's not necessary, yes, I opt out." I realize there are patients who probably should be tested for HIV, but for a women in a committed, monogomous relationship, it was slightly insulting to be second guessed. How many women don't even think about it and just sign away for a test they don't need? There are flaws in the healthcare system and if someone isn't paying attention they'll end up paying for unnessecary tests.
I feel fairly strongly that a baby needs as much time as possible to develop in utero. I've heard many women say, "oh I'm 37 weeks now and the baby can come anytime." Ok, yes, I get that 37 weeks is considered full term. But what if your specific baby needed 42 weeks? 40 weeks is an average of gestational time, meaning a baby may be ready at 38 weeks or it may need as much as 42 weeks and a little more or less on either end. But to assume that at the magical '40 weeks' your baby needs to be evicted, is a bit ludicrous to me. Of course there is a whole slew of things that can happen making induction or a c-section medically necessary and it's not these situations that I'm talking about. I'm talking about, "well, my back hurts and the baby is already 8lbs and my dr won't be on call next week so we'll just induce tomorrow." That's the kind of thing I'm talking about. Well I'm sorry mama's, but being full term is a bit uncomfortable, it's par for the course and doesn't mean baby needs to be yanked out early. And I think there is always a risk your dr won't be available for your birth and that's why there are other capable dr's on call. I had a dr I'd never met for Eliana's birth and she was very kind and it was great.
So, the point of the FB page I shared is to educate mom's, especially first timers, about being their own advocate and being their baby's advocate also. I've learned that you have to be your own advocate, because honestly no one else is going to do it for you. Be educated, know the pros and cons about your decisions. There's no need to be ignorant and refuse an induction when your child is in danger, but at the same time, if there's an option of you going home and resting for a few days or being monitered in the hospital, etc.....it gives your kiddo a better chance to have more time.
Now, this is purely my opinion and I'm sure many people wouldn't agree, but I truly feel that a lot of the issues I had with Eliana in the first few weeks and months were due to me being induced at 38 weeks and having a 50plus hour labor- she wasn't ready to come out yet! What if she needed another month? I feel that more time would've alleviated a lot of the jaundice, she may have nursed better in the beginning, and I'm not sure that she would've had colic as bad as she did if she'd had more time in Utero.
Here's my story, shortened, and maybe why I feel as strongly as I do about avoiding induction when necessary-

I went in Friday morning at 38 weeks to have my blood pressure checked and without any further testing they said I had to go to the hospital that morning. I tried to explain that work was extrememly stressful (Hello! Personal Banking during the recession!) and that my bosses boss was on her way from Seattle to meet with me.... I could hardly sleep the night before I was so stressed.......and that maybe we should read my blood pressure later. But no, they insisted I had to go now. I didn't know enough to be my own advocate so I said ok. In hindsight I should've had the option for bedrest and bp monitoring- not just ushered off for an induction. My work stress should've been taken in to account. A 9am meeting with the big boss from Seattle over some touchy stuff doesn't make for a great 8am bp reading.
Once we got to the hospital it took 2 hours for them to even get me and Eliana on a monitor and once we did I got, "uh, baby looks great, why are you here?" Then they took my blood pressure and said, "oh yeah, it's a bit high." But never did it seem emergent like they acted at the dr's office, and still I never got the option to go on bedrest for a few days. It took two 12 hour sessions of cervidil and laying nearly flat (ow!) the whole time. I was allowed to get up to go pee and to walk for 30 minutes between the cervidil. I had contractions the whole time; some minor, some painful enough I couldn't sleep. After the first cervidil there was literally no change. I was thinking, "how can I be having all these contractions but nothing is happening!" Looking back I think, wow, my body was saying it's not ready. Then after the 2nd cervidil I was slightly softened, but that's it. Still pretty much no change. My favorite nurse just chuckled and said, "why don't they just send you home to rest for a few days since nothing is happening." But it was almost like since the ball had started rolling no one wanted to stop it and I didn't know enough about the process and my rights to stop it myself. In the wee hours Sunday morning (two days in to labor by then) we started Pitocin and by 5am my water broke. The contractions were strong but I could breathe through them ok and decided to get the epidural around 9 or 10am. Quite frankly I was exhausted from 2 days of laying in a hospital bed and having constant contractions. For someone like me who was up and moving everyday of my pregnancy, it was horrible having to lay flat for so long. I wasn't allowed to get out of bed unless I had to pee, even though Eliana had zero signs of distress. I also wasn't given a room with the jacuzzi tub and was never offered one.

