A Simple Thanksgiving

Dear Sis,

Early last week P-pop (Grandpa William, for whom baby William is named) announced that his trucking schedule would have him in our area over the weekend. Josh and I started cooking up a plan about how to have Thanksgiving without too much work.

Our Menu

Slow Cooked Boneless Turkey

Gravy (from a packet)

Mashed Potatoes (instant)

Sautéed Green Beans & Corn

Dinner Rolls (thaw & bake)

Cherry Pie (your mother-in-law’s super simple recipe)

Homemade Applesauce (it isn’t Thanksgiving without it!)

Friday night P-pop called again to say that he couldn’t take the weekend off after all. I instantly got pouty. No Thanksgiving! No fair!!! In the morning, with fresh perspective, I had a new idea. Make it anyway! Josh had bought all the ingredients days before. In my breaks, when baby was sleeping, I was able to pull it all together:)

thanksgiving

thanksgiving-ii

Love,

b

 

 

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Our Birth Story

Dear Sis,

As you know we made a Birth Plan as part of the birthing classes we took throughout the month of October. But how did things really unfold?

Contractions started late in the afternoon on November 14th. I was finishing up some grocery shopping when the first two struck. They were so mild I could pretty much go on normally with the rest of my shopping and driving home.

The remainder of the evening, contractions kept coming until they were averaging 10 – 15 minutes apart. The pains were still so mild, I started crocheting a new afghan while watching Hallmark movies on the couch. Josh and I went to bed as usual at 10 PM. 

I was awoken at 11:40 PM with a contract that was too strong to sleep through. I walked it off and went back to bed. The next contraction I couldn’t sleep through arrived at 12:30 AM. Again I walked it off, and was just getting comfy on the couch when another one came, and then another. I decided it was time to finish packing our hospital bags, clean the kitchen, and tidy up the house a little. So, I went about my house work having contractions every 3 – 7 minutes until 2 AM, when I woke Josh to ask him if we should call the doctor. He encouraged me to, because he thought it would help ease my mind about laboring at home a little longer before making the 1 hour drive to the hospital. To both our surprise the doctor recommended going to the hospital… already! Josh took a quick shower to wake himself up, while I put everything for our voyage by the front door. 

The contractions slowed during the car ride, which was nice since I couldn’t walk them off. We arrived at the hospital around 4:30 AM and were checked in for observation. After an hour more of laboring in the hospital, the contracts picked up where they had left off and an exam showed that in just that hour we gained 2 cm and 20% effacement… so they checked us into a proper maternity room.

Josh fell to sleep on the sofa while I paced the room with each new contraction. The doctor arrived at 8 AM to check on us. We were still 3 cm, but 100% effaced. We labored with the same type of mild contractions all the way until noon when the doctor returned to check on our progress. Still just 3 cm. We were 12 hours into labor, I was feeling sleepy already, and knew the hardest bits were still hours away. Realizing I would very easily repeat the 36 hour labor mom endured with me, I surprised myself by accepting the doctors recommendation for Petocin, a synthetic version of the labor hormone the body makes naturally the stimulate contractions. 

Over the next four hours, contractions intensified and become more frequent as promised. Breathing through each one became more tricky. I was trying new positions and ideas with each one. …the birth ball, the peanut ball, hand massagers, heating pads, standing, kneeling, etc. What worked was totally hit and miss. It would help for some contractions, but not others, with no recognizable pattern. Then, my water broke. I was so excited, the next half an hour of contractions seemed less intense even though they were still growing more powerful. Another exam found that we were at 5 cm!

Over the next two hours, contractions intensified and became so regular it was getting hard to breath through and relax between them. My level of fatigue was again obvious after the euphoria of broken waters and 5 cm had passed. I even started having back to back contractions about every third contraction, making it even harder to relax my muscles as I knew I needed to, to progress. My next exam, confirmed my suspicion.  We were stuck at 5 cm. How was I going to breath through and make my body relax enough to dilate? And pushing was still hours away!

After another hour, with double contractions growing in frequency, and only 2 – 3 minute tense breaks between, I accepted Fentanyl to take away some of the severity of each contraction, in hopes that I could force myself to breath through again and relax my muscles. It worked! …for about half an hour. Yikes! Now, what? I thought to myself. The nurse informed me that she could only give two doses of Fentanyl without doctor’s orders. My only more long term option was the dreaded epidural! …but before an epidural, one must have an hour of fluids. Clinging to Josh and sobbing through each contraction, I agreed to start the fluids and be prepared for the epidural. 