Getting the epidural itself was excruciating. Like to the point that I thought, "Um, that hurt a hell of a lot more than any of my contractions. Why am I doing this???" Dr. Worth (who is very handsome) said it went in weird and it doesn't normally hurt like that and he wasn't positive it would work. Ohhhhh great. It did work, mostly, for about 4 hours. The Dr had to come in and adjust it every hour since it would all the sudden stop working, but I at least got to doze for a while. I woke up somewhere around 2pm and thought someone was trying to kill me. I went from sleeping peacefully to all the sudden dilated to a 7 with strong contractions. I grabbed the sides of the bed and literally couldn't breathe. Dr. Worth came back and tried to fix the epidural but it was a no go. Nothing he could do helped and I realized then that this was going to be all natural (as 'natural' as pitocin contractions can possibly be) as I was now at about 8cm. Now at this point my mom (who was going to be in the room with Craig and me) was at my grandfather's funeral.......I know, bad timing. I held Craig off on calling her but realized these last few cm were going quickly and if she didn't get there fast she'd miss the whole thing. She got there about 30 minutes later and at that point I felt this deep, stabbing pain in my lower back. Within minutes I was like, "I need to push, I need to push now!" The nurse came in and said, "I just checked 15 minutes ago and you were only a 9..." I insisted she check again and sure enough I was a 10 and ready to go. She ran in the hall and grabbed the Dr (whom I'd never met) and the pushing games began. This whole time my mom is standing over me reminding me to breathe because I kept freezing up from the pain, and trying to talk me through the pain. I couldn't even scream it hurt so bad. The nurse said it was "normal to feel some lower back pressure even with an epidural". It's like she wasn't understanding that the epidural didn't work. The wasn't 'some pressure', this was full on labor and back labor no less (which my mom had with her baby's, too)! It felt like I had no break between contractions, not even seconds, they just kept coming and coming (thank you Pitocin!). Anyway, the dr was in the room and the nurse started counting me through the contractions and when to push and when to breathe and within 30 minutes little Eliana was out! I can tell you there definitely was no epidural. Ring of fire? OH yes. I felt the tearing, I felt everything. I even felt the dr stitching me up afterwards and started crying and she looked at the nurse and said, "uh, I thought she had an epidural?" To that I replied, "uh yeah, that didn't work, I can feel everything!" She gave me a shot or something down there and finished the stitching with less pain. It's like no one was actually in the room or on my service long enough to know that 1) yes I did get an epidural around 10am, 2) the epidural stopped working sometime before 2pm, and 3) I could feel EVERYTHING- including those stitches on the tear that just seemed to be insult to injury. Give the poor woman a break, a little lidocaine never killed anyone! I didn't scream so maybe they figured I was just being dramatic about the epidural not working, but once they knew I could even feel stitches I got more empathetic looks. It was confirmed later by the anesthesiologist that it never fully took and definitely was off for the last 3-4 centimeters of labor. So basically in over 50 hours of labor I got a 4-5 hour semi-break.

After all this I was exhausted and poor Elly was too. She was lethargic and had no interest in me or nursing. I also have to say that I felt disconnected from her. I'm guessing it was the whole induction process. By the time she actually came neither of us had anything left. There wasn't excitement or 'bonding' the way I expected. We were simply too pooped. She was also only 7lbs which is quite small for anyone in Craig's or my family. We were moved to another part of the hospital and had to stay for 2 more days because of Eliana's jaundice (another issue with induced babies). I wanted to go home SO bad but once again didn't know my rights as a patient enough to fight for myself. 5 days in the hospital for a vaginal delivery of a healthy baby is absolutely ridiculous. Her bili levels were never even close to 'brain damage' level, I'm pretty sure the dr's were just covering their backsides and using up my double insurance.

 Once home on Tuesday we had to do the Bili light from Harrison Home Health for the rest of the week. I mean, this was not an ideal situation. 5 days in the hospital and then we finally get home and we're stuck to a cord in the wall. I never really saw the point anyway since we were told that the maximum the bili-light would help was 15%, the other 85% is from breastfeeding.

Nursing was a major issue. She couldn't latch and I wanted to give up. I was afraid I was starving her, especially after a couple nurses said I had to give her formula and it's not a big deal if I don't nurse (really? not a big deal?). The support and tough love that breastfeeding moms need in the first few days wasn't there with the hospital nurses(although the lac consultant was extremely nice and sweet, just too busy), but fortunately was available from my mom and cousins. On day 3 she finally latched (with a shield) and the next morning my milk was in and we never looked back. She did have about 1oz of formula at the hospital, given to her by a nurse, but that was it. Then sharply at 2 weeks to the day, the colic started. Blood curdling screams from about 5pm til 1am, 3am....basically all night. She was up eating every 1 1/2 hours and sometimes every 45 minutes. It was literally the ONLY time she didn't scream. I was lucky to get 2-3 hours of sleep at night. Nothing calmed her; swaddling, rocking, bouncing, car rides, sound machines, eliminating dairy completely from my diet,etc. The Happiest Baby on the Block methods. You name it, I tried it. Shortly after the colic started she also had GERD. The colic lasted in it's glorious severity for a full 4 months, the GERD was treated with Zantac and by 6 months she seemed fine. I kept dairy out of my diet for a full 3 months but noticed literally no difference so went back on dairy after that.

When I see moms out and about or at a dinner party with a newborn I feel slightly jealous and wistfull and wonder what that must be like. I was a prisoner in my home for that 4 months. People would ask us over or to dinner and I had to try and explain, without crying, why I would be sitting home. Well meaning and opinionated people offered all their advice and what I 'should' do, but nothing worked. I just braced myself every day and tried to get through it and prayed that I would've hurt her in my frustration and exhaustion and waited for the day she'd outgrow it.

All this to say, I wonder in my own heart how many of our struggles could've been alleviated if Eliana was allowed full residency and not evicted 3-6 weeks early. For colicky babies they say it's often like they need another couple months in mom to develop their nervous system and ability to self soothe. Surely more time in me would've helped Eliana. With Gerd it's an issue with a valve above the stomach not closing properly and allowing acid to wash back up their throat. I also feel this might've been resolved with more time to develop in utero. You are free to disagree with me, these are just my own personal feelings and ponderings.

So anyway, obviously next time around I will try to be as healthy as I can and allow my child to stay in as long as possible.

I also want to make it clear I have nothing against Dr.'s, nurses, etc. I love my current Dr. and I respect her knowledge and position. I just simply feel that women need to educate themselves and realize that usually there are options. We have rights as patients even if we're never told what they are- it's our job to learn them.
And as far as the whole formula in the hospital situation, obviously that was frustrating and probably not handled the best way by those particular nurses. What I've found through months of educating myself and being a part of La Leche League, is that sometimes in the medical community they like formula more than breastmilk simply because it's predictable and easier to track. When a baby is nursing there's no real way to know exactly how much they're getting or the caloric content of that day's milk. It's about trusting your body to do it's job and trusting that the your boobs and baby will communicate about the baby's nutritional needs. With formula you can measure, count calories, and track easily. This feels safer for some practitioners even though they know that breastmilk is clearly best. I can't necessarily fault them for liking something they can keep track of, however that is a sad reason to negate the importance of breastmilk. Any supplementing in the first few weeks can be detrimental to milk supply! I could go on about this, but I think you get my draft. Feel free to read the other breastfeeding posts.

I realize this is a tad of a vent post, but it just seems there are so many opinions coming at us all the time and as mothers we have to do our best to filter them, remember the truth, and follow our convictions for our family. There is so much I didn't know before I had Eliana and I think that is often true for first time mothers.

Be educated, know your options :)
5 Reasons to Avoid Induction of labor.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

We paid $16 to get sick? Sure felt like it.