I don’t remember much of that hour except for the looks of torture on Josh’s face as  I clung to him through each contraction. I vaguely remember the anesthesiologist and his directions as he swiftly worked between contractions.

After the epidural was in place each contraction softened in intensity until I felt only the muscle movements with none of the pain. Just half an hour after the epidural I was at 9 cm, smiling, and mumbling about having a baby. My body was ready! It just needed help relaxing… and the epidural did the trick. The nurse explained that they were going to let me labor down for the next hour or so. I tried to nap to prepare for the pushing, but I kept rambling excitedly to Josh, between dozes. 

At my next exam, “Wow, this baby has a lot of hair!” was exclaimed. The labor room hustle started. A nurse came in to assist the doctor. Another nurse was fussing over me. While a third nurse, got ready for baby. As they were dressing each other in blue surgical gowns, I realized we were going to get started. 

My legs were hoisted into the stirrups, the doctor explained how to push, we waited for the next contraction to start, and the pushing began. I was letting too much air out. I needed to hold air in to intensify each push. It was counterintuitive after 19 hours of breathing through contractions. After a dozen or so contracts, I was getting the hang of pushing and my mind was guessing I had four more to go. My eyes were closed. I was giving the current push my all. I opened my eyes and a purple gooey baby was headed for my chest with about four different hands holding it. In all the confusion, baby’s little hand found mine and wrapped around my finger, while hands kept rubbing and agitating baby to make him cry.

Apparently, baby took a big swig of fluid on his way out, so he was whisked to his little baby area just feet away from my bed, while the nurses worked to clear out his lungs and warm him up. Meanwhile, I birthed the placenta, which I didn’t notice until it was announced. I was too busy watching baby. Then, Josh said something about a giant needle. I shushed him and told him what I didn’t know couldn’t hurt me. He smiled and we both resumed baby watching. 

After 15 minutes, baby was returned to my chest and we just lounged there for the next hour and a half. I was so happy to have baby with us, but the exhaustion of my 22 hour labor was catching up with me. My memories are drifty of those precious first hours. I remember naming baby. I remember finally surrendering to a nurse’s offer to look after him for a few hours so I could get some sleep. 

That is the story of how baby came into the world. Was it the birth path I’d planned? No… but I am regret free, happy to have it over, and still exuberant that baby is here us!

Love,

b

 

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Baby Pouch

Dear Sis,

This post commemorates baby’s first time in the “pouch.” We have used it on several occasions since that first day, and he still enjoys it. He uses his little arms to push against my chest and he holds his little head up, which he whips from side to side to see all in sight until he gets too tired and collapses into my chest. After three of four more similar receptions, he falls fast asleep. 

nov-21st

Love,

b

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Welcome Baby!

Dear Sis,

Baby William arrived November 15, 2016 at 9:49 PM. He weighed 7 lb. 2 oz. and was 19 2/3 inches long. 

We’ve been home from the hospital a week now. I’m finally catching up on all the rest my body has been begging for. Baby is working hard (cluster feeding) to regain his birth weight. The shock is starting to wear off and we three are settling into some new normal. 

Here is a picture of William and I the day after he was born. I’m sure I’ll be posting more about baby when I am father along in postpartum recovery:)

William and Mama b the day after he was born.

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Postpartum Freezer Meals – Day 4

Dear Sis,

These projects actually took pregnant me two days. My morning energy bursts are now two hours or less. So I made the sauces and fillings yesterday, and assembled them today.

Freezer Mexican Stuffed Shells to Bake
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Ingredients
  1. 3 (9x6 inch) pans
  2. 2 lb. ground beef, browned
  3. 1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, soft
  4. 2 pkg. taco seasoning or 6 T homemade
  5. 1 (12 oz) box jumbo pasta shells
  6. 1 (16 oz) jar salsa
  7. 1 (16 oz) jar taco sauce
  8. 4 c shredded Cheddar Jack
Assembly Instructions
  1. Mix cream cheese and taco seasoning into browned beef until well combined.
  2. Cook pasta according to package instruction.
  3. Pour equal portions of salsa into the bottom of each pan.
  4. Stuff each shell with a heaping T of meat mixture. Place approx. 1 dozen shells in prepared pan.
  5. Top with equal portions of taco sauce and cheese.
  6. Cover each pan with plastic and foil. Freeze up to three months.
Baking Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450. Remove plastic and replace foil.
  2. Bake covered 50 minutes. Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes more.
  3. Serve with sour cream and chopped green onions.
Adapted from New Leaf Wellness
Adapted from New Leaf Wellness
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/