These last 4 days have been a doozie. A nasty bout of food poisoning hit Craig and I (Praise the Lord not Eliana since she didn't eat it!). We decided to 'splurge' and spend $16 on some takeout Chinese food and what a mistake that was. We ordered Almond Chicken and Sweet and Sour Pork and half way through both of our food we immediately knew something was really wrong. I felt sick almost instantly and didn't even want to look at the food that seconds ago was delicious! Then I looked at Craig and I knew it wasn't just me. We tossed the food and took turns in our 1 bathroom the rest of the evening. Craig was able to sleep through the night, that would not be the case for me for a few more nights :( I couldn't keep anything down. Juice, Sprite, water, soup, didn't matter it came out. Just looking at food or thinking about it made me feel sick. I googled Food Poisoning Symptoms and it was like check, check, check.......yes, that's what we have! For those that will suggest it, No, I haven't called the restaurant yet. I didn't call anyone for those few days. My mom has been trying to reach them about it for me :)
 I know the Stomach Flu is going around and have several friends whose families have all had it, but based on the timing of the illness and the fact that Craig and I both got it instantly but sweet Eliana has been fine, really points to the issue starting with our dinner. Today is the first day that I have been able to eat anything and keep it in. Granted it was only toast and some raspberries, but that's a heck of a lot better than the last few days. As you can imagine I've lost 8lbs since this awfulness started. Let's hope since I got so sick now I'll stay fine in Mexico.........speaking of, we fly out in 11 days!!! Woohoo! Elly's passport is still processing, so we're still waiting. I'll feel better when I have it in hand. We're pretty much ready to go. Only had to buy sunscreen and a couple of tank tops for Elly.

So, being as sick as I was really made me feel like a loser! I remember before I was a stay at home mom and Craig and I kind of talked about what our roles would look like (he doesn't remember this conversation). We both agreed that it's reasonable for me to pack his lunches, take care of Eliana, and make dinner most nights if I'm not at work all day. My normal day is cleaning, playing with Eliana, making Craig's lunch for the next day and prepping his coffeepot, running errands, making dinner, etc. The 'domestic' stuff and I like it! BUT, being so sick that I couldn't leave the couch made me feel like a big lazy bum and pretty much a failure at my responsibilities. I usually only get extremely sick maybe once a year and that's only for a day or two, this was way worse. I haven't made dinner in almost a week, I haven't vacuumed in a few days, I'm not sure if I've been doing the laundry or Craig is. He's been picking up Elly's messes in the evening and getting his coffee ready. And not complaining one bit. He always helps tons around the house and our relationship has always worked that way. Nothing is really only my job (well, he's never cleaned the toilet....) and nothing is only his job (except I don't mow since it really bothers my allergies....). I just feel so bad when he works all day and then comes home to no dinner and a messy house. This is the plights of families everywhere. What happens when a capable mom that does a million things during her day finds herself laying on the couch watching Tori and Dean for way too many hours......I think most moms are like me. We take pride in doing all the things we do and doing it well. It is our 'job' though there is no financial compensation. I don't like doing a bad job at anything, especially not my home and family! So, we muddle through and hopefully most of you have wonderful husbands like me who will pick up the slack and not make you feel bad for it. And then the flu, or food poisoning, or whatever it is passes and we get back to normal.
I ran errands for 2 hours today and already have Craig's coffeepot ready for tomorrow. Still need to make his lunch and figure out dinner, but I WILL do it today :)

PS. One of my friends who had a baby girl last week ended up actually delivering on the side of the road in her car. She is amazing, can you even imagine this happening to you??? Here's the link to the King5 story. Go Julia! And welcome beautiful baby Jayla :)
http://www.king5.com/video/featured-videos/Veteran-deputy-turns-rookie-doctor-90798544.html

Monday, April 12, 2010

A vacation? Finally!

Hey everyone,
Hope you all had a fabulous weekend! I joined Newlife Church's worship team again after it'd been almost a year (took time off with my nursing baby). It was great to be a part of the team and I am always tremendously blessed by the extreme talent and giftedness of people who love God and use their gifts to serve Him. That is one of the things I really love about our church. Music is so huge to me as I've been singing since before I could ride a bike, so naturally it's one of the more important things to me in the structure of a church service (if that makes sense). The Newlife musicians really have freedom to be artistic and experiment, like how we used the music pattern from Sara Bareilles "Love Song" but sang "Unchanging" by Chris Tomlin to it. Awesome! Anywho, I'm blessed to be singing with such a great team :)
I will now shamelessly plug the family of believers I love: http://www.newlifekitsap.com/ .

I must also say that Craig did wonderful having Eliana for 7 straight hours without me. I didn't worry about her at all. He got her up, made her breakfast, got her dressed for church, brought her to church, put her in the nursery, took her home and fed her lunch, and put her down for a nap. Yay! I feel confident that I can sing with the team once a month and she'll have fun with daddy while I'm gone. She didn't even seem to miss me much which was sort of sad but overall great since she loves her daddy so much.

Ok, change of subject- perhaps literary whiplash- sorry! Last Thursday, as in 4 days ago, we were invited to go to Mazatlan, Mexico with some of my family. Ummm...do you all remember my complaining about not having a vacation in 4 years???? Well of course I couldn't pass up this opportunity! It's a beautiful resort (Torres) and all we had to do was figure out our flights. I waited a day nervous as all get out while Craig talked to his boss......did I mention the trip starts May 1st?!!!! Craig was graciously given 1 week to join the family (Elly and I will go for 2 weeks) despite the fact that May is a crazy busy month for TRC. I'm so thankful he can go. Being that it's been so long since our last vaca I couldn't really fathom going somewhere beautiful with only half of my family. And in practical terms I'm grateful to have his help with Elly on the plane and hauling everything in the airport. This will be Eliana's first flight :)
On Friday I decided to call and check what documentation is needed for an 18 month old (thinking a birth certificate would suffice)....and guess what, you need a friggin' passport! OMG This caused a sort of panic in my whole being. I can't go to the main office in Seattle until we're 14 days or less til take off and it's risky to take it to a local office since the current wait time on expedited applications is 2-3 weeks! After consulting with the passport helpline for a while I decided to make a mad dash (on Friday) to the Clerk in Port Orchard and get it all submitted. However, I found out I needed a notarized approval letter from Craig since he wouldn't be there. It was already 1:30pm and I was thinking "how the heck am I going to get the letter to Craig in Poulsbo, get it notarized, and then drive to Port Orchard and get it all done by 4?" My wonderful hubby had me email him the letter, he got it notarized, and then drove it to me :) All said and done it only took 20 minutes with the Clerk and we got it all sent in. Now begins the praying and waiting! Thank goodness Craig and I still have valid passports.Oh, and did I mention mine expires right after we get home? Craig said that's my sign I'm supposed to go.
As far as the money goes, do we have money for the flights? Basically, no. My mom graciously offered us her companion ticket and the 10k miles she had left. I spent hours looking for the best deal and finally booked our flights. Eliana still flies free, so it turned out ok. We debated going versus not going for a long time and finally decided to just go. We spend SO much money on things we don't want to buy; truck parts, septic pumping and repair, heating oil, medical bills, etc.........we are glad that this is something we actually want to spend money on. God always provides for us and we feel He brought us this opportunity and we're really excited to go. We'll spend money on food down there, but we'd also do that here so it's no different really (and we'll save at least a $100 on gas since we won't be driving our cars).
I also am always happy for opportunities to spend time with my family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc). Life is short and I think it's important to spend time with people you love, making memories.

Hmmm.....what else is going on.......we had an open house on Saturday and it sounds like only 2 people came thru. Bummer. But, I do have an appointment for another showing tomorrow. There is definitely interest and that's great. I know it's all in God's timing and I'm just curious to see what that is! I was reading my new Parents magazine a couple days ago and there was a section where they questioned, "if you could add one room to your house what would it be?" The answer I loved the most was ,"a 2nd bedroom. One day after we signed papers to buy our one bedroom condo we found out we were pregnant (with twins!)." WOW, can you imagine? That made me chuckle and be thankful for my little house that at least has two bedrooms.

It is definitely baby season. Two wonderful friends of mine both had baby girls in the last few days (and are breastfeeding, woohoo!). I also have about 20 other pregnant friends. What a wonderful season for these families :) Nothing new for me to say right now. I am just enjoying my pregnant friends and going to baby showers.

Craig is trying to win a bike through Bicycling Magazine's contest, so I made a [tearful] video for him today and I'll keep you posted how that goes.

Alright, the kiddo (who is 18 months old today!) is in bed and it's time for me to go make dinner and enjoy time with my best friend, Craig.

P.S. I'm a reality tv junkie (not exactly proud of it, just saying) and I just finished Tori Spelling's book sTORI Telling and LOVED it. I'll be getting Mommywood from the library soon.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sauteed Chicken in a Honey Marinade Reduction. SO good!