Freezer Lasagna to Bake
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Ingredients
  1. 6 (9x6 inch) pans
  2. 1 lb. ground beef, browned
  3. 3 (24 oz) jars pasta sauce
  4. 1 (24 oz) + (16 oz) tub cottage cheese
  5. 4 cups shredded Mozzarella, divided into 2 c portions
  6. 2 cups shredded Parmesan
  7. 4 eggs
  8. 2 T parsley flakes
  9. 1 t black pepper
  10. 2 (9 oz) boxes 9inch Oven Ready lasagna noodles
  11. 3 oz (approx. 3 c) fresh baby spinach
Assembly Instructions
  1. For meat sauce, combine beef and sauce.
  2. For cheese mixture, combine cheeses, eggs, and spices.
  3. Layer as follows, sauce, noodles, cheese, spinach, noodles, sauce, noodles, cheese, sauce, remaining portion of shredded cheese.
  4. Cover with plastic and foil. Freeze up to three months.
Baking Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425. Remove plastic and replace foil.
  2. Bake covered 1 hour 30 minutes. Bake uncovered 10-15 minutes more.
  3. Serve with garlic bread and side sides.
Adapted from New Leaf Wellness
Adapted from New Leaf Wellness
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/
pot-pie

Freezer Pot Pie to Bake
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Ingredients
  1. 3 aluminum pie pans
  2. 2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, diced
  3. 2 c new potatoes, chopped
  4. 1 c carrots, peeled and chopped
  5. 1 c frozen corn
  6. 1 c fresh or frozen green beans, chopped
  7. 1 c frozen peas
  8. 1/3 c unsalted butter
  9. 1 onion, chopped or 1 c frozen
  10. 2/3 c unbleached flour
  11. 1 t salt
  12. 1 t herbs de providence
  13. 1/2 t black pepper
  14. 1/2 t celery seed
  15. 2 c chicken stock
  16. 2 c milk
  17. 3 double pie crusts
Assembly Instructions
  1. Combine chicken, potatoes, and vegetables in a stock pot over medium-high heat. Cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add and sauté onion until translucent. Whisk in flour and spices to make a roux.
  3. Gradually whisk in stock and milk. Cook stirring until sauce thickens.
  4. Drained cooked chicken and vegetable mixture. Stir in sauce.
  5. Line each pan with a crust and pierce with a fork to vent.
  6. Pour equal portions of filling into each crust lined pan.
  7. Top each filled pie with another crust. Crimp edges together around each pie and slit each top crust with a knife to vent.
  8. Cover with waxed paper and foil. Freeze up to three months.
Baking Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425. Remove packaging.
  2. Bake 2 hours or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly.
Adapted from New Leaf Wellness
Adapted from New Leaf Wellness
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/
slice-pot-pie

 Love,

b

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Postpartum Freezer Meals – Day 3

Dear Sis,

More freezer meals! There is no risk of a starving family after baby is born!!!