Today was a rough day. The obnoxious neighbor's dog woke Eliana and me up at 6:45am. ARGH!
Then we went to a playdate and when we got home for her nap there was a crew from the county literally right outside our house working on the street. It was a parade of loud equipment and the loudest "BEEP BEEP" I have ever heard for 3 hours. I turned on the tv, the radio, a fan, her sound machine, and the space heater and still could not cover up the road work noise. So, after two solid attempts we gave up on a nap. This was tragic being that she was exhausted from the playdate and worn out from cutting 4 teeth at the same time. It ended up being a long and exhausting day for mommy and baby. The littlest things made her mad and she just wasn't herself. We put her to bed around 6pm but she's already been up crying 2x and it's only 9pm. I'm hoping she'll sleep through the night from here on and will let mommy sleep in at least til 8 tomorrow! Blasted teeth :(

Then I found out that although we'd been told a couple weeks ago that Eliana was accepted into the Washington Apple program for health insurance.....we even got her id card and benefits booklet, as of today she's no longer eligible! I was so ticked. Apparently they decided that our existing high deductible insurance is credible coverage. I find that ludicrous. How is a coverage that covers nothing beyond immunizations (at 80%) until you reach $5k considered credible???? If Elly gets sick and I take her in it's easily $200. X-rays, medication, etc....is all very expensive. And God forbid we ever have to go to the hospital with her it would cost a fortune. I am very displeased with the state of healthcare in our Country. It's sad, shocking, angering, and consistently frustrating that good, hard working people can't afford to go to the doctor, have a baby in a hospital, have needed surgery, get their eyes checked, etc. Let's change things people!!! Although I do think that Obama's plan has serious flaws, I also feel that we need to start somewhere. Republicans can go in this fall and change things around and fix issues, but in the meantime let's get something going! I guess I would say that we are all entitled to our own feelings about this, but until you consistently spend more on medical bills than you do on groceries (as I do), don't bother trying to change my mind about any of it. Whew!

With today being so exhausting and frustrating I decided to make one of my favorite dinners and would like to share it with you all. It's fairly easy (really!) and is a huge winner with whoever eats it :) The recipe is from my mom, I'm not sure where she got it. I've been making it since I was about 12ish but have really only perfected the reduction and carmelization process for the chicken in the last 5 years. Enjoy!

Ok, for this recipe you will need:

olive oil or coconut oil (for pan)
dash of lemon pepper
Sauce:
1/2 C Lea and Perrins Marinade for Chicken, will be right next to Worchestershire sauce in the grocery aisle (DO NOT use regular Worchestershire, it's totally different. I buy it at Red Apple or Central Market, Fred Meyer doesn't have it).
1/4 C honey (I usually fudge it to 1/3 C cuz I love honey)
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp powdered garlic
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 tsp sesame seeds, optional


2-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts. I make 2 for Craig and I and have extra yummy sauce to put over the side dishes

Cut chicken into lengthwise strips about 1/2" thick. Preheat pan to medium heat. Add about 1-2 Tbsp olive oil. Add chicken strips, sprinkle about 1tsp lemon pepper (this gives it a little bite). Saute until chicken is about half way cooked (still pinkish). Drain the chicken and add the sauce. Continue cooking in the sauce on med heat until the chicken is no longer pink. Remove the chicken from the sauce and pan and place on a plate covered with foil.

Beautiful, right? It gets better!

From here you'll continue to cook the sauce in the pan over med to med-high heat. The goal now is to reduce our delicious sauce to a darker color with a thick texture. Smells good doesn't it!? I usually have to cook it at least 5 minutes....you want it pretty thick to carmelize over the chicken.


Yum, so good! After the 5-10 minutes of reducing (don't burn it) it's time to add the chicken back in.

See the contrast in color from the first cooking til when the sauce is reduced? It should be a beautiful caramel color and pretty darn thick. Turn the chicken in the pan to coat with the sauce.

Ok, as long as your sauce is thick and the chicken is cooked, you're good to go! YUM-O!

Tonight I served it with Quinoa (the most perfect and delicious protein-filled non-grain that sort of tastes like a grain) and broiled asparagus.

I like to cook Quinoa in low sodium 99% fat free chicken broth, no extra salt needed. I did 1 C Quinoa with 2 C chicken broth tonight which is 4 servings so I'd have leftovers for tomorrow. Rinse the Quinoa and add to pot with chicken broth. Boil for about 15 minutes or until broth is absorbed.
The asparagus I put on a baking sheet and lightly sprinkled with salt and olive oil. I cooked at 375 degrees (ok, technically not broiling) for about 10 minutes. Really good!
The extra sauce is delicious over Quinoa, rice, etc.

If you need help give me a holler! This is a recipe you'll love for years to come :)