Freezer Roast with Carrots for Slow Cooker
Serves 6
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Cook Time
8 hr
Cook Time
8 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 gallon freezer bag
  2. 2 lb. boneless beef chuck roast
  3. 6 c carrots, peeled and chopped
  4. 3 T McCormick Mesquite Gill Mate seasoning
  5. 3 T olive oil
  6. 2 T red wine vinegar
Assembly Instructions
  1. Label freezer bag with name of dish, date of preparation, and cooking instructions found below.
  2. Add all ingredients to labeled bag.
Cooking Instructions
  1. Thaw in refrigerator overnight or in water bath.
  2. Add bag contents to slow cooker.
  3. Cook on Low for 8 hours.
  4. Serve over mashed potatoes.
Adapted from New Leaf Wellness
Adapted from New Leaf Wellness
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/
Freezer Classic Pot Roast for Slow Cooker
Serves 6
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Cook Time
8 hr
Cook Time
8 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 gallon freezer bag
  2. 2 lb. boneless beef chuck pot roast
  3. 1 lb. new potatoes, halved
  4. 4 c carrots, peeled and chopped
  5. 1 packet onion soup mix
Add on Cooking Day
  1. 1 c water
Assembly Instructions
  1. Label freezer bag with name of dish, date of preparation, and cooking instructions found below.
  2. Add all ingredients to labeled bag.
Cooking Instructions
  1. Thaw in refrigerator overnight or in water bath.
  2. Add bag contents to slow cooker with water.
  3. Cook on Low for 8 hours.
Adapted from New Leaf Wellness
Adapted from New Leaf Wellness
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/
Freezer Minestrone Soup for Slow Cooker
Serves 10
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Ingredients
  1. 1 gallon freezer bag
  2. 1 lb. frozen meatballs (approx. 30)
  3. 3 c fresh or frozen green beans, chopped
  4. 2 c carrots, peeled and chopped
  5. 1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  6. 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  7. 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomato, undrained or 2 c fresh
  8. 1 onion, chopped or 1 c frozen
  9. 1 c fresh spinach
  10. 2 T Italian seasoning
  11. 1 T + 1 t minced garlic
  12. 1 t honey
  13. 1 bay leaf
  14. 1/4 t black pepper
Add of Cooking Day
  1. 8 c chicken stock
  2. 1 c uncooked elbow macaroni
Assembly Instructions
  1. Label freezer bag with name of dish, date of preparation, and cooking instructions found below.
  2. Add all ingredients to labeled bag.
Cooking Instructions
  1. Thaw in refrigerator overnight or in water bath.
  2. Add bag contents to slow cooker with chicken stock
  3. Cook on Low for 8 hours.
  4. Add pasta and cook 30 minutes more on High.
  5. Serve with garlic bread.
Adapted from New Leaf Wellness
Adapted from New Leaf Wellness
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/
Freezer Wedding Soup for Slow Cooker
Serves 6
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Cook Time
8 hr
Cook Time
8 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 gallon freezer bag
  2. 1 lb. frozen meatballs (approx. 30)
  3. 2 c carrots, peeled and chopped
  4. 2 c fresh spinach
  5. 1 onion, chopped or 1 c frozen
  6. 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  7. 1 t garlic powder
  8. 1 t onion powder
  9. 1 t steak seasoning of choice
Add on Cooking Day
  1. 8 c chicken stock
  2. 1/2 c uncooked orzo pasta
Assembly instructions
  1. Label freezer bag with name of dish, date of preparation, and cooking instructions found below.
  2. Add all ingredients to labeled bag.
Cooking Instructions
  1. Thaw in refrigerator overnight or in water bath.
  2. Add bag contents to slow cooker with chicken stock.
  3. Cook on Low for 8 hours.
  4. Add pasta and cook an additional 30 minutes on High.
  5. Serve with fresh dinner rolls or bread.
Adapted from New Leaf Wellness
Adapted from New Leaf Wellness
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/
 Love,

b

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Sewing Room Organization

Hey Sis,

I have completely moved into the sewing room! I love how easily things have been organized, and how much space I have left in the room to work. I have two work tables, and plenty of floor space for projects too. It is great. The carpet in the sewing room has been okay too, because it is so thin and tough that it doesn’t gather pins. So, I’m no longer in a big hurry to yank it out, even though it is a bit of an eye sore.

I brought some things with me from PA. One was my sewing desk, that Carmin designed and built. It was created because my heavy metal sewing machine would bounce up and down on a regular table top, so I needed something that would hold it down. It was also designed to have a pull out drawer under the table top, and a bottom shelf to hold all the spinning supplies. img_0397

Above the sewing table is a shelf that Carmin built. It is completely crammed full of crafting supplies! (I amazed myself by getting all craft items out of the closet and fitting them into this room!)

sewingroomshelf

As you can tell, on the side of the shelf is a pretty embroidery project made by my loving sister B.embrodery

On the other side of the sewing desk, I got and filled one of those cube organizers. It has been a great way to keep everything organized. I have mending box, embroidery box, a project box, a candle making box, a soap making box, a knitting supply box, and another one is holding fabric. I seem to always be running out of places to put fabric. lol

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The knitting box was very sloppy, and it was getting hard to find what needles I wanted. So, I designed a circular knitting needle holder.

img_0390 img_0389

I put it on the peg board that is behind the computer/other work table in the room. It is fantastic, as now I no longer have to worry about my knitting cords getting kinks.

img_0398

The desk was also built by Carmin and has storage!

img_0400

The drawers in the desk hold basic office supplies. And the bench lid lifts up and stores sewing patterns.

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On the other side of the room, I have the ironing board, sewing form, a painting from Amanda and a Chinese fan from Kaela. img_0399

